Tag Archives: bay area

26Apr/17

Stormy weather sickness

Happy Spring everybody!

(P.S. I proposed … .and she accepted!)

Rainy enough for ya? (Another version of, “hot enough for ya?” but somehow even more annoying.) Please excuse me – I’m a little grouchy. I’m tired of the rain! (As I write this – right now – guess what – it’s raining!)

I’m pretty sure I’ve been wearing a beanie for six solid months.

Having said that, us Californians are grateful for this (relentless) rain. Battling our drought is more important than our comfort and good hair days.

Water is life and we are thankful.

But what we’re not so thankful for, and what has pulled me out of my blog exile, is a very real health concern that has been affecting local dogs and their owners recently because of all this rainfall.

Water-borne illnesses. (See a comprehensive slide-show of them here.)

(Lady, showing harmful bacteria her true feelings.)

Leptospirosis, Giardia and other Nasty Critters have been thriving in the standing water that never gets to dry up because of all this (relentless/wonderful) rain.

Waste from wild life is the real culprit here – a deer or raccoon pees or poos, it runs downhill with the water, and thrives for weeks or months in a puddle, creek or mud.

You know – all the places your dog loves to drink from and splash around in.Those kinds of places.

This recent article cited a Bay Area dog who died earlier this year due to complications from Lepto from playing in a park. A San Francisco vet is quoted as witnessing five documented cases of Lepto-positive dogs in early 2017 in her practice alone.

Besides this one article, I’ve heard through the grapevine from my veterinary friends that Lepto is on the rise and I need to pay attention.

An artistic rendering of me and my vet friends hating everything that hurts and kills dogs. Grrrrrr.

In addition, a wonderful, healthy and happy WOOF dog had to be euthanized recently due to a bacteria he encountered playing outdoors that didn’t respond to antibiotics and hospitalization.

So I felt a public service announcement was in order: please be aware of waterborne illnesses! Especially right now while everything is still very wet out there.

Some important tips:

Don’t allow your dog to drink water from puddles or creeks – EVER.

Wash your dog thoroughly if he/she has been frolicking in mud/puddles, etc. (Or keep them on a leash and don’t let them do it until the ground dries out.)

Ask your vet about the Lepto vaccine – it is a series of two vaccines spaced 2 to 4 weeks apart (if your dog has never been vaccinated for it) and is sometimes included in the Distemper vaccine (DHLPP instead of DHPP – the L stands for Lepto) *Note the vaccine is not 100 percent effective, but certainly increases the odds of your dog not becoming seriously ill from exposure

Some facts about Lepto:

It’s more common in warmer climates

It’s transmitted through urine (think of urine settling into puddles and mud)

It’s a spiral-shaped bacteria that can live in a favorable environment for weeks or even months

It is zoonotic, which means that you CAN get it from your dog (again, from direct contact with urine from an infected animal or infected water, soil or food – so wash your hands after outdoor activities and cleaning up after your pet!)

If caught in time, it has about a 75 percent survival rate

Symptoms to look for:

lethargy

decreased appetite

increased water consumption

increased urination

vomiting

diarrhea

fever

muscle pain

red eyes

blood in urine

red-speckled gums

The toughest part is realizing something is wrong with your dog in time to start a successful course of fluids and antibiotics. The symptoms can be so subtle – not to mention general and symptoms of countless other serious and not-so-serious conditions.

Pay close attention to your dog and his/her habits. When in doubt, go to your vet and get that bloodwork or Xrays. It could truly save your dog’s life.

In the article referenced above, for example, the dog was 13 years old, so the owner, understandably, thought her lethargy and other symptoms were just signs of an older dog slowing down. By the time she went to the vet, the bacteria had spread and affected her organs too much to save her. Sadly, most of these dogs go into renal failure when their kidneys stop working and euthanasia is really the only humane option.

As for me and Lady, we are squarely in the danger zone. We hike almost every morning (very early, in the dark, before work), splashing through water and mud.

We love our early-morning hikes and take selfies to document our adventures.

Lady is older (10) and is having typical old-dog symptoms. Some days she’s tired. Some days she’s achy. Some days she doesn’t feel like eating. I have to pay close attention to what’s “normal” and what could be something serious like Lepto.

I’m sure you all feel my pain here.

So what are my choices? I can hike without Lady and break her heart. I can stop hiking altogether and break everyone’s hearts.

