From the Frozen Hinterland …

… comes a warm and loving heart all wrapped up in a happy boy by the name of Toby!

Toby
Toby

So here’s the deal … Toby is located in Minnesota, around the Twin Cities area.  The local specialty club up there —  Twin Cities Lhasa Apso Club  (TCLAC) — was approached by a vet clinic to take him on when his family couldn’t cover treatment costs for a fractured leg.  The club found a foster home, paid for his extensive treatment and now he’s ready to find a new family.

Toby is a three-year old neutered male, weighing 14-15 pounds.  More information about Toby can be found at this link:  http://www.twincitieslhasaapsoclub.org/#!adoption.  I was told by one of the club members that he’s a great little dog with no negatives … and that if she didn’t have a houseful of dogs, she’d keep him.  That’s saying quite a lot, folks!

If you have questions about Toby, the adoption process or anything else, TCLAC can be contacted at:  TCLAC2@gmail.com.  I suspect they’ll want to keep his adoption fairly “local” so keep that in mind if you’re not in the area by a 300-mile radius.

Let’s help Toby find his forever home to start out the New Year!

Musings for the New Year …

Tanqueray & Tonic in hand, I wander back to the computer this snowy, cold day.  Granted not really either when compared to friends in Minnesota or Canada but, certainly cold/snowy enough.  A trip to the computer also serves as an excuse to get away from the football blaring from the TV in the front room.  A sometimes fan, today isn’t the day.   A pan of brownies is cooking in the oven to go along with the pork tenderloin, steamed broccoli and stuffing to be fixed later for dinner.  It’s been a reading-by-the-fireplace and dog weekend … Teller got brushed/bathed/trimmed Saturday; Frankers and Dante were brushed out today in anticipation of a trip to the groomer sometime in the coming week.  Hopefully when it’s warmer as I always feel bad when they have a spiffy new short ‘do and then the temps drop and the snow flies.

The time since my last posting has been hectic, to say the least.  A major surgery the third week of November, trying to keep Teller mat free during my recovery with him having a major coat blow and then getting ready for Christmas was, ummm, interesting.  Hubby informed me the surgery was karma for taking so many fosters in to get spayed … I say it was good karma for warding off some more-than-likely major problems in the future.  The three weeks off work has been dubbed my “spaycation” … hmmph, some vacation!

For the second year in a row, one of our adoptive families (Judy and Magoo) made a Christmas donation to rescue.  The only “condition” was that I write a letter to her great-granddaughter telling her what it meant to rescue and how it was used.  The back story … Judy had inquired of her grandson what the baby could use for Christmas.  He replied that the baby had more than she could possibly use and that if Great-Grandma wanted to do something, make a donation and then explain what that donation meant to the receiving organization.  The letters would be kept and read to the child when she was of an age to understand giving and sharing.  Kudos to these parents for instilling empathy and compassion early on in this child’s life … and thanks to Judy for including rescue in her holiday charity.

Best buds ... Sammy & Budha
Best buds … Sammy & Budha

We also heard over the holidays that Bubba (n/k/a Max) was doing fine and that Sammy’s family (f/k/a Wrigley) added a new Tzu named Budha.  Little red Tess in Golden continues to do well and pretty much rules the roost at that house.

Senghe … adopted in 2007 and n/k/a “Peanut” … continues to do well in his new home even with some major changes.  Here’s what his Mom has to say …

I thought you’d like to see Peanut’s big transformation today!  We had been growing him out and while he looked so adorable with his topknot (I took it out for the before photo for dramatic impression), it was obvious he is much happier with his close puppy cut.  As evidence of that he has been a complete ball of happy energy ever since I picked him up from the groomer this afternoon.  He even gets to wear his sweaters which he absolutely loves – weird, huh?  He will follow you all over the place if you have one of his sweaters in your hand and will hound you (no pun intended) until you put it on him.  He wasn’t able to wear them with his longer hair since they had a tendency to mat him up and he really hated the unmatting process!!  He also wasn’t real fond of the topknot so that was a constant battle.  Oh, well, now he will just look like a puppy all the time!

Senghe n/k/a Peanut
Senghe n/k/a Peanut

We got married this summer … Peanut absolutely loves his new dad and pretty much ignores me when Christopher is home Christopher has been awesome for him too – he is very structured and does not let that little darling get away with anything.  Peanut is his first ever dog so I’m quite surprised at his ability to handle him – I’m sure you remember that Peanut is quite the strong willed little thing.  I think Michelle would be shocked and amazed at the different little man Peanut is now.  He has learned so many new commands of which the most amazing is wait.  He will wait for quite a while even with a treat right in front of him on the floor and he waits for his dinner quietly until you tell him he can go eat.  Another cute thing he has started doing all on his own is to put himself away.  He is way too curious for his own good so he has to go into his kennel when we leave the house.  We used to tell him “kennel” and he would go in and sit down.  Now…all I have to do is grab my purse and he runs to his kennel.  I think the treat he gets when the door closes has a lot to do with it!  It is awful cute though – although sometimes I am just grabbing my purse to get something out of it and then you have to convince him you aren’t going anywhere.

Unfortunately, our little ones age right along with us and I got word that Oscar lost his battle with Cushings.  He was such a nice foster with a sweet, sweet face!  I know he is greatly missed by his family.

