Thursday, February 28, 2013

There's a New Face in Town

Introducing......Little Miss Apollonia!

A Winning Personality

This girl is sweet, and I mean SWEET! She is heartbreakingly eager to please and gets very worried when she thinks she hasn't done something correctly. She just soaks up love and wants nothing more than to be your shadow. It's obvious that she wasn't exposed to much in her previous home, but she has a great personality and just keeps rolling with the new experiences. Luckily, she is housebroken and crate trained :). That makes my life much easier when trying to introduce a new foster to my house! She also doesn't jump on people and doesn't get on the furniture. And to top it off, she is also not dog-reactive! That is a huge plus since my dogs like to walk past the spare bedroom and ogle her through the doorway. Currently they are separated by a babygate and an x-pen, but it's been all play bows and tail wags so far.

Polishing the Skill Set

Miss Apollonia has never been 'leash-trained' so while she is with me, she will be getting some lessons on how to walk nicely on a leash. And hopefully she will even learn she can go potty while on a leash! :) I am also hoping to get her interested in playing with toys. She has no concept of the fun she is missing! She likes hollow marrow bones but so far has showed no interest in tug toys, balls, or squeaky plush animals! What kind of dog doesn't like to destroy a good squeaky toy?!?

As an Aside

She does have some hair loss on her shoulder blade area. I'm not sure her hair will ever grow all the way back in and we are not sure what originally caused the hair loss. Regardless, it just adds to her uniqueness and we believe she is quite stunning anyway! After awhile you don't even notice it (she certainly doesn't)!!!

Her Wish for a New Home

Apollonia would love for her new family to continue her learning experiences. Signing up for obedience/good manners classes would be icing on her new home cake! She loves the world and hopes to see much more of it with her new family. She just really, really, really, really wants a family to call her own who she can shower with love. This little girl has mountains of potential and she's eager to get started! If you are interested in this little spitfire please contact me at and fill out an application at Illinois Doberman Rescue Plus.

Will you be my new BFF???

Monday, February 25, 2013

Rug Muncher

Last night found us back at the ISU Vet ER, this time with Monday. She had decided earlier yesterday evening that the kitchen rug tasted good and should be part of her dinner. Those were bad thoughts, Monday!

The Offender


The Victim


The Result. (Yes I had ISU bring it out so I
could take a picture of it!)

It's not exactly cheap to go the ER clinic and induce vomiting. Sure, I could have waited to see if it would pass (which is what I did last year when she had a rug episode) but I didn't want to push my luck. This time I felt like I should take her in, and in my experience listening to those gut instincts usually pays off in the end. Sure, she didn't eat very much of the rug, but it was how she was acting after she ate it that had me worried. I'd much rather pay the $250 now and not worry about it, than wait for a week, worry the whole time, and be at risk for having to do surgery.

I do have to say my experience at the ISU Vet ER this time was hands down a hundred times better than last time when I took Baron in. I really, really liked the clinician - Dr. Swartzel. He took the time to go over everything with me and show me the vomit! Plus, he gave me a small anatomy refresher with the radiographs which was nice and took the time to email them to me. 

I love radiographs:

This shows matter in her stomach (the rug) and also a bulge of gas behind her stomach, which can be indicative of a blockage.

And I just liked this radiograph because you can see the muscle structure and the body wall and all kinds of cool things. Look at her beautiful spine! :)

Problems emerge and some people try to sweep them under the rug. ~Bill Condon

Not Monday! She just eats the rug :). What are some inanimate objects your dogs like to eat? 

Friday, February 22, 2013


Did you know that February is National Pet Dental Health Month? I didn't, at least not until earlier this week. I obviously can't keep track of all these 'special' month meanings that are supposed to draw your attention to serious issues :). New ones pop up all the time and I'm apparently not 'in-the-know'. But, now I do know and unfortunately I am one of those owners that don't brush their dog's teeth. Sorry, it just ain't going to happen at my house. I don't have time to scrub 210 teeth (damn that's a lot of teeth when you think about it!!) on a regular basis. However, with that said, I do try to monitor my dogs' oral health as best as I can by looking at their teeth, smelling their breath (when they give me kisses!), and checking their gums.

Look Ma, No Cavities!

All dogs are born with 42 teeth, no matter the breed, they all start out with that many. Several breeds are prone to tooth loss though so they might not have that many when you look into their mouth as they are maturing. If your dog is missing teeth, you should keep a list of which ones are missing (and when they approximately lost them and why) so that you can keep good records of your pet's oral health.

