Archive for February, 2011

Signing Off…

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Losing Ebony has been difficult.  I am going to take a few weeks in Real Life and just deal with that.  And by deal with that I mean sleep.  And mope.  And take turns saying to Russ “Are you ok?” and “Do I look ok?” and bugging the girls about how they are doing.

Saturday I will post another short story about the human-animal bond.  These have been fun.  I think I will try to write them more often.  The Saturday Blog Hop is a great time to fit them in cuz they just take a second to read and you can hop to the next blog.

This one has Russ in it so I am going to get his permission before I post it.  I rarely ask his permission for anything, but I do try to ask people or at least give them a heads up if I am going to say anything other than “This person is super awesome,” which he is, by the way.  I figured I could at least extend him the same professional courtesy I extend to others.  And also, I try not to do anything Important without running it by Russ first.

We are a good team.  The hitch comes when we are both going through the same difficult time.  Still, it has been so good to have someone who loved Ebony like I did to be with.

Next up after the Short Story is that series of leadership articles written for veterinarians.  I am going to try to fit them all in before March.  I posted the first and my favorite at dvm360 today…

A Dramatic Wellness Exam

I will put the other seven here on Riley and James.

Then March 1 – Heartworm Free Celebration and hopefully by then I will be done with the Veterinary Economics 25 Leadership Books Series and can tell ya what I thought.  (So far I love it!  Less than two books to finish and the last one JUST came in the mail a few minutes ago – woo!)

Then hopefully I will be back to random celebration of preventative care in real time.  It’s what I love best about this site.  But when real life hits, you kind of get dragged through the hard times with me.  I love that you are here, but I do not want to share to the point of discouraging you.  Fuzzy and Wuzzy and Piggy and Ebony were such wonderful pets.  Losing them as little individual family members has been horrible, but having them pass away one after another in a matter of three months has been staggering.  I SO hope I have no news for you when I come back to sharing in real time mid-March.

Here is what I plan to say:*yawn*  Well, that’s better.  Gotta plant garlic and potatoes, then I will be back to write some super helpful veterinary preventative care information and stories for you…

Happy End of Winter…

Hope it is boring for you and your pets in the best possible ways.

Ebony Dog

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

As a puppy, she chewed every shoe that was not closeted and everything else she could reach.

To her dying day, we could not leave her alone with a trash can because she would tip it and scatter-chew-eat the contents.

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When Amanda was one and Abby was not yet born, we had Max the Cat and Copper Dog at home.  We went shelter-hopping for a Black Lab.  If she had been a boy, we would have named her Tod.

She got kicked out of puppy class for being too rambunctious.

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She once knocked a full crockpot onto the floor and she and Copper Dog ate all the chicken and all the bones and drank all the sauce before we got home.  Neither got as much as an upset tummy.

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By the time she was seven, we had taught her not to jump on people…except my Dad.  She was just so happy to see him, she would forget every time.

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She could open almost any door.  She broke out to run.  A lot.

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She could not open doorknobs.  Every doorknob in Mom and Dad’s house has Ebony bite marks on it.

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We have never lived near a busy street because of Ebony.

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When she would escape from Mom and Dad’s house, we knew we were not fast enough to catch her, and she was too in the moment to hear us, so we would just watch her bound through the corn/soybean field.  She was so beautiful when she ran.

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She chased squirrels and bunnies, including the neighbor’s pet bunnies in their hutch.

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She trampled the gardens of the neighbors in her pursuit of bunnies.  More than once.

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If she was awake, her tail was wagging.

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She had such a deep, menacing bark that no one from UPS or FedEx would come to the door.  She made every single mail carrier jump except Tall Sexy Mailman.  If he wasn’t delivering the mail, she didn’t want them on her porch.

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She used the same bark when she was happy to see someone.

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She escaped Mom and Dad’s house once and barked her happy-to-see-you bark at their neighbors…from their porch…while they were inside trying to come outside.

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They were so scared they called Nebraska Humane Society and when the officer arrived at Mom and Dad’s looking for a black dog at large, Mom and Dad’s four-pound Ernie Dog came running out and barking, trying to take the heat for her.

Ebony got a dog-at-large ticket anyways.

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I forgot to pay it.

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A warrant was issued for my arrest.

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I went to the police station to ask them what I should do.

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I got arrested – mugshot, fingerprints, everything.

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She and I were eventually pardoned.

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She was a good dog.

Ebony, I do not know what my life looks like without you in it.  I am not ready to figure that out, and we were not ready to say good-bye.  Our family has always been you and us.  But…we will deal with all of that.

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You run.

