March 29, 2010 Hello Dolly

Hello Dolly!

We have a new family member home now. Dolly the standard poodle has been living with us for a couple of weeks now. She fits in great! She gets along with the other dogs and cats and all humans and is as sweet as pie! I don’t think I’ve ever had a dog that has cost me so much money right off the bat. Her adoption fee was only $135.00 which is relatively cheap. After all she came with all shots, freshly spayed, and you can’t get that done for $135.00. Gasoline to go get her in Detroit was about $120.00. She had contracted kennel cough from the kennel cough vaccine. What is wrong with this picture? I’ve now heard from several other rescues and individuals who tell me that most of their dogs that get the kennel cough vaccine come down with it within the week it’s given. Um, call me crazy but then WHY do they continue to give the vaccine? Don’t you think that would be a big red flag? Guess I’ll have to find out who makes the vaccine and ask them what the deal is. From what I understand, it’s sort of like a flu vaccine. Some people get the flu from the vaccine. When I had a flu shot many years ago, I didn’t get the flu but I caught every bug under the sun that year. I won’t get a flu shot again.
So before she even got to come home she spent three weeks at the vet in isolation recovering from kennel cough. I had to make sure she was no longer contagious before I brought her home. I don’t want to give my clients dogs kennel cough. Vet bill for that was $300.00.
The next problem was that the eye goo she had running from her eyes wasn’t just from having kennel cough, it seems she also had entropion, which is when the eyelashes roll inwards and rub on the eye irritating them. Surgery is the best way to fix that. Well as long as she was under anesthesia, may as well have those dew claws removed too. Normally in poodles, they are removed shortly after birth and it’s not a big deal. But wait much longer and you have a major surgery. So I asked the vet to take those off. In long haired dogs, dew claws get in the way and can accidentally be cut when you are grooming them. I figured it was better to lose them now. After surgeries, medicines and etc. another $450.00.
If that wasn’t bad enough, after a week of healing from the dew claw removal, the stitches began to itch. I had a soft e-collar on her to prevent her from chewing on her legs, but no such luck. She has long legs and a long neck and she managed to tear off her bandages and unravel her stitches. I called the vet, and it didn’t look that bad, so over the phone she advised me what to do. I rewrapped her legs, and even put some nasty tasting stuff all over the bandages to discourage her from chewing on them. I thought it was working until the next morning when I woke up and saw that she had the bandages off, and a big hole in her leg where she had opened up her stitches! Off to the vet we went again this time for staples, more stitches and more bandages. This time we bought a cone type e-collar. Like in the movie “UP”, we call it the cone of shame. She does a great impression of a lamp now. But at least with this cone, she can’t chew out the stitches again. Luckily the vet felt sorry for me and I only had to pay for the antibiotics this time and not the re-suturing. Whew!
Dolly has become a very expensive dog. I’m used to vet bills, just not so much before I’ve even had the dog a week. Yikes! I’m thinking we should call her Gucci or Versace since she’s so expensive. Too bad she knows her name so well already or I’d be tempted to change it.
The goal of course, is that I can do some creative grooming with her and Jasmine and win back a little of the money I’ve spent on her so far. I have a great idea for the next show, and Jasmine’s hair is already carved in, problem is I need Dolly to match her and she came to me rather naked. She was matted when they got her in Detroit so she had a very short buzz. It’s growing in but not as fast as I’d like. I think I’m really going to have to get creative with her. Guess I’m going to have to learn how to do a weave.
The best part is that Dolly does fit her name, she is a doll! She is as wonderful and sweet as Jasmine but also reminds me of my dearly departed Katy. She has traits of both and she is wonderful!

March 19, 2010 Things that make you go GRRRR!!!

Things that make you go GRRRRR!!!!

