A life saver...

Last week, I took JoJo to be spayed.  She loves car rides and enjoyed the trip, and she even enjoyed the Vet who cooed over her playing with her on her level on the floor.  I will tell you that when it came to taking her temperature, things changed.  I was standing across from her, and she immediately shot a look at me with pinned back ears.  I said “it’s OK” and her stair back to me said “no… it’s not OK.”  At least she didn’t have to turn her head and cough, and it was over quick.  Thank God for fast reading digital thermometers…

JoJo very stylish
While picking her up later that day, JoJo was a little groggy but glad to see me.  We chatted with the Vet, and she explained her procedures and aftercare for the surgery.  Being through all of this with my dogs and the many rescue dogs we’ve had, I have been here many times and are familiar with what to do, and then the Vet said something that stuck with me.  “The easy part is done, now comes the hard part.”  Truer words were never spoken.  

When I worked for a Vet, it was the best job I ever had.  So many different things to see and learn and you worked with man’s best friends.  We had surgery every day, and I assisted in most of them, but that is the easy part.  The aftercare is hard, and when JoJo’s Vet said the same thing, I had to agree.

The second cone in one day, she would run into things.
With the rescues, we see a lot of spays and neuters which means lots of aftercare, and even with my dogs, there is always something going on or injuries that they get while playing and running.  Over the years, we’ve tried everything to keep a dog from pulling at their stitches, once even tearing out the sutures which resulted in an open abdomen.  They will not leave them alone for several reasons, some from the natural instinct to clean and wash the area and sometimes because the hair is cut around the incision and it itches when growing back.  Both can be a problem when they don't stop or leave it alone.

This was worse than the cone.
Being a past scuba diver, we would wear a wetsuit or a “farmer John shortie” that was tight and protection for your body.  As a deep thinker, I have said many times if somebody could invent one for a dog, it would be comfortable and would not be restrictive at all.  Life could go on as usual, and the wound could heal.  When Abbie was sick, she would lick her legs where she got her Chemo treatments because they were right in front of her and she did.  If it weren’t for someone sending me some home remedy tips, we would have lost her mind, but it worked, hard but it works.  I’ve even gone in Wal-Mart getting a "onesie" for a child and cutting it up to try to make it work but didn’t, somebody has got to invent something I always thought.

This was the only solution we had at the time.
Low and behold, last year I was scouring the internet and found something too good to be true.  It looked good, information was excellent and informative, and I wondered...  The product was called “Shed Defender,” and I thought if it could keep dog hair in, it could keep a dog’s tongue out.  Closer reading also said “The Shed Defender® has medical purposes as well. Use it to replace the bulky, uncomfortable, medical cone; works by covering up any wounds, surgical sites, hot spots, etc.”  OH MY God… could it be.  I quickly ordered one and was impressed when it came in.  We had a rescue dog that was just neutered and needed something because he was active and eager to lick where his lost parts once were. 

 It worked for the duration and healing was complete.  Since then we have exclusively used the Shed Defender for all of our surgeries.  Just yesterday, one of our rescues had an ACL surgery and will require protection from the incision. I had already sent one of the “Shed Protectors” to her via mail, and it fit like a glove, and she will not have to wear the cone.

Piper with her "Shed Defender."
Am I promoting the ‘Shed Defender.” You bet, working in the field and having the number of surgeries we have, it is a blessing.  Thank God someone invented a product that is easy to work with and actually helps the life of a dog that is already suffering from the ills of surgery and can stay out of the cone.  Ken

Check out Shed Defender Priceless if needed.

It can Happen... and did...

Today's post is by guest author Catherine Battersby.  She and her husband moved back to England after a successful teaching career in the states last year.  
"Xena, Clancy’s daughter, and Jack, Clancy’s grandson moved home to Clancy's beginnings…  
Little did we know that Clancy’s pups would be moving back “home” near Worcestershire a county in the West Midlands of England.  The place where it all started.  It truly is their home because for the last 10 generations this was where “home” of his family was started."  Ken Shuck

Ken often says "anything can happen with dogs, and he is so right. We only have two, Xena and Jack; but they keep us busy."

