Comforting friend….

“It may be a cat, a bird, a ferret, or a guinea pig, but the chances are high that when someone close to you dies, a pet will be there to pick up the slack. Pets devour the loneliness. They give us purpose, responsibility, a reason for getting up in the morning, and a reason to look to the future. They ground us, help us escape the grief, make us laugh, and take full advantage of our weakness by exploiting our furniture, our beds, and our refrigerator. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Pets are our seat belts on the emotional roller coaster of life–they can be trusted, they keep us safe, and they sure do smooth out the ride.”
Nick Trout, Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon

Dominance

Not sure what is up with the male species, or at least in this case, my cat Simba. He is a neutered 10 year old Himalayan and has taken to “marking” the foyer by the front door.  The mailman used to slip my mail through the door slot. However, once I had Wendy, who would incessantly barked every time the mailman did this, I bought an outdoor mailbox to help curb the problem. It broke her barking however Simba took to pissing on the mail and he pretty much did this once I bought Wendy, and she would alert the household that the mail “was here.”

Now that’s she’s passed, and it’s been almost 5 months (and no I still cannot bear to look at her pictures or videos), Simba is still marking.

I am taking him to the vet today and pray a solution can be found. I DON’T want to give him up.  I’ve had this little guy since he was 2 months old.  All he knows is my family and Luna, our American long hair cat.  She is 13.  I think it’s cruel to transfer a pet to another household after they have adapted to a single one pretty much their entire life.  I don’t care what others say.  Animals WILL fall into a depression when separated from their families. There is documented evidence of dogs and cats trying to return to their former families because they cannot adjust to a new household.

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So, I’ll do whatever it takes to cease this behavior.  There are already 2 litter boxes, one for each cat. My house is not a loud boisterous one. I will also buy him some toys to play with and maybe the vet can give me some anti-anxiety pills to curb his stress.

When my husband was in Afghanistan that little cat was my constant companion, slept with me almost the entire time he was gone. He follows me everywhere pretty much like a dog.  I would sorely miss the furball if my hand is forced to give him up. If I do of course it would be with a Himalayan rescue group but I pray it doesn’t come to that. In the meantime, I am pinning all my hopes on this vet who might have a saving answer:

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Here is some useful info regarding marking behavior from the Humane Society:

More tips

  • Clean soiled areas thoroughly with a cleaner specifically designed to eliminate urine odor. Read more about removing pet odors and stains »
  • Make previously soiled areas inaccessible or unattractive.If this isn’t possible, try to change the significance of those areas to your pet. Feed, treat, and play with your pet in the areas where he marks.
  • Keep objects likely to cause marking out of reach.Items such as guests’ belongings and new purchases should be placed in a closet or cabinet.
  • Resolve conflicts between animals in your home. If you’ve added a new cat or new dogto your family, follow our tip sheets to help them live in harmony.
  • Restrict your dog’s access to doors and windowsso he can’t observe animals outside. If this isn’t possible, discourage the presence of other animals near your house.
  • Make friends.If your pet is marking in response to a new resident in your home (such as a roommate or spouse), have the new resident make friends with your pet by feeding, grooming, and playing with your pet. If you have a new baby, make sure good things happen to your pet when the baby is around.
  • Watch your dog when he is indoorsfor signs that he is thinking about urinating. When he begins to urinate, interrupt him with a loud noise and take him outside. If he urinates outside, praise him and give him a treat.
  • When you’re unable to watch him, confine your dog (a crateor small room where he has never marked) or tether him to you with a leash.
  • Have your dog obey at least one command(such as “sit”) before you give him dinner, put on his leash to go for a walk, or throw him a toy.
  • If your dog is marking out of anxiety, talk to your vet about medicating him with a short course of anti-anxiety medication.  This will calm him down and make behavior modification more effective.
  • Consult an animal behaviorist for help with resolving the marking issues.

What not to do

Don’t punish your pet after the fact. Punishment administered even a minute after the event is ineffective because your pet won’t understand why he is being punished.

If you come home and find that your dog has urinated on all kinds of things, just clean up the mess. Don’t take him over to the spots and yell and rub his nose in them. He won’t associate the punishment with something he may have done hours ago, leading to confusion and possibly fear.

SOURCE

One more day

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.”
Milan Kundera

Currently Wendy’s life/health is in the balance.  Her bloodwork shows the anemia unfortunately is returning.  We have another followup Friday, and am praying her counts remain steady. If not, then I will love that little dog as much as I can with the time she has left. 

