Friday, December 27, 2013

39 Ways To Not Kill Your Best Friend

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher, Smith Publicity Inc., through NetGalley.com in exchange for this review. I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions stated below are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.
 
 

My Opinion Of 39 Ways To Not Kill Your Best Friend

I chose to read (Affiliate Link) 39 Ways To Not Kill Your Best Friend: Tales of Caution For Dog Lovers by Dr. Judith Samson-French because it sounded like your typical “how-to” book. Or maybe I didn’t pay nearly enough attention to the title. Let’s just say I was surprised by this book starting from the very first sentence: “It is with great love that I perform the act of killing.” Uh… what did I just get myself into?
This isn’t a biography of a serial killer, so don’t worry. Though the author has done her fair share. Dr. Judith Samson-French is a veterinarian with over 20 years of experience. Her book is a collection of dogs she has come across in her work that have died or almost died because of the actions of their owners. 39 Ways To Not Kill Your Best Friend is an emotional book that hits you in your heart right where the love of your dog sits. It’s that emotional connection that make the lessons stick. This book should be mandatory for all first time dog owners. It should be handed out with every dog adoption at animal shelters and given away with every puppy from the pet shop. Many deaths could be prevented if every dog owner read this book.
Some of the 39 ways you could kill your dog are relatively common knowledge, like don’t feed your dog chocolate, but there are even things for an experienced dog owner to learn. My favorite parts of the book were the science behind why certain things are so deadly to dogs. Dr. Judith Samson-French doesn’t just tell you not to do something (like feeding chocolate to dogs) she tells you why you shouldn’t do it. I don’t know about you, but no one shows me the evidence when telling me not to do something. They just expect me to listen blindly. Dr. Judith Samson-French’s 20 years of experience meant little to me, but her faith in the reader’s ability to understand and the belief the reader would be interested in knowing why gained my trust. This was important because she tackled many controversial topics.
When it comes to any type of parent, telling them how to raise their babies hardly ever makes you friends. This is true of dog babies, too. Dr. Samson-French tackled some of the most controversial topics headlong with anecdotal evidence and some scientific facts. A few of these topics, like the raw food diet for dogs and whether Fido should chew on bones or not, have been all over the internet recently. She also tackles subjects like dog breeding and doggy cosmetic surgery. Whether you’re for these or not, the facts she provides are something every dog owner should consider. The book would be worth buying if it just included these chapters and nothing else.
All in all, I'd give (affiliate) 39 Ways To Not Kill Your Best Friend: Tales of Caution For Dog Lovers by Dr. Judith Samson-French a 7.5/10. It was a great book and extremely useful but Chapter 10 was a little hard to read after eating. Plus, my dog babies were annoyed because I wouldn't leave them alone for a week in fear I'd accidentally kill them. I should probably bump this up to an 8.5 because for every book sale, dog food will be donated to dogs with no names on First Nations lands in Canada (where the author is from) but that has little to do with the quality of the book itself.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Meet The Bloggers Blog Hop

I've joined the "Meet the Bloggers" blog hop where you get to know the person behind the blog, not just our fuzzy friends. We're supposed to post a recent picture of ourselves and answer at least 5 questions. Here we go!


What's your favorite non-animal related book? I love classic novels especially those by Dumas but my all time favorite book is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I really wanted to name Princess, Darcy, but my husband wasn't fond of the name. He wanted to name her Oreo.

What's your favorite non-animal related movie? I have about 5 favorites but "Pride and Prejudice" with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen takes the cake.

What do you wish you were more skilled at? Lots of things. I'm a bit of a perfectionist so I get frustrated when I don't do things flawlessly. But I would love to be a better figure skater.

What's one thing you have to do every day? I have to take my medicine every day. I have Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. I have a feeling this question was supposed to be more lighthearted, though, so I guess I have to listen to music every day. I get grumpy if I don't.

What's your favorite holiday? It's a tie between Christmas and Valentine's day.

Other than blogging, what are three things you do that bring you joy? I love to read, I love to listen to music, and I love spending time with my two baby dogs. Doing all three at the same time? Even better.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Eulogy For A Childhood Pet: Freckles the English Springer Spaniel

We are gathered here today, 9 years late, to pay our respects to a wonderful childhood pet, Freckles the Springer Spaniel.