We can just all stop doing everything we love because there are dangers involved in living.

I say no to that.

Instead, I’ve decided to continue doing what we all love, but doing it more thoughtfully and with some key precautions.

I’ve vaccinated Lady for Lepto. I keep her on leash during the hike, and am vigilant about not allowing her to drink water off the ground. I rinse and clean her legs and underside every morning post-hike (yes, every morning, when it is still dark outside and we are all tired, which sucks for both of us, but makes me feel a whole lot better when I see her “cleaning” her legs as she rests in her doggie bed.)

We will live informed, but we will not live in fear.

I urge you all to do the same.

(I am not a veterinarian nor an expert on waterborne illnesses – please consult your veterinarian about your dogs’ lifestyle and best health choices.)

 

13Jul/15

Everything you ever wanted to know about spaying and neutering (and certainly weren’t afraid to ask)

I’ve talked about this so much over my veterinary years, I feel like I could have written a book on the subject.

neuter better

All kidding aside, let’s get the usual disclaimer out of the way: I am not a veterinarian and nothing I say in this blog should ever substitute for advice from a real medical professional. 

Okay, so here we go…the decision to surgically alter your dog is a big deal. It’s done under general anesthesia and, for females especially, it’s a major surgery – a total hysterectomy, in fact, just like us human females may have to get someday, which is another reason to baby our sore girls post-op! (I got your backs, bitches.)

If you adopt a dog, odds are he or she will be handed over freshly spayed or neutered. So owners of rescues rarely ever have to face this issue.

But if you get a puppy from a breeder, or a rescue from a group who didn’t have the funds to spay/neuter, it’s a whole different ball game. Should you spay/neuter right away? Does your breeder stipulate something about it in your contract? (I’ve found you won’t find more opinionated people about when to spay and neuter than breeders, who have a financial stake in turning out dogs without health issues that could even vaguely be linked to an early spay/neuter. Way more opinionated than even veterinarians, in my experience, which always struck me as odd. But that’s another blog.)

Further, should you spay and neuter at all?

Some people don’t think about this issue at all and some people think about it A WHOLE LOT. And have lots of questions. And I’ve heard the questions. So here are my best answers.

Following are all the things I’ve come to learn, from doctors, books and just plain old experience –  and I’d like to share. For all you spay/neuter aficionados out there, the doubters, the naysayers, the worrywarts, the staunch proponents and opponents, the ones who wonder if their male dog will ever forgive them – this one’s for you.

Why should I spay or neuter my dog?

I believe the decision about whether to spay or neuter really comes down to lifestyle. With a dash of health intervention. Why do I bring up lifestyle first? Because – to keep it perfectly real and one hundred, as the kids say – I don’t think health is really the main reason to spay and neuter (although there are a lot health benefits I’ll go into later). The way you want your dog’s life to be is the real tipping point here. Let me explain.

The fact is, if your dog is going to come into contact with other dogs, for everyone’s safety (including yours) he or she really should be altered. And by “contact” I mean dog parks, daycares, kennels, walking down the sidewalk, even your neighbor’s backyard – if you want your dog to be social with other dogs, minimizing the sexual part of their natures is key. Why? 

group fancyt

For social dogs, you’d be wise to spay and neuter:

– so they don’t reproduce and you have an unwanted litter on your hands (if you think you want puppies, I think unless you are a serious breeder dedicated to upholding the standard of a beloved breed, this may be a short-sighted decision. For every friend you find to take one of your dog’s puppies, that’s another potential home taken away from a shelter dog who already exists. Add to that the time and money it takes to raise a litter – it’s not something that should be entered into lightly. It’s not something that would be “cute” or “show your kids the miracle of life.” Don’t breed if you don’t know what you’re getting into! Because if you do, your puppies may be the ones who end up at the shelter.)

– so they don’t fight. Whether it’s an intact male being too aggressive, to other dogs targeting an intact male because they feel threatened by him, to dogs competing over an eligible female, intact dogs end up fighting in one way or another. Trust me, they do. I’ve seen it. (My boss Jacque has a good analogy for this: imagine your intact male dog entering a group of other dogs sticking up his middle finger to everyone. Flipping the old bird – of course, you’d have to imagine he could anatomically do that, which is dubious. But that’s really how an intact dog comes off to the other male dogs. And no good play session ever started with, “Hey, smell that? I’m bigger and badder than you. So… f*&k you. Want to play?”)

