Bart Revisited

It's Bart!

It’s Bart!

09/07/13 Update:  It’s been one year since Bart was adopted.  I guess I can let my hair down now!  I never stopped to think about what was going on during those sleepless nights, I was on auto pilot.  All I could think about was Goldie Hawn, and desperately trying to do more, do different, do something else.  I just couldn’t lose this pup.

Yes, there were times I didn’t think he’d make it.  I remember going to Dr. Oliver and telling him either he gives me a shot of something, or gives me something to save this dog!  Dr. Oliver is so cool!  He tweaked his meds… but probably just to sooth my nerves!

I didn’t know then that people… extremely close friends of mine, were talking – Talking behind my back.  Talking about the likelihood that should Bart die, I would quit.  It wasn’t until months passed, and Bart not only survived but was adopted, did my friends come clean with their fears.  They were right.  I just don’t think I could’ve handled it.

I wrote Bart’s story in three days.  It was amazing how the details were all in my memory, and how much I enjoyed writing this!  I’m really anxious to hear your reviews!

You can review and buy it on Lulu.com  Included in this book, are your comments!  The comments you left on Facebook as Bart flirted with death were uplifting.  This sickly pup had a lot of ups and downs, but he made it.  Your prayers, warm thoughts and cheers were appreciated.  While I felt very alone, wondering if I was doing enough, you were with me every single day!  Thank you!

Also included are sections written by Sarah White-Buxbaum, Holli Miller, and Bart’s owners, are also included in this book, most of which has never been shared before.

Click here to see Bart’s original post.

 

 

Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out

A must read to help you manage your out-of-control crazy hyper dog!  It’s easier than you think!

on Kindle:

The Other End of the Leash

This is a must read to understand the difference between human and canine behavior.

The Kindle Version:

Deaf Dogs Hear with Their Hearts

New:  Now Available in EBook format!

The latest publication from The Dog Liberator is China’s Story – Deaf Dogs Hear with Their Hearts.  As all of our published books, many other rescued dogs are mentioned.  China’s story discusses many of the shy and fearful dogs we have rehabilitated, including Nutella, and shares stories about many of the deaf dogs we have rescued, like Winter.  I hope you enjoy China’s story, and I hope you share your thoughts by leaving a comment!

For more information about our Deaf Dogs, visit The Chosen Ones.

Irreconcilable Differences

The Battle for the Heart & Soul of America’s Animal Shelters, by Nathan J Winograd

The battle lines have been drawn: No Kill advocates on one side. Those who kill sheltered animals on the other. Can’t we all just get along? Irreconcilable Differences says we can’t because shelters act in ways which are the antithesis of the values most Americans hold dear. We are a nation of animal lovers. But the shelters we expect to save animals are instead needlessly killing about four million of them every year. Thankfully, animal lovers all over the U.S. are increasingly rejecting the excuses and blame shifting of shelter administrators used to justify that killing. And it is that rejection of the status quo, propelled by the American public’s great love of companion animals, which is explored in this book’s essays.

 

If you get this book, and read it, I beg you to leave your comments on this blog post so we can share each other’s thoughts!

Huckleberry Revisited

I get a lot of email from our followers asking for updates on our dogs. Since Huckleberry’s story was so closely followed and adored, we have decided to write his entire story and publish it!  We have interviewed people, added their comments, gone back through old emails and text messages, and interviewed Huckleberry’s new family to create a complete story from beginning to present.  It’s very impressive!

We waited until after our reunion to publish Huck’s story, and it was worth it!

His book is now available to purchase on Lulu, and will be submitted to all of the major online book stores, like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.  shortly! If you remember, Huckleberry was adopted right before the holidays, and I think it’s fitting that his story is available one year later!

Congratulations to everyone who took part in his very special and dramatic rescue!

Click here to read Huckleberry’s original story

 

I'm Your Huckleberry!

I’m Your Huckleberry!

The Story of Penelope, by Gisele Veilleux

Arthur, an inquisitive but typical elementary school boy and his four-year old sister, are thrilled when their Mom brings home a new little puppy, Penelope.  It does not take long before Penelope becomes a young adult dog.  Much to their surprise, Penelope shows dominant behaviors when she tries to bite both Arthur and his little sister.  Thinking that they can control the situation and distance themselves from Penelope, it gets even worse.  Penelope begins to attack their other two pets who are Border Collies, and now the entire family is in harms way.  How could such a cute little dog rip this family apart?