Xena and Jack are pretty easy, as collies go: good on recall and “the basics,” they will fetch and drop and can be called off other animals. Every once and a while in Indiana they would flush a deer, and they would come right to us if we called them and said, “No.” So this isn’t a blog about anything you can train for; it’s about a freak accident that might raise awareness about (yes) sticks, and acting fast if your dog acts unwell. When in doubt, go to the vet.

Jack and Xena
Just two weeks ago, we were up on the hills. The dogs were, as usual, off lead, scampering around exploring, meeting other dogs, snuffling in the bushes, running on the turf. Xena bounded away from another dog, then turned because she had seen something. She trotted over to a stick, sniffed it, and picked it up. (This is important: she was not running full on into it, and no one had thrown it for her or at her.) She yelped hard and dropped it.

I was concerned because she sounded in pain, and went to check the stick. It was a light one, with a number of branches on it. Nothing seemed freshly broken, but Xena was coughing a little. I checked her mouth; no bark, no blood, no pieces of stick that I could see. We walked on for a bit because she seemed in good spirits, though she coughed a little a few times. She had after all only picked up a stick and dropped it. I then saw that she was drooling, so I took her home. Once inside, she lay down and looked a bit sorry for herself. If you know Xena, you know she has perfected that look, so that didn’t concern me too much. But she was still drooling and coughing a little. No blood. I got a small piece of sausage and offered it to her. She tried to take it but then dropped it. That was the sign of real trouble, so I read some online reviews, picked a practice, and called a vet. All within 5 minutes.

We were lucky. The vet was great. He took me seriously, asked if I had been throwing sticks (I hadn’t); asked if Xena was gagging or coughing (she was), and we again checked her mouth. He couldn’t see anything either. So he said he would have to sedate her and see what the problem was. I agreed and went home. Two hours later they called me to say she had done well and was awake, and could I come down to talk with the vet. They wouldn’t tell me over the phone what had happened. That’s never good.

When I got down there, the vet showed me everything. And I mean everything. The stick had gone in under Xena’s tongue, where there was a ¾ centimeter hole. But that was just the beginning. They found that there was a further 4-5 inch “tunnel” down her throat where the stick had pierced, somehow missing nerves and the carotid artery. The vet had had to flush it through with a catheter (creating an opening further down her neck) and hoped he had got everything out. He had taken photos and showed them to me. We observed her for about 12 days, and it turns out he had cleaned everything, and she is fine.

But Xena still wants sticks. I had thought it was OK for her to chew on them if I didn’t throw them for her; now I know that really freakish things can happen. But even a smart collie
has the intelligence of a two-year-old and the emotional intelligence of a toddler. So walking a collie is like walking a toddler with massive emotional energy and mad gross motor skills. And Xena still wants sticks. So we walk with more toys now, and I continue to train her off the sticks. She will drop a stick if I tell her to do so, but she still picks them up, and if we walk past a place where she dropped a stick a while before she will sit down by the stick and beg me to pick it up. This will never be easy.

I know things are going to happen, no matter what we do. If you have had human kids, you know they are going to make swords out of sticks and not only have mock sword fights.  Despite your warnings not to poke each others’ eyes out, but also these sword fights will at some point outside your field of view take place on swing sets and while the kids slide down slides.  Same with dogs. I grew up with dogs at a time when we fed them in the morning and then threw them outside for the day. I am sure they ran through the woods grabbing sticks and eating sh*t and fighting with other animals. We had one Belgian Shepherd/collie mix who routinely ran away and came back with a snout full of porcupine quills. (My parents I think ended up keeping a few Valium on hand for every time this happened; removing quills from an undrugged dog is not fun.) Anyway, we all now watch our dogs much more than we ever used to, much as we all watch our kids more than happened in the 50s and 60s. Is this good or bad for development? Who knows? Does it keep them safer? A bit. But stuff still happens.

