Category Archives: health

Problem Child

“He’s your problem child,” said both the vet tech and the vet separately, each smiling. The second time, when our vet said it, we all laughed, and I held Charlie up saying, “we can’t afford you!”

We were supposed to be going in for a mere second distemper round, but, in the week before we were to go, he developed itchy, flaky, scaly skin everywhere and started losing/chewing off his hair.

 

Waiting for the vet
#NationalSelfieDay pic at the Vet

 

It began with his knees and looked like dry/hot spots, so I found some good moisturizing hot spot treatment and used that, his knee/thigh hair started to grow back. But then, like *that* it was EVERYWHERE, and he wasn’t just chewing off his hair, it was falling out.

coconut oil and hair loss
Charlie – Greasy with Coconut Oil and Losing Hair

I didn’t call the vet because he didn’t seem to be in pain and I knew I had an appt this week. I decided to try helping the dry skin. I coated my 5.5 lb puppy in coconut oil two nights in a row. Even though we put it on at night, it didn’t soak into the fur, so it was kind of funny to have a greased up puppy running around.

That didn’t help so I went and got medicated shampoo and he got a bath. He was going to get one anyway – I certainly wasn’t going to take a greasy puppy to the vet – so I chose between oatmeal style shampoo and medicated.

The next day we went to the vet. She was stumped by the particular look of his skin and the way it was thinning. She decided to take a skin scraping to check for a particular kind of mite but found nothing as she suspected. She took him to her co-worker, a woman who has been practicing for 30+ years, she too was stumped.

So, with a combined 45+ years of vet practice, nobody knew what Charlie could have. My vet came back and said, “This is the only time I think I will ever say this, but I hope maybe it is just allergies? Environmental even?”

She knows how hard we have worked on getting Callie’s food right given her allergies, but we may have to consider the possibility of him having them too. Unless this skin stuff goes away with Benadryl and applications of flea/tick stuff every two weeks just in case it is a different kind of mite, the next step is an animal dermatologist an hour and a half away. He can’t even wear sunblock, with all the thin fur he’s getting sunburns, he has to wear shirts to protect his skin. The vet doesn’t want anything else possibly irritating him.

Charlie wears shirts
Charlie has to wear shirts for now, not happy about it! ❤️

He was SUCH a crybaby after getting his one vaccine that he literally climbed up my shirt and under my neck. He was so loud it startled both the vet tech and the vet. If it wasn’t that our wonderful vet already knew Charlie, I don’t know what she would have thought happened. She had to put a note in Charlie’s chart for any of the other vets, just in case, “Very Sensitive Boy.”

Do you have a problem child? Tell me about them!

The kiddo and the puppy
Who is cuter? The kiddo or the puppy? 😍

Just in case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s Mama B helping Charlie with his hill climbs 😂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonding that saves lives!

These stories are so lovely and magical. Reading this post is re-empowering me to get back to work with Callie, training for her therapy dog license so she can work with kids.

Original post:

Shelter Dogs and Special Needs Kids: A Match Made in Heaven

By: Vera Lawlor June 9, 2017

About Vera Follow Vera at @vtlawlor

Brook, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, was sitting in a high-kill shelter in Arizona with just two days to live when she was rescued by Janice Wolfe, founder and CEO of Merlin’s KIDS. The nonprofit organization rescues, rehabilitates and trains shelter dogs to work as service dogs for children with autism and special needs, as well as to assist disabled veterans. After extensive training Brook returned Wolfe’s kindness by transforming the life of Julie, 21, who is developmentally delayed due to a premature birth.

Wolfe describes Brook as a “rock star,” a calm sweet dog with the perfect temperament for working as an emotional support service dog. Julie’s mom, Ellen, couldn’t agree more.

“Brook has given Julie a greater sense of confidence,” Ellen said. “They are always together and Brook definitely knows that it’s her responsibility to take care of Julie.”

Before being paired with Brook, Julie was afraid to go outside the house on her own. Now she and Brook take walks down the block or sit together in the yard. Julie has become more outgoing and enjoys speaking or singing in front of people.

“Brook has become an emotional support for all of us,” Ellen said. “I can’t believe that they almost put her to sleep. She is the love of our lives!”

Julie takes a selfie with Brook as he smothers her with kisses.

Another Merlin’s KIDS graduate, Willow, was rescued from a beach in Aruba where she ran with a feral pack. She was so scared that nobody could touch her. With patience and love her foster family won her love and trust. Now after completing the training program, the 40-pound sweet-natured cunucu dog is ready to join three other Merlin’s Kids service dogs in the Animal Adaptive Therapy program at the Calais School for special needs children in New Jersey. Willow is a cortisol detection dog trained to detect stress signals in students and to alert the counseling team so that they can intervene before a problem escalates. She will also work with students to learn the social, emotional and behavioral skills they need to succeed in life.

