Happy Tails: Meet Brat, Geo & Rags

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Vicat Furrington   for letting me interview her about her furry family. Pictures used with permission. 
How many pets do you currently have? What are their names? 
I currently have 2 cats,  Brat and Rags, and 1 dog, Geo
How did they come to live with you?
All 3 were rescues. Geo came first. He was the dog of a guy about to go to jail for several months, they were homeless and living out of a van in winter in Nebraska. I had a giant NOPE, and immediately took him home with me. He was a year and a half old.
About 6 months later, one stormy night Geo and I heard a mew from outside but in the deluge couldn’t locate where. The next moron we found Rags stuck in the mud beneath the propane tank and Brat under the bushes. They were 9 werks old, and had been born to a semi-feral cat who lived down the road, but the rest of the litter had died. I had delivered them, so I guess when things went badly, those 2 struck out to find me.
Does Brat have asthma or another medical condition that causing him to have problems breathing? What is normally used to keep him calm?
Brat was born butt first, and got stuck. I was able to pull him out and save him and the mom and the other 4 kittens. But there was damage to his lungs, causing what I now know as Non-Contagious ﹰBirth ﹰTrauma-Induced ﹰFeline ﹰAcute ﹰRespiratory ﹰDistress ﹰSyndrome. It is rare, and before Brat no cat ever made it past 2. His 7 now…
It is really rare because there is no real research about it. There was 100% mortality rate, so why research something we can’t cure? But we can. He can go from peppy snarky demanding bratty to losing 15% oh his body weight overnight, fish gasping on the floor and drowning in his own fluids. He gets into the crouch with full neck extension, which is a very bad sign for any cat with respiratory issues.
But. He has lasix and prednisone for during the episodes, we do steamies in the bathroom with sweet peppermint oil in the water. When coughing I hold him upright and massage his chest to stop spasms or he would cough himself apart internally. His triggers are stress, heat, and pollutants so we try to avoid those. It is an ongoing battle and worth every minute.
What breed of dog is Geo?
His coat looks so shaggy he looks so pettable.
Geo is half Westie and half Bichon, and in perpetual need of trimming because his fur grows so fast! And the sweetest doggy I’ve ever met.
How many pets have you rescued?
I’ve lost count, really. There have been hundreds, including raccoons, squirrels, a snake, cats, dogs…
What tips/tricks/suggestions do you have for others looking to rescue/adopt?
Never rule out an older animal or one with health issues. Sometimes those are the most fulfilling experiences of your life.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your furry children?
They save me just as much as I save them.


I know, I know.. another dog related post… I’m sorry to all my cat lovers and small pet friends…I had to cover this topic. It’s been an issue since I was little back when I was petrified of dogs and now that I understand them more it’s still an issue.


Why don’t people have their dogs on leashes?

Not only are there laws for this, but there are people who are petrified of dogs (I was on that list) dogs can get into deadly situations without being on a leash, but yet people still let their dogs out to run free or walk them without a leash.


My neighbor did this often when I first moved into my house about 4 years ago, I repeatedly called animal services about it because I had seen the dog nearly get hit twice and gobbled down the cat food I left out for the outdoor cats I feed.

They have come out numerous times to speak with her and she did walk the dog on a leash for a while, but unfortunately she is one of those pet owners who sees walking the dog as an inconvenience. Which is extremely unfortunate for the dog, who is a handsome white pit bull named Repo.

He deserves better than that, he deserves a human who will take him out on a leash all the time.

But animals don’t give up on their humans, so I hope his human will realize that the leash is for his safety.



More reasons to leash your dogs:


*It’s the law In many areas, dogs must be on a leash. Many of the reasons for this are found below. It can be very costly if your dog is seen by an officer or ranger or if your dog is involved in an incident while off leash.

*Aggressive dogs Just because your dog is friendly does not mean that the dog he’s meeting is nice. If the aggressive dog is on leash and bites your off-leash dog, you will not be able to collect any money for your dog’s vet bills and you will likely be fined for having your dog off leash, even if your dog does not survive the attack.

*Fearful people Many people of all ages are afraid of dogs. Not only is it rude to allow your dog to frighten people, it could cost you. If your dog causes a fearful person to get hurt in an attempt to get away from your dog, you could be held liable for the medical bills. People have a right to protect themselves from a perceived threat, so even if your dog is friendly, if they see it as aggressive they can hurt or kill your dog in self-defense and you have no legal recourse.

