Saturday, August 14, 2010

Yesterday really was Friday the 13th

I've never believed in any of that nonsense about Friday the 13th or 13 being an unlucky number... until yesterday.

It all started when we volunteered to babysit our neighbor's dog - something we've done many times in the past. What was different this time was that my husband had to leave for a couple of hours, so she stayed with me at the house.

She ran from door to door, whining to follow my husband, so I gave up on working and went outside to do yard work. Since she might try to follow, I tied up on a long rope.

My mistake was in not being careful enough around a "bouncing dog" on a rope.

When I tripped I went down SO hard on that brick patio... I thought my knee was broken for sure.

It's not... but it sure hurt like he--. Still hurts today, so I'm sitting a lot.

That wasn't good enough to round out the day.

My husband came home and took her outside with him and his dog... so she had an afternoon full of running and playing - and getting into what??

After he'd gone to bed last night I was being a vegetable on the couch when she whined to go out... I never ignore a dog who says they need to go out, so I limped to the door and let her out... and got a whiff of something I really didn't want to smell.

After I cleaned up the mess in the middle of the stairs and let the dogs back in, I went back to the couch. Just to be on the safe side, I let everyone out again sometime after midnight.

But Friday the 13th decided to spill over to the 14th.

At 6 a.m. I woke to hear my husband yelling... It seems that "someone" had had multiple accidents that covered half of our living room carpet.

By 6:30 a.m. we had the spots cleaned, and later this morning we moved all the furniture and cleaned the entire carpet... it was time, so might as well do it while the machine is out and ready.

Sure glad my knee feels a little better today - and also glad my husband did all the hard work of running the shampooer!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tumor Scare at Our House

Two weeks ago today my husband was brushing Ralph when he discovered a big lump on his bottom. We tried to tell ourselves that he had sat on a sliver or something, but that didn't make sense, because it didn't seem to hurt him at all.

So, Monday morning I called the vet... and found that I couldn't get an appointment until Thursday. The week was long, and Thursday was even longer while we waited for news that Ralph had come out of the anesthetic. After knowing of people who died from anesthetic, just the idea of it makes me nervous.

We went to get him and the vet said we'd have the lab results back on the tumor in a "couple of days." OK... so Monday maybe.

All went pretty well the first day, except for worrying because Ralph was completely lethargic. On the second day when it appeared that the pain pills were upsetting his stomach, we decided they weren't such a good idea. He was supposed to have 2 in the morning and 2 at night, but we stopped giving them to him.

I had gone on line and found the same kind of side-effects that killed our dog Harry when the vet prescribed Rimadyl and I obeyed.

That was still OK until late that night. Apparently that's how long it took for that heavy dose of pain medication to work its way out of his system.

About midnight Ralph started chewing on his stitches... not a good thing!

I finally gave him one pain pill and sat beside him, preventing him from chewing, until he fell asleep. The next day I borrowed one of those big plastic collars from my neighbor, but it turned out that one pill at about 10 or 11 at night was the right balance. Ralph stopped chewing his stitches, but wasn't lethargic and didn't have an upset tummy.

We were still worried, and wondering when we'd hear about the test results. Finally on Wednesday the vet called... a benign tumor that probably will not re-occur.

Thank God.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spring Planting Danger to Your Dogs - Read before you buy mulch!

This has been around before, but since it's so important, I thought I'd bring it back.

It just wouldn't occur to most people that the garden mulch that makes their yards look so nice might kill their dogs!

So... the message from my morning mail:


Please share this with all the pet owners you know and ask them to do the same - the information you take a few minutes to share might prevent the senseless loss of other pets.

Over the weekend, the doting owners of two young lab mixes purchased Cocoa Mulch to use in their garden. The dogs loved the way it smelled and it was advertised to keep cats away from their garden. Their dog (Calypso) decided the mulch smelled good enough to eat and devoured a large helping. She vomited a few times which was typical when she eats something new but wasn't acting lethargic in any way. The next day, Mom woke up and took Calypso out for her morning walk . Halfway through the walk, she had a seizure and died instantly.

Although the mulch had NO warnings printed on the label, upon further investigation on the company's web site, this product is HIGHLY toxic to dogs and cats.

