This Dog is Loved

"You were sick, but now you're well again, and there's work to do."

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

I’ll look after you.

Hello folks. It has been a month since Elsa left so I’ve been bummed. More so than normal, as it seems I’m just bummed a lot. I’m particularly bummed about the things I see and hear every day, which should explain why this blog has dropped off some. I don’t want to disappoint all like.. 4 of you, so. 

If you’re a pet owner, you know there are a lot of grey areas. When/how often to vaccinate, when/if you should alter, training methods, food, etc. If you’ve done the research, I think you’re free to make your own choices and bicker about it on the internet if you like. If you have not done your research, then I recommend following the advice of your veterinary professional. It may not be what I would agree with personally but they’re not going to steer you horribly wrong. The rules are a bit different for rescue, as I do not personally believe that any animal should be adopted out unaltered. They should be healthy, but any medical issues that are known should be disclosed (that goes for behavioral as well) and vaccinations should be current. There are however things for owners that are not up for debate. 

Flea/tick preventative. Use it. Whether or not these things are an issue depends on your area, but if they ARE an issue then treat your animals. Your dogs go outside. Winter does not kill fleas that are already active in your home. No animal should be subjected to digging themselves bloody because they’re not protected. I don’t think it should be news to any one that ticks carry disease. 

Heartworm preventative. Another area subjective thing, another absolutely necessary where necessary thing. Annually a blood test to determine the status is done, some bi-annually in high risk areas. Elsa was unfortunate enough to be heartworm positive and treatment is not a fun experience. If you research any thing, I highly suggest researching the risk in your area, what heartworm is and what it does to your animal. Not protecting your pets from this disease brings out a special rage in me,

If your dog needs medical attention, GO TO THE VET. Do not ask the internet, do not assume they will be fine. I am not personally one to rush to the event in the event someone pukes once or has diarrhea, but I have heard of dogs puking for days and losing weight not going in and even dogs being hit by cars and people taking the wait and see approach. I can’t wrap my mind around this. It’s as if people are unaware that their pets can in fact die and without medical attention they just might do that. 

Cut their nails. I am not such a huge stickler that every animal has to have perfectly manicured nails or lose it if I hear any nail clicks on the floor, but they should not be impeding your animals every day movement, or worse, growing into their paw pays or crossing their toes. Magpie lived for who knows how long without a nail trim and now she pays the consequences of arthritis in her toe joints and permanently gnarled nails that resemble Fritos even at their shortest. If you can’t do it yourself, you take them to the vet or a grooming salon. 

If you have a puppy, vaccinate your puppy. The full series, whatever it is you follow. Same goes for an adult with an unknown history. I personally follow the Dodd’s schedule of vaccinations for puppies AND adults, but rabies is required by law and that depends on your local laws. They still need to be done and do not pull that Jenny McCarthy shit on me here. Science and I hate you. 

I’m not sure how to touch on s/n without going into long rambling details about my own views so just.. fix your pets. 

I am aware there are financial issues that people face. I’m not rich either, but I don’t have any qualms in saying that you need to find a way to take care of your pets. Unfortunately I’m aware of way more situations where someone would rather buy an Iphone or keep the cable on than take care of their animals, so that’s the direction of my rage, not those doing what they can to make sure their pets stay comfortable and healthy. If necessary, right now I can look around me and directly see 4 things I could give up if came to my dogs vs. my things. I can see a whole lot of stuff I could sell and live without. You chose to own the animal, not the other way around.

Oh, and if you do/don’t do the appropriate things here, for the love of god do not get more animals. 

Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Where did I leave off? I’ve had a blank entry with the title saved for like a week now. I’ve just been straight bummed out for weeks. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it to blog followers, but I worked for a true no kill sanctuary training/rehabilitating dogs for a glorious, albeit short, time after I left the SPCA. Too good to be true, nothing gold can stay, all good things come to an end and all that, but the place is in the final stages of shutting down and shipping the dogs out to another sanctuary and the very Friday before Elsa left my job ended. Essentially, I lost a whole bunch of dogs in that weekend. In the last two years I’ve become accustomed to having the figurative shit kicked out of me by being involved in working in shelters, but that’s a lot of suck all at once. No Elsa and no work (or luck at finding work) has left me sad and bored. I think I pretty much just hike with the dogs these days. Speaking of which, here are two lovely photos from such hikes (Magpie excluded. Gal can’t cover any kind of distance any more) 

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Tomorrow I swear I will continue the story. Just thought there was some merit to explaining my absence, even to myself. 

