How do you like them apples?

Walking a higher road

I’ve spent a few days walking, talking and scouting walk routes with Luke. Wow.

Day 1- “Danger Luke Robinson”.

These roads are just downright scary. The route 101 highway from Oreck to Patricks Point was a part of the route I walked with Luke. The hills, the narrow “shoulders”- more like fingers in my opinion, are just dangerous. Combine the hairpin curves with speeding traffic, distracted and well, rude drivers that won’t move over create a hazardous scenario for our fuzzybutt friend and his Papi.  ”zigging and zagging” along the road, yep, I get that now.  Luke is cautious and protective of his kids and from what I’ve witnessed, I think he would risk his own life to save theirs.

Day 2-The choir

As we walked from Patricks Point state park to Trinidad, we were serenaded by the beautiful sound of sea lions in the fog. We were off of route 101 and walked along the coast.  I felt fortunate to hear the sea lions singing, but sad that I couldn’t see them through the thick, dense fog. Oh and yes, more hills, up and down and back up and then down.

The Digs

I actually enjoy camping out as it reminds me of my youth, when my family would go on camping adventures in our 1972 Chevy station wagon, loaded up with gear!  Those were the days.

I have mastered setting up and breaking down my tent in record time. (Actually, I think I’m quicker at it than Luke). What I bring to the campsite- lights, fun and purposeful battery operated mini flower multi colored string lights. They seem to be the funnest thing our fellow campers have seen.

My sleeping bag, pillow (yes, I brought my pillow from home), sleeping pad- not nearly thick enough as I can feel every stone, root and etc through it. The downside-the dirt factor.

Trust your instinct.
Believe what you see is real. Example, if you think you have just seen a bear on the other side of the campsite across from you, then trust that you have.
If your gut tells you to go right vs left, listen to no one. Trust your gut. And yes, I did spot a young black bear and when we walked down to check him out, we noticed his sibling/friend with him. Climbing trees for apples and not caring about us as we marveled at the peaceful coexistence.  2 black bears, 2 young bucks, 2 fawns and a few doe. The bucks, standing stoic as they protected the fawn and doe, and yes they were more cautious of us, than the black bears.

Believe in yourself.
You CAN do what you put your mind to. Walk at your own pace.  Focus on you and your goals and let the naysayers kiss your keester when you finish.


Note: the days I cranked out some miles walking with Luke were for my bestie, Kate, who has terminal cancer. Diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago, which spread to her bones in her spine and skull. She’s in pain. As I walked with Luke and Indy, I thought of Kate. I dismissed the aches and pains felt while walking and post walk because, well Kate has aches and pains on a daily basis. I know Kate will continue her fight and stay strong. I am hoping next year, we can do our cross country adventure and kick up some dust along the way. Just like old days.  

Papa K.  This walk and trip has also inspired me to plan a cross country trip with Papa K.  He is living vicariously through me on this trek and wants to see the sights before his days are up. I will be part of that wish for Papa K.  Perhaps he joins Kate and I!  It would be a blast  for us driving across country in an RV, at our own pace, visiting anywhere we want. Papa K- wants Vegas to be part of our trip. And I can’t wait to see him taking in the sights of Sin City, the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. 2015 will be a defining year. 
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

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Parvo Outbreak in Lowell, Massachusetts

In a chilling reminder of just how important it is to keep your dog’s vaccines up to date, 20 dogs in the Merrimack Valley area of Massachusetts have died recently from parvovirus, and officials expect the death toll to climb before the outbreak is contained. The Boston Globe reports that the outbreak started three weeks […]


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BARTENDER RECEIVES $1,000 TIP TO PAY FOR HER DOG’S SURGERY

Tucker-2Most people will do anything for their own sick pet, but one couple went the extra mile for someone else’s sick pet.

According to CNN, last week, Christina Summitt, a bartender at the Holiday Inn in Clinton, New Jersey, was serving drinks when a couple of friendly customers asked her about her paw print tattoo.

Like most pet lovers, Summitt was happy to talk about how she volunteers for a local dog rescue and dotes on her beloved Great Dane-Lab mix, Tucker.

But that night she was worried about Tucker. He had swallowed a plastic ball and was currently at the vet hospital after he’d undergone emergency surgery earlier that day.

Click here to read the complete story.

Halo

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When Is a Dog Rescue Not a Rescue?

A rescue organization closing is rarely a good thing for dogs and dog lovers. The case of Precious Pups, a dog rescue group based in Calverton, New York, might just be that rare example when it is.

Precious Pups was closed down by court order this week after allegations that it was little more than a glorified puppy mill, subjecting dogs to animal abuse. According to people who’ve adopted dogs from the organization, it regularly adopted out dogs who were sick, sometimes to the point that they die days or weeks after arriving at their new homes.

