Archive for the ‘Guest Posts!’ Category

Happy Heartworm Free October!

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

If you give your pets their heartworm preventative medication on the first, it’s the first!  And, as a friend pointed out, if you do not…it is still the first. :)

Happy October!

GUEST POST!!!! By Russ

I am kind of spoiled.  Shawn (Dr. Finch) takes such amazing care of our pets and keeps really good track of what they need and when, including the heartworm stuff.  I can do the stuff like fill water and food dishes, open the door to let them out or in, play tug with Joy, give lots of pets.  I can do stuff like build scratching posts or steps up to the bed.

I cannot keep track of medicines.  I always have leftovers from prescriptions and can’t get the concept of “daily”  vitamins or taking pills as prescribed, and that is for me!  I am amazed at how my awesome vet and wife can keep track of our pet’s health needs.  I am glad that she does it.

But today, Shawn went to work.  Then we had a birthday party.  At a bowling alley/arcade/laser tag/noisy/crowded place.   Followed by a sleepover.  With cake, ice cream, candy and hyperactive 9 year old girls.   So, while we are both kind of drooling and not focusing our eyes from the party, I have more energy right now.

This is what the party feels like: *

So I am reminding you to do your heartworm preventative stuff now, then I am going to do ours.  I guess that what is important is that someone remembers to do it.   Shawn remembered and may need to help me figure it out, but I can do this…I think.

Today’s Checklist:

Noodle the Poodle – Wormshield tablet

Joy the Puppy – Wormshield tablet

See full size image

* Permission granted to repost images from Hyperbole and a Half with the website link included.  How cool is that??  Thank you so much!  We appreciate it ALOT.

Unconditional Love?

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Please welcome one of my very favorite people and pet bloggers, Jana Rade!  Jana has a great blog, Dawg Business, inspired by her gorgeous Rottweiler, Jasmine.  Those of you who know Jana need no introduction, and those of you who do not NEED to visit her blog!  It is full of great stories and information.

This is a response to a post by another of my Favorite People, Edie Jarolim, who wrote on her also excellent blog, Will My Dog Hate Me? about Frankie and his unconditional love.

What do you say?  Does your dog love you unconditionally?  Is it crucial that he or she does?  Is anyone going to put in a good word for the cats? Would they care if we did or not??

Thank you so much Jana!  Great post!  And I will never, ever get tired of the gorgeous pictures of Jasmine!

Unconditional Love or Not?

Do dogs truly care about us or is it just a myth?  Does their meal take priority over our immediate needs?

In her article What’s Unconditional Love Got To Do With It? Edie Jarolim wrote, “While Frankie is eating, for example, I could be lying on the floor bleeding and not get any attention until he’s done.”

OK, I agree with Edie that nothing in this world is unconditional. I think that the question really is how much we really matter to our dogs.  Do they care about us more than about themselves?

Unlike cats, dogs are social animals and are programmed to care about the members of their social group.  They are genetically predisposed to care.  Is it just a question of survival or does it go deeper?

I believe, that like humans, each dog is an individual and any generalization will take us only so far.  The first time we met Jasmine, she immediately stole our hearts, and not just because she was unbearably cute.  The puppies were on a porch, contained in a kiddy pool.  The walls of the pool however weren’t high enough to prevent them from climbing over in order to come and check us out. All except one, the runt of the litter, who was too small to conquer the giant wall.  As the other puppies noticed that their little brother could not make it on his own, they returned to his rescue…some pushing, some pulling, until they got their little buddy out of there.  They cared.

Jasmine is eight years old now and she never stopped caring.  Every time somebody is in trouble, she’s in there like a dirty shirt.  Be that a member of her human family, her house mate, her friend or a complete stranger.

She’s there every time hubby hurts himself doing one silly thing or another, and it happens often enough.  She’s there every time we pull out the nail clippers and her house mate JD runs hiding under the desk.  She’s there every time somebody is really sad.  She’s there every time I sneeze—OK, that one I can’t figure out because nobody else’s sneezing means anything but mine does.

One time we were out swimming and throwing a tennis ball for Jasmine to fetch.  There were other dogs and other tennis balls there also.  Jasmine was swimming to get her ball when one of the other dogs breathed in some water and started coughing.  Jasmine immediately turned around and started swimming towards him.  OK, I have no idea whether she had a plan what she was going to do when she got there, but she was on her way.  Luckily the dog recovered.  Only when she saw he was going to be fine, she turned back after her ball.

