Help feed shelter dogs!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

All's quiet

All is quiet in our corner of the world. I have a new dog recipe I want to try, but I ended up working this weekend and couldn't do it. Waldo's leg seems to be back to normal, which is a huge relief.

In a physical sense, he is well but we may have to get him into counseling for his emotional state. Peanut the cat is on a special diet for a bladder condition, and seems to have taken issue with the fact that Waldo has better food and treats than she does.

Whenever he eats, she will sit close-by and try to eat from his bowl. In this photo to the left, take note how he is looking at her with one eye while trying to eat.

She will sit patiently and wait until he's not looking to inch a little closer.

Waldo seems quite distressed about this and will do nothing to defend himself since it's just not in his nature. He hasn't quite realized that he is much bigger than her!

I have also tried feeding him in his pen, but she will camp outside of it (like in this photo) and reach through the bars to try and get to the food. Poor guy is being bullied by a cat. Do you think there is a support group for dogs in this situation?!?! =)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A working leg

Update: Waldo's leg seems to have recovered.  We're not sure if it's the meds or the rest, but as of last night he was walking on all four legs again.  Hoorah!  

Monday, January 21, 2008

another gratuitous photo

Because we are so cute....

Limpy dog

Waldo seems to have developed a limp late last week. We noticed he was a bit droopy and he was favoring his right rear leg so I took him to the vet on Thursday. Last year around this time, the same thing happened. His energy was low, he began to limp, and he was sleeping on his back with all four feet in the air.

After that trip to the vet, it was confirmed that he was Lyme positive, despite having the vaccine. We are also faithful users of FrontLine every month. It can get cold here in the winter, but I still keep up his FrontLine applications when it is not officially tick season. So, least year he was put on a treatment course of docycycline antibiotics and Previcox for pain.

Since he was showing 2 of the 3 symptoms from last year, our vet ran a C6 blood test for Lyme and put him on the same course of treatment. The next day (Friday), the results came back negative (meaning no active Lyme in his system). Given the result, we have the following choices as to what may be wrong:
1) an autoimmune reaction to leftover Lyme in his system
2) early arthritis
3) a ruptured ACL (although my vet did a physical exam and felt nothing wrong)

He will continue with the doxy and Previcox for a few more days. He has shown marginal improvement on the meds, as in he is now touching his right toes on the ground rather than lifting up the entire foot. If he is not better by Thursday, we may need x-rays.

In the meantime, I need to rest him completely - no running, jumping, stairs, etc. Someone needs to tell him that though...!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pet insurance as a corporate benefit

As I had written in this post a few months back, we had decided to insure Waldo after our experiences with Watson's vet bills. Today, I saw this interesting article about companies that offer pet insurance as an employee benefit.

Even more interesting was this statistic from the article: "Pet insurance is still relatively rare, with only about 2 percent of pets in the United States insured." I am such an advocate of pet insurance knowing how expensive cancer treatments can be. If you don't have your pet insured, please check into it!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Easy dog cookie recipe

Okay, so I baked my first batch of dog cookies this weekend. I started with an easy recipe for Cheesy Garlic Chunks that I found here. The recipe is simple with few ingredients, all of which I had in the cupboard already. Instead of margarine, I substituted a half stick of butter and also added turmeric in addition to the garlic.

Blending the ingredients by hand was very simple, much like an easy bread recipe. Per the recipe, I added enough milk to form the dough and let it sit for a bit in the refrigerator.

Speaking of forming, I did not bother to cut out shapes. I figured that Waldo would not mind that it was round instead of bone-shaped. Hand-rolling them seemed much faster and easier than rolling them out and then cutting them with a cookie cutter. I had to adjust the temperature and the cooking time to ensure that the thicker pieces were baked through.

I put the piece on two different baking surfaces - a Silpat covered cookie tray and a baking stone. The baking stone wins hands-down. The pieces on the Silpat tray burned quickly on the bottom and took longer to bake. The baking stone pieces were a uniform brown color even though I did not turn them during baking and the pieces were nice and dry within 25 minutes.

Overall, I would make these cookies again. Waldo seems to like them, the recipe makes several dozen, and it was easy!

Thanks for Herbie's mom for the recipe links. I will have to work my way to up Liver Cake...!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Newspaper article

Here is an article from today's New York Times about something we already know: Cost is No Object When It Comes to Your Pet

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Makin' (dog) cookies

Okay, so I tend to get obsessive about certain activities. Like I wanted to learn how to knit, so a few years ago I spent all my free time teaching myself how to knit... and then going to knitting workshops... and reading knitting books. Most recently, I've been learning how to make bread at home sans electric bread maker. It's been a fun project, but clearly it is easier to knit a scarf than to bake a good loaf of bread.

An offshoot to this latest obsession is the quest for a good dog cookie recipe. I have an official taster (Waldo... and maybe Rich) and all the ingredients since I already make bread. I will start documenting my "makin' cookies" progress this weekend, along with which recipes worked or didn't work (and why).

If you have any links to a dog cookie recipe you've tried or want to try, let me know!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

One more thing - dogs in the news

One more thing I wanted to mention. There are two news stories that I saw this week concerning dogs; neither of which I can get out of my head.

