Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Wigglers - And An Important Message From Tsar

My dogs are enrolled in the Georgie Project which is a research project to find answers to some medical problems that plague not only Portuguese Water Dogs, but all dogs. They're looking for the causes and cures for such diseases as Addisons, Cancer and autoimmune diseases. One of the ways we  contribute to the project is with blood samples. Today was the day we had decided to get the blood drawn on the eight Porties.

The day got off to a bad start. Drawing blood meant no breakfast this morning. I had ten very unhappy dogs on my hands and they didn't hesitate to tell me about it.

We planned to make two trips with four dogs each trip. So we loaded the first four "volunteers" into the car and headed for All Creatures. Bailey and Tess waited noisily in the car while we took Lola and Norma Jean in the clinic. Dr B decided to do the blood draws himself and I was aghast when I saw that the project wanted five tubes of blood from each dog. I thought they might faint from weakness. We put Lola on the table and the doctor was able to get one tube filled before she started wiggling. He tried again, but no go.

Because my dogs are very active and standing still long enough for five tubes of blood to be drawn is impossible, we decided to try another approach. Dr B said to give each dog 15mg of valium and wait 30 minutes. He said that would quiet them and make them drowsy enough to accomplish our mission. We took them home, gave each one a dose of valium and waited 30 minutes, then headed back to the clinic.

There was absolutely no effect from the valium. They didn't get drowsy and they still wiggled on the table so much that we gave up on the blood draw idea. Instead, as each one goes in for dental cleanings or cyst removals, we'll draw blood while they're under sedation. Everyone came home and had breakfast.

So much for good intentions.

Reilly has come up with a good idea. He's setting up a mailing list for dogs with blogs so that we can send cards or letters or even packages with treats inside. If you go over to his blog you can read all about it and join if you want. Our Mom keeps a notebook with names, addresses and blog sites, but sometimes she forgets to write one down. Then when she starts looking for an address, papers start flying around and sometimes bad words are heard. An online mailing list sounds like a good idea to us so that Mom doesn't lose her cool.

Now this is very important!! Tomorrow is June 1. That means you only have nine days to get your pictures to us for Bandana Day. It's really easy, here's what you have to do.

1. Dress up in something green.
2. Have your human take your picture.
3. Email the picture to us at    wilcoxhall@ymail.com
4. In your email tell us your name, state or country you live in and your blog or web address.

That's it. How easy is that? On June 10 our Mom will help us post the pictures with your name and country. When people click on your name they'll be able to visit your blog and tell you how beautiful or handsome you are. Maybe you can make some new friends and get to visit new places.
Don't forget. There's only a few days left!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Graduates

Hard as it to believe, it's already the end of May. That means graduations and this year we have several graduates to present.
First is our friend Emily, who recently graduated from college. Emily is the daughter of my friend Sue and she spent lots of time at our house when she was a little girl.

In a couple weeks my nephew Eddie will be graduating from high school. It's hard for me to imagine that the stubborn little three year old that I remember is heading off to college in the fall.
Our blog friend Mitch graduated last week from obedience school.

And last, but certainly not least is our very own Norma Jean. Her graduation picture arrived yesterday.
Congratulations to all our graduates. You all did a great job and we're proud of you. We also send congratulations out to all the other graduates. The future is yours.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

When Disaster Strikes

We're all accustomed to seeing reports of natural disasters on television and in newspapers and magazines. We look at the pictures and think "Oh, those poor people". But while we feel awful for them, we're warm and safe in our homes or offices.

I've been  very lucky in my life. I've been in storms that frightened me, but once they were over, life went back to normal. On a Friday evening in January 2007 an ice storm hit Springfield. The power went out about 6 PM, but we were confident it would be back on shortly. We got out candles and flashlights and waited.

The power remained out all weekend. Our cordless phones were useless and the cell phone batteries soon ran down. We had one corded phone that worked so we knew that the outside world was aware of our situation. We were lucky, we had a gas fireplace that kept the house warm enough for us to stay there, but we felt cold all the time.
 Branches and whole trees covered in ice began falling from the weight. Every time we stepped outside we could hear them crashing down around us.

