Go Potty – Helping Your Abused Dog To Go Outside

Our Borgi Puppies, Adopted 2010

Our Borgi Puppies, Adopted 2010

There are tons of “how to housebreak your puppy” books and videos out there.  And I’m sure there are millions of products that claim will help, but these things are for the normal average dog.  Rescued dogs sometimes come with a little bit of baggage!  Usually, it’s the dog’s former owner who confused the dog, and now the dog is stuck.

This is the case with Buttons Sparkles, Boo BooShy Sharon, Baileys, and dozens of dogs I have rescued.

Many Dogs that Have Lived On Their Own Don’t Want to Go Outside

Recently, Marlo’s new Mom asked for advice – Marlo does not want to go outside.  I find this ironic, since Marlo has been “living off the land” for most of her life, and now she doesn’t want to go outside?  The same thing happened with Brittney’s Mystery.  Once Mystery felt the security of being indoors, she didn’t want to go out!

Dogs that Have Been Mistreated are Afraid to go Potty Outside

In most cases, dogs do not want to go outside because while they were being housebroken by the owners, they were simply abused.  Their owners caught them making a mess too late, they were scolded, grabbed, maybe  hit, and thrown outside.  Now, the dog is afraid of going through doorways, and I can’t blame them.

In the case of Shy Sharon, and Goldie Hawn, the crate sores on the top of their paws showed that they were pulled out of their crates, and because they put on the breaks, their feet got stuck.  Now you have a dog that’s terrified of leaving the crate because each time they did, they hurt themselves.  I put a Kuranda bed in their crates so the step down would ensure them it would never happen again.

Timing is Everything when Training Your Dog

There are many people who believe they should give their dog either a reward or a treat when the dog does its potty and comes back inside… but what that does is teaches the dog to hurry back in!  Those people will quickly learn that they dog will not do their business.  The run outside, and head right back for the door – they want their treat!

Boo Boo Afraid to Go Outside!

Boo Boo Afraid to Go Outside!

What I suggested for Marlo is that her new Mom rattles the treat bag, and let Marlo watch her put treats in her pocket.  Take Marlo to the door, and give her a treat (or praise), then open the door, and as soon as she goes through the doorway, give her another treat.  Enter the yard, and treat again.  Give Marlo constant praise as she spends time in the yard, but do NOT treat her for coming back into the house!  That will send the wrong message.  We want to praise Marlo for going outside, not coming inside!

Treat or No Treat, I’m not Going Outside!

I have rescued some dogs that will put on the breaks and act like they are walking to their death bed!  No treat in the world will convince them that it’s safe outside.  In those cases, I just tug at the leash, and go – ignoring their protest!  Each time it gets easier and easier.

More Tips for Getting Your Dog to Go Outside

If your dog loves toys, take some with you!

Crates Sores on her paws, she was forced out of her crate

Crates Sores on her paws, proves she was forced out of her crate

Always remain calm and relaxed.  If you are tense your dog will be tense.  Sing a song to yourself to get your mind off of it.

Each time you go outside with your dog, make the outing last a little bit longer.

Give a lot of verbal praise after you see your dog is finished doing its business!

If your dog loves the company of other dogs, borrow another dog!  Invite a family member, neighbor or co-worker’s dog for a few days to help ease your dog’s fears.

If your dog did its business outside, give your dog some cuddle time when you come back inside, if your dog didn’t do its business, try again in ten minutes!

Did you Just Adopt Your Dog?

If your yard is not fenced, and you just adopted a rescued dog, know that some dogs DO NOT like to “go” while on leash. This will take time.  Some dogs will not “go” while on a walk!  Be patient!

Make Your Home a Drama-Free Zone for Your Dog!

And Remember to Never EVER feel sorry for your dog!  Your dog wants to be a super star, not be part of a pity party.  Please read Let it Go.


Share your Tips with us!

If you’ve had an experience that worked, leave a comment  here and share it with our readers!

Save Money on Prescription Medications for Your Dog

Save Money on Prescription Drugs for your DogYou know that feeling when you’re standing at the counter at the vet?  You’ve waited forever, your dog has been examined, you’ve been given a diagnosis and part of you is relieved, and part of you feels overwhelmed knowing you’re about ready to get the bill!  I know that what you really want to do is get out of there, but slow down!

