Friday, April 7, 2017

Outbreak of H3N2 in LA County

Notice of the outbreak of H3N2 sent to us from VCAS:
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Hi, all

Dr. Heather, our managing veterinarian, wanted me to share this information with any of you who might have dogs coming into your rescues that may have originated from the Los Angeles County area.  Please read the attached notice of a higher instance of “H3N2”, Canine Influenza, due to an outbreak that was reported on March 11, 2017, involving dogs imported from China into the L.A. area. 

We do vaccinate all incoming dogs to VCAS with the H3N2 vaccine and have for several years.

All the best,

Jane

Jane Gorden
Rescue Coordinator
Ventura County Animal Services
805-388-4235

Download the NEW Ventura County Animal Services App in the Apple store!

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Little things...

Being a dog rescuer is hard - if it was easy, everyone would be doing it... But every once in awhile, something happens that just gives you a MAJOR boost of affirmation that what you are doing is the right thing... 

Tanner from CRF Solutions called me a few weeks back and asked what kinds of things that the rescue were in need of... I laughed and asked how much time he had, and then gave him a long, laundry list of things we are consistently buying which then takes from the monies available for vet bills, one of our largest expenditures... 

Yesterday, a few of us TLC volunteers along with Momma and Snookers were asked to come to their office and pick up the results of their donation drive... We were overwhelmed with the generosity of the CRF Solutions' employees... 


And here is where the 'little things' come in... One of the CRF Solution employees had donated a can of milk replacement - something expensive but yet life-saving... 

As it turned out, on Monday evening we got one of those "911" contacts... A momma dog had been killed and left behind three small pups just days old... Usually I have at least one nursing mom in the TLC nursery (always the best solution) but currently there is only one nursing mom (and she's nursing her own three pups and two from another mom's litter who was not taking great care of her pups)... 

I put out the plea to the TLC volunteers Monday evening and one of the volunteers stepped up to bottle-feed the litter... Another rescue took the big, blonde pup in this photo, but Carol from TLC offered to take in the three itty bitties in the top of this photo...  You can tell by the size of this person's hands just how small and fragile these three itty bitties are... 

As it turned out (and a fluke), I had picked up a can of the replacement milk last Saturday as a back-up plan for me one nursing mom not doing a good job... So I had that can of replacement milk to hand over to Carol ahead of time... 

But then to find a second can (and you go through this stuff like crazy when you are bottle feeding) in the CRF Solutions' donation was SO heart warming yesterday... Someone thought enough (or knew) what we go through, trying to save these hard cases and it just touched me so much, I knew I had to sit down this morning and blog about this... 

When the pups are this young and you don't have a nursing mom, they have NO chance at life if you don't have a volunteer willing to feed them every 2-3 hours around the clock for several weeks until they stabilize... There are only three volunteers in TLC that will take on bottle fed litters, in fact... These are so small, they are being fed with a syringe and a squirrel nipple attached to it... Pups don't know to wet and poo either at this age, so the bottle mom needs to take care of this as well... And keep them warm... And clean... And eventually, socialized and healthy... It is a MAJOR undertaking and not always successful... Mother Nature does a far better job than we humans do!

But again - thank you, Tanner, and all of the employees of CRF Solutions for your very generous support and donations to TLC.  Please thank them all, but especially the person who donated that replacement milk... Please share the photos of these itty bitty boys that will immediately take advantage of their donation!

Sincerely,
Linda, Director, TLC

Sunday, February 19, 2017

59 and counting....

Last night as I was driving home from adoptions after a very LONG and tiring day (up at 3AM and finally calling it a day at 7PM), I was thinking back about the day... How many other people are as lucky as I am?....

Once a week, I get to spend the day with some of the NICEST people... Old and young, I get to see a lot of ladies (and a few gents) come together without a thought of getting paid, a day FULL of hard work and with no other rewards than knowing they are part of a movement to save puppy and dog lives... Yeah, sure - you can just about always count on people showing up if there is a paycheck involved, but the time and energy these folks give up comes not from anywhere else but their heart....  ♥

Today is my birthday and I am adding one more year to my 'official' age... At 59 years old now, I truly believed I would be retiring from rescue 20 years ago 'cause by now, we as a people would have stopped killing adoptable dogs in our shelters and pounds... But as I was (still) reflecting on growing older, I realized that in less than 4 months from now, our county would have gone No-Kill five (5 - yes - FIVE) years ago...

