Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hello Again On A Very Important Date

Friends of Portia has been silent for well over a month. This is why. As I frequently mentioned in early postings on this blog, for years, I walked my dogs in the wee small hours of the morning most days and once a week in the park with Marilyn and her pack. From time to time, I had to take time off, because of a "groin pull". I'm not an athlete, but my husband, John is. He assured me that a chronic groin pull is a very difficult injury to mend and he would spell me on my morning walks until I felt better. Then, in early April of this year, the "groin pull" came back and didn't respond to rest. It refused to go away. Mid May, I finally hobbled into the doctor's. An x-ray revealed that my "groin pull" was actually a badly deteriorated hip joint. Replacement was my only option to a life of pain and disability. But first, I had a trip to Israel that I had no intention of cancelling. When we came home, I began the slow process of referral and certification through the HMO that decides our health care. My date with the orthopedic surgeon was October 15. The surgery is looking like a complete success. I cannot express the depths of my gratitude to Dr. Michael Kimball, for his near obsession with millimeters, angles and levels. And to the nursing staff at Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, who gave me the best care I could have asked for. It's going to be a while before I take over the early morning walks and to my dear husband, John, I express the very most gratitude for looking after me, the house, the dogs during the extended time that I have been incapacitated. But today is an important day that MUST be marked. Four years ago today--or rather, this evening--Magic came to live with us. What a happy, happy day!! We love you, Miss Magic. And we are very lucky that you are our doggie.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hattie, R.I.P.

A wonderful creature, Manhattan, known to all her friends as Hattie, a white Greyhound with tan markings, crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Wednesday, October 2. I first met Hattie in the Spring of 2008 the day I met Marilyn and her pack to walk our dogs in a park close to my home. Marilyn's dogs were Franklin, Ruby and Hattie. My dogs were Portia and Bingley. Bingley is the only survivor of that group. Like most of Marilyn's dogs, Hattie was a dog who had had difficulty finding a forever home. She suffered from an auto-immune disorder that made her a little "touchy" and cranky. She required special care, both medically and emotionally. And she was most fortunate that she found Marilyn, one of the best humans in the world for being able and willing to offer that care. Both canine and human health issues have created a long hiatus in Marilyn's and my weekly walks in the park. I am reminded of the line from Emily Dickinson: To make routine a stimulus, remember it can cease. Farewell, dear Hattie. May you run and play free of pain in the meadows beyond the Rainbow Bridge.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thank You, Dr. Pearson

I love dogs of all ages. But, most of all, I love old dogs. After having lost three dogs at relatively young ages, I have been relishing Bingley and Magic. Eighteen months ago, when we discovered that Bingley had heart troubles, my anxiety level went up. But having a veterinarian like Dr. Dorota Pearson has been a great comfort. She has been right on top of things and knows how to minimize the risk of necessary procedures for Bingley. Like most retired racers, Bingley has teeth and gum issues. So every year, he has to be anesthetized to have his teeth cleaned and any needed extractions. Every time one of my dogs has to be anesthetized, my heart is in my throat until they wake up. Sight hounds, and particularly Greyhounds, are notoriously sensitive to anesthesia. Dr. Pearson has really extended herself to minimize the trauma for my hounds. She takes them in for surgery as soon as possible after they arrive, and she discharges them as soon as they show any sign of stress after they wake up. Yesterday was the big day for Bingley's teeth cleaning. I breathed a little easier when I got the call that he was ready to come home and prepared myself and the house for a groggy, stressed dog. Instead, when Bingley came home, he was almost his normal self. Amazing. When Dr. Pearson called a little later to check on his condition, I told her how happy I was. I could almost hear her smile on the telephone. "Good! I tried something new today." When we adopted our first Greyhound eight years ago, we almost switched vets--to the "Greyhound experienced vet" closest to us. But when I called to make an appointment, I was put on hold for a very long time--something that almost never happens to me with Dr. Pearson's well run office. That convinced me to stick with Dr. Pearson, and I am so happy I did. After we moved to our present house, it took us trying four different veterinarians before we settled on one. But it was worth it. If you love your pet, make the effort to find the vet that is right for you.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Happy Ending--With Warnings