If your veterinarian is going to prescribe some medications for your pet, you might want to read this!  Most medications are made for human consumption, some are not – so ASK!

Find out exactly how many milligrams you are being prescribed and how many pills you are getting.  Then, ask them how much the medications are going to cost.  Pull out your cell phone and look it up!  Download this app http://www.goodrx.com/ on your phone, plug in your zip code and poof!  If you have a Walgreens or CVS card, you might find that these medications are cheaper at your local pharmacy.

If you find that you can save a substantial amount, and you don’t need the medication immediately, ask for a written prescription!

Did You Know?  

Did you know that if your dog has hip dysplasia your vet might recommend using Metacam.  Metacam is awesome, my Reckless was on it for years.  The honey-flavored liquid was easy to dispense, and she loved the taste, but it was costing me about $25 a week.  I later learned that Metacam is really Meloxicam!  If anyone in your family has ever suffered from joint pain, a shoulder or knee injury they were probably given Meloxicam.  I talked to my vet about the difference – one is a liquid and the other is a pull.  For 30 tables, 15 MG the Meloxicam in pill form is $4 a month at Walmart, Target and many other pharmacies!


Also Read Over-the-Counter-Medication

Dealing with High Energy Dogs for the Low Energy Individual

Anna's Libby (was Pickle)

Anna’s Libby (was Pickle)

Dogs, especially herding breeds, are almost impossible to keep up with. Even the fittest person will have their pets run circles around them (sometimes literally). So when choosing a dog for adoption, make sure that the dog you are looking for is one at your energy level. Meaning, that if you’re a couch potato, don’t get a high energy dog like a Border Collie or a Greyhound. If you’re a runner looking for a companion, a Yorkie or a St. Bernard probably isn’t for you. Do your research, and don’t be afraid of the mutt!

But, for those of you who got that puppy, who grew up into a dog that tears around the house at lightning speeds, or adopted that dog because it was cute, but not so much after it chewed half your shoes – here are some tips to bring your dog down to a manageable level.


Tobuscus now Serge

Tobuscus now Serge

Go on a Walk

Or Run. Bike. Roller Blade. Skateboard. Exercise is the absolute best thing you can do for your dog to wear them down. Find the time every day when your dog is at their worst (my dog has his about 7 pm after dinner) and take them out to burn some of that excess energy. Make sure you go regularly to get optimal results.


When you can’t Walk

The treadmill (if you have one) is a fantastic tool for channeling a dog’s excited energy. Though it will never replace the walk, it is good for rainy days, or times when you just can’t take them out. Just remember to never tie a dog to a treadmill, or leave them alone on it, because they may injure themselves. Make sure to keep it at a steady walking pace as well, don’t make your dog run.

Here are a few treadmills that we think are perfect for your dog, and some are real space savers!

Another option is if you have a pool, and Fido likes to swim, toss a stick for them for a bit. It’ll be twice as fun for them as a game of fetch, and twice as exhausting!  Don’t have a pool?  Sometimes, just chasing the sprinkler can wear your dog out, and you can water your lawn at the same time – now that’s multi-tasking!

Or teach your dog the names of his toys, and play a game of “find it!”


Take them on Adventures

Nothing wears out a dog like a trip to the dog park (or the vet). So to help with a dog’s insatiable energy, every so often take your dog somewhere. Dogs like nothing more than to hop in the car and go for a ride. If you’re going to pick up take out, bring Fido along, or if you’re going to the kid’s soccer games, bring the pup to help cheer them on. Your dog will be ecstatic to go anywhere with you!


Organize a play date

If there are dogs that your pup gets along with, have them come over for an afternoon. You can even take turns trading off dogs to give the other owner a break too! Your dog will be thrilled to have a friend over, and will have a buddy to play with to his heart’s content, or until he collapses happily on the floor.


Treat toys 

Most people know of the Kong, but online, and at the pet store, there are plenty of other treat balls that are a bit more difficult, and can be filled with less expensive (and less sticky) treats. If your dog needs constant entertainment, try putting their dinner into one of said treat toys and let them work for it. Not only is it hours of entertainment, but it’s mental stimulation for them as well.

