Archive for September, 2013


I wanted to make some changes to the last post and write more about indicators that can help you understand the body processes of your dog and help save a life. This information is found throughout the Internet and I hope the posters don’t mind that I recapped it here. Your dog or for that matter, a child, an elder, or any creature unable to help themselves needs your protection. We all hear about “accidents” but they don’t need to happen; and for those of you, like me that travel alone with pets should take the time to know what’s normal for you dog and to memorize indicators of a critical condition!

Normal body temperature for a pooch should be between 101.5 and 102.2.  For a very short time an increase to 107 – 8 deg. F. can be tolerated but not for long!  When hot, your dog pants.  A dog will pant for other reasons such as stress, excitement, fear, but when hot, a dog pants to regulate its temperature.  Panting creates an increase in saliva on that perky tongue, this moisture is utilized in the same way as a human’s sweat for cooling. If your dog has a short nose or a flat face, this mechanism is not so effective, likewise a double coated dog, such as a water dog or a northern type breed or mix will not handle heat as well as a southern type breed with a single coat.  Those thick fun to run your hands in, coats are meant to trap heat when swimming or in cold climates; however a point to know, is that if you shave your dog’s coat too close to the skin, especially if you’ve given your pal a bald cut he can not only sunburn but will lose his insulation. Your dog does not need a thick heavy coat in hot conditions but does need protection, just think if you shaved your head on a bight sunny day the top of your head would burn as well as your shoulders and maybe your back and so forth.   A dog’s coat not only keeps the cold away but also traps air to keep the heat away.

Going back to that tongue, watch it closely, note the shape and color, how far is it hanging? Get to know what is normal and you will discover a indicator of what’s going on inside. When staring to warm the tongue hangs gently, its shape will appear relaxed and soft; as the dog continues to heat the tongue extends and widens. The pinkish red color darkens to a deep bloody red when this happens it’s time to take a rest in the shade… say you’re playing a rousing came of  Tennis Ball…  Olympia’s favorite, and you see the tongue hanging way out and turning deep,  ‘ol team player still wants to chase, the edges of the tongue have now turned upwards, like a cup. . . your dog is hot and thirsty, remember a dog is built for action not introspection, it’s time for a break, time to get in the shade with something cool under the belly. Heat emergency happens quickly and is not dependent on how hot it is but rather the condition of your pet, age, the intensity of the activity, the humidity.  This is not the time to pack your dog in your RV and head off to get yourself a nice cool drink. Cool your dog slowly, watch that tongue and offer small amounts of water, spritz the coat and work some moisture in if you think its needed. Don’t offer food and do stop throwing that ball or Frisbee until  Fido shows signs of a more neutral temperature. When out traveling check for dehydration by checking your dogs gums …  if they are dry and tacky (pull back the lips and run your finger on them) your dog needs fluids, pinch the skin around the neck, it should snap back, if it kinda hangs your dog is dehydrated and you need to take action! If the tongue turns bright red or gray and pale you are in an emergency situation!

Here are some other ways dogs cool down:

  • The blood vessels in your dogs face and ears dilate when hot to draw the blood closer to the surface of the skin. . . you can help by applying cool water to ears and face.
  • Dogs sweat through their feet. Check the pads for redness, burning, cracking, to help cooling spritz water on those feet or get you dog in some nice lush moist grass. Always remove shoes when you’re back in your vehicle; you may be using them because the ground is too hot, so their pads can breathe.

Lean These Symptoms of Heatstroke in Dogs

  • Rapid heavy panting
  • Drooling
  • Petechiae (pinpoint, deep-red hemorrhages on gums/ skin)
  • Bright red mucous membranes on the gums and conjunctiva of the eyes
  • Hyperventilation (gasping for air)
  • Salivation early then dry gums as heat prostration sets in
  • Staring
  • Glassy eyes
  • Anxious expression
  • Refusal to obey commands
  • Warm, dry skin
  • Fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Seizures

Cool your dog with cool water, not icy water and not ice!!!! Apply cool water to your dog’s belly, feet and the inside of its ears. Spray and drench your dog if you have enough water to do so but do so slowly depending on the amount of distress your dog is in.  Cooling too fast can do a lot of damage to your pet. Drench a towel and have your dog lay on it, get him/her under a hose, next to an air conditioner or a fan with a bowl of ice cubes set in front of it.  Offer plenty of water for drinking.

It’s always a good idea to take a Pet First Aid course.