Cocoa Mulch is manufactured by Hershey's, and they claim that, "It is true that studies have shown that 50% of the dogs that eat Cocoa Mulch can suffer physical harm to a variety of degrees (depending on each individual dog). However, 98% of all dogs won't eat it."

*Snopes site gives the following information: *

Cocoa Mulch, which is sold by Home Depot, Foreman's Garden Supply and other Garden supply stores contains a lethal ingredient called 'Theobromine'. It is lethal to dogs and cats. It smells like chocolate and it really attracts dogs. They will ingest it and die. Several deaths already occurred in the last 2-3 weeks.

Theobromine is in all chocolate, especially dark or baker's chocolate which is toxic to dogs. Cocoa bean shells contain potentially toxic quantities of theobromine, a xanthine compound similar in effects to caffeine and theophylline. A dog that ingested a lethal quantity of garden mulch made from cocoa bean shells developed severe convulsions and died 17 hours later. Analysis of the stomach contents and the ingested cocoa bean shells revealed the presence of lethal amounts of theobromine.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Warning! Microchips can kill

This is chilling...

The article I read warned that our Federal Government is pushing for a time when all of us will wear microchips - so they can track our movements any time they wish.

This is bad enough from a political / freedom standpoint. But THEN the article went on to talk of the health dangers.

It seems the chips are the cause of fast-growing tumors that can kill a dog or cat within just a few months.

So, keep your dogs close by you. Protect them from being lost with collar tags or maybe even ear tattoos... but think 3 times before inserting a microchips than can lead them to an early and painful death.

For the rest of the story, go to The Health Freedom Alliance

Friday, April 2, 2010

More on Dogs Eating Stuffed Animals

After receiving some responses to last week's message about the danger of kid's toys for pets, I was glad to see the subject come up in Snopes tonight.

Those who wrote criticized passing the message along because it "just could not be true."

You can take from the Snopes report what you want, but I'm not going to give my dogs any more toys made for kids. The risk is just too great.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Warning for Dog Lovers!

Just got this in my morning e-mail and had to pass it along.

I've picked up stuffed toys at yard sales in the past...but will never do again!


From another list:
Just got this and I know many pick up stuffed toys at thrift shops, for dog toys. Might want to re-think that.


Last night at agility class, a vet, who is a fellow agility student was telling us about a case she had this week. The dog ate a child's teddy bear and was very sick.

When she opened the dog up to remove what she thought was an intestinal obstruction she found a huge gelatin type mess inside and the dogs intestines were black and the tissue dead. The dog will die no surgery can fix him up there was no living intestine left from stomach to colon.

This was not an obstruction. .... so she called the manufacturer of the Teddy Bear on a quest to find out what the gel was and what killed the dog. Turns out the stuffing in children's toys contains ingredients for flame retardants and mite control!

It is designed to be come a gel. It is highly toxic. Now you would think a child's toy would be safe because it is for children, but they don't expect a child to eat the stuffing of the toys... huummmm that seems a bit scary too. But we all know dogs demolish stuffed toys.

So do not give or buy your dog any children's stuffed animals... some people get them at goodwill etc. The vet will be posting a warning and story and I will send any other facts as needed and as I learn more. Maybe some children's toys do not have this ingredient, but better to be safe then sorry. So meanwhile, make sure all your dog toys are for dogs.

Please pass this on... it is a horrible death she described and one that can be avoided.

Heather Screws
P.R. Director
Saving Pyrs In Need Rescue
www.SPINrescue. org

"If you think you're a person of influence, Try bossing a Pyr around!"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Flea & tick season returns - beware chemical treatments!

Here come the bugs - and once again we're being warned about the chemical flea treatments that are so heavily advertised.

It bothers me that veterinarians use these so readily when they know (if they read reports) that those chemicals can cause irreparable harm and even death to some pets. I guess it's OK with them and the pharmaceutical companies if it's only a small percentage... but it's sure not OK with me or with anyone else who loves their dogs and cats.

This year the news is slightly better. According to this article from the Health Freedom Alliance, the EPA is finally looking into it, although they haven't removed any products from the market.

