Archive for the ‘Adoptions’ Category

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

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

Speaking for Spot Gives Back

May 9, 2010

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.

A Rottweiler Reunion

March 28, 2010

If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you may remember a series of stories I posted about two pregnant Rottweilers that were abandoned at my veterinary hospital (www.speakingforspot.com/blog 2/20/09, 3/8/09, 3/17/09).  In fact, these girls were so darned pregnant that, within 24 hours, one of them, now named Mia, delivered ten healthy, happy puppies.  Mia and her little sausages were fostered by Jill, a member of the amazing team of receptionists at my hospital.   Jill ended up keeping the runt of the litter, now known as Dodger, and she managed to find wonderful homes for Mia and the other nine pups. Candy, the other mama, found her way to Linda, a Rottweiler maven who works tirelessly doing Rottie rescue work.  Candy delivered five pups while in Linda’s care.  Mama and all five pups were placed in caring homes.  

   

  

  

Jill has managed to keep tabs on Mia and all but one her puppies.  As the adoptive families report, they are all matches made in heaven!  At their recent one-year birthday reunion (held at a local dog park) the puppies were all playing while their humans were sporting grins from ear to ear!  Although there were thirty or so dogs at the park that day, the siblings seemed to hang out preferentially with one another.  Have a look at the “before” and “after” photos.  In the adult photos, there are clearly two distinct facial appearances. (Perhaps two different dads were involved in the creation of this litter!) Charlie, Bandit, and Giovani have kept their original names.  Abby, Delilah, Ember, Freda, Hans, Ivan, and Juno have become Maggie, Dee Dee, Dodger, Ava, Trixie, Bruno, and Sadie.    

Dodger is the dog furthest to the right in this photo

  

Those little sausages have all turned into massive dogs with weights varying from 80 to 110 pounds.  And guess who the 110 pounder is!  None other than Dodger, the original runt of the litter!  

I hope this blog makes you smile and reminds you to support your local animal rescue organizations.  

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.  

A Rottweiler Reunion

March 27, 2010

If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you may remember a series of stories I posted about two pregnant Rottweilers that were abandoned at my veterinary hospital (www.speakingforspot.com/blog 2/20/09, 3/8/09, 3/17/09).  In fact, these girls were so darned pregnant that, within 24 hours, one of them, now named Mia, delivered ten healthy, happy puppies.  Mia and her little sausages were fostered by Jill, a member of the amazing team of receptionists at my hospital.   Jill ended up keeping the runt of the litter, now known as Dodger, and she managed to find wonderful homes for Mia and the other nine pups. Candy, the other mama, found her way to Linda, a Rottweiler maven who works tirelessly doing Rottie rescue work.  Candy delivered five pups while in Linda’s care.  Mama and all five pups were placed in caring homes. 

  

 

 

Jill has managed to keep tabs on Mia and all but one her puppies.  As the adoptive families report, they are all matches made in heaven!  At their recent one-year birthday reunion (held at a local dog park) the puppies were all playing while their humans were sporting grins from ear to ear!  Although there were thirty or so dogs at the park that day, the siblings seemed to hang out preferentially with one another.  Have a look at the “before” and “after” photos.  In the adult photos, there are clearly two distinct facial appearances. (Perhaps two different dads were involved in the creation of this litter!) Charlie, Bandit, and Giovani have kept their original names.  Abby, Delilah, Ember, Freda, Hans, Ivan, and Juno have become Maggie, Dee Dee, Dodger, Ava, Trixie, Bruno, and Sadie.   

Dodger is the dog furthest to the right in this photo

Those little sausages have all turned into massive dogs with weights varying from 80 to 110 pounds.  And guess who the 110 pounder is!  None other than Dodger, the original runt of the litter! 

I hope this blog makes you smile and reminds you to support your local animal rescue organizations. 

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.

A Dozen Simple Ways to Be Certain You Are Working With a Reputable Breeder

January 23, 2010

So, you’ve decided to adopt a dog and feel certain that a purebred is your heart’s desire.  You’ve done your research to be sure that the size and temperament of the breed you’ve chosen is the right fit for you, your lifestyle, and everyone else who lives with you (including both two-legged and four-legged family members). Now, what’s the best way to find this dog of your dreams? 