Having to give her all these pills is a daunting task. Never did I once think….imagine I would be caring for a critically ill dog who still has more than half a lifespan to go.  She’s only 4 years old. She turned 4 in January. 

Unless you’re a dog owner, there is no way to describe the hurt I am feeling.  Dogs are the most loyal of all companions…they teach you how to live:

A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.”
John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog

Dog blood transfusion

My little fur baby is holding up well.  The blood transfusion, chemo, and steroids seem to be taking hold. However, with all that being said she has a very real possibility of rejecting the transfusion.  Blood work and x-rays were also done and there was no evidence of any prior diseases. She is a champion and I thank the anonymous owner from the bottom of this pet owner’s heart, whose dog is now helping  save my dog’s life.  I have been reading up on Wendy’s condition and also found some invaluable information for dog blood transfusions.

If you have a healthy pet please consider donating.  Your act of kindness will help other pets in need and may even help yours if that situation was ever to arise.

Below is some useful information you can read regarding the procedure:

Will my pet be unwell after a donation?
Donor animals should be checked by a veterinary surgeon that they are fit and healthy enough before making a blood donation, in which case the risks of donation are very small.

Will I be paid for my pet being a donor?
Traditionally, donations are made without payment although, sometimes, a gesture of goodwill may be offered by the veterinary practice taking the blood. This is not something DogBloodDonors.com or the Animal Blood Register can oversee and is a matter for the owner of the donor and the practice.

How might a transfusion be used?

Blood transfusions have many uses and can be critical, life-saving procedures. Blood loss through injury e.g. road traffic accidents or other causes of bleeding, such as rodenticide (warfarin) poisoning can lead to death or make any anesthesia to treat underlying damage very risky. In these circumstances, fresh whole blood can make all the difference! Sometimes, an animal’s immune system can attack its own red blood cells (immune-mediated haemolytic anemia), and blood transfusions are necessary to prevent fatal anemia whilst medical treatment is working.

As well as fresh blood, in some circumstances, whole blood can be stored for anticipated usage or even divided into component parts and stored e.g. fresh frozen plasma. In the latter case, one donation can help two or three patients!

Blood types and Cross-matching
Dogs like humans, have blood groups and can be blood typed. Ideally, donor and recipient should be type matched. As well as typing donor and recipient, cross-matches can be performed to confirm compatibility, and are recommended where the recipient has had a previous transfusion.

This test involves incubating donor and recipient serum and red blood cells and looking for a reaction outside of the body that indicates an increased risk of a reaction inside the body if the transfusion is given.

What is an ideal blood donor?
An ideal blood donor is a friendly, healthy, clinically normal animal that is not pregnant or has not produced a litter if an unspeyed bitch. Donors should be vaccinated (although not within 10-14 days before donation) and free of infections and parasites, especially blood borne disease.

How is blood obtained?
Blood can be collected in unsedated dogs if they are cooperative, which is often the case for those of an easy-going temperament. Collections can also be made from the sedated or anaesthetised animal if necessary.

Blood is usually taken into standard human blood bags or syringes that contain anti-coagulant. A large accessible vein is needed-this is typically in the neck or, sometimes, the cephalic vein on the front of the foreleg. The area is usually clipped and cleaned and aseptically prepared before insertion of the needle. After donation an area of swelling and bruising may be seen which should fade over a few days.

You may be interested in reading this description.

How much blood is taken?
A standard blood donation in the dog is 450ml (‘one canine unit’) and this can safely be obtained from a 25kg dog; smaller amounts may be obtained from smaller dogs.

How often can my pet give blood?
Repeated blood donations over a relatively short period of time can lead to anemia, and should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. For this reason, after a donation is made and recorded on our database, the donor will be blocked from being called via the registry for three months

(source)

My little fighter

Vet is determining whether my dog needs a blood transfusion or steroids. All because of those vaccinations.  HOW can someone not know a little dog cannot handle all those shots at once?  You would think an educated veterinarian would know. Needless to say I don’t plan on bringing her back there once she recovers.  My dog deserves a fighting chance and am going to give it to her:

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How Dogs Got Their Name

Author Unknown

When God had made the earth and sky, the flowers and the trees. He then made all the animals and all the birds and bees. And then His work was finished, and not one was quite the same He said I’ll walk this earth of mine and give each one a name. And so he traveled land and sea, and everywhere He went a little creature following him, until its strength was spent. When all were named upon the Earth, and in the sky and sea, A little creature said, Dear Lord, there’s not one left for me. The Father smiled and softly said, I’ve left you to the end, I’ve turned my own name back to front and called you “Dog” my friend.

