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Hello to All,
Our 13 1/2 year old sheltie/schnauzer cross Roxie is losing her hearing. We started noticing this about 6-8 months ago when it became more difficult to wake her up, and she would not respond to us when we called her. This visual caught my eye, and since we are dealing with this in our household it was quite timely for us. We have always used hand signals in conjunction with verbal commands, so that part has been a fairly easy transition. And, we have asked Gypsy to help, as I wrote about in my post from January 23rd Gypsy Has a New Job.
One good thing that has come of this: Roxie has always been extremely thunder-phobic. She would pant, drool, pace, and cling to us whenever there was thunder in the area. Now, she is nowhere near as bothered by thunder, and she only gets anxious if it very close or extremely loud.
Simply put, I loved this book. It is the true story of Tom Ryan, a writer and reporter living in Newburyport, Massachusetts, who, on an inexplicable whim, adopts a miniature schnauzer he named Maxwell Garrison Gillis. He and Max became inseparable, and Max soon was a well-known and well-loved resident of Newburyport. Max was an older dog when he came into Tom’s life, and after about a year together, Max began having seizures. Tom made the painful decision to have Max put down. Tom was stunned by the outpouring of support and sympathy of the townspeople over Max’s passing, and he also recognized the door that had been opened in his own heart.
So, in walked a puppy into Tom’s life. As Tom had been profoundly taken with Max, he decided upon another miniature schnauzer, whom he named Atticus Maxwell Finch. He and Atticus set about an adventure to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire’s four-thousand-foot mountain peaks. It doesn’t sound like much of a challenge, until you add in the factors of climbing them all twice in one winter, plus Tom was overweight and out of shape, plus Atticus is a small, 20-pound dog of a breed not known for climbing mountains.
This book is more than just the recording of their journey. Tom Ryan portrays the physical demands and the financial consequences of this undertaking, but also the emotional and spiritual evolution he experienced along the way. The book is titled Following Atticus for a reason: Tom trusts and allows Atticus to be Atticus, and literally follows Atticus up and down the mountains, and gains such a respect, love, and devotion for the little dog that touched my heart immensely.
Sending my love to you and your dogs,
In full disclosure, if you choose to purchase Following Atticus through any of the links I have provided, I will receive an affiliate commission from Amazon.com.
Since this is Super Bowl weekend, and since Rick and I are each HUGE football fans (Roxie and Gypsy not so much), I thought this article from Tails Magazine was quite timely:
————————————————————————————————————————— 4 Tips For A Pet-Friendly Super Bowl
With all the food, fun, and football on Super Bowl Sunday, it can be surprisingly easy to neglect your furry friend. But just because it’s the game of the century doesn’t mean your pet can suddenly fend for himself. Petco has some tips for making the balance work:
Super Sunday typically equals several hours logged jumping up and down on the couch, shouting at the television, and consuming mass amounts of waistline expanding substances that lead to a serious calorie overdose, all while a befuddled pet looks on. Pets aren’t passing judgment as they watch the party’s outrageous antics. They are simply imploring you with their eyes to take care of their special physical, mental, social, and emotional needs.
Since not everyone speaks dog, cat, fish, hamster, or the like, esteemed animal behaviorist, Dr. Debra Horwitz, and “America’s Veterinarian,” Dr. Marty Becker, have partnered with Petco to translate for your pet and share these four tips to avoid neglecting your pet on game day.
TIP #1: By recording halftime and taking a quick trip to the dog park you can take care of your pet’s physical and social needs and still see all the highlights. For those worried about missing the second half of the game, opt for an activity closer to home—like a walk around the block or a rousing game of fetch in the yard.
TIP #2: Fans will consume some 11 million pounds of chips and 450 million chicken wings on game day, which makes this America’s second biggest food consuming day of the year behind Thanksgiving. Guests may be tempted to sneak these fattening foods to pets, but people food can be harmful, particularly chicken wings, which pets can choke on. Do pets a favor and offer healthy, pet-specific treats so they can share in the big game spread without the risk of getting sick.
TIP #3: When the action gets intense and you’re on the edge of your seat, take a moment to pet your furry friend. Giving a pet some love strengthens the human animal bond, provides for a pet’s emotional health needs, and studies show it has even greater benefits for people. The hormone oxytocin kicks into high gear when petting an animal, helping to reduce blood pressure and decrease cortisol, a hormone related to stress and anxiety. Even stopping to watch fish swim will make a difference in your mood. And if your team is on the losing end, therapists have been prescribing pets for years as a way to deal with depression.
TIP #4: Create a quiet place. Loud party voices and booming music can make pets anxious. Even well-socialized animals are likely to be pushed beyond their limits. To take care of pet’s mental health, make sure pets have a restful room or area to which they can retreat. And if you’re getting particularly worked up, it may be good for you to have a timeout from the game too!
Roxie and Gypsy are each 13 years old, so they are senior girls. We’ve determined recently that Roxie is starting to lose her hearing, but since we have always naturally used hand signals along with verbal commands, Roxie has no trouble understanding what we are asking her to do.
However, she has had trouble lately hearing the doggie dog open and close, so she is getting confused about coming back in at night. When the weather is warm, it is not so much of a concern, but when it is cold, I don’t want her stranded outside.
So, we have been asking Gypsy to “Go Get Roxie”. Gypsy barrels out the doggie door and manages to lead Roxie back inside. It is a great convenience for us, since Roxie does not hear us calling her, and we don’t want to go out into the cold to get her! I am extremely proud of Gypsy that she figured this out so quickly!
Here is a picture of the two of them: Gypsy on the left, and Roxie on the right.
On a suggestion from our niece, Allison, I recently read a very enjoyable book Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing, and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon. The premise is a chronicle of 24 hours in the life of an animal surgeon, Dr. Nick Trout. The book opens with a wake up call at 2:47 a.m. from the surgeon on duty, Dr. Sarah Keene, who is a first-year resident. Dr. Keene has an emergency situation with a ten-year-old German shepherd named Sage. Sage has life-threatening GDV, otherwise known as bloat, and Dr. Keene needs Dr. Trout’s expertise to perform the emergency surgery.
Dr. Trout keeps us updated on Sage’s progress throughout the book, and takes us through many other cases, including examples where euthanasia is the best option for the pet.
What comes through clearly is the author always advocates for his patient, the animal. Along with that, he has the responsibility to maintain an open line of communication with the pet’s guardian while being sensitive to their budgetary concerns and emotional concerns.
What was quite enlightening for me was Dr. Trout’s comparison of the job requirements of a human MD vs. a veterinarian. For example, a vet must learn the biology and physiology of multiple species, whereas an MD only learns the biology and physiology of one species. A vet cannot ask the patient where it hurts, which he compares to a pediatrician’s dilemma. The vet must take into consideration animal behaviors that would be detrimental to the patient’s progress, such as licking the wound, jumping on and off furniture, etc.
I found this book to be easy and fun to read, and one that any animal lover will enjoy.
The book The Dog Lived (and So Will I), by Teresa J. Rhyne, is the true account of her dog, Seamus (pronounced Shaymus), and then Teresa herself going through the horrors of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation (cut, poison, and burn) treatments for malignant, aggressive cancerous tumors.
Teresa recently had: lost her two elderly beagles, Richelieu and Roxy, been divorced for a second time, and moved to a new home. She had a lot of baggage. So, she had no intention of becoming involved with another beagle, or much less another man. However, things have a way of happening in an unplanned manner. She met Chris, a younger man who despite her intentions to the contrary, captured her affections. She received a call from a local animal rescue organization who suggested she “just come in for a look” at a newly acquired young beagle. At the shelter, this canine immediately attached himself to her and she found herself with a new family member in this sweet and adorable, yet demanding dog. She named him Seamus.
Besides having an insatiable appetite for human contact, Seamus had an insatiable appetite for food of any sort. Despite his shortcomings, Seamus was a beloved companion. So, it was devastating news when Teresa was told Seamus had a particularly aggressive cancerous tumor, and would only live another year. Teresa invested all of her emotional and financial resources into fighting Seamus’s cancer, and just about lost him in the process, but he survived both the cancer and the treatments.
She didn’t realize that Seamus had prepared her to wage her own war against cancer. Shortly after Seamus had received a clean bill of health, she found the lump in her breast. She was immediately scheduled for surgery, and went through her own series of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
With Chris’s love and care, Seamus as a source of laughter and entertainment with his endless demands, and support from unexpected places Teresa has received her own clean bill of health.
The Dog Lived (and So Will I) is uplifting, humorous, and easy to read despite the honest depiction of what it is like to go through both cancer and it’s conventional treatments. Teresa J. Rhyne has written an encouraging and inspirational story I think both animal lovers and cancer survivors will appreciate and enjoy.
I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday and did not suffer too much of a food coma!
In full disclosure, if you choose to purchase The Dog Lived (and So Will I) through any of the links I have provided, I will receive an affiliate commission from Amazon.com.
Here are some Thanksgiving Day safety tips written by Steve Appelbaum and published by Tails Magazine in Home about keeping our pets safe:
5 Essential Thanksgiving Safety Tips
November 16, 2012 by Tails Magazine in Home, Newsletter, Wellness with 1 Comment
If you’ve ever turned your back for a second only to find your dog happily helping herself to a Thanksgiving treat (or three), you know that our canine companions have an affinity for being a little extra naughty when it comes to the holiday season. Luckily, Steve Appelbaum, president of the Animal Behavior College, shared with us these 5 important safety tips:
1. Food: What’s good for us isn’t always good for our pooch. Although your dog might look at you with eyes that suggest starvation is imminent, a big piece of turkey can cause more harm than good. Turkey skin is usually too greasy and fatty for your dog and might cause diarrhea and/or an upset stomach. In some instances, particularly with older dogs, this can even cause or exacerbate Pancreatitis. Turkey bones can splinter and cause real medical problems. Additionally, raw or undercooked turkey can contain Salmonella, which is as toxic for dogs as it is for you.
Most people know that chocolate is something to keep away from dogs, but how many of you are aware that onions and garlic are also potentially dangerous to your pet? They both contain sulfides, which can cause anemia in some dogs. Walnuts, mushrooms and macadamia nuts are also on the forbidden list, as is nutmeg, which can actually be quite deadly.
2. Foil and plastic: Aluminum foil and plastic wrap are wonderful modern tools for helping store leftovers. However, dogs have been known to…gasp…steal leftovers and consume them with the foil and/or wrap still on them. So be aware and careful about where you put things.
3. Children and other guests. If your dog isn’t used to being around a lot of people, especially young kids, and you plan on having guests over for Thanksgiving, spend some time prior to the holidays getting the dog used to being in a crowd. Take your dog somewhere that people frequent and, standing far enough away that the dog isn’t stressed, feed and praise the dog for her calm behavior. If you do this for a week or two, your dog should be much more comfortable around people. If you have real concerns about the dog’s ability to interact, contact a professional trainer.
Additionally, many trainers suggest keeping your dog on a leash when she greets holiday guests. Although this might be a bit inconvenient, it will allow you to restrict your dog from jumping and possibly scaring guests. Once everyone has arrived and the dog is calm you can probably take her off the leash. Remember to never leave a dog on a leash unattended.
4. Sanctuary. Consider giving your dog a quiet place where she can retreat if things get too loud or intense for her. A spare room, the garage, anywhere that is away from the flow of traffic and, of course, safe.
5. Training. Although it might be a bit late to train your dog to listen (or listen better) to obedience commands in time for Thanksgiving, it is still important. And other holidays are right around the corner! Think about it: The more your dog listens, the easier she will be to control around guests and other distractions. Balanced approaches to training are best, as you want a pet that learns positively. Get the rest of the family involved as well, as these skills will benefit everybody well beyond the holiday season.
Teach your dog not to run out of doors or gates as these might be left open more often during the holidays. Basic boundary training is an essential part of any dog training program.
