Author Archives: Tails Around the Ranch

About Tails Around the Ranch

The inspiration behind this blog is one goofy Standard Poodle named Yosemite Sam (Sam). I'm Monika, his upright. We live near downtown Denver in a 1950's style ranch house. I have a passion for big dogs and keeping them healthy through exercise and nutrition. In my copious spare time, I create all-natural organic treats. Sam is the the official 'taster' and quality control officer. Nothing comes off this 'Ranch' without his official paw of approval. Our main focus of late is being part of a hospital and hospice Pet Therapy team since Sam is the sweetest fur baby around (even if he's a little ADHD). Patients, staff and visitors alike adore him and if he can bring someone very ill a few moments of happiness, then we've done our jobs. So stick around and read about our adventures, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and be prepared to BOL (bark out loud) following our adventures. Life with this goofball is a paw-some hoot. :) And don't forget to sniff or bark a comment; we love to hear from you.

When Your Vet is a Star 🌟

Dr. Jeff Young, ‘Star’ Vet

We all think our vets are ‘stars,’ right? Well, we should. When you are entrusting your beloved fur-kid, you definitely want them to be a star. I mean, who wants to drop a house payment on a vet you have no confidence in when your pet needs critical care? But in my case (house payment aside), my vet really is a star. A TV star that is, as in Dr. Jeff, Rocky Mountain Vet currently airing on the Animal Planet network. These days our vet stars are Dr. Amy (who treats Elsa for her seizures) and Dr. Baier (who tends to Sam’s health) who work at his clinic, Planned Pethood Plus. And I’m very happy with all of them. By the way, if you haven’t seen the show, I strongly recommend it so you can see how this pillar of the community has made a difference in the lives of so many people and their pets. Here’s a link to a recent episode. Dr. Jeff also shares my passion regarding puppy mills and is a firm believer that you shouldn’t have to declare bankruptcy in order to take care of your pet. We all know treatment for pets can be limited by an ability to pay for it so he does everything he can to make treatment affordable.

My association with Planned Pethood did not begin when discovered the show which now has around a million and a half viewers each week. Established back in 1990, the clinic was located not far from where I currently live although I had been going to his mobile low-cost vaccination clinics for over 20 years.  With a seasoned staff of some 30 professionals, some who have been with him since they were hired out of high school where he has also been a cross-country track coach for the school, he is one of the busiest vets in the country with 100,000 clients. Dr. Jeff is driven by two simple underlying missions “significantly reducing companion animal overpopulation throughout the world” and “thinking globally: acting locally.” His passion for curbing pet overpopulation is paramount to his practice, with all rescues treated being spayed or neutered. In fact he has probably performed over 160,000 spay and neuter procedures in the Denver area, as well as providing all manner of veterinary care with his mobile unit throughout the Rocky Mountain region and internationally through Planned Pethood International clinics located in Bratislava, Slovakia and Merida, Mexico. 

Having a vet who just happens to be a TV as well as our personal vet star isn’t always rainbows and unicorns though. Because of the sheer number of clients, there are times when it can be frustrating waiting for a return call and it can be challenging keeping one’s expectations for instantaneous care in check. Like most people, I’m impatient when it comes to the care of my fur-babies. Yet I know the work performed is always in the best interests of their clients when they need treatment (did I mention he has 100,000 clients?) and know they always provide quality, affordable care. In 2016 just prior to the season finale, Dr. Jeff made the shocking announcement revealing a diagnosis of B-cell Lymphoma and that the landmark clinic would be moving from the Highlands neighborhood to a new location a few miles west in the suburb of Wheat Ridge. He cut his signature shoulder-length hair in an episode that was hard on the staff and all who know and love Dr. Jeff. While you can never be certain of a long-term prognosis with cancer, he seems to be doing well and continues his work with the same passion as always. We certainly wish him all the best.

When I began drafting this post, I realized Dr. Jeff isn’t the only vet star I’d been fortunate to have taken care of my fur-kids. Back in the 90’s when I lived out east in the suburb of Aurora, my first dog had epilepsy, too. Our neighborhood vet did not have 24 hour care when Crosby’s Grand Mal seizures began and recommended he be transported over to Alameda East, a couple of miles away where he was successfully treated and where all my other pets were treated as well. Back then, the TV series ER was hugely popular and Animal Planet contacted Dr. Robert Taylor, the founder of Alameda East Veterinary Hospital about producing a reality show showing the treatment of animals and thus the show Emergency Vets began airing in 1998. The show ended in 2002 just before I moved to the west side of town once I realized Dr. Jeff’s mobile clinic had a permanent location close to the house.

Dr. Fitz with a couple of patients

While we were clients at Alameda East, our vet ‘star’ was Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, who was a reptile specialist and who coincidently happened to be a well-known local stand-up comedian in his spare time as well as a TV star.

Doesn’t it seems kind of ironic that both of my vets have been TV stars? Not that I’m complaining, mind you. But you have to admit it is interesting they both have silver hair and mustaches and are ‘stars’ in multiple ways.

