Yes, Ta Ta for now.

My main blog online magazine, Keep the Tail Wagging, is really taking off and I’m happy to say that I feel that I’ve hit the big time.  This week, I’ve disappointed two people with my stance on writing and a fellow blogger that I adore and respect told me that if I’m pissing people off, then I’m doing something right!

Love the Dog Whisperer, Wouldn’t Let Cesar Milan Near My Dogs

Why Natural Balance Pulls Support in Light of the Bridges Pets Boycott

Well, I hope that “something right” is making people take a step back and consider a different view point.  I don’t expect people to agree with me, but I do enjoy an exciting conversation sharing different ideas.

That being said, I’m going to hang up my hat here on Girl Power Hour to allow more time for content marketing for Keep the Tail Wagging.  The work I’ve done here has given me a fantastic outlet and it’s been wonderful writing for a site that promotes female power and friendship.

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It was nearly impossible for me to get out of bed this morning.  For the first time in a long time I don’t want to go to work so I kept hitting the snooze button.  When I finally got up, I went about my morning routine in a fog of sleepiness.  I woke the dogs up and took them to their yard, but instead of doing their business, they ran around barking.

I decided over the weekend that they could no longer go out into the main yard (we live on 5 acres) for their potty break, because our warm winter is waking up the critters.  Last week they woke up a rabbit.  This morning, they woke up skunk.  But didn’t I just say they could no longer go out into the main yard?  Yep, broke my rule the first day in and a skunk happened.

Well, that woke me up.

Read more to get the recipe that kills the skunk smell fast!!!

“Bridges Pets was founded in 2002 with the vision of bringing family and community together around the animals we love. We believe that responsible pet ownership should be enjoyed by all who desire it—from the one who can afford only basic pet care necessities, to the one privileged enough to provide more. We take great satisfaction in seeing the happiness animals bring to people’s lives, even to those people who come to our store just to browse. Bridges is a field trip destination for school children and retirement center residents alike. Our customers’ joy and smiles are our motivation and we look forward to serving our community for many years to come.” ~ Bridges Pets Facebook Page

Yesterday I read Bridges Pets’ response to a current boycott against their store in an effort to raise awareness of the role pet stores have in animal rescue and the support of puppy mills.  Bridges Pets sells puppies and kittens.  Their defense of this practice inspired me this morning and I’m thankful for this platform that allows me to share my thoughts as a Fur Mom

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Greek Puppies

Want a puppy? Work with a rescue group or a reputable breeder, don’t buy from a pet store or Craigslist.

In the year that I’ve been blogging about dogs, I’ve learned a lot about dog rescue and the role of pet stores who sell puppies and kittens.  What I’ve learned is that pet stores who sell puppies and kittens are supporting puppy mills and kitten mills.  These pet stores aren’t working with reputable breeders.  A friend and rescue worker notified me today that a local pet store had decided to start selling puppies and kittens again and their reason is to help with fourth quarter revenues.

The puppies are mutts and I have no idea where they’re coming from, how healthy and safe they are, or if the pet store is doing any kind of review of potential homes for these dogs.  The idea that anyone can walk in off the street and take home a puppy terrifies me.  Having been exposed first hand to people who have chosen to put a dog down, because they couldn’t be bothered to work through behavior issues, I’m especially sensitive to people and businesses who so callously deal with the lives of creatures that we’ve been tasked to protect.

As the top dogs on the planet, I think it’s our duty to protect those who can’t protect themselves, speak out for those who can’t speak out for themselves, and to stand up for what’s wrong.

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We have three rescue mutts.  Rodrigo and Sydney’s mom was an Australian Cattle Dog and we’re guessing that Rodrigo is also Border Collie and Sydney is part Labrador.  Based on our experience with Rodrigo, we think Blue is Australian Cattle Dog and Border Collie too (we were wrong).

But wouldn’t it be nice to know for sure?

Knowing which breed contributed to your awesome mutt is a great idea for three reasons…

  1. It gives dog owners an idea of any breed specific health issues you may encounter.
  2. It gives dog owners protection against breed specific discrimination.
  3. It gives dog owners a better understand of their dogs behavior.

And one more reason… It would put an end to the guessing!

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I judged parents

When I was in my twenties, I would occasional step onto my pedestal and wax on about how parents were doing it all wrong. Whenever I saw a kid throw a tantrum in the store or talk back to their mom, I would sigh, roll my eyes, then judge. Then I spent an afternoon with 4 kids and I never judged anyone again.