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 85 percent of dogs and cats show signs of oral disease by age four. Oral disease can lead to serious consequences for pets, including infection, severe pain, and even organ damage. Personally, I think a lot of the oral disease problems stem from what we are feeding (or not feeding!) our dogs. I mean seriously, do you think people brushed their dogs back in the day?!? Old timers would laugh at such foolishness :). But if you are feeding a commercial kibble diet (even a high quality one) regular oral health maintenance and check-ups can help to avoid most of the oral disease problems. 

Things pet parents should check for:
  • Bad breath
  • Tartar buildup
  • Swollen, receding, or bleeding gums
  • Fractured or abscessed teeth
  • Change in eating habits

Kill the Germs, Feel the Clean.

Check out this video <CLICK HERE> from the AVMA that features Dr. Sheldon Rubin giving easy, step-by-step instructions on how to teach a dog or cat to accept a tooth brushing. He also describes healthy treats and explains the risks of periodontal disease in pets.

The National Pet Dental Health Month ad from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Do you brush your dog's teeth? Tell me about your experiences - good, bad, and hilarious!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Hello my name is Erin and I'm a dog-aholic.

I heard the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, so here I am, admitting I am addicted to dogs. I'm sure that surprised most of you <insert sarcastic tone there> but I spent three days last weekend working at the Cyclone Country Kennel Club obedience trial and conformation show. Three whole days of watching various breeds doing various things (conformation, all levels of obedience, all levels of rally). Can you imagine the delightful torture? :)

I'm pretty sure what my dog breed rainbow will consist of over the years. While Dobermans and Pit bulls will be always be near and dear to my heart (and always in my home!), I am eager to branch out and connect with several other breeds. Nicholas better be prepared because over the years we're going to add some flavor to our doggie household!

So without further ado, here is a listing (that I am sure will be updated as life progresses) of breeds I hope to live with someday (I linked them to their descriptions on Wikipedia because there was more information there than on the AKC website, ugh):

AKC Hound Group

AKC Working Group

Doberman Pinscher (of course!!)

AKC Terrier Group

Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Vito is a mix of this breed)

AKC Nonsporting Group

French Bulldog (I need one of these NOW!)

AKC Herding Group

AKC Miscellaneous Group

Breeds Not Recognized by the AKC

American Pitbull Terrier (of course!!)

So I guess that should cover me for the next 50 years or so, LOL. I have big ambitions I know :).

What are your favorite dog breeds and why?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bourbon's Story

Bourbon, Vito, Majestic and I out at Peterson Pits.
Look at how young they all are!!
Mardi Gras always makes me sentimental because Bourbon came from New Orleans. He was a Hurricane Katrina evacuee and so I named him Bourbon Street Saint to uphold his New Orleans heritage. Plus, he is the color of Bourbon :). Gotta love the red dobermans!!

Humble Beginnings

Well there's nothing really humble about Bourbon, he's a more 'in your face' kind of guy. And although he had a rough start (I mean really, who wants to survive a hurricane when they're only like 4 months old?!?), he has come out of it with flying colors (and attitude!). He managed to survive the hurricane with his original owners, and although I don't know much about their situation, it was told to me that they surrendered him because they couldn't take care of him after the hurricane wiped out everything they owned. They did have another older Doberman, but they thought that since Bourbon was younger he would stand a better change of being adopted so they surrendered him. That's definitely not something you hear every day!

Typical Bourbon, always in your business!
The rescue groups down in New Orleans reached out to people across the US to start farming out some of the animals left homeless. So in November of 2005 (just a few months after the hurricane) a few people from Iowa headed down there with a horse trailer full of empty kennels and brought  back animals to various vet clinics and rescues throughout the state. The vet clinic I work at got quite a few of those animals, including Bourbon and a Shar Pei mix that had recently had puppies. At the time I only had Majestic and was interested in adopting another dog. I headed up to the clinic in December to check out the Shar Pei puppies and instead walked out with Bourbon.

A New Leash On Life

I'm really not sure how that happened; he might have drugged me, or otherwise somehow duped me. Once I got him home (and bathed! Whew, was he stinky!) and met his real personality, I hated him :). Maybe hate is a strong word, but I highly didn't like him and thought about returning him. He was young and energetic and had been in a kennel for months. Needless to say he wanted to run wild at top speed with no manners, which is really hard to accomodate in an apartment. I did the best I could and gradually we came to an understanding - it just took about 4 months!

