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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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?
I don’t know about your pets, but our canine, feline and avian members of the household thrive on a schedule.
They are fed at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily and for at least those two times of day they seem to be able to tell time.
Our pool cleaner comes on Tuesday and Kodi is stretched out in that flat to the floor Corgi stretch, watching the pool deck.
Last week the schedule changed drastically when the leader of the pack, my hubby, had to be admitted to the hospital. I would leave every morning and spend most of the day at the hospital.
So the 6 a.m. feeding was on schedule, but the treat times (Oh yes, there are designated treat times during the day) and the evening meals were delayed.
Typically I get up earlier than my husband and after breakfast Kodi returns to the bedroom and stays with him, while Buddy is with me in the family room. While my husband was gone, Kodi was totally out of sync and didn’t know what to do.
The other adjustment was not being able to go out all day—Our dogs are spoiled. We both work from home so they are rarely alone. All of that changed last week and I have to brag on my pups—They were fantastic.
I put down puppy training pads for the long days. Some days I came home and the pads were clean and dry—It isn’t healthy for them to hold it all day—so I was actually happier when I had seen they had used it.
Things are getting back to normal, hopefully.
Stress can be caused by a number of events in your pet’s life, a life-long friend going off to college, divorce or separation, illness, and vacations — even when you take them with you!
Tips if you have to change your pet’s schedule:
1. Extra time – I cannot stress this enough. My dogs didn’t know what was going on, only that someone was missing. When I was home I made time to sit with them, cuddle and comfort.
2. Potty breaks – Puppy pads or someone to check on them during the day. I prefer the pads because I don’t want to have to worry about them getting away from someone, just they way I worry. They are adult dogs and while I am leaving a pad out they aren’t using it.
3. Treats – I didn’t want them to put on weight, but wanted to give them extra treats for being so good so I cut the treats in half.
4. Schedule – Return to a normal schedule as soon as you can. Dogs (and even the cat and bird) like to have control over their environment and a schedule is an important part of that.
Of course I know it’s Valentine’s Day, but for our pets it’s February 14th otherwise known as “Tuesday.”
No chocolates in their bowls or flowers by their beds, what’s this day for them?
It’s another day to enjoy, dare I say “celebrate,” them being part of our family. Like so many adopted dogs, cats and birds who are waking up in a loving home this morning, they are the lucky ones.
Breakfast has been served and a new day begun.
So on this day I have five things, do one or all five, to challenge my readers on this day of Love.
- Make a donation to your local humane society. This can be $1 or $500, or even your old blankets and towels for bedtime and bath.
- Volunteer at a shelter. One hour a week walking a dog or petting a cat can make a big difference. Animals that receive attention are more social and have a better chance at being adopted.
- Post a link to your shelter on your Facebook page. “Like” your shelter’s Facebook page.
- Learn one new thing about your shelter. Do they have a new program or event?
- Say “thank you.” Shelter workers are hard-working individuals that do their job for the love of the animals, certainly not the pay.
- Don’t spread rumors. If you hear something about your humane society or shelter, investigate it yourself before repeating it or reposting online. There are many misconceptions and sadly there are some groups that bad mouth each other and shelters to rise themselves up. Don’t fall into that.
It is all supposed to be about the animals, remember that please.
A winter’s day in my part of the world, East Coast of Florida, is often scoffed at. We have our lower temperatures, in the teens or below? No. But then we are not prepared for that, and neither are our animals.
As I was leaving the post office last week a woman in shorts and a t-shirt jokingly told me to take off my coat, saying it was too pretty a day.(The temperature was in the high 50s).
The request was barely out of her mouth when she stated, “You live here don’t you?” My response, “Yes, and you don’t” as I looked at her choice of clothing for they day. Did I NEED the jacket? Maybe not. Was I comfortable? Definitely. These same considerations should be applied to our pets.
You don’t want to overdress, and thereby overheat your dog, but if he’s chilly, and especially if your pup is a short-haired dog, a sweater may be appreciated. So far my dogs have not needed clothing, though as a knitter I have checked out a couple of patterns and even considered converting an old sweater into a dog vest. (There’s a pinterest link below for a neat way to make a pooch sweater)
Folks in the north, or those traveling with their dogs in the north, have more to worry about than ice and snow. Something far more dangerous to your pet – the chemicals and salt used to remove the ice and snow.
So if you live in an area where you have to melt the ice and snow, or are traveling to an area like this, it is important to be aware of where your dog is walking. A Florida dog is probably not going to want to walk on the snow and will stick to the treated sidewalk and roads.
5 Tips before you take your dog outside:
- Put a small pan of water (one the dog could step into) and a towel by the door into the house.
- Wash and dry your pup’s paws before you go back into the house.
- Do not let your dog lick his paws. If he starts paying attention to his paws instead of what he is outside to do, wash them immediately, the chemicals are probably burning the pads of his paws.
- You do not want him licking his paws and ingesting the chemicals or salt. These are toxic and can do permanent harm, or even be fatal, to your dog.
- If you pup wears a coat/sweater, make sure it fits. Once you are back inside, remove it immediately or supervise your dog while he has it on.
Dogs are fun to watch outside, but remember, boundaries all look the same when everything is covered in snow. Keep them on a leash or in a fenced in area and have fun!
Need a quick sweater for your pooch? I found this easy-to-follow pattern on Pinterest