Friday, 28 September 2012

Save the Best for Last- Anise (Khaleesi)

By: Alicia S.

In early July, I picked up Anise (Khaleesi) from what she had known as a home for the previous month and brought her home with me (as my foster puppy). Her family had decided that a puppy did not fit into their schedule and they wanted her to go to a home that would appreciate the adorable and active girl she is. Khaleesi immediately made friends with her foster brother, Murphy and began pulling on my heart strings. I was told that she had been having difficulty picking up on house training, but she did not have a single accident in the house. She was great in her kennel and was a real snuggle bug. After about a week, she was trustworthy out of the kennel at night, and would sleep on her doggy bed beside my bed all night. In the morning she would wake me up with puppy kisses. I knew that I could not foster her indefinitely, as I was about to start grad school and before hand, we were doing major renovations to her house and I had a trip planned. Khaleesi had me considering dropping everything in order to adopt her. She fit into my family so well! Unfortunately, the timing just wasn’t right.

She went to another foster home for a few weeks and I could not understand why she hadn’t been adopted yet! She was after all, the sweetest and smartest little thing. Khaleesi came back to my house for a few more days before she went to her permanent foster home. I was heartbroken that she hadn’t found her family before I started school.

Cummins (Khaleesi) with her forever family.
Less than a week later, I picked up Khaleesi to take her to an adoption fair. She had recently been featured as the last of her litter in a “Save the Best For Last” Campaign through Manitoba Mutts. I knew that she would finally find her family. After a few nice families came and went with 8 week-old blonde puppies, I feared that there was little hope for my 5-month old, black beauty. Half way through the fair, a nice young man and his mother approached Khaleesi and I, and began to ask about her. Khaleesi was very smitten with both of them, but they needed to make sure they were making the right decision before taking her home. They had decided they would give it a few days, and once they were sure they would contact Manitoba Mutts. As the fair began to wrap up, Mother and Son came back, both smiling from ear to ear. They had discussed it, and could not chance Khaleesi going home with anyone else. They bought Khaleesi a new bed and everything else a puppy needs and were ready to take her home. As I handed over the leash, she happily followed her new family to their car. It was bittersweet for me when she didn’t even look back. Finally, she was home. Khaleesi, now Cummins, has a wonderful new family and I’m pretty sure she’d agree that it was well worth the wait! 

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Trimming Your Dog’s Nails


Regular grooming can be as important to your pet’s health and wellbeing as a good diet or regular visits to the vet!  Trimming your dog’s nails can be daunting at first, but with practice, it can become a fast and easy part of your routine.

Why is it important?
Your dog’s nails grow, and as they grow, they begin to push the toes upward.  Imagine walking around in high heels constantly!  It isn’t comfortable or healthy for your dog and can lead to gait problems, muscle or tendon soreness, and poor traction on slick surfaces.

How often do I need to trim?
Some dogs that exercise regularly on rough surfaces will wear down their nails fairly well, but most of our pets will need nail trims at least every 6-8 weeks.  For puppies or dogs that do not wear down their nails naturally, expect to trim every 2-3 weeks. 

What will I need?
To trim your dog’s nails at home, there are a variety of tools you can use.  The most common one is a set of nail trimmers.  These come in two basic styles:
Guillotine trimmers
  •  Guillotine style trimmers cut from bottom to top.  These are good for trimming a large amount of nail at once, if you are certain of where you must cut.  They are not so great for slicing off smaller amounts or shaping nails.
  • Miller’s Forge or scissor/plyer-style trimmers cut from side to side like scissors.  Unlike guillotine style trimmers, these will not hold the nail in place for you while you clip, so you must hold the dog’s foot firmly in place while you cut.  They are great for making small, precise cuts and shaping the nail. 
  • Scissor trimmers
  • Many people also use a special rotary nail file such as a Pedi-Paws to file down their dog’s nails.  This works very well for some dogs, and not well at all for others.  These trimmers will come with complete instructions, so this method isn’t described here.