While the SPCA defends the medications by saying most of the 44,000+ instances reported in 2008 were "mild," it appears to be a matter of defining the word "mild." Neurological problems and a shortened life span don't sound mild to me. Plus, in 2008 there were 600 reported deaths directly associated with topical flea treatment. How many went unreported?

Since the number of harmful reactions was considerably higher in 2008 than 2007, it would be interesting to see figures for 2009. Since these products are so heavily advertised, pushed by vets, and very convenient, my guess is that more and more pets are being subjected to them.

Last year I wrote this post about finding a new and better flea prevention.

Later I read about a home remedy you can create in your own kitchen, and posted the recipe.

Then in the fall I learned of a different kind of threat from this medication. Read this chilling story about a dog who became fused to her carrier.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

All Kids Should Experience Country Life

This morning I received an e-mail asking for help to spread the word about a worthy project. Here it is, in part:

As someone who is passionate about animals I thought you and the readers of Marte's Doggie Blog would be interested in helping children who also love animals.

The Fresh Air Fund is in need of host families for this summer. Host families are volunteers who open their hearts and homes to children from the city to give a fresh air experience that these disadvantaged children never forget. Even if you can't host a child yourself, just posting a mention of this program would be helpful to spread the word.

I've been to the Fresh Air Fund web site and do think it's something that you might be interested in. If nothing else, you can Tweet about it and help spread the word.

Here's a short video about the program...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Repotty training an 8 year old dog

Greetings from Miami, FL. This is Christine from BLOG SISTERS. You may recall last year my dilemma of retraining my dog to go potty in a new "station" since I moved to the 40th floor of a new condominium (click here for the original story).

Well, in following Lauren's advice (one of the commentators), it actually worked. I no longer have to wait and ride the elevators three times a day which can take anywhere from five to ten minutes!

Indoors, I replicated the outdoors and collected small bags of mulch and dumped it into a cardboard box where I cut out one side as her entry. Even though the mulch was "used" mulch from our previous home with dog scent, she did not take the bait. However, after riding the interminable elevators with frequent stops on the way down and up, and the slight altitude pressure for a 10 pound dog, she quickly decided she hated this new routine of going to the bathroom. So I still took her to the doggy replica bathroom station everyday until one day, she relieved herself.

What was the actual trick? Well in my previous condo, I lived on the fourth floor, also the first residential floor of the building. This meant I either took two flights of stairs to descend to the street level or rode the elevator. Ma Cherie was accustomed to being the first one off the elevator in a matter of 5 seconds. Also, on rainy days, our building had a canopy covered station.

However, at our new home, 40 floors high, we both feel the altitude. She is no longer the first one off the cab, no longer the princess of Brickell.

So on rainy or very cold days (below 60) and in the morning and at night, I walk her one door over to the stairwell where her doggy station is set up. You might think this is rude to neighbors. Honestly, no one takes the stairs in a high rise condo building. I always change the liners and paper. The place is clean and never smells. Ironically our indoor potty is cleaner than outdoors where residents are frustrated from the handful of dog owners who never pick up after their dog--a Florida law. Hence my solution is safer for my dog. Besides Ma Cherie is inherently clean. Even when outside, her nose in the air and leg slightly lifted and bent, she gingerly places down her paw on spot with least amount of traces of dog urine.

So when we walk out our front door, she runs out and automatically heads to the stairwell, her preferred spot. Except I do take her out once a day after work so she gets some exercise and accompanies me when feeding the outdoor neighborhood cats, my daily charity of love.

Just when I doubted myself, this city girl could teach her 8 year-old dog a new trick!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Blue Heelers Can be Sneaky

Last week I'd have given anything to have a video camera in my hand...

Pepper, Suzie, and I went out to our shop to visit with my husband and his dog Ralph, as we usually do some time during the afternoon. Ralph has a sleeping bag and next to it a food dish and a water bowl - and he was semi-dozing on the sleeping bag.

Pepper, the Blue Heeler, is a chubby little guy, always on the lookout for another little morsel, so he decided to check out Ralph's food dish.

