Archive for October, 2010

And the Winners Are…

October 31, 2010

 

The results are in!  Five winners were selected from the 58 entries in the Speaking for Spot Halloween Contest. Each winner received an adorable canine Halloween costume compliments of OhMyDogSupplies.com

Ready to meet the winners and hear the stories supplied by their human companions?  I’m ever so pleased to present Buddy, Gayle, Marty McFly, Roxy, and Elmer Fudd. Before you begin reading about them, grab a couple tissues. I think you might just need them!

Nebraska winner:  Buddy, a devilishly handsome (and lucky) doggy doctor

According to Buddy’s mom Linda “Buddy is 10 3/4 years old and will turn 11 in January.  I have known him since he was born but he wasn’t a member of my household until a little over two years ago.  He used to be shown in the conformation ring but because of medical problems was neutered.  He has been trained as a Delta therapy dog and has made many trips to hospitals and rehabilitation centers to help others feel better.  On a Sunday morning in August, 2008 his owners (and my best friends) were murdered at their rural home north of Lincoln by a young man who was looking for money for drugs.  Why he and his granddaughter were spared we will never know.  He was found later that day by a neighbor as he and Annie (the granddaughter Boxer) were wandering the neighborhood, probably looking for help.  He was turned in to animal control and I went and got the two dogs the next morning.  A daughter took young Annie but asked if I would like Buddy to stay with me.  He has been my constant companion since that time.  I had back fusion surgery this summer and Buddy was at the door to greet me when I came home and lay beside me to comfort me during the three months of recovery.  We are now pretty much back to normal and taking the walks that we both love.  He is a memorial to the friends that I lost and whenever I am missing them I talk with Buddy.  I am so glad to have him in my life.”  

Tennessee winner: Gayle, a vampire who’s a sweetie pie

Charon, Gayle’s human companion, tells this story.  “Gayle was a found puppy (during a thunderstorm in Texas) in May 2000.  In January of 2010, (when Gayle was ten years old) we noticed a small lump on her right front wrist.  It was a soft tissue sarcoma, grade III.  Gayle had her leg amputated February 17, 2010, followed by five rounds of doxorubicin chemotherapy.  She is the bravest girl I’ve ever known.  She’s ever once backed away from doing what we’ve asked, and she never really complained, even though there were a few times when the chemo was pretty rugged.  I’ve been by Gayle’s side during every step of this journey.  I’ve knitted a zillion socks watching her recover, sitting through chemo, and just being in the moment with my sister. Every day with Gayle is a gift and a learning experience.  She’s not only my ‘sister’, but she’s my teacher.  I learned a big lesson when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July.  Through surgery and now radiation treatment, Gayle is by my side every step of the journey.  We both know how lucky we are to have each other, to have such supportive family and friends and to be enjoying every moment.  Gayle keeps a blog to document our challenges and achievements – www.etgayle.tripawds.com.”

Maine winner: Marty McFly, an insanely adorable “Maine lobstah”

Here’s what Lisa has to say about her little dog. “Marty McFly is thrilled to be selected as a costume winner.  He is a very special Miniature Dachshund whom I rescued from a shelter in Ohio two years ago when his time as a stray was up.  He arrived skin and bones and with pneumonia, and almost didn’t make it.  After lots of TLC, he gained five pounds and blossomed into an incredible dog who has taught us so much.  He has been a therapy dog, and made lots of friends at a local nursing home.  He adores children, and if we’re out for a walk and he spots a child he makes a beeline right to them to give them kisses.  It makes us wonder whether he had children in his previous home.  We do not know his true age, but estimate he is about 14.  He has lots of spunk, loves to chase squirrels, and ‘sings for his supper.’  There are thousands of senior dogs in shelters with so much life left.  We feel so fortunate to have this one in our life.  Of our five dogs, he makes us laugh the most.”