*Poison Your dog could get into something poisonous like antifreeze or into dangerous trash like cooked chicken bones before you can stop it. This can cause large vet bills or death of the dog.

*Chasing Your dog could chase wildlife into a street. If your loose dog causes an auto accident, you can be responsible for the car repairs and medical bills.


Taken from: http://www.parkrecord.com/ci_23141219/ten-reasons-keep-your-dog-leash



6 Great Reasons To Always Use A Dog Leash
Here are the top reasons we advocate that all owners use dog leashes and collars:
  • Leashes prevent your dog from chasing animals, people, or bikes.
  • Its courteous to your neighbors, especially if they do not know your dog’s level of obedience.
  • A single lost dog is one too many.
  • When used properly, most canines don’t mind dog leashes or collars, in fact most like them.
  • You can pull your dog back to protect them, should there be something dangerous in the environment.
  • A dog leash could save your dog’s life.

(Taken from : http://www.puplife.com/pages/dog-leash-safety-tips)



Wildlife Safety & Pets

I wanted to cover this topic in light of the toddler dying from the gator attack in Orlando.

Please, please keep eyes on your pets when out in nature.

Since I live in Florida there are gators here so I can’t stress how much pet parents need to keep their eyes open. Gators blend very well in their environment so try to keep your dogs out of lakes, ponds, streams, etc because there could be a threat of a gator lurking in it.

So I wanted to share some information I found to help those who live in Florida or near areas where gators are known to lurk or for those thinking about visiting Florida.

(And yes, most of this information pertains to dogs, but can be used for cats if you happen to have a cat that likes to hike around on a leash or a guinea pig or ferret)

Facts & Safety Tips

  • Leave alligators alone. Alligators are shy animals that usually avoid human contact.
  • Pay attention. Keep an eye on your surroundings near fresh or brackish waters. Avoid vegetation-filled areas of rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water.
  • Do not feed alligators. Feeding alligators is illegal. Alligators that are fed will come to associate humans with food and will lose their natural fear.
  • Throw fish scraps into trash cans. Do not discard fish scraps in the water at fish camps or boat ramps—you will unintentionally feed alligators.
  • Follow directions on signs. Do not swim outside of posted swimming areas.
  • Swim during daylight hours only. Alligators are most active at night.
  • Stay with children. Never allow small children to play unattended near water.
  • Keep an eye on your pets. Dogs are in more danger from alligators than humans, because they resemble the reptiles’ natural prey. Do not let your dog swim in waters where you know alligators live.
  • Remember the odds. You are more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by an alligator in Florida.

(Taken from: http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/hot_topics/environment/alligator_safety.shtml)


Call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission if you spot one in Florida, or if you have a nuisance gator in your area: 1-866-FWC-GATOR.


Here’s a wonderful article about gator safety and dogs from All Things Dog Blog 



Now let’s not forget about snakes because not only is Florida home to the Diamondback and the Cottonmouth but there are several other states they reside in.

So here’s a helpful graph of how to tell the non-venomous from venomous snakes.



Avoid chance encounters with snakes:

  • Keep your yard tidy by clearing away undergrowth, toys and tools that make great hiding places for snakes.
  • Keep walkways clear of brush, flowers and shrubs.
  • Clean up any spilled food, fruit or bird seed, which can attract rodents-and therefore snakes-to your yard.
  • When walking your pet, keep him on a leash.
  • Steer your pet clear of long grasses, bushes and rocks.
  • Snakes can strike across a distance equal to about half their body length. If you see a snake, head back the way you came.
  • Familiarize yourself with snakes who are common in your area. In the event of a bite, identifying the type of snake may help with your pet’s treatment.


(taken from: http://pets.webmd.com/snake-bite-safety-prevention-pet)


Just in case your dog ever gets bit when you’re not around, memorize these snake bite symptoms so you can identify the problem:


  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Signs of pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weakness
  • Dead tissue surrounding wound

If you suspect your dog has been bitten seek immediate emergency veterinarian care. If you are able to kill or capture the snake then do so. Successfully identifying the snake will allow doctors to treat your pup all the better.


(Taken from: http://barkpost.com/9-tips-to-keep-your-pup-safe-from-snake-bites/)


Here’s a very important number to remember:

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.

(Taken from : http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control)



Hurricane Preparedness for Pets

I live in Florida, which means from June 1st to November 30th we are subject to tropical depressions/storms/hurricanes.