Then of course I fell in love with his quirky personality, but he still wasn't easy. I tried multiple different things with him - obedience, rally, agility, tracking, the list goes on - but he couldn't handle group classes because of the other dogs and he'd much rather track critters than people :). Luckily, we did manage to pass the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test in April of 2008. It only took us about 4 tries at the test to pass it! Oh, Bourbon. That introduction to a strange dog would get him every time.
Bourbon rocking his jersey!

One thing that we can do together and try to do it whenever we can is tailgate. Bourbon is actually great at tailgating - mostly because there is enough going on that it keeps him distracted enough that he can't focus on other dogs if we came across them. Plus he gets to rock his ISU jersey with his very own name on it. He loves that jersey - mostly because he knows it means tailgating and that means LOTS of game-day food and attention.

Tables Are Turned

While Bourbon is probably thankful he ended up at my house :), I'm also very thankful that Bourbon was brought into my life. He is the reason I searched out and started volunteering with Illinois Doberman Rescue Plus. I've met tons of the awesomest people through that rescue and I'm proud to call myself one of their volunteers. And while Bourbon is dog-reactive on a leash, he is actually the first dog I introduce any new foster to. He is great with other dogs at home and absolutely loves his role as 'foster-breaker-iner'. (That would be my new word for his title! LOL)

Bourbon and Cash sharing a blanket on the couch

Bourbon and Ice chewing on bones together (this is no longer
allowed in my house but Ice was my first foster!) :)

Bourbon and Shaq snuggling on the couch together
(more like Shaq laying on Bourbon!)

Bourbon also made me a much better dog owner. At that point, I had only had Majestic and Freedom as dogs and they were the 'eager-to-please' type of dogs. They didn't even need much training which didn't prepare me very well for the 'tour-de-force' of Bourbon, LOL. But I got my act together and ended up learning tons about dogs and even started an interest in becoming a dog trainer. So I guess my husband can blame Bourbon for my passion of dog training :).

Bourbon is turning 8 this year (in just a few months) and he has certainly slowed down (thank god!) but he hasn't lost any of his fire. He's still just as spunky and ready to fly off the handle as he was 7 years ago! I had no idea what I was getting into when I brought this monster lover home, but so far I have enjoyed every minute of it (except of course those first few months, but who's counting!).

Hurricane Katrina

Bourbon also sparked an interest in Hurricane Katrina for me. I like to read and watch whatever I can get my hands on about the rescue missions conducted down there after the disaster. I have also joined in our local disaster response team for animals because of it. Just look at everything Bourbon has spurred me to do!

Here are the books and DVDs that I currently have, if there are any that you know about that aren't on my list, please send me information! I would love to add to my collection :)

Dark Water Rising, DVD
Pawprints of Katrina: Pets Save and Lessons Learned, Book
Not Left Behind: Rescuing the Pets of New Orleans, Book

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

(translated: Let the good times roll!)

Bourbon is napping in preparation of his good times! LOL

Friday, February 8, 2013


In honor of Baconfest that is occuring tomorrow, I decided to make bacon treats for the dogs. Sadly, I am not going to attend Baconfest and neither are my dogs, so this was our pathetic awesome at-home celebration. Again, I got this recipe from Doggie Dessert Chef because she is awesome and the recipes get emailed directly to me, haha.

YUM, BACON......





1/4 cup Apple Sauce
3 slices Bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
1 Egg
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 cup Oat Flour



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.
3. Knead dough into ball and roll onto a floured surface 1/4 inch thick and take a straight edge and cut the dough horizontally and then vertically to make a grid (I used a bread knife).
4. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until browned at the edges.
5. Cool and break into pieces, then refrigerate.

This is a picture from Doggy Dessert Chef - mine never
turn out that pretty! :)

Here is a video of Monday mostly doing a happy dance for Bacon - never mind the idiot person doing the filming :) . CLICK HERE

Some Bacon humor for the day :)

Homer: I'll have the smiley face bacon breakfest special. Uhh, but could you add a bacon nose? Plus  bacon hair, bacon mustache, five o'clock shadow made of bacon bits and a bacon body.
Waitress: How about I just shove a pig down your throat?
(Homer looks excited!)
Waitress: I was kidding.
Homer: Fine, but the bacon man lives in a bacon house!