Northern California winner: Roxy, a cherub of a chimp

Karen adores Roxy as you can tell from her description.  “As a volunteer dog trainer and foster provider at my local shelter, I was asked to come to meet a couple puppies that had been placed in the back of the shelter in a small enclosure with their mama.  The mama was a confiscated ‘breeder dog,’ that is, a dog whose sole purpose is to become impregnated with money-making pups.   The shelter’s plan was to euthanize the mama once the puppies could make it on their own due to her being a Pit Bull and that fact that she was a black dog.  Add to the fact that she was engorged with milk, and you have a dog whose adoption chances are nil.  I went down and met the puppies and mama and learned she had been in that small enclosure with them for over a month without ever having gotten out or any contact aside from being fed. She was scrawny and scared, but she still had a sparkle in her eye and absolute love of people. I brought the pups home along with the mama who we called Roxy. We spent the necessary time socializing the pups and eventually they were adopted, but since the day I brought her home Roxy has truly been my best friend.  We eventually adopted Roxy.  Her adoption essentially saved the lives of four dogs:  Her life was spared, her two pups’ lives were spared, and another stray dog had a chance at life since an enclosure was empty.  Roxy has become a great teacher of life.  She has taught us to live in the present and not dwell on the past, as she never looks back at her hard life with regret. She does not let the bad things that have happened to her affect her today.  She taught us that we can change if we just let go. Against the odds, Roxy has become an ambassador to her breed and is now effectively helping other shelter dogs become stable and happy dogs. She has opened the eyes of so many people with misconceptions about this breed.  She is a friend to anyone she meets.  Roxy has impressed us all with becoming a certified ‘Good Canine Citizen’ and is currently in training for therapy. Roxy’s story is important and we want to send this message to the masses:  Many many shelter dogs are put down needlessly every day. So many of them are good dogs like Roxy that just need a chance at a good life. Provide food, shelter, leadership, exercise, and love and the benefit you receive in return is immeasurable.”

Southern California winner: Elmer Fudd, a precious little vampire

Anne shares her home and heart with Elmer Fudd.  Here is how she describes him: “Elmer is about 13 years old and I adopted him from the LA city shelter about six months ago after a plea went out for him from the shelter staff.  He’s probably a Jack Russell/something mix and they said he was geriatric and visually impaired, but he’s actually a pretty active and somewhat hyper little guy.  But he’s got some kind of brain damage. I’m not sure what caused it.  We saw a neurology specialist but without spending a lot of money on an MRI and spinal tap, we don’t have a definitive diagnosis and I decided to watch and wait and see how things go for now.  He mostly walks in circles, always in the same direction.  He can’t go up and down steps and if he’s on the sofa he’ll walk off and fall on the floor instead of jumping – I think it’s a visual problem.  He has hearing impairment too, he can hear but can’t identify the source of the sound and has not really learned to understand any words.  He has a bunch of other quirks but he’s very sweet and full of spunk.  He likes to be picked up and held, having his ears rubbed and eating.  Especially eating, he is just crazy about food.  He is very curious and loves exploring the yard (in a circular fashion) and chasing the cat when he has the chance.  I could go on and on, but anyway he’s a special dog and I think he makes an awesome vampire.”

Now here’s wishing you and your four-legged family members a safe Halloween and abundant good health.  

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of  Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association 2009 Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, 2009 Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, 2009 Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller. 

You can support your favorite rescue group.  The Speaking for Spot Gives Back Program shares a portion of the sales proceeds with approved non-profit organizations when you purchase a book via the Speaking for Spot website and designate the organization at the time of purchase.

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Reasonable Expectations V: Discussion of All Options Regardless of Cost

October 24, 2010

This is the fifth part of an ongoing series describing how people are developing new expectations when it comes to veterinary care for their pets. Parts one through four can be found at http://www.speakingforspot.com/blog.

Veterinarians wear many different hats when they are in the exam room. It’s a given they provide medical care for their patients. But did you realize that, for their clients they often assume the role of social worker, calendar planner, grief counselor, and even mediator when there are conflicting opinions between family members (mostly spouses)? Why on earth some veterinarians wish to also become financial planners for their clients is beyond me! These are vets who pick and choose which medical and surgical options to discuss based on what they think their clients can afford.

I don’t work this way- I believe in presenting every option that is reasonable for my patient and then letting my client determine what they can and cannot afford. This means that my client will hear all the same options whether he or she arrives at my hospital driving a Mercedes Benz sports car or a jalopy. The American Animal Hospital Association agrees with my modus operandi- they conducted a study documenting that ninety percent of people want their vets to present every option regardless of cost. Please hear what this is saying: it is perfectly reasonable for you to expect discussion of all options for your precious family member regardless of cost!

