Helping Those in Need

Have you ever lost everything in a disaster? Fire? Or maybe you lost your job and what little assistance you could find didn’t cover your poor fury family members.

When you were hardest hit with nowhere to turn, down on your luck and by the grace of kindness from strangers, helped pick you up.

Would you like to return the favor but do not know of a group that helps?  Against Cruelty a 501C3 Organization that tries to help local communities in the New England area by keeping families together. They would rather help buy your animals food or help pay a vet bill than see your family torn apart because of a hardship.

Help us help others! Donate, volunteer or come join in one of our fundraisers.

http://www.againstcruelty.org

If your interested in joining our Bowl-a-thon contact Christine at office@againstcruelty.org or call 603-809-5116.

Thank You from the bottom of our hearts,

Against Cruelty

P.O. Box 1341

Merrimack, NH 03054

603-809-5116

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Cold Weather Safety

This is the time of year when we see temps low low low!

image

Please remember that if you need to dress warm and need to protect your feet then so do your pets. They are walking in this on bare feet and such frigid temperatures can hurt the pads of their feet or cause ice to build in the fur between toes.
Sand and salt irritations can occur as well.
Have fun, Be safe and Stay Warm!

Pet Friendly or Just Pretend?

As I was looking into my area hotels that are “pet friendly” I was very excited over the number of them that list themselves as “pet friendly”. As a pet sitter this expands my potential clients greatly; one would think. However, the information I was finding began to disturb me on several different levels. Let me break it down on what I was finding:

COST: I found that some places were charging $100 NON REFUNDABLE fee. Now I can understand a charge however it is the NON refundable part that bothers me. This was based on no matter how many days you stayed so whether one day or five days you were charged this $100. It also had a lot of restrictions that I will get into in a moment. The limits and restrictions make it almost impossible to bring along your pets. There is the limits of one animal per room but you may or may not be allowed only two pets, for instance if you have two animals you have to get separate rooms AND pay another $100 fee. Oh and then there is this weight limit thing. No animal over 25lbs. Last time I checked over half the population has an animal over that, including cats being over 25lbs.

LENGTH OF STAY: OK this one item I just DON’T get. Why would you limit them a stay of up to five days or less??? No matter the amount of restrictions why, why, why, would you tell your patron they could only stay five days or less? Don’t you WANT to make money? This restriction is not only ridiculous it would seem to me not very good for business.

WEIGHT LIMITS: Is this one a joke? I have a hard time understanding this one. This one tells anyone that if you have anything other than a toy dog or maybe a stuffed animal…. no offense to those that have small dogs but…..they are telling you if you do not have one of these then you can not stay here. But really we ARE pet friendly. Last time I checked over half the population that has pets and go on vacation have medium to large dogs, that means they weigh more than 25lbs. Again this greatly lowers your clients that may think you are “pet friendly” Just because a dog is larger does not say they are any more at risk of misbehaving.

WHEN IN ROOM: This one I can kind of understand because being a pet sitter I know that animals in a strange place or under stress don’t always behave as well as they do at home. But then again you ARE charging an astronomical fee in case of damages so why again are you telling people they can NEVER leave the animal alone in the room? Maybe if you are going to charge such a fee maybe you should pair up with a pet sitter and offer these services.

Crazy Questions a Pet Sitter Needs To Ask

There are your standard questions that every pet sitter needs to ask before caring for your pet like do they have any allergies? or is your pet other pet friendly? However because of situations that may arise in our day to day adventures we may consider for the safety of you and the pet asking a few crazy and maybe bizarre questions.

1) Has your pet ever jumped out a window? Yes this may seem very odd but have you ever seen a dog like this Bermese Mountain Dog jump out of one of these Cabin Window better

2) Another question may be; does your pet swim? Now this is very important especially if the dog is elderly or just in the habit of darting straight for every body of water known to man.

3) Is your pet in the habit of eating even the smallest of road kill and what actions should you take?

