Monday, June 26, 2017

Cover Dogs- Kelly and Ike Forever

Have you seen Guidepost's new All Creatures magazine? If you love--or ever have been loved by--a dog, cat or other special creature, you'll want to read this magazine. And this month, I'm especially honored that my dogs Kelly and Ike are featured on the cover (July/August issue).


Here's how it happened. A little more than 3 months ago we were preparing to say goodbye to Kelly. She was 16 years old, and had been suffering from CCD (Canine Cognitive Disorder) for quite some time. I'd written a story for All Creatures about how our 10 year old golden retriever, Ike, became her therapy dog and helped her navigate through this illness. Even more touching was that Kelly had always been the bossy one, but Ike never held it against her. He gently guided her when all her senses and cognitive functions failed.

A wonderful magazine photographer came and took photos of Kelly and Ike together. Then, 5 days later, Ike unexpectedly passed away. He had hemangiosarcoma. A mass on his spleen ruptured. Without Ike, Kelly was lost and only a week later, we lost her too.


The story in the magazine, however, is not about their passing, but instead about how I dealt with Kelly's illness and about two dogs who loved and needed each other. It really was quite beautiful to see them together. I'll never forget them. I miss them.

It's not all sad though. A month ago we adopted 8 1/2 year old Ernest and he proudly shows off the magazine cover!



I'm very happy that Kelly and Ike's story is included in the magazine. For those who get the magazine, I hope you'll enjoy it.  (You'll also find my monthly column in each issue with pet care tips.) If you're interested, here's information on where you can subscribe to All Creatures.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Old Gold in my Life- 3 Before and After

I never intended to adopt senior dogs. Never planned to have my heart broken over and over again. But then again, I wasn't prepared for the amazing joys either. I never sought out senior dogs. But they keep finding me.

First there was Brooks. He was 11 yrs old when we adopted him. Someone had apparently dumped the old guy and left him to survive on his own.
This was sad Brooks before we rescued him:

Brooks Before
This was Brooks a few months later, after a little love:

Brooks After

I thought I could never love a dog, or be loved by a dog, the way it was with Brooks. Then came Ike. Here's goofy Ike in the rescue group's photo:

Ike Before
  Here's Ike after we got him, and he became a certified therapy dog. He was so loving.

Ike After
 Recently my husband and I decided to rescue a younger dog. But a month ago Ernest found us. He's 8 1/2 years old. Here he is the day we adopted him. He was scared.

Ernest Before

And here he is one month later. He's happy, relaxed, full of energy and nonstop love.

Ernest After






Why do I love senior goldens? They fit my lifestyle. They're pretty mellow most of the time. And mostly, there is a gentle wisdom about senior dogs. They've learned about life, sometimes the hard way, and they understand what they need. Mostly, my senior goldens have just wanted to be loved. 

Other dogs may come into our life. But we'll always have a place for senior dogs. My husband told me recently that when he retires, he'd like to open a retirement home for senior goldens. I can't think of a better way to spend our golden years.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Meet Ernest!

We have HAPPY NEWS!!--a new friend has joined our family. Meet Ernest!




Just over 2 months ago, we lost our sweet spaniel-mix Kelly (who was 16) and our loyal golden retriever Ike (who was 10). We still miss them every day, but to us a home just isn't a home without a dog. So we began our search for a new friend to love. After losing several senior dogs in a short time, we weren't exactly looking for another old-timer. But....

Our rescue group was on the lookout for just the right dog for us. They are amazing at making great matches. And they found an 8 1/2 year old golden retriever who was being surrendered and needed a forever home. He'd been kept mostly in a cage at his old home, and was a lonely boy. He was filthy, his fur felt like wire bristles, and we pulled five ticks off of him the day he arrived. He had tons of energy, wanted to be touched and patted every waking moment, barked for attention.
And we're so glad he's ours!