Let’s consider the example of a torn cruciate ligament. The knee joint contains cruciate ligaments that are responsible for keeping the upper leg bone (femur) in alignment with the lower leg bone (tibia). Cruciate ligament tears commonly occur in large breed dogs and there are several options for treating this injury. The least expensive option is rest and anti-inflammatory medications, the cost of which might be a few hundred dollars over the course of a several months. This nonsurgical least expensive approach restores mobility and use of the leg, but predictably results in arthritis within the knee and chronic lameness. The most expensive option is one of two highly specialized surgical techniques (referred to as TPLO and TTA) performed by board certified veterinary surgical specialists. Such surgery is the very best bet for restoring complete lifelong soundness to the knee. Depending on where the dog lives (everything is more expensive in California!) the cost for this surgery is $3,000-$4,000. Tack on post-operative rehabilitation therapy (on an underwater treadmill) and add another $500-$1,000 to your bill. The “in between options” include various surgical procedures that many general practitioners perform. While they are less expensive ($1,000 to $2,000) such surgery is less likely to result in an arthritis-free knee. Treatment of cruciate ligament disease is a clear example of, “You get what you pay for.”

Now there are a number of factors to consider when determining the best treatment option for a torn cruciate ligament. Perhaps the dog is ancient and debilitated and the risk for general anesthesia and surgery is too great. Perhaps there are other medical issues that are likely to be life ending soon- in this situation it would be irresponsible to choose surgery. There are many factors to consider, and finances may be one of them. But how would you feel if discussion of medical therapy for your dog’s cruciate ligament tear was purposefully withheld because your vet assumed you could afford surgery? Likewise, what if there was no discussion of referral to a surgical specialist because your vet felt it would be too much of a financial stretch for you? Do you want your veterinarian to be your financial planner or would you prefer to hear about all the options, then decide for yourself? Let me know how you feel about this. By the way, it might be wise to let your own veterinarian know as well!

Now here’s wishing you and your four-legged family members abundant good health.  

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of  Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association 2009 Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, 2009 Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, 2009 Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller. 

You can support your favorite rescue group.  The Speaking for Spot Gives Back Program shares a portion of the sales proceeds with approved non-profit organizations when you purchase a book via the Speaking for Spot website and designate the organization at the time of purchase.

Suffolk County, New York – You Rock!

October 17, 2010

©Susannah Kay

Have you heard the news?  Suffolk County, a wonderfully forward thinking county on Long Island has just passed legislation creating the nation’s very first animal abuse registry.  As with sex offender registries, people convicted of animal cruelty within Suffolk County must now add their names to an online list of offenders that is accessible to the public. The Suffolk County law was prompted by a recent spate of animal abuse cases including that of a woman accused of forcing her children to watch her torture and kill kittens and dozens of dogs, then burying the remains in her backyard. 

©Susannah Kay

Jon Cooper, the bill’s sponsor argued for the registry based on the strong correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence- it’s known that those who commit heinous crimes against people often hone their skills by torturing animals. Heck, as far as I’m concerned, those who abuse animals deserve to be “outed” whether or not that abuse might ever be perpetrated against people. In fact, if I were “Queen of the Universe” the repercussions for animal abusers would be far greater than this legislation allows for, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog.  Mr. Cooper’s next goal is to create legislation that will prevent registered animal abusers from purchasing or adopting new pets. Kudos to you, Mr. Cooper, along with Suffolk County. Let’s hope your new legislation becomes contagious! 

©Susannah Kay

By the way, who is the insanely adorable dog performing a leaping fox impression in the attached photos (you didn’t expect me to show photos of animal abuse, did you)?  Why he’s none other than my adorable Quinn.  I love watching him leap, and my photographer/daughter finally acquiesced to my demands to catch him in the act!  

Now here’s wishing you and your four-legged family members abundant good health.  

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of  Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association 2009 Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, 2009 Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, 2009 Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller. 

You can support your favorite rescue group.  The Speaking for Spot Gives Back Program shares a portion of the sales proceeds with approved non-profit organizations when you purchase a book via the Speaking for Spot website and designate the organization at the time of purchase.

Be the Change for Animals

October 15, 2010

Today is Blog the Change day, a quarterly event focused on efforts to “Be the Change for Animals”.  

