How to Adopt From Us

Logan the Puppy and the Twins

Logan the Puppy and the Twins

Much to the surprise of many people, we do not use an online adoption application.  Instead, we rely on getting to know you by asking you a few questions in an email, and telephone interview.

Because we are a small rescue and keep all of our dogs in foster homes, we shy away from forms that tend to emphasis why someone should not have a dog. The interview process allows us to learn more about our potential adopters and their individual situations, concerns, pros and cons.

By knowing more details, we are able to place dogs into homes that other rescues might turn down, because we already know our dogs. We’re small so we don’t need blanket policies that require fences or disallow families with small children or won’t allow senior citizens. We’re focused on bringing together caring people with the right dog.

Whether you are considering an adult dog or a puppy, the first thing you should do is read our article on Starting Your Dog Out Right. Here you will find not only some good tips but some thoughts to ponder before committing to the responsibilities of caring for a dog.

If you are interested in meeting one of our dogs or learning more about it, please e-mail us at Adopt.TheDogLiberator@gmail.com and let’s get the process going! Share information including:

Your Name
Phone Number
Address including county and zip code
Whether this is a house, apartment, condo, etc
If you rent, do you have landlord approval?
Your household composition
Current and/or past pets
Your normal work schedule
How much time the dog will be alone?
What your yard is like, and do you have a fence and/or pool?
What are you looking for in a dog?
Do you have an exercise plan?
What is your contingency plan if you are no longer able to care for your dog?
Have you or anyone in your family ever been bitten/traumatized by a dog in the past?
Is there anyone in your family, circle of friends, or anyone who lives with you that can decide if you can have a dog in your home?
If you are approved to adopt during your meet, are you ready to bring your new dog home?

We will review your email and and then we’ll go from there! The more you share the better!

Also, for more information about adopting a rescued dog, Please visit Let It Go for details. See more of our available dogs on Petfinder and Nutella!Join us on Facebook to get the latest updates on our rescued dogs.

If you have any questions about our adoption fees, realize that our adoptions fees literally reimburse our Vet for their services, and the expenses were incur when we rescue these wonderful dogs!  For more details, visit our “Hate Mail” post written about comments we have received.

While You Wait
While we are getting to know more about you, take a moment and get to know more about us by reading our reviews by visiting our page on Great Nonprofits.  These reviews were written by our volunteers, supporters and adopters.

Where are you getting your next dog?
If you do not adopt from us, please note that regardless of whether you get your next dog from the side of the road, Craigslist, a breeder, shelter, pound or even another rescue, these are some of the expenses you should be prepared for:

First set of vaccines and basic deworming, including office visit fee   $125
Second set of vaccines and basic deworming,  including office visit fee $125
Third set of vaccines, rabies vaccine and microchip, including office visit fee $150
Spay (for 40 pound dog) including office visit fee Spay $250-$275
Neuter (for 40 pound dog) including office visit fee Neuter $200-$225


Lord NelsonNote:  This does not include any treatment of medications for Kennel Cough, Skin Infections, Parvo Treatment, Dentals or grooming.  This also does not cover any expenses regarding transportation, or boarding.

If you have any questions about our adoption fees, realize that our adoptions fees literally reimburse our Vet for their services, and the expenses were incur when we rescue these wonderful dogs!  For more details, visit our “Hate Mail” post written about comments we have received.


Here’s an email I received this morning about other rescues’ adoption applications:

Dear Gisele,

Thanks so much for the wonderful site and information you have. My wife and I have been looking for a dog for a few months now to join our family. To say the least it has been a discouraging process. The only places I have looked are petfinder.com and the local pound.

Well, at the local pound you just never know what kind of dog, temperament, and so on you will get. With the adoption groups on petfinder I’ve found that the process has been more of an interrogation than an application. I love what you wrote on your web site when you said: We’re focused on bringing together caring people with the right dog. Thanks for a breath of fresh air. You seem very reasonable and don’t have a laundry list of questions like, “who will brush the dog in the family and how ofter?” No kidding, that was one of the questions on an application I started to fill out as I shook my head in disbelief.  ~John

 

Bad Dog!

Nitro Wilson

Nitro Wilson

If you have adopted from any rescue, shelter or pound, or if you purchased your dog from a breeder, and your dog is experiencing behavioral issues, please do not wait… call and ask for help immediately. If you don’t know of anyone, write a detailed email and ask for help by contacting a rescue group that specializes in your dog’s breed. Contact your local Pet Store and ask for recommended trainers, or contact your Vet. Do not wait until an unwanted behavior becomes a habit.

There are training videos on Youtube, and available on DVD that might solve your problem. There are books galore, one of my favorites is The Other End of the Leash.