After two weeks he's settled into our routine, feels secure that we're not leaving him, and just loves being loved! With a bath and good nutrition, his fur is almost all soft. And he's just the most wonderful dog! I hope he lives a long and healthy life, and we're looking forward to however much time we're blessed to have with him.


I've never had nicknames for my dogs before but I also call Ernest: Ernie, Lil Bear, and Buddy Boy. Welcome to the family sweet Ernest!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Peppertree Rescue's Furry Fun Run

What's the most fun you can have on the run? I think it's the Furry Fun Run. It's a great 5K to benefit Peppertree Rescue group, and the best thing about the event is that you can run with your dog. We got both Ike and Brooks from Peppertree (and maybe someday they'll find us a new furry friend.) So Mike decided to run in memory of Kelly and Ike.


I loved seeing so many different breeds of dogs represented. And they all got along.




 And the race is on!





Here they are at the finish line.






Mike made it!



We were glad to be a part and support Peppertree Rescue. We even made a new friend, Bernie.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Zeke's Movie Night #MyDogsPurpose


#MyDogsPurpose
This is a sponsored post.

BY ZEKE
I was standing in the kitchen chowing down on my crunchy munchy kibble when my mind started wandering, as it tends to do because I'm only a three-year-old golden retriever, and can't concentrate on any one thing too long and I started thinking about my purpose. What is my purpose? Visions of taking my humans for walks and helping devour all that pesky bacon in the refrigerator flashed before my eyes, but before I could find an answer to that perplexing question...my humans came along and told me it was time for Family Movie Night.


Well that begged the question, what is the purpose of movie night? I think it's to bring all the family together--with me in the center of course--to share in a mutually bonding experience. We all sat around in my human grandparents' living room. I visit here often. My best friend in the whole wide world, Ike, used to live here, but he went over the rainbow bridge just five weeks ago. I miss Ike more than anything. But sadly, as much as I look for Ike in Grandma and Grandpa's house, I can't find him. I can still smell him a bit, on the sofa where he used to sleep. But for sure he's gone.

So, movie night. Universal Studios Home Entertainment asked bloggers if they'd be interested in reviewing the DVD A Dog's Purpose. My grandma sometimes reviews books, movies and even dog food (she lets me sample it--Yum!) She also likes the book's author Bruce Cameron and his work. So they sent her the DVD and some goodies for me, and Grandma said that I get to review it, and give my honest opinion. So here I am.
#ADogsPurpose  #sponsored

When I heard that this movie was about dogs, and the rainbow bridge, I wasn't too sure I wanted to watch. But Grandma told me that she'd read the book and despite the sad moments, the movie has a positive message, and that I would like it too. I was ready for Family Movie Night. I didn't think Ike would mind if I took his spot on the couch. My family gathered--the human puppy didn't stay and watch...she's too young. But the rest of us watched, even Great-Grandma.


The movie opened with some cute puppies, and pretty soon we got to see...what else, a reddish golden retriever! He was adorable, but maybe I'm partial. His name was Bailey Bailey Bailey. And best of all, the movie was told through the eyes of this Bailey. And to tell the truth, I think a lot of the same things Bailey thought in the movie.

I loved the relationship between Bailey and his boy. I could tell that Bailey would do anything for the boy, and the boy would do anything for Bailey. But life is complicated. And so is the plot...at least for an uneducated young dog like me.


It seemed that Bailey just about figured out his purpose when his time on earth was over. I noticed Dad hugged me a little closer during this scene. But there was something different about this movie. Just when everyone was sniffing and the music was swelling, things got happy again. Bailey was back! Only he didn't look the same as he did before. It made me think a lot. About Ike. I don't know where my best friend Ike is now, but sometimes I think of what happened to Bailey in this movie and wonder if that happened to Ike. Is he a puppy somewhere?





We finished watching the movie and, although there were plenty of sad parts, and some scary parts, I liked it. I liked the way the dogs and humans worked together. I liked the way the dogs ran and played and loved their humans.