I judged people who hired dog walkers

I did the same before I became a dog owner. When I heard about people hiring dog walkers, my attitude was “why get a dog if you can’t be bothered to walk them?” Now that we have three dogs, I would LOVE to have a dog walker that stopped by a few times a week and to walk our pack.

I’ve been casually looking for a dog walker. It’s not easy to find a dog walker in our area; it seems like most professional dog walkers are in Seattle or on the East Side. Everyone that I’ve met in (and near) our town is a dog lover who has time to walk our dogs. That would have been fine if we had one dog, but we have three very energetic dogs. I need a professional.

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Sydney Rolling in the Grass

This time of year I always smell the lovely scent of a rotting fish.  There’s a dead salmon in the streams surrounding our property.  Our dogs have three reactions to a rotting fish.

When Our Dogs Find a Dead Salmon

Sydney gets super excited and tries to find the perfect angle that will allow the most amount of rotting fish smell to cover her neck and ribs.  If there’s room, and she can make it work, she’ll roll on it, feet in the air, trying to cover as much of her body as possible.  Then she runs to me in glee so I can get a whiff of the lovely smell that she’s found.

Rodrigo will examine the fish, while considering a roll of his own.  Then he looks to see if I can see him.  If I’m too far away or not within his eye line, he’ll have a roll; a big, long roll.

Blue is excited about the smell, will check out the fish, and then he’ll rub against Sydney and Rodrigo to get some transfer, but he won’t actually roll on the fish directly.

Fortunately, none of the dogs have taken a bite out of the dead salmon, but that doesn’t leave me in the clear.  I’d rather deal with the smell (it’s horrendous) as I march them into the shower, than a sick dog.

Howarth Park-5

Dogs Are the Only Species Susceptible to Salmon Poisoning

Other animals (we see raccoons and bears do it all the time on TV) can eat raw fish, but dogs cannot.  In fact, I’ve read that dogs are the only species susceptible to salmon poisoning, which occurs when a dog eats raw salmon that is infected with the Neorickettsia helminthoeca (wow, I have no idea how to pronounce this) parasite.  Trout and other fish that is infected is cause for alarm as well.

Learn more: A Favorite Northwest Seafood Could be Deadly to Your Dog

Learn more: Salmon Poisoning is a Threat to Northwest Dogs

The salmon poisoning is typically linked to a visit to a beach or river where a dog has an opportunity to dine on an infected fish, but raw fish from the grocery story or something caught locally can also be infected, so dog owners need to beware.

Common Symptoms of Salmon Poisoning

Salmon Poisoning Can Be Deadly

If salmon poisoning is left untreated, a dog can die within 14 days of eating the infected fish.  Sorry to be a bummer, but I read that 90% of dogs die if their illness is left untreated.  If you know your dog has consumed raw fish, call your veterinarian a-SAP.  Salmon poisoning is treatable if caught early.  If you have a dog that tends to wander, needs to taste things he finds, or raids the trash – you could be at risk.

We know that we are, because our property is surrounded by creeks and we have the blue and white signs that let us know that salmon travel through our creeks.  The Pacific Northwest is known for the salmon (among other wonderful things – yayyy, it’s raining again), so hopefully this article will help keep your dog safe.

If you want to feed your dog salmon, cook it thoroughly first.  And FYI, smoking the fish won’t necessarily kill the bacteria that leads to salmon poisoning.

I’m stunned by this.  I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest all my life.  We’ve had dogs for 2-1/2 years and I’m just learning about salmon poisoning.

Recently the news and social media channels have been full of the news that there’s a parvo outbreak in Western Washington.  Several dog parks in Snohomish County have been temporarily closed and dog owners are asking if they need to have their dogs revaccinated.

We lost our puppy Riley to Canine Parvovirus in May  2012.  Our fully vaccinated littermates, Rodrigo and Sydney, were exposed to the virus, but two veterinarians informed us that they were protected.  We now have a third puppy, who is also fully vaccinated.

I happen to believe that our pets are over vaccinated and I have concerns about people forcing unnecessary chemicals into their dog’s system, because the news of the parvo virus has them running scared.

