Category Archives: Dogs

Fab Friday ~ August 4, 2017

Thank goodness for Fridays, right? We had some other very intense visits yesterday, one in particularly that I’m still trying to process in my own head. I hope to have sufficient thoughts to share with you in a few days. It may take me a while to find the right words and feelings in order to share. Till then, we hope you have a wagnificent weekend! Don’t do anything we wouldn’t do. That should leave you with plenty of room for fun and smiles.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Tribute Tuesday

While we’ve had a rash of special pets cross over the Rainbow Bridge over the past several months, it hasn’t been limited to Blogville. A number of fellow pet therapy dogs have left as well. I haven’t shared stories about those losses since we try to soldier on as best we can despite the hole that’s left behind. When Sam and I joined pet therapy over 4 years ago, there were over 50 dogs in the program. Today that number is just over 30.

Recently one of my absolute favorite dogs left us unexpectedly, leaving her owner, Bonnie and the rest of us who knew her, simply devastated. “Fergie” was one of those dogs you just couldn’t get enough of whenever you saw her. With a regal face, expressive features, she was a pawsome ambassador for our program. I was instantly drawn to her at the first get-together for both handlers and dogs. In the midst of dogs everywhere and uprights chit-chatting away, Fergie quietly sat next to Bonnie taking it all in. She was a beautiful soul with a calm presence who represented her breed so nicely especially in the midst of frenetic motion and noise. 

Fergie was a wonderful therapy dog and will be sorely missed. Throughout her two years of service to our program, she and Bonnie provided much comfort and joy during their 64 visits. Sam and I were lucky to spend some time with Bonnie and Fergie at the annual fund-raising calendar sale with Fergie performing impressive tricks for people in the hospital lobby. And Sam adored her as much as I did.

Bonnie described Fergie this way:
“Fergie loved riding in the car wearing her goggles, and hanging her head out the window.  It also gave Fergie joy when she would get her toenails painted.  And I believe she liked wearing one of her many outfits.  She was an attention hog.  She knew only a few tricks but she was always willing to perform.Treats were a big must have for her.  Fergie loved chasing anything that ran.  She didn’t care to catch it, but she loved the run.  If she saw something running (squirrel, deer, rabbit, cat, anything) she would be on the chase.  But, if it stopped, she would stop, until it started running again and then it was off she goes!  When she would get tired or the poor creature would out smart her, she would come bounding back to me with her head held high, a smile on her face and a prance in her step just as pleased as she could be.”
Here are some photos Bonnie shared with me that show the great spirit Fergie exhibited with her good nature and sense of style.

Sam and I will miss our sweet fur-iend and hope our admiration for Fergie helps her mom deal with this untimely loss. Our program just won’t be the same without the two of them. No doubt there will be tons of nail polish colors and goggles just waiting for Fergie at the Rainbow Bridge. While she may be gone, she will not be fur-gotten. Rest in peace, sweet girl. 
Live, love, bark! ❤︎

A hunting we will go…

It is a well-known fact that poodles are great hunting dogs. Just ask my sister, Elsa. Sam here. She ‘hunts’ everything she can wrap her teeth around. I guess I shouldn’t cast negative aspersions since I’ve eviscerated my fair share of leather goods over the years. But she’s taken the whole hunting dog mantel to a whole new level.

First off, can I say she goes bonkers whenever a squirrel is within 87 feet of our house? We can be out for a nice leisurely walk with mom and she’ll see one of the bushy-tailed rats and will try to turn mom into a kite and climb up the tree after it. I’ll admit that girl has some wheels. Twice now she’s come within a whisker’s length of catching the two that terrorize her live in our big tree and raid the trash and recycle bins. One of these days guys…she’s gonna catch you. Just saying.

We were walking early the other morning and guess what we came across? A cute ‘widdle wabbit.’

File photo-not the actual rabbit-there was no way to get close enough without scaring the stuffing outa the poor lil-guy.

Once we realized what it was, our poodle genes kicked into action overdrive. Say whaaat?! (spoken in ascending falsetto voice)

Just look at that pointing form of my sister! I was still trying to figure out just what the heck it is but she knew it was something not squirrel-like.










Mom could barely pull us away we were so mesmerized. Now every time we pass by this little mini-park, we start looking for Bugs Bunny. Mom said I look like Elmer Fudd when I’m searching, but I’m not sure what she meant by that. No doubt she was trying to be funny. To which I say, ‘don’t quit the day job.’ She’s no comedian, trust me on that. And she’s no great photographer either, as evidenced by all the cross light-beams. She apologizes for the crummy i-Phone pics but couldn’t hold two leashes, two pulling dogs amazing hunters, a bag of poop and the phone at the same time. I say she just wasn’t quite awake yet. She said sometimes, you just have to take the shot regardless of the position of the sun and objects. I say, ‘whatever.’

[Mom here…sorry about the crummy lighting, even editing wouldn’t improve them enough without those hideous light beams/overexposure. You should have seen the raw photos-eek]

So…do you have wabbits in your ‘hood? Are you a world-class hunter? Did you take classes to learn to hunt or does it come natural for you?