On the home front, Teller is being shown on a limited basis … and probably even more limited (read that “not”) until his side coat gets longer :::sigh:::.   Dante sired a litter here in Colorado in August and his two daughters (BeBe and Lily) will hit the ring sometime this spring.  Frankers is, well, Frankers and at 13.5-years old, he’s entitled to his off days.  He’s still pretty spry, all things considered, and we’ve had really good results using Dog Gone Pain (DGP) as recommended by my vet.  Definitely something to consider if you have older dogs with arthritis issues.  And while we’re on the issue of older dogs, studies have shown that it is easier to prevent joint problems than fix them after they develop.  For this reason, I start my dogs on glucosamine/chondroitin once they turn 7-years old.  We’ve had really good luck with Glyco-Flex II, a half caplet every Mon-Wed-Fri.   Don’t be put off by the price … a 90-caplet bottle will last you a year+ on a Mon-Wed-Fri schedule.  And, yes, Frankers gets the Glyco-Flex as well as the DGP.  He injured an SI joint several years ago chasing squirrels and this regimen keeps him both comfortable and mobile.

Wishing everyone the best of the coming year!  May the snows fall lightly on your winter … and may you always find a heartbeat at your feet …

Home at Last …

Our recent foster, Mia, went to her new home last weekend.  And got a new name in the process … Abbey Roze.  She’s already settled in like she’s lived there her whole life.  I’m certain she’s enjoying the one-on-one attention with her new family.  A very lucky dog, Abbey will get to go to work with her new mom (if it sounds like I’m jealous, I am!!!).

Mia/Abbey’s journey to rescue was a bit unusual.  She was found wandering in Aurora, CO.  The family who found her managed to locate her owners and she was returned with many comments on “what a nice dog and how well behaved.”  Five days later, the original owners brought her back and asked the finding family if they’d like to keep her as the original family had little time for her.  While with the new family, there was a change in circumstances with their daughter and grandson moving back home with their own pets.  Simply put, it was too much for the family to absorb/manage and they contacted us.

Arrangements were made and Mia/Abbey was picked up by our foster family (Neil and John) and transported to Loveland to keep her from being placed with a puppy broker in a kennel facility.  Big thanks going to Neil and John for making the trip when I couldn’t!  That was September 11th … Colorado’s flood would start that evening with torrential downpours which stranded John and Neil in the Big Thompson Canyon.  Talk about getting her in under the wire … or water as the case may be!

Mia & Family  11-02-13Mia/Abbey had an uneventful stay in rescue and a quick recovery from the spay.  Well behaved, she got along with all the dogs in the house and perfected her house training and crate training while in foster care.  Meet Abbey’s new family … congrats to Pat and James on the new addition to the household.  We wish you “Lhasa” happy and healthy years together!

Mid October saw Teller and I at the American Lhasa Apso Club’s National Specialty in Sacramento, CA.  A week of shows, activities, seminars, the annual Board Meeting and the annual General Meeting makes for a “working” vacation.  While we didn’t get any points in the ring, our showmanship (and Teller’s behavior) improved each day … a “win” in and of itself.  Some days/shows, it’s the little things that count the most.

Survivor …

Highway 34, scoured to bedrock
Highway 34, scoured to bedrock

September saw Colorado in the midst of historic flooding.  The images are hard to digest with deaths and massive destruction in the wake of five straight days of torrential rain.  Many places — Loveland included — saw record amounts in 24-hour measurements and in total.  Some experts are calling this a 500- or 1000-year event.  Just west of town, the Big Thompson River carved a new path down the Big Thompson Canyon and destroyed or scoured Highway 34 to bedrock.  Low lying areas many, many miles east of the mouth of the canyon were flooded as well.  Even eastern Nebraska braced for flooding as the river continued its journey.

Andy … our puppy mill survivor … is now a flood survivor as well.  He was being fostered in a home up the Big Thompson Canyon when the rains started.  Luckily, the home is on high ground south of the river and sustained no damage.  The bridge across the river to the small community, however, didn’t fare so well.  By late Wednesday night, it was impassable and then simply sunk into the river.  Which effectively left our foster home stranded with no electricity or cell phone coverage.  With the loss of the bridge across the river as well as the road through the canyon, the only way out was to hike out and meet up with National Guard for transport to Loveland.  Imagine going through your house trying to figure out what to pack, knowing you’ll most likely be gone for a minimum of nine months (takes a while to build a road and replace bridges).  And it all had to fit in a backpack or suitcase.  Oh, and don’t forget you’re hiking out with three dogs.  Three small dogs.  Three small dogs who, at different times during the trek, needed to be put in a backpack to continue and which included a river crossing.  And one of those dogs a puppy mill survivor who was just now bonding with his foster family and learning to trust them.

Flooded Bridge

I’m advised that Andy did fantastic on the hike out … which is remarkable given what he was like when he arrived in rescue.  The long-term product of a puppy mill, he had never been socialized and manifested major trust issues to the point of not allowing someone to touch him.  To quote a friend, “What an incredible leap of faith … from puppy mill to loving foster home to flood on the Big Thompson to a hike out in rugged mountain conditions.”  Once again, the resilience of the canine never ceases to amaze me.

Now staying with relatives in the metro Denver area, the future is a bit uncertain for John, Neil and the dogs, Ollie, Trey and Andy.  Imagine having a home and vehicle and not being able to get access to any of it until next spring.  And that’s only if the road up the canyon has been rebuilt within that time frame.  Imagine trying to make a mortgage payment and a rent payment.  Imagine living with only what you’ve been able to pack out.  One day you’re watching the rain come down from the comfort of your home and the next day … one is basically homeless.

