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My Happy Ever After

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Black Dog Syndrome

December 31st 2009 4:04 pm
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Did you know that Black Dogs are generally the last to be adopted and are euthanised in shelters in much larger numbers? People may consider them too “plain”, think they are menacing, or simply don’t notice them because their dark color makes them disappear in their kennels. Those involved in animal welfare have dubbed this phenomena "Black Dog Syndrome." According to Wikipedia, Black Dog Syndrome is defined as “the low adoption and high euthanasia rate of black dogs in shelters. Black dogs are often the last to be adopted from shelters.”

MSNBC recently featured an online article that said just that. If you are involved in animal welfare this is not news to you. What IS news is that large media outlets like MSNBC and USA Today as well as publications like BARK Magazine and TIME are featuring articles on the subject. Websites such as Black Pearl Dogs also offer wonderful resources.

The public is typically unaware that black dogs face such terrible odds at shelters, and are shocked that these wonderful dogs are euthanised in such high numbers. To find out what you can do to help, visit or Better yet, visit your local shelter and adopt a Black Pearl dog today!


Are you a coward? I was, once...

March 12th 2010 10:09 pm
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Or can you suck it up, deal with it, and read the very important expose of the TRUTH posted by our friends, The Roo Crew.

It's titled "The Ugly Truth From the Eyes of a Shelter Worker". _crew_doo/660109

How many of us will see that title and pass over it quickly, because we know, we know, we know, but we just don't want to deal with it today.

Cowards. It IS the ugly truth--an ugly truth that every single person who has ever purchased a dog from a pet store instead of adopting contributes to. An ugly truth that I contributed to over 35 years ago when I relinquished my sweet black dog Annie to a local shelter when we moved from my in-laws into our first flat. G*d forgive me in my ignorance. Annie, please forgive me...

An excerpt:

"So how would you feel if you knew that there’s about a 90% chance that dog will never walk out of the shelter it is going to be dumped at? Purebred or not! About 50% of all of the dogs that are “owner surrenders” or “strays”, that come into my shelter are purebred dogs."

"The most common excuses I hear are; “We are moving and we can’t take our dog (or cat).” Really? Where are you moving too that doesn’t allow pets? Or they say “The dog got bigger than we thought it would”. How big did you think a German Shepherd would get? “We don’t have time for her”. Really? I work a 10-12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs! “She’s tearing up our yard”. How about making her a part of your family? They always tell me “We just don’t want to have to stress about finding a place for her we know she’ll get adopted, she’s a good dog”."

"Odds are your pet won’t get adopted & how stressful do you think being in a shelter is? Well, let me tell you, your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn’t full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If it sniffles, it dies. Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with about 25 other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it. If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers in that day to take him/her for a walk. If I don’t, your pet won’t get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door...and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose."

"If your dog is big, black or any of the “Bully” breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door. Those dogs just don’t get adopted. It doesn’t matter how ’sweet’ or ‘well behaved’ they are."

"If your dog doesn’t get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed."

The entire diary entry is very gut-wrenching. But, WE OWE IT TO THE 4 MILLION SHELTER DOGS KILLED EVERY YEAR TO READ THIS ENTIRE ENTRY. We who love dogs, we who cherish dogs, we need to remember those 4 million and do whatever we can to reduce that number. We need to keep this in EVERYONE's face. Only then do they have half a chance... I've learned the truth. I adopt. From shelters. Never again will I contribute to the killing. _crew_doo/660109

Read it. Copy it. Post it. Get it out there. Keep it out there. Give them a chance.


Dogster Poll has our backhair UP!!!!

April 16th 2010 8:06 pm
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The current Dogster poll has got our collective backhair up!

The question: If you could add another pet to the family, what would it be?

The first two answers:
- A wonderful rescue pup.
- A beautifully-bred dog.

Our question: Why not both?

Over 25% of dogs in shelters on any given day are pure bred dogs. Pure. Bred. Dogs. Or, as the poll so cleverly words it "beautifully-bred dog(s)". So how about SAVING a life and adopting your next "beautifully-bred" dog?

If you are leery of shelter dogs (and, as shelter dogs, we ask Why???????) you can contact any of the hundreds of reputable "beautifully-bred" Rescues across the United States. For info on breed specific rescues, go to, and click on Breed Info, select the breed you are interested in and then click on Breed Rescue for lists of breed-specific rescues by state.

So, again, we ask, why not both?
Why not adopt a "Wonderful, Beautifully-bred Rescue pup" and save a life?

Until there's NONE, rescue ONE!


Inquiring minds want to know...

July 20th 2010 7:48 pm
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We recently found that Dixie and Burt like to chew bully sticks. It gives them something to do that seems captivating, and helps with their dental hygiene. But, in the 30+ years we've had dogs, we've never given rawhide because of the possible obstruction danger if too big a piece is chewed off and swallowed. It seems that bully sticks are different in that dogs can gnaw on them with only little passable bits coming off at any time.

The question is, when do you take the bully stick away? When they've chewed it down to a couple of inches? Dixie and Burt seem to enjoy rolling the smaller pieces in, out, and around their mouths as they chew on it. Our concern is they might swallow a solid piece 1 or 2 inches long.

So, when should a bully stick be taken away? Or is a 1" solid piece swallowed nothing to be concerned about? Is it a good rule of thumb to take the bully stick away once they no longer have to hold onto it with their paws to chew it?

Inquiring minds want to know...


Black is Beautiful: A Celebration of Dark Dogs

August 14th 2010 4:21 pm
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We can't wait to get this book!!!! The Mom ordered it today, plus a couple extras for our Black Pearl friends. And the purchase benefits the SPCA/Humane Society of Prince George's County in Maryland. What a sweet deal!