When we were on a walk with one of her occasional buddies, we met a lab who started picking on him.  Jasmine was right there to defend him, even though they met each other only from time to time.

When hubby’s colleague got fired and was all distraught, she came and sat beside her until she calmed down.

Hubby used to like tickling me but he cannot do that any more.  Because all it takes is one yelp from me and Jasmine is right there, “whatcha doing?”

The signs of distress might be obvious or subtle, she will pick up on them and she will be there.  And yes, she’ll be there even if she was eating, digging or doing anything else of importance.  If I’m taking a shower and stay in the bathroom longer than usual after the water stops running, she’ll be there.

One thing I know for sure, she cares. And I know that she cares more about others than her meal, treat, dig or interesting smell. I know, because she shows it all the time.

I know that we mean more to her than food or fun.

I know that if I was lying on the floor bleeding, she’d be there.

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.

Marvin the Golf Caddy Dog

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Please welcome the newest Riley and James guest blogger, Abby Finch!

Abby’s wonderful teacher gave her the book Marvin the Golf Caddy Dog for Christmas.  When we were reading it together, we noticed the shelter in the book looked very similar to the Nebraska Humane Society and had its logo.


We confirmed our suspicions with Abby’s teacher and friends from the Nebraska Humane Society that the author is indeed from Omaha.  In fact, he had given the books to the school to give to the kids.  Our friends at the Nebraska Humane Society suggested Abby review the book, and here is what she has to say…

What was the book’s title?

Marvin The Golf Caddy Dog.

Who is the author?

Harold R. Mann.

Who are the main characters?

Marvin and his best friend, Ted.

What is the book about?

Marvin’s owner didn’t like him so he left him on the street, which made me mad and sad, and then Marvin found a golf yard, and then he made a new friend named Ted.  Marvin helps his friend Ted play golf, but one day Marvin gets caught and ends up at the Humane Society, then Ted rescues Marvin.

Did you like the book?


Why?  What did you like about it?

I liked it because I like dogs.

If a friend or sister or cousin asked you about the book, would you recommend they read it?  Why?

Yes, because it is a good book and I want other people to know about it.

How many stars would you give this book?  5


Blogathon 2010 – Repetition, Redundancy and Routine

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

From one of my favoritest people ever…Su Smith.  Thank you Su!  I love this one!


Sometimes when I’m talking to a client I hear myself saying something I’ve said a blue million times a purple million ways and wonder, “Is the glazed look in this owner’s eye just my imagination?”  I try to be considerate and not keep telling people things they know, no matter how important it is to remember what our ancestors passed down to us–stock phrases to throw at our children like “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and “A stitch in time saves nine.”

The reason I am saying this is because it is sometimes in these “Why do I bother?” moments that a big “THAT’S why!” slaps me in the face.  Today was such a moment.  Here’s how it happened.

For a winter day it was pretty hopping. I like to whine about how busy we get, but I really do enjoy working up front when it’s hustle time.  Not only did we have four new clients bring in animals (which takes more time and concentration but what fun!) but had the full run of appointments and purchases and emergency surgeries and of course BOARDERS!  While so many things that happened today were so very bloggable, from the vet almost being eaten whole (“Not sure I can hold him down, Doc!” to vaccination allergy (“…her nose is swollen…” “Please bring her back *right now*!”), this mundane tale is about a boarder:  a perfectly healthy little dog being dropped off for a few nights with us.

For dogs to board with us, we require three vaccinations:  some kind of DHP combination vaccination, the legally-required veterinarian-administered rabies vaccination, and this little trick of a vaccination known as bordetella (AKA Kennel Cough).  The client wasn’t complaining about her otherwise up-to-date dog needing to be vaccinated for KC (as our whiteboard shorthand calls it) but simply had that classic, “Why?” look on her face.  I launched into my standard spiel about KC being airborne and very contagious in a kennel environment and how it’s not typically life-threatening but is a total pain to treat.  I even threw in my old story about how I was ready to throw my dog out the window when she caught it and kept me up night after night quacking like a hoarse duck.  The “That’s enough” nods began as I was explaining that we hadn’t seen a case in a while, but that they do pop up on occasion.  IAs she left I had that “Why did I ramble on about a disease that pampered pup will probably never encounter when I could have been entering these other clients into the computer or filing or something?”  An appointment was next in line and I went back to see about an empty exam room.  A tech said, “Room One is empty but don’t put anybody in there yet.  I have to clean it really well first.”  Of course I’m thinking parvo or an expelling of some egregious bodily something, but she says, “Kennel Cough.”