All except for Andy.  Andy has found a new home.  During a conversation with John who was updating me about what was going on, he slipped a fast one in.  “We want to adopt Andy.”  Not quite believing what I’d just heard, I said, “Come again??”  “We want to adopt Andy … but we know our situation may not be the most stable and therefore not an approved home for adoption.”  A bit of a surprise to me as I had just recently asked them if Andy needed to come back to Loveland to be fostered given everything they were dealing with!

Andy ... "home" at last
Andy … “home” at last

“Where” is immaterial to Andy as it is not the walls that surround us that make a “home.”  His home is where he has come to his full potential, found love and formed a bond.  Home is where he is loved … and loves in return.  To John and Neil … my undying thanks for taking Andy into your home as a foster.  And then going one step further by taking him into your hearts.  While I may have lost a foster home, Andy has found the greatest gift of all … a family to call his own.

Farewell, old friend …

… hard to believe you’ve graced our lives for double the time of an “average” marriage.  And what a “marriage” we’ve had all these years!!  Typical independent feline … a clown in a cat suit … teacher for the Apsos and foster dogs.  At 16.5-years old, you’ve had a long healthy run and for that we’re grateful.

Dementia and chronic kidney failure now claim these fleeting last hours.  I can see in your face and movements that the day no longer holds any comfort for you.  Sleep well, my beloved companion.  May your journey be swift, your memories bittersweet solace …

Boogins 1997 ~ 2013
Boogins
1997 ~ 2013

Partnering Locally …

From time to time, we work with the local humane society — Larimer Humane Society — taking in dogs that need more attention that can be provided in a shelter setting.  Nice plug for ALAC Rescue and the ever-important foster homes that take these little one in!!  Today’s article in the Loveland Reporter-Herald

Larimer Humane Society creates its own ‘animal network’

By Shelley Widhalm Reporter-Herald Staff Writer

Humane Society partners with 110 welfare organizations to foster, place animals

Saving animals isn’t a job the Larimer Humane Society does alone.

The Fort Collins-based nonprofit partners with 110 shelters and rescue groups across the state to find permanent homes for adoptable pets that the shelter doesn’t have the staff or space to handle.

The shelter contacts animal welfare organizations to inquire about transferring out animals that have behavioral, socialization or medical problems the shelter cannot address, determined on a case-by-case basis.

“Most outgoing transfers are due to lack of space to provide behavior modification training,” said Stephanie Ashley, community relations manager for the Humane Society.

Animals entering the shelter undergo medical and behavioral evaluations to determine if they can be treated and placed into a shelter environment.

The shelter partners with the Colorado State University Teaching Hospital and other veterinarians to provide some of the medical treatment requiring deeper diagnostics that cannot be done in-house — the shelter is overcrowded at 11,000 square feet and hopes to expand its services once it can relocate to a larger facility.

Foster Care

The shelter places animals that are underage, ill, injured or under-socialized into foster care through a network of 96 foster homes to transition them into a permanent or “forever” home.

“Once they’re stable, because our shelter is so small, we can’t house dogs (and other animals) during their entire recovery time period,” said Bob Francella, director of development and community relations, adding that the animals may need a quiet place to heal that a noisy shelter can’t provide.

If an animal cannot be placed into foster care, the shelter staff contacts animal welfare organizations that can take on the animal, working out the logistics of transfer. If other organizations face overcrowding, the Humane Society also will work with them to transfer in and house some of their animals.

“I think it’s great we in Colorado have a pretty good network,” said Alexina Thompson, foster and transfer coordinator for the Humane Society. “It allows us to give animals a second chance.”

The shelter’s foster network cannot take in animals with severe behavioral issues, such as extreme aggression toward other dogs or people and animals afraid of new people and situations. Medical issues include cancer, hypothyroidism and allergies.

Breed-specific rescues have more connections handling certain medical problems specific to their breeds.

Rescue Groups

The shelter’s primary relationships are with two Fort Collins-based animal welfare organizations, the Fort Collins Cat Rescue & Spay/Neuter Clinic and Animal House Rescue & Grooming.

In 2012, the Cat Rescue & Spay/Neuter Clinic worked with nine agencies, including the Larimer Humane Society, in four states to transfer in 200 cats and kittens to ease overcrowding elsewhere and to handle the animals’ medical or behavioral issues. The rescue handles an average of 1,000 cats and kittens a year, including owner surrenders and transfers.

The rescue has a shelter that can house 35 cats and works with 60 foster homes, primarily in the Fort Collins and Loveland areas. The foster homes handle 60 percent of the rescue’s intakes.

“In order to rescue more, we have to put them off-site in foster homes,” said Ashley Boothe, marketing and grants coordinator for the rescue. “It’s a shelter without walls. We expand the shelter beyond walls into homes.”

The Rocky Mountain Collie and Sheltie Rescue, which doesn’t have a centralized location, places animals into foster care statewide at an average of 150 dogs a year, working with two dozen foster homes.

The rescue takes in owner surrenders and animals from other organizations and covers the cost of rehabilitation and medical care.

“We just have a spot in our heart for collies and shelties,” said Mac McMullen, who heads up the rescue and lives in Parker. “We do whatever we can to help out.”

Most of the fosters coming to the American Lhasa Apso Club are owner surrenders, said Vickie Kuhlmann, state and regional rescue coordinator, adding that she works with the Larimer Humane Society and shelters in Denver to handle transfers.