It’s a good idea to measure the temperature inside your vehicle.  The ASPCA writes this: even on an 85-degree day, the temperature in a parked car can reach 102 degrees in ten minutes — and that is with the windows cracked. Do not be fooled by shade on a hot day. A car parked in the shade becomes a furnace due to the outside ambient temperature, plus the sun moves and a car once in the shade may soon be a car parked directly in the hot sun.

Interested in the science of why is so much hotter inside a vehicle than outside? Radiant energy, visible and infrared light, heats the exterior of your car and passes in from the windows but like a greenhouse, that heat cannot escape due to the materials from which your car is made but becomes trapped, the energy is absorbed and intensified as the interior of your vehicle radiates some of this energy back into the air.

If you travel with your dog  and you are alone, you will have times when your dog must stay in the vehicle; know what you’re doing!!!  If it’s risky just don’t do it. Sometimes you can stake you dog outside in the shade with a water bowl; in some places such as out in the desert in the summer restaurants and stores will graciously allow you to bring your  pet inside but watch that their feet don’t get burned and be sure to teach your dog to be calm and clean so others will be  equally welcome..

Use good planing when you’re on your own!  if you need to get groceries do so early in the morning or later in the day when it’s not too hot, provide ventilation with window fans, lots of water, ice packs, park in the shade, wet your dog down and provide a  wet surface like a thick wet towel if you need to leave your pet alone. I like to run the air conditioner on max before I park as it will stay cool for awhile and may give me enough time to complete my task before it’s gets hot. Run your generator for the air conditioner but flip on the vent and a fan as well (what if your generator should fail?  Have a back-up plan!)

Park facing into the sun!

Here’s quick list of some handy supplies:

Non-spill dog bowl for water
Solar Shields
Reflectix
12 Volt Fan
Cool caps
Easy Up
Cool mat or ice mat
Kool collar
Cool and frozen treats
Doogles (yes, sunglasses are available for your dog.)

Okay, that’s it for now.  Use this as a starter, much more to know. Ask questions if you want and I will try to answer them for you.

Tow Trucks, the big kind: AAA

No dog show today  Even with Olympia looking super, or she was, right now she has grease on her rear but we’re back home. Today was the AKC SLO dog show in Paso Robles; we were the only Lagotto Romagnolo entered so easy win to get Breed (Best In Category) and likely we would have won Miscellaneous (our Class) to earn a few points for her Certificate of Merit (COM) which in dog show speak, is the title you can earn when your breed is new to the American Kennel Club.  Little Curl Puff, had two baths this week and a carefully managed coat, not so easy in a breed that naturally felts and particularly not when it’s Olympia who loves LOVES dirt and cannot resist a good roll and waggle in piles of sticky leaves, debris, mud, fertilizer, sidewalk scum  . . whatever comes her way.  We had the trot thing rehearsed and unlike the disastrous last time at the Santa Barbara show when Olympia was coming out of her false pregnancy / hormone high she was all happy girl excited , . . . she was gonna show me how it was done, strutting her stuff for the judge, it was a done deal.

I left a little later than planned but plenty of time. Decided not to enter the printmaking show in spite of urging by the show committee so I could concentrate on Olympia, decided not to do this and that, and the other things…  all for my pup. Olympia deserves titles, the only thing holding her back is me, I find dog shows stressful and her pacing drives me nuts, but when she trots that goofy waddle turns into smooth movement.

Half way up the Cuesta Grade, it happened, the big kahuna (this video is going the other way…  I was heading North, but I liked the whirl of the road:   At first the Ford slowed a little, no problem, I turned the air off and eased up on the accelerator, no point pushing, we were almost there, just a few more miles. My mind was already working though our perfect trot, doing a little vendor browsing, chatting with some friends….  it’s been a stressful week, my heartache flaring along with a sinus trouble, but so what, life goes on and the road ahead will have new joys; yet when the Ford died my heart was pounding.  Stuck on the shoulder with semis whipping by, the heat cresting and worst of all the clock ticking.  Where was the background music and the fade to panorama?

AAA sent someone out within 20 mins, I told them it was an emergency, the operator was from LA she had no idea what the Cuesta Grade is, she wanted an off ramp to pinpoint my location…. hmmmmm…  if there was an off-ramp don’t ya think I could have taken it and removed myself from one of the most dangerous sections of the hwy?  This is a scary place to be stuck!!!! Oh yeah, never mind in LA traffic moves at 17 mph.