Border Collies especially, are real brainiacs!


Extra tip: If the treat toy is emptied faster than you’d like, try filling a Kong with treats in different layered combinations, add a bit of water and put it in the freezer overnight before giving it to your pup. It’ll take them twice as long to clean it out.

Here are some extra sites for filling up that Kong to keep your dog entertained





If you have a herding breed who is about to drive you insane, you might want to consider taking them to a herding class. These training facilities can help you teach your dog to herd sheep (usually) or other “herd” animals. This will challenge your dog both physically and mentally, and help them to fulfill their basic herding instinct. Dog owner beware: if you choose this option, it is important to make sure you go often for the sake of your dog, because if they take to it – herding is all they are going to want to do.

Note: It might be difficult to find herding trainers in your area, so if google doesn’t work for you – try to find an event where herding might be on exhibition, and talk to the trainers there.



“Agility” is a type of dog training where the handler leads a dog through various obstacles in a charted course in a certain amount of time. This is a great mental and physical exercise for your pet since not only do they have to run obstacles (a feat in itself) but they have to do them in the order in which you tell them. Of course that doesn’t happen overnight – so it’s best to take some classes first. Taking your dog to an agility class can be a blast for both you and your pet. The best part is, any dog can do it big or small (and relatively fearless).

Here is a video of a dog agility competition (though you only need to watch the first minute to get the drift)

The Walk: Tools and Tips

The Walk: Tools and Tips

Written by Jessica Purvis, adopter of Tobuscus

Jessica and Tobuscus, now Serge, Adopted 2013

Jessica and Tobuscus, now Serge, Adopted 2013

If walking your dog leaves you frustrated, stressed – and your dog still bouncing off the walls, you probably want to read this article.

Being in control of your dog doesn’t mean that you need to keep your dog on a rigid tight leash yanking them every two seconds with military precision. In an ideal walk your dog should be walking next to you with a loose leash, and be obviously aware of you. This means if you stop, your dog should be stopping or slowing with you, if you offer a physical or verbal correction your pet should show some response. Below are some tools that should help you improve your walk, take back control, and let you walk together without major incidents.


Tools: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly 

The creation of complex tools and their use is what makes us human, and these tools can either help make, or break your walk. Each dog is different, so make sure you find that tool that works best for your dog (you may have to try all of them before you get to the best choice).

Retractable Leashes 

Though an appealing idea for a walk, retractable leashes should only be used when your dog needs room to run (such as an open field) and are under 30 lbs. Because they lead to a lack of control over your pet, your pet is less likely to listen to you, more likely to pull, and is in danger of getting hit by a car, bike or other vehicle if you can’t retract fast enough or they break the leash (my 20 lb Westie can break the most durable of them).


Harnesses through out history have been put on dogs to pull small carts, wagons or sleds. A Harness allows a dog to efficiently use their full strength to do these jobs, and used with a leash, will let your dog easily drag you up and down the road.  Harnesses are best used for small teacup dogs who’s necks you might strain with the smallest jerk, or dogs who walk like perfect angels and their owners are just reading this for pure entertainment.

Choke Chains 

Now Choke Chains get a bad rap, mostly from their name. However, the use of a choke chain can cause an immediate difference in the walk. Two or three sharp well timed tugs can cause your dog to instantly stop chasing that squirrel. However, If your dog continues to pull regardless of the amount of strain on their neck, and is unresponsive to corrections, try something else.

Note: When purchasing a choke collar, be sure that the collar you select is not too long.

The Prong Collar

The Prong Collar is the more aggressive version of the choke chain. This tool is best used on a dog that outweighs you, is grossly stronger, has a thick neck, and is unresponsive to the choke chain. This tool works similar to the choke, but this should be your final option since it is the most painful for your dog.

Tools that Work Magic

These are personal favorites that I use with my own dogs. When used together, they can wear out and keep control of even the most high energy dogs.

The Gentle Leader / Haltie

There are no words to describe how awesome the gentle leader is. It keeps most determined cat chasers under control, and dogs that would normally be pulling you down the street are manageable. I would strongly recommend this for any dog owner. (Note: this will be less effective on dogs with short muzzles due to it’s design, e.g. pugs, shi tzus).

