Sunday, February 27, 2011

Laura's Struggle With Hemangiosarcoma

Recently, I came across this fascinating website that is definitely my Website Of The Week. It was created this past January by the owner of Laura, a Doberman Pinscher/Italian Greyhound mix who is battling Splenic Hemangiosarcoma. She is ten years-old and was diagnosed with Splenic Hemangisarcoma.

What Is Splenic Hemangiosarcoma?

Splenic Hemangiosarcoma is a cancer that affects the dog's spleen. Other types of Hemangiosarcoma affect the skin, soft tissue or the liver. It is an aggressive cancer that is quite common in dogs. However, dogs do not show that there is anything wrong until the tumor is very large (comparable to the size of a golf ball).

What happens is the tumor grows being filled up with blood vessels from the dog's body. As a result, the tumor feeds off of the blood vessels and grows faster. The dog gets anemia from all those blood cells feeding the tumor.

What's Special About Laura

It is rare with that a dog will survive long after the diagnosis. In fact, because of her chemotherapy treatments, her life expectancy is currently 145 to 178 days (mean survival, 271 days). Her dad is determined to beat the odds and make it possible for his dog to have the best quality of life she can. It wouldn't surprise me if she defies these odds.

Follow Laura's Journey

You can learn more about this courageous canine through her blog. It is an incredible read and very informational about what happens in the life of a cancer patient.

Laura is fighting this disease using traditional western medicine like chemotherapy and specialized holistic treatment as well. What's even more amazing is the fact her dad has given her special diet formulated to give her the best food to fight this cancer. So far, I'm happy to say, so good. She has her good and bad days like any cancer patient would, but carries herself with dignity, joy and the love of life that is inherent in dogs.

Another Dog Affected By Cancer

My dog Cosmo had died of a tumor that affected his spleen. His symptoms were very similar to Laura's but we never had an official diagnosis. I didn't have a doctor that addressed my concerns during that time. When we discovered he had cancer after all, it was too late.

Learn More About Canine Cancer

I recently came across some useful articles that I feel tie in well with Laura's Story. It is an article written on the Vet Tech Blog called 10 Dog Foods that May Lead to Cancer.

While we can't predict if our dog will get cancer or not, this article has good insight on what foods should be avoided. You don't think much about this until it happens.

Other websites of interest about Hemangiosarcoma include:

Canine Cancer
Canine Cancer Awareness
Vet Info

Related Posts

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Interview With Pam Gaber of Gabriel's Angels
In Memory of Gabe

Let's Discuss!

Do you know a dog like Laura who battled cancer?

Note: Special thanks to Laura and her dad for the photographs.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Search And Rescue In The Christchurch Earthquake

Four days ago, Christchurch, New Zealand registered an earthquake that hit 6.3 on the Richter Scale. The first 100 hours after an earthquake are critical. With over 200 people missing and 145 people declared dead, finding the injured survivors is of the utmost importance.

Coming Together From Near And Far

Search dogs have been brought from England, Australia as well as New Zealand to assist in the rescue. They are working non-stop with rescuers to find the rest of the missing people. They have been working on rotating twelve hour shifts to make this possible.

The sheer numbers are jawdropping:
  • 120 patients have been moved to other hospitals
  • 600 people are working as search and rescue
  • 17 per cent of the properties have been declared unsafe. 60 per cent of the properties are safe
  • 4000 home checks have taken place
  • 80 percent of power has been restored to the residents since the earthquake
  • 62,500 people have no water and 100,000 do not have sewage service

How You Can Help

The Red Cross New Zealand is accepting donations through their website. You can find their website here.

Read More About It

New Zealand Herald Article
New Zealand Warned To Brace For Aftershocks - News.Co.Au

My thoughts, hopes and prayers go out to all who have been affected by this terrible tragedy.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Canine Blood Donors

Photo: Albert Lozano

With the improved technology out on the market, pet blood banks are on the rise. Surgeries are more common than ever and having extra blood on hand can make all the difference.

