Sunday, March 18, 2012

Great Dane Friends of Ruff Love will "Ruff" you up...

It's rare I speak out against rescue organizations. I have known a few to do some pretty awful things to potential adopters that offended them for one reason or another, but in the big picture I tend to overlook those terrible few for the common good.

In this case I just can't keep my mouth shut.

I saw this post on the Facebook page for Great Dane Friends of Ruff Love:
"Our sweet girl Lillie is back with us in the absolutely no fault of her own. Inexperienced adopters.....she tore up some things in the house...they weren't willing to crate she has been used to. They also said she had problems meeting other dogs.....she was at Mass O Danes today with 10-15 others dogs and was great!!!! This is her showing how she feels about not being given a chance to shine..pppbbbbssstttt

She is available for adoption and is great with other dogs....loves kids and good with cats. She does need someone who will be patient to work with her on her shyness and insecurities when out in public but man is she a LOVE BUG!!!!"

So I posted and said somewhere along the lines of (paraphrasing because they deleted my comment) "it's terrible the adoption didn't work out, but slamming a family because of that is not professional...IMHO.

This was their response:
"...we have a very rigid screening process...unfortunately it is hard to screen for commitment and dedication. We were not "slamming" just putting truthful facts out there as to why she was returned so people would not think that there was something wrong with HER. And they did not try....they had her less than 2 weeks before giving up...they were told she needed to be crated...they decided they didn't want to. They were told of her personality and her past and that she would need time and patience....they didn't even ask for training tips...look at area trainers or even try to help her adjust. We have a whole pamphlet we ask adopters to read about rescue dogs and what they are getting into and on the application ask them to sign that they have read it and understand it. We have all of our dogs in loving foster homes. They are not kenneled, they live inside with their foster families and get as much love and training as they can possibly get! We give ALL of our orphans thorough evaluations before placing them up for adoption, so we know as much about their issues and needs as possible. You would be amazed to see the leaps and bounds they make in foster care, and you will be thrilled to see what they can do, given time, in your home.

That said, you will not have an instant “wonder dog” the day you bring them home. In fact, I will most likely take a MINIMUM of 30 days before they are relaxed and comfortable enough with you to let their “true” personality shine, and feel safe enough in your daily routine to start the bonding process."

Now this entire rant was after they admitted the adopters were inexperienced in their initial post and that this dog had some behavioral issues in the later post. Obviously their screening process could use some improvement, my suggestion to them on that was also deleted. I think that their public shaming of this adopter(s) was horrible, it was unprofessional and disappointingly immature. I hope they will consider the hypocrisy of their own behavior and consider a major change in their staff in order to avoid embarrassing the Great Dane rescue community. I myself have given uncountable hours and a great deal of donations in money and supplies to rescue, so I feel I have a vested interest and the right to a "voice" on this matter.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Goodbye to Figment

It is with a sad and heavy heart that I say goodbye to Mickey's little sister Figment. Most of you will remember her from this picture here:

Figgy was such a special girl, dainty compared to her oaf brother, but sure could give him a run for his money. She could rassle with the crazy boys, run rings around 'em.

According to her dad, Figgy was having cluster seizures that were causing brain, heart and liver damage.

My condolences to Figgy's family, her Mom, Dad, little brother, and soon to be sister. Please know that our thoughts are with you guys, I know Figment was blessed to have you as her family, and she blessed you all in return.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dr. Jean Dodds recommended vaccine protocol

Dr. W. Jean Dodds Latest Vaccination Schedule

Here is Dr. W. Jean Dodds' Latest Recommendation Vaccination Schedule for those of you who are interested.

Dr. Jean Dodds' Recommended Vaccination Schedule

Distemper (MLV)
Initial (e.g. Intervet Progard Puppy) 9 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 - 20 weeks
1st Annual Booster At 1 year MLV Distemper/ Parvovirus only
Re-Administration Interval None needed.
Duration of immunity 7.5 / 15 years by studies. Probably lifetime. Longer studies pending.
Comments Can have numerous side effects if given too young (<>Parvovirus (MLV)
Initial (e.g. Intervet Progard Puppy) 9 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 - 20 weeks
1st Annual BoosterAt 1 year MLV Distemper/ Parvovirus only
Re-Administration Interval None needed.
Duration of immunity 7.5 years by studies. Probably lifetime. Longer studies pending.
Comments At 6 weeks of age, only 30% of puppies are protected but 100% are exposed to the virus at the vet clinic.

Rabies (killed)
Initial 24 weeks or older
1st Annual BoosterAt 1 year (give 3-4 weeks apart from Dist/Parvo booster) Killed 3 year rabies vaccine
Re-Administration Interval 3 yr. vaccine given as required by law in California (follow your state/provincial requirements) [It's the same in WI]
Comments rabid animals may infect dogs.

Vaccines Not Recommended For Dogs

Distemper & Parvo @ 6 weeks or younger
Not recommended.
At this age, maternal antibodies form the mothers milk (colostrum) will neutralize the vaccine and only 30% for puppies will be protected. 100% will be exposed to the virus at the vet clinic.

Not recommended.
1.) Disease only affects dogs <6>Leptospirosis
Not recommended
1) There are an average of 12 cases reported annually in California.
2) Side effects common.
3) Most commonly used vaccine contains the wrong serovars. (There is no cross-protection of serovars) There is a new vaccine with 2 new serovars. Two vaccinations twice per year would be required for protection.).
4) Risk outweighs benefits.

Not recommended
1) Low risk in California.
2) 85% of cases are in 9 New England states and Wisconsin. [I still won't use this vaccine even though I live in WI]
3) Possible side effect of polyarthritis from whole cell bacterin.

(killed) Only recommended 3 days prior to boarding when required.
Protects against 2 of the possible 8 causes of kennel cough.
Duration of immunity 6 months.

Not recommended
Efficacy of vaccine unsubstantiated by independent studies

There are two types of vaccines currently available to veterinarians: modified-live vaccines and inactivated ("killed") vaccines.

Immunization Schedules

There is a great deal of controversy and confusion surrounding the appropriate immunization schedule, especially with the availability of modified-live vaccines and breeders who have experienced postvaccinal problems when using some of these vaccines. It is also important to not begin a vaccination program while maternal antibodies are still active and present in the puppy from the mother's colostrum. The maternal antibodies identify the vaccines as infectious organisms and destroy them before they can stimulate an immune response.

Many breeders and owners have sought a safer immunization program.

Modified Live Vaccines (MLV)

Modified-live vaccines contain a weakened strain of the disease causing agent. Weakening of the agent is typically accomplished by chemical means or by genetic engineering. These vaccines replicate within the host, thus increasing the amount of material available for provoking an immune response without inducing clinical illness. This provocation primes the immune system to mount a vigorous response if the disease causing agent is ever introduced to the animal. Further, the immunity provided by a modified-live vaccine develops rather swiftly and since they mimic infection with the actual disease agent, it provides the best immune response.

Inactivated Vaccines (Killed)

Inactivated vaccines contain killed disease causing agents. Since the agent is killed, it is much more stable and has a longer shelf life, there is no possibility that they will revert to a virulent form, and they never spread from the vaccinated host to other animals. They are also safe for use in pregnant animals (a developing fetus may be susceptible to damage by some of the disease agents, even though attenuated, present in modified-live vaccines). Although more than a single dose of vaccine is always required and the duration of immunity is generally shorter, inactivated vaccines are regaining importance in this age of retrovirus and herpesvirus infections and concern about the safety of genetically modified microorganisms. Inactivated vaccines available for use in dogs include rabies, canine parvovirus, canine coronavirus, etc.