Arthur’s love for Penelope is compromised, as his family is threatened, and their lives change.  While Arthur watches Penelope repeatedly attack his other dogs, he struggles to make sense of her behavior.

Even though Arthur realizes that Penelope has a serious problem, he becomes very angry when his Mom makes plans to find another home for her.  As Arthur endures many sleepless nights and attempts to comfort his little sister, the family struggles to deal with their precious little dog, which has become violent.

Penelope's Story is Written for Young Readers

Penelope’s Story is Written for Young Readers

Arthur’s mother desperately tries everything she can to keep Penelope, until that horrible day came: the day that Penelope seals her own fate and changes Arthur’s life forever.  If you love animals, and have children, you must read this story.

 

illustrated by Tammy Ubach

A Special Message to Parents

The purpose of this book is to help parents talk to their kids about the emotional upset that takes place when an animal shows aggressive and dominant behaviors toward other animals or family members.

We are all optimistic when we bring a new pet into our homes, yet things don’t always work out the way we planned.  Unfortunately, kids usually think it’s their fault, or they get angry with you, the parent.

If your family is struggling with an aggressive pet, the story of Penelope will facilitate communication between you and your children and allow them the freedom to express and share their emotions with you.

A True Story

Arthur, a young storyteller, shares his situation with your children so they will not feel alone.  More importantly, this book will help educate your children.  The knowledge that they will gain by reading this book will empower them for when they become young adults, and future pet owners.

The “What Did I Learn?” section of this book provides vital information that your family should use before you chose your next pet.  Also included are websites where professionals and volunteers are prepared to help you.  Younger readers will find a handy dandy Glossary filled with easy-to-understand definitions to some of the words used in this book.

Click Here to Preview The Story of Penelope

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

The Christmas Collie

waiting to feel better

Last night, December 12th at 5:30 PM, I received a local call from a gentleman named Phil. There was a slight urgency in his voice and I prepared myself for the typical, “he’s such a sweet dog, and I’m moving.” Not this time. Phil told me that on Saturday, December 10th, he was renovating a rental property and he saw a collie in the middle of the road. “She was on Saxon Blvd., and that’s a very busy road. It took me some time to catch her, and I brought her into the back yard. We placed an ad on Craig’s List, hoping her owners would come forward, but they have not. I even searched Craig’s List for lost dog ads, and I didn’t see  a missing Collie,” Phil explained.

I wasn’t convinced that Phil had a purebred Collie, as those are very rare in Florida, even more rare in Deltona. I asked Phil to describe her for me, and his answer was simply, “Lassie.” Phil then described her medical condition. “I think she has the mange, I think she’s deaf, she has sores all over her body, ear mites, and she’s emaciated.”

I still could not believe that a stray Collie, was found in my town, less than one mile away from my home. The first thing I thought of was to alert Val-U-Vet and get an appointment to see Dr. Oliver, it was only 5:30 and they close at 6:00. I shared with them what I knew, and made an appointment.

I called Phil and he asked me several times if I’d like to see her, and even though I had not made dinner for my family yet, and I was exhausted, I called Megan and asked her to go with me. I left abruptly, telling my daughter Sarah that I’d be right back. “What is it?” She asked. “It’s a collie,” I replied. “What’s wrong with the dog, Mom?” She yelled from the front window. “That’s what I’m going to find out.”

Eating for Megan

The fear that this dog could be heartworm positive was more than I could bear. How do you treat a Collie with ivermectin? You don’t. Most vets believe that heartworm disease is a death sentence for a collie.

I brought a can of prescription dog food with me, and the moment I saw her, I was in shock. Her ears were swollen, her hips were so thin her bones literally protruded. Phil was right, she was totally deaf, and we believed that she only saw shadows. Megan started to feed her from her hand, and her appetite was unbelievable.

Phil described the dog’s condition on that Saturday.  “I checked to make sure she was alive, she wouldn’t move, and I made sure she was still breathing.  I had a bacon and egg sandwich, and I gave it to her, she took it so gently.  I’ve been feeding her twice a day, and her recovery is remarkable, so while you think she’s in bad shape, you should have seen her last Saturday.”