What an EXCELLENT birthday present to give an 'older-than-dirt' lady... Five years of not killing nine of out of ten dogs that walked through their doors...

Over five years ago, I used to physically sick Monday evenings because I knew the next day (Tuesday) was kill day at Ventura County Animal Services (then known as VCAR)... And that any dog I could not save and get out of there, was a dead dog early Tuesday morning... No matter how many times I'd plead for a foster that week and pray for that dog to be adopted by someone over the weekend, there were some dogs that I absolutely failed despite my very best efforts... Those dog faces are still the ones I see at times in my nightmares...

And five years later?... Monday evenings I no longer get nauseated... I don't FEAR Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays any more... In fact, this past week several of the VCAS and TLC volunteers sat at the same table at Sutter's Mill for a great fundraising dinner... Now, just how SPECIAL this memory is, huh?... Something that no one can take from me and I will have forever as long as I live... Thank-you, Donna and Barry, for committing VCAS to No-Kill in my lifetime!...

My husband and I are not wealthy... We are not even 'comfortable' and live paycheck to paycheck like everyone else does... But the love of dogs and doing rescue has 'paid' us back in memories and unconditional love that even the wealthy billionaires in this country don't have... TLC is fast approaching the 3,000 mark of saves, but what numbers don't show is the special cases and not easily adopted sweethearts that have passed through our hands and onto their own furever homes... That never shows up in statistics but it sure shows up in heartbeats and precious memories...

Yesterday, despite the threat of rain and overcast skies, there was a beacon of hope and promise that came to adoptions... A dog, thrown into an industrial trash compactor (pregnant) to have her litter inside and the first miracle was that no one pushed that button or threw in heavy trash on top of them... Feral, but not aggressive, she would not (or could not) leave the trash compactor and her puppies behind, so that is how she showed up in rescue - when brave souls climbed into the trash and hauled her and her litter out...

Her name is DeMara and we don't know how long she and her litter of pups were in that trash compactor... But when I got her, I could encircle her waist with my two hands, thumb-to-thumb and finger-to-finger... Feral, but not aggressive, she would unwillingly submit to being touched by human hands but by her body language, you could tell it was not something she was comfortable with...

Second miracle came along when her pups were weaning and another foster in TLC stepped up to allow her to dry out and start becoming socialized... Those two months brought this beautiful dog from a skin-and-bones skeleton to a plush and healthy, young adult female... Working with DeMara, she went from a 'void, no personality' dog to a dog that looked with interest at a human... It took two months, but oh my, what a big change....

And the third miracle of this dog's life?... Unexpectedly we had to switch foster homes for DeMara... Most of us in TLC foster but few of us have big dogs... I asked Lydia and her husband, Neil, if they could just foster for two weeks... And the switch occurred last Saturday at adoptions... DeMara sat, 'plastered to the parking lot' at PetSmart as she waited for her new foster mom... New sounds? New people?  New dogs?  DeMara was apprehensive and on edge... But in my mind?... She'd gone eons in change already...

Yesterday, this beautiful dog came back to adoptions... And in just a week? What another unbelievable change~!!!... Her third miracle in her lifetime and one of the sweetest birthday presents I have had... DeMara was no longer plastering herself to the ground, but actually going up to strangers and new dogs she did not know... She came up to me as I was eating my breakfast and allowed me to feed her half of my sandwich - something she had never done before to me despite being her foster mom for 6 weeks... She actually sat at my feet and took my pieces of breakfast sandwich from my hand~!!! ... Gentle, gentle too...

At one point, I had one of those 'heart shudders' you get when you realize just how much of a miracle you are looking at - right in front of you... A dog that had NO chance, nor her pups... To have three miracles in a short amount of time and to come from being feral to being a family dog... 


I willingly gave up most of my sandwich... Maybe at the beginning because I could not believe my eyes... But at the end, because I was SO enjoying the vision of her taking food from my hands...

THESE are the kinds of birthday presents I get, not just once a year, but year round... I listen to folks that work in offices and at companies, complaining about the folks they work with and for... I could not have a better job... It is hard, it is emotionally and physically draining, it pays nothing (and in fact, you pay to have it in numerous ways... smile...), but oh, how lucky, LUCKY I am...

Each day is like Christmas and every week is like having your birthday all over for the non-material 'presents' in memories and heart twitters you get... 


Yes, indeed... I am a VERY LUCKY 'older-than-dirt' lady... 

