DonnaNewPicCroppedIn the years I have been associated with Halo and had the pleasure of sharing my thoughts with you all, I have had the additional pleasure of becoming good friends with Dr. Donna Spector, Halo’s veterinary advisor. I have also had the privilege of learning from her right along with the audience on our pet talk radio show on the Radio pet Lady Network, THE EXPERT VET.

When my youngest Weimaraner Teddy became suddenly ill – and then sick to death – last year, Dr. Donna interrupted her one yearly horseback vacation without her beloved husband and three small kids to do everything she could to help me save Teddy’s life as he down-spiraled.

I wrote about that horrible journey on my blog and will never forget her kindness and generosity in trying to help, especially because I feel sure that if she (and my friend Dr. Sue Ettinger, and co-host on THE PET CANCER VET, had been able to get more directly involved, we could have saved Teddy, for at least awhile. From hearing her on our radio show I’m sure everyone wishes they had a vet like her, to calmly and firmly take charge of a medical situation and make sense of it, often giving brilliant insight and performing intervention to save the lives of dogs and cats.

It was with a sense of shock along with sadness that I learned that Dr. Donna lost her own dear small dog Morgan over the holidays. It reminded me that our vets cannot (always) perform miracles, even for their own four-legged family members. I think it is meaningful for us to remember that our doctors share our deep attachments to our dogs. The loss is just as profound no matter how full our home and the rest of our lives may be. Dr. Donna wrote this to me and said I might share it:

“Lost my bestie Morgan Spector on Saturday. 14 years old and terribly missed by all. We boarded her over Thanksgiving when we went on family vacation – she got kennel cough and from there went into a rapid decline. The antibiotics I had to use threw her chronic IBD/pancreatitis into an uproar…vomiting, diarrhea, no appetite. Then the medications I had to give her for that made her crazy and downright maniacal. My youngest child (who is inexplicably terribly afraid of dogs???) —was terrorized by Morgan’s personality change.

So poor Morgan was either maniacal with medications or without them she was lethargic with vomiting and no appetite. My kids kept asking why Morgan felt so terrible all of the time. I tried to give her every chance, and it was awful to watch her go through this. She ended up getting terrible bloody diarrhea and was so dehydrated and lethargic…I just knew she had had enough. What was I doing for Morgan?

Sometimes it takes the brutal honesty of a 5 year old to give you a wake- up call. I also had to take into consideration her many chronic problems—IBD, pancreatitis, liver cancer I diagnosed a year ago, heart disease, and chronic allergies. She would never get back to normal and normal wasn’t even so good anymore. When had I lost sight of her quality of life? So, together we thanked Morgan for blessing our lives and sent her on. My house is so silent and I miss the sounds of her breathing and her toenails clacking (why was I ever irritated by that? !) I am downright SAD. Tracie, send up a toast that Morgan be happy and healthy wherever she is : ).”

I’ll do that, Dr. Donna – in honor of all the “besties” we all have had, who gave us the gift of loving us through our lives, clickety toenails and all.


Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.


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No More

It was no choice
That set this course

Astep, astride
The road abides

And through its length
I cried,

‘Oh beauty burns
Your trail etern.

The silence of your roar
That swept me neath

No more. No more.’


YBD’s Notes1:  The west coast walk was long and hard, harder than any stretch of the road we’ve been on before.  But the much bigger lesson here is we’re in this together if we have a ghost of a chance to eradicate cancer in us and our companions in our lifetime, puppy up damnit

YBD’s Notes2:  Happy XMAS

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Where Coal is King

Where Coal is King
… has an issue with logic. Global warming is a great example; all kinds of Chicken Little, but not one word about what happens to modern society, standards of living and life expectancies if we did suddenly divest from fossils. …. Cotton candy? By
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US Climate Fair Share: 82 Percent Emissions Cut by 2030?
Climate Fair Share Fair SharesLima, Peru – "We are people who want to tell the truth about the climate crisis, and the truth is that we are on track to a climate disaster," asserted Alex Rafalowicz at a Friends of the Earth (FOE) press conference at
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State Football Playoffs Breakdown
MOST INTERESTING GAME. No. 5 Newman at No. 4 Opelousas Catholic – This was an easy choice. OC knocked off Newman 28-26 in New Orleans last year. Now the Greenies get a chance at revenge in Opelousas. Both are battling injuries in the backfield.
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Gracie’s Guardians Loses Its Namesake