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Deborah Maffettone

Deborah Maffettone, for example, told a CBS crew she adopted a poodle from Precious Pups, only to have the dog die 36 hours later from starvation.

"We've got eight dogs documented that came out of the shelter with 20 percent less body weight," she says.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says that there were many more complaints about dogs coming out of Precious Pups.

"The representations they made about the health of the dogs, that they received veterinary treatment were all false," Schneiderman told CBS. "We subpoenaed them, they refused to comply with the subpoena."

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Adoption fees for dogs from Precious Pups ran from $ 300 to $ 600 with no background checks or screening process, according to clients. The company's Yelp profile includes several highly detailed and highly critical accounts of bad dealings with Precious Pup's owner Laura Zambito.

One woman, writing as "Tina F," says that Zambito asked her to provide a foster home for several dogs.

"I completed an application to foster but never received a foster agreement," she writes. "My vet and personal references were never checked, nor was a home check done."

Nevertheless, she fostered three dogs but says they needed more than $ 900 in veterinary care. Health problems included heartworm infection, pneumonia, and sutures from previous surgeries that had to be removed.

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Activist Lisa Ludwig

According to Schneiderman and other critics, this kind of situation was typical of practices at Precious Pups. Animal activist Lisa Ludwig, a longtime critic, said, "This is a dog-flipping operation. So many people have been stuck with thousands of dollars in vet bills and dead dogs too."

Zambito has denied all charges, on Yelp and in court, and claims that the entire situation is the result of a malicious smear campaign against her. Precious Pups is fighting the charges in court. Zambito told CBS she plans to reopen: "We will be telling the truth in court. We will be presenting the facts with our attorney. So there is no further comment."

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Maffettone says the real problem is bigger than Zambito or Precious Pups -- there's no oversight or regulation for who is or isn't a legitimate rescue operation.

"Our main goal and the big picture here is to regulate rescue," she said.

What do you think? What kind of laws are needed to make sure that rescue operations are legit, and that dogs find good homes?

Via CBS New York, Shut Down Precious Pups Facebook Page, and Yelp

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Affordable Financing for Dental Implants in Rockville, MD is Now Available Through Dr. Steven N. Rice


Rockville, MD (PRWEB) August 22, 2014

Dr. Steven N. Rice, periodontist of Advanced Laser Gum Surgery- Institute of Washington, announces that he performs dental implants in Rockville, MD without regard to his patients? financial standing. He does not want anyone to feel that they cannot get the treatment they need, so he goes out of his way to work with those for whom the dental implant cost would otherwise be a barrier to care. Through his wide acceptance of insurance and his willingness to finance accounts with low monthly payments, he succeeds in making treatment affordable. He does all of this because he knows how important it is that patients have the option of obtaining implants.

Dr. Rice has already had the privilege of helping many Rockville, MD patients who thought they could never afford dental implants. He wants to make everyone aware that he is happy to work with them, too. As one important way of helping patients, Dr. Rice is a preferred provider for many insurance plans. He does not want anyone to suffer from the frustration of having insurance, but finding that they do not have a periodontist in their network. For the many who either do not have insurance, or who find that their remaining portion is significant, Dr. Rice works hard to give beneficial financial options. He is happy to use special financing arrangements and low monthly payments as a way to minimize the dental implant cost.

As a board-certified periodontist, Dr. Rice considers it his duty to make dental implants affordable to everybody in Rockville, MD because implants are an important treatment option. Unlike other tooth replacements currently used, implants mimic natural teeth by continually stimulating the bone, in order to keep it healthy and strong. Dental implants also function like natural teeth, giving patients the ability to eat any foods that they wish to. The dental implant cost should not prohibit anyone from obtaining the oral health benefits that implants provide.

Anyone who has questions about the affordability of dental implants is encouraged to contact Dr. Rice. For the convenience of his patients, Dr. Rice makes online messaging available through his website. People may also call his office to ask questions and discuss their needs. Dr. Rice performs no-obligation consultations, where he reviews individualized treatment options.

About the Doctor

Advanced Laser Gum Surgery- Institute of Washington is a periodontal practice offering patients personalized dental care in Rockville, Maryland since 1981. Dr. Steven N. Rice received a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University Of Maryland School Of Dentistry. He continued his education as a General Practice Resident in the United States Army, where he was awarded a Medal of Commendation. He studied periodontics at the Medical College of Georgia and was recognized as a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology upon completion. Dr. Rice is part of one percent of dental professionals providing the LANAP

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Pet insurance- the good, the bad, the somewhere in between

I admit I am biased about pet insurance. I like it, mostly. Clients who had it were, in my experience, much more likely to approve necessary treatments. That dog with a case of happy tail who wagged it so hard and so fast he got a nasty deep infection that ended up necessitating a partial tail amputation? Insured. Hit by car? Insured. From my perspective, it allowed owners to focus on the pet’s immediate needs and get them taken care of.