W. Jean Dodds, DVM
938 Stanford Street
Santa Monica, CA 90403
310/ 828-4804
fax: 310/ 828-8251

Note: This schedule is the one I recommend and should not be interpreted to mean that other protocols recommended by a veterinarian would be less satisfactory. It's a matter of professional judgment and choice. For breeds or families of dogs susceptible to or affected with immune dysfunction, immune-mediated disease, immune-reactions associated with vaccinations, or autoimmune endocrine disease (e.g., thyroiditis, Addison's or Cushing's disease, diabetes, etc.) the above protocol is recommended.

After 1 year, annually measure serum antibody titers against specific canine infectious agents such as distemper and parvovirus. This is especially recommended for animals previously experiencing adverse vaccine reactions or breeds at higher risk for such reactions (e.g., Weimaraner, Akita, American Eskimo, Great Dane).

Another alternative to booster vaccinations is homeopathic nosodes. This option is considered an unconventional treatment that has not been scientifically proven to be efficacious. One controlled parvovirus nosode study did not adequately protect puppies under challenged conditions. However, data from Europe and clinical experience in North America support its use. If veterinarians choose to use homeopathic nosodes, their clients should be provided with an appropriate disclaimer and written informed consent should be obtained.

I use only killed 3 year rabies vaccine for adults and give it separated from other vaccines by 3-4 weeks. In some states, they may be able to give titer test result in lieu of booster.

I do NOT use Bordetella, corona virus, leptospirosis or Lyme vaccines unless these diseases are endemic in the local area pr specific kennel. Furthermore, the currently licensed leptospira bacterins do not contain the serovars causing the majority of clinical leptospirosis today.

I do NOT recommend vaccinating bitches during estrus, pregnancy or lactation.

W. Jean Dodds, DVM

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Mickey!!!

Can you all believe that our little Mickey turns 5 years old today?? 5 YEARS OLD!

When we began all of this, I never thought he would still be here with me at 5, let alone still doing so well. I have met so many dog owners through this blog, and I am thankful every day that I was able to help so many of them. Unfortunately there have been some that lost the battle and that tears at my heart every time I look at my little boy. I know we are lucky.


What makes me most happy is that Mick is living proof that Wobblers and Spondylosis CAN be managed, your dog CAN live a relatively full life. Mickey runs, he jumps, he plays, he does long walks in the forest preserve. Of course he gets tired more quickly than his brother, but he's a trooper, and you can really tell he enjoys the hikes!

Medically, I am not doing any supplements or pain meds right now. He VERY OCCASIONALLY gets 5 mg of Prednisone only when he's really wobbly. This seems to happen most during the summer and when his allergies are flaring up. He is still eating a raw diet, though now it is ground low-fat meats only due to his Pancreatitis. He also gets greens and starches mixed in to provide necessary fiber, that helps keep the Pancreatitis from flaring up. I massage his limbs and joints quite often, and we do stretches to keep everything limber. Mickey really enjoys this time together and will often bark from the "dog room" to let me know he's ready to be rubbed. :)

Thanks to all who have followed us almost the last 3 years, and to all of you who pass on Mickey's story to others who are struggling with how to treat their dogs' wobblers.

Enjoy the holidays!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sending a shot out...

A big HELLO to everyone, hope your 2008 is going well!

Mickey is still plugging along, can you believe it's been almost 2 years since he had it's gold beads done???? He is still doing so well, I can't say there there's been a noticeable improvement in the last year, but more importantly he is stable and can get around quite well.

Here's a pic of Mickey with his big brother Java, taken just this winter...

Thanks to all who have kept up with Mickey's progress! As always, please drop me a line and let me know how your babies are doing.

A special shot out to my friend Anthony. ;)

'til later!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Friday, June 29, 2007

It's almost July!

Where is the year going??? It's almost July already, geesh.....

