Monthly Archives: August 2013

Saving Beatrice

Beatrice

Beatrice

18 years ago there wasn’t a lot in Smyrna, GA but that is where our company, IBM, built a Sales Center in the middle of a forested area.  What we discovered on our first trip to the building was a pack of roving dogs that were evidently dropped off to fend for themselves. Evidently that was something people did back then — turn their dog “free” rather than take care of it.

This pack of ragtag dogs was skiddish around people.  Why wouldn’t they be?  People hadn’t been so nice to them.  People hadn’t loved them or fed them or taken care of them.

But among these new people there were a few that wanted to help these dogs, me being one of them.  We started leaving water bowls out and bringing extra kibble and treats.  The dogs were smart and knew who the people were doing this.  They started to recognize the sounds of the engines of our cars and would stalk us through the parking lot looking for the treats.  At first we would have to throw them to the dogs but as we gained their trust they would come closer.

One afternoon in October, the sun was beating down and the temperature was especially warm, I saw a little dog in distress in the weeds on the side of the road.  She was staggering but still her hackles went up and I heard the low growl as I approached her.  I always keep water and bowls in my truck and i poured her a drink and sat down in the grass.  I could see her tongue was flat and she really wanted the water.  Her nose twitched as she smelled the treats I had in my lap and she licked her chops.

I slowly pushed the water toward her and then went back to my spot about 10 feet away from her.  She inched closer to the water little by little.  At this point, I stayed still except for tossing the soft treats to her.  She finally had the courage to drink from the water bowl until she was sated. Then she inched toward me and the treats.  Little by little she got closer and closer until I could touch her.  When I put my hand on her I felt her whole body release the tension and she collapsed as I pulled her into my lap.  She weighed nothing.

She had a red, nylon collar on with no tags.  The collar was so tight I could not get any fingers underneath it but finally managed to unbuckle it. Now that I had her, I was not sure what to do with her so I brought her to the animal shelter we adopted our second dog, Riley from a year before.  At least she would have a chance to be adopted, I thought, but I would not deliver an animal to its death and left my name and phone number in case she didn’t and they promised to call me.

Bea at home

Bea at home

The next day I had a message from the shelter that this girl had tested positive for heartworm.  I gave my two labs a monthly dose of a heartworm preventative but I didn’t really know what heartworm was and how it was treated.  I thought it was a death sentence if a dog contracted it.  I went to the Internet to find out and was horrified to find out that the treatment was a shot of cyanide directly into the heart — very painful and stressful for the animal and very costly to administer.  But, the animal shelter told me I had to come and get her before they closed for the day or they would be putting her down because they couldn’t afford to treat heartworms.

I left work early and went and got her.  Andy and I discussed it and we would get her treated.  In 1997, $1,000 seemed like an insurmountable amount of debt for us but we were willing to go into it to save her life.  I then took her straight to our vet who confirmed the heartworm test and vetted her as otherwise healthy although underweight.  I also got her bathed and flea dipped so she could come home.

Murphy and Riley, our two chocolate labs were curious about this newbie.  They were so used to charging around the house chasing each other that they had no objections bringing in another dog to the pack.  Beatrice immediately loved Riley, our boy, and he was a big brother to her.  Murphy, our girl, and Beatrice were indifferent to each other.  But for now the three dogs, Andy and I made up the Litt pack.

The three amigos

The three amigos

In the next installmant I’ll talk about the treatment of Beatrice for heartworms.

Sophie and I at BarkWorld

Sophie and I drove down to Atlanta yesterday to attend BarkWorld a conference for Social Petworkers. So far we’ve met Norman the Scooter Riding Dog and now I am waiting for a lady from HGTV to come and show us how to make Dog friendly gardens. This morning I learned some basic differences about social media and how we should be using it.

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Introducing the Fabulous Sophie, Sofa, Little, Sofa Beara – Dog with a Thousand Names and Pictures!

Sophie in her Evening Dress

Drama Sopie

Coy Sophie

Who me?

Au Natural

You Can’t See Me!

Holly Jolly Sophie

I’m Ready For My Close Up Mr. Demille

Eskimo Sophie

Jail Bait Sophie

Sophie is a seven year old Jackahuahua who thinks she’s all that and she is!  Her likes are any kind of food, wearing clothes, sitting on laps, eating food, and rubbing her face of bugs.  Although she is only 11 lbs (about 5 kilos for our European friends) she rules the big dogs.  Her favorite napping spot is on Viola!

Better to Ask for Forgiveness Later?

kibbles and bits

The last words my husband yelled to me from under the covers on Saturday morning as I was leaving to go volunteer at my rescue’s Adoption Day is “Don’t bring home a new foster!”  In my brain I meant to be compliant to this request…until I didn’t.  Then my brain went into overdrive thinking in terms of technicalities.  I wasn’t actually bringing home A foster…I was bringing home two!  And I wasn’t going to the grocery store as requested.  Technically that was really three strikes.  To make matters worse, we have a “guest” who is staying with us for the weekend while his Mom and Grandma are at a wedding…he is our previous foster Rocky. In addition, we have our own crazy girls Viola, Phoebe, Bailey and Sophie who always live here and are often in some sort of argument with each other as is often the case when you have all girls.  To say we had a full house is an understatement.