For those that don’t know what they are or have gone through them, it’s a disturbance in the Atlantic Ocean that forms as it travels along and brings lots of rain, wind, storm surge (due to the wind pushing the water onshore), tornadoes/ water spouts and lightning.

It can be an frightening experience for humans, but imagine your pets.

So today, in light of the fact that the Tampa Bay area is currently under tropical storm warning I wanted to share some tips/hints and checklists that will help you keep your furry, feathered and scaled friends safe this Hurricane Season:


Start getting ready now

(taken from: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/animal_rescue/tips/pets-disaster.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/)

ID your pet

Make sure that cats and dogs are wearing collars and identification tags that are up to date. You’ll increase your chances of being reunited with pets who get lost by having themmicrochipped; make sure the microchip registration is in your name. But remember: The average citizen who finds your pet won’t be able to scan for a chip, but they will probably be able to read a basic tag!

Put your cell phone number on your pet’s tag. It may also be a good idea to include the phone number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area—in case you have had to evacuate.

Put together your disaster kit

Use our checklist to assemble an emergency kit for yourself and your pet.

Find a safe place to stay ahead of time

Never assume that you will be allowed to bring your pet to an emergency shelter. Before a disaster hits, call your local office of emergency management to see if you will be allowed to evacuate with your pets and verify that there will be shelters in your area that take people and their pets.

Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to find out if they accept pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size and species. Inquire if a “no pet” policy would be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of animal-friendly places handy, and call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to leave your home.

For help identifying pet-friendly lodgings, check out these websites:

Make arrangements with friends or relatives. Ask people outside your immediate area if they would be able to shelter you and your pets—or just your pets—if necessary. If you have more than one pet, you may need to arrange to house them at separate locations.

Consider a kennel or veterinarian’s office. Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in disaster emergencies (make sure to include their 24-hour telephone numbers).

Check with your local animal shelter. Some shelters may be able to provide foster care or shelter for pets in an emergency. But keep in mind that shelters have limited resources and are likely to be stretched during a local emergency.

Plan for your pet in case you’re not home

In case you’re away during a disaster or evacuation order, make arrangements well in advance for someone you trust to take your pets and meet you at a specified location. Be sure the person is comfortable with your pets and your pets are familiar with them. Give your emergency caretaker a key to your home and show them where your pets are likely to be (especially if they hide when they’re nervous) and where your disaster supplies are kept.

If you have a pet-sitter, they may be able to help. Discuss the possibility well in advance.

If you evacuate, take your pet

Rule number one: If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. You have no way of knowing how long you’ll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able—or allowed—to go back for your pets. Pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed.
Pledge to take your pet with you when disaster strikes.

Rule number two: Evacuate early. Don’t wait for a mandatory evacuation order. Some people who have waited to be evacuated by emergency officials have been told to leave their pets behind. The smell of smoke or the sound of high winds or thunder may make your pet more fearful and difficult to load into a crate or carrier. Evacuating before conditions become severe will keep everyone safer and make the process less stressful.

If you stay home, do it safely

If your family and pets must wait out a storm or other disaster at home, identify a safe area of your home where you can all stay together.

  • Close off or eliminate unsafe nooks and crannies where frightened cats may try to hide.
  • Move dangerous items such as tools or toxic products that have been stored in the area.
  • Bring your pets indoors as soon as local authorities say trouble is on the way. Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers, and make sure they are wearing identification.
  • If you have a room you can designate as a “safe room,” put your emergency supplies in that room in advance, including your pet’s crate and supplies. Have any medications and a supply of pet food and water inside watertight containers, along with your other emergency supplies. If there is an open fireplace, vent, pet door or similar opening in the house, close it off with plastic sheeting and strong tape.
  • Listen to the radio periodically, and don’t come out until you know it’s safe.

After the disaster

Your home may be a very different place after the emergency is over, and it may be hard for your pets to adjust.

  • Don’t allow your pets to roam loose. Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your pet will probably be disoriented. Pets can easily get lost in such situations.
  • While you assess the damage, keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers inside the house. If your house is damaged, your pets could escape.
  • Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible. Be ready for behavioral problems caused by the stress of the situation. If these problems persist, or if your pet seems to be having any health problems, talk to your veterinarian.
  • If your community has been flooded, check your home and yard for wild animals who may have sought refuge there. Wildlife can pose a threat to you and your pet. Check out our tips for humanely evicting wildlife.

