June 30, 2015

White Dog's gasp froze every pup in place...except Sachi who tried to escape by running around the table..and into Steve's arms.

It was afternoon treat time and the White Dog Army was in line to receive duck jerky treats. Every White Dog must sit politely and wait until they are offered a strip. Pushing or not sitting means you must wait until last.

Sachi was particularly impatient; he forced his way into the line and clawed at my leg. After two warnings he was told to sit at the end of the line and reminded that he must wait. Nilla followed the rules beautifully as she sat patiently and politely next to him.

I handed Nilla her jerky and she got up to move to a less crowded spot to eat. Sachi whirled around and grabbed an end of the strip that hung from her mouth. Nilla bit down and refused to yield as Steve moved to intervene. Sachi braced a leg against the newest girl's chest and actually tugged with all of his might; she opened her mouth to protest...and off Sachi ran.

WD who was on the ground at one side of the coffee table growled but he sidestepped her attempt to block him. Steve was waiting. He grabbed the little thief and wrestled the treat away. Sachi foolishly nipped Steve's hand.

"OK Little Man, it is timeout for you. Your behavior is mean and unacceptable." And Steve carried the Bad Boy into the bathroom and deposited him in the dry bathtub. He then returned to the living room and gave Nilla back her treat.

Sachi, our smallest boy, cannot jump out of the tub. It is the perfect, safe place for him to step outside of the action for a while to think and calm himself...but of course, there is drama first.

Our Happy One let all in the house know he was NOT very happy. He screamed. He howled. He cried like he was a wounded dove. He gasped and panted. After a while it made the others, Nilla in particular, nervous enough that they went in the bathroom to check on him. He scrambled at the top edge and begged for help.

After the eternity of ten minutes, Sachi was allowed back into White Dog society. All had finished their jerky. He came over and sat waiting for his. "Oh no, Little Man, I believe you have forfeited your snack because of your lack of manners. Remember this tomorrow!" I told him.

He looked shocked. He went to lay in the kitchen and sulk. After a short time Nilla went in and laid down beside him.


June 29, 2015

White Dog and The White Dog Army are proud to announce that at today's Paws To People Annual Board of Directors Meeting funds were approved to issue a $10,000 grant to fund research that will save lives of people and pets.

WE DID IT! ALL of us! In a spectacular example of the power of grassroots' ability to change the world, without any major sponsorship, All of us have worked together to make possible the hope that through Building Bridges we WILL conquer the diseases that take too many too soon!

Thank you. 
For your belief in us. For your support. For your encouragement. This is a victory for all of us!

Paws To People is still in the review process but have giiven a tentative nod for our historic first award to a project to attack Lyme Disease by "examining the incidence, distribution, and other factors of the co-mission of ehrlichia and Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacterial species that is the predominant causative agent of Lyme disease and the development of an improved screening method for these diseases in dogs. Final approval is expected in the next weeks.

Lyme Disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosedbased on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks.  Laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics

The symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs differ from those in people, and usually occur much later after the tick bite. Clinical illness in dogs usually occurs 2 to 5 months after a bite from an infected tick. Cats can develop Lyme disease, but it occurs rarely in them, even in endemic areas. Other domestic animals such as horses have contracted Lyme disease, but it does not appear to be a significant problem. Dogs show several different forms of the disease, but by far, the most common symptoms are a fever of between 103 and 105°, lameness, swelling in the joints, swollen lymph nodes, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

Although not common, some dogs have developed severe progressive kidney disease as sequel to Lyme disease. This severe kidney failure is difficult to treat and may result in death of the dog. It is recommended that a dog with a positive Lyme antibody test have additional blood tests and a urinalysis to assess kidney function. Some dogs may also develop heart problems or nervous system disease after being infected with B. burgdorferi.

Dogs do not develop the typical rash or the circular area of redness around the bite (erythemamigrans) which is seen in people.

June 28, 2015

White Dog was so embarrassed that she crawled under my wheelchair and tried to be invisible.

We were at the Park for the Paws To People Meeting in the Park. Zsofia and White Dog were the day's White Dog Ambassadors as we reached out into the community to discuss the prediction for flea and tick season here in New Mexico (severe) and ways to protect our animal companions.