Mickey is doing GREAT, allergies have been acting up a bit, but some days you can literally see the pollen and stuff floating through the air. It's been hot as hades here in Chicagoland, but finally the temp is starting to go down to a reasonable level. Today's going to be 78, now that's beautiful. The gold beads continue to do their magic, and I would have to say that Mickey moves better now than he has since he was a year old.

I'd like to send good thoughts out to Christina and Fenway, Fenway is going on Monday to get gold beads for his spondylosis. Let us know how it goes Christina!

The whole family is packing up next weekend for a trip to North Carolina, and on the way we're going to stop to see our friends Sherri, Taz, Cruiser, Spirit and Gus!!!! (Oh yeah, and Kevin, can't forget him :) ) Sherri and I have been friends for years now, but have never actually met in person, so this is really exciting for me! Turns out her house is about 1/2 way to our final destination, so we're going to stay overnite in her area. The drive is really too long to do in one day, the dogs would go crazy.

The cabin/house we're staying at is in the Blue Ridge mountains in the northwestern part of the state. It's on a Christmas Tree farm, it looks like there will be tons of land to wander about. We also plan to do a lot of geocaching, and spend some time combing the local mines for interesting gems and rocks.

I'm sure there will be LOTS of pics for me to post when we get back!

That's all for now, I'd love to hear from some of my regular readers, drop me a note or leave a comment!

Oh yeah, and I put links to Mickey and Java's Dogster pages at the bottom of the sidebar for anyone who is interested.

Now, some pics:

Mickey and my good friend Kristi, Mickey's hoping for a bite of her yummy pizza:

Java sitting in his favorite chair:

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Please everyone send good thoughts out to my friend Sherri who had to let her sweet Bella cross the bridge on Friday. Bella just had the Gold Bead procedure done by Dr. Durkes a few weeks ago, and the beads at first really seemed to be helping her. What they didn't know, was that Bella had another much more serious health condition, one that would a much greater effect on her well-being.

Bella took a turn for the worse a week or so after the procedure, and her Mom and Dad took her to see Dr. Durkes on Friday to see what he could do to help. The weight Bella had lost the past few weeks alarmed everyone, and when the neck brace came off they realized there was a much more serious issue. Bella seemed to have a form of Muscular Dystrophy that had reduced her muscle mass and was obviously causing Bella's distress.

Sherri and Troy then made the loving and courageous decision to ease Bella's suffering and send her over the bridge where she would feel no more sickness. She is SO blessed to have parents that were willing to follow through on her care, but more importantly know when it was time to let go.

My heart goes out to you and your family Sherri, your grace in handling this situation has been a great example for me.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Weird stuff...

I don't know why it seems the change in seasons can be so weird on dogs. A couple of weeks ago Mickey pooped ONCE in a week and a half!!! Don't worry, we went to the vet, did full blood panel and physical exam. The vet wasn't concerned because he was still eating, drinking and not vomiting. Well, all of a sudden he pooped like six times in 48 hours, hallelujah!

Mick's also been unusually unstable on his feet the last few days. I can't think of any obvious reason for this change, but my suspicion is that it is somehow allergy related. He's been itchier than normal too, and allergies are basically inflammation. Inflammation is bad for arthritis and wobblers. Are you following me? :) So I'll just give him a small dose of prednisone every few days and keep my fingers crossed that this will pass.

Poor Java has come up with some weird spasm in his right neck/shoulder/arm area. I'm HOPING it's not seizures, but just a minor irritation of the nerves. So now I have to take him for x-rays, and he's never been under anestesia, so I need to find a place with the patience to try without that. :( I'm going to try the Veterinary Specialty Center, they somehow managed to do films of Mickey's spine without sedating him.

So that's all for now, happy spring everyone!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Something to warm your heart!

I am so incredibly lucky to have two boys that simply adore each other 98% of the time (everyone has a bad day once in a while!). Last Saturday I snapped this picture of Mickey and Java sharing the same patch of sun in our 3-season room.