Which brings me back to the question---what is my purpose? Well I'm still a youngster, I haven't figured that out yet. Maybe it's easier to figure out your purpose after you've already fulfilled it. But Mom told me something about my best friend Ike's purpose. She said that when she adopted him, his first purpose was to get along with Kelly, the bossy female spaniel in the house. And he did. His next purpose was to help my Grandpa recover from a serious illness by giving him lots of TLC. Also, his purpose was to keep Grandma company as she worked from home. And, then he became a therapy dog, and his purpose was to give unconditional love to all he met. And then, when Kelly become old, deaf, nearly blind and suffering from dementia, his purpose was to be her guide, to be her therapy dog. Ike crossed the rainbow bridge just last month. Kelly followed, just five days after. Looking back, the way Grandma and I see it, Ike's purpose was really simple. To love and be loved. #MyDogsPurpose

Maybe that's every dog's purpose. Maybe it's mine. That's what the movie meant to me. 

A Dog's Purpose is available now on Digital HD, and on Blu-Ray Tuesday May 2nd. For fans of the book, there's a special feature A Writer's Purpose, with the story behind W. Bruce Cameron's bestselling novel. #ADogsPurpose

Website: http://uni.pictures/ADogsPurpose
Trailer: http://uni.pictures/ADogsPurposeTrailer
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ADogsPurposeMovie/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/a_dogs_purpose
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adogspurposemovie/






Full Disclosure: I was compensated for my honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

They call it the Silent Killer

Saturday, my sweet dog Ike died of hemangiosarcoma. Tragically, we had no idea he was seriously ill.















In fact, he'd had his senior exam not long before this. We were constantly alert to Ike's daily health, and probably nothing would have changed the sad outcome. I'm sharing these details in the hopes it may help someone else...although sadly, there is very little that can be done to prevent or treat it. At the end I will list a few suggestions.

Ike's symptoms (*this may not be the way it is for all dogs):
1. Ike was 10 years old. Over the last several months he seemed excessively tired at night, preferring to remain on his pillow in the living room rather than climb the stairs to join us. We'd mentioned it to our vet who surmised multiple possibilities for this. Maybe it was joint pain. We even considered that he wanted to be downstairs to stay with our other dog, who had started sleeping downstairs as well. Maybe it was just part of aging. Looking back, it was the cancer we didn't know was in his body, making him so tired.

2. One day a couple weeks ago, Ike had diarrhea with a little blood in it. You never like to see blood in the stools. In the past, I've taken my dogs to the vet the moment I see this, and almost always it has turned out to be something benign that improves in a few days. We decided to bring him to the vet the next day...but the next day the stools seemed okay so we figured it was nothing serious.

3. Over the course of a few weeks, Ike vomited twice. Maybe he ate too fast. Once was in the car. Maybe he ate too close to riding and the motion made him sick. He had a sensitive stomach. I wasn't overly worried.

4. A few times, Ike refused his breakfast. Once we had started mixing in a new food. Maybe he didn't like the food. And he always readily ate treats, and ate fine by dinner time.

5. This up and down pattern of feeling off and then feeling better, eating then not eating, gave us a false sense that he was getting better. Looking at his overall trend, however, we had decided that he should be checked out soon to find out what was going on.

6. Saturday he came upstairs to wake us up, as had been his pattern. He then trotted downstairs and we let him outside and he seemed fine. When he came inside, he refused his food. I called the vet and made an appointment.

Moments later--and I mean just moments--he was lying on the front porch, very still. I got his leash and asked him if he wanted to go for a walk--something that usually elicits elation--and nothing. He didn't respond at all. Immediately, we rushed him to the emergency vet.