The Sunday before Labor Day, a young girl came down our street with a truly Adorable Dog. It was black and white, and to me, it looked like a Jack Russell mixed with some other toy breed. She wore a collar with two names on it and a phone number. Her rescuer explained that she had found the dog while jogging on my street the day before and had been unable to get an answer on the telephone number on the dog's collar. It was all I could do not to grab the little dog and think about what on earth I could do with it later. But reason prevailed. By herself, Magic might be small dog safe, but I've never been able to test her, because Bingley definitely isn't. The girl who had found the little dog had a similar problem and was having to keep the rescued dog shut off in a room from her big dog. I tried to encourage the rescuer to keep the little terrier for a few days, try to discover if she was chipped, and hang on until people in the neighborhood came back from holiday trips. But that was not to be. The adorable little dog was turned into Escondido Humane Society the following Tuesday. My friends reassured me that such a cutie would be adopted for sure. Then, last evening, just before we were leaving to drive into San Diego, I spotted a poster with the little dog's picture and name. I wanted to cry. There was no time to call, and I worried all night about the dog's fate. This morning, when I called the number, I discovered that the owner had called the Humane Society when she returned from her Labor Day travels, had paid the fine, and reclaimed her dog. So All's Well That Ends Well. However, I did learn a few things: The dog still has not been chipped. (Of course I "reminded" the owner to do that.) The dog had "gotten away" before. (I suspect that the dog is being left to its own devices in a back yard.) I was so relieved that the dog had been reunited with its human, I forgot to ask if the collar information had been updated. (Is the phone number on your dog's collar your current phone number?) I do hope that this experience--and the fine--will motivate the little dog's human to take better care of her.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Happy Birthday, Bingley!

Today is not just any birthday for our favorite boy Greyhound. Today is Bingley's TENTH birthday! A ripe old age for a Greyhound. He is celebrating, doing what he likes to do during the middle of the day: snooze on the living room love seat. This evening, things will liven up a bit and he'll take a few circuits around the living room, and might even toss the odd stuffed toy in the air. We have it on no less authority than our trusted dog walker that Bingley is the liveliest ten year old dog he knows. Happy, Happy Birthday, Bingley. We are grateful to have you in our lives.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lily Needs A Home

I received the forwarding of an email about an eight year old, female German Shepherd Dog mix, whose days are numbered in a Los Angeles shelter. If you, or anyone you know would like to provide a home for a deserving dog, please email me at portiasmom at live dot com

Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy (Official) Birthday, Miss Magic!

What do Magic and Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II have in common? They both have official birthdays. The difference is that Her Majesty knows the actual date of her birth. But the date of Miss Magic's arrival is lost forever. Furthermore, I suspect that there is some slippage in the date of Magic's "official" birthday, because I'm not at all sure about the precise date that she, two of her puppies, and the puppies' father were rescued from outdoor cages in the High Desert of Southern California by volunteers from Greyhound Adoption Center. A few days later, a third of Magic's puppies was also rescued. After we adopted Magic, I decided to place her birthday in July, the month of her rescue. But the precise date of her rescue eludes me. So it's sometime between the 13th and the 15th of July--as best I can tell. This year, Miss Magic's Official Birthday is today, July 15. She is officially nine years old today and wears her age gracefully. She still trots with a little spring in her step, and just yesterday, she jumped over some flower pots on the deck to be first in the door before the amiable Bingley, who only gets competitive about chasing small furry critters. As Mike Dougherty, Westminster Best In Show Judge and proprietor of Windsong, says, "Dogs are not for the faint of heart." Dogs bury themselves in the innermost parts of our hearts, and then they leave us with indescribable pain, because their life-spans are a fraction of human life spans. Some people react to that pain by refusing to ever have another dog. But for some of us, the only way to live with the pain--there is no cure--is to welcome another dog into our lives. Not as a replacement, mind you. There is no replacement for a lost dog any more than there is a replacement for a lost human being. But a new dog brings new joys and challenges and helps us to stop wallowing in our grief. Magic came into our lives after our traumatic loss of Portia. She is nothing like Portia. She doesn't look anything like Portia looked. She doesn't act like Portia acted. She isn't even all Greyhound. She's a "fuzzy", Greyhound-Scottish Deerhound mix. But as much as I mourn the loss of Portia, I would not have wanted to miss the company of Magic. Happy Birthday, Miss Magic! May you have a long, healthy life!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Home Again

