Category Archives: health

The Peeing Puppy and an Interview with Us

I have to apologize for the non-Holiday nature of this post. I should be doing one, but perhaps this will give you something to read and get a laugh out of amid any craziness. And, well, I’ve meant to catch up for a while!

Oh, Charlie…

Why is it that every post about Charlie begins with Oh, Charlie? Possibly because while you are incredibly adorable, you are also getting naughtier and naughtier.

Although this isn’t about you being naughty, this is about pubertyūüė≥!

Charlie was officially 10 months old on Friday and, being still intact, is right in the middle of major PUBERTY. He also weighs just over 11lbs, go Charlie!

First, though, I feel I must explain the reason he is still intact. After reading the various research, etc., I have come to believe it is much better for the dog to have their full set of hormones during their entire growth period. Given that Charlie has a luxating patella on each hind, the right being far worse, I was insistent about this when we adopted from the rescue, and they agreed with my reasoning.

But, about a month and a half ago, it started. Charlie’s always occasionally humped his toys, but this time it was a dog bed, and then, suddenly, he was peeing all over it.

I threw that bed away – it had seen a few puppy accidents and now a potential marking… it was done. He didn’t pee again in our house – that we saw. But, the occasional dark circle would appear on our upstairs rug.

Remember his bestie, the cat with whom he loves to play? Yeah, Pippin gets humped a lot, though he doesn’t seem to mind it. What?! I don’t know. Pip is a strange, strange cat, he’s a tri-color male, we are pretty sure he’s not all there.

But then he started humping Callie. She would let him but look terrified while doing so. I swear, she had PTSD moments, and I don’t use that lightly. We would catch him almost every time – not sure what happens when we aren’t here – and yell, to which he would immediately¬†stop, thank goodness!

And the final straw was when I went to my ex-husband’s house to hang with our daughter out there as she had a school performance that evening and I brought the dogs. He has two dogs as well. One who is the most amazing Labrador in the world who we raised together in the early years, and one who is an aging pittie¬†and does not like other dogs. She stays in another room most of the time.

I thought I¬†watched him and kept him downstairs, but NOPE. He went and marked EVERYWHERE upstairs, and I’m fairly sure the Lab followed suit as he is want to do with just about any other dog.

I bought him a belly band diaper right before we brought our Christmas tree in, because, well, it’s a tree that suddenly appeared inside.

a belly band for the peeing puppy
The Belly Band

After watching him for a while he seemed fine with the tree, so we stopped having him wear the diaper except when we aren’t here.

But now it’s Christmas Eve, and we¬†are headed to my parent’s for the night with the dogs, and then they are watching them Christmas night as we will be at my in-laws. The poor boy will be wearing his diaper for at least 36 hours (don’t worry, we will let him air out occasionally).

He hates it. It makes him act much more submissive and shy, and it’s apparently uncomfortable, in many ways he seems not to understand why he has it on.

Charlie looking sad
Why, Mom, WHY?!?

Oh, Charlie, your New Year’s present will be to visit the vet a little earlier than we planned and lose those walnuts – for a tiny dog I really do mean WALNUTS!

Ok enough about poor Charlie and his diaper/future vet visit.

I have to apologize for our radio silence again, this time it’s been because I have been working on our other Callie’s Wag blog in between Holiday preparations.

If you missed my mention about it before, it’s a new blog I write for a local news collective that has a broader focus – general animal topics, issues, and rescue, particularly local stories.

Anyway, recently, we were interviewed by our local public access TV station as part of a series to celebrate the Year of the Dog. It was wonderful! We got to talk about/show puppy mill rescues, dog love, and silly pup antics. Check out the full article.

Here is the interview, I hope you enjoy it!

Charlie, Acupuncture Update, Bunnies, OH MY!

Goodness gracious, we have some catching up to do!

First, “we” have been busy setting up a second blog on a local news collective, Callie’s Wag on the DailyUV, to¬†share useful pet information, fun interviews, animal humor, and local animal stories and issues. The three cats, Solly, Leeloo Dallas, and Pippin, and two guinea pigs, Ziggy Stardust and Cuddles, all make appearances on the blog as well. So THAT has taken up a lot of time. I just finished a 3 part series on small animals as pets, which was great fun to write, despite having to cover a partially serious subject, but it also had me focused on the pigs for a few weeks.

