Halloween is a Nightmare for your Dog!

Scary costumes, spooky music, and chocolate treats all make Halloween lots of fun—for people, but those same things can create frightening and stressful experiences for your animal companions. The noises, trick-or-treaters at the door, and people in weird costumes can stimulate even the calmest dog to become fearful or aggressive.

Halloween dress-up for your dog has given pet stores and on-line pet supply sites another lucrative opportunity to make money, and every year I remind people that this is a commercial venture targeted to humans, not for the enjoyment of the dogs who prefer their birthday suits rather than cutesy costumes. Dogs are dogs; they do not need to be dressed up– most are not thrilled about wearing a costume and , however adorable they may be, most are uncomfortable, annoying, and potentially dangerous. It is easy for her to get tangled up, or become frantic, while all dressed up. My advice is always to FORGET DOG COSTUMES , and spend a few bucks on a safe toy–maybe a new Kong– that your dog will enjoy for months to come. If, however, you are determined to see your dog in a Halloween outfit , please consider these tips for keeping him safe , and hopefully stress free.

  • Make sure the outfit doesn’t restrict his movements in any way. Tightness around your dog’s neck, paws, legs, and torso, or tight elastics can pinch his body and be very uncomfortable. He’ll have to walk, run, and take potty breaks, so the costume needs room in the legs, and not get in the way when nature calls.
  • Keep in mind that your dog is probably not used to a costume, so don’t leave him dressed up for an extended period of time. He could get uncomfortable and irritated enough to shred the costume or even lash out with a bite or scratch.
  • The costume should not restrict his sight or hearing, and should not impede his ability to breathe or bark.
  • As cute as they might be, some elaborate costumes can cause your dog to overheat. Consider the temperature, and your dog’s coat to be sure that the outfit is not too heavy for the weather.
  • I browsed through a costume section, and it was obvious that many of them would most likely hinder a dog’s vision which could be very dangerous. Many of them also had small dangling accessories that the dog might chew of and swallow. Buttons, ribbons and tassels could cause intestinal blockage or choking if swallowed.
  • Most costumes are made from cheap, scratchy material to which your dog could have an adverse reaction, possibly causing an itchy rash, and possible infection. If your dog tries to scratch and rub the outfit off, please forget it.

It is important to have a couple dress rehearsals prior to the big night. Let your dog examine the outfit before you put it on him. Place the costume one the floor, and allow your dog sniff it…then drape part of the costume over his back, repeating this process several times before your actually put it on him. Take it on and off several times, and if your dog is distressed, allergic or shows abnormal anxiety, please don’t force him to wear it. Animals want desperately to please their caregivers, but we need to be concerned about their feelings, rather than our amusement. It is up to us to make sure that our dog’s Halloween doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

Here A Mill, There a Mill

A puppy mill is a breeding operation where too many dogs are kept in overcrowded and often inferior conditions, without adequate veterinary care, food and water, or human interaction, and sadly they are found in every state in the country. Life in a puppy mill is grim. The dogs do not experience simple pleasures like exercise, basic grooming, treats and toys. A breeding female might spend her entire life confined in a filthy wire cage, bred over and over again, year after year, without human interaction. When she is no longer able to produce litters, she will be killed or abandoned. . “There they sit, huddled in dirty, cramped cages; frail bodies shiver in defeat, sadness reflected in their eyes. They long to be loved but no one seems to care. They are property to be bought and sold.”

Most of the pets sold in pet stores, through classified ads, and over the internet, come from puppy mills. Often puppy mills sell directly to consumers through web sites that give the impression that they are reputable breeders. If you decide to buy a puppy directly from a breeder, do not do so without seeing where the puppies AND THEIR PARENTS are being raised and housed. Reputable breeders should be glad to show you where the animals are housed and how they care for the animals. If a breeder refuses you this option, don’t walk, RUN away.

Puppy mills will continue to flourish as long as consumers keep buying dogs through stores, ads, and over the internet, and almost all these puppies come from puppy mills, regardless of what you are told. Make a better choice for animals by adopting from a shelter or rescue group, and by encouraging others to do the same.