Be ready for everyday emergencies

You can’t get home to your pet

There may be times that you can’t get home to take care of your pets. Icy roads may trap you at the office overnight, an accident may send you to the hospital—things happen. But you can make sure your pets get the care they need by making arrangements now:

  • Find a trusted neighbor, friend or family member and give him or her a key. Make sure this backup caretaker is comfortable and familiar with your pets (and vice versa).
  • Make sure your backup caretaker knows your pets’ feeding and medication schedule, whereabouts and habits.
  • If you use a pet-sitting service, find out in advance if they will be able to help in case of an emergency.

Heat wave

High temperatures can be dangerous. Learn more about hot weather safety for pets.

The electricity goes out

If you’re forced to leave your home because you’ve lost electricity, take your pets with you to a pet-friendly hotel. If it’s summer, even just an hour or two in the sweltering heat can be dangerous. If you stay at home during a summer power outage, ask your local emergency management office if there are pet-friendly cooling centers in the area.

If it’s winter, don’t be fooled by your pets’ fur coats; it isn’t safe to leave them in an unheated house.


Let’s start with the basic disaster kit:




(taken from: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/animal_rescue/tips/pet_disaster_preparedness_kit.html?credit=web_id354243830)

Here’s a great little video:

Additional Items to have:


  • Newspapers
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic trash bags
  • Grooming items
  • Household bleach


You take also take the Pledge to take your pet with you.

Also helpful is a list of pet friendly places to take your animals in the event you have to evacuate:



Also for those taking care of community cats (taken from http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/feral_cats/tips/disasters_care_outdoor_cats.html?credit=web_id354243830) :


What to do right now

  • Create (and update) a list—complete with descriptions and photos—of all the cats in the colony you care for. After a storm, this list may help you locate displaced cats and recover those being cared for by shelters or other rescue groups.
  • Find someone who will commit to being a back-up caretaker in your absence.
  • Carry the contact information for your secondary caretaker in your wallet. Also post the information on your refrigerator or some other visible place in your home.
  • Gather and have on hand the contact information for local shelters and rescue groups. They may be able to help you locate cats who have gone missing.

What to do when bad weather threatens your community cats

  • Secure or remove objects (such as chairs, potted plants or garden utensils) in and near the colony that could become airborne during high winds or get washed away.
  • Move shelters and feeding stations to higher ground in areas that may flood. Raise shelters and feeding stations to keep them dry. You’ll find wooden shipping pallets, available at some lumber yards, are ideal for this purpose.
  • Tie shelters and feeders to permanent structures (like a fence or a sturdy tree) to anchor them, or wedge them tightly into a secure space. Be careful about placing heavy objects (e.g., bricks, boards or rocks) on top of shelters to keep them in place, as these may pose a danger in high winds.
  • Keep rain out by positioning shelters so their openings face a wall or so that the entrances of two shelters face each other, no more than a foot apart.
  • Cover shelters and feeding stations with heavy tarps to keep out driving rain. Tie tarps at an angle and extend any overhang over shelter doors so water can run off and away from shelter doors. Hammer stakes securely and/or tie the tarps to a permanent structure.
  • Leave extra dry food in covered feeding stations in case you can’t return soon, and place extra kibble inside the cats’ shelter, as far from the openings as possible. Don’t put water in the shelter—it’s important that the shelter and cats remain warm and dry.
  • Lay Mylar blankets inside the shelters for extra warmth.
  • Put portable shelters, litter boxes, food and water in an accessible shed or garage during the storm.
  • Stockpile adequate cat food, bottled water, extra batteries and flashlights.
  • If possible, trap the friendly cats and kittens young enough to be socialized prior to the storm and take them to a safe place. Don’t try to trap or contain feral cats; they are too frightened of humans to be handled.

What to do when it’s safe to return to your community cat colony

Contact your local police precinct to gain access to your colony if it’s in an area with restricted access. Then, restore a normal environment and feeding routine as soon as possible in order to help draw the cats back.

How to find the missing community cats

  • Search above ground level: The cats may have climbed high to escape flood waters.
  • Don’t panic if you can’t find all the cats at once. They are probably close but are too frightened to return to their home. Most cats will return within a week, but some may take a few weeks to come back.
  • Offer tempting foods such as canned tuna or rotisserie chicken to coax frightened cats into returning.
  • Provide government agencies and organizations assisting animals with information about cats you’re missing, and find out how to claim the cats if they’re found.
  • Search for missing cats at local shelters and find out how you can claim your cats.