There, in a very short time, the doctors did bloodwork, xrays and ultrasounds and gave us the diagnosis-- hemangiosarcoma. A tumor on his spleen. And blood in his stomach. It had ruptured. The vet was very, very clear. Ike was in bad shape. Surgery to remove the spleen could be done, and was the only way to tell for sure if the tumor was benign or malignant. But of all the cases she's seen that presented themselves like Ike's, and had ruptured like Ike's, they were almost always malignant. And if she removed the spleen, the cancer came back in a very short time. One time it was only 10 days. Other times it was a couple weeks to two months. Even with chemotherapy after surgery, the prognosis was poor. And the surgery would be around $5000. I don't have $5000, but I would have done it. I would have, for Ike. We asked the vet if there was any chance it was benign. She said no. Given that there was really no hope, we had no choice but to do the one very difficult almost impossible thing that we were totally unprepared to do. I won't go into details about that, and many of you know from your own experiences how devastating it is to go through. We held him, loved him, cuddled him, told him he was a good boy, kissed him and said goodbye, run free, see you at the bridge.


Here are some facts ***not intended to substitute for your veterinarian's opinion***
1. Not all masses on the spleen are cancerous.
2. Hemangiosarcoma is very invasive and there may be no clinical signs until the dog suddenly dies.
3. Golden retrievers, along with other breeds such as German shepherds, Boxers, English setters, Labrador retrievers are more likely to get hemangiosarcoma.
4. The up and down symptoms we observed are due to the fact that the mass is bleeding, and then the dog recovers temporarily as new blood cells are made.
5. Symptoms include:
slight lethargy
loss of appetite
weakness
nose bleeds
mild anemia


6. Upon rupture, symptoms include:
pale tongue and gums
panting
weakness
rapid heart rate
collapse

7. Treatment options include:
blood transfusion
splenectomy
chemotherapy
but prognosis is poor and life expectancy even with treatment is about 3 months.

8. Prevention includes:
Breeds that are predisposed to this may benefit from yearly ultrasounds.
The vet may routinely palpate the abdomen to check for masses.
Routine bloodwork in predisposed breeds may help identify possibility of tumor.

http://www.morrisanimalfoundation.org/animal-lovers/hemangiosarcoma.html
http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/cancer/c_dg_cancer_spleen_liver

Monday, March 20, 2017

Goodbye, Ike. Run Free.

It is with the deepest sadness that I have to share that we had to say goodbye to Ike on Saturday. He was 10 years old. He was a good boy.



Ike's Purpose
Ike had many jobs to do here on earth, and he did them all without us asking. We adopted him when he was seven years old, and he knew that in order to stay with us, his first job was to get along with Kelly, our bossy female spaniel. From the start he was a gentleman and always let her have her way.

His next job was to help my husband Mike recover from a life-threatening illness. When Mike came home from the hospital after 41 days, Ike provided TLC, the most powerful medicine around, especially when administered by a warm and furry canine companion.

On a daily basis, he kept me company as I worked from home, and was the best office-mate ever. Then he became a certified therapy dog, giving unconditional love to all he met.

Finally, as our 16-year old Kelly became blind, deaf and in the throes of dementia, he stepped in and guided her every step, slept beside her, and became her therapy dog. Kelly-the-boss-dog depended upon Ike's gentle support.

But most of all, the job he did best--and the job he loved the most--was walking with us, sitting beside us, letting us scratch his ears, and just being with us. And oh, he was so good at it.

Run free, Ike
Crossed over rainbow bridge March 18, 2017 (10 yrs old)
Ike died of hemangiosarcoma--a ruptured bleeding tumor on his spleen. This article calls it "the silent killer."
Here are some pictures of Ike doing what he did best--loving us every day.






Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The ARK pet oasis for pets taking planes

If you have to fly, the thought of transporting your pet in a crate in the cargo section of a plane may be disconcerting...but some airlines are taking more consideration for the welfare, comfort and well being of pets traveling by air.