Skin infection due to fleas

As Megan and I talked with Phil, we tried to unravel the mystery of this Collie. We agreed that it is impossible for a deaf and visually impaired dog, of this size to be a stray for very long in Deltona. There are police cars on every corner, code enforcement vehicles driving by and the traffic alone would not allow a dog to survive on the streets for any length of time. Stray dogs in Deltona do not have wooded areas to hunker down. It’s not like rural Georgia or Alabama.  Deltona is a bedroom community, and stray dogs are either picked up by Animal Control, taken in by citizens, or hit by a car.

This Collie has not been a stray for long. It wouldn’t surprise me if she lived in the area in which she was found, close to Phil’s rental property.  Therefore, there are only a few possible scenarios:

A good Samaritan opened a gate, or untied a chain, and gave her freedom from starvation, she was left behind in a foreclosed and abandoned property, a maintenance worker for the real estate company released her from the property, or her owners were simply done with her, possibly all of the above.

Regardless, whoever did this should be prosecuted.  If you are reading this, and you know who owned this dog, please contact Val-U-Vet Deltona, you can remain anonymous.

I asked Phil to bring the Collie to Val-U-Vet Tuesday morning at 10:00 AM.  When I returned home, my children waited for details.  I shared with them the photos from my cell phone, and they started asking questions.  I told Sarah that I didn’t know if this Collie would make it.  I told Sarah that it was up to Dr. Oliver to tell me what’s wrong with her, and if she can survive.  I told Sarah that this dog is not adoptable because she is old, and very sick.


Sarah went to her bedroom and brought me one of our favorite books, The Christmas Collie.  The story about a young boy who receives a Collie for Christmas, who later gets his young son a Collie for Christmas.

“But Mom, if she’s not adopted, and she dies, she can’t go to the rainbow bridge,” Sarah said to me.  “We have to keep her.”

I didn’t sleep much last night, waking up every hour wondering if I was going to have to euthanize the Collie, wondering what I was going to tell my daughter.

Phil and I arrived at the vet at the same time.  The Collie was greeted by the staff, and they were outraged by her condition.  What’s really sad is that this Collie is not my worse case.  Jackson Browne, Collie Gisele, Shy Shannon, Maureen’s Hope, Goldie Hawn, Frances, and of course, Stella are some of my worst cases.  I called Maureen,  told her about my situation, and promised to call her after I had some definitive answers.

Waiting with rescuer, Phil

This was not my first rodeo, and I kept telling myself I can get through this.

I was introduced to Sean, a new Vet Tech, and thought to myself, this guy is brand new, and he is going to have me as one of his first clients, and one of the hardest cases?  This isn’t the way to start your new job!

I immediately asked for the dog to be scanned for a micro chip.  I was so hoping we would find one, so I could locate the Collie’s original owners.  Sorry, but I was hoping for a little bit of vengeance.  No chip was found.  Sean and I began to  review the different procedures that would be necessary for a treatment plan, but I wanted a heartworm test first.  Forget everything else, let’s get her tested first.

As we waited for the heartworm test results, Sean examined the Collie’s teeth, and much to my surprise, they weren’t as bad as I expected.  Her skin condition was probably the worse I have ever seen, she smelled of infection, a chunk of her ear is gone, and very swollen.  There were crate sores on her back paws, and severe hair loss and swelling around her neck.  Sean weighed the collie; 36 pounds.  Phil said his cat weighs 30 pounds!

“I didn’t want to call Animal Control,”  Phil repeated.  “I knew she would’ve had a chance then, they would have no choice but to put her down.”

Sean checks her out

The results were in… she is heartworm negative.  I covered my eyes and fought off my tears.  I couldn’t believe it.

Dr. Oliver walked in, and like I have seen  many times before, he leaned on the counter top, crossed his arms, and looked at the Collie, just like Dr. Susan Wayne did when she met Jackson Browne over two years ago.  “You did say you were ready for a challenge, right?”  I asked him in jest.

Dr. Oliver examined the Collie from head to toe, estimated her age to be nine years.  He provided me with a treatment plan, which includes fluids, antibiotics, Vitamin B, Medicinal Baths, fecal check, ear treatment, and full blood work.