You should also have on hand:
  •       Styptic powder or pencils in case you cut too short.  Corn starch works well, but you can get commercial products like Quik-Stop which contain silver nitrate to stop the bleeding.
  •       Gauze and vet wrap in case of an extremely short cut (if the dog jerks and you sever the quick very far up)
  •       A nail file or emery board.  A human one will work as well as one meant for dogs.

How do I trim the nails?
Half the battle in trimming your dog’s nails is determining where the quick (a large nerve which runs through the dog’s nail and supplies blood flow) is located.  If your dog has clear nails, you will be able to see the quick.  You want to leave a couple of millimeters of nail in front of the quick, so do not cut directly on top of where you see it.

However, if your dog has black nails, you must learn how to trim small amounts of nail off until you get close to the quick.  To do this, you can start by making several very small slices off of a nail.  Eventually, you will see a circle of grey or pink on the surface of the nail.  This is where you should stop cutting as it means you are getting close to the quick!

The dewclaws are the nails that are on the upper part of your dog’s paws, around the “ankle” area.  Most dogs have front dewclaws, and some dogs have rear ones as well.  These are very important to trim, because they do not touch the ground and therefore do not wear down naturally.  If the dewclaws have grown very long, they will curl around and begin to grow into your dog’s skin.  To trim a long, curved dewclaw, scissor style nail clippers are easiest.  You can gently pull the nail away from the leg until you are able to fit the scissors over it, and then snip.  You should make the cut at the point just longer than the beginning of the curve, so that the claw appears straight when trimmed.  This should be short enough. 

It’s a good idea to file the edges of the nails after trimming if there are any jagged edges as freshly cut nails can be extremely sharp!  Just use a light back-and-forth motion on any edges to smooth them.

What happens if I cut the quick?
If you cut through the dog’s quick, the nail will bleed, sometimes a lot.  
  • If there is minimal bleeding, you can either apply some styptic powder or just leave it.  It should stop within 5 minutes. 
  • If the bleeding is moderate, apply styptic powder on a piece of gauze, and hold to the nail for about 30 seconds. 
  • If the bleeding is severe or doesn’t stop within 10 minutes of applying stypic powder:
    • Apply styptic powder to a piece of gauze and hold it to the nail
    • Apply vet wrap around the paw of the dog to hold it in place
    • Call your vet to ask if he or she should be seen for treatment (often just wrapping the paw for 30 minutes will help stop the bleeding.  Vet treatment is rarely needed.)

What if my dog won’t hold still?
There are very few dogs that enjoy having their nails trimmed!  Here are some tips to get you started.
  •      Have the dog lie on her side, paws facing away from you.  Have a partner hold the dog lightly but firmly at the base of the neck and the flank so that she cannot get up.  This will allow you to deal with just the paw of the dog.
  •      Do just one or two nails at a time at first, and gradually build up to more nails per session until you are able to do all of them.
  •      Call a groomer or a vet, to see if they are willing to show you some good methods of restraining your particular dog. 

Resources and further reading:

Monday, 24 September 2012

Most Wanted: Teaching Zoey

Imagine living five whole years of your life outside in a cage. 

Five years!  That is thirty-six dog years to Zoey who lived a sheltered life each and every day until she was brought into the care of Manitoba Mutts.  She lived without knowing the warmth of a home full of people, toys, cozy beds, and love.  Now, as she starts her brand new life, first with her foster home and hopefully soon with her forever home, she gets to experience all sorts of amazing things that once seemed like they would never be a part of her days.

For instance, until recently, she has never been able to snuggle up with her family to watch a movie and doze off.  The ‘small’ moments that we share with our pets every day can sometimes be taken for granted.  Not to Zoey!  She is appreciative of every second she gets to spend with someone who loves her.  As a matter of fact, cuddling on the couch has quickly become one of her newest favourite hobbies (although we have yet to figure out what her favourite TV show is).

The smallest pleasures, from tasting a dog treat to getting to go on a leisurely stroll, are all new to Zoey.  Of course, having spent so many years without fancy things like toys and hugs, this new world can sometimes seem very intimidating.  Luckily, Zoey has a very brave soul and is taking each new event in stride.  Her foster family is very patient with her, just as she is with them.  It is a partnership that depends on mutual trust and determination. 