The Speaking for Spot Gives Back Program shares proceeds from purchase of Speaking for Spot with animal centered nonprofit groups.  If your favorite  nonprofit  rescue group  is not already participating, please invite them to register at http://bit.ly/Register_SpeakingforSpotGivesBack.

Please share your ideas for being the change for animals. 

Wonderfully fun names such as “A New Leash on Life,” “Wags to Riches,” and “Fairy Dogmother Rescue,” are to be found at PetFinder.com. This is definitely the place to go in cyberspace when thinking about adopting a new pet.  Before I go one step further, rest assured I am aware that the PetFinder site likely features some puppy mills amongst their gazillions of legitimate nonprofit organizations.  I’ve no doubt that in spite of the fact that PetFinder performs their due diligence, some puppy mills likely slip through the cracks.  In my mind, this does not detract from the profoundly positive outcomes PetFinder facilitates.  Rather, it means that we need to perform our own due diligence when using this website.

At the time of this writing, PetFinder features 13,184 nonprofit adoption groups (shelters, humane societies, SPCA’s, and rescue organizations) and over 297,457 pets in need of a new home. PetFinder states that they’ve facilitated more than 13 million adoptions since 1995. Wow, that’s one heck of a lot of animals’ lives changed for the better!  I have a tremendous respect for the many thousands of people who invest their time, energy, and financial resources helping animals in need of a new lease on life.  Their generosity and desire to “give back” are inspirational.  I’ve initiated the Speaking for Spot Gives Back Program with hopes of providing a little bit of support for the amazing work they do. 

The Speaking for Spot Gives Back Program is open to all animal-centered nonprofits including service organizations and adoption and rescue groups.  Here’s how the program works.  Participating organizations appear on a pull down menu on the purchase page of my website (www.speakingforspot.com). When someone purchases Speaking for Spot they can designate which nonprofit organization will receive 20% of the book sale proceeds. The Speaking for Spot Gives Back Program is a win-win situation – not only will participating organizations raise much-needed funds, those who purchase the book will have a wonderful resource that will last a lifetime!

Please support your favorite animal-centered nonprofit organization by encouraging the folks who work there to learn more about the Speaking for Spot Gives Back Program.  They can either contact me directly (Dr.Kay@SpeakingforSpot.com) or visit http://www.speakingforspot.com/speakingforspotgivesback.html.  And when you are ready to expand your own menagerie, I hope you will begin the search at your local rescue organizations, shelters, and humane societies.  Have you already adopted from such an organization?  If so, I’d love to hear your story!

Best wishes to you and your four-legged family members for abundant good health, 

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association 2009 Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, 2009 Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, 2009 Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life

Website: http://www.speakingforspot.com
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller.

Blog the Change Participants

Boo!

October 11, 2010

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!  Skunks and caterpillars and zebras, oh my!  Never have I seen such an adorable and hilarious assortment of canine Halloween garb as can be found at OhMyDogSupplies.com. I hope you will check it out (click on the link at the bottom of this blog), but I recommend doing so only if you have an empty bladder- you’ll be laughing so hard you just might ……….   have an accident!  I keep going back and forth about which is my favorite costume- it remains a toss up between the Cheerleader and the Spicy Taco!


   

Please have a look and then let me know which Halloween outfit is your favorite!  When you respond be sure to provide the following information:

1.  The name of your favorite costume (just one) from the OhMyDogSupplies website
2.  Your dog’s size (see sizing recommendations provided on the website)
3.  Your dog’s name, age, and breed (best guess if he or she is a mix)

Be sure to respond by October 18th because on October 19th I will randomly choose five names from those of you who have responded.  If your name is chosen, you and your dog will receive a wonderful Halloween costume (we’ll try to provide you with your favorite) compliments of OhMyDogSupplies.  In return, I will ask that you provide me with a photo of your dog in his or her Halloween duds so I can share them with my blog audience.  Happy Halloween!

Now here’s wishing you and your four-legged family members abundant good health. 

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of  Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association 2009 Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, 2009 Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, 2009 Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Oh My Dog Supplies

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

You can support your favorite rescue group.  The Speaking for Spot Gives Back Program shares a portion of the sales proceeds with approved non-profit organizations when you purchase a book via the Speaking for Spot website and designate the organization at the time of purchase.