Recently, Vicki shared with me her excitement over a book called Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out, a fantastic book to help manage hyper dogs!  There are also thousands of training aids available, and many of them work!  As a matter of fact, there is a FREE Webinar “Fear of People” this month, that I have registered for!

TDL tries very hard to follow-up with all of our adopters. We have found that sometimes, adopters are embarrassed to ask for help. Don’t Be! Do not wait until you yourself are so discouraged that you are unwilling to try to help your dog overcome its issues. Again, I can’t stress enough that a dog’s  bad behavior needs to be corrected immediately, before your dog turns it into a habit.

Jake!

Jake!

 

We have gone through extreme measures in some cases, to rescue our dogs. They have traveled hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles, some of have been flown in, some have undergone extensive and expensive medical procedures. Please do not give up on your dog!

Realize that in some cases, it has taken us months to rehabilitate a dog, dogs like China, Shy Sharon, Shy Shannon, and more recently Shep, Les Paul and Mystery are all work in progress.

We may not have the answer, but we will dig until we can find a solution. Sometimes, for example, owners who have successfully housebroken their dog take their dog’s crate away. Don’t! You’ve taken away your dog’s Safe Place! There are many training tips we can offer that might help modify your dog’s behavior.

Also, if you have adopted a dog from us, and have not yet ordered your Free Training DVD, please simply email me at TheDogLiberator@gmail.com for details.

 

If you want to be the best for your dog, please read “let it go“.

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

Bart

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.

Bart

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.

Shep

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!

Winter

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

The Ellen Debacle

Mr. Breeze was rescued in 2009, and returned to TDL twice – no fault of his own

Whether or not you have adopted from The Dog Liberator or not, you should take a moment, find your dog’s adoption contract and read this post.  Even if you purchased your dog from a breeder, this may pertain to you as well.

I know it’s an old story, dating back to October 2007, but it’s one that was plastered on every news channel for quite a while.  I think it even increased Ellen DeGeneres’ show for a while!  The story should be very simple.  She adopted a dog, Iggy, and later gave it away to her hairdresser.  The rescue, Mutts and Moms, took the dog away from the hairdresser, stating Ellen had violated their contract.  Here are a few facts:

 

  • DeGeneres had said her hairdresser’s daughters, ages 11 and 12, had bonded with Iggy and were heartbroken when the dog was taken away.
  • Fink said Moms and Mutts has a rule that families with children under 14 are not allowed to adopt small dogs.
Excuse me while I laugh hysterically at any rescue who has “rules”, because rules will always come back to bite you in the buttocks.  Guidelines, yes.  Rules no!
  • DeGeneres said on her show that she spent $3,000 having the dog neutered and trained to be with her cats, but Iggy did not mix well with the cats so she gave him away.

What?  The Dog wasn’t already neutered?  That just blows me away!

  • Mutts and Mom’s Contract States:  No Right to Transfer:  anyone accepting a dog agrees to “NOT give or sell ADOPTEE to another person, company, organization, medical research, pound or animal shelter,” or, “If ADOPTER fails to abide by the terms of this clause, ADOPTER will pay all costs, including any legal fees incurred, required to secure the return of ADOPTEE to RESCUE and will, in addition, be required to pay liquidated damages in the amount of $500.”
  • Ellen was wrong to take this public and use her TV show as a platform to air her grievances. 

Sunkissed having a blast with Bart and China while waiting on Transport

I even read some comments that poor Iggy was stuck in a crate since he was taken away from Ellen’s hairdresser.  More Drama Seriously?  Do you know what happens to my dogs that are given back to us?  They find themselves back at the Border Collie Boot Camp having a blast with their old friends, and yes… some of them even end up on the couch with us!

Click here to read more about the drama-filled Hollywood version of the story.

Click here to read the follow up story from  Mutts and Moms.

 

Who is right, and who is wrong?  And What if it was You?

When you adopt a dog from The Dog Liberator, or many shelters, pounds, rescues, or breeders, you may have agreed, by signing your contract that you can not give away, destroy, or sell the dog without written permission from the agency.  This is true with my contract.  We do this for many reasons.

Should your dog face a sudden illness or injury, and you can not afford the vet bills, this does not give you the right to put the dog down.  The Dog Liberator reserves the right to at least be given a chance to find alternatives to save the dog’s life.  We may have options in veterinary care, or we may find grants that are available, or donations that can ask for to help save your dog.

You also can not transfer your Dog Liberator dog to anyone else, because of micro chip purposes.  Should you change your email address, phone number, or move, please contact the shelter, pound, rescue, or breeder immediately.  If your dog is found, and you have moved, we will have to hunt you down!  We have done this many times in the past, and we’ve always been able to reunite our dogs with their owners.