The Eulogy I Couldn't Give When I Was Twelve


We had Freckles for as long as I could remember. I'm not completely certain, but I believe my parents found him before I was born. Either way, there is not a moment in my childhood he wasn't part of our family.

When my sister and I were itty-bitty, we used to climb to the top of the slide while Freckles and our Doberman, Cherry, raced around the yard like missiles. We thought their behavior was both terrifying and hilarious.
Freckles the Springer Spaniel
Freckles (Photo property of Megan Folse)

Then Cherry passed away and Freckles was an only dog. Cherry had made it to 14 and Freckles was just a year or two behind. His age started to show. His dark, brown eyes turned milky from cataracts and his vision degenerated. Under his thick, white coat with large, brown spots appeared a couple of fatty tumors. If that wasn't enough, his hearing worsened. But his ears never changed. They stayed soft and curly and he never stopped loving a good scratch behind the ears.

The Last Two Years

Old age was merciless. In dog years, Freckles was about eighty; he was sixteen in human years. On top of the cataracts and tumors and the hearing loss, Freckles had arthritis. In the mornings I would give him a massage until his muscles were warmed up and he could move around. I became so proficient at doggy massages he would fall happily asleep in my arms and when I was done his liveliness reminded me of his younger days tearing through the yard. While massaging him I would rest his head in my lap and massage around his eyes, tenderly pressing his eyelids together so they looked like brown, fuzzy caterpillars. He loved that the most. It put him right to sleep.

One night Freckles had a stroke. He defeated death but the Grim Reaper took his ability to walk in a straight line. He only walked in tight circles. All day long he would spin and spin or sleep. His head hung so low to the ground and his ears were so long he sometimes tripped on them.

I spent plenty of time with Freckles during his last years because I was homeschooled.  He was gentle and loved attention. He was a silly Springer Spaniel; he was the family comedian mostly because he wasn't graceful. Before his stroke he pranced along like a short, waddling deer and he would often step on his ears while digging for gophers. His lips were often pulled back in a big, dopey grin especially when chasing the lizards that loved to warm themselves on the brick wall. He would run back and forth along the wall but they always ran higher than his short frame could reach.

I spent Freckles' last day on Earth taking care of him. It was a bright, sunny day so we stayed outside lying in the sun. I pet him for hours and hours. Because walking to and locating his water bowl was difficult, I brought his bowl to him and helped him drink. I would dip my hands in the water and bring my cupped hands to his face until he could feel the water on his whiskers. I will never forget that day.

The next morning I woke up like any other day but it didn't take long for me to realize life was changing forever. We lost an important member of our family. My parents told my sister and I that Freckles passed away in his sleep. He had another stroke but this time he didn't make it. My parents let us say one last goodbye before my dad took his body to the vet.

Saying Goodbye


My sister and I walked into the garage. Our eyes were already filled with tears and our hearts with grief. From the far end of the garage it looked as if he was in a deep slumber. Any second now he would hear us and startle awake. When I got closer I could see he wasn't asleep. There was no breathing. This staple of my childhood was gone. It's strange how having a pet can define your childhood and once they're gone, your childhood is gone. I knelt and pet him for the last time. I massaged his face like he liked but he was cold. He was as cold as the possum I once tried to rescue from a friend's pool. And he was stiff. He was nothing like the dog he had been the day before.  I loved him so much my heart felt like it would burst. I cried while I whispered "goodbye" into his ears, the ears that stayed the same through everything. "I love you Freckles".

That was 9 years ago, December 16th, 2004.

What I Wrote That Day

My parents did a great job handling the death of our pets. First with Cherry's death and then with Freckles. They involved my sister and I in the death process and even though I cry remembering this memory I will cherish my last goodbye forever. My mother also did something I am grateful for now, nine years later.

My mother encouraged my sister and I to write our favorite memories about Freckles and keep them with us. I still have the letter I wrote to Freckles and some of my favorite memories. I thought I would share them with you today.



My Letter To Freckles

Dear Freckles,
Tell Cherry we miss her and love her. I will miss you a lot but it is time for you to go. Sometimes you seem to not know who I am. When I die, tell Cherry and you to meet me at the rainbow bridge.
Your loving owner,
Megan

My Favorite Memories of Freckles

Once when I was very young, I gave Freckles and Cherry a wedding. I said to them, "You're married, so Freckles, you may kiss the bride!" They wouldn't kiss, so I kind of forced them to kiss by putting their noses together. It was pretty funny.

