Little pink blankie

That thing? That Tuesday thing I’ve been fretting over for weeks/my whole life? Is now a Wednesday thing. No one in the universe is more anxious about this than me, but in case you were wondering why I haven’t posted any pictures of me popping a cork yet….yeah. But in this case, a one day delay is fine and I PROMISE I will explain everything then.

And in the meantime, a story.

On Friday, I told my colleague Dr. B, for whom I am now working once a week, that I would go to appointments with her to get a feel for how one manages the flow of a day when you are going into people’s homes, putting their beloved pet to sleep, then taking that pet away. It’s a little different than how one does it in the office; you’re not in an environment you have control over, you have no techs in the back to help you if you can’t hit a vein, and the owners are standing right next to you the entire time. I am convinced this is better for owners but, as you can imagine, the first few times doing this alone is a wee bit nerve wracking.

I thought the day would be mostly about the technical aspects of the process- which vein is best? What is your sedation protocol? How do you bring up the subject of payment? And while all of that was necessary and good, I also watched Dr. B and how she interacted with families. She is very, very good at this. After doing it for as long as she has, she doesn’t need to concentrate on the mechanics of where to put the tourniquet or the best angle for placing a butterfly catheter in the lateral saphenous. Muscle memory will come with time for me as well. But compassion memory is a combination of instinct and observation.

Uncharted territory

There are things you learn in school and things you do not. As I tried to explain to my husband when he looked at me with utter bewilderment as to why I was so nervous the night before, this is different. I have minimal training in grief counseling. Some people hate the Rainbow Bridge poem. Some people want to pray and others want to leave the room. And no matter what happens, I need to remain ever the buoy as the tempest of an awful event swirls around me.

Everyone is so very different in how they want to have the event happen; most of the time they don’t even know themselves what they are going to want. So you follow cues: talk a little first. Hurry up and get it over with. Give me a minute. I want a hug. I want a handshake. I want you to get out of here asap.

So you observe for those minute cues and hope you’re doing it right, and just kind of trust your instinct when it comes to how to respond to certain events, things that don’t go exactly the way you want, or questions you’re not certain you should say the answer to. This particular job is as much an art as it is a science. Obviously some people are more adept at this than others. I’m trying my best.

Towards the end of my day with Dr. B, as we were talking over her protocol, she paused thoughtfully and said, “You know, I’m wondering if I should bring a little drape to put over my hand so they don’t have to see the catheter.” Little things like that can be very nice.

I liked the idea, so before I had my first day on call by myself, I went through my linen closet trying to find a suitably sized cloth. All I could find were dishtowels or hand towels or facecloths. I didn’t like any of them. Better luck next time, I thought.

Chatham_Baby_Blanket

I forgot how soft these are.

And as I turned back to the washer, I saw a little pink blankie neatly folded, by itself, peeking out from under a box of cleaning supplies. It was my daughter’s baby blanket, one of those little waffle weave ones with satin piping. She lived in it for 6 months, swaddled tight.

I thought I had gotten rid of all of them months ago; I’m not sure how this one managed to stick around or why it was randomly on top of my washer- we’ve only been in this house since December, so it worked its way there somehow. I put it in the car, just in case I thought it would be helpful.

At the end of a visit yesterday, I put it on my lap and then tucked in the little pup, like I had done to my daughter for so many years. And the words just came out: ‘This was my daughter’s baby blanket. It’s filled with a lot of love.’ I don’t know if they needed to know that, or if it mattered, but I hope it did.

I hope when the dust settles and her owners look back on an awful day, what will remain is not the memory of a syringe, but the image of their dog bundled up by someone who knows how much they loved her.

It only works because it’s not cynical. If it ever becomes that, there’s my cue to stop.

 

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

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Latest Dental Bone News

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Living With and Training Assistance Dogs

NEADS Graduation celebration

Graduation at NEADS!

I don’t need to tell you that dogs and humans share a special bond. Many species work alongside us, and many species live with us, but dogs occupy both of those roles like no other animal on earth.

Assistance dogs take that role to an entirely new level though. These dogs help people with a wide range of disabilities while quite naturally becoming their companions too.

In Another Language, Portraits of Assistance Dogs and Their People author Jeanne Braham, along with photographer Robert Floyd, present twelve oral histories from people that work with or are partners with assistance dogs. These deeply personal stories provide you with a unique window into the bonds that form between the dogs and the people working and living with them.

Bob Swain and Waldo

Bob Swain and Waldo

The combination of Mr. Floyd’s photos with first person stories bring you right "into the room" with the book’s subjects as they tell you their story. I was initially (as in before I started actually reading) a little put-off at the idea of oral histories since I have read books in the past where that format didn’t really work for me, but in this book it really is perfect. I have read plenty of descriptions of the work that assistance dogs but these individual stories, told in the first person, convey the impact these dogs have on the storyteller’s lives in a uniquely personal way.

The book centers around National Education for Assistance Dog Services (NEADS). NEADS trains assistance dogs for people who are deaf or have hearing loss, people with balance and stability issues, people with a physical disabilities, combat veterans in need of assistance dogs, teachers, ministers and therapists, and children on the autism spectrum and or with physical disabilities. The majority of their dogs are also initially trained by inmates in New England prisons. (How cool is that?)

Puppies from NEADS

Suzanne Goodwin with her puppies.