Please do not think that just because you purchased your dog from a breeder that you can do whatever you want to with your dog.  Your contract may have a clause that clearly states the dog must be returned to them.

During all of my adoptions, I explain that should my adopters be on vacation abroad, and their dog is lost, I will be notified immediately.  The Dog Liberator will go through extremes to get your dog out of the pound, pay the fee, prevent your dog from being euthanized, find it a boarding facility, foster, or transport your dog to safety until you return.

Rescue is a two-way street

We also understand and are compassionate about the fact that people’s lives change.  Especially in today’s times, people are losing their jobs and homes.  People do get sick, people move, and things happen that are beyond our control.

Understand that our contract clearly states that we can take your dog away from you, if we feel that your dog’s needs are not being met.

Easy Rider!

Let’s use this example hypothetically:  Years ago you adopted three dogs from us, two large Lab mixes and one small Border Collie.  You have since lost your job, divorced, and lost your home.  You’ve decided to take all of your money, and buy a Harley, and you’re going to travel the country and live off the land.  That’s great, but clearly, you can’t take all three dogs with you.

In this case, we do reserve the right to reclaim your two large Labs, but that does not mean that your Border Collie can’t go with you.  If you can provide for the dog, and the dog is happy being with you, we focus on  health, love, and commitment.  I know that my Lady Di, and China would never go for this kind of lifestyle, but my Ozzie would go in a minute!

You DO NOT have the legal right to re-home one of our Rescued Dogs under any condition.

The most important thing is communication.  If you feel that you are in a bad situation, and can not take care of your dogs, please do not leave it up to someone else to make that decision for you.  Talk to your boss, your neighbors, family members, and tell them, in writing what you expect to happen to your dogs.  You could put it in your will, or set aside some money for emergency boarding if necessary.

If your dogs are found home alone and animal control seizes your dogs, there is a very slim chance they will scan them for a microchip, therefore, we will never be contacted.  The end result could be devastating.

While we are not a boarding facility, and we do not run a doggie daycare, The Dog Liberator will do everything we can to take one our adopted dogs back for any reason.  But if we can’t reach you, and we do not know about your situation, or your wishes, we will be forced to terminate your adoption, and re-home your dogs.  If your dog is re-homed by The Dog Liberator, regrettably  the adoption will not be reversed.

Please update us TheDogLiberator@gmail.com with any changes you have made since your dog’s adoption.

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What about Home Visits?

What about Home Visits?

Here’s a great article “Those darn dog rescues with all of their rules and questions – what gives?” written by Penny Eims, is a real eye-opener, and prompted me to write this post.

To be honest, if I feel the need to do a home visit, the adopter is denied.  There’s way too much information on the internet that’s available for me to conduct a home visit.   I do not approve adopters by looking at a filled out form, I approve adopters by sitting down with them, and talking with them, face to face.  No fence can prevent a dog from getting out if he really wants to, especially if it’s my border collie, Ozzie! I truly believe that if I had a home visit, I’d fail!  The adoption screener would see a very tired and overworked single mother of two, dirty dishes in the sink, stained carpeting from over 200 dogs that have trampled through my home, and a pile of unfolded clothes.  I would be denied!

Home visits slow down the adoption process, sometimes by several months.  One local rescue is behind in approving applications by four months waiting on home visits to be completed.  I can only imagine how many dogs are being euthanized in a four month period of time, waiting for their dogs to be adopted.  Here’s a great story, written by Cyndy Doty that explains why we don’t play God, and it explains it all!

My Home Visit, by Cyndy Doty

This is my home which sits on six acres in Ocala. Yes, there is a point to this story and a bit of humor!

When we were lucky enough to purchase this home, we thought with six acres why not foster a few dogs, right? We put the word out to a few organizations of our interest and waited. Let me say at this point, it was about four months before any group contacted us. Must be because there were no dogs to rescue and they all had furever homes, right again?

One glorious day an Aussie rescue called us to foster, but of course we had to have a home inspection, OK fine with us. The woman scheduled the day and we were very excited! An hour before she was supposed to visit us she canceled. NO reason was given. We thought, great maybe the dog was adopted! NOPE, a week later she called and told us she was in the “neighborhood ( I’m sure)” and could she stop by. I was on my way to carpool, but asked a friend to pick up my son, not wanting to miss this opportunity.

