This Day

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Last Saturday began as a normal day.  As I fed my two dogs and one cat, my oldest dog, Sierra, was behaving normally.  She’s been having a really hard time walking due to arthritis and old age, but she has been holding her own even though she’s been getting worse and worse over the past year or so.  However, by nine in the morning she’d lost control of her bowels, and was just lying on the floor looking upset and confused.  I called the vet and told them what was going on.  That afternoon we took her in, determined that there was nothing more to be done, and we had to let her go.  I can’t tell you how horrible this has been.  While I know that it was the best thing for her, it’s been the worst thing for us.  We have been devastated by this.  Every time I go through this, I both can’t believe that it’s happening, and vow to have no more pets.  My heart is ripped apart, and I feel as though I just won’t be able to get through it.  I’ve been crying almost non-stop for days, even waking up crying.

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This is the story of Sierra.  Our son wanted a dog of his own for his fifteenth birthday.  I took him to numerous shelters, however all of the dogs there needed to be the only dog in the family due to previous issues. Since we had another dog and two cats at that time, none of the dogs were a good fit.  I went on Pet Portal and found a no-kill shelter about two hours away.  They had pictures and histories of all the pets available on their web-site and we found the prettiest mixed-breed dog.  Her name was Sierra, and she was available.  So, we took a trip there with our other dog (to make sure that they would get along), and met her.  She was skittish and shy, but very loving and got along with our dog Shadow.  She had had a hard time of it, since she’d been an abandoned dog, and then had been adopted and brought back twice due to her nervous and skittish behavior.  However, we just knew that she was the dog for us.  And the rest is history.  At first, she would “squat and pee” when people approached her due to her fears of being abused.  But with time and love she calmed down enough to realize that she was safe.  Although for years she was afraid every time she got in the car that she was going to go back to the shelter,  she eventually came to believe that we were never going to dump her.   She was sweet, and funny.  Her favorite thing to do was to hop around on her back legs when she was excited and also when she wanted to see what it was that you were carrying.  We called her a Kangaroo due to this, and also due to her coloring.  Going for a walk and getting treats were two of her favorite things.  She also had a blue ball that squeaked, that we called her “baby ball” since she would walk around with it in her mouth, put it on our laps and we were expected to tell her how beautiful her “baby ball” was.  She’d then grab it and jump up on the couch to cuddle with it.  She was such a loving and sweet girl.

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In our family our pets are our family.  They are our children, they are loved and they are a huge part of our lives.  There is a hole in my life the size of our sweet and loving girl.  Sierra, you have been loved and will be forever missed.

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Is Pet Food Good for Your Pet?

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I recently began to make some of my own dog food.  Over the years, my dogs  routinely seem to have the same problems over and over again.  One of my dogs is now 16 years old, and has got hip problems.  Since she is some kind of mix (most curiously probably a Beagle/Greyhound mix), this is mostly due to old-age.  However, all my dogs have had non-cancerous growths on them, suspected (by the Veterinarian) to be caused by the dog food they eat.  A Vet who has since been fired for not advising pet-owners to pay for expensive unnecessary shots told me that a few years ago.  While I did change the dry dog food my dogs eat, I’m afraid that the damage has been done.

Do you know what is in most dog food?  First, there are the “rendered” products.  This includes the remains of animals slaughtered for human consumption – the entire left-overs, including rotting remains that have been left out in the hot sun for days.  Also, road-kill and euthanized dogs and cats collected from animal shelters, including the flea collars, and cancerous animals who were euthanized due to various diseases.  Spoiled human-grade meats are part of this rendering process, also.

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Pesticides enter this food-stream from slaughtered livestock, along with the various medications that were given to them to increase their growth and milk production.   These include large quantities of steroids and antibiotics.  Fish filled with mercury and other heavy metals found in the ocean are also included.

I’ve been feeding my dogs a mix of dry and wet vegan dog food for a while now.  However, the cost of vegan canned food was too much for my budget, so I’ve begun making them their wet food.  They also get some left-over meat from my husband who is still a meat-eater.  I’ve noticed that they are more chipper since they’ve been on this diet, and they certainly love their food.

