Friday, April 29, 2011

Grieving dog owner touched by strangers' kindness

This article from the Journal Sentinel Online captures the strength of attachment and love we pet owners share with our dogs.  This is a sad story, without a storybook ending, but it is important to show that people still are capable of caring about a lost dog.  This story restores my faith in humankind.  It's not easy to find such an uplifting story about man's goodness in today's world.  Please read this article and reflect on the goodness this dog owner found amidst great loss.


Michael Sears

D.J. Rodrian and his dog Titus, run along the Menomonee River in Wauwatosa in 2010. Rodrian recently slept in a tent for days near the site of the dog’s last sighting.

For 26 days, D.J. Rodrian put normal life on hold while he led an exhaustive search for his lost dog, Titus.
Rodrian slept many of those nights in a tent in his former neighborhood in the hope his beloved pet would return to the familiar spot.
Hundreds of people responded to ubiquitous fliers and to Rodrian's website devoted to the search. Total strangers walked or drove the Menomonee Parkway, the Oak Leaf Trail, Currie Park, the Mount Mary College neighborhood and other areas, hoping to find the 8-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback.
The happy outcome everyone hoped and prayed for was not to be. On Tuesday, Titus was found dead near the railroad tracks behind the Best Buy store on Mayfair Road.
The grieving is communal. Rodrian has received emails of condolence from all over the United States and beyond. He posted hundreds of them Thursday on the website,
This one is typical: "I do not know you or Titus, but your story broke my heart. I cried like a baby when I heard the news that Titus is no longer with us. Please know you did everything you could to find him."
Rodrian, a 43-year-old insurance agent, is trying to focus on the positive. "Here is the good that I see," he posted on the site. "The world is full of nice people who care about others, including a stranger and his lost dog. Our community is kind and helpful and generous. Milwaukee is a wonderful and beautiful place to live."
Titus was a puppy when Rodrian got him. They spent many hours running on the wooded trails along the parkway. The dog was an athletic breed known for its survival skills.
On April 1, while Rodrian was vacationing in Arizona, Titus broke through a window and escaped from a dog sitter's house near 51st and Hampton.
Before dawn the next morning, some people living in Rodrian's old neighborhood at 94th and Burleigh reported hearing the dog barking and howling outside. That's where Titus spent most of his life; Rodrian and Titus moved to the Town of Lisbon last year.
OK, Rodrian thought to himself. If this is where the dog is drawn, then he would camp out in the front yard of one of his former neighbors. In the beginning, he spent every night out there.
His neighbor ran an electric cord to the ice fishing tent so Rodrian could listen to the Brewers. The nights were cold and sometimes rainy.
"How excellent it would be for him to find me, his owner, sleeping there. Or even if I wasn't there, he would find my scent there and the sleeping bag and the pillows, and he would be attracted to that location. That was the whole purpose of Camp Titus," Rodrian told me.
He draped some of his clothing over patio chairs and tossed it on the lawn. This would be scent central, and his "secret weapon" would be dirty socks.
For weeks, Rodrian lived mostly on gas station hot dogs and $1 double cheeseburgers from McDonald's. He showered at the gym, and lived out of his car and the tent. He worked when he could, but would drop what he was doing when it was time to chase down a lead about Titus.
Some of the burgers went into two live traps that Rodrian rented from the Humane Society. "What we caught was three raccoons, a possum and a cat," he said.
Sightings poured in, some more solid than others, and Rodrian plotted them on a Google map on his website. Friends, family and strangers kept their eyes open for any sign of Titus.
Cathy Peck, who lives on the city's northwest side, is typical. She often takes her dog, Bacchus, to Currie Park. She never met Rodrian, but she was touched by his plight. She understands that a dog is like a family member.
"Everybody would take some time every day and look. It was really nice to see how the community came together," said Peck, who programmed Rodrian's cell number into her phone so she could immediately call in a sighting. People reported that they took dog treats and leashes along on the searches, too.
Titus would run from strangers, Rodrian said. He thinks the dog survived those 26 days on its own with little or no direct human contact.
On Tuesday, he got a voice mail from a man who discovered the lifeless dog. Rodrian hurried out there and found that indeed it was Titus. He wept and called family members who rushed to his side.
The dog still had its collar with Rodrian's contact information on it. He noticed that the animal did not have any obvious injuries and didn't look unusually thin, though he guessed that Titus could have eaten something toxic. It appeared the dog had been dead for a few days.
"I don't think he suffered. It looks like he just was tired and laid down and was done with his journey," he said.
Rodrian singled out a few people to thank. They include animal control officer Donn Jacobson, Milwaukee firefighter Shane Corcoran who spent some entire off-days helping on the search, and tireless helpers Jennifer Kraussel, Steve Frantz and Renee Conner.
"I will miss my buddy. He was the best dog ever. . . . All he ever wanted to do was be with me," he shared on the website.
Rodrian has lost a much-loved dog, but gained a new appreciation for the comfort of strangers.
Call Jim Stingl at (414) 224-2017 or email at
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dramatic rescue of pitbull mix in river