About an hour later, a woman came to my gate to be buzzed in. Let me stop at this point and say I use the term “woman” loosely! A creature with greasy hair, fingernails with so much dirt they could grow vegetable gardens in them, I am only guessing at this, but maybe eight or nine teeth (all towards the back) I dare not get that close, a filthy stretch tank top in HOT pink and stretch shorts which I could not tell the color under the holes and dirt. You have a vision yet? Well, she walked all around the house, checked my other dogs out, called my Cavalier King Charles “a cute little beagle”, walked out to the back three acres and said, “not so sure about that back fence!” She gathered up all our vet records and told me she would get back to me!

A few weeks passed and we had not heard a word. Seriously, I was so nervous and upset. What could we have done wrong to not get “approved”? Finally, we got a call that we were approved and could come pick up the dog she had told us about nearly two months ago! We did not know what to expect. We got directions and drove to pick up the Aussie the next day.

When we finally found this place, I told Ed this can’t possibly be the right place! After driving up a flooded dirt path we came upon a broken down trailer on cinder blocks.   I said to Ed, “oh. she didn’t tell me it was a high rise!” The closer we got, we saw the back and the side of this trailer was a flooded mud pit, ahhhh a waterfront high rise! Listen, I am not being a SNOB really, but the conditions these animals were living was horrid! I am just mention this because of the scrutiny we were under before being “approved!” Mind you this was to foster, NOT adopt!

What we were about to see was something out of a nightmare! I would guess close to twenty five dogs, wet, muddy,  feces everywhere, dirty water bowls and bugs in their food! We signed our papers all while holding our breath, picked up the poor dog and never looked back!

What we got was a tri colored Aussie, male, heartworm positive parasites and not neutered! After many hundreds of dollars of vet bills which we paid for and much love we were able to find a perfect home! Twenty six acres in North Carolina herding sheep!

Cyndy Doty

June 8, 2010

 

Bringing Your New Dog Home

So, you’re considering adopting a dog from The Dog Liberator.  If it is one of the puppies that I foster, we’re going to spend some time talking, and I’m going to share with you a lot of tidbits that I have learned over the years.  And then you’re going to get home with you puppy and not remember any of them!  And that’s okay; it is my expectation and my hope that my adopters will contact me with questions.  But just in case you are adopting a dog that isn’t one of my fosters, or you’re too embarrassed to call, here is a summary of some of my tidbits.

Cost: First and foremost, can you afford a dog?  Let alone a puppy?  They cost more than just the adoption fee and a bag of Old Roy dog food (more about that later).  Any dog will require both flea and heartworm preventive, each running around $50 every six months.  With a puppy, you’ll probably have to finish out the series of puppy shots plus a rabies shot at four months.   And then what happens if the dog gets sick?  It is very common for puppies, and even adult dogs, to become ill the first month in their new home due to all the stresses.  Indeed, coccidea (primary symptom sever diarrhea) most commonly appears in the first 21 days after a dog has changed owners or residence.  If you’re scraping together the money to pay for an adoption fee, you’re not ready for a dog.  Wait until you are in a more financially viable situation.  And consider pet medical insurance from a company such as ShelterCare.  It isn’t as expensive as you might think and can more than pay for itself.

Crate Training: Crates didn’t come in to common use until around 20 years ago.  They will make your life much easier.  First, you may see it as a cage, but your dog will see it as a den, its “safe” place.  Put the dog in the crate at night.  With my puppies, I go a step further and cover it with a sheet.  Don’t put the crate in your bedroom; every time you roll over, you’ll wake up the dog who will then wake up you!  While housetraining, put the puppy (or dog) in the crate when you are busy and don’t have “eyes on” it.  Crate the dog when you are gone for the first year.  You know that the dog is home forever, but the dog doesn’t.  When you leave, he doesn’t know you are coming back.  He may panic and destroy your great-grandmother’s chair.  Additionally,  puppies, like children, can go through fear stages; you don’t want to come home and find out that your 7-month-old dog had an anxiety attack and ate your couch.  Get a folding, wire crate, so you can easily take it with you when you are invited to your friends beach cottage for the long weekend; put the dog in it when you are at the beach all day so it doesn’t eat your friends couch and so mark the last time you are invited!  Most importantly, put your dog in a crate if a hurricane comes through.  You need to know it is safe (my friend who runs Used Dogs rescue in New Orleans still has Katrina dogs 5 years after the hurricane).  If your dog is used to its crate, its anxiety will go down.  If it hasn’t been in a crate in years, then its anxiety level will go up and you will spend a fortune in dog therapy for years!