Finally, make sure that your dog wears tags just in case she gets out during this or any other times. All dogs should be microchipped, too.
By taking these simple, important precautions, the holidays can be a wonderful time for everyone, including your furry friends!
Steve Appelbaum is the president of Animal Behavior College, the largest animal career vocational school of its kind in North America. He has been a professional dog trainer for over 30 years and is a published author, lecturer, and animal podcast co-host.
The way we keep Roxie and Gypsy safe is to leave them at home! We are spending Thanksgiving Day at Rick’s sister’s house, so Roxie and Gypsy will have some extra nap time while we are away.
We have had some much needed rain in San Antonio: just shy of 6 inches in the last week.
I’ve been working with our 13-year-old Roxie to learn a new game: the “find” game. Roxie is a determined fetchaholic and will play way too long if we don’t stop her. The “find” game is a way to slow her down and teach her something new at the same time. I will ask her to sit, and then stay, while I hide her squeaky toy in a place out of her sight line. When we were first working on it, she would follow me to see what I was doing, so she didn’t exactly understand the spirit of the game! But now, she is so cute. She sits and stays, and then enthusiastically takes off when I say “find it!” She seldom is unsuccessful, and she looks so proud of herself when she comes back with her toy and I tell her “good find!” Here is Roxie after a successful “find.”
It is so much fun and satisfying to work with our dogs like this. They seem to enjoy it also!
Thanks to our friend Val Heart, for telling us about the “find” game.
Here is an excellent and heartfelt article by Dr. Andrew Jones about euthanasia. Rick and I have had to make that terrible and extremely difficult decision twice: for our poodle/terrier mix Cubby, who had liver disease, and then again for Skittles, our corgi/terrier mix who had throat cancer. With Cubby, I feel we held on too long and she suffered needlessly, whereas with Skittles, we may have been too hasty. I hope with Roxie and Gypsy we will be smarter pet parents and make the decision, if necessary, at the best time for each of them.
Pet Euthanasia: 10 Points To Help You Decide
By Dr. Andrew Jones
There were many months at the clinic I have had to euthanize far too many dogs and cats.
They generally were all been for very legitimate reasons..Cancer ( 4 patients), Paralysis, Bleeding Disorders, End Stage Kidney Failure..etc..
It seems that more of this happens during the Holiday Season.
I’m not sure if that is true, or if it had more of an effect on me.
Most clients make the decision in a very thoughtful, sensitive and respectful way- they weigh out the quality of their pet’s life, with their own needs to keep their pet alive.
I was often asked if now is the time..I always then asked my clients questions regarding quality of life, pain or discomfort in their pet and how they are feeling.
It’s not easy.
If any of you have gone through this, you know just how agonizing and difficult it is.
I am honored that we have this option with our dogs and cats- I watched my Grandmother waste away from Lung Cancer, only to be given narcotics for the last month of her life to keep her comfortable.
But the point is to respect this right- AND not treat it frivolously.
Here are some things to consider to help you make this serious decision:
1. Eating and Drinking. Is your pet able to eat and drink normally. My dog Hoochie ( a Lab cross) was a food hound, so when his appetite ended, I knew it was time soon.
2. Pain. Is your pet in pain often? ASK your Veterinarian this. Does the pain control medication help?
3. Activity levels. Can she still go for walks?
4. Housetraining. Has your pet lost bladder or bowel control?
5. Senility and aging. Does your pet enjoy interaction with you, or could she care less?
6. Does your pet have a terminal illness such as Cancer?
7. Are you willing to explore ALL the options for treating their disease OR do you want just palliative care?
8. Are you keeping your pet alive for your own Issues around death..or is this in the best interests of your pet?
9. Have you asked a friend if you are making the right decision? It helps to have a 3rd party.
10.Discuss and be aware of what euthanasia is, HOW it will happen, What will happen with your pet afterwards ( ie burial or cremation), and How you will get support to deal with your grief. I have NEVER felt so low and such a deep sense of loss than when my last dog Hoochie died.