Author: Pet Chat

A missing pet

samantha-window
Window sills are one of Samantha’s favorite spots.

Even the most diligent of pet owners has lost a pet, if only for a few minutes. No matter how long they are gone the feeling is not a good one.
I had that feeling today. We are having work done on the house and the door from the kitchen into the garage was being replaced. I came home from work about 3 p.m. to find my contractors busy at work, my husband in his office, and Kodi and Buddy in their crates.

“Where’s Samantha?”

Samantha is our cat (or rather, my cat who sits on my husband’s  lap while we watch T.V.) The answer, “I don’t know,” wasn’t what I wanted to hear.

The search began. I was pretty sure my indoor kitty wouldn’t have willingly headed into all of the noise of saws, hammers and strangers going on in my garage that day, but I really needed to see she was safe for my own peace of mind.

So we searched all of her favorite spots, window sills, behind furniture, under blankets — she was nowhere to be found. I even looked in the garage – nothing.

I had to leave for a meeting so after about 15 minutes of searching I called a former co-worker at our local humane society to make a lost pet report. Samantha is chipped and that is generally the first thing any humane society or veterinarian scan for.  While I was on the phone, my husband called out that he had found her in a back bedroom.

She had found her place to sit out the ruckus in the open area between the wall and the storage/headboard in the guest room we have been sleeping in while we wait for our room to be carpeted. After my husband spotted her, she dashed under a sofa futon in the same room.

Sure I could believe him, but I needed to see her for myself. So down on the floor I went, peering under the futon, and looking back at me was Samantha.

This was a reminder that when workmen or guests are in your house, find accommodations for your cat, especially if doors are going to be opened.

The furthest Samantha usually ventures it out onto the pool deck and she is very easy to capture. If her heart was in it, she’d be much harder to bring back in.

This also demonstrates why even indoor cats (and I personally think they all should be indoor cats) should have identification. Collars can get caught or removed. Micro chips are the best chance you have of getting your feline back.

Firefighters save dogs

Firefighters
Ashley’s heroes. These firefighters saved Ashley and four other dogs from a wildfire in Florida. 

I enjoy what I do. I write for two small town newspapers in Florida. The kind of paper that focuses on local events.

Yesterday my assignment took me to the Flagler Emergency Operations Center. Three firefighters were being recognized by the Flagler Humane Society for actually going into a wildfire to save five dogs in the yard on March 24.

As I arrived I saw two employees of the Flagler Animal Hospital and the Executive Director of the Flagler Humane Society walking toward the front door. What made me jump out of the car and dash toward them was seeing Ashley, one of two of the dogs burned in the fire. Ashley and Harley had suffered third-degree burns and I really didn’t expect to see either of them at the event.

Suddenly Ashley turned and started “talking,” as many hounds do, and pulled his handler toward women who had just gotten out of a truck. Soon he was on top of one of his owners, licking and loving.

Firefighters 2
A heartwarming reunion.

The community came together for these animals, not just the firefighters (though they did the scariest act), but the Flagler Animal Hospital and, a non profit clinic, St. Francis Animal Hospital, in Jacksonville, and of course those generous souls who donated what they could to help pay for the medical bills.

Firefighters 3
The Flagler Animal Service officer who responded to the firefighters call and took the two injured dogs to the hospital. Anyone want to say anything bad about “Dog Catchers?”

Harley couldn’t be at the event, he was on his way back to the animal hospital after undergoing 10 hyperbolic  treatments.

There was a presentation of plaques and certificates, but from the looks on the firefighter’s faces (each who had at least one dog of their own) the real thanks came from the dog himself as he licked and nuzzled his rescuers.

The dogs recovery will take time but they are in good, loving and talented hands. A wonderful reminder that there are some very special people in this world who do some very extraordinary things on daily basis.

The humane society is accepting donations http://bit.ly/2nrddU1 (type “Ashley and Harley” or “emergency medical fund,” into the notes section), to help pay for the medical care for the dogs.

Most humane societies have emergency funds for catastrophic events and appreciate donations so they can be prepared for a disaster. Donate to yours today.