The Backpack

This is absolutely key for a dog that has more energy than you or is not tired for long (or at all) when you return from a walk. No matter if the dog is big or small (I use it on both my Westie and 90 lb Border Collie mix and they both love it), the backpack is a lifesaver on the walk. It not only wears the dog down, but the pups obviously get enjoyment out of having a “job” to do.

When weighting the backpack make sure that it is strapped securely but you can fit two fingers in each strap. If you put weight in the backpack, put no more than 10% of the dog’s body weight, any more and you can injure the dog. Finally, make sure to never to put a backpack on a dog younger than a year, or on one that has any muscular, bone, or intestinal issues.

How to Use the Tools

This is a great video that explains the proper use of the Choke Chain, the Prong Collar and the Gentle Leader.

Here is a link for the best of the two dog backpacks that I use. The way the front chest strap is set up makes it very comfortable for the dog and helps keep the weight more evenly distributed.


So now that you have the tools, grab some doggie bags, your canine, and get outside!


Added Note:

The Easy Walk Harness

The easy walk harness is another tool that you can use with your dog, below is a video on how to fit it and it’s intended purpose. This will probably be best used for a dog that only pulls a little or is on the smaller side, because it will give you little control over a dog that really drags you around. Remember that if your dog doesn’t respond, try something else!

We would like to thank Jessica for researching helpful topics for dog-lovers like us!  Understand that any product, especially collars, when used improperly, can cause harm.  It is very important that you research products like these, and take the time to learn how to use them properly.  ~ Gisele


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.



Got Munchies?

Know that cutting up your chip or cereal bag in half can save your dog’s life.  Thank you Anita and Stepher!  Please research this.

Here’s the Facebook page.  It reads:  Educating the public on the suffocation risks our pets face from chip bags and other products. This page is dedicated to the memory of Blue, our beautiful rescue dog, who suffocated on December 15, 2011 from a Cheetos bag.

Let it Go – Stop Feeling Sorry For Your Dog

This article explains why it is unhealthy to pity or feel sorry for your dog. No matter what your dog has been through, pity will create behavioral issues. This article explains that most dog-owners, especially those who have adopted a rescued dog, don’t realize that feeling sorry for your dog does emotional harm.

All Dogs Should Be Expected to Behave


I was listening to Cesar Milan on a radio station a few weeks ago trying to answer the question, “why do you think so many dogs get returned from shelters and pounds?”  What Cesar tried to explain was that people feel sorry for the shelter dog, and when they bring the dog home, they treat it with a tremendous amount of pity, they treat it like an orphan, and let it get away with very bad behavior.   They won’t correct the dog, because it has been through so much. As I was listening, I realized that he really wasn’t explaining it well enough for the average person to identify with.  I felt that people listening would say, “oh, I would never do that,” when in fact they do!  I don’t think people truly realize what they should and should not do when they bring a dog home.


Be Proud of Your Dog

If you think about it, and you purchased a pup from a phenomenal breeder, you would be proud of your new pup, showing it off to everyone and bragging about its bloodline, the titles its parents have won, and your dreams for your new pup.  But that’s not how people act or feel when they bring home a pup from the pound; a pup that is emaciated, maybe is full of worms, has runny poop, cries all night long, and is confused.

Do Not Reward Fear

People who see a dog cower at the sight of as human hand for some reason want to embrace it, pet it, tell it it’s okay, and that just makes the dog even worse.  The dog has actually been rewarded for being afraid of the hand. I have had many people come to my home with their adopted dog, asking to adopt a second dog from me to keep their dog company.  Many times the potential adopters discuss in detail the horrible conditions that their dog originally came from.  They treat their dog like it’s still being abused, in other words, carrying the pity that they have for their dog in their heart and on their sleeve.  It doesn’t take me very long to realize that their dog is neurotic, and stuck.

Don’t Make Excuses For Your Dog’s Behavior

What I witness is a very nervous and unsure dog.  The owners make up excuses for their dog.  Their dog may growl at another dog, or show it’s teeth at me, and they make excuses for their dog.  Their dog may be food-aggressive, and they make excuses for their dog.

Is Your Dog Stuck, Living in the Past?