How to restore order to the cats’ home

  • Be cautious of branches and other debris that may continue to fall after the storm has ended.
  • Remove broken lumber and glass, nails or other sharp objects to prevent injury and infection.
  • Repair damaged feeding stations and shelters. Rebuild shelters, if necessary. Clean out and replace wet insulation materials (straw, newspaper or linens).
  • Disinfect shelters, feeding stations and dishes if they were exposed to flood waters. Use a non-toxic, cat-safe disinfectant. (Check with your veterinarian or animal shelter to see what products are safe.)
  • Put out more fresh water than usual because standing water is probably contaminated.

What to do once you’ve found the cats

  • Check the cats for injuries or illness as thoroughly as you can. (You may only be able to examine the community cats by watching them.)
  • Trap injured or sick cats as soon as possible and get them medical care. If you need help paying for their medical care, use our community-cat resources map to find one near you or consult our “Having Trouble Affording Veterinary Care?” page.



If you have anything to add please comment.


Thank you!

Animal Lovers

Today as I was driving home from work I saw a dog sticking it’s head out of the window just enjoying the heck out of its life. I was smiling to myself as it reminded me to be like that dog and enjoy the little things.

I noticed the bumper sticker on the vehicle and it was said TRUMP. Now I’m a democrat, I don’t generally talk about politics much because to each their own, but I feel that as an animal lover it doesn’t matter who you’re going to vote for, or who you worship (or don’t), if you’re straight, gay, bi, transgender or whatever.

It’s our love for animals that unites us.

It’s our desire to help those that are in need that can’t help themselves.

And it’s incidents like the one that happened just recently that sickens me.. a woman threw a dog from a moving van, the dog named Joe unfortunately passed away.

How can someone throw a living sentient being out a moving van like it’s nothing but trash??

I hope they find her. I hope they give her a big huge penalty but as an animal lover I’m more upset that Joe didn’t make it, I’m somewhat comforted by the fact that he knew love in his last few days and hours.

He knew what it was like to be loved, have kind words, food, water and kind people who wanted him to pull through.

So I want you all to hug and kiss your pet, give them an extra treat, blanket or take them out for a stroll.

Be glad that you have them in your life and they are getting the love that poor Joe the dog did not.

Dog Thrown from minivan Dies

(Taken from: http://wfla.com/2016/05/16/dog-thrown-from-van-in-pasco-to-undergo-surgery/)

NEW PORT RICHEY, FL (WFLA) — Joe, the dog thrown from a moving minivan in New Port Richey, died during surgery on Monday.

The team at San Francis Veterinary Hospital in Spring Hill said “Joe” did not survive a surgery to fix his diaphragm.

“We would like to thank the community for the outpouring of support we have seen over this past weekend. Heaven has gained another angel,” the hospital said in a statement.

When Joe was thrown from the minivan, his organs were pushed into his abdominal cavity, and his diaphragm and pelvis broke.

Deputies are still searching for the suspect who allegedly threw Joe from the moving van.

Read more: Deputies: Woman threw dog out of moving minivan

The incident happened at the intersection of Orchid Lake Road and Floral View Way early Friday morning. The woman driving a white or grey minivan tossed the mixed-breed dog out of the vehicle.

The suspect is described as a large, heavy set female. She is approximately 45 years old, with blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail. She was wearing glasses.

If you have any information about this case, please call the sheriff’s office tips line at (800) 706-2488.



Pets that Blog: Meet Bella from According to Bella

Author’s Note: I had the pleasure of meeting Bella’s mom Trista at Barkworld back in November.


How did According to Bella start?
My husband and I have always been dog people. We both had dogs growing up and adopted a Golden and a Rescue mix a year or so into our marriage. When they passed at 17 years old, I thought I would never have another dog in my life. I had a lot of healing over the next 2 years and my husband and I had started talking about talking about rescuing. On our trip to VA for Thanksgiving (a year ago this week!) I was scrolling through Facebook on my phone and this awesome dog with the coolest coloring pops up. Would you judge me if I told you I welled up at the sight of her? My heart knew she was mine before my brain did.