Maybe there is something special about the thin air of the Mile High City that produces such terrific stars both on TV as well as for providing great care to my fur-kids.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Monday Musings

Seriously it can’t be Monday already, can it? Hope your weekend was at least good. We’re doing hospital work this week, taking a shift selling our annual calendar and then visiting West Pines. Should be loads of fun for Sam and nurses but in the meantime…it’s still Monday for me.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Low Wattage Day

With this week’s little snow storm crispness in weather (thankfully it’s back in the 70’s – yay for Indian Summer) I thought it’d be nice to enjoy some fresh-baked bread with tonight’s dinner. Cue the bread making machine. It started up doing it’s usual whir, whir noise as it blended the ingredients. No biggie, right?


Unless you’re a puppy mill dog who has never been exposed to such racket noise. You’d have thought there was a burglar trying to break into the house by the way Elsa went nuts barking, growling and running from end to end trying to locate the source of the offending sound. Once she realized it, she tentatively walked up to it to give it a sniff, but not before numerous treats were dispensed to cajole her it was ok to come into the kitchen where the sound came from.

I often times forget there are things this girl hasn’t experienced. But then again, even Sam wasn’t sure about it and had to be coerced with treats. After I nearly had to rub his nose in them. It was hard to believe it took so long for him to realize there was a treat in it for his investigative work. Hilarious especially since he recently got caught standing up on his hind legs filching taste-tasting a slice of hot pizza. Sometimes that dog is low-wattage when it comes to a functioning brain.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Another One Bites the Dust

The 4-pawed demolition squad, otherwise known as the Ninja, has struck again. One of Elsa’s favorite toys that she plays with frequently unceremoniously bit the dust. I thought it only fitting it had the pawfect funeral requiem before it goes to the toy graveyard mending basket.

Hard to believe this innocent looking poodle is so treacherous when it comes to toys. Early on I learned the cute toys with adorable arms, legs and noses that uprights favored were fair game when introduced to this munching machine. I have tried to keep toys without angles, edges or appendages, preferring rounded shapes so as to keep the jaws of death less likely to inflict the special death she foists on them.

Here’s just a tiny sampling of toys that once had ears, fins, and other protruding parts before my ‘Jaws’ eating machine got ahold of them. It always cracks me up how she’ll play nice and then all of a sudden WHAM! Something possesses her mind and she must then eviscerate the ever-loving stuffing out of it.

Sadly many of her stuffies have not been able to be saved, despite valiant attempts by the resident seamstress. Frankly, some were so chewed up, not even the ‘Doctors of TV‘ could put them back together. I think poor ‘Nemo’ here is just about on his last fin. The smiley ball used to have long floppy ears now only sports nubs (I’m surprised she hasn’t eaten the tag). And yet, it makes me happy to see her cart them in her mouth to the back door waiting to go on a walk with a half chewed stuffie in her mouth. Which is why whenever the fabric store has a coupon, I try to find remnants to stock up on for future projects. Looks like I’ll be visiting again soon and trying to whip up something clever that she’ll destuff enjoy even if only for a short time. She seems to enjoy the bone and heart shapes made earlier this year, so maybe Santa will make more of those.

Do you have a Kraken who destroys toys chewer who enjoys the stuffing a little too much?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Happy Birthday to Me

Taj Mutt Hal Treats

Woo-hoo, it’s finally here…my birthday! I feel like I have been waiting for it for an eternity. Sam here. Mom says I’m finally a ‘tween’ now. And boy, am I gonna paw-tah! We plan to have loads of treats and enjoy the whole weekend before the snow flies on Monday. Even the Ninja is helping herself to treats. Mom baked up some “Best In Show” treats that are tasty and heathy. Full of yummy ingredients including peanut butter and parsley. And don’t forget to try the freeze-dried salmon. Man, that stuff is super addictive!

Our local pet boutique, ‘Taj Mutt Hal’ even called to say they had some special pupcakes for me and the Ninja. I think my pawty is gonna be a lot like one of our Thanksgiving’s where everyone gets stuffed to the gills. But since it’s my day, I get to decide how many naps I can take after I’m stuffed, how many walks to take to burn off all the extra calories I plan to eat and how much of mom’s attention will be all mine. [ahhh, daydreaming about all the fun stuff that’s going down today]

Elsa: Moooommmm, Sam doesn’t get to control everything, does he?

Mom: Well Ninja…it is his special day and you got to call the shots on your Gotcha Day a couple of weeks ago. Only seems fair.

Elsa:  Hrumph. Well, I don’t know why he’s so special today. He’s just a big brother.

Mom: Well today is his birthday and that makes it special. Birthday fur-kids get to spend the day the way they want, whether they want to partake of extra napping or tra-la-la-ing around the ‘hood, but I promise you’ll still get loads of ear scratches.  Ok?

Elsa: Oh, all right. Pencil me in. Nom, nom, nom. Burp. Oops, sorry ’bout that. Heh, heh…maybe I had just a tad too much salmon?

Sam: Even though I turn 12 years old today, I’m still pretty young at heart. My vertical leap may only be 2 feet now instead of 3 feet but mom says I’m still a goofy pogo stick. Not sure if that’s meant as a compliment but just like James Brown used to sing:

🎶”W-o-w…I feel good Da, da, da, da, da,
I knew that I would, now Da, da, da, da, da,
I feel good Da, da, da, da, da,
I knew that I would, now
So good, so good, I got you

Wow, I feel nice Da, da, da, da, da,
Like sugar and spice Da, da, da, da, da,
I feel nice Da, da, da, da, da,
So nice, so nice, I got you

Bom, bom, bom, bom, bom…W-O-W-W-W!” 🎶

Have a pawsome weekend.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