A few times, I’ve literally asked the couple to leave their dog with me, “go have lunch and leave me alone with your dog for an hour so I can properly introduce the two dogs to each other,” I beg, because I know that it’s their energy that’s preventing the dog’s joy.  They refuse to leave, they refuse to give me a chance, they refuse to give their dog a chance, because they enjoy seeing their dog needy, confused and unsure so they can be their dog’s savior. Their dog is stuck living in its past.  To the dog’s owners, he’s always seen as the pathetic, needy, starving dog they brought home from the filthy pound, and that’s NOT what your dog wants – and that’s not what your dog is today.


Make Your Dog’s Pity Party Brief

Since I recently worked with Winter, Shep and even before then Shy Sharon, I go overboard with potential adopters explaining to them that under no circumstances are they to feel sorry for their dog.  Even in the worse cases, like Bart and China, for example, I too feel a lot of empathy for the abused and neglected dogs that I rescue… but only for 24 hours.  After that dog is with me for a day, I brush it off and the dog and I begin a new day, begin a new journey, and the dog knows that there is not one ounce of pity in my heart for him any longer.  Those days are gone, it’s time to move on and be proud.

They call it tough love

Only on a few occasions I’ve allowed someone to adopt from me not knowing that they want the dog because they felt sorry it-it always ends in disaster.  Yet people are more attracted to the damaged dogs than the perfectly fine dogs.  Dogs like Chaz, for example, has never been in a pound, he was never abused or neglected, he’s just a great dog.  Yet 99% of potential adopters want to adopt the sad abused and neglected dogs, like Shep. While I was trying to explain this to a friend last week, I used an analogy that just came out before I realized I had just had a major Ah Ha moment.

Tiny Dancer

Your Dog Is Not an Orphan Anymore

As a young teenager, I was quite a handful.  I was disrespectful and rude to my parents; I thought I knew everything.  I didn’t appreciate how hard they worked for the family, and how lucky I was.  Every heated argument ended with my Mom or Dad saying, “if it wasn’t for us, you would have died; we saved your life.” Those words always ran through my veins like ice.  Instead of being grateful that they adopted me (a sickly three month-old baby abandoned by her mother and given to a catholic orphanage) it did the opposite-I resented it.  I did not ask to be there, I did not ask to be adopted, and at three months of age, I certainly had no say in selecting my family.

My Collie, when I was just a kid

My Collie, when I was just a kid

The statement itself infuriated me.  Why?  Because I did not want to be seen or treated like that pathetic and unwanted orphan.  I wanted to be appreciated for who I had become.  I did not want to be a sickly orphan, I wanted to be their healthy yet combative teenager daughter! I remember thinking to myself, if they were so unhappy with me, why did they adopt? Today, of course I realize that this was normal teenage rebellion and if we wouldn’t have fought about that, we would’ve fought about something else!

But I do understand that when a dog is adopted, he should be adopted because he is wanted.  He should be adopted because he will add to the family, not give the family a sad story to hang onto.  Stop the Drama!


If you have ever met me, and met China, you’d understand my energy.  China is probably one of the most abused dogs I’ve ever rescued, yet when I introduce her and show her off to people, I do it with great pride.  I don’t dwell on her past, I don’t want people to feel sorry for her, I want people to see her beauty, recognize her intelligence, and more importantly witness her incredible loyalty and joy. Yes she was unwanted, abandoned, surrendered to a kill shelter, scheduled to be put down and deemed un-adoptable.  Yes, she was beaten and took months to rehabilitate, but that shroud does not follow her because we will not pity her.

I work very hard when I rescue and foster a dog with a horrible past to close that door and lock it permanently.  If you are thinking of adopting a dog from a shelter, rescue or pound, or if you are getting a dog off of Craig’s list, or a parking lot, realize that if you’re stuck in the dog’s past, your dog will never grow emotionally, because of you.

It matters not where your dog came from, it’s up to you to undo the past, and help your dog find joy.

There is no joy in pity.