Freckles loved the water. He would go tubing with us. Once, Mom popped her tube and we had to go round and round trying to find our way back to camp. Freckles was enjoying the walk, but we weren't. We finally asked some stranger to take us back to camp. Uncle Bill got yelled at because my sister and dad were left behind.

Another water experience was at Leo Carrillo. We had just gotten Dusty and we found out that the sissy didn't like water. Freckles was running in the water getting soaked and sandy. We had fun. Mom stepped on some sort of bee called a Tarantula Hornet. (I think that's what it's called.)

His last day, he slept all day and I gave him water when he woke up. His tail wagged a lot. He had a great long life. I'll miss him, but he needed to go. I think that is why I don't feel as sad, because God took him in his sleep. He was happy almost all his life. If Dad hadn't found him, he'd be coyote food.

December, 16th, 2004


What is your favorite memory of your childhood pet?

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Howliday Spirit

Mixed breed puppy celebrating the Christmas holiday
We're getting in the howliday spirit over here!
Happy Wordless Wednesday! Princess and I got a little crazy playing with our pictures on PicMonkey.

We want to see your pooches decked out in howliday gear! Post pictures of your dog (cats are welcome, too) to our Facebook. And please subscribe to our RSS feed (right underneath our Top 3 Posts) so you know when new content is added. We have a very special post coming up on December 16th!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Doggie Wake-Up Call

I have a love/hate relationship with my free wake-up call system.

Adopt Now: The Free Wake-Up Call Included

At 6:28am I hear a whine coming from the corner of the room. I went to bed around 11pm last night so I'm not very cognizant. It's warm in bed and I'm determined to drift back to sleep so I snuggle deeper into my cocoon of blankets and bedsheets. I'm halfway to Dreamville when I hear another whine.

This time the whining triggered stirring at my feet. I feel a head pushing against me similar to the head that begs, "Pet meeeeeeee". I ignore it and pretend I'm asleep. If I keep pretending they'll leave me alone.

The head gets more insistent and a cold nose touches my face.

"Nessie!" I exclaim as I hide under the covers. That's exactly how I want to be woken up; a cold nose on a freezing morning.

I groan as Nessie keeps pawing at the covers to get at my face again. The whining in the corner gets louder as Princess gets impatient. She may be fine being in the kennel at night but as soon as morning arrives she lives up to her name.

To stop the pawing and the whining I drag my body out of bed, open the kennel door, and then rush both dogs outside.

I don't think I will ever get to sleep in again.These two are my state-of-the-art, complex morning alarm system. And even though I hate it, I wouldn't trade it.

Do your pets have an interesting way of waking you up? Let me know in the comments!

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013

National Mutts Day

Happy National Mutts Day! I thought I would share some pictures of my wonderful mutts in honor of this day. Purebreds may be nice, but I think mutts do it better.


But before I show you these pictures let me say you should see some pictures of me before we got dogs (I meant shouldn't). I will be nice and give you one (1) picture of me that accurately depicts life without a dog.
Am I not turtley enough for the Turtle Club?

I'm sure this picture is a good enough reason for you to head to your nearest shelter and pick up your new best friend just so you don't suffer a similar fate. Now back to the dogs.

Oh banana, how I love you!
Princess with wings
Nessie looking cute

Dusty doing yoga

Dusty and I- Best Friends Forever
Nessie was jealous and wanted to be held.
Once again, happy National Mutts Day and I hope you have a mutt or two to love.

If you have a mutt you love, hop on over to our Facebook page and leave us a picture!

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: They Ate It

My dogs learned how to climb on the table. They chewed up the paper my doctor wrote what blood tests I needed on.

They climbed the table and didn't go after the bowl of dog food!!! Now I have to go to the doctor and give the whole "my dog ate my blood test paper" excuse. Oh, and some good news... the doctor said my Lupus is in remission. Woot woot. (That's why there's a Lupus thing in the "related articles" section. It's linked to my Lupus blog.)