The below information is from Dr. Vanessa Rucker, DVM, Animal Hospital of Lynnwood, (425) 771-6300

The current recommendation is that all pets be current on their DAPP boosters. Depending on the clinic, manufacturer, etc, this vaccine needs to be boostered every 1 to 3 years Additional boosters are unnecessary, and could potentially lead to an increased risk of a vaccine reaction. Pets that have never had a vaccine reaction would probably be fine, but anytime you give a vaccine there is a risk of a reaction, and why take the risk unnecessarily?

The especially concerning issue with this particular outbreak is that some dogs getting parvo virus have had a good vaccination history. So keeping current on the vaccine, as well as avoiding areas frequented by dogs with unknown histories (i.e. dog parks, feed stores, etc) is the recommendation the Puget Sound area for now. Avoiding these pet areas will likely be of much greater benefit than extra vaccine boosters.

I’m confident in not having our dogs revaccinated for canine parvo virus and I encourage dog owners to contact their vet to get a recommendation.  Although social media has created a great community for dog owners to find support, it’s not the best place to go for urgent medical questions.  If you’re concerned about your dog’s risk of exposure to parvo, you need to find out:

What was the last vaccination date for your dog and what vaccinations were given?  I have an organizer that holds each of our dogs’ (and cats’) vaccination and medical records.  If you don’t have the records, ask your veterinarian if you can get copies; it’s not too late to start keeping up to date records.

How long does the vaccination last?  Some vaccinations last 1 year, some last 3 years.  Find out which schedule your dog is on AND ask the difference.

Are titer test available?  A titer test will allow you and your veterinarian know the levels currently in your dog’s system.  A test is expensive, but if you can afford it, it’s worth looking into to avoid over vaccination.

What is your dog’s risk of exposure?  Share your dog’s recent outings with your veterinarian and discuss your dog’s exposure.  Where did you go?  Who did you encounter?  Did your dog play with dogs that may not have been vaccinated?

If your veterinarian is busy, schedule a time to call back so that you can ask all of your questions.  I often write down a list of my concerns and schedule a time for a chat.  By keeping my thoughts organized, I’m only taking up 10 minutes of the doctor’s time.

If your veterinarian isn’t receptive to questions, considering finding a new doctor.

Homeward Pets

If you want to learn more about Canine Parvovirus, please visit the page I created when we experienced the virus in our home.

The Puppy

I recently submitted this guest post to a blogger who supports dog rescue and I wanted to share the post here as well. Through this post, I’m not throwing down the gauntlet to dog breeders, I’m simply sharing how my personal life experiences have changed my thoughts on dog breeding.  With every news story about a puppy mill, celebrate that one more bites the dust.  But there’s a lot more work to do and in this climate of abused animals, I think we should focus more on finding our dogs happy and safe forever homes and less on dog breeding.

Thanks for reading.

When I launched Keep the Tail Wagging, one of the missions of my blog was to educate people about finding a reputable breeder. I’ve met great breeders and felt that more needed to be done to highlight these amazing people and condemn irresponsible breeders.

And then the Universe brought some amazing and challenging life experience to our door that change my mind. I don’t support dog breeding. I don’t condemn responsible dog breeders, but after my experiences this year, I can no longer support dog breeding, because I don’t agree with bringing more dogs into a world overrun with dogs who need a home.

I no longer support dog breeding for three simple reasons…

1. Riley – Riley was a puppy that was found and turned in to a shelter. We don’t know if she was exposed to Canine Parvovirus before or after she was rescued, but it doesn’t really matter. She’s no longer with us. Whenever I go through something painful, and this rocked my world, I try to understand what lesson I’m supposed to learn. Even as I type this, my eyes are welling up with tears, because losing a dog is so very painful.

I believe that Riley came into our life for three reasons. To give her a home filled with love and happiness, for a brief time. To show us that we had room for one more rescue. Having three dogs is a lot more work than I expected, but the happiness and laughter in our home is a fantastic trade off. And losing a puppy made me want to take my blog more seriously, sharing accurate information on dog training, behavior, health, nutrition and safety.

2. Blue – Blue joined our family nearly a month after we lost Riley. We were planning to adopt a third dog, but wanted to wait 6 months to a year. I came across Blue’s video and couldn’t stop watching him. When we met him, it was love at first sight for my boyfriend. He loves our first two dogs, but I think the loss of Riley broke my tough guy’s heart and Blue was able to help him heal.