4) Does your pet know or listen to ANY commands? This is very important to clarify especially when you are told they do know simple commands because when the pet is darting off to the body of water completely ignoring your every stay, sit, stop NOOOOOOO command and they are swimming out to where the boats go and you are fully clothed with no means of getting to them if there should be a problem.

5) Does your pet have any problems with a particular gender, color, type of clothing, hat or vehicle or other type of animal?

6) Does your pet experience any kind of anxiety when you leave?

7) Does your pet have an off button? This is essential especially if the pet likes to bark non stop when you arrive even in the middle of the night and the neighbor starts yelling to shut that thing up!

8) Does your pet like to use their paws and mouth for anything other than the obvious? When a large or small animal wraps themselves around one of your limbs and just hangs on and nibbles on you as you try to remove the dangling animal it is important to know how to detach them.

9) Is your pet in the habit of eating acorns? And if they make a meal of this despite your every effort of giving tasty foods what should you do so they do not become sick?

10) Does your pet know their name? Truly? This is important for both recall and locating the pet.

11) This one relates to the last question but in the event your pet likes to play hide and seek…. where would they hide? And yes will they come when called?

12) Does your VERY large pet have small dog syndrome? Do they believe that your lap will hold their entire body and ask what’s wrong with you when they don’t quite fit?

13) Is your pet into sneak attacks? This is very important so that we as pet sitters can be prepared for any leaps and bounds out of no where. It helps us stay on our feet not on our butts.

14) Is your pet in the habit of making chase at the site of anything in particular? Again this keeps us on our feet not being dragged up a hill like a rag doll.

15) Is it normal for your dog to climb things like a cat?

16) Does your pet know how to open doors?

17) Is there a particular ring tone for a phone that freaks your pet out? I do not recommend having the theme song for Nightmare Before Christmas……

18) Does your pet like to roll on their back even when up on a bed, sofa or sofa top where they forget that YES they will roll off and blame you for shoving them instead?

19) Does your pet know how to take a treat gently? And if they need reminding what is the catch phrase other than “g– D@#$ son *& a b*^#@!” ?

20) Does your pet have a habit of pouncing on your child’s ball and popping it freaking them out beyond consoling?

These may seem silly but put them in perspective, the basis of these questions may just save the pet you are watching or at the very least keep you from having heart failure.

Long Term Pet Care

I went to an animal shelter the other day, something that always makes me happy and sad at the same time. Happy because these animals are so appreciative of the love and attention they receive but sad because these same animals are so scared and want a home so badly but most of all the REASONS why they were surrendered.

I want to highlight some very important things to think about BEFORE you decide to get a pet. I would hate to see one of these things be your excuse for surrendering a pet to a shelter where the animal sits on a concrete floor in a tiny cell waiting for someone to ‘please, please take me from this place to a happy home’. Now don’t get me wrong these shelters do everything they believe they can but let me get to the point at hand.

Things to think about BEFORE you get a pet so you don end up on the “I’m a careless bad person list”.

Grooming, a simple thing most people DON’T think about, but should:

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

Yes all of that fur came off of that cute dog, and let me just mention that is a daily brushing. Something you may want to consider BEFORE you bring that cute doggie in the window home! That big cute fur ball was an owner surrender. If you are not prepared for tumble weeds of fur all over your house then maybe consider either a shorter haired dog or on with a far less thick coat, either way talk to your vet a pet sitter but do your research first!

Another item for grooming to think about with less fur to consider but just as important:

shar_pei_puppies-wide3

WRINKLES! Yes these are a HUGE grooming item to think about. Very dangerous conditions can develop if these wrinkly guys are not cared for properly. Moisture and dirt not cleaned correctly can cost you devastatingly large vet bills if uncared for. If you want a low maintenance pet NOT the one for you.

Grooming aside let’s move on to health to consider:
I have done previous blogs on subjects like Bloat, diabetes, eye and ear problems, and old age and the conditions that come along with it. These are the things that irritated me the most on owner surrenders. You are willing to give up your FAMILY because they got sick or old??????? YOU are the BIGGEST BAD PERSON on the list in my opinion. I can understand not being able to afford a procedure goodness only knows. But why not consider the alternative of talking to your vet about options? Payment plans or at the very least keeping your pet comfortable enough so they can have the dignity to die with their family and not in some small concrete tiny cell or in a small gas chamber piled 20 animals high being gassed to death?