“Lhasa Apsos don’t do well in shelter situations,” Kuhlmann said. “They need structure and calm, but they aren’t going to get that in a shelter.”

Breed-specific rescues add to what shelters can provide, Kuhlmann said.  “The fact there are breed-specific rescues out there gives (shelters) more options to place a dog,” she said.

For the Apso Afficionado …

… there’s nothing cuter than a passel of puppies!!  And these are about as cute as they come.  Please meet the newest little Canadians (l to r):  Harvey, Vinny, Gossip, Scandal and Flirt.

Harvey, Vinny, Gossip, Scandal and Flirt

Have a Heart …

… literally!  A beef heart, to be exact.  Besides work and rescue activities, I’m also in conformation training with the puppy, Teller.  Well, not so much a puppy anymore as he’s now 14-months old but I suspect he’ll be known as “the puppy” around our house for quite some time to come.  Getting — and keeping — his attention at class can be hit or miss depending on what’s going on and how many dogs are in attendance.   While he’s greatly improved in the past month, it’s time to step our game up.  With a recipe for microwaved braunschweiger (thanks, Deb!) and the most recent find … baked beef heart … we have his mostly-undivided attention.

After several phone calls to the meat department at King Soopers, the two half beef hearts arrived in vacuum-sealed packages.  Not a stranger to the meat industry, opening the first package brought back a flood of memories … on smell alone.  I have a twin brother and every summer my father, a commercial meat salesman, would take one of “the twins” on his three-day out-of-state sales route.  More than just time spent with Dad, it was a break for my Mom who apparently didn’t want to listen to the twins bickering and/or whining all summer.  So, for years, part of my summer was spent being schlepped from grocery store to butcher shop to meat market.  The smell of fresh meat is unmistakable and, in my case, unforgettable.  Know how to cook kidneys?  Boil the piss out of ’em!!  Haha … sorry, inside joke.

With recipe in hand and a two-pound chunk of beef heart oozing blood on the cutting board, I put aside my disdain for the organ meats.  Or anything that even remotely resembles organ or “offal” meat (a totally appropriate name in my book), i.e., heart, kidney, liver, tongue, tripe, etc., etc.  Supposedly, beef heart is making a culinary comeback but I’m not buying — or biting — into that trend.

First step is to slice the heart into 1/8″ slabs.  Easier said than done as the heart wants to roll with each slice, leaving a much Heart on cutting boardthicker piece than what’s needed for even baking.  I quickly figure out that squeezing and compressing the heart while slicing results in thin, uniform slabs.  Dad would have been proud … and prouder still that my knives are always razor sharp and made quick work of the slicing.  Know the most dangerous utensil in the kitchen?  A dull knife.  If nothing else, I did learn proper knife use and care while on the perimeter of the meat industry.

Lay the slices on cookies sheets lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with crushed rosemary and a little garlic powder.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes (325 if using a convection oven).  About half way through baking, dab with paper towels to remove excess liquid.  At 35 minutes, I removed the cookie sheets from the oven (now turned off), turned the slices over, dabbed again with paper towels and put back in the now-cooling oven for another 10 minutes or so.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  When cool, slice into very small cubes and package for freezing.  During the baking/dabbing process, Teller got a bite.  Evidently it was pretty good as he kept going back over to the oven door and looking in at the still-baking treats after that bite.  Once completely cooled and cubed, I kept some out for this week’s training treats and stored the rest, about three cups worth.  For storage, I opted for freezing and used the FoodSaver with the wide-mouth jar accessory to seal in pint jars.  Vacuum sealed, the treats will stay fresh longer and won’t form ice crystals.

Now the answer to the question that’s sure to be on your mind … does it smell??  Yes, but not nearly as obnoxious as liver that’s being cooked (I’m *very* aware of cooking and dog odors in the house).  The odor dissipated fairly quickly once I opened the house up to air out.  Given the first run, I will make this again but with more rosemary added and the house windows open at the start.  At some point, I’m going to try the dehydrator so (1) it doesn’t have to be under refrigeration at all times and (2) so I can set it up in the garage for volume production.

In any event, the homemade treats are definitely a hit with my four-legged crew!!  Hubby … not so much  lol.

UPDATE:  Hold the rosemary!!  Evidently there is a connection between rosemary and seizures in dogs.  Guess I’ll be using parsley next time around.

Ready for freezing
FoodSaver w/wide-mouth jar attachment
Top – braunschweiger treats; bottom – baked beef heart

Broken …

Tess

Unknown to most of my readers, I took in two puppy mill survivors who were adopted by a family from a local  shelter (“local” being a relative term here in the West).  Unfortunately, the family was in a serious automobile collision necessitating emergency back surgery.  Because of this … and the fact they lived in a second story apartment … they were no longer able to care for the dogs and get them in/outside.

Unlike our first mill survivors (MaeMae and McKenzie) who came to us at less than two-years of age, Andy (5) and Tess (6) had spent many years in the mill.  They both bolt from their crates when the door is opened, like it’s on fire.  To my knowledge, the only time Tess was handled (if one can even use that term) was when the miller reached into her cage, grabbing whatever body part he/she could to pull her out and then remove her puppies.  Given that’s the only contact Tess had with humans, her behavior was like a wild, cornered animal.  If one managed to get her picked up (and in the process sustaining long scratch wounds from her nails), she emotionally shut down.  Her fear of handling by humans so great that she defecates on the spot, physically shutting down as her heart races and her eyes lose focus.