My dog food includes the following:  sweet potatoes, red and gold potatoes, cut-up carrots, peppers, rice, lentils, squash, peas and green beans.  I peel the sweet potatoes and red/gold potatoes then cook them with the carrots until they are soft.  While they are boiling, I cook up the lentils and peel and cut the squash and cut the peppers.  After the mix of potatoes is soft, I’ll drain them and then mash them up a little.  Then, I’ll add frozen peas and/or green beans to the pot.  Usually I’ve got a good amount of left-over cooked rice and I add that along with the lentils to the pot.  I wait for the peas and beans to get warmed up and then just mix it all together.  I usually add some A-1 sauce to the mix for some flavoring.  Once it’s cooled a little, I put it in glass jars.  This will last about a week.  So, for an hour or so once a week of chopping and cooking, my dogs get food that they really love.  Just a note of caution, if you decide to try this, make sure that your ingredients are pet-safe.  A quick search will let you know if any ingredient is good or bad for dogs.

https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-industry-exposed/shocking-truth-about-dog-food/

http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/ss/slideshow-foods-your-dog-should-never-eat

 

Pets

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I’ve had an upsetting few days.  We have three pets that have all been rescued in one way or another.  We have a mixed breed female dog named Sierra that came into our lives about 11 years ago, when she was about one year old.  She’s the sweetest dog, however in the beginning she was so nervous.  She’d previously been brought home by three other families and then returned due to her nervousness.  For the first couple of years whenever we put her in the car, you could tell that she was convinced that we were bringing her back to the shelter.  Of course, in my family, once an animal is brought home, they’re one of the family.  We’d never return them.

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Since Sierra is getting old, and she’s a rather large dog, (she looks like a Beagle with extremely long legs and body), she’s been having various ailments.  One winter a few years ago, she broke her leg, and the Vet luckily saved her leg, and she recovered.  However, now that she’s gotten older, she’s got arthritis in both her back legs.  We’ve got her on pills for that, and pills to deal with the nausea that accompanies the arthritis pills. I also give her herbal remedies for her joints, so everything has been in a holding pattern as far as that’s concerned.

But, last week she couldn’t walk.  I thought that she’d had a stroke or something and we put her in the car and drove to the Vet at top speed.  Luckily, she just had Vestibular disease.  That’s basically vertigo in dogs.  Within hours after a shot and pills, she was fine.  We kept giving her the pills until they ran out, and she’s been okay since.  But then, two days later, she came down with a UTI.  I have to tell you, you’ve never lived until you’ve spent some time chasing after a dog that can barely walk, trying to collect her pee when she doesn’t want you anywhere near her.  It was a challenging proposition, but I persevered.  She’s doing much better now, but these last few aliments have taken their toll on her.  She still is very interested in her food, but she’s starting to “wind down”.  My heart is breaking.  Every time one of my fur babies starts to travel this path, I think I’m going to fall apart.  I can’t see how I’m going to make it through once again.  I know that I gave her love and a good life, but that’s little consolation.  They make our lives so wonderful, and they are our loves.

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Adventures in Puppy-Sitting

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For the past week, I’ve been puppy-sitting my son and his girlfriend’s puppy.  He’s a three-month old Golden Retriever, who is the sweetest little puppy ever.  I’ve never had a puppy before, as all my dogs were rescue dogs, so this has been an adventure.

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Just look at this little face.

Our Border Collie was almost a year old when we got him, and his energy was off the charts.  He seldom slept and was ready to go for a long walk or play frisbee anytime, anywhere.  While Riley has a good deal of energy, he sleeps quite a bit after playing for a reasonable amount of time. Which is the only time I actually got anything done, as I had to play with him when he was awake.

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This looks like fun!

We’ve had a lot of fun this week.  I took him for some short walks, and he would run across the fields at top speed with his ears flying straight out behind him.  He especially looks like a lion cub when he’s running at top speed with his little tongue hanging out of his mouth.  Like all babies, puppies are incredibly cute and sweet, so I of course, have fallen in love!

Luckily we had sunny weather the whole time, so it was fairly easy to take him outside and throw the ball for him.  Then, he’d come in, throw himself down and take a nap.  Ah, the all-important quiet time.

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Riley has gone home for a few days, but he’ll be back for the weekend.  No more puppy-sitting, as his Mommy with be here too.  It was fun while it lasted and he’s a sweet boy, but it was hard to get anything done…the adorableness was too much to ignore!  So, I had an adventure right alongside him.  Such fun, and dogs are love with fur!