One last item I want to touch on which ranks almost as high as age and health related reasons is the training issues. You want to get an animal but if you do not want to put in the time or hire someone to help train your pet then if your pet pees on the floor and that makes you want to get rid of them then DON’T GET AN ANIMAL! Plain and simple if you don’t want to take the time to teach an animal what is acceptable in your house to live as a family member then you should not get an animal. All behaviors can be altered that is what there are trainers for. Talk to your vets and pet sitters they can help you or give you the name of a reputable person to help.

These were the most popular reasons for surrenders but all reasons that could be avoided if people just bothered to research before making an impulse decision.

The Fourth Is Coming!

Pet Sitters and families BEWARE! With the Fourth of July celebrations here our animal friends tend to be scared. Make sure they have a quiet and safe place to be while you have your cookouts and most of all while fire works are going off.
This is the biggest time of year for our pets to become lost. All it takes is a terrified animal to literally run for their life.
Have fun and be safe but PLEASE remember to have your pets secure, safe and out of harms way.

Fire works

                                                  Happy 4th Everyone!

Why Choose A Professional Pet Sitter?

dog at home dog in kennel

The difference between the comfort of home and the comfort of boarding……………..

Most pets like humans are less stressed with routine. Using a professional pet sitter will enable your pets to keep normal eating, playtime, exercise, and sleep routines.

Your pets stay in their own home where they are most comfortable, no stress from being transported to a strange place.

When your pets are on medication, or other medical treatment, your pet sitter will be able to keep them on their regular schedule.

Your pets will not be exposed to illnesses that they may contract at a kennel.

Having a pet sitter come to your home also works to deter crime. Most sitters will bring in the mail, turn lights off/on or switch which light stays on, open/close draperies, etc. to give your home a lived in look.

In the event of an emergency, they will be able to contact you immediately rather than you coming home to find a problem with your home or call a pre-designated contact.

You won’t inconvenience family or friends. While they mean well, and intend to give excellent care, sometimes they fall short of your expectations. Hiring a professional pet sitter creates a business relationship with clear expectations and guide lines for you and your pet sitter.

Many pet sitters will further their education and continue to improve their skills to give your pets the best care possible (first aid training, pet CPR, pet behavior seminars, etc.).

Your pet will get consistent and personalized care from one person who knows your pet well.

You won’t have to carve time out of your busy schedule to drop off or pick up your pet from a kennel. Your pet will be home waiting for you!

 

Pets with separation anxiety, other behavioral issues, or pets with delicate medical conditions may require stay in visits when veterinary boarding facilities are not available. If you have concerns, be sure to talk to your pet sitter or veterinarian, who will be able to help you determine the best option for your pet.

April IS All About Our Pets Month

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month

Warm weather will soon be upon us

Heat stroke is one of the most common issues a pet faces in the warmer weather. Pet owners need to remember that the inside of a car can quickly reach 120 degrees and should not leave their animals in the car, even during short trips. This can quickly lead to heat stroke. Signs of heat stroke include:

  • Heavy panting
  • Your pet is unable to calm down, even when lying down
  • A pet’s gums may be brick-red
  • A pet may have a fast pulse
  • The animal may not be able to get up

If you should suspect your pet has heat stroke, take the pet’s temperature immediately. If the temperature is above 105 degrees Fahrenheit, cool the animal down. The easiest way to do this is by using the water hose. Stop cooling the animal when their temperature reaches 103 degrees. Bring your pet to the veterinarian immediately as heat stroke can lead to severe organ dysfunction and damage.