I was Just a Kid

How to Adopt From Us

Our Favorite Things

The Chosen Ones

Read our Reviews

Amazon Gives Back

Ebay Helps Rescue

Hate Mail and Adoption Fees

About Gisele

Over-the-Counter Medicine for Dogs

Holiday Pets: Doc’s Stew

A Gift:

I received a very large package from Fedex yesterday, and it was full of goodies from Andi Brown.  Here’s how my dogs reacted! I’m a true believer in this line of products. When I have a sick dog, like Bart for example, all the medicine in the world can’t necessarily save a dog’s life. They have to stay hydrated, eat, and have a will to live. Once I started making Andi’s chicken stew, Bart looked forward to meal times. If you’ve ever had to nurse a sick dog that has no appetite, you know how frustrating it is… and you know they don’t stand a chance.

Here’s the real Taste test by Lady Di!


But what Little Grace does is HILARIOUS!


Here’s China checking out Doc’s Stew!


Fedex Delivers Doc’s Stew to TDL!


Andi & Doc Holiday

Remember a little pup named Jingle from April 2011?  His litter mates were Jangle and Jubilee and they were fostered by Cathy McIlroy?  These little pups were pulled from Athens Dog Pound, but were too sick for transport.  They were actually pulled in December of 2010, and Becky Harshman found a foster for them until they could find their little legs!   They weren’t well enough for transport until late January, where they stayed with Cathy until they could be spay/neutered.  Andi Brown had her eye on little Jingle… little did we know that this little pup would hit the jackpot!

Holiday Going for A Swim in the Pool

Andi writes:

“Doc” Holiday is a magnificent Border Collie Mix. He was literally down on death row in one of those “kill shelters” deep in the heart of Alabama, with his two twelve week old siblings; Jangle and Jubilee. Fortunately for “Doc”, and Andi a wonderfully intuitive rescue group called “The Dog Liberator” was able to whisk them away at the eleventh hour, and (GET THIS!) – flew them all on a private plane which landed them in a wonderful foster home in Orlando in March of 2011.

Jeff Bennett, Volunteer Pilot of Pilots-n-Paws

Andi had been scanning the internet for a new baby, saw a photo of Holiday and it was a match made in heaven! She wasted no time, drove nearly three hours to meet him and together they left on a journey of love.

Now, just because Andi wrote a wonderful cook book for pets…and espouses the benefits of a homemade diet, she’s not ashamed that she could find a thousand reasons to stay out of the kitchen. But, since there was nothing on the market good enough for Doc to eat, she set out again with her partner and “Master Chef”, Voyko Marx, to develop their newest line of healthy foods and products for Doc and his friends.

And that’s how Doc’s Stew® was born! There has never been a pet food this nutrient dense and of course Andi loves to brag about being able to eat it herself!

Who says a rescue dog can’t make it big in this world? Doc’s job now is happily patrolling the borders of the pet food community, making sure there’s healthy, wholesome food for every cat and dog to love and thrive on!

Doc’s ultimate mission is to help get more homeless animals adopted all over the world. You will be hearing a lot from him, the bond they share and in the coming months you’ll be hearing more about their mission to help the animals and the people who love them at www.holidaypets.com and you can visit Doc Holiday and Andi on Facebook!


I can’t tell you how many times Andi’s recipes have literally saved a dog’s life.  Just recently, Bart was put on Andi’s chicken stew.  Andi spent hours talking to me over the phone designing a diet just for him, coaching me all the way.  We all know how healthy Bart got… the last time I spoke to his adopters, he’s up to 35 pounds!

Heart Murmurs & Hernias

Our puppies JD, Barcardi and Brandy have heart murmurs. This is very common puppies around 4 months old because of their fast growth.  Most grow out of it.  After adopting one of our puppies, a vet freaked the family out so they returned the pup.  The vet labeled it as “failure to thrive”.  Yet our vet, whom we work with closely, and has examined these pups since the day they were born, said both Barcardi and Brandy’s heart murmurs were so insignificant, he didn’t mention it.

We also run into situations with ambilical hernias in puppies, caused when the mother cuts the cord too close.  Some vets repair them during spay/neuter, some do not.  Regardless, of all of the vets (dozens) I have worked with in the past 2 years, they all say the same thing – the puppy will grow out of it.  It’s only because the pups are being spay/neutered do we operate on them.  It’s kind of a “while we’re here” type of thing.

We posted Heart Murmurs on Facebook, and we got quite a huge response.  You can click here to read the comments.