Separation from other dogs causes anxiety as well.  She’s climbed a 24-inch exercise pen, a 30-inch exercise pen and a 27-inch baby gate.  Contained in a crate, she managed to break a lower canine chewing at the door.  Any anxiety causes her to soil her crate.  Short of putting her in a 2×3 or 3×3-foot pen with a secure lid on it, there is no other way to contain her.  Certainly that’s doable but then she’d be removed from the other dogs as space is an issue.  Putting her in with one of my dogs doesn’t work because they get upset with her behavior.

That someone could do this to a dog — solely for for profit — just infuriates me.  And it greatly saddens me because Tess could have been a sweet dog given even the littlest bit of handling and socialization.

When I first became involved in rescue, my mentor shared the following:  “Some dogs are so damaged they can’t be fixed … some dogs are so badly damaged they shouldn’t be fixed.”  After several consultations with my vet (who does rescue herself), a trainer, use of an anti-anxiety drug and a course of Rescue Remedy, we came to the conclusion that her psyche is so damaged she will never accept handling.  Her fear is so great that she is miserable, living on the fringes and scurrying away from humans.  I also had to accept the fact that if I … an experienced rescuer and dog owner of some 28+ years … could not handle/manage her behaviors, then she was not, by any definition of the word, adoptable.

I have cried over no less than seven dogs on the euthansia table in my lifetime.  Some my beloved, long-time companions; others, badly-damaged fosters, victims of circumstance or greed.  It never gets any easier even when we know it is the right thing.  Godspeed Tess … I hope you can, at last, find the joy that eluded you here on earth.

The next time you see a cute puppy in a pet store, remember Tess.  Remember what was done to her, all in the name of profit.  Remember that she wanted to be a good dog but didn’t have even the basic skills to interact with humans.  Remember that there are thousands and thousands more like her, living in misery in the mills.  So broken that they can’t be fixed by anyone.  Remember.

Andy is one of the lucky ones … he’s making weekly progress, is learning to interact with humans and to play with his canine housemates.  My deep thanks to John and Neil who said “yes” and took on the challenge.

Catching Up …

It’s been a bit hectic since the last posting so we’ll just jump in here and get started.  Spring has been late coming to Colorado.  Really, really late.  We had four straight weeks in April where a snow storm rolled through and dumped significant amounts of snow on Loveland (we got 30″ in April alone).  While we desperately need the water, a nice warm, soaking rain would have been a welcome change.  Forget about any of my spring bulbs blooming as the single-digit temps and snow took most of them out.  As hope springs eternal, the long-range forecast doesn’t show snow or freezing temps so we geared up and got most of the annuals planted in the big pots scattered throughout the yard and the fountains up and running.  A few more annuals to find and we’ll officially be open for summer!

ApsoRescueColorado was the recipient of a nice donation thanks to Katie Culkins of K.C.’s Grooming in Windsor, Colorado (Katie is a National Certified Master Groomer and has owned her shop for 25 years now).  She was an entrant in an international online grooming contest as sponsored by Animology of the UK.  Lucky for us, her submission of Toby’s new hairdo won the contest and a donation was made to us by Animology.  Thank you Katie and Group 55/Animology!! 

If you’re out and about this weekend, please come visit the rescue booth which will be set up at Loveland’s 2013 Paws on the Promenade at The Promenade Shops at Centerra.  If the weatherman can be believed, it appears we’ll have a typical Colorado spring day (i.e., wait ten minutes and the weather will change) to celebrate our four-legged companions! 

2013 Paws on the Promenade

All That Remains …

Sweet Sophie
Sweet Sophie

Friends recently had to said goodbye to their 16-year old terrier mix, Sophie.  A delightful little sprite, she had a good long life with her owners and the two Apsos in the household.  As is so often the case with elderly dogs, quality of life became the deciding factor.  Difficult as it is, we owners are called upon to take their pain and make it our own, giving them release from a body and/or mind shuttered with age and disease.

In my many decades as pet owner and rescuer, I have been at that crossroads seven times now.  While it does not get any easier, each passing has given me a deeper experience base from which  to call upon when the next time comes around.  And there is always a “next time” for those of us who choose to share our lives with four-legged companions.  Over the years, I have learned to set aside my grief and look objectively at what is best for the animal, whether treatment should or should not continue, and how any of it will change the outcome and to what degree.  Are they here because they find enough interest in each day to carry on … or is it because I, in my gathering grief, can not let go?  Sometimes, the hardest part of letting go is seeing beyond what the heart feels.

During email conversations with Sophie’s mom, the subject came up of what to do with the remains of our companions.  A profoundly personal choice with no “right” or “wrong” answers, there are a myriad of choices available now.  Options that were not available in the late ’80s when faced with my first euthanasia!  My beloved cat — Bear — was brought home, wrapped in a blue towel and buried in a corner of our large yard (a practice not allowed now in many communities).  A divorce not too long afterwards precipitated a move back to my home state of Colorado and it has always saddened me that my old Bear was left behind.  With that experience imprinted, my first Apso, Brittany, was cremated and returned to me in a little floral box.  I’ve toyed with the idea of “planting” her in the yard with a spectacular specimen of some sort — high on the list at this moment is a yellow magnolia tree.  Then the nagging questions set in, i.e., what if we move away?  (And we will eventually move away, even if it is only on a gurney out the front door.)  What if the plant dies and we have to dig it up and send it on?  So, there she sits, on my bookcase with her collar and tags laid across the top.

