Monthly Archives: November 2011

Shopping Smart on Black Friday For My Pets


This is not an advertisement for Pets Mart. It just happens to be where I buy most pet food and  I try to buy pet food when and where the sales are the best and I might have coupons that help out to a degree.  

I had never, ever gone shopping on black Friday. I am not one that likes crowds and I detest getting up at 3 or 4am in order to stand in line in an attempt to be among the first shoppers that file or cram their way into any given store. When I was still actively working in my life long chosen profession, I listened to the women around me talking about getting out of bed at what I considered ungodly hours after having worked until 12 midnight. All of this just to shop on the next day after Thanksgiving  to vie with other shoppers to rack up the best deals on the shelves. 

Well, getting back to my black Friday- I knew that there would not be that many people trying to make a mad dash through the doors to get a great deal for pet food, etc. Pets Mart opened the doors at 7am but I did not get there until 9:30am. I got just about everything that I came to buy. Fancy Feast was 45 cents a can and I got 5 cases ( should have gotten more), 3 large bags of  feline Purina One ) I had (3) $5 coupons for any Purina One food, 6 large bags of Purina One dog food, 3 medium size dog beds, one large dog bed ( for the 15 year old Border Collie), and 2 cat trees. Total amount was $486 . My only regret is that I did not buy more dog food which was $6 off; I think or there about. 

If you are reading from any country other than the USA, this might be the first time you are learning about black Friday- or maybe not. I just know it is one tradition that Americans, especially women, will not miss- it is a tradition for many families. Evidently some people relish and thrive on all of the excitement of catching a geat deal. 

But so much for the shopping and shoppers- the dog beds are for my cats with the exception of one that Rocket the Border Collie is now enjoying very much. Why get dog beds for the cats? For starters I get more for the bucks- the beds are sturdier and larger. Often 2 cats will share one bed. Some of them have buddies and sleep next to each other. The cats bask in the warmth of each other’s body heat. As for for me, I bask in the delight I get from watching my animals enjoy a tad of luxury. 

Zachary (lt) 16-17 years old, Momie (rt) 13-14 years old: Lazing in a new bed.

Sassy, "Gee I love this new bed our Mama got for us. ( Sassy is 15-16 years old)

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Thanksgiving. Eat The Bird But Don’t Let Your Pet Escape: (Part III)

Holidays are a great source of happiness, merriment, and excitement. Your  home can begin to feel like Grand Central Station not only for you but most of all , for your pet/s. Too many unfamiliar faces with children and adults as well that don’t give a second thought to standing in the doorway which then gives your beloved animal a means for escape from all of the commotion and ado.

These are just a few suggestions to keep Fido, Fifi, Mittens, and Muffet safe from harm. If you have a spare room by all means relegate your pet to a quiet sanctuary where your pet/s can relax in peace and comfort. A bed or beds, food and water bowl and a litter box for the cat or cats. Putting your animal in a spare or quiet room- bedroom, bathroom, laundry room or even a large cage in the garage will allow you to relax and have comfort in knowing that your pet/s will not be able to run outdoors where it likely will get lost. Unfamiliar noise and people cause pets to panic or seize the moment to escape through a door that has been left ajar.

Many people lose a pet during holidays, traveling, an illness, or anything that causes a disruption in their regular pattern of living. So do not be lax – take precautions to keep your pet safely indoors. One more thing. There has been a huge increase in the numbers of pets that are stolen from backyards, front yards, inside homes, etc. Don’t take chances.  Keep your eye on your pet and if it is an outside dog or cat- put your animal inside or in a large cage in the garage or just the garage itself ) if you possibly can.

There is so much grief involved if you lose a pet. Looking for a lost pet is hellish. I know because I’ve been there-done that! And I never did find my pet. 

Last but not least- this is a bit late for Thanksgiving but get your pet/s microchipped. This gives you just one more tool to recover your pet should it be taken to an animal shelter when lost.

A Place For The Birds, Bees, and Butterflies (click to enlarge photo)

 Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say, or something like that. Here in central Texas, there really is not much to find that is truly beautiful or even pretty. Here in central Texas we just do not have breath taking vistas as some states.  We don’t have many pretty fall leaves either. They are scattered about town and one has to know where to look to see wine, yellow, red, and gold and some other fall colors in the mix. 

Many years ago I hired a man that really new how to dig up small trees and native shrubs and those were transplanted from a wild area before all the vegetation was destroyed to make way for an apartment complex. We’ve owned this property for a long time and have held on to it simply because where else could I find  an oasis in the city on one acre of land?

All the native shrubs and small trees that I planted offer just a small retreat for me and my dogs. I relish walking through the parts of the yard that I let go wild. There aren’t a great number of flowering plants, for water was a determining factor of what would grow with the least amount of water during a drought. This summer was a real doozie. The heat was fierce and I had to concentrate on what I knew might not hold up to the prolonged heat and lack of rain.

I had to let my litle garden go and water the live oaks, red oaks, elms, and some of the understory trees and native shrubs. My water bill was $300 plus for two months in a row. But you can not replace well over a hundred year old tree and I wanted to keep the live oaks from stressing. The oaks are more susceptible to disease (live oak wilt and live oak decline) if they become stressed from lack of moisture.

Back to the blooming plants in the yard- Most of them attract bees and butterflies, and some of the  shrubs and trees attract the white wing doves beginning early September. The doves come in droves to the gum bumelia trees and in the summer I have to work hard to beat the doves and squirrels to the figs.

About 1/2 of the the yard is kept as wild or as native as possible. I leave everything looking messy so the migratory birds that winter here, have good cover and shelter to protect them from the owls and hawks. Plus there are seeds from the native sunflowers and prairie grasses that helps them make if through part of the winter. I love seeing and hearing the birds and when the weather turns colder I put out sunflower, cracked corn, and milo so that they’ll stay here in the yard and not have to hunt for food.

Here are some pics of scenes of the yard and of the plants that the birds enjoy. The pics are not much to look at for I did not enhance them in any way. They should have gone to Photoshop but I could not get photoshop to cooperate with my ineptness last night or this morning.

 Post and Photographs Yvonne Daniel


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Did You Call My Dog a Mutt? (click on photo to enlarge)

Puppy: My Border collie x Australian Shepherd. A really smart dog.

Puppy: My Border collie x Australian Shepherd. A really smart dog.

Puppy waiting for a ride on the cart. Example of a mutt. Border Collie x Australian Shepherd cross.

Puppy waiting for a ride on the cart. Example of a mutt. Border Collie x Australian Shepherd cross.

Puppy is a Border Collie/ Australian Shepherd cross.

Puppy is a Border Collie/ Australian Shepherd cross.

Numerous individuals take great offense if their dog is referred to as a mutt. Here in the states a dog of unknown ancestry which could mean the mix of numerous breeds, is generally called a mutt- AKA mixed breed, mongrel, feist, Heinz 57 variety and, cur. 

Folks who own a purebred dog with a known pedigree can laugh all they want but the truth of the matter, to me, is the heart of any dog. I am a strong proponent mutts. Throughout my life almost all of the dogs that I have been fortunate to call mine, have been mutts. This assortment of mutts were smart, loyal, watchful and, loving. Each of my dogs brought a different personality and all of them lived to  13-15 years of age with no health problems to deal with. Maybe I was lucky. 🙂 

A mutt simply means that it has no known history of its pedigree or that it is clearly not a purebred dog. It is generally the result of random breeding but often this type of breeding actually produces a healthier animal (as a rule). 

Then there is the dog of mixed breeding which some people still call a mutt (if you are a snob). Numerous individuals intentionally cross breed two breeds in order to create desired traits.  This is often seen in rural areas where farmers and ranchers are looking for a dog that has a little extra special something.  It may be to create a better hunting dog or herding dog. In central Texas the Border collie is often crossed with an Australian Shepherd and these dogs are indeed pretty, very smart and, are often much healthier than their ancestors. 

The smartest dog that I have ever owned happens to be a Border Collie and Australian Shepherd cross. I have taught him a number of tricks. If he were not intelligent, he would still be my favorite dog of all my dogs.  

An example of a mixed breed dog is the Labradoodle which has become quite popular. Obviously the name implies that this dog is poodle and labrador cross. I wrote an earlier post about the fascinating history of this breed.  

 Look for a re-posted “Designer Dogs, The Pros And The Cons   July 27,2011    (All about the labradoodle that is considered a mutt by AKC standards) 

Post and photography Yvonne Daniel

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One Way To Help Your Pet Live a Longer Life

Maize health improved since dental surgery


Maize  (4 weeks)  past a long dental surgery

 Note: Top photo of Maize is 5 months past extensive dental surgery performed by Dr. Steve Capron, a veterinary dental specialist of Austin, Texas. If you compare the two photos you can see that Maize has gained weight. In the bottom photo she is thin and frail. Now she is running about the house and has a healthy appetite. Currently, I am giving her a  liquid vitamin-mineral supplement once daily. This medication has definitely helped increase her appetite. The iron in this medication is needed to increase the production of red blood cells. She needs her labs done again to insure that her red blood cells are regenerating and that her lab values (BUN and creatinine) are within or almost within normal limits. She is like a “new cat” since her bad teeth were pulled and her gums treated for gingivitis. I continue to give her about 75ml of Ringer’s Lactate 2-3 times each week.  

Maize’s ordeal was initially posted in June, 2011.  