Here's a video that shows the rescue of a dog from the flood swollen river in Michigan.  It is hard to watch, but the dog does get saved and sent to the vet.  She was hypothermic and about at the end of her rope when they pulled her out.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Antioch Police Dogs Receive Four Donated Bulletproof Vests

Here's an article I found on Facebook that talks about bullet-proof vests for dogs!  I love this idea.  Our dogs will go to great lengths to protect us or to have us tell them how good they are.  Frequently, you read about police dogs that jumped in front of their person to protect them and ended up dead. 

The organization that provided these life-saving vests are to be commended.  This article is from Life with Dogs.  Please check the site out for great articles about dogs and living life with them!

police dog vestThe Antioch Police Department in California received four bulletproof vests that will be used to outfit their police dogs, including one for a dog that was shot in the shoulder last August.

According to, the vests were provided by the Police and Working K-9 Foundation, a group that also helps pay for emergency medical care for police dogs.

The new $1,200 custom-made body armor weighs about 5 pounds and is both bullet and knife resistant.

The Belgian Malinois that was shot survived his injuries and was back on the job in just two short weeks, but police officials told the Contra Costa Times that the injury might have been avoided if the dog had been wearing one of the vests.

Recently in the news, there have been several stories about police dogs that often put themselves in harm’s way to protect their handlers. According to the K-9 Foundation, “Since 2000, over 500 U.S. police dogs have lost their lives in the line of duty.”

The New York-based company has donated 56 vests so far to police stations across the U.S.
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Pet's need consideration during Easter Holiday--What to watch out for!

Here's a message from my veterinarian that I took from my email. Seems like a good time to review the necessary precautions associated with Easter and all of the holiday happenings.  When enjoying all the holiday hoopla, don't forget to monitor your pets.  Chocolate is deadly.

Happy Good Friday, to you .  I hope everyone has a blessed and special Easter Holiday this weekend.

Easter Tips
Easter is almost here and we all love chocolate bunnies or Easter eggs! Chocolate is as appealing to pets as it is to us but it is very toxic to dogs. Theobromine and theophylline are a xanthine compound that affects the nervous and cardiovascular systems. Symptoms of intoxication are vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate and urination, muscle tremors and restlessness.

The Easter Lily is a beautiful holiday flower but if you own a cat it is recommended that you don't keep it in your house. Just one leaf can cause kidney failure in your pet and it is potentially lethal.

One more item that could be harmful to your cat is Easter grass. Cats love to play with it, just like they love tinsel or string. Easter grass if ingested can easily tangle around your cat's intestines causing major problems that will require emergency surgery.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Help End the Torture and Slaughter of Korean Dogs

Here is a disturbing article I found today on  I was so upset after reading it that I just had to repost it here for you to see.  I have no words to describe my feelings and thoughts on this topic right now.  I, for once, am simply speechless.