Hugs,
Linda

P.S.  DeMara at her foster mom's home with Bettie (also a rescued and now adopted homeless dog).  Bettie Davis is a Chihuahua mix with a beautiful personality... DeMara is a Jindo/Shepherd/Lab mix, sitting behind her.



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

New venue

We have started looking into ways to raise funds to offset the massive amount of vet bills we have, saving canine lives.

We already have the 'Luv My Dog' line of essential oils we create in a medium that you can apply to the back of their neck or at the inside tip of their ear.

In addition, we are going to start carrying unique doggie items for pet owners and lovers... Or to be used as gifts for a pet lover you love.

We will post them on our blog as they are available - use the label 'fundraiser' on the blog cloud to find these items easily.


And now for today's arrival?  Cute little 'heart doggie love' rings have arrived and will be available at our next adoption event for sale!  $6 each... 



Monday, February 13, 2017

Pain & Dogs

Dogs are extremely good at concealing pain from us.  Why do they do this?  As pack animals, not showing their suffering has clear survival benefits. The ancestors of modern dogs would commonly leave behind a member of the pack who was in pain and slowing down the group as a whole.  Each pack member needed the pack to survive, hunt and eat ~~ so without a pack, it was a death sentence.  As a result, dogs have learned to hide their pain very well, despite all the breeding we have done and changing of their genetic make-up.

And as dogs age, just like with us humans, nature takes its course.  Depending on the SIZE (and NOT human years), our canine pets move out of adulthood and into becoming a senior citizen, complete with the issues of growing older. While a large breed dog is considered "old" at 7 or 8 (human) years, smaller sized canines are really "old" until they reach 9 to 12 (human years).  As they change, we should be changing our care of them as well.

Side Note about Seniors: Food for seniors will have a lower fat content and a bit higher in fiber.  Protein levels will remain the same. Once a senior dog, they should be switched to a senior formula food accordingly. A good senior formula will have slightly higher levels of glucosamin, chondroitin,and other elements to support joint function. With many senior Chihuahuas, supplements of Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin C are more important than ever. 
We have a great sheet on how to recognize dog pain on our website in the resources section HERE.

Four of out of five large breed dogs over the age of 8 are suffering from some kind of joint pain or arthritis.  With the smaller sized canine breeds, this usually is between the ages of 9 to 12 (human) years.  Fortunately, there are some subtle signs we can look out for:

Top 6 Signs of Canine Osteoarthritis

  1. Weight Gain: Obesity is often an indirect sign of arthritis, as dogs become less active due to the pain.
  2. Difficulty in getting up to greet you: This is one of the most often cited signals. If your dog usually jumps up to greet you or visitors when they first walk in the door, but suddenly stops this behavior, there may be something wrong.
  3. Limping: Often arthritic dogs experience limping right after getting up from lying down. The limp may not last for long, and might only occur a few moments after getting up.
  4. Decreased energy: If your dogs overall energy has taken a turn for the worse, they may be feeling the pains of arthritic joints.
  5. Irritability: If your dog has become irritable for no apparent reason, they may be suffering from a hidden pain of some kind.
  6. Increased licking, biting, or chewing: Pay attention to where your dog is licking or grooming themselves. Excessive or unusual attention in one area of the body might be a result of joint pain.
Sadly, most dogs will be affected at one time or another by osteoarthritis, joint pain, or hip & elbow dysplasia. There are many factors influencing when or how bad the symptoms might be.  In general, the larger the breed of dog, the more likely they are to suffer from joint pain, and the earlier you need to start preventative measures.  

The following breeds in particular are prone to more severe joint problems. Many veterinarians recommend supplementation for these breeds as early as 3 years old: German Shepherds, Goldens, Labs, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Great Danes, Dachshunds, Newfoundlands and St. Bernards.  In the case of the Dachshund, we humans have bred the spinal column so long to create the confirmation of the dog, we have created a weakness there that requires early supplementation (even if the dog is not large in size).