After the death of my parents along with a major clean out of their house and 50 years’ worth of accumulated items, hubby and I embarked on a major decluttering of our own home.  While dusting the bookcase one day, I began to think about how many boxes of ashes I’d eventually end up collecting … and why leave them for my niece to dispense with when our time has run.  With four geriatric animals in the house at that point and Locketscertainly more in the future, I made the decision to let go of the ashes to come.  When we lost Ali in 2011, she was cremated and then scattered at a pet cemetery in Northern Colorado … a quiet place with a stunning view of the Front Range of Colorado.

In all honesty, I did not let her go completely.  Starting with Ali, all my dogs have been in full coat at some point.  Just before being clipped down, I take a lock of the full coat starting at the top of the shoulder … a visual and tangible reminder of the life we shared when they are gone.  These lockets now hang in the grooming room, a collage of sorts with fired clay name tags from another friend.  Hubby has compared them to the shrunken heads one might find in a voodoo shack.  But, in the same breath, I’ve also seen him reach up and gently rub the red braid between his fingers.  A connection across the years and a whisper from the Bridge … all that remains.

SPECIAL ALERT … NEW TOXIN!!

PoisonThis new super poison has allegedly killed one of the Westminster competition dogs, a Samoyed. Please be aware that two possible events occurred: (1) The dog found it in a motel room or (2) someone poisoned the dog at the dog show. For those of you that travel with your pets and kids … this is a very serious implication.

New Rodenticide Without Antidote Alarms Pet Toxicology Experts

2008 EPA Regulations May Have Unintended But Dangerous Consequences.

Jan 29, 2013 ~~ Julie Scheidegger DVM NEWSMAGAZINE

Fluffy got into the rat poison in the garage? Get the Vitamin K! Not so fast, warns Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, a diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology and assistant director of veterinary services for Pet Poison Helpline. The ingested substance may be bromethalin, the new toxin of choice for rodenticide manufacturers. There is no test save necropsy to detect its presence–and no antidote. Why are manufacturers switching to bromethalin? Because in 2008 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a decision prohibiting the use of second-generation or long-acting anticoagulants in residential settings.

Manufacturers became compliant with these new regulations in 2011, with many using bromethalin instead of anticoagulants in their products. Brutlag says the EPA’s changes–designed to make rodenticide safer for children, pets and wildlife–may actually make diagnosing and treating rodenticide poisoning more difficult, thereby increasing the risk of harm. “We feel like it was well-intentioned but we’ve ended up with some really frightening consequences,” Brutlag says. “With anticoagulants at least we know there is a very effective test and there’s an antidote.” Bromethalin is a neurotoxin that affects mitochondria in the brain and liver.

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, it results in decreased ATP production, which affects sodium and potassium pumps; as a result, lipid peroxidation occurs, resulting in sodium accumulation within the cell. Edema of the central nervous system (CNS) may result. The rapid onset of bromethalin poisoning leaves veterinarians little time for error. “The symptoms come on faster and it’s harder to treat,” Brutlag says. With anticoagulant poisoning, veterinarians had three to five days before bleeding began–maybe a week before death. But with bromethalin, clinical signs associated CNS edema may be seen within two to 24 hours. Once the animal starts showing neurological signs–CNS stimulation or depression, abnormal behavior, ataxia, hyperesthesia, seizures, coma–successful treatment becomes more difficult and more expensive. An animal may have only a couple of days before succumbing.

Even in successful cases, Brutlag says treatment requires more emergency care and hospitalization. “Since there’s no antidote, decontamination is the most important intervention,” Brutlag says. But she worries that not enough veterinarians are familiar with how to decontaminate bromethalin exposure. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the median lethal dose (LD50) of bromethalin for dogs is 2.38-3.65 mg/kg, with a minimum lethal dose of 2.5 mg/kg. Cats are more sensitive, with a significantly lower LD50 of 0.54 mg/kg. Severity is dose-dependent, but if the poisoning is discovered within 10 to 15 minutes of ingestion, it’s safe to induce emesis at home, Brutlag says. After that small window, induction of emesis should take place at a veterinary clinic where the animal can be monitored for acute onset of CNS signs and be given multiple doses of activated charcoal–four to six doses over 24 hours. “Should clinical signs arise, patients are treated with standard measures to reduce cerebral edema including IV fluids, mannitol, etc.,” Brutlag wrote in an impact statement for the EPA. Prognosis is poor for patients exhibiting persistent seizures or paralytic syndrome.

The negative impact on pets from bromethalin poisoning has Brutlag and others wishing for pre-regulation standards. In fact, manufacturers of the rodenticide brand d-Con have refused to comply with the new EPA standards, continuing to use an anticoagulant as its active ingredient. “Even though it’s a potent anticoagulant, at least it’s an anticoagulant,” Brutlag says. The Poison Pet Helpline and d-Con both cite the dangers of using a toxin with no known antidote as reason for the EPA to revisit the 2008 regulation standards. Brutlag concedes that it may be difficult to return to pre-regulation standards now that bromethalin products are on the market. For her, the best solution may be to simply educate pet owners and veterinarians. She travels the country giving lectures on the dangers of rodenticide poisonings–most recently at the North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando, Fla. She says most veterinarians don’t know about the EPA’s regulations and the change in active ingredients. “They’re shocked and concerned,” she says. “Being able to inform veterinarians that this change has occurred is crucial.”

