Saturday, March 26, 2011

To Board or Not to Board. Leaving a Pet for the Weekend

We discussed what to do with our dogs while we are gone for a weekend.  Should have ask a friend to come in and feed, water, and check in on them, or should we board them out?

We finally decided that our Veterinarian's clinic, which has boarding kennels inside, would be the better option.  We provide the meals, pre-packaged in Hefty bags, and a toy for each dog, and they provide the walks!  What a deal!   I think we pay $60 for two dogs for two nights, and they get to stay together in one kennel run.  I think that is pretty important for them, rather than being separated.  The kennel runs are separated with concrete block walls so the dogs wouldn't be able to see each other.

The kennels are clean and well-maintained, and we trust the staff to look after our animals.  Best of all, we don't have to worry about whether or not our family friend will "forget" to show up.

Asking a friend to take care of one's pets can put a strain on a relationship, at least I think so.  I looked after my son's cats and fish tank while he was gone for two weeks, and all the fish died.  That was stressful for both of us (and, as it turned out, for the fish especially).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thyroid Problems in Pets are Common

Good days and bad days aside, we have great love and appreciation for the pets in our lives.  Currently, two dogs and one cat.  The kitty is Max, and he is getting up in years, now having some thyroid problems which have been corrected with medicine.

I strongly recommend that anyone with a pet that is past middle age have some blood work BEFORE the symptoms of thyroid problems become so obvious.  This is a fairly common problem as our pets age.  We saw a different look in Max's eyes, the sparkle was gone, and he was losing weight, his fur looked bad.  We caught it in time, though, and he is on the way to recovery.

We have gone through this so many times with other animals too.  Our roughest patch was when our dog, Pouie, lost his eyesight due to cataracts.  He adjusted in a couple of weeks and lived another six months.  He was at the end of his lifespan, and that is difficult for a lot of us pet owners to accept.  Our animals do not live as long as we do.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Search and Rescue Dogs to Japan. (Re-posted from the Blog "Some Assembly Required")

Day 456

Sonic, the Search and Rescue Dog
(Reposted from the Blog "Some Assembly Required" by John Sealander.)
I met Sonic today. Sonic is a search and rescue dog. He is a member of an elite Search Dog Foundation rescue team. The Search Dog Foundation has sent dogs to Katrina. They were there in the aftermath of 9/11. Now this organization is sending teams to Japan to help with the rescue efforts there. One of my veterinary hospital clients is sponsoring Sonic and in appreciation, Sonic's handlers brought him to the hospital today to meet the staff and explain how search and rescue dogs are trained. I was just there to photograph the event, but I was just as impressed with Sonic as everybody else. These search and rescue dogs are absolutely amazing. They all go through a grueling two year training program and must perform absolutely flawlessly before they are certified for rescue operations. Dogs like Sonic can climb up and down vertical fire engine ladders to reach people trapped on upper floors of buildings. They are trained to respond to their handlers commands from as far as 100 yards away. When they are working, they are not distracted by cats or squirrels. Part of their training involves placing tasty hot dogs and Taco Bell take out meals nearby during a search exercise and seeing if the smell of food broke their concentration. It doesn't. If you need help, you can only hope that one of these amazing dogs is nearby. Have you guys ever hear the search dog's creed? It's worth repeating. "If you are ever buried under a ton of rubble, trapped where no one can find you, or caught in the aftermath of a storm, I promise to sniff you out. I promise to go about my work with a wagging tail and a hero's heart. I promise to ignore all the fascinating smells out there and concentrate on finding you. I promise to never give up." I only spent an hour or so with Sonic this afternoon, but that was enough to convince me that he would never give up.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nylabone Big Chew Beefy bone

Our two dogs, one big, one small, are both "chewers."  They would, and have, destroyed every toy and chewie we have ever purchased for them.  Although the Nylabone advertisements say it is nearly indestructible, real chewers like our dogs can scrape away for months and gradually reduce the Big Chew down to a "Big Nub."

Yesterday, we received our re-order of two Big Chews for these guys and they were so funny as the each took a new bone and ran around like crazy to find a private or secluded place to lie down and get to work on it.  Even  funnier, I thought, was that they both ended up on the same pillow, chewing away.  I took a nice video for our memories, and got one good still of them both "holding" their bones.
Coby (l) and CheyAnna (r) enjoy new Nylabone Big Chews
Incidentally, the Big Chew is $18.95 at our local pet store, but I found them online for $13.10 each and ordered two through so the shipping was free (over $25 order).  These bones ought to last them until Christmas, about nine months away.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Belle a Pembroke Welsh Corgi Rescued and given to a friend

We rescued Belle, a Pembroke Corgi, from an owner who had moved into a city apartment where she could no longer keep a dog.

Belle, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Belle seemed to be well-adjusted to house living and got along with the woman's cat, (we had three cats at the time), so we agreed to take Belle, who was only about three years old at the time.

Belle did not get along with our cats, perhaps part of her "pecking order" process, and she also felt quite superior to our Chow-chow, even though he outweighed her by forty pounds.

When Belle grabbed ahold of our Chow's snout and would not let go, even though she was being swung around violently, we knew that we needed to find a new home for Belle.

Fortunately for Belle, the home she went to was that of a family friend who had two Corgi's.  When I approached my friend, he explained that one of their Corgi's had died and the other was aged and had a tumor. He and his wife were very excited about Belle, and she quickly found herself right at home.

Belle loves herding, and a soccer ball is the perfect size.  She has a fenced-in quarter acre to play.  As of this writing, Belle is the only dog remaining in the house.
Kendra Wilkinson with Rascal, her Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi's are really popular.  Among the most famous owners are Queen Elizabeth II, who owns four, and TV reality actress Kendra Wilkinson.  I have chosen to include a photo of Kendra with her Corgi.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lovably Lucy, the Deaf Doberman

In 2003 we adopted a middle-aged female Doberman from the Animal Shelter.  Her name was Lucy and she was so quiet and shy, we knew we needed to bring her home with us.

We soon discovered that she was deaf.  The Animal Shelter staff was not aware of this.  So we suspected that an unsympathetic owner who didn't understand why Lucy would not respond to commands simply abandoned her at the shelter.

Lucy was only with us for a couple of months.  She got along well with our Chow-chow and carefully watched his every move so she would know what to do.  In this way she compensated for her deafness and endeared herself to us even more.  We thought she must have had a difficult life.  Lucy had a heart murmur, which we did know about, and she died quietly in our yard one afternoon.  We only hope that we made her final days a little better.


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