It was wonderful on July 1st to see Pam Martin, of Top Dog Dallas Dog Training, performing with her Viva on America’s Got Talent. Pam is a close friend of famous freestyler Carolyn Scott, as they have worked together for several years, and can be seen in our upcoming documentary, Gotta Dance.
Well, Pam made it to the next level and returned to America’s Got Talent on August 26th with Spy, Viva’s big brother. Here is the video of her performance. [Update: They were so very cute, even though they were eventually eliminated.]
Below, is one of Pam’s newest training ventures with the skateboard. “Spy”, a Jack Russell Terrier mix, is in skateboard training. So far he really likes it.
(23rd) Sam is doing great!! His energy is increasing daily!! He is eating better since we switched his food to something he likes!
We went on a short walk today and he got to see his four puppy friends! It was very difficult to keep him calm through that and he was very mad that he was not allowed to play. He has not lost his personality at all. He still makes us laugh every day. Now that he feels better, his curiosity about life seems to have increased.
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(20th) Sam is HOME! We’re not sure who was more excited; Sam to see his foster parents, or them to see Sam! Sam is feeling good! He will continue medications and then should be weaned from them in 2-3 weeks. If all is well after that time, he will be transitioned to a fairly normal diet. Like many of us, he will require Pepcid from now on, but from where he’s been and where he’s headed, that is easy!!
Now the work begins as he is monitored for signs of complications and trying to keep a one year old dog, that has been kenneled up, from running, playing and jumping on things!
August 18, 2009 Update
Sam’s surgery has been completed and he is in recovery. His liver shunt was, indeed, inside the liver and was the largest this Doctor had seen. He is hopeful that Sam’s liver develops more blood vessels over the next couple of days. His liver pressure was at the high end of normal, so he was given an aspirin to slow clotting at the site of the coil.
He will be monitored 24-7 for the next two days and we will find out the next step then! Let’s hope Sam continues to recover well. He had no seizures, etc. that can be early complications, which is a good start. If all proceeds well, he will be released Thursday to return to his foster home.
August 3, 2009 Update
I just learned that enough money has been raised so that Sam can have his surgery, which has now been scheduled for next week. Here is what has been reported at his blog:
A big thanks to all of you who made donations to enable GRRACE to provide surgery for Sam! We are all very thankful for your generosity, kind thoughts and prayers!
Sam is holding his own. He has good days and bad days. He spent the night at the vet’s office last week receiving IV fluids which helped perk him up a bit. They also changed his antibiotics which has reduced his vomiting to become less than a daily experience.
On his good days, he plays like any other young golden boy. He is quite social and spent a few hours with his foster Golden brother at doggy day care for the experience and playtime and we’re happy to report he did great and really enjoyed himself! On his bad days, he doesn’t have much appetite and has bouts of vomiting. Through the good and bad, he remains a happy, loving boy.
The surgeon at MSU has his prior vet records and we plan for his surgery to be scheduled the week of August 10. He will spend a few days at their animal hospital while he recovers and will be closely monitored. We will keep this site updated with his progress! Please keep Sam in your thoughts and prayers!
When I read this latest rescue story, my heart just about broke. I really hope folks can pitch in so that he can have the life-saving surgery that is needed. I know my check is in the mail. Here is his story from Golden Retriever Rescue and Community Education, Inc. (GRRACE) in Indianapolis, Indiana
Sam is a special needs Golden boy that is just over a year old. He has spent most of his life in the shelter; adopted and then returned due to a liver condition called PSS (Portosystemic Shunt) that his adopter could not afford to correct. There was something special about Sam that the shelter immediately recognized, so GRRACE was called instead of having Sam euthanized.
Sam’s body cannot filter toxins out of his blood. He takes daily medications, which help control (not cure) his condition, but the medications make him feel sick. He cannot eat protein so he cannot build muscle properly which decreases his energy level and endurance.
Sam needs to have surgery to correct the PSS. Once surgery is completed, he can live a happy, healthy life. His surgery must be completed as close to one year of age as possible, so time is of the essence. The cost for surgery with pre and post surgical care will be about $3,000.
