Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blog The Change For Animals: Everybody Our Own Threshold

I've been thinking about a topic for Blog the Change for Animals and this is something that's been on my mind.

I feel we all might be doing too much preaching and not enough doing.

Back in my country we have a saying, "Sweep your own threshold." Stop looking at what everybody else is doing wrong, take care of your own mess first.

I know there are many people who work really hard at making the world a better place for animals.

But there is so much preaching going on.

Do the words fall on a fertile ground?

The social media is full of petitions. There seem to be as many petitions as there are people out there. We sign petitions telling other countries what they should be doing.

And yet we still euthanize dogs in our shelters, puppy mills always find a way to survive, dog fighting is alive and well, dogs get abused ...

Whatever happened to leading by example?

It kind of reminds me of the Christian church - everybody is preaching and nobody is listening. Why?

Because Christians live lives no different from anybody else. They are unhappy, greedy, selfish, adulterous ... they just dress up nice from time to time and preach.

There ARE some Christians who are different.

I remember our English instructor. He was a Canadian from Buffalo. I know ... don't ask, I don't know. He was a student and came to my old country to teach English.

He never said a word about his faith. 

But he felt different. There was something about him. At first I thought it was because he was a Canadian (or American or whatnot). I couldn't figure it why it felt that way, it just did.

He didn't speak a word of Czech and felt pretty lonely. Because I spoke a little bit of English, we hung out a little. It was then, during our awkward conversation, when I found out that he was a Christian.

Was that making him different?

It wasn't my time then yet, but later on, that memory was part of what did lead me to faith. It was because he was a Christian and he WAS different.

If the world actually SAW some difference, I bet it would be willing to listen. As it stands, why should anybody be listening?

Let's give them a reason to listen.

Let's clean up our own act, set a good example. Then they might follow.

So I'm going to shut up now and go and do something about the mess on my own threshold.

My Dog Can't See, But She Isn't Blind ... To Our Love: Cleo's Story

by Sharon Castellanos

My dog Cleo has always been clumsy. 

Starting the day we brought her home from our San Francisco SPCA she has rushed into closed doors, bumped her head into tables, stumbled off curbs, tripped over shoes, and generally got into as much clumsy mischief as an 85 lb. Husky-Shepherd dog could.


She chased a squirrel up a tree once, and couldn’t figure out how to get down. There was a moment on a beach excursion when Cleo didn’t see a wave coming and found herself under water for a few seconds. A few years ago at a friend’s house, her interest in the bathroom trash can pulled Cleo into a space that was so narrow and awkward for her big body that when she turned around to leave, her butt and tail closed the door. She silently and patiently stayed behind the bathroom door waiting for them to find her. Cleo has a deep ability to trust her caregivers.

Today, my senior dog still gets into much of the same mischief as before only at a slower pace, and without most of her vision.

Cleo was diagnosed with diabetes over two years ago. 

We have managed it well with daily insulin injections and a balanced diet, but it caused her develop cataracts quickly. We’ve considered taking her to an ophthalmologist to see if she’d be a good candidate for cataract surgery but we have not. I’m concerned about her going through the surgery and the recovery, besides being wary of whether the results would have enough of a positive impact on the quality of her life to be worth the stress on us both. We don’t know her exact age but she is definitely close to 13 years old — which is elderly for a big dog.

If the ophthalmologist thought she’d do well with the surgery, would her being able to see that chair, or that corner of the couch, or the stairs, significantly increase the quality of her life? Would she bump into objects any less? Would her confidence increase? Who can really say. We certainly know any increase in vision will not reverse the ache in her aging joints from arthritis.

Our holistic approach

Instead we choose to focus more on what we know she enjoys, and give her a good life — each day we have together. We’re celebrating what we have with her, and accepting her as she is, an aging dog who is still sweet natured, loving to all, food motivated and curious about the smells that surround her.

We cope on a practical scale with Cleo’s blindness by not moving furniture. 

We’ve taught her useful words such as “step” to use negotiating stairs or sidewalk curb. We praise all of her excursions along the hallway leading from the front of the house to the back. We also have modified our schedules so someone is always at home with her.

Pets, in my book, whether they are cats, bunnies, fish or a cute dog, are a gift to human-kind. They make wonderful teachers, if you just stop for a second, and let them. If they happen to be blind, or without a complete set of legs, or whatever, it just means you are in for a treat. You know why?