The Perfect Dog Nobody Wanted

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Guest post by Russ…

They said “You don’t want that one. She is afraid of everyone and will roll over and pee on herself every time you get near her.”  But I knew they were wrong.  I knew when I saw you through the glass, lying in your kennel.  I had been waiting to meet you since I was eight years old, almost twenty years.

Gary across the street had Black Lab hunting dogs and had puppies every year.  Of course, we already had dogs, so I never got one of those puppies, but I vowed that when I grew up and had a house for my own dog, I would come find you.

They said you spent the first few months of your life roaming the streets of New Mexico and probably would not be very social.  I knew they were wrong and we asked to meet you anyway.  You came in the room and the pound caregiver was holding her breath as she dropped the leash.  You did not roll over and pee or cower, but for the first time of ten thousand you came up to me and put your head under my hand and pushed up to be pet.

She was shocked, wondered out loud why you were acting that way.  I think you were waiting for us like I was waiting for you.  You nosed Shawn, you gently peeked at baby Amanda and you sat down on my feet while I pet your ears.  Everyone knew you had found home and we had found our beloved friend.

Maybe it was the New Mexico streets or maybe just your need for speed, but you ran and explored whenever the urges got to you.  You would wait for the door to open and dart past, then run like the wind.  You never went to the close highway and always came home, but not right away or at our command.  You just needed to run.  We accepted that and went to dog parks and to Chalco Reservoir where you could run safely and we worked on coming back to the sound of a whistle.  You would come for the treat, but not to be done running.

Later it was the bean field behind Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Freedom to run and bounce through the field.  We all laughed at the black head and back popping up out of the beans every few feet.

In our new house, the first project was a fence to keep you in the yard.  You were the fastest dog I ever knew, underestimated by some unfortunate rabbits and squirrels, and you never outgrew the love of running.  Still, from the first day, and wherever we moved to, you knew where home was and when to come back.

Well, I figured that our new Lab-Mix puppy would love to play fetch and pick up on it pretty fast, but you just looked at that ball with all the apathy you could muster.  I periodically would try fetch with you again, maybe with a ball or another toy.  Eventually, maybe five years later, you humored me by fetching a stick a few times, but it was never your thing.

Lab-Mixes ought to love the fact that my parents lived on a lake.  You weren’t afraid at all, but you looked at me like you were saying “Why would you make me go in there?”  So, water was not your thing either. I would joke with people that you were a Lab that didn’t fetch and didn’t like water, but it was never a big deal to me.  We weren’t going to hunt anyway.

Of course, when we met you, we had a baby girl at home.  We wondered if having a big puppy, a big dog, would be safe for Amanda.  From the first time you nosed her, you were the most gentle and patient dog I had ever met.  Amanda grew and was soon grabbing your face, pulling ears, climbing on your back, taking handfuls of fur or tail as she learned to “pet” the doggie.

Then it was her baby friends on play-dates, then her sister Abby.  You never snapped, you never growled, you never knocked them over, you never even whined a complaint.  Maybe you sometimes pleaded with you eyes, but always with a wagging tail.  Unless a kid had hold of it anyway.  You loved your kids as much as we all loved you.

Then much later, Joy the puppy tested that patience again.  It seemed like you relished having another baby to play with.  Joy followed you incessantly and copied your every move.  She walked like you.  She would lay down by you and look to make sure she had the position just right.  I know that she sometimes annoyed you, because, well, she’s Joy.  You were like the mother she probably never knew, and you once again showed your patience and love.

I miss the way you put your head under my hand to be pet.  I miss the thump of your perpetually wagging tail.  I miss the happy noises you made- like Chewbacca.  I am so sad that we didn’t have more years together.  I know heaven is a bean field full of bunnies and running without getting tired and that Jesus has his hand out for you to push up on and be pet.  I will always miss you because I always wanted you and loved you.  You were the perfect dog that nobody wanted.  You were our dog, the one we wanted and loved, our Ebony.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 11th, 2011

I have always loved the “M” that Max has on his forehead, you know, for Max…

But now look what I found!  How cute are these guys??

And one more from I Can Has Cheezburger

Yet ANOTHER cute cat

“Today is a day invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.”

-Joel Barrish, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I have always loved Valentine’s Day, even before I knew my super-hot husband.  But then, I love candy hearts and valentines with stupid jokes and the like.  I love the cheesy, today-red-does-not-clash-with-pink grade school maturity level fun of it all, which…um…you may have suspected.