Other Hazards

Open doors and windows can be hazardous to your pet for many reasons, especially if they love to greet, investigate or chase. The animal may try to get outside, increasing the risk of falling from a window or being hit by a vehicle. Some plants and flowers can be hazardous, just as winter plants do. For instance, many lilies are very poisonous to cats. Visit the ASPCA Poison Control website for a more complete list of plants and flowers that are poisonous to animals. If you believe your animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Keeping Your Pet Healthy

Some important steps to help keep your pet healthy:

  •  Your pet needs plenty of exercise.
  •  Your pet needs plenty of fresh, cool water.
  •  Your pet needs regular yearly checkups with their veterinarian, and are up to date on vaccines, especially rabies.
  •  Pets should be spayed or neutered.
  •  Dogs should be on leashes outside – another animal may be too much temptation
  • You should know how to perform CPR and provide basic first aid until veterinary care is available

Emergencies and Your Pet

Don’t forget to include pets in planning for emergencies in your home or neighborhood:

  •  Make plans to take your pets with you if you have to evacuate.
  •  Most shelters cannot accept pets because of health and safety concerns and other considerations. Know which friends, relatives, hotels, boarding facilities will accept pets in an emergency.
  •  Assemble an easy-to-carry kit with emergency supplies for pets:
  1. Leashes, harnesses and/or carriers
  2. Food, drinking water, bowls, manual can opener
  3. Medications and copies of medical records
  4. Current photos of the pets

PET FIRST AID BASICS

For a PDF view click on link April – Pet First Aid Awareness Month

Pet First Aid Kit

 

  • Kit contains: Animal Poison Control Center telephone number
  • 1 Bandage, Cohesive 2″ X 5 yds. (Compares to Vet Wrap)
  • 10 Bandages, Plastic 1″ X 3″
  • 1 K-Y jelly (water-soluble)
  • 1 Cold Pack, Instant 4″ X 6″
  • 1 Emergency Blanket,
  • Saline Solution
  • 30 Gauze Pads 2″ X 2″ Non-Sterile
  • 10 Gauze Pads Sterile; [(5) 2″ X 2″ and (5) 3″ X 3″]
  • 1 Gauze Roll, Conforming, 2″ X 4.1 yds.
  • 4 Gloves, Vinyl (Medical Grade)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • 1 Leash, 6′ Slip Style
  • 1 Oral Syringe – 10 cc
  • 1 Oral Syringe – 30 cc
  • 6 Safety Pins
  • 1 scissors Metal, 3½”
  • 8 Swabs/applicator, Cotton
  • 1 Tape, Adhesive ½” X 5 yds.
  • 1 Thermometer, Digital
  • 1 Tick Remover
  • 3 Tongue Depressors
  • 4 Triple Antibiotic Packets
  • 1 Tweezers
  • 6 Wipes, Sting Relief

 

Emergency Muzzle

 

In order to be effective, a homemade muzzle must be applied snugly.

1.   Begin with an 18-inch (45 cm) length of rope (or suitable material).

2.   Make a knot with a loop in the middle of the rope that is large enough to fit easily over your pet’s nose

3.   Quietly slip the loop over the pet’s nose and immediately tighten

4.   Bring both ends down and cross under the chin

5. Bring the ends back behind the ears

6. Tie snugly around behind the ears and neck and secure with a bow for quick release if needed

PET CPR

 

Step 1: Check for responsiveness

 

  • Before you begin doing anything to your pet, make sure he/she is truly unresponsive.
  • Check his breathing by placing your hand in front of his nose and mouth. (Be sure not to cover them and block his airway! You can also use a mirror to see breath)
  • Check for his heartbeat by placing your ear against area where your pet’s left elbow touches the chest or feel for a pulse under the armpit.

Step 2: Secure an airway

 

  • If you don’t see or feel your pet breathing, you immediately need to make sure his/her airway is clear.
  • Carefully pull his/her  tongue forward out of his mouth. (Even an unresponsive animal can bite by instinct.)
  • Look into the throat for a foreign object. If you find one, remove it carefully.
  • Move the head until the neck is straight. (Don’t move the neck if you suspect it is injured.)

