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)
March 31, 2014 - You know it’s spring when you start looking for your tape rollers, or your face lights up when you see them at the pet supply store register. When you start coordinating your work wardrobe with your dog’s coat. When it seems like you vacuum or sweep up enough hair to make at least a small dog every day.
Posted at 10:05AM Comments (18)
March 24, 2014 - I’ve written previously about my aversion to letting veterinary technicians take my dogs “in the back” for blood draws and other quick procedures. My main reason for not wanting to send Otto in the back is that he has an irrational fear of slippery floors. As soon as he thinks a floor is slippery – it doesn’t even seem to matter whether I find the floor to be slippery or not – he starts to walk like Bambi on a frozen pond, scrambling in such as way as to ensure that he will fall.
Posted at 02:12PM Comments (74)
March 17, 2014 - I admit, I’m conflicted. I think there may be no more commendable work than that performed by rescue groups who pull dogs from shelters where they might be (or are slated to be) killed, foster them, address their medical and behavioral problems, and find them homes.
Posted at 12:22PM Comments (7)
February 28, 2014 - A number of people commented on last week’s blog to say, in essence, “Why didn’t you straighten out that irresponsible dog owner?” All I can say is that it goes against my nature to give advice to people who aren’t asking for some – especially random strangers. I was deeply exasperated with him – but he wasn’t’ asking me for advice. I may have been negligent in failing to help the dogs . . . but what would you do, really? And what would you do if some stranger in a store told you what you were doing with your dog is all wrong?
Posted at 02:09PM Comments (35)
February 10, 2014 - Ive sort of turned into the volunteer coordinator at my local shelter. Thats the best way I can help the animals there by trying to bring in, train, and support other volunteers. But I have to admit, I have been feeling kind of burned out lately.
Posted at 08:34AM Comments (21)