Many veterinarians recommend supplementing with a high quality glucosamine, MSM, and Chondroitin supplement. In recent years, turmeric has also become a popular ingredient for joint support.  For more information on the use of turmeric, see this piece by Dogs Naturally Magazine.  The dosage of turmeric is 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon per day for every 10 pounds of dog weight ( 1/2 to 1 tsp for a 40 pound dog).  And with anything natural, please don't fall into that mindset of 'if one is good, two must be great and three must be fantastic' we humans are known for.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Push Button Dogs

Just the term - 'push button dogs' - seems to be quite humorous, doesn't it?  I won't take credit for it... One of the TLC volunteers, Carol K. mentioned it and as I mulled over it?... It struck me as to how many folks expect dogs to be 'push button'... 
TLC does not rescue nor place in adoption 'push-button dogs'
At least on a daily basis, I get 5-10 requests for dogs that are potty-trained, don't ever bark, etc. in our rescue's email... And every week at our adoption events, my volunteers and I hand out hours of free education (to those willing to listen to it) on the handling and care of dogs...

The two biggest errors I see in dog owners that fail with their pets is 1) failure to be consistent and 2) lack of observation... NONE of us have all the answers to ALL of the questions, comments and issues with dogs... The very best any of us can do is to constantly try new things and hopefully find solutions for pet issues... But if you, as an owner, are not committed to being consistent with your dog and willing to be an observant dog owner, you are setting yourself up to fail eventually.... 

Take for example, the big "P" problem - be it :poop: or pee... No matter how cold it is, or rainy, or windy, every morning I go outside with my dogs... I am consistent and I am observant... They know I am going to stand outside there and watch what is going on (even in my pajamas and freezing my tuckus off!)... I want to make sure they are doing what I expect them to do, and this also gives me an opportunity to see if anyone is sick, having problems pooping or the poop is not quite 'right'... You veteran dog owners know what I am talking about here... Even the oldest dog can be potty-trained... Unless there is a medical condition (i.e. bladder infection, etc.), dogs do not want to pee and poop where they sleep and eat... It is just not in their nature... So if your pet is doing his business inside the house, you need to look at how consistent you are about keeping set hours at getting him outside... 

At my house, throughout the day, they have a doggie door they use... If a new foster does not know how to use a doggie door, the other dogs will show him quickly... But if I see the dog is unwilling to follow the other dogs?  Hot dogs work great at encouraging the dog to go through the flap... However, if you work and you are gone 9-11 hours a day, you do best to confine your dog to a section of your home or apartment that has somewhere for him to relieve himself if needed... If you leave your dog free-roam and you get hung up at work, you can only expect him to find a spot on the carpet when you don't come home at the normal time... 

I pretty much go to bed at the same time every night... My dogs and fosters will come around about 15-20 minutes before that time and watch me... Observing me to see how close I am to going to bed... They can't read a clock nor have a wristwatch, but they know... They absolutely know what time it is... My dogs are all kenneled at night for two reasons: 1) I used to let them sleep with me and eventually figured out I don't sleep as well with them in my bed and 2) after a near miss at evacuation for a wildfire heading in our direction, we could not find one of our dogs... Afraid of the smell, the dog hid somewhere we did not think of and that was enough of a scare for me... If I have to evacuate in the middle of the night, I want to be able to QUICKLY grab my important papers and our dogs.

I use the command "Kennel Up" because it is my habit... I too am a creature of habit just like dogs... Our dogs quickly beat us to their kennel at night because they know they will also get a Greenie once in their kennel... SO easy to teach a dog to do this, and even with a new foster, I don't have to worry about finding a puddle or a present somewhere... 

But I am consistent... Over and over and OVER again... If my husband uses a different command, I let him know (and/or show him) how to get the same responses I do when using the same command I do... I'm not being mean - it is for the dog's best interests that ALL family members use the same terms and commands... Dogs LOVE consistency... But they are not 'push-button dogs'... 

The better I am at being consistent in something, the more responsive they are going to be when responding... 

If your life is helter skelter, your work schedules vary, your social life is heavy and being consistent is not going to work?.... Then maybe your life is not really good for having a dog... If you still need a doggie-fix, any rescue or shelter will GLADLY appreciate your help - trust me on this!... 

The other area that comes up with people wanting to adopt 'push-button dogs' is the wrong person is making the selection when adopting... We have parents come in all the time and want to adopt a dog for their children... Let's face reality here... Your child will grow up, go through high school and maybe into college before the puppy you adopt from us today is old... No matter how smart or committed your child is, YOU are going to be the one to be the caretaker of this puppy through its normal lifespan, so if YOU don't like the dog or don't want to take on the role of the major caretaker, don't adopt a puppy... If this is just a temporary measure for a few years, adopt an older, bigger dog breed... The bigger the dog is size, the shorter the life span... 