Step 3: Rescue breathing

 

  • Close your pet’s mouth and breathe directly into his/her nose not his/her mouth until his/her chest expands.
  • If the chest doesn’t expand, check again for a foreign object in the throat and reposition the airway so it is straight.
  • Once you’ve gotten the chest to expand, continue the rescue breathing, repeating the breaths 12 to 15 times per minute (once every four to five seconds).

Step 4: Chest compressions

 

  • Do not begin chest compressions until you’ve secured an airway and started rescue breathing.
  • Gently lay your pet on his/her right side.
  • The heart is in the lower half of the chest on the left side, behind the elbow of the front left leg. Place one hand below the heart to support the chest; place the other hand over the heart.
  • Press down gently on your pet’s heart. Press down about one inch for medium-sized dogs; press harder for larger animals and with less force for smaller animals. To massage the hearts of cats and other tiny pets, compress the chest with the thumb and forefingers of one hand.
  • Press down 80-120 times per minute for larger animals and 100-150 times per minute for smaller ones.
  • Alternate the chest compressions with the rescue breaths.
  • Continue the heart massage compressions and the rescue breathing until you can hear a heartbeat and feel regular breathing. Once your pet is breathing and his heart is beating, call your veterinarian immediately.
  • Unfortunately, even in the hands of well-trained veterinary health professionals, the overall chance for success with resuscitation is low. In an emergency, however, it may give your pet his only chance.

 Vitals

Temperature   (Fahrenheit)
Cat Dog Horse Cow Pig
High 102.5 102.5 100.5 102.5 104
Average 101.5 101.5 100 101.5 102.5
Low 100 99.5 99 100 100.5
Pulse   (Heartbeats Per Minute)
Cat Dog Horse Cow Pig
High 130 120 40 80 90
Average 120 90 35 60 70
Low 110 60 28 40 60
Respiration   (Breaths Per Minute)
  Cat Dog Horse Cow Pig
High 30 30 16 30 20
Average 25 20 12 20 13
Low 20 10 8 10 10

Feeding Your Pet Nutritionaly

There is so much information on the web about pet nutrition that it can become quite confusing, making it very difficult to know how to read ingredient labels. I am going to try to give the basic information in layman terms and at the end I am going to put a quiz for you to test your knowledge. When you’re done post a message and let us know how you did and if the information you got here was helpful.

While people make the occasional decision to eat highly processed or poor quality foods, this isn’t an issue for their overall health due to the variety of ingredients in their diet. Unfortunately, if a pet is being fed a poor quality diet, they will be exposed to those ingredients, chemicals and additives every single day.

Dogs and cats are carnivores, and do best on a meat-based diet. Ingredients on a pet food label must be listed in descending order (by weight) based on FDA and AAFCO regulations. Most often this means the first five to seven ingredients are the major ingredients in the food. These ingredients should be real named meat, whole grains and vegetables to ensure a pet is getting excellent nutrition from the best ingredients. Avoid foods that list by-products, unnamed meat meals or partial grains (for example “poultry by-product meal”, “meat meal”, or “corn-gluten meal“, etc.) in the top ingredients, as these are sub-standard sources of protein used instead of real meat that holds more nutritional value. “Meat meal” may sound like something you might serve your own family instead this ingredient may contain a variety of animal parts other than meat including 4-D animals (dead, diseased, disabled or dying prior to slaughter). Meats that are cooked (usually through heat or steam) create meat meals. The quality of the product can vary depending on how and where the meat was sourced.

A specific meat is what you want to see first on the label, but what you want to see second and third is also specific meat or specific meat meal or animal protein.

Many artificial preservatives are suspected of causing cancer (aka carcinogens) in humans. Used in the production of pet food, artificial preservatives will limit the growth of bacteria or inhibit oxidation of food. Common preservatives that should be avoided include BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, sodium nitrite and propylene glycol.  Natural alternatives for preserving food includes a mixture of varying forms of vitamin E called mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract and even the process of freeze-drying.

Artificial flavors and colorings (e.g. corn syrup, propylene glycol, molasses and MSG/ FD&C Blue No. 1, Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5) are frequently used in pet food manufacturing to disguise inferior food quality and some of these additives give dampness and flexibility to semi-moist foods and treats.