 This was our neighbor's driveway.

 These were houses on our street.

 This is the school bus stop.
 The electricity stayed out for twelve days. Think about it, no lights in the winter evenings, no hot food, never feeling warm. We lost light and communications, the food in the refrigerators and freezers. We were safe, our house was standing and we were unhurt, but it caused anxiety and frayed nerves.
 The one lasting image from that experience was seeing disaster relief trucks and vans on my own street. We're used to seeing them on TV helping in disasters, but we never expect to see them in our town, on our street. It left a strange feeling, a feeling of being a victim and needing the help of strangers. It's an awful feeling.
Yesterday we stopped at Walmart to pick up some yogurt for the dogs and there we saw a group of National Guardsmen loading a truck with cases of bottled water for the residents of Joplin. It brought back all those feelings again.

When the power came on twelve days later, things quickly got back to normal. The people of Joplin have lost everything. Their houses are not standing, they are not safe and unhurt. Life may never get back to normal for some of them. If you can help, please do. You can contact the American Red Cross or whatever your favorite group is and they'll tell you how you can help most.

Tank is having a blanket drive, Project TOTO, for the suddenly homeless and frightened animals in Joplin. On his blog you can find the details. He's asking for people to send fleece blankets to:
                The Joplin Humane Society
                Animal Adoption and Resource Center
                140 E Emperor Lane
                Joplin, MO 64801
Everyone who participates can proudly display the Project Toto badge on your blog or web page.
 No one ever expects to be the victim of a disaster, but it can happen in an instant. Your life can be completely changed and you may be the one accepting the help of caring strangers. This is a "Pay It Forward" moment. Let's all help.

Getting Back To Normal

 Mother Nature has been on a rampage recently, from earthquakes and tsunamis to wild fires, floods, tornadoes and volcanic eruptions, she's been making life uncomfortable and dangerous for almost everyone. Let's hope her mood changes and we can all get back to enjoying spring again.
Before the wild winds came blowing into Missouri last Sunday, Rob and I went to an agility trial hosted by our dog training club. We went specifically to meet this little lady.
This is Lyric. She has a wonderful story. She is a four year old Pomeranian who was brought into the animal clinic a couple years ago by her family. She was diagnosed with heartworm because her owners hadn't bothered to give her a monthly preventive drug. Now that she had developed the disease, they didn't want to spend the money to treat her and instead requested that she be euthanized. Dr Nicki got their permission to adopt her and treated her.
Now Miss Lyric runs agility and does an excellent job at it. Her name now is:
                                Lryic AX,AXJ,OAC,NJC,TN-N
All those letters are titles that she's earned and as you can see she earned another ribbon on Sunday. Is that a great story?

We met some other happy dogs that were either waiting to run or watching friends run.
This one was busy keeping his eye on the competition and also watching the treats.

This had to be one of the happiest puppies I've ever met. She's six months old and was greeting everyone, human or canine with wiggles and licks.

Meanwhile, in the rings there was a lot of activity.

Then it was Legend's turn. She is Lyric's big sister .

She had a nice run and both  dogs were rewarded with chew sticks.

If you've never been to an agility trial, they're lots of fun to watch. Most weekends you can find one in your area and you'll be amazed what the human-canine team can do when they work together. It might even inspire you to try it with your own dog. AKC now allows mixed breeds to participate, so this might be the activity you and your dog could enjoy together.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Love New York

We're under a tornado watch right now. It's getting very dark.

It started raining a few minutes ago and then the hail started.
It's not softball sized, but it sure makes a racket when it hits the windows.

It only lasted a few minutes, then turned back into rain.

Mother Nature is certainly in a bad mood this week. Do these look like friendly skies to you?

We'll be hanging around the house today with one ear open for the tornado sirens. We have a safe room underground where we and the dogs can go if the siren sounds.

These ugly clouds have already passed over us and are now to the east. They won't endanger us, but people east of us should probably be taking shelter about now.

