Friday, May 29, 2009

No Kisses!

You know about Freckles - my neighbor's puppy. She's about 9 months old now and still a bundle of energy. So much so that my dogs just want her to stay home! They don't appreciate being jumped on and kissed to extremes.

Ralph (the big guy) has come to terms with her and he tolerates her until he's tired - then snarls and tells her to knock it off. Susie, my Border Collie, gets mad and puts her on the ground with a lot of barking and snarling, but Pepper has a different approach.

Pepper just sits still and gives her dirty looks... like this one:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Puppy Season - take care to prevent Parvo

Puppies are so cute and cuddly - everyone who sees them wants to touch. But that's NOT a good idea. For the first few weeks, pups have some immunities from mom, assuming that she's healthy. But when they get old enough to get out and romp around, they're in the prime time for catching a disease - and Parvo is the worst of the worst.

If you've ever seen a puppy suffering from this disease, you know. It's something you never want to see again because they do suffer so terribly.

Parvo is a disease that attacks a dog's gastro-intestinal tract and then moves into its bone marrow. When treated at home, survival rates are less than 50%. When treated with I.V. therapy in an animal hospital, survival rates are still only 80 to 90%. Our vet called it "The Meanest Guy in Town."

Spring is a time of high incidence...probably because it is "puppy season" and the young ones are the most susceptible. Add to that the fact that everyone wants to pet a puppy...and the disease spreads.

None of us can remove all chances that our puppies will contract this disease, but there ARE steps to take to minimize the risk.

First, make sure all of your adult dogs are vaccinated, de-wormed, and carrying a healthy weight. The de-worming is important because worms weaken the stomach lining, giving the Parvo virus an easy target. Then, be sure that all your puppies get their first shots at 6 weeks of age. Give another shot every 3 weeks...making sure that they get two after 12 weeks of age. You can take them to the vet, or you can purchase the shots at a feed store or pharmacy and give them yourself. De-worm them as soon as the vet says they're old enough.

If you bring a new dog into your home, especially a puppy, keep it isolated from your other animals for 14 days. That is, unless you KNOW its history and know it has been vaccinated. And, since older, stronger dogs can carry the virus without becoming ill, keep your pup away from older dogs until he's had two shots after 12 weeks of age.

A pup who looks perfectly happy one day can be deathly ill the next - which is one reason why it's so important not to mix litters (as in a shelter) and not to pet a puppy without disinfecting your hands (and clothes) before you go anywhere with other puppies. At the first sign of intestinal upset, get that dog to the vet. If you catch it soon enough, you may be able to save the dog.

Protect All the Dogs you meet...

Humans often spread Parvo without even noticing. By forming some new habits...and instilling them in your can help stop the spread of this dread disease.

First...Wash your hands. Before you touch a puppy... wash your hands. After you pet a dog... wash your hands. You don't know where you might pick up this virus... it could even be sitting on the handle of a grocery store cart...left there by some other customer. So wash your hands!

One significant outbreak of Parvo traced back to kids walking home from school and petting the puppies in yards along the way. They carried the disease along their entire route from school to home.

YES...they're adorable, and YES you like to give them attention and pet them... but by doing so could kill them. Don't.

Next, if you happen to step in a pile... don't just wipe your shoes. Wipe them with a mild bleach solution. If you know you've held a dog with Parvo, bleach your clothes as well. And if you've had a sick puppy in your home, you need to bleach all areas it occupied. One dog rescuer I know had to bleach the upholstery in her car, because she transported a Parvo puppy.

Speaking of shoes, don't leave the shoes you wear "out in the world" where your puppies can get to them. You have no way to know if you've stepped on soil that carries the virus, so just keep those shoes away from the pups.

According to our vet, the only things that can kill Parvo are bleach and hot sunlight. So if you've had a sick puppy in your yard, it isn't safe to put another dog in the yard until after a very hot summer. (There is a product on the market that shelters use - and I don't know the ingredients. I do know that the bottle has clear warnings not to get it on your skin.)

Vaccination is the first line of defense and careful habits is the second. Please use them both to keep your dogs alive and healthy.

Cats are also at risk - not from Parvo, but from kitty diseases. But they're in even more danger because cat diseases are generally airborne. So don't take your new kitten out visiting until he or she has had the series of vaccinations.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rescued Dogs in Jamacia Need Water - Please Help

What would you do if you suddenly had no water for 100 rescued dogs?

Can you imagine trying to handle the situation by filling buckets and bringing them from home? You might be lucky, if you had enough volunteers, to get just enough water for drinking. Never mind what you need for cleaning tasks.

ANIMAL HOUSE JAMACIA needs our help right now to provide water to their dogs - here's their story:

"We have a major problem at the moment and seriously need help.

The company that was supplying our water handed the water line over to a new company which, in turn, and without notice, discontinued our water supply saying it was too expensive to continue same.

Given that we have over 100 dogs at this location you can imagine what a difficult situation this has placed us in. We are negotiating with them but thus far they haven't budged an inch.

For the short term, it appears that all we can do is purchase tanks and a pressure pump and have water trucked in - not an ideal solution but the only option at present.