Please read this excerpt below and click on over to the site to read the entire article.  Be aware, however that you will probably leave with a sick feeling in your heart and stomach!


I was shocked this morning when I read an announcement made by In Defense of Animals, that in Korea, almost two million dogs are slated for slaughter after they are caged and tortured. They are then killed, butchered and sold as a delicacy meat for human consumption.

These miserable and unfortunate dogs are kept on display in crates in the marketplace, so customers are able to select one of their choice for purchase and butchering. What is even more horrific is that these dogs are "intentionally abused" according to In Defense of Animals, prior to slaughter and sale.

The Korean Government and Han Duk-soo, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea is being targeted by Defense of Animals to immediately begin enforcing the existing law under the Korean Animal Protection Act and to also strengthen the law by adding an amendment to prohibit dogs and cats from being slaughtered for meat for human consumption.

In fact, most Koreans abhor this practice and consider these acts of torture and killing to be extremely disturbing. Additionally it is actually an "urban legend" that...[read more]
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Vicktory dog Lucas update

I love reading anything about the fate of the Vick fighting dogs,
so here is a follow-up of one of them for you to see that these
dogs were worth saving.
Please read this article from Best Friends and visit their site. 
Maybe you could even consider a monetary donation to help
these dogs?  I know I did and I feel quite good about doing
my part to help them.

April 12, 2011 : 9:35 AM ET
By Cathy Scott
The adage “you can’t judge a book by its cover” could not be truer
when describing Lucas, one of the 22 former Michael Vick dogs
who arrived at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary more than three years ago.

A pit-bull terrier with telltale battle scars and one of the toughest
backgrounds imaginable, Lucas is one of the most popular of the
Vicktory dogs (as they are now called).


The life of neglect the Vicktory
dogs led before coming to the
Sanctuary has caused some of
them to have chronic medical
issues. While their emotional
and physical scars continue to
heal, some of their more serious
medical issues are not apparent
to the naked eye.

Ten-year-old Lucas arrived at
the Sanctuary with a condition
called babesia, a blood parasite
that can be passed between
dogs through deep puncture
wounds, like those inflicted
during fighting. The condition
can be managed with medication, but one of the side effects
of babesia is anemia. When Lucas’s anemia worsened, he was
given a full checkup. Tests showed that he was having other
complications in addition to anemia. After exhausting other
methods of testing and to take a closer look at possible masses
seen on ultrasound, he was scheduled for exploratory surgery.
Late last week, several masses were removed from his enlarged
spleen, which are being biopsied. While undergoing surgery,
the veterinary team also took a biopsy of his liver which
looked abnormal.

“Surgery went pretty smoothly,” says
Dr. Patti Iampietro, who performed
the procedure. “Lucas is doing well.” But,
she adds, he’s still in recovery and “not
out of the woods yet.”


Lucas is improving with some help from his friends.
Now in the midst of recovery,
he is improving with the help
of our medical staff and
everyone who loves him.
He has many friends across
the Sanctuary and fans who
have followed his story.

Life for sweet Lucas truly began the day he and
the other 21 dogs landed in Angel Canyon, a
world away from the horrific lives they once knew.
Lucas, who was court-ordered to spend the rest
of his days at Best Friends, is proof positive that
dogs who have known only neglect and abuse can
begin anew and be the loving companion animals
they were born to be.

John Garcia, a trainer and manager at Dogtown,
where canines live at the Sanctuary, first met Lucas
when John traveled to the facility where the Michael
Vick dogs were kept before moving on to rescue groups, i
ncluding Best Friends.

“I was helping one of the employees there mix food
one morning,” John says. “[The employee] had
mentioned that he had always been afraid of pitties
from a fighting background, so he was terrified to hear
he’d have to work with the Vick dogs.”

