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Chocolate does not convey love for your dog…

The toxicity of chocolate is relative to the size of your dog and the type and amount of chocolate ingested.

Because it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought it might be good to remind everyone that chocolate is not safe for dogs.

PetMD has a great calculator to help you determine when it is time to get your dog to the veterinarian if your dog has had some chocolate. The toxicity of chocolate is relative to the size of your dog and the type and amount of chocolate ingested.

For example my favorite candies are Reese’s Dark Chocolate Mini Peanut Butter cups. I did a little science experiment on them and one of these candies has about 1/4 oz of dark chocolate.

Did you say peanut butter???

My dog Pinball is about 35 pounds. Like so many dogs he loves peanut butter and will not be bothered by the fact that there are wrappers and even some dark chocolate to get through in order to find the coveted peanut butter.

Based on the PetMD chocolate calculator, if Pinball got one of these candies, I would not have to worry. I would watch him closely because at his weight with the amount of dark chocolate in one small dark chocolate peanut butter cup, there would be no symptoms expected. But, because every body is a little different, I would keep an eye on him, AND make sure he got NO MORE.

By the way, it is the compound theobromine that is the culprit here. Theobromine can also be found in things other than chocolate. A few of them are: tea, coffee, cola products, acai berries, coco mulch for the yard, and probably others.

If Pinball were to get 1 oz of baker’s chocolate, I would call the poison control hotline if my veterinarian were not available, and probably take him in to see the veterinarian or emergency veterinarian right away.

There are a number of pet poison hotlines, some charge a fee, and others don’t. Look online to see what works best for you, and here are a couple:

– Pet Poison Helpline

– ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center

For Pinball’s 1 oz of baker’s chocolate, mild to moderate symptoms would be:

  • Vomiting
  • GI Upset
  • Hyper Tension
  • Hyperactivity
  • Restlessness

2 oz of baker’s chocolate would cause moderate to severe symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Tremors in muscles
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Hyperthermia

3 oz of bakers chocolate would cause severe symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Tremors in muscles
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Hyperthermia
  • Seizures
  • Collapse
  • Death

When we compare this to 3 oz of milk chocolate which would be expected to cause mild to no symptoms, it is dramatic the difference the type of chocolate can make in terms of toxicity – so – Remember if you have to call the veterinarian, he or she will need to know:

– Dog’s weight,

– Amount of chocolate,

– What type of chocolate

In short – no chocolate is good for your dog, but the darker the chocolate the less your dog will need to ingest to become very sick and potentially lose their lives to a simple piece of candy.

On Valentine’s Day, show your dog you love him or her with a great wild walk in the snow for those of you in the north, or a peanut butter kong, or both. But keep your chocolate up and away.

And for those of you with young kids, send the dog out of the room until the kids are done with their chocolate – save everyone the anguish and let your kids enjoy their treat without worry.

Goodbye Sweet Shelby

On September 2nd Shelby passed from complications of kidney failure. When we grieve we process and ponder. It is there that we can see the lessons Shelby brought for us.

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Shelby the Scholar

Every dog that comes into our lives arrives with a syllabus for us. It is our job to decipher what lessons they are teaching.

On September 2nd Shelby passed from complications of kidney failure and her household of three Mini Schnauzers, a gaggle of cats, and of course her humans Jill and Linda, too, was left with a vacant spot.

When we grieve we process and ponder. It is there that we can see the lessons Shelby brought for us.

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Nobody’s cooler!

She was even tempered, smart and lived her life in the balance. Always up for the walk, she wore the silly hats in class, leapt from the couch for the outside adventures, and happily joined in for the barking at the passing bikes or pedestrians. And, if she were human, she’d always be the first to hold the door for a stranger, or give a hug exactly when it was needed.

Illness plagued Shelby in her last years. Mamas Linda and Jill managed Shelby’s fluids and meds like pros. Coordinating her care was complicated at times – we should all have a medical advocate like Linda. Shelby withstood every prod, poke, new medicine, prescription food, limited diets, and multiple trips to the vet’s with her usual good nature while never getting cranky or snarky with her house mates.

I can see three lessons that Shelby brought for us, perhaps others can see more.

The first was balance – play hard, bark loud, and always be kind to everyone you meet.

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Just hanging out

The second was all about taking things in stride, from illnesses, to losses, to changes in the home, Shelby was always good with it all. I know for some, this one doesn’t seem like much. But from my own perspective, this is an almost saint-like quality that alludes me on most days.

The third one was about the connections the Universe often shows us that we dismiss or doubt because there are no double-blind studies to confirm what we see.

