A Rebuttal

April 14, 2015

Excellent article that debunks some myths about positive-reinforcement training. Clearly written and backed by science (with citations).

Mutt About Town - The blog

Earl1Disclaimer: I am a force-free trainer and do not use pain, intimidation, or fear to modify dogs’ behavior. The following is a rebuttal to Gary Wilkes’ article titled “Modern, Scientific, Positive Dog Training and Dirty Little Secrets.” For brevity’s sake, this post will only focus on the first six points of his article.

While full of myths that pervade current dog training culture, Wilkes’ statements simply do not hold up in the court of science.

“Let’s pretend for a second that you are a positive trainer who uses methods based on science. That is a pretty big club. It’s also a pretty handy business strategy. For one thing, it differentiates your style from “those other trainers,” who are assumed to be un-positive and unscientific. It also implies that you are more educated than your competition and have diligently studied learning theory – the science of behavior as accepted by behavior…

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Emergency Veterinary Assistance

September 21, 2014

Hi Everyone!

Wow, it’s just been forever since we’ve posted on here, and let me be the first to apologize for our disappearing act. We’ve definitely been here, behind the scenes, doing what we do. I promise to post a couple of update posts about all of that shortly. PROMISE!!

iStock_000019396834XSmallLately we’ve been getting a lot of requests about veterinary help for people whose dogs have been injured. These are people who want to keep their dogs but don’t know where to turn for help.

Puggles & Pitties is definitely not in a position to pay for vet care for dogs in need, but there are many resources out there and several websites that have created summaries about where to go for help. Here’s some information to get you started in your search.

First Things First

1.  Check with your veterinarian.  If there’s anyone who understands you and your bond with your pet, it’s the doctor who has seen the care you provide on a regular basis, not just during emergencies. Can they offer a “friends and family” discount? Will they accept a payment plan?

2.  Care Credit.  If your vet can’t work with you, try applying for Care Credit. This is a credit card that is specifically to be used to cover the expenses of medical care, be it a veterinary bill, a new pair of glasses for yourself, or a sudden trip to the ER for your son who almost landed that killer 360 on his dirtbike. Because it’s a credit card, it can be used as payment at any medical facility that accepts credit cards. If you use a doctor who “accepts” Care Credit, they may have additional financing options available when you use the card. In our experience with Care Credit, we’ve never been told that someone doesn’t accept it, as it really is just like a credit card as far as the medical establishment is concerned. Find more info about Care Credit at http://www.carecredit.com.

3.  Borrowing money from friends and/or family.  Only you know whether this is an option or not, but if it is, don’t overlook it.  Hand-in-hand with this topic is the idea of crowdfunding. There are many websites that will allow a person or organization to create a “campaign” asking for money for just about anything they want/need. People then decide whether to donate to that cause or not. Some of these sites include FirstGiving, Indiegogo, CrowdRise, and YouCaring.  If you have a lot of friends/followers on social media that are also animal lovers, this may be a good option for you. The idea behind these campaigns is that if you have 500 Facebook friends and they all donate $2, you’ve just raised $1,000 toward your cause. In order for this to work, you need to have access to those contacts who may be willing and able to donate. If you create the campaign in hopes that random people will somehow find it and decide to donate, it is most likely not going to be a successful campaign.

Do A Little Digging

With the help of the internet and my best friend, Google, you can find a plethora of organizations that will help people with emergency veterinary expenses. These organizations generally have guidelines as far as who they will and won’t help (based on breed of dog, type of medical care needed, where they are in their fiscal year, etc). The guidelines don’t always make sense to people who are desperate for help, but they are usually there because of the organization’s charter, not because they’re trying to be difficult or because they don’t want to help you. Read the guidelines carefully, and only apply to those that are truly applicable to your situation.

Here is a small sampling of the sites you’ll discover simply by Googling “veterinary expenses” or “veterinary assistance.”

The Pet Fund:  http://www.thepetfund.com

Red Rover: http://www.redrover.org

HSUS informational site:  http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/trouble_affording_vet_care

Animal Friends Rescue informational page: http://www.animalfriendsrescue.org/financialassistance

BFAS informational site: http://bestfriends.org/Resources/Financial-Assistance-For-Pet-Guardians

Pet Insurance

This is a good time to mention pet insurance. Policies range from emergency care to comprehensive care, and cover the gamut of things from car accidents to routine vaccinations. Premiums vary based on the amount of coverage you elect. We ALWAYS recommend that adopters purchase an emergency policy at the very least. It’s one of those things that you hope you never have to use, but if/when you do, it’s a really good thing to have, and can remove a lot of the stress of an unexpected vet bill. Google “pet insurance” to see what options are out there. Ask your vet if they accept any pet insurance; that might be an easy way to determine the company that’s best for you. Remember – you need to have the policy in place BEFORE you need it!

Don’t Give Up!

