Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dog Day Afternoon in Columbia on April 27: Don't miss it!

It's time once again for the event all of Columbia's dogs have been waiting for: Dog Day Afternoon! Once again, it's at Hopewell Park and will take place on Saturday, April 27, from 11am to 2pm.  (Rain date is Sunday, April 28, same time, same place.)

This annual FREE event is sponsored by the Columbia Association (CA), and is now in its 7th year. Enjoy music, raffles and seminars/demonstrations while meeting local businesses and organizations focused on the health, happiness and well-being of our dogs. There's plenty of doggy-fun planned, including contests, off-leash play and treats, lots of treats.

To register, go the the Dog Day Afternoon registration page on EventBrite.

The CA will also be collecting items at this event for donating to the Thankful Paws Pet Food Bank. They are accepting the following:
  • Canned cat and dog food
  • Dry dog and cat food
  • Soft treats and biscuit type treats
  • New dog and cat toys
  • We really like Kong type indestructible toys
  • Blankets and towels
  • Buckle or martingale type collars
  • Leashes
  • Gift cards from pet stores so we can buy emergency food and supplies as needed
For more information, please call 410-423-1891. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tips on caring for aging pets

Last week at this time, I was in tears, after learning about Riley’s diagnosis and his blood work that kept going in the wrong direction—up—instead of down, as I had hoped. As I mentioned earlier, we decided to not risk the suggested surgery, and vowed to make Riley’s life as happy and comfortable as we could.

On the way back from the vet in Gaithesburg, I passed through Highland, and was reminded of a demonstration I had seen some years ago at Shari Sternberger’s Elements of Energy. Shari is a holistic practitioner for people and pets, and incorporates healing touch, Reiki, sound and light therapies, and other techniques. I thought a little visit for Riley—and me—might be just the thing to help focus our energy on our goal.

Shari was able to see him the next day. I can’t say which of us—Riley or me—benefited more. Riley certainly relaxed into the repertoire of treatments that Shari provided. And I benefited from chatting with someone who had such a wealth of experience with older and ailing dogs. I realize that her support is not a substitute for traditional veterinary care—which we are still continuing, but I found it a valuable adjunct.

Here’s a little video Shari made with tips on caring for aging pets. (Warning: This one’s about cleaning up poop!) Even if/when Riley recovers from his illness, he won't come out of it any younger! So being prepared for the road ahead is a good idea.

Riley, by the way, is feeling fine right now and has his healthy appetite back. He even darted after a squirrel the other day. We're not sure if he's "out of the woods" yet, but the jaundice seems to be subsiding, and all other signs are normal--no pain, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. I don’t know if it’s the antibiotics, the low-fat small-meals diet, the energy healing, time itself, or a combination of the above. But I’ll take it!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Whooza good dog? Teddy!


Teddy is Gemma's 14-month-old male labradoodle. "He is a good little man," says Gemma of Relay, MD. "He looks like a teddy bear, thus the name and the Halloween costume. He had a great time last year at Dog Day Afternoon - we will be there again!"

See more Good Dogs on the Columbia Dogs on the Go slide show!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Helping Riley, my golden-ager dog

Riley, my Havanese, has been through quite a month. Long story short, he was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis and spent a night in the emergency clinic on Jan 19. He seemed to be doing well afterwards, but his bloodwork showed liver problems and he began to show signs of jaundice. We followed up with a specialist visit and an ultrasound, which showed a “biliary mucocele” and very high liver enzyme levels. Surgery was recommended.

We are opting to not do the surgery for several reasons. One, surgery and anesthesia are risky at Riley’s age (13 years), especially with his high bloodwork numbers right now. And, from what I read, although the results of the surgery are excellent, it has a very high mortality rate—like 1 in 5 to 1 in 3. But, mainly, when we look at Riley now, he is feeling good, eating well, and has no pain, vomiting or diarrhea, or any symptoms really—other than the signs of jaundice. So we are choosing to keep him happy and comfortable, come what may. And we are also doing a trial of antibiotics, along with a low-fat diet and some Denamarin. This “medical management” has been shown to sometimes help with his condition, but I’m being very careful to manage our expectations.

Riley at the Pub Dog
So, we are focusing now on the “happy and comfortable” part and the extra care that we can give a senior dog or one with a serious health condition. And, I’d like to share some observations here as we spend time with our senior dogs—and maybe some tips that I learn along the way. Our other dog Cody is 9 years old—still middle-aged in dog years—but maybe what I Iearn from Riley’s experience will help him too.

Admittedly, it’s been some time since I fed this blog! I’m afraid I got caught up in working on the Columbia Dogs on the Go website—as well as its associated Meetup groups and Facebook pages. But I’m giving it a go again and hoping to involve more input from our dog-loving community.

In addition to senior dog discussions, we’ll continue to cover dog events, dog-friendly restaurants, and great places to walk in this blog—all with a local focus on people, places and dogs in the Columbia and Howard County area. I’m inviting guest bloggers to participate and share observations on topics like training, playing, health, and healing. And it would be great to share stories about the many great dogs in our community too. There’s lots of tales to tell. So, let’s say it’s a new beginning!