Nature Friday ~ January 11, 2019

Nature Friday

Kudos for surviving the week and if you’re like us, you’re excitedly waiting for the weekend to begin. Welcome to today’s edition of Nature Friday where we join our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard.

While the temperature outside is the warmest it will be all day at a balmy 34F with a beautiful wet snow falling here, we thought we’d share a photo of a real snow storm from a few years ago. These kinds of storms are only in my dreams these days and can only hope we ever receive that much again.

Snow storm

However you spend your weekend, we hope you enjoy it.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Creating a New Year

Realizing a detox was probably necessary after my holiday fudge transfusion, I came to the conclusion I should probably detox my addled brain too. Along with my best intentions, I found myself diving down the online rabbit-hole a bit too much. When you finally come to your senses, look around and discover you just lost 3 hours when you only consciously meant to look up X  and wonder why the heck you’re now reading Y which was totally unrelated, you probably need to do a reassessment. Or have an intervention. Has this ever happened to you? What’s that old saying…the road to hell is paved with the best of intentions? Well, I reckon to change that now in 2019.

It seemed clear I needed to spend more time visiting the library than falling down the rabbit-hole, fun as that may be. Enter an old-fashioned concept…reading a book. I have a complicated history with reading. While I do enjoy it, taking 87 years to get my degree years ago (but by golly I did it and graduated Phi Beta Kappa eligible), reading for pleasure was a luxury I didn’t have, nor a habit that was very well-developed. Making ends meet while raising a couple of kids in a new urban location, working full-time and going to school at night, didn’t exactly lend itself to reading for pleasure. There was always too much required reading for classes or kids to parent or grocery shopping or cooking, cleaning…well you get the idea. It’s always easy putting things off, isn’t it?

Several months ago I entered a couple of blog contests and actually won a couple of amazing books related to my passion-pet rescue. One book struck a special chord with me. Mind you, I wasn’t actually the winner, but the author, Diane Rose-Solomon was touched enough by my entry describing Elsa’s rescue story that she generously sent a signed copy of her book nonetheless. A hectic summer turned into a busy fall, and then the winter holidays hit which brings me here. Excuses and apologies.

Although I finished the book back in November while in Mexico, I’m just now writing a long overdue review for which I sincerely apologize to Diane. This book is easy to read, provides loads of tips with resources and the chapters can be easily read in any order. Add to the fact Diane has a rescue named Ninja…well imagine how that touched me.

Organized into five modules, Diane shares personal experience from the heart and provides oodles of resources. You know…real life stuff. Have an issue with a particular aspect of rescuing a dog? You can easily find it covered in one of the modules. While I’ve rescued more than one shelter dog, Elsa’s story was complicated because she spent years in a puppy mill cage. Diane’s book gave me insight I hadn’t encountered with diverse resources that has helped with her socialization. A quick and gentle read, once I earnestly dug into it I was irritated at how easily I let myself get distracted with other things before finishing this pawsome book.

Even if you’re a seasoned dog owner, this book will provide you with expert advice from rescue specialists, veterinarians, dog parents, and pet business owners with links to the most relevant articles from pet professionals, making this book a one-stop shop for dog-related questions, before, during, and after adoption. I can’t urge you enough to have this excellent resource on your own bookshelf. Many, many thanks to Diane for being patient with me. It is most appreciated. And make sure you stop by her website to check out all the great things with which she’s involved. You’ll be glad you did.

Happy reading! I look forward to sharing more reviews of pet related books and articles throughout 2019. Now where did I put that library card?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

And the winner is…

ContestThank you to everyone who left a comment on Monday’s post for the bandana drawing. Sam here. Because Elsa sort of hinted she was rather amenable to bribery, mom made her sit out the actual drawing and only let her snoopervise from a distance. I, on the other hand, thoroughly read each of the comments before picking a winner. Drum roll please….

And the winner is…

Sue and her pups, Shadow and Ducky at In My Heart Forever. Woof-woof! Congratulations, your reversible bandana is on its way. We think those pumpkins will look smashing on either one of you.

Shadow & Ducky

We had a lot of fun with this contest, and mom is thinking she’d like to do another one soon. This time we’ll be sure to include a prize that our kitty fur-iends can enjoy. Mom was sorry she neglected to include something for them this time. And she says I’m the Knucklehead?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

A-Visiting We Will Go

If you don’t hear from us, it means that Sam and I are visiting with patients and staff for the next couple of days but are looking forward to sharing our adventures with you soon. Have a super ‘Furs-Day.’

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Did You Know? June 5, 2018 Edition

The Ranch is starting a new periodic feature called “Did You Know?” beginning today. I plan to take various issues or weirdness and share info about it. Today’s entry proved to be a bit of a doozy but one you too may have experienced.

You know that gurgling sound that comes from your dog’s stomach? Did you know it’s got an actual name? “Borborygmi.” Nope, that’s not a typo, borborygmi, pronounced [bawr-buhrig-mahy]. What the dog?! Yeah, I know. I was blown away too. If anyone can explain why science has to get all ‘scientific-y sounding’ with its descriptions, I’d love to hear it. 