2013 Rocky Mountain Cluster Judging Program

BIS-RibbonAs promised, here’s the link to the Judging Program … looks like Apsos are in Ring 6 on the lower level all four days.  Judging starts at the listed times on all but Friday; Apsos are judged after 18 Poodles and 11 Schipperkes so it will be closer to 2:00 p.m.  Come on out for a great day filled with all things dog!

Show Time!!

Tibetan Apsos at Show ...
Tibetan Apsos at Show …

This is unabashedly a repeat of last year’s post (and the year before, et al )  … the same information holds true for 2013!

Once again, we’re gearing up for the largest dog show in Colorado … The Rocky Mountain Cluster to be held February 15-18 in the Hall of Education at the National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt in Denver. The Premium List, which contains information on the show, parking, maps and entry, can be found here … Premium List.  The actual times for judging and the ring numbers are not disseminated until just a week before the show; we’ll post a link to the judging program when available.  If you’re thinking of attending, please be sure to give yourself plenty of time for parking, getting into the facility, and then finding the right ring and some chairs (rings are marked by numbers on tall poles).

Parking, depending on where one finds an open lot, can run anywhere from $5 to $10 — and it may also be a very long walk!  Entry fee to the Expo Hall is $5.  Please note that dogs not entered in the show are not allowed on the site.  If considering crowds/parking, Friday or Monday would probably be the better of the four days to attend.   As the largest show in the region, the selection of vendors and their wares is pretty amazing … if it’s dog related, you’ll find it at this show!  From art prints, to clothing, to grooming supplies, to dog beds, to canine-related jewelry, to crates and tables, it will be available.  Might want to bring the plastic along (and keep in mind that the vendors start packing up on Monday for the return home).

Besides the conformation competition, one can also find other venues such as Rally, Obedience, and Agility. These are generally held in the Events Center which fronts 47th Street; Rally is held on the 3rd floor of the main building.  Hope to see you there … it’s a great reason to come out and support the breed!  If you need more information, please feel free to contact me at:  ApsoRescue@aol.com.

Pet Safety on the Road …

Dog-in-CarAs a legal assistant specializing in personal injury law for the past 27+ years, I’m acutely aware of bad driving practices on the road.  Without fail, injuries are caused because someone wasn’t paying attention to traffic patterns, road conditions and/or traffic signals.  Short of a boulder falling off a mountain, there are no “accidents” when it comes to people, vehicles and inattentive driving.  It literally takes just the blink of an eye to change someone’s life and health forever.

While running errands yesterday, I saw several vehicles with dogs riding in the front seat next to their owner or pacing the full length of the back seat.  And — I have to admit — I’ve been known to toss a dog on the front seat and make the straight-shot, 5-minute drive to my vet/grooming facility.  However, after watching the slow motion videos from the Center for Pet Safety, that practice is hereby discontinued.  Permanently.  These videos are part of a study on pet restraint systems and how effective they are in an automobile collision.

Please take a moment to read the short article and view the videos in the link below …

Canine Automotive Restraint Crashworthiness Testing

Now imagine a dog with no restraint system in a collision.  Imagine a small dog on the front seat with airbags deployed (at 200 mph) in a collision.  Imagine a dog hanging over the door as in the above photo (convertible or not).  From here on out, my dogs will always ride crated in the back of the vehicle with the crate secured in some fashion … no matter how short the trip.

A Bit Hectic …

Teller Tubby!
Teller Tubby!

… the holidays snuck up on us, ready or not. We seemed to be in the “not” category this year, although we actually have some outside decorations up thanks to a dwarf Colorado Blue Spruce near the front porch that’s perfect for stringing with white lights. Work has been nuts … last-minute guests for the long Thanksgiving weekend … and then a scramble to get errands/chores/shopping done before Christmas, i.e., meaning not much computer time in the evenings.  The new year has brought a laundry list of projects to get done (forget about resolutions).

Added to the general chaos is the new addition to the family:  Teller.  Knee deep in potty training at soon-to-be 8-months old, it does appear he’s got the concept of it down (mostly).  I taught him to “speak” several weeks ago — with the help of Frankers a/k/a “Uncle Grumpy” — and he transferred that behavior to asking to go outside.  All on his own.  We about fell off the couch the first time he barked at the back door for a potty run. WTG puppy!!!  It’s still rather novel for him so we’re encouraging him by making him “ask” to go out if he forgets an audible cue of some sort … bells, bark … something, anything!  Just as long as I know your back teeth are floating.  One byproduct of teaching him to speak is he’s vocal about asking for his food bowl … now we’re working on “quiet.”

A typical puppy, he delights in scattering toys from one end of the house to the other.  When that’s done, he starts pulling pads out of crates, articles of clothing off the hampers (hey, I was going to wear that again), and whatever else he can find to deposit throughout the house.  Then there’s always the cat to pester, keeping in mind that if one gets within two feet of him, he starts squeaking.  Note to cat:  if you don’t like the puppy that close, why do you insist on jumping the gates to be in the same area?!?!

