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June 26, 2009

Dealing With A Death

I think the worst part of owning a pet is the inevitable passing of our fur-friend. Nothing can be done to stop it, it's just a fact of life and something that we all have to go through.

Mrs. Big Nate and I just recently lost our cat, Monster. She was my wife's first pet and it was devastating to her and to me. Monster was a curious and slightly eccentric cat, she was extremely
playful even at her very mature age of 12 years. Her loss was great to us and I'm feeling pangs of hurt as I write these words.

Monster started to show signs of not being herself for a few days. She was still eating and using her litter box but we noticed she was drinking excessivley and wasn't her usual, playful self. She wasn't sleeping in her usual spots and seemed very lethargic. We decided to take her to the vet where they instantly told us that she was extremely sick and directed us to take her to the emergency facility. The "doctor" at our usual office was disturbingly harsh saying that we were neglectful and irresponsible for not bringing her in sooner. This upset my wife immensely! I could get into this more but I won't. Needless to say we are not longer patients of this vet clinic! Anyway, she took Monster to the emergency hospital where we were told that Monster had contracted Chronic Renal Insufficeincy. Check it out here:

The last thing we expected was to leave her there for treatment. Then to make the decision the very next
day to let her go as she wasn't responding to the treatments. It's the worst feeling in the world to tell the vet to euthanize your very best friend. My wife was strong and we decided to be there for it. She held Monster while she passed peacefully without any further pain or discomfort. We stayed in the little room holding her and cried.

But what about those of us who have extreme difficulty dealing with the loss of our beloved dog, cat, bird, reptile, fish, rodent or what have you? Some pet lovers have a much harder time dealing with the loss that others. After all, many of us look at our pets as members of the family, as kids. We hold their lives and well-being in our hands and they rely completely on us for love, care and attention. They in return give us unconditional love and loyalty.

I did some research and found something I'm sure most people could find with a few choice search words in Google. It's a great site and has many helpful ideas to help those of us who have trouble getting over the unexpected loss of our fur-kids. I wanted to share it:

Be sure to check out the 10 tips to coping with loss portion of the website. They have some great ideas for memorial products. Things like this may make things a little easier to deal with.

As for Monster, we are glad to have had her as long as we did. She brought much joy to our lives. We will miss her dearly and she will be forever in our hearts.

June 14, 2009

Last Chance Father's Day!

Only one week left!

If you're stuck and don't know what to get Dad on his day, give him the luxury of a clean yard without having do the dirty work!

A nice 12 week package should do it...

Order your gift certificate today!

June 8, 2009

Poor Oscar

I've already elaborated on our story of adopting our new addition, Oscar in the June edition of the Poooh Busters newsletter.

I hate to dwell on one subject with so many things to talk about but I really need to talk about this.

On Friday my wife was taking Mojo and Oscar for their daily walk and noticed that Oscar just wasn't as excited to head out the door as he usually is. For the first part of the walk he is always full of energy and pulling to walk faster. This day he was lagging behind right from the start. About two minutes in, he promptly laid down on the sidewalk and did not want to move. Mrs. Big Nate picked him up to make sure he wasn't injured or tangled in the leash. All appeared fine and she was able to coax him into continuing. A few steps later he laid down again, refusing this time to get up. Now she knows something is not right and decides to take him to the vet hospital immediately.

After about two hours with the vet, an x-ray and $170, we found that Oscar has developed sever arthritis in his right hip. This, the vet speculated, is resulting from an injury he sustained earlier in life that was never dealt with properly or at all. The bone that connects into his pelvis (similar to a human femur bone) is two times larger than normal. There is extreme swelling and it does not connect to the socket correctly. This causes Oscar to experience anywhere from discomfort to pain depending on how much he uses it.

The X-ray shows the difference between the normal left side and the enlarged right side.

Oscar's X-Ray

Now this would have never come to our attention if we didn't walk Oscar as much as we do. We always wondered why he slowed down so much near the end of our daily walks. We thought he was out of shape or too over-weight but really it was because his hip started to bother him more and more the longer we walked. Poor little guy!

