Meet Pixel Blue Eyes
How old are you?
I will be five years old in December.
Where did your name come from?
“Pixel” comes from the fact that Mommy is a photographer and has been for many years. I am named after the pixels in digital photos, which are the smallest individual section of a photo or video. Millions of individual pixels make up one digital photograph. The “Blue Eyes” portion comes from the fact that my eyes were almost completely blue for the first couple years of my life. Now, my eyes are blue just in the center, then it fades to a green color, then a golden hazel with a dark brown line around the edge. Different lighting makes my eyes look different from photo to photo.
How did you come into your mom’s life?
Mommy saved me from a bad backyard breeder situation back in 2008. I was very sick and quiet. I was in with a bunch of the other puppies. They were all so loud and barking and jumping. I’d waited my whole life for my Mommy to come for me, and then one day…there she was. I just sat and regarded my Mommy’s face. She says I stared right into her soul. We’ve been inseparable ever since. It took awhile to get me back to health, and to get my stained paws white again, but Mommy took great care of me and I became a very happy little girl, knowing I was safe in the arms and home of love.
What type of dog are you, or do you know?
I am a miniature schnauzer, probably with a little Jack Russell thrown in there for good measure. My good friend Morgan the Pitbull made me an honorary Pittie a few months ago so I hold that with great honor…does that count as part of my breed? *Smiles Big*
I see you are an advocate against BSL, what would you like to say about it?
My Mommy and I believe that Breed Specific Legislation is just as wrong as labeling a human as either dangerous or a bad person based on how they look. I hope this is okay to say, but you could take two photos of two men with blond hair, blue eyes, same height and general look and hold them side by side. One could be a famous actor that everyone loves and the other a criminal. You would never know just by looking at them that one could be dangerous, and it would be crazy for all the blond haired, blue eyed men to be discriminated against because one of them was a criminal. So, my belief, with all my heart, is that a dog (and everyone) should be judged only by their actions, not how they look, where they come from, or what breed they might be. Mommy has photographed many Pit Bull type breeds at the shelter she volunteers at, and she has gotten far more kisses and loving hugs from them than anything else. If you come at a dog aggressively, he/she will respond in the same manner. All that any dog needs is a loving, caring, gentle and patient heart to give them a loving home.
What would you like to tell people about tail docking?
Tail docking is a terrible practice in which various breeds of dogs get their tails removed when they are merely days old. There is no logical reason for it, no matter what tail docking supporters say, and it can cause life long problems in some dogs, as it has for me. Not many people realize that tail docking involves the severing of muscles, spinal vertebrae, tendons and nerves. For me and other dogs many other dogs with docked tails, any excitement or stimulation such as being happy to see Mommy come home, or trying to do other dog things, will send shooting nerve pain and stinging into the tail nub tip. It is like the dog is constantly being electrocuted or poked with a sharp stick. Mommy has spent years trying to help me, and has a long list of symptoms to look for (that a dog is having issues) and ways to help them cope.
There are many symptoms and behaviours that a dog can exhibit when they are having docked tail pain. Here are just a few signs that a puppy or adult dog is having pain, irritation or difficulties with a docked tail:
1. Biting, licking, ‘chasing’ or whining at the tail or back end.
2. Hiding under a bed, or in a crate. Isolation from the family or laying alone in a back room.
3. Difficulty potty training, either on paper or outside. Often difficulty having a normal BM, including running away from a BM as it is occurring.
4. Unexplained potty accidents, even if they are potty trained.
5. Redness, inflammation or scaling at the tail nub tip. I am 4.5 years old and mine still gets red and inflamed at times.
6. The dog acting like they are in trouble or are being punished, including crying out, yelping, or even nipping at someone who tries to pick up the dog, or touch the back end near the tail.
7. Getting excited over a loved one coming home or a fun play time, and then suddenly yelping and ‘going after their tail. Whenever I’d get excited to see Mommy my tail would give me a fit. I couldn’t even show how happy I was to see her without my tail stinging and hurting me. Excitement runs through the nerves in the tail nub as a dog wags with joy.
Things you can do to help ease the stress from the stabbing and stinging nerve pain of a docked tail include:
1. Setting up a ‘safe place’ where the dog can go to such as a crate, or a bed that is just theirs. Make sure you can easily access them if needed. I used to go under the bed, now I have a little crate I can run to if need be and Mommy can come comfort me.