Linda came with Daisy in her little pink stroller; Adam had tiny little Princess; Andre stopped by on his way to buy dog food; and Marion brought her lovely brindle Great Dane and her sweet little grandson.

White Dog pranced up to greet each visitor and touch noses to be social; she then came and sat next to me. Zsofia THUNDERED over to thrust her head into Daisy's stroller and WOOF at the Chi girl. When Marion cautioned us that her young rescue was very shy and still learning social skills, we reigned our Dark One in to sit by Steve. Zso sang and sang a song of welcome and exressed her desire to play. Princess scrambled up to safety on Adam's shoulder when she saw the big masked face coming toward her. Zsofia ended up laying her head across Andre's lap and wooing her lack of play pals.

I began the discussion and as soon as I spoke, Zsofia talked along. I paused; she paused. When I began again and so did my Itty Bitty Baby. "Manners!" I commanded and she wooed back. Steve got up and took her for a walk. She was in heaven in her extra long training leash and they loped off across the grass.

The rest of us talked of personal experiences, the types of preventatives available, and the reasons for concern.

We heard Zsofia returning before we saw her, still sining and dragging Steve 25' behind her. She skidded to a stop next to the group threw her nose to the sky and howled like a wolf. then she sank to her belly, curled up with her tail over her nose, and went to sleep.

"Next time, momma," White Dog advised me, "maybe you ought to be more clear on exactly WHO is scheduled to be the speaker!"


June 27, 2015

White Dog reminded me that today is PTSD National Awareness Day. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is one of the nearly 400 diseases that people and pets both suffer from in common.

In order to bring greater awareness to the issue of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the United States Senate designated June 27th as National PTSD Awareness Day. In addition, June has been designated as PTSD Awareness Month by the National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD).

PTSD is a mental health condition that can occur after someone has been exposed to a single traumatic event or multiple traumatic events, such as sexual or physical assault, natural or man-made disaster, and war-related combat stress. Symptoms of PTSD include persistent intrusive thoughts and distressing dreams about the traumatic event, triggered emotional responses to reminders of the trauma, efforts to avoid thinking or talking about the trauma, and persistent hypervigilance for cues that  indicate additional danger or trauma re-occurring.

It is a serious obstacle to fully enjoying life and those who suffer often feel haunted by the past. Many who endure this condition do so in silence for there is still a social stigma and pressure to "just get over it."

Dogs who have been horrifically abused and military animals also can be victims of PTSD. Sudden noises, or specific types of movement nearby, or deep sleep can trigger episodes of fear, panic, seizures or aggressive reaction.

 Mental health and veterinary experts are not sure why some develop PTSD and others do not. However, if stress reactions do not improve over time and they disrupt everyday life, seeking help to determine if PTSD is a factor is important. The purpose of PTSD Awareness Month is to encourage everyone to raise public awareness of PTSD and its effective treatments. We can all help those affected by PTSD.

In recent years, researchers from around the world have dramatically increased our understanding of what causes PTSD and how to treat it. Hundreds of thousands of Veterans who served in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard have gotten treatment for PTSD—and treatment works. But this is not just a disease that affects Vets. People from every walk of life...dogs used in competitive fighting...even children can be affected.

It has been estimated that about 5% of the 650 million military dogs being used today suffer from PTSD. Dogs are considered the most effective means of detected hidden explosive devices and so are extensively used by the US military. It is easy to see why military combat or bomb detection dogs, as well as search and rescue canines who have to find bodies after disasters, might be subject to this syndrome. However, civilian dogs can also fall victim to PTSD in a number of circumstances. If a dog is abandoned to live in the wild, has been through a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina, or is abused or has lost his caretaker, he could develop PTSD. Unfortunately, many rescue dogs could fall into this category.

Two types of treatment have been shown to be effective for treating PTSD: counseling and medication. Professional therapy or counseling can help you understand your thoughts and discover ways to cope with your feelings. There are several specific types of counseling that research has shown to be effective for treating PTSD. Medications, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, can be used to help you feel less worried or sad.