Major stumbling block here is that we don't have the funds to do this."

If you can help, please visit us at and scroll to the bottom to make a donation via Paypal or send a check to:

Animal House Jamacia
P. O. Box 775
Ocho Rios, Jamaica"

About Animal House Jamacia:

Founded in the 1990's because of serious concerns about the plight of animals on
the northcoast of Jamaica, THE ANIMAL HOUSE JAMAICA has been helping stray, injured, abandoned, and feral (wild) animals and their owners ever since. We provide food, shelter, medical care (including spay and neuter), and adoptive services to both animals and owners in need.

These folks desperately need our help, so if you can give even $2, go to and make a donation today.

All rescues struggle to get funds for food and medical care - but without water, the rest won't help at all.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Mad Dogs" get a Reprieve / My guest "appearance"

Summertime - we've all been waiting for it after a long cold winter and a Spring that's been none too warm.

BUT... it makes my dogs mad.

When the thermometer begins to rise it means they can no longer accompany me to town to do errands and get groceries, and they don't like that one bit. So I have "mad dogs."

But today the cool weather has returned - complete with wind that seems bent on beating my poor tomato plants to pulp. So they got to ride along.

Everyone please remember - temperatures inside your car can reach 130 degrees within minutes, so let your dogs be mad. Treat them like you would your small children - if you can't take them inside with you, don't take them at all.

Mad dogs at home are much more fun than dead dogs in your car.

And Now... an announcement

For all you folks in the Phoenix area, I've been invited to be a guest tonight on Fred Haney's "My Doggie Says..." radio talk show on KFNX 1100, from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Mountain Standard Time (which is also Pacific Daylight time).

If you live where you get that station, please join us!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dogs - They tell you what they need

Ralphie Dog went fishing with my husband and son today - in a small boat. He was having a good time watching and snoozing until he decided that it was time for a potty break.

The he started doing the "talk and grumble thing" until they got the message and took him to shore. A quick trip ashore, back to the boat, and he settled down to nap until it was time to go home.

At home he shows up at my desk about 11 p.m. - and pushes on my arm until I give up and take him outside. If I'm in the middle of a sentence and don't want to lose my thought I have to hold his head with one arm and type one-handed.

This sure is better than living with a dog who sneaks off to do his business in a corner!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Three-legged Dogs

Have you ever met a three-legged dog?

Before I knew such a dog, I thought they had a handicap. In fact, we put one poor rescue dog through weeks of antibiotics and pain killers because we thought the best thing for her was to try to save her shattered leg.

When the vet finally said that he couldn't find a way to stop the infection so the leg could heal, we made the decision to have that leg amputated. And from then on, she was a happy, healthy dog.

Because she was a rescue, she was in a foster home. And that home happened to be with a dear friend of mine. And since she was a special dog, my friend couldn't let her go, so I get to see Tiki quite often. She can run and play just as fast and as far as the others, and has no problem at all with jumping on or off the deck.

Since then I've helped raise the money for other amputations, and every one of those dogs gets along just as if having 3 legs was the most normal thing in the world.

So, if you meet a three-legged dog, don't feel sorry for them. Feel glad that they had a human who loved them enough to give them the right medical care.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Danger of Coyotes

Do you have coyotes wandering the forests near your home? We do, and sometimes they come a bit closer than I like. After all, I have a cat who loves to go outside, and I don't want him to wind up as "lunch."

Coyotes are dangerous for dogs too. Smaller dogs are most at risk, but even a large dog can get in trouble facing a whole pack of coyotes.

Generally, one coyote will come in close and try to lure a dog away from the house - where the whole pack is waiting to attack. Sometimes the only way to chase them away is a gunshot or other loud noise. (I keep a package of firecrackers in the cupboard by my back door, just for this purpose.)

This week one lone coyote decided to come exploring without the pack - and he was sorry. Ralph isn't huge, but he weighs about 80 pounds and most coyotes are barely half that size.

Ralph was laying on the edge of the hill, behaving like the King - and master of all he surveyed - when that coyote got brave and trotted right up almost into Ralph's yard. We might not have noticed, but Suzie saw something going on and went to the window, so we followed her gaze.

And there was Ralph - thoroughly beating up a coyote! My husband opened the door and hollered and Ralph let go of him, but when he tried to run off, Ralph was right back on him. The second time he let go and came back to the house, while the coyote made an escape.

I doubt if he'll come back to our yard real soon - at least not by himself!

I have to admit, I like hearing them howl and yip at night - but only if they sound like they're not too near. When they get loud, I start checking to make sure both cats are in the house and safe.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Found! A Better Solution to Flea and Tick Control

A few days ago I had found some sources for natural flea and tick control - and now I've found one I'm even more excited about.

Why? Because its from the same folks who make the ArthroIonx that gave our dog Ralph back his mobility. I'm sure I've told you - he was so crippled that he couldn't even climb up into his favorite chair. Running and playing seemed to be a thing of the past. He had arthritis plus a torn ligament, and the vet said operating on the ligament would put too much strain on the other leg, so we should just feed him pain-killers to keep him comfortable.

