Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Second Happy Ending

A few posts ago I wrote about a sweet girl named Candy, and how happy I was that she had received the happy ending she deserved.

Well, I may have spoken too soon.

About two weeks after her adoption, she got into a scruff with her new brother, a 9 year old springer spaniel, and did some damage. Not only to Bo (the dog) but to her human daddy as well. You see, he'd stuck his hands in the middle of the fight and not surprisingly was bitten.

Unfortunately he was bitten quite badly (believe me I've seen pictures!) His wound wasn't properly cleaned the first time in the ER and when he went back, there was talk of him loosing his whole hand! (Luckily this did not happen.)

But what to do with Candy? Well, her new parents did not feel it fair to Bo to keep Candy around. I cannot blame them. Resident dogs do take precedence.

So Candy came back. But, when they brought her back, they told of the bite to the hand, and were then referred to the County. You see, all human bites must be quarantined. So poor Candy went to the County facility for her 10 day quarantine period. After which she would be re-evaluated and best case scenario, be put up for adoption for anther 7-10 days until her time was 'up'.

All of this happened on my day off. Of course. So I'm getting frantic text messages while laying out in my back yard.

The next day I take action. I get with my contacts at the county to advocate for her, put notes in her file and sneak me in to visit her and bring her cookies.

Next I get on the email train and try to find her a place to go.

Her previous family is very torn up about all of this because they love her, and don't want anything bad to happen, but say that they cannot take her back.

Then, an Angel appeared in the form of Jenifer from the Central Florida Pit Bull Rescue. She would take Candy.

Hallelujah Amen.

So we pulled a few strings, got her evaluated and out the door, again.

So far so good with Candy. Her and I had a heart to heart in her isolation kennel. I told her I found her ANOTHER good home, and asked her to please behave this time.

She looked back at me and licked my nose.

I took it as a 'yes'.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Did You Know?

Did you know that by 8-12 weeks of age a puppy should be handled by 100 different people of all ages and sizes?
Did you know that the second most dangerous place for your puppy to be is your vets waiting room floor?
Did you know that the MOST dangerous place for your puppy is right OUTSIDE your vets office?

Did you know that a shelter's adoption numbers don't take into account returns?

Did you know that the biggest killer of cats is litter box problems?

Did you know that cats don't actually 'miss' their litter boxes? If they go outside of them they meant to!

Did you know that when done correctly potty training is error-less and takes only 7 days?

Did you know that dogs must always be kept entertained?

Did you know that there are no studies supporting the effectiveness of DAP?

Did you know that this was a short blog and now it's over?

Monday, March 22, 2010

When Will You Be Home?

Separation Anxiety is a sad and scary thing. Your poor dog literally becomes sick with depression, and they act out in many owner displeasing ways.
When left alone, a dog suffering from separation anxiety will become extremely anxious, not understanding where you have gone or if you will ever return.

Signs include: Chewing, scratching, busting out of confinement, barking, salivating, urinating, defecating, vomiting or digging.

Remember that dogs are social pack animals and safety comes in numbers.

I see cases of this every day, and it is a large reason for owner relinquishment's. There is hope however. The treatment for separation anxiety is effective, but lengthy. Unfortunately many owners are simply not willing to put in the time and the effort to cure their pets of this agonizing anxiety.

First of all, let me say that if your dog is truly suffering from serious anxiety where their safety is in danger, see a vet. They can prescribe something to calm your dogs nerves. THIS IS NOT THE "FIX"! The root of the problem must still be gotten to!

Let's start with your EXIT: When it comes time for you to leave, just do it! Do NOT make a big production out of it. No 'ooey gooey' goodbyes. It is actually better to ignore your dog for about 10 minutes prior to your leaving. Otherwise your dog experiences a showering of your affections followed by complete withdrawal.

Give your dog something to distract themselves with. KONG toys are GREAT distractions and can be filled with everything from your dogs left over dinner to peanut butter, cream cheese, baby food and more! This only comes out when you leave. The dog now has something to look forward to instead of dread.

Confinement: Confine your anxious dog to a small area of your home. (And please dog proof it first!) Crating is an option ONLY if it does not cause your dog any physical damage. Some dogs will try so hard to escape a crate that they injure themselves.
Remember, a confined dog cannot damage your home!

Leave a radio or TV on in another room, or make a recording of your own voice. The recording only has to be about 20 minutes as most anxiety and destruction occur within that time period.

Next you will need to DESENSITIZE your dog to your absence. This is the time consuming part, but it works!
Go through your normal 'getting ready to leave' routine, walk out the door, then immediately walk back in. Place all your things back and sit down. In about 10 minutes do it again, but this time count to 10 outside. Repeat many times gradually working up to a trip to the corner store. Now your dog should have less anxiety about your return because sometimes you come right back! So, every time you leave, it is not an all day absence. Your dog relaxes, and so can you!

And of course a tired dog is a happy dog! The more exercise you can give your dog the more likely they will be to sleep while you are out!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dr. Ian Dunbar

Over this past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a seminar held by renowned Veterinary Behaviorist Dr. Ian Dunbar.
At first the 3 day 8 hour lecture sounded...well, long. But I soon was wrapped up in knowledge and discovery as Dr. Dunbar craftily illustrated stories and ideas that spring from his brilliant mind.
Also luckily enough, he speaks with a wonderfully smooth British accent and is down right funny.

The entire weekend was spent discussing puppies and adolescent dogs, and I was reminded why I always gravitate towards adopting senior citizens!
This all came at such a perfect time as I am just beginning to offer puppy and obedience classes myself. I have a lot of work to, but am excited by the many ideas now planted in my head.

It was also a wonderful opportunity to meet some dog professionals in the community. I may be just starting out on my career with dogs (only five years in) but I hope that someday I might be the one to teach a seminar.
Being open to education and new ideas seems like a good way to start. Putting those new ideas into practice and finding out what really works seems like a logical next step.

So stay tuned for updates on how all of this incredible new knowledge is being put to use! And wish me luck!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Awarded for Cruelty

Well, I simply cannot believe it. But yet, somehow it is true. Micheal Vick was voted to receive the Ed Block Courage award. Yes, courage.
It baffles my mind to think that somewhere out there are people who think that what Vick has done is courageous.

I'm not sure what part of torture, gambling and murder is considered brave. It was too much to take when he was re-instated in the NFL, then signed by Philadelphia, but now, an AWARD!? What kind of message is being sent here? It's OK to do horrific things as long as you have Tony Dungy by your side?

I would encourage every one to write the the members and sponsors of the Ed Block foundation. Let them know what a horrible mistake they've made. Ask them what exactly is so courageous about a 'man' who commits a horrific crime, then is welcomed back into society so easily.
Ask them why is it that the ability to throw or run with a football, somehow trumps the down right corruptness of an individual; because I'd like to know.

Shame on Mike Vick, shame on the NFL, shame on the Eagles organization and shame on the Ed Block Foundation.

May they someday see the light and repent for their inappropriate and unfortunate actions.