Some things they won’t learn. The picture below is Xena 96 hours after getting the stick five inches into her throat. You can see from the look in her eye that she is raring to go. But she also has been told “Drop” and “Leave” and has responded. Honestly, she knew this before or she wouldn’t even listen to me now after everything that happened. But she still wants to try it, and the accident happened even though I have been training both dogs off sticks ever since the first article in the UK press came out about two years ago  BBC UK News . The dog I mentioned above went after porcupines all his life; in fact, the vet said that once smart dogs find a challenge, they want to beat it.

As I was walking the dogs down the hill this morning, I saw a very happy, well-behaved, and obviously cared for Border Collie trotting along with his family, proudly carrying a big stick. Did I say anything? No. Should I have? I don’t know. I do know we only have our dogs in trust for a little while, and we can’t protect them from everything or become paranoid parents, but we can love them and be aware. And if the dog refuses a sausage, get him to the vet.  By Catherine Battersby.

Did I eat that?

The last day of the year was a beautiful day.  Something unusual in this part of the country at this time and it was a welcome sight.  The day was sunny, and the temperature was in the 50’s.  As a person who hates to stay in the house, this was a welcome sight because I could get out and do some chores and play with the dogs.  Grabbing my chainsaw and work gloves, I trecked off to clean up a portion of the farm of some trees to make a small clearing.

It was a grand day and time was well spent.  I felt like a million dollars and got some good exercise, and the dogs ran around chasing each other who also got some exercises which was a nice break from the snow and cold days we have had. 

After what seemed like a very short time but was actually a whole afternoon, we finished up and headed to the house.  The dogs were pooped, and so was I.  Dirty clothes covered me and even my leather gloves were dirty and wet, but we had a grand time.  When I approached the house, and after I put my tools up, I took my gloves off and placed them on the back of the car because they need to dry out and would in the sunshine.  You know where this is going, don’t you?

After cleaning up and relaxing, the sun was still out, so I took a stroll down our lane.  Just as I started, I knew the gloves were dry, and I needed to put them up.  Walking over to the car I picked up one glove and looked for the other one which must have fallen to the grown off the back of the vehicle.  I was a windy day, and I knew it was somewhere under the car.  After an extensive search, I couldn't find it.  Not unusual, I'm sure it’s on the driveway.  After walking what seemed to be a lifetime trying to find a leather glove, my search was pointless. 

Great, here we are again, it’s leather and food for the dogs.  My dogs usually won’t eat anything except Dutchess, oh yeah Annie and I forgot Dahlia and can’t forget about Clancy, well crap I guess they all will eat stuff… I posted that question on Facebook and asked that very question, and while Dutchess has eaten just about everything, Annie and Dahlia have eaten 2 new unopened boxes of Baklava from the counter and Clancy has eaten anything with any residue of raw meat on it before.

There are many ways to get a dog to throw up, and I have tried them all.  I will tell you, I worry about blockage and work very hard to prevent it from occurring.  It’s a pretty rough surgery and very expensive.  My old fashion way, not advise, is I use Hydron Peroxide to get them to throw up.  Dutchess has become immune to it, and the last time it didn't work after eating some cooked chicken bones.  We took her for a car ride, and when she got sick, she throws them up.  If any doubt, call your Veterinarian, don't google it.

Well, with 12 dogs and a missing glove.  Who do we take to the Vet was going through my mind.  Can’t take all of them in, I would have to sell the house.  Got it I thought as I was holding my one glove.  I threw it on the ground and surely the one glove steeler would want more.  Bingo… Oden grabbed it up and started to carry it down the drive.  Maybe he will go where the other one is?  No luck, he started chewing on it until JoJo grabbed it and also started knawing.  Well, fiddlesticks (not the real word) I said.  I called the Vet who was closing in an hour, and it’s 45 minutes away, and here I go again.  Know my voice, the receptionist said: “afternoon Ken, what have they gotten into this time, we’ll be waiting for you.”

