Tag Archives: United States

Are We Just Idiots Here In Georgia?

How is this good for people or the bulls?' photo from greatbullrun.com

How is this good for people or the bulls?’
photo from greatbullrun.com

I just heard on the news tonight that the Georgia Running of the Bulls is on this Saturday in Conyers.  I’m sickened.  Do these bulls look like they are having a good time?  What happens to the bull that gores an idiot who can’t run fast enough?

Who thinks this is a good idea to have these fake “running of the bulls” all over the US?  This event is being held where we had the Olympic events for crying out loud.  I’m disappointed in Georgia.

The Symbiotic Relationship of Pets and Their Humans

The gang's all here!

The gang’s all here!

Science offers us a lot of information on understanding the inner workings of your pets minds.  They are food motivated or they are toy motivated.  Modern cognitive psychology tells us that our companion pets don’t do anything just because.  As a pet parent I have anecdotal evidence that says sometimes that is bullwhackey.  Maybe there is some deep scientific reason my pack gathers around me and comforts me and takes care of me when I’m down but my evidence is that they have a deep unconditional love for me and know their job is to love and protect me.

Last night when I got home from a very stressful day — many petsitting/dogwalking jobs while trying to simultaneous juggle my full time IT Consultant job.  Yesterday my car became my home office.  Thank goodness it was a lovely day out as I sat on front porches watching the dogs play and talking on conference calls or had my headset on as I hiked with one of my wards or sat in the parking lot of shopping center to do my emails and work on my deliverables in between visits.  And then I got the call.

I’m currently working on a project that was supposed to be long-term, at least another couple of years to deploy in the US and with my husband freshly laid off from a failing start up company, this gig was perfect because I made enough money to sustain the family without Andy working so he could find the perfect job.  Plus the work was flexible enough that I could start Kritter Keepers and work my appointments in between meetings.  I have my own Mi-Fi so I literally can work out of my car — as long as I have access to the internet and telephone, I am golden.  And for those “All Day Deluxe” gigs I have, I get to spend time with the companion animals while still doing my job.  There have been many a conference call with a kitty purring away on my lap or a heavy-headed pup resting on my thigh while I conducted business.

The call yesterday gave me two weeks but as a consultant/contractor.  The bottom line is after October 31 I don’t have a full-time, well-paying job to support the family.  And my girls sensed immediately my depression when I came home yesterday afternoon.  Now, they are always excited when I get home because I am the center of their universe.  “The Daddy” as we refer to Andy is nice to have around and if “The Mommy” isn’t around then he will feed them and they always like that!  But The Mommy is the whole in their doggie doughnuts.  I rock their world and they rock mine! If they had apposable thumbs they would bring me chicken soup when i am sick but instead they rally the troops.

Last night was no different.  Each dog wanted to comfort me — sometimes all together and sometimes one-at-a-time.  But they were all gentle and loving and knew something was wrong.  The don’t force me to “talk about it” (boy do I hate talking about it!) and they don’t ask me for answers to questions I have no idea about.  They just let me go through my process of reconciling with the bad news or illness or whatever is going on in life.

The pictures I’ve included are not the most flattering of me but they are the reality of the bad times I was going through.  And for their support of me during the bad, I pledge to support them during their bad.  I pledge to hold them as they cross over Rainbow Bridge.  I pledge to comfort them and make them feel better when they are sick and hurt.  I pledge to always keep them as a part of my family.

My girls are not my surrogate children but they are my companions, my loves, my family.

Please ignore the bulbous pink butt but I have 102 degree temperature but they just wanted to help me feel better

Please ignore the bulbous pink butt but I have 102 degree temperature but they just wanted to help me feel better

What Every Pet Owner Should Know About Heartworms

Aedes albopictus - Tiger mosquito

Aedes albopictus – Tiger mosquito (Photo credit: Camponotus Vagus)

PollieRecently, the rescue I work with, Mostly Mutts, lost a beautiful Puggle we got about a month ago who was heartworm positive.  Pollie succumbed to the heartworm infestation.  For the time she was with us, she was well-loved by her foster family and I take comfort in that her last days were filled with a family that adored her.

Heartworm infections develop when pets become infected with parasites called Dirofilaria immitis that are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Dogs may be infected by a few or up to several hundred heartworms. More and more cats are similarly infected although usually by only a few worms. Heartworm infection often leads to severe lung disease, heart failure and can also damage other organs in the bodyl.

