Sharky – His Road to Recovery

Sharky Water TherapyI don’t recall how I ended up at the shelter, but I did.  It was late August.  I was scared, I was someone’s pet.  The shelter staff immediately knew there was something wrong with my leg.  I had lameness in my left rear leg, it was swollen and painful.  Even in pain, I was very affectionate and wanted to play.  The shelter took pictures of my leg and knee.  They wanted to determine what was causing my pain.  It turns out I had a Tibial Crest Avulsion.  Yeah, I had to google that one myself.

An avulsion fracture is where a piece of bone tissue is pulled away from the main bone by the action of a tendon. It’s usually self-induced and happens during activity in young dogs  before the bones are fully formed.  Greyhounds and terriers seem to have this occur most often.

The shelter performed surgery to fix the fracture, and Pit Bull Rescue San Diego has been providing after care surgery.  I was on restricted motion for 10 weeks. Yep a small puppy and no exercise for 10 weeks.  I was going out of my mind.

Well, now I am off bed rest, but I am in need of water therapy.  My foster mom takes me twice a week, plus physical therapy.  I really do not like it, but they smear peanut butter on the front of the water tank, and I get to lick it off while I am doing my water therapy.

My water therapy is costing $820.  I am receiving it at Animal Acupuncture and Rehabilitation Center.  It is a lot of money, but Pit Bull Rescue San Diego is committed to providing the therapy.  If you can help them with the cost, I would really appreciate it.

Click here to make a donation.

Thank you!!

Why Can’t Rescues do More?

Why can’t rescues do more?  The fundamental truth is there are too many dogs and not enough foster homes.  The next question, why don’t you go get more fosters?  Hmm, that would be a solution to the problem.  But where to find foster homes?  I wish that was an easy question to answer.
In speaking with many other organizations, they too are struggling to answer that question.  Like with any issue, you break the issue down until you can take a look at the root causes.  We started with asking people, “why don’t you foster,” and here are the answers we get:
  • I can’t have dogs where I live. Fair enough, but this reason is a huge barrier as to why rescues cannot do more.
  • I am allergic to dogs.  This is a hard one, that we cannot overcome.
  • I don’t have the time to care for another animal.  Understood, animals take time.  We would never want to place an animal in a home where no one had time to care for him properly.
  • I have children.  We get this one, juggling kids and dogs can be a daunting task.
  • My room mate said no.  Sorry and thanks for trying. We would never place a dog in a home where he was not welcomed by all who live there.
  • My dog hates other dogs.  Say no more.
  • I don’t think I would be able to give him up.  Failed foster is an industry term, it happens to almost all of us.
  • I can’t afford it.  Although most organizations cover the cost of the animal, we understand things such as gas to get dogs to events is a hardship.
  • I’m a cat person.  Great, let me get you the number of the local cat rescue.  They could sure use the help.
Some of you may disagree with some of these excuses, but those reasons are very real to an individual.  We would never want to coerce someone into doing something they feel they cannot do.  The reality, these are the reasons why rescues cannot do more.
If you find this article disturbing, help us find foster homes.  That is what we need the most.
What type of commitment, well that does vary from dog to dog.  Like people, every dog has a distinct personality and a foster family needs to be prepared to help with all personality types.  We need fosters who can:
  • Feed the dog once to twice daily (puppies from 3 to 5 times daily depending on age).  We provide the food, and bowls.
  • Provide the dog with a bowl of fresh water daily.  We provide the bowl.
  • Take the dog for at least one walk a day, 20 to 45 minutes.  Again, depending on the dog, some will require more.  We provide the leash, harness, collar and tags.
  • Potentially help with potty training. Yes, some dogs we take into our program (and all puppies) may not be potty trained.  We ask them this question prior to taking them into the program, but many think we will not take them if they say no.  They just want a chance at life. Oh, and I have yet to learn to read their minds.
  • Play with them. Yes, play!  Dogs need mental stimulation to help burn off energy.  Doing things like basic training, playing ball (where they have to give the ball back), hide and seek, all are great ways to get your foster to use their brain.  About 30 minutes a day.
  • Love, love, love, belly rub, pet, ear rub, belly rub, love, love, love.  Maybe not in that order, but the act of petting a dog not only helps relieve your stress level, but is very beneficial for the dog.
  • Bring your dogs to adoption events, or be able to allow for volunteers to bring your dog to adoption events (generally on the weekends).
  • Come to training with your dog. Once a week for 5 weeks (generally on the weekends). We have a training team who will teach you how to teach the dog.
  • Flexibility to help a dog adjust to a new environment, your home.
  • Patience, as the dogs need your help.
  • This can be a short or long commitment.  Some dogs are with us for just a few weeks, others are with us for months. But, we are looking for a foster for the long haul”.
Again, we understand why many cannot foster.  But please, help us find ones who can.