Where did Bella come from?
Bella was rescued from a kill shelter in NC by Crate Escape. They placed her in foster care where she lived, learned, acclimated for about 6 weeks until she was adopted.

How did she get her name?
When she is happy she prances and dances so her foster family named her Belle for Bellerina. We tweaked it to Bella when we adopted her.

Do you know what breed she is?
She was listed as a German Short Haired Pointer mix but the Vet says she is an Australian Cattle Dog. This breed is called a Heeler b/c they bite at the heels of cattle when herding them. There are RED Heelers and BLUE Heelers. Bella is a rare mix of both, referred to as a Purple Heeler.

What inspired you to write in her voice?
Her HUGE personality! She is the most opinionated dog I have ever met. And really good at communicating her feelings too. We spend a lot of time together so I have gotten good at understanding her.

What has been your favorite post so far?
Her first. “Prepare Your Pup for Winter – From a Clothes Averse Heeler Mix” This was the moment when her voice finally came out and it was loud and clear. I decided to write about winter prep and the kinds of things your dog needs to be happy and healthy for the cold winter months. As I wrote it remembered how much Bella hated to be in coats last year. I felt so torn as I prepared to write the post, because I knew Bella would never stand for most of what I was recommending based on research and things I had picked up since we adopted a short-haired breed. I realized Bella wasn’t the only short-haired dog that hates wearing clothes. And that point of view would probably be really helpful for owners of these types of dogs. So I decided Bella should be the one to talk about it first and then I added a section from me with advice about how to compromise between hating to be clothed and needed to be protected from the elements. I’m really proud of it.
Here’s a link: http://bit.ly/firstpost-whiskers

What has been the most rewarding thing about having a blog?
I love giving Bella a voice and helping others with the information I am learning. I’m not an expert, a trainer, a specialist. I’m just a dog owner learning how to deal with a dog that is much smarter and energetic than I bargained for. So many dogs in these categories (working dogs, herding dogs, etc.) are “returned” after adoption because the family can’t handle the responsibility of these breeds. I hope I can help these families so they and their new pup can be happy ever after together.

Does she do Periscopes as well ?
Yes! She does =) We have scopes of her playing with sticks, chasing bouncing balls and learning tricks. She also does pet product reviews.

Is there anything you wanted to add about her, yourself of the blog that people should know?
Through our experience with adopting Bella I have also learned the importance of Fostering. There is much education needed for successful fostering experiences and so that’s another big part of our blog and website. We hope that by helping increase foster education more dogs can be rescued and saved.

May I borrow pictures of her for the article? I will state they were used with permission and share the social media links.

Meet Penny the Pitte

Author’s Note: Many Thanks to Jen for letting me ask question about Penny and Nickel. Pictures were used with permission. Penny’s full story can be read at  Dog Heirs.

Penny before she was adopted. She was thrown from a truck, malnourished and had bite marks.

Were Penny’s previous owners been found an persecuted for the abuse?

They were not found, I believe the person that saw them throw her from the truck was more worried about getting her care so they didn’t get a detailed description. I sure wish they were!

Penny with Nickel

May I ask how long Penny was with you before she gave birth to Nickel?

Penny was with us for 2 weeks before she had Nickel. We couldn’t even tell she was pregnant! Chris came home from work one day and called me and said that she had a puppy. I couldn’t believe it!

I noticed Nickel has one blue and one brown eye, is he able to see okay?

Her eye color does not seem to have any effect on her eye sight. She does seem to have a case of selective hearing though haha 🙂

Nickel now

What is Nickel’s favorite thing to do?
Nickel loves to run, when I take her to the park the first thing she wants to do is find a dog to play chase with.

Are Rio & Vinny also rescue dogs?

Rio is not but Vinny was rescued from life on a chain as a puppy.

Rio & Vinny caught celebrating

What would you like to tell people who are hesitant on taking in a previously abused dog?

Penny had obviously lived a life of hell. She had bite marks, had signs of over breeding, malnutrition, she was emaciated and she was thrown out of a moving vehicle. And after all of that she still had so much love to give and was so eager to please us. She loved to snuggle and learned quick about indoor living. Rescued dogs know they have been rescued and will show you how much they appreciate it for all of their time with you!

Do you have any advice for someone thinking of adopting a dog from a shelter?