Oden and JoJo take a trip...
I took the one single glove with me just to show them, and after seeing it, the Dr said: “that’s a pretty big glove, and I don’t think it will show up on an x-ray, are you sure they ate it and how many dogs do you have?”  Can this get any worse I thought?  After the first dog was x-rayed, which I knew in my mind ate it came back clear I again said “fiddlesticks.”  Might as well do the other, I’m here.  After a few minutes, I got the news… “We got it, boy it’s big,” and we all were happy until the Vet said, “hopefully we can get him to throw up, if not, we’ll have to do surgery." and knowing some of my past pups had this surgery, I was concerned even though it was successful.  

Stock photo, not one of our dogs.
 Well fiddlesticks, I said.  Taking Oden back to the back work area, he was injected with a medication to make him regurgitate, and it worked in just minutes.  It’s pretty powerful, and he started eliminating from both ends.  On the third hurl, it came up.  Oh, what fun for Oden, he got to puke and poop at the same time and I got to give away $494.79.  I thought I was the only one with this plague but when I ask a question on Facebook to my friends and their dogs, this is a small glimpse of what I found, I guess I was lucky it was only a glove…  Ken

Various kinds of poop including their own

Candles                  Stick Butter & wrapper   Nativity Character
Socks                     A Stapler                         Wooden shoes from Holland
Silk panties            Mudflaps                         Racoon Paw
Sheep placenta      Cardboard                       Lasagna and broken glass
Fireworks              Hog Head                        Gallon of cooking oil
Light bulbs            Rotton Monkey               Q-tips
A Badger               Birth control pack           A Couch
Camera                  Pager                               Remote control
Used condoms       Drywall                           Windowsills
and many more...

It comes back...

After following some new on social media and reading the local news, all of my deepest nightmares came into my brain again.  I had heard about the incident and even said that I would go to a public forum about it.  The day of the meeting, Elaine, my wife called from her work and wanted to know what time I was leaving the house for the meeting.  I told her that I didn't know if I could go and she asked: “why?”   I thought for just a second and said: “I’m sure it will be taken care of, they don’t need me.”

This is why I go...
In an affiliate to the Board of Zoning in November, a couple’s requested to breed  100 dogs in a barn with only two members of the family taking care of them.  It would have 3 X 4-foot wire cages that housed the dogs.  On paper, it was a grand plan for them but I knew different.  As I sat in front of the midday news in my recliner, my mind drifted back to the pain that I had buried so deep in the corner of my mind.  After several years I had all but forgotten the puppy mill case I worked on for 3 years along with two ladies that have as much passion as I do. 

Anger rose from my gut, and I knew I needed to go, something clicked again, and I knew I need to do something, anything, no matter how much it came back.  I called one of my puppy mill partner and spoke about the situation and was even more determined to make an impact or at least know that I did everything I could do, they depend on us. "Evil prospers when good men do nothing" is what I have said in my lectures and now I had to take heed.  I pulled up some research and wrote my outline and was ready to go to a meeting I didn’t want to go to but I needed to, for the sake of the dogs.

I thought back to the days I sought to forget.  I could see the faces, hear the barks and smell the odors and even taste it, I wanted to vomit again.  Sleepless nights and hours of time were spent but it was successful, and we won, will we will again?  Hours would tell, and I started the car heading to the meeting.  The meeting was moved to a larger location because of the anticipated crowd, and when I walked in a little early, I thought their needs to be more people.  Lots of vacant chairs and I had my choice of seats.  I chose the front row.

Nearing the scheduled time, it started to fill up.  They had anticipated a crowd of about 200 people and had chairs for many.  When it was in full swing, there wasn't even standing room and everyone was ready.  I had my outline prepared and changed it several times.  I was forth to speak and wanted them to hear what I had to say, and it was short because we were on a time limit, but it was pointed.  Once at the microphone, I had to pause because I choked up, it all came back.

After over two hours of speeches from the audience, it was turned over to the couple who had petitioned the zoning board to rebut any and all comments that they felt that was unfair.  Not a rebuttal was said, and they said nothing.  NOTHING I thought, NOTHING, you’ve got to say something, anything.  The Board of Zoning was given a chance to ask questions.  At first, no one said a word, and I thought they didn’t care, but one Board Member started a line of questions. 