Introductions were a little stressful because by the time I got home with the Wonder Twins, the skies had opened up and it had poured.  In my backyard, when it pours, we have a small rivulet that runs through our back yard.  And of course, here in Georgia, we are known for our Georgia Red Clay so add that together with seven dogs running around trying to network (that is a fancy way to say smelling butts) it was a bit of a free for all.  The girls actually seemed to like Kibbles and Bits and our old lady, Viola, was engaging in play with them.

Viola’s idea of play is what we call the steam roll.  She plops down and tries to capture part of the dog under her and rolls on top of them.  The Wonder Twins were too fast for her though and they danced around her while she shucked around on her back.  Even Bailey, the girl with cancer and who really doesn’t like many other dogs or people, engaged them in play.

Andy, of course, was very grumpy I brought these one-year-old Jack Russell mixes home so I’m sure he decided he wasn’t going to like them.  Kibbles, the boy, however, had other plans.  He immediately decided this was a people he wanted to know better, so what better way than to give kisses?  Every time Andy looked at him, Kibbles thought it was an invitation to give him a kiss.  And when he wasn’t kissing Andy, he was laying by his feet waiting for Andy to give the signal to kiss him.

Bits, on the other hand, has made herself quite at home and has taken up the spot next to me in my chair.  I’m glad the Wonder Twins didn’t double team him with their licky tongues. So, all is well in the Litt Palace of Puppy Love.  I know Andy feels like I bulldoze over him but sometimes he’s a stick-his-big-toe-in-the-pool kind of guy and I’m a cannonballer so I say that it is sometimes better to ask for forgiveness later and act now.  Usually it is not as bad as he feared.

Whacky Wednesday Product Review — Bake-a-Bone — Except It’s Tuesday

Bake-a-Bone "As Seen on TV"

Bake-a-Bone “As Seen on TV”

Sometimes I am like a dog with a bone.  Literally.  I can’t help myself when it comes to “As Seen on TV” products so when I saw a special through Coupaw I had to have it!  I mean, who doesn’t need a dog biscuit maker?  The Bake-a-Bone unIt is very light weight and pretty easy to use.  You just plug it in and when the red light goes out and the green light comes on, you are ready to bake dog biscuits.  Plus it is shaped like a bone so you won’t confuse it with your panini maker or waffle maker!

The Bake-a-Bone brand also has come out with biscuit mixes that you just add water to.  That is what I used today for the maiden voyage of Bake-A-Bone, the Triple Peanut Butter variety.  In addition to PB, you have Cheesy, Bacon, Bare Bone, Snickerpoodle, Banana, Breathmint, and Thanksgiving.  All of these varieties can be purchased online at the Bake-a-Bone website but I was able to purchase my mix at PetSmart.  There was, however, only the Triple PB variety.Mmmm Triple Peanut Butter

Dump the mix in a bowl, add a cup and a half of water and mix thoroughly. I’m not a baker but I always hear bakers take about not over-mixing because you don’t want your dough to be tough so as soon as there was no loose flour on the bottom of the bowl, I declared the biscuits mixed!

The inside of the Bake-a-Bone is like a waffle iron but instead of a waffle pattern, you have four bone vessels.  I will admit that I have a couple of pretty ugly looking dog bones because I didn’t make sure the batter reached all the rounded edges of the bone and a few times I overstuffed the bone causing pieces to squish out over the bone shape but once cooked, those snapped right off.

Just like a waffle iron!

Just like a waffle iron!

The batter smelled very peanut buttery so if you or any of your two legged kids have peanut allergies, don’t buy this variety!  I looked at the ingredients and there was nothing listed that a human wouldn’t eat so I went ahead and tried some of the excess.  It didn’t taste as peanut buttery as it smelled but sort of tasted like a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat toast.  The package said that it made 24 dog biscuits and it did, but because I had used some extra batter in the beginning before I had the quantity right, the last two were barely full cookies.  Those are the ones I gave to Sophie!

After I finished baking the last batch (each batch cooks for eight to ten minutes) I unplugged the machine and let it cool for about five minutes.  Then I spritzed the surface with water and put a damp paper towel between the plates.  After a few minutes, I just wiped down the inside with the paper towel and it was ready to be put away.

IMG_1060All four girls gave it a paws up, five out five tail wags!  I give it a thumbs up because I can pronounce all the ingredients, the mix is very convenient and the machine was very easy to clean up.  Next I will have to try my own recipe for ginger pumpkin dog biscuits to see how they cook up in the Bake-A-Bone.