I think the biggest thing I hear is that “shelters don’t have xxx breed” or shelter dogs are broken. This is not true. They have all breeds, including mixed breeds and full breeds. Large and small. And the greatest thing about adopting from a shelter or a rescue group is that you will have a great support system for finding vets, trainers or any other needs you may have. And normally your new pet will come vaccinated, spayed or neutered and microchipped. Just remember to give them time to adjust and decompress once they get into their new home.


This article is dedicated to the loving memory of Penny. Know that you will always be loved.

Nickel as a puppy

Meet Zandar

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Zandar’s mom for letting me ask questions about him. Pictures were used with permission. You can visit Zandar’s memory page to see what the rest of the family is up to.


How old was Zander when you adopted him?

We got Zander as a puppy.  He was about 8 weeks old.

Where did he come from?

My husband and I were just dating at the time and a friend of his gave him Zander.

Did he have any fursiblings he lived with?If so, what are their names?

At first Zander was an only dog.  Grant and I lived separately.  When Zander was almost one Grant and I moved in together.  Shortly after we adopted Zoe.


About four years later, we adopted Zoar and then two years after that, we adopted Tilly an hour before being euthanized at a local shelter.   We never planned on keeping Tilly.


We were just going to foster her for a local pit bull rescue.  We fell in love and decided to keep her.  It’s so strange looking back because we got her about 9 months before Zander was diagnosed and it was almost as if he led us to her.  She’s the silliest dog I’ve ever met and I think he knew we would need the laughter she brings after he left us.

Can you explain a bit about T cell lymphoma?

There are two types of canine lymphoma.  B cell and T cell.  B cell is more common and responds more favorably to palliative treatment and to chemotherapy.  T-cell is a type of white blood cell that plays a vital role in the immune system by helping protect the body from disease. Most studies found that dogs with B-cell lymphoma were more likely to achieve a complete remission (81-84%) than dogs with T-cell lymphoma (50-67%).In addition, dogs with B-cell lymphoma have a much longer remission duration and survival than dogs with T-cell lymphoma.  Zander’s lymphoma initially presented much different than the typical lymphoma.  In fact, we were not suspecting lymphoma at all when we took him to the vet.  None of his lymph nodes were enlarged.  Zander was 8 ½ at the time and he always stayed in the house while we were at work with no accidents.  Strangely he started urinating daily in the house.  We also noticed he was drinking an excessive amount of water.  Then, when he would lay down and relax he would have muscle twitches.  I made an appointment thinking maybe he had diabetes or a urinary tract infection.  They ran a bunch of blood work and his calcium levels were off the chart.  It’s called hypercalcemia   Hypercalcemia is a trademark sign of T cell lymphoma.  Signs of hypercalcemia are excessive thirst and urinating and muscle twitching. Basically his vet said it could be one of two things: a benign tumor on his parathyroid gland or lymphoma.  They had to send some blood off to a lab out of state to test and we would have to wait two weeks to find out.

What was your opinion of pit bulls prior to adopting Zander?

It’s no secret from those that follow Zander’s page that before Zander I was not a fan of pit bulls.  In fact, when my now husband told me he was getting him…I tried to convince him not to.  I believed everything I heard in the media.  I had never had an interaction with a pit bull and judge them unfairly.

How has it changed since?

I do everything in my power to educate others of how great pit bulls really are.  I now have three (had four when Zander was alive). I volunteered with a pit bull rescue shortly before Zander got sick.   They truly have won my heart.  They are such amazing dogs.  I’ve seen dogs who have been used as bait and have every reason to hate humans, turn around and want nothing more than to be loved by humans.  It’s truly amazing.

What would you like to say to people who who are still leery of the breed?

Give them a chance.  They will steal your heart and prove you wrong. Zander sure proved me wrong and I’m so glad that he did.  I would have missed out on 9 wonderful years with the best dog ever. All they need is a chance.

Is there anything else you would like to add about your experience with Zander?

  He is an amazing dog and I was so lucky to have been his mom for 9 wonderful years.  I miss his wiggly butt every single day.

This article is dedicated to the loving memory of Zandar.

Fly free sweetie.

Meet Patchy the Epileptic Dog

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Patchy’s mom for letting me interview her and him about his story. Pictures were used with permission. Please visit Patchy’s Facebook page to follow his story .