Baby wipes help reduce allergic reaction

Dog allergies
A simple box of unscented baby wipes could help reduce your dog’s allergic reactions.

Spring is showing itself on most of our lawns and on some of our dog’s skin. As the small flowers, grasses and weeds start to bloom, you may also be seeing red patches on your dog as they lick one specific area.

Diagnosis: Allergies

Both of my pups are showing signs. Buddy twists to chew the area from hip to hip, and the hair around Kodi’s tail nub is getting thinner and thinner.

Both are now on medication to relieve the itching and hopefully reduce the desire to chew.

Chewing is one of those things that can start out as relief for the dog and turn into a habit, something I don’t want.

When I picked Buddy’s medication up at the vet a couple of weeks ago, my vet’s wife told me to get baby wipes. Unscented baby wipes to wipe on each paw when they come in from outside.

I had never really given much thought as to how the allergic reaction occurred. I contributed it to airborne pollen or perhaps when the dogs rolled on the grass. But her explanation makes a lot of sense.

The allergic reaction can be from the dog licking the paws when they come in from outside. When I started to think about it both dogs do lick their paws after being outside. Doing this they ingest the pollen, or whatever is in the grass that they have an allergy to, and voila! the allergic reaction followed by chewing.

A pop-up plastic box of baby wipe, the store brand, now sits next to my front door. As soon as we come in, before the leashes come off, each dog get his paws wiped. Buddy isn’t too bad about it, but Kodi doesn’t like his paws being touched.

The process should be quick and easy. Just rub the cloth under each paw making sure to separate the toes a little and get in there. One cloth per trip outside.

Nocturnal ramblings and Buddy’s Chapter 3

Buddy has a talent to sleep just about anywhere and loves the dirt in sun!buddy

It’s the wee hours of the morning, 3 a.m. at this moment, and my sleep has been smacked awake, making this the perfect time to catch up on overdue blog time.

Buddy is asleep on top of a stack of pillows on a small couch in the bedroom. Not a care in the world. Kodi is stretched out on his side on the floor. Neither stirred when I got up to come into the family room. Hopefully I will be able to slip back in without the “dog alarms” being activated.

Back to Buddy’s travels:

Buddy returned to Florida full-time in January 2016. He had been here before but even our little Jack Russell knew this time was different – this time it was his home.

Traveling cross-country which included stopping in Texas to see our eldest’s family and one more stop in Daphne, Alabama before our  home on the East Coast of Florida, the dogs tolerated each other.

Well, Buddy tolerated Kodi sitting on him in the back seat!

When we got home it dawned on Kodi that we weren’t just giving this other male dog a lift. He had joined Kodi’s “herd” except Buddy isn’t all that fond of being herded. Adjustments had to be made.

In the beginning there were scuffles and we didn’t feel comfortable leaving them out when we weren’t home so the crates were set up in the family room.

It soon became evident that when we are not at home they worked things out. The scuffles and “fights” were only when we were there. Little by little we left them out for longer and longer periods of time. Now we really don’t think about it – everyone seems to have come to terms with the new arrangement.

The only time we have to be on alert is when food is involved. Both are adept at catching treats in the air and Buddy swoops in to scoop up any ice-cube that drops from the refrigerator.

Kodi used to be our “ice shark” and had lost interest, but now that Buddy wants the ice – the interest has rekindled.

The only time we have any issues is if we mess up and a treat bounces away. Then there’s a minor “free for all” as the dogs both try to claim it.

For the most part Kodi has been pretty understanding and I think having a younger dog around keeps him active.

Buddy has blossomed. He has grown out of  just falling over on his side when we have him out walking.  No longer do people have to ask, “Did your dog just faint?”

Storms still make his bones shake and once in a while I still get this incredibly “sad” look for no reason. It makes me wonder what thoughts go through his mind.

the-tale-of-buddy

He may be smaller but I have no doubt that when he sees his reflectionhe sees himself as a much larger dog, and hopefully he sees himself as a permanent member of this family.

Adult puppy: Chapter 2

Buddy staring out window
After my son moved out of his old apartment he returned to find Buddy just staring out the window, sitting in the imprint of the area where the bed had been.