Willow and Brook are just two of the 1,300 dogs that have been rescued, rehabilitated and trained as service dogs by Wolfe, a canine behavior rehabilitation specialist and author of “SHH HAPPENS! Dog Behavior 101.” In addition to Rhodesian Ridgebacks, the nonprofit organization has rescued and rehabilitated Labrador mixes, pointer mixes and coonhound mixes to work as service dogs. The goal of the organization is to ensure that service dogs are available to families in need regardless of financial circumstances. To fulfill this mission it depends on financial donations and sponsorships.

Wolfe said that Merlin’s KIDS service dogs are highly trained and highly specialized. They can do anything from keeping a special needs child from wandering away to opening doors or picking up pencils for children with disabilities to alerting before the onset of a seizure. It’s important, the trainer said, to make sure that the dogs are physically capable of doing the jobs being asked of them and that they have the right temperament.

“I’m very careful when placing dogs with autistic children because these kids can have such erratic behavior and the dogs have to be able to handle that,” Wolfe said. “Service dogs who will be tethered to a child have to be really chill and calm”

When it comes to autistic children Wolfe’s dogs are trained to serve the individual child. For example, dogs are trained to help children who are overstimulated by interrupting behavior patterns, and they can prevent children from opening a door and running out into the street. Some children need deep pressure to fall asleep so Wolfe and her team train service dogs to lay across their laps at night.

“We have a lot of autistic kids who had never slept in their own beds until they got a service dog,” Wolfe said. In addition to donations and sponsors, Merlin’s Kids is always in need of volunteers and foster families.

ooOOoo

This beautiful article was first seen on the Care2 site and, please, do drop across to that Merlin Kids website.

Learning from Dogs

Again and again the power of our relationship with dogs is breathtakingly beautiful.

If I carried on writing about dogs and sharing articles with you for a thousand years, I still don’t think I would become immune to the joy and wonder of what dogs mean to us. (Luckily for your sake you won’t have to follow this blog for quite those many years!)

Turning to us, the measure of a compassionate and caring society is how it looks after those who, through circumstance and bad luck, are disadvantaged. While there are many in such a situation who are the wrong side of twenty-one there’s something especially important, critically so, in reaching out to help our youngsters.

So why this switch from dogs to disadvantaged young people?

Read on:

ooOOoo

Shelter Dogs and Special Needs Kids: A Match Made in Heaven

By: Vera Lawlor June 9, 2017

About Vera Follow…

View original post 698 more words

Don’t Forget the Queen

It’s the start of the latest Callie’s Wag post and who do I have the most to talk about again? Charlie.

Callie looks serious
Beautiful girl 💕

Yes, he’s a puppy and definitely has the most going on in his day-to-day life but, as I opened my screen to write, I looked at Callie, next to me always, and she raised her head as though to say,

“Remember mom, this blog started because of me.”

That’s my own guilt giving her a voice on a subject to which she cares nothing about.

Her upset wasn’t made up, though, when I had to take Charlie with me to a work meeting last week.

I couldn’t leave him here for the four hours I was going to be gone (over-coddler here!) and so I felt worse and worse as Callie grew more excited at the sight of me packing my work bag. She LOVES going to the office. I don’t know why… that’s a lie, I do. She gets at least one duck wing as soon as we get there, so she’ll settle down while we meet.

Sometimes she doesn’t get to go “with” my work bag, and that’s sad but ok, but this time, I took Charlie of all things! I committed a grave crime in Callie’s book. She snubbed me for hours after we got home.

Callie’s been trying harder to claim us. She’s apter to snuggle up tight or to ask for pets now than she ever was before. We have to make a conscious effort to pay as much attention to her as to Charlie. She second guesses things that used to be solid, like when we release her for dinner. We had to work to get her to sit and wait again when he first got here, so now she hesitates every meal and has to be told at least twice that she can get up and eat.

As so often happens when a new “baby” of any kind arrives in the house, not only is the routine is forgotten but, often, others are pushed aside for a while. I started this blog for her, and, while it’s now about both of them, today it is reminding me that I haven’t given enough of my time or of myself to Callie lately. It’s time for Charlie to take some daily breaks just for Callie and me to get back to our adventures.

No worries though, I’m sure every post is going to include updates on him too. How could they not? For Charlie is quite the puppy.

Cute Charlie on his bed
I’m SO cute – How could I be any trouble?

Speaking of the little devil, Charlie’s had a big week. After we finally got rid of those lovely parasites that came here too and started to put a little weight on the boy, he suffered a sports injury.

It was a 4 lb puppy vs. an 8 y/o girl. They were running around the tennis courts where we live and Charlie, being the underfoot dog he is, ran right in front of her. She tried so hard to stop and then to jump over him, but ended up stepping on his side. Thank goodness, he showed no signs of any serious internal injury or major broken bones although he kept crying out when we would hold him in certain ways. Charlie and I went to the vet the next day to find out his first rib was broken.

Accidents happen. They do. There are so many stories like Charlie’s where everything went fine, but MAN, it was scary as anything!

The worst part was that when he would go to the bathroom, he would compensate for the weakness in his front arm by stepping his back leg out to the side. We are doing everything we can to prevent issues from his luxating patellas, and weird stances compound it.