Well, Rimadyl and the other one they tried both made him sick, so that was out of the question. Then I found ArthroIonx and he began to heal. Now he runs and plays just like a young dog, in spite of his 9 years.

So, you can understand why I trust the people who make these products.

The new shampoo is all natural - no pesticides to make your dog sick - or to rub off on yours or your children's skin and make you all sick! In fact, this formula was originally intended for use on children - it's that safe.

You can read why it works so well when you click on the link below.

Defendex Pet Shampoo - Buy 3 Get 2 Free(Plus Free Shipping to the US)

Here's to a healthy summer - with no itchy dogs!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

How Service Dogs Started Visitng Nursing Homes

Did you ever think about how dogs got started being welcome visitors in hospitals and nursing homes?

I read the story a long time ago, and think it's worth sharing.

It seems there was a lady in her 90's who had always lived alone - except for her dogs. When she fell and broke a hip, her family and her doctors decided that she could no longer live by herself and she would have to live out her life in a long-term care facility. Her dogs were given away, her house and belongings sold, and there she was.

The lady stayed in her room and had few visitors, since family lived far away and by the time you're 90+ you don't have a lot of friends still living. She seemed to shrink and she refused to take part in any of the activities offered at the home.

Then one day a nurse, trying to get her to converse, asked about the calendar her friend had brought. She said something like "This calendar has beautiful dogs. Do you like dogs?"

The lady replied that she loved dogs and told the nurse how much she missed her own.

And that's how it started. The nurse thought it over, then went to the supervisor and asked for permission to bring her own dog in to visit the lady. The supervisor said she could try it.

From that day forward, the lady started to come back to life. The dog came once a week to visit and the lady lived for that day, but also started talking to other people and taking part in activities. And every time the nurse brought her dog, more of the residents came out to see her. They started buying treats to share and "dog day" became the most anticipated event of the week.

And from that small beginning - the practice grew. Thank goodness.

I don't know how many of my readers live with service dogs and take them out to bring comfort to others - but I want you to know I consider you to be heroes. I know the job pays nothing but satisfaction, and not many people can and will take the time to reach out in that manner. You have my admiration, and my gratitude.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Natural Mosquito Repellant - Grow it Yourself!

I already told you about buying and using catnip spray as an insect repellant.

Did you know that catnip is one of the easiest herbs to grow, and that when planted near your patio, it can reduce the incidents of mosquitoes becoming uninvited guests at your barbecue?

It's true. And when you dry some of it, your cats will adore you.

Part of the mint family, catnip smells good when you clip it or even brush against it. The only thing to watch is keeping it under control. The plant grows tall and spreads.

Try planting catnip around the perimiter of your dog kennel as well as your patio - your dogs will appreciate the relief from both the biting and the buzzing.

If you're talented, you can also make your own spray from homegrown catnip - so get over to the nearest garden center and pick up a plant or two. It might not be called catnip - it could have some name like Cat Mint. Just search through the mint varieties and you'll find it.

Another great mosquito repellent is probably there in your kitchen cupboard - plain old vanilla. I use the imitation variety and it works fine. I like it because I like the smell and don't mind smearing it on my face and neck when I go outside in the evening. Commercial products give me an instant headache - but vanilla doesn't.

I've read that young ladies hoping to attract a beau used to dab vanilla behind their ears - proving once again that the way to catch a man is to promise him food.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Flea, tick, & gnat Season is Here again

We've all been anxiously awaiting warm weather - and ignoring the fact that with it we get biting bugs.

I've already used Swat on the horse, and am ordering flea, tick, and gnat control for the dogs. I always choose natural products, because one of my dogs is allergic to products like Revolution.

A couple of summers ago we had a flea problem that came from the deer being heavily infested - since my dogs run around in the same tall grass as those deer, they got fleas. Poor little Pepper was the only one to complain - he started scratching, and scratching. So... off to the vet, who discovered the fleas and used Revolution on all 3 of them. Suzie and Ralph were fine - but Pepper kept right on scratching for over 30 days, until the stuff worked its way out of his system.

So, for my guys its lots of bathing with a citrus based shampoo and repellents such as catnip spray and baking vanilla.

I'll never forget the first time I bought a commercially prepared catnip spray - and used it on myself one evening. Later I came to my desk to get back to work and thought it was strange that my cat was being unusually attentive - and then he bit my ankle!

Right now Fetch Dog is running some attractive specials, such as their Hot Spot Shampoo. Regularly $12, on sale for $4.00

Hot Spot Shampoo is a natural, medicated remedy containing Tea Tree oil to provide fast relief from itching caused by flea allergy dermatitis and pollen allergies, while it soothes, heals and conditions. Relieves “hot spots,” and raw, red, inflamed skin.

Also, because they want your business, they're offering an incentive for becoming a new customer:
$10 off $50+ Orders Use Coupon Code: CPA1008

But they're not the only ones...You can also save money on natural flea and tick repellent at the "Only Natural Pet Store" - with this coupon good through May 30: