Monthly Archives: February 2012

Potential Poisoning Scare

The boys being good walkers

On Thursday morning, we walked the dogs as we do every morning and evening. We often walk on the beautiful, wide, well-maintained trails in our neighbourhood. It was a nice morning, so we extended our outing to close to an hour. For a moment near the end of our walk, I had my eye on what Cora was doing. When I turned to Dusty and Hogan, I saw they were nibbling on something. As we always do when our dogs try picking up mystery “food” on our walk, we instantly pulled them away. But then I examined what they’d been into and panicked.

Dusty and Hogan sniffing to determine what other dogs and wildlife had visited these parts.

I should preface my panicked reaction with the fact that less than two weeks ago, three dogs in Toronto died because of poisoning (antifreeze-soaked food planted on a walkway). What Dusty and Hogan were chowing down on looked like cat or rabbit food—a three- or four-pound pile of it, wet (either from dew or from something being poured on it)—and obviously intentionally put there. We guessed that our boys had eaten very little, but if it was contaminated, a little is all it takes to kill a small dog.

As soon as we got home, I called the vet clinic. The vet wasn’t in yet, but the vet technician, Mandy, said I should prepare to induce vomiting. The clinic also suggested I get a sample of the food, just in case something happened, so they’d know what they were dealing with. I drove over to the trail and got a sample of the food. In the meantime, Mandy called the vet and then called me back. Yep, I had to induce vomiting.

So, how do you induce vomiting in a dog? Hydrogen peroxide. Ingested. I was horrified at the idea.

This is a portion of the trail where we walk. We often see ducks in the creek by this bridge.

The idea of it was nothing compared to the experience. I ran out to the drug store to get what I needed and then closed Dusty and Hogan (I was so grateful I didn’t have to do this with scaredy-dog Cora!) in the bathroom with me, the bottle of nasty stuff, a syringe, and a roll of paper towels. The vet tech had given me a range of amounts to try (14-28 mL for Dusty and 9-18 mL for Hogan). I started with 14 mL for Dusty. As expected, he did not enjoy the taste of it. Hogan, seeing what was happening, tried to hide, but I quickly got 9 mL into him. Then we had to sit and wait. Nothing. Never have I wanted a dog to vomit as badly as I did in that moment. As it turned out, I had to give both dogs three more doses (totalling 30 mL for Dusty and 20 mL for Hogan) to get any results. It took a long time, and then once they were sick, boy, were they sick.

Cora and Hogan walking on the trail

I wish I could say the dogs learned a lesson or that we will be sure never to have to put them (or me) through that again, but unfortunately, we have hounds and a perma-hungry terrier. Two of our dogs (Cora and Hogan) were suspected strays and probably had to scrounge for every meal, so they do not turn down food of any sort. When any of our dogs finds anything remotely edible on our walks, they eat it. Geez, one day, Wes picked up a Post-it note off the floor and just stuck it on Cora’s back while he was putting on his shoes. Dusty ate it! They will eat anything, so I fear this experience will be repeated in the future. But I truly hope it’s a long, long, long while before we have to go through it again. More than that, though, I just wish we didn’t have to worry about people in this world trying to poison wildlife and pets. I mean, who’s really the animal?

Our First Three-Dog Family Day

Here in Ontario, we celebrate Family Day on the third Monday of February, and since it was FAMILY Day, it was important to me to spend some quality time with my husband and the pups, although I had to get some work done, too.

We had a beautiful, sunny, mild day, so in the late afternoon, we got the dogs dressed in their sweaters and booties and loaded them into the car….

And went to a local park on Lake Ontario. We walked….

And Cora and Dusty said hi to other dogs (meanwhile, I held Hogan back while he growled and barked at them)….

And Cora and Dusty walked through puddles (Hogan, as always, tried to walk around them)….

All three dogs sniffed trees and bushes and garbage cans….

And even the lake and all of the scents its breeze carried….