Here are some good options for finding your new dog (hopefully, we are in agreement that pet store and site unseen online purchases are not good options- see http://speakingforspot.com/blog/?p=710).  If you are open to adopting an adult dog, let the staff of your local shelter or humane society know what you are looking for- a surprising number of purebred dogs wind up there.  I also encourage you to contact breed-specific rescue organizations (google the name of your breed along with the word “rescue”).  Life’s unforeseen circumstances (death, divorce, financial woes, etc.) cause many wonderful dogs to end up with rescue groups. 

Another good option for finding your new dog is via a reputable breeder.  (For the sake of my writing sanity and your reading sanity, throughout this article I refer to breeders with the feminine pronoun.) The word reputable is reserved for the breeder who is truly passionate about the breed she fancies.  Not only does she possess knowledge about the breed’s history, she knows everything there is to know about their inherited health issues (every single breed has them), temperament, and special needs.  She is a wealth of information about breed ancestries (pedigrees) and the reading material on her nightstand likely includes breed-related magazines. Compare this description to what is referred to as the “backyard breeder,” the individual who produces pups without giving significant thought to inherited diseases, pedigrees, conformation, performance, or temperament.  Their reasons for breeding have nothing to do with preserving the integrity of the breed; perhaps they want their children to witness the “miracle of birth,” believe in the myth that healthy female dogs must have a litter, or are naïve enough to believe that producing pups is a money-making proposition. 

Working with a reputable breeder provides the very best insurance policy that your new pup will have an ideal temperament and the genetic potential for a lifetime of good health.  So, how do you go about finding a reputable breeder?  I encourage you to attend some dog shows and local breed club functions to do some schmoozing. Take note of any consensus you perceive (positive or negative) about particular breeders.  Pay an online visit to the American Kennel Club (if you reside in the United States) and/or the national breed-specific association (i.e. Golden Retriever Club of America).  These sites contain referrals to breeders, but in no way guarantees that they are reputable– you still need to do your homework! Once you’ve created your “short list” of puppy providers, use the list below of a dozen simple ways to be certain you are working with a reputable breeder. 

1.  A reputable breeder insists that you visit her home and all of her dogs. In addition to the puppies, she wants you to meet their mother and, if they are on site, the sire and other relatives (aunts, uncles, and cousins).  She wants you to see that the dogs are not confined to a sterile kennel environment and that they have many opportunities for human interaction from an early age.  Additionally, this visit provides the breeder with an opportunity to see how you interact with dogs. 

2.  A reputable breeder will want to show you all the paperwork pertaining to her pups’ pedigree and health clearances (consult with the breed association to learn which medical issues are pertinent for your breed).  Not only does she have this paperwork for your pup, but for the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles as well.  She will take great pride in this paperwork as it demonstrates her quest to enhance the breed and produce the very best puppies possible.  She will be sending a copy of this paperwork home with you and your pup along with a binder full of other important documents: general information about the breed, breed related health issues, recommendations for obedience classes, grooming tips, results of temperament testing, vaccination and deworming history, record of veterinarian examination, photos of the relatives, and everything you need for American Kennel Club Registration (and you thought you were just getting a puppy!). 

3.  A reputable breeder will want to tell you about any significant health problems that have arisen in any of the dogs she has produced (no breeder is immune).  Not only does this suggest integrity on her part, it also lets you to know that she has stayed in contact with her clients throughout the lifetime of the dogs she’s placed. 

4.  A reputable breeder has more questions for you than you have for her!  You will likely be asked to fill out an application and provide references.  She will request a description of your immediate family, other pets, prior dog experience, house and yard (she may want to come for a site visit), time spent at home versus work, amount of money you are willing to spend on veterinary care, and what activities you hope to share with your dog. If you feel as though you are being interrogated, it is because you are!  The reputable breeder is looking for a single permanent relationship for her pup; she will readily decline a new home that she feels is less than ideal.  Keep in mind, she is well versed in her breed’s best and worst qualities, and knows that these traits are not well suited to every individual and household.  By the way, you will not be allowed to choose a puppy from the entire litter.  The reputable breeder rarely produces more than two or three litters a year and most of the pups will be spoken for well in advance. If she does not have a pup that is right for you, she will gladly refer you to another reputable breeder. 

