Tag: dogs

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.

Adult puppy

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?


The dog days of summer are here

I live in Florida where we expect the summer to be hot, but this summer is a scorcher — and not just in Florida. It’s unusally hot in sections of the country, and the world, that don’t have to deal with high temperatures.

Today I want to share my weekly column with you, because, even though I am on the East coast of Florida, it’s important advice for everyone, and every dog.


Buddy Beach


Shelter from the storm

Dogs, but generally not cats, often have a fear of storms, making States like Florida a tough place to live.

EESamantha's things 2

Our household is hoping for a quiet hurricane season. On June 6, Tropical Storm Colin rolled through our section of the state with some wind and rain. Certainly no Hurricane Frances or Charley – thank goodness.

The Estes dogs were not impressed with Tropical Storm Colin. This is especially true for Buddy, the Jack Russell.

Buddy was adopted in Orlando but was moved to Arizona almost immediately. Arizona doesn’t have hurricanes, and not that many thunderstorms . 

He came home with us last December because he was not adapting well to our granddaughters’ new found mobility. He liked her fine – if she stayed in one place.

So to keep the peace, and the dog, good old mom and dad brought him back to Florida. A place where there are thunderstorms, tropical storms and hurricanes.

As the bands of rain from Colin passed through the area, both dogs were quite upset, even while wearing their ThunderShirts. Buddy curled up on the bed, curtains drawn, and Kodi went to a favorite spot by the couch. They are where they feel safe, and that’s all that matters.hurricane

Tropical Storm Colin was a weather nudge. We are into hurricane season, and we need to be prepared.

If you live in an area where you might have to evacuate; this include wildfires, hurricanes, or even into your own tornado shelter, your emergency preparations need to inlcude your pets. Preparing an evacuation bag now for your pets will only take a bit of your time. It will be time well spent.

The kit isn’t just for those who live in evacuation areas. It’s for those inland, who may lose power, or be unable to get out for a couple of days.

Here are a few items to gather for your pet: Veterinary records for proof of vaccinations (put these in a zip lock bag. Tags are not recognized as proof of vaccination); pet medication; two, 2-liter plastic soda bottles for water; zip lock bags of dry food or extra cans of pet food; plastic food and water dishes; cat litter and disposable pan; crates for each pet and blankets; extra leash; doggie bags; one or two favorite toys (these can be tossed in at the last minute); ThunderShirts (if your dog uses them).

If you need to evacuate, or if you are sheltering in place, fill up the 2-liter bottles when you fill up your family’s water needs – before the storm.

Microchip 1
The dog is scanned for a micro chip. Like most dogs that come into shelters. this one did not have a micro chip.

Now is also the time to verify that your pet’s ID is up to date on their collar or their microchip.

The best crates I have found are the open wire style. These allow for more ventiation than the hard side, airline-style crates. Select one that is large enough for your dog too stand and turn around in. Too big is not better. When scared, most dogs prefer a smaller “cave.”

This is also a good time to find out where the emergency shelters that are pet-friendly are, in your area. These are last resort, for survival, shelters. They are not like sleeping in a hotel far away from the disaster or hunkering down in your, or a friend’s, home.


Turning in a hoarder isn’t easy, but you will be saving lives.

There was a time, when the kids were home, we had two dogs, two cats, and a couple of birds. When we evacuated for Hurricane Floyd it took all three of our vehicles to transport them. Today, my husband and I have one cat, two dogs and one bird, and at this time in our lives, with our schedules – that is enough.

When I first began writing a pet column in the mid 1990s it required a weekly visit to the humane society. This made my husband nervous, because we both are “animal people.” On two occassions, he returned home and said; “This (dog/cat) wasn’t here when I left this morning.” This was in reaction to Luna, a golden retriever/chow mix, and Samantha our current feline in residence. I was well aware I couldn’t save them all – but I would do my little part.

I confess this because I know how easy it is to fall in love during every visit. I always believed that hoarders were folks with good intentions, who became overwhelmed.

Hoarders are now being recognized as individuals with mental health issues that can result in horrific consequences for the animals they are “helping,” and their own families.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are a quarter of a million animals who become victims to hoarders every year. Statistics show that hoarders are generally female, over 60 and live alone. They have an unusual number of “pets” without the financial means to house or care for them, and they deny this inability.

The process is a gradual one, starting with a pet or two, but then the numbers increase. Sometimes people bring animals to them, or they start picking up strays – to protect them – and soon there are too many to manage. The person will go without necessities for herself, and may even become reclusive, to try and provide for the animals. But animals are expensive to properly care for.