So now we wait.  The Collie is in good hands.  She has a great chance of recovering and living a normal life, but who would adopt a nine-year old deaf Collie?  I think about all of the deaf dogs, and senior dogs that we have successfully re-homed, and I believe that if I give this Collie a chance, someone will also give her a chance.  In the meantime, once again, Maureen has offered to sponsor her treatment, and foster her.

Lady Saxon

I don’t know what we will name her, but for now, we’re calling her Lady Saxon.  It’s hard to be patient waiting for the results of the blood work, but I know that she is safe, and every day will be a better day for this Collie, thanks to people like Phil, Maureen, and the people at Val-U-Vet.

If Phil found me on Google, her owners could have found me just as easily. She was found only two miles away from my home, and all of her suffering was unnecessary.

 

 

 

 

It is with deep sadness that I announce the passing of our Christmas Collie. While she was making some progress, months without food and water left her in a very weakened state. She knew she was loved by all of us, especially me! I ask that you visualize her playing at the rainbow bridge with our dogs that have passed on, the dogs that we loved and miss so very much. She is home for Christmas, with our Creator. ~gisele

Book Review: How Quentin Survived the Gas Chamber to Speak for Animals on Death Row

The Miracle Dog

This is a must read for anyone who is involved in rescue. How Quentin Survived the Gas Chamber to Speak for Animals on Death Row, written by the wonderful Randy Grim.

Book Review – Fifteen Legs

Where is all started.  The birth of the internet, email, yahoo groups and cell phones.  Even before texting, a yahoo group was formed called Otra (On the Road Again) and created a ways and means to pull and transport dogs from kill shelters to rescue.  This is an awesome book!

Volunteering 101

Wyatt Earp with Madison

It’s not just about fostering or doing doggie doo doo duty!

When you visit my TDL Peeps page, you’ll see a gallery of photos of our awesome volunteers.  What do they do?   You name it!  No matter how small or how enormous the job is, if you want to volunteer for your local shelter, pound, or rescue, you can!  Even if you want to volunteer for a rescue that is far from you, with the internet at your fingertips, there’s nothing you can’t do!

Supporting your Favorite Rescue, let me count the ways:

Supplies:

Several months ago, Anita’s vet, Dr. Elliot Stetzer with Central Animal Hospital decided he was going to switch products, and had a case of unwanted flea preventative!  Anita snatched it for us!  Thank you Anita!

Andrea Rigler’s friend, Maren Jensen of Keegan’s Corner donated gorgeous custom-made collars, and let me tell you, they are stunning!  Thank you Maren!

Last July I posted the need for used crates, and out of nowhere, Kimberley Nykanen donated four brand new crates to me, and believe it or not, I put them to use right away when I picked up the backyard breeder dogs.  These new crates allowed me to give my larger crates to other fosters who really needed them.  Thanks Kimberley!

Sarah’s Transport Buddies

Transporting:

Although Sarah White-Bauxbaum wishes she could adopt and/or foster, her current situation does not allow that option, so for almost a year now, Sarah has been transporting for us… transporting from Orlando to Ocala, to Volusia County, and even to Clearwater.  Sarah has created a Blog about being a volunteer transporter, hoping others will see the joy and importance of this act of kindness in the rescue community.  I don’t know what we’d do without Sarah!

To date, most of our volunteer transporters and fosters are former adopters.  People like Laura Watson, Marjie Wolfe, Erica Brilliant, Anita Barber, Megan Richardson, and I can go on and on with dozens of names.

 

Fostering:

I don’t know where to start because fostering was something I thought I’d never achieve.  By December of 2009, I had re-homed dozens of dogs, I was on my own, and very overwhelmed.  A few people contacted me and offered to foster, and when Holly returned from Jacksonville in May of 2010, she too wanted to get back into rescue.

We support our foster homes with whatever it is they need to be successful.  Our dogs are rarely in foster care for more than one month, which gives our fosters breaks.  Fosters like Amy Benz, Khaz Brooks and Vicki Truelove rescue with very little supervision, they have access to everything The Dog Liberator has to offer.  If I was still the only foster like I was back in December, 2009, I would’ve never been able to save over 400 dogs to date.  Supporting and training our fosters is what makes us different.