He started across the shop floor, doing that stealthy "I'm sneaking up on them" Blue Heeler walk. All the time he was watching Ralph to see if he was noticing. The food dish was behind Ralph's head, so when Pepper got there he thought he was home free.

But... just as he was about to steal a bite, Ralph looked up.

Pepper immediately turned his back and pretended to be examining the paint cans on the shelf along the wall.

Have you ever seen a dog pretending to read paint cans? It was hilarious.

As soon as Ralph put his head back down, Pepper grabbed a bite and got out of there!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Traveling With Your Dog

Dogs can be wonderful companions on a long trip, but keeping them safe and healthy takes some advance planning.

We talked the other day about finding lodging where dogs are welcome. You probably should plan on paying a deposit in addition to your room fee. You know your dog is housebroken, but the motel managers don't!

Also, since you'll be in strange places, your dog may be nervous and upset. So keep him happy by taking along a favorite bed or blanket, and some favorite toys. Along with that, pack a good supply of the food he's used to. This is especially important if your dog is used to high-end dog food. Not all stores in all communities will carry his brand.

Next, plan to take along a good supply of water, because he may object to the taste of the water in other communities. You may have to do some searching for the right containers, but be sure to carry the water in a glass or stainless steel container. The toxins from plastic water containers aren't any better for your dog than they are for you.

If you plan to stop at rest stops, consider taking a plastic covered cable tie-out, so you can run to the rest room without danger of your dog chewing through his lead in an effort to find you. Of course you can leave him in the car, but unless you leave it running with the AC on, that can be fatal in summertime.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Taking Your Dog on Vacation

Some of us don't like to leave our dogs in kennels - and that can create a real problem when the whole family wants to go on vacation together.

We can hire a pet sitter, but that's also a bit scary. What if the dog doesn't like them, or what if they're careless about keeping the doors and/or gates securely shut? Something bad could happen to our dogs.

The alternative, of course, is to take the dogs along. That alternative requires some advance planning. Unless you're going to be staying with relatives (who also love your dogs) you'll need to find pet-friendly lodging.

Some motel chains do advertise their pet-friendliness, but finding deluxe accommodations is a bit tougher. That's why I was pleased to read about a whole community that loves dogs.

If you happen to love skiing in winter and exploring the mountains in summer, try Crested Butte, Colorado for your next vacation.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Before you have that puppy altered...

Make sure your veterinarian knows about the drug recall.

Big pharm and the FDA have chosen not to inform veterinarians that some drugs they are using are dangerous to your pets. If they had told vets to return this "bad medicine" they'd have had to issue refunds... and no pharmaceutical company wants to do that!

So before you go, print out this article and take it with you.

Sure too bad that the FDA is just a shell - with no intention of protecting the citizens.

One question - how can they call this a recall when they didn't issue a recall?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fire Strikes Ritchie Co. Humane Society Animal Shelter (Harrisville, WV)

This just in from Nancy and the scruffafluffs in Deep River, CT
Westie, Cairn, Scottie and Scruffafluff Rescue
Fuzzy Face Rescue

The cat building is gone, and we fear all the cats and kittens. It's still too dark to know if any cats escaped. Forgive me if I am missing anyone, but the dogs in there were a mama dog and her puppies, the shelter mascot Momma, Lil Dude, and Chance. I got the call from June at 3 AM, and the fire dept. was still there.

The supply rooms were also in this building. As far as we know, everything is gone: food, medicines, vaccines, transport crates, refrigerators to store medicines, cat kennel cages, ex-pens for puppies, cleaning supplies, trash bags, litter pans, litter, cat food, feeding bowls, newspapers, bedding, etc. June will try to set up a temporary area for cat-intake.

The most immediate need now is to replace the destroyed food.

PayPal is, or link thru the shelter website,

Checks can be sent to:

Ritchie County Humane Society
RR 1 BOX 3
Harrisville, WV 26362

If you have items you can donate, please call the shelter to arrange a time to bring them in, or we'll find a way to meet you part way (I'm off work Thur/Fri). The shelter phone is 304-643-4721. At this point, I'd ask you only to call to make arrangements to offer assistance during daytime hours. We'll send out emails and updates to the Petfinder site as soon as we have any information to pass along. It is still too early to know the source of the fire.

