First vet visit

OK, it wasn’t her first vet visit, because she went when the rescue brought her in, but this was our first vet visit together.

A few weeks ago, I noticed a spot on her left flank that she was chewing at and the skin beneath looked rather pink. I tried Bitter Apple spray; we tried deterring her whenever we noticed her biting the spot; but nothing worked. She hadn’t broken the skin, but I felt like it was going to approach that point unless we took some more serious action.

So, we went to the vet together.

We chose this vet based on a number of very enthusiastic recommendations, even though the practice is quite far from our house and there are multiple closer veterinarians. But I think it we made a good choice, based on this first, quick visit.

Waiting for the doc.
Waiting for the doc.

The good news: The front-desk staff, the vet techs, and the vet herself (Dr. Powell) were SO great with Pyrrha. They could clearly see that Pyrrha was nervous about everything that was going on, and so they moved slowly, spoke in dulcet tones, and let her sniff everything and everyone before trying to touch her. Pyrrha wasn’t happy about being stuck in a little room with all of us, and she certainly didn’t like having her spot poked and prodded, but chewy liver treats helped a lot by way of distraction and she never growled or put up any kind of fight (which was my great fear). Instead, I could tell she was anxious, from the wide whites of her eyes, and her body language, but she was so brave. She even performed her new trick* for everyone, after the exam was over. (*”Be pretty!” Which means: Sit back on your haunches and wave your front paws in the air. It is killer-adorable.) I was proud of her. As always, this shy dog is constantly exceeding my often low expectations. I need to stop selling her short.

The bad news: Dr. Powell wasn’t sure what the spot was. She ruled out mites, mange, and ringworm, and thought any other skin condition would be unusual, because the rest of her skin and coat is so healthy. She’s running a culture on some samples now and we should hopefully hear soon what’s going on. In the meantime, we need to keep trying to keep Pyrrha away from it, which is difficult. Thankfully, she’s not obsessed with chewing the spot and only seems to nibble at it from time to time. More vigilance on our part!

Anyway. I think *I* was more nervous than Pyrrha was about this visit, but it went very smoothly, all things considered. I’m so grateful for gentle vets and their staff, who really understand shy dogs! What a blessing.

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Pup links!

That’s a lot of shibas you’ve got there, sir. Source: Hei Astrid

Dog-related links from around the Web this past week:

Life with Two Shibas. What’s it like having two shibas in the house? A realistic and detailed portrayal of how to welcome that second dog into your home and how to create balance and stability thereafter. (Shio the Shiba)

Frisbee Discs for Dogs: What’s the Best Disc on the Market? While I have very far-fetched dreams about Pyrrha taking interest in a Frisbee, I still love watching dogs play with flying discs. Does your dog love to chase a Frisbee? Here’s an article with some reviews on the best discs for your dog. (Whole Dog Journal)

Heart Spaghetti. A discussion of the importance of heartworm preventatives, particularly during this time of year. (Couches for Breakfast)

Post-4th Puppy Extravaganza. Seriously, what could be better than the chaos of 15 German shepherd puppies tearing through one’s home?? (Blackthorn Kennels)

When Time Isn’t Enough. This is a very honest post from Vanessa about how Rufus still hasn’t warmed up to his human dad, even after two years. It made me wonder if Pyrrha will ever love Guion, but it was simultaneously encouraging to know I’m not the only one in this boat. All I can say is, Vanessa and I–and Rufus and Pyrrha!–are lucky to be tied to such patient, persistent men. (The Rufus Way)

Pawsitively Amazing: Smiley. An apt name for this golden retriever, who was born without eyes into a puppy mill environment. But he just radiates joy! The description of his relationship with his owner is supremely touching. (Daily Dog Tag)

Let’s Be Gentle, Not Judgmental. A very humble and encouraging post by one of the most popular foster mamas out there, about the myths she once believed about her dog and others’. Such a great exhortation for us to be more patient and gentle with those who may still have some things to learn about their canine companions. Because, really, who of us has all the answers? (Love and a Six-Foot Leash)

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We’re out of town for another long weekend (another wedding and another road trip). This time, Pyrrha will be hanging behind with her angelic former foster and her pack. It’s the best form of doggy daycare for her and she always comes back to us very tired and happy. Hope you all have pleasant weekends!

Review: The Animal Manifesto

The Animal Manifesto.

Marc Bekoff’s The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint isn’t exactly a dog book, but there are dogs featured in it. Furthermore, much of this slim book’s premise aligns with how I think we could all approach dogs: Compassionately.

Bekoff is a reasonably well-known ethologist and a prolific writer about animal rights and animal behavior. This book is his humble and clear attempt to provide animals with a manifesto of their own, a treatise for their innate rights as fellow citizens of Earth. It is an easy and accessible book and it’s one that I wish all Americans, especially, would read.

Here are Bekoff’s six reasons for showing animals more compassion than we show them now:

  1. All animals share the Earth and we must coexist.
  2. Animals think and feel.
  3. Animals have and deserve compassion.
  4. Connection breeds caring, alienation breeds disrespect.
  5. Our world is not compassionate to animals.
  6. Acting compassionately helps all beings and our world.

He expands on each of these reasons in separate chapters, citing numerous studies, scientific surveys, and media anecdotes to prove each of these points. One of the book’s gimmicks is providing several pages of news excerpts about animals showing compassion to one another or humans showing injustice to animals. I appreciated reading these clips, but I occasionally felt like he could have trimmed them down a bit.

This book further reinforced a lot of epiphanies about animal rights and compassion toward animals that I first discovered in Animals Make Us Human. Again, it’s simple and small and it takes no time at all to read, but it could totally revolutionize the way you look at animals–even, or perhaps especially, the ones that don’t live in your house with you. It’s a compelling plea for reverence and awe toward the created world and for widespread justice for the voiceless, the creatures who share our planet and are often left at our mercy. I’d recommend it to you, if only as a refresher for all the important reasons to be gentle, compassionate, and respectful toward animals.

Pup links!

Release the hounds! Click for source.

Dog-related links from around the web this week:

Snow Day in March! We had an unusual dumping of snow in my town yesterday. The city’s best-loved photographer takes some photos of her dogs in the snow; their joy is infectious! (Cramer Photo)

10 Simple Ways to Show Kindness in the Dog World. I thought this was a beautiful and inspiring post, reminding us of the simple things we can do to show gentleness and respect to other dogs and dog people. (Rescued Insanity)

How to Get Your Dog to Answer Your Call. Helpful reminders about training and receiving reliable recall. (The Inquisitive Canine)

How to Choose the Right Dog. Lindsey shares her wisdom about choosing a dog from a shelter. Decide your non-negotiables up front! This is helpful to me right now, because I’m in such a state of concentrated dog-longing that I could very well make poor, haphazard decisions based on any puppy face. (That Mutt)

6 Best Pet-Friendly Hotel Chains. Brief but useful reviews of the pet-friendliest hotel chains across the U.S. (Pawnation)

The Morran Book Project. I love this. A collection of illustrations from all over the world of artist Camilla Engman’s beloved terrier, Morran, made into a beautiful little book! (Miles to Style)

Hank, Cat for Senate, Responds to Attack Ad. Hank the cat is running for Virginia Senate, but he’s been smeared by an ad campaign from the super-PAC Canines for a Feline-Free Tomorrow. Which is hilarious. (Animal Tracks)