 

Itchy Dog, Itchy Dog, What are They Feeding You? Or Letting You Roll In?

Thump, thump, thump, shake, slurp, slurp.  Does this sound familiar?  Is your dog scratching, licking and shaking?  Most dog owners go through this at least once or twice, or hundreds of times a day.
Ask any animal dermatologist and they will tell you German Sheppard, Golden Retrievers and Terriers are genetically predisposed to allergies (1). Then add living in San Diego, where you have a 12 month growing season of wonderful pollen, viola, you have a itchy and scratchy dog.   What do you do?
Not sure if your dog has allergies? Well, do they have two or more of these symptoms:
– Scratch a lot
– Lick and chew at his paws
– Hot spots and missing patches of fur
– Little red bumps on his belly
– Inflamed or infected ears
There are three categories of allergies: 1) environmental (pollens, fleas, mites), 2) chemicals (plastics, carpets) and 3) food.  So, what type of allergy does your dog have?  In some cases, they may have all three, but environmental allergies, account for the most common.  Environmental allergies, also know as Atopy, are generally seasonal.  However, living in a warm climate, seasonal can be a long time.  Your dog can be allergic to many different pollen. All of the above mentioned symptoms can occur.
Contact dermatitis (chemicals, plastics and carpets) tend to have symptoms of red bumps, hot spots and intense scratching.  This is the second most common kind of allergies.
Food allergies, also having all the symptoms, is the least common allergy and only account for 10 – 15% (2) of dog allergy cases.
As many of the symptoms are shared, they only way to determine which type of allergy is to see  your vet.  Each category of allergy has a different type of treatment.  Also, get your dog to the vet sooner, than later.  Chronic ear infections are very common for untreated allergies, and may cause long term damage to your dogs inner ear.
Be prepared for your vet visit.  Write down all the symptoms they have and when they are at their best and worst (day, night, after a walk, etc.).  Let the vet know what types of toys, food and treats your dog has.  Discuss with your vet your flea treatment, and determine if it is time for a change.
Most important, follow your vet’s advice.
If symptoms keep occurring, you may want to visit an animal dermatologist. They specialize in dog allergies.

 

1- Rusty Muse, DVM, Dipl. ACVD, with Animal Dermatology Clinic in Tustin, Calif
2 – Drs. Foster and Smith Educational Staff

Ears, Do the Happy Dance!

Ears, do the Happy Dance!!!Image

I’M ADOPTED! WHOO HOO! I’m adopted, i’m adopted, i’m adopted, happy happy, joy joy! Doing the happy dance! Oh boy, I kept hoping this day would come.  I would wake up each morning (and mid-morning, late morning, noon, early afternoon, afternoon, evening, after dinner, before bed…) and visualize my forever home and family.  I kept visualizing it, throughout the day, everyday.  I knew exactly what my forever home would look like.

It looked a lot like my foster home. It looked a lot like my foster family.  I guess I visualized it enough, because my new forever home looks exactly like my foster home.  And, my new forever family looks exactly like my foster family.  Wait, it is my foster family! I am their’s forever, and I got a sister.

Let the ears do the Happy Dance, I AM ADOPTED!!

Snoopy – Cheerios’ New Spokesdog

First – thank you so much to everyone who has donated so generously so far for Snoopy’s care. Your donations have enabled us to do the tests necessary to figure out the best way to care for our little old man.

Right now, Snoopy is living in foster care with a little senior Pomeranian, Wallace, and two cats who keep him in line.  We had a little scare last week that he wouldn’t make it long enough for us to get all the tests done but he has rallied, maybe thanks to all your good thoughts and definitely thanks to the amazing care he is getting from his foster mom, Hillary.

He is still frail and, despite our best efforts has lost a little of the weight he put on the first week we had him.  Eating is still a challenge because he is so picky.  We’ve tried every type of dog food imaginable, and are wondering if perhaps his previous dad, as he fell on hard times, stopped giving Snoopy dog food and transitioned him to a portion of whatever human food he, himself, was eating. Snoopy has selectively noshed on cheerios, plain hot dogs, ice cream, cheese pierogie, chicken, cottage cheese, and duck jerky.  We should all have it so good.  However it is Hillary’s constant struggle to figure out what it is that Snoopy will feel like eating on any given day.  Many times it is whatever she has chosen to eat that day and she happily hands it over.  Over the last couple of days, she’s had some success with a diet of turkey sausage, cheese and multigrain cheerios.  We are making a Costco run this weekend to stock her up as those are not items we typically keep in stock for our fosters.