I’ll never get the balance right.

Putting an end to this brief saga, today seemed to be the day I connected with all the kind rescue folks in it to help dogs. Lots cross posted this lady and one recommended a place that offered placement. I checked them out and asked around to hear if they were a decent place and every thing checked out. I was briefly happy to have met my goal and now I’m right at the super guilt part of the cycle.

I haven’t the slightest idea why I feel guilty when I find placement for a dog. This dog was only meant to be temporary and it’s been a difficult temporary, so I should be elated someone wants to take her in. She’s really a lovely dog, but I tend to get really frustrated when things are difficult with my dogs. I’m not frustrated with them really, just the fact that it’s difficult with fosters sometimes because my dogs are quite particular about what they can deal with. Jack has a tendency to bully overtly submissive dogs, and this gal is just kindly enough to fall on his bully radar.  She’s a very busy dog, and that kind of energy greatly offends Jonas and he lashes out at this sort of thing. Thankfully my girls are happy to coexist with any dog ever, it’s just dealing with the boys. After Elsa, I just don’t have the heart to deal with a rotation system again. It worked very well with her, but it’s been hard on this lady and it will be good for her to get comfortable somewhere. Every one says “hey, you saved that dog from going to animal control and are now placing her with a rescue, it’s OK.” but the bad feeling still lingers. It’s been an unfair few days to my dogs and I really need not to gamble on dogs I have never met and can’t pre-introduce them over time to mine. As much as it nags at me to not get involved every single time, it’s more important that my dogs come first. I know I rushed into this because I really miss my brown dog. I had no idea how fulfilling she made my life until now but I need to get a grip and help in ways I can help. It’s just harder when people constantly message me about dogs that do need help. I am considering deactivating my facebook for a short time so I can have these melt downs by myself.

That and I am not a rescue. I do not have the means right now to BE a rescue. I have to do what I can without taking personal responsibility for dogs, but that sucks because these dogs are in these situations because no one wanted to take personal responsibility for their own animals. After my experience with the SPCA I just have a constant fear of what will happen to dogs I am not in control of. It scares me to hand this girl over to a rescue and expect them to make the same choices I would for her- and after all no one makes right choices except me! /facetious. I am just one of those foolhardy people who believe that every dog is worth it. Elsa was certainly worth it and NextDog could be another Elsa.

 

I just wanna SAVE ALL THE DOGS, you know?

How to become a pariah in one blog post!

It’s interesting to me that there are so many posts, memes, whatever out there maligning every person who ever takes a dog to the shelter. Not absolving those that truly are jerks, but what’s with all the “You would bring your dog to a shelter to die!?” when often times people really aren’t left with a whole lot of choice? Yes, if you bring your dog to a shelter your dog has a risk of dying. How big that risk is depends on the particular shelter, but let’s entertain for a moment when you’re faced with a dog you have no idea what to do with. Let’s entertain that because of the aforementioned dog I have here right now. Also, let’s not entertain it with the idea that I’m going to bring this dog to a shelter- I don’t do that nor is it the point of this post.

Saturday night I picked up these two dogs. Buster the Golden and Chelsea the Boxer/Pit mix. I’ve admittedly been kind of lost since Elsa was adopted, so when I got a message regarding helping them before the woman holding them took them to the local kill shelter I got involved. I like to help dogs, but generally where I make my first mistake is that silly part where I trust people to tell me a dog is what it is and they’re going to do what they say they’ll do. I was contacted at some point earlier in the week and so I started cross posting and asking for placement for these dogs. Offered transport and any help I could and that was supposed to be that. Needless to say a young Golden Retriever, despite being intact with no medical work up otherwise, was snapped up immediately. I STILL have rescues calling me today to take him. What do you think the odds are placing an older Boxer/Pit mix despite the fact she is spayed, an easy dog, and I’m offering to vaccinate and microchip? APPARENTLY NONE. I firmly stated to the friend of the now deported owner that I had no intentions of taking a dog without rescue backing or a place to go right now and she said if transport could be arranged she would love to take her. The red light is flashing repeatedly in my doofus face but god help me I like dogs and now I was involved. I did not want a 9 year old Pit mix ending up at our animal control, that had posted a week before that they were full to the brim and pleading for rescues to pull dogs with the same old “we will HAVE to euthanize some nice dogs and we don’t want to do that now do we?” so, I said I would hold her until a transport could be arranged. 2-3 weeks tops!

Until of course that woman stopped responding to me after I repeatedly asked for her information so I could put in the transport request. I requested her information 5 times and got bits and pieces before she ultimately decided she didn’t really want this dog and the best course of action was to ignore me now that the dog was here and my problem.

Don’t worry, I am an idiot and paying handsomely. No good deed certainly doesn’t go unpunished. Now I have this dog in my house driving me up the wall with no end in sight. I’m sitting in Elsa’s apartment with her because we have to rotate lest three of my dogs murder her in cold blood. The folks involved insisted she is a very calm older dog that doesn’t do much of any thing. That may be true if every one who happened to spend any time around this dog was blind, deaf, and confined to a small room without the dog. I am accounting for stress of being in a new environment, but she never stops doing stuff. Ever. Shambles is a busy dog, but this dog is a BUSY DOG. She spends every waking moment either bringing me a ball, snuffling every thing, or destroying the ball when I won’t throw it. As a result, we are rotating because that sort of behavior stresses three of mine out and it will result in some shit being thrown down. This dog is clearly not used to the routine of being rotated, so I get to feel bad for confining her every two hours and then feel ultra bad confining my dogs every two hours after that. She’s actually a very lovely dog. Does well with all dogs that are fine with her love of tennis balls and running them urgently through out the house, has nice manners, walks decently enough on a leash, and if we had no other dogs she’d be pretty welcome here and we could figure this stuff out, but I am a stupid ass. We’ll find out, but I’m suspecting that she has Cushing’s as well.

We are not having enjoyable times around here, which leads me back to opening statement. What exactly are folks supposed to do should they find themselves in these situations, with say even their own dogs? A dog that doesn’t fit with no where to go but apparently impending death? I don’t like death. I especially don’t like it for our canine friends, but I can definitely identify with having a dog in your house that turns every thing upside down. By this time tonight I have left messages with 40 different rescues in a three-four hour radius explaining my plight, Some of those messages the same ones that have room for the Golden but I guess he was worth it and this gal ain’t. I’m just musing here, but we really offer little alternative for these sort of situations except drop the dog off and hope for the best or pull all your hair out in the mean time. I do know that I need to make smarter choices on when to get involved and when not to and not every dog in the world is my responsibility, but that just feels yucky too.

I don’t know. All of this just leaves a gross taste in my mouth. I suppose I’ll stay up late with my beer and try to figure out how to be a smarter, better person.

Brief hiatus.

Oh, so I have this right now:

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And obviously there is quite a stir up in the house. This is Chelsea. I picked her and her housemate up last night at an ungodly hour. Owner was deported and a friend was holding them, but she really didn’t want to hold them and they were on their way to animal control. AC was full to the brim and sent out a plea for help just a couple weeks ago so the risk for a Pitty mix was too high. Her housemate was a Golden Retriever who had zero problems finding a placement, but no such luck for Chelsea. Now I’m back in rotating mode and trying to get the dogs to accept this ward for the time being until I can magically find placement so who knows when I’ll tell you about my crap next. 

I am out of my mind.

I should have quit, but instead I took care of you.

I said Elsa’s heartworm treatment went easier than her spay appointment, but I just meant the ride there. The treatment itself was unnecessarily nerve wracking.

As I think it is appropriate to do, I informed our vet of her behavioral history and that she is fearful so special precautions have to be taken at this point in time. I thought to say she would not bite since at no point had she shown any propensity to do so, but that’s not really a fair assessment of any dog. Any dog can and just might bite, it depends on what gets them there. I did stress that despite some precarious positions she had been in, so far she had not so much as bared a tooth at me. The snaggle tooth is just kind of always bared.

I’m not sure if I contributed to the paranoia by thinking it is important to disclose behavioral inclinations, but either way paranoia crept into someone on staff and caused undue stress all around. I dropped her off shortly before 7 AM and then headed into work. She received her first shot of Immiticide immediately in the morning and was to stay over night and receive the second shot the following morning. By 11 AM when I checked my phone on my break I already had a frantic voicemail from a vet tech telling me Elsa was so stressed out that it would be best if I just came and got her right then and brought her back for the next shot the next day, give us a call, thanks.

Er.. what? My initial reaction was to go off the rails and get all worked up. My sweet scared lady was super stressed? I’m at work for another 5 hours but I need to somehow go rescue her RIGHT NOW? Then, as often my reactions are timed, rage set in. Wait a minute, this is a vet clinic and they don’t know how to respond to stressed dogs? They want me somehow leave work in the middle of my shift to pick up, drive home, drive back again the following day and then BACK home again a stressy dog that is even more stressed by car rides that is ALSO currently under going serious treatment? Why I oughta. I had a brief rage fest in my car and then called the clinic back.

I’m pretty certain I was a bit snarky in my return call. I can’t with any certainty relay EXACTLY what I said, but I know I started the call with a deep inhale followed by “Yeah.. I got a call..” but I was more than slightly miffed so we’ll have to give me a pass or something. I was immediately put on hold until a vet could answer my questions. Thankfully, the vet was more than slightly miffed at the notion someone suggested I pick up a dog in the middle of HW treatment. In fact, all she requested to know via the phone call made to me was if they could have my permission to sedate Elsa as she was a bit stressed in her kennel. We weren’t entirely certain how that morphed to OHGODPICKTHEDOGUPNOOOOOW and she assured me Elsa was doing little more than running to the back of the kennel and making bird noises (my words there, because that’s what they sound like. Yelling birds) which spooked whoever had to call me. I was also assured that they would never ask an owner to transfer a dog mid treatment. I gave permission to chill her out, every thing went fine, and I picked my lady up the following afternoon.

One of my major complaints about the animal care industry as a whole is the inability to read a dog’s body language. My second complaint would be those in the industry afraid of being bitten/clawed/body fluided on/etc. No one wants any of those things, but they ARE going to happen, so do your best to avoid them and get over it when they do. The biting part though, a lot more of that could be avoided with a little behavioral brush up. Dr. Sophia Yin should be your own personal animal Jesus if you’re involved in the veterinary field, especially her low stress handling techniques: http://drsophiayin.com/

I think we can all agree that it’s easier to get through things if you’re not stressed- human and animal alike. You ARE more likely to cooperate for a physical at the doctor’s office if you’re not afraid, on all fours on a table, ball gagged and in a headlock, yes? Well so is your dog. We have to meet with our vet staff in the middle. On our part it’s important to be forth coming about what your dog’s behavior, and physically work on those things at home. There is no bad age to start working on accepting body handling, but man is it ideal with a puppy. There are even youtubes, people! Youtubes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0xY4K4FTtw

Also a good idea to acclimate your dog to the office itself. Drop in before the appointment days and let them scope out the place. Positive familiarity with the surroundings and staff.

If your dog needs to be muzzled, muzzle your dog. On a whole we’ve been conditioned to fear muzzles and not want to use them. Muzzled dog = that dog bites. In reality, a muzzle is a tool no more frightening than a bike helmet. I don’t want to crack my head open riding down the road, and I don’t want my veterinarian or vet tech bitten if my dog has not reached a point where they can handle necessary actions. DO condition your dog to accept wearing a muzzle. YOUTUBES: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGLKrQaabRI

And most importantly, don’t panic. We have a neat vet with a staff we like, so we keep going back. Your vet staff is capable and good at what they do, and if they aren’t the good news is it’s OK to never go back and find someone who is. You’re in it for your dog and I know lots of neat vets who are too.

Elsa came back from her HW treatment to a 30 day quarantine. Minimal activity, no free running around nonsense, and 30 days of doxycycline. The first week of doxy went down easy and then suddenly she realized she had some choice in the matter of taking the pills. I think the hidden pill progression went from canned food to pill pockets to cheese to hot dogs to smothering them in peanut butter and putting them as far down her throat as possible.

Towards the end of her quarantine she became a bit more cheeky than her pre-HW treatment self. I don’t think dragging out a stinky rolled up carpet to roll on it was what the vet meant by minimal activity:

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