Next, Charlie has GROWN!

End of October sunshine and Charlie
Charlie relaxing in the sun – end of Oct!

At 8.5 mos old now, he’s 10 lbs of wild ridiculousness, combined with sweet kisses. He is in complete adoration of his best friend, our cat Pippin, and you can catch a hilarious video of the two of them playing here. It also flurried a bit here yesterday, and the snow stuck – Charlie found the snow both exciting and freezing, yet he wonders why we put his coat on in the morning….

Callie did not react as well to the first herbal plan as the acupuncturist, and I had hoped, as she continued to have the occasional vomiting spell and what seemed like acid reflux. When I removed them from her diet, it helped. So we changed herbs when Callie had her second acupuncture treatment.

arial view of needles
Top View of Needles

This time around the Vet put nine needles in various spots and there were a few which clearly bothered Callie at first, but it was visible as the tension receded. It was interesting this time as, approximately ten minutes into the treatment when it was just Callie and me, some points contracted again and she reacted quickly, but they eased. IMG_5609

She’s been on the new herbs for two weeks or so now. Those seem to be helping much more than the others did. We’ve also seen her grow more flexible and need to stretch out more. She seems to take up more space, whether it’s an increased willingness to claim it, or a stronger need to be stretched out, she’s so lovely, particularly when she looks comfortable and happy.

WE GOT A POSTCARD FROM OUR FRIENDS IN THE BALTIC SEA! Thank you Nanuk and Mom for making us feel extra special!

postcard from baltic sea vacation
Postcard from friend Nanuk at the Baltic Sea!

A rescue dog and family featured in September will be making a reappearance in the next few weeks as they have added a former puppy mill girl to their family….. shh, not giving anything else away yet.

The dogs did not dress up for Halloween this year. It always seems complicated enough to pull it all together just for trick-or-treating with a kiddo, the idea of trying to get the dogs in on it is just too much. Plus, I have the feeling Callie would be horrified and miserable, and Charlie would just shred his! But we got some killer pumpkins (Jess is the pumpkin master!)


Charlotte and Bun-bun

Finally, the family of Charlotte, a rescue whose story I shared recently, lost their house bunny at 12.5 yrs old, just as I put out my series on small animals. Her house bunny was one of Charlotte’s dear friends.

Rabbits often get the worst care¬†as they so frequently are given as gifts to children and then are abandoned or rehomed. Thus, in honor of Charlotte’s Bun-bun, I want to share the most essential parts of that blog series.

“Here’s the biggest deal as a parent whenever your child gets a pet – as the adult(s), it’s our responsibility to research that animal, know what we are getting in to, and be ready to take on the care of that pet as well. Adding any pet to the family is a commitment for the life of that animal, and guinea pigs themselves can live for 5-8 years. You might have the most responsible kid in the in the world, but even they are still going to require both help and reminders.

I scrolled through NH Craigslist, this time counting bunnies listed for rehoming or adoption in the past month – 82, and VT Craigslist – 28. I thought I would share a few comments from some of the craigslist posts.

“…discovered I’m just not a rabbit person.”
“8-month-old bunny, outdoors, no spot to put him for the winter”
“She’s so sweet and only five months old, but I don’t have the time or the space I want to give her…”
“4-year-old house bunny – rehoming because the daughter’s gone off to school for next several years…”
“Unexpected litter due to buck escaping…”

Neglecting the care of any small animal, no matter how tiny, is going to reflect in the interactions you do choose to have with that animal when you feel like giving them attention. Letting your child neglect the care of a small animal just because it’s a hamster in a cage or another creature you don’t see regularly, teaches your child disrespect for animals. It’s showing your child that animals don’t deserve respect and love, or, at the very least, those small animals are throwaways, maybe just dogs and cats are the only ones that deserve our unconditional love.”

Respect the rabbit

 

 

 

 

A Little Acupuncture, Callie?