So the first question I would ask yourself when debating the spay/neuter issue is: what do I want my dog’s life to be like? Is he going to be with just humans all the time or do I want the opportunity and ability to take him to the dog park, walk him safely down the sidewalk or drop him off at daycare? If you do, spaying and neutering is really the only way to ensure he can enjoy these activities safely.

There are other behavioral benefits to spaying/neutering that also make your dog have a safer lifestyle and – well – more fun to be around.

behavioral benefits fancy

– neutered males do less leg-lifting and marking.

– neutered males have reduced dominance.

– neutered males exhibit reduced humping (imagine how maddening it would be to have all these sexual urges and no real outlet – another reason, I think, it’s more humane just to go ahead and lessen that urge for them).

– neutered males are less likely to escape and roam (did you know the majority of dogs who are found dead along highways are unneutered males, wandering and looking to mate?)

– neutered males elicit less attacks from other dogs.

– spayed females don’t get their periods (when I was a kid I had to put a pad on my Golden Retriever Penny because my parents weren’t big on spaying and neutering – what can I say; it was a different time – and let me tell you it is not fun).

– spayed females don’t incite aggressive breeding behaviors from other dogs.

What about the health stuff?

The other consideration in spaying or neutering is for the dog’s health. This is where it gets a little tricky because there are pros and cons on both sides. As with many medical concerns, this issue is still being studied. I’ve had veterinarians say there’s no reason not to spay/neuter as young as eight weeks; some say wait until 6 months; others say wait until 18 months for the giant breeds. I’ve heard some vets say all three over the course of many years. And to their defense, the best age is really not conclusive. But we must start somewhere, so let’s start with the benefits.

benefits fancy

– spayed females won’t develop uterine infections, uterine or ovarian cancers and have a much lower incidence of breast cancer.

– neutered males have reduced occurrence of prostate disorders, no testicular cancer and less incidence of peri-anal fistulas (if you don’t know what this is, I’m not going to tell you about it because the world will look nicer to you if you never find out).

The flip side is that there are some health concerns that have risen in recent years that make it unclear what the impact is of spaying and neutering to your dog’s health. And further, how to calculate the perfect age to perform the spay/neuter to avoid these pitfalls. Basically, all the concerns have to do with depriving your dog’s body of their hormones and the impact of their absence on their bones, joints and general health.

health concerns fancy

– obesity: altered dogs tend to be less active and put on weight. However, I counter that this is easily controlled with diet and exercise intervention from us humans. (And dog parks and daycares – the kingdoms for altered dogs to romp and mingle – are great places to burn off those extra calories! So I dismiss this objection wholeheartedly.)

– cancer: even though removing the sexual organs can help your dog avoid many kinds of cancer, there are other cancers that some veterinarians think may be a bigger factor for dogs who are spayed or neutered “early” (“early” being under 14 months of age.) However, the studies associated with these findings could not link the cancer directly to the early neutering since the kinds of cancer in question were already risk factors in general. So I call this one a draw. Mainly because I’ve found cancer to be a real inevitability for any pet owner. Generally, if pets live long enough (thanks to your excellent care, of course!) they’ll get some kind of cancer. That’s just how it goes. So I don’t think this should dictate your decision to spay/neuter at all, really.

– Hypothyroidism: there has been some research showing an increased incidence of hypothyroidism in dogs spayed/neutered early. But this condition is easily treated and may occur anyway. So I don’t think this concern in any way outweighs the benefits of spay/neuter.

– Joint issues: this is the only health concern that really pauses me in my “go ahead and do it already!” campaign to spay/neuter. I can see such a direct link to growth and hormones, so it’s hard to ignore that an early spay/neuter could really hurt your dog’s skeletal development, causing dyplasia of the hips and elbows, ACL tears and knee luxation – all very common ailments among dogs and ones that really affect their ability to enjoy their life (and their owner’s ability to pay their mortgage.) To this concern, I say consult a vet about what kind of dog you have and what they think the best age to spay/neuter would be. In fact, consult a few vets. But generally, the bigger the dog, the longer you should wait. So if you have a teacup Yorkie, relax. If you have a Great Dane, be vigilant in your research before deciding what age. But still, I recommend moving forward with the spay/neuter at some point in young adulthood before the behavior issues you experience far outweigh any safety measures you think you’re taking to save your dog’s joints.