Actually, we touched down at LAX around 6:30 am last Wednesday, July 3. Recent events cause me to express my gratitude to our wonderful El Al pilot(s), who brought our 777 in for a soft, smooth landing. I hinted at our destination, when I referred to the Canaan Dog, the only breed native to Israel. I think I might have spied one or two of them from the window of our bus in Tel Aviv. But actually meeting one face to face is still in my future. I am not a natural traveler. John will pack his bags and hop on a plane with no hesitation. I am a stay-at-home. Give me my dogs, my knitting, my chats with friends, and I'm a happy camper. But I had always assumed that I would go to Israel. Its history has been the running news in the background of my life. I can't remember not admiring that brave country whose creation and preservation has seemed like a miracle. If you are considering a trip to Israel, I urge you to go. I won't even try to describe all the experiences it offers. Just go and discover for yourself. While we were away, Bingley and Magic, once more, were cared for by Mike and Michelle Dougherty at the wonderful Windsong Spa for Pets. We are fortunate that we are a 15-20 minute drive from Windsong. But if you are within any reasonable distance and you need the best place to board your pet, Windsong is incomparable. Finally, on a sad, nostalgic note, it was four years ago yesterday, July 7, 2009, that the beautiful Portia's heart stopped beating during a bandage change while she was in intensive care for treatment of a gaping wound suffered in an attack on her, Bingley and John by a loose dog. Time has softened the stabbing pain we felt at her loss. Bingley is still with us and Magic entered our lives November 20, 2009. Portia was irreplaceable, but we would not have wanted to miss our Magic. The very thought of her makes me smile. A lady to her toenails. Quiet, opinionated, and patient, but determined to get her way and have her say. Bingley, remains the sweetest tempered dog I have ever had. A reliable greeter of house guests and anyone he encounters on walks. Everyone's BFF. (Except, of course, for small hopping or scurrying creatures. You can take the dog off the racetrack, but you can't take the chase out of the dog.)

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Friends of Portia is going on vacation. Hope to be back blogging the second week of July. Perhaps I will have seen my very first Canaan Dog. I'll be looking for one.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bingley Report

Many, many thanks to all who prayed for Bingley or sent good thoughts his way. He is now completely recovered from his gastroenteritis attack. Although frightening, it did not reach the extreme level that it sometimes did in the past. He continued to drink water while he was ill and that made all the difference. We are happy to say that we have our Bingley back.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Bingley's Troubles Return

More than once in this blog, I have discussed Bingley's delicate intestines. Before rescue, he was one of five racing Greyhounds purchased by a compulsive gambler, certain that if he had his own string of dogs, he could make his fortune. The inevitable happened. The gambler ran out of money. He ran out of dog food. Maybe he didn't even bother to give the poor dogs water. When the rescuer from Greyhound Adoption Center opened the dog hauler containing the five dogs, there were three survivors. Bingley was one of them. Shortly after we adopted him, he began to have frightening episodes of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. If you have never witnessed a full blown attack of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, take a moment to thank your lucky stars. Bingley's episodes recurred over two months, and we were in great fear of losing him. Ultimately, Dr. Candy Lewis, THE sight hound specialist of San Diego, put him on a prescription diet and "as much liquid Pepto Bismol as he needs". No treats. No exceptions. Since that time, Bingley has been healthy most of the time, but he has good and bad days and, occasionally, he will have an episode. It's been a long time since his last one, but late Thursday night, after waking me to go out, he stomach began the ominous growling and gurgling associated with his intestinal distress. Yesterday was not a good day. But he brightened up a little yesterday evening and has eaten a little today. He hasn't stopped drinking water, which is good. So far, this episode is mild and he seems to be slowly improving. I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, say a prayer for our boy, if you are inclined to do so.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ralphie: In Memoriam

