July 25, 2014 - In early June I wrote a blog post about helping a friend find an appropriate dog for his family, which includes a two-year-old girl. He hadn’t owned a dog for many years, and had lots of questions before and after taking custody of a prospect I found for him in my local shelter. In the blog post, I marveled at the number of things we discussed over a few-week period regarding the dog’s behavior, training, health, and diet. I offer all of my friends and relatives free “tech support” for any dog they adopt through my local shelter, both to help them select the best candidate for their home, family, and circumstances, and to make sure that they all get off on the right foot together.
Posted at 01:50PM Comments (4)
July 7, 2014 - A couple of months ago, I was at the vet’s office with my dog Otto. He had a small wound between two of his toes that he kept licking; it looked like a classic foxtail/grass awn hole. These things have to be probed with an instrument to make sure that the awn isn’t still present in the wound and traveling upward (ever upward), the way they do.
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July 1, 2014 - Hannah is a 12-year-old Ridgeback-mix, about 70 pounds of lean muscle and bone. She’s a constant companion to my brother, who adopted her from a shelter when she was about six months old (and who is coping with a dire prognosis right now), and to my brother’s daughter, who is almost five years old, and to my brother’s father-in-law, who has Alzheimers. That’s a lot of canine support and therapy to provide, but Hannah pulls it off with grace and patience. She’s more or less constantly pushing her big beautiful head into somebody’s hands, or leaning her gradually weakening, aging body into somebody’s legs. “I’m right here, pet me and we will both feel better,” her huge, shining eyes seem to say.
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June 23, 2014 - I’ve been helping with a health crisis in my family, which somehow always seems to result in moving dogs all around the state, because pretty much all the members of my family are dog people. My brother was recently diagnosed with cancer, and it’s been taking a bit of scrambling to get him to medical appointments and cover his many responsibilities, which include being the daytime caregiver for his five-year-old daughter and his father-in-law (who has Alzheimers), and his dog, Hannah, a 12-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback-mix.
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June 16, 2014 - A couple goes out for a walk with their year-old Border collie-mix. Suddenly, two dogs of an indeterminate bully-breed description launch themselves off a front porch and (since the house had no fence) attack their dog. Their screams summon the owner, who is able to grab his dogs and pull them off, but their dog is badly hurt and required immediate medical care (stitches, drains, antibiotics) and they are bruised. Now, their formerly friendly, confident dog starts trembling, raises her hair, and growls whenever she sees another dog when they are walking.
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June 9, 2014 - A week ago, I attended my first agility competition – just as a spectator. It made me immediately wish I had kept up with my agility lessons with Otto. I want to get back to it! I have to try my hand at this sport. I had an excuse for quitting – several, actually. The trainer I was taking group lessons from suddenly moved far away, and I didn’t know anyone else locally who either had agility equipment or was offering group classes.
Posted at 12:39PM Comments (13)
June 2, 2014 - I’ve mentioned before that I have a standing offer to all my friends and relatives to help them find the dog of their dreams – from out of the ever-changing, ever-crowded population of dogs at my local shelter. I will drop what I’m doing at the drop of a hat to go check out a likely candidate, and when I lead new volunteer orientations, I spend much of the time scoping out the dogs in the kennels and wracking my brain for people I know who might make a good match for the dogs I like best.
Posted at 12:40PM Comments (4)
May 21, 2014 - After spending most of my life handling all of my dogs' grooming needs, I discovered the joys of engaging the services of a professional groomer. It was sort of a happy accident. Otto had rolled in an extremely dead, long-dead, disgustingly dead salmon, and had rancid salmon oil all over his head, neck, and shoulders. Every time I got close to him I gagged. And it was early winter, so it was too cold to consider washing him with a hose. I called the owner of a grooming salon who donates her services to the worst cases at my local shelter and told her about my predicament. i didn't pull my punches, I told her I seriously was going to vomit if I had to do it, and someone else might vomit also. I told her that I'd pay ANYTHING she asked. I was serious.
Posted at 03:41PM Comments (10)
May 19, 2014 - I’m afraid I’ve heard this story more times than I can count – anyone who has been involved in rescue for long has heard it, too: Family wants to do the right thing and adopt a shelter or rescue dog; family waits for just the right dog to come along to the shelter/rescue; family is matched with/meets dog, falls in love; family takes dog home . . . and somewhere in the first week, or even the first DAY, the dog is inadvertently given an opportunity that the family, who has been filled with anticipation for weeks or months, just didn’t expect – the dog escapes and disappears.
Posted at 12:33PM Comments (12)
May 5, 2014 - So, I flew across the country with a little dog. She did great, never made a peep! But there were a few little hitches – none of which turned out to be the ones I expected. When I made the reservation for the dog (my daughter-in-law’s) on the flights (from Boston to Sacramento, through Atlanta, on Delta), the airline agent gave me the maximum dimensions for the carrier I could carry on those flights. I bought a Sherpa carrier that met those dimensions
Posted at 02:26PM Comments (11)
April 30, 2014 - The last thing he wanted to hear on a Saturday night. “He’s gone, I can’t find him.” Jay looked up from his study book. “Wasn’t he with the other two boys? Maybe he is hiding?” But Fred was not hiding. He was missing. I looked through the house & I searched the entire yard. Our smallest Brittany had disappeared.
Posted by Alice Benoit at 01:43PM Comments (1)
April 28, 2014 - I met a small dog recently who had breath that could knock you over. Because I’ve had small dogs before, I knew enough to lift her lip and take a peek at her teeth. Even so, I was shocked, though not surprised, by the appearance of her teeth. That is, you could barely SEE white tooth material, for the accumulation of hard calculus tartar on her teeth. Her gums were inflamed and swollen, too.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 02:00PM Comments (14)
April 21, 2014 - So, I’m flying this week with a small dog, a carry-on dog, in the cabin. I’m transporting my daughter-in-law’s dog from her previous home in Boston to her new home here in California. When she moved here, she flew with an 18-month-old, extremely active boy, and that seemed like enough with which to burden a young mother flying otherwise alone. Her dog has been languishing for a few months with her parents, waiting for someone in the family to fly with, in the passenger cabin. I don’t recommend flying a dog as cargo except when there is absolutely no other choice, and only under specific conditions.
Posted at 04:20PM Comments (10)
April 11, 2014 - It never fails: I’m concentrating, reading or writing at my computer. Otto is snoozing on the floor or loveseat behind me. Time flows. The outside world fades from my consciousness. And then, from right behind me, “WOW WOW WOW WOOF!” As I pull myself off the ceiling, I realize that once again, and from a dead sleep, Otto heard a FedEx or UPS truck round the corner several doors down from my house. He just has to announce its imminent passage by our door – or, even more outrageous, its stopping in front of our house, and the entry through the front gate, of that guy, the one who leaves packages on the porch.
Posted at 01:54PM Comments (14)
April 7, 2014 - It’s amazing to me that even people who have fairly serious allergies themselves often fail to see the similarities between their own condition and their dog’s allergies. Many people are quite experienced at avoiding the substances to which they are allergic – but don’t realize that it would help their dog considerably if they would invest some time in trying to identify the substances to which their dog is allergic and limiting the dog’s exposure to that allergen.
Posted at 04:10PM Comments (17)