Yesterday Callie went for her first visit to our new holistic vet at Chelsea Animal Hospital. We aren’t going to change our regular vet as we love them but, as I wrote last week in¬†Callie’s Gastro Issues and Acupuncture?, I am trying to eliminate possible causes of her bouts of gastroenteritis and was concerned about her having a high level of stress.

Before I delve into Callie’s appointment, I’ll give you my quick background experience with Eastern medicine. I have rather severe fibromyalgia which causes me a lot of pain. I also used to have an issue where I would get REALLY hot immediately and start pouring sweat. I saw an acupuncturist on and off for a while. Acupuncture cured the heat problem, which hasn’t come back in three years, and it always helps with my pain and anxiety. So, for me, it was not an unusual direction in which to go.

Back to Callie. Since her last bout, she’s been off and on. Some days she seems like her (newer) old self, wrestling with Charlie, asking for attention, exploring the backyard or enjoying walks. Other days, not so much. She’s never off food, but she is a Cavalier after all. We have continued with the boiled beef/pumpkin diet which seems to be producing decent poops (yay!) although I have added treats back in, freeze-dried beef liver and Zukes Wild Rabbit training treats. Those don’t seem to have messed with her system.

The vets at Chelsea Animal Hospital want to spend a long time with you, especially if it is a holistic medicine and/or acupuncture intake, so we were scheduled for a 90-minute appointment.

Everyone there was friendly with Callie but not effusive like at our vets. The particular vet she saw prefers to ignore the dog in the beginning, talking with¬†the owner about the dog, health issues, diet, changes in lifestyle, etc., so the dog has a chance to get used to her. Callie wasn’t so amused about being ignored.

Callie waits vet
Bored. These hoomans are BORING!
Callie sniff vets shoe
Maybe if I sniff her shoe, she’ll pay attention to me?

We talked extensively about her poop. Texture, color, regularity, how often it was soft, all sorts of details. That’s ok though. I have a child; if you don’t yet, you will learn that throughout, and beyond, toddlerhood you will be discussing poop a lot. ¬†Callie’s stool had never been regular, at least not in my memory. When she was strictly on a kibble diet, on kibble mixed with raw, on raw – the only time recently I have seen what I would call an excellent poop was the other day, and she has been on the boiled beef and pumpkin for a while, so something is working there.

After approximately 50 minutes we moved into her physical exam of Callie and then acupuncture. We spoke about the possibility of doing Western diagnostics first, which would be very expensive, or try this method first and immediately move to Western diagnostics if a medical issue crops up.

For those of you who don’t know, in Eastern medicine, diagnosis usually involves things like listening to the heart and lungs, feeling the pulse for specific features, and looking at your tongue.¬†Here’s a good quick explanation of acupuncture and dogs.

After examining her, the vet began the acupuncture. In both videos, you can hear her talking about different aspects of Eastern medical philosophy. Callie is still getting needles put in her so you can see the momentary look of surprise on her face as the vet hit tender places linked to her stomach and her spleen. You can also see the vet feeling for and locating the correct spots on her body for the needles. She tried to go for a kidney spot but it was too tender, and she had to pull it out. Instead, she did some acupressure on that point. Callie ended up with a total of 6 needles.

Callie remained a little nervous for a few more minutes as, if you have experienced it, there’s a weird feeling of energy/electricity bouncing around at first. But she calmed down relatively quickly.

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The vet left us for about 20 minutes so that Callie could relax with the needles in, a standard procedure in acupuncture. This was the period of time that felt SO LONG. I wish they were able to provide human & dog acupuncture at the same time. My body absolutely needs it! Callie did well for about 15 minutes or so, going so far as to fall asleep for a bit, but then she began to get fidgety, we were both relieved to see the vet again.IMG_5266

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Callie did seem to respond well to the first treatment, acting more relaxed and less sore and itchy.

The vet and I also spoke about changes to her diet. Chelsea Animal Hospital as a whole, as well as our particular vet, are big proponents of raw food if possible. I mentioned wanting to get Callie off the boiled beef/pumpkin and back on a Primal Raw, and she had some great thoughts. Basically, in Eastern medicine, Callie seems like she has a damp heat condition and, while you wouldn’t want to put what is considered “warming” foods in her, uncooked foods require her body to use double the heat/energy to consume, and right now that isn’t working for her. Instead, we are going to either lightly steam or bake the raw nuggets and add those to her current food, aiming for a 50/50 blend.