Blood Banks

Now, dogs are donating blood in order to give other dogs an improved quality of life. Most dog blood donation programs have strict requirements so that the donor is kept in the best condition for donating.

Some of the requirements include:
  • Dogs should be between 1 to 8 years old.
  • Dogs must weigh around 50 pounds but, the weight will vary with blood banks.
  • Blood is drawn from the jugular vein in the neck.
  • Dogs should be between 1 to 8 years old.
  • They must be able to lay still for 10 minutes.
  • They must be current with their vaccinations.

Dogs are fed after the procedure and recover much more quickly than humans. They don't feel faint or dizzy. If the donor is a cat, they must be sedated before donating.

It's ideal if your dog has the universal blood type which is known as DEA 1.1. Dog breeds known for having this blood type are Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers. About 450mL of blood is collected during the donation.

Pet Blood Donation Websites

Pet Aid in Burlington New Jersey
Banner's Blood Bank (Oregon)
Blue Ridge Eastern Veterinary Blood Bank Virginia
Critical Care Vets in Washington State
Washington State University
Animal Blood Register, Hertfordshire, UK
Iowa Veterinary Specialties, Des Moines, IA
Pet Blood Bank United Kingdom
Hemo Solutions, Colorado Springs, CO
Animal Blood Banks in California
HemoPet, Garden Grove, California
Oakland Veterinary Services, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Dove Lewis, Portland, Oregon
Chicago Veterinary Emergency, Chicago, IL
Palm Beach Veterinary Specialists, Florida

These are just a fraction of the pet blood banks that are now everywhere. The Association of Veterinary Hematology and Transfusion Medicine is also a good resource to find blood banks.

Let's Discuss!

Has your dog been a blood donor or ever needed a blood transfusion?

Related Post

The Oscar Foundation

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Get Control Of A Hairy Situation

The Dyson Groom

With spring coming soon, many dogs will be shedding their coats because of the greater exposure to sunlight. Some dogs shed so much hair, you wish you could vacuum their coat.

Now, Dyson has an attachment that does exactly that. A while back, I first heard about the Dyson Groom through a tweet by Mike Rundle on Twitter.

This works by attaching to a regular Dyson vacuum. It is not compatible with all of their vacuums so you need to check your vacuum cleaner serial number on their website. The attachment attaches to your vacuum and you use it to remove excess hair. It's self cleaning so it saves you more time.

For dogs like Collies or Siberian Huskies a tool like this is ideal. This is best for dogs with medium or long hair. If you have a dog like a poodle it should not be used.

It retails for $69.99 USD and you need to have a vacuum by Dyson. If you would like to learn more, here is the link to the Dyson website.

Let's Discuss!

How do you keep hair to a minimum. Do you like this new method, a brush or something else?

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Tails Inc. Photo Contest

Dog photoTails Inc. is having a cool photo contest where you can enter you dog in the following categories:
  • Most Photogenic
  • Cutest Sleeping
  • Caught In The Act
  • Most Adorable Baby
  • Unlikeliest Couple
  • Goofiest
  • Sweetest Senior

This goes for any pet. One of the winners may be chosen for the May cover of Tails. All entries must be submitted by March 15th. You also need to be registered as a member of the website in order to end.

Good luck to all who participate. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Get Ready For Spring Giveaway

With spring just over a month away, it's time to get ready. Soon, people will be putting out patios and swingsets. Or you may see your neighbor planting flowers. One of my big plans for spring is taking the dogs to the groomers and stepping up their exercise.

Which brings me to our newest giveaway. CSN Stores is offering a $45$50 dollar giftcard for this latest giveaway. With any of their 200+ stores, one lucky winner will get a leg up for the new season.

Contest Rules

It's easy!

  1. Just leave a comment below about how you and your pet are looking forward to spring.
  2. There is one entry per person. Any additional entries will not be counted.
  3. Contest runs from Tuesday, February 15 to Tuesday, February 22 at 11:59 P.M. CST.
  4. Contest is limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada.