If you want to add a dog to your family, please understand that,,,

  • Reputable breeders care where their puppies go, and interview potential adopters. They don’t sell through pet stores, newspaper ads, Craig’s List, or internet sites without meeting the prospective family.
  • Puppy mill/pet store dogs often have medical problems but pet retailers don’t care that poor breeding and lack of socialization may lead to behavior problems throughout the dogs’ lives. They count on the bond between families and their new puppies being so strong that the puppies won’t be returned.
  • ”Purebred” documents aren’t worth the paper they are written on. Even the American Kennel Association admits that it “cannot guarantee the quality of health of the dogs in its registry.”
  • A “USDA inspected” breeder doesn’t necessarily mean a good breeder. The USDA has very minimal standards, with many USDA licensed puppy mills operating under deplorable conditions.
  • The bottom line is for people to stop buying puppy mill dogs.,,if the mills and pet stores don’t make money, they will close….so it is up to you and me.

To improve the plight of puppy mill dogs, we must enact AND ENFORCE standards of care for the animals with higher standards for those selling them. The USDA is not going to do much to better the lives of these animals—it is up to us to become involved. I regularly hear, “It’s so sad, but there isn’t anything I can do.” WRONG…there is something everyone can do! Animal welfare and rescue groups are struggling to pass better legislation, but if things are ever to REALLY change for the animals that we claim to care so much about, we must ALL join the cause.

Dogs suffer deprivation and death in nightmare puppy mills…that is a documented fact. Puppy mills are deplorable places…that is a documented fact. The cruelty will stop only when people stop buying pet store dogs, and we pass better legislation to ensure better lives for our companion animals…those are documented facts..

UNSEEN THEY SUFFER; UNHEARD THEY CRY; IN AGONY THEY LINGER; IN LONELINESS THEY DIE.

 

Backyard Dogs

It is a widely held misconception that dogs will be happy and healthy living only in the back yard. Current studies in dog psychology indicate that dogs isolated in back yards are very likely to develop behavioral problems. Dogs are instinctively pack animals, and forcing a dog to live away from its humans goes against a dog’s most basic instincts. Isolated, a dog exhibits stress by digging, barking, chewing, escaping, and exhibiting troublesome problems.

Dogs need companionship. When you have a dog, you become the dog’s pack and he wants to be with his pack. Forcing her to live outside with little human companionship is one of the most damaging things a pet care giver can do to a dog. Backyard dogs do not develop strong bonds with humans, making him harder to train than a dog allowed to be in the home with the family. Back yard dogs usually do not have the opportunity to become socialized to people and other dogs, so they may become fearful or even aggressive.

Dogs that are tied up or chained outside suffer great frustration!. They also are unable to escape from other animals or people who mean to do them harm. They can also become entangled and do harm to themselves. Several states are finally enacting laws prohibiting tethering your dog for extended time. Unless people have time to spend with their dog, it is best to not get a dog. A sad, lonely, bewildered dog tied out back only suffers, and hopefully no one wants to maintain suffering.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A DOG TIED IN THE BACK YARD:

Early morning: I can see and hear people moving around in the house. I am hungry and thirsty. I tipped over my food and water bowls last night when I got tangled in my chain. The chain is too tight, and it is cutting into my neck.

8:15 A.M: the people in the house are all leaving. I try to run toward them with my tail wagging, hoping they will notice me, but my chain snaps me backward. It is no use.

8:15 A.M. -2:00 P.M. : I am not sure what I am supposed to do. I can’t protect the house from my short chain. I don’t have any toys to play with. Maybe if I bark, someone will show me what to do, or come to play with me, so I bark.

2:30: The animal control officer arrives and posts a notice on the door of the house. He looks at me and sadly shakes his head. Do I look bad? I know I’m dirty but it is hard to be clean when I’m always sitting in dirt. I pace in circles and bark because I don’t know what else to do.