When your beloved pet is faced with a medical emergency, it’s very natural to panic when you see the initial estimate of care. Take several deep breaths. Let the vet know of your financial hardship. If you know you can cover part of it, let them know what you can cover and see if they can take whatever life-saving measures are possible within that range while you work on finding the rest of the money. They don’t want to see you lose your best friend any more than you do and will usually do whatever they can to help you and your beloved family member.

Every now and then, we need some good news. Today a picture showed up on our Facebook wall that we decided needed to be shared.

You may remember our post about a sweet pittie with a broken pelvis who needed a foster. You can find it HERE.

This is one of the pictures we were provided from when she was visited at the shelter:

injured pittie

Stevie Nicks the shelter dog

Here are some pictures her amazing family has taken since they adopted her:

This is what it’s all about.  Enjoy your sweet life, Stevie Nicks the Super Pittie!

Follow Stevie’s adventures on Instagram: @StevieNicksThePit

(Thank you Anna & Sarah for sharing your girl with us!)

Elderbulls Melt My Heart

November 12, 2013

…and maybe my common sense too!

Saturday night as I was sitting on my sofa, watching a movie and randomly checking in on Facebook, a photo came across my wall that made me stop in my scrolling tracks.

Kemo shelter pic

If that face wasn’t sad enough, the description was the final straw:

Kilo owner surrender because of the landlord?? You have had him 12 years and landlord problems?? He is so sad his info A4651183 please he is a senior, a pit bull and owner surrender Carson shelter.

A 12 yr old pittie was stuck in a shelter, turned in by his owner???  I could not imagine it. Who would do that to a dog that had spent their entire lives with them? Whatever the situation, he needed out – NOW!  I checked the Carson shelter website to see what their adoption policies were. Some shelters have hold times even for owner surrenders. Carson does not. And he was already neutered, so in theory he should be able to go right away. I headed to Carson first thing Sunday morning!

At the shelter, it was clear that the poor guy had some major arthritis going on in his back, hips and rear legs. He also had skin tags all over his belly and a large tumor hanging from his penis.  Large in this case is about cherry tomato size. I could also tell he had a cataract in his left eye and the start of one in his right. He’s a BIG boy – 97.8 lbs! – and carrying all of that weight around had taken its toll on his poor body.  Judging by the scars on his elbows and knees, he had spent a lot of time sleeping on something less than soft.

He also reminded me of Rufus.  In fact, except for the ears, they’re almost identical!  When Rufus passed, I made a promise that I would take in as many compassionate care elderbulls as I could but this is the first chance I’ve had to follow through on that promise. There was no question, seeing him look so sad behind that gate in his kennel, seeing how much he reminded me of Rufus and remembering what an awesome dog Rufie was, this boy was coming home with me!

Once we got on the road, I decided it was time to change his name. His name had been Kilo, but there was no way in the world I was going to keep that name with all of its drug-laden history. Given his age though, I thought it would be best for the new name to sound similar. So as we’re driving down the freeway back to San Diego, I start going through the alphabet: Kibo, Kico, Kido, Kifo… finally I got to Kimo and I thought to myself “Wait, that means something!” Smartphone to the rescue, I was quickly reminded that Kemo Sabe is what Tonto called the Lone Ranger, and it means “Faithful Friend.”  EUREKA! It was perfect for this new sweet boy. So Kemo he became.

First stop for any new dog is the vet for a quick check up. We use a vet that is open 24/7 but evenings are considered emergency hours and rates are higher. We got to the vet after normal hours, so I decided to leave him there overnight so that the doctor(s) could examine him at their leisure. There was a long list of stuff I wanted them to look at, so I wanted to give them ample time to check him out.

Not an hour after leaving, they called me to say they believed he had bloat and needed to examine him right away. They also suggested that I come back so that I could speak with the doctor directly while everything was going on. I told them to go ahead with the xray of his belly that they requested and I was on my way.

The xray showed there was indeed a LOT of air in his stomach, and not much of anything else. The vet had gotten an xray that included part of his back too, and found that he had a collapsed vertebrae in his lower spine. Her best guess was that the pain from his back was causing him to gasp for air and also causing a decrease in his appetite. We needed to make him comfortable on super strong pain meds and administer antacids to reduce the air in his tummy.  She also wanted to run blood work to see if there was anything else going on, like with his liver, kidneys, and adrenals. The estimate she provided was over $1200!! Given his age and his physical condition, I had a really hard time justifying that expense, but he had JUST gotten out of the shelter and hadn’t even started his happy life yet.

kemo at vet

A friend mentioned to me that there were already some donation pledges on Facebook for him to the rescue that pulled him. I didn’t know anything about the pledges and I don’t ever consider them when deciding whether to pull a dog or not. I’m not in this for the money. But if any of that money actually came through, it would be a huge help in offsetting these costs. So I OK’d the treatment and then kept my paws crossed that he would be feeling better by the next day.