I’m sure I babbled something incoherent about just having talked to a client about that but I was really thinking, “For real? I’m not just talking and talking for no reason?” and of course “I’d better get them checked out and out of here fast!”

It’s not like we don’t see these diseases and parasites we babble about in our sleep.  We really do.  Some are rarer than others, though, and we begin to think, “Is that really something I need to push?” and suddenly there it is, staring us in the face saying, “That’s exactly for what I was waiting.” (No dangling preposition, Dr. Finch!)  We stop emphasizing that heartworm prevention isn’t just a one-time deal and BANG! three positive heartworm tests in one week.  We stop reminding people that their dog is at risk for leptospirosis and POW! a report of a kennel tech dying from caring for a lepto-positive pet.

So, if I begin one of my spiels about something you’re totally savvy on, it won’t hurt my feelings if you say, “I’m familiar with that.”  But if there’s something you don’t understand or aren’t sure you heard correctly, please ask me!  If I don’t know I will find somebody who does!  I want to help you keep your pet safe and happy.  If you have lettuce between your teeth, I’ll tell you that, too!

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥

Blogathon 2010 – The Ninth Blogger Shows Up and Says Things Wise Beyond Her Years

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Hi! I’m Amanda, and here are the reasons I think Bradyn should get a dog:

  • Dogs are the best animals around. Everyone deserves to have one.
  • Dogs really help people when they need it. Sometimes (sadly) people are too busy mistreating their own dogs to even notice.
  • Everyone pitched in to post every hour for 24 hours, or donate money, or just help.

I hope you’ll help, too. 8)

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥

Blogathon 2010 – Smokey Dog

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

And now a word from our Pastor…Scott Christiansen is the Senior Pastor of Westwood Church in Omaha.  He is one of my very favorite people, a great leader and great man of God.  I have known Pastor Scott since I was in high school and he was the youth pastor at Westwood Church.  I asked him to write a guest post and kind of begged him to mention his super cute, super sweet dog, Smokey.  Turns out it’s all about Smokey Dog.  YAY!  Thanks Pastor Scott!

What I Have Learned from Smokey

For almost 8 years now one of my best friends in the world has been an 18 pound miniature schnauzer named Smokey.  Like all friends, we enjoy spending time together.  And like all friends we learn from each other.  From me, I’d like to think, Smokey has learned about the importance of outside bathroom habits, of avoiding being caught in chairs he is forbidden to be on and that the middle of the night isn’t a great time to want to go out.  But I’ve learned far more from him than he from me.  In fact from Smokey I’ve learned:

1.  That it is the little things in life that are the most important. Smokey typically accompanies me every morning when I drive my sons to their schools and he never fails to get excited, I mean REALLY excited about going.  When I get tired of the routine that is a part of everyone’s life I remember that Smokey savors every moment, every action, even the ones we take every single day.

2.  That naps are some of the best things in the world. Smokey is an expert napper and, by my count, sleeps most of his day way – interrupted by fierce moments of affection and play.  Not a bad way to live.

3.  That saying hello is better than saying goodbye. Smokey often only gives me a sad look when I leave the house without him but when I return he jumps up and down – eagerly demanding that I stop what I’m doing and take 5 minutes to say hello.

4.  That sometimes the best thing to do with a friend is just sit together. Smokey never reads when I read.  We don’t talk…much.  Smokey is completely uninterested in television or the newspaper.  But while I’m doing any one or two of the above Smokey likes to sit at my feet or beside me on the couch or even on my lap – just sitting.  Being close is enough for Smokey.

5.  That God loves me. God’s creatures sometimes come with fur and sometimes with skin but we are all gifts to each other.  I believe with all my heart that Smokey is a gift to me from God who knows me well enough to know that I have a space in my heart that only a dog can fill and loves me enough to want to fill that spot with a friend like Smokey.  I know Smokey won’t trot beside me forever but I also know that even when it is his turn to go back to God he won’t really leave because he will live on in my heart.

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥


Blogathon 2010- Two Halves (of a Black Lab) Make a Whole, Right?

Saturday, November 13th, 2010


Russ Finch, my super awesome husband, agreed to write a guest post for Blogathon 2010, and instead of (wisely) waiting till two am when I will be tired and ready for a break, I am putting his post in NOW because I love it (and him…and not only because he always says “yes, I suppose we have room for one more pet!”)

from Russ…


I’m pretty sure I will always have a cat.