According to the American Heartworm Society, Adult female heartworms living in an infected dog or other host release their young, called microfilaria, into the bloodstream. Mosquitoes become infected by the microfilaria while taking a blood meal from these infected animals. During the next 10 to 14 days, microfilaria mature to the infective larval stage within the mosquito. When the mosquito then bites another dog, cat or susceptible animal, the infective larvae exit the mosquito’s mouth parts and are deposited onto the surface of the animal’s skin. The infective larvae can then actively enter the new host through the fresh bite wound.

Inside a new host, it takes a little more than six months for the infective larvae to mature into adult heartworms. Once mature, heartworms may live up to five to seven years, and because of their longevity, each mosquito season can lead to an increasing number of worms in our pets.  In the southern part of the United States and other sub-tropical climates, heartworm infestation is more common so having your pets, even indoor only pets, on heartworm preventative is crucial!

Pet owners should have their pets tested annually for heartworm as clinical signs of heartworm infection may not be easily visible.  However, pets heavily infected with heartworms or those with chronic disease often show prominent clinical signs such as a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure commonly recognized by an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen giving the pet the appearance of a “swollen belly.” Dogs infected with large numbers of heartworms can develop a sudden blockage of blood flow within the heart leading to a life threatening form of cardiovascular collapse called “caval syndrome.” Signs of caval syndrome include a sudden onset of labored breathing, pale gums and dark bloody or “coffee-colored” urine. Without prompt surgical removal of the heartworm blockage, few pets survive.


Since heartworms can take up to six months to mature, the recognized practice in treatment is a minimum of three months on a heartworm preventative to treat any prevent additional infectation prior to having the actual treatment to kill existing heartworms.  The treatment needs to kill the adult and immature worms. Currently, only one product is approved by the FDA for this purpose (Immiticide®- melarsomine hydrochloride). It is given by deep injection into muscle. A series of injections are given, either over a 24-hour period or two treatment periods, one month apart. While treatment may be administered on an outpatient basis, hospitalization for the procedure is often recommended.  Once the treatment has been given, it is very important that the animal not be active for six to eight weeks.

This treatment is very painful for the pet since the injection is made into the muscle.  When the dog is sent home, exercise should be limited to leash walking for the duration of the recovery period, which can last from one to two months. This decreases the risk of partial or complete blockage of blood flow through the lungs by dead worms.

This is a horrific condition that is completely preventable.  If you do not have your pets on a preventative today, please please please have them tested and put on one!  Don’t let them become another statistic like Pollie

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!

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?

Que bella faccia Sophia!

Who can't see their soul in those eyes?

Who can’t see their soul in those eyes?

On Saturdays you can usually find me at our local PetSmart taking pictures of the dogs available for adoptions through the rescue group I volunteer with, Mostly Mutts (www.mostlymutts.org).  One of the volunteers had just been to the Cobb County Animal Shelter and picked up several dogs including this small brindle beauty they named Sophia.  At the time, I had Rocky as my foster but I knew he was getting adopted that day.  Since I was about to go out of town I didn’t want to foster until I got back the following week.  My husband tolerates the fostering — he loves on the dogs once they are at my house — but I am the doer of all things doggy!

Since I have four girl dogs in my pack already, I usually sign up for the boy fosters but as I was on my way to pick up this little boy boxer mix pup, I got a text message that he was adopted.  When I got to the adoption event I asked who I should bring home for my foster and every volunteer said, “Oh take Sophia – she is so sweet!”  I remembered Sophia from last week’s intake and she was such an unusual looking dog.  She’s about 29 lbs and we think some sort of Greyhound mix or maybe whippet mix.  She’s had a bought of doggie bronchitis and a runny nose but we have her on some super antibiotics that are making her feel better every day.

I’ve had her almost a week now and she’s not had an accident in the house.  She hasn’t made a single noise — even with my pack of crazy barking hounds reaping havoc around her.  She is totally non-reactive to their nonsense.  I want to call her Bella because she is so beautiful plus since I have a Sophie, it is very difficult to work on her knowing her name if I’m calling to Sophie and not Sophia!

Yesterday we did a fashion shoot while she was lounging on the bed surrounded by toys (which she hasn’t played with).  Here are a few samples from her fashion book!

What do you do with these things?

What do you do with these things?

Do I wear them on my head?

Do I wear them on my head?

I like the fuzzy sweater!

I like the fuzzy sweater!

Now this is more like it!

Now this is more like it!

I'm ready for my close up!

I’m ready for my close up!