Sam is a true golden personality. He loves everyone he meets; dogs, cats and most of all PEOPLE! He is a very smart boy who loves walks, car rides and his big basket of toys! When he’s out on his walks he will actually sit down if he sees another dog or person approach, in the hopes they will pet him and play. He is also the biggest cuddler his foster parents have ever met! If you sit down close to Sam, you’d better plan on him taking up residency in your lap!
Sam is just a lovable, sweet, happy boy who we would like to provide the opportunity to live the happy, healthy life he so deserves.
“Trixie was joyful, affectionate, comical, intelligent, remarkably well behaved. She was also more self-possessed and dignified than I had ever realized a dog could be,” says Dean. “Already and unexpectedly, she has changed me as a person and as a writer. I am only beginning to understand the nature of those changes and where they will lead me.”
DEAN KOONTZ thought he had everything he needed. A successful novelist with more than twenty #1 New York Times bestsellers to his credit, Dean had forged a career out of industry and imagination. Then along came Trixie.
Dean had always wanted a dog–had even written several books in which dogs were featured. But not until Trixie was he truly open to the change that such a beautiful creature could bring about in him. Trixie had intelligence, a lack of vanity, and an uncanny knack for living in the present. And because she was joyful and direct as all dogs are, she put her heart into everything–from chasing tennis balls, to playing practical jokes, to protecting those she loved.
A retired service dog with Canine Companions for Independence, Trixie became an assistance dog of another kind. She taught Dean to trust his instincts, persuaded him to cut down to a fifty-hour work week, and, perhaps most important, renewed in him a sense of wonder that will remain with him for the rest of his life. She mended him in many ways.
Trixie weighed only sixty-something pounds, Dean occasionally called her Short Stuff, and she lived less than twelve years. In this big world, she was a little thing, but in all the ways that mattered, including the effect she had on those who loved her, she lived a big life. Dean reads from his memoir in the video clip below.
DEAN KOONTZ thought he had everything he needed. A successful novelist with more
than twenty #1 New York Times bestsellers to his credit, Dean had forged a career
out of industry and imagination. He had been married to his high school sweetheart,
Gerda, since the age of twenty, and together they had made a happy life for
themselves in their Southern California home. It was the picture of peace and
contentment. Then along came Trixie.
Dean had always wanted a dog–had even written several books in which dogs were
featured. But not until Trixie was he truly open to the change that such a
beautiful creature could bring about in him. Trixie had intelligence, a lack of
vanity, and an uncanny knack for living in the present. And because she was joyful
and direct as all dogs are, she put her heart into everything–from chasing tennis
balls, to playing practical jokes, to protecting those she loved.
A retired service dog with Canine Companions for Independence, Trixie became an
assistance dog of another kind. She taught Dean to trust his instincts, persuaded
him to cut down to a fifty-hour work week, and, perhaps most important, renewed in
him a sense of wonder that will remain with him for the rest of his life. She
mended him in many ways.
Trixie weighed only sixty-something pounds, Dean occasionally called her Short
Stuff, and she lived less than twelve years. In this big world, she was a little
thing, but in all the ways that mattered, including the effect she had on those who
What an incredible thing this is! It is often very tough to get rescues from one area in the country to another, so that they can get to the places where there will be homes waiting. Pilots N Paws is intended to be a meeting place for those who rescue, shelter or foster animals, and pilots and plane owners willing to assist with the transportation of animals. They provide the environment in which those involved can come together in a common place and arrange or schedule rescue flights, overnight foster care or shelter, and all other related activities.
Pilots N Paws 5000 will take place during the week of September 12th through the 20th. This event was conceived as a means to draw public attention to three issues. The first and most important message that needs to be conveyed is that we have a serious problem in this country and as a result about 4,000,000 animals or more are euthanized annually. This would not be the case if there were more and better spay and neuter programs and laws regarding owners’ responsibility for their animals. The second issue is that because the problem is primarily regional a lot of these innocent animals could find permanent “forever” homes if they could be transported from high kill regions to areas with homes available. To accomplish this we desperately need more pilots to help with transports.