It’s long been held that what you do today — on the first day of the year — will be repeated throughout the year.  So, we’re going to start 2013 with the “awwwww” factor.  Here’s an email I received regarding one of our former fosters, Kalsang.  Now named “Biscuit,” it appears he’s greatly enjoying his golden years:

Hi Vickie, I got your lovely card and thought I better let you know we are doing fine. I decided not to send cards this year because my arthritis has made my handwriting a mess! We are still going strong and “Biscuit” is the darling of the neighborhood when we go walking. He spends most of his time close to my side when we are home. We are so predictable, it’s funny! He doesn’t wait for me to go up to bed these days and goes on his own. Some mornings he sleeps in. We anticipate each others needs like an old married couple. He knows when he can go in the car with me and when he must stay home. His eyes are bad but he is doing very well for an old boy and the Vet thinks he’s very limber and healthy. He gets exercise chasing the squirrels in the backyard and I put peanuts out there to make it interesting. They love to tease him. Anyway, I think of you often and thank you for the joy you have brought to both of us! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year……..Mary

McKenzie

And then we have this update from McKenzie, the little one that came from a puppy mill … she’s made great progress!!

We stopped by the Lhasa website today because we saw a post about Teller. We decided that we should send you an e-mail. Kenzie is settled into a routine here. We have had 0 accidents in the house since those first couple when the home was new. Kenzie has graduated up to being able to go into the bedroom and living rooms when we are home. So she pretty much has free roam of the apartment. She’s eating well, and is not so freaked out to go outside. She has made huge strides.

We have a chair in the corner of the living room, and its back is to a window. Kenzie likes to sit on the arm of the chair and rest her head on the back of the chair and look out the window. It is adorable to see her there when I come home from school. She has a favorite toy which is an ornage dinosaur with pink felt hands and feet. She likes to chew the hands and feet. We bought her a spiky bouncy ball and she loves to play with that.

I’m currently growing out her coat, and she gets brushed about 3 times a week. I can’t stand to pet her and find a knot of hair that isn’t smooth. When I find them I have to give her a brushing. She is doing well with that. But she isn’t terribly fond of the comb that I use to work out some of the sneaky ones that get past me on first inspection.

She got to experience her first snow at Grandma Marnell’s house in Casper. We have decided that we need a blow dryer near the door because the snow just sticks like glue to her fur. We are considering booties for her feet.   She follows me to the door when I leave, but she still doesn’t come to greet us. My friend Ashley got a new puppy who we baby sit once in a while and Kenzie isn’t sure what to think of her.

Kenzie got to spend the weekend at Ashley’s house once when Tom and I had to fly out to a family wedding. She did wonderful! We are going to enroll Kenzie in an obedience class to hopefully help her gain some more self-esteem and confidence. She LOVES to go for a car ride with the window down. But she is never terribly excited to actually walk to the car. We are trying to get her out of the apartment more and more, but it is so cold here that we don’t like to be outside for very long. ><

I’ve included some of my favorite pictures of Kenzie that I’ve taken over the last month or so. We just love her to pieces. We leave her kennel door open at night and she migrates between the bed and the kennel. We’ve never had an accident or woken up to anything chewed! She likes to get on the bed in the morning and headbutt one of us for a belly rub. When she wants to play with us, she runs up to us and crouches with her tush in the air and her tail wagging and barks at us! She barks! It’s wonderful! So we play with her and chase her around the house or toss the ball for her.   We think that she is starting to feel at home.

I was watching the video of Teller and he was crying in the bath and Kenzie heard and jumped up on the couch to watch with me. I don’t think she knows why the box was making that noise but her face was adorable. Teller looks like quite a handsome little guy! We hope to see more of him in the future!

Best wishes, Liz, Tom and Kenzie!

P.s. the picture of her all wet was sent to me by Tom while I was in class. He was her outside to potty and they got caught in a downpour. I nearly laughed out loud during class. It’s such a cute photo.

Not to be left out in the snow and cold, here’s a greeting from Tori (f/k/a Lucy)

Tori
Tori

Hi there, I haven’t talked to you in a while and thought I would say hi! Tori (Lucy as you knew her) is doing wonderful…..I just want you to know we love her very much and enjoy her every day! She is so spunky and full of enthusiasm it is adorable. She plays with toys all the time, usually by herself, and she has taken a liking to sleeping with me on my bed, which I love. She is a joy to have around and we couldn’t imagine our home without her. Brody and her are bonding more every day and he is becoming much more tolerant of Tori. Anyway, she is wonderful and I just love her dearly. What a beautiful sweet doggie she is.  I’ve attached some pictures for you. Have a wonderful holiday season! ~ Abby & Jaidyn

Last, but certainly not least, we have this in about Dawa

I wanted to update you on my baby boy Dawa. He is still as sweet as can be. We found a kitten in our basement window well and he is our new pet. Dawa has been really sweet with the kitten provided that he does not see me as his mama. He still has the attitude that I am his. Still a barker but working on it. Dawa and Lilly continue to be best of friends. Lilly was a challenge with the kitten.   Hope your little ones are doing well.    ~ Emma

I honestly have to say that these are probably my best Christmas presents (shhhhhh, don’t tell Hubby).  What a grand way to start the New Year!

Need a last minute gift …

sunbeam-gourmet-treat-maker… for the pupsters?  Or dog parents?  Then you might want to check out Michelle’s product review of Sunbeam’s Gourmet Dog Treat Maker (some of you know Michelle from her work with us here in Colorado as a foster parent).

I have to admit it looks a whole lot easier than the treats I’ve made in the past which included mixing up dough, rolling it out, cutting what seemed like a jillion two-inch biscuits and then baking them.  My dogs — like Michelle’s — figured out very quickly what the timer on the oven meant!!  With all the dog-food related product recalls, making your own treats is certainly a way to ensure the four-leggers are getting healthy items for consumption.

Hmmmm … wonder if Santa Paws will be dropping this off at the house.