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!