Monthly Archives: December 2012

Importance of Dental Care (for a longer life of your pet)

Yawning dog (Muddy) showing his teeth

Yawning dog (Muddy) showing his teeth

Dentals are important to extend the life of your pet. Brushing your pet’s teeth is excellent but I have yet to meet anyone that can actually brush their pet’s teeth.

The key to that is to start when you pet is a kitten or a puppy. And of course if you can brush the teeth then you will avoid dental care by a veterinarian.

The summer of 2011 I put out a lot of money for dentals on about 12 cats. Currently there are more that need dentals. I am waiting for my $$ to build back up. Even though I have used the same veterinarian for about 30 years I had to pay when he  finished with an animal. I have probably spent- well I don’t want to think about it- HEAPS of money at that clinic. Many moons ago, I was getting a pretty good discount. But then that all fell by the wayside.

In August of this year (2012) I changed vets. (finally)  I found a very smart veterinarian who gives my animals a complete exam and weighs options of what to use as the best medication for x disease or illness. He is compassionate and has 2-3 vet techs working at all times. My daughter told me that having adequate clinic staffing is generally the sign of a good vet. I think she is right. I just wish that I had changed vets a long time ago.

My new veterinarian does great dentals and uses the safest possible anesthesia. He removed a small benign tumor on one of my cats and he “threw in a dental” with no extra charge. I was most appreciative. I know that he is glad to have me as a client and it never hurts to do a “little something” extra for a good paying client.

Post and photograph:  Yvonne



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Yawn All About It!

Liddy. Just waking up from a long nap.
Mommie. Looks like she is belting out a song.
Bobbie. Looks like an angry cat but she is yawning. Somehow I have been lucky to catch some of my pets yawning. I was able to get a few shots because I generally leave my camera out on the kitchen table (put it away at night) and spend quite a few hours waiting for a dog or cat to awaken. I have not been able to predict which cat or dog is going to yawn but I have noticed that certain ones or more prone to yawn after a long nap. Recording that yawn with the camera is just a “little” tricky.  

I read not long ago that yawning is “catching” between some pets and their owners but I have yet to notice that any of mine caught the “yawns” from me.

Other animals such as snakes, (yes, snakes), fish, dogs, and a host of other animals also yawn. I could not find a real or viable reason why animals and humans yawn. As for me, a good yawn is sort of relaxing or maybe not- it just seems  an invitation for a good nap.

 The past summer of 2011 I put out a lot of money for dentals on about 12 cats. Currently there are more that need dentals. I am waiting for my $$ to build back up. Even though I have used the same veterinarian for about 30 years I have to pay when he is finished with an animal. I have probably spent- well I don’t want to think about it- HEAPS of money at that clinic. Many moons ago, I was getting a pretty good discount- now I don’t have to pay the fee of an office visit.  Any discount is better than no discount.

 In August of this year I changed vets. (finally)  I found a very smart veterinarian who gives my animals a complete exam and weighs options of what to use as the best medication for x disease or illness. He is compassionate and has 2-3 vet techs working at all times. My daughter told me that having adequate clinic staffing is generally the sign of a good vet. I think she is right. I just wish that I had changed vets a long time ago.

The veterinarian  in Austin,Tx. that performed major dentals on 2 of my cats in the summer of 2011 was extremely generous to lower the total bill for both cats. He knew that these were rescue cats and both cats are senior cats- as past 13 years or so. Maize was a feral that I trapped when she was about 6 months of age. She is in one of the pictures in this post.

Another aside to this post: dentals are important to help extend the life of your pet.

Post and photographs Yvonne



Purebreed Dogs: Info To Know

This is a photo of a beautiful  black Labrador Retriever belonging to one of my daughter’s clients.  His nails were cut and was then given a bath. Harley is a very gentle dog and was easy to bathe. He’s waiting to be dried and brushed before returning home to his “Mom.”    

Did you know that the Labrador Retriever has placed as the Number 1 dog in AKC registrations since 2001? Oddly enough, the breed has never won best in show. Personally,I think this is suspect.  It seems judges go for rarer breeds or just maybe they are partial to their  personal favorites. This dog just has not lost it’s popularity with americans. I do not know about other countries. Generally, this breed has an affable and sweet personality and loves to play, thus making him a family dog that is good with children.   The lab should be provided with early  socialization among other dogs and people.  He is popular as a retriever among outdoor sportsman, especially those that hunt waterfowl.  A natural ability to excel at swimming, is why this breed is used by the Italian  School of Canine Lifeguard for rescue and life saving. Maybe having webbed paws enables the labrador to be such a powerful swimmer.

The canine agility sport of dock diving has become popular among owners of Labs. Contests are held across the United States in which the owner/handler throws what is called a bumper across a special pool of water.  The dog leaps into the air in an effort to catch the bumper, thus propelling the dog a sizable distance which can be in the neighborhood of 25-30 feet, beore landing in the water.  As the dog hits the water, a special electronic device measures the exact footage in feet and inches. This field of agility allows the labrador to show off its prowess as a fearless retriever who will go to great lengths to retrieve an object.  Individuals are now breeding dogs with blood lines, proven to be superb jumpers who can go “the distance.”  The Nestle Purina company sponsors this event which allows the best of the best to compete in various agility contests. These events are shown on TV and this is how I learned about the sport. I can say without a doubt that owners/handlers who enter these events are serious about their dock diving dog. The contest is exciting and it is a  joy to watch these amazing dogs compete with several other breeds that are natural jumpers.  

Muddy was a throw-a-way puppy that I found in a hospital parking lot on a very cold night.

Muddy was a throw-a-way puppy that I found in a hospital parking lot on a very cold night.


Muddy is a very tall labrador. He has no interst in water and does not plat with toys. He likes playing with sticks of his own choosing. He is an excellent watch dog.

Muddy is a very tall labrador. He has no interst in water and does not care for  toys. He likes playing with sticks of his own choosing. He is an excellent watch dog.

Post and photographs by  Yvonne 

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Designer Dogs: The Pros and Cons 12/22/2012

labradoodle (not my dog)

labradoodle (not my dog)


