Category: People and their pets

Ghosts.

An emotional post that is potentially upsetting to readers. Especially English readers.

Yesterday, September 14th, saw the opening of the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire that happened on June 14th. As the BBC News reported:

The inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire has opened, with its chairman promising it will provide answers to how the disaster could have happened in 21st century London.

Sir Martin Moore-Bick said he would not shrink away from making recommendations that could lead to prosecutions.

Yesterday morning, I woke at 5am PDT (1pm UK time) and picked up my tablet that has a BBC Radio 4 app installed. I lay there in the dark, Jeannie still fast asleep alongside me, and listened to the World at One: Forty-five minutes of news, analysis and comment, with Martha Kearney. Naturally the opening stages of the inquiry were one of the main items covered.

I was born in London. At the maternity ward at the hospital in Park Royal, West London. Some 5 miles from Grenfell Tower. I was brought up in Wembley, London again some 5 miles straight line distance from the tower.

For much of my early life as a young adult I was in and around that part of London. So while I was not personally familiar with Grenfell Tower itself, the news coverage of the disaster at the time relayed sights of a part of London that seemed like an old friend from the past.

A ghost of my life from over 50 years ago.

Yesterday on the World at One Martha Kearney interviewed Kareem Dennis better known as the rapper Lowkey:

Lowkey: A song for Grenfell, a call for justice

Hip Hop artist Lowkey lives opposite Grenfell tower. He has written a song called Ghosts of Grenfell, featuring people from the local community, which demands justice for those who died.

Lowkey told the World at One about his song and the night of the fire.

(Photo: Lowkey. Credit: BBC)

The interview included snippets of Lowkey’s song.

After I had finished listening to the World at One I did a web search to learn more about the poor animals that lost their lives in the inferno. It broke my heart reading the stories.

Then I started watching the full video of Lowkey’s song: Ghosts of Grenfell. Sixty seconds into the song I could hold my emotions no longer and burst into deep sobs.

Here is Lowkey’s song.

For those that want to stay with this, then here are the lyrics to Ghosts of Grenfell.

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Ghosts of Grenfell

Lowkey
Featuring Mai Khalil

Produced by Jo Caleb and Quincy Tones

[Intro: Lowkey]
The night our eyes changed
Rooms where, love was made and un-made in a flash of the night
Rooms where, memories drowned in fumes of poison
Rooms where, futures were planned and the imagination of children built castles in the sky
Rooms where, both the extraordinary and the mundane were lived
Become forever tortured graves of ash
Oh you political class, so serve out to corporate power

[Chorus: Mai Khalil & Lowkey]
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, for us?
Ghosts of Grenfell still calling for justice
Now hear ’em, now hear ’em scream
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, for us?
This corporate manslaughter will haunt you
Now hear ’em scream
[Verse 1: Lowkey]
Words can not express
Please allow me to begin though
1:30am heard the shouting from my window
People crying in the street
Watchin’ the burning of their kinfolk
Grenfell Tower, now historically a symbol
People reaching, from their windows
Screaming, for their lives
Pleading, with the cries
Tryna reason with the skies
Dale youth birthed champions
Comparison is clear though
That every single person in the building was a hero
So don’t judge our tired eyes in these trying times
‘Cause we be breathing in cyanide, the entire night
They say Yasin saw the fire and he ran inside
Who’d thought that would be the site where he and his family died
The street is like a graveyard, tombstones lurching over us
Those shouting out to their windows, now wish they never woke them up
Wouldn’t hope your worst enemy to go in this position
Now it’s flowers for the dead and printed posters for the missing, come home
[Chorus: Mai Khalil & Lowkey]
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, for us?
Ghosts of Grenfell still calling for justice
Now hear ’em, now hear ’em scream
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, for us?
This corporate manslaughter will haunt you
Now hear ’em scream

[Verse 2: Lowkey]
I see trauma in the faces of all those that witnessed this
Innocence in the faces of all those on the missing list
See hopes unfulfilled
Ambitions never achieved
No I’m not the only one that sees the dead in my dreams
Strive for the bravery of Yasin, artistic gift of Khadija
Every person, a unique blessing to never be repeated
Strive for the loyalty of siblings that stayed behind with their parents
Pray that every loved one lost can somehow make an appearance
We are, calling like the last conversations with their dearest
Until we face, what they face we will never know what fear is
We are, calling for survivors rehoused in the best place
Not to be left sleeping in the West Way for 10 days
We’re, calling for arrests made and debts paid
In true numbers known for the families that kept faith
We’re, calling for safety in homes of love
They are immortalised forever, the only ghosts are us
I wonder
[Chorus: Mai Khalil & Lowkey]
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, for us?
Ghosts of Grenfell still calling for justice
Now hear ’em, now hear ’em scream
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, for us?
This corporate manslaughter will haunt you
Now hear ’em scream

[Bridge: Mai Khalil (Arabic)]
Olooli win arooh
Nas a’am tehtere’a fe sa’at sahoor
Ahess ennee be alam tanee
Ahess ennee be alam tanee
Olooli win arooh
Nas a’am tehtere’a fe sa’at sahoor
Ahess ennee be alam tanee
Ahess ennee be alam tanee

[Speech: Lowkey & Various Voices]
To whom it may concern, at the Queen’s royal borough of Kensington in Chelsea. Where is Yasin El-Wahabi? Where is his brother Mehdi? Where is his sister Nur Huda? Where is their mother and where is their father? Where is Nura Jamal and her husband Hashim? Where is their children, Yahya, Firdaus and Yaqoob? Where is Nadia Loureda? Where is Steve Power? Where is Dennis Murphy? Where is Marco Gottardi? Where is Gloria Trevisian? Where is Amal and her daughter Amaya? Where is Mohammed Neda? Where is Ali Yawar Jafari? Where is Khadija Saye? Where is Mary Mendy? Where is Mariem Elgwahry? Where is her mother Suhar?

Tell us, where is Rania Ibrahim and her two daughters? Where is Jessica Urbano Remierez? Where is Deborah Lamprell? Where is Mohammed Alhajali? Where is Nadia? Where is her husband Bassem? Where are her daughters, Mirna, Fatima, Zaina and their grandmother? Where is Zainab Dean and her son Jeremiah? Where is Ligaya Moore? Where is Sheila Smith? Where is Mohammednour Tuccu? Where is Tony Disson? Where is Maria Burton? Where is Fathaya Alsanousi? Where is her son Abu Feras and her daughter Esra Ibrahim? Where is Lucas James? Where is Farah Hamdan? Where is Omar Belkadi? Where is their daughter Leena? Where is Hamid Kani? Where is Esham Rahman? Where is Raymond Bernard? Where is Isaac Paulos? Where is Marjorie Vital? Where’s her son Ernie? Where is Komru Miah? Where is his wife Razia? Where are their children Abdul Hanif, Abdul Hamid, Hosna? Where are Sakineh and Fatima Afraseiabi? Where is Berkti Haftom and her son Biruk?

Tells us, where is Stefan Anthony Mills? Where is Abdul Salam? Where is Khadija Khalloufi? Where is Karen Bernard? Where are these people? Where are these people? Where is Gary Maunders? Where is Rohima Ali? Where is her six year old daughter Maryam, her five year old daughter Hafizah and her three year old son Mohammed? God bless you all! Where are all these people?

[Outro]
Where are all these people?
The blood is on your hands
There will be ashes on your graves
Like a Phoenix we will rise
The blood is on your hands
There will be ashes on your graves
Like a Phoenix we will rise

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The doggie language course continues!

Another delightful insight from Lea.

On the 6th September last I offered a guest post from Lea of the blog Paws Give Me Purpose that carried the title More Doggie Language. It was well-received by all of you.

So it was easy for me to say “Yes” to Lea offering an update. Here it is.

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September 1, 2017, by Lea

Doggie Language Continued

Lately, I have seen many articles written on dog language and what your dog may be telling you. I published my own post entitled “Doggie Language” back on June 25th, the link can be found here:

http://www.pawsgivemepurpose.com/doggie-language/

There are just so many ways our dogs speak to us that one post will never be enough. Even when you think you have it all covered you suddenly think of something else, see your dog do something new, or read something else from another individual’s perspective. That is why today I am writing about this subject once again.

So here’s an interesting question that I have been asked a few times, and it makes me laugh every time I see someone on Facebook, or another site posting a joke or photo about it. Why do dogs follow you into the bathroom?

(image courtesy of Pinterest.com)

Having a loyal dog in your household ensures an incredible amount of love between you and your pup. Understanding your dog can be easy and it’s not hard to understand that your pup wants to give you some love with kisses, however your pup may often behave in more subtle manners as well.

Now, most of us aren’t mentalists or even Dr. Doolittle, so here are some things your dog may do and what they are trying to say to you:

  • Puppy dog eyes – puppy dog eyes are often used by young children whenever they really want something. Your pup may use them to show love and it enforces a greater trust between you both.
  • Following you around – you must agree that it is absolutely adorable when your pup follows you all over the house. According to some Veterinarians, following behavior is a dog’s instinct, to always do things with their pack/family.
  • Giving you gifts – I have had my dogs bring me dead birds, squirrels, and even once a live baby squirrel into the house. The gift is not always as interesting or gross, sometimes it’s a ball to play fetch or a stuffed toy, but turns out that our pups simply want to share their joy with us and there’s no better person to share it with!
  • Cuddle time after dinner – most of us are used to our dogs cuddling at bedtime or on the couch when we watch tv, but cuddling with you after their bellies are filled with a hearty meal shows that your pup is truly comfortable around you.
  • Licking your face and body – there are some people who love it, others find it gross, but all dogs like giving licks once in a while. Licking is actually a submissive behavior and it actually helps your pup ease their stress level as well as of course being a sign of loving you.
  • Going “crazy” when you come home – the second your dog hears you coming back home, chaos ensues. I know at my house it starts the minute I pull into the driveway, I can hear them even before I put my key in the lock.. Your pup is just happy you’re home, happy to see you! This enthusiastic response is just their way of saying “I missed you”.
  • Knowing when something is wrong – Your pet doesn’t need to be able to actually talk to you to sense that something is wrong or if you’re feeling sad. They read your body language and use their senses to detect if something is wrong. They are also more than willing to help you feel better.
  • Crawling into your bed – not everyone sleeps with their dogs, it’s a personal preference. Perhaps once every so often, your pup will join you in your bed, they won’t just sit there, they keep you close. Often they will cuddle you, they lay on you. When you’re not home and away for work, they may just want to smell you so they climb in the bed because they miss you.
  • Raising a single paw or tapping you with a paw – raising one of two paws usually means your dog is in the mood for some playtime or wants attention. Sometimes, they’ll do this when they see something interesting in their environment, they will sit with one paw raised like a statue.
  • Leaning against you – if your dog is actively leaning against you, it means he or she is looking for some extra love, hugs, pets from you. Dogs always love to have your undivided attention!
  • Try to get your opinion – have you ever had the feeling that your dog was looking for your approval? Your pup actually really appreciates and values your opinion. A little love and affection go a long way!
(image courtesy of Pinterest.com)

Whether you have a new dog or you and your pup have been together for a while, it’s helpful to know the meaning of their communication signals so that you can adjust your own behavior as needed and also you know how your pup is feeling.

Dogs make vocalizations and gestures using their face and body just as us humans do in order to express their feelings. While some of these gestures can appear similar to ours, they can have very different meanings. It is my hope that my original post on the subject and in this follow up, I have helped you learn a little more about how to interpret your dog’s various actions and that you’ve learned something new about how to communicate more effectively with your own pup!

Sources and further reading:

http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/how-read-your-dogs-body-language/415

http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/dog-body-language

http://stories.barkpost.com/dog-body-language-charts/

When I was reading this I was struck by Lea reminding me, and all other dog lovers, that the role of the gestures and faces of our dogs so closely matches how we humans communicate non-verbally. No wonder the bond between dog and human can be so close and wonderful.

Back home again

And it feels so good!

Jean and I were invited to Chicago this last weekend, actually Friday through Sunday, to support a charity that does a great deal of work saving dogs in many countries. (Will write more about this great charity soon.)

So we flew out, via San Francisco, from our local Medford airport last Thursday returning on Monday. The long week-end was not without a few challenges!!

I hadn’t been back to Chicago in nearly 30 years and found it a bit of a shock to the system.

So going to leave you for today with two photographs of the other side of city life!

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Back to normal soon!

Yet another Saturday Smile

Sent to me by dear friend Bob Derham.

(Apologies if some of you have seen this before!)

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WALKING THE DOG

A WOMAN was flying from Melbourne to Brisbane.

Unexpectedly, the plane was diverted to Sydney along the way. The flight attendant explained that there would be a delay, and if the passengers wanted to get off the aircraft the plane would re-board in 50 minutes.

Everybody got off the plane except one lady who was blind.

A man had noticed her as he walked by and could tell the lady was blind because her Guide Dog lay quietly underneath the seats in front of her throughout the entire flight.

He could also tell she had flown this very flight before because the pilot approached her, and calling her by name, said, “Kathy, we are in Sydney for almost an hour. Would you like to get off and stretch your legs?”

The blind lady replied, “No thanks, but maybe Buddy would like to stretch his legs.”

The pilot duly obliged Kathy.

………..

All the people in the gate area came to a complete standstill when they looked up and saw the pilot walk off the plane with a Guide dog!
The pilot was even wearing sunglasses.

People scattered …
They not only tried to change planes, but they were trying to change airlines!

 

It is a true story!

Have a great day and remember … THINGS AREN’T ALWAYS AS THEY APPEAR.

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So who is Sam?

You loved Sam Grant’s photos of Casper and Scotland. Learn more about her.

Last Sunday my Picture Parade was primarily a recent item that appeared on the BBC website.

Meet Scotland’s ‘most well-travelled dog’

By Ewan Murrie, BBC Scotland news website, 3rd June 2017

After photographs of her West Highland Terrier received more “likes” on social media than even the most stunning Glencoe landscapes she could capture, Sam Grant conceded that “the wee white dug” should star in her Scottish travel blog.

I went on to republish a wonderful set of photographs that had been taken by Sam. You all loved them and that led me to ask Sam if I could republish her About Me page on her blog. Sam very kindly said that would be fine.

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Scotland with the Wee White Dug

A Scottish travel blog showcasing the best of Scotland. Scotland with the Wee White Dug is a comprehensive and informative guide to Scotland, covering history, outdoor activities, events, visitor attractions, accommodation, eating out and more.

About Me

A little bit about me

Hello and welcome to my Scottish travel blog which I hope you’ll find informative and interesting, but most of all fun.

I’m Samantha but am generally known as Sam, Mrs G or Mum.  I’m married to Alex (Mr G) and we live in Edinburgh with a well travelled wee white dug called Casper.  We also share our home with the The Teen, Casper’s sloth like and gadget obsessed big sister.

All of my free time is spent road-tripping around Scotland.  I’ve travelled extensively throughout the country and never tire of its jawdropping and diverse beauty.

I have a vast knowledge of where to stay, eat and what to do in Scotland. Whether it be an afternoon out, a day trip or an extended tour. I also know all of the best places to go with your four legged friend.

I’m a Visit Scotland Ambassador and I helped launch their online Community in the spring of 2016.  The Community is a Scottish travel forum for sharing insider hints and tips about visiting Scotland.  Visit Scotland’s Ambassadors were selected for their expert knowledge of the country.

In January 2017 I took up the role of resident blogger for East Lothian Council on their Visit East Lothian website.  I write a fortnightly post for their blog, highlighting the delights of East Lothian.

I’m passionate about the history, language, literature, customs and myths of Scotland. I read History at the University of Edinburgh and during my time there I studied Scottish History, Literature and Politics which gave me an excellent understanding of how Scotland became the country that it is today.

I absolutely adore the great outdoors – it’s my happy place.  I love hiking, have been known to summit a Munro or two and am happiest when surrounded by lochs, moors and mountains.

My photography

I’ve been an avid hobby photographer since joining Instagram several years ago.  I’m part of a diverse group of Scottish Instagrammers with a passion for sharing Scotland with the World.

My feed @bean_nighe has appeared on Instagram’s prestigious Suggested User list.  You’ll find the Wee White Dug on Instagram too @theweewhitedug.  His feed is also dedicated to sharing our Scottish travels.

I’ve featured in articles recommending the best Scottish Instagram accounts to follow by The ScotsmanMatador Network and the award winning travel blog Stories my suitcase could tell.

My photos appear regularly on various social media channels including those of Canon UK, BBC, Skyscanners, Scottish Memories Magazine, Scotrail, Historic Scotland, Visit Scotland and The Guardian.

I share my Scottish travels on Facebook and Twitter too so if you’re on those sites stop by and say hello.

I’m passionate about promoting Scotland as a wonderful place to visit.  It’s a country with a rich history and heritage. A country full of stories just waiting to be told.

I appreciate you taking the time to stop by my blog to join me on my travels.  I hope ‘Scotland with the Wee White Dug’ inspires you to visit Scotland, helps you to plan for a forthcoming trip or makes you reminisce fondly about a past visit.

If you’re interested in working with me you can find out more here.

Sam

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Just glorious!

Visiting the Vet – Ruby’s Urine Culture

At last we have the details.

On September 1st, I published an update on Ruby’s condition with regard to her UTI. This was because Ruby had had a re-occurrence of blood in her urine. Dr. Jim took an xray and also wanted Ruby’s urine sent across to Three Rivers Hospital for a culture. As I explained in that post, using information found online:

A urine culture is a test to find germs (such as bacteria) in the urine that can cause an infection. Urine in the bladder is normally sterile. This means it does not contain any bacteria or other organisms (such as fungi). But bacteria can enter the urethra and cause a urinary tract infection (UTI).

A sample of urine is added to a substance that promotes the growth of germs. If no germs grow, the culture is negative. If germs grow, the culture is positive. The type of germ may be identified using a microscope or chemical tests. Sometimes other tests are done to find the right medicine for treating the infection. This is called sensitivity testing.

Late on Tuesday afternoon, the Clinic rang to say that the full results were in.

So yesterday morning, the air still heavy with the smoke from the forest fires, we called in to Lincoln Road.

The report from Rogue Regional Medical Center, as in Three Rivers Hospital, offered the following:

VET URINE CULTURE

SPECIMEN SOURCE: URINE

COMMENTS TO MICRO: URINE

CULTURE RESULTS: 20,000 CFU/ML PROTEUS MIRABILIS

REPORT STATUS: FINAL 09/02/2017

(My emphasis)

That translated into Ruby’s medicine being changed from her present course of Amoxicillin antibiotic to Enrofloxacin (Two 136 mg tablets by mouth every 24 hours for 10 days.)

A quick web search produced this (in part):

Enrofloxacin (ENR) is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic sold by the Bayer Corporation under the trade name Baytril. Enrofloxacin is currently approved by the FDA for the treatment of individual pets and domestic animals in the United States.

Jeannie reading the details on the label.

Onwards and upwards!

More doggie language.

Preceded by some human language!

Sorry to be a little obtuse with my sub-heading.

But I wanted to inform all you wonderful readers that for the next 6 days I am going to be rather distracted by a book event. I have prepared posts through to the 12th, my first clear day ‘back at my desk’ but if in the meantime you wonder why I am being unresponsive that’s the reason.

I saw the following not too long ago and asked if I might have permission to republish it here. Lea said “Of course”. Thus I am delighted to republish what appeared on Paws Give Me Purpose blog earlier this year.

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Doggie Language

By Lea

Most dog owners wish their pup could speak to them and tell them exactly what they want, how they’re doing and how they’re feeling. I honestly believe dogs can talk, but only to those who know how to listen. Their body language and behaviors are the language they use to speak to you. Do you ever wonder if your dog loves their life? If they’re happy?

This is a picture of Phoebe, a Maltese that was rescued by Yorkie911 Rescue Inc. This was her first day in my home, look at that smile! She knew she was safe and was expressing her happiness.

Here are some ways to know your pup is relaxed and happy:

  • Your dog gets excited! Excited to see you, to play, to eat, to go for walks. If for some reason your dog doesn’t get excited for these things your pup may be telling you they are not be feeling well.
  • Your dog sleeps well. A happy relaxed dog sleeps well. A stressed dog, or if your dog is not feeling well, will be restless and change spots often trying to get comfortable during the night.
  • A healthy dog is a happy dog 🙂 Obviously if your pup isn’t feeling well the signs of happiness won’t show.
  • Pay attention to your dog’s eyes, when your pup is happy his eyes are bright and are their “regular” shape. If your dog is uncomfortable or in pain his eyes will tell you, he may squint.
  • When your dog is happy and relaxed their mouth will be closed or slightly opened with a relaxed tongue hanging out. A panting dog could be hot or stressed, so pay attention to this body language.
  • A destructive dog is a bored dog 🙁 If your dog is content they will play with their toys and bones rather than eat your shoes or anything else.
  • If your dog’s body language is relaxed he/she is happy. Relaxed posture, not tense or stiff. When a dog places it’s head in your lap it’s a relaxed happiness being with his/her person.
  • When your dog is relaxed he/she will carry their tail in its natural position. When they are happy they will wag it from side to side. They may even wiggle their entire body with joy! A tail that is held low or between the legs signals a lack of confidence, nervousness, or fear. (A dog’s tail can tell you a great deal about their moods. A wagging tail does not always mean they are happy, don’t assume that’s always the case. Pay attention to the rest of the dog’s body and actions. Believe me, just the tail itself can be a full post on its own).
  • Happy dogs are active. They love to play with you, with their toys, chew on their bones, explore, and solicit attention from you. They may play bow or initiate physical contact with you by rolling over for a belly rub, this also shows trust. A happy dog wants to hang out with his/her people!
  • A happy dog likes to eat. Some dogs, like one of mine, can be picky eaters when it comes to meals, but in general when they are happy, he/she will enjoy eating. What dog can resist a cookie.
  • Some dogs rarely bark, but those that do have a higher-pitched bark when they’re happy than they usually do. Sometimes it’s even a high pitched howl in this house.
Spirit, a Doberman I rescued from a backyard breeder myself, smiling as she eats some doggie ice cream. Look at her joyful expression!

While you obviously know your dog best, these are the ways I see my dogs express their relaxed and happy mood. Having a rescue dog in my home that was labeled “aggressive” has taught me a great deal about my pups body language and what they are trying to tell me. There really is a great deal we can learn from our furry friends body language and we can understand what they are saying by simply watching closely.

Further reading:

http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/features/what-is-your-dog-telling_you

http://www.aspcapro.org/resource/7-tips-canine-body-language

http://www.petplace.com/article/dogs/behavior-training/understanding-your-dog/is-your-dog-happy

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The world would be a much, much sorrier place without our gorgeous dogs.

Thanks Lea.

Returning to diet!

Another fabulous guest post.

Just a few days ago I was contacted by June Frazier who offered me (and all of you!) a couple of topics for a guest post to be written by June. The two topics were 5 Common Winter Illnesses in Dogs (And How To Treat Them) and Why Now Is The Right Time To Change Your Dog’s Diet.
Of course I said ‘Yes’ and chose the second one thinking it was a tad too early for a post about Winter illnesses.

Here it is.

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Why Now Is The Right Time To Change Your Dog’s Diet.

3 Critical Signs That You Need To Change

by June Frazier.

Today, 96% of all dog owners in the world feed their dog’s commercial pet food. A good number of this population believes that the dried pet food is all their dog needs to stay healthy. Hence, the dogs are fed one type of food all the time.

In fact, they never consider introducing their dog to the many homemade dog food recipes available. Many dog owners are unaware of the fact that as a dog’s body changes, it requires different diets to stay healthy. If you are one of these dog owners, it is time to change your dog’s diet.

Three major reasons why now is the right time to change your dog’s diet:

1. The Age of the dog

As your dog ages, he needs extra diet considerations to stay nimble. At the age of 5, your dog is considered to be middle aged. You need to change their diet at this point as they need fewer calories and more fiber. This is because middle aged dogs are less active and their new lifestyle does not require the same diet they were on when they were younger. In addition, high calorie foods may do them more harm than good. Also, avoid giving your dog too much protein since it can damage his liver and kidneys.

Feed your dog with the right food that will benefit his joints to stay stronger, or foods that have plenty of antioxidants. Your middle aged dog may also need supplements to keep his joints and organs working optimally.

2. Obesity

Most dog parents do not realize that even in moderation, some food types contribute more to their pet’s weight than others. When your dog starts to put on a few extra pounds in their midsection, this is a clear indication that you need to change his diet.

The additional weight can easily slow down your dog. Obesity in dogs also opens them up to a variety of potential health problems. Change his diet to foods that can give them all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals without adding some extra kilos.

There are special diets for dogs that are specially designated for weight loss. These diets take advantage of the latest research in pet weight management, to ensure your dog leads a healthy, happier life. If your pet dog is extremely overweight, you are advised to consult with your veterinarian for a detailed and therapeutic nutritional solution.

3. Allergies and Skin conditions

On average, an itchy dog is an allergic dog. Most times, the reason behind their allergy and skin condition is their food or environment. You need to switch your dog’s diet to something a little simpler or less processed food.

In a case of an allergy, vets prescribe non-allergen diets or foods that do not trigger your dog’s allergic reaction. Homemade dog food recipes are ideal as you can mix the ingredients on your own as well as do an easy control experiment to figure out which foods cause his allergy. Also, make sure to alter one food ingredient per time until you get the culprit.

Although the transition may take a long time before you figure out what your dog is allergic to, the diet you end up with will be far healthier and nutritional to help him lead a better life. You can also take your dog to the vet to find out more about their allergy and skin condition.

Sometimes, the reason behind your dog’s skin condition may be due to a deficient diet. If your dog has a dull, matted coat, make sure you feed your dog foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids to help improve their coat quality and gastric health.

Choosing the right food for your pet is essential for your dog’s long-term health. However, it is not a substitute for medical care.

Make sure you visit a veterinarian on a regular basis to ensure your pet is healthy and happy. Along with your new diet, make sure your dog has plenty of fresh, clean water available at all times.

It is also advisable that you change your dog’s diet gradually and systematically. Substitute a little of the new diet with the old food. Swap out a little more of the old with the new until your dog is comfortable with the new diet.

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No question in my mind that this was a useful and informative article. I did ask June to offer a little about herself and this is what she wrote me:

June is the founder of the blog Toby’s Bone where she shares her passion for writing and love for dogs. She wants to help you deal with your dog’s behavior issues, grooming and health needs, and proper training. Through her blog, you can find informative and reliable posts, tips and tricks, and a lot of interesting reads that will help you maintain a close bond with your furry companion.

Well this gets my vote and I sincerely hope this isn’t the last time we hear from June.

Visiting the Vet – More on Ruby

A need to re-check Ruby.

On Tuesday the Visiting the Vet post was about our Ruby. As was explained in the early part of that post:

Back on the 11th August Jean and I took Ruby into Lincoln Road Vet because there was blood in her urine. Ruby is one of our six dogs that we have at home. Ruby is the last of the Mexican ex-rescue dogs and is an eleven-year old Sharpei mix.

Dr Jim thought that Ruby had a straightforward Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) and that a course of antibiotic would fix that.

All of that was reported in my previous post and, indeed, it did look as though it was all resolved.

Then on Tuesday night we discovered a pee in the house that had blood in it. Repeated yesterday. Although we hadn’t caught Ruby in the act, so to speak, we were pretty sure that it was her with the blood in her urine (again).

So yesterday morning back we went to Lincoln Road Vet Clinic to be seen by Dr. Jim.

Jim and his assistant, Cianna, first took Ruby through to a lab at the back of the clinic to take an X-ray and draw some of Ruby’s urine directly from her bladder.

That urine was going to be cultured by Three Rivers Hospital in Grants Pass for that was the only reliable way of seeing what might be the cause of the infection. A quick web search found more information about a urine culture:

A urine culture is a test to find germs (such as bacteria) in the urine that can cause an infection. Urine in the bladder is normally sterile. This means it does not contain any bacteria or other organisms (such as fungi). But bacteria can enter the urethra and cause a urinary tract infection (UTI).

A sample of urine is added to a substance that promotes the growth of germs. If no germs grow, the culture is negative. If germs grow, the culture is positive. The type of germ may be identified using a microscope or chemical tests. Sometimes other tests are done to find the right medicine for treating the infection. This is called sensitivity testing.

In no time at all the images from the X-ray were available to be viewed.

Jim was delighted to report that there was no sign of stones or a tumor. Ruby is an eleven-year old dog and what Jim did see on the X-ray was ‘bridging’ along parts of Ruby’s spine. The technical term for this is spondylosis and, again, a quick web search found more:

Spondylosis in dogs, also called spondylosis deformans, is a degenerative condition that usually occurs most along the spine in older dogs. There, degenerative disks cause bone spurs to develop. These bone spurs can form bridges from one vertebrae to the next, limiting flexibility and range of motion.
Most cases of spondylosis require minor pain relief, and dogs can live out healthy, comfortable lives with this condition.

It’s not a very good image but here is an enlargement of that first X-ray picture (or rather my photograph of same) showing that bridging.

Jim offered some general information regarding idiopathic cystitis that is more commonly seen in female cats but can also be seen in dogs. In cats the cause is more likely to be stress but in dogs the more likely cause is an infection; as in a UTI. In both cats and dogs the signs are frequent peeing but cats are more likely to incur some pain when urinating compared to dogs.

Back to Ruby.

The second X-ray image (below) did nothing to change Jim’s mind that Ruby might have a UTI that requires a change of antibiotic to accurately combat the infection.

While waiting for the results of the urine culture, Jim recommended putting Ruby on a second course of Amoxicillin.

When we get those results I will add the details to this post.

Water, water, everywhere!

It’s beyond imagination as to what it must be like in Houston just now!

By writing that sub-heading I am, of course, revealing the fact that Jeannie and I are living a long way from Texas.

But that doesn’t stop our hearts going out to the poor animals who are in the middle of this disaster. Maybe also that doesn’t stop many from extending a helping hand. Here’s how that might be achieved. In that I am republishing an article that appeared on Mother Nature Network on Tuesday.

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How to help pets after a disaster

After Hurricane Harvey’s rain and flooding, many animals are expected to be without homes.
Mary Jo DiLonardo, August 29, 2017.

Naomi Coto carries Simba as they evacuate from their Houston home after flooding from Hurricane Harvey. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

After Hurricane Harvey battered Texas and Louisiana, residents are rushing to recover yet facing catastrophic rain, flooding and evacuations. While many residents headed for safety with their pets in tow, plenty of animals either escaped or were left behind. Animal rescue and shelter administrators say it’s still too early to estimate how many animals are struggling to find their way home.

Shelters in nearby areas unaffected by the storm took in animals from evacuated facilities. The Humane Society of North Texas, for example, made room for 22 animals from a shelter in Corpus Christi that had to shut down.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a disaster response team on the ground offering search and rescue, sheltering and relocation services for animals displaced by the storm.

The ASPCA reports, “Emergency response agencies are receiving a high number of requests for animal-related rescue, and are conducting responsible assessments to determine where resources can be utilized most effectively. The ASPCA stands ready to assist where our resources can have the most impact in saving lives and helping to reunite pets with their families. Residents who need assistance with recovering a pet from their home or emergency sheltering for their pets are encouraged to contact their local emergency management agency.”

With so much of the storm’s impact in the Houston area, the Houston SPCA has become a central hub for animal-related needs. Because the storm is still pounding, the SPCA is unsure how strong its impact will be on the area pet population, but the group is fielding offers from individuals and rescue groups willing to donate or transport and foster displaced animals. While needs are still being assessed, one way to help is through direct donations.