In just a few months, these treatments can produce positive and meaningful changes in symptoms and quality of life. They can help you understand and change how you think about your trauma—and change how you react to stressful memories.

You may need to work with your doctor or counselor and try different types of treatment before finding the one that’s best for dealing with your PTSD symptoms.

Explore these resources for more information about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder...know you are not alone and that help is available...

Vet Centers
If you are a combat Veteran or experienced any sexual trauma during your military service, bring your DD214 to your local Vet Center and speak with a counselor or therapist—many of whom are Veterans themselves—for free, without an appointment, and regardless of your enrollment status with VA.
Understanding PTSD Booklet
This eight-page booklet explains what PTSD is, provides information and resources on support, and shares real stories from people who have dealt effectively with PTSD.
National Center for PTSD
Explore this comprehensive website for detailed information about PTSD, its effects and treatment, and resources for support.
VA’s PTSD Program Locator
This site will allow you to search for PTSD programs located near you. If you are eligible to receive care through the Veterans Health Administration, you can enroll in one of VA’s PTSD treatment programs.
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University


June 26, 2015

White Dog, Bella, Sachi and Zsofia watched from the window as the cute dog house Tony had made was loaded into the back of the truck. It looked like an Old West Frontier General Store and had all kinds of fancy features like a wind baffle entry and a hinged roof for cleaning. It made a pretty cool decoration at the top of the drive under the flowering plum tree as it waited for the rescue whose supporter won it for them at our recent Paws To People Auction to come and claim it.

"I am going to miss it," WD said. "It fit perfectly in that spot and kind of made our driveway seem special." The others nodded their heads in agreement. "We need to come up with something to replace it," Nilla suggested. "Maybe Tony will make another one?" Bella looked at me. "Tony's doghouse was a wonderful donation for the auction it would not be fair to ask him to make one just for us." I replied.

My Army of landscapers puzzled and paced. Zsofia hoped onto the couch and looked out of the window at the tree. She started wooing. Yo was about to "shush" her when WD stopped him.

"No, let's hear the Baby out. She might be on to something." Zso continued her explanation and the WDA began to see her idea...and they liked it. "How about it, momma?" White Dog turned and looked at me. "Do you think we could do that?"

The Bridge during its consrtuction
In the same place where the dog house had stood, under the spreading purple of the flowering plum, the WDA was proposing to place the Golden Bridge Steve had built to represent "Bridges To Cures" on the Paws To People float. It was weather safe and glittered in the sunlight. It would be perfect under the dark leaves of the tree. And when the cars were all gone, it would be clearly seen from the street.

"I think it is a great idea. Let's run it past Dad and make sure he thinks so, too!" I told them. Steve loved the concept and the fact that we would be sending the WDA message of hope about beating disease to everyone who sees the Bridge.

The White Dogs gathered at the windows. WD, Puff and Ferguson went outside to supervise. Steve moved the Bridge into position. "We can all check it out in person when we go on bedtime walks," he told them. "And I will want to move it to rake up leaves and straw before putting it in its final spot. But it looks magical with the setting sun hitting it. Good job, team!"

Everypup wagged and maneuvered to get another glimpse. Suddenly WD stopped and turned to look at Sachi. Then every one did. "Brother," she commanded, "NO peeing or marking on the Bridge, right?" She stared at him as he nervously looked around the room. "Right?" He blushed. "Right?" With a huge sigh he breathed out..."right."


June 25, 2015

White Dog, Puff, Storm and YoYoMa basked not only in being the "good kids" but were spared the green glickies the others were now experiencing as the night ended.

"Oh my," were Steve's words whe he came in. "What happened here?" No one jumped in with an answer so I told him of our afternoon:

Sitting together and continuing the House at Pooh Corner (now nearly at the end, Chapter Nine

IN WHICH Eeyore Finds the Wolery and Owl Moves Into It), all of us together in the cool of the house. The White Dog Army munching on Duck with Sweet Potato cookies and I on Pepperridge Farm Milano cookies. After a while eyes grew heavy and naps called. I stopped reading, put snacks away on the counter next to my late lunch sandwich and went to the office to work.

