Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Update on Sammi

Sammi got the sutures removed from his leg yesterday.  (See my blog post Does My Dog Have a Tumor? for details about why Sammi had to have minor surgery.)  He was such a good boy for the vet ... much more so than he was for me!

Before taking him to the vet, I tried to take his stitches out myself.  I have a pair of those scissors with the little curve on the end, designed just for taking out sutures, but he was playing the drama queen and acted like I was trying to amputate his leg.  No matter how much I talked sweet and softly to him, he just didn't want to hold still. 

But when it was our turn at the vet, he walked into the exam room, hopped up onto the chair in the corner like he always does, and sat very, very still while Dr. Kelvin kneeled in front of him ... snip, snip, snip ... all done!  If anyone can explain why dogs will typically "behave" for the vet when they won't for their human, please feel free.  I'm sure it has something to do with being in a strange place or being nervous, but you'd think maybe he'd relax at home and trust that I wasn't trying to hurt him.  ... Oh well!

Or maybe he was just trying to get me to take him on a car ride into town.  As you can see from the photo, he was a happy camper, sitting in the front seat.  And if that was his goal, well, then he got what he wanted.  :-)  So anyway, Sammi's leg healed well, and now that the stitches are out, he's not licking and chewing on the incision as much, so I know it's mostly healed.  I love my boy, Sam!


"Talk" to you more soon ... I'll leave you with this:

"Did you ever notice when you blow in a dog's face he gets mad at you? But when you take him in a car he sticks his head out the window!"     ~~ Steve Bluestone

Monday, March 26, 2012

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie ... in Your Bed?

Did you know that over half of people who love their dogs as family let them sleep in their beds?  I do.  I love their warmth and comfort.  I sleep better with them even though they take up quite a bit of room.  This becomes very clear when I travel without them ... the bed just feels empty and lonely without a dog sharing it with me.  Apparently, I am a typical dog-loving woman:  according to the American Kennel Club, women are more likely to let their dogs sleep with them than men.

Anyone who is or who has ever been close to their pet, whether dog, cat, rabbit, ferret, hamster, or any other critter, knows how much they add to our lives.  And this is backed up by medical evidence. Having a pet can lower your blood pressure, reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and ease loneliness. Having a dog, especially, increases your opportunities or motivation for exercise, outdoor activities and socialization. Having a dog SHOULD help you get that much-needed exercise, anyway. ;-)

Apparently, despite the benefits I get from sleeping with my dogs, there are also health risks.  About a year ago, a study was released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that revealed how our pets can make us sick.  Sleeping with, kissing your pet, and allowing your pet to lick you can result in serious illness ... even death!  Fortunately for us dog lovers, it seems there are more cat-related diseases than those acquired from dogs.

Ever heard the song "Cat Scratch Fever?"  Well, apparently there is a real disease transmitted by cats called "cat scratch disease."  It's a bacterial infection that comes from fleas and flea poop that can be transmitted to humans via cats.  Most victims of cat scratch disease are children, who become infected when bitten, scratched or even licked by a kitty.  The bacteria causes swelling of the lymph nodes and can lead to lethal damage to the liver, spleen or kidneys.

So what should you do to protect yourself from pet-borne diseases?  According to the article, Letting Sleeping Dogs Lie in Your Bed Can Kill You, the most important thing you can do is to keep your pet healthy through simple hygiene and routine veterinary care.  Keep your pet free of parasites, both internal and external.  If your pet licks an open wound on your skin, wash it immediately with soap and water.  If your dogs rolls in poop or other nastiness, wash him/her thoroughly.  And think twice before letting young children or anyone with a compromised immune system share their bed ... or kisses ... with their pets.  If you don't allow your pets to sleep in bed with you, just make sure they have their own safe and comfy place to spend the night.

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As for me, I'm certainly no child ... except maybe at heart ... and I'm healthy.  I will continue to welcome doggie kisses and enjoy sleeping with my poochies.

