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Archive for the ‘Pet Care’ Category

It is another rainy day and Casey is being lazy.  Ssshhhh I have nothing to do with it. I know she would probably go out for a walk if I forced her to, but what fun is that.  None for me anyway. I was looking forward to walking trails this week. Now they are nothing but mud bogs again. Guess the hiking will have to wait.

This is all part of Casey’s weight loss program.  I measure out her whole days worth of food and put it in one container. From there she gets breakfast, lunch, supper, and good girl treats.  It seems very unfair and it feels like I am starving her, but I know in my head that I am doing no such thing.  She will be a much healthier happier girl without the extra pounds.

Following the directions I should see change in a week or so.  The key is to lose the fat gradually. The food is formulated so that she will use stored fat without losing muscle. If I can just get her out walking again she might even gain some muscle.  Beagles are such compact dogs that the extra fat really shows up fast. It has to go.

She has already been transitioned over to the food, Life’s Abundance Weight Loss Formula, so she has no digestive upset, but man is she poopin.  Her system is doing a whole clean out.  Getting rid of all the bad build up from snacking and treats.

She won’t step on a scale and the only one I have available is mine, so I will take pictures to document her healthy weight loss journey.  Hopefully she won’t be too embarrassed with the before and will pose pretty for the after.

Yes I have belly fat, and yes I am actually sitting ON the table

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In 2005 I started a pet sitting business called Furry Friends Pet Sitting.  I thought “What a fun way to make a living. Play with dogs and cats all day. ” and it was fun; most days.  Other days it was a lot of hard work, dangerous driving, or extreme weather conditions.   Not so much fun.

Most sitters travel to their clients homes to provide pet care. This allows pets to remain in familiar surroundings while the family is away.  A great advantage for the dog or cat that would be overly stressed in a kennel environment.

When looking for a sitter be sure to do your homework.  Remember you are giving this person complete access to your home and pets while you are away.   Here are a few tips:

  1. Always meet your sitter in advance.
  2. Watch how your pet interacts with the sitter. Animals are usually good judges of character, usually.
  3. Ask about liability insurance.
  4. Ask for references and check them out.
  5. Ask what their backup plan is in case of emergency.
  6. Be honest with your sitter.  If your dog protects their property when you are away the sitter needs to know this.  If your pet is an escape artist the sitter needs to know this also.  If they are nervous or afraid the sitter needs to know.   Experienced sitters will be prepared if they know these things in advance.
  7. Leave updated contact information including veterinarian’s name and phone number, though sitters will ask anyway.
  8. Make sure you have enough supplies; dog food, cat food, litter etc…
  9. Ask your sitters rates, know their policies.
  10. Relax and know your pets will be playing, having fun, and getting spoiled.  Sort of like when auntie or grandma comes over.

Last year, I officially closed my pet sitting business.   The economy came to such a grinding halt the year before that I just couldn’t afford to keep it open.  Living in a rural area it was sometimes 10 or more miles one way between clients. Factor in having to make the trips two or three times a day and the gas alone was too much.

I have many happy memories and three of my pets because of Furry Friends.  It was “a fun way to make a living”.

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How can anyone resist those big brown eyes?  I’m talking big sad beagle eyes.

Those eyes look right at me, her brow gets all wrinkled, and she looks like her heart is going to break if she doesn’t get a bite.  It is so hard to look at, I must turn away.

It’s hard enough having to cut her amount of kibble back.  It’s going to take a resolve of steel to keep from giving her a crumb here and there.  An overweight dog is an unhealthy dog.  That will become my new mantra.

She depends on me to take care of her. Joint problems, heart problems, diabetes…I certainly don’t wish that on my baby girl.   The less weight her frame has to carry the better she will feel.  The better she feels the more we can get out and do.  Then more we do the brighter and healthier those big brown eyes will shine.

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It’s a bright, sunny and cold Monday morning.  Casey and I went for our first walk since before fall.  Well, it wasn’t  a real walk unless you count stroll, stop, sniff, track …repeat, a walk.   But it was a beginning.

This year we have had the “winter that will not end” and all Casey and I have managed to do is gain weight.  Not good for either of us, but especially bad for her.  Being a beagle, she has a little frame and a true love of food. Combine that with those big sad puppy dog eyes and wrinkled brow and she is an easy target for obesity.

We did so well last summer.  Walking or hiking on local trails almost daily.  Measuring every bit of food and counting all the good girl treats.  We both managed to get our weight under control.  This year we are once again starting at square one.  Casey back on weight control kibble and me trying to count Weight Watcher points.  I wonder if the franchise has ever thought about starting a Doggy Weight Watchers program.   I bet it would do great.