Any questions, please let me know. Winner will be drawn at random. Good luck everyone!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Doggy Valentines

This year for Valentine's Day I decided to make the dogs a special treat. I came across this recipe from Tails Magazine and thought this would be a great way to break into the world of homemade dog treats.

What I liked about this recipe is that it used only six ingredients and was easy to make. The one thing I didn't like about it was the cook time (45 minutes) which is a little timely when you are using more than one cookie sheet.

Still, I found the smallest heart-shaped cookie cutters I had. It was a pretty easy

recipe to make. At times, I felt like I was making bread since you knead the dough. The true test were the dogs. All of them, including Gigi, absolutely loved it. One of the best things about making your own dog treats is that there are no preservatives added. Also, this was the one time I could snap a picture of all three dogs together without them fidgeting.

Get The Recipe

You can find the article through this link.

Let's Discuss!

Do you like to make dog treats for your dogs? What's your favorite kind?

Related Posts

Homemade Dog Treats Part I
A Treat For Gigi

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thundershirt Review

Homer In His Thundershirt

Last year, I heard about dog clothing to help relieve separation anxiety in dogs. Last week, my mom saw a dog wearing one at a local festival. Homer was left alone quite a bit as a puppy and goes through a huge case of separation anxiety everytime he's without humans.

I was curious about the Thundershirt, and contacted the company to learn more. Thundershirt sent me a complimentary shirt for review, for which I am very appreciative.

Its Purpose

There are many dogs who get anxious because of thunderstorms or just being left alone. While Homer took thunderstorms in stride, leaving him alone in the house was very traumatic. He would destructively chew items like paper, books or shoes. When someone in our house would come home, he would run around and cry loudly because he was so happy to have company again. He was always in an altered state.

The purpose of the Thundershirt is to have a swaddling effect that counteracts the anxiety in a dog. It gives the dog extra security the same way swaddling gives a baby.

A Closer Look

The Thundershirt at first glance came in a package with an in-depth information packet which was very useful. The shirt itself is a cotton/lycra combination. It fastens around the neck with velcro as well as around the body of the dog. You want it to have a smooth fit and make it tight enough to produce a swaddling effect.

Testing It Out

The first time I put the Thundershirt on him, he was up for it. I was in a rush but was able to put it on Homer very quickly. He was a sport, and I was able to put him downstairs while I was out. Sure enough, he was calmer when my mom came home.

The second time I tried this out, Homer was upstairs. I put it on him again. I had put all three dogs in the basement. When I came home, Homer's reaction was more subdued. He wasn't running all over the house and his welcoming cries were a little less loud. One mistake I made was letting him outside while he was still wearing his Thundershirt. He wound up rolling in the snow to try to get it off.

The third time I put on the Thundershirt, Homer was receptive to it. Usually when I put something on him he gets nervous and will act up. This time, he knew what it was and let me do it. When it came time to put him in his usual spot, he went along without the fuss. When I came home a few hours later, he didn't feel the need to rush around like a banshee. He was excited but was calmer than without it.


I recommend the Thundershirt if you have a dog who suffers from anxiety. It's a smart solution because there is no medication needed and it gives the dog the extra security they need. It's priced at $36.00USD which isn't much considering there are other dog clothes that cost much more.

Where To Find It

You can find this shirt at the website.

Let's Discuss!

Does your dog suffer from anxiety? What methods do you use to help relieve anxiety?

Related Posts

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Superbowl Funday

This year's superbowl was the largest event ever watched on television yielding 111 million viewers in this country alone. Part of my plan for the day was to take the dogs to the dog park. I found this dog park that was a half an hour away and took all three dogs there. I had done this as part of Subaru's Dog Walk Event.

A New Adventure

Going to the park, I was in for a treat. There were two fenced in areas for dogs. One area was for smaller dogs and the other was for larger dogs.