It is with a breaking heart that I typed the title of this post. Ralphie, a wonderful Wired Hair Fox Terrier crossed the Rainbow Bridge early Sunday morning, June 2, 2013, leaving a bereft family and grieving friends. Ralphie was the epitome of the best of his breed: independent of spirit but affectionate, loyal but not cloying, full of the pure joy of life that was infectious when he was in a room. Our heartfelt condolences are extended to his immediate family, Linda, Ryan, Jen, Jason and Brecken. Each of Ralphie's multitude of friends and admirers will have his or her personal memories of him. I had long dreamed of having a Wired Hair Fox Terrier of my own, but my canine choices had taken me in other directions. So I was thrilled to meet Ralphie and get to know him. He didn't disappoint. He embodied the panache that is unique to his breed. Farewell, dear Ralphie. We love to think of you, restored to perfect health, romping and getting into no end of mischief on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Dog With A Big Heart

Last year, when Dr. Pearson examined Bingley in preparation for a dental cleaning, she discovered that he had a heart murmur. A canine cardiologist was called for a consultation and it was discovered that Bingley's heart was much enlarged and he had a malfunctioning valve. But his condition was not to the point where medication was recommended. Yesterday, Bingley had a follow-up. The good news is that there has been no change in his condition since last July. But he has a very enlarged heart, an "athlete's heart", and there is slight leakage in the malfunctioning valve. He still does not require medication. Bingley began his racing career when he was still, essentially, a puppy--less than two years old. His high prey drive and love of running helped him win his first race against more seasoned racers, and many races thereafter. But that kind of stress on a still growing system extracts a price, and Bingley is paying that price now. He still loves to run. Every day, he runs circuits around the living room just for the joy of it. He's a big-hearted dog. In every way.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Silly Question

Recently, I saw an article titled "Do Dogs Love?". I didn't read it. Why waste my time? Why do dogs greet you at the door, tails wagging, eyes sparkling, even though you've just been gone a minute or two to pick up the mail? Why do dogs keep watch by your bedside when you are ill? Why do dogs solicit pats? Why do dogs look like their world has crashed if you scold them? If it's not love, then I really don't care. If that's not love, then, perhaps love is over-rated and what dogs are expressing is even better than love. I can hear someone say, "Yes, dogs can make you feel very good, but they really have no choice in the matter, they are just responding automatically." Those are the words of someone with little or very shallow experience of dogs. Yesterday, my friend, Marilyn, emailed me that she had adopted another dog. Of course I was happy for the dog. Any dog who lives in Marilyn's home is lucky. But this story is one of those that makes you wonder "Who adopted whom?" Marilyn is directly involved in profiling Greyhounds for adoptive homes. She frequently transports dogs to adopters. And in the sad event of "bounces"--dogs being returned to the rescue--will pick them up. She will keep them at her home for a day or two if there is no room at the kennel or transportation to the kennel is delayed. Sometimes a wonderful dog hits a streak of bad luck in placements. In these hard economic times, many dogs have had to be returned because people lose jobs, then lose their houses and have to move into living arrangements that cannot accommodate a Greyhound. Sometimes another pet in the household that initially seems welcoming of a new dog begins to take exception to the new arrival and the newbie is returned for its own safety. Over the past few years, the dog now known as Annie experienced a string of these bad luck scenarios. Each time, Marilyn picked her up and looked after her until there was room for her at the rescue kennel or Annie found a new home. But all that time, the bond between Annie and Marilyn grew. When Annie's most recent placement fell apart, Marilyn went to pick her up. Annie greeted Marilyn with enthusiasm, and bounded into her van just like it was "her" car. It was clear that Annie loved Marilyn and Marilyn responded the only way a true dog person does. She adopted Annie. So now Marilyn has four Greyhounds. But Hattie and Odie and Sophie are just fine with Annie. They recognize true love when they see it.

Friday, April 19, 2013

That Was The Week That Was

I've just heard that the second Boston Bomber is in police custody and a great city can breathe again, but its broken heart may never mend entirely. Although the first city I remember living in was Chicago, the first city I heard my parents talk about was Boston. They courted at Fenway Park. Imagine going to Comisky Park for a Fourth of July double-header with parents who were the only fans routing for the wrong color Sox. I was pretty old before I figured out that Ted Williams had no religious significance. If we hadn't named Bingley after Mr. Darcy's best friend, he would have been named Fenway. It was a close call. Prayers for those who mourn and those who are just beginning the long, slow, painful journey to recovery from their physical and emotional wounds.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Joy Of Rescue