  • Shelby arrived at Jill and Linda’s home on September 4th 2004 – her big sister Kinsey’s birthday.
  • She left us on September 2, 2016 – missing her anniversary by two days, and missing Kinsey’s birthday by two days.
  • And, when Kinsey passed away, it was a day before Shelby’s birthday.
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Shelby and Kinsey – Party Animals

Remember, in astrological terms, birthdays are not always on the same date on our calendar, but follow the alignment of the planets as they were at our birth. So, who knows…perhaps there’s an even tighter link between Shelby and Kinsey than our calendar shows.

These are the things that make us scratch our heads because we have no good answers for the nature of these connections. However, we can say without doubt, that Shelby and Kinsey had a bond that transcends our mortal understanding.

Shelby will be very missed by her family and all of us who knew her as the sweet, easy-going, gentle soul that she was.

However, she and Kinsey will no longer be missing each other.

 

Odin preparing for his family’s new baby. Good Boy!

Odin’s family took time before their new baby came home to learn how to and what to train Odin to do to keep their family happy and safe together.

Odin preparing
Odin settled near his new baby girl’s automated swing.

Odin’s family is expecting their first baby any day now – maybe today!

When she arrives everyone’s life will be changed. Mom and Dad know what’s happening, Odin probably doesn’t.

This is why it’s so important to see how our dogs behave around new baby gizmos before baby arrives because:

  • There won’t be a lot of time when baby comes home
  • If we wait until baby is actually in the swing or vibrating Pack-n-Play or other moving and/or sound making device, we won’t know if our dog is reacting uncomfortably because of the gizmo or the baby
  • And, if we know ahead of time that our dog is not as comfortable with the baby gizmos, we can desensitize

In the picture above Odin has been given his settle command while the swing gently goes back and forth in close proximity to him.

Odin’s family took time before their new baby came home to learn how to and what to train Odin to do to keep their family happy and safe together. For more details on how to keep your baby and dog(s) safe and happy together, and chapter excepts, Please Don’t Bite the Baby, and Please Don’t Chase the Dogs.

Congratulations to Odin and his family – it is all well worth it!

RIP Barb

Barb Shea’s life as defined by the gratitude of animals.

For almost ten years, I have had the privilege of being the trainer and behavior consultant for ARF-Beacon and in that time I have come to know Barb Sheabarb-219x300 as kind and generous, occasionally cheeky and opinionated, a soft touch who could see through anybody’s crap, and she always found a way to laugh while navigating the world of animal rescue that is defined by sadness, cynicism and difficult decisions. As the president of ARF, she made the hard choices and took the consequence of conflict for those choices knowing she was right and yet always doubting her decisions. Like all of us, she walked with her internal contradictions, but ignored them as she endeavored to do what was right for the animals of ARF.

I write this with my dog Pinball at my feet,Pinball couch headtilt knowing that without Barb, he and his siblings would not be alive (and probably his mother dog too). I can’t begin to count the number of other dogs and cats who have lived only because Barb started ARF three decades ago.

It feels almost trite to attempt a fitting eulogy of Barb’s life that appropriately honors a woman so devoted to rescuing animals, and so responsible for thousands of lives, both pets and humans; we know the two-way nature of rescue and that many rescued ARF pets returned the favor and saved their humans in one way or another.

Perhaps to honor Barb, we would thank the Universe for her dedication and tenacity, and hope that she can hear the words of gratitude from those she touched.

However, our words are nothing compared to the gratitude without voice that comes from all the dogs and cats saved by ARF. Their thanks floats on the wind like dancing leaves in a gentle fall breeze that will carry Barb from this life to the next, offering her the same comfort, hope and companionship that she offered all the loved and lost animals rescued by ARF.

The Three Colors of Goldens

Recently I was able to wrangle three Golden Retriever puppies to compare and contrast their differing colors.

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For some time, I have noticed Golden Retrievers are turning up in some very different colors.

Until now I have not had all three colors in the same class.

 

However, in a recent Basic class I was able to wrangle three Golden Retriever puppies to compare and contrast their differing colors.3 Goldens 2

Notice (from left to right) Tucker-the-Cream, Redgie-the-Red, and of course Willow-the-Golden.

My question is, in the future will we be looking at a true color split in this breed like we see with Labs? Will we be making similar designations for Goldens just like we do for Labs?3 Goldens 3

  • Chocolate Lab
  • Red Golden
  • Yellow (I prefer Vanilla) Lab
  • Cream Golden
  • Black Lab
  • Golden Golden

We will probably have to wait a decade or two before we know how this is going to turn out.

Three Goldens movie thumbnailBut in the meantime, here is some  three-colored Golden-puppy play.

 

Enjoy!