While I was at the vet, that same friend was telling people on Facebook about what was going on and everyone was asking for a YouCaring page. I hadn’t set one of these up before; I hadn’t done any major medical fundraising since ChipIn shut down. While Kemo and I were waiting for the results of his blood work, I set up a YouCaring page for him (smartphone to the rescue once again).  If you’re interested, you can find it HERE.

The blood work showed that he had some kidney issues, but the vet thought they were from his not drinking enough water lately. There were no liver problems that she could see. His glucose levels were a little elevated which was strange since he hadn’t eaten anything. The vet wants to recheck him for diabetes once he’s more stable. The results seemed to confirm her thought that this was pain-related, so we proceeded with the treatment plan she had outlined previously.

By the time I got home from the vet, the YouCaring was already up to $440!!!  HOLY COW! I was flabbergasted, truly. I was, and still am, incredibly grateful for every single dollar that has been donated. I thought I would be lucky to raise $500 altogether, but apparently word was really getting around about this sweet elderbull who needed a fighting a chance.

The next day, Monday the 11th, the vet called to say that Kemo was doing great!  The antacids were doing their job; the pain meds were doing their job; he was eating and drinking again; and he had a little spring in his step. I would be able to pick him up that night!

Now that he’s home, Kemo is even more like Rufus than I thought he was before. He gets along GREAT with all the other dogs in the house, regardless of size or temperament. He seems to particularly like Sophie just like Rufus did. He does seem to be housetrained, which is a bonus. He follows me around like a not-so-little shadow. He loves to lay on the sofa and just sleep sleep sleep. He tried to get on the big bed last night but at 98 lbs, I couldn’t help him get up that high so he had to make due on the floor. He has no interest in the dog beds whatsoever. He likes laying outside in the fresh air and sunshine. He’s a little camera shy, but so far I’ve managed to get a few pics of him snoozing away:

Since he takes up the entire sofa, guess who was sitting on the dog bed last night?

Somehow, the donations keep coming!  Kemo will require regular blood work to monitor his kidneys and his glucose levels. He’ll need to be on pain meds the rest of his life. And he requires a special diet because of his excess weight and his kidneys being slightly compromised. His final vet bill was just over $900. Anything donated over that will go towards his aftercare.

Kemo is a very special dog. He’s exactly what you’d expect from an elderbull – sweet, loving, docile, lazy (lol!). I look forward to helping him enjoy his final days, weeks, or months in as much comfort as I can provide him.

A lot of people have asked me why I pulled him. To me, it wasn’t even a question. I went to get him because he needed me to. He will thank me every day for the rest of his life, just by snoring loudly on my sofa every night.

We are SOOOO excited!!

From October 2 – 16, shop for your favorite (or soon-to-be favorite) “thirty-one” products and benefit Puggles & Pitties!! Our consultant is donating her entire commission to our rescue (25% of all sales)! You can even shop online, from the comfort of your home!

Here are some of the great items our consultant has created through thirty-one, which you too can make your own!

We have a dedicated shopping link. Any purchase made through this link will be credited to the Puggles & Pitties fundraising sale. Use this link to shop from any computer: http://www.mythirtyone.com/shop/eventhome.aspx?eventId=E3811344&from=DIRECTLINK

PLUS – each purchase enters you into a raffle for THIS fabulous dog park tote!

Visit our Facebook event for more great ideas and information:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/PugglesANDPittiesFUNdraiser/

Thank you for supporting Puggles & Pitties!


About our consultant: Michelle Salyers has been involved with German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) Rescue for the past 11 years. She is the founder of GSP Rescue New England and the Midwest Chapter of Mid-Atlantic GSP Rescue. Michelle lives in Ironton, OH and is a proud foster mom for GSP Rescue and a foster mom to special needs horses for Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue.

Michelle became involved with thirty-one products solely as a means to raise rescue funds. She facilitates 2-3 fundraisers per month, donating her full commission to each organization. Any proceeds from non-fundraiser sales go into Michelle’s personal rescue fund. She routinely assists “non-GSPs” from her local shelters. Having a separate rescue fund enables her to provide donations for medical treatment, spay/neuter, vaccines, pay adoption fees, and assist with special needs dogs in her community. If you make a purchase via a fundraiser, and “come back” to Michelle to make a future purchase, she will donate 5% of your purchase to Puggles & Pitties Rescue. The remaining proceeds will go into the fund to help needy animals in Michelle’s local community, and, the “mutts & mixes” (and special needs horses) she fosters each year.

Michelle “met” Puggles & Pitties founder, Kelly Gibson, in the days BF (“before Facebook”) as Kelly assisted Michelle with transports for needy GSPs. Kelly helped Michelle move GSPs from shelters to fosters/rescues in all parts of the United States.

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