Photo from arkjfk.com

















 A particularly encouraging improvement is the ARK at JFK--an airport lounge for animals. The ARK offers (or will offer when completely functional):

* more than 100,000 sq ft, 14.4 acre facility
*Pet Oasis features 47 kennels for dogs and 12 for cats
*round-the-clock 24/7 animal care
*Zen-like environment
*dedicated outdoor relief area for dogs
*quarantine area
* pre-flight and after-flight walks
*baths and/or brushing
*healthy meals
*cleaning of travel crate

*48 climate controlled stalls and 24 additional export stalls for horses
*aviary with special habitats
*vet on premises
*transportation to connecting planes
*airside location for direct access to planes
*

Have you ever experienced this kind of lounge or treatment when flying with your pet?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ike Sums it Up #ChewyInfluencer

Ike here!
I've been spreading the word that my mom is a Chewy Influencer. That means that she gets cool things from Chewy.com, and writes a review. And I get to sample the food! This month I've been telling you all about Rachael Ray Nutrish Peak turkey, duck and quail Northern Woodland Recipe.






















All month long I've been trying this new food, and Mom has been keeping tabs on how I'm doing. As lots of you know, different food can affect our digestive system, skin and coat, energy level and more. I can be a bit sensitive to new food, so Mom introduced Peak gradually.

I'm happy to say that I love Rachael Ray Nutrish Peak food! Here is my evaluation form:

Did it smell good?  CHECK--almost as good as dirty socks.













Did it taste good? CHECK---I licked my bowl clean every time.











Did it agree with my tummy?  CHECK--no bellyaches, no vomiting, and everything looks okay on the backyard patrol.













Did it help make my coat nice and shiny? CHECK--you can see for yourself, right?






















Did it taste good? CHECK-- Oh yeah, I did that one already....but really that's what counts to me!

Mom said she'd buy it again. And I would recommend it to all my friends out there. It also comes in Natural Open Range formula for all you lovers of beef, venison and lamb.






















So what do you think? Did you like my review? Would you try it yourself?
Signed,
Ike

#ChewyInfluencer

Full Discolosure: We received one bag of Nutrish Peak dog food in exchange for my honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Monday, February 13, 2017

This is What 16 Looks Like! #HappyBirthdayKelly

Today is Kelly's Birthday!!
She's 16 years old today. Kelly has been struggling with her health a bit lately, so we just want to make this birthday a time to celebrate the good girl that she is.


















She's been with us through many happy times, the empty nest, she's welcomed (at times, tolerated lol) new dogs in the family and loves the new grandbabies.














 Happy Birthday Sweet Kelly!


Friday, February 10, 2017

Ike Tries Nutrish Peak #ChewyInfluencer

Ike is back again to tell you more about Rachael Ray Nutrish Peak dog food.

Hi it's me, Ike. Hi! Remember when I told you that my mom is a Chewy Influencer? That means that she gets cool things from Chewy.com, and writes a review. And I get to do the sampling of food! So a few weeks ago Mom bought this awesome new dog food























Peak turkey, quail and duck. It smelled really good, so I guarded the bag for a while. I wondered when Mom was ever going to give me some.

Finally she opened the bag. When she left the room for a minute, I gave it a good inspection.






















 




















 Yup, it's good!


Mom has been giving me this food for several days now. I said "Pour it all on!" but she told me when you start a new food, you should transition over slowly. So she started by sprinkling a little bit on top, then increased the ratio little by little.

















All I know is that this Peak food tastes delicious. I tend to have allergies when I eat certain foods, so we have to be careful. I've been eating duck as the protein source, so Mom felt that this food would be a good option. I've never had quail before, so it's always fun to try something new! Yum! Mom tells me that I've been doing great so far. The new food seems to agree with my tummy, and so far none of those horrible itchies on my skin. My fur looks nice and healthy too.

Peak is packed with 30% high quality protein to give me lots of energy.
It also contains natural sources of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids. That's good, right Mom?
And it's grain free, gluten free, and free of fillers.

So all I have to do is keep on cleaning my bowl. Can do!
See you next time! I'll let you know next time how it's going.
Signed,
Ike

#ChewyInfluencer

Full Discolosure: We received one bag of Nutrish Peak dog food in exchange for my honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

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