There is help for people who suffer from pet hoarding, but the first step is intervention. Pet hoarders will deny they have a problem. Many friends and family members worry about getting their friends and loved ones into legal trouble, but it is important to remember that the situation is inhumane for all involved and must be resolved. Animal hoarding cases do not have to end with criminal prosecution of the hoarder.

It is important is to get the animals out, to eliminate the possibility of the hoarder obtaining new animals, and to get long term help for the person suffering with the mental illness.


Gary Patronek, VMD, PhD and founder of the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC) says most pet hoarders fall into one of three categories:

Overwhelmed caregivers: They begin rescuing or helping animals in a small way and/or acquire pets passively but become overwhelmed by their growing pet population and inability to say no. People in this category tend to be the most willing to consider downsizing when offered help.

Rescuer hoarders: The people in this group are driven by an extreme sense of mission. Patronek says a profound fear of death and/or loss drives them. Caring for animals provides a strong sense of identity; losing the animals is a loss of who they are. When Animal Services finds this type of hoarder the first options are offering help and negotiated settlements. If the hoarder cannot or will not improve conditions for the animal, sometimes confiscation and prosecution become necessary.

Exploiter hoarders: These people may be true sociopaths. Exploiter hoarders lack empathy for people or animals. They are manipulative, cunning and can be vicious. Prosecuting them with every legal option is often the only path to saving the animals and a successful intervention.

If you know of a hoarder call your local animal control agency. 

What’s in a name?

Is it easier to name your kids or your pet?
by: Jacque Estes Staff Writer

As I was visiting with my “nephew dog” Trip-E this week, while his mom and brother Char-Lee were at a library event, I got to thinking about names, specifically — pet names.

For example the mop of black fur at my feet; is his name Trip-E because, despite the fact he is not a small dog, he can trip you up, or because his personality is definitely a “trip?”

For the rest of this article please go to http://www.palmcoastobserver.comIMG_3505

Four letter words

There are four letter words no pet owner wants to hear — flea and tick. These offensive and intrusive parasites can turn an otherwise happy home upside down.

Prevention is of course the key. There are many products to choose from but one size does not fit all. What works for me may not work for you.

Topical treatments, those tiny plastic tubes that you snap open and apply on a section of skin below the animal’s fur have never been easy for me. No matter what type of dog I had, parting the fur was never simple. With my current pup, Kodi the Corgi, the fur is so dense I cannot get to the skin.

According to Kodi’s the fluid is some sort of acid. He squirms and bucks and if a drop should fall and bead off his red and white coat … well the reaction is indescribable and he is not protected.

When he was younger I did manage to get a topical treatment between his shoulder blades and to his skin, or so I thought. At that time we had two other dogs, Shadow, a Labrador mix, and Luna, a golden retriever mix. The morning after I applied the treatment we found Luna had died in her sleep. She was only 8-years old with no known ailments. I have always wondered if  he licked Kodi’s shoulder after the application. I will never know for sure but that was it for me and the topical treatments.

We began using Trifexis, which is an excellent treatment for fleas and ticks but is pricey. I have even tried to get it through our vet at the humane society. One our benefits is being able to get discounts, but there was no real savings for this pill. But I continued because that is what we do for our pets. We may go without something so we can care for them.

Enter a sales representative with a wonderful new product using an old method — a flea and tick collar. This is not the type you pick up in the grocery store. Seresto collars by Bayer are made for dogs and cats six months and older. The initial cost is $45 and up but they last for eight months or about $6 a month.

I put one on Kodi and one on Samantha, a cat who does not wear collars, three months ago after the threat of a flea infestation. We caught the fleas early, treated them and the house (tomorrow’s post) and then the collars were added.

As I said, indoor cat Samantha was not accustomed to having a collar on so I watched her carefully. I certainly did not want her trying to get out of the collar and getting it stuck in her mouth. But that was never an issue. These have a nice soft feel to them and everyone adapted quickly.

The feature I like the most (other than the absence of the intruders) is I put this on my pets, counted forward eight months on my phone calendar and forgot it. No more questioning myself, did I treat them this month?

Most important — I haven’t seen a flea or tick since they began wearing them.


Found my way “home”

My blog posts stopped last October as duties as the Volunteer Manager at a local humane society swallowed up my time.  But a meeting with the Ancient City Writers (St. Augustine FL) and guest speaker Carol O’Dell have brought me back to what I love to do — write about animals.

During the past nine months (geez I could have had a baby) I have given birth to some new skills which will hopefully be featured in spin off blogs, volunteering and summer camp. Summer Camp? you ask, yep last week was the second of four, week-long summer camps  at our humane society. With each one we learn what works and what does not and being a writer first I kept notes for future use.

But this is a pet blog so hopefully I will find some like minded readers and we can have fun.