Posts tagged ‘rescue’

Chuck’s day off

Yesterday was Meet Your Meat  day.

Chucky, Mark and I visited the farm where most of the meat we’ll eat next year is being raised. When your food is raised by close friends on a small farm, socializing with the creatures that will go into your freezer is considered proper etiquette.

The chickens were only vaguely interesting to the boys. Chuck runs loose with our little flock every day and after two years of living with chickens in his back yard my husband takes them for granted now too. Chuck did get a small chance to show off his chicken herding skills because it was time to move the tractor the rangers were in and considering the fact that these chickens had never seen a dog before, he did a pretty good job.

The pigs were a much more interesting experience. Chuck’s initial reaction to them was a very practical and deliberate cautiousness. The boy’s come a long way from the dog who went bug-eyed and pancaked himself into the ground every time he encountered something new. Because these Berkshire hogs are omnivores who are at least eight times his size, I thought that his reaction to them demonstrated an excellent degree of common sense.

Chuck at left, is sitting quietly and politely avoiding direct eye contact. The pig, on the other hand, was whoring for attention. (Pet me! Brush me! Feed me! MAKE MORE MUD FOR ME TO WALLOW IN!) And really, since there is a one in three chance that I will eat this specific pig, I kinda felt obliged to give it up for him.

After pigs and chickens we went on to meet the steers. Chip and Dale are British White cattle, a beautiful, docile, ancient breed that fattens up well on pasture. The boys stood calmly and politely as we walked up to greet them.

I kept Chuck on a leash at first, he’d never met any cattle and I wasn’t sure how the steers would react.

As you can see, the first meeting went well.

And so did the second. Still on leash, but with his handler at a distance. Note the relaxed, happy smile.

It wasn’t long ’till we progressed to dropping the leash and letting everybody hang out together.

From the cow pasture we moved on to the creek. Chuck’s never been swimming. He loves playing in a spray of water and he’s been very good about baths, but between his orthopedic problems and mine, I haven’t had a chance to take the boy to a swimming hole.

Deep water can be intimidating to a dog, but as it turned it, Chuck didn’t need much encouragement to go in. I walked across the creek and called him. After a bit of hesitation the boy launched himself across. And once he figured out that it was wonderfully wet and it wasn’t going to kill him — the boy absolutely adored being in the water.

Chuck’s first foray into the creek. Note the panicked leap and wild eyes.

Shortly after, a relaxed, happy boy calmly and repeatedly swims out to fetch sticks.  And then just swims around on his own for the hell of it.

He had an excellent day off.

July 5, 2011 at 1:29 pm 4 comments

Best. Egg recipe. Ever.

I has it.
And you can have it too if you buy a copy of the NESR Cookbook. I might even share just that one recipe with you if you send a couple of your favorite recipes in for us to publish. The deadline for recipe submissions is this Thursday so get to work!
National English Shepherd Rescue is an all-volunteer, non profit, breed rescue group working to place English Shepherds in need of new homes.  We are currently collecting recipes for our second edition cookbook.  We’re looking for everything from appetizers, soups and salads, to main dishes, side dishes, desserts, canning and preserves, crockpot ideas, and special treats for dogs.  Basically, if your family likes it, we want it!   Please include your name, city, state/province/country, and the name(s) or your dog(s) so that we can give you proper credit for your submission.   We’ve already started work on the layout, so please don’t wait until the September 30 deadline to send your recipes in!  Submissions should be emailed to:  (We will begin taking pre-orders at the end of September!)  For more information about NESR, please visit our website:

NESR Charlie loves eggs too

September 25, 2010 at 4:36 pm 2 comments

This -n- That

Today a few links for your edification and entertainment:

First some important safety information.  Find out how to keep your pets safe when they’re on the road — and protect yourself as well, in this excellent post from Christie Keith over at PetConnection.

Caveat blogs on more bad statistics where she correctly points out that using data from a set that only represents a tiny fraction of a very large whole to advance scare tactics predict a trend is not particularly good science. As she says:

With a US dog population of roughly 72 million and a human dog-related fatality count of 33 in 2007 (an all-time high), anyone with knowledge of probability and/or statistical modeling would conclude that the number of events is much too small to be useful.

To put things into perspective, the percentage of fatalities relative to total canine population is 0.000046 (rounded up).

If statistics like that really indicate that rescuing a dog represents a real threat to your safety – we had better hurry up and outlaw swimming pools…  In 2005 (the most recent year I could find data for) over 4,200 people  died in swimming pool related incidents.  Folks, that represents more than 100 times the number of deaths attributed to all dogs (not just re-homed ones) in 2007.  In most cases, our dogs live with us in our homes.  How many people do you know who spend all  their free time in the pool?  That puts a little perspective on the matter, doesn’t it?

Speaking of fear, Wired has an interesting article about a study on human alarm pheromones.

Our findings  indicate that there may be a hidden biological component to human social dynamics, in which emotional stress is, quite literally, “contagious.”

So, are the irrational fears we seem to be increasingly overwhelmed by today an epidemiological problem as much as a psychological one?

And last, but not least, in a random bit of fear-related weirdness this bit from the Bloggerator on a woman who jogged 1,5 kilometers with a rabid fox attached to her arm…

November 6, 2008 at 7:42 pm 2 comments

The Jamaica Dogsled Team

In another nod to the effects of global warming, dogsled racers are turning to new styles of racing because of the lack of snow in many parts of the country.  Rig racing, canicross, dog scootering and bikejoring events can be run in areas where there is no snow at all.

So it shouldn’t be a great surprise that one of the teams competing in events across the United States and Canada this year comes from Jamaica.  Featured in the documentary “Sun Dogs”, the Jamaica Dogsled Team is made up of twelve stray mutts rescued from the streets and shelter of Kingston Jamaica.  Danny Melville, the chairman and CEO of Chukka Adventures started the team in 2005.

According to promotional material on their website, the “Sun Dogs” DVD includes four mini-documentaries: “Jimmy Buffett and the Jamaica Dogsled Team;” “How to Teach Your Dog to Pull in Harness;” “The Jamaica Dogsled Team Taking on the World;” “The Work of the JSPCA;” and “Dog-ography: Meet the Mutts.” The documentary was filmed in Jamaica, Scotland and Minnesota.


The team, led by mushers Damion Robb, Devon Anderson and Oswald “Newton” Marshall, has competed in several major events where they have finished as high as second place. This year they are attempting to qualify for the 2008 Yukon Quest International – a harrowing 1000 mile mountain race.

To purchase the documentary or other nifty Jamaica Dogsled gear; check out the teams racing schedule or find out more about the Team visit their website at A portion of the sales proceeds go to the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

There’s a lot of interesting information on the website, including a short history of the sport of sled dog racing. Kudos to this group not only for taking in a pack of stray mutts and turning them into a competitive dog sled team, but also for promoting the plight of stray dogs without falling into the animal rights movement’s party line of bashing the sport.

January 30, 2008 at 5:28 pm Leave a comment

The Best Pet First Aid Kit

The domestic dog is the most diverse species in the world.  Dogs range in size from tiny, four-inch tall Chihuahuas to enormous mastiffs weighing over 200 pounds.  They live in cities, on farms and in suburban homes all over the world – and they can be injured by a wide variety of hazards.  The amazing range of sizes, shapes and lifestyles that dogs enjoy today means that there is no single commercially available first aid kit that is suitable for every dog.

So, what’s a responsible pet owner to do?  Why make your own kit of course!

I could probably devote an entire book to the impossibly long list of all the the things that could be put in a kit – but not only would that be boring, it would also keep you from conducting a bit interesting and helpful research on your own, so instead I’ll present information you should consider when putting together your kit.

What Size is Your Dog?
Important items like bandages, medications and restraints should be selected based on the size of your dog.  The four-inch wide roll of self-adhesive bandaging tape that is perfect for a 100-pound Rottweiler is probably not going to be particularly useful on a 10-pound Papillon.

Where Do You Spend Time With Your Dog?
If your dog spends all his time in highly urbanized areas, you can probably leave that nifty tick removing tool at home, but if he spends time in areas where ticks are common you may want to put it on your keychain.  The importance of other items like insect repellents or pliers to remove cactus spines also varies greatly depending on the environment your dog frequents.

Does Your Dog Have Any Known Health Problems?
If your dog takes prescription medications on a daily basis to control a disease or disorder, you should include them in your kit, especially when you travel.   You should also contact your veterinarian about medications or supplements that would be therapeutic for your dog in a health crisis.  One of my dogs suffers from both Addison’s disease and epilepsy.  Our vet provided me with a list of things that she recommended we keep on hand in case of emergencies and they have proved to be priceless the few times that we needed them.

You should also consider the common, minor health issues likely to affect your dog.  Many relatively minor problems like diarrhea, constipation, hot spots, and ear infections can be treated with over-the-counter medications.  Make sure you have the right dosage and check with your vet (if you haven’t already) to make sure that these treatments don’t interfere with any perscription medications your dog takes.

If you prefer to use natural, herbal, homeopathic or holistic remedies and want to include some in your kit it is a good idea to discuss this with your vet.  Although many veterinarians are skeptical about these kinds of treatments it is important to discuss them with your vet as some may cause adverse reactions with the prescription medications your dog takes.

Never put any unlabeled treatment or medication in your kit.  In the excitement of an emergency it is easy to misidentify an item or to grab the wrong item.  If you must put a treatment or medication in a package other than the one it originally came in (and I don’t recommend that you do this) you must  label it accurately and include dosage information.  Be sure all containers are sealed tightly and don’t store treatments or medications in excessively hot or cold areas for any longer than you have to.

What Information Do You Need?
One item many people forget to put in their pet first aid kit is a list of emergency contact numbers.  These can include numbers to contact you; your vet; local emergency clinics (don’t forget to look up number for the area you’re travelling in); the Animal Poison Control Center; your local animal control authority; and a friend, relative or boarding kennel who can take care of your pet if you can’t.  It is also important to include information on the names and dosages of any prescription medications your dog is taking.  When you travel, keep photos of your pet in the kit in case you need to identify a lost dog or make lost dog posters.  It is also a good idea to carry a copy of your dog’s license, vaccination records and insurance information.

The most important information you can carry is a good working knowledge of pet first aid and CPR.  Studies have shown that approximately 25% of all fatally injured pets could have been saved if they had been treated with just a single first aid technique.  Because many of the methods you should use to treat an injured dog (most notably when performing CPR) are considerably different than the procedures you would use to treat an injured person it is important to learn pet-specific method of treatment.  Taking a class from a certified pet first aid instructor is the best way to get this essential information.

Basic Items

  • Sterile pads, gauze rolls, self stick adhesive tape or other bandaging materials
  • A muzzle that allows your dog to pant (NOT one that holds his mouth closed!) or a strip of cloth to make a muzzle with
  • A multi-tool with a knife blade, pliers, scissors, and tweezers
  • Latex or nitrile gloves and hand sanitizer
  • Plastic baggies (preferably the zip kind), poop bags, trash bags
  • Styptic, alum or cornstarch to control minor bleeding
  • Graduated oral syringe (one with measurements on the side)
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting (NEVER induce vomiting without discussing the situation with your vet or poison control first!)
  • Activated charcoal (NEVER to be used without the recommendation of a vet or poison control staff!)
  • Benadryl for allergic reactions (contact your vet for dosage information)
  • Small, rigid plastic card to scrape off stingers or small thorns
  • Lightweight slip lead
  • Blankets or towels
  • Rectal thermometer and petroleum jelly
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Cleansing wipes
  • Crate
  • Notepad and pencil

Optional Items (A partial list – this could be almost infinitely long)

  • Hot and cold packs
  • EMT Gel for cuts
  • Trimmer or mat breaker to remove hair
  • Otoscope
  • Duct tape
  • Specialized dressings (for burns, odd shaped areas, different sizes)
  • Elizabethan collar or BiteNot collar
  • Magnifying glass to find foxtails, thorns and ticks
  • Eye wash
  • Ear cleaning solution
  • Saline solution for irrigating wounds
  • Nail trimmer
  • Tick removing tool and jar for ticks
  • Disposable camera
  • Sling or stretcher to transport a large dog

You’ll also need something to put the kit in.  This can be either a bag that zips closed or a plastic storage container.  I suggest that you choose something brightly colored and label it clearly to make the kit easy to find when you are in a panic.  You may also want to consider doing what I’ve done – create two or more kits customized for different situations.  I have a very large kit that I keep in a cabinet in my home, a medium-sized kit in a bright purple bag that I carry on trips and a small fanny pack kit for short hikes and day trips.

Things You Don’t Need
Don’t waste valuable space in your kit by carrying an electrolyte drink for your dog unless your vet specifically recommends that you do so.  Dogs don’t sweat to cool themselves off, they pant.  Unlike sweating, panting doesn’t result in a loss of electrolytes.

You probably don’t need a snake bite kit either.  Because of the vital importance of early treatment, your car keys are the most valuable item available to you in a snake bite emergency according to Dr. Joe Trueba, director of Pima Pet Clinic and Animal Emergency Service in Tucson, Arizona.  Dr. Trueba’s clinic sees one of the highest numbers of snakebitten pets in the country.  Along with Dr. Trueba, most veterinarians today recommend against using tourniquets or “cut and suck” methods of treatment.  Take the money you would have used to buy the snake bite kit and use it to get an inexpensive disposable camera to get a photo of the snake instead.  Most snakes are not venomous, but if your dog is bitten by a venomous snake you may need to know EXACTLY what kind of snake it was to get the dog proper treatment.

Specialized splinting materials are another item that you are not likely to need.  Splinting a terrified, injured dog is about as simple (and as dangerous) as hugging an angry, soaking wet cat.  If you suspect your dog has a broken bone you are almost always better off securing the dog in a crate and transporting it to the vet ASAP than in messing around with an injured limb yourself.  If you do find yourself in a situation where you need to splint a limb – and you have the training to do it properly – you can combine things like rolled gauze, duct tape and adhesive wrap from your first aid kit with other items you find in your home or car to get the job done.

In Summary
Take some time, consider carefully, get advice from your vet, be creative and enjoy making your own pet first aid kit.  The lists I’ve provided include general recommendations.  Take a pet first aid and CPR class to learn more – and remember – the life you save may be your dog’s!

January 3, 2008 at 1:32 am 2 comments

Because A Dog’s Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste


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