I also liked it because I didn’t have to do anything to get it taken care of, other than fill out a brief form.  The owners paid me upfront, and were reimbursed by their company after the fact. If the owner and the insurer had a disagreement about what should or should not be covered, it wasn’t something I had to get involved in. It was nothing like human medicine. The summer before I started veterinary school, I actually worked the front desk in an internal medicine MD practice and good lord, those staffers spent probably 33% of the day dealing with insurance issues.

Source: Trupanion.com

Source: Trupanion.com

Just a few years ago, I could list three pet insurance companies, tops. Now there’s almost too many to count, with good policies and bad policies and fine print a mile long and exclusions even longer, especially if you have a bulldog in which case you might as well just get a second job.

Some pay a flat percentage of your bill. Others use benefit schedules, and specify exactly what amount they will pay per procedure. Most reimburse you, but I know of at least one that is rolling out a program that will pay veterinarians directly. Some cover preventive care. Some cover accidents. Some cover breed related illnesses, and others don’t. Tooth extractions? May or may not be a pre-existing condition. WHO KNOWS.

It’s gotten so confusing, even for me, that when people ask me what I think all I can say is, “Yes, go for it, but with caution.” Caveat emptor. But even then, even knowing all there is to know and asking all there is to ask, I’m hearing more and more people tell me they just spent five hours on the phone with an insurance rep trying to figure out how a newly diagnosed endocrine condition counts as “pre-existing.”

If this sounds familiar, that’s because that’s what all of us have done with our health insurers at least once, right? It’s confusing, and getting even more so the more players that enter the field. All companies are not created equal. I think most people completely understand the need for exclusions and limits, but for goodness sake let people know when they sign up what, exactly, they are signing up for.

fuzzy

While lawmakers in California had hoped that pet insurance would fall under the auspice of state insurance regulators, it hasn’t happened, and people with complaints have found they were pretty much out of luck. Fortunately, a new bill that already passed the legislature and is headed for the governor’s desk should give consumers a good deal more protection.

AB 2056 will make California the first state in the nation to specifically pass regulations about the pet insurance industry, separate from its current designation as miscellaneous property and casualty. It specifies the need for clear language about co-pays, exclusions, waiting periods, and caps- all the stuff people run into issues with now.

This is good news for everyone: the excellent insurance companies out there whose reputation is being sullied by the shyster groups, veterinarians who are able to better care for pets, and most of all the clients and pets who stand to benefit from better access to care.

So let’s hear it: what’s been your experience lately? Have you been blindsided or pleased with your insurance coverage?

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Does your car smell like DOG? Purrgo to the rescue

A few weeks ago I got an email from a charming and enterprising young man named Mark Zhang. Since I had a dog blog he wanted to know if I had dog odors in my car or home. After an indignant sniff I realized that when people are subject to the same odor, they lose the ability to smell it. I remember as a child passing through a part of a nearby town that had…
The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Dog Breath

Dog Breath Now on sale: http://dogs.childrens-library.com/Dog_Breath.html Lookup Codes: http://www.zaptab.com/scan/MDQzOTU5ODM5Nw== Your children will love D…

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Phenomenal Cosmic Power

A week ago, I called my husband on a business trip in China for the urgent assistance in locating my DVD of Aladdin.

“Why do you need it this very second?” he asked. “You haven’t watched that in like 15 years.”

aladdin_poster

“I know,” I said, “But our daughter is singing a song from Aladdin in summer camp this week and she really, really needs to see this movie.” She’d seen it once before, years prior; my son hadn’t seen it ever. It was an unforgivable omission, one I felt an almost irresistible need to fix.

So we sat down and watched it, this movie that came out when I was still in high school, and I marvelled. The computer animation looked so dated now, the pop culture references flying over the kids’ head like a magic carpet. But it worked. It still worked, and it was all because of Robin Williams’ genius.