It was a great walk on a gorgeous day…with our wonderful family. 🙂

Letting Sleeping Dogs Lie

All you dog owners out there know, I’m sure, how hard it is to let an adorable sleeping dog just sleep. Seeing how cute they look—whether curled up in a ball; stretched out in odd seemingly uncomfortable configurations; or even belly and privates up and on display for the world to see—just makes you want to cuddle them, stroke their head, rub their belly. Of course, once you do so, whatever quiet time you might have been enjoying is no longer yours to enjoy. It’s really hard to let cute and cuddly sleeping dogs lie, but lie (and sleep) we must let them do—at least 16 hours a day or thereabouts.

Here are some recent pictures of my pups sleeping:

Twisty Dusty

Cora and Dusty enjoying the sunny spot together on a winter afternoon

This was nice to see. Hogan and Cora don't always get along so well (another story), but a couple of weeks ago, he fell asleep on her.










Temptation to cuddle a sleepy dog also comes from watching one trying not to fall asleep. I caught Hogan on video doing just that:


And here the dogs are in their beds at nighttime. They’re all really good about going into their beds, although Cora likes to shake things up sometimes and take one of the boys’ usual beds. She’s the trouble-maker in the bunch! ;o)

And with that picture fresh in my mind, I think tonight I won’t resist waking those babies and cuddling them just one more time before calling it a night!

Cora, Dusty, and Hogan’s Professional Photo Shoot

Two weeks ago, I took Cora, Dusty, and Hogan to see professional photographer Misty Dawson, who was offering 15-minute sessions for $35 plus a donated item to the Durham Humane Society. A portion of the financial proceeds were also going to the DHS. Since it was for a good cause, and not overly priced, I decided to book two spots for our three dogs and get their pictures taken.

First, I must tell you about what I donated. I knit two dog sweaters—one with a pattern, one without—and donated those. Here are a couple of pictures of my dogs modelling the sweaters:

Dusty's wearing a sweater I knit without a pattern. It looked good on him, although it was way too short. Cora's wearing a hoodie I knit. It fit her perfectly, but I donated it to DHS.

Hogan looked good in the hoodie, too. It was a bit too big on him.











We had a bit of an adventure once we arrived at Misty’s. I had to handle all three dogs and my purse, plus the bag with the treats I’d brought to coerce them into behaving, the new toy I’d bought to catch their attention, the towel to dry their feet, and the sweaters (and a former coat of Roxie’s) for donation. And it was slushy and snowy getting out of the car. And then the unthinkable happened. I had the dogs’ leashes attached to their collars so I wouldn’t have to worry about taking off their harnesses before the photo shoot…and Hogan‘s collar came undone! He went running off to pee on whatever he could find, while I dragged the other two dogs and an empty leash behind and tried to catch Hogan. He eventually went up one of Misty’s neighbour’s steps, where I was able to corner him. Instead of worrying about finagling with the collar, I just picked him up and carried him like a football two doors down. Phew. Crisis averted.

Once in Misty’s, despite my diligently bringing a drying towel, there was no drying of feet. I set Hogan and all of my other stuff down, and Hogan went running through Misty’s main floor, followed closely by Dusty, who cared nothing about the leash dragging behind him. The boys were happy to say hello to Misty and her friend/assistant, Sam. Cora, meanwhile, hid behind me. I knew it was possible Cora wouldn’t be photographed, but I was hopeful she’d relax into it a bit. Once I was trying to settle the boys and help out with holding treats and trying to get the dogs to sit (they totally forgot ALL of their training that day!), Cora hid behind the screen, up on Misty’s beautiful leather couch—Misty was fine with that. She was really great with the dogs, and since I’d warned her about Cora’s fearfulness, she was so accommodating and gentle with her. And she even managed to get a few good shots of Cora, although Cora’s fear unfortunately does show in her eyes.

Cora was nervous but did enjoy the treats.