I got to test out my improved jerk handling skills with tow driver #1. He was a younger sort and a bully. I could put up with his ordering me around and getting me to go sit in the cab of his air condition truck, it was hot.  He didn’t offer any water or anything like that and apparently the AAA rescue squad does not carry items like antifreeze, way too advanced for them. We got into it about my dog….  he didn’t even notice the dog. “Dog can’t ride in the cab, lady, you see I’ve got to watch out for customers that are allergic to dogs.”   I’m probably being too nice with my quote, as I told him 1) my dog wasn’t the kind people were allergic to, 2) she is valuable, 3) she is extremely important  4) if he insisted I would put her in her crate (there was no place inside the cab for her crate) or I’d carry her and hold her in my arms.  The guy was a….  XXXXXX moron, control type . . . you get it? Is this really AAA policy, even with a window cracked open I don’t want to think about the outcome of a living creature alone in a box on a hot day.

It takes only minutes to cook up in a car, easily can rise to 160 deg or more even if with windows cracked down a bit. It was easily 90 deg out, so how long would Olympia have before her tongue started to hang out, then curl and darken with heavy panting, her eyes would bulge and glaze over, then her heart would start to beat too fast . Parked cars are deathtrap for dogs: On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes.

He ignored me, repeating his manifesto with his dictate to remain seated. I didn’t, I got out and let Olympia out of the backseat of the Ford, walked her around, gave her some water, then I picked her up and somehow, no help from Mr Jerk, clambered up into cab without letting her beautiful paws touch anything other than me.   I announced to the driver that if he didn’t allow her he could just leave and I’d stay there on the dangerous hwy with my dog. He had my keys and had already chained up the Ford.  I felt like I did when my Mom dumped me on the street in Europe with no wallet, no pocket change, no sweater, no name of hotel, nothing and drove away. She came back while I still figuring out what to do but really I would have managed.

As soon as we were underway he got on the radio, “I’m only taking you down the hill,” he told me, “another truck will pick you up from there.”  I was relieved, he was stony and I didn’t have a chisel. I was supposed to wait in the lot for 1/2 hour and use the hotter than hell outhouse around back over the slightly less hotter than hell blacktop.  I could hear him tell the other driver about my evil dog.

Driver #2 had a flatbed truck, I liked that, rather than having the Ford dragged like a child by its hair and even before he got out I saw him smile at Olympia. Oh wow! I was happier. We stopped for gas, we stopped and got some drinks, we got water for Olympia and a little walk, we stopped because I needed the rest stop. He even washed his hands so he could pet and play with her although she’d already gotten the grease on her by then.

I thought we would need to have the big flatbed tow truck towed, it sputtered, the air conditioner kept cutting out so we had the window wind blasting us, he gave me his book of maps to cover my legs which were burning. The tow truck groaned and made noises that it shouldn’t have made as we chatted, little Olympia in-between us on the front seat. We were talking about trips and GPS systems so you could travel alone as I do and still find your way but he reminded me how much fun it is to get lost, to discover places because you didn’t know you’d be there.  He made the day kinda fun, a temporary find, a friendly hand….  we talked about the attitude of offering cheer when things go wrong, He’s a dog lover, a good kind of people. So thank you AAA Premier for the tow.

towed home

Got home in time to pick up Mason and take them both for a romp at sunset. Time and Money of course down the drain . . . lost on the highway . . . when will the winds blow the other way?  So many troubled years, cursed bad luck. Which direction should we head? Maybe it’s time for getting lost.

Here’s a shot of Olympia showing us that her favorite thing in life is round.

Olympia and her ball

Sorry readers!!!  Just got a notice about ads being added to wordpress.com  unless I pay, I don’t want that for you or for me so I’ll move these blogs as soon as I’m able . . .  until then please use an adblock program!!!!

I read an article about how loneliness kills and I’d wanted to write a post about this as I’ve experienced much personal loss myself and was intrigued by the current studies … rather than restate what I read I’ve copied some of the article. . .  the affliction is incredibly painful, people don’t like to think about it; it’s one of those ailments considered self-induced and therefore not worth talking about.

Never mind that almost all illness can be considered self-induced (especially if you talk to enough different healing practitioners or researchers) or a result of genetic tendencies or childhood experiences; loneliness has no medical cure, nothing in a bottle at least till now.