Travels with Buddy

After his all but strange adoption in Orlando, Buddy took a road trip across country with his new family – Florida to Arizona, OK one state short of across the country.

During the next year there were more changes for this little dog. His owners divorced and he stayed with my son. Then he was moved into an apartment where there were other dogs. As far as I know things went smoothly.

Another move to another apartment, which was fortunately in the same complex so at least some of the outside smells should have been familiar, marked yet another change in less than 18 months.

Then came the baby and a new family. Oh and a second dog was adopted.

The baby was the big change. No matter how much you trust your dog, or how well you think he is trained or behaves, they should be watched around babies and small children.

At first when the baby cried Buddy was right there checking to see if things were OK. It was cute. When she started to crawl things started changing. Buddy would growl at anyone including my daughter-in-law and the baby.

It was agreed that Buddy should come home with us. So to the confusion of Kodi, my husband and me, and of course Buddy himself, we left Arizona with one more dog than we had arrived with.

Kodi was about as welcoming as could be expected. He basically ignored Buddy on the trip back, when he wasn’t actually sitting on top of him or scrunching him against the door.

Looking out the window
Change is difficult for our pets to understand and for us to explain to them Family pets
Car riders
One moment when the boys were sitting nicely in the back seat on our cross-country trip

A stop in Georgetown, Texas to see our eldest son and his family, found us at a very understanding and helpful Best Western Plus http://bit.ly/2n0Qai2. I have had wonderful experiences staying at Best Western’s when we travel. The ones that allow pets have a very caring and animal-friendly staff in my opinion.

I received a call that one of the dogs might be in distress. The front desk man wasn’t upset, he just wanted me to know. I assured him that both dogs were in separate crates if someone wanted to enter the room, but I was near enough that we were on our way back.

When we returned all was quiet. We took the dogs out and Buddy did indeed really have to go out. After loving on them a few minutes and turning the TV on low we left. We never heard the sound until months later when Buddy started wailing at home. It’s unnerving and I am really not sure when he decides it is necessary.

Next: One more stop in Alabama and Buddy is introduced to his new home.

Cat in a hat

This sweet 10 year old would love a home to call her own. Her former owners were moving and could not take her with them. She has some small medical issues that are resolving but don’t let that distract from her awesome personality. She is very lad back and would just love a lap to sit on. Come and meet this sweetie today!

cat-hat

Adult puppy

the-tale-of-buddy
We have one dog, a corgi, who smiles all of the time, and Buddy who doesn’t.

I intended to write one post on how Buddy has come to us, his quirks, and recent regression to training pads, when I realized that would be far too long a post. So I will be posting a series on Buddy the shorty Jack Russell. I hope you will join me on this journey with a dog I never wanted but would never give up.

Chapter One

I’ve written and photographed our shorty Jack Russell but I am not sure I have ever explained how this — oh let’s call him “unique” — dog came into our lives.

Buddy, as his previous owners, our son and his first wife, named him had to be the most unattractive dog on the planet. I am being kind in this description, he was ugly. Not his fault, he had been neglected.

But from the start:

Our former daughter-in-law went to a pet supply store in Orlando to get a collar for another dog and came home with a pink dog. Pink because he had no fur. He had pretty much given up on the world he was given to her by a “rescue” group – no application, nothing. Lucky for Buddy, but I wasn’t sure about the rest of us.

Buddy “faints”

Buddy had, make that has, issues. Seizures that are psychologically based according to our vet. A perfect example is his early “fainting” episodes.

While we were dog sitting we took both dogs to an event at Washington Oaks Garden State Park (If you have never been to this park and you are on the East Coast of Florida you must visit).

While walking the dogs, Buddy falls over. Seriously a straight drop, 90 degrees sideways, to the ground. He didn’t collapse, he just went from standing to lying on his side in the same position – wide awake. A woman at the plant sale stand nearby gasped and asked, “did your dog just faint?”

No, “he just does that.” we responded as though it were the most normal thing in the world.

I am happy to report that Buddy doesn’t do that any longer so progress is being made.

Tomorrow: How did Buddy get from Florida to Arizona and back again?