5.  A reputable breeder is in no hurry to send her puppies off to their new homes.  They may even be held a few weeks longer than the traditional 6 to 8 weeks of age during which time she continues to evaluate each pup to determine which are show or performance prospects.  She will also continue to evaluate the personalities of the pet-quality dogs for more successful pairing with prospective buyers. 

6.  A reputable breeder is happy to provide you with references including people who have purchased her puppies in the past, other breeders, and the veterinarian(s) who cares for her dogs. 

7.  A reputable breeder will ask you to sign a contract that details not only what she expects of you, but also what you can expect of her.  The contract will include some form of health guarantee and, with rare exception, will require your agreement to neuter your pup at the appropriate age.  The contract will also spell out your breeder’s ongoing involvement throughout your dog’s lifetime. She will be an enthusiastic source of support and advice for you, and will want to be informed about any significant health issues that arise.  Not only might this health feedback influence future breeding decisions, she will want to provide a “heads up” to the people who adopted your dog’s littermates.  Additionally, if for any reason and at any age, your dog needs to be “rehomed” the reputable breeder will want to be involved in the process. She would never want one of her dogs to wind up in a shelter or passed from home to home. 

8.  A reputable breeder does not accept credit cards.  She simply doesn’t sell enough puppies to make this worthwhile. 

9.  A reputable breeder sends her pups to their new homes via automobile or within the passenger compartment of the airplane accompanied by a responsible human.  They are never transported in the baggage compartment of an airplane.  

10.  A reputable breeder works with one breed, or occasionally two.  She truly has a love affair with the breed and has focused a huge amount of her time and energy researching all of its particular nuances. She views “designer hybrids” such as Labradoodles (Labradors crossed with Poodles) and Puggles (Pugs crossed with Beagles) to be no different than any other mixed breed of dog.  They detract from, rather than enhance the breed she loves so dearly. 

11.  A reputable breeder shows her dogs in American Kennel Club recognized conformation shows and/or breed-related performance events (obedience, agility, hunting tests/field trial, tracking, herding, etc.). Her dogs may earn AKC good citizen certificates. All of these are clear-cut way for others who are knowledgeable about the breed to evaluate her dogs.  The breeder’s pride will be evident when she shows you the certificates and trophies detailing the accolades and accomplishments of the dogs she’s produced. 

12.  A reputable breeder has a job other than breeding puppies (unless she happens to be independently wealthy).  Breeding pups to pay the mortgage and put groceries on the table inevitably leads to making poor breeding choices.  As one of my colleagues recommends, “Ask the breeder if they make money breeding dogs. If they say, ‘no,’ or better yet, laugh while saying no, you can figure she is a decent breeder.”   

Wishing you and your four-legged family members abundant good health.

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

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. 

Order  a copy of Speaking for Spot personally signed by Dr. Kay – http://www.speakingforspot.com/purchase.html

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Nellie (Toto) is a Superstar!

January 1, 2010

My little Nellie has become a star of stage! For those of you who may have missed it (http://speakingforspot.com/blog/?p=537), I blogged about volunteering to train my little, bitty ragamuffin of a mutt to become a believable Toto in the Santa Rosa Junior College production of the Wizard of Oz.  Nellie and I trained tirelessly for two solid months during which time no one was allowed to call her Nellie.  We helped her “get into character” by referring to her only as Toto.  There were training treats galore (she may have gained a pound or more) and my family and neighbors grew tired of hearing my high-pitched commands of, “Nellie come!”  While all of this was going on, my husband Alan was rehearsing for his dual roles as Professor Marvel and The Wizard of Oz. 