We are grateful to the rescues who took in several of the puppies & small dogs from that bldg. in two transports in the last week. And, I'm especially thankful to the rescue that begged us to transport last week when I was planning to wait another week until bad weather conditions cleared up. Those pups owe you their lives even more so now than they before.

Thanks in advance to anything you can do to help us recover from this tragedy.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Want a Dog to Protect Your Poultry?

It's too late for my dogs - now that they've been trained to remove the wild turkeys from our yard as soon as they spot them, turning them around might prove to be impossible. But that's OK - the only birds here are the wild turkeys.

But maybe you do have chickens, or want to have chickens, or ducks, or domestic turkeys.

If so, an article I just read said that certain breeds have a strong protection instinct. Among them are the Great Pyrenees, Anatolian, Mastiff, and Maremma. So first, choose the right breed.

The very best way to train a young dog to protect poultry is to let an old dog do it - they teach the young ones what to do.

Barring that, try to whelp your pups in the poultry house, where they will be corrected by the hens if they get too rambunctious. Pups raised in this way will naturally bond with the birds, just as a puppy raised with an authoritative adult cat will learn to befriend cats. Since these dogs naturally protect youngsters of any species, raising your pup around baby chicks will result in a dog who will need very little training from you.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Dogs' Valuable Sense of Smell

We all know about bloodhounds and other tracking dogs that can find people, even when the trail is not fresh. It's amazing to think that even when wearing shoes, we shed our scent on the ground as we go, but we know that dogs can find people when humans have no hope.

Dogs also find drugs when humans could not - alerting to major shipments hidden in sealed containers as well as small amounts in luggage or pockets.

Even more amazing is a dog's ability to sniff out disease and to predict when a person may have a seizure.

New tests are showing that a dog's nose is actually MORE accurate than sophisticated medical equipment By smelling a human's breath, dogs can detect lung, breast, and other cancers with an accuracy rate of 88 to 97%. In contrast, the multi-million dollar scanner your hospital might use has an accuracy rate of 85-90%.

I've seen spots on TV showing how dogs can sniff a person's body and zoom right in on the affected area, and read of dogs fussing at their owners so much over a certain body part that the person finally went to the doctor and found a cancer in time to get successful treatment.

Dogs are now being trained as seizure alert dogs, so that patients can take safety measures before an attack. In the case of epilepsy, dogs can warn up to 5 hours ahead of time.

These are such amazing creatures - and yet, we humans still mistreat them and abandon them. Kind of hard to figure out, isn't it?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Can Your Dog Cure Your Smoking Habit?

I don't know - it sounds kind of far fetched to me, but according to this article, enlisting your dog's aid in the quest to stop smoking really can work.

Something else your dog can help you do is lose weight - if you become so guilty over your dog getting fat that you make a vow to take him or her walking every day. You know, you just can't do that unless you go walking yourself!

While you're at it, that dog can also help you regain a good perspective on life. When the two of you are walking, notice how your dog stops to explore and notice things. He's not in a huge rush to get from point A to point B. No, he wants to notice his world.

If you use the time to do the same, you might see some wonderful things, and you might let go of some of that stress that we all carry around.

Shoot - that alone might help in your efforts to quit smoking!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Like Children, Tired Dogs Just Want to go Home

Ralph likes going with my husband everywhere, but when they go to visit Terry and Freckles, he gets tired.

It has something to do with Freckles loving him so much - and wanting him to play all the time. After all, he's 8 years older than her, so isn't quite so interested in being busy every minute.

She also pesters him a lot with things like chewing on his ears or grabbing a mouth full of hair and trying to pull him around the room.

So, after a while, he makes his appeal: "Can we go home now?"

Friday, January 1, 2010

How to torture your dog at Christmas

A few days ago I wrote you about Suzie and the rawhide chews...

I finally found a USB port on my computer that would work, so was able to download the photos. Here is a portrait of a dog who should be in a state of joy - but feeling miserable because she has to stay and guard those darned chews!

When she wasn't laying beside them, she was walking around with both of them in her mouth... not a comfortable position!

Finally, to give her relief, I took them away.