Loyalty

Wendy

Wendy

How Dogs Got Their Name

Author Unknown

When God had made the earth and sky, the flowers and the trees.
He then made all the animals and all the birds and bees.

And then His work was finished, and not one was quite the same
He said I’ll walk this earth of mine and give each one a name.

And so he traveled land and sea, and everywhere He went
a little creature following him, until its strength was spent.

When all were named upon the Earth, and in the sky and sea,
A little creature said, Dear Lord, there’s not one left for me.

The Father smiled and softly said, I’ve left you to the end,
I’ve turned my own name back to front

and called you “Dog” my friend.

It’s another day at Wild Kingdom

Being a pet owner proves to be a challenge some days.

Simba

Case in point–my Cairn Terrier who is still “puppyish” has quite the energy, especially chasing my cats (poor babies).  She is forever after them. I swear I can see a glimpse of a mischievous smile while Simba (with a scowl) gives chase in order to get within reach for a good swipe with the claws.

(And I have to step in).

Right now all pets are behaving (including mom’s Scottish Terrier Lexy) while here on a visit.

There are days when I feel like WHY did I get these animals then I remember how much each one gives back to myself and my daughter in their unique way.

However….there are days I come home from work stressed or fatigued and my pets remind me of all that is innocent and good…yes they are a huge responsibility—-when you take on a pet you are responsible for their health and overall well-being.

When a person decides to bring an animal into their home they need to understand what is involved in keeping a pet. Sadly we all know there are people who mistreat animals in the most inhumane way. It appalls me to no end seeing animals abused in such heinous ways.

Wendy

It’s perplexing, at least to me, seeing a dog, cat, or other type of pet either starved to death, beaten, or tortured….I stopped watching certain shows on Animal Planet because of the anger and sadness I felt regarding the stories behind the abuse. Though I do know these stories are desperately in need of being told.

If you feel that you cannot give 100% to your pet, that their antics are more troublesome to deal with than to try to teach discipline; then at the very least give it to a no-kill shelter or try to find a good home for them. They didn’t ask to be brought into your home. YOU are the responsible party.

When I brought Wendy home from the shelter I knew what I was getting into.  Dogs are vastly different than caring for cats. Cats pretty much for the most part are quite self-sufficient as long as you provide adequate food and water along with a clean litterbox.  Dogs…well, they are completely dependent on you (especially indoor ones) for their care.  I have seen families who tie up their dogs outside (where the animal primarily lives) and wonder about the quality of life.  Are these pets receiving adequate attention or are they, as I have also seen, mostly left to their own devices with no external stimulation?

All I can say for myself is that I try to be the best “mom” for my pets and give them a good life.

Luna

The Miracle of Pets

It is a known fact that pets can help their owner in so many ways:

  • Emotional bonding
  • Eases depression
  • Reduces stress
  • Staves off loneliness

I think the reason our pets are very popular here in the US is that they don’t pre-judge us. There’s that unconditional love which comes from loving Fido.

Those of us who suffer from chronic pain (such as fibromyalgia or arthritis) our pets truly are a godsend gift.  Sometimes there are those bad days when the pain is emotionally difficult to deal with.  I have noticed when I interact with my pets (i.e. playing with them or petting) the pain dissipates.  Why? I have no idea but I simply reap the rewards.

This newsletter shares stories from various pet owners of how their four legged family members have eased their pain in more ways than one and will share one heartfelt recount:

I have a mixed breed rescue dog, Baron, who has been my life saver on days of pain and depression. With the many symptoms of Fibromyalgia, he just seems to know when I am at my worst. I am one of those, who suffer the debilitating pain. When I am at my lowest Baron senses it and seems to need less from me; Less walks, less potty breaks, less playfulness.


Recently in a very bad flare-up, I was crying for days. Id had a bad holiday and nothing could snap me out of my depression and weepies. My meds were increased, I was sleeping more, had no appetite, and nothing helped me shake off my depression. Baron would come into my room and sit and wait for my invitation to hop onto our bed. Some days, I just didn’t care. He would lie patiently on the floor next to the bed.


One day in particular, my legs were giving me a harsh time with muscle spasms. Baron sensed it from my frequent yelps of painful stabbing pain. Finally, he jumped onto the bed and laid down right beside me, contorting his body so, that he straddled my legs. The warmth of his body against my legs seem to soothe them. Eventually, my pain decreased. He laid in bed with me all day, as I watched movies and slept. He never left my side. Baron, I think is my guardian angel. I am forever grateful that by rescuing him, maybe, I was rescuing myself!
Shelley Echtle