This New Yorker would rather deal with 10 foot snowbanks, than with a tornado.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Help For Tornado Victims

Joplin Missouri is a disaster. Thousands of buildings have been destroyed, the human death count is over 100 and with more storms on the way. There is no safe place to take shelter. There are some other storm victims that are receiving attention. Many animals have been left homeless and wandering the streets or hiding in rubble Some are injured, all are frightened.

I have received permission to repost an email received this morning from someone currently in Joplin helping with the animals.

From: Boxer/Schnauzer rescue Of The Ozarks
Date: May 23, 2011  11:37;21 PM CDT
Subject: What YOU can do to help

This is what is happening and this IS a first hand account. SWHS is bringing the adoptable dogs and cats back to their shelter. Once they are processed in, they will be up for adoption. I think I handled everyone today and there are some wonderful animals in need of homes.

The Joplin HS is cleaning out these runs and putting dogs and cats displaced from the storm in these runs. THESE ANIMALS CAN NOT LEAVE THE SHELTER. This is important. The Humane Society of Missouri and the ASPCA are at the shelter and THEY ARE IN CHARGE, not Joplin. These animals will not be able to leave until these two organizations allow it. A warehouse has been opened for all these animals. At this point it is POURING rain in Joplin and lots of animals are hiding. Incoming is happening but slow. As the weather gets better and they get hungry they will start coming out. The animal rescue side of things is going to get busy in a couple of days. This is why it is important to clear out their shelter. Rescues can not take these animals and just house them. As we pulled a dog out of a run or kennel, we had a staff member there waiting to clean it. When I returned, there was another dog there with a big red card on it's cage. The red card means it is a disaster dog. It was unreal that as soon as we emptied the cage, they filled it.

The biggest thing I can say is DO NOT GO TO JOPLIN. People were walking in to help and all they can do is leave their name and number. The Humane Society of Missouri and the ASPCA are bringing in their disaster response teams that know how to triage and deal with this. Also, do no go to the SWS unless you are already a trained volunteer or are going to adopt. The staff and previously trained volunteers have plans and at this moment don't have time to train new volunteers.

So, you ask me, what can I do to help. This is what you can do. At this time hard food is NOT NEEDED. The Humane Society of Missouri and the ASPCA were rolling in with trailers FULL of food. This is what they NEED.
paper towels
kitty litter
money to buy supplies
Joplin is also in need of canned food.... not hard, in addition to everything listed above.

Being there in person I can say the biggest need is towels and blankets. The SWHS will be releasing lists again. If the list does not come from the SWHS, Humane Society of Missouri or the ASPCA, I would double check before you run out and buy what is on the list.

Also, we are bringing back 7 birds tomorrow for A Parrots Perch Rescue. I am sure they will need supplies also. I can not tell you what they need so please contact them directly. The Joplin asked id SWHS did birds. They don't, but I told them I know who does. We sent an email to A Parrots Perch, they called and didn't hesitate, just said yes. They took them.

For a personal note, the town is horrible. I did run into people wandering through the shelter to see if their pets were there. The Humane Society of Missouri and the ASPCA is JUST NOW setting up triage as they know it will start to get busy. People are still in shock at this point. Joplin Humane Society workers were at the shelter working and some of the staff still hadn't located all their family and friends. The southern half of Joplin is gone.

Fears expressed is that everyone is geared up now to help but they are OK right now. Next week is when supplies are going to be running low. We need to start collecting for then....not  now. As we stood at the Joplin shelter, supplies were piling up in the front lobby... next week it will be gone but the animals will still be there and will still be coming in. The size of this warehouse is indescribable and next week it will be FULL of animals needing blankets, towels, their cages cleaned, etc.

Some of the organizations helping in Joplin right now are Spay and Neuter Kansas City, Wayside Waifs, No More Homeless Pets Kansas City and Animal Haven. As the above email states The Humane Society of Missouri and the ASPCA are in control. Vans of food have arrived from PetSmart. Everyone is eager to help.