When Michael Vick’s dog-fighting ring was busted in 2007, fifty pit bulls needed to be rehabilitated and rehomed. One of them, a bowl-legged black dog named Gracie, ended up living with Sharon Cornett, president of the Richmond Animal League’s no-kill shelter. The Animal League then began a program known as Gracie’s Guardians, focused on improving […] Dog Blog

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The best ball boys in the world

It makes total sense and we wonder why it took so long to figure out. Why use humans as ball boys in tennis matches when dogs were born to fetch balls? Venus Williams and Svetlana Kuznetswova met in an exhibition match in Auckland, New Zealand at the ASB Classic where the ball boys were four legged: a Border Collie named Ted, a Jack Russell Terrier mix named Super Teddy, and a rescued Bull Mastiff named…
The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Don't overlook your pets this holiday season

Don't overlook your pets this holiday season
You may dress your dog up with antlers, but don't let his health go unnoticed – especially don't wait until his bad breath falls under Santa's naughty column. For many owners, dogs are more than a pet, they're a member of the family. We take them to
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New Canyons District chief sees bright future
The former college wrestler and football player (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater) brought with him a Mike Ditka accent, an outgoing, no-nonsense personality, his wife Joan (also an educator), their hunting dog Stoeger (named after the German shotgun
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Saturday Survey: Designer Dogs

I ran a post earlier this week about dog breeds used to make so-called designer cross-breeds. Your thoughts on this trend in dog husbandry? Until next time, Good day, and good dog! Dog Blog

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What A Difference A Day Made For This Pup

What a difference a day made for this lucky pup! Everyone meet Jackson!

The post What A Difference A Day Made For This Pup appeared first on A Place to Love Dogs.

A Place to Love Dogs

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50 Canadian climate researchers speak out in support of the People's Climate

50 Canadian climate researchers speak out in support of the People's Climate
An open cast mine near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, used to extract oil from the Athabasca tar sands fields, which are preventing Canada from reducing its carbon pollution. Photograph: Emily Beament/PA. Dana Nuccitelli. Saturday 20 September 2014 …
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Port of CW to consider oil-by-rail resolution
Tuesday, Port of Camas-Washougal commissioners will receive a presentation by Jared Larrabee, general manager for Vancouver Energy, the Tesoro-Savage joint venture. Larrabee will give an overview of the companies' proposed oil terminal, “including …
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Dog Dynasty Shelter Must Rehome Its Dogs Before Closing This Weekend

Sonya Childs, owner of Dog Dynasty in Santa Fe, Texas, is desperately trying to find homes for the last 30 dogs in her kennels. As of Saturday, the small non-profit shelter has to close its doors forever. Before that happens, Childs wants to make sure that they have homes, instead of going to shelters where they might wind up being euthanized.

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The push to find new homes for Dog Dynasty's last residents started at the beginning of December, when Childs decided that she had to close the shelter down. Originally a volunteer at the shelter, she bought it from the original owner in May of 2014. Ultimately, running Dog Dynasty herself was too overwhelming; she faced more intakes than adoptions, and donations weren't coming in. "I didn't have a plan going forward when I took this place over," she told a local TV station in December. "I just didn't know what I was getting into, plain and simple, I do know I want the dogs to have a home."

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Sonya Childs, owner of Dog Dynasty.

Those same stresses are the reasons that the founder of Dog Dynasty sold the place to Childs. It was started by a woman who wanted to provide a no-kill haven for Pit Bulls, but she began to take breeds of all kinds. Like Childs, she soon found that there were too many dogs and too little money and time. Facing burnout, she sold Dog Dynasty to Childs. "She took on too many," Susie West of the S.A.V.E. Rescue Coalition said in December. "People would drop them off and say they would pay to feed them, and they would pay if she would keep them, and they would never come back."

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One of Dog Dynasty's former residents goes home with a new family.

S.A.V.E. has been working to foster as many of the dogs as possible, but Childs and her volunteers are still left with too many that need homes. If they can't place the dogs by the end of this weekend, the only option may be a kill shelter. For the rest of the week, they're waiving all adoption fees for anyone willing to give the dogs a good home. "These are good dogs, they really are, and they just need a place to go and family to love them, and they will be so grateful," Childs said this week in an interview with KHOU.

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If you're in the Santa Fe area and have been thinking about bringing a new dog into your home, consider reaching out to Dog Dynasty this week. Sonia Childs can be emailed directly at, and the shelter will be having adoption events at the PetSmart in Pearland on Saturday and Sunday. Good luck to the dogs and to those who have been taking care of them.


Read more about dogs in the news on Dogster:

The Scoop | The Scoop

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