Here are before and after pictures of the little dog from Mexico, that was rescued from a desperate life competing with much bigger, more aggressive dogs for food. Now named Lulu, she has become socialized and is gaining confidence. She is also potty trained. DNA testing revealed that she is not a Lhasa-Poodle mix but a Maltese-Yorkshire Terrier mix. She is now ready for her forever home. But since she is doing well in foster, there is no emergency and applicants will be carefully screened. If you are interested in adopting Lulu, please email me at portiasmom dot live dot com

The Importance Of Good Breeding

For those of us of a certain age, "Good Breeding" calls to mind our mothers' admonitions about good posture, prompt thank you notes,and crossing our legs at the ankles rather than at the knees--while keeping our knees together, of course! But this is a dog blog, and happily when we consider "Good Breeding" in dogs, we do not have to think about how far we have fallen from our mothers' expectations. Recently, I stopped by my veterinarian's office for a re-fill of heart-worm preventative. Seated in the waiting room, on her human's lap, was a vision of perfection: an exquisite Papillon--white, with black ears, perky and confident, polite to strangers, but not yippy or assertive. She was the embodiment of the breed standard. Happily, Bingley and Magic were not with me, and I did not have to beat a hasty retreat for fear of their making a light snack of this little darling. So I was able to discover that she was bred by a local breeder who truly loves and respects Papillons. This means that he is careful and selective of breeding pairs. He knows not only the physical conformation of prospective parents, but also personality and disposition. He breeds very few litters and selects homes for the resulting puppies with care. I have long been enchanted by Papillons, but had never seen a truly well bred representation of the breed. Like other toy breeds, Papillons have been the victims of gross over-breeding, careless mix breeding and--the ultimate horror--puppy mills. The vet tech who supplied me with all this information offered to give me the breeder's card. I thanked her, but told her that, much as I would adore the company of such a rare creature, I am dedicated to rescue, and I doubt that such a carefully bred and protected puppy would ever find its way into a rescue. When I got home, just out of curiosity, I searched out Papillon rescue on the internet. There is a nation-wide Papillon rescue sponsored by the breed club. And unlike many breed clubs, these dedicated Good Samaritans rescue not only needy Papillons, but also Papillon mixes. Among the forty-three expectant faces posted on their site were numerous "pure bred" Papillons that were cute and sweet, but obviously the product of ignorant or callous breeding. One of the "Happy Tails" was about the successful placement of a senior female whose life before rescue had been bounded by a small cage in a puppy mill, producing litter after litter of the sort of puppies who, themselves, had required rescue. And then there were the mixes. Why do people think that it's a good idea to breed two "cute little" dogs, regardless of their individual breeds? And some of these mixes weren't all that little--which speaks of still another form of neglect. In light of the desperate circumstances of millions of homeless dogs, many people involved in rescue are opposed to all planned dog breeding. The reasoning is that the over-breeding of dogs is so out of control and causes so much canine misery, no dog should be purchased. All dogs should be rescued. I understand that impulse. But, even though I will never again purchase a puppy from a breeder, I am glad that there are careful, responsible breeders who maintain the wonderful diversity of all the dog breeds we enjoy. The world would be a bleaker place without well bred Papillons, and German Shepherd Dogs and Pembroke Welsh Corgis and on and on. Furthermore, rescue is not for everyone at every time in their lives. Buying a pure-bred puppy from a responsible breeder offers a much more predictable canine companion than adopting a dog from a rescue or shelter. That's a fact that needs to be recognized. At this time in our lives, John and I have chosen rescue. But I am glad that there are careful, responsible breeders, who love dogs enough to perpetuate the breeds that make all our lives richer.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sorry 'Bout That!