But the caregiver’s face lit up when he spoke about
Lucas. “He told me it only takes one to change your
views,” John says. “This was an amazing thing to hear,
that someone who was afraid of a certain breed had
the courage to still work with [the] dogs. And to put it
so simply — it brought tears to my eyes. This truly
shows how dogs like Lucas have influenced people
all over the world and how much animals in general
can teach us.”

Lucas, the consummate optimist

Once at the Sanctuary, with
patience, one-on-one training
and ‘round-the-clock care,
the dogs, many of them
frightened, gradually
acclimated. Lucas, the
consummate optimist,
hit the ground running.
He’s done so well, in fact,
that he spends part of his
time in the offices hanging
out with executive assistant
Brenda Escher and chief
executive officer Gregory Castle.
At the end of the workday visits,
he returns to Dogtown.

A few weeks after arriving in January 2008, the Vicktory dogs
were introduced to the world at a news conference held on the
Sanctuary grounds. Many of the dogs were shut down and
scared because of their past. Not Lucas. He welcomed visitors
with kisses, surprising national media with his resilience. As
caregiver Carissa Hendrick said at the time, “He knows he’s safe.”

“I think Carissa was right that Lucas did feel safe here,” says
Dogtown manager Michelle Besmehn, “but I also think that
Lucas is just a confident dog. It is part of his nature.”

Lucas, simply put, is happy, and that is what Brenda says
stands out the most for her.


Lucas helps out at the office.

“When some visitors come
into the office and sit down,
he welcomes them by 
jumping onto their laps and
lavishing kisses on them,”
Brenda says. “That tells
me that he’s not the menacing,
dangerous dog that far too
many people feel his breed
might be. He only wants to
be loved. We all are better
people for having had the
experience of having him in our lives.”

For Dr. Patti, his easy nature is also what has
touched her: “The thing that stands out most
to me about Lucas is his overflowing love of
people. He is so kind and gentle despite what
humans in the past have put him through. It
really teaches a lesson in forgiveness and
understanding that we humans should strive to equal.”

Michelle agrees: “We can learn a lot from him.
He has been a very happy dog despite his
background and despite all of the ups and
downs he has had medically.”

Dr. Patti says, “It is always a rewarding feeling
to help any animal, but helping those animals at
Best Friends who have no one else, especially
a dog like Lucas who came from such a
horrific background, is especially fulfilling to be
able to play a positive role in his health and happiness.”

The clinic team continues to monitor his progress
while waiting for the biopsy results. Updates on
his condition will be shared as we know more.
Brenda visited Lucas after his surgery and spent
time just sitting with him. “He recognized me
immediately, and I think he’s the trooper we
all know him to be,” she says.

The gentle side of Lucas, despite his past, continues
to inspire those who know and love him. “His joy
for life and a can-do attitude are something we
can all strive for,” says John. “Lucas really
does symbolize the American dog Despite a
very difficult past, he is affectionate and forgiving.
We are all pulling for him to get better.”
Photographs by Best Friends photographers
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Monday, April 11, 2011


This is the cutest video I have seen in quite some time. I think this baby is a rattie, but the owner is not sure. What do you think about it?

Monday, April 4, 2011

The dogs of Kayenta, AZ -- the saga of one person's drive to help abandoned dogs

This isn't the post I was going to make today.  I was going to talk about taking Satchmo to the vet this morning for his check-up and the exam of a small lump under his front leg.  However, I will post that later.  Instead, I'd like to post about a blog called Sharkey Pup.  On this blog, there are several posts that are about abandoned dogs in Kayenta, Arizona and one person who decided to do something to try to help them out. 

Please read this article below, then click over to read all the rest about the plight of these poor dogs.  There are several other posts, and I suggest you read them all and in order.  This woman is amazing and deserves our appreciation for going out of her way to help innocent animals.

