July 20, 2009 Being the Middleman

Being the “Middleman”

Maybe it’s just my personality, perhaps it’s my birth order, or maybe it’s just karma but I’m always in the middle of things. If someone has a problem, yep, I’m the “go to” gal with the answers and I end up putting them in touch with someone to help.
I know Attica is a small town, and knowing several people as I do, the odds are good that there will come a time when I am in the middle of just about any situation. This month I’ve been in the middle of at least three dilemmas involving animals and I have several phone calls to return that I’m sure will put me in the middle of more of them.
I’m really not complaining, I am here to help people out. It’s always been my intention to pass along any knowledge I have to help someone. But I’m starting to have trouble remembering who or what I’m talking about and it’s getting a little overwhelming.
I am glad that I have the knowledge to put people in touch. I’ve always thought I’d make a great investigator. I’ve become a great researcher of facts. I have a way of weaseling information out of people that nobody else can crack. It’s become a talent in a way.
I think it started when I was searching for my birth mother. I’m adopted and although my adoptive parents tried to help me find her, when you have a closed adoption it becomes impossible. After my parents passed away, I felt like the last dinosaur on earth, and the drive to find out where I came from was eating at me so I began investigating and getting in touch with other people (and this was all before the internet) and one day I received a phone call from my birth mom. We have a good relationship now and visit and talk often.
This is when I found out my birth order was a middle child, even though I was raised as the youngest and pretty much the only child in the house, all my adoptive brothers and sisters were much older than I was and on their own.
I find myself being the person to “mediate” things between people, and also tend to be the one who seeks attention (hence the youngest or only child). The problem is, because I’m in the “middle”, I get a little too personally involved at times. I try hard to stay neutral and keep out of things, but somehow I get dragged into it no matter what.
I asked someone once “why me?”…the reply was “why not you?” I guess maybe that is my lot in life, I guess someone has to be in the middle or there would never be any resolutions to any problems. I am the listening ear for friends and sometimes complete strangers but I don’t mind.
Even my dog is in the middle of things. Jasmine loves other dogs and likes to play with them but Bogey because he is elderly, isn’t so fond of rambunctious dogs. When he is feeling a little overwhelmed, Jasmine senses that and immediately comes to his rescue, and gets between them, protecting her “little brother”. She even protects our cat Dixie from our other cat Butterscotch. Butterscotch is a young cat, and being young and kittenish, she loves to play attack the old cat which sends Dixie into a rage of howling, hissing, cat fits. Jasmine to the rescue again, getting between the cats, giving a growl to say “okay, that’s enough!” and peace and order are soon restored.
Dreamer, my sheltie barks at my boys when they are fussing at each other. “He’s telling on you again,” I yell to my boys as they ignore his ever so loud and annoying barks. That is usually enough to break any tension and get things restored to near normalcy.
So I guess I’m not alone in my “middleman” role in life. I just hope that peace and order are soon restored in our world as we all deal with the daily turmoil of life.

July 6, 2009 Hot Weather and Your Pet

Hot Weather and Your Pet

Summer is in full swing and this is the time of year that pets can suffer from heat related problems such as heat stroke. Heat stroke results when your pet has extremely high body temperature, 105 to 110 degrees. Symptoms of heat stroke in its early stages are:

• Heavy panting.
• Rapid breathing.
• Excessive drooling.
• Bright red gums and tongue.
• Standing 4-square, posting or spreading out in an attempt to maintain balance.

Advanced stages of heatstroke:

• White or blue gums.
• Lethargy, unwillingness to move.
• Uncontrollable urination or defecation.
• Labored, noisy breathing.
• Shock.

Abnormally high body temperature (also called hyperthermia) develops after increased muscular activity with impaired ability to give off heat, due to high heat and humidity or respiratory obstruction. The elevation in body temperature stimulates your dog's body to release substances that activate inflammation. At temperatures greater than 109 degrees, failure of vital organs, and consequently death, can occur.

Allowing a dog to remain in a car with closed windows on a hot summer day is probably the most common cause of heat stroke. NEVER EVER leave your dog inside a hot car! Not for 20 minutes, not for 2 minutes. There is no excuse. If it is hot outside, don’t take your dog with you unless you are able to stay in the car with him and keep the air conditioner running.
People forget how quickly a car heats up and a dog’s body temperature is higher than ours is and the only way they can cool off is by panting. Cracking windows open is not good enough to cool off the inside of a car on a hot day.

So how can you prevent heatstroke in your pet?

1. Exercise your dog gradually and don't over do it. Don't go for a five-mile run on the first nice day of the season. This is especially true if your dog is older, obese or has a heart or lung problem.

2. If it is hot and your dog is panting hard - stop what you are doing. Allow him to cool down and stop panting before continuing.

3. ALWAYS make sure your dog has plenty of fresh clean water.

4. If you leave your dog in the yard, make sure he has both water AND shade!

Remember - if you are uncomfortable, your pet probably is, too.

If your pet is exhibiting signs of heatstroke you should immediately try to cool the dog down by:

• Apply rubbing alcohol to the dog's paw pads.
• Apply ice packs to the groin area.
• Hose down with water.
• Allow the dog to lick ice chips or drink a small amount of water, not too much and not ice water as this could lead to over drinking and cause bloat or twisting of the stomach.
• Offer Pedialyte to restore electrolytes.

One other thing I’d like to mention is that while shaving the dog short for the summer is often requested to keep the dog cooler, double coated breeds such as huskies or malamutes, collies, shelties, golden retrievers etc. benefit from simply brushing out the undercoat, not shaving it off. If the hair is not matted and the undercoat is kept brushed out, the dog will stay cool. Shaving it off can often lead to skin problems. If the hair is matted, you may not have a choice, matted hair pulls on skin and often causes sores underneath the mats, and open sores can lead to maggots! If air can’t get to the skin the dog is more apt to suffer heatstroke. A good brushing and combing weekly will help keep your pet looking and feeling great this summer.