And?... Dogs don't teach children responsibility... We as parents do... If we are not consistent in our role modeling, our kids won't be either... If you are too tired to get up and take that dog out at 6AM on Saturday mornings when the dog has been going out at that time Monday through Friday, the dog is going to have an accident in the house because your child is not going to do anything they don't see you do... 

Barking?... Well, that is not really something that is 100% genetically programmed in dogs... Dogs in the wild don't even bark - we humans taught domesticated dogs to bark... The only real difference between dog barks and breeds is the size of their lungs and how deep in volume a bark is going to be... But if barking is tolerated (or even encouraged as puppies), your adult dog is going to bark when they are bored, if they are still intact (not spayed or neutered) or hear a strange noise... I don't 'untrain' dogs in regards to the door bell, but otherwise?... I don't like barking dogs... Consistency and a water spray bottle works wonders, but only if you get up and use it IMMEDIATELY over and over again until you have broken the habit in the dog... Hollering out the window to 'SHUT UP' only causes your neighbors to hate you more than your barking dog!

Your dog is NOT going to like each and every one of your friends... Face it... Do you?... Of course not!... Some dogs seem to have a much higher level of tolerating all kinds of smells... Maybe they were introduced to a lot of smells as puppies and aren't surprised by some of these outlandish aftershaves and perfumes... If one of your friends 'smells funny' to your dog and acts nervous around your dog, your furbaby is simply NOT going to like them... Nothing personal... Just not your dog's cup of tea... So when that friend comes over?... Let Spot take a nap in the bedroom... Easy to fix... 

A car gets older, it seems to need more mechanical work... We get older, we take more trips to the doctor's... Same goes for your dog... The older they get (and especially if you've fed them junk dog food all this time and didn't do dentals every few years), the more your dog is going to need to see a vet... With a car we intend to keep, we are much more diligent about the maintenance of it... But dogs aren't leased - once no longer cute and a puppy - and maybe with bad habits you've taught them or allowed them to learn - surrendering to a rescue or a shelter is not a good thing... 

But if you HAVE to surrender your dog, the MOST and HONEST information you can give at time of surrender will be more insurance that your pet finds a good, furever home... There are people that will adopt a dog that bites children - but don't neglect to give the shelter or rescue this kind of information... If your dog lifts his leg in the house all the time, this can be fixed (neutering is the first step, installing a cat scratch tree right outside the doggie door and applying chemicals is another quick fix)... As long as we know what the issues are, we can quickly either re-train or advise an adopter of what still needs work... 

NONE of us knows what the future will bring... When you brought that cute puppy home, you might not have known your new husband is a wife-beater and you can't stay married to them... Moving is something we ALL know about ahead of time, so that is not a good reason to surrender a dog (IMHO)... Just about any other reason, any reputable rescue (if they have room) should not make you feel guilty about surrendering your dog... And most will try and give you proven suggestions and tips that we use...  I always ask, "Do you REALLY want to keep this dog?" and if a pet owner does, I really try to help...

Most good shelters have pet retention programs in place now, so if you have issues you need help with, why  not contact your local shelter, be HONEST with them about what is going on and there is a good possibility that you don't have to give up your dog... But only if YOU made the right decision at the beginning and did not expect your pet to be a 'push button dog'...

We as humans, are genetically programmed to respond to respond to cute, wiggling puppies and sweet babies... If you are totally not affected by one or both, you've learned to ignore the heart tug... But if you adopt based upon what you believe a breed WILL BE LIKE, or because you had that breed as a child instead of how that dog is acting after 10 days in your life with your lifestyle, you are simply going to find there are no 'push button dogs'...

Throw out your misconceptions of what is old (dogs do NOT age seven years to every one human - it all depends upon their size), which dog breeds are naturally aggressive, sex determines temperament and/or automatic bad habits along with the idea that rescue or shelter dogs are 'broken', 'less than', 'someone else's nightmare', etc... Dogs are no more 'push button' than we as humans are... 

Think outside the box (and the button)... There are a wealth of homeless dogs and cats that need a home and yours just might be the best ever!

Monday, January 9, 2017

More bow ties coming!

We rapidly sold out of the doggie bow ties a volunteer was making as fundraisers, but we now have another volunteer interested in doing this.  The father and son team had just a blast making the doggie bow ties that the son asked his dad to make one just for him to wear.  Isn't it adorable?



Expect a new selection at our next adoption event to be seen and purchased!