Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Chronic renal failure

I wanted to write about renal disease which is what Tilly had. Because of her advanced age of 14, there was more of a likelihood that she would develop renal failure as many aged dogs do. Over a year ago, we noticed that she was urinating more than usual. Blood workup revealed that she had elevated BUN and Creatnine levels, which are two products excreted by the kidneys. Elevated levels in the blood, also called azotemia indicated her kidneys were not functioning properly. She was also anemic at the time.

The kidneys are important because they filter out and excrete toxins from the body through output of urine. Tilly was drinking a lot of water and urinating more because her kidneys were damaged. The increase in water consumption is the bodies attempt to flush out the build up of toxins. The increased urination is caused by the increased water intake but the kidneys are unable to concentrate the urine so it is a almost clear in color with little to no odor.

Symptoms of kidney failure usually do not show until the disease is in an advanced stage – normally when the kidneys are functioning at only twenty-five percent function. By this time, it is often too late for treatment to do much besides make the dog more comfortable and help alleviate symptoms.

Tilly was given an influx in fluid over the past year. That helped to flush out her system. This flushing process, called diuresis, helps to stimulate the kidney cells to function again. If enough functional kidney cells remain, they may be able to adequately meet the body's needs for waste removal. Fluid therapy includes replacement of various electrolytes, especially potassium.

We also put her on a special renal diet which is low in protein and low in salt and phosphorus. Unfortunately, she didn't particularly like this food, and we resorted to cooking special meals for her and trying all sorts of foods to get her to eat. During the last two weeks she refused to eat or drink. We resorted to feeding her through an oral syringe with a calorie dense food to try to keep some weight on her and to give her subcutaneous injections of fluid to try to stimulate some kidney cell function.

Her heart, lungs and attitude remained strong. I think that was among the most difficult things because she still wanted to go for a walk and still loved being with us. However, she was in complete kidney failure according to blood tests done. So there was nothing left that could be done. It is hard to let go of our beloved dogs but when kidneys are worn out they can't be revived.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A sad day

Yesterday was a very sad day. After a year long struggle with chronic renal failure, Ch. Castlewood WhyaskWhy at Surry crossed the rainbow bridge. She was 14 years old and remained alert with a strong heart right up to the end.

I knew that this day was going to come but still wasn't prepared. As we took our final walk in the morning, she came right along with me. But renal failure had taken its toll (I'll write about this in a later post).

Tilly was quite the girl. I remember her as the boldest and baddest of the puppies that Gina Cheatham and Robin Moody had from their breeding of Ch. Sumo's Ahoy All Decked Out CD to Can. Ch. Ranbourne This Bud's For You. She bossed everyone from the time she was able to crawl. Tilly became my first BISS winner and produced BISS winners herself. Her son Ch. Surry's Brick in the Wall became a BIS winner which is infrequent in the Labrador world.

Yesterday was filled with a lot of tears, but today I am grateful to have had her in my life. She opened up doors to friendships, taught me that patience is a virtue and that dogs can be stubborn as mules. She was a grand old girl.

Rest in peace Tilly. I'll see you on the other side.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


The following is reprinted from Indigo Ravenwood's blog Shattered Prose. It really touched my heart.

"I’m a writer.

But it’s not all I am.

I’m also someone who rescues animals; strays to be specific.

Tonight I just want to be the writer. Because I don’t really know how much more my heart can take - how much more compassion, endurance or fortitude, I have left to watch another life slip out of my hands. Only to realize too little, too late and wonder was it enough?

I didn’t ask for this. Never in my wildest dreams did I foresee this for myself. Yet here I am, sitting with a heavy heart and trying my damndest to make some sense out of it all.

Counting slowly back through my memories, names and personalities remind me of the ones that survived, the strays I did manage to make a difference for.

I’m only one person.

They all had homes before me, a place where they lived and learned to be domesticated. The question remains, what happened to those homes?

They come to me broken and unsure if I’m trustworthy. Will I chase them away, kick them or scream at them? “Don’t come any closer,” their stance says, betraying the fear they have of humans.

Patience slowly wins them over.

I can’t describe the joy as unique personalities emerge and most importantly trust is gained. Eyes lit up in expectation and excitement to see you, until finally the one moment that gives way to all your patience, the rub. The classic don’t hurt me; I’m going to try to let you close enough to pet me move. And I melt.