He wasn’t a person who had been in my thoughts much in recent times, though he was a fixture of my childhood from Mork and Mindy through Good Will Hunting, Patch Adams, Good Morning Vietnam. Watching Aladdin rekindled my interest in his unique body of work and I’ve been on a Robin Williams binge this last week- Aladdin followed by The Birdcage, Good Morning Vietnam, and Mrs. Doubtfire scheduled for later this week. Robin had, in addition to his brilliant improvisation and manic energy, an exquisite ability to layer melancholy and sweet, delving into the deepest pains of humanity in a way that made you hopeful despite its ugliness, a compassion that balanced the sometimes cruel realities of being alive. He inhabited those characters in a way few others could. Williams and Alan Alda, the actors that defined the genre for me.

gmv

That level of perception and intuition about the human condition, often begets a certain creative brilliance. Comedy relies on it. It also, as we all too well know, often drags along behind it a heavy dragline of depression. It is the contrast upon which such artistry must be laid in order to make it pop. It takes an awful lot of mental energy to wield the two simultaneously, I suspect. No one described it better than, well, himself:

Phenomenal cosmic power!

pcp

iity bitty living space.

ibls

Depression is not a fight that can be won, a demon vanquished. It’s simply there, a weight people carry around and manage the best they can. Robin wrought his depression like a kettlebell, swinging up and down and up and down and in the process put out the energy that was-is- his legacy. I can only imagine how exhausting it must have been, but he did it, over and over, though his life. He made it work for him.

He was a dog lover, you know. Of course he was, right? When you live with that kind of pressure and expectation from those around you to be on all the time- why aren’t you saying something funny?- the presence of an unconditionally accepting creature is a comfort and a joy.

Having so recently been drawn back into his life and his work and his bright eyes that never entirely belied the stormy grey beneath, I was so enjoying re-experiencing the creative rush of his work, immersed in how much he gave of himself to make others smile. Today was a shock, in many ways.

rw

And I guess that is why so many of us are so insanely devastated, at least I know I am. He always made his depression work for him, turning the swirling rivulets of thought and extremes in his brain and transforming them into art. I see in the world the same sort of wide eyed despair that followed Kurt Cobain’s death, that sense of hope snuffed out. I think a lot of people looked up to them both. They were proof positive of the transformative power of creative will, but while Kurt succumbed at a young age, Robin managed to persevere, and that made him even more infallible in our eyes.

I thought he had it figured out. With all his success and fortune and mastery of substance abuse, he was a tick mark on the list of success stories with this particular type of chronic disease. I thought he had won the battle. I was wrong.

We are reminded today, yet again, that depression is a fire that never gets put out completely, a smolder you can never turn your back on. Never, ever.

We’ll never know why this time was different, why today was insurmountable when every other day was a day to soldier on, but the world is all the dimmer with the Genie flown back home to the Cave of Wonders, beyond the horizon and beyond our grasp. All we can do now is celebrate the shimmer he left in his wake.

Look out for one another, friends, help one another. It’s a rough world out there, and we need all the joy we can get. We need each other. Tolkien said it best: “Despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not.” We do not.

RIP Robin, kind sir. Thank you.

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Eye And Heart Disease in Dogs


Eye disease is very common with Golden Retrievers. Most Golden’s will generally have hereditary cataracts, which is a common eye problem. At an early age, with affected Golden’s, one type of hereditary cataract will appear. Even though it may not cause interference with the vision of the Golden Retriever, some dogs will progress into total and quite possibly severe loss of vision.

Sometimes, Golden Retrievers can get affected by non hereditary cataracts, although an examination by a board certified veterinarian can determine just how bad the cataracts really are. If cataracts are indeed suspected with a Golden Retriever, then breeding won’t be recommended. Breeding a Golden who has this condition can lead to serious problems, such as passing it on to the pups.

Several families of the Golden Retriever breed have been known to carry genes for CPRA (Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy), which affects the retina, and can result in permanent blindness for Golden’s at a young age. There are other types of eye defects as well, such as retinal dysplasia, which prevents a Golden from breeding.

Trouble with both the eyelid and eyelashes are also a possibility with Golden Retrievers, with some being the result of hereditary factors. The eyelids rotating in or out, or the eyelashes rubbing on or in the eye are both common problems with the breed. Even though surgery can help to fix these types of problems, dogs that are experiencing this type of problem shouldn’t be allowed to breed nor compete in shows under any type of AKC rules.

You should always have your Golden Retriever checked annually for eye disease, as it can develop during any age. When you take your Golden to have him examined for eye disease, you should have a veterinary ophthalmologist do the exam. He has all of the necessary equipment, and the proper training needed to make sure that your dog gets the best examination possible.

Heart disease

SAS (Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis) is the most common and widespread form of heart disease within the entire Golden Retriever species. Before you breed your Golden Retriever, you should always have him examined for heart disease by a certified veterinary cardiologist. If the cardiologist detects a heart murmur, he will recommend additional tests for your dog.

In the event that the results prove negative, it doesn’t necessarily rule heart disease out, as some milder forms may still be present, although undetectable. If a Golden Retriever is diagnosed to have any type of heart disease, he should not breed. Breeding Golden Retrievers who have heart disease can lead to serious and sometimes fatal results. To be on the safe side, you should always have your Golden tested for his disease before you plan on breeding.
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