BUN and creatinine are tests for kidney function. If the kidneys are failing, the cat or dog will be anemic. However, chronic infection anywhere in the body can lead to anemia. It is vitally important to determine if the red blood cells are regenerating- that is making new and complete red blood cells that are healthy.                  

According to veterinary information one of the primary killers of pets over 9 or 10 years of age is kidney failure. Why do dogs and cats succumb to kidney failure also called renal failure? It all boils down to keeping your pet’s teeth and gums in good condition. If your cat or dog has not had a dental exam or had dental care performed by your vet then there is a huge chance that the your pet’s mouth is in pretty bad shape by the time it is 9 or 10 years old and sometimes younger.       

Dogs and cats have the same kind of dental problems as people. This means cavities, tartar, plaque, infected gums, and rotten teeth. If the pet has at least moderate to severe dental problems it is a sure thing that the infection may have already traveled to the kidneys, heart, liver, or lungs. The favored target of the bacteria happens to be the kidneys.       

Kidney failure is one of the primary diseases that causes death in cats and dogs. In order to keep kidney failure at bay, your pet should have at LEAST a yearly dental exam. Of course, we are told to brush our pets teeth. In some cases if your pet came into your life as a feral or an older adult cat (such as almost all my cats)  it is impossible to brush their teeth.        

A kitten or young cat can adapt to having its teeth and gums cleaned. Getting an older cat to cooperate with brushing its teeth would certainly be a challenge and maybe not impossible. But a skittish cat is a whole other ballgame. So- start early if your cat or kitten is still young. I guarantee your pet will reap the rewards of healthy kidneys and you the owner will benefit even more by saving your money for other health issues that might arise.     

Keeping your pet’s teeth and mouth healthy is the one of the essential ways to extend your pets life. I’ve been fortunate to still have around two old cats who have both had dental care. I’m sorry to say that I totally neglected some aspects of my pet’s care when I had too much on my plate. I was very lucky to have an expert veterinary dental surgeon perform the needed extractions, gum cleaning, etc of these two cats. The dental surgeries alone did not get the job done. These two cats required some intensive nursing care from me that included sub cu fluids to keep the kidneys flushed, special food, injectable pain medication, and two antibiotics that were given for 2-3 weeks. One antibiotic was to kill the bacteria in the mouth and gums and the other given in an attempt to save the kidneys by killing the ‘bacteria that was causing an infection in the kidneys. Both cats are doing well at this time. One cat needs repeat labs and that is coming up in two weeks. I’ll go into more detail regarding dental disease and recommended preventive dental care for your cat or dog, in a future post.      

Of special note, I owe much gratitude to Dr. Lisa Daniel who did the blood draws, IV fluids, and injectable antibiotics,  prior to my cat’s dental surgeries by Dr Steve Capron of Austin, Texas. Dr. Daniel put a great deal of effort into diagnosing and preparing my cats for surgery. I feel fortunate to know her and that many of my animals are a recipient of her talents.      

Post and photograph by Yvonne Daniel  

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From Hopeless to Hope (click to enlarge photo- click again to reduce to thumbnail)

 Beautiful Hope, ” queen of the house”


 I was in the break room drinking coffee and gossiping with my friend and fellow veterinarian, when the receptionist called. Since I was sitting nearest the phone, I answered.  Ann, our receptionist told me there was a very sick cat that an elderly couple had brought to the clinic in a card board box.  Dr M and I went to the first exam room and on the table was a box with an elderly couple on each side of the exam table. I introduced myself  and Dr. M.  The little grey haired lady began telling me the story of the cat. Her eyes filled with tears and in a trembling voice she quickly told me the story. About a month ago just as dusk was falling, the couple heard a faint meow. They both went to the door to find a small calico cat sitting on the bottom step. They immediately noticed how thin she was and so they began feeding the kitty.  From the beginning is was apparent that she was wild. The couple put food out for her each day and she would appear from somewhere to eat and then retreat to the hedges. About 2 weeks ago they had begun putting card board boxes on their back porch. They put old towels in the two boxes thinking that eventually she would use one of the boxes for sleeping. The past week or so the lady said she could tell that the little kitty was pregnant.  They had found her lying inside one of the boxes about three days ago. They knew she must be ill because she made no attempt to leave the box and run away.  They had watched her for three days and it was appparent she was in labor.  The little lady turned to look at the little cat and said to me, “I named her Hope and I have been praying for a miracle. There is nothing that we can do for her- it is out of our hands.” I looked at the kitty and back to the couple. I just knew this sweet couple would not have the money for whatever it would take to try to save this kitty’s life but I quoted the price anyway. They just shook their heads but were no longer looking at me. I hesitated for about 30 seconds before saying that I would try to save her if they would sign her over to me.  With those words the little lady grabbed my hand and said, “thank you, thank you. My prayers have been answered. I know she will be alright now.” I called the desk and asked the secretary to bring the forms. The couple and I quickly signed our names and Hope officially became my cat. They each touched the little cat on the head then turned to squeeze my hands before leaving the room.   