(At WOOF, have a few intact adolescent males and females waiting to get their growth in before being altered, and we allow for that as long as their behaviors stay safe in group.)

In conclusion:

Ask your vet about the health ramifications of spaying and neutering, but don’t worry too much about it. Dogs are meant to be together, and the truth is they’re better together when they’re not trying to mate with each other. If you have philosophical concerns about it being “unnatural” to alter your dog surgically, may I counter how “unnatural” it was to take canines out of the wild and make everything from Mastiffs to Dalmatians to Teacup Poodles out of them. Domesticated dogs no longer operate on the plane of natural.

They operate on our planes – human planes. With beach days, long hikes and cuddles with their daycare friends. Their main job is no longer to reproduce – we humans have taken that initiative from them and tuned it to our own purposes.

So get your dog, do your research and make the best decision you can. Not just for you.

For them.

spay neuter better

 

 

 

25Feb/15

Dog mom

I am one of those people who call myself my dog’s “mom.”

dog mom 1

Here I am, momming it up.

I call myself that because I feel like her mom. She is completely dependent on me from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed. (And sometimes in the middle of the night, if she’s not feeling well.)

She expects a lot from me. I am her world. Sometimes when she needs something, I am so tired and I can’t imagine doing one more thing. Even for her. But then I see her cute face and love takes over, and moves my body to do what she needs. Even if it’s to clean up the millionth mess she’s made somewhere in the house (and after I just cleaned it!)

Sound familiar, moms?

dog mom 11

Her cute face, expecting something.

But still I wonder what other people think of this term. Is it cringe-worthy? Is it offensive? Are they neutral and I’m the only one who feels a bit weird about it? Or do they nod their heads in recognition, like, yep, I’m a dog mom too! (If you picked the last, then you are my people and I will love you forever.)

When I’m talking to or about Lady, “mom” just rolls so easily off my tongue. But, if I’m being honest, it feels like a bit of a stretch – and perhaps even an out-and-out delusion? Since I, you know, didn’t give birth to my Siberian Husky. (But I did adopt her! But not legally? See how the mind reels.)
dog mom 10

Sitting on mommy’s lap.

Then there’s the judgment I may get from others when I say it, the most obvious of which: since I don’t have human children, this is obviously my way of (mis)directing my maternal instincts.

All I can say about that is that I grew up wanting stuffed animals, not dolls. I was crazy for all things horse and dog. The first question I had when my husband asked me to move in with him was, “can we get a puppy?” (Spoiler alert: we did.)

So I’m not too sure this assumption applies to everyone. Sure, I am a woman with womanly feelings and all (define those however you like), and I do enjoy “babying” my dog, but it doesn’t mean what I really want is a baby. Because at my age, I’m pretty sure I don’t. And having had a dog since I was a kid, and always wanting to have a dog in my life, I’m pretty sure what I want is a dog.

angel

My beautiful daughter, admiring a chicken.

My reticence in using the term “mom” is because I have a lot of respect for the job. (And for dads too!) Being a parent is a massive responsibility and I don’t want to use it lightly.

So should I switch to the more loathsome term (in my opinion) “owner?” I mean, I don’t own my husband, so neither do I own my dog. (But I will fight you ten ways ’til Tuesday if you try to take what’s mine! Ha!)

dog mom 5

Riding in mommy’s car.

I have friends who have kids and friends who have dogs and friends who have kids and dogs. (And friends who have cats, but don’t have kids, etc. etc.) I’ve seen a lot of kid and animal love and I never really thought to compare the two. Comparing kinds of love just seems wrong and ultimately, pointless. Someone is going to feel marginalized. And who’s to say what kind of love is greater than another?

Love is personal.

dog mom 6

Waiting for mommy to come home.

But I have really noticed that anybody who has a human child usually has a bit of an eye-roll reaction when they hear pet owners calling their animals their “kids.”

And boy do we pet enthusiasts love shouting our love from the rooftops!

paws

And sometimes from our car’s bumper…

Arguably, pet people are just as passionate about their pets as parents are about their children. Their Instagram feeds are stuffed with pics of little Fluffy or Rover doing the cutest things ever. They celebrate their pet’s birthdays. They cradle and kiss their pets on the lips. They set up play dates for them.

