Dog Blog

Friday, March 25, 2011

While gazing out the window of Peet's this afternoon, I noticed a little dog sitting outside in the rain waiting for his owner to come back out.  There was no shelter for him, and I wish I'd had my camera because I never saw such a forlorn sight as that wet little dog.  It got me to thinking: Where can dogs go with their people on miserable days like we've had lately?  All the parks are sodden, including the dog parks, and who but the hardiest of dog walkers will brave storms like these?  

Yesterday afternoon, with Peaches and Beau having gone stir crazy penned up in the house all day, we decided to take them for a ride.  We thought we'd take them to one of the elementary schools nearby, where the covered corridors provide some protection from the weather, but school was still in session.  We even thought of going to Home Depot, where people sometimes take their dogs inside with them, but I worried that they'd need a cleanup in one of their aisles if Beau made a mess.  Then I thought of PetSmart.  At least they could go inside with us and no one could complain.  The only trouble was that after we drove all the way down to the store on Watt Avenue, I realized I had forgotten to bring along their leashes.  So much for walking the dogs on a rainy day, but at least they got out for a joy ride in the car.

When we traveled in England, it was common to see dogs in the pubs, where food and drink is served.  No one ever contracted any dreaded "zoonoses."  In Holland, I saw cats lounging in restaurant windows as bold as you please.  I've noticed that dogs are slipping into some Sacramento establishments with their owners without being ejected, and I have observed that Davis seems to be more relaxed about dogs in their midst.  Not all of them are service dogs, either.  I wish our city would stop worrying about who let the dogs in!      


Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Every woman should wear one.


Monday, March 21, 2011

People weren't the only victims of the devastating Japan quake, as this story of Dog's Best Friend shows.


Thursday, March 17, 2011


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

If you haven't yet had your dog vaccinated for canine flu, a new strain of the horse virus, H3N8, you might want to check into it right away. I was dismayed to learn that there has been a recent outbreak of this new ailment at the Glenbrook dog park where I usually take Peaches and Beau. Several dogs were sickened, but they did recover. Most dogs suffer only some mild upper respiratory symptoms, but some can become quite ill from the virus.

It's great to have designated, though often small and overcrowded, gathering places where our dogs can run free, socialize with other dogs, and get some real exercise off the leash without fear of the pooch police. But there's also a downside to these parks frequented by large numbers of dogs. Not all those dogs have been fully protected against diseases, so before visiting the dog park with their best friends, pet owners need to ensure that their dogs have been fully vaccinated against common canine diseases, and even uncommon ones, apparently.

If you've ever lost a precious dog to preventable diseases like distemper (see Bramble's poem in my earlier post) because someone never bothered to have his pup fully inoculated, you'll know where I'm coming from and get thee to the vet with thy pooch for his flu shot.


Monday, March 07, 2011

Read my latest article, "HELP RESCUE A RESCUE" about Basset Rescue of Central California in Kings River Life online magazine. Like most rescue organizations in this dismal economic climate, they are in dire need of donations and volunteers to keep operating and helping homeless hounds.  Perhaps someone reading this can help.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Today I read about the woman who complained to Editor Melanie Sills about all the "dogs, dogs, dogs" in the Sacramento Bee. She probably isn't aware that there's a Canadian publication called Dogs, Dogs, Dogs. There are two explanations for such a ridiculous complaint: 1. She's a cat lover or 2. She really needs to have dogs, dogs, dogs in her own life. Needless to say, I'm glad that there is so much print devoted to our canine companions. They have so much to teach us about love, love, love.


Thursday, March 03, 2011

Peaches and Beau had a house guest all day today, a beautiful but starved Australian Shepherd named Max.  Like many strays, Max had no name tag with his owner's name, address, and phone number.  I only found out his name after tracing the numbers on Max's rabies and license tags on his collar to the County Animal Care and Control and Sacramento Animal Hospital. They were able to provide me with a name, address, and phone, but I had no way of knowing whether the owners still lived there or if this was another case of a foreclosed Fido.  This dog obviously had been on the loose for a while. 

I had spotted the dog wandering through our neighborhood a few nights ago, but of course he wouldn't come to me when I beckoned.  I drove through the neighborhood looking to see if I could find him, but he had vanished in the dark.  Then this morning when I was sitting out in the front garden with my dogs, soaking up some blessed sunshine, Beau let out an alarm.  I glanced across the street to see what he was going on about.  My neighbor had just come out of her garage, but then I saw what Beau was barking about.  A dog slipped into her garage.  I recognized it as being the same dog as before.  He was getting desperate now, enough to approach strangers for help.  He was trying to get into the open bag of dog food she had in her garage. This time I had a leash and managed to nab Max and corral him in my back yard, where he stayed all day.