Anyway, Sam recently experienced some unusually loud stomach gurgling. I mean REALLY loud. So I did what many fur-mom’s do…I consulted Dr. Google while waiting for the vet to call back. Not one to put blind faith in ‘Net misinformation hyperbole, I figured I’d do a bit of research and the kindly Doc did provide lots of rabbit holes to dive into where I rather quickly found some reliable sources. Dogs, cats and even us uprights experience ‘borborygmi.’

The simple  definition is intestinal agitation caused by moving gas. Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place? So let’s dig a bit deeper into this weird scientific phenomena. So it’s apparently normal for there to be gas in the intestinal tract and it’s also normal for the intestines to engage in motility…the condition whereby intestinal contents move around, thus audible intestinal gurgling is pretty normal.

According to Dogster, “abnormally loud intestinal noises occur when the intestines contain abnormally large quantities of gas, or when the intestines experience abnormally increased activity. Both of these phenomena often occur simultaneously.” Super loud (as in, you can hear it from across the room) is not normal but does not necessarily mean a crisis is brewing. Stomach grumbling may indicate something is off or, your pet could be hungry. Empty intestines in dogs may start to exhibit activity in response to anticipated feeding, thus the audible intestinal noises, or “tummy grumbling” may occur. Serving a meal usually takes care of that since the intestines of hungry animals do not contain significant quantities of food and thus have a higher ratio of gas to solids. Okay,so far  this sounds legit.

In Sam’s case, he acted normal (well, as normal as he is capable of acting). He displayed no other symptoms indicating there was a problem (i.e. lethargy, fever, stuff like that). But then he began experiencing some diarrhea. Not good but I figured a couple of days of bland rice and pumpkin meals should clear up the upset. Sadly, it didn’t clear up and I feared dehydration so off to the vet we went.

I wasn’t able to get into my regular TV star vet any time soon but they were able to refer me to another clinic close by. They asked whether Sam “had perhaps partaken in some sort of digestion indiscretion” (a diplomatic way of saying your dog may have gotten into the trash or had eaten some novel food or worse…goose poop…really? who admits to that). Nope, nothing like that had occurred, so they decided Sam was suffering from a minor gastro-bug after ruling out intestinal parasites, IBD, or foreign bodies (which would be Elsa’s speciality).

Long story short (ironic since we’re probably 600+ words in but I digress)…a couple of doses of Metronidazole for inflammation and an antibiotic for the bug, brought Sam back to normal poops while simultaneously clearing up those loud gurgling sounds. Other than expecting specially prepared meals after recovering (sheesh talk about one spoiled baby), he’s back to his usual knuckleheadedness.

So the next time your pooch’s stomach is gurgling figure out if he’s just hungry or suffering from borborygmi. Your family will think you’re trying to land a fat contract on Animal Planet but if he eats with his normal enthusiasm and the noises stop, the problem is solved. If like Sam it was accompanied with diarrhea, put your TV career on hold and check with your vet to rule out other issues.

I’m better now. So where’s the Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Tally Thursday

Looks like the vote is in and Blogville has spoken! Hi there, Sam here. Unlike a few incumbent candidates who lost primaries this week, I, on the other hand, managed to get my worthy message out directly to the people and they agreed with me.

Mom said the count wasn’t even close, you all thought I deserved treats. She’s been sighing a lot since counting up the votes but I’m as happy as a clam at hide tide. You guys rock! Thanks so much for believing in my plea campaign for equality when it comes to the treat dispensing on our training sessions. When I excitedly told Elsa, she shrugged her shoulders and said. “pfft…I’m still mom’s favorite.” But you and I know better, don’t we? 

Thank you for all the fur-bulous comments. I am basking in your empathy good judgment. Let’s get the celebration started and quickly move on toward Friday. You with me? I promise not to upend anyone.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

 

Gardeners and Dogs


Gardeners and Dogs…deceptive title because this isn’t about the ever romantic pottage garden harvesting all manner of herbs and salad ingredients, while the dogs snoopervised the non-stop back-breaking weeding. Nope. And we’re not talking about the joys of wrecking a manicure from digging in the dirt to harvest any $150.00 a piece tomato (as I recall that was about the amount I calculated the last garden I planted veggies at the Ranch, accounting for tools, water, compost, time, etc. and presuming the squirrels didn’t get it first). Even though I do love to garden, wrecked manicure notwithstanding, instead what I’m talking about is even if you live in a high-rise condo with no yard, you’re a gardener if you have dogs that go outside. Only those peeps living on Antarctica are probably not gardeners and well…they’ve got other problems. 

 

How is it possible that we are all gardeners? Well, remember that post talking about nasty grass awns? Those horticultural nightmares have dried out and are just waiting to be widely dispersed. This morning’s walk showed me just what joys to expect [insert breathless anticipation here]. Don’t get me wrong. I love grasses…those exquisite textures gracefully swaying in the garden.  

Otherwise known as ornamental grasses. 


