June 13, 2018 - This morning, I saw an obviously lost dog on the road. This isn’t your standard farm or ranch dog – and in case there was any doubt at all, the fact that he was wearing a harness, to which a four-foot leash was attached, ruled out the likelihood that he was a local dog who had roamed off his property. Most likely, in my opinion, was that he was in the back of someone’s truck, and rolled off when the person made the sharp turn onto or off of the nearby highway and onto or off of this bumpy farm-country road.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 05:03PM Comments (27)
June 6, 2018 - When I open the dog food container and all of a sudden it’s incredibly low, or I’m feeding a starving mama and her nine growing puppies and going through food at an unpredictably fast rate and I’ve been crazy-busy putting the magazine to bed and haven’t so much as taken a shower for a couple of days, being able to punch up my favorite online store and order food and have it on my porch in two days – you guys, that’s a blessing. Mama is not keeping up with the demand, and I just ordered five pounds of milk-replacing formula to get us through the next couple of weeks. And the dry puppy food I like to soften in formula and feed to the growing pups is not one I can get in my very close chain store, OR my favorite independent store 30 miles away.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 01:00PM Comments (51)
May 31, 2018 - I imagine that everyone who works or volunteers in animal rescue, or human social services, gets overwhelmed at times with what seems to be a relentless tide of innocents in need of help. Intellectually, I know that there are FAR fewer unwanted pets being brought to animal shelters and fewer animals being in euthanized in shelters than when I was a young person, and yet at times the sheer volume of dogs I'm aware of who are in need of rescue, fostering, transportation, and medical help is just crushing.
I'm fostering a mama dog and her nine puppies. They were surrendered to my local shelter when the pups were about a week old.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 10:26AM Comments (10)
May 24, 2018 - Ordinarily, this clinic would ask the owner to leave the dog in either the morning or afternoon, and come back for him some hours later, so they could move him from station to station in the treatment area of the hospital as there was room and personnel available. He might be put into a cage to wait for various bits of time in between. I know, because this is how a similar visit was handled two years ago at the same practice – a visit that Otto came back from reeking of what a friend used to euphemistically refer to as “butt juice” (Otto emptied his anal glands in fear at some point).
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:42AM Comments (6)
May 16, 2018 - There are countless things that could go wrong at the fair: a stressed-out dog lashing out and biting a passing dog or child, a dog getting loose and running away in a panic, a dog getting heat stroke, someone stepping on a little dog (I saw it almost happen a number of times!), a dog developing a noise phobia after being forced to stay in a loud and stressful environment, some drunk person tripping on and hurting or scaring a dog. I just wouldn’t ever risk it!
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 11:50AM Comments (13)
May 9, 2018 - If Otto is on one end of a seven-foot sofa, and I (or anyone) sits on the other far end, he will give that person a sort of dirty look and leave the sofa. If I am sitting on a couch and pat the cushion next to me, and encourage Otto to come on up, he will come and stand close, and wag his tail and blink his eyes … “Nance, I love ya, but I’d really rather not,” he seems to say. He’s usually more than happy to comply with whatever crazy thing I want him to do, but not this. A cuddler on the couch he is not.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 03:54PM Comments (18)
May 3, 2018 - The June issue contains an article from one of our new veterinarian contributors about how to assess and clean a wound, and also discusses tetanus. I specifically asked this author to write something for me after my young, exuberant dog Woody cut his face on rusty old barbed wire. Suddenly, I had a million questions. Do dogs get tetanus? Is tetanus one of the shots that we ever give dogs? Why do I associate rusty metal with tetanus? WHY DON’T WE GIVE DOGS TETANUS SHOTS?
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 10:55AM Comments (12)
April 25, 2018 - One of the funniest things is watching similarly devoted dog owners miss their dogs. Everyone today has photos and videos of their dogs on their phones, and we all try to behave well and say nice things about our friends’ dogs, so they will give us equal time and admire OUR dog photos. And of course when a spouse at home sends a new photo or video of the left-behind dogs, it’s acceptable to tap the person sitting next to you (even though you are in the middle of a session, and listening to a riveting speaker) and angle your phone so as to show off the cute photo. Your neighbor smiles, or mimes “Cute!” and you make a little sad face, to show how much you miss your dog . . . and after several of these exchanges, you miss your dog more, not less!
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 04:58PM Comments (7)
April 13, 2018 - As I said in last week’s blog post, Otto was vaccinated a lot when he was brought to the shelter from which I later adopted him. He was brought into the shelter as a stray pup on May 7, 2008. He was estimated to be from four to six months old, and, like all shelter dogs, was vaccinated upon admission. He was given a five-way vaccination (distemper, adenovirus-type 2, coronavirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus) and a separate three-way vaccination (adenovirus-type 2, parainfluenza, and bordetella) made by a different company.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 04:05PM Comments (17)
April 12, 2018 - Otto was vaccinated several more times with the five-way vaccines before I adopted him, but I’m not going to talk about those vaccines right now; I want to focus on the rabies vaccine – the only vaccine that dog owners are legally required to give their dogs in most states. Rabies vaccination earned this “special” legal status due to the historical threat that rabies poses to humans; as recently as my childhood in the 1960s, domestic dogs and cats were still common vectors for spreading this deadly disease to humans. Thanks to vaccination laws, this is no longer the case. Today, the most common vectors for rabies are bats, raccoons, and skunks.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 09:21AM Comments (74)
April 4, 2018 - In the April issue of WDJ, I wrote an editorial about an exchange I had with a trainer friend regarding the word "biddable," which a breeder had used in conversation with her about dogs from the breeder's kennel. Both my trainer friend and I were not used to hearing that word used to describe dogs, but apparently, we are in the minority.
I received a number of very thoughtful responses to the editorial, and have learned something from each. Because they would take up a lot of space in the magazine itself if I ran them as "letters to the editor," I'm going to post a few of them here, with the writers' permission.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 04:50PM Comments (13)
March 28, 2018 - It took only a minute to trace the blood to its source: the backs of Woody’s hind legs. In horses, we’d call this area his pasterns: between his paws and the knobby hock joints – the place where he skids when he’s sliding to a halt from a run. On one of those three throws into the field, he obviously skidded into something sharp in the ground. He had two ugly, deep cuts, one on each pastern, with mud packed into each wound. I took him outside, hosed off all of the mud, brought him back inside, and started cleaning the wounds. It took only a few minutes to conclude they were deep enough that they should be stitched or stapled closed (not to mention cleaned more deeply than I felt comfortable doing). So off to the emergency clinic we went.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 02:43PM Comments (8)
March 22, 2018 - The other day a photo of a beautiful young German Shepherd Dog caught my eye. The photo had been shared by a number of my local dog-loving friends on Facebook. The caption explained that the young dog, obviously a purebred and about six months old, had been found on a rural road in my area, and that the rescuer was trying to find the owner. The rescuer asked everyone locally if they could please share the photo, because she couldn’t keep the dog for long at her own house, and didn’t want to take the dog to the shelter.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 11:59AM Comments (21)
March 14, 2018 - Puppies and young adolescent dogs certainly benefit from the opportunity to run, socialize, and play with other playful dogs. But taking an inexperienced adolescent to a dog park is something else I would never recommend. There are too many playground bullies at dog parks – dogs who get a little charge out of creaming “new kids” at the park.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 03:10PM Comments (24)
March 7, 2018 - We've probably all seen it - dogs who don't seem to recognize obviously familiar people until they get a good sniff of them. Why is that?
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 04:35PM Comments (12)