Here are some thoughts WAY outside of my veterinary expertise…

If you base your love (or hate) of Valentine’s Day on what your existent or non-existent significant other does to make it epic, you may be disappointed.  But if you base your love of Valentine’s Day on more permanent things, like the admiration of your PET, or even whether you can find cute photoshopped penguins on the internet, you will NEVER be disappointed.  It’s the whole house built on sand/house built on rock thing, on a much sillier, superficial level, which is where I think Valentine’s Day fits best.

The Best of Weeks…

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Ebony Dog was recently diagnosed with immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA), actually by the numbers, a pretty mild case.  A visiting “doctor” even said, “She can’t be too sick, her tail is still wagging.”  I said that that was not a sign of the severity of her disease, it was a sign that she was awake.  That’s Eb.  She has always been happy.  She started out nine years ago as Russ’ puppy, but she has been my anchor ever since.

Before she could say Hey, Cardiff, guess what?  Me too! she developed respiratory complications – some difficulty breathing  – from the IMHA or an as yet undiagnosed underlying cause or an unrelated disease – yesterday.  She is scheduled for thoracic radiographs – chest x-rays – at 7:30 am.  I woke up just now and thought “Oh, good!  She made it through the night,” and got up to get ready to take her in.  *sigh*  It was 1:00 am.

She seems to be doing much better right now.  yay.  I have no idea if I should post this.  This is supposed to be a fun gathering space for pet lovers, not a place to balance a great week with depressing stories.  That has been my theme this fall and winter, and I do not like it.

So here is my “The Best of Weeks…” part of the post.  Liz Marsh of Firstline wrote an article…

Top 5 Veterinary Blogs

…and included the Riley and James Website.  Thank you Liz!  Thank you Firstline!  Thank you DVM360!  Thank you Other Bloggers.  I think you are all awesome.  That was my bright spot of the day yesterday.

Oh, and here is another short story…

I hate mortatity.  I love my dog.

And…I WILL post this, AND my Valentine’s Day post.  I can already sense people getting depressed about Valentine’s Day.  You sure didn’t need my sickie dog story on top of this weekend making it worse.  Here’s to a happy Valentine’s weekend.  And here’s to Eb’s happily ever after.  We are both going back to bed, and I will let you know in the morning what we find out.

Ebony Dog

Ebony Update 2/12/11:

Thoracic radiographs were taken (right lateral, ventral-dorsal, left lateral if needed-it was not)

My radiographic interpretation:  Oh wow.  This sucks.

Ebony had evidence of metastatic neoplasia throughout every lung field – cancer that had spread from a still undiagnosed primary lesion.  Russ met the girls and I and we had her euthanized.  She could not breathe, but her tail was still wagging.

Yeah, it was that fast.

In the day since we lost Eb, my radiographic interpretation has been confirmed.  This sucks.

Thank You Banfield Charitable Trust!

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

In January 2011, Banfield Charitable Trust approved a grant request from Nebraska Humane Society to support their Guardian Angel Foster Care Program, which allows pets who need extra care (very young kittens and pups, pets who need extra socialization and the like) to be fostered until they are adopted.


In the past, Banfield Charitable Trust has supported Nebraska Poodle Rescue, Nebraska Humane Society’s Camp Kindness and Nebraska Humane Society’s Guardian Angel Foster Care Program (Remember Zoo Kitten?) as well as SO MANY other great pet causes across the country.  Thank you Banfield Charitable Trust! You could not have chosen a more wonderful organization to support than Nebraska Humane Society.

On behalf of all of the pets and families you are helping, this kitten who has graduated from the Nebraska Humane Society Guardian Angel Foster Program and is now in her forever home would like to say a word to the wonderful people of Banfield Charitable Trust as well…



You Say It’s Your Birthday…

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Happy Birthday Sal!  Happy Birthday Rhonda!  Happy Birthday A.C.!


Anyone else?  February 4?  Best day of the whole year?

cake that Rhonda’s niece and our co-worker Abby Vadnais made, 2009

Last year on my birthday, I posted fun links to songs and veterinary posts I love. I think that is an excellent tradition.  And “Second Annual” always sounds more legitimate than “First Annual.”  So…

Second Annual Riley and James February 4 is Awesome Day

Happy Birthday Friends!  May you be spoiled to just this side of rotten as I always am by my wonderful family, and may this be the best birthday in your whole life so far.

And everyone else…my birthday is awesome because of you.  To say THANK YOU…here are some fun links…

Cat Herding

This video is still hilarious!

They Might Be Giants – Older

My favorite “birthday” song!  The cartoon version is gone.  *sniff*  Puppets scare me, except Muppets, which, of course, are awesome.  I will ONLY watch other puppets if they are associated with TMBG and singing a TMBG song.