Happy Friday. Woo-hoo, how did we manage to get here so quickly? Oh yeah, that extra long ‘howliday’ weekend the other day sure made a difference, didn’t it? Have a wagnificent weekend.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

The Do’s & Don’t of Ticks

Summertime and the living is…downright buggy. We’re playing outdoors, taking hikes and just generally being outside more frequently which increases our chance of a tick encounter. Blech! I HATE those nasty things. Here’s some info I recently found in Dogs Naturally Magazine that might keep your fur-iend just a wag safer.

According to experts, ticks…those creepy crawly bugs that transmit diseases, are expected to be particularly bad this year and may be expanding their range to epidemic numbers in some areas. The good news is (if you can consider anything associated with ticks as being ‘good’), most tick-borne diseases aren’t usually transmitted immediately so if they are removed within 36 hours, changes are good your pet is not likely to be infected. Whew!

Ticks in Dogs

[All images shown here are courtesy of Dogs Naturally Magazine]

Finally, American canine hepatozoonosis (ACH) (Hepatozoon canis, Hepatozoon americanum is an emerging but rare disease but one worth mentioning since it isn’t transmitted by a bite but by ingesting when the dog removes ticks off his own body, or if he eats prey that had ticks. Highly debilitating, it’s particularly essential to remove these ticks before your pup does. This one is found in the south central and southeastern US.

Geographic Areas

The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) provides interactive maps for the US and Canada on their website (Note: CAPC’s sponsors are big Pharma/chemical companies that provide tick products and therefore have a vested interest in promoting convenience with an added dose of old-fashioned fear). 

Tick Removal

Removing ticks is the name of the game here, especially if you aren’t a big Pharma/chemical company fan. But there are do’s and don’ts associated with tick removal of which you should be aware.

Time is of the essence. Removing ticks quickly is in your best interest. If you’ve been hiking in tall grasses or walking in the woods, check your pet over as soon as you can. If your pup is chewing on a spot, pay special attention. It’s a clue there may be something or someone there. Check all over. While ticks favor ears, toes, joints, they are dastardly buggers and will attach to tails or nether regions, given half the opportunity. Long-haired or double coated dogs can be gone over with a low-heat setting on a hair-dryer to make viewing easier.

Here’s one of the little bastards right there. Get it!!

Using tweezers close to the skin, pull up gently. Clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. Dispose of the offender in alcohol or flush it down the toilet. Or you can use a one of these nifty tick removal tools.

Buh, bye…rotten bug.

I’ve never seen one of these before but naturally YouTube has a brilliant video on how to use. They sure would have come in handy during the camping days of my youth. ‘Roughing it’ now requires at least a motel. No more sleeping on the ground in a tent for this sports-fan. No siree.

Now properly equipped in your tick-removal of Do’s, you should know there are plenty of Don’ts that you should likewise be aware of, though I confess, I’ve broken some of these rules over the years out of ignorance.  Don’t remove ticks with your fingers so as to avoid contamination from pathogens. Remember, above all, these are disease spreading insects. Don’t use vaseline or other substances in an effort to suffocate it. Don’t squish a tick-it can increase the risk of infection for you or your pup. Don’t burn the tick with a hot match and don’t dispose of it in a trash can. These are crawling little bastards and they’ll seek sanctuary until the next sucker host comes along.

The best way to avoid ticks is keeping them off your dog. Sure you can go the chemical route, but you can also try some natural solutions (easier said than done when you live in a heavily wooded area with heavy humidity and up to your eyeballs in them).

Effective dietary preventives can be useful. Garlic (I know, some of you are freaking out now, but it appears 1/3 tsp of fresh garlic per 10 lbs. of weight is safe). Check with your vet to be sure it’s appropriate for your pup. Apple cider vinegar added to food or water bowl makes blood less tasty to ticks and fleas. One half teaspoon per 25 lbs. of weight should work nicely.

Herbal flea and tick powders are excellent options (for homemade recipe see here). You can add a couple drops of rose geranium essential oil to 2 TBS of almond oil and spray directly on a collar, bandana or the neck. While I’m not familiar with this one, Palo Santo essential oil added to your favorite lavender shampoo makes a good tick shampoo (see this link for info). A citrus repellant in a spray bottle misted on your pet (avoiding eyes and nose) is also effective. Ticks are not fans of peppermint essential oil either. Food grade diatomaceous earth powder (DE) can be lightly sprinkled on your pet but may be drying to his skin and of course, again avoid eyes, nose and mouth. DE can be sprinkled around the garden and contains good minerals that don’t hurt plants or earthworms. Nematodes feed on tick larvae so if you live in a wooded area, this is a solution for your yard.

Now after all that nasty boogie man stuff about ticks and all the problems they can cause, you also have some natural solutions for staying safe. Remember avoidance is the best treatment but in the summertime that’s not always possible. Have fun, enjoy the outdoors and eliminate the bastards.

Do you have trouble with ticks? How do you deal with them?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