Callie will also start taking some supplements including a digestive enzyme/probiotic, a small amount of bentonite clay, and an herbal mixture intended to help balance her body’s needs. Overall, I think Callie was ok with the visit so we will continue for now.

She did get minorly carsick yesterday, strange for her, but I think it might be a placebo effect of too many vet rides recently and not enough trips to the pet store for treats!

I should hear more from the vet today explaining the herbal mixture that is on its way here (had to be shipped), and I am looking forward to that, but not as much as I am looking forward to seeing a change in Callie. I have hope. And a whole lotta love. First update will be in 2 weeks!

Plus, rumor has it, Gibby misses his girlfriend ūüėä

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Callie’s Gastro Issues and Acupuncture?

It’s been more than two weeks since we had a visit to the emergency vet with Callie’s second bout of gastroenteritis. Of course, she got sick on Labor Day when no regular vet was open – that’s just the way of the world, right?

Callie sick towel
Callie on her towel, in case she throws up again ‚ėĻÔłŹ

It was not as bad as the first time, partly because we caught it so much earlier and partly because, when I didn’t feed her, she kept throwing up and threw up blood. No horrific crime scene in the house or outside this time.

It’s been more than two weeks that she has been on a bland diet of strictly boiled ground beef, a small amount of rice, and (after the first day¬†or two) pumpkin to keep everything settled.

During this time I haven’t been allowed to give her treats. Try not giving a Cavalier treats for two weeks, see how well that goes for you. Especially when you are still house-training a puppy, because, like any good older sister, Callie expects a treat everytime Charlie gets one for going outside. And like the well-trained owners we are, we give it to her.

Solution? Treats = small piece of boiled beef, for both of them.

The other day I thought perhaps now I can start giving her treats again to see how she does. She replied with diarrhea before I even got the chance.

Next week I have scheduled an acupuncture and holistic medicine appointment for Callie with a different local vet. I’m lucky – in a rural area, I found an even more rural vet prided on their knowledge of both Eastern and Western medicine for dogs, on their holistic care model, and on their ability to provide other services such as acupuncture.

A cavpack friend from Twitter got me thinking about acupuncture. She uses it for her dog who suffers from acute back pain and kidney issues, I believe. I’ve used acupuncture¬†for my fibromyalgia, for stress and anxiety, and also for a strange period of time when I couldn’t stop sweating and getting red in the face as soon as I got warm.

In eliminating possible causes for her back-to-back cases of gastroenteritis, I feel like it’s probably not bacterial/parasitic as it has been hit by antibiotics so much. I don’t think something around here is making her sick, Charlie would be sick too,¬†as the one who eats EVERYTHING. It could be an allergen, but, honestly, my best guess for Callie is stress and anxiety. She has gone through of significant changes to her rather quiet life a lot since we brought Charlie home.

She appears to have good days and less good days. She hasn’t had another spell, thank goodness, but it’s clear that her gastro system is not happy. I’m pumping her full of probiotics now to help, but I am mostly drumming my fingers, waiting for this upcoming appointment and hoping that this vet, by looking at her diet/lifestyle/charts, etc., will be able to help. Perhaps¬†with some Eastern medicine and acupuncture, we can bring her stress levels down again.

Callie's smile
Callie smiling when she’s feeling good.

Her first “gotcha day” is next month and I want to be able to feed her silly cake and know she might have slightly gross poop from it, but not worry because everything else will be alright.

 

 

Rescues that Appear When You Need Them – Winston and Nellie

Sometimes beginning the process of re-training a rescue dog can seem more work than one thinks possible, but the effort put in returns an incredible relationship bond between human and dog.

Yesterday I talked about why I want to highlight rescue dogs and their owners as well as rescue workers this week (if you missed it catch it here) and today I have two different stories to share.

Mom hugging Winston
Winston love with his favorite Aunt June!