Teaching a dog how to be a dog isn’t an easy task (especially if you are not a dog yourself!) but it is a task that comes with constant rewards.  Zoey is a dog who appreciates even the smallest treasures in life and making her a part of your family will surely bring you joy in ways that are truly unique and special.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Minnie Series Part 5 - Dumbo

       By: Victoria R.

         As with many of our adoptions stories here at MMDR, Dumbo’s road to his forever family started with a bit of a back story.  In August 2011 we lost our 5 year old dog Buster to complications of diabetes. He was the sweetest dog, and was definitely "mama's boy."

         In May I started getting the itch to adopt another dog for the family, but my partner wasn't ready. We came to a compromise that found us becoming a foster home for MMDR. On June 8 Goofy, Pongo, Tarzan, and Dumbo joined our household. They were four wiggly, sweet 6 week old puppies to brighten up our lives. Two of the boys were adopted right away and joined their families at 8 weeks, but we still had Tarzan and Dumbo to keep us busy.  Over the weeks, we talked about adopting Dumbo but I was the holdout because his personality reminded me so much of my Buster - I didn't want to ever think he was replacing another dog and I didn't want to expect him to "be Buster."

   There was an adoption fair happening on Canada Day and the boys (and the two additional fosters we had) were expected to attend. As I was dropping off all the pups I started crying at the thought of Dumbo going to another family. Why was I dropping off MY dog to be adopted? I decided to let fate decide, if it was meant to be, he'd still be there at the end of the day.

    When I returned that afternoon, I was told I was taking home 3 puppies (I'd brought 4). Terrified I asked who got adopted... 
To my utter relief, Tarzan had been chosen by a couple! I scooped Dumbo up and promised him he wouldn't have to go to another adoption fair. He snuggled into my neck as if to say "Thanks Mum"

      Since then, we have had a few more fosters, and have adopted a second puppy as well. Dumbo - now called Kahuna - still reminds me of Buster, but he has his own unique personality, and he is my new mama's boy, and our son's best friend.  I'm so glad he's part of our family!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Most Wanted: Zip Zippy Trixie

One of the hardest things about animal rescue is trying to find the perfect match for each and every dog.  There are more than enough dogs in need of homes, and certainly plenty of willing families to take them in.  The challenge comes when a dog needs a particular type of family to join.  Sometimes it takes a little longer, and a little more digging to find that perfect match.

This is the case with Trixie.  At about a year and a half old, twelve pounds in size with a beautiful brindle coat, Trixie is a real catch.  Her foster family adores her and in turn, Trixie showers her humans with love, cuddles and kisses.  She sleeps right up against her foster mom at night and splits her time in the evening between lounging in the bedroom and lying on the couch.  One will never be lonely with this girl around.

The thing is, Trixie doesn’t just want to lounge around all day.  She also wants to be challenged, get to run, play focus games and live life to the fullest.  Often when people think of energetic dogs, they think of larger breeds or breed mixes like labs or huskies, but Trixie is so small, her need for daily walks and mental stimulation can come as a surprise to some.  Now, it shouldn’t be a secret that it is a little more difficult to find homes for dogs with a higher energy level.  We realize it can be daunting for families to add daily jogs or agility classes to their schedule. 

Daunting, but worth it.  Plus, once you get into a routine, it’s definitely not as difficult as it seems.

Her foster mom was asked how Trixie makes her smile.  She said, “When she first wakes up, her eyes are half closed and she looks so sweet and innocent.  And the first thing she’ll do is give kisses.”  Moments like this are priceless.  They cannot be bought.  Only earned by providing the necessary love and care to a dog who needs you.

Trixie needs to run and play.  She attends doggie daycare and has the time of her life, something that can always be continued once she is adopted.  Daycare is a wonderful way for dogs to burn some energy without their human having to do five laps around the block.  After a slow introduction to other dogs, playtime is so important to Trixie as, along with draining her energy, it helps to build her social skills.  She also likes to go on long walks and is thinking about taking up jogging. This is the biggest thing with Trixie – she needs exercise to feel her very best.  Give her that, and she will give you the world.