What I’m talking about here as the latest assault by Mother Nature on gardening dog owners is this clumping, upright grass that’s a bear to eradicate from the landscape. Often called pearl millet, I have always called it “Velcro grass.” The leaves are hairless except at the base. But it’s those bristly seed heads that cause major problems. Growing up to 3 ft. tall, these things stick to socks, furry legs, noses, wherever they can attach their dastardly evil heads. Not everyone may have this botanical scourge (lucky you). But you probably have stuff we can’t even begin to nightmare about in the Wild West. I just discovered a website that identifies weeds that grow where ever you live in the US, with apologies to our Canadian friends for not showing what might harass them (See: http://www.preen.com/weeds). This site identifies 3 separate categories: broadleaf, grassy and woody weeds. Yeah, I know, it’s sponsored by a chemical herbicide company, and around the Ranch we go organic but the information it provides can be invaluable for identification purposes. Besides, it’s much more ladylike to call it what it really is known by than spewing like a drunken sailor the kind of vocabulary I normally use when I’ve had to pick out, one by one, those millions of pearled seed heads from my socks or from the dogs’ legs, ears, snouts or chests. Trust me when I say they are no picnic in the park to remove, thus the PG-rated name for our purposes. Even though I now know what they’re really called, they’ll still probably be referred to as Velcro grass or one of the more colorful HBO names I normally blurt out.  And just so that you can benefit from my past ineffective removal experience, even washing socks wasn’t a very simple way to remove those damn things. 

With Elsa shoving any and every thing into her mouth (eyeglasses, socks, grass of all stripes, just to name a few items) I have to go organic to protect her from noshing on anything sprayed with chemicals (my go-to herbicide is non-toxic table vinegar) and then watch her like a hawk when we’re outside the safety zone of the yard.

So have I convinced any of you condo/apartment residents that you really are gardeners? Do you have similar herbaceous squatters? Got any tips for removing them from socks?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

 

Those Were the Days…

We have been extraordinarily busy with loads of hospital visits and some out-of-town travel visiting with family so we’re playing catch-up for the next few days trying to read blogs as well as post ourselves.

With apologies for another light-on-content post and because we haven’t had much of the white stuff here for a while, I thought I’d share this ‘throw back’ pic of Sam from February of 2012. We had just had a nice dumping of the white stuff and back then Sam was an ‘only child’ and helped out by snoopervising the shoveling efforts (note the paw prints on the right side of the walkway during the inspection tour). As I recall, it was quite cold in addition to somewhat deep. Sam seems to be channeling a “hey Mom, I think you may have missed a spot” look.

We’re still hopeful we’ll eventually get some snow before winter is over so maybe Sam will get another opportunity to survey a white landscape and chaperone removal efforts. Fingers and paws crossed. No word as to whether the Ninja will be a helper or a hinderance with snow removal efforts. My sense with the few sparse storms we have received so far seems to indicate she’s more into bouncing about snow than snoopervision shoveling.

Snoopervising snow removal, Feb. 4, 2012
Snoopervising snow removal, Feb. 4, 2012

Live, love, bark! <3

Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard

We all know Sam had a good time at the K-Oss Pawty with his new fur-iend, Anne. When he came home (past his curfew I might add) he kept reminding me about all the terrific treats there and began guilting me into making more treats for he and Elsa. “Ok, ok I said. I’ll make some more treats.” Seeing his hang-dog look and hearing those heavy dog sighs every time he walked past this sight made me realize how truly mistreated he is. NOT! but that’s another story.

img_4297-3-2

I have been trying to get Sam to eat more veggies and fruits as long as I can remember, both of which he has soundly rejected. A few chews and then he spits them out into a mushy spot on the floor. The little Ninja Hoover aka Elsa, however is more than happy to gobble up any blueberry, apple slice, peas or green beans offered and it’s made Sam reconsider his limited thinking on those kinds of foodables. Now he sits patiently while I dole out those healthy snacks so I wanted to find a recipe that might have apples or applesauce. A quick check of the ole pantry showed a nice jar of unsweetened organic applesauce so I was off to the races…otherwise known as the Google Oracle to find a recipe. It contains peanut butter, oats and applesauce. A few minutes with the KitchenAid and Voilà! A new favorite is born. From this…

'Pawnut-Applesauce' Treats
‘Pawnut’ Butter-Applesauce Treats

To this…in no time!

final

For those of you interested in the recipe, Sam wanted me to share it so all his fur-iends could enjoy this tasty treat.

‘Pawnut’ Butter ~ Applesauce Treats

3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups pick-cook oats
1 cup ‘pawnut’ butter (Xylitol free please)
1 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil or coconut oil (I used 1/2 cup of coconut oil)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix all ingredients well but don’t over mix. Knead the dough on lightly floured surface (if dough is too loose or crumbly, you can add more coconut or olive oil). Roll to about 1/4 inch thick and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. You can also make small double balls if you don’t want to use any cutters, they’ll be fine, just not as cute as a paw or bone shape). Place on cookie sheet approximately 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and serve. Store in airtight container in fridge for up to a couple of weeks.

Easy-peasy. Your fur-ball will love ’em and you’ll love knowing they are eating something tasty and healthy. Just don’t let them guilt you into too many. That hang-dog look only goes so far.

Live, love, bark! <3