Dusty was happy to ham it up for the camera. I think most of Misty’s pictures probably included Dusty because he was so focused on the treats (unusual for him, actually), and he was excited about endearing himself to new people (which is usual for him). Dusty’s definitely the social one of the three!

I love this shot since it's so true of Dusty--into everything!

Hogan was very well behaved for the most part and spent quite a bit of time in front of the camera too. Misty brought out a nice wooden crate for Hogan to sit on. He happily watched the hand with the treats in it so Misty could get some good shots of him.

I'm sitting on this little box for you. When will I get that cookie in your hand?

I really like this picture of babies #1 and #2 together. I think Dusty’s exuberance for new people really does help Cora relax at least a little bit.

Dusty and Cora

This picture took a little behind-the-scenes work (Cora was added in), but it’s great to have another good photo of all three dogs. (On a side note, I’m amazed their name tags are all facing the right direction! Bonus!)

Our "kids"

Misty says that she really enjoyed her day photographing dogs, and from what I saw posted on her Facebook page, she got lots of terrific pictures. She’s planning to do another pet fund-raiser in the spring. If you’re interested in finding out when, follow her on Facebook.

Guest Post: Shopping for a “Pound Dog”

I recently walked through a local shelter and was dismayed by the condition of the dogs being housed there.  Being involved in rescue, I know appearances mean very little, but unfortunately, they do go a long way toward getting a dog adopted.

Many people go into a shelter to look for a dog that they could see becoming their dog.  Through my experiences in rescue, I have found that there are three things that prospective adopters must understand when walking through a shelter and considering their choices:


  1. TipC is an energetic and adorable Jack Russell cross.

    Dogs are a product of the environment they grew up in.  These dogs have been discarded for a myriad of reasons, none of which is their fault. If a shelter dog had a previous owner, the owner clearly did not have the time to take care of the dog, which is why the dog was surrendered to the shelter.  And as for the strays, it’s pretty much a guarantee that they have never had to follow any rules. People do not realize that a very large portion of dog rescue is actually behaviour training, leading to the second issue potential adopters must understand.


  2. Sadie, a basset hound/bulldog mix, is still looking for her forever home.

    If you are planning on rescuing a dog, training is mandatory. There is no way you, or the dog, will survive without it.  It simply will not work.  To be successful in training the dog, you have to be patient and persistent.  Seemingly simple issues like jumping up on people or resource guarding (growling and biting when you try to take away food or a toy) are solved over time, not by one simple command. Nine out of ten of the dogs in a shelter will jump up on you for the simple reason that they have never learned that this is wrong—and they are very excited to see you!

  3. Strange as it may seem, the third is diet. In a shelter, dogs are often fed whatever is donated, so they’re rarely getting top-quality food. People often comment on the condition of the dog’s fur, teeth, breath, odour, and pretty much anything physically unappealing about the dog. Most issues regarding the dog’s appearance can be solved without even going to the vet. Even after just a few days of a dog chowing down on food like Orijen or Taste of the Wild, you will see a noticeable improvement: The dog’s fur will start to shine, his breath will smell better than yours, he will gain weight, and he will also just feel much better.

Liberty is the product of a puppy mill and looking for a loving home.

Because many of these dogs are spending long periods of time in dog runs and not in the company of people, they develop tendencies that, once the dog is removed from the shelter, are really not a big deal.  So, yes, shelter dogs require ample time when it comes to training, but that time will only increase the bond you have with that dog, making it even more rewarding when he starts to understand the rules.

So if you are planning on going into a shelter, or any other type of facility to browse through the dogs, keep in mind that these dogs are essentially at rock bottom.  They are not getting much in the way of stimulation. While there are volunteers (yay!) who graciously walk and spend some time with them, these dogs are in essence one step away from being wild animals. They will be a different animal altogether with some TLC from a good owner.

Note: If you’re interested in meeting any of the dogs pictured, please visit the TAGS website.