Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Last week, my husband and I were making a produce delivery (we own