Unity Through Humility

In Philippians 2 the apostle Paul writes to the group of believers  at Philippi and encourages them to remain unified in the gospel, saying:

humility, CS Lewis fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.   . . . 

14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life,

Continue reading “Unity Through Humility”

Kibble Inspector: A Privileged Post

One of the things I do as part of House Dog training with our foster dogs is to teach them to control their food frenzy.  The first step is done in the Kibble Treasury.

If the dog gets grabby or goes bucket diving, they get evicted and I’ll dish up kibble behind a closed door for a couple of days.  If they can reign in those urges, they get a sample.  When they master this, they get a special job to do.

Sometimes he gets dual inspectors:

We feed foster dogs in their crate at first.  As they learn to control themselves (so they won’t be shoving the others out of their bowls) they get to eat on a blanket outside of their crate, and eventually on their blanket around the dining table with Cochise, Blondie, and (now) Josephine.

They also learn to get chewies as a group activity.  Any growlies or grabbies and it’s back to their “room”.

Food training also includes lessons about NOT standing up to cruise the kitchen counters or the dining room table.  Four on the floor, sit on your blanket at the table and wait to be served, and no grabbing anyone else’s food if they are slower than you.  When they master those lessons, they get their gold star in food etiquette.

Invasion Force

On Sunday I noticed Cochise shaking his head and scratching at his ears. I checked him out and found some gunk inside, which I removed with Q-tips. I made a note to stop into Tractor Supply and get some ear mite medication, just in case.

Cochises ears hurt
“My ears hurt!”

This morning I checked him again and found both ears swollen and hot. I decided to put a call in to Doctor Sandra and make an appointment: I assumed he’d scratched at his ears enough to cause an infection.

Before I could do that, during the morning poop patrol, I found what I believe to be the true source of his discomfort: a yellow jacket nest in the play yard. Continue reading “Invasion Force”

Tis a Humbling Thing

supermanIt is a humbling thing to be confronted with the fact that you are not Superman. You can no longer do things you once could … or rather, when you do them anyway you pay a hefty price. Stamina fades faster that it once did. And concepts you were confident you could handle turn out to be deeply distressing.

This is a big part of why I said “farewell” to my co-workers at the Humane Society of Jefferson County today. This was a bittersweet parting for I do need to rest and heal but I have enjoyed working with the animals, and the people, and I have learned a lot: especially in the realm of medical treatments and testing.

All of the staff members were (are) great to work with: patient while I was learning (for there is a great deal to learn) and helpful when I lagged behind. I found no petty rivalries here: they are a team of big-hearted, hard working people dedicated to providing a clean, safe environment for the animals in their care, and then finding them homes again. There are also some wonderful volunteers who step in to help and will work hard without pay. These volunteers deserve an extra helping of praise.

Bittersweet

On the one hand, I love working with the animals. Except maybe the rats: I still can’t say I enjoy the rats. As a youngster I wanted to be a veterinarian, but that was not to be. The medical side of this job has been as close to that as I’ve come. And I liked it. I like every one of the people who I worked with, and will miss them.

On the other hand, I will again have time to spend with the 6 dogs I have at home: some are pets, some are fosters. I’m supposed to be training the fosters, I will again have time to actually do that. These animals will be thrilled to NOT be cooped up and on their own all day, almost every day. I will also have the opportunity to let my abused body heal, and to catch up on the “office” work that has been piling up while I was occupied elsewhere.

So I’m moving on. Or stepping back or … maybe sideways. It’s hard to say yet. But I feel this is the right thing to do, even if it’s not easy.

Weirdness

My truck died this evening.

dead truckIt’s been running fine. At least it has since the last time I had it towed in and repaired.  That’s been a few weeks.  I moved it so I could mow the driveway (yes, I mow my driveway) and when I went to move it back it started up, started to move then went completely dead. I mean big blue rock dead. Nothing at all, not even an idiot light lit up.

To make this short(ish) I fixed it. But what I found to be wrong is SO bizarre I have no idea how it got that way and was running at all.

It is running now. I told my boss that I do plan to be at work tomorrow after all. But if I don’t make it, check for reports of alien spacecraft sightings! Continue reading “Weirdness”

Giving Benedryl to Your Dog

Benedryl uses and dose diphenhydramine
Click to enlarge

There are a number of reasons you might want to give your dog Benedryl (diphenhydramine – also available in many generic forms).   Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine, so it helps in relieving itching from contact allergies or bug bites or stings.  It can be used to reduce swelling and pain from a snake bite.  It will calm a hyperactive dog or reduce “terrors” during fireworks or thunderstorms.

The usual dosage of Benadryl for dogs is 1 mg per pound of dog every 8 to 12 hours (two to three times daily), but a single dose can be doubled to 2mg/lb if needed in an emergency such as a snake bite. This suggested dose is for formulations containing the active ingredient diphenhydramine only — NO Tylenol. Overdosing for an extended period can be lethal, but there is a wide margin of safety.

Other household medications that are safe for your dog or cat include: Continue reading “Giving Benedryl to Your Dog”

Social Security Shell Game: File Early or Wait?

social securityThe Social Security program in this country has undergone many changes over the 82 years since it’s inception, but I’m not here to decry manipulation or the theft of public monies by corrupt politicians.  I’m looking at whether I should “retire” at age 62 or wait until full retirement age of 67 (yes, it’s 67 now).  To run the numbers I used:

Retirement Calculator

This calculator gives you a personal estimate of what your average monthly Social Security benefits would be, based on if you retire early (age 62), at full retirement age (age 67) or at the latest age of retirement (age 70).  This one accesses your S.S.A. data to give you an accurate payment amount.

And

So. Sec. Benefits by Year of Birth

This chart uses “average” numbers to help you make a decision without going into your personal info.  Here’s how it shakes out for me.

Continue reading “Social Security Shell Game: File Early or Wait?”

Sylvia – Notes on a Foster Dog

Sylvia is one of many dogs taken to the Humane Society of Jefferson County after Animal Control removed them from a hoarding situation.  Most of them are Shar Pei mixes, as is Sylvia.  All of them exhibit some degree of fearfulness.  Some also get aggressive when scared. Sylvia was by far the worst and the staff at the Humane Society knew they were not equipped to work with a dog so fearful, so they appealed to Steele Away Home – Canine Foster and Rescue to help.  But not before she stole the hearts of the shelter staff.

Sylvia had recently given birth to a litter of puppies, which she lost due to her living conditions.  At the shelter, a litter of motherless pups were brought in and they tried giving them to Sylvia.  She eagerly adopted them and mothered them until weaned.  But she needed special accommodations because she was so protective she’d charge the fencing if any dog was walked by.  Once her foster mother duties were completed, she went into foster care herself.

Amy Huff was her first foster home and brought her a long ways from the terrified, aggressive dog she was.  But Sylvia needed more group interaction, so Amy began bringing Sylvie here to play in our yard, meet our dogs and to meet me.  That went well and after a few weeks of visits, Sylvie came here to live, and I’ve been working on socializing her further.

Sylvia is now quite accepting and friendly with both me and my wife, Marie. She has gotten along well with all of our dogs … to a point. The first relationship to get trashed was with Blondie Bear.  At first Sylvia ignored Blondie while they were in the yard together.  But after a while Sylvie decided to challenge Blondie:


I needed to step in quickly to avert a potential fight.

That relationship has degraded from there.  Because Blondie does not slap her down for insubordination, Sylvie figures she’s the boss and gets nasty any time Blondie wanders by.

Sylvia once attacked Cochise as well.  He was just walking past, minding his own business when she attacked him.  Since then, Sylvia plays in the yard alone.  This also means she cannot come in our house because Blondie and Cochise (our mentor dogs) live in the house, so further house-manners training is out of the program.

I have tried working with her, and a professional trainer was contacted by the rescue, but we both feel that since there is no consistent trigger to her outbursts, we have little to work with.

Amy has talked to the shelter about taking her back since none of our rescue partners will accept a dog who needs to be the only dog in the family.  They don’t see any hope in her either, but will euthanize her if we want.

That is NOT what we want.  So Marie and I are thinking outside our normal box and approaching no-kill shelters and new (to us) rescues in hope of finding one that will help Sylvia find a suitable home.

  • Sylvia is 7 years old.
  • She has been spayed.
  • All her shots are up to date except rabies and she is on heartworm preventative.
  • Amy had her crate trained and pee pad trained.  We have not been able to further housebreak her because she would need to co-exist with Blondie Bear.
  • Sylvia bunks in a pen and has Julian and Buddy as neighbors.  She is amiable with both of them.
  • Sylvia does show strong alpha-dog tendencies including an insistence on peeing on all the spots the male dogs have marked.

Sylvia plays with “The Gang” in the yard. Cochise is missing: he’s taking a nap. (This was shot a while back)


Sylvia plays better with Julian when Josie is not in the mix.

As you can see, Sylvia can play well with others. Her problem is that on the rare occasion she pops off and goes aggressive on someone. This is now an on-going issue with Blondie Bear – probably because Blondie is the alpha female here. Blondie never initiates these hostilities.  Sylvia does not show open hostility toward anyone else, and she has been in the yard with Julian recently.  Julian is a laid-back teddy bear of a dog, so he poses no threat to Sylivia’s dominance.

If you are able to help Sylvia find a home, please e-mail us at DougnMarie@Comcast.net and thank you!

“Buddy”: Notes On a Rescue Dog

Buddy is a 92 pound, senior, Golden Retriever picked up by Animal Control as a stray and delivered to an animal shelter.  The shelter vet looked at him and decided he didn’t have any obvious, serious health problems, but could not tell for sure what shape he was in without a good examination and blood tests.  Because he’s a senior, and because he does have skin issues and wounds on his feet, it’s not likely the shelter will invest limited resources in that examination, nor is it likely he will survive long in an over-crowded shelter.  So I brought him home as a foster-project.

June 30, 2017

Removing maggotsI took him to Cedarwood Veterinary Hospital right away and it was no trick at all to find out that we has infested with fleas and ticks (even I could see that) but he also had three large hot spots where the skin was raw and the flies had laid eggs, resulting in those areas being infested by maggots.  Two vet techs and I gloved up and worked for over an hour and a half to pull around two dozen ticks off and cut away the fur to expose the hot spots and clean out the maggots.  Continue reading ““Buddy”: Notes On a Rescue Dog”

The Big-Eyed Pizza Begger

Ready to eatMarie and I discourage the dogs from begging when we all gather to eat a meal.  We do that by not hand feeding them scraps from the table.  They get their kibbles in their bowls set on their blankets  arranged around the table.  If we share some of what we’re eating, we put their portion in their bowls.

Today I was engaging in a working lunch at my desk: a warmed up piece of left-over pizza from the weekend.  Josie the big-eyed beagle thought that smelled pretty good.  All the dogs like “pizza bones”.

Well … just ONCE won’t hurt, right?