Blue was a stray (or lost puppy) who was found and turned in to the shelter. Shelters aren’t a great place for puppies and this shelter immediately contacted the rescue group we support, Motley Zoo, who picked up Blue. He was placed in parvo quarantine, he received his first and second round of vaccinations and was neutered, and then he went to live with a foster family before he came to live with us.

Blue and Rodrigo-2
Blue loved us immediately and warmed to our dogs quickly. But it took him 2 weeks to relax in our home. When he realized he would be staying, he turned into the outgoing, crazy puppy who makes us laugh every day.

3. Puppies sold on the side of the road – There is an empty lot in Smokey Point near Target and Costco where dog breeders sell puppies. This was the first year that I noticed people with puppies and as I sat at the traffic light watching people pull over, I wondered: Are the puppies vaccinated? Is it safe for so many strangers to handle the puppies? Do these people understand the size of adult Mastiffs or the energy level of Australian Shepherds? Will the breeders do a home inspection?

And on and on the questions went. I have no idea if these were “reputable breeders,” but I do know that the breeders that I know would not sell their puppies on the side of the road. They take finding homes for their puppies very seriously and their adoption process is very thorough, including educating new dog owners about the breed, not selling puppies as quickly as possible to strangers.

Again, I’m not judging people who breed dogs or choose to buy their puppies from breeders, but personally, I can’t support dog breeding in this current environment of dog rescue. I choose to rescue and support dog rescue and I hope to continue to see more steps taken to put irresponsible breeders out of business.

Last week I received an email that there was an outbreak of the canine parvovirus.  A friend shared that a dog at a local pet expo passed away and everyone who came into contact with the dog was exposed to the virus as well.  The news states that the cases are currently located in Snohomish County and it’s Everett veterinarians who are reporting the rise.  Whatever the case, it’s important that all dog owners be educated about this deadly virus.

We have first hand experience with canine parvovirus.  Our puppy, Riley, passed away a week after we adopted her and it broke our hearts.  What I learned during that week (and the weeks following) was that there is a tremendous amount of bad information on the Internet, which prompted me to create a page on Keep the Tail Wagging about the virus…

What is parvo?

I learned that parvo started as a mutation of a cat virus in the 70s that was killed dogs rapidly.  Today, parvo is prevalent in some parts of the country and it seems like a rarity in others (like Western Washington).  We learned that just because we don’t hear about the canine parvovirus in our area doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist nor does this suggest that it’s been eradicated in an area.  Vaccinations can’t always keep puppies safe, but they’re a great first step to helping puppies survive the virus.

The canine parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that attacks a puppy’s body, causing secondary infections.  The veterinarian compared it to the flu to help me understand.  There is no cure for the flu or cold; we take medication to provide comfort while the virus works through our body.  In puppies and dogs, the canine parvovirus severely affects the intestinal track and the white blood cells.  Riley’s count was near zero when she passed away.  The virus can also damage the heart muscles, leading to cardiac arrest or lifetime issues.

Read more here.

The canine parvovirus outbreak in Western Washington has lead to the closure of local dog parks: “The off-leash parks that are closing include Howarth Park on Olympic Blvd., Loganberry Lane Park near 18th Avenue West and Lowell Park, near the corner of 46th Street and South 3rd Avenue.”

Once the canine parvovirus is in an area, it takes time for the virus to go away…

How long can the parvovirus live? 

Someone shared that the parvovirus will die in extreme cold; this is not the case.  Extreme heat and cold (freezing temperatures) doesn’t appear to have an ill effect on the parvovirus.  Heavy rains (or using a garden hose) can help to disburse the virus, but it won’t rid our property of the virus.  Therefore, we would not invite anyone to bring their unvaccinated puppy to our property.  And we will no longer adopt unvaccinated puppies.  This is a choice we’ve made based on the information we’ve learned from veterinarians and families who have experienced parvovirus.

Read more here.

To be honest, the canine parvovirus is all around us.  It may not be as prevalent in some areas as it is in others, but it’s a reality, which is why keeping our puppies home until they’re fully vaccinated is important.  We also need to watch out for the health of dogs who have compromised immune systems.  If you’re a regular to the dog park or just need new ideas of where you can take your dogs, check out these Alternatives to the Dog Park.

My heart breaks for the family who lost their dog and anyone who is nursing a sick dog.  It was a painful week for us that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

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