2018 Rocky Mountain Pet Expo ~ Highlights

Last Saturday I attended the 7th annual Rocky Mountain Pet Expo in Denver. You may remember Sam & I participated at Lutheran Medical Center’s Heroes of Hope benefit race earlier that morning and I knew I didn’t want to get totally worn out in ‘overload mode’ during the expo. Fortunately like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, this event was ‘just right’ with a nice mix of pet related products, food and treat manufacturers, retail pet stores, groomers, massage therapists, apparel and couture, animal wellness companies, non-profit pet organizations including a couple of rescue groups, a mobile dog wash and trainers. It was great to see some folks I knew and catch up on all the latest. Billed as a free event, all pets were welcome upon completion of a visitor waiver. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but figured I’d be in for a treat and was not disappointed. 

As I walked from the parking lot into the National Western Stock Show arena, I passed this car and it made me giggle a little. Sure enough, as soon as I got inside, I ran into that family who brought their ‘stick-people muncher’ inside. He was a very handsome specimen for the breed.

First on the tour was Gabe of Black Dog Botanicals who I’ve talked to on the phone and exchanged a number of emails. Black Dog Botanicals is one of the first Certified Naturally Grown CBD producers. Elsa is currently on their medium to large formulation (300 Mg) and has been doing well enough to be able to reduce her Phenobarbital dosage by 25%. Woo-hoo!

One of the more well-known highlights of this expo was the ‘fashion show’ where pets of all ‘flavors’ strutted their stuff. This little guy was pushed in a Mini-Cooper themed dog stroller because every dog deserves to ride around in a posh little Mini, right? 

One of the coolest mobile dog washing vans I’ve ever seen caught my eye. The young woman entrepreneur told me how she redesigned a used mobile grooming salon into this adorable business. It had the existing tub but that was it.  With a 55 gal. water tank (complete with heater) no doubt she’ll be super successful with this cleverly decked out business. Don’t you love the hot pink?

No pet expo is complete without a bevy of adorable attendees.

“King Louie” the Bulldog
This little porker was a big-time squealer on the runway
Sweet little Bella, a tiny red poodle-waiting her turn on the runway.

Multiple dog boutiques showed off some ‘fur-bulous’ fashions, proving that all pets can be quite fetching.
I loved these treat bags
“Bark-danas, Bone-ties, Coll-arfs & Pet-Cessories” LOL
Such a cute bunch of totes
Bark-danas galore

Treat companies provided plenty of samples and both Sam and Elsa gave their 4-paw approval for the ones I brought home. But I must have been busy petting ‘visitors’ and checking out the pups up for adoption to remember to take photos.

Perhaps I was distracted by the “Pawered by: Vodka for Dog People (Tito’s) sign.”

As expos go, this one was just large enough to offer a barking good time for everyone, without being too overwhelming.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Floral Friday


Mom asked if I wanted to do today’s post and I agreed. Well sort of. Elsa here. It’s been raining the past couple of days and the temps have been slightly more than crisp but I’ve been super bored since my pansy brother, Sam doesn’t like walking in the rain much. I, on the other hand, live to go on walks. I tried to remind him that squirrels don’t take time off just because of a little rain but he didn’t care. Can you believe it? Not care about squirrels??? They are in full force 24/7/365 so I must patrol the ‘hood for safety reasons. The beginning of the week heralded such lovely spring weather and mom made me sit-stay walked around our garden taking photos of various plants that were in bloom. I said, sure I’ll do this post…just as soon as I catch 40 winks…okay?

Here’s what’s shakin’ around the Ranch. One of mom’s all-time favorite flowers are Bleeding Hearts. I had to sniff them to see why they swing in the breeze. I thought mom was gonna have a cow. Sheesh, mom, I just wanted to see whether or not they squeaked when squeezed. Those puffy little pillows were fascinating.

Bleeding Hearts – a sure sign spring has arrived.

Last autumn, mom added a bunch of bulbs to the yard, mostly daffodils. In the past she hasn’t had much luck with tulips and was quite thrilled when she came back from vacation and they were blooming. The lupines are ready to bloom and it looks like we’ll have some nice bouquets of peonies. Mom said the bearded irises probably won’t be very good this year since they haven’t been thinned. She said anyone who wants some is free to put dibs on the extra ones.

We have tulips! And I sit and stay nicely these days.

While she’d love for our spring garden to look like this, it probably won’t ever happen since we don’t have a Volkswagen. {BOL} But how cool would an old yellow Bug be full of beautiful flowers?