*3/21/11 update – I just found the “official” TMBG video and put that in the link.  Trying to be careful about that sort of thing.  I would be embarrassed if TMBG showed up at my door and arrested me for linking to an unauthorized video…but then I would get to meet them.

Prolific Studios


…and finally, a super cute picture of a piglet with a heart spot…Oh yeah!  I’ve got more where that came from!  I will post the rest of my favorites for Valentine’s Day!

I realize this entire post is bold, centered and in difficult-to-read colors.  Imagine that you took me out for a birthday dinner to one of those restaurants with crayons in glasses – Now move my water glass away from my left elbow and whisper to the other adults, “Let her continue!  She’s being quiet and she seems content!”

(Thanks!  I am.)

One More Reason I Will Never Stop Telling You How Awesome My Fellow Veterinarians Are

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

I realize I may be creating a guinea pig vortex, with no opportunity for us to escape, by linking to a Piggy-post about a Piggy-post, but it is a risk I am willing to take to tell you what a nice thing Dr. Patrick Mahaney has done.  And really, would a guinea pig vortex be so bad?  I think it sounds kind of fun.

I also want to say how great you all have been in supporting us through the recent loss of Piggy the guinea pig.  I really appreciate the circle of veterinarians and Normal People I have been blessed to get to know here.

Dr. Mahaney has a great veterinary website that his dog Cardiff helps him with.  I will not tell you my favorite part, because I think you should go look around the entire website and not miss any of it.  (You are right!  My favorite part is Cardiff’s Blog.  That dog is super cute.)

Yesterday Dr. Mahaney dedicated a post to Piggy.  I realized things are turning a corner for me a bit when it made me smile and not cry.

Thank you Dr. Mahaney!  I think you are great.

Memorial for Piggy the Guinea Pig

Happy Heartworm-Free February!

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011


If you give your pets heartworm preventative medication on the first…it’s the first!

Heartworm Preventative Medication

The following is a list of prescription medications available in varying combinations and permutations from your veterinarian.  (If you see any I missed, let me know and I will add them!)  Getting the weight-based dose and species correct is super important AND your veterinarian has your pet’s medical history which could impact which preventative is ideal.  So please get your veterinarian’s input in choosing which medication is best for your pet!

The brand names are listed first, with the active ingredient against heartworm disease in parenthesis.  Many of these medications also protect against other parasites.  I can add that information too if you would like!  You really only need to know which meds YOUR pet is on, but isn’t veterinary information FUN??


Heartgard Plus (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Iverhart Max (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Tri-heart Plus (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Wormshield (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Interceptor (milbemycin) – monthly oral medication

Sentinel (milbemycin) – monthly oral medication

Trifexis (milbemycin) – monthly oral medication – new!

Advantage Multi (moxidectin) – monthly topical medication

Revolution (selamectin) – monthly topical medication

Proheart 6 (moxidectin) – sustained release injectable medication, given every six months (a form given every twelve months, Proheart 12, is available in Australia and parts of Asia)


Heartgard (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Interceptor (milbemycin) – monthly oral medication

Advantage Multi (moxidectin) – monthly topical medication

Revolution (selamectin) – monthly topical medication


Heartgard (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

My checklist for today:

Ebony Dog – Wormshield tablet

Noodle the Poodle – Wormshield tablet

Joy the Puppy – Proheart injection

Max the Cat – topical Revolution

Princess the Gerbil – no prophylaxis needed*

*Since Princess is not susceptible to heartworm disease, she, Max and Joy get snacks since Ebony and Noodle get oral medication so as not to feel left out, which they would all argue is MORE important than having a heartworm-free household.

Potentially Helpful Links…

#barkoutloud Heartworm Discussion Notes

Heartworm Disease on Riley and James

(This one was written when I treated the dogs seasonally and poor Max the Cat not at all – now I treat everyone year-round!)

Heartworm Disease and Omaha Pets – Wuzzy Chronicles

American Heartworm Society Website

Coming Soon to The Riley and James Heartworm Series!

March 2011…Safety of heartworm preventative medication – Is it safe to give my Collie heartworm preventative medication?  Why is Joy the Puppy getting Proheart but not the old dogs?  Are some pets developing heartworm preventative medication resistance?  Are there valid drug-free options for preventing heartworm disease?  If you have other questions or concerns, let me know, and we will address those too!

(Do not wait until next month’s post if you need to know the answers to these questions now – ask me or ask your local vet – do not worry about spoiling the surprise!)

April 2011…How do these medications work?

May, June, July…I have not planned that far ahead!  What do YOU want to know about heartworm disease??  THAT is what we will talk about!