Burger King To The Rescue

As I drove through Kayenta, Arizona this past week I noticed something odd.  I passed the McDonalds and clustered around the front was a group of about five or six dogs. Same with Burger King and the gas station. Each location had its own group of dogs hovering in the sunshine. With three of my own in the car I didn’t have the opportunity to do anything but get gas and keep traveling. On the way back through, however, I made some inquiries.
As I pulled up to the window of Burger King’s drive-thru to get my Whopper Jr. I asked the gal at the window the story about all the dogs.
“They get dropped here from all over,” she said. “They’re all strays with no place to go.”
“Don’t you have a local shelter or rescue?” I asked. 
“Nope, they are on their own here.” She pointed to a larger brown dog just across the drive by the gas station. “That one over there was hit by a car about two months ago. Nobody took it to a vet, that’s why it drags its back leg around.”
I looked at the dog she indicated and at the others sitting or walking about. There was an Aussie that was obviously nursing pups she had hidden someplace. The other six or so looked cold and rightly so. It was below freezing at 2:00 in the afternoon.
“Where do they go when the temperatures get cold?”

“Wherever they can find to get out of the wind. They are lucky if the kids use them for target practice. At least they’re put out of their misery,” she replied.
I was shocked not only by the plight of all these dogs, but by the casual way she talked about them being used for target practice. I pulled into the lot, got out and counted the dogs then went back into Burger King and bought a hamburger for each – the largest I could buy. 
I walked out with the bag and all wary eyes were on me. There was snow on the ground but I imagined a good drink of water was also hard to come by. I got out the water bowls I always keep in my vehicle and filled them from the gallon I also haul with me. The dogs all looked at me, the injured one and the mother of pups kept to the back of the group. If they were going to get any food they’d need to be fed separately from the rest.
Unwrapping the burgers brought them all in closer, but still they were wary. I quickly threw all but two burgers further across the lot and approached the other two dogs. Setting the food in front of them I stepped back and they ate. My presence kept the rest of the pack away. When they finished I looked around. The others were drinking as if they hadn’t had a drink in weeks. I took one bowl over to the other two and let them drink also. The one that was struck by a car got up and wagged its tail and came close enough to let me stroke his head. He was dragging one leg behind him. The tears came as I sat there a minute giving this poor soul a bit of kindness. I’d have taken them all home with me if I could have but that was impossible. I wished I had a truck and trailer so that I could go back for them. I’d make it my mission to find some no-kill shelters for them, but those are hard to come by as more and more pets are abandoned. 
I made some calls today to the state of Arizona. There was no shelter within 100 miles that was willing to go rescue these animals. I felt helpless and hopeless thinking of them out in the sub-freezing weather.  My three were safe in Sandy's care.  They are among the lucky ones.

To read the rest of the story go here:
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Friday, April 1, 2011

Why you NEED and What you should have in a Pet First Aid Kit

One of my favorite resources for pet care and pet health is the Online Vet, also known as Andrew Young.  He is a vet out of Canada and he has numerous ebooks and videos available to help you care for your pet at home and save you time and money while making your pet healthier.  I received an email from his organization today that I felt was important to pass along.  So, below is the article with all the links included to go visit his site (which I wholeheartedly recommend).

He offers numerous other articles that you will find useful and interesting, so please click on the links and visit his site.