Puppy Mill Campaign-One Girl’s Campaign to Educate Many

October 9, 2010

I absolutely love connecting with kids who realize a passion and then act on it! I am so pleased to feature a post from my guest blogger, Miah Rae.  Miah is a 12 year old student who loves animals and is passionate about making a positive difference for as many as possible.  A love for animals may be an inherited trait- Miah’s grandmother is pet blogger, Yvonne DiVita!

Dr. Nancy Kay

Puppy Mill Campaign-One Girl’s Campaign to Education Many by Miah Rae

For everyone who doesn’t follow my personal blog, Start the Change, you should know that I am working on getting as many students as possible to sign a pledge to never support a puppy mill. I want to educate them on what puppy mills are and how to avoid supporting them.

I just started today and I already have 36 signatures, which makes me so excited!!! 36 signatures on my puppy mill awareness pledge, which says, “I pledge to always seek any pet I want to adopt from a shelter, and to never give my money to a pet store in the mall, or anywhere else. I do not support puppy mills, and people and stores who do will never get my business. Don’t shop. ADOPT!”

That means 36 people from my school promised to adopt from a shelter and to never shop from a pet store. That is a huge difference, and I am hoping I will double it tomorrow!

I give out a big thanks to my drama teacher who let me share my pledge with the class and explain what a puppy mill is. I got most of my signatures from that class so I greatly appreciate it.

I am still so surprised by how many people don’t know what they are! I asked my drama class how many people actually knew what a puppy mill was and only about 5 or 6 actually knew a little bit about it. I was shocked, but excited to teach so many people about it.

She started her own blog in May 2010, and even spoke at the latest BlogPaws conference in Denver, hoping to gain support for her movement. In her spare time she is a dancer and is raising a brand new puppy pitbull mix, Onyx.

It was great and I am so excited to be making a difference this way, and I will keep everyone updated on my pledge totals over on my blog at Start-the-Change.com .

Miah Rae and Onyx

Puppy Mill Campaign-One Girl's Campaign to Educate Many

October 9, 2010

I absolutely love connecting with kids who realize a passion and then act on it! I am so pleased to feature a post from my guest blogger, Miah Rae.  Miah is a 12 year old student who loves animals and is passionate about making a positive difference for as many as possible.  A love for animals may be an inherited trait- Miah’s grandmother is pet blogger, Yvonne DeVita!

Dr. Nancy Kay

Puppy Mill Campaign-One Girl’s Campaign to Education Many by Miah Rae

For everyone who doesn’t follow my personal blog, Start the Change, you should know that I am working on getting as many students as possible to sign a pledge to never support a puppy mill. I want to educate them on what puppy mills are and how to avoid supporting them.

I just started today and I already have 36 signatures, which makes me so excited!!! 36 signatures on my puppy mill awareness pledge, which says, “I pledge to always seek any pet I want to adopt from a shelter, and to never give my money to a pet store in the mall, or anywhere else. I do not support puppy mills, and people and stores who do will never get my business. Don’t shop. ADOPT!”

That means 36 people from my school promised to adopt from a shelter and to never shop from a pet store. That is a huge difference, and I am hoping I will double it tomorrow!

I give out a big thanks to my drama teacher who let me share my pledge with the class and explain what a puppy mill is. I got most of my signatures from that class so I greatly appreciate it.

I am still so surprised by how many people don’t know what they are! I asked my drama class how many people actually knew what a puppy mill was and only about 5 or 6 actually new a little bit about it. I was shocked, but excited to teach so many people about it.

She started her own blog in May 2010, and even spoke at the latest BlogPaws conference in Denver, hoping to gain support for her movement. In her spare time she is a dancer and is raising a brand new puppy pitbull mix, Onyx.

It was great and I am so excited to be making a difference this way, and I will keep everyone updated on my pledge totals over on my blog at Start-the-Change.com .

