Archive for May, 2009

For a couple of years now, I’ve heard of the dangers of dogs and paper shredders. Owners forget to turn them off or they’re not paying attention as the dog wanders in to see what they’re up to. Viola! Dog’s tongue ends up in the paper shredder!

I’m sure there are many owners who don’t even think of this hidden danger. For safety’s sake, turn your paper shredder off when not in use. Better yet, unplug it so there’s no doubt. While you’re actively shredding things, place your dog on a DOWN away from activity and out of the way. It’s a good opportunity for training practice! Or keep him out of the room altogether.

These photos were submitted to Veterinary Technician, a vet tech journal. If you need help remembering to turn off or unplug your shredder, tape a photo to it and it should be a graphic reminder. This dog was a 7 year old lab, virtually unfazed by the whole incident. I don’t think you can say the same thing about the owners.

shredded tongue

shredded tongue









sutured tongue

sutured tongue

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Now the sun’s rising earlier and setting later and Memorial Day has kicked off the summer season, chances are you and your dog are enjoying more time outdoors. Longer hikes, camping, more Frisbee, more swimming are probably among the list of activities.
Remember, just like we can suffer pains and strains from being a Weekend Warrior and out-of-shape, so can our dog. It’s important to start out slowly and build up to longer and more strenuous activities to avoid injuries.
In our heads, we know this for ourselves.
The hard part is convincing your dog of this. They don’t live in their bodies. They live in their heads. Their adrenalin will keep them moving long after their bodies should be. Torn ligaments, strained muscles, sprained joints, and more are some of the risks for your dog.
Anyone who’s had a dog on restricted activity can tell you it’s not a fun way to spend a summer.
Take the time to warm up and cool down (BOTH you and your dog) before and after strenuous exercise. Neither one of you will be happy if either of you suffer an injury.

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On Friday afternoon, Tringa & I were scheduled to go to school so the boys could read to us. Early Friday morning I got an e-mail from the teacher we work with saying he had completely forgotten about the yearbook signing party. It was scheduled during our reading time. He suggested we cancel.

Little did he know how a dog trainer’s mind works. On Thurs I had brought an ink stamp pad to work for one of my co-workers. She’s in a cast & we needed to get ink stamps of Weber, the clinic cat, so he could “sign” her cast. The stamp pad was right in front of me.

I posted back suggesting we didn’t have to read. In fact, if the boys wanted, Tringa could stop by and sign their year books, too.

He thought that’d be good.

We walked into the school office to sign in. There was LOUD music playing in the gym. Another teacher was on the announcement system telling the students they had to remain in their seats for another 3 minutes. They would be released, just sit tight. Then he found out we were there to sign yearbooks. So he announced “Ky is in the building”.


Ky had visited this school for 4 years. Tringa’s only been going a few months. Most people there are still making the name mix-up. Ky is much easier to say than Tringa, too.

Little did this teacher know, Ky really was in the building. Well, some of his hair anyway. Tringa has a braid of Ky’s hair in the medicine bag she wears on her collar while we visit.

So Tringa & I made our way to the gym before the kids were released to the party. There was a live band on stage. It was LOUD! The floor vibrated.

I placed Tringa on a towel near the back of the room. And in came the kids. THE ENTIRE SCHOOL. It was great. She was a trooper. She signed lots of yearbooks. Yearbooks of students we’d never even seen before.

There was popcorn and pop. Music and games.

The only part she didn’t like is that I wouldn’t let her get up. Black dog paw prints all over the gym floor wasn’t a good idea in my mind.

When I was sure everyone who wanted Tringa to sign their book had done so, I cleaned off her foot and we got up to dance a little.

Then we left the school to finish partying without us.

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A wonderful friend just sent me a link to Christine Kane’s blog post about pet loss.

It’s worth reading.

Take a look here

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H$US Not Happy

This may explain yesterday’s now blank YouTube post about H$US.

A TV report based in fact and actually interviewing one of the H$US’s own lobbyist has been taken down and removed from everywhere it had been posted. Like it never even happened.

Lawsuit? Politics as usual.

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Trailing Arbutus, Hepatica, Goldthread, Violets, Marsh Marigolds.

Winter Wrens, Sandhill Cranes, Ovenbirds, White-throated Sparrows.

Spring Peepers, Wood Frogs.

Seeing these plants blooming or hearing these animals singing are all sure signs Spring has finally made its way to the Northwoods.

Not far behind will be the many wildlife babies sharing our space. Already Northwoods Wildlife Center  (NWC) has baby black bears, squirrels, bunnies and crows among its first babies admitted for care.