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Monday, November 25, 2013

20 Items On My Dogs' Bucket List

A while ago I started a bucket list for myself. On it are fun items like "Pet or feed a hippo" and "Visit Italy". I'm determined to knock off all the items on my list before I kick the can. My list gave me the idea to come up with a list for my dogs. Their lives are significantly shorter than the human lifespan and I want to make sure they had the best life possible.

Princess And Nessie's Bucket List

  1. Take the dogs to a dog park.
  2. Play with the dogs in the snow.
  3. Take them to a dog beach.
  4. Take them on a hike.
  5. Take them with me to the next Lupus Walk.
  6. Try out "Doga", dog yoga.
  7. Have at least one dog pass the Canine Good Citizen test.
  8. Go camping.
  9. DNA test the dogs.
  10. Have the dogs paint a picture.
  11. Watch a dog movie with them- Cry shamelessly.
  12. Help a shelter dog get adopted.
  13. Have a birthday party for Princess.
  14. Take the dogs stargazing.
  15. Fight breed discrimination.
  16. Take them on a long road trip.
  17. Finish housebreaking Princess.
  18. Get Nessie comfortable with baths.
  19. Teach them 1 useless trick.
  20. Teach them 1 lifesaving trick.

What's on your dog's bucket list?

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Nessie Got Spayed

I'm one of those dog mamas. The kind that carries dog treats in their purse even when they don't have their dogs with them. The kind that kisses their dogs right on the lips. I'm the kind that would move mountains to protect their dogs.

My dogs are my children. I'm also a new dog mama. I've had dogs my entire life, but none that I could claim as my own. And like all new mothers, I'm a worry-wart and a bit overprotective.

Because we are fostering Nessie at the moment, the shelter made an appointment for her to get spayed. I knew it was necessary, but seeing my dog in pain was awful. She is mostly recovered and is back to her old self. But the recovery felt like months instead of 5 days.

Day 1

It all started on November 14th. I drove Nessie through 15 miles of desert to a weather-beaten building. We arrived early, at 7: 45, and had to wait until they opened at 8 o'clock in the morning. I wasn't expecting to wait and had carried Nessie to the door. She's a 18 lbs, so by the time they unlocked the doors my arms felt like falling off. I was nervous. I had images of saying goodbye to Nessie while they put needles hooked to IVs into her. I imagined a cold, metal exam table and being ushered out the room so they could start the surgery. Thank goodness that didn't happen.

My parents' dog, Dusty, was fixed before we finished the adoption process. It was the summer before 6th grade and I had found him two days after the 4th of July. The day after his surgery we took him home to join our family and he peed in the car. It smelled like asparagus. But this time I didn't have my parents with me. It was my dog that I was taking.

Would she hate going to the vet from now on? Would she be angry with me for taking her to that mean place that made her hurt? How do I even care for a dog after surgery? I had a billion questions in my head and not a single answer.

I drove home after dropping her off and Princess and I spent the rest of the day playing and getting the house clean.

Princess and I posing for the camera
She even played a little Xbox with me.
Princess the Puppy plays Xbox with me.
Six thirty rolled around and I drove back across the desert to pick Nessie up. I couldn't stop the flow of thoughts floating through my mind. How would Nessie handle the bumpy road after her surgery? How would I get her in the car without hurting her? And how would I keep her and Princess separate for the next few days? 

When they brought Nessie out, I was amazed at how active she was. She was so happy to see me I knew my fears of her hating me were silly. I kissed her right on the lips in front of a room full of people and I didn't care. I had my Nessie back and she was okay.

We needed to keep Princess away, which was difficult, so we put Nessie's bed in Princess' sleeping crate and gently put her inside with her food bowl and some water. I was terrified of hurting her every time I had to pick her up. But she was an angel.

Nessie resting after her surgery
Princess trying to free Nessie from prison


Fast Forward

On the 17th, we let Princess and Nessie hang out for the first time. They still couldn't play too hard, but we let them roll around a little bit. Princess was so happy to have her buddy back. Nessie was less excited about the whole thing. Even after two very long walks, Princess was a too aggressive for Nessie's taste. She could often be found hiding under the bed, on top of the bed, or on top of the couch where Princess struggled to reach her.

Today they are best of buds, again. They've been playing for hours but their playing is notably more tame than it was pre-surgery. Thank goodness.

Did you have any pre-doggy-surgery worries that turned out to be just silly?

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