Dr.M. had not said one word.  At the time we were examining the very ill kitty Dr. M. and I just exchanged glances and she would nod in agreement.  Dr. M.  had flashed a huge smile when I told the people that I would try to save her.   As soon as they left the room, both Dr M. and I went into over-drive.  We took a quick x-ray and soon had what we needed to know.  The x-ray showed blurry looking globs in her uterus.  Her temperature was taken and it was elevated- about 2 1/2 degrees above normal.   This little cat was indeed very ill. She made no attempt to get away as we handled her. But, I also believe that she knew we were helping her. I called for a tech who was in the exam room almost immediately. I told her to get everything ready for a c- section. We moved to a surgery room with Dr. M.  carrying Hope. The techs at this clinic were unbelievably smart and capable.  Katy had the intubation tube ready, the anesthesia machine, the drapes, gowns, gloves, and masks and battery powered razor, and the surgery pack- the whole works ready in about 5-7 minutes time. The plan was that Dr. M. would handle the intubation, get the anesthesia going and the machine hooked up to the heart monitor. Katy our tech got the IV fluids and set-up and IV pump which she rolled over to the table. The little cat looked so young- could not have been more that 7 months, was our guess. Much too young to be pregnant- she was still a kitten herself. (Cats are considered kittens until one year of age) I shaved a small spot on a front leg and began palpating for a vein. Finding a vein was not easy- she was dehydrated. Veins are not prominent on animals or humans if dehydrated. Finally I was able to get a “back flow” of blood which meant the needle and cannula where in place. I pulled the metal needle out and the white plastic cannula remained in the vein, IV tubing was connected to the cannula; I stepped back to straighten up and then took several deep breaths.   

Note:  To be concluded at a later date. There will be lots of details of the difficulties that I encountered as I tried to save this beautiful little cat.        

Post and photographs: Yvonne Daniel         Co-author:  Dr. Lisa Daniel        

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The Fuzzy Dog Being Groomed and More About the Book Sale


Wally with his “barber”

It is 2:42 am and I am just now getting around to writing a post for today ,Wednesday. When I arrived at the book sale which was held at the fair grounds, it was 10:15am and cars and trucks were in profusion. As I stood in line waiting to get through the door, a city policeman was stationed at the door and I spoke with him briefly. I said, Gee, I haven’t been to a book sale in 20 years and from the looks of things I should have been here as soon as the door opened. He  replied, “When I got here about 9:45 there were a number of people in sleeping bags and they had spent the entire night out here in the cold. I said, What in the world has made this book sale so popular?” The policeman replied, “well for one thing there are many books and all of them are organized in categories. People have been coming from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, etc to stock up on books for their shop or to resell on e-bay and so on.”

By the time I made it to the desk, a white band with the number 308 was placed on my wrist which meant that 307 people were already inside. And believe me, were they ever. People were going through stacks of books with a scanner- I suppose that was to help them locate a particular book.  These individuals, I could tell were the pros, meaning they were there to find books for resale and also hoping to locate a rare edition. The people with scanners used portable carts which really served the purpose. 

I had never been to a book sale of that magnitude. It was great for people watching. I had to ask directions to the pet section and nature section.  I bought about 16 books. No book cost more than $1.50 but most books were at least 15-25 years old or more. Despite the age of the books, all were in very good condition and those I bought, I considered to be worth the money. 

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It’s Cold and the Library Book Sale Begins Today.

Last evening about 7pm or so a bonafide “norther” blew in with great gusto.  I knew the weather was changing for the cats and dogs were sleeping more than usual.  As soon as the chill found its way to our corner of Texas, I immediately felt better. The days preceding the norther had been rather hot- in the 80’s and and by mid-day the temperature had managed to gather momentum and I resorted to turning on the air conditioner.  In fact the AC ran all of September and October. Let me back that up some. The ac has been running since about mid-April. My electricity bills were huge this summer- more than any from the past We had about two days in October when we finally were blessed with about 3 inches of rain that helped drop the temperature for a brief 2 days.
Today starts the annual library sale and I plan to be there when the door opens at 10am. Book seekers on day one must plunk down $5 and that is more than okay with me even if I don’t find any book/s that I really like.  The library is such a great service that not enough people appreciate. Our little town has a main library and three branches. The one near where I live has a marvelous genealogy department which I plan to use. Several people have told me that this section of the library is quite useful and easy to use.      

<Mean while… I don’t have a completed post about a pet, for today. I am working on one, so this is just a little blip!      

Post Yvonne Daniel