All images and text are copyrighted by Andrea Dorn. Please do not "borrow" them without permission

Friday, March 25, 2011

Japan's animals

Everyday I read about the animal victims of the Tsunami and earthquake and make a prayer for their health and recovery. Here's one article:

Then there is the video of a dog heroically guarding his ailing companion:

But please be careful if you are going to donate money to any charity claiming to give aid to Japan's needy. Donate only to well-known, recognized charities like the Red Cross or

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Conspiracy, that’s what it is, a conspiracy that’s threatening to take over the internet. And I’m going to join in. Above you see my dog, Blizzard, perched on a cat tree. I adopted him from the Story County Animal Shelter in Nevada, IA.

You see the conspiracy is to take over the internet with stories and pictures of adopted pets as a tribute to on its 15th anniversary. Blizzard’s story with me goes like this:

I’d been visiting the shelter for some time and every time I stopped this same little puppy remained. I couldn’t understand it because puppies and small dogs usually go fast and he was less than 6 months old and about 15 lbs. Yet there he stayed. I could only guess that he suffered from the bad reputation dogs of his breed get. Yes some American Eskimos can be yippy, snippy dogs but not if they are raised right and taught some basic obedience. As far as I could tell this puppy was well mannered, housebroken and already begun on obedience. I had an Eskie many years ago and just loved her.

The problem was, I wanted a female dog. I wanted a dog that was different from my previous dog so that I wouldn’t compare the two putting the new dog at a disadvantage. Finally, I wasn’t completely convinced that I was ready for a dog at all. But when the puppy was still at the shelter after three visits I decided that it was destiny. I had to adopt him.

The day I picked him up the weather report warned of a possible blizzard that afternoon but my veterinarian was in Des Moines, nearly an hour away from the shelter. So I took him to Des Moines anyway. The roads were clear for most of the day. His vet visit went well and I decided to take my new puppy to my family’s house for a quick visit.

My sister had recently adopted a cat, Isis, from a local shelter as well. Amazingly Isis was at home the minute they released her into the house. Nothing, it seemed, fazed that cat. I was a little concerned about her reaction to a rambunctious puppy, however, so I watched their introduction very closely. But I needn’t have worried. The two animals were fast friends from the beginning. Or maybe I should say they tolerated each other very well. The puppy would run about between all the new people in his life and Isis would follow behind him from atop every perch she could find. Every time the puppy was in reach she would slap at him playfully, never using her claws and the puppy would smile and crouch toward her as if ready to pounce, but he never did.

Then the snow began to fall so I headed for home. By the time we were halfway home the blizzard was in full force but we made it just fine with only a few close calls along the way. The puppy’s name came to me that afternoon. He just had to be Blizzard.

One more event was waiting for that puppy yet that day. He had to meet my feline brood, cats that had mostly never even seen a dog. He was tentative at first, sniffing about the house wandering here and there and the cats were following him everywhere with their fur on end. Then Hobby saw the puppy. Within seconds Hobby had the puppy cornered and whimpering in the bathroom. That set the tone for Blizzard’s relationship with all of my cats.

He now respects them and has learned how to turn his nose away from swiping paws. Mostly the cats either avoid him or act like he’s just another cat. All that is, except Gooseberry who seems to think that he can control the dog. Goose started as a tiny kitten slapping at the dog that was a hundred times bigger than he. Now he only slaps at Blizzard if the dog seems to be getting out of line, that is anytime Blizzard walks in front of Goose, or tries to pass him, or well, you get the picture. They really are friends most of the time.

So you see, good dogs do come from shelters. Good cats too. Adopt a pet today from a shelter of your choice or check out

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Stressless Surgery

Gooseberry had a “lumpectomy” today. I noticed a small, pea-sized lump on his leg a few weeks ago but when it didn’t go away I made an appointment with his veterinarian. She examined it and determined that it was nothing to fool with so we scheduled the surgery for today.

Anytime your pet is due for surgery you should keep several points in mind to make it a safer, less stressful time for you both.

1.     Be certain to follow your veterinarian’s instructions closely before the operation. For instance in most cases you will be instructed to fast your pet several hours beforehand. That means no food, usually for 12 hours before the surgery. This way your pet won’t regurgitate or aspirate his food during surgery endangering his life.
2.     The day of surgery be sure to deliver your pet to the veterinarian by the prescribed time. This allows the surgeon and the assistants to have your pet prepared in time for the surgery. In the case of many surgeries your pet may be able to go home by the end of the day but only if the surgery is performed early enough so that she can recover from the anesthesia. Even if she isn’t going home the same day it is best if she is awake by the end of the day so that the staff can be sure she is recovering normally.
3.     When you bring your pet home be sure to get all the instructions you’ll need to properly care for him. Do you need to care for the incision at home? Do you need to administer any medications, if so on what schedule? Be sure to follow the medication instructions exactly, if you don’t they aren’t much good for your pet. What follow-up visits will be required? It is best to schedule these before you leave the hospital if at all possible.
4.     Make sure you know what to look for in case something goes wrong once you get home. For instance, how can you tell if the incision gets infected, what should you do if the stitches come out or what if your pet starts acting lethargic or stops eating.
5.     Follow all instructions as closely as possible and call the veterinarian if you have any questions.

When we came home this afternoon Gooseberry was wearing a collar to keep him from bothering his stitches but within 2 hours the collar was gone. So far he is leaving his stitches alone but now I will have to watch him even more closely. Because the incision is on his knee I’ll also have to keep him from being too active. He is the type of cat who loves to leap after toys and jump up on things so I’ll have to keep him from doing that until the incision is healed. However, he seems to think that everything is fine and is determined to get back to life as usual.

One last caveat, when your pet returns home she smell different to your other pets. They may not accept this “new” smelling pet and fights might pop up. To help diffuse this situation you can try a couple of different things. To even out the smell problem you could put a dab of vanilla on each animal’s nose to disguise the smell. Also the use of a pheromone diffuser (like Comfort ZoneÒ) can help if you start the diffuser a day or two before the surgery.