           

The production was a stunning success!  The actors were brilliant, the costumes were breathtaking, and the sets were extraordinary.  There were flying witches and flying monkeys, and the hurricane scene was dazzling.  I may be a bit biased in my assessment, but want you to know that my husband was nothing short of spectacular in his acting debut.  And what about little Nellie?  This marvelous little canine actress captured the character of Toto in a fashion never before realized on stage or film.  She was utterly captivating as she sat demurely in her basket, listened attentively as her beloved Dorothy sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, stole a hotdog on cue from Professor Marvel, acted fearful in the arms of the flying monkeys, and successfully escaped from the witch’s castle! 

From start to finish, Nellie was a little angel and grew to love going to the theatre.  The entire cast and technical crew doted on her and she even had her own personal stage manager who made sure that she had opportunity to empty her bladder and showed up at the right places at the right times.  She received thunderous applause during the cast bows.  My little Nellie is truly a superstar.  It may be time to think about finding her an agent! 

Wishing you and your four-legged family members abundant good health,

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

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. 

Order  a copy of Speaking for Spot personally signed by Dr. Kay – http://www.speakingforspot.com/purchase.html

Join our email list – http://speakingforspot.com/joinemaillist.html

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Listen to Dr. Kay’s interview – A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross

Tipper’s Trials and Tribulations

October 21, 2009
Tipper and Jacob

Tipper and Jacob

Tipper came to live with us just over a month ago.  We don’t know what he was called during his former life in Louisiana.  Like so many other dogs, Hurricane Katrina forced Tipper to adapt to a new name, unfamiliar humans, and an unknown environment (while undergoing treatment for heartworm disease).  Tipper is the definition of adaptable, and he came through all this change with flying colors and a big ‘ole smile on his face.  He’s a big beefy mutt- likely the result of a Doberman and Shepherd rendezvous.  His tail is jet-black with a white tip (thus the name Tipper) and never quits wagging.  My son Jacob, then an undergrad at Colorado State University, signed up to adopt a Katrina rescue dog.  He was paired with Tipper (a match made in heaven) and the two have been inseparable, up until now that is.

Jacob graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife biology and minors in Spanish and conservation (can you sense a mama bragging here).  He is now off in Guatemala studying jaguars.  He figured he could trust his two parents, both veterinarians, to take care of his dog.  So now Tipper has become part of our canine trio enjoying the life of a country dog. In addition to goats, and horses (and horse manure), and deer, and cats, and foxes, and wild turkeys, Tip’s experienced some unexpected mishaps during his short stay with “grandma” and “grandpa”.  

Week one:  It’s foxtail season here in California, and one of these annoying plant awns landed deep in Tipper’s ear canal resulting in furious head shaking. Using an otoscope and a special type of instrument called an “alligator forceps” I fished the foxtail out of his ear canal. Tipper and his eardrum were immediately relieved. Problem solved. 

Week two:  Over the course of a few hours, Tipper vomited six times and his face swelled to the point of his eyes being closed.  Poor boy must have ingested or been stung or bitten by an insect or spider resulting in a severe allergic reaction.  Some antihistamine and TLC were administered and, within 24 hours, Tip was good as new.  Problem solved. 

Week three (at dusk):  Tipper came scampering into the house with his eyes at half-mast and reeking of “Eau de Skunk.”  Clearly, the little black and white critter took good aim and hit poor Tipper right between the eyes.  Fortunately, Nellie and Quinn, his two partners in crime managed to avoid the skunk- they’ve learned from past mistakes.  Tipper received eye ointment and his first California baths.  Problem solved (although he still smells a bit skunky). 

Week four:  One minute the dogs were ripping around the horse pasture, the next minute Tipper was three-legged lame.  Manipulation of his affected leg revealed a torn ligament in his knee. Tip’s going to need to have surgery followed by a couple of months of rehabilitation therapy.  Problem will be solved. 

I hate to think what week five holds in store……………

Wishing you and your four-legged family members good health,

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

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. 

Join our email list – http://speakingforspot.com/joinemaillist.html

Look for us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/speakingforspot

Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Listen to Dr. Kay’s interview – A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross –