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Pet People

Monday, April 09, 2007

Old, Ugly--the "One-Eye Love"

Phoebe, above, was dumped at a local shelter during the night. When I met her I thought, "Oh, no! This dog will be here forever." She was older, missing one eye, had a limp and isn't exactly a beauty queen. But she had the sweetest, most loving personality! We figured her to be a Corgi/Blue Heeler mix.

We put her up on Petfinder and assumed she'd be there forever and live the rest of her life in a shelter. One day, not long after, an email came from a woman in Kentucky who is involved with a Keeshound rescue group and has about 8 dogs of her own. She said she came across Phoebe on Petfinder(who was originally named Jackie. Get it? One-eyed Jack?)and something just tugged at her heart. She takes in a lot of older Kees as her own through her rescue work, but thought she'd try to help get Phoebe in a Corgi rescue or other rescue group. She just couldn't get her off her mind.

To make a long story short, she decided to keep Phoebe for her own, and Phoebe was driven to Kentucky to meet her new Mommy. That dog is now spoiled rotten and has a wonderful life with Susan, her husband and a pack of brothers and sisters. I get regular updates. Phoebe goes almost everywhere with Susan. It makes me want to cry every time I think of her, because I am so happy. I wish all dogs and cats needing homes had such a happy ending.

When my dogs go to heaven and I have room for another, I really want to adopt a senior dog, maybe one on the ugly side that I figure no one will want. They are the ones that need us pet lovers most.

On a related note, I got an email from a Pet People reader who wanted us to discuss care of elderly pets--especially using more homeopathy and natural products and medicines. Are any of you familiar with alternative care for pets? She said:

"I was wondering if you might think about an entry on disabled and older pets. I am particularly interested in homeopathic remedies (if there are any out there) to help my dog Boo see better. Our 16-year-old American Eskimo/Spitz is adorable, deaf as a post, and about half blind. He also absolutely refuses to come in the house unless it is thundering. I actually have to go out and pick him up to bring him in and give him a bath, or if we are leaving and storms are predicted. If we try to keep him in the house, he cries, barks, gives us the "you don't love me" look, and scratches at the door. He was an inside dog for the first few years, but one day just refused to come in. After a month of trying to catch him for an hour a day, we gave up. Obviously, bringing him in for the remainder of his life is out of the question, as he would be miserable, and we are afraid it would hasten his death. He runs and jumps like a puppy most of the time (minor arthritis in one paw), has had no major medical problems, and isn't allergic to anything."

I have a friend who is into holistic medicine for herself and her pets. She has a diabetic cat that has never been on insulin, but I don't know the details of homeopathic remedies for animals, though I do believe in alternative, natural remedies when possible. My friends does go to the vet regularly, but always tries the least toxic and least invasive remedies first, which I think is great.

My vet has told me to aviod harsh cleaning products and chemicals in the house because of Scooter's seizures. I bought Don Imus's "Greening the Cleaning" products and am working my way to a more natural cleaning routine. How about you all?

posted by Sandy at 4/09/2007 10:08:00 AM


Blogger Alice said...

OK, another one of my hot button issues. I think "homeopathy" is quackery for humans and I feel the same for pets. There is no real medical evidence that "homeopathic" remedies work and it just plain doesn't makes sense. The basis for "homeopathy" is that you take the "cause" of the illness and dilute it to hugely microsopic amounts and then ingest it or inject it or somehow get it into the body. For instance, if you are allergic to eggs, you ingest 1/1,000 nanometers of egg protein and you build up a resistance. Well, number one, allergens in that miniscule amount have no effect anyway! The popular Head On product appears to work for people becuause it has some sort of menthol base that feels cool to the forehead plus people WANT it to work. Now, placebo effect in people is well-documented. But animals don't understand treatment much less want the treatment to work. Save your money and see a real doctor... or vet.

PS. I also doen't believe chiropractors can cure diabetes.

Monday, April 09, 2007 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

I think there is a wide-range of alternative medicines, which in the way I understand means more "natural." Not all things are in the same category. I don't think there is anything wrong with treating illness in the least-invasive way first if possible.

For example, it's proven Yoga does wonders for all kinds of aches and pains, as well as stress and high blood pressure. I know, because it worked for me. I had carpel tunnel and didn't opt for surgery right off the bat. I took B-6, and did yoga and it went away. Yoga has also helped with general aches and pains of getting older.

I don't know what my friend does with her cat, but it is doing fine and never needed insulin.