Because they use their ability to problem solve in really unique and joyful ways!

These skills can be very translatable to humans too. We’re often learning something new about ourselves from life with Cleo. I’ve become much more compassionate towards my father’s own struggles managing his diabetes. So the next time you feel sorry for a disabled dog, don't.

They don't want our pity, they’re social creatures and want our attention. And probably a treat.

Though our dog Cleo doesn't see much with her eyes, she isn’t blind to our affectionate gestures. She can hear love in our tone of voice. I know she can feel my parental attention when I groom her and check her over for any new lumps or hotspots.

I believe Cleo copes well with her vision loss because of our holistic approach to her quality of life — and that is what I care about the most.

***

With her dog Cleo as her muse, Sharon Castellanos is inspired to share through Grouchy Puppy how dogs give fearlessly and positively influence our lives. Demonstrations by dogs and the people who love them are everywhere proving the human-animal bond is real. Grouchy Puppy is focused on highlighting them.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Adoption Monday: Scooter, Hound Mix: Deerfield, NH

Scooter is still looking for a home.

This boy keeps getting shuffled around and it's getting to him. Anybody looking for a handsome, adult black houndie who is great with other dogs and kids?

Look at the soulful face.


Scooter is neutered, house trained and current on routine shots. Want more info on Scooter? Call Mary's Dogs: 603.370.7750 or send along an email: marysdogsrescue@gmail.com


Ready to bring Scooter home? Tell us about yourself and your interest in Scooter in the adoption questionnaire. Check out all the wonderful dogs on Mary's Dogs Facebook Fan Page.

***

Mary’s Dogs rescues and re-homes dogs and puppies from Aiken County Animal Shelter, a high-kill shelter in South Carolina, USA. They also serve as a resource to communities in Southern New Hampshire and pet owners nationwide by providing education and information on responsible pet ownership, including the importance of spay/neuter, positive behavior training, and good nutrition.

Don't forget to check out Mary's Dogs Shop where you can shop dog and support their work!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

How I Rescued My Dog And Fell In Love

by Catherine Daniels

Before I start telling you the story of how I came to be the owner of the best dog ever, I have to share something with you, something that I am also ashamed of these days when I could not imagine my life without my trusty Edgar. Namely, I never was a dog person before, I was one of those people who saw dogs as nothing more than animals and who never understood why people would keep a dog in their home, or any other pet for that matter.

Still, all that changed two Christmases ago.


I was spending Christmas with some friends as I could not fly to see my family for work-related reasons and I admit that I got a bit tipsy that evening. I decided to walk home as I wanted to clear my head for work tomorrow and it was a cold night indeed. I buried my face in my scarf and I barely looked up during my walk home (we live close-by).

And then, just a few hundred yards from my building, I saw this little guy trying to heat himself up on some heating grates.

Remember, this was back when I was a non dog person and I intended to walk right by him when he looked up at me and actually started walking towards me.

This was a first since dogs never liked me before that (I guess they knew I was not interested in them either, it was a silent agreement between dogs and me that we had had over the years before) and I have to admit I was a bit intrigued.

I don’t know if it was his face, the fact that he was walking towards me, the cold that was more than apparent or the talks that I had with my friends over more than a few drinks, but I picked the guy up and I carried him home with me.

First I fed him to some meat that I had in the fridge, I gave him some water and then I ran him a warm bath to heat him up a bit. I didn't know what breed he was and today I know that no one would have known because he is a mutt, in the best sense of the word.

That night, he slept on my bed and it was a great night.

I noticed that he rubbed his right ear against furniture, but I did not think of it as a symptom of something at the time.

The next day I noticed he shook his head sometimes. So I got worried and in the following few days we went to see the vet, have him checked and it turned out he had an ear infection. Luckily, the vet was a great lady and she helped Edgar in no time.

Since then, we have been having so much fun that I just cannot imagine my life without him. 

Now, when I look back, I cannot believe that I never could understand why people love dogs and why people call them their best friends.

***

Catherine Daniels, huge animal lover, loves writing about them in spare time, enjoys hiking with her dog Cookie and cuddling with her cat Zoe. Prefers giving  them only balanced quality meals.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

You Are In Our Hearts Forever

I can't believe it's been a year since I saw your face, my love.