What Steve discovered at 11pm. was that sometime between the WDA dinner at seven and his return, unbeknownst to me, that a tornado had torn through the other part of the house leaving in its wake tiny shredded bits of the Pepperridge Farm bag, a small chunk of the paper plate that held my sandwich and blops of plastic wrap.

There was no sign of the cookies from the nearly nearly full pack of human treats or my meal. The duck treats, too, were lost to the ethers, although the nearly intact bag was found in the back corner of the yard.

As Steve started sweeping together the evidence, Nilla hurled. He walked into the kitchen to get the cleaning rags and solution to there discover Ferguson trying to hide his diarhea accident. Sachi sprawled on the red chair and moaned. Bella scrambled out from under her chair and madly dashed for the dog door.

The dark child? She was lying in her crate cuddled with her dragon stuffy...looking pretty green. "Don't think she is cute," White Dog warned as she sensed Steve's sympathy welling up. "She is a darker White because her furs are singed by her frequent forays into the flames. We should have named her Beelzabub!"

Of course, Zsofia was the instigator. She is the only one tall enough to counter surf. "But at least she shared," Steve offered trying to defend his baby girl. "Yes, like Eve shared the apple." "The others could have just said no!" "Right!"

Fortunately the cookies have only a very thin smear of chocolate between the shortbread cookies and although all would suffer for their indiscretion, it was not a serious or lethal dose.

The worst punishment? Watching Yo, Puff, and WD share the late night tacos Steve had brought home as an easy dinner surprise (remember the plumber does not come until Friday). Storm enjoyed a fiber-rich dog cookie. Strangely, NONE of the others tried to muzzle in on the taco action or complained about being cheated.


June 24, 2015

White Dog followed my gaze. "Whatcha thinking, momma?" I smiled. "THIS is why the White Dog Army exists...for moments like that." "Makes you feel good, doesn't it? Me, too." she said.
Our new recruit, Nilla, a permanent foster from the city shelter (once on deathrow because of her age)
on this Wordless Wednesday

June 23, 2015

White Dog just rested her head on my shoulder.

We live in what many consider a quaint Craftsman house that is 75 years old. It was built by a man as a wedding present for his wife. It comes with all kinds of great stories like the one about the family hand digging the basement one summer because the family had grown and they needed the extra room.

But it is an old house. And a house built by a husband from a kit. So there are quirks.Mostly they just add to the charm but sometimes...

Steve is an architect and believes that trying to "fix" the charm would have a domino effect...like if you give a mouse a cookie, he'll ask for a glass of milk, etc.

One of the on-going "charms" that we deal with is the fact that the plumbing was not professionally laid out on the true or with a downward slope needed for proper drainage. There is a spot where the drainage line for the kitchen sink and the washer in the laundry area actually has an incline...one significant enough to cause a damming spot where "stuff" collects into a solid mass. We have investigated replumbing but the cost is huge and more important, would require cutting into the bearing and foundation walls. So periodically, without warning, problems arise.

Steve tried to be stoic in this last week of an incredibly breathlessly full schedule. I knew when he began plunging where this story was heading.

As he emptied the cabinet under the sink and lay on his back to loosen pipes, he had a White Dog team of plumber's helpers wanting to get their snooters under the cabinet with him so that they could assess the work needed. Everyone wanted to sniff or taste the water that drained into the bucket from the sink. Zsofia tried to lie on his chest for a better vantage.

He reassembled the pipe and turned on the tap. White Dogs sat watching with crossed paws and hung their heads at Steve's mild expletive.

Next was chemical warfare with vinegar and baking soda...then more plunging...then bleach and boiling water. The WDA was gated at the kitchen door as a precaution. They were unhappy about being moved back but they clung to the doorway in determination sharing Steve's frustration.

Finally, Steve had to leave for work. The sink was still stopped up. And it was a late teaching night. The soonest the plumber could schedule us as a regular appointment (as opposed to the nearly twice emergency rate) was Thursday...Steve's impossible day. So he is to come on Friday morning first thing.