The final issue is that while aviation has proven to be a successful way to transport animals to safety, general aviation in this country is threatened. The threats range from onerous Homeland Security directives to crippling and expensive fees imposed on general aviation. We want to see general aviation perceived by the public accurately as a driving force in our economy, and one that contributes far more than its $150 economic impact would suggest. We want to see general aviation free of these threats.
To transport 5000 animals to safety in one week is a large undertaking, and it involves shelters, rescues, foster homes for animals and pilots. Each will play a role in the success of the Pilots N Paws 5000 and each must commit to its success.
While folks make light about Twitter (you can see my Tweets here), it is amazing the folks you can meet and the information that you can learn there. It was actually Twitter that allowed me to meet Dr. Jaime Glasser Merrifield and learn about the emerging and incredibly important veterinary field of animal hospice.
Dr. Jaime Glasser Merrifield DVM MS, of hospice4animals, is quite passionate about end of life care for our companion animals.
I practiced Veterinary Medicine for a long time before I knew about Animal Hospice. I struggled years with trying to find the most gentle ways of touching and treating older animals that were in pain. I spent many years trying to read and communicate with others about euthanasia and it is a sacred and heavy responsibility to decide on and to assist. I spent many of my working hours counseling pet parents about their choices and options. I had a comfort room like a living room where I could talk quietly and let parents and kids spend the night with the ill animal members of their family. I began to understand that some folks just did not feel it was their right to euthanize their pet, and I helped those animals be as comfortable as possible until their time came to leave our world. I had practiced Animal Hospice for many years without knowing it existed. No matter what your beliefs are it is wrong for each Vet, each pet owner and each animal to go through this re-inventing the wheel. It is wrong we are left feeling alone with these wonderful/terrible questions. Animal Hospice needs to be as much a part of your pet’s lifeplan as good preventative care and good nutrition. Hospice needs to be a part of every veterinary practice or Veterinary Hospice Practitioners be available everywhere.
And, she would like her new hospice4animals blog to be a “a comfy place to discuss end-of-life issues about animals, remember your pets, learn about and discuss palliative and hospice care for animals, and keep in touch with the veterinary movement for hospice for animals”. Check out her newest posting: “Why is it so hard when a pet dies?”
Dr. Jaime is very excited about an upcoming event that she believes is as important for the general public as it is for care-giving professionals. The Second International Symposium on Veterinary Hospice Care at U of California at Davis, is being held on September 5-7, 2009 (Pre-Symposium Field Trip on Sept 4th to BrightHaven, an holistic animal sanctuary and pet hospice). The symposium is being hosted by the University’s School of Veterinary Medicine—home to the largest public veterinary program in the country.
Based on human hospice models, veterinary hospice addresses the needs of people who wish to care for their dying animals in the comfort of their own homes—under the guidance and assistance of veterinarians and a professional, qualified staff. By training caregivers to provide comforting palliation for their pets and by offering extensive support services as well as effective pain management, veterinary hospice gives dying animals and their people the opportunity to spend meaningful, quality time together before the pet’s final journey. By compassionately closing the “circle of care,” veterinary hospice honors the human-animal bond, never losing sight of either the companion animal or its caregiver in the total equation—and ultimately serving both in the best possible manner.
A partial list of topics that will be covered by the symposium’s speakers includes:
How human hospice is now embracing veterinary hospice care
The value of homeopathy in veterinary hospice care
Animal hospice and traditional Chinese medicine
Veterinary technicians and veterinary hospice care
The role of the professional pet-sitter in veterinary hospice care
Pet death care and caring for the grieving pet parent
Operating an animal sanctuary and pet hospice
The “sacredness of dying” in veterinary hospice care
It is definitely not too late to sign up, so go check it out and pass on this message to your friends and the companion animal loving community. Just click here.
What is it about Golden pups in assistance dog vests that is so irresistible? Watch 12-week-old Kirby training. He is a Georgia Canines for Independence pup learning how to work with the wheelchair in public.
Georgia Canines for Independence is a 501-c-3 nonprofit that provides animal therapy and trained service dogs to make life more fulfilling and independent for children and adults with physical disabilities. It is one of the many groups included in our foundation’s Nationwide Assistance Dog Group & Training Listing.