Regardless, when you adopt or buy a dog, there are no guarantees.  Dogs develop illnesses later on in life, puppies grow out of them, we still don’t understand why parvo kills some pups and spares others.

Our goal is to share with our followers the fact that many puppies are born with heart murmurs, and all that means is that there is “a sound”.  Even extensive testing will not provide any results.  Thousands of dollars later, your vet will probably tell you to wait a while and see if this becomes a problem.  Clearly, none of the pups have shown the signs that are listed on the internet as “severe”.

Heart Murmurs in Dogs is a great article that goes into in detail about the condition.

However, since J.D.’s heart murmur is more significant, Lynne has requested that we place a medical hold in him so that we may watch his progress with her vet over the next few months.  This will give us a chance to document the changes, and understand more, first hand, how heart murmurs affect young dogs.

Holly wrote:  My brother-in-law got a puppy that had a murmur. The vet wanted to euthanize it!  It is now 8 years old.  Thank goodness for rational thought!!!

And this is exactly why, when you are consulting with your vet, you need to remember that he is giving you his professional opinion.  Do not react.  Do not over react.  Ask your vet for all the options.  Then, just as you would with a medical doctor, get a second opinion, do your research before you make a drastic or permanent decision.  There is a wealth of knowledge readily available on the internet.  And, as demonstrated so drastically in the response to our facebook post about these puppies, there is a large body of people with personal experience with almost any situation you will come across.   Avail yourself of all of these resources before you leap.

Name That Dog!

Gisele and I have an ongoing thing about names. She prefers to name our dogs after people. I prefer to name them after food, places, feelings,… anything but people! One thing we do agree on is that we won’t use common names or repeat names. No Max, Buddy, Molly or Sadie!

When we get stumped I turn to one of my favorite name sites, PetNamesWorld.com . Here we can even search based on country of origin or meaning! Step aside Max, and make way for Sir Wiggle Woof!!!

It was fun to see the Veterinary Pet Insurance Company’s list of most popular names for 2010. From their website:

Call it the “Twilight Effect.” In 2010 “Bella” retained its position as the most popular dog name for the second year in a row, and surpassed “Chloe” to assume the second most popular name for cats. Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, sorted its database of more than 485,000 insured pets to determine last year’s most popular pet names. In addition to the Top 10 Dog and Cat Names, VPI for the first time has included the Top 10 Exotic Pet Names in its annual pet names analysis. Although “Charlie” may have ranked lower for dogs (No. 9) and cats (No. 10) last year, the name takes the top spot for birds, lizards, gerbils, rabbits and other assorted exotic pets.

Dogs Cats Exotics
1. Bella 1. Max 1. Charlie
2. Bailey 2. Bella 2. Baby
3. Max 3. Chloe 3. Sunny
4. Lucy 4. Oliver 4. Jack
5. Molly 5. Lucy 5. Kiwi
6. Buddy 6. Smokey 6. Bandit
7. Maggie 7. Shadow 7. Bella
8. Daisy 8. Tiger 8. Max
9. Charlie 9. Tigger 9. Sammy
10. Sophie 10. Charlie 10. Gizmo


Of the nearly half a million pets insured by VPI, only 13 were named “Fido,” reflecting the current trend of owners giving their pets human names. Nearly every dog name on VPI’s Top Ten Pet Names list doubles as a popular human name, and several of the more traditional feline names—“Tiger” and “Tigger”—decreased in popularity between 2009 and 2010.

“We know that nearly half of pet owners today view their pets as a part of their family,” said Curtis Steinhoff, director of Corporate Communications at VPI. “Given that pets are considered family members, it makes sense that pet owners are selecting human-oriented names like ‘Max’ or ‘Charlie.’”

Not all the pet names in VPI’s database are as common as Bella and Max. Thousands of VPI policyholders have given their pets names not shared by any other pet on record, such as “Pickle Von Corndog” and “Admiral Pancake.” To see some of the more creative monikers selected for VPI’s Top 10 Most Unusual Pet Names of 2010, visit www.wackypetnames.com.

Bringing Your New Dog or Puppy Home

Bringing your new dog home

Click here to read “Starting out Right” .  This page contains everything there is know about bringing one of our rescued puppies or dogs to your new home!


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