Snoopy gets to go to work every day with Hillary and Wallace at the veterinary hospital.  He shares kennel space with Wallace and they can often be found cuddled up together in one corner of the kennel.  He loves every person and dog he’s met.  He’s particularly fond of small dogs and men.  His bony tail wags furiously when he knows he’s going to some love from the male staff at the hospital.  However he’s quick to smash his little old face into any welcoming hug. Hugs are plentiful because it is hard not to want to let him know that he is cherished.  Everywhere he goes he makes friends.

When at home, he spends time on whatever soft spot he has the energy to climb onto and is rarely without a feline overseer.  He will occasionally attempt to climb up on the couch but typically stops about mid-climb and naps.

We get a daily report from Snoopy’s foster mom so that we all stay on top of his quality of life.  Yesterday morning, Snoopy’s foster mom noted that he woke up in good spirits “Snoopy bounded up to my end of the bed and woke me up with a big face kiss this morning and then leapt off the bed on his own like a wild man. (Wild man being a relative term) Then on our morning walk down the block, my sweet old neighbor who is always out walking his dachshund in his robe and slippers gave us $20 towards his care. Everyone loves this dog!

Your donations have enabled us to run multiple tests to help us determine exactly how we can best help Snoopy.  It has been determined that Snoopy has a carcinoma in his lungs. It is inoperable and he’s too fragile to consider surgery in any case.  We are exploring the options for palliative (comfort) care and don’t have an idea for what kind of time that we can expect for him.  He was put on a round of prednisone earlier this week that seems to be helping.  Just this morning, Hillary sent us a note saying “Snoops is more active than I’ve ever seen him. He’s actually beating me up the stairs now, wrestling with his bed, always wagging his tail, loves meeting little dogs”

As long as Snoopy is happy, eating, playing and loving, we will care for his every need.  Your donations make that possible.

If anyone has connections with Cheerios, cheese, flaxseed oil or sausage donors, let us know.  Snoopy would appreciate it!

Snoopy Needs YOU!

In case you don’t know who Snoopy is, Snoopy is a 12 year old dog was recently surrendered to the shelter because his owner had become homeless. He has certainly seen some of the hard times that lead to his dad’s homelessness, and they are evident in his ever careful movements.

We were able to find a sanctuary foster for him and, on Thursday, Snoopy was able to leave the shelter on his new PBRSD journey.  On the way to his new foster, Snoopy took a brief stop at the vet’s office to get checked out.  We had hoped for typical “old dog” stuff. 

Unfortunately, it is not good news.

Snoopy has indicators for advanced lymphoma (cancer). 

We need to ask for your help again for our little old man.  We are committed to giving him the very best care for whatever time he has left and hopefully give him some days (if not weeks or months) of happiness.  We would like to be able to run further tests and have him see an oncologist.  Because of his age and his extreme frailty, we aren’t inclined to put him through the discomfort of chemo or surgery, but would like to be able to do all the things that an owner would do to make him comfortable.  As you know, hopefully not from personal experience, this sort of medical care can be costly.

With your help, we can afford to do the $500 of diagnostics that will help us arrive at the best course of action for Snoopy’s upcoming months.  We can provide ongoing care for as long as Snoopy’s might need it. Snoopy will know love and comfort because you cared enough to give that to him.

Snoopy’s foster mom reports that he is absolutely adorable – that he wags his tail weakly at the cats and ever so gently curls up with her on the softness of her couch.  He happily shares space with her resident dog, Wallace, and seems to enjoy being a pampered inside dog.  She does feel that he is uncomfortable and we want to be able to start helping him as soon as possible.

We have set up a special link to ensure that your donations go directly to Snoopy’s care.  As always, we are so grateful for all you do to help us help those in need.

Snoopy Joins PBRSD

How difficult can it be to rescue a single dog?  We get asked this all the time by well-intentioned folks who are advocating for a specific dog in the shelter.

We will use Snoopy, a frail 12 year old who we’ve fallen in love with in the local shelter, as an example.  We first heard about Snoopy through an email sent to our Intake Director (Kim) from our contacts at the shelter last Saturday.  The email included a photo and his medical information.  He had been surrendered by his homeless human father and was not faring well at the shelter. Poor Snoopy had medical concerns that the shelter could not address in that setting.  They asked us to make a decision by Tuesday.

Kim receives 3-6 requests a day from local shelters.  She reads through all the ones that are sent and often has to let the shelters know that we do not have the resources to take certain dogs.  She receives a report every week from the Foster Director (Ann) that showcases what foster homes are open and the types of dogs that they can house in those homes. She weighs each shelter request against the homes currently available. It’s also important to know if there are several open homes for a type of dog, just in case the first home doesn’t work out.  Even though boarding is always an option, it isn’t an option for a dog fresh out of the shelter (they need to have been out at least 2 weeks) and it is not ideal for any dog that we’re pulling from the shelter because dogs don’t know the difference between the shelter and boarding and are often overly stressed about being placed back into a confined area. Read the rest of this entry

Saturday Morning – A dog’s life

Yawn! Stretch! “Really mom, do I have to get up?”  

Well it is morning time, barely.  The sun is just coming up over the horizon.  I hear to coffee beans grinding.  I know mom is going to come get me next and take me outside.  I have learned from my foster brother and sister, just lay still and thump your tail.  Mom will open the door and call you out.  Yawn, stretch then slowly walk outside.  Go potty, and give mom that look.  You know the look, “really, the sun is barely up.  What’s for breakfast?”

We go inside, and I run over to my crate.  I know breakfast will be served.  I love eating in my crate.  I can lay down on a nice comfy bed and eat.  Mom never closes the door, so when I am done, I can just walk out.

Wow, I just slept 10 hours.  I guess I needed the rest.  After I finished my kibble, I walk over to my foster siblings bowls and lick them clean.  They are empty, but there are a few crumbs they have missed.  Oh look, the sofa.  I guess I should jump up an take a nap.

ZZZZZZZZZZ

(Commentary from his foster mom, David is still napping, it has been 3 hours.  Good night sweet prince).

My Nemesis – he exists.

After a not so restful night, worried about coyotes coming to get me, my foster mom thought it was a great idea to go to Petco.  Well, I guess I could use a few new chew toys, and some nice treats at the cookie bar would not be so bad.  Just hope she does not embarrass me by putting me in the shopping cart again.  Really, I have four legs and I know how to use them.

I love car rides.  I am very good in the car.  Sometimes I bark at random things, but only because I do not unders

tand what they are or what they are doing.  The car ride to Petco is a short one.

There are other dogs, standing around the front of the store.  I guess they are waiting to get into the store.  I hope I can go right in, I don’t want to wait.  Hold on, they are not waiting to get into the store.  My foster mom tricked me, this is an adoption event.  Really, mom?  I have told you a hundred times, I am your dog.  This whole foster thing is a bit confusing to me.  I love my foster parents, and foster canines.  I have picked out my spot on the sofa.  I have my own bed.  I think my foster mom has lost her marbles.

So, I am sitting at the event.  People are coming over to me to pet me, but all I want is my foster mom.  She gives me treats for the simple things like sitting down.  All is going well, but then….my 
nemesis followed me to the adoption event.

At first it was that nagging feeling, someone was watching me.  I turned around, and there he was in the window.  I told him to leave, go home.  But he just barked right back at me.  He never stops to listen to what I have to say.  As soon as I open my mouth, he starts barking right over me.

You see, my foster mom and foster canines keep telling me my Nemesis does not exist.  They laugh at me when I try to protect them from him.  But, I am lucky today.  There is a really nice photographer who took lots of pictures of me.  I asked her to take a picture of him, so I can prove to the world, he exists.

He exists!

 

I Had a Nightmare

I had a nightmare last night.  It left me crying and shaking.  I am not sure if I can remember all the details, all I know is I did not want to leave my foster moms side.  She was sitting next to me, saying “hush now little one”.  I guess I was howling in my sleep.  As soon as I realized I was awake, I crawled and hid behind her.  I would not sleep anywhere else but next to my foster mom.

I awoke this morning, my foster mom was already awake.  She gave me a big smile and said “ok little one, you need to go and do dog things”.  I did not want to go outside.  So, my foster mom went out with me.  It was a bit cool, the fog had rolled in.  But it was peaceful.

I ate my breakfast and then went outside.  I crawled into the patio chair, and I have been sleeping here all morning.  No nightmares, just birds chirping.  But then, a howl, then two, then 20.  A whole pack of wild dogs started to howl.  They were on the move.  I wanted to play, so I jump up and ran to the fence.  I howled back “I’m over here, come play with me”.  My foster mom ran out and coaxed me into the house.  My big foster brother and foster sister ran to the fence.  They barked back at the other dogs “Don’t come near our house, don’t come in our yard”.   I was devastated.  I love my foster family, but I wanted some dogs to play with.

My foster mom explained, “David, those are not dogs, those are your long lost cousins Coyotes.  They are beautiful, wild creatures, but they will eat you up for breakfast if you let them in the yard.  Buddha and Grover were only protecting you, but telling them to leave.” She then gave me a hug.

Geez mom, thanks for planting that image in my mind.  So much for taking another nap, I’ll just dream of being someone’s bacon.