Not related, but definitely in the pawsome news category, mom said I could share some great  news. Castle Rock, a town in Douglas County, about 35 miles south of Denver finally got its act together and rescinded the longstanding ban on Pit Bulls after 26 years. It had been one of the longest breed specific bans along the Front Range. Some 60 dogs had been expelled from the city over the past decade. This was just too wonderful to NOT to share. Mom has been  giddy and hopes there’s momentum building to rescind other backwater, outdated bans in Denver, Aurora and other cities within the state. We’ll do whatever we can to change opinions of narrow-minded officials and encourage others to do the same. Breed specific bans are shortsighted and unfair to a majority of responsible dog owners. We hope other cities will follow Castle Rock’s lead.

Now that you’ve had nice flowers and great news, we hope you have a super-duper weekend. I’ll be practicing more sit-stay commands. Are you doing anything exciting?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Did You Know?

My daughter with whom I have been visiting all week recently posted this graphic on Facebook and as a mom and as a caring human being, felt duty bound to share. Do you know whether the products you use are tested on animals? Are you surprised at some of the companies on this list from the folks at the Beagle Freedom Project as I was?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday ~ February 21, 2018

It’s Wednesday and while Sam and I head off to West Pines today, there’s lot’s happening in the Olympics and some of it is going to the dogs. Canadian’s figure skater Meagan Duhamel  rescued a dog from a Korean meat farm last year. Ms. Duhamel, a vegan since 2008, along with and her figure skating coach husband, rescued a second pup. The South Korean government even ordered restaurants close to the Olympic Stadium in Pyeongchang to stop serving dog meat.

Meagan Duhamel poses with her dog Moo-tae, in South Korea. (EK Park/Free Korean Dogs via AP)

Sam thinks the IOC should add synchronized peeing to the games. He would no doubt be disqualified and have to compete in the “olympic athlete competing for dogs’ (OAD) category and not as part of any country team.

Whether you’re watching and rooting for a particular country, I think we all root for Snoopy. He’ll always earn the gold in my heart. What’s been your favorite Pyeongchang moment?

Live, love, bark❣

October Is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

While inadvertently fur-getting to acknowledge National Black Dog Day, I decided not to make a similar mistake again by not noting that October is Adopt a Shelter Dog. Sam and I did our part rescuing Elsa and always encourage others to save a shelter pet. Shelter dogs have so much to offer and so much love to give. Every year 3 to 4 million dogs are euthanized because the number of pets in shelters exceed the number of shelter adoptions. Shelter pets come in all sizes and breeds and there’s bound to be something for everyone. Many shelters even have a number of purebred dogs as well. Remember our Remember Me Thursday post last week where we mentioned Eliot and Puck? They were each rescued from a shelter a couple year’s apart as was McKenzie, my sweet, black standard poodle. All three of those rescues lived long, happy lives while providing the family amazing joy and happiness. All these pets want is a chance to smile and have the opportunity to share their lives with a loving upright.

So this month in particular, if you’re looking for a pet, remember #AdoptDon’tShop. Put a smile on a rescue and they’ll leave indelible paw prints on your heart and in Elsa’s case, probably chew up a couple pair of glasses, socks and other weird things-but gosh I love this girl so much. She brings such joy every day.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Remember Me Thursday Tribute

Today we remember all the pets waiting at shelters everywhere and pray they find their loving fur-ever homes. We’ve done our part trying to rescue these precious babies with our own little Ninja. But before her, both the sheepdogs came to us from Denver’s Dumb Friends League at different times. Eliot was found roaming on the streets of a very rough neighborhood known more Rottweilers or Pit Bulls. He was picked up and transferred to DDFL. We discovered quickly that he was a fence jumper but resolved the issue by providing him a safe and escape proof home where he never roamed the streets again. Eliot lived with me over 12 years and provided me with love and laughter like I’ve never known. Who knew dogs could be such pawsome comedians?

Continued and frequent visits to Dumb Friends, two years following Eliot’s rescue, another Old English Sheepdog who had been taken from her abusive family through another shelter in the metro area. Puck was horribly thin and such a matted mess, her fur had to be shaved and came off like a single animal pelt. She was so pitiful to look at initially but turned out to be such a character of a dog who loved life, and relished torturing her ‘brother.’ Now there were two clowns who joined our merry little circus. Puck also lived a long life with me until she too joined her brother Eliot at the Rainbow Bridge, no doubt returning to complicating his life at the Bridge just like she did on earth.

These two joyful dogs brought so much love and happiness to my heart and Puck was Sam’s BFF. He still does double takes more than 5 years after her passing. He totally adored her. Both sheepdogs will always occupy a special place in my heart and particularly today, I pause to remember them along with all dogs waiting to be rescued with the passionate hope they may find loving fur-ever homes soon.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Word(y) Wednesday ~ August 23, 2017

We’re coming up to the Ninja’s 1st Gotcha Day in a few weeks (egad…hard to believe it’s been nearly a year!) and came across this graphic that seemed appropriate to share given the fact that she’s a puppy mill survivor. Dogs like Elsa endure such horrific conditions and all they are allowed to do is turn out puppies with every cycle until they are discarded (or seized in Elsa’s case), exasperating atrocious genetic lines that invariably have health and/or behavioral consequences. Since it’s next to ‘impawsible’ to monitor every puppy mill operation, please remember to NEVER buy from a pet shop. EVER.