Need I remind you that I work at a DOGGIE DAYCARE? I mean, we have doggie daycares! People from the last century wouldn’t have even believed such things would ever exist! I address our WOOF clients as “WOOF moms and dads.” It seems so natural, and yet I have to acknowledge that maybe it’s not for everyone.

At home, I say things like, “mommy doesn’t like that!” or “come to mommy!” Sometimes when I’m grouchy, “this is mommy time.” When it comes to Lady, I hear the “m” word slip out of my mouth so easily and it feels right.

dog mom 10

Sitting on mommy’s knee.

Of course, having a dog is different than having a child. You don’t have the awesome responsibility of raising a responsible, well-adjusted adult who will leave you someday and roam the earth only with your teachings to draw from. You don’t have to save for a college fund. They never leave you.

I acknowledge there are some major differences.

But I stand on the similarities. If I’m responsible for feeding, providing medical care for, cleaning up after, loving and generally directing a living being’s entire existence myself, well – then I’m their mom. Period.

And I have an even more intense relationship with Lady because she suffers from separation anxiety. She literally goes everywhere with me.

 dog mom 4

Out with friends.

dog mom 2

While I’m working.

dog mom 8

On damn near every errand. (Unless it’s too hot, in which case I don’t go and I suffer without conditioner or coffee creamer like a champ.)

My husband and my vacations so far have all included the dog. We plan our lives around her. Sometimes I feel a little resentful. Sometimes I feel guilty that she’s so needy. Sometimes I feel so lucky and can’t imagine my life without her.

Mostly, I feel like a mom.

Question: Do you call yourself your dog’s mom? Or dog’s dad? Why or why not?

19Jun/13

Fireworks and dogs

Oh dear. It’s coming.

out the window

It’s the countdown to the big 4th of July celebration. To humans this means big fun: barbecues, friends and – the best part – fireworks!

And to dogs? It’s the countdown to RANDOM AND UNEXPLAINED EXPLOSIONS from outside.

whitney

We get a lot of calls around this time of year from worried owners about fireworks. I hear the same stories:

“My dog races around the house and hides in the bathtub.”

“She just goes crazy – and I can’t do anything to console her.”

“I tried getting sedatives but it only made it worse.”

Many of them who live near big celebratory areas want to board their dogs with us until the smoke clears. (And you can too! But I’d recommend you request your reservation now – we book up quickly.)

Since we’ve confronted this question so many times (and I’ve had the problem myself with my hyper-sensitive German Shepherd), here are a few tips on what you can do to make the fireworks seasons a little less stressful on you and your dog.

I want to say upfront though – there’s no guarantee that anything works 100% of the time. But these tips are worth trying and – depending on your particular dog and what she responds to – you might just find the magic bullet that really works for you.

pug fireworks

Sorry sweetie. I didn’t mean to say bullet!

1. Don’t baby them through it.

Contrary to what seems the most natural thing to do – hold your scared dog tight and speak softly and pet them – don’t do this! The extra coddling reinforces to them that SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG and, yes, they do NEED TO BE VERY AFRAID. Why else is mom or dad acting so concerned?

2. Act as if everything is normal.

You know how Cesar Milan says to use “calm, assertive” energy? It totally works. Your dog is very sensitive to how you feel. So make sure, even if you are freaking out a bit, keep yourself calm and act naturally to show your dog nothing is wrong. I have trouble with this all the time with my dog, who is leash aggressive. But every time an off-leash dogs comes running up, I take a deep breath and talk to both dogs with a calm, normal voice – and it does really help not escalate the situation.

3. Close the doors and windows and turn up the radio.

Drowning out (or at least lessening) the firework noise can take your dog down from Level 10 Freak out to a more manageable Level 6.

4. Let them cope how they choose.

If your dog likes to hide under the bed, jump into the bathtub, or wedge themselves behind the couch – LET THEM. If they go into their crate, leave the door open in case they want to run somewhere else. One of the saddest things I’ve heard owners doing is locking their dog in a crate while they go out and the dog chews her way out in a panic. (My dog has broken all her canine teeth in half from doing this before I adopted her.)

5. Do a medication practice run.

There are several things your vet can prescribe as sedatives but please always try dosing your dog prior to the big day. You never know when a med is going to make your dog feel weird and therefore, react more frenetically to stress. It’s important to remember that they don’t understand when they feel different and sometimes it scares them.