Yummy PB Dog Biscuit

Yummy PB Dog Biscuit

Yellow Means Caution or a Sensitive Dog

yellowHave you heard of the Yellow Dog or Yellow Ribbon Campaign?  Originally created in Sweden, the official name is Gulahund™ Yellowdog.  It’s an easy way for you to identify your dog as one that needs a little extra space when around other people and dogs.  This doesn’t mean that they are aggressive dogs or mean dogs but it might mean that your dog has a medical issue and can’t be around other animals or that they are shy around strange people (or people who are strange…if that’s the case then I’m doomed!) or any number of reasons why a dog might be sensative.

Eva Oliversson and is the originator and founder of the Swedish International Gulahund™ program, which was launched in June 27 2012. She is also a certified International Dog trainer in Dog behavior and problem solving – also called a Dog behaviorist.

“If you can create the feeling of safe distance for a sensitive dog, that dog will get the ability to learn how to cope in different surroundings much faster,” says Oliversson. “If it’s able to succeed with your help giving extra space and feels good and secure at least 8 times of 10, the training will progress.”

yellowdog

The purpose of the program, by using a yellow ribbon or bandana on the leash or on the dog

  • Give dog owners the possibility to take extra care of their dogs that are sensitive in any way.
  • Prevent unnecessary misunderstandings.
  • Give both dogs and their owners more space or time to move away from people and animals.
  • Create the possibility to slowly train a dog and by that make better training progress.
  • Make life easier for those dogs that for a shorter or a longer period in their lives, need more space from people and animals. Some dogs maybe for the rest of their lives, depending on the issue.
  • There are LOTS of reasons why some dogs need some more space! They may be ill, hurt or may be just old. They may have a new family or bad life experiences and need a greater distance to slowly train to cope with their new surroundings. A female dog may be in season. Another dog may be having “everyday training”.

How can you support?

Spread the word!  Click on the website for Gulahund and print out some of the Yellowdog flyers to distribute to your neighbors or at the dog park

Educate your children about the yellow ribbon and what that means.  In general I wish we educated children about greeting dogs.  I’ve had a few sensitive dogs in my past and just because they are cute does not mean that they are open to strangers (adult or child) petting them.

Real Life What Would You Do?

I’ve posted about a million warnings to dog owners NOT to leave their pups in the car even with the window cracked on my Kritter Keepers Facebook page and shared different articles from different resources including a video where a vet has sat in a hot car for 30 minutes and showed the temperature increasing steadily.  But yet as I pulled into the parking lot yesterday to get my hair cut , the car in the spot in front of me had a darling little terrier bouncing around the car.  It was 91 degrees according to the external temp reading on my car.  The person who left the dog did put the front seat windows down about half way.

What would you do in this situation?  I thought about taking the dog.  I carry lots of leashes in my car.  But I didn’t.  I waited a few minutes and then I walked into my hair appointment.  I’m very disappointed in myself.   So why wouldn’t I act on this?  Mainly I think I was afraid of repercussions from the owner.  I hate confrontations.  Fight or flight, right?

Once, we were fostering a dog who was on death row because she had tested positive for heartworm.  Since I was the one who captured her off the street, when animal control called me and told me they were putting her down, I was there to get her immediately.  I went from animal control directly to my vet who was on the other side of town.  Literally.  They were as far east in Cobb County as I was in Western Cobb County.  Beatrice was in the car and we had finished at the vet — except for the heart worm she was in fine health and I could introduce her to my two other dogs with the Vet’s blessing.  Death Row Survivor Beatrice

In the same shopping plaza as my vet was a store that I desperately needed to go into.  I just got my new 1997 Ford Explorer with the cool keyless entry fob thingy.  If you know about Ford Explorers you also know that there is a door combination for you to get in if you don’t have your keys or have locked them inside.  I had this car for about a week and I did not set the alarm code yet.  But I had a great idea — I would leave the key in the car with the air conditioning running and I’ll just take the keyless entry fob and click the door open when I come back.

Well, what I didn’t know was that if the key is in the car with the car running, the fob didn’t work!  So here was poor Beatrice locked in my car with the car running!  I went back into the store — which by the way, I can’t even remember why it was so important — and called my husband.  We had just moved to Western Cobb County closer to where the Animal Control was. I had to wait while he drove across town to bring me the spare set of keys.

By the time he got to us, we had quite a little crowd watching the dog in the running car.  It didn’t help that I kept trying to get her to mash the unlock button on the door.  It was a bit of a comedy show.  Beatrice was in the driver’s seat and she kept standing on the steering wheel like she was going to take off and drive.

I’ll admit, I didn’t know the dangers of leaving a dog in the car in the warm weather when I was younger.  I had a black lab Boo Boo who went everywhere with me. But as pet ownership has matured so has our learning curve.  Things that were normal even 10 years ago, we now know the harm it can cause.

I have approached people in parking lots with a dog in the car and them about to leave with the window cracked.  A lot of people don’t know the damage that it can cause but with the recent deaths in the news of the police dog here in Georgia as well as the rash of children being left on school vans and back seats with tragic endings should be enough to stop this from happening.

So back to yesterday with the little dog in the car — what would you do?