 The labradoodle in the photos below is bathed and groomed about once each month. It takes (one) groomer 6-8 hours to bathe and groom two dogs. The owner of these labradoodles prefers her dogs with the shaggy look thus it takes the groomer much longer to comb through a LOT OF HAIR. It is said that the labradoodle was first mentioned in a book by Sir Donald Campbell in 1955.  Certainly his dog was not the first “mutt” that resulted from the combination of poodle and labrador. However, it seems that Sir Campbell was most likely the first person to coin the word labradoodle.  
 Further down the road and many miles away, The Royal Guide Dog Association in Australia, received a request from a woman in Hawaii who was asking for an allergy free guide dog because her husband was allergic to dogs. A Mr. Wally Conron was in charge of the breeding program for guide dogs and the job of producing or finding an allergy free dog became “his baby.” After receiving the assignment Mr. Conron thought it would be quite easy to produce an allergy free dog. Initially he decided to breed standard poodle to standard poodle. He reasoned that the poodle would be the right size as a guide dog, it had superior intelligence and trainability and its coat was tightly woven and shedding was virtually non existent. Many litters later and there were still no allergy free dogs. After that experiment failed he decided on another strategy. The second idea was to use the two smartest breeds- the labrador and a standard poodle ( these are the largest of the poodles). With this mix he hoped to get an allergy free dog. The first cross produced only three puppies. A hair sample of each puppy was sent to the woman in Hawaii and viola, one sample proved to be a winner.  Puppies that are bred to be service dogs are farmed out ( fostered)  with people who want to help raise, socialize, and teach basic commands to these dogs which are then returned to the association to complete their training as guide dogs. It seems that when it was time to “farm” the puppies out, no one wanted to foster the puppies because these were crosses and people considered them to be mutts. Mr Conron became desperate as time began running out for foster placement. Thus he reasoned that if he gave these cross bred puppies a name, then people would be more likely to want to foster. The ploy worked and numerous people wanted to foster puppies after they were given the name labradoodle. Media attention ensued and the labradoodle became the new rage as sort of a miracle dog. However, for Mr. Conron the challenge was just beginning. Reproducing more dogs was not that easy and there were quite a few dogs bred in order to get more numbers that were actually allergy free. He continued to breed these two breeds and he was able to produce a total of 31 dogs that were  “winners” meaning allergy free.  The breeding continued for a number of years but currently The Royal Guide Dog Association no longer conducts a cross breeding program. There are some other guide dog associations, however, that continue  to produce labradoodles.     
Word about this great dog spread like wild fire and became international within a very short time. Soon back yard breeders saw the potential for making quick money and there arose a plethora of just about any kind of “doodle” because, to put it simply, it had become the new craze- fad- must have, kind of dog. There were snoodles, shoodles, and groodles, to name a few. But the craze for a designer dog did not end there. Backyard breeders began crossing the miniature poodles with smaller breed dogs as well. Today, designer dogs remain popular but none of these cross breed dogs has gained admission into the American Kennel Club.  One of the biggest draw backs is the fact that the labradoodle and other poodle mixes do not breed “true.” This means that within any litter, size, coat, and body type varies. And out of any litter only one puppy to no puppy will have an allergen free coat.  Mr. Conron is now in his early eighties- retired of course and enjoying life breeding and training horses which happen to be his first love. He has never owned a labradoodle but his two dogs are purebred labrador retrievers. He has stated that he regrets that he was responsible for creating the labradoodle because people jumped at the chance to breed what they considered, a dog that is unique. Here in the states, this cross bred dog most likely, will never gain acceptance into the American Kennel Club. The mixing of these two breeds just can not produce puppies that all look alike. But there are many fans of this cross bred dog. People love the gentle disposition, cuteness, and intelligence of this mixed breed dog. The fact remains that individuals do not care if the dog has AKC papers or not. What matters is that the labradoodle is a good all around family dog and there is no denying that this gentle mutt is easy to love.   The pics in this post is one dog among four labradoodles that one family owns.  I can say with assurance after seeing these dogs up close and personal that they ARE CUTE and VERY SMART.  

 A Labradoodle that is bathed and groomed each month.

A Labradoodle that is bathed and groomed each month.


 Post and photograph – Yvonne 

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Some Family Nostalgia (click photo to enlarge)

My daughter with our dog Ranger who arrived as a stray about 1979. Third best dog we were privileged to provide with a loving home.

My daughter with our dog Ranger who arrived as a stray about 1979.


Old photographs of family members bring back many memories for me. The pictures elicit a certain sadness as I look for various photos that I snapped many moons ago when my children were not grown and my parents were still living. I can visualize the settings and the things that I said to my impatient subjects who never could understand why I could not just  hurry and snap a picture.

I have mostly kept my award-winning photos in one place and have the negatives of the best photos archived in special folders. I hope and pray that the negatives are all still good. I want to get all negatives organized and then put them in a safe deposit box at the bank where the temp is constant. That is something that I should have had the sense to do a long time ago. My only excuse is that I was too busy working a full time job and being a wife and mother. My job was very demanding and stressful. I am truly surprised that I survived and that my cognition still appears intact. ( I think)! And now I am glad that I loved to use a camera. My regret is that I used a movie camera to take many pictures as my children were growing up. I have those reels and someone told me years ago that these can be put on CD or maybe is was to negative. Not sure about that- maybe I dreamed it. Anyhow, I need to explore that before I kick the bucket and speaking of buckets -no I do not have a list.

So here is a pic from the past.  Some of my photos were scanned to a disk and then down loaded to my computer. This image was not well preserved and needs editing in Adobe Photo Shop. The originals were sharp but when these are enlarged in this post they are grainy and have lots of little bits of lint, etc. I wish that I had used fill flash for this photo but is was sort of spur of the moment and my daughter was getting impatient to return to her book.  Even though this photo could have been much better it is still one of my top favorites.

So much for family nostalgia. Looking at this picture of my daughter with Ranger caused me to  cry. Mang things have come and gone over all these years. Some things happened for the better and some things happened that caused much pain- physical and emotional. But, I can look at this photo and remember the time of day and what I was telling Lisa. I just did not tell her to put a hand on her hip. **smile**


Post and photographs Yvonne



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Rodent (sore) Ulcer of Cat’s Lip and Mouth


Photos were taken 2011


 Meri is now about 13 years old. Her exact age is just a guess since she was found by a wonderful lover of animals. Meri was hit by a car and was found  lying in the gutter next to the curb. She was in a coma due to head trauma and her recovery was long and difficult. Meri’s story, I think, is interesting and heart touching. Meri is one of my favorite cats. Her little buddy is not far behind, as one of my favorites, also.
Meri has been my cat since 2001 and was blind when I agreed to give her a home. She came to me with her younger buddy, a little brown female tabby named Baby. These two cats were and continue  as  good friends.
About a year ago I noted that Meri’s upper lip was swelling. I took her to the vet and told antibiotics would take care of the problem. The sore place grew in size and at its worse stage bled several times. I switched her to soft food and began giving her steroid injections which only seemed to make her sick.  She sneezed and had a runny nose so the dexamethasone was discontinued.  It caused her immune system to weaken ( apparently). I then was told to start her on another antibiotic which for a time seemed to reduce the ulcer in size. In the meantime I read about lip ulcers in cats and according to literature it appeared that several things could be causing the problem. 
In the spring of this year I was able to look in her mouth and saw that a front canine nearest the ulcer was broken. I then decided that maybe part of her problem was bad teeth especially a broken tooth which was rubbing on the inside of her upper lip. My vet pulled the chipped tooth and cleaned the rest of her teeth. Per dental protocol dogs and cats are given on an antibiotic following invasive dental procedures. Lots of  various kinds of bacteria are unleashed and the toxins migrate to vital organs via the blood vessels. 
I decided to use clindamycin injectable (it kills anaerobes bacteria) and I also gave her Benadryl  sub cu each time I gave the clindamycin. These meds were given for about 2 weeks. I also decided to switch her food to Purina EN (it did not smell like a dead cow) and the nuggets were small.) I began bathing her in Betadine scrub which kills ear mites.  That was followed by KetoHex which is an antiseptic and antifungal shampoo that my daughter had ordered for me. After about 3 baths, the Purina EN, and the round of clindamycin and benadryl, the swelling of the upper lip began to recede. 
I am  convinced that the combination of these treatments and medications helped  her lip and mouth to heal. 
The common non medical name for this condition was called rodent ulcer many many years ago. According to history, people of long ago believed the cat acquired an ulcer from eating rodents. Hence the name rodent ulcer. The actual name is eosinophilic granuloma but I call it, the monster from hell.
Meri as of this year looks even better. In the slide show pics she still has a bit of crud on her chin and a small amount of nasal discharge. Presently she has been doing very well.
Post and photographs  Yvonne


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Feral Cats: Rural and Urban Original posted 12/11/2010