I am a big believer in using a better diet, exercise, vitamins, etc. before anything else. For example, I had high cholesterol, but avoided taking medicine for it by losing weight, cutting out red meat, eating better, exercising etc. Now my levels are great. For some this doesn't work, but too many people don't want to do the hard things, they want to pop a pill. I really believe the chemicals in our food, cleaning products, etc. aren't good and that it's always best to use natural as a first choice.

And of course, I believe drug companies often push pills and advertise because they want to make money first and foremost.

Maybe I don't understand "homeopathic" fully, and I know there is quackery out there, but not all belong in the same category.

As far as allergies--isn't that what allergy shots do? Inject small amounts of the allergen to build up resistance? Isn't that what some vaccines too?

Pam was in nursing--maybe she can help us out.

Monday, April 09, 2007 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

I agree with you on trying something more natural first. I am a firm believer that the chemicals and preservatives we use and eat are the cause of most our health problems. Not just in us, but our pets as well. I had to Golden Retrievers that died from lymphoma. The first was my rock eating ball hog TJ. We treated him with Chemo and other medications. He died a very painful death and lived only 3 months from the diagnosis. Our other Goldie was his mother Breanne. We took a complete different route with her; Feeding her only natural foods and oils. (Like fish oil)She lived a year with it and died in her sleep. We don't know what caused the cancer. It could have been genetic since they both had it. But after we were and still are very careful about cleaning products, fertilizers and food. If it isn't organic they are not getting it; Especially after this whole food recall. A lot of medical illnesses like diabetes can be controlled with diet and exercise. I would rather do that, than put chemicals in my body ro my pets.

As for eye sight, Beta-carotene is supposed to be good for that. It's in carrots. Our dogs like cooked carrots. There are a couple of really good books with a lot of helpful information. I.E. The Good food cookbook for dogs, The Whole Pet Diet and even the Doctors Book of Home Remedies.

Speaking of vaccines, once my dogs reach the age of 8, I no longer vaccinate them. This was one of the things the vet said was not necessary to continue if they have received all there shots up until that point. They have a good resistance built up at that point and it could cause more harm than good. This is the last year Stella will get any of her shots. The vet said it could have also been a factor of the Goldieā€™s getting the cancer. I'm not saying everyone should stop vaccinating there pets. You have to do what's right for you and your pets.

Monday, April 09, 2007 4:17:00 PM  
Blogger Daisylouu said...

I tend to agree more with alice. The scientist inside me needs absolute scientific proof before I will buy into something. Of course it's obvious natural foods are better, but in today's world you can label almost ANYTHING "all natural" and it means nothing.
But the original topic was homeopathic remedies and MEDICINE, and there are far more bogus claims than real ones, so how is a lowly human supposed to weed through all the claims?? Each case needs to be weighed carefully. If you have a headache and want to try yoga or drinking tea, that is not homeopathic medicine! Homeopathic medicine is the theory that extreme dilution makes drugs more powerful by enhancing their "spirit-like medicinal powers" This is totally inconsistent with the laws of chemistry and physics (which is logical in my mind) Homeopathy is to medicine what Scientology is to religion.

I'm a believer in accupuncture and eating healthy, but medicine is still a scientific process of controlled studies.

Unfortunately an aging dog, losing its sight etc., one needs to treat the symptoms and make them have the best quality of life possible.

Monday, April 09, 2007 7:22:00 PM  
Blogger Alice said...

What Daisylou said.

Allergy shots and vaccines have documented clinical research behind them. Homeopathy does not. Alternative health otions like yoga, acupuncture and SOME herb therapies are fine with me. One needs to be careful with herbs because they can be powerful medicines in their own right and toxic in high doses. At the very least, homeopathy does little to alleviate any condition. At the worst it preys on fears, makes unsubstantiated claims and robs people of hard-earned money, something that chronically ill people and those on fixed budgets can usually not afford.

I am all for the "healing touch" of massage with your pet. The closeness and companionship is what matters, not any chi alignment, in my humble opinion. We supplement our four-legged kids diets with french-cut green beans and brown rice, mixed in with their regular dog food. They like it and it seems to keep them happy.

On a side note, Trouble, our middle kitty, has become blind. She was treated for a bladder infection and now has developed a flim over her eyes. We have another appointment to see what can be done. She seems to be getting about all right, thanks to kitty whiskers. I do have to lif her up to the cat food buffet but she can jump down and find her way back to her bed just fine. We took her in about 3 weeks ago when she lost a lot of weight. She had a slew of blood tests and fluid tests. The vet said it was a bladder infection that we treated with Clavamox. All of her blood tests for the ususual suspects came up negative except for the bladder infection. Hopefully, this blindness can be reversed, if not, then we'll just make life as easy for her as possible. Luckily, the dogs seem amused when she bumps into them and wag their tails and sniff her but that's all. She seems to be putting the lost weight back on so we are stumped. There was never any of the suspect recalled pet food in our house, that was my first thought. I'll let you all know what happens after our appointment.