6. Over the counter sedatives.

Dogs can usually take the supplement  melatonin or the allergy medication Benadryl (diphenhydramine) safely and it helps them become a little sleepy and more relaxed. Consult your veterinarian for dosages and if your dog is okay to try it. (And again, try it on a calm day first to see how your dog reacts.)

7. Tire them out first.

A big, long hike or run right before showtime can really help take the edge off anxiety.

8. Distract them.

Use toys, food, smells – anything your dog typically responds to – to calm them during the height of their freak out. Dogs are in the moment so if you become a BIGGER MOMENT than the firework noise, they’ll relax.

9. Keep them inside.

So many dogs will try to escape and bolt once the noise kicks in. Make sure your dog is in the house, safe and secure. And microchips are always a great idea in case they do run off – at least you’ll have another hope of them being returned to you.

10. The leash umbilical cord.

Some dogs respond to being on their leash, “connected” to their owners. It works for some people to tie the leash to their belt loop and let their dogs walk around with them while they go about their normal business.

Your veterinarian may have some more tips for you. Don’t give up – with a little preparation and thought, you can get through the holiday even with the most anxious of dogs.

And – of course – we always have a nice, quiet refuge at WOOF if need be.

family stays XOXO and be safe out there!

Vickie Jean @ WOOF

06Mar/13

New dogs at WOOF

Each WOOF client has been through what we call the “doggie interview“.

The White House Debuts The Obamas' New Dog Bo, A Portuguese Water Dog

You found us, came in for the first time, got the tour, and dropped your dog off.

Luckily, we both had the same goal: that you could go about your day resting easy and your dog would love being at WOOF! That while you work or vacation, he or she would have a safe, rewarding experience playing with other dogs.

We know it was hard – essentially leaving your baby with strangers. Walking out that door can be scary. We know how much trust that takes.

And we work very hard to keep it!

meet your handler

Although we have viewing windows, and we try to keep you in the loop of how your dog does, we realize that nothing can replace seeing things for yourself.

So in order to give you the full picture we thought we’d share some real pictures from a recent REAL LIFE DOGGIE INTERVIEW at WOOF.

Meet sweet little Rocky.

rocky

Rocky is a French Bulldog puppy.

rocky meet handler

Look, he’s still teething!

He is seriously little and came onto this earth a mere few months ago. As a puppy, he has no idea how to politely interact with the other dogs. Puppies charge, mouth and wrestle first – and ask questions later.

So keeping him safe – but letting him learn, make friends and have fun – was (and always is) our mission.

rocky and vickie

(That’s me making my “widdle iddy biddy puppy” face.)

Safely introducing Rocky into group was relatively easy – with a few precautions we have perfected over the years. The first thing we do is let the dogs smell him through the chute. Nor surprisingly, Rocky had no fear and was ready to go.

Everyone else was excited to meet him too.

toy window

everybody is happy

dog with handlers leg

To protect Rocky from his own devil-may-care puppy-tude, we thinned out the group so he could check out the surroundings without being bombarded by dogs (or bombarding dogs, as puppies are known to do!)

rocky inspection

He smelled the K9 Grass. So many smells to smell.

rocky here is the water

We showed him where to get a drink. So much water to drink.

We supervised the introductions. So many dogs to meet.

rocky and friend

rocky and another friend

Rocky did great. He played and played and then – as puppies are also known to do – his little puppy eyes began to flutter and his little puppy body began to droop.

rocky considers

He had fun! He was safe! We tired him out! Mission accomplished!

Needless to say, Rocky passed his doggie interview. He continues to be a spirited member of Little Dog Playland and the socialization he’s receiving now will prepare him for many years of being a well-adjusted member of the canine community at large.

Bigger dog running at me? No problem.

Little dog pinning me down and smelling my butt? Okay.

Having to share this bowl of water? Whatevs.

So hey WOOF doggies, young and old: wherever you go, know that we are always behind you.

pup

xoxoxo,

Vickie Jean @ WOOF

 

 

03Feb/13

All kinds of cuddles

At WOOF, we try to give our guests all the creature comforts of home.

creature comforts

But we know that all the fancy kennels, beds and treats in the world can’t really replace one very important thing.

003

Human touch.

While your dog is here with us, we do as much individual hugging, reassuring, playing and positive touch as possible. No small feat with our dynamic, active play groups!

ears up

Woo hoo!