Because the evidence of the road they traveled to get to me is there for all the world to see in each scar, the missing hair, the bug bites and the skinny frame from lack of food.

Yet for one moment they dared to trust and I was worthy.

I’ve seen this same scenario play out over and over. I don’t get it. I don’t understand how someone could cruelly pull up in a car and toss them out, or one day suddenly decide they weren’t worth the time and lock them out of the only home they ever knew. I don’t understand how someone can simply stop caring.

As a writer, I take my writing seriously. As a pet owner, I take their lives into account from beginning to end. There is no, I changed my mind they’re too much work. There is no, I don’t have time or patience for this.

Kittens and Puppies don’t stay that way forever, they grow up, they get old and they need to be taken care of every single day of their lives.

So the writer in me is using the biggest tool I have available to me – my words, to ask, please be responsible pet owners. Know what you’re getting into before taking that leap and falling for a pet that will be the recipient of whatever decisions you make.

If you think you have what it takes to go the distance, please consider a shelter or abandoned animal. All they want is to be loved. They never asked to be thrown away.

Maybe someday everyone who owns an animal will take that responsibility seriously and I won’t feel the need to make a heartfelt plea like this. I don’t know if my heart can take losing another stray, wondering if they had enough time to know someone cared. I’m only one person, one writer, one human being. Stop and think before you give a pet for a gift this holiday or any day and make sure you understand what that new puppy or kitten entails. Please…"

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Halloween Dog

Camryn, one of the Surry girls owned by Mardy, will be going to two Halloween parties this year. One of her parties will be at the Franke Home where she will entertain residents. Here is her cute costume:

I think that she will be a big hit at both parties.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The end of summer

I thought that I'd post some photos from the great time that the dogs had in the water this summer. Some are my dogs and some are ones that I received from other people who own one of our dogs.

Anyway, the great thing about Labradors is that beach weather for them is all year round.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


I don't know where the time goes but it has flown by. Here is some of the news that has occurred since the last time I posted:
  • I received a photo of the Weimaraner that I picked for Best of Breed at the Clermont show in Ohio. Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of the Labradors that won. But I thought that the Weim was quite nice.
  • Barrett sired a nice litter of puppies out of Ch. Bayou Bay Blond Ambition JH. There were ten puppies born (6 black boys, 1 black girl, and 3 yellow girls) and all are doing well.
  • I received word that Sally Wright's wonderful old boy Ch. Wright's Bennigan of Millab CD JH passed away. I remember when Benn was just a baby and Sally was showing him to me at a dog show. Rest in peace Benn.
  • Speaking of getting older, Tilly, our old grande dame is still hanging in there and enjoying life. She will be 14 years old on November 22. She has some trouble now and again with a bladder infection and her kidney creatinine levels are regularly high, but she is a tough old girl. I hate to think about losing her.

  • I heard from Ann and Paul Key that their Neilley celebrated her sixth birthday in August. She enjoyed a birthday cake decorated with a pupperoni stick. Neilley had a slow start in life as it was touch and go for a few days until I started nursing her with a bottle. She latched on and grew strong. Now she is Ann and Paul's constant companion as they travel with their Heelin' Hound business. Happy birthday Neilley.
The dogs are enjoying the slightly cooler temperatures. I am enjoying them too! If you have something that you would like for me to post about or photos to share, please send them along.
I have some emails to answer and photos from summer activities to post and will get around to that soon.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dogs are enjoying the weather

The dogs are enjoying these cooler mornings. Although the summer hasn't been too hot, it is nice to have low humidity and some cooler weather at 6 AM.

The hounds and Tilly are the first to go for their walk. Tilly is slower than the greyhounds! She is 14 and still trots along. Fortunately, the greyhounds are respectful of her.

After their walk, the other Labradors get turned out in the paddocks. They run around, sniff, do their business, and chase each other. They stay out for a couple of hours until my husband feeds them. It's great that he is retired because the dogs get to spend much of the day outside in their paddocks.

When we were both at work, we didn't like to leave them out in case they decided to dig out or a fence got breached. Even though we are a mile down a dirt road, it is still easy for these dogs to get to the main highway.

So the dogs are enjoying the best parts of the day, the early morning and late afternoon. I guess that I am too!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Getting through provisionals

I went to the Cleremont County show in Ohio to judge last Sunday. The entry was small in Labradors. I had a good entry in Weims but on the day of judging there were quite a few absentees. Because I am still provisional for Weims, I need to be observed three times by the AKC representative at a show.

Unfortunately, due to the absentees, there weren't five bitches to be observed on. This is a disappointment since there is little reimbursement for expenses when one judges. Most small clubs only pay $3.00 a dog when one has a provisional assignment. So after all is said and done, I didn't get observed.

Of course, I enjoyed being there. I enjoyed the dogs and the people. I did get to be mentored in Golden Retrievers which was interesting and informative. Hopefully, I will be able to finish up what is needed to get to regular status with Weims (being observed) and then can apply for goldens.

I'm seeing why those who want to judge start at a young age. This is a time consuming and expensive process.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Posting again

I have been negligent in posting to the blog. In fact, it's been too long since I've posted. So I decided that I needed to become active on this site and put up some information.

The incident with the surrender of about 50 Labradors made me realize how important it is for breeders to know when they are over their head. The man who surrendered these dogs was a former President of the Hoosier Labrador Retriever Club. He was a respected Labrador breeder. But apparently he fell on hard times and did not reach out for help when it became clear that he could no longer give quality care to his dogs.

I know that breeding and showing dogs is an expensive hobby. And having 50 dogs to feed, vet, and care for can be very expensive. It's well for every breeder to assess whether of not they have the time and money to care for the animals that they own.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Many labs surrended at shelter in Indiana

The Morgan County Humane Society got an unexpected delivery and they desperately need your help. A breeder who fell on financial hard times had to get rid of more than 40 dogs and puppies.

Even before you step inside in the Morgan County Humane Society, you can hear dogs barking.

"Our capacity is fairly small compared to some shelters and to have this much come in in one day," said Matthew McPherson with the Morgan County Humane Society.

The shelter off West Mitchell Street in Martinsville is normally busy with activity, but they're now overwhelmed after getting such a large animal drop off.

"Our typical capacity is about 45 dogs and puppies total and in just one run we had picked up 48 dogs," McPherson said.

Last week, Morgan County deputies brought 38 adult labs, 10 puppies, a cat and two quail to the shelter. They rescued each one from the same place.

"It's pretty sad, it makes you want to help it makes you want to come and get one," Mary Cramblett of Indianapolis said.

Officials say the owner of the animals fell on financial hard times and did not know where to turn to get help.

"Once they are in good sound health, then we would be able to adopt them out to the public," McPherson explained.

According to officials at the Humane Society, when the puppies arrived last week they were emaciated, flee-infested and malnourished. But now they are full of energy and they've bounced back.

"The conditions when we got them in were just completely horrible," McPherson said.

The adult labs are separated from the puppies, one of them even showed signs of malnutrition.

"Some of them were as low as 30 pounds for an adult lab," said McPherson.

Now officials are working to get the labs back in shape. They're also depending on their volunteers and dog lovers to help find them good homes.

"All the animals that are here; it's not there fault that they are here and it's people that do things that they shouldn't be doing and it's up to who ever can help out to come out and help out," Chris Beasley of Morgantown said.

The Morgan County Humane Society is looking for foster homes for the Labrador Retrievers. They are also in need of monetary and food donations. If you would like to help you can contact the shelter at 765-349-9177.

You can also go to the Morgan County Humane Society web site and make a donation via Pay Pal. These labs are in need of a lot of attention.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Mr. Cooper died today

Mr. Cooper, a friend's greyhound, was put down this afternoon after a bout with osteosarcoma. It's bone cancer and very painful.

Cooper was a greyhound rescued from the track. He loved to run and especially liked to run on the beach and at dog park. He would show off for the crowds. Last month, he developed a limp that wouldn't go away. An x-ray revealed bone cancer.

Cooper was on pain medication but amputation of the limb wasn't an option. Within the last few days, the pain medication wasn't doing much. He was crying out in pain. So after a final walk in the surf this morning, he went peacefully this afternoon.

The photo above was taken this morning as he enjoyed his last time at the beach where he loved to run.

I'm going to post more on this devastating disease later.