Monday, April 09, 2007 8:56:00 PM  
Blogger Daisylouu said...

Alice, how old is Trouble?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 4:49:00 AM  
Blogger Alice said...

Trouble was a foundling. I found her in our back yard about 3 1/2 years ago. She has always favored dry kibble over wet food. We have 2 other cats, Larry, who is 11 years old and Scooter, who is almost 2 years old. Neither of them has shown any weight loss or any symptoms. They are fine. We are at a loss to figure out what caused this. The Feline HIV and luekemia tests were negative.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 9:43:00 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

I hope everything goes well with Trouble and they figure out whats going on with the eyesight.
I think I basically agree with you and Daisylouu. My gut always tell me to go with the doctors meds but I do think there is a world of helpful medicine in what you eat. I spent hours on the computer when my boxer Cody had cancer. I read so much-just thinking the answer was there and I was going to save him. I didn't save him but I do honestly think I added to his longevity by the diet I had him on. The vets at UT Knoxville could not believe he was still alive when I took him back 2 years later. Nothing to do with pets but a great story- My cousins son had seizures from the time he was 2 and by the time he was 10, was taking the maximum meds and they were still not able to control his seizures. They gave her one option- brain surgery. She researched a diet the Mayo clinic was doing with seizure patients and ultimately decided to fly up and try it. It was a difficult diet, but she did it. 2 years later he was completely medicine and seizure free. Gives me chills....

Did ya'll read the article in todays paper about the homeless pets from our area going up to Wisconsin? I quote Amy Shaver in the article "Up North they actually have things under control," Shaver said, citing stricter spay and neuter programs and laws requiring breeders to be licensed. Shaver even said some New England states have a waiting list for puppies"

How sad is it that our community can't make the welfare of our pets more important like our neighbors to the north. I would be very interested in finding out how a state starts laws, programs, etc to get them on the road to this point.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Oh, Shannon, you should have been there. I was there strictly to volunteer a little of my time to walk and love on the dogs until time for them to be put in the kennels for the 12 hour drive north. It was fantastic. These rescue folks were phenomenal.

I truly had to force myself not to come home with an 8 month old Chocolate Lab mix that was gorgeous and so sweet. He and (possibly) his sister, a black lab mix, had been picked up from Animal Control only hours before. It was their last day to live. They had reached the end of their alloted time and had not been adopted. I could not even imagine seeing these two put down. My God, they were wonderful dogs. It is so heartbreaking.

I just wish we could save them all. God Bless Amy Shaver and all the others in the local rescue community for what they do each and every day. If any of you that are local want to get more involved, go to the Humane Society's web site and sign up for their Action Line email: Whenever they need something specific done, Amy will send out an email asking for volunteers. I'm still new to it, but I've been helping out since last fall, and I love it. They need all kinds of help, so you never know what you can help with. I've even gotten Sweetie to drive downtown and pick up aluminum cans for them! Give it a try!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 2:39:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Sandy, you asked what I think about all of this inclluding the homeopathic treatments since I have a medical background. Well it's been pretty much covered by everyone on here but I must add a little. I have seen so many things work for certain people that does absolutely nothing for others, that includes homeopathic as well as regular medical treatments. As for allergy shots the amounts given are given in the dosage needed to to build up the immunity.

As for treatment for all illness and disease I believe in medicine as needed. I think you should do everything you can first with diet and exercise for things like elevated B/P, Type 2 diabetes and cholesterol unless it is already in the danger zone.
In some cases cholesterole just runs in the family and you can't bring it down no matter how hard you try. My husbnad is a perfect exzample. When he was diagnosed with high cholesterol, he was running 5 to 6 miles 6 days a week, doing 50 sit ups, and 50 push ups, was on a very good diet. He finally had to face the fact he is one who needs medication.
I do not advocate Herbs! I have seen people ahve major reactions to herbs that were as bad much worse than some drugs. I know some people swear by them but I know what I've seen and it has not been good. And Alice, it dosn't have to be a very high dose to be toxic to some people. One case a woman took St. Johns Wort and had a adverse reaction that was similar to a bad LSD experience, it was really bad. My daughter had a bad reaction to St. Joans Wort but it was just mild anxiety. Of course not everyone has bad reactions and herbs work fine for them. I just say no to them! I know too much about drugs as well and wait till I absolutely have to to take any kind, well except for my "Beast", ha, and that really isn't in the true medicinal drug catagory. Medicines are great and have saved many lives but some people will beg for a shot when they have a cold or virus. I cannot tell you how many times I have explained that both are viruses and cannot be cured with a antibiotic injection! Sometimes even after explaining people will still want one to make them feel better. I don't understand that way of thinking. But again, there are times when drugs are what a person needs and thank God we have them. I do think first try diet, exercise, yoga and etc but no herbs. If drugs are needed then please take what will help.