3;15: The smallest person in the family comes home, but he doesn’t pay any attention. I go to the bathroom in the same place, the only place I can.

5:30: the rest of the people come home. One of them removes the notice left by the animal control officer and yells at me to stop barking. I pace back and forth, confused.

6:00 I am still hungry and thirsty. One of the people from the house comes out and fills my food and water bowls. I am so happy for this attention I jump up in excitement, spilling both bowls and dirtying his clothes. He yells at me that this behavior is one of the reasons no one wants anything to do with me.

8:00: Another lonely night. I am sad and bewildered. I dream about being on a chain because it’s all I know.

Be realistic. Making the backyard your dog’s home does not make him part of your family. Dogs offer steadfast devotion, abiding love, and joyful companionship, and unless you have the time and commitment to return them in kind, please do not get a dog.

 

Down in the Dumps

“Down in the dumps” is a phrase humans often use when depressed or unhappy. This was a commonplace expression used frequently in plays and manuscripts from the 16th century on. Shakespeare used the term several times, for example, in The Taming of the Shrew. No one really knows if dogs suffer from clinical depression similar to humans but we know that they experience mood and behavior changes. Since dogs can’t talk to us, we must rely on observation to determine if a canine is feeling “down in the dumps.”

Changes in behavior symptomatic of depression, including lack of appetite, having accidents in the house, sleeping more than usual, reluctance to exercise, and sudden aggressive behavior in a usually mild mannered dog should be evaluated by a veterinarian. If the dog gets a clean bill of health, perhaps the problem is depression.

Dogs are social animals and many are left alone long hours without access to human contact, access to bathroom facilities, or an outlet for their energy. If the time you are able to spend with your dog doesn’t seem adequate, consider asking a friend to stop by while you are gone, or consider doggie day care, or hiring a dog walker.

  • Pets do best when their daily routine is consistent. Try to keep exercise, walks, playtime, bedtime, and other regular activities on as regular a schedule as possible.
  • Be careful to not reward his depression. Giving extra attention to a dog who is displaying an undesirable behavior can reinforce the behavior.
  • Give it time…..your dog’s depression may take a few days or even weeks to blow over, but usually most bets return to their normal selves.
  • Keep your dog’s mealtimes and diet the same. It is important to give him the same food he’s used to, at the same time each day, but you might consider making him some homemade treats. Here are a couple recipes that will be appreciated by any dog, whether ‘down in the dumps” or not!!

PEANUT BUTTER-PUMPKIN TREATS

  • 2 ½ cups flour (preferably whole wheat)
  •  2 eggs
  •  ½ cup canned pumpkin (NOT pie mix)
  •  2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  •  ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Mix together.
  2. Add enough water to make the dough workable, but stiff.
  3. Roll into balls.
  4. Flatten with a glass or the palm of your hand.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. For harder treats, bake for 40 minutes.

MICROWAVE BOW WOW BONES

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup beef or chicken broth
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon bacon bits or grated cheese (or both
  1. Grease a microwave safe dish (and grease your hands!)
  2. Mix the ingredients and knead with your greased hands (add a bit more broth if needed)
  3. Roll into small rolls…like mini tootsie rolls
  4. Place in a dish and microwave for about 4-5 minutes or until hard (microwaves differ, so check the bones a couple times)

Fall is in the Air

Fall is in the air now… time to .say good-by to summer. Birds are migrating; trees are changing garb, with leaves transforming from golden to brown. Hopefully fall will bring calm after all the summer storms, but fall also brings many hazards for your pets:

  • Antifreeze—antifreeze typically contains ethylene glycol, an odorless but sweet-tasting chemical that is toxic to pets Ingesting just a small amount can potentially lead to kidney failure, seizures, and even death for your animals. The ASPCA Poison Control Center reports that every year thousands of dogs die from ingesting traditional ethylene glycol-based antifreeze. Do not keep antifreeze where dogs (or children) can reach it, and remember than antifreeze sometimes collects on driveways and roadways. We recommend that you check out propylene glycol-based antifreeze. It is more expensive, but is less toxic and tastes somewhat bitter, making it less attractive to dogs.
  • Rodenticides—the use of mouse and rat poisons increases in the fall, so it is imperative to make sure that none remain within reach of your pets. Many common products such as grain-based pellets or wax blocks are highly toxic to pets and can be fatal if even a small amount is ingested.
  • Mushrooms—mushrooms have been abundant this fall because of the wetter weather. It is difficult to differentiate between poisonous and nonpoisonous…they look very much alike and often grow together. Make sure that your pet is kept away from all mushrooms, and if you think your pet may have eaten one, contact your veterinarian right away.
  • School items—school backpacks are filled with pet dangers—glue sticks, crayons, and markers, and although they may not be extremely toxic, they can cause stomach distress and pose choking hazards. Lunch leftovers, medications, and sugar-free gum (which may contain zylitol) are also potentially dangerous items that a curious pet my find in an open backpack. Keep all school items in closed backpacks or areas where pets do not have access.
  • Decorations—fall decorations with corncobs can cause intestinal blockage, and if your dog has access to an outdoor play yard, be sure to check for any corncobs that the squirrels may have carried into the pet area. Your decorations may look like toys to your pets, so be cautious with the types of decorations you use. Avoid strings or ribbons dangling enticingly from the decorations.
  • Outdoor grilling—Barbecues can be a dangerous place for your pets. They may ingest skewers, or they may get into potentially toxic foods or alcohol Most pet caregivers are aware that chocolate is toxic to pets, but bones, raw bread dough, grapes, raisins, and onions can also present health problems. Hard candies, candy wrappers, lollipop sticks also pose choking or intestinal blockage threats.
  • Fatty foods can lead not only to an upset stomach but also to inflammation of the pancreas which can be quite dangerous. Pancreatitis can cause severe pain, lethargy, and vomiting, and in some cases can be life-threatening. If your dog shows these signs, you need to call your veterinarian right away.
  • Household medications—Be sure to keep medications out of reach of your pet’s reach. Acetaminophen can be toxic, and decongestants can cause elevated heart rate, possibly leading to seizures. Many pets will happily lap up any pills that may be dropped, and if a pet has ingested medication meant for humans, or something potentially toxic, don’t spend time trying to decide what to do. Call your vet right away.

Prevention is always the best approach. Be alert to dangers that may be encountered, and pet-proof your home from these hazards, so that you can safely enjoy the fall season with your dog. Vigilance is the key to keeping your pet safe this season and all year round.

 

Beat the Back to School Blues

As we enjoy the last days of summer, and prepare for fall changes, it is possible that pet caregivers may not think about what it means to the family dog. Dogs thrive on routine; it makes them feel secure, and they don’t understand why the kids go back to school, and aren’t around for playing and giving extra love and snuggles. College students leave, and older adults may be preoccupied with missing the kids and reorganizing their own lives. The result can be a lonely dog who just mopes around and sleeps more than usual, or becomes destructive. A little planning can forestall most problems.

  • Maintain routine as much as possible. Although your dog’s caregiver may change, her routine shouldn’t. Plan to eat, walk, and play at the same times, but avoid spending all your time with the dog. Gradually accustom her to your absence by leaving her alone for short periods, and then work on up to being gone for several hours If your dog has been clingy to the kids all summer, regularly interrupt her shadowing them around the house by baby-gating her into another room for brief periods.
  • Keep comings and goings low key. No huggy/kissy, “I’ll miss you” scenes that will often fuel anxiety in your dog. Ignore your dog for a few minutes before you leave and after you return to help lower his excitement level, and reduce the tension level he feels.
  • Those old T-shirts you were planning to throw out can serve a new purpose—leave an item of your clothing in your pet’s bed while you are away. Your familiar scent may comfort her.
  • EXERCISE. EXERCISE. EXERCISE. A tired dog is a good dog—for good reason. A dog who has gotten some serious exercise will seldom get into much trouble.
  • Leave the television or radio on, or better yet, play the heartbeat music therapy CD, Canine Lullabies, which is available from Terry Woodford. For more information, visit www.caninelullabies. This amazing CD actually does reduce anxiety and settles hyperactivity.
  • Provide diversions. Every dog deserves at least a couple Kongs. These toys are uniquely shaped of durable rubber and have hollow centers which can be filled with “good stuff.” Unstuffing Kongs can keep dogs busy for hours as they go for the nuggets stuffed inside. A simple stuffing can be just a little peanut butter rubbed inside the Kong, some kibble, a few doggie treats, and maybe a couple small chunks of cheese. If your dog has never had a stuffed Kong, make it easy to remove the stuffing at first, so they succeed at their removal work. Gradually make their job more challenging by packing the stuffing tighter. For creative ways to stuff your Kong, go to www.kongcompany.com. Most dogs love raw baby carrots, so you might hide a few around the house for him to play “Find It.”