With this in mind DID YOU KNOW you could “schedule” individual cuddle time for your pup while staying with us? (Read all about it on our boarding services tab.)

owner cuddle

For dogs used to lots and lots of individual attention at home, this can really enhance their stay and ensure they get all the special human touch they are used to! And – especially for the lovesick, vacationing parents out there – each session includes an e-mailed or texted photo so you can check in with your pup while you’re away.

In honor of our “cuddle time,” we have put together some of our CUDDLE TIME GREATEST HITS photos.

aerial cuddle

 Aerial cuddle

bedtime cuddle

Night-night cuddle

big couch cuddle

Big dog, big couch cuddle

birthday cuddle

Birthday cuddle

goofy cuddle

Goofy cuddle

double cuddle

Double cuddle

double basset cuddle

Double basset cuddle

double basset kiss cuddle

Double basset blurry kiss cuddle

pajama day cuddle

Pajama day cuddle

And my personal favorite:

let it all hang out cuddle

Let-it-all-hang-out cuddle

So let us all remember to:

Cuddle hard

Cuddle often

&

Cuddle like nobody’s watching!

After all, it feels just as good to give as to get.

xoxo,

Vickie Jean @ WOOF

28Dec/12

Sparkly Hat Alert

The busy holiday season is ALMOST over at WOOF and we are happy to say we have enjoyed every minute caring for your babies!

There was ball time with festive winter coats.

ball time coat

(Lookin’ good, Apollo!)

There was kissing and cuddling by the fireplace.

cuddling and kisses

And sometimes there was a combination of both!

cuddle ball time combo

But even though we were quite busy caring for all these little holiday angels, we had tome for some good, old-fashioned tom foolery.

Of course, in the form of hats.

One Walgreens silver-sequined Santa Hat later, and the rest was WOOF Christmas history.

Enjoy our greatest hits:

 AileyAiley!

Beckham

Beckham!

Buster

Buster!

Dakota

Dakota!

Denali

Oh, Denali.

Dukee

Dukee!

Ellie Mae & Fletcher

Ellie Mae and Fletcher!

Ginger

Sweet ol’ Ginger!

Logan

Logan!

Princess

Ah, the Princess

So until next year, we promise to restrain ourselves from accessorizing your dogs while they are in our care.

Or will we?

vickie hat

pancho hat

xoxo,

Vickie Jean @ WOOF

27Aug/12

Mona says get your vaccines!

Today I had the pleasure of taking Mona, one of our boarding guests, to get a vaccine updated. She wanted me to chronicle the trip because she had so much fun!

Mona is of “Mona and Rupert” fame. You can’t say one’s name without the other because they always come as a family to board at WOOF!

WOOF offers this “vaccine service” for a very nominal fee for those who need some last-minute assistance with being up to date with their shots.

(At WOOF, we require Rabies, Distemper-Parvo and Bordetella – more on that later…)

Luckily, we’re within two minutes of the ABC Clinic, a local veterinary hospital that partners with WOOF on providing care.

They just moved into this swanky building across the street from the In ‘n Out Burger. (Their web site is here.)

So the very kind Dr. Raj allows us to bring WOOF guests in for all sorts of vet-related issues: vaccines, injuries – you name it. We feel so safe having such a competent veterinarian nearby in case of any medical emergencies.

Back to Mona and her distemper vaccine.

Mona was more than happy to take a car ride with me. (I think she felt like making brother Rupert jealous.)

It was time to cruise.Even if the cruise was only two minutes – we of course had to look cool.

Mona just wanted to GET THERE ALREADY.

Soon she got her wish. She hopped right up and took her seat in ABC’s super swank air conditioned waiting room.

Soon there were new friends to meet.

Everyone liked Mona so much humans decided to stand so she didn’t have to give up her seat.

Our wait wasn’t long at all – even though Mona waited very impatiently because she knew SOMETHING AWESOME WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN.

I mean, really – isn’t something incredible on the brink of happening all the time? (Dog thinking – which I like!)

Finally a nice technician approached and got down on the floor with Mona.

It’s important to establish a level of trust and intimacy before you stick a needle in someone. 😎

Another tech came to hold Mona steady.

She didn’t seem too worried. And then the moment of truth came.

Good girl!

And just like that it was time to leave.

Once again we were excited for the car ride.

I showed her the paperwork so she knew it was official.