Shannon, the story of your nephew was great and I a
have seen that before. you would be surprised at how many other children have been "cured" by that diet, it is like a miracle!It's been around for a long time now. It is hard to stick with in the beginning but it is truly worth it for the results.
Alice, I'm so sorry for Trouble's blindness, I sure hope it ie temporary, bless her little heart.
Stacey, I get the Action Line email too. Amy works so hard as well as all of the volunteers but they are always in need of more. Last Wed. they had to move out of thier warehouse they ahd been allowed to use for storage for the last four years and Fly Boy and I went over to help. The man who gave them the storage had given them notice becasue he was getting a paying cutomer. It hurt me to know how so many people put money above the precious homeless animals! They ahd asked people to come with trucks and SUV's and they needed people. We have a truck and SUV so went over. Besides us there was only one other couple, Amy, the director and one othere volunteer. I was surprised that no one else showed up to help. Thank goodness Fly Boy and the other man were there or some things couldn't have been moved. What a shame. The poor directors storage space was buldging when all was moved. I certainly hope someone will volunteer some space for them.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 5:31:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Another thing. Like Adrienne, we no longer get shots for our cats. Our vet said since they are never in contact with other pets other than the grand kitty's ( and they are inside cats too and kept in seperate rooms anyway)it isn't needed. They had enough in the past and it is more harmful than helpful now.
Also, when Brittany, Courtney and Penelope had thier first rabies shots we got the ones without Aluminum which has been linked to causing cancer later on.
Adrienne, I know it is hard to make the decision on what treatment to use for cancer too. We had friends who had a cat that developed cancer at age 7. They did a year of chemo and Socks got so very sick they almost stopped treament a couple of times, but they completed it and finally one day he started getting better. He became his old self and lived to the ripe old age of 17. He eneded up dying for from some kind of bowel blockage that couldn't be surgically repaired but he never suffered. It goes to show yuo just never know for sure what is right. We can only do what we feel is best of our pets as well as our family members.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 5:56:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Everyone, please say a prayer for my friend Helga whose kitty was just recently killed by the neighbors dogs, they ripped it apart! It was horrible!Helga's heart is broken.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 6:17:00 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Oh Pam, we almost got to meet!!! I was at work in Nashville when the Humane Society did the move in the morning, so I couldn't be there. But Sweetie and I were going to be there at 6:00 if they still had things to be moved. I hope that the time of day they scheduled the move was the reason for the lack of turnout. And don't be too hard on the owner that evicted them from the free storage. Amy told me that when they moved into the space, he told them it was for one year. He let them stay for over four years. I'd say he was very generous. But, it would be nice if someone else could donate some storage space for them. Maybe Shannon has connections (since she's the realtor and all).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 9:09:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Stacey, It would have been great if we could have met on moving day for the Humane Society! Yes, I do think that it was mostly the time of day that the turn out was the way it was. And in fact Fly Boy couldn't have helped that time of day except for the fact he is having some medical problems that is keeping him home right now. He said the same thing about how that is why they didn't get more people to come when we did. It worked out fine though and we got everything moved so that was good. I do wish we could have met that day. Oh well we will. I had the same idea as you about asking Shannon if maybe she might have some ideas about a storage building.
And it was nice of that man to extend the time he allowed the Humane Society to have the storage space but it just bothers me that people can't put the animals before making a buck. But in that man's defense maybe he really couldn't afford to give the space for free any longer so it was good he did it for four years. At least he cared enough to help as long as he did.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 10:25:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Sandy, I was just looking at phoebe's photo again and I was thinking what I thought the first time I saw it, and that is how I would just love to give that sweet precious doggie lots of hungs and kisses. She deseves them so much. Who knows what all that inocent animal has indured? I hope the rest of her life is filled with joy, comfort, and total happiness!

Sunday, April 15, 2007 5:20:00 PM  

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Pet People

Sandy Britt, an animal welfare advocate and volunteer with Clarksville rescue organizations, takes care of three dogs: Zoe, Scooter and Peanut; two cats: Catfish and Tarzan; and one husband, Glen, and according to him she takes care of them in that order.

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