Help your dog beat the back to school blues, and if problems arise, remember punishment for anxiety or inappropriate behavior is NEVER appropriate. A dog misbehaves because he is anxious or upset, not out of spite or to get even. No matter what he does while you are gone, punishment will only intensify the problems. Good caregivers know that positive reinforcement, persistence, and patience can correct just about any difficulty.

Thunder & Lightning, Lightning & Thunder

There’s a flash of lightning lighting up the clouds…then the thunder sounds and the rain falls…the earth quakes again…..thunder and lightning can be terrifying to dogs. Dogs sense an imminent storm before humans see or hear anything, and many dogs will simply go to a place they have established as a safe haven, but some dogs will become hysterical with fear and anxiety. It is important to understand that if you have a dog with severe thunder phobia, there is no single quick fix effective for all dogs.

Try to create a safe place for your dog to go when she hears noises that frighten her…this must be a safe location from her perspective, not yours. Notice where she tries to go when she is frightened, and if at all possible, give her access to that place. NEVER keep her tied up outdoor, and NEVER punish a dog who has destroyed something in a panic.

Some of the most self-confident dogs may begin to pant and pace around the house, hiding or behaving erratically when the lightning flashes and the thunder rolls. Do not coddle or scold your dog for his fears. Try distracting him by engaging him in play or some activity that will refocus his attention.

  • Don’t do anything that will reinforce the idea that there is something to fear…Remain cool and indifferent to bad weather, talking in a calm, reassuring voice, acting as though you enjoy the storm.
  • Don’t pull a fearful dog from his hiding place. If he wants to retreat to a corner or closet, it is because he feels it is a safe haven….let him venture out on his own, and then try to refocus his attention. If you massage his ears, or give him a body massage, he may relax (or maybe not!)
  • A fan, radio, or television turned on may help block out storm sounds. Soft classical music often helps, and although there are many CD’s that claim to “calm dogs down”, I consider most of them “snake oil.” One CD that we use at the shelter has proven to be successful with many dogs. If you have a dog that is fearful, or exhibits other inappropriate behavior, go to www.caninelullabies.com for information on Canine Lullabies, a unique program that incorporates the background of an actual human heartbeat.
  • Holistic veterinarians often suggest Bach flower remedies. Odorless and tasteless, they come in liquid form, and can be given regularly for as long as needed. If you know a storm is coming, you can place a few drops in the dog’s water bowl, and even if the storm comes six hours later, as he drinks all day, it gets into his system. For information, go to www.bachflower.com or call 800-214-2860.
  • Peppermint oil can be purchased at health food stores, and while no one knows why it works, sometimes putting a drop or two of the oil on the bottom of each foot, right on the pad has a calming effect.
  • Anxiety wraps are very effective in calming dogs, using gentle, constant pressure, similar to parents’ swaddling their babies to act as a security blanket. For more information on the Thundershirt Anxiety Wrap, go to www.thundershirt.com or call toll free 866-892-2078.
  • NEVER give your dog any over-the counter or prescription medication without consulting your veterinarian. Drugs should always be a last resort solution, and should be prescribed by your vet.
  • Sometimes nothing seems to work. Behavioral treatment takes two different approaches: desensitization, and counter-conditioning, and neither technique is very effective. Consult with an animal behaviorist, or your vet to discuss your options. This noise phobia is something that your dog cannot control….A dog afraid of storms requires plenty of extra patience and love from the caregiver.