"If your dog is fat, you're not getting enough exercise."  ~Author unknown

Thursday, March 22, 2012

An Amazing Dog Rescue Transformation

I'm a member of a small non-profit animal welfare group that operates a low-cost spay/neuter program.  I almost don't know what to say about this video ... except that it exemplifies why rescue people "do what they do."  It is a truly amazing dog rescue transformation.
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And it illustrates why it is so very important to spay and neuter your pets, whether you have dogs, cats or rabbits.  So many dog owners will happily spay their females, but they leave their males intact.  But what they don't think about is how many female dogs their male dog could be impregnating if they let their dog run loose.

Just today, as I was driving along a rural highway, I saw a scrawny dog, her teats full of milk, wandering along the roadway.  I had to wonder where were her puppies?  Was she getting enough to eat ... and was she getting quality food?  And what is going to happen to her puppies?  Will they have a good life?  My impulse was to pull over and rescue her, but she was wearing a collar.  And it is part of the culture around here to let dogs roam and multiply at will.

Queenie and her pups.  They were rescued from a hollowed-out tree.

For me, that dog exemplified why my rescue group does what it does.  We encourage the folks in our county to be responsible pet owners by getting their dogs and cats spayed and neutered.  And we make it easier for them to do the right thing by paying most of the cost of the procedure.  Many people don't appreciate what we do, and even complain that they have to pay a co-payment, usually between $25 and $55.  Although we are glad to help people, the real reason we continue to put up with those who are ungrateful and those who refuse to be good pet "parents" is because we love animals.  We do our best to do the best we can for those who can't help themselves. 

This sweet pup (we named him Zorro) was found along a busy rural highway.
My group has a Facebook page and is called COLARS, the Circle of Life Animal Rescue Society.  Our spay/neuter program is called SNYFF (Spay/Neuter Your Furry Friends).   Please feel free to "like" us and visit often, even if you don't live anywhere near Iron County Missouri.

And PLEASE! ... spay and neuter your pets ... and Don't Shop.  ADOPT instead!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Does My Dog Have a Tumor?

Happy Sammi
When my boy Sammi started to lick an old scar excessively, one of the first things to pop into my head was, does my dog have a tumor?

Sammi just turned 9-years-old this month, but is in very good health.  But even though it was just a small bump, I didn't take things lightly.  He originally got the scar from an old "war wound" ... a fight between Sam and his former nemesis, Teddy.  The scar formed a bump on his front right leg and didn't seem to be any problem for over 3 years.  But about 3 weeks ago, Sammi started to lick the bump.  Then the bump became irritated and inflamed.  And then it seemed to be growing under the skin. 

So off to the vet we went on Friday, March 9th.  Our veterinarian, "Dr. Ben," was concerned enough that he recommended removal of the bump and surrounding tissue, and to also have it examined at a laboratory.  Even though Dr. Ben is extremely busy (he's very popular), he didn't want to wait long to remove Sam's bump.  So the surgery was scheduled for 5 pm the following Wednesday.  Because it would be easy to remove, Dr. Ben planned on a quick out-patient procedure so Sammi could go home afterwards.

Sammi was looking a bit apprehensive on the way to the vet clinic, perhaps simply a reflection of how I was feeling at the time.


Even though Sammi was nervous, we made a new friend while we waited our turn at the clinic.  Meet Ama, the 1-week-old baby goat.

She was the sweetest thing!  She was sitting on her human's lap and kept nibbling at her human's clothing.  Then she'd reach her head up and nibble on the woman's chin.  When the woman put her down on the floor so I could take her photo, Ama bleated very quietly.  As you can see, she didn't mind posing for a picture.  Sammi couldn't figure out why this odd-looking dog was making such weird, non-dog noises.  ;-)

We didn't have to wait very long after meeting Ama.  The vet tech took Sammi's blood, then she and Dr. Ben came into the examination room to sedate Sammi.  I waited while the drug took full effect and helped the vet tech place him on a cart so she could take him in for his surgery. 