I am not a member of any animal rights groups, but after lobbying last year at the statehouse, I have gotten to know some members of the Humane Society of The United States, and Anne Sterling, the Indiana director of HSUS. Mainly what the HSUS does is they lobby to change laws to protect animals. It is nothing that is too over the top in my eyes. Most of it is common sense, but if you know anything about government, you realize common sense is rarely seen…
Here is part of the email I received from Anne this past week:
House Bill 1258, the animal fighting and pet store bill, cleared the House of Representatives the week of February 1st with a strong bipartisan vote of 71-26.
Introduced by Rep. Linda Lawson, the bill would make it a felony to be a spectator at an animal fight, would add animal fighting to the list of crimes in the state RICO statute, would require pet stores to provide consumers with information on the origin of their puppies prior to purchase, and would require people who own horses to provide them with shelter that is free of standing water.

Nothing too outrageous about that seems pretty sensible to me. Later in the week, I received another email from Anne, which read:

Hello! I hope this email finds everyone well!

I’m very sorry to report that our bill, or language, technically, died Wednesday night when the Senator Brent Steele refused to allow his caucus to sign the conference committee report.

To recap: the bill, HB 1258, would have required people to provide their horses with shelter, required pet store disclosure & would have made it a felony to attend an animal fight. The bill itself officially died several weeks ago, when the chair of the Senate Committee (again, Senator Steele) to which it was assigned, failed to schedule it for a hearing. The deadline for a hearing came & went & the bill was officially dead.

However, because the language passed one chamber (the House of Representatives, with a vote of 71-26) it was eligible to be amended into another bill, so we still had some options. The legislature is scheduled to end this week & we had already tried amending another bill, to no avail. In a final attempt, we tried to amend just the animal fighting language into a bill yesterday & 3 of the 4 conferees from the conference committee were ready to sign the committee report, to allow it to move forward, when Senator Steele objected & refused to allow the Republican Senator assigned to the committee to sign the report. If all 4 conferees do not sign the conference committee report, the bill is dead.

It’s obviously incredibly unfortunate that not even the animal fighting language made it through this year, due to the objections of essentially one legislator. This is particularly frustrating in light of the August 2009 dog fighting raid in Orange County, Indiana, in which 109 dogs were seized from deplorable & inhumane conditions.

As always, Representative Linda Lawson, the sponsor of the bill, was a true advocate for the animals in Indiana and did absolutely everything she could to try and get this through. Please take a moment to contact her and thank her for her tireless efforts to protect the animals Indiana. She can be reached via email at: or via phone at: 1-800-382-9842.

If you would like, you can also take a moment to call or email Senator Steele’s Office & voice your displeasure with him for killing, for the 5th time, a provision that would have made it a felony to attend an animal fight in Indiana. With his refusal to support this common-sense legislation, he is consistent in his support of those who participate in the blood sport of animal fighting, and has secured yet another win for the dogfighters in Indiana. Senator Steele can be reached via email at: or via phone at: (317) 232-9814.

On a happier note, Representative Lawson also introduced a resolution to declare October 1st ‘Adopt a Shelter Pet Day’ in Indiana. Thankfully, this resolution passed overwhelmingly.

The last paragraph was what really irked me, our state senators will not protect dogs from dog fighting and make it a felony to attend these illegal fights, but they will make another “Hallmark” holiday? What is wrong with this picture? Big deal, so we have a day that says it’s adopt a shelter pet day, do you honestly think that means more people will go out and adopt a shelter pet? I mean, its not as if we get another paid holiday off or anything, it’s just a nice way of saying, we like animals enough to add them to our calendar.

Frankly I’m floored at the stupidity of our government. I know others feel the same way for other reasons. We have a whole lot of reasons frankly to not like our government. I guess being the blue collar person that I am, I don’t “get” people in offices of power who fail to understand common sense! I’m sure that’s part of the problem of government in general, they don’t seem to understand the real world. We elect them to represent “us” the people, the real working people of the world who help make their lives cushier, and they spend their time, instead of working on real problems, they unanimously vote to make a cutesy holiday that will do NOTHING to help the problems. (Slams head into wall)

Who is this senator Brent Steele anyway? Is he a personal friend of Michael Vick? Does he put down some big bucks on dog fighting? So it’s ok to attend a dog fight, and we all know if you are watching, you are betting….yet betting on the Super bowl, which doesn’t hurt animals and is done EVERYWHERE…is a huge problem. Hmmmm…..
Does anyone besides me see the irony of this? It’s no wonder they need secret service and bodyguards for political figures.