Cristina & Luis with Shane

There are many behind-the-scenes fosters that few even know about, for example, Lynne Flannery.  Lynne has fostered dozens of dogs for me, and I hope all of you meet her at our next reunion!

Cristina & Luis thought they wanted to adopt a dog from us, and offered to foster (shown right with Shane).  To date, that have fostered at least five dogs in just a few short months!  Just like many in rescue, they have taken a break from fostering for a while!

Recently, Kevin & Mel who adopted the Spice Girls insisted that they give back, get involved, and experience the joy of fostering.  They have fostered Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp and many more! Way to go Kevin & Mel!

Office Equipment and Technology:

Many supporters have offered cameras, video cameras, printers, computers and monitors for our rescue, and they have all been appreciated!

Vicki Truelove

Consulting:

Both Vicki Truelove and Paul Pipitone are trainers and behaviorists, and when I have a question, they are always available to provide suggestions!

We are blessed to have agility experts who help us evaluate our dogs, along with Disc Experts, like Jason & Andrea Rigler!  We are very excited about our new relationship with Mark Lucas with Soccer Collies!

 

 

 

Love to Shop?

A few months ago, my long-time friend, Susan Berry, founder of Chubby Chicks Health Club, was cruising the thrift stores and when she stumbled across a ton of Halloween doggie costumes!  She bought them all and dropped them off to me just a few days ago.  I’m going to be shipping them off to our fosters and hope that we can really create a hilarious photo album!  Thanks Susan!

 

Emily Kennedy

At this time, my friend and neighbor, Emily Kennedy comes to my home several times a week to input Adoption information, micro chip numbers, fill out micro chip registration forms, make folders, file folders, email adopters, update our calendar, and soon we will be entering all of this information in an online database.  Emily is unbelievable!  She knows every dog’s name, when it was adopted, who adopted the dog, and the dog’s history!

Veterinary Care:

Can you introduce your rescue to your vet and help create a relationship?  Many times we have fosters who volunteer in a certain area where we do not have any relationships with local area vets.  Months ago, Larry & Joyce Ashlock introduced us to their vet, and it made a huge difference.  We now have an awesome relationship with Country Oaks Animal Hospital & Boarding Kennel, and they have done an outstanding job taking are of our dogs!

Speaking of Vets:

We are always looking for vets who are ready to help our rescue, and without our vets, we couldn’t possibly be effective.  The team at Aloma Jancy and Val-u-Vet are always there for us, saving dogs and maintaining our core principals.

Mr. Breeze by Olivia

Photographers:  

There is a real need for great photographers and now videotographers.  Here’s a great article posted on CBS News explaining why!  I believe that bad shelter photos prevent dogs from being saved.  This is why my rescue takes literally dozens of photos of each of our dogs, always thriving to get that one awesome shot that represents the dog’s spirit.  Our photographers, like Cristina Nieves, Olivia Frost, and Dianna Noreen have really made a difference in capturing a our dogs thus getting them more attention.  Today, our shelter and transport volunteers provide us with a huge advantage when they take photos of the actual journey from beginning to end.  As our dogs inch their way to safety, our volunteers photograph each leg, which includes photographs of each volunteer, from town to town until they reach their temporary destination – foster care!  It’s quite amazing!

Spice Girl in the Tub!

 

What Else?

If you’re a dog groomer, why not consider dedicating a portion of your time for your favorite shelter, pound, or rescue?

So, what can do you for your favorite rescue?  Can you offer to do home visits?  Drive dogs to and from the vet?  Run errands, or make phone calls?

If you’re handy on Facebook, you can offer to post updates for your favorite group.

Volunteers Supporting Shelters & Pounds:

I have been blessed working with people like Becky Harshman who volunteers for Chilton County’s Humane Society, Dale Parent from Texas, who volunteers for Athens Dog Pound in Alabama.  Hope Master of Florida who volunteers for shelters in Georgia.  How can this be?  It happens!  Once you select a shelter in a rural area, one where dogs have a slim chance of being adopted, you can make a difference by connecting with rescues, identifying volunteers, coordinating transports, raising funds to sponsor dogs, and creating relationships with shelter volunteers by introducing adoptable dogs.

Marjie Wolfe, for example, focuses on her local area shelter in Brevard County.  Although Amy Benz has rescued dogs from all over the Southeast, she also supports and visits her shelter in Citrus County, FL.  Kathy Keith focuses on Gordon County, GA and Vicki Truelove assists the shelter at Hall County, GA.

Dedicating yourself to a specific shelter or geographic location really does help everyone, especially the dogs!

Kathy Keith with the Spice Girls

Transporting

Transporters nationwide work together getting dogs out of shelters to waiting rescues.  Pilots-N-Paws welcomes volunteer pilots that do the same.  There are so many networks of volunteer transporters out there.  All of them mimic the original efforts created by Brandy Holleran founder of of OTRA.  OTRA (On the Road Again) created an innovative way of creating yahoo groups, identifying volunteers and putting together legged transports.  This effort was published in a book called “Fifteen Legs: When all that stands between death and freedom is a ride“.  Today, thousands of volunteer groups work together moving dogs that are at risk to the safe haven of rescues.  Whether you can drive 20 minutes, 200 miles, or 2,000 miles, transporters truly make a difference in rescue.

Cross-posting:

Cross-posting can be an effective way to match a shelter dog to rescue.  The birth of the internet, sites like Petfinder, and Facebook have all made a powerful impact of saving dogs.  However, cross-posters who forward massive amounts of emails every day, are literally marked as spam by rescuers, and their emails go straight to the delete folder.  Cross-posters who take the time to forward dogs that are a fit both by breed and geographic location are very important to rescues.

To date, I have at least a dozen cross-posters who, even after I have requested that they remove my email address from their list, forward hundreds of emails each day.  Waking up to thousands of emails identifying dogs I can’t rescue is, unfortunately, a waste of time.

Effective cross-posters not only take care in creating geographic-specific and breed-specific mailing lists to rescues, but are also available to answer questions and obtain additional information for both the shelter and the rescue.  Effective cross-posters serve as a liaison for both the shelter and the rescue, and that simple and quick introduction can be all it takes to save a dog from euthanasia, when it’s done right.

Summary:

Sarah with China and Baby Ga Ga

It’s been only two years since I started to rescue, and The Dog Liberator has identified and tapped into multiple solutions that can increase effectiveness, and efficiency.  We are always looking for great people who can volunteer a few hours of their time a week.  Breaking apart complicated tasks into manageable chunks has been the key to our success, not to mention I love to delegate, even my children volunteer for the dogs!   If you think you can find a few hours to spare and would like to help, please email me at TheDogLiberator@gmail.com.

Here’s a great article published regarding tax breaks for volunteers.

We have so many awesome volunteers now, and I can’t possibly mention them all in one post, so to all of you, thank you for everything you do and all you have done for TDL in the past!

 

 

Book Review: The E-Myth Revisited

The E-Myth Revisited is a book that I have been recommending for years.  It changed the way I thought about starting and running a business.  Every page was a major ah ha moment for me.  When volunteers want to get even more involved with our rescue, I suggest that the read the book so that they can understand my methodology for making this rescue successful.

This rescue isn’t about me, if it was I would’ve called it Pet Rescue by Gisele!  This rescue is about the mission, the collective, the goals, and how we get there.  The better job we do, the more we can save.  It’s that simple.

Some people start rescues for emotional reasons, usually it ends up in failure because of burn-out.  Three years is a long time in rescue!  And volunteers rarely stick around very long.  Regardless of what you’re thinking about starting, or if you’re running a business that is running you ragged, this tiny little paperbook book, could change everything!  It’s really about doing it right… but the book explains why, and it shows you how!

Order it on Amazon.

Andi Brown and The Whole Pet Diet

Doc’s Stew

Get ready people!  Andi Brown is coming out with a new line for our doggies!  It’s named after Doc, the pup she adopted from us!  I can’t wait to get my hands on this!

 

History:  It’s been four weeks since Holly and I started making our own dog food.  There are three reasons for this:

First, when we rescued Jordan’s Prize, he was such a mess,  Maria DeRosa started investigating alternatives.  Maria dove into her research and was convinced that she would never buy dog food again.  She lost a dog at a very young age, and the more she educated herself, the more she realized the difference that nutrition could have made.    She motivated us to change!

Second, several months ago, Andi Brown adopted our Jangle,   fostered by Cathy McIlroy.  Andi presented Cathy with a copy of her cook, The Whole Pet Diet.