Batman will be watching.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Summertime Howlidays

With our hospital work this week, we’ve been a bit light on posts so we’re posting a Saturday PSA. Summer is officially here which means this weekend we will be enjoying a long weekend in the US. Here at the Ranch we want to wish effuryone a safe and Happy 4th of July weekend. 🇺🇸

Did you know that more pets are lost during this weekend than at any other time during the year?

With that in mind, Sam and Elsa offer the following red, white and blue tips for keeping your furry friends safe.


CREATE A SAFE ZONE

It’s best not to take your fur-friend with you to the neighborhood pawty. All those extra strangers, loud noises and inappropriate food coupled with fireworks make for a sure-fire guaranty for misery on your pet’s part. Leave them at home. Dogs and cats aren’t all that keen on the loud noises that come with fireworks AND crowds so creating a room with darkened windows, adding some white noise or leaving the TV turned on with a safe, crated retreat can go a long way toward keeping them at ease. Let them experience this space a few days before the fireworks start-up to get them used to it before it all starts. 

MAKE THEM COMFORTABLE

Provide their favorite treats and give them freely prior to the days leading up to the 4th to make them feel a bit more comfortable the next time there is a loud bang. 

PLAY WITH SOUND MASKING

Sound masking is a great way to cover up loud noises from fireworks. Music – whichever genre – can help them relax and feel a bit more at ease.  It is best to play what they are already familiar with so that association to the new music is not made with loud scary fireworks.

ADD SUPPLEMENTS IF NECESSARY 

When you know your pet is extra anxious during fireworks, the use of anti-anxiety helpers like Pet Releaf (a safe and effective CBD oil), use of a ThunderShirt, or LICKS Pill-Free ZEN supplements can help even the most stressed pet relax. Lavender essential oil can work wonders on their bed or collar and go a long way toward inducing relaxation.

It’s especially impawtant for us uprights to take the necessary steps to keep our fur-babies safe. Knowing they will likely react to all the loud noises, whatever can be done to make them feel safe and secure is in their long-term best interests. Don’t forget to make sure they are wearing a current ID tag, especially if they aren’t microchipped.  Better to play it safe and make sure they are wearing their collar all the time but especially this weekend.

Enjoy the howliday, but be safe!  What clever tricks do you use to keep your babies safe and sound?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Resetting the clock ⏰

Sam here with an update on my baby sister, Miss Elsa. We encountered a bit of a ‘hiccup’ over the weekend. Last Friday marked the 2-week mark for bringing her home and she had been making lots of progress on the socialization dog-o-meter. Friday evening she started having seizures. Mom and dad whisked her up and took her to the ER vet. While they were both very concerned about Elsa, they both remained calm until the tech took her to begin anti-convulsive drugs. Then mom lost it. She sobbed, her eyes got puffy, she couldn’t speak. How can something so inexplicably rotten happen to such a lovely girl you ask? No doubt because of genetics. If behavioral issues don’t shanghai puppy mill dogs, health issues certainly will. Since we have no idea of Elsa’s pawrents or lineage, we can only presume the worst. Damn puppy mills! Grr.

Elsa suffered multiple cluster seizures, meaning she’d start to come out of one and then immediately move back into another. These can be very serious neurologically speaking so the vet gave Elsa a big dose of Valium. Valium is frequently used to stop seizures right away and then they started her on a dosage of Phenobarbital along with fluids. Phenobarb is often used in the treatment and for preventing future seizures. One drawback is it pretty much resets the clock on brain activity and all of Elsa’s socialization progress went ‘poof!’ Bottom line…we went back to square one.  That initial dosage also seemed to give her quite the ‘hangover.’ She’s has been a little unsteady on her feet. Her back-end hadn’t quite been receiving messages from the brain to move in conjunction with the front half. She slept a lot.

img_3961

At first her legs splayed out but then she started getting used to the meds.  I heard something about “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,”  but really don’t know what that means. We were able to bring our little girl home the next day where she slept and stumbled…repeatedly. Mom starting calling her Weebles. I still called her a pain in the tuchas but sure missed her going on my walks. I was kind of getting used to the brat her.

img_3960

19936After a few days, the fog seemed to lift a bit and “Weebles,” I mean Elsa’s, personality started coming back. She began playing with some of my toys (the nerve!) and re-learned how to jump up on the sofa after a couple fails. She’s not fully coordinated yet, but seems to improve daily. I hope her goofy personality comes back, I think it is since she barked back at the mean Akitas that live next door who alway try to scare us when we go outside. Man those dogs scare me and I’m just glad my little sister protected me decided she’s not taking any guff from them. Mom started taking Elsa for short walks yesterday and she started tracking the squirrel scents shortly after starting our walk. It made my mom smile and whenever she smiles, I smile.