Housetraining: Even housetrained adult dogs commonly have “accidents” the first few days in their new home.  Sometimes it is marking, but most commonly it is just stress.  If you focus in on housetraining for three days, you should be just about done.  It is a pain for three days, but is worth it.  Here’s what you do for a puppy; use a variation on the theme for an adult dog:  Day one, set the timer on your stove to go off every hour.  Every hour take the puppy outside through the same door and tell it, “hurry up.”  The next day set the timer for every 90 minutes.  The third day set it for every two hours.  Also, every time the puppy goes near that door, let it out.  By the third day, the puppy will know that if it has to go out, to go to that door.  It might only give you 10 seconds to notice, but you are well on your way!  Put a little towel or such at the door to catch accidents.  Don’t leave the water bowl down until the puppy is housetrained. Only give the puppy water when you are ready to go out for 30 minutes ~ puppies piddle 3 times within 30 minutes of drinking.  Don’t give water or food after 6pm, so the water has time to work its way through its system.  When you can’t pay attention to the puppy during the housetraining phase, crate the puppy ~ you don’t want it to find a secret spot behind the piano to piddle!  Remember, use the same door and the same command during this time.  You can give a small treat for proper performance, but you’ll learn quickly that your puppy will start to pretend to piddle just to get a treat!!!  Once the puppy is fully  housetrained, then you can give free access to the water bowl.

Note:  I have never played tug-of-war with any of my dogs, adult or puppy.  It’s just not a good game to start playing.

Baths:  If your dog has recently been spayed or neutered, you should not give your dog a bath until the stitches have been removed and your vet indicates that you can.  Usually you can bathe your dog 10-14 days after surgery.

Worms: Puppies have worms.  Period.  Because of the life cycle of a worm, they are dewormed and then dewormed again three weeks later.  But expect them to test positive for worms every time you take them to the vet.  Don’t panic ~ it’s just standard in puppies.  Watch for the signs of worms.  If you see what look like pieces of rice on the outside of their poop, that is tapeworms.  The worm itself is very long (12” or more), but is segmented, like pieces of rice lined up.  What you see in the poop is segments that have broken off.  Dogs get them by ingesting fleas.   If you see a long solid worm in the poop that forms a kinked circle when you pick it up (yuck) this is a roundworm, called round because they tend to form circles with their bodies.  Hookworms and whipworms are too small to be seen, but bloody diarrhea is an indication.  Again, your vet will probably do a fecal test each time you take your puppy in just to be safe.  Adult dogs are less inclined to worms, perhaps because heartworm preventives treat them as well.  The exception to this is tapeworms.   I treat tapeworms with a dewormer I buy in the pet section of Publix grocery store, saving me  a vet visit.

Heartworm Preventive: All dogs need to be on a monthly heartworm preventive, obtained from your vet.  Heartworms are  passed through a mosquito bite, therefore a severe problem in the south.  Puppies younger than 6 months are not tested for heartworms because the heartworm must be 6 months old to show up positive.  I recommend Heartgard for the first 6 months since the active ingredient, Ivermectin, not only prevents heartworms but kills them as well, therefore it will kill any juvenile heartworms that a puppy might have.  That being said, if you adopt a collie, use it with caution: about 45% of collies lack the gene that prevents Ivermectin from passing into the brain.  This can cause a reaction varying from mild to seizure, coma or even death.  Watch your dog for a reaction (your vet can test for the gene as well).  If necessary, switch to an Ivermectin-fee alternative such as Revolution, Sentinal or Interceptor.  Be aware that Ivermectin is also the common treatment for “puppy mange”, generally  brought on by stress.   You may need to use an alternative treatment such as as sulpher dip.  If you have multiple dogs and they do not have an ivermectin sensitivity, you may want to save money by buying Ivermectin in the liquid form from a feed store.  A bottle costing less than $50 can last years.  Generally, the recommended dosage is 0.1cc per 10 pounds of dog, but be sure to discuss this alternative with your vet.

Food: I estimate that at least 10% of dogs have food allergies.  I suspect that it is much higher.  The better quality food you get, the less likely you will have to deal with this.  Get a food that doesn’t have additives, fillers or grains.  Watch for food allergy symptoms: loose bowels, lack of appetite, itching, hair loss, coughing, mange, ….  Trust me, it is more than worth it to invest in a quality food!  Oh, and when you first get home, expect the dog to not have much of an appetite the first day or so, a normal reaction to change in environment, especially if this is the first time away from littermates. If, on the other hand, the dog gobbles its food, you may want to help slow it down by scatter feeding (scattering the kibble on your deck for him to hunt up) or wetting it, packing it into a Kong, freezing it, and then giving it to him.   If you already have a dog, be prepared for some food guarding at first too.  If such is the case, you may want to feed the new dog in its crate until everyone understands that they won’t go hungry, then slowly move the food bowls into the same room. One more thought: always keep a can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) on your shelf.  If your dog develops diarrhea or constipation due to stress or something it ate, mix the pumpkin into its regular food.  There is something about canned pumpkin that helps stabilize their systems.