It's been almost a month since my last post. I do apologize. My high school law teacher, Theodore Roosevelt Leiber, insisted that most "reasons" we gave him for late assignments and other infractions were not reasons at all, but excuses. I suspect that he would label any reasons I give for not blogging as excuses, so I'll spare you their recitation. But regardless of posts or no posts on this blog, the needs of homeless dogs and cats continue as do the joys that our canine and feline companions bring us. George the white male cat with black markings still needs a forever home. And I suspect Spike, a buff orange male cat does, too. The Lhasa Mix rescue from Mexico has been discovered to be a Maltese-Yorkshire Terrier Mix and has been christened Lulu. She has made great strides in her foster home and is now comfortable with kind humans and members of her foster mother's pack. But it would be best if she could find a forever home where she is either an only dog with a human who is home a great deal or one of two dogs. Like our Magic, she would thrive best in a setting where she can get more human attention than is possible for her to receive as a member of a six dog pack. There is no urgency about this home search and applicants will be carefully screened. If you are interested in being considered as Lulu's human, please email me. Another, very different, but very handsome dog is also in need of a home. Sherlock is a large--73 pound--Blue Merle Australian Shepherd. He has been well cared for, but his humans' life situation is changing and they can no longer meet his needs for exercise. I have written about herding breeds--Aussies, Border Collies, and German Shepherd Dogs in particular. These are not dogs for sedentary people. These are dogs who must have training, work, and exercise. If not, they will go stir-crazy and become quite destructive. But herding dog aficionados are as bored with other types of dogs as herding dogs are bored with nothing to do. If you believe that you are up to the challenge of being a herding dog's human, I will be happy to pass your name and information on to his people, who will be very choosey about who gets to take him home. If you are interested in providing any of these worthy pets with a permanent home, please email me at portiasmom at live dot com

Monday, March 4, 2013

George Needs A Home

This is a dog blog, but we like cats, too. Even if some of our canine friends don't. (I'm looking at you, Bingley!) I think of George as a Good Old Boy. But he's not old. He's only 5 or 6 years old. He's white with a black tail and a few black patches. He's a Domestic Shorthair, neutered, declawed front paws. He needs to be an indoor cat. He weighs about 18 pounds, likes to be petted--so he'll help you lower your blood pressure. But he's not for sitting long stretches in your lap. George gets along with dogs, but not other cats. He has no experience of being around small children, so an adult household or one with older children would be best. If you can offer George a home, please contact me. portiasmom at live dot com

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Our Famous Friend

It has been a thrilling week for us. Not only did we celebrate five years of Bingley's inimitable company, but on Tuesday evening, we had the thrill of seeing one of the Great Dog People of All Time, who just happens to be Bingley's and Magic's Dear Friend, step into the shoes of The Most Difficult Job In The World. Forget Secretary General of the United Nations. Forget POTUS. Once a year, Best In Show Judge at Westminster is REALLY pressure! And Mike Dougherty made the tough call, like we knew he would. A number of our friends have told us that they "saw our friend" on television. We just bask in the reflected glory. You'll understand, though. I'm not encouraging any acquaintance between Bingley and Banana Joe. Bouncy little creatures interest him way too much.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Happy, Happy Day!

Five years ago today, John and I took Portia back to the kennel at Greyhound Adoption Center to select a playmate for her. We came home with Bingley. We were not to know that in less than eighteen months, Portia would die from a massive wound sustained in an attack by an unsocialized, off-leash dog. Bingley was also injured in the same attack. But he survived, and, now, he he setting new longevity records for our rescued dogs. Happy Gotcha Day, Bingley! A sweeter tempered dog never drew breath. Our only wish today is that we could have you with us for another five years.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Yesterday, this adorable little dog was safely transported across the international border and is living in a caring foster home, beginning a socialization process that will prepare her for her permanent situation. Many thanks to all the caring people who responded to her situation and offered help. Sometimes, there are happy endings. Update: Actually, I misunderstood. It is entirely possible that this little dog will be staying permanently in her present home. Her new mom clearly understands the needs of a shy, unsocialized little doggie.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Cautionary Tale