Now in case you are wondering why we bother with vaccines, here’s a short primer:

Rabies – protects against the rabies virus – for adult dogs generally updated every three years

DHPP – protects against distemper, hepatitis, parvo and parainfluenza – also updated every three years for adult dogs

Bordetella – protects against most strains of upper respiratory diseases (“doggie colds”) – like the human sickness, it is not “curable” and passes from dog to dog in the air or by contact. Frequency of this vaccines is generally every 6 months or yearly.

As you can see, getting these vaccines – ESPECIALLY if your dog is coming into contact with a lot of other dogs (like at WOOF) – is crucial to keeping them healthy.

(For all you locals, the ABC Clinic holds vaccine clinics every Wednesday from 3 to 5 pm and Saturday from 11 am to 2 pm.)

Mona has another three years of glorious distemper-parvo protection and she’s super happy about it.

Or maybe it was just the car ride?

Whatever it is, we’ll take it.

For more information about WOOFs vaccine policies or services, contact us here.

15Aug/12

What do dogs see?

It’s a common misconception that dogs only see in black and white.

Care to weigh in, Pancho?

Well, turns out it’s not necessarily true.

Most experts agree dogs see just as many colors as we do. Their eyes have rods (discerning black and white) and cones (discerning color) The only difference is that maybe their green looks grey and their yellow looks green…that sort of thing.

Kind of boggles the mind.

Travis thinks we think too much as it is. (I agree, Travis.)

Whatever the real truth is (Travis?) – at WOOF, we love color.

I mean, have you seen our snazzy new door mats? Seriously.

In fact, WOOF’s facilities are full of color. And we’re not just talking about the decor.

Oh, Ricki Bobbi.

What lovely pigtails you have, Mac.

Happy birthday, Milo.

COLORFUL is the word all right.

Luckily, we also have an equally colorful staff, full of creativity. One of which is Nicky, our resident artist.

Nicky volunteered to paint a mural in our daycare area because – while it had some color – it just wasn’t colorful enough.

Here’s the daycare before:

Green bottom, white top. Not bad – but not very stimulating.

Nicky took care of that problem with gusto.

She and sister Jenna (who works in the front office) spent a whole weekend painting a masterpiece.

Some familiar faces showed up.

Cartoon Baxter meet…

The real Baxter!

 Cartoon Jake meet…

Meet real Jake!

Soon the large wall buffeting big dog playland was fully adorned with a kind of canine nirvana.

It’s so big and beautiful, in fact, it’s impossible to fully capture without a panoramic camera.

We’re not quite sure if the dogs are noticing the difference. But it’s definitely more fun for us to look at and – if the experts are right – it is offering the some mental stimulation!

We’re just not sure what they think. 😎

However, we do know the aforementioned Jake – a true ham among hams – was happy to be immortalized.

He showed us his gratitude in the one way we know FOR SURE dogs and humans share.

We love you too buddy.

08Jun/12

Boomer time

We take care of all kinds at WOOF – the young, the not-so-young, the big, the little…

But one special guest really stood out for me today.

Meet Boomer Roland.

Boomer is a 17 year old Pomeranian. He’s getting up there in years (the longest living Pom is rumored to have been 25 – so Boomer keep on going!) and consequently he has lost most of his vision and hearing.

He gets along pretty well though. We noticed he likes to hang out in Jacque’s office, on the couch.

And since I was working a lot in the office today, Boomer and I were kind of hang-out buddies.

What up, Boomer.

After a nice long snooze, Boomer got a little restless. He wanted to be lifted OFF THE COUCH and do a little EXPLORING.

(Now, as you can imagine, this can be a little frustrating when you can’t see or hear.)

So I leashed him up and guided him slowly outside, thinking maybe he’d like to take a potty break.

But after wandering aimlessly (I more than him…) I finally knelt down, held him to me so he felt secure (he knew where I was and that someone had him) and we just…

Chilled.

I noticed that his heart rate slowed down. He lifted his face to the sun.

He sniffed all those smells in the breeze that only dogs know about.

I tried to imagine what it was like for Boomer, not being able to see or hear anything. All he knows about the outside world is what he can feel and smell.

So that’s what we did: a lot of feeling and smelling!

Just Boomer and I on a bliss-out break.

It was unexpectedly awesome – again, probably more for me than for him.

So thank you Boomer Roland for helping me see things in a new way.

(And this is why I’ll say for the millionth time, LISTEN TO YOUR DOG – THEY KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING.)

xoxoxo,

Vickie Jean @ WOOF