How did you meet your fur-friend?

I saw that on a headline and my curiosity got the best of me.  Hi there, Amanda here.  So, I will ask again.  How did you meet your fur-friend?

I met my Lucy at a pet store.  I had every intention of rescuing a pet and had gone to several adoption events looking for “the one” to no avail.  I was scoping everyday, sometimes more than once a day.  Feeling defeated and hopeless after yet another adoption event that didn’t have my fur-soul mate, I stopped at the pet store to get food for my turtles and, of course, I looked at the pets.

Cute little rabbits, furry little guinea pigs, quick and crafty mice.  Over in the other corner are the loud and colorful birds.  Maybe I will get a parrot…  I walk over to an enormous red bird and start to read the information sheet in front of her.  She is observing me while I am reading, cocking her head from side to side and clucking.  She is very beautiful, but I just don’t see it.  I can’t see myself sitting on the couch watching a show with my parrot on my shoulder or throwing a ball with my fine, feathered friend.  Nope, not a bird.

I went to the back to see the kitties and I heard a quiet little bark.  The girl who worked there was holding a tiny, white ball of fur.  A squirmy, very-unhappy-about-being-contained, ball of fur.  “That dog is cute, what is it?” I asked the clerk.  She was telling me the dog was a jack Russell puppy from a breeder in New London.  I was trying to be non chalant but I was shaking inside.  THAT WAS MY SOUL MATE!!!!   I tried to remain cool as I asked about my future companion.  “So, how old is he?”

“She is 12 weeks old.  She has been here for a while.”

I say, “Well she is very cute.” and the clerk replies with, “Yeah.  Everyone thinks she’s cute.  Except nobody wants her.”  She puts the puppy back inside the puppy area and goes over to another part of the store.  I play with this puppy for a little while, go get my turtle food, and leave the store.  I am in my car, seatbelt on and key in the ignition, when I make a decision.  I am not going home without my dog!

I walk back into the store and say to the girl, “I want her.”  She looks up at me, remembers our conversation, and goes to get my love.  She hands me the dog and we go over to the counter to fill out paperwork.  I am standing there, holding someone who has already become one of the most important people in my life in the last 5 minutes, and I am suddenly crying.  I hug my little girl, take a deep breath and pull myself together.  So much emotion!!  The pet store woman asks me what I will name her and I don’t have an answer.  I had always said my next pet would be named Annabel Lee (after the poem by Edgar Allen Poe) but it didn’t fit this lovely lady.  “What would you name her?” I asked my new friend, the store clerk.  “We have been calling her Lucy,” she responded.   “Well, then Lucy she will stay, ” I decided.  I bought Lucy a purple collar and we went home together.  After we took a selfie in the car, of course 🙂

That was two years ago.  And it is true–my Lucy has filled my life with so much love and affection that I can’t believe it took me so long to meet her.  Not always so much love and affection as chaos and destruction…someone once called their dog (also Lucy) Lucy Furr, and that name has really stuck.  Most days she is just Lucy, though LOL!

So that is how I met the love of my life.  I would love to hear other stories about how you found your fur soul mates!  Leave me some comments and tell me your tales!!!

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Amanda & Lucy, Parking lot of pet store 🙂

Kennel Cough…the virus you share with your pet?!

Hi everyone, Amanda here.  I recently came across another dog with Kennel Cough (or the official name canine infectious tracheobronchitis).  His Mom said she didn’t understand how he caught it because he didn’t leave the yard (except to go to the vets, etc.).  I told her I didn’t know, just that it was highly contagious to other dogs.  But, of course, then I had to find out.

I asked a vet a while ago and was told that the virus could be spread through humans.  What?!  He said if a person who’s dog had kennel cough has the virus on them (on their hands, for instance) and they shake hands with another person, they have spread the disease that causes kennel cough.  I relayed this to my previously mentioned dog Mom and she was shocked.  Me, too; it didn’t really answer my question as much as formulating a couple hundred more in my mind 🙂  Since I don’t think it would be productive to answer all of them, I just want to know how realistic it is to think it can be spread from human to animal.

So, I first went to petMD.    No mention of kennel cough being carried by human hosts.  The only way, in fact, it was compared to humans at all was to say it is spread similarly to the common cold.  Kennel cough is spread through droplets of moisture in the air (We have all seen that picture in 5th grade of a close up of a sneeze–eeww!).  They also said that a dog can be contagious for a while after they stop showing any signs of kennel cough.  Like up to 10 days after!

A little grossed out but not quite sure yet, I tried another website.  This time I went to Google and typed in “kennel cough transmittable to humans.”  I got a few hits (185,000 but who’s counting?!).  I scrolled down the list and clicked on one called “New Health Advisor.”  It stated that kennel cough is a “zoonotic disease” or one that is passed between the species of dog and human.  Although a human would have to be very immune-impressed or sick to get sick, the chance is there.  And if a human could catch it from a dog, couldn’t a dog catch it from a human?

So the take away here seems to be that you have to wash your hands and things around your dogs so that you don’t spread a cold to them or vise versa.  I still don’t know if kennel cough could be spread the hypothetical way that vet laid it out for me but I won’t take any chances.  I always wash my hands before and after completing a pet sitting task.

Kennel cough is relatively new for me, although I have seen an increased number of cases in my puppy friends.  Also an increased number of pneumonia in humans, too; maybe related?  I didn’t really get any answers to my questions, either.  Sometimes the internet has TOO MUCH information and it is hard to weed through to get to the meat of the discussion, you know?

The bottom line is this–if you suspect your dog has kennel cough, limit the time they spend around other dogs.  Wash the dogs toys, bedding, and water/food bowls in a mixture of 1 part bleach to 32 parts water.  Wash for 10 minutes and rinse.  Anything that cannot be washed in this way should be thrown away.  Kennel cough may be “just a cold” but it is no joke to your dog who can’t breath and is spitting up foamy white stuff because he is coughing so badly 😦  kennel cough dog


The death stare

Have you ever been sitting on the couch, minding your own business, when your dog comes over and stares at you?  Hi there, Amanda here.    I am staying at a fantastic home with four fuzzy hearts keeping me company.  Or am I keeping them company?  Potato patato…mutual cozy comfort!  Anyway, to get back to the staring. 

I’m sitting on the couch watching TV and writing in this blog when one of my newest BFFs comes over and sits in front of me.  Every time I look up, she is staring at me.  I pat her on the head for a minute and go back to work.  She walks over to her bed and curls up for a nap.  10 minutes or so later, I look up to find her in the same spot.  Staring.   This time I rub behind her ears and under her chin while I tell her all about the work I have to do.  She sighs appreciatively and licks her lips.   15 minutes later, she heads back to her dog bed for a nap and I get back to work.  I am writing a really great post about the benefits of a high voltage vacuum in my line of work and I keep forgetting my train of thought.  I go back to look up the difference between Bissell and Hoover but before I have time to type hoo she is back.  Did I mention the staring?  This time I bring her outside to go to the bathroom.  She does her stuff and comes inside.  I give her a treat and expect her to bring it to her bed to eat.  Except she doesn’t.  She eats her treat right there in front of me and returns to the main event…her staring contest with me. 

So back to the blog. Or not. All this staring has made me think that blogging is overrated. I think I will get some puppy love while she is demanding it so nicely!

Flea Circus

Hi all, Amanda here 🙂  It has been so fantastic lately, warm weather and nice breezes.  Rain, but even that is good.  We need to feed the grass and trees so they can grow.  Unfortunately, it isn’t only great weather that is here.  Bugs.  Let me say that again.  BUGS!

Bugs are another part of life that is actually needed.  Bugs help pollinate the flowers and the trees, not to mention eating other bugs.  Oh, and what about some unsung heroes like the dung beetle who eat the waste the animals leave behind?  Gross but true; there are bugs out there whos sole mission in life is to eat the stuff left behind.  Spiders are, of course, another story.  I think their sole purpose in life is to terrorize unsuspecting pet sitters like me when they are trying to finally fall asleep.  Nothing like looking up on the ceiling and seeing eight legs scurrying across over your head to wake you up!!!!!

Bugs, not unlike most things, have downsides as well.  Specifically to this post, fleas and ticks can carry diseases and can cause illness for your pets.  Although I think eradicating bugs off the face of the Earth would be a mistake, erasing fleas and ticks from your life is not.  That brings up another question that has plagued dog and cat owners for a long time, what to use?!flea circus

There are several options available as of today to guard your pets from these pests.  There are homeopathic solutions such as raw garlic, brewers yeast, rubbing raw lemons on the fur of the animal before going out, and many others that I don’t even know about!  There are cards you can attach to the collar with a magnetic strip that causes a barrier of “earth energy” around the dog or cat to repel insects.  In other words, this barrier has been developed to cause a “do not fly zone” that bugs will adhere to.  The newest thing I have seen is a beacon of sorts that clips to the animal’s collar and emits ultrasonic waves that repel bugs.

A person can also go the traditional route and use once a month treatments.  There are several that have to be applied topically to the back of an animal’s neck or given to the animal to be digested.  The key with these is to apply them to the skin (careful not to put too much on the fur) and to give them or apply them on the same day every month.

Along the same line, there are new collars out that give the pet constant  doses of the above type treatments but don’t have to be applied every month.  Every 8 to 10 months the collars have to be replaced.  And speaking of collars, let’s not forget about good old fashioned flea and tick collars.  You know, those white collars that you cut to fit on your animal?!

I am sure I am forgetting something but that is not the point.  The point is, there are a bunch of options available for pet owners and really no excuse not to use something.  There is no reason for an animal to spend the bug season unprotected.  I can’t say which options work and which options don’t work, but pet owners have to at least try something!    One thing I do know is that it is so much easier to prevent an outbreak of fleas than it is to get rid of them once they have arrived in your home!