“How many dogs will you have?”         
“Up to a hundred,” he said.

“Will they get exercise?”            
“Sometimes they'll get out of their crate.” He said.

“Do you care for them?”              
"Yes, we love them.” He said.

“How long do you breed them?” 
“5 to 7 years.”  He said.

“What do you do with them when they can't breed?” 
“We try to find them homes or uh, uh, uh,”

“You euthanize them?”               

I again choked up, I grabbed the arm of the person next to me squeezing it and said "DID YOU HEAR THAT, thinking I was hearing things and he assured me I heard it right.  Dogs that have served their purpose are put down for no reason except to make space for a dog that can breed.  This was a family business, and a van load of their relatives and children attended the meeting.  Soft-spoken and polite and wouldn’t lie because they were under oath.  Hard working at whatever they do but this family chose to breed dogs.  Not many more questions were asked.  The board members ask each other "are they actually in violation" and I thought OMG, I’ve been here before, it’s going to pass…

Everyone in the crowd stood up, holding their sign “STOP THE PUPPY MILL” but I knew signs don’t vote.  A motion was made, and the vote was 4 to 1.  The puppy mill was stopped in Bartholomew County.

Or was it.  This very family has another breeding facility in another county in Indiana  It has the same amount of dogs, doing the same thing where “Evil prospers when good men do nothing.”  It’s got to stop…  Ken

Note:  According to the 2016 Puppy Mill chart you can see the areas that are flooded with puppy mills.  They exist because of weak laws and pet stores that purchase puppies to sell.  "Online and in stores, 99 percent of puppies come from puppy mills, no matter what the breeder or store says. Mother dogs remain locked in cages their whole lives and have half the life expectancy of the average dog. Twenty percent of their puppies don’t even make it to stores. They die in terrible conditions. And the ones who do get sold often have undisclosed health issues."  The Humane Society of the United States.

How dogs steal our heart...

Several days ago, I saw an article that was posted on one of my Facebook pages.  While I usually read every article, I do look at the source and content.  I don't always comment because of the time limitation and volume of things that come into the office to work on.  This article was written by Davie Grimm, and the article was titled “How Dogs Stole Our Heart.”   It was an interesting read and started me to think and comparing my life with my dogs and how they communicate.

In the article, it said, “The study—the first to show this hormonal bonding effect between humans and another species—may help explain how dogs became our companions thousands of years ago.”  Bonding, really?  I feel I am closer to my dogs that some relatives I have.  I can at least understand my dogs more than family most of the time.  They are simple is their wants and needs and let’s take Dutchess for example… 

Let’s go out… Bark
Let’s eat… Bark
Let’s play… Bark
I want inside… Bark

And so on, you get the picture.  This is my fault and it started by when I taught on command.  I thought it was cute for her to do it and in the beginning, I would ask her to bark and treat her.  If I only knew.  But they literally connect with you with their eyes, Dutchess just does it with her mouth…

“Dogs are already renowned for their ability to interact with humans. It’s not just the walks and the Frisbee catching; canines seem to understand us in a way that no other animal does. Point at an object, for example, and a dog will look at where you’re pointing—an intuitive reading of our intentions (“I’m trying to show you something.”)  People and dogs also look into each other’s eyes while interacting—a sign of understanding and affection that dogs.”

I have seen this over the years with most of mine.  Meggie and Abbie are geniuses at this.  Both of them will sit and stare at me for the longest time. Meggie will raise her paw as if reaching out to me over and over until I pay attention to her until I pet her.  What she really wants is to get into my lap which usually happened.  Abbie will just and sit next to my chair and look intently at me and her black eyes will suck your soul into her heart.
On a test in the study that was done with this; “Dogs and their owners also gazed into each other’s eyes, some for a total of a couple of minutes, some for just a few seconds. After the time was up, the team took urine samples again.
Mutual gazing had a profound effect on both the dogs and their owners. Of the duos that had spent the greatest amount of time looking into each other’s eyes, both male and female dogs experienced a 130% rise in oxytocin levels, and both male and female owners a 300% increase.”