Chewing: Puppies chew.  Adult dogs chew.  And they always seem to chew your favorite things.  First, don’t let them chew on your hand, ankle, etc.  Correct them and put something allowable in their mouth instead (“no” is not enough; you have to give them a substitute).   My number one recommendation to help with chewing is that you go to the butcher section of your store and get a packet of marrow bones.  Freeze the extras for later and give the dog the raw bone.  He’ll eat the marrow right out of it in no time flat.  Dogs have an enzyme that allows them to eat raw meat, and the marrow is very good for them.  Then allow them to keep chewing on the bone.  Don’t throw them away.  Wolves don’t lose their teeth because they chew on raw bones.  My back yard looks like a dinosaur burial ground, and my house looks like a scene from a horror flick, but my furniture isn’t chewed!  Dogs seem to prefer marrow bones over anything that the pet store wants to sell you.  The first time you are gone for an extended time, put the dog in its crate with a new marrow bone (still frozen is fine).  It’ll keep him busy and happy.  Very rarely dogs get their lower jaw stuck inside the circle of the marrow bone.  To avoid this, you might want to pick bones that are either too big or too small, or have the butcher cut them into semi-circles.

Bordetella :I have found that about 20% of puppies develop a mild case of kennel cough after getting their bordetella shot, just as people often get the flu after receiving a flu shot.  If your puppy starts to cough, keep an eye on it.  If it develops other symptoms such as a colored nasal discharge or fever, go to the vet and get an antibiotic like doxycycline.  Most vets do not recommend antibiotics for the cough alone since they will wipe out the effectiveness of the bordetella shot.

Antibiotics: If you live near a Publix, get a copy of the antibiotics that they provide for free with a prescription.  They will honor a ‘script for a pet, so if your dog needs an antibiotic, ask the vet if one of the ones on the list will do the trick.  Why spend money you don’t have to?

Veterinarians: If you do not yet have a vet, please don’t pick one based on convenience of location.  If I have learned one thing, it is that all vets are not created equally, and price is no indication of quality.  Ask friends for their recommendations, but also call the office and ask for pricing.  For comparison purposes, ask for the cost of an office visit, spay, neuter, rabies, annual shots, x-ray, fecal exam and heartworm preventive.  You won’t need all these things, but it will help you gauge what the vet charges.  And you will be shocked at the range that you will get.  Resist allowing a vet to guilt you into an expensive procedure on the spot.  Go home and research  it.  I’ve known way too many people guilted into paying for everything from the repair of an umbilical hernia (which almost always heals itself) to fast-kill heartworm treatment (slow kill is a viable and less expensive alternative).

If you feel like your vet is strong-arming you into an expensive procedure, stop.  Many vets panic when they hear the word “rescued” or “adopted”, and assume there must be something terribly wrong with the dog, not knowing we have already spent a fortune in vetting.  Stress diarrhea is common.  A fecal check, metronidazole and canned pumpkin is all you need.

If your puppy has just received its parvo and distemper shot, he will test positive, not because he is, because he was given the live virus.  If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation while at your vet, do not panic, just call us!

Training: I strongly recommend that you provide some kind of training for your dog.  It isn’t so much a matter of teaching the dog to sit, as it is assuring the dog that you are in charge.  If a dog knows that its people can be trusted to lead, then it will relax.  If it perceives its family as being weak, it will believe that the protection of the home is on its shoulders and will become more high strung and nervous.  Training is about you, not your dog.

Life: Expose your dog to as much of life as you can.  Take it to Petsmart, to the beach, to Lowes, everywhere that you can.  Introduce it to adults, kids, dogs, cats.  The more new experiences that it has and “survives” , the less fear and anxiety it will have, the more well rounded it will be, and the better it will be able to cope with the changes that you and it will go through in life.

 

WHAT IS GIARDIA?

Giardiasis (GEE-are-DYE-uh-sis) is a diarrheal illness caused by a microscopic parasite, Giardia intestinalis (also known as Giardia lamblia or Giardia duodenalis). Once a person or animal has been infected with Giardia, the parasite lives in the intestine and is passed in feces. Giardia infects older dogs but more frequently infects puppies. Because the parasite is protected by an outer shell, it can survive outside the body and in the environment for long periods of time (i.e., months).

Can humans be harmed by Giardia?

Giardia is a common cause  of diarrhea in people, but dog Giardia is not generally considered to spread from animals to humans. While human Giardia may infect dogs and then be passed on to humans, the majority of human cases are of human origin.

How can I prevent a Giardia infection?