2. Putting a sweater on the dog (amazingly this distracts me from biting at my tail).
3. Help your dog snuggle into a comfy bed and gently wrap them in a blanket if possible. Sit and comfort them.
4. Talk to your vet about your concerns. I am on Neurontin for the nerve pain and I just started taking a natural supplement called ‘Composure’ that has Colostrum, the natural occurring hormone that puppies get from their mother when nursing. Mommy saw a marked difference in me on the very first day.
5. Corrective surgery is an option, and one that my family is now going to do for me. We’ve tried every other avenue and now we must take this final step to make my quality of life better.
Make sure your vet takes you seriously, and if you feel your concerns are not being addressed…go talk to another vet. Docked tail issues are real and valid, and you owe it to your dog to do all you can to help them. I would be honored if everyone went to my “No Tail Left Behind” page (www.facebook.com/NoTailLeftBehind), LIKE it, and help me spread the word and help other dogs that have had their tails docked live a full, happy life. My page is also on Twitter at https://twitter.com/NoTailLeftBhind.
Do you have any videos of your tricks that you can do so that you can show off for my readers?
I sure do have videos to share! Here are some links to my favorite videos…
1. Pixel practicing her latest trick of knowing her left from her right. Left paw command is ‘Ask’ and right paw command is ‘Paw’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgLXTVdo0-Q
2. Pixel making her Mommy laugh with her trick “How Does A Car Go?” trick – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUprOKEuPK0
3. A video of me last year doing a few tricks. I’ve since mastered them a little better. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_UaDkySYt4&feature=relmfu
What was the hardest trick for you to learn?
I would say the hardest trick was the “How does a car go?” trick, where I make my voice sound like a revving car engine. It took me over a year to master it. We had a great time practicing and working on it.
The hardest command though, was ‘Wait’, in which I stop whatever I am doing and stand or sit still. Mommy taught it to me for protection, so that if I am in any danger or risk, she can get me to stop immediately. It took me forever to get it, and not think I was in trouble or something. She ALWAYS makes learning fun, and always made that command a positive one, so I’d know I would always be safe when she said it.
I see that you won Nurse of the Year in Virginia for 2010 & 2011, how tough was the competition and how did you train to win?
I have a natural ability to know when someone is ill, hurt or in distress, often before they know it, and I am compelled to comfort and attend to them until they are well. I was able to detect that something was wrong with my Mommy’s neck early in 2010. After the doctor corroborated and identified my findings as compressed discs and a bone spur in her cervical spine, I was promoted to full time nurse and got my special uniform. I knew there was something wrong with my grampy’s heart about a month before he had his heart attack. Every time I was near him, I kept sniffing his chest and trying to identify what was wrong. Grampy survived, thank God, and as I cared for both of them while they recovered, I was honored to be named Nurse of the Year in Virginia for 2010, and doubly honored in 2011 for my continued dedication to the sick and injured. I care for all patients, be they human, animal or stuffed animal. Everyone deserves a chance to be well cared for.
Are you competing for the Nurse of the Year in Virginia of 2012?
I am not sure what this year holds for the 2012 title. I did alert the family to something being seriously wrong with my uncle Jessie over the last few months, and now he is having trouble walking and is being cared for by our wonderful vet.
Is there anything the readers can do to help you win?
I am known in the Facebook doggie community as Nurse Pixel, and have had several people and animal pages request my tending to someone in need. It is a real joy for me. If someone I have tended to were to write a little letter about how I helped them, that would be a great honor.
Do you accept fan mail/presents?
I certainly do and have in the past. I am so humbled that anyone would want to write to me or send me something. It is my goal in life to help share all the joy I can, and in turn, I have had many people bring me joy in return. Just the other day (Oct 9), a Facebook doggie friend from South Africa sent me a copy of the calendar that he and his Mommy did for a large rescue place there. Along with the calendar was the most beautiful hand made elephant shaped key-chain made of silver wire and blue beads. I absolutely LOVE it!
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my mailing address is P.O. Box 764, Marion VA 24354.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I wanted to share that Mommy volunteers and takes pet portraits every single week at our local shelter and then optimizes the photos, creating posters for the pets and putting them on the shelter page. I help her get things ready for her next photoshoot every week, like helping her make doggie bandanas and lay next to her while she works on making the pet posters. The shelter page is www.facebook.com/SmythCountyAnimalShelter and the page where Mommy has started celebrating the dogs and cats who find a true forever loving home is at www.facebook.com/RealShelterPetPortraits. It is so rewarding for us to be able to help them, but sometimes it is certainly heartbreaking. The real reward is that we have helped over 70 dogs & cats, puppies & kittens find homes since July. What an amazing thing to be able to do!
I just celebrated my 5th birthday. Now we are getting ready for Christmas.