We first went to the smaller dog area and the dogs were having a great time. They were on their

own and could roam around at their leisure. At the large park next door, there were about 5 or 6 Siberian Huskies. Since Cookie and Homer could be better socialized, I took them from the smaller dog area to the larger area 10 minutes later.
Homer Investigating The Park
Gigi was thrilled to meet new friends. Homer was excited to have a new territory to sniff. Cookie however, wasn't coming in any time soon. I gave her time to come in on her own, but when one of the other dogs darted out, I realized that I would have to pick up Cookie and carry her in. Cookie didn't seem to mind and stayed by my side the entire time.

Big Vs. Little

Since Homer is very unpredictable in how he reacts with other dogs, I watched him very closely. Siberian Huskies are extremely playful dogs and they can be a little bit on the rough side. In Homer's case, this is ideal because he tends to be that way when he plays with Gigi and Cookie.

He was good for about 20 minutes and then he fear kicked in and he tried to start a fight with an older husky. I immediately told him that we are going home and put on his leash. As we were leaving there was a little Scottish Terrier mix coming in.

I held Homer back since he was in his mode. Sure enough Homer was barking to let that terrier know who was boss. I then let Gigi approach to say hello. Gigi is one of those dogs who loves everyone, so I knew there wouldn't be any issues with her. It turned out there wasn't.

Heading Home

Believe it or not, the hardest part of my dog park visit was getting the dogs ready to go back home. Once we got to the car, I noticed that both Cookie and Gigi had a bunch of snow caught in their fur. Since their hair is curly and long, it took me a while to get everything out.

Once we got home, the difference in the dogs was well worth it. Homer was much calmer and the girls seemed to be enjoying their quiet time as well.

Let's Discuss!

Do you take your dogs to the dog park in the winter time? How did your dog's partake in the Superbowl festivities?

Related Posts

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Family Adopts Dog Of Fallen Soldier

Photo of Eli from the Department of Defense
On December 5th of last year, Marine Pfc Colton Rusk was killed by Taliban sniper fire in Afghanistan. When he was shot, his explosive detection dog, Eli, climbed onto his body and lay on him to protect him.

His family only met Eli once before while Colton was in training. During the time Colton was in the Marines, he formed a very strong bond with Eli. Eli is the second working dog in the Marine's program to be adopted to a family. Colton always said that "Whatever mine is his." In this case, Eli will enjoy his retirement by living with his parents, older brother Cody (22) and younger brother Brady (12).

Let's Discuss!

What are your thoughts on this news story?

Read More About It

If you would like to read more about Eli and his new family, check out this link.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Mighty Blizzard Of 2011

Chicago isn't the first city this year to have a serious blizzard. (New York had it pretty bad last month). It is a city that does have its fair share of snow each year. So far, we've had over 19.5 inches (49.5 cm) of snow in 36 hours, and there is more to come. This blizzard ranks as 3rd largest in 126 years.

The storm was so strong, we actually had "thundersnow". What is it? I never knew it existed until I heard the weathergirl on tv saying how the snow was accompanied with lightning. This actually made the snow fall heavier. For me, it's not the snow but the wind that's blowing it all over the place. I don't expect to be out driving until tomorrow. Many motorists have been stranded and needed to wait until they were rescued by first responders or law enforcement. Others lost their power and are now waiting for Com Ed to get it back up and running.

As for the dogs, I was able to take them out in the front for a little bit. Cookie delighted in all the snow and took a major snow bath. Gigi was just happy to be walking and Homer was perplexed by it all. Later though, Homer got his adventurous streak going and ventured out into the back yard.

Thankfully, the snow is supposed to stop by this afternoon. Here are some pictures that I took with my cell phone. For all of you who live in the Chicago area or have had equally daunting snowstorms, be safe and warm. For those of you who don't have to worry about snow, you're very lucky, and I hope you stay safe too.

From My Front Door
Homer Debating His Next Move

Homer The Gopher

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

All About The Snow Baths

Today, we are expected to have two feet (.6 meters) of snow in the next two days. One thing Cookie loves to do is take snow baths. She'll roll over in the snow. I'm not sure if she does it because she's hot, or she finds it's a great way to scratch her back. Whatever the reason may be, she loves her snow baths.

Let's Discuss!

What do your dogs love to do when there's snow?

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