Practice good hygiene. Wash hands thoroughly after handling animals or their toys, leashes or feces. (Be sure to avoid contact with the feces by using gloves, a bag over your hand, or a scooping device.)

Make sure that your dog has safe, clean drinking water. It is important not to allow dogs to drink water from areas where other animals have left their feces.

How is Giardia treated and is it expensive?

Metronidazole is an antibiotic that has been widely used to treat Giardia in dogs as well as in people. This drug has reasonable efficiency against Giardia and has the added advantage of being effective against other parasite protozoa and some bacteria that may also have contributed to the diarrhea. It is also very inexpensive. Recent studies show that pyrantel is also effective against Giardia.

Prognosis:

Giardia is a very treatable condition. Most dogs recover quickly and do not have additional problems. However, if proper preventive steps are not taken, it is common for dogs with a previous history of Giardia to become re-infected.

  • Giardia in dogs can cause diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, poor condition, or death. However, many infected dogs show no symptoms.
  • People can get giardia, causing diarrhea or other problems, but rarely from dogs.
  • Dogs get giardia from water that has been soiled with feces.
  • The incubation period is usually 1 to 25 days. Some cases can exceed 25 days.

Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC)

Division of Parasite Diseases (DPD)

 

WHAT IS PARVO?

Parvovirus or Parvo, is life threatening virus that affects dogs. It is the most common viral disease in dogs. It primarily affects puppies. The most common age for infection is between 2-6 months of age, but infection can occur at any age. All breeds are susceptible to this virus. Some breeds such as Dobermans, rottweilers, and Labradors are more susceptible to Parvo than others. It is not known why this is.

Parvo is spread through the feces of dogs infected with the virus. The dog does not actually have to come in contact with another sick dog. While Parvo cannot be spread to or from humans or other pets, the virus can be carried in to the dog’s environment on someone’s shoes, or by birds or other animals who have come in contact with infected feces. Parvo can survive in an environment for as long as 9 months. The only disinfectant known to kill Parvo is chlorine bleach. A 1:30 ratio of chlorine bleach in water has been known to be effective for sanitizing contaminated area. Any area known to be contaminated should be thoroughly sanitized.

The disease usually enters the dog’s system by oral ingestion. It attacks the digestive system, inhibiting them from absorbing nutrients. It also causes severe diarrhea and often vomiting, dehydration is common. It also suppresses white blood cells and may attack the heart as well.

Symptoms of Parvo include high fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, and vomiting. There is not cure for Parvo. Veterinarians can help infected dogs by treating the symptoms and dehydration. Most dogs die if they do not receive veterinary attention. With veterinary attention, a dog has a reasonably good chance of survival. Early detection is important. Some vets have been trying antioxins and antiparvo serum with some success.

In some cases, dogs can have Parvo without showing any symptoms. They will not be affected by the disease, but they are capable of spreading it and their feces will be contaminated with the virus.

A vaccine is available for Parvo. The vaccine is usually given with several other vaccines, including distemper. Vaccination usually begins at 8 weeks of age, and repeated every 3-4 weeks until the puppy is sixteen weeks old, and then given annually. There is some controversy as to whether vaccinating too often may actually weaken a dog’s immunity to Parvo. Research is currently being done in this area. Until then, your vet will help you decide what is right for your dog.

Veterinarians can run a titre to determine the strength of a particular dog’s immunity to Parvo. Dogs should be tested for immunity to Parvo before being brought into an area where a previously infected dog has been.

 

WHAT IS THE INFLUENZA (H3N8) VIRUS

 

*This is only treatable with Doxycycline*

 

The Influenza (H3N8) virus causes symptoms that mimic traditional “kennel cough”

 

If a pet puppy/dog exhibits coughing, nasal discharge or fever, the puppy/dog should be put on doxycycline by a veterinarian immediately.

 

  • The H3N8 influenza virus has jumped from horses to puppies/dogs
  • This H3N8 virus causes “dog flu”
  • Initial findings of H3N8 infected puppies/dogs were at a Florida grey hound racing track
  • “Kennel cough” is typically caused by bordetella bronchispetica bacterium
  • Other symptoms of H3N8 infection are nasal discharge and fever
  • Both H3N8 and bordetella are contagious between dogs
  • Approximately 80% of H3N8 infections will be mild
  • A small minority of infected dogs may experience complications such a pneumonia
  • A small minority of infected dogs will also be asymptomatic and will not show any signs of the infection. However, it is believed that asymptomatic dogs are infectious
  • The H3N8 virus has never infected humans
  • H3N8 causes a mortality rate of 5 to 8% in infected dogs
  • There have been verified occurrences of H3N8 in dogs in South Florida shelter, boarding facilities and veterinary clinics

If a pet puppy/dog exhibits coughing, nasal discharge or fever, the puppy/dog MUST be put on doxycycline by a veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.