The dog was skin and bone from being lost since last Thursday while his owners had gone out of town.  A friend was supposed to transport the dog to the owner's mother's house (I'm not sure why this wasn't done before they left town), but the dog never made it to Mom's house. The friend took him to his office and Max escaped.  

After I fed him, he slept the entire day, clearly happy to have a full belly, fresh water, and a save haven to rest a while.  I kept trying all day to reach the owner, leaving several messages on the answering machine.  No response.  I was hoping they were just at work and I'd hear from them soon.  I am most grateful to the efforts of the staff at Sacramento Animal Hospital on H Street in helping me to connect with Max's owner, who came to get him a little while ago.  They even arranged for Aussie Rescue to take Max if no one came to claim him by tomorrow.  I am so grateful to them that I plan to take my own dogs there for veterinary care in future. 

Fortunately, this lost dog tale has a happy ending.  I only wish you could have heard the squeals of joy that came from this dog that was so still and silent all day.  It was growing dark when I took him out my side gate to be reunited with his grateful owner.  He wasn't sure at first who she was, but when he got close enough to pick up her scent he went belly up and writhed with ecstasy at being reunited with her at last. His continued vocalizations brought tears to my eyes. If anyone ever doubts the power of the bond an animal forms for his human or the immeasurable depth of a dog's affection, you must witness a scene like I did tonight.  

His owner told me that they had rescued Max last September.  He was almost back in rescue again. He was a sweet, beautiful dog and was already winning my affection (and I his, judging from the tail wags and cuddles I got after feeding him dinner), but two 60-pound hounds is all I can handle.  I am just happy that he is back with his rightful owners and sleeping in his own warm bed tonight.  I sincerely hope they will be more careful with their companion in future so this never happens again.  I know he must have suffered greatly this past week.  His mistress offered to pay me a reward, which I refused, but I hope she will use the money instead to get Max a thorough checkup at the vet after his ordeal.  It's hard for me not to feel angry with people who are so careless with their pets.  Accidents do happen, but not if we're careful.  Bottom line: the owner should not have trusted a co-worker to transport her dog.  Would you trust a casual acquaintance with your child's safety?  I feel no different about dogs.

Moral of the story:  1.  Keep ID tags on your dog at all times with your current name, address and phone. It's your best insurance of getting your pet back home to you safely and quickly, but microchip him/her, too. 2. Trust No One who is not a professional pet sitter or kennel to attend to your dog in your absence.  I learned early with my first basset hound that you can't necessarily even trust your own family members to ensure your pet is safe while you are away.  We were also very lucky that time with our happy wanderer, Butterscotch.  We found her at Glenbrook Park trying to nudge under the wire fence to cross Highway 50 to get back to our house.  I never made that mistake again.  These days, we don't take vacations where we can't take our dogs with us.    

Good luck and happy trails, Max!  After only a day in your gentle company, I already miss you. 


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Adopting a pet doesn't always have a happy ending, as this poem illustrates about a 4-month-old basset pup I rescued from the Sacramento City shelter years ago:


(Dedicated to Bramble—Gone Too Soon)


Sue Owens Wright c. 1996

You were mine only 16 days,

but you touched me in so many ways.

I saw you at the pound,

a friendly, young hound

and I brought you home to stay.

At first you played with your toys

in a flurry of puppyhood noise.

You were good from the start

to the core of your heart;

you filled mine with youthful joys.

You loved to play tug of war

and cavort on my carpeted floor.

The red leash and collar

that cost 20 dollars

hang on a hook by the door.

On the third day you took ill,

and all of the shots and pills

gave you no relief;

It caused me such grief.

Your memory haunts me still.

I nursed you day and night

in the hope that you’d be all right.

Though I emptied my purse,

your condition grew worse.

We were gradually losing the fight.

One day your demeanor changed.

You acted terribly strange.

It was clear from your plight

that the end was in sight.

Euthanasia was quickly arranged.

I remember when you could run

and warmed yourself in the sun.

If someone had thought

of that distemper shot,

your life would be only begun.

Only 16 days of love,

but I pray that in Heaven above

you’ll always know

that I loved you so.

Love was all I had enough of.

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