First, where did your name come from Patchy? 
The lady who had me when I was born named me Patchy because of the tan patch around my eye.  When mommy came to pick me up I would look at her when she would say Patchy, so mommy did not want to change my name.
How old are you? 
6 years old
Do you have any fursiblings that you live with? 
yes Bella she is 5 and I have two non fur babies they are bearded dragons named Maui and Lani.
Do they treat you any different because of your condition?  
If anything I am spoiled a lot more 🙂  I am so very loved.
How did you come to live with your mommy? 
Mommy picked me up from a lady, her doggy had puppies and I was one of them. 
For those that don’t know, what is a shih-poo?
 Shih-poo is a Shih-tzu and Poodle mix
When did you have your first seizure?
When I was 2, I was in the hallway and fell over and started to shake.
Can your mom explain what happens during a seizure?
Patchy will start to act very scared, hide or act very nervous and normally that is when I know a seizure may be coming on.  Sometimes there is no warning and he just falls over to his side or often he tries to run to me when a seizure is coming.  I have to hold him very tight, make sure his neck is stable because his body thrashes all over.  Patchy limbs become very stiff, he will drool a lot and his eyes will be very dilated.  The seizure will last around 1min to 2mins.  Once the seizure is over he can not walk so I carry him to his puppy pads where he always throws up and loses his bowls.  
Cluster seizures are when he has multiple seizures in a short period of time.  The most he has ever had in a short period were 4.
Can she also explain a bit with Idiopathic Epilepsy is?  
Idiopathic Epilepsy is a neurological condition in dogs that normally cause seizures between the age of 6months to 6years. 
Are you currently on medication?  
Yes phenobarbital twice a day 
Do you have a special diet because of your condition?  
Yes, I have to stay away from artificial preservatives, food fillers, just all of the bad un-natural stuff.
What are your favorite things to do?  
Play with my sis Bella, throw my toys around, snuggle with mommy, bite daddys slippers, car rides and look out the window 🙂


5 Things to Consider before getting a pet

I wanted to try to put a list together of the things that people should consider before committing to a pet. This covers canines/felines/birds/fish & pocket pets (guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, mice, etc).

I broke it down to  6 catergories:  Type, Bug, Room, Funds, Time & Commitment

Type: First and foremost think of the type of pet you want… canine, feline, bird, fish, guinea pig, hamster, mouse, rat, sugar glider, rabbit, ferret, gerbil, lizard, snake, spider, etc. There are many different breeds/species of the above listed pets so you may want to do some research on that.

Boo our resident white cat was adopted and flown from OH to FL

Bug: Bug the heck out of  friends and family – they are going to be the most honest with you about the pros and cons of being a pet parent.  Ask about the amount of time they spend with him/her – grooming, feeding, exercise, vet care, training, etc. Obviously some pets don’t need training, but if they do ask how long it took.

Room: Make sure to consider if you have enough room for them, such that kitten/puppy is cute now, but will they have enough room when they get bigger? There are of course pets that don’t get bigger such as guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rats, rabbits & ferrets will you have a big enough cage for them to be able to get around? What about taking them outside in a run?  If you rent, what is the pet policy? A lot of apartment complexs/houses have management companies that have restrictions on the type of pet, limit to how many, require pet rent and/or a deposit.

Funds: Next is funds, do you have the money to buy their supplies such as the initial set up for a cage for a small pet, food/water dishes, toys, collar/leash, etc? What about getting food on a regular basis? Training (if needed)?

Trixie has a severe allergy to fleas she had hot spots that took months to heal

Time: Time do you honestly have the time to commit to a pet? Are you often working long hours? Going on trips? Or are you a homebody?

Commitment: The final thing to consider is are you able to make the commitment to a pet. If your living situation changed are you honestly going to take them with you? Because having a pet is like having a child, you’re their protection, provider of food/shelter & love.

Trixie with all her hair grown back and Buggy who is still wary of her. Buggy was adopted a year after Bubby from the human society

A few other things worth mentioning:

Please, please adopt. There are many shelters that are overflowing with pets.. so if you adopt one you are making a difference for that pet.

Black cats are least likely to be adopted because of superstition, they are really wonderful cats so if you are looking please consider taking a black cat.

Bubby the eldest at 8, solid black was adopted from the Humane Society

Consider taking a blind, deaf, three legged, FIV+, or otherwise “different” pet. They may seem like extra work (and sometimes they are) but they have so much love to give.

Elderly pets need homes too!

And that’s it! Let me know what you think in the comments! 🙂

Miss Bitty, adopted from the humane society had an auto immune disease and passed away before she turned 4.