Miah Rae and Onyx

Chester Comes Home

October 4, 2010

I’m delighted to feature a guest post this week written by Yvonne DiVita.  Yvonne’s career interests have focused on marketing to women, social media for business, and publishing.  In 2009, she combined her business background with her passion for animals and co-founded BlogPaws, an online pet community to support pet bloggers and pet lovers.  I had the pleasure of meeting Yvonne in person at the BlogPaws Conference last month in Denver, Colorado.  Yvonne was one of the organizers of this awesome event.  She writes today about the adoption of her newest four-legged family member, 7 year old Chester, a research facility dog, that is until he and Yvonne found one another.  Thank you Yvonne for sharing Chester’s story and showing us how we can “Be the Change”.

Dr. Nancy Kay 

Chester Comes Home by Yvonne DiVita

This week we added a new family member to our little group. He’s a Coon hound mix. Not sure what the mix is but it could be Springer Spaniel. That’s not important. What’s important is that this precious 7 year old boy spent his entire life in a research facility and does not even know how to be a dog!

How sad is that?

We are pushing all that sadness aside and giving Chester all the love he’s missed these last seven years. Granted, the research facility was only studying nutrition – he wasn’t abused, but, he wasn’t loved, either. And, if he was walked, I’m sure it wasn’t for pleasure. He doesn’t know what it’s like to meander along and sniff every leaf, mark every tree, enjoy the sunshine. Even more astonishing was the way he peed the first day we took him out – without lifting his leg. What male dog does that?

Chester was being held at the Longmont Humane Society. Tom and I went in on Sunday just ‘to look.’ Yes, we were in the market for a dog – having lost our precious Carmie (a shepherd/lab mix who was 16 years old) two years ago. However, we’ve been pretty selective because we needed a dog that would get along with our 18 year old cat, the Grumpy Old Lady. She’s pretty popular on our Scratchings and Sniffings blog, and she has told us over and over that if we ever get another dog, she gets final approval. So, we were careful as we visited shelters and interviewed dogs.   http://www.scratchingsandsniffings.com/the-grumpy-old-lady/

Chester was in one of the last kennels we visited, as we walked around the humane society, taking to the many dogs available for adoption. I like to give them some attention, regardless of what breed they are or how old they are. It’s well known around here that I’d adopt all of them, if I could! Anyway, Chester was lying down, very calm, but he lifted his head when we paused outside his kennel, and it seemed as if he was saying, “I’m a good dog. I don’t make a lot of noise. But, I would love to go home with you.” We read his description which told us he was 7 years old and had only lived in the research facility, never in a real home. His description also said he got along with cats, so that was a big plus. http://www.longmonthumane.org/

Who could resist that? Seriously, we wanted an adult dog, one that wasn’t going to chase the cat, and here was Chester. We took him for a walk, talked to him, rubbed his gigantic ears, and fell in love. He was very shy, and unsure of us. But, we knew we could win him over. Once back at the front desk, we filled out all the necessary paperwork and they told us the originating shelter would call us.

The originating shelter was a rescue ranch in Wyoming, not far from the Colorado border. They have final say on all their dogs. The ranch rescues animals formerly used in research, and places them in homes, if they can. We talked to Karen, the next day, and she said the shelter had given us a glowing review so she would be happy to bring Chester to us, on Monday. You can imagine our reaction – we jumped for joy! http://kindnessranch.org/

Chester has been here for three days now. He was terribly disoriented the first day. We gave him space, but made sure he knew he was loved. He paced a whole lot that first day, and seemed to be looking for something. I wonder if he’s looking for the other dogs who were at the research center with him. I was happy that he ate, though. His appetite is good. The only strange thing there is that he isn’t sure what to do with dog treats. Or, maybe the ones we have don’t appeal to him. We’ll see, in time.

Today, he is settling down nicely and acting more like a dog. It’s heartwarming to see him blossom, knowing we care. Oh, yeah, the Grumpy Old Lady says he can stay. He’s quiet, he doesn’t bother her, and she kind of likes sitting in front of the water dish as if she owns it, because Chester won’t go near it with her there. (Carmie did the same thing)

Chester is our boy. He’s found his “forever” home with us. We are so happy! I didn’t realize how much I missed have a dog, until Chester came to stay. Now, we’re thinking of adopting another dog from the ranch that rescued him. One he’s familiar with. One that will keep him company when we’re out running errands or visiting friends. One that will allow the Grumpy Old Lady to maintain her dignity as Queen of the House. Life doesn’t get any better than this, does it?

Yvonne DiVita