As Cathy started reading Andi’s book, she called me with her comments, and said it was like having one Ah Ha Moment after another.  Her experiences with dog allergies, and having dogs literally pass away at an early age, Cathy attributed it to poor diet.  Cathy then gave the book to Holly!

Holly had already been making some chicken casserole for her pups, but now she was going to take it a step further.  Every day, the more she read Andi’s book, the more we brainstormed with ideas.  Holly cooks  Andi’s “Spot’s Chicken Stew” overnight in her crock pot, then freezes it in ice cube trays, and measures the puppy chow by counting the number of cubes (genius).

536031_271012119647551_142012077_nThird, I have never been able to afford high end dog foods like Honest Kitchen, Blue Buffalo or Call of the Wild, but what I’ve learned lately is home made is better.   I’ve heard time and time again that the affordable high-quality dog foods like Science Diet, Eukanuba, and Iams are just not preferred, especially when it comes to dogs with food allergies.  When I did the math, I figured if I shopped wisely, while items are either on sale or buy in bulk, I could give my dogs the best quality dog food, eliminating foods that cause allergies (like corn), increase their protein intake (no by-products in my kitchen) and kiss kibble good bye!

Gisele’s Stew for Collies

It’s been two weeks, and I’m learning even more shortcuts.  The crock pot allows me to prepare their food over night.  Freezing containers allow for future use.

How have my dogs done on the diet? Ozzie has demonstrated a calmness and a coat that is to die for!  The first night I fed them their home made meal, Ozzie walked around with an empty metal bowl in his mouth!  So far, Lady Di has had a hard time adjusting.  Because of loose bowels, I just added more pumpkin and brown rice.  This is one of the aspects I have enjoyed the most:  the control of adding and taking away as the dogs’ systems demand.
Both Lady Di and China are also showing more shine in the coat.

Holly’s Chicken Stew

So while I can’t personally afford the extreme high quality dog foods out there, I surely can afford what my super market has to offer, and my grocery receipts are showing me that making the dog food is the same price as buying low-quality kibble.

Updates on Jordan’s Prize are very promising, and sharing this with other fosters is huge.  There are always dogs that are itching, have suffered loss of hair, or have loose stool.  Changing their diet is one option that we can use immediately rather than depending on medications that aren’t going to solve the problem.

To date, what I have noticed is that my Ozzie comes when called!  He is so excited to have his dinner, regardless of what time of the day it is, the dog that never came when I called him, is racing to the door now – every single time!

We urge our readers to get a copy of Andi’s book, and post your comments on this post with your findings.  Both Holly and I are tweaking our recipes quite often, so while we are all still learning, this is probably one of the most exciting things our rescue has done!   Holly says, “Let’s be different!”

Now without further adieu, here’s Holly’s comments!

 

Because I foster the puppies, and I believe puppies do best in groups, I have had a huge number of dogs pass through my home.  When you care for that many dogs, you start to see statistics.  One of the things that I have seen is that at least 10% of dogs present food allergy symptoms.  Those are the ones presenting; who knows how many have inflammation that I am not seeing.  I started looking into dog food recipes in February, but all the books seemed too complicated and cutesy.  I needed something basic, or nothing at all.  I went with nothing at all.

In April my fosters included Moses, a rather quiet Border Collie.  He was adopted by Marilyn and Win.  Imagine how I felt when I found out that their vet said he was extremely anemic.   Granted, I’d only had him for a week, but the idea that a puppy could leave my care still anemic was a wake up call.  I remembered my conversation with Andi Brown when she first inquired about Jangle, so I looked up her website.  There was a video on how to make Spot’s Chicken Stew.  This is what I was looking for.  Simple, basic and quick.  I could do this!  I started throwing into my crock pot a chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, rice…. whatever I had on hand.  When my May puppies arrived, I started mixing their kibble with the chicken stew.  And they loved it!