Jasmine Rade
August 3, 2003 - April 12, 2013

Of course, I have pictures of you everywhere, and I always wear the pendant with your living fur. I think about you every day.

You are in our hearts forever. 

We like to think of all the good times you had and the funny things you did. We see a lot of you in Cookie, your heiress. I'm sure you're very proud of her. She does her best to fill your shoes. She is now carrying your torch.

Your legacy lives on, my love. I kept up up the blog and your Facebook group has almost 2,500 members now, helping dogs every day.

You could never be forgotten.

Related articles:
The Wackiest Thing I Ever Did For My Dog 
Today, Jasmine Would Have Been Ten Years Old
The Bond That Cannot Be Severed 
Memories Of Jasmine: Jasmine's Ranch  
Memories Of Jasmine: House Training 
Memories Of Jasmine: Camping 
Memories Of Jasmine: The Treasure Keeper
Memories Of Jasmine: Best Buddies 
Memories Of Jasmine: The Lost Forest 
Treatments Jasmine Benefited From The Most 
Memories Of Jasmine: Remix 4 
Memories Of Jasmine: Remix 3
Making The Last Decision
Memories Of Jasmine: Remix 2
Memories Of Jasmine: Remix 1
Jasmine's Last Happy Days Before The Final Crisis
The Last Act Of Love: Run Free, Jasmine
Pain, Reaction To Narcotics Or Something Else? Please Pray For Jasmine
It Just Keeps Piling Up 
I Always Thought That A UTI Would Scream It's Presence
Taking A Break From Orthopedic Issues To Deal With Inappetence, Diarrhea And Listlessness That Come And Go 
Positive Update, Though Little Clarity
Jasmine's Neck Setback Update  
Jasmine's Neck Setback  
Elbow Problem Or Root Signature? 
Back To Where We Were Last May?
Jasmine's Disc Injury: Spanking New Ramp  
Jasmine's Disc Injury: The Parole Hearing
Jasmine's Disc Injury: Mom, Why Can't I Go For A Walk?
Jasmine's Disc Injury(?) Day Three 
Jasmine's Disc Injury(?) Day Two 
A Time Bomb Ought To Go Off At Some Point, I Guess: Jasmine's Neck
OK, I Am A Sucker: We're Going Through With The SLIT 
Jasmine's Episodes: Back To The Allergies Dilemma 
This Is What Jasmine's Episode Looks Like
Gotta Try Everything Once (Or Twice): On The Quest To Figure Out Jasmine's Episodes 
Thundershirt vs. Jasmine's Episodes
Jasmine's Mysterious Swelling And Another Experience With VetLiveThe Diagnosis Is In: Jasmine Has An Interdigital Cyst
Jasmine's Mysterious Swelling And Interdigital Cyst Update  
Is Crawling Under Things Some Kind Of Secret Physical Therapy?  
Is There No Place Safe? Jasmine's Acupuncture Session
Senior Sensory Systems Function: Zero Defects  
It Looks Like A Keeper: Jasmine's New Integrative Vet 
Jasmine's Acute Lameness
Jasmine Doesn't Like "Doing Time"
Our Of Jail Free Pass
When It's Looks Too Good To Be True … The Lameness Returns
The Day Of The Treatment
First Time For Everything: A Healing Crisis(?)  
From Zero To Sixty In Four Days: Stem Cells At Work
The Calm After The Storm 
If It Was Easy, It Wouldn't Be Jasmine
Practicing What I Preach: Jasmine's Semi Annual Wellness Exam  
No Skimping On Oral Care 
I'm Still Standing! (Happy Birthday, Jasmine)
How Dogs Think (Well, Jasmine Anyway)
Jasmine is Vet-Stem's poster child!
Rant About Quality Of Life Versus Quantity, And Differential Diagnoses
Jasmine Is Headed For Her Next Stem Cell Treatment
Jasmine's Stem Cells Are In
Arthritis? What Arthritis? 
Guess Who Is An Ever-Ready Bunny And Really Liking The Bit Of Snow We Got? 
Don't Knock It Until You Tried It: Animal Chiropractic 
Jasmine's Fur Analysis
Back At Chiropractic Care 
Our Own Emergency Vet Horror (Part I)
Our Own Emergency Vet Horror (Part II) 
How The Oddysey Started: Jasmine's ACL Injury
Meet Jasmine
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