The WHYS and WHAT of a Pet First Aid Kit
Why you NEED and What you should have in a Pet First Aid Kit
Over nearly 20 years of Veterinary Practice, I have seen THOUSANDS of pet Ailments that could have been treated at home- especially if the owners had caught the problem EARLY, and used an EFFECTIVE Home Remedy.
You should ALL have a basic First Aid Kit- so in the interest of helping your pet, and lowering your Veterinary Fees, here are my suggestions:
It is necessary to have a good first aid kit in order to be prepared for emergencies. There should be a first aid kit in your car, at your job site, and in your home. The more complete your first aid kits are the better you can deal with emergencies when they happen. The best time to assemble those kits is now. If you wait until you are in an emergency situation, you will be too late.
If you have animals, then supplies for them should be included in both your car and your home first aid kits.
The primary objectives of first aid are to relieve suffering, to save a life and to prevent further physical or psychological injuries until you can reach or be reached by qualified health care personnel. These goals will help you assemble your first aid kits. Consider all of the possible emergencies that can happen.
First aid kits should be kept in containers that are labeled as such. Small containers that work well for first aid kits are cosmetic boxes, sewing boxes, tackle boxes, tool boxes, etc. If you purchase your supplies first, you will have a better idea what size box you will need.
Keep the box in a single location in your house, car and work place. Everyone should know where it is. If you are the injured party and unconscious or if you are not present at the time of injury, the best first aid kit in the world will not help when no one can find it. It should be stored out of the reach of very young children and pets.
Here are some basic items that all first aid kits should contain:
1. Rectal Thermometer: The newer electronic kind works best. The electronic ones beep when they are finished registering a temperature. They are slightly smaller than the glass kind. They do not break as easily. They can be covered with thin sleeves to halt the spread of germs. They can also be used as oral thermometers. They do have a battery which will need replacing and they are more expensive then the glass ones.
2. Lubricating Jelly: to lubricate thermometer.
3. Gel packs: Can be used for hot and cold compresses.
4. Adhesive tape: to secure bandages – both non-stick tape and water proof tape.
5. Blunt tipped scissors: a must for animal first aid – used for cutting hair away from wounds.
6. Bandage scissors
7. Splints
8. Alcohol swabs: to sterilize instruments or small areas of skin.
9. Antibiotic ointment: for wounds (not for eyes e.g. Polysporin, for non puncture type wounds).
10. Contact lens solution: for rinsing eyes, to clean wounds (water can be substituted).
11. Cotton swabs: i.e. Q-tips.
12. Hibitane: a mild antibacterial soap for cleaning skin, wounds.
13. Sterile cotton or cotton balls
14. Sterile Gauze Pads: the larger 4 inch size is better since it can easily be cut smaller if necessary.
15. Rolls of gauze or cling gauze bandage: 1-2 inch size.
16. Hydrogen Peroxide: 10 ml every 15 minutes to induce vomiting in animals that have ingested a non-caustic poison.
17. Razor Blade: can also be used to shave away hair and abrade the skin following a tick bite.
18. Stockingette: to protect bandage on leg or foot.
19. Rubber bulb ear syringe: used for flushing eyes, ears, wounds.
20. Forceps and/or tweezers
21. Self-adhesive bandage: i.e. Vetrap.
22. Numbers for the Animal Poison Hotline & Poison Control for Pets:
(ASPCA: 888-426-4435; Pet Poison Helpline: 800-213-6680 (US and Canada); Animal Poison Control Center: 888-426-4435, numbers charge a fee). The National Poison Control Hotlines for humans should also be included.
23. Information card with your Veterinary Emergency Clinic Number
24. Your pet’s baseline Temperature, Pulse, Respirations and Weight
25. A muzzle: or fabric to make one.
26. Bubble Wrap: for making an emergency splint.
27. Elizabethan or E-Collar. Vital to prevent pets from licking, irritating wounds, or making that HOT SPOT larger and becoming an emergency.
28. Activated Charcoal- it is used to prevent toxins from being absorbed- I advise using it after inducing vomiting.
You can take classes to become more proficient in Pet First Aid, but above ALL be ready, for emergencies will happen at the most UNEXPECTED times.
A great way to start is with my book Veterinary Secrets Revealed, or Pet First Aid Secrets. You can find them here:
Veterinary Secrets Revealed
Pet First Aid Secrets
Why you NEED and What you should have in a Pet First Aid Kit
Dr Andrew J
DISCLAIMER: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. Dr Andrew Jones resigned from the College of Veterinarians of B.C. effective December 1 2010, meaning he cannot answer specific questions about your pet’s medical issues or make specific medical recommendations for your pet.
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