3-1-10 Establishing the Pecking Order

Establishing the Pecking Order

Fans of “The Dog Whisper” will be saddened to learn that Daddy the pit-bull has passed away at the ripe old age of 16 years. Daddy was a constant companion of Cesar Millan and helped him to rehabilitate hundreds of dogs over the years with his calm demeanor.
That’s the wonderful thing about calm, older dogs; they are great teachers to younger dogs. I know that my older dogs have taught each of my younger dogs I’ve brought home, or that are clients proper behavior.
Some people may think that an older dog that growls at a younger one is bad, but really it isn’t. Older dogs have established the pecking order and younger ones tend to test that line that we humans may not understand.
It is “human” of us, to bring home a new dog and shower it with attention and unknowingly ignore the other members of the pack. That can backfire and cause a real problem. We may perceive the other dogs behavior as jealousy, but really what we did by accident is mess up the pecking order. Your dog, who may growl or press you for more attention when the newbie arrives is just telling the newbie “This is my place, I was here first, and I outrank you, so listen to me and don’t get pushy with me or we are going to tangle”. You shouldn’t interfere unless it gets ugly.
When you bring a new dog home, remember to keep the pecking order as it was, feed the older pack members first. Give them attention first, (only if they are behaving, don’t reward bad behavior by giving attention) and let the dogs work it out in dog speak.
For instance, when I had Katy and brought Jasmine home, a client came in and Jasmine being young and exuberant jumped up on the lady. Katy leapt into action, growled at her, pinned her to the ground and had one paw on her neck looking her into the eyes and growled. She was telling her, “Jumping on people is a dominant behavior, I am the top dog and I don’t do that, neither will you.” Jasmine gave a little “yip!” and that was it. She never jumped on people again. I didn’t interfere. I knew what Katy was doing, and all my animals know that “I” am the top dog period. Now, how they figure out pecking order below me is up to them to work out normally. I don’t interfere unless I have to change a bad behavior.
Pecking order in EVERY household should always be humans first, then animals. Not because we don’t love them like our children because we do, but because when you put an animal in a pack leader position, ahead of the humans, you will create an animal with behavior problems, anxieties, and possibly aggression. You must set boundaries and rules with your pets just like your kids. If you let your kids do whatever they want and give them whatever they want, you will create a “brat”. Nobody likes bratty kids anymore than they like bratty dogs.
You don’t have to be a control freak, but you do have to do things in language that your dog understands. Body language is what dogs read. Quit talking, and show your dog in your body language that you are serious. Stand firmly, feet apart, hands on hips to show your position. Look your dog in the eyes and stand firm when you are trying to stop a bad behavior. You’ll be surprised how fast your dog catches on.
If you are trying to stop a dog from darting out the door every time you open it, first you have to claim the space around the door. Have someone come to the door and knock on it or ring the bell, your dog will go to the door. Before you open it, first get in between the dog and the door, turn and look at your dog and take a step towards him, your dog will take a step backwards. Do this until your dog is several feet away from the door, then open it. If your dog starts towards the door, close the door and repeat the process until your dog is several feet away and has calmed down and stays put. Do this consistently and you will no longer have a door darter.
Remember, you pay the mortgage or rent at your house, your dog does not own your house. He’s just a guest and should act like a guest. Never let your dog go out the door before you do, not even just to let him out to potty! Put your dog on a leash, or do the door darter exercise, and make your dog sit several feet away from the door. Open the door, and YOU take the first step out, turn around, look at your dog and say “Okay” and then allow your dog out. Do the same thing going back inside. You go in the door first, make your dog wait a few seconds then tell him “Okay” and let him in.
Little actions like these will make you the pack leader in your dog’s eyes and will greatly improve his behavior.