The phone rang at about 6:30 this morning. A call at that time rarely brings a message of comfort and joy. Sure enough. A very small dog, Toffee, who is the companion of very good friends was vomiting blood and my friend needed to know the location of the emergency vet closest to her home. My identification with the situation was immediate and total. We came very close to losing Bingley shortly after we adopted him, when he developed a severe case of hemorrhagic gastro-enteritis. If you've witnessed that particular canine affliction first hand, I don't have to describe it. If you haven't, I'll spare you details but assure you that it is something you really want to miss. I just talked to Toffee's human and things are now under control and we can hope for a complete recovery. But in considering what might have triggered the episode, it was remembered that Toffee had been exposed to some new treats and novel foods. When I heard this, I thought, "Bingo!" It has become fashionable to feed dogs the way we feed children: offering them variety and "taste adventures." Toffee's guardians hadn't done that, but a hostess they were visiting had. Nearly all dogs respond to novel foods--and even non-foods--with enthusiasm. But for a certain number of dogs,novel food can lead to life threatening misery. Their systems cannot adapt to change and the intestinal track becomes irritated. In extreme cases such as Bingley's, the entire track becomes an open sore. So go easy on any dietary change for your dog. The most wholesome treat for one dog might spell an emergency vet's visit for another. And in case I haven't scared you enough, just a day or two ago, I read about another recall of dog treats that are imported from China. I can't remember the brand, but it was from a well-known company. The only reason I didn't pay attention is that my dogs eat only the prescription dog food that Bingley can tolerate, so I wasn't worried about them. Sometimes sameness has its benefits.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


The road to recovery has not been easy for Bingley. Early this week, he became reluctant to use his left front paw. We couldn't find any sign of trauma, and he didn't react when we examined it, but he would not put weight on it. So, today, it was back to Dr. Pearson. It's always heart-stopping when a Greyhound limps or refuses to use a paw. The specter of osteo-sarcoma is ever present. Happily, Bingley's x-rays were clear, so Dr. Pearson is hypothesizing a soft tissue injury. John is pretty sure Bingley did the damage running circuits around the living room. The two hardest things to get a Greyhound to do are 1) Stay off sofas. (We don't even try) and 2) Not run. Up to this time, we haven't really tried to stop him, but this is getting old and vet bills are piling up. Dr. Pearson has ordered rest for Bingley. I know he will happily comply about 97% of the time. It's what he does during the other 3% that concerns me.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Calico Cat

We are mostly about dogs here at Friends of Portia, but we love cats, too--even though our canine companions "love" them for all the wrong reasons, so co-existence is not possible. This morning I learned of a ten year old Calico in desperate need of a home. Her human companion is in failing health and can no longer care for her. She is well behaved, de-clawed and affectionate. She is not accustomed to other pets, so needs to be an only. At ten years, a cat is just entering the prime of life. If you or someone you know can offer Maxine a home, email me at: portiasmom at live dot com.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Still Looking

I was certain that such an adorable dog would have found a home, but no such luck. If you are interested in this package of cuteness, a female Lhasa-Poodle mix, please email me at: portiasmom at live dot com.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Approaching Normal

The Saga of Bingley's toe has been ongoing since just after Thanksgiving. He continues to improve, use his left front paw more and more. We have taken two complete walks, and although he clearly tires before we get home, he really, really wants to climb the hill. Today I thought I'd give it a rest, and he was very reluctant to turn around and come home early. He's still in an e-collar and a very unhappy camper, indeed. But he will not leave the last sore alone, and when he works on it, he postpones his ultimate freedom. I know there is a life lesson in that for all of us, but I won't delve into it. Anyway, he looks at me sorrowfully when I replace the collar, and I earnestly explain that if he wants to be free of it, he must leave that sore alone. Unhappily, there is a failure to communicate despite our mutual earnestness. We are also on our last bottle of Keflex. But long days of pill delivery have taken their toll on Bingley's willingness to swallow pills wrapped in dog food. He has always been so good, so trusting. But yesterday morning, he refused to take his pills. So now we are left with "pilling", a process neither he nor I like: prying open his jaws, sticking the pill at the back of this throat, and holding his mouth closed until he swallows. Life could get more complicated, even after Keflex is a memory, because Bingley requires Soloxine every morning and evening to treat his thyroid deficiency. Perhaps when faced with only a tiny pill in a lump of dog food, he will change his mind? One hopes.

Monday, January 7, 2013


We just returned from having Bingley's stitches removed. Dr.Pearson was smiling when she told me that Bingley was doing very well and she was very pleased. Great news. And we can stop putting baggies on him whenever he goes outside. However, we have two more weeks of Keflex--open another large bottle of Pepto,please--and who knows how long with the e-collar. Bingley is now using his left front paw quite regularly and I imagine it won't be long before he feels as confident with it as he did before this long process began.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

To all Friends of Portia, and especially to all who work to care for and find forever homes for dogs and cats in need, John, Bingley, and Magic join me in wishing you a Very Happy New Year!