Monday, April 30, 2012

When Letting Go is the Only Decision You Can Make

The most difficult decision I ever made was to let Casey go last December.  Quite simply, it broke my heart, but it was the best and most humane decision for her, even if it was horrific for me.

With the help of my amazing family and kind and compassionate vet, we said goodbye to my beautiful, fluffy baby girl on Dec. 19th, 2011. I had vowed never to let her suffer, never to let her become infirm or pathetic or listless or just simply alive just to keep her in my life. It was tough and I cry ever day because I still miss her something fierce. But even that is better than watching her become more vacant and uninterested in everything around her, like eating or playing or going out for a simple walk down the street.

I cherish all the beautiful fun memories I have in my head and in my heart of our 13 and a half years we had together. R.I.P. Casey Jane.

As difficult as all of this was for me, I know I’m not alone in the things I’m feeling. That’s the difficult part of loving a dog: their spans are simply not long enough and, sadly, there’s a good chance that one day, you’ll have similar decisions to make. The upside is that there really is help out there. For instance, I found this article to be both soothing and practical and it may be able to offer help to those of you faced with this awful decision. When the time comes, think about it: are you keeping your pet alive for your own benefit or do they have real quality of life as these precious babies deserve?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Flea & Tick Alert: this Season May Be A Bad One!

Spring is springing. And while we don’t yet have the warmth we’d like for this time of year, it’s heading this way! And then what happens? Flea and tick season.

This is an engraving of a flea

 from Robert Hooke’s 1665 
Micrographia. Goes to show you: 
some things never change!
You may have already heard that veterinarians are predicting that we will have an extremely bad flea and tick season this year. Why these predictions? Because across the country we experienced warmer than usual weather this winter. Not here in Vancouver of course, but over a lot of North America the typical winter freeze never happened. This means that fleas and ticks will emerge from their dormant life cycles much, much sooner.

This is not good news of course, especially when you consider that even just one flea can lead to a full flea infestation in no time at all. Did you know that an adult flea can lay 15 to 20 eggs per day and over 500 in her lifetime. At this rate one flea in your home can become a full-fledged flea infestation -- imagine fleas on your pet, in your carpets, sofas, clothing and even your bed... totally unacceptable and totally gross!

The only way to protect your pet is to treat them with a flea and tick preventative medication. I also know that many people are against flea prevention or medications because of the chemicals involved and while I appreciate that sentiment, I don’t take the chance that my dogs won’t get fleas and I do treat them. Both my Bichons are highly allergic to flea bites and the resulting biting and scratching themselves raw is not an alternative I can accept.

There are natural remedies out there and I would love to hear back from our readers about any of these that really work. I do bathe both my dogs with organic shampoos that are full of essential oils like lavender and citronella that are supposed to help repel fleas and they smell wonderful.

Is your pet on any type of flea medication yet? If not, please do not let your precious pet go another day without protection! A single flea can bite your pet more than 400 times: whether you go the medication or naturopathic route, act today and give your dog the protection they deserve from this nasty predator.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Gardeners Beware: Don’t Let Beauty Hurt the Beloved Beast!

Who doesn’t love a beautiful garden? All those wonderful sights and smells and for those who love to get their hands dirty, hours spent gardening can be almost as fun as those spent walking their dog. But, all that beauty and outdoorsy activity aside, beware! Though gardens may be healthful and beautiful to us, they can present a very real health hazard to your pet.

As with all things regarding your pet, safety must begin with you. When choosing your plantings, take a little extra time to be certain you’re not selecting plants that can be harmful -- even poisonous! -- to your pet. Not sure what those plants are? The list is startlingly extensive and includes some that are very common in these region including the bulbs of Amaryllis, Autumn Crocus, Daffodil, Day Lily, Gladiolas, Hyacinth, Iris, Lily of the Valley, Narcissus and Tulips.

Growing in the garden itself, beware Cyclamen, Hydrangea, Poinsettia, Charming Diffenbachia, Christmas Rose, Flamingo Plant, Foxglove, Morning Glory, Nightshade, Onion, Tomato Plant, Tropic Snow Dumbcane and though you probably don’t have it growing in your garden, Marijuana is poisonous to dogs, as well.

For a very good working list of plants toxic and non-toxic to dogs and other animals, check this one at the ASPCA web site.

While it’s important to choose pet-safe plants for the areas your animals will spend time, don’t stop there. While many lawn chemicals are actually not harmful to pets, remember to stay aware while choosing them: better to be certain now than sorry later. And don't forget other things like fertilizer, snail bait and other items you might use in your garden.

With a little care you will make sure that the little oasis you’re creating in your yard will be safe and enjoyable for your canine friends as well as your human ones!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Walking the Walk: LOAL Pooch Walking Brigade Will Face Changing of the Guard

After several wonderful years referring our Love on a Leash clients to Penny’s Pampered Pets for dog walking, we’re sad to share with you that both Penny and her sister Christy will be leaving the industry to pursue various other interests as of April 27th.

Not only are we sad, we know that the many canine pals that Penny has made at the end of a leash will be, as well. For her part, Penny will miss them, too. “This has not been an easy decision to make,” Penny says. “I will greatly miss caring for all of the four-legged furry little ones I have grown to love over my past 12 years as a dog walker.” She adds that she is hoping to continue with overnight dog care thru Love on a Leash in order to continue seeing some familiar faces. Penny says that she and Christy anticipate missing all of her clients, as well as “the sweet little faces we have grown to love over the past few years.”

While it’s difficult to express how very much we’ll miss both Penny and Christy, we wish them well with all of their future endeavors. We’ve been sworn to secrecy, so we won’t divulge what’s at the bottom of this move, but we can’t help but share that Penny’s decision comes from a very happy place and we send her love and good wishes, as we know you will, as well.

The silver lining for us is that the very passionate and loving Gillian Dunn has stepped up to try to fill what we know are hard to follow shoes. You can read more about Gillian on the Meet the Team page on the Love on a Leash web site, but let me just say that Gillian has all of the passion, smarts and knowledge you’d expect from the person you trust to walk your best friend. Gillian's direct contact information for dog walking is available on our website.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

You and Your Dog at Easter

If you’re looking for a super fun Easter activity that you can share with your dog, here’s a great possibility for those in the Vancouver area: Three Dog Bakery is sponsoring an Easter Begg Hunt at Suter Brook Village in Port Moody. The hunt begins right at noon on Saturday, April 7th so those who wish to participate are being asked to come no later than 11:45 that morning. A modest $5. registration fee will give you and your pooch the chance to sniff out over 2000 dog-appropriate Easter treats. For more information, you can call 604-469-3647.