It does seem like his right hind knee is already bothering him some even as the rib heals. Last night I think he tweaked it while eating and now he thinks the food bowl did it to him. I had to hand feed the silly puppy dinner, and he only ate half his breakfast. I suppose he needs an elevated bowl, but how are you expected to elevate one for an animal which stands about 8 inches tall?!?!? 😆 I tried a cardboard box. Fail.

fullsizeoutput_101b

Getting back to the beautiful girl, yesterday evening Callie reminded me that I needed to take care of her too. Although I wanted to do the easy – go out, pee, poop, go inside – deal as I was tired, she wanted to go around the smallish grass circle in the middle of our current condo space, one of her favorite things to do. So I indulged her, stopping at every smell, letting her lead the way, and, as we came back around to our door, she bounded like a puppy, a huge grin on her face.

Just in case you haven’t seen in yet – here’s crazy puppy in action this week, choosing his favorite classifieds.

 

 

Oh, Charlie

Last week I introduced everyone to Charlie, our newly adopted (surprise) puppy. Charlie comes from the same rescue as Callie and likely the same puppy mill. It’s not just my guess that they might; the women in charge were pretty certain, the other male, a five-year-old stud, had the same look as Charlie and Callie, as well as another dog rescued three years ago by a woman I met recently on FB. Here’s last week’s post if you need to catch up.

 

IMG_3591
Twinsies

 

It’s interesting because this mill breeds for certain positive breed aspects, like the slightly longer nose which helps to avoid bronchial issues and a size that fits close to the breed standard. No, they are not good breeders. It is a farm. I just found that piece of the puzzle curious.

Charlie rode the puppy roller coaster. He was sent out to a broker to be sold to a pet store, but the pet stores didn’t want him, and he was sent back. Lucky Charlie, just before the next auction, the rescue took a trip out to Ohio and brought him back.

Charlie is a puppy mill mascot. Unlike Callie who managed to make it out at six years old and in perfect health, he came to us with some things we knew about and some we didn’t.

fullsizeoutput_ef1
Puppy Snuggles 😍

Before they headed out, all the dogs visited the vet in Ohio where they noted that Charlie has “grade 1” luxating patellas and an umbilical hernia.

Luxating patellas are when a dog has a very flat patella ridge. This means the kneecap doesn’t seat snugly in the groove and it can pop out either medially, to the inside, or laterally, to the outside.
There are four levels of severity of a luxating patella. Grade 1 is the mildest; Grade 4 is the most severe.
• A Grade 1 luxating patella describes a kneecap that pops out (or can be manually popped out of place) but pops right back in on its own.
• Grade 2 describes a kneecap that pops out of place and doesn’t always pop back in automatically, sometimes requiring manual manipulation to re-seat it.
• A Grade 3 condition is when the kneecap sits outside its groove most of the time but can be manually positioned back in the groove, where it stays temporarily.
• Grade 4 luxating patella describes the worst-case scenario, in which the kneecap sits outside the groove all the time, and won’t stay seated in the groove when it is manually popped into place.

The morning after the caravan arrived back in VT, we got a call about the availability of an 11-week old puppy or a five-year-old male stud – to be neutered, but if we wanted one, especially the puppy, we had to come that day. Sherry did tell us about his knees before we made the trip. We quickly discussed the pros and cons and made the call to go “meet” (i.e. get, lol) the puppy.

Charlie came home without having visited the groomers yet and with diarrhea and a little cough. First, if you haven’t ever smelled a puppy mill or a dog from one, it is horrendous. Little Charlie was so sweet and snuggly, but he reeked! The first chance we got on the trip home we stopped for doggie bath wipes to get as much of the green and brown stains and nasty smell off him.

I made an appointment with our vet, however, due to one vet being on vacation, we had to wait a few days for a time. Charlie’s cough went away within a day or so, he just needed to be consistently warm. His diarrhea didn’t though. I was fairly sure he had some parasite that wasn’t treated by regular de-worming, but it wasn’t until I saw some blood in his stool that I called the vet and made an emergency appointment.

Charlie had giardia, coccidia, and whipworms, poor baby. That was a lot of medication! Even Callie had to be treated again. The vet also confirmed his luxating patellas although she said she doesn’t grade them when the puppy is this young and also informed us that Charlie has a minor heart murmur.

Because he is so young, we are lucky, and there are some things we can do to counteract his physical issues. Regarding the murmur, the two most important are diet and exercise – keeping him at the correct weight when he is grown, and daily exercise may keep his heart working a bit better. Regarding the kneecaps, again exercise and weight, but certain exercises are particularly beneficial.

As our vet recommended, we do a lot of hill climbs, up and down, both straight and in zig zags, and anything else we can think of that will strengthen his quads as those are the muscles that will be the most beneficial. Also helps tire the rambunctious puppy out! It’s been excellent for Callie too.

fullsizeoutput_ef2
Out for a walk with the girl!

Hey – got any good game or exercise ideas that are low-impact on the knees but work the quads on our pup?

IMG_3571
Tug seems to be a good one, too.

Don’t worry all – Charlie is doing GREAT! These are just things we have to keep in mind as he grows. And these are some issues that puppy mills cause. FIGHT TO END PUPPY FARMING!