 

Beauty Comes with a Price

According to Statistica, more than 86 BILLION dollars were spent last year in the U.S on cosmetics, fragrances, and personal care products, proving that beauty truly does come with a price. Not only does it come with a price for the consumer; it comes with a price for thousands of innocent animals. You may have assumed that most major cosmetics companies have discontinued animal testing on their products, and that is definitely not true. For instance, Loreal, which doesn’t test on animals in the United States, pays for deadly testing in China, Estee Lauder and Maybelline both do testing on animals, and after years of upholding its policy to never test on animals, Victoria’s Secret has expanded sales to China and is now paying for cruel tests on animals in order to sell its products there.

Toxicity tests to estimate the safety of products and chemicals were developed in the early 20th century, including experiments that subjectively measure the irritation of chemicals in animals’ eyes, some of which are regrettably still in use today. Toxicologists often mention that they feel more comfortable basing their judgments on methods with historical contest and data than on data from new and emerging methods, failing to recognize the advances made in non-animal testing methodologies. The problem with animal tests is that many of the toxicity tests that are currently accepted by regulatory agencies were developed decades ago. Tests on animals are not always predictive of human health effects, and science has greatly advanced since the development of the animal tests that are still in use today. According to Human Society International, animals used in experiments are commonly subjected to force feeding, forced inhalation, food and water deprivation, prolonged periods of physical restraint, the infliction of burns and other wounds to study the healing process, These cruel and inhumane tests are done discreetly behind closed doors, away from the public eye. The USDA admitted that in 2016, more than 70,000 animals suffered pain during experiments.

The fact is that drugs that pass animal testing are not necessarily human-safe. In the 1950’s the sleeping pill thalidomide, which caused more than 10,000 babies to be born with severe deformities, was animal tested. The arthritis drug Vioxx showed that it had a protective effect on animals, yet the drug went on to cause thousands of heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths before being pulled off the market.

Animal tests do not reliably predict results in humans; in fact, more than 90% of drugs that pass animal tests fail in human clinical trials. A study in Archives of Toxicology states that there is strong doubt on the usefulness of animal data as key technology to predict human safety. Animal tests are also more expensive than alternative methods which are quicker, and more accurate. According to Senator Jeff Flake’s “Wastebook” of government funding more than 7 million taxpayers’ money was wasted on unnecessary studies involving animals in 2016.

Most experiments involving animals are flawed, wasting the lives of animal subjects. As English philosopher Jeremy wrote, “The question is not, can they reason, but can they suffer?” Animals are suffering in research labs across the country. The Animal Welfare Act has not prevented horrific cases of animal abuse in laboratories, but medical breakthroughs have been made without the use of animals. Many discoveries have been made by non-animal methods, making alternatives to animal testing more effective, more reliable, and more humane.

Most cosmetic brands are owned by a few giant corporations including L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Proctor and Gamble, Clorox, Johnson & Johnson, S.C. Johnson, Colgate Palmolive, and Unilever, and seemingly are making no real efforts to change their unethical policies. It is difficult, if not impossible, to obtain factual information from any of these corporations, and only when there is a large public outcry against these practices, will things change. Do a little research BEFORE you purchase personal care products. You may be appalled at what you discover (if you dig deep enough to get actual , factual info).

Unseen they suffer; unheard they cry; in loneliness they linger; in agony they die.