How to help animals in any emergency

Two pups rest after being rescued in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. (Photo: Austin Pets Alive!)

After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, an estimated 15,000 pets were rescued by the New Orleans SPCA, as volunteers scooped cats and dogs off rooftops, out of the water and from flooded streets, reports CNN. However, a whopping 90,000 area pets were never accounted for with some sources saying an estimated 600,000 dogs and cats were displaced or died as a result of the storm.

As animal lovers all over the country saw images of abandoned pets, they wanted to help. People sent money and rescue groups transported unclaimed pets to shelters and new homes. Those are some of the things you can do to help when disaster strikes.

Donate money. Teams from the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States head to areas after disasters to help with transport, rescue and other needs. Donate to them directly, or go online to find shelters directly impacted by the event.

Contact local shelters to see what they need. Some might want local volunteers or item donations, while others may prefer monetary aid. Rescue groups outside the area can contact individual shelters or other local rescue groups to see if there are pets ready to be taken to new homes. Early on, there will likely be temporary shelters set up in hopes that some animals may be claimed by their owners, so rescue groups might not be needed right away.

Be willing to foster. After large disasters, shelters brace for a high volume of new animals. Some shelters might be looking for short-term fosters to care for the animals that were already in their care before the storm hit or to take care of owned pets while the families recover from damage and get back on their feet.
How to protect your pet:

Looking ahead, there are things you can to do be prepared with your pet before disaster strikes, says the ASPCA:

  • Microchip your pets. Collars and tags can get lost, but it’s easier for rescue workers to help pets reunite with their owners if they are chipped and the information is updated.
  • Have a go-bag for your pet. Have it packed with leashes, medical info, food, water and anything else your pet needs and keep it by the door.
  • Download the ASPCA’s free mobile app for your smartphone. It stores your pet’s records and offers tips on what to do if you get separated from your pet.
  • If you have to evacuate, take your pet with you. Some emergency shelters allow pets. In 2006, Congress passed the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act, which authorized FEMA to rescue, care, shelter and take care of people with pets and service animals. About 44 percent of the people who didn’t evacuate during Katrina stayed because they didn’t want to leave their pets behind, according to a report by the Fritz Institute.

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I’m going to close today’s post by referring to another recent item published by Mother Nature Network. More precisely by first presenting a photograph that was in that MNN item.

Photo taken by Tiele Dockens last Saturday.

Now read the text that accompanied that photograph.

Dog carrying bag of food turns out to be the hero Texas needed
In times like these, even ordinary creatures do extraordinary things.

In troubled times, we all look to heroes to step up and lead us from a dark place to one of hope. And in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which battered and then flooded much of southeast Texas over the weekend, we didn’t have to wait long. Countless everyday Texans have risked their own lives to haul people and pets out of the affected areas.

But Otis may be the unlikeliest hero of all.

After all, he wasn’t exactly leaping into the breach when Tiele Dockens snapped this picture over the weekend. Nor was the golden retriever hauling anyone out of danger.

Instead, Otis was carrying cargo that was precious mostly to him: a big bag of dog food. And he was just trying to get it home.

But there was something about that picture — a humble family pet clinging tightly to his one precious possession, despite the chaos all around.
A new survival icon emerges

Since Dockens posted the image on Facebook — a photo snapped while she was taking stock of the flood-wracked city of Sinton — the post has been shared more than 35,000 times.

“We are a population of about 6,000,” Dockens told the Weather Channel. “We were out today clearing tree limbs from streets. Families are already starting to clean up. Our town is still out of water and power. I was driving around checking on family and friends’ properties that decided to evacuate.”

Then she spotted Otis.

“With his dog food of course,” Dockens added.

It turned out, the man taking care of Otis, who belonged to his grandson, had been looking for the furry refugee who had slipped out of a screened-in back porch on Friday night.

“I kept yelling his name and yelling his name and he wasn’t around,” Segovia told the Houston Chronicle.

Amid devastating floods, with countless family pets already missing, the situation could have taken a dark turn. But not long after he was photographed high-tailing it down a city street, Otis found his way back home.

And, along the way, into the hearts of millions.

Sure, images of ordinary people doing extraordinary things can be a powerful cure for despair. And right now, Texas needs all the heroes it can get.

But sometimes, we need a simple reminder from our four-legged friends that they are in this mess, too. They’re trying to get by one way or another. And if that happens to involve looting — err, retrieving — a bag of food, then this is a survivor’s tale worth cheering for.

Please, please if there is anything that you can do to help alleviate what the animals are experiencing please do so.

Thank you!