Judith Shulevitz, writes in the New Republic:  Just as we once knew that infectious diseases killed, but didn’t know that germs spread them, we’ve known intuitively that loneliness hastens death, but haven’t been able to explain how. Psychobiologists can now show that loneliness sends misleading hormonal signals, rejiggers the molecules on genes that govern behavior, and wrenches a slew of other systems out of whack. They have proved that long-lasting loneliness not only makes you sick; it can kill you. Emotional isolation is ranked as high a risk factor for mortality as smoking. A partial list of the physical diseases thought to be caused or exacerbated by loneliness would include Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and even cancer—tumors can metastasize faster in lonely people.

. . .  Loneliness, she said is the want of intimacy.. .
. . .  Loneliness “is not synonymous with being alone, nor does being with others guarantee protection from feelings of loneliness,” writes John Cacioppo, the leading psychologist on the subject. . . . The lonely get sicker than the non-lonely because they don’t have social support.

Psychobiologists can now show that loneliness sends misleading hormonal signals, rejiggers the molecules on genes that govern behavior, and wrenches a slew of other systems out of whack. They have proved that long-lasting loneliness not only makes you sick; it can kill you. Emotional isolation is ranked as high a risk factor for mortality as smoking. A partial list of the physical diseases thought to be caused or exacerbated by loneliness would include Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and even cancer—tumors can metastasize faster in lonely people.

In a survey published by the AARP in 2010, slightly more than one out of three adults 45 and over reported being chronically lonely. A decade earlier, only one out of five said that. With baby-boomers reaching retirement age at a rate of 10,000 a day, the number of lonely Americans will surely spike.

Loneliness is made as well as given, and at a very early age. Deprive us of the attention of a loving, reliable parent, and, if nothing happens to make up for that lack, we’ll tend toward loneliness for the rest of our lives. Not only that, but our loneliness will probably make us moody, self-doubting, angry, pessimistic, shy, and hypersensitive to criticism.

Cole can imagine giving people medications to treat loneliness . . .  These could be betablockers, which reduce the physical effects of stress; anti-inflammatory medicine; or even Tylenol.  Since physical and emotional pain overlap, it turns out that Tylenol can reduce the pain of heartbreak.

” Boomers, who grew up using drugs recreationally, have become a generation that lives almost full time in the Valley of the Dolls: bombarded by direct-to-consumer ads, they are happy to self-medicate, and their cost-conscious H.M.O.’s are happy to substitute antidepressants for expensive talk therapy, prescriptions for repeated doctor visits.

. . . drug use has soared. Americans routinely take pills for high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and they also routinely take pills to sleep, pills to focus, pills to chill and pills to perk up, pills for more sex and pills for less stress. Mr. Critser notes that “the average number of prescriptions per person, annually, in 1993 was seven,” but had risen to 11. . . .

So what’s the issue? I notice Tylenol (amphetamine) has emphasized the risk overdosing on their labels…. isn’t it isolation that creates loneliness!  There’s a lot of talk about depression, its also chronic and widespread yet it’s become almost fashionable to be depressed and taking a designer pill to improve mood or some other home-brewed concoction gambling, sex, fast cars, …  you get the idea. Loneliness has not been shown to be improved by antidepressants or the pursuit of thrills. Loneliness is not helped by talking about it either as what happens is stigmatization as if the lonely must be flawed and incapable of social functions, the blame is put on the one who suffers, sometimes with pity but oftentimes with a little sigh of relief that it’s not you…  at least not yet.   Now, didn’t they used to do this with “women’s troubles”….  hysterical, they called it, it’s not real it’s imaginary. Why this pressing need to deny the basic foundations of modern lifestyle?

Isolation causes loneliness; living alone after loved ones have died or left, no children maybe at all, or none nearby or maybe estranged, no family or families that disconnect, married couples that divorce, long time friends that drop away,  compound with encroaching years illness, death, loss of memories, neighbors that don’t like each other or maybe don’t even know each other . . . the days of an open door, borrowing a cup of sugar, stopping by to watch a movie or play a game of cards is rapidly being eradicated from many people’s lives.  In many communities companionship still exists, however in many more it’s rapidly disappearing.

So, no problem now there’s a pill…  good old Tyneol to the rescue! But really!!!! Is the cure, then for loneliness a pill?  What about another PERSON???? Companionship, an intimate caring and inclusion, a wanting to know and be known, a friendly hug, a hand to hold, reaching out and being joyful in doing so. . . .  No?

Okay, then I say we put a person in a bottle and label it,”take one pill once a day or as needed” Problem solved.

Lois Mahalia- Original “GoodBye”