Doxycycline will also treat “Kennel Cough.”

Traditional medications like Cefa drops, Amoxicillin, and Clavamox WILL NOT help/treat INFLUENZA. If your puppy/dog begins to show signs of “Kennel Cough” or INFLUENZA  and is not put on DOXYCYCLINE  within 1-3 days, the puppy/dog will continue to get worse and will develop pneumonia and/or die.

 

Puppy Worming Schedule

Initiate treatment from your vet at 2 weeks; repeat at 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 weeks of age and then monthly until the puppy is 6 months old. Thereafter, use a heartworm preventive medication that is also effective against hookworms and roundworms.

How Your Puppy Gets Hookworms

Hookworms are tiny, threadlike parasites that affect puppies and adult dogs. They are a particular problem in areas with warm, moist, sandy soil. They cycle begins when hookworm eggs are passed in dog’s stool to the soil. Your dog can swallow the young hookworms or they can penetrate its skin, usually through the foot. Hookworms are also passed from females to their young. Hookworms present a slight risk to humans if larvae (young hookworms) in the soil contact skin. Painful skin sores can result.

Signs of Hookworm Infection

Hookworms feed on blood and tissue by piercing your pet’s intestinal lining with tooth-like hooks. As a result, hookworms can cause severe blood loss. As few as 100 hookworms can kill a puppy. Dogs with heavy infections often have bloody diarrhea. Other signs include anemia, dehydration and apparent weakness. Some dogs show no outward signs of infection. This is why it is important to de-worm your puppy at an early age and to have the stool examined when recommended by your veterinarian. The veterinarian will examine the dog’s stool under a microscope and look for eggs. If your veterinarian can catch the eggs before the symptoms appear then your prêt doesn’t have to suffer the symptoms.

How Pets Get Roundworms

Nearly all puppies and kittens have roundworms. In many areas of the country, up to 70% of adult dogs are also infected. Infection usually begins when your pet accidentally swallows roundworm eggs in soil. These eggs hatch into tiny worms that move from your pet’s intestine to its liver and lungs, and then back to the intestine where they mature. The adult roundworm lays eggs that are passed in your pet’s stool to the soil. Roundworms can lay up to 200,000 eggs per day! Female pets can also pass roundworms to their unborn young or through nursing.

Signs of Roundworm Infection

Left untreated, roundworms can cause a potbelly and diarrhea, vomiting, a rough coat and poor growth are other signs. Heavy infections damage your pet’s liver, lungs and brain.  Death is possible.

 

Tapeworms

 

There are four types of tapeworms in dogs. Tapeworms hook onto a dog’s small intestine with its mouth. Tapeworms can be as long as 8 inches to 2 feet long. One unique characteristic of these worms is that they are made up of 1/8 inch segments that break off over time and end up in your dog’s stool. The pieces that break off contain eggs that are released as the broken off segment dries. Pieces look like dried pieces of rice or cucumber seeds. The four type of tapeworms are:

  • Dipylidium Caninum—Most common. Contracted by eating fleas.
  • Taenia Taeniaformis—Contracted by rural dogs show are around farm animals such as sheep, rats and mice.
  • Echinococcus Granulosum—Found in mice and humans.

 

What Causes Tapeworms in Dogs

Tapeworms are most commonly spread when a dog swallows a flea that contains the tapeworm eggs. It usually happens when the flea is biting the dog. Since dogs try and remove the fleas with their mouth, they may swallow some of them. This is how they get dog fleas worms. There is another kind of tapeworm called Echinococcus that is found in small rodents. If a dog bites into or eats an infected annual, they can get tapeworms. Hunting dogs can contract up to 12 varieties of tapeworms.

Dog Medicine Tape Worms

All types of tapeworms in dogs can be treated with tapeworm tabs for dogs (Droncit Canine Cestocide Tablets and Tapeworm Tabs for Dogs and Puppies) cause the worms in the intestines to dissolve. Treatments are very effective and include praziquantel and epsiprantel. Although single doses are usually sufficient, an additional dose may be needed. Since fleas spread the worms, a flea collar is helpful in preventing the problem. Note that pinworms are often confused with tapeworms. While humans can get pinworms, dogs do not.

Human and Dog Tapeworms

Children can get tapeworms if they swallow fleas while playing with a dog or if they come in contact with partially digested fleas in a dog’s mouth. A child may have no symptoms or suffer from diarrhea and itching around the anus. Tapeworm is not passed between adults or children. It must come from an infected flea such as in a sandbox. Treatment is effective using the drug niclosamide.

 

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.

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