I’m pretty sure I will always have a poodle.Benji with baby Amanda


These are two realities that I never envisioned before I became the husband of a veterinarian.

Now, here I am with one cat – Max, currently one poodle – Noodle, a guinea pig – Piggy, a gerbil – Princess, a rat – Wuzzy and two lab mixes – Ebony and Joy.  We have had three other poodles, one other dog, four other rats, an iguana, briefly had a snake, have fostered one dog and many baby kittens, borrowed birds and even a goat.  I do not live on a farm.

When I was a kid, our neighbor had Labrador Retrievers, trained as hunting dogs.  They would have puppies every couple of years and I begged my mom for one each time.  My mom, sensibly, said that we already had two dogs so there was just no way we could have more pets.  So, I decided that when I was a grown-up, I would have a lab.  No other pets necessary.

Our first pet as a family was Max the cat.  Shawn said we should adopt this cat from Iowa State, where he was a blood donor for the vet school hospital.  I said no, I want a lab, not a cat.  See, the cat we had growing up would not predisposition anyone to having a cat.  She was not nice and I have a scar on my upper lip to prove it.  I am allergic to cats. I am a dog person. You can’t play fetch or tug-o-war with cats. They don’t learn tricks.  Dr Finch said please.  Well, Max has been with us ever since.  He is the best cat I have ever known and will always be the pet that I am most attached to.

Next up was a dog.  Now, poodles are about as un-Labrador as dogs get.  Old poodles with no teeth especially.  Dr. Finch, in her first year of practice, met this dog, Benji.  He would come in with his nice little old lady (that’s who owns poodles you know) and jump into the doctor’s arms.  He was a very nice little poodle.  Of course, this nice lady came in with Benji and sadly declared that he would need a new home when she had to move into a nursing home.  I said we could make some fliers.  I said we could ask around.  We knew some little old ladies at church, maybe they could use a poodle.  I said we had to get a house, then we could get a dog (Lab, not Poodle).  Dr. Finch said please.  Benji was part of our family later that week.  He was goofy and loveable, but not too cuddly.  That is until our daughter Amanda was born.  Benji, like in the picture above, wanted to be as close to his baby as possible.  He was this amazing little dog that will forever be in my heart as a part of our family.

These two pets came into our lives as a young married couple and have been such an integral part of our lives.  I cannot picture a world without Max or Benji.  Sometimes I am afraid of the precedent that they set.  Dr. Finch still says please and I still can’t resist.  Sometimes I am more susceptible to pet acquisition than she is.  Luckily, Max will not allow any permanent cat additions and Omaha will not allow more than the three dogs we have, and I have a great prescription allergy  medicine for the cat, rat, dog, piggy, etc. allergies.  We joke about our zoo with each other and with our friends.  It can be kinda fun to see people’s reactions to our list of pets.  All of our pets have been unique and amazing.  Each pet has had tremendous influence on our lives.  Each pet we have lost over the years has been missed, mourned and remembered with love and joy.

Bottom line: I will always have a cat and I will always have a poodle and I will probably always have way too many other pets too.  The bonds that we have share with our animals have greatly enriched our lives.  I am proud to be a part of this blog-athon and proud of the work that my wife, Dr. Finch, is doing.  The cause here is to raise money for Bradyn to acquire an epilepsy service dog.  Service dogs take this bond that we have had with our pets to a whole different level.  It is my hope that he meets his “Max” or “Benji” very soon.


Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥

Guest Post – Noel Olson

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010





For all dog lovers

I’m Noel and my most favorite animal is dogs. I personally like all dogs, but my favorite kind is the Labrador Retrievers, or labs for short.

My two dogs Coco and Chanel are labs. Coco is a black lab, and Chanel is a yellow lab.

If you get a dog you must give it food twice a day and give it plenty of water and exercise. Don’t ever pull the dog’s ears or tail, that will hurt your dog very bad. Train your dog very well and when you are done you are in a world of laughter and happiness. By Noel Olson

Winter in Nebraska

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

It’s winter in Nebraska,

the gentle breezes blow,

seventy miles an hour…

at 25 below.

Oh how I love Nebraska,

when the snow’s up to my butt,

I take a breath of winter

and my nose gets frozen shut.

The weather here is wonderful,

I guess I’ll hang around,

I could never leave Nebraska…

I’m frozen to the ground.

(written by the awesome and talented Janna Richards, Licenced Veterinary Technician and Pet Sitter Extraordinaire, January 9, 2010)