Filler, an ingredient added to a pet food that provides dietary fiber and has no particular nutritional value. Filler is used to “bulk up” the bag of pet food cheaply. While pets do require a source of fiber in their diet, it is best that this fiber is provided by whole grains and vegetables. Ingredients such as wheat mill run, rice bran, corn, hulls and certain pulps are examples of fillers that should be avoided or at least not be present in the main ingredient list. Another type of filler is more correctly called a plant-based protein booster.  Many pet food companies use cheap grains as the base of their recipes because they are an inexpensive way to meet nutritional requirements for protein and fat. Cats and dogs should be getting the majority of their protein from real meat and high quality named meat meals, instead of plants. These protein fillers used as main ingredients such as corn, corn gluten or corn germ meal, and soybean meal should be avoided. Corn gluten meal is a high allergen and causes gastrointestinal fermentation and other GI upsets.

Basically, when meat is processed for human consumption, all the left over pieces go into some bags of pet food, labeled as meat by-products, or meat by-product meal.  When you see something like, “chicken by-product meal” on a bag of pet food, the by-product meal is made from heads, beaks, feet, feathers, and entrails, all the stuff that would be too hard to sell.

When there’s no meat specified such as chicken, beef, turkey, etc. – the unspecified meat might be chicken or it could be rendered horse meat. All this garbage can be added to pet food as ‘crude protein.’ Unspecified meat or bone meal is also to be avoided. Meal is fine, as long as a type of meat is specified such as chicken meal or beef meal. ‘Meat meal’ gives you no idea of the content. It could be bird beaks or feathers, or pig snouts.

Chicken liver is a by-product, yet a bag of pet food that simply says “chicken by-product” on the label, or even worse, “animal,” or “meat by-products” are not using a specific by-product, but a mix of them that could be any part of the animal.  These companies are using by-products to replace actual meat and meat meal ingredients. A company that uses by-product meals in their formulas almost always put corn or wheat gluten into the formula to get the protein levels back to where they should be.  Corn and wheat gluten are some of the most common causes of allergies in pets.

Semi-moist foods are some of the most toxic pet foods on the market. They contain propylene glycol, ethoxyquin, BHA and BHG, they also contain high fructose corn syrup and a large amount of carbs. These are used all in an effort to create palatability.

Treats should be tiny morsels of food you use to reward your pet for good behavior and for training and reinforcement of positive behavior. Be careful as tiny amounts of treats can add up over time. It is recommended to feed healthful meat-based treats like dried salmon, turkey jerky, or a fish-based treat. Any type of dehydrated real meat is a good choice because it’s grain and carb-free, with no added salt, fats or sugar. The package or label should say 100 percent natural and pure, USDA inspected. It should also say Made in the USA. In summation here is a list of things to look for:

1) Look for ingredients on the list that you recognize: beef, chicken, duck, lamb, brown rice, vegetables. These are high-quality ingredients and are readily digestible nutrient sources your pet’s body can use.

2) Look for carbohydrate fillers like cornmeal, wheat, soy and white rice. Stay away from foods loaded with these fillers because they are indigestible to your pet and provide no nutrients. Wheat and soy are also known allergens. Instead choose higher quality grains, such as barley, brown rice, and oatmeal, or a preferable alternative starch/carbohydrate such as potatoes or sweet potatoes.

3) Look for animal by-products. It’s a common pet food filler made from the feet, feathers, hooves, beaks and hair of other animals. Animal by-product is commonly used to boost the protein content on the guaranteed analysis, but it is indigestible to your pet and they cannot absorb any protein from these materials.

4) Look for foods that use meat meal, which is meat without its water content. Meat meal is a highly concentrated protein source that pet’s bodies can absorb readily. Meal is simply the meat with the moisture removed.

5) Look out for chemical additives and steer clear of foods that contain them and artificial food colorings and preservatives like BHA, BHT and other long chemical words you cannot pronounce. Instead, look for natural sources of preservatives like antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, Rosemary extract and no colorings at all.