There’s something about feral cats that seems intriguing.  As a young child growing up on the farm,  I often watched the feral cats that lived in my Grandfather’s big barn.  I never  found an actual “nest” of young kittens.  But when the kittens were about 2-3 months old I would see them playing in the hay loft among the bales of prairie hay that had been harvested from Grandpa’s pristine prairie of about 12 acres.  For me, the aroma of the prairie hay along with the barn kittens was the major attraction of the hay loft.
I must digress a little about the smell of hay. When our children were growing up, our son who was about 9 years old at that time,  picked out a calico kitten from a litter of kittens that my Daddy was able to find in the barn. This little kitten became known as Toady and by the time she was about two years of age, she gave birth to a litter of two males and one female. (She was spayed after the kittens were weaned) I remember my husband, our two little ones and I watching Toady with her kittens. The little family was in a large box with low sides. The four of us sat around watching Toady with her kittens and as they were greedily nursing, my husband reached in, picked up one that was snow white, placed the kitten to his nose and said to our kiddos, “when the kittens are young and still nursing their mother, they smell just like newly cut hay.” He then passed the kitten to our children so that each one could  get a “sniff”.  It was a moment that took me back to my Grandpa’s hay loft and I remembered the aroma of the freshly baled prairie hay. Indeed, the kittens smelled, in my opinion, like newly mown hay. I have not forgotten that moment,  probably because my husband was not keen for making his thoughts known. He then asked our daughter who was about 7 years old at the time if she had a name for the kitten. Our daughter was quite precocious and promptly named him Cotton. Cotton from then on was her cat. I don’t know if she “owned”  Cotton or if Cotton “owned our daughter.The love was mutual.  As an adult cat, he was indeed handsome and lived up to his chosen name with white fur that looked and felt like cotton.
My parents, my older sister, and I lived with my Grandpa for about 4-5 years. The barnyard and all of its attractions were my primary source of entertainment.  I grew up with no other child for a playmate and the barn cats, who were essentially feral, offered me entertainment and diversion from the boredom of having small regular chores to perform each and every day.
Animals in those days were not vaccinated for rabies and my parents strictly forbid me to touch any of the cats. I had such fear of rabies that I never touched or attempted to tame any of the cats. Instead I observed their behavior and kept a long stick in the hay loft so that I could move the stick along the floor and the kittens would leave their hiding places and play with the end of the stick. I amused myself and the kittens for an hour or so each day until the farm was sold and my parents bought a farm across the road. I don’t remember if the cats followed but I know that the “new” barn had cats so I suppose they followed the food source which was about two hundred feet from their former abode.
I remember that my Mother kept several pans in the barn so that my Daddy could pour a portion of the fresh cow milk into the pans. One of my weekly chores included bringing 3 pans to the back porch where I placed them in a large pan of hot soapy water to be washed,  and returned to the barn.  Each evening,  Daddy would call “kitty, kitty, kitty” and soon 4-6 cats appeared. I have no idea how the cat population was kept in check but as I became older and a tad wiser, it was apparent that disease and predators- fox and coyotes kept the number of cats to about 5-6.
Much later, I began working for a really large organization with many buildings and surrounding grounds. By the early to mid-nineties I was suddenly aware that feral cats were “hanging out” during late evening near the building where I worked. I learned through the grapevine that the PEST CONTROL man had been given orders to begin trapping the cats. Of course employees had been feeding the cats, thus the reason they came around at dusk.
There was a general uproar among some of the employees re: the trapping of the cats that so clearly kept the grounds devoid of snakes and rodents.  I learned that any cat caught in the trap would be disposed of by taking them to the city “pound” where they were then euthanized because they were deemed to wild.  So, I hatched my own plan to try to save as many cats in the general area where I worked. I hired a carpenter, who quickly added a room with a concrete floor with an adjacent large enclosed run in a fenced portion of our back yard. This would provide shelter and a fairly large area in which the cats could get fresh air,  become accustomed to being fed routinely, and of seeing humans throughout the day.
I began driving one of my husband’s trucks to work, armed with two-three traps which I baited with either sardines or tuna. I began by putting the smelly fish near the pickup and after a few days I went out at night to set the traps in the bed of the pickup. The trick was to place the food at the back of the trap and to have the trap abutting something solid ( a box made of wood that I placed at the back of the traps.)  Setting the traps in this manner prevented the cat/s from attempting to place a paw through the wire so that the food could no be pulled out of the trap.  If I set the trap/s in this manner I  would  have a cat and not an empty trap. Any slight jarring of the trap would trigger the trap so the cat had to enter the trap in order to get the food. One other thing that I did not do.  I never trapped during “kitten season” ( birthing time) for a mother cat could be trapped and the kittens would die of starvation with the removal of their mother.
The total number of cats that I was able to save over a period of several years was 25 plus. I was able to trap two and sometimes three in one evening. I was at least able to save most of the favorites of fellow workers who really were fond of the cats. I want to make it clear that when trapping and after releasing them in their new home, I kept in place my own quarantine of 14 days before I attempted to touch a cat.
Prior to setting the traps I made an appointment with my veterinarian to have 1-3 slots open for testing, spay or neuter, and vaccination.   My vet then and who is still my veterinarian was quite adept at wielding a net as he opened the trap door. While the cat was wrapped in the net, he had the pre-anesthesia med ready to be injected through an opening in the netting. Amazingly only one cat from that colony  was FIV positive- an adult male. (All of the cats that I trapped were Feline Leukemia negative.)  I kept the FIV  cat in a large wire cage under the car port until my carpenter could return to make a large enclosure attached to the back porch  where he could live out his life.  I named this cat Zetty and for about six months he remained fairly wild but with each passing day he became tamer and after about 8 months he allowed me to pet him without any fear. Zetty is now about 16 years old but is a tame cat who loves to be petted and groomed. Now, he is showing signs of old age but continues to be a happy cat with a hearty appetite.
I want to make it clear that not all veterinarians will handle a feral cat, considering it unsafe and deeming a feral cat too wild and not worthy of being saved. Veterinarians with this mind set also do not believe it is possible to tame a feral cat to become a house pet.  I’ve continued to use the same veterinarian for about 30 years .Dr. “M”  truly has a way with cats and has a special knack for handling any cat that comes his way.
For information about feral cat trapping and other good information go to
Post by Yvonne