In years past, dog attacks were responsible for 3.37%-10.92% of patients admitted to NWC. The average of the last decade is 6.22%. That’s roughly 49 patients per year admitted because someone didn’t have control of their dog.

Sometimes the dog kills the mom and leaves behind orphans. Sometimes the dog manages to chase down and actually attack a fawn. Sometimes the dog is just being a dog and sniffs out a nest of cottontail rabbits in the lawn.

How can we as responsible dog owners also be responsible environmental stewards?

The most obvious answer it to train your dog. No chasing after wildlife. At the very least your dog should have an impeccable recall and a steady leave it or off command.

Dogs are dogs and driven by instinct, so keep an eye your dog and what she’s doing. They are similar to kids in the fact they can get into trouble quickly.

What happens if, despite all your good intentions and watchfulness, your dog disturbs some wild babies?

First, leash or confine your dog so no further damage can be done.

Then call your local wildlife rehabilitation center. Many times they can instruct you on how to return animals to their proper moms. If that’s not possible, they can advise you what’s best for the animal.

NEVER feed an orphan unless instructed to do so by a professional. Wildlife need very special diets and milks. Using something you may have around the house can cause gastric crisis very frequently ending in the animal’s death.

We all can share our space with a little training and planning.

Baby Flying Squirrel

Baby Flying Squirrel

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Seven Days

It’s been seven days since Ky left us. Seven days of trying to find a new way without him by my side. Seven days of re-discovering exactly how deeply woven he was (and still is) into my life and livelihood.

There is a famous saying “not all who wander are lost”. Right now my personal view on this is slightly different.

“Not all who are lost wander”.

I’m not wandering. I’m getting up, going to work, going to the grocery store, going to the bank, answering e-mails, and hundreds of other normal seeming chores. But I’m still on auto-pilot.

Inside I’m lost. 

There’s a huge hole, emotionally and physically, in our household.

There are another couple quotes that come to mind:

“Perhaps strength doesn’t reside in having never been broken…but in the courage required to grow strong in the broken places.”

Followed by

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow’”.

So for now I will get up again tomorrow on autopilot and do a hundred seemingly normal chores. But they’re not normal really. Being without Ky by my side isn’t normal yet. But in the not-too-distant future my new, stronger normal will be Ky only inside my heart.

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Less than 48 hours after letting Ky go, Tringa & I were in the school parking lot. She was waiting for me to get her dream catcher and medicine bag attached to her collar. Her Dad, Cowboy, sent it to her via special messenger at Nationals. In other words, Cowboy’s mom, Dorothy couldn’t make it to meet Tringa in person, but her husband Richie did. Richie brought this special gift for Tringa. Cowboy does lots of therapy visits in CA. He wears a dream catcher and medicine bag, too.

I waited until Ky had left us before we used it. I had braided some of Ky’s hair from his left hock and added it to the special medicine Cowboy & Dorothy already had in the medicine bag.

It wasn’t as hard as I expected this visit to be. All the kids knew. In fact, Neil got a CD with the memorials for the kids before anyone else knew about them. Our main students had watched the celebration of Ky’s life. They appreciated being included and sharing memories.

Jake, the one known for squeezing the stuffings out of my heart without warning, had the most to say. I expected this. He was the most attached to Ky. He said he missed him. I told him I did, too, but reminded him he told me last visit (see TGIKy) he was always going to keep him in his heart. So in reality, Ky was always with him. He agreed. And then I told him some of Ky’s hair was in Tringa’s medicine bag. So he was really there, too. Jake brightened up to that thought.

At the end of the visit, Neil got all our students together and they presented me with a collage of photos of them reading to Ky.  Under every photo, each student had written their favorite Ky experience and memory.

The very first boy we started this program with 4 years ago had no idea what was going to happen that day. The reading specialist just told him it was a special surprise.  I still remember the look on his face when he walked into the room that day!

He wrote his best memory was the first time he saw him. He remembers seeing this big dog and him being little. He also wrote he had been thinking if Ky hadn’t been naughty in his first home, he wouldn’t have come to us and not have met other kids. His last sentence is “Sometimes you have to do a bad thing to do good things.”

Others wrote: 

“Ky is a part of my life and what’s happening to him is sad. I am praying for him.”

“Ky helped me read by reading out loud. Ky made me fluent and confident.”

“One of my favorite things about Ky was that he was very sweet and was a very intelligent dog.”

“He didn’t care what you read. If it was a dog book, he would look at you and pay attention.”

Like I said before…

It was perfect.

Ky's photo collage and bouqet from the students

Ky's photo collage and bouquet from the students

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