When Flipper starting eating chicken stew, I knew he’d make it

I’m very glad that I had that month, because it turned out to make all the difference in June.  You see, in June, my worse fears were realized.   My June puppies got sick.  First Flipper.  He started throwing up, stopped eating, had diarrhea…. it was parvo.  I thought for sure I’d lose him.  Two nights in a row, when we went to bed, we braced ourselves for him to be dead in the morning.  But he pulled through.  All of the other puppies seemed to have mild cases as well, but I didn’t lose a single one of them.  Why?  I believe it is due in no small part to the nutrition they were getting.  At that point I had received the long awaited autographed copy of Andi’s book.  I was making Spot’s Chicken Stew to her recipe.  I was supplementing their diet with occasional yogurt, alfalfa sprouts, cooked chicken liver, cottage cheese, fresh carrots, …..  When Flipper stopped eating, I tempted him with the chicken broth from the stew, eventually adding the puree as his appetite kicked in.  I think that the other puppies were able to fight off the virus because their bodies were getting great nutrition.  Usually parvo kills about 50% of those who get it.  I didn’t lose a single puppy.

June puppies enjoying Chicken Stew with alphalpha and yogurt on top

What am I seeing now?  All the puppies are doing well.  They have put on good weight, their coats have lost that “shelter look”, they are energetic and happy.  Gus and Ralph, my basset mixes, are having a hallelujah break down every time I feed them (I add extra water to theirs so they feel like they are getting more and making the experience last longer!  lol)  My cats?  Well, they’re still on a hunger strike, but between you and me, I’ve seen Baranov sneak in there an eat when Sitka isn’t looking.  Cats….  “change” is not in their vocabulary!

Last week, when I spoke to Kurt, he asked me what I was feeding the puppies.  I told him about The Whole Pet Diet by Andi, how I make Spot’s Chicken Stew, and my experience with it.  Yesterday, Kurt came to pick up Rhody.  I was delighted when he told me that he had already cooked Spot’s Chicken Stew for his new puppy and had it in the refrigerator!

Even if you cannot see yourself cooking for your pets, I strongly encourage you to get Andi’s book.  It is an easy read, full of anecdotal tales of pets and how a change of diet changed their lives and health.  She explains the benefits of different foods and how you can incorporate them into your pet’s life.  You may not go pure homemade, but perhaps you’ll be able to pick up one or two tips that make the difference in your pet’s life!

Vita Glo Dream Coat

Andi also created a product called VitaGlo Dream Coat by Halo, that is available in stores, including Whole Foods and online, including  Amazon .  Holly and I are currently using this product and achieving wonderful results!  It isn’t cheap, but you only use a little each day.  In fact, I recommend that you measure it with a medicine dropper, for accuracy and to keep it from dribbling down the side of the bottle.

Here’s great news!  Our Maria DeRosa has created a Dog Food Recipe Exchange on Facebook! Join the group, and let’s have fun cooking for our dogs!

Note:  The Whole Pet Diet makes reference to a dog food brand that Andi developed, however, since Andi sold the company she is has seen changes in the recipe and does not recommend it.

Book Review, Homer’s Odyssey

Reviewed by Jennifer Moore:

Homer’s Odyssey

Homer was found abandoned at two weeks of age with such a severe eye infection that it threatened his young life.  He was taken to a young, idealistic vet who didn’t have the heart to give up on him and felt he was special enough to be given a chance.  The only possible treatment would leave him blind for life but she chose to have faith in him and in the humanity of people, knowing that somewhere the right person could be found to take care of him.  That person did come along, and it was her amazing experience with Homer, named for the blind author of epic poems,  that changed her life, taught her about love, life, faith, loyalty and trust.  She learned that while his “disability” forced him to develop strengths in other areas, it was his amazing courage to keep on going, to be willing to try and fail, to trust in himself and in her, that enabled him to make a friend of every stranger,  and perform amazing, in some cases even heroic feats.  It is a feel good book every animal lover will appreciate, and one that anyone who has ever known a soul living with a “disability” will immediately recognize-that with the gifts of courage, faith, trust and hope, we find the best in ourselves and in one another.

Homer’s Odyssey is available on Amazon.com.

Book Review – Flawed Dogs

I just finished Flawed Dogs, and it was hilarious! Now I’m going to read it again to my daughter, Sarah. The story is about a purebred dog who is shipped to his owner, only to escape, be re-owned, lost again, and ends up at the pound. How does it end? Can’t tell ya! But if I want to read it again, you know it’s got to be really good!  Order it here:  Flawed Dogs: The Novel: The Shocking Raid on Westminster

 

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