He is going to require surgery where they will shave the enlarged bone down so it will fit correctly into the socket once again. After some recovery time he should be good as new again. Until then, the vet tells us we can't walk him anymore, he must not use his hip more than required. It is really weird for us to NOT walk our dog and it's really unfair to him. He has gotten used to his routine and looks forward to taking his daily walk with Mojo. Anyway, my wife will be taking him in to see our usual vet this morning to see if he can give us an idea of the cost involved and when we can get this done. I'll keep you up to date.

I really have to wonder what life was like for Oscar before he was surrendered to the Furever After Rescue Society. I really have to assume that he was neglected and was very low on the family's priority list. Well they surrendered him, I guess that says it all! Did he injure himself at one point and they did not get him any kind of care or treatment? And I also wonder about the rescue society's practice of doing full checks on their rescues before allowing them out for adoption. To what extent do they go in their initial examinations?

We love Oscar and will do anything for him but I feel a little like we bought a used car and found that it needs a new transmission. I'm not talking an oil change here, this is a very serious and expensive thing!

His situation is a little different than the usual when it comes to how he ended up at Furever After. They normally rescue dogs from high kill shelters, Oscar was surrendered to the foster mom directly as she knew these people who owned him in the first place. So I have to assume that this may have added to the Rescue's oversight.

Anyway, the question is, should rescue societies do a full and extensive exam on their rescues before releasing them? I'm talking all out x-rays, blood work, everything! Or is it just too expensive and unrealistic to expect that much pre-screening?

God knows I had to prove myself worthy before they would even look at me as a qualified pet adopter, should I have not gotten the same consideration from their side?

June 1, 2009

Great Movie!

The other weekend Mrs. Big Nate and I took some time for ouselves and actually sat down long enough to relax and enjoy a movie. This was much needed as we are both very busy and active. We used the Shaw Video on Demand feature. We haven't stepped inside a video store in so long, we've forgotten what it's like to rent a DVD.

Anyway, the movie we decided to watch was Marley & Me. You know, the one with Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston and a crazy golden lab called Marley? I am so glad we got to see this movie! It was a wonderful, feel good story about a guy and his dog.

Here is a perfect example of people thinking it's easier to get a puppy than it is to have a kid. I might agree a puppy is WAY cheaper than having a kid but I certianly don't agree that it's easier. Now I say this assuming that those who get a dog are taking care of it in a responsible way. Not just throwing it in the garage or a dog run and forgetting about it.

When my wife and I moved into our first house together we thought it was time to get a dog. I remember having several dogs throughout my childhood and thought, "Having a dog was no big deal then, we can handle this!" So not knowing where to go to get a dog (except that you DON'T go to a pet store), we picked up the Bargain Finder of all things and found a little farm just north of Airdrie that had Bichon/King Charles Spaniel puppies. We drove the 45 minutes out of town to see what we could see. Upon arriving at the farm, we saw dozens of dogs of all kinds wandering around the grounds ready to greet us as we exited the car. We went inside and found two puppies left. One male and one female. The male had more spaniel qualities and he was the one Mrs. Big Nate fell in love with. So we parted with $400 and immediately went home to figure out what all was needed to make a happy, comfortable home for our new "son", Mojo.

Fast forward a few of months. We are both loving our new addition but he has caused us both to lose a ton of sleep, completely upset the routine in our lives, cost approximately $3500 in supplies, toys, vet visits, puppy training courses, doggie daycare and food. We had no idea what were getting into! We did not plan ahead or research our decision before acting. On top of all that, we had three cats at the time, one did not adjust to the new family member. So much so she stopped eating, developed fatty liver disease and passed away a month after Mojo came home. This was extremely difficult on us as we felt her death to be our fault by bringing home the dog. We still feel guilty to this day. RIP Sneaky...

In the end, it was all worth it. Mojo is a wonderful dog who loves us as much as we love him. He fits us like a glove and we couldn't be happier. We've had him over four years now and can't even imagine our lives without him.

Marley & Me captured the one thing I believe most in, sticking by your choice to have a dog! These people went through hell with this dog and no matter how bad it got, they never gave up on him. I won't go into the ending in case you have never seen this movie and plan to, but suffice it to say that Marley & Me hits very close to my home when it comes how we feel about our dog and the other dogs in our lives that we love so much.

I want to post a quote from the movie and you'll see what I mean.

"A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A wate- logged stick will do just fine. A dog doesn't care if your rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he'll give you his. How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?"

What more can you say about a dog?