The surgery itself only took a few minutes.  Within 15 minutes, Dr. Ben administered a sedation-reversal drug and brought Sam back to the exam room.  After about 10 more minutes, Sammi was almost ready to go home, sporting a new black bandage.  

Since it was late in the day, the tissue Dr. Ben removed couldn't be sent to the lab until the next day.  But he expected to have the results back before the end of the day the following Monday.  I asked him what he thought.  He's been taking care of my dogs for about 11 years, so I trust him to be honest and not sugar-coat things just to make me feel better.  He said that the tumor came out easily and although he couldn't be sure, he was fairly confident it would just be an infection.

Being the dog-mom that I am, I was still a bit anxious all weekend.  After taking the bandage off on Friday, Sammi's incision didn't seem to be healing very well.  Dr. Ben hadn't prescribed any antibiotics yet since he didn't know what the results would reveal ... instead, he said to just keep Sam quiet and the incision clean but uncovered unless Sammi started chewing on it. 

So, of course, Sammi started to lick and chew on his wound!  I ended up re-bandaging it for several hours here and there, so he couldn't bother it as much and so I could treat it with antibiotic ointment.

Sam was such a good boy and put up with my "nursing" and constant attempts to distract him from his preoccupation.  And of course, we had to take a couple of walks in the woods ... although Sammi couldn't figure out why the heck he had to be on a leash most of the time ...

And then, Shasta and the other dogs had to check out his wound now and again ...

.... So, yesterday (Monday), the waiting was finally over!  Dr. Ben called with Sammi's diagnosis:  "Deep dermatitis and cellulitis, pyogranulomatous, severe, chronic, regionally extensive with intralesional free hair shafts, intralesional cocci, acanthosis and dermal fibrosis."  Huh?

In other words, Sammi has a deep tissue infection.  Whew!  Better that than the dreaded "Big C."  So now, I just have to get him through 3 weeks of antibiotic treatment (two kinds of antibiotics), which make his tummy upset, so I have to make sure he eats before taking the meds.  But the drugs still make his tummy a bit upset, so he doesn't want to eat as much ... and on and on ....

But my boy Sammi is worth all the trouble! 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Is It Really Spring Already?


By Sammi, it sure feels like Spring outside! I know the dogs really like the temperate weather, but all I can think about is how fast the grass is growing ... and that if things don't cool off REAL soon, I'll have to mow my lawn!  And I'd much rather spend my free time with the Pack:  Ripley, Shasta, Sammi (pictured above), Cookie and Andie.  We live in a very rural area and are fortunate to have hundreds of acres of woods in our "backyard."  So almost any time we want, we can go hiking ... just open the back gate and off we go! .....


The video was recorded last Fall, but you get the idea. Ripley, Shasta and Sammi were the three dogs you saw at the beginning of the video ... Shasta has to stay on a leash because she tends to wander off and gets into trouble (like wandering out onto the busy highway that's nearby ... she's fearless).  Ripley is the spotted dog ... I'm pretty sure she's a Blue Heeler (Australian Cattledog) mixed with Australian Shepherd.  And Sammi is the Beagle/mix.  He's the only male of the Pack.

Then toward the top of the mountain, you met Andie and Cookie.  Andie is mostly black and is a herding mix of some kind.  Sweet Cookie is the German Shepherd/mix.

So what is this blog all about?  Well, if you love dogs, I think you'll like it.  I'll be sharing stories, photos and videos of my dogs, but will also be sharing information about dog treats and other "doggie stuff."  If you're like me, you only want the best for your dog.  I'm always on the lookout for good quality treats at reasonable prices. 

So in addition, I'll soon be adding pages that offer high quality treats at fair prices.  I will only sell treats I'd give to my own dogs.  Which means I won't sell treats with questionable ingredients or those treated with irradiation.


And please feel free to leave comments, feedback, and to ask questions.  I have so much to share with you!  I hope you'll visit often.  And so do Ripley (smiling at you from above), Shasta, Sammi, Cookie and Andie!