Prophet’s Tears at the Vet

It’s been a while since ol’ Proph has had an adventure–knock on wood.  Oops! Forgot that knock before we went to the vet this week. He was due for a Bordetella vaccine. This is the medicine you should give your dog if he or she plays in doggie day camp, goes to dog parks, or otherwise comes in contact with lots of canine friends.

photo of Prophet gets Bordetella Vaccine

“This won’t hurt a bit.”

Bordetella vaccine, in fancy terms, is something given in either a shot at the scruff of the neck or a squeeze of medicine up your dog’s nose to prevent infectious tracheobronchitis, or kennel cough.  I think the vaccine is like the flu shot, only for dogs and cats. No biggie, right?

Well, just as with any doctor visit, our first stop was the scales. Whoops!  Prophet–given his restriction on exercise last spring and my subsequent recognition of time savings and gas conservation in not going to Chatfield daily–had gained a little weight. Make that gained A LOT of weight. Nine pounds!  He’s up to 118 pounds of joy for him and guilt for me. Yuck!  No wonder I’ve been hearing so many “he sure is a big dog” comments lately.  I thought people were saying he’s generally tall, dark, and handsome.

photo of Dr. Weber with Prophet

“Okay, I’ve been a good dog–now where are the treats?” Prophet chats with Dr. Weber

Then there is the scardy-cat syndrome (sorry Nalla).  Prophet cried and cried–like a baby!  We were shown into the examination room.  Cried and scratched at the door to get out (smart dog). Then Katie, who’s training to be a vet tech, came in to generally get the low-down on “what’s wrong.” Prophet whined a little, but licked a lot. Luckily, Katie has a St. Bernard and knows what slobbery kisses are all about.

photo of Katie gets a dog kiss--eew!

“I’ll get even–I’ll give you a kiss!” – Katie & Prophet

I told Katie about a little lump that hasn’t gone away on Prophet’s side. She looked, and there it was. Prophet cried.

Then Dr. Weber came in.  Have I told you how much I like the doctors at my vet?  Dr. Weber is sweet with the pets, clear with instructions and information, and level-headed with the don’t hit the panic button kind of attitude.  She took a look at Prophet and found the weight a problem (“but as he ages, his metabolism will slow down”), the lump, and a build-up of wax in his right ear. Lucky me, I got to see the wax she pulled out–let’s leave the description for now, right?

photo of Katie examines Prophet

“You have my heart, but I’m still going to cry.” Katie checks Prophet’s heartbeat.

Throughout the examination, Prophet cried. Temperature taken? Cry. Check. Pelvic check? Good. Cry. Ear wax excavation? Cry. Done.

Surprisingly, when they withdrew a sample from the lump, Proph didn’t seem bothered at all. Dr. Weber took the “goodies”–the ear wax sample and goop from the lump back to examine for problems.

Prophet and I were left alone in the room.  Then it hit me. He cried for everything else, but not the lump.  Was that a good sign or a really bad sign?  Dr. Weber had said that lumps can mean any number of things–infections, benign cysts, or the big C–cancer.  Was the anomaly of Prophet’s stoicism in the withdrawal of lump goop a warning sign?  Was his ear infected? Was the weight gain going to cause a heart attack while we sat in the examination room, smelling of dog? I made a show of brushing off the mounds of dog shedding on my pants, just so that I’d have something to do while I worried.

photo of Prophet hiding from the vet

“Think they’ll see me? I am so small..I am so small…”

Luckily, in a very short time, Dr. Weber came back in with the all-clear sign, instructions to wash out Prophet’s ears a couple of times a week, and some additional vitamins for Nalla. Whew!

Seems with Prophet, there’s never a dull moment.

And I’ll keep Dr. Weber’s advice in mind. If your pet develops a lump, come in and get it checked out.  Save yourself some worry. If the lump is big, bothersome or infected, your vet can let you know to either watch it or have them cut off. Same goes for skin tags – elongated, wart-like skin protrusions. Dogs. You gotta love them–and take care of them.

I’m off to go hide the treats!

Heartfelt Doggie Portraits

I love it when people connect with me because of this blog.  Thank you to everyone who reads a post here and decides to follow me.  What an honor.

So now I need to slip into past tense.  A couple of weeks ago, someone from Littleton decided to follow this blog.  I went to Shaina Zimmerman’s Rescued Rover blog to find out a little more about her. What a wonderful surprise!  Shaina takes pet portraits as a sideline to her work as a veterinary assistant and student at Red Rocks.  Her blog is filled with beautiful work.  I knew I had to find out more about this woman, so I contacted her and she agreed to talk with me by phone.

Rescued Rover-Versailles at Coyote Song Trail

Shaina’s 3-year old shepherd, Versailles at Coyote Song Trail, Littleton

Shaina started loving pets at an early age and said, “I was the kid who would find a stray and catch it and bring it home. My parents didn’t seem to mind.  They always had four or five dogs at a time around.”

At seventeen, Shaina got a dog of her own, not shared with the rest of the family, and she was hooked for life.

“I can read them (dogs) easily,” said Shaina, “and I really enjoy them.  I volunteered at some shelters, and then worked at pet care places and doggie day camps.  I like to work with aggressive dogs particularly.  I like to rehabilitate them, giving them lots of love and treats.  If I can socialize them, it gives them a second chance in life.”

An old boss of Shaina’s introduced her to photography and a new love took off.  She is mostly self-taught in her skills, but you wouldn’t know it. She said she fell head over heels in love with the different lenses she now uses to snap her beautiful pet portraits ($100 per session, $25 of which is donated to her favorite charity, Outpaws Animal Rescue).

Rescued Rover - Bailey the Lab

Shaina’s Lab, Bailey, 5, keeps her smiling.

Some of Shaina’s photography time is spent taking portraits of the dogs and cats at Outpaws. This organization is a completely foster-based center, which means they try to keep dogs until a good home can be found. Their mission statement reads, in part:

“OutPaws places companion animals in foster homes until they can be matched with loving forever homes, educates the community about responsible pet ownership, advocates tirelessly for the best alternatives for both homeless animals and beloved pets and remains committed to fighting pet homelessness until every adoptable dog and cat has a home.”

One of the challenges for this not-for-profit organization, is getting adoptions up.  Many of the photos taken of the dogs in the past were dark, blurry, or taken spur of the moment, without great lighting or time.  Shaina said she’s trying to help here, too.

“All they have to promote their adoptions is their website, so taking good pictures of available dogs and cats is huge for them,” said Shaina.

I congratulated this young person for all the energy and love she gives to the pet community, and she replied, “I only wish I could do more.”

Amazing.

Wishing you a day full of good doggie stories, great friendship, and the positive energy that Shaina brings to our world.