Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Gracie on a leash

Gracie, a very bad dog!

Gracie looks really innocent but this Boxer can be a touchy, crazy, spastic animal.  She loves people but picks her dog friends very carefully.  On leash she can be so leash aggressive that people with their dogs run away from us because she sounds so fierce.  Since she was an unwanted stray dumped at my house, we have continued to work with her to tame her prickly touchy persona.  We have continued to fail. 

Gracie's got a couple good reasons for being so nuts. My brother-in-law found her as a stray running around a golf course.  It was estimated that she was 12 weeks old.  Every part of her body was infected.  The shelter vet had to re-dock, a poorly docked tail because the infection was so bad. 
She came to us after my brother-in-law adopted her but one of his dogs tried to kill her.  Oh and did I mention she also has separation anxiety.  I'll discuss that in a future blog post. 

Leash aggression is defined as an aggressive reaction to other dogs or people when on a lead.  Dog Trainer, Suzanne Clothier offers relationship centered training and suggests ways to handle a reactive dog on a lead. She says some of the behavior has to do with how the owner acts while we are walking our dog.  She says we are to blame.  That is good news for us.  It means maybe there is still hope for us and Gracie.  There are countless videos about how to handle reactive dogs and I have watched a few. Some offer the same tips that you get when you go for basic puppy training.  My dog is an A student in dog training class so the fact that Suzanne Clothier suggests the problem might be with me gives me hope.   In the meantime, Gracie and I will continue to walk across the street when we see you and your dog until we can get our dog walking house in order.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Hair follicle cyst out of control.

labrador dog
Milli's headshot courtesy of Teresa Crawford

After 4 months the growth
measured 5 inches
Dogs get lumps and bumps. Labradors are one of the many breeds that tend to get a lot of lumps, cysts and tumors.  I noticed a small cyst on my dog when it was less then a centimeter wide. At the veterinarian's office her tiny lump was tested and came back confirmed as a benign hair follicle cyst

 At this point the cyst was small. The doctor told us to  leave it alone. It did not bother her and it was not noticeable.  Although several times over a four month period we returned to his office and checked as this lump grew exponentially.  Surgery is not always the first and best option. Putting a dog through surgery is serious for the pet and can be expensive for the pet's people.

Healing after surgery. 

Yet, by waiting so long we had put our dog in the predicament of having surgery with a long healing process.  As a result of waiting this cyst grew to five inches in diameter and protruded on her back like a hunchback of Nortre Dame.  

When the lump became large we received many concerned inquiries from our neighbors and friends.   We had no idea this would grow out of control as we told our neighbors and ourselves. By the end of month four we were scheduling surgery and trying to get a first available appointment.  The lesson I learned is that depending on your financial circumstances, you and your vet need to weigh the pros and cons of performing surgery before the cyst becomes overwhelming for you, your pocketbook and your pet. 

For more information watch  Pet 360's video with Dr. Jodie Gruenstern DVM

BTW...Milli healed nicely with a long scar.  No current lumps. Her person checks all the time. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dog Hair Everywhere

It's Sunday morning and my yellow lab Milli is not letting me write this post.  She wants her walk. She's been a part of our family for over four years.  Milli, is how I got started in Shelter Animal Rescue.  It was when  my husband and I stepped into Chicago's Animal Care and Control that I realized what a problem pet overpopulation is in our country.  The problem is due to many factors.  Those factors are puppy mills which need to be eliminated and irresponsible pet owners who don't spay and neuter their pets.  Or they get an animal because they think it's "cute" only to realize that a pet is a responsibility in terms of care, feeding, training, walking, playing and medical attention and they don't want to do the work.  Duh....didn't do the research before making the commitment. It's a huge problem!

Even doing the research,  some things just get missed.  I had no idea how much dog hair would get all over everything until I got a Labrador at the dog pound. It's one of the best places to get a pet.   Labs are the number one dog in popularity in the USA but no one tells you about the dog hair.  I learned the hard way when my housekeeper came up to me one day soon after we got Milli and said she was increasing her charges for cleaning my house because it was "too dirty"  with dog hair.  Besides being embarassed,  I looked around and realized that she was right. Dog hair everywhere.  Well, the first thing I did as any normal respecting woman with a lab might do after her housekeeper embarasses her  I got rid of the housekeeper.  Second thing I did was I embarked on vacuuming and cleaning more often. My housekeeper didn't think I could rise to the occasion and neither did my husband, that's another story.  In the meantime, I asked around and discovered the Furminator . Wish I had invented the thing.  I didn't. I don't know why every person who gets a dog doesn't automatically get one of these handed to them at the shelter.  Maybe a dog manual package would help pets not get dumped.  The manual would include food, leash, Furminator! 

I've got to run....Milli is whining for her walk.