I know the stare of my dogs can melt my heart and make me fill like a million dollars when nothing else will do.  They are fantastic and loving in so many ways, some of us will never comprehend or understand, but they do talk with their eyes and usually say a lot…   Ken

It’s Snowing – It’s SNOWING…

Are you ready for it?  For the last week, it’s been raining, and that stinks when you have active dogs.  Mine are good as gold inside, but I always worry about bathroom breaks and I don’t want a mess.  Luckily they can hold it forever, but it’s like pulling teeth to get them to go outside when it’s pouring down rain like cats and dogs, and neither do I.  But for the last several days, it's been snowing, Yea...

Snow has always been a big thing here at the farm with the dogs, they love it, and it never seems too cold for them.  They even get in the lake if there is no ice on top just to get a drink and I’ve seen water freeze that isn’t shaken off, but they could care less. 
Last year was such a bummer because we only got just a dusting of snow, no measurable amount and they all had grimaced with sad eyes on their faces, but Dutchess was the worse.

Do you have another Jolly Ball?
Eight to 12 inches is best for a good workout and for playing, but anything deeper is just too much, even for me.  The deepest we ever had was about eight years ago, and we had 23 full inches and it was hard to walk in, even a few feet and snowshoes were in order.

The toy of the day is not a tennis ball or Frisbee but a Jolly Ball.  It’s easy to carry and easy to see in the deep snow.  As the snow fell, the dogs watched out the window and doors and twirled and pawed at the door wanting to go out.  Dutchess, as always would bark telling me it’s getting deeper.

On social networks I follow, I have seen a question asked several times before.  What are the little snowballs in their fir and where do they come from?  I've seen it before, and it's kinda cute, but they need to be brushed out or thawed out, but it's never been a problem here.

The kids love the snow as most of our dogs do.  It's lots of fun and great exercise, and when they run, they always get a good work out.  My only problem is I keep them away from the lakes just to make sure we don't have another problem.  Dutchess always wants Hot Chocolate when we come in, go figure...   Ken

Baby, it’s cold outside…

Last year, it was a pretty mild winter here.  It got cold but not enough for the ground to really freeze or to kill the bugs that were hiding in every nook and cranny.  This year is different… We have been in a deep-freeze for nearly two weeks with the temperature staying in the below zero range for at least a week at night, and it looks like we will have a good “bud killing.”  With my tick allergy, I glad because they were everywhere last summer.  The dogs do enjoy the cold weather...

But… what do you do with 9 dogs that are trapped in the house?  I have seen them go to the door and once their nose is outside, they turn around and head back in.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m “ok” with them inside, but I don’t want any accidents, and we are fortunate we don’t.  I don’t know how they hold it, but they do, but we eventually have to go out…

But I want back in...
Some of the dogs actually want to stay out.  Abbie, when she is out, will linger and look at me when I call.  Yesterday, I had to go to town, and I stood at the door and called her, and I thought about leaving her to enjoy the sunshine, but when I looked at the temperature, it was only 1 degree, and I fetched a lead and brought her in.  When she does stay out, I will put a dog bed on the driveway because she will lay on the cold concrete, go figure.

I would much rather have cold weather than wet weather, because of you manage the cold, it’s not as dirty as the cold, but when they get filthy, it’s hard to deal with.  It’s so comical at times when they are scampering through the snow and ice.  They will instinctively take care of themselves bu things they so.  I’ve seen them stand for a few minutes and then when their feet get cold, they will rotate which foot they hold up and go back and forth keeping two of their paws off the ground.

We’ve have dog booties that help at times if they stay on but all in all, they really do well in the cold weather and especially the snow.  In fact, the more snow, the better, they have a ball.  Dutchess has suggested that we get a hot cup of Cocoa when we come in because she says it helps her but I really don’t believe her.