Now really, who doesn't love Bacon!?!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Canine Pincushion

Monday has become a canine pincushion. She has started seeing Dr. Farr (the same vet that is handling Bourbon's chiropractic care) for acupuncture and herbal medicine to treat her skin issues.

The look fits her don't you think? :)

Monday's Background

When I first adopted Monday she came to me with spots of hair missing (it looked like ringworm) and it actually turned out to be staph infection.

My poor baby...

She was on round after round after round of Cephalexin. Once we had it cleared up and she was off the antibiotics, it would appear again after about a month. We had confirmed the staph infection was secondary to allergies, but Benadryl wasn't helping and I was getting worried about the excessive use of antibiotics. She had also started getting pustules in between her toes on her feet that were bothering her and obviously causing pain :(. She was a mess!


So I did an allergy panel at Iowa State University to help determine what exactly she was allergic to so I could hopefully minimize that in her life. Of course, she was a bit difficult :). It came back that she was allergic to the yeast that commonly affects dogs. So not only does the yeast bother her like it would a normal dog, but it bothers her times two because she's allergic to it. So now I needed to find out how to keep her from getting yeasty! Easier said than done.

She was sad they had to shave off fur :(

I changed her diet first of all - no more kibble. She is fed a raw diet, and hell I think she eats better than we do! That has helped tremendously. She was getting staph infections every other month and now she gets them maybe twice a year if that. I also haven't had to treat her with Cephalexin when she has broken out with Staph because her body's immune system has naturally overcome it. With the diet part under control, I started to look into acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and other holistic treatments.

What is Veterinary Acupuncture?

Acupuncture can be defined as the insertion of needles into specific points (called acupoints) on the body to stimulate a healing response. Each acupuncture point has specific actions when stimulated. The stimulation can assist the body to heal itself by certain physiological changes. For example, acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasms, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body's pain control chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid).

Acupuncture has been used in veterinary practice in China for thousands of years to treat many ailments and also as preventative medicine. Most vets use it in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of conditions in every species of animal. It's normally used for functional problems such as those that involve paralysis, noninfectious inflammation (such as allergies), and pain. In addition, regular acupuncture treatment can treat minor sports injuries as they occur and help to keep muscles and tendons resistent to injury. Professional and amateur athletes often use acupuncture as a routine part of their training.

And of course I asked Dr. Farr the common question - does acupuncture hurt? Needles freak me out, and sure these are tiny needles, but doesn't it hurt even a tiny bit? Well for most aimals, the insertion of the needles is virtually painless. And once the needles are in place, there should be no pain. Monday certainly didn't feel any pain and didn't even notice the needles, LOL.

The needles that were used on Monday.

So how does Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine fit in with Monday?

I would still like to see her at a point where she's no longer getting yeasty and also see if we can get her hair to grow back on her hind end and tail. Her tail has just started to loose hair in several places and she certainly doesn't help the cause by having Happy Tail!! (Happy Tail is when the dog wags their tail so hard against furniture, walls, etc. that it breaks open and bleeds. She is excessively happy!)

I made an appointment with Dr. Farr for a consult to see if she thought we would be able to help Monday further or if these were things she would just have to deal with. Which is still better than where she was at when I adopted her! Monday was not an easy patient for acupuncture; needless to say she doesn't really like to sit still outside of the home. Luckily, we are usually the last appointment of the day so there's no one waiting outside to distract her further :).

After the first appointment, we put Monday on the herb Four Marvels. It is generally helpful for a myraid of skin conditions. She was prescribed about a month's worth and then we had a follow-up appointment. At the follow-up she was in the same condition, so it was concluded we should head in a different direction. Next, she was prescribed a blood tonic as she shows many symptoms of a blood deficiency. She only had two weeks' worth of it prescribed because it is rather potent and I would be able to tell immediately if it was working. Nope, that one didn't help either. So she is heading back to try something new.

It is usually a complicated battle with skin issues and of course Monday is anything but typical :). But we will keep trying because she deserves to be as comfortable as possible and can you just imagine how insane it would drive you to be that itchy???

What lengths do you/would you go for your dog's health and comfort?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Futuristic Friday

Can you imagine...

All with the power of positive training :). Although, I shudder to think of my crew hitting the streets. There might be an increase of casualties (especially of roadkill!!).

Do you think your dog would make a good driver?