Most of the interviews are with people who have dogs from NEADS, but several of the people in the book are also employees and volunteers, including a great chapter from a breeder of Labradoodles who is donating a dog (the first of her line) to NEADS at the time of the interview. As well as interviews with trainers and program administrators.

Beth Lewis, a psychologist who both teaches and also still does therapy, works with Grace. Grace was bred for assistance, but orthopedic issues made her unsuitable for service. However, NEADS staff was able to find her a very productive role in help Beth in her work. Grace’s story of how she has undergone multiple surgeries while still helping Beth in her practice is both fascinating and truly inspirational.

Jake Liptak is an inmate handler and has raised three puppies as of his interview. He explains how inmates are able to enter the program and then provides us with an interesting rundown of what behaviors the puppies are trained for.

NEADS program has had to change the past few years with the very large number of veterans returning to the U.S with serious injuries. Sheila O’Brien, who joined NEADS in 1978, worked her way to CEO in 2009, and then left that role to work as a director with America’s VetDogs explains some of the history of NEADS’ assistance program for combat veterans and how their program had to adjust to the veteran’s different needs. In that same chapter there is also an interview with veteran Kevin Lambert.

Another Language, Portraits of Assistance Dogs and Their People is more than just a book about assistance dogs. It's book of stories about the dogs, the people, and the programs that make up NEADS. Together these stories come together to reveal a larger story of how these dogs bring different people together to help each other, whether they came to NEADS for a dog or to work with a dog.

This is a book that belongs on the shelf of any dog enthusiast. Go get it!

Living With and Training Assistance Dogs is a post written by . You can see the actual post at Dog Training in Bergen County New Jersey

     

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My family includes an American bull dog as well as…

My family includes an American bull dog as well as 4 other breeds. I also have two sons 15 and 9. Both of my boys have been taught to respect any animal and its space. I do rescue and my children are involved as well and know to be aware of the animals comfort. Children should be taught very young what is appropriate behavior in the presence of an animal and NEVER without adult supervision! All animals have limitations regardless of breed and it is unfortunate that misguided humans blame the animal when it is the responsability of the human to protect and care for those we domesticate. The parents were negligent to the child and the dog. This could have and should have been avoided! Pray that this sad incident will inspire education and not ignorance!
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It’s the Perfect Storm in California animal shelters


Tuesdays-Tails-Blog-Hop-Official-BadgeAnimal shelters are bursting at the seams.


Besides the Chihuahuas being dumped like last season’s fashion accessories, many elements are coming together to form the Perfect Storm.


  1. We’re having a heat wave. It’s hot so people don’t leave their houses except to do essential tasks. They don’t make trips to the shelter or to shopping centers and off-site adoption events which are often being cancelled at this time due to lack of interest.
  2. Adoptions go down every summer and the inventory goes up as people use vacations or moving as an excuse to dump their pets.

  3. Fireworks runaways
    . This is the worse time of year for runaway dogs. They get spooked by the noises of our celebration and they panic. This puts a burden on the shelters to house and feed the dogs until they are claimed.


 This is a Blog Hop for shelter animals


Felix and Oscar were picked up as strays and no one claimed them. Their owner didn’t even bother to deliver them to safety.

They’ve been through a lot together and need to go into the same forever home where they can feel safe and secure. They weigh about 8 pounds each.


Felix and oscar.jpg1
It takes two, baby
It takes two, baby
To make a dream come true, just takes two

More information on this not so odd couple

Thanks to Lisa Brown of Dogs N Paws for starting this blog hop to help homeless animals.

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“You people shouldn’t have a dog. Get a goldfish.”

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Liver Disease in Dogs

There are some man-made chemicals that are toxic and can cause liver disease in dogs as well as humans. The list of these chemicals includes phosphorus, selenium, carbon tetrachloride, insecticides, and toxic amounts of arsenic, lead and iron.

Most people are not aware that liver disease in dogs can also be caused by some over-the-counter medicines and also prescription medications. Antibiotics, antifungals, anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, dewormers and diuretics can all cause adverse reactions in a dog and possibly lead to liver disease if an excessive dosage is given or there is prolonged use of the medication.

Another cause of liver disease in dogs can be traced to a dog consuming certain plants and herbs. These include some mushrooms, blue-green algae, and the mold aflatoxin that grows on corn. If aflatoxin accidentally manages to enter the dog food manufacturing process it can contaminate any canned or dry dog food it comes into contact with and can result in severe liver damage. The damage comes from gallstones, tumors, and liver flukes that form and block the dog’s bile ducts.

To determine the best method of treating liver disease, a veterinarian will first order blood tests followed by ultrasound or CT scans. The scans can reveal damage to the liver but the only conclusive test is a biopsy of the dog’s liver. Whether or not a dog will recover from liver disease is dependent on how long the dog has been sick, the full extent of the liver damage, and whether surgery is necessary or if the disease can be controlled with medications. Surgical procedures are usually recommended to correct bile duct obstructions and some primary tumors of the liver.

Liver disease in dogs is a very serious condition and after treatment by a vet you will need to control and prevent any further complications such as bleeding. Your dog may also require a special diet low in protein to complete its recovery.

Liver disease in dogs is something that must be treated as quickly as possible to protect your pet and give it the ability to live a long and disease-free life.

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