 

An Almost Irreplaceable Bond

Most of us consider our dogs to be members of our families, and our goal is to make sure they are as happy and healthy as possible throughout their lives. Too quickly they pass through puppyhood, adult hood, and become seniors. Dr Michel Selmer, DVM, offers specific suggestions that pet caregivers should do to make life easier for their aging dogs:

  • If your dog is more than six years old, schedule a complete exam at least twice a year, in hope that any problem will be discovered early. The exam should include a complete physical exam, blood test, urinalysis, nutritional analysis, and fecal testing for parasites.
  • Better bed….they make special orthopedic beds where dogs can relax and be more comfortable.
  • Exercise, but less intensity! Keep a senior dog moving because movement helps lubricate the joints and maintain muscle mass.
  • Handicap accessibility. Jumping up gets harder as dogs age….Build or purchase a ramp or steps to make it easier…..and they have ramps for the car as well as the home.
  • Many homes have hardwood floors or slippery tiles. Be aware that a slip and fall can be just as much a safety hazard for your aging dog as it is for humans,.
  • Elevate the food bowls. Raising the food bowls make it easier for her to eat and swallow foods.

The reality is that our beloved dog usually leaves us too soon, as Valsa George explains:

“Out through the window of his lonely cottage the man vacantly gazes; his eyes wandering over the dew dampened meadows and the sloping paths. Over them, how many times, he had rambled with Jack, his spaniel who died a few months earlier. Never before had he felt so lonely, and the memories of his dog haunted him. With nothing much to look forward to now, he is in no hurry to leave his cottage ….there is no one to walk with him. Each day as he sips his tea, he misses his dog. Old memories swirl around in his mind. It is with a wave of deep regret that he recognizes that he is alone. There is no one to care for, and no one to care for him. His world is so cold and he feels so lost. Once his dog shared his board, and owned his bed. How he misses him…with mist blurring his eyes and with a sigh, the man once more looks into the meadows for away.”

Every day, amazing dogs leave us.. We pay special tribute to two: Tyler was one of 6 abandoned ditch puppies who were brought to the TLC in 2003….. he was soon adopted by his forever family, Lee and Karen Kraemer. Tyler traveled the country, enjoying family and friends wherever they went. We were eagerly looking forward to their yearly visit to the shelter this fall, but Tyler, a much loved and pampered fellow was old and tired, and we mourn his loss.

We met John Adams, manager of the awesome Hearts United For Animals Rescue in Nebraska, years ago when we assisted in a puppy mill rescue. In late August of 2005, John and a host of volunteers journeyed into the treacherous aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. What they encountered was unimaginable. John and the HUA crew pulled dogs from flood waters, abandoned homes, rotting piles of debris, and even rooftops. The conditions were incredibly dangerous and heartbreaking for all. HUA transported more than 100 dogs from the wreckage of Katrina back to the HUA shelter. Eartha was one of them. Eartha stole John’s heart and she became his best friend in the world, and it was decided that she should live for him forever. Over the years, Eartha left her mark in many ways…she won many ribbons at agility meets, but most importantly, she traveled with John and spent many hours on the road while they rescued dogs from puppy mills and hoarding situations. She had a special way with those so sick and frightened. A couple weeks ago this amazing dog—whose mysterious connection with her beloved human John and her ability to communicate with and calm some of the most troubled of animals, earned her angel wings. Brave, beautiful, silver-muzzled, Eartha had just grown too tired. John instinctively knew that his precious dog was saying, “I came. I left my mark! Dad, it’s time to move forward.”

Old dogs: their affection is timeless; their devotion is ageless; their love is unconditional. Blessed is the person who has the love of an old dog.

Life is good at the TLC!

Life is good at the TLC. 🙂

This morning the dogs and I enjoyed relaxing in the big back yard which was a total mess a couple days ago. The week-end storm had downed trees and there was debris everywhere.

The only evidence of destruction today is that several shade trees are missing. It is impossible to adequately thank all of the people who willingly pitched in and worked all day yesterday to help clean up the debris. The bestest, BESTEST ever grandson Josh, recruited helpers, and chainsaws, trucks, tractors, rakes, and lots of folks worked together.

Special thanks to Stanton Electric from Storm Lake for coming over ON A SUNDAY to restore power, and to the Newell-Fonda athletes and students who helped. THANKS to everyone for spending your Sunday helping at the TLC. TLC is truly blessed!!!!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.