From the press release:

Proving that basic black never goes out of style, and beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, now a new book is shining a well-deserved, long-overdue spotlight on the enduring beauty of the black dog. Black is Beautiful: A Celebration of Dark Dogs is a photographic tribute to these underappreciated gems. The author, writer-photographer Pam Townsend, is a volunteer with the SPCA/Humane Society of Prince George’s County in Maryland.

By her count, Townsend has lived with black dogs for 17 years. “Of course, I’ve always thought my dogs were beautiful,” she says, “and it never occurred to me that other people wouldn’t think so.” But when she learned of the tragic plight of black dogs at animal shelters, she decided to create a special tribute to them. That was black dogs’ lucky day: Her book is an 8-inch-square, 72-page tome guaranteed to bring beauty and elegance to any coffee table. Remember, basic black goes with everything!

“My goal is to get people to look at black dogs differently…to appreciate their attractiveness and diversity and to give more thought to adopting a black dog if they’re looking for a new fur friend,” the author concludes.


Of course, WE know that Black IS Beautiful. Preachin' to the choir here... BOL


2 Black Setters

September 1st 2010 6:32 pm
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2 Black Setters. That's what the caption read underneath the picture of one of the only black dogs on the Adoption Event poster that I saw today.

2 Black Setters didn't have one of the several 5x7 photos and chatty descriptions about how Barkley loved his chew bone and knew how to roll over.

2 Black Setters didn't have a prime spot on the Adoption Event poster covered with pictures of Wilson, Bobo, Hurley, Belle, Maggie, Duke, Nellie, Beau... 2 Black Setters was tacked to the bottom left corner, held on by a staple.

2 Black Setters didn't even have a name... and one wonders what happened to the other Black Setter cut out of the picture?

I saw this Adoption Event poster in a well-known pet supply store in Chicago's trendy and posh North Loop area. So sad. You think they'd know better...

Black Dogs DO face deadly discrimination because of their coloring. Find out more at Save a life. Make your next furry friend a Black Pearl dog.


Liver Testing - Round Two

August 23rd 2012 8:47 pm
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So, excitement abounds in our household. After going three years with fairly healthy dogs (knock on my wooden head) Burt's last bloodwork showed he had two elevated Liver enzymes. That, along with a couple of other factors, made us suspect Cushing's disease for Burt, but now with Dixie also showing one elevated Liver enzyme, who knows?

Today Burt and Dixie visited Doc for the Bile Acid Test and the ACTH Stimulation Test. Both involved multiple blood draws which, according to D&B's "Report Card" from the vet tech, they tolerated fairly well.

The Bile Acid test will allow Doc to see how well the liver, bile ducts and blood flow to the liver are functioning. The ACTH Stimulation Test is considered diagnostic for Cushing's 80-95% of the time. But, it won't tell us if the Cushing's is adrenal or pituitary based. That would be the next step. The results will be back on Monday, but we're going to wait until Doc is back in the office to talk with her--Wednesday 8/29--so we can ask our questions.

So we start yet again on the merry-go-round of Vet visits. We are blessed with a Doc who saved WINston's life when he was poisoned by Nutro/Menu Foods back in 2007. If anyone can help us give Dixie and Burt a good quality of life for the longest possible span, it's her.

Paws crossed (and a little POP wouldn't hurt). We're going forward, thinking positive thoughts and doing what needs to be done--step by step. No time to worry. No time to grieve. They're both still here, taking up most of the king-sized bed and bringing joy to our lives. We'll take that any day.


Mixed Results

August 29th 2012 6:10 pm
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So, the good news is the Bile Acid was normal, which means the Enterohepatic Circulation-gall bladder to small intestine to liver bloodstream to liver to gall bladder-is functioning well. The bad news is some odd readings on the ACTH Stimulation Test. So, even though Cushing's is still possible, it's moved down on the list. Yeah?

So, instead of going with the Low Dose or High Dose Dexamethasone Suppression Test (another blood test), we're going to have ultrasound done to look at the liver and the adrenal glands. Actually, it will be a full internal organs screening. Doc will have to get it scheduled with the specialists, possibly for Wednesday of next week or the week after.

Staying calm. Never thought I'd say this, but I hope it ends up being something that they ate that did some damage, but has now flushed out of their system. The liver, over time and with supplements, can heal without any invasive surgery. Marvelous organ, the liver.

Paws crossed.


nekked bellies

September 5th 2012 9:55 pm
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Dixie and Burt came back from their trip to the vet today with shaved bellies! I don't know why we were surprised--it stands to reason when you think of how they do ultrasounds on humans. Stripped down, bare skin, gooey gel between the skin and the scan-head. So, the fur had to go.

The techs and Doc saw no signs of shrunken adrenal glands, no obvious tumors, no malformations of the liver. Burt's liver did look a little large to the technicians, but as Doc put it, that could be because he's just chunky. We will have a specialist "read" the ultrasounds, just in case something was missed. It's looking more and more like D&B may have ingested something that damaged the liver. So far, great news (in a twisted sort of way).

How's that great news, you might ask? The liver is a most wonderful organ. Given time and supplements, it can heal and be almost back to normal within four to six months.

That's our hope. Paws crossed.


we saw want we wanted to see...

October 22nd 2012 9:37 am
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Well, Dixie had her follow-up with the ophthalmologist this morning. Apparently we saw what we wanted to see the other day when we thought we saw reaction in her eye.

Even though Dixie's eye is less swollen and is more comfortable, her eye is still non-visual and her pressure is actually slightly worse. So, the meds helped with the Uveitis, but did nothing for the Glaucoma.

We've added another medicine to the mix, having Urine Blasto Antigen testing done, and are going to have the abdominal & thoracic xrays and ultrasound repeated, looking for the systemic disease or neoplasia that's causing the Glaucoma.

And so it goes...

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