Tammy rescued Winston shortly after she lost one of her first two Cavaliers to IMHA or Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia. IMHA¬†is not uncommon in Cavaliers, according to Pet Health Network, “With primary IMHA, your dog’s immune system mistakenly produces antibodies that attack its own red blood cells. This is the most common cause of anemia in dogs. With secondary IMHA, the surface of your dog’s red blood cells is modified by an underlying disease process, drug, or toxin.”

IMHA can be fatal and have a fast onset. As Tammy said, “My girl Queenie with IMHA was diagnosed on a Saturday and had 3 blood transfusions when none of these helped her, we decided not to put her through anymore. She was 1 week shy of her 7th birthday. So she lived with it for only about a week to 10 days.”

Fidose of Reality has an excellent post on IMHA

But, as often seems to happen, while Queenie left a hole, another dog needed a home. Tammy said, “I saw where they saved five Cavs from a hoarding situation. So we decided we wanted to rescue one. He was seven and needed a lot of training, never walked up stairs, had people food, played in a yard, or received any pats or attention. He lived his seven years in a cage.”

“We brought Winston to an 8-week training class because he would bark at everyone and try to nip them. He now lets people pat him if we are outside walking. He still barks at¬†people when they come to the house, so we have to put a leash on him and usually keep it on the whole time we have company. There are a few select people he likes to come over, people who have other Cav’s.”

Winston on couch
K.C. and Winston

Many people are grateful for their other Cavaliers showing rescues the way, and Tammy’s K.C. did this for Winston quite a bit. At first, Winston was a little skittish around K.C. but he has come to love other dogs.

Winston still doesn’t fit the mold of the “typical” Cavalier,

 

“He never allows us to touch him much, but now he enjoys being patted and he will sit on my husband for about 5-10 minutes then he gets off.

Winston
Smiling on Dad’s lap

 

He won’t really allow us to hug him or kiss him too much but we do it as much as we can. He does now know commands like sit, stay, down, sometimes come. So he is still a work in progress but he is getting there, we want to give him so much love but he tenses up. He never had pats for seven years of his life so this is still new to him.”

But he shows his love in other ways, “The best thing about my Winston is that he is very loyal to us and I know he is thankful to be in our home. He still has problems with strangers and trusting some people and it has been two years in our home, but he is realizing more and more that no one will ever hurt him again.”

 

Watching our rescue dogs realize that they are safe, home, forever, that has to be one of the best gifts they could give any one in return.

 

There’s a second story I want to tell today, and that’s about Nellie who was rescued by Judith.

Charlie jumping
Charlie Flying

Judith had just lost her first Cavalier, Charlie to Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) at nine and a half years old. He developed a heart murmur at six and was stable until age nine when his condition worsened during his last six months.

Judith said, “My first reaction was, no, I can’t, I’m just too heartbroken.

She said, I understand, but would you just go meet her?

Nellie couch
Nellie at home

And that’s how I got my Nellie. She was hyper, seriously anxious, and barked non-stop for the first 48 hours I had her home, and I wondered, how did I get into this? Nellie was a rescue from a puppy mill, who had been re-homed and then given up to the rescue.

She was two years old, and her foster mom told me she had been hand-shy, overweight and didn’t know how to play when she entered rescue. Nellie and I spent the first year together working on her barking, her anxiety, and her fear of other dogs.

Nellie at flyball
Nellie Flying

 

It’s been 4 years now, and she is super-cuddly and loving, greets all humans with joy, and loves to play tug, flyball, and go on long walks. (She’s still not crazy about other dogs but even this has improved. She’ll grumble but tolerate their existence.)”

All Judith knows about Nellie’s first home after the puppy mill is that, “Nellie was adopted by an older couple, after her first rescue. I was told that they gave her up to Quebec Rescue because they were unable to care for her anymore. I also suspect that they didn’t expect or know how to handle the behavior issues that can come from being rescued originally out of a bad situation.”

But whatever bad situation Nellie was in before, she’s a safe and happy girl now.

Nellie Costume

While neither Judith nor Tammy may have been planning on finding rescues to adopt, these two dogs landed in their laps at just the right time.