6) Look at the guaranteed analysis chart to make sure certain minerals have been included in the food. Dogs need a daily supply of calcium, magnesium, sodium and phosphorous, and cats need taurine and magnesium for optimal health. You can find this information in the ingredients list as well as the guaranteed analysis chart.

7) Look for an indication of how the food is made. High-quality foods are always proud of their nutrient-preserving processing methods and will usually state that somewhere on the bag.

Once you find the food that suits your pet you may be concerned about problems with diarrhea when they switch pet foods. If you switch to a new food too quickly after your dog or cat has been eating the same thing every day for years, your pet will probably develop diarrhea. But if you provide nutritional variety on a regular basis, your pet’s digestive system will adjust and will ultimately function better and become more resilient.

When you switch foods, do it gradually. Do this over about a two-week time span:

25% food A, 75% food B

50% food A, 50% food B

75% food A, 25% food B

100% food A

Now please take the time to click on the link and take the quiz, no peeking at the answers and let me know how you did and if the information was helpful.

Label Test Final

 

A Life Beyond

A life beyond what? When I decided to write this particular article I wanted to write about Life Beyond Cushing’s. Instead as I started to think about the words I was about to write and re-write for the  fiftieth time I could only be angry and devastated because my whole life and my business is built on helping those in sickness and health and when it came to it, die with dignity.

But PLEASE explain to me HOW? How do you help one die with dignity when you are fighting a sickness that is so evil and vile that you have to look into your loved one’s eyes and tell her “I’m sorry baby I don’t know how to help you, please forgive me.”

As those of you who know for the last year I have been helping my poor baby girl Spirit fight a loosing battle against one of the worst diseases, Cushing’s. The brand in which my strong loving sweet little girl has been kicking the butt of, until this last week, is of the pituitary Gland at the base of her brain brand. We have fought weight gain, weight loss, hair loss, lesions, stomach upsets, lethargy and dementia. To watch my baby go from a happy loving dog to a lethargic, circle walking, senile basket case literally over night because this good for nothing disease decided that it was ok to let the tumor grow and put pressure where it does not belong.

We  and I mean myself, my children and Spirit’s daddy have sat back and each step of the way I worked at trying to be not only the buffer but the brick wall trying to keep everyone from feeling the heart wrenching pain of what Miss Spirit has been going through but also trying to be honest like when she was first diagnosed. Over and over I warned that what Spirit was going through was inoperable, we can not fix it because of where her tumor was. All we can do is make sure she does not suffer.

With each vet visit and each new blood test and each medicine adjustment and change I have watched not only what this cruel disease has done to my baby but I have watched what it has done to my family as well. When it comes down to a hospice care it becomes difficult for the loved ones not to be selfish.

When is the right time to say good-bye? You never ever want your loved one to suffer but you always question “will I have the strength to make the decision of whether my loved one has had enough?” and “when has my loved one had enough?” I am sitting in that very position now. Just when my baby stopped eating and I called the Dr. yet again for advice that I already knew the answer to but needed to confirm what I knew. Spirit again had an up, right from the lowest low I have seen. I looked into her face and asked her and myself “HOW? HOW can I make this decision when you play your London Bridge game? Your favorite game?” This is telling me Spirit has not given up yet. She bounced back like I have never expected. To see her eat like she did, act like she did, I wept for joy, but how many times is this enough, when does this become suffering?

After having been through this with many animals I let faith guide my decision and just hope and pray I never make the wrong one and if I do please, please let that little baby forgive me for being human and loving so much that for a brief moment I let my humanity get in the way of a difficult decision.

In conclusion let me say, always and I mean always be informed let your vet guide you and do not be afraid to have a second opinion but always keep your decision balanced between your head and your heart because your loved one maybe trying to be strong to make you happy but please do not let this keep you from making the hardest decision you have ever made by letting go. Hold in your heart their memory and remember each and every time they stopped and made you smell the roses.

For my SPIRIT and everyone else’s SPIRIT we love you!

Smelling the Roses