The first was this story about a woman's lost dog who was found, but then given away as a Christmas present to the finder's daughter. How did she know? She got a letter in the mail with a $20 bill that explained what happened to her dog.

And then there was this horrible story about a man's dog who was lost on Halloween. To quote from the story: "He picked up the phone and couldn't believe what he heard.

Children were demanding $600 or else they would kill Edna, his beloved beagle mix. Whiting listened in horror to what sounded like the jingle of Edna's collar, and an animal yelping in pain. He agreed to pay the ransom.

"You don't understand, mister," a boy replied. "I want to kill your dog anyway."

What on earth is wrong with this world??? So, yes, I can't get these two stories out of my head. These poor people.....

We can't feel our feet!

It's been super cold here this past week. On Thursday, the high temp was 13 degrees F. Yikes! Waldo has very thin fur, so when it is cold and windy he has a very tough time. I've been in search of a coat or sweater for him, but his big chest and small neck/head make it difficult to fit him. Being the creative craftsperson that I am, I've begun to knit him a sweater. Considering how slow I am, it will be finished just in time for the Spring Thaw. ;)

In the meantime, we are all spending alot of time indoors due to nasty weather. He went to daycare on Friday and was able to run and go crazy. Gibson Kennels seems to be a good fit for him. There are 6 caretakers there during the day who play with the dogs and keep them stimulated. When one of us arrives to bring him home, he usually doesn't want to leave. We are boring, I guess. =(

All in all, I completed the clean-out of the treat cabinet. It good to see that you guys do check your treat labels. We had gotten rid of the bad pet food, but for some reason just hadn't paid attention to the treats. I had started giving Waldo the dried chicken breast treats but wasn't going overboard because they are relatively expensive ($6-$7 for a small bag). But I like the ingredients list of chicken and not much else.

Peanut likes the dried chicken too, and is quite aggressive about it. If she could, she would rip my fingers off to get them. Instead, she muscles her way in front of Waldo and stands in my lap to make sure she gets the first bite... and the second bite.... and the third bite. Obnoxious girl....

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Hey, it's 2008!

Wow, can you believe that 2007 is over? Up until the past few snowstorms, I was in denial that it was winter. My brain was still thinking about those last few plants that never made it into the ground (the dead ones that are still in nursery pots and now under 4 inches of snow!)

I haven't blogged in a while, so there are some new updates to the site and to life in general. I finally updated my blogs/links list with some blogs that I read. There is some good news - Yogi is in remission! - and also some new friends (check out Sophie). I also added a poll asking if you guys check the ingredients label on your pet treats (more on that later in this post).

Our household had a good Christmas and a quiet end to 2007. Waldo was spoiled rotten with toys and treats from family and friends. He even got a nice little snowman squeaky toy from the daycare folks at Gibson Kennels.

From the moment Mr. Snowman made it out of the bag, Waldo took to dragging him around the house by his face. His face! Do I have a budding serial killer on my hands?!?!

Waldo also got his fair share of bully sticks; here he is chewing on one with the sweetest expression on his face.

As I have written about before, we've tried our best to clean up his diet, including switching him to a raw diet supplemented with high-quality kibble. Christmas is a time for indulgence, and I probably let him have more treats than he needed.

After Christmas is also the time when we all start to notice our expanding waistlines again, so I thought it was particularly funny when someone gave Waldo a bag of "Guilt-Free Treats" (tm). The marketer in me appreciated the marketing angle. I also appreciated the effort of them trademarking the generic phrase.

In case you can't read it, the front of the bag says "1/3 less fat" and "spoil 'em more often". When we got home, I left it by the table next to his kennel. (Each time we tell him to "get in your pen", we give him a treat.) This morning, I happen to turn over the bag and read the ingredients. The third ingredient was high fructose corn syrup! What??/

We've tried to rid our own diet of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) by actively reading the labels when we are at the market. (If you want more info on HFCS, here are a few good clips- one from the Mayo Clinic and another from San Francisco's major newspaper.) I'm still trying to make reading labels a regular habit; this weekend, I saw that Campbell's soup was on sale and threw a few cans in our cart without thinking twice. Rich picked them up and read the labels - each had either MSG or high fructose corn syrup in them. Yuck! No more creamy tomato soup for me......

Anyway, I hadn't thought about HFCS as an ingredient in pet food. I know it's used as a sweetener in sodas and cookies but I hadn't realized that it's in our pet foods too. I checked the pet treat cabinet and was surprised to find several forms of corn syrup (either high fructose corn syrup, regular corn syrup or corn syrup solids) listed as an ingredient in all of the bagged treats.

There are proponents of HFCS that will argue that it is not linked to obesity and that it is a cost-effective alternative to sugar. However, I can't think of any reason that HFCS should be in dog or cat treats! Dogs are carnivores whose digestive systems are meant to process meat; not HFCS.

So, I will ask the blogosphere: do you check your pet treat labels? Please take the poll (upper left of the blog page). If you need more space to weigh in on HFCS, please leave a comment.

Thanks and happy 2008 to all!