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Being a member of the pet professional community is usually very fun.  Sharing stories about pet antics and goofy behavior is sure to bring smiles and giggles.

However; there is another side of the profession that is heartbreaking.  A front row seat to the horrific things some humans do to animals.   It comes to us through email, blog posts, networking groups, and from the people who have leading roles in the care of these poor abused animals.  Animal control, veterinarians, shelter and rescue workers, and the many volunteers who make it their life’s mission to save those that are suffering.

Animal cruelty comes in many shapes and sizes.  It is not just the dogs that have been put in the ring to fight, or pets that were beaten, maimed, and starved.  It happens around us every day.

Dogs and cats left out in the yard day and night through all kinds of weather. Some with no shelter to escape the bitter winds, freezing temps, or baking sun.  Deep snow, freezing temperatures, sweltering heat, or predators are what they have to look forward to each day.

These actions while maybe not illegal, are cruel and abusive.  These animals have no companionship.  The only human interaction they have is if and when a human tosses them food.   They don’t know how it feels to have their bellies rubbed or behind their ears scratched.  It can make both dogs and cats mean and untrusting.  Often leading to them being put down when they turn to biting as a defense mechanism.

So please, before you get that cute little puppy or kitten who will need a lifetime of love and care.    Ask yourself, “Am I ready for that commitment?”

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Had the vet visit yesterday.  All is fine, just an update on Casey’s rabies shot.

Casey is my beagle with a few personality problems.  Rescued on the day the previous owner was having her put down, she lives the life of a queen here. We have come to know her sometimes erratic behavior, constantly work to show her it is unacceptable, and reward her with treats for behaving nicely. Mostly we love her through it all.

Certain things stress her and a visit from the vet is one of them.  She needs to be given an anti-anxiety drug a few hours before the visit.  It makes her very out of it, lethargic, and clingy.  One thing it doesn’t do is make her friendly to the vet.

I was nervous about this visit because the vet was coming without the tech.  This meant I was going to have to hold Casey while she got her shot and a manicure.  Even though I would much rather have her snap at me then them, I turn into a very nervous mother which Casey senses.  That makes her more anxious and she bites.

It is easier for me to bring Casey to the truck then do everything in the house.  More light, everything right at hand, and a more confined space.  Yesterday I got her there with very little tugging and a slight butt push up the stairs.   Once inside the vet donned her elbow length leather gloves and covered Casey with a towel.  In that manner she is able to be picked up and put on the table.  Not so bad.

Once on the table I was able to hold her body and head still and within seconds the shot was done.  Over in a flash.  Next …nails clipped.

With the towel still over her head and the vet again wearing the gloves we switched places.  I did the clipping while she held her.   It was going pretty easily until she mentioned the powder in case of bleeding.  Yup you guessed it; I clipped and there was blood.  Lots of it.  Casey didn’t move, yell, or bite. It didn’t bother her at all.  I got myself with the spring on the clippers.   Took a pretty good chunk of skin and man did it hurt.

In the end Casey was fine.  In fact I had to drag her out of the clinic.  Luckily she is a healthy dog so vet visits are few and far between.  I think we will always need the towel and gloves, but hope we can cut down on the drugs as she gets older, or prescribe some for me too.

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At 2:30 this morning the dog and I were woken up by screaming, howling, and hissing.  At first I thought I had a rumble between two of my cats,  so I got up to investigate.  After a search through the house I found my three sitting quietly. It was then I realized all the noise was coming from outside my closed bedroom window.  Two cats, either the neighbor’s or feral, were doing their mating ritual next to my warm foundation.  That means kitten season is almost here.

Each year shelters are overwhelmed with pregnant females or new litters of kittens.  Though they try, the sad fact is they are not all adopted.  Millions of healthy cats are euthanized each year.   This could be prevented by having your cat spayed or neutered.

The simple truth is one unspayed female giving birth to two female kittens who reproduce could possibly contribute 10,000 kittens, to the population, in a seven-year period.  Yes, that is 10,000 kittens.  All in need of loving caring homes.

Please help reduce this problem by having your cat spayed or neutered and spreading the word for others to follow suit.  If you are in need of some help paying,  the ASPCA has set up a database of low-cost programs and Spay-USA is a wealth of information.   Don’t sit by and think this problem doesn’t affect your family.   It affects us all.

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