The White Dog Army thinks my washing up dishes in a basin in the bathtub is exciting because they can peer in and "help." Nilla has more than once attempted to jump into the tub and assist. I have set aside my environmentalist side temporarily as we use more paper plates. And menus have been adjusted to include more simple salads and cold things that do not require pots and pans. The WDA, ever willing to do their part, have offered to remediate any dirty dish or pot as clean as a whistle; we need only place said item on the floor and walk away.

I lean into White Dog's furs and close my eyes. And take a deep breath.


June 22, 2015

White Dog didn't move to intervene. "Good for him! It is time he gave that little wanna-be thug a piece of his mind."

Zsofia has invented a new game. She brings a bone over to one of her resting White Dog siblings and drops it in front of them (or as the game has evolved, on TOP of them). If they ignore her, which is usually the case, she taps them with her paw. And if THAT doesn't get a response, she puts her head up to their face and loudly WOOS a challenge.

This prompts Sachi to begin wrestling with her but the others generally just get up and move away. All morning she was relentless in antagonizing poor quiet, keep-to-himself Ferguson. Every time he resisted her and moved away, she followed. He avoided confrontation but she WAS a pest.

Finally, I called her over to me and put her in a down-stay...timeout. "That is NOT the way you ask for someone to play with you," I told her. "When he walks away he means no. You need to then leave him alone." Zso sighed frustratedly and rested her head on her paws. She was trying to be contrite although she did not understand why no one thought her game fun.

Ferguson came in to stand next to us. I thought he was there to perhaps gloat a little or was maybe was expecting an apology. "She is still a Baby," I said, "I am sorry Zso has been so bratty but she is thinking about being nicer."

He looked at me and then at his darker white sister. THIS would have been the perfect opportunity for our soon to be one year old to exhibit her developing maturity and humbly apologize. But she is a Sibe. She chose, instead, to stare him down and WOO in his face.

It was more than our new boy could tolerate. He calmly bent his head and nipped her flank before turning and walking away...dismissing all of us. Zsofia squealed in surprise and ran out of the dog door.

"FER-GUS-ON!" I used my momma voice. "THAT was NOT nice! We do NOT treat each other like that!" He looked stunned that I was disciplining him. I stretched out my arm and called him over. Usually after one of the WDA gets in trouble, I take a few minutes to hold him or her and to explain what they had done incorrectly. Fergis refused to come. In fact, he bounced his head in defiance and anger then stalked back to the kitchen.

And now he is not speaking to me.


June 21, 2015

White Dog refused to sit next to me on our chair; she especially did NOT want to sit in the leather chair or in the Watching Chair at the window where the sun was pushing in. "Too hot!" she complained and went to stretch on the bare wood floor under Steve's desk where it was dark and cool.

"One degree more,"  Sachi threatened, "and I am going to SCREAM!" "One degree more," Bella called out from her cave under the chair, "and we will break a 55 year record."

It was 103 degrees F at the prime of the day. But it had been hot already when we awoke. Steve and I met a friend for breakfast and as I held on to the door frame to enter the car, I had burned my hand.

"What can we do to make the White Dog Army less uncomfortable," Steve asked and then followed up with ice cubes in the water bowls, shared chunks of watermelon, and gentle brushings which yielded an entirely new fur army. Poor Ferguson, new to our region, was sort of shell shocked as he panted and ultimately found comfort lying against the chest freezer in the kitchen.

"Too bad none of you are swimmers or like the idea of a pool," I said. "Cool water would feel good I bet." Steve looked at me..."are you thinking what I am?" his eyes asked.

Storm was a mess from her coltis...Yo's ruff full of melon juice...Sachi was panting under his huge double fluffed coat...and Puff  LOVES baths. "Let's do it," I agreed! "Baths will cool body temps and loosen some of that stubborn remaining winter coat, and the slow process of drying naturally will stretch the benefit a couple of hours at least." And the towels, if we hang them out in the inferno will be dry in ten minutes.

We knew it was hot as Steve carried each into the bathroom and no one protested. After they only wanted a blotting with dry towels before shaking themselves thoroughly, rolling around on the carpet, shaking some more and resettling with a contented sigh to dry.
I opened the book. "The House at Pooh Corner, Chapter Four. In which it is shown that Tiggers
don't climb trees." At this rate we may need to go to the library for a new book Monday morning if the heat continues.