Mom took my sister back to our regular ‘dogtor’ to follow-up after our weekend of hell. Dr. Olivia fell in love with her for being super patient and letting her poke and probe her from stem to stern. She thought she was in good shape considering what she’d been through and thought the initial diagnosis of “idiopathic epilepsy” was probably accurate. That’s what they call it when they can’t identify any other cause for seizures. She goes back in 3 weeks to have her blood retested and to make sure her blood levels are within therapeutic range. Phenobarb inhibits seizures by decreasing neuron activity. Sadly, it affects all neurons and its side effects are well documented. Sedation, lethargy, excessive urination and thirst plus a loss of coordination or hind end weakness are common long-term side effects. Monitoring her blood levels for liver damage will be critical and will need to be part of her ongoing healthcare. Long term liver damage can become irreversible and even fatal so we have to really watch for that.

nom-nomMiss Elsa must be feeling more like herself (whatever that is-hard to tell since we just got her) since she has been dragging shoes and MY toys out and chewing on them. It’s kind of exciting to have a soul-mate leather chewer in the family though.

Elsa isn’t the first dog mom diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy but at least she kind of knows what to expect, though it’s been over 20 years ago. It’s still scary to witness seizures knowing the potential problems that come with treatment. We’re staying optimistic about Elsa’s condition and hoping for the best. It’s all we can do.

Have you ever had a dog with epilepsy? Got any tips or thoughts to share?

Live, love, bark! <3

 

 

Life in a Cage

As many of you know, our newest “shadow” around the house, Ms. Elsa was a product of a puppy mill breeding operation. What you may not know are some of the details about puppy mill breeding operations, short of ‘they’re bad.’

img_3939Here in her own words here is Elsa, telling some details of her story.

Hello everyone. This is Elsa. Over the weekend my new mom was going through all the papers associated with my recent adoption and it really sank in just what we puppy mill pups had to endure so she encouraged me to tell that story in my own words.

There were 9 of us who were seized and turned over to a northern Colorado shelter back in late June after the death of our owner. One dog (who was probably my dad) was euthanized due to his severe aggression and determined to not able to be rehabilitated in any setting. Another dog had to be euthanized because she was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease. Me, my sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles lived in wire cages on a 3+ acre property on the Plains outside of Greeley, Colorado and were all filthy, matted, covered in feces and never touched by humans. The only time my cage was opened was when “he” was released in my cage to mate.

During intact with the first rescue shelter, I wouldn’t look up at the nice people who wanted to take a photo of me. I wasn’t able to make any direct eye contact and still have trouble doing that at times. I’m shy but friendly toward people and pets and still trying to figure out what being a dog is all about. So far, while on the one hand it’s scary territory, on the other, it’s completely pawsome!

Once the rescue took me in they evaluated my health which seemed mostly normal. But first things first…I was spayed and gastropexied. For those of you unfamiliar with that last term, gastropexy is a surgical procedure whereby the stomach is sutured to the diaphragm to prevent bloat, a common condition Standard Poodles are prone to suffering from as are all deep-chested breeds.

I was lucky to be placed with a loving foster family who owned another Standard Poodle to help guide my socialization for a number of weeks before I got to go home to the Ranch.

To have my own bed…inside even…well…gosh, how did I get so lucky? It used to be that I felt by having a dirty feces covered ratty old rug was something else. It was something else alright, just not what should be considered appropriate for living creatures. Although perhaps a little underweight but otherwise thought to be healthy, I now get two squares a day of premium food, fresh water twice a day, hooves to chew on along with an array of elk antlers (which can I just say, I LOVE?). I mean, I think I won the lottery on the Ranch. My brand new hot pink collar and matching leash along with a micro-chip will help keep me safe. Plus I’ll be stylin’ with my new bandana just like my big brother. Mom already has a set of snow boots for when the weather turns but not sure about that means.

My mom has been loving and patient with me. She speaks softly, massages my ears to help me relax, tries to use food as a motivator (though I’m still afraid to take any treats directly from her hand still) and praises me whenever I pee, poop, and exhibit good leash manners. She lets me climb up on the sofa and relax next to her and never forces me to do something if I freeze, instead always encouraging me. I started to wag my tail a little bit when I see her come into a room and that has made her super happy. She thinks I’m pretty special and even if my brother is a little less than a fan, I think I’m starting to win him over too. He at least let’s me sleep right next to him. The uprights will need to get more furniture for themselves though.

img_3933

Have you ever rescued a puppy mill dog? What was your strategy for integrating a rescued fur-iend into your family?

Live, love, bark! <3