Kippy- “A Jewel in The Rough” (rescued from local shelter) Original post-11/29/11

Kippy looking worried re: grooming is about to begin.

Kippy looking worried re: grooming is about to begin.

Kippy: Happy that grooming is "all done."

Kippy: Happy that grooming is “all done.”

Kippy knows he is looking good.

Kippy knows he is looking good.


I was not intending to get another dog when I entered the  local Pets Mart to buy dog and cat food. When I first saw the little dog, he was crouched in a cage in the far corner of a row of  dimly lit cages that the store provides for humane societies to show their cats and dogs that are left over during adoption day. He had been left the day before. I could see him shaking and as I approached I saw fright and bewilderment in his eyes. Nothing had been done to make him look more appealing. His coat was  wiry and shaggy-he had a long nose ,under bite, long skinny body, and huge stand-up ears. Truthfully, he was an ugly dog. I could visualize no one wanting to adopt him so I told the young lady that I would take him. After I arrived home with  Kippy, (I chose a  name for him on the way home) I looked through an assortment of old puppy collars that my now adult dogs had out grown. I placed a small collar around his neck, attached a lease, and took a step toward the back door. Kippy immediately crouched on the floor and urinated. At that moment I realized that he had never worn a collar and he did not know how to walk on a leash. And, he had probably suffered abuse. It took approximately a month of many trials before he got the hang of walking on leash. I had to pick him up to get him outdoors. Immediately after putting him down, he would lower his entire body to the ground where he remained until I picked up AGAIN, put him down, then take a few steps, and pick up AGAIN. I repeated the same process over and over again.  Each time he took a few steps he was rewarded with a bit of milk bone biscuit. This process went on for 2-3 weeks.  Finally one day he decided the leash wasn’t so bad after all. Since that time many years ago he has continued to walk on leash without any problem.

Submissive urination was a whole different story. He urinated on the floor any time I attached the leash and attempted to walk him to the door. Without saying anything to him, I cleaned it up and acted as if there was no problem. It took about a year for him to realize that he would not be punished before he stopped urinating on the floor.
 Physically, he appears  to be part dachshund,  maybe a little beagle, and with the long, stand-up ears, I’ve decided he’s part chihuahua. Possibly he’s a little bit Jack Russell terrier. 
Kippy has keen hearing and is a good little watch dog. He runs around the property with his tail held high. The tip of his tail is white and it looks like a little flag waving as he runs and plays. In the summer I shave his hair really short.  In the winter I let his coat grow out some but try to keep him trimmed so that he doesn’t look scruffy. In the photo he is due for some trimming. He actually loves a bath which he gets about every two weeks beginning in late spring and throughout the summer. 
Now people say, “he sure is a cute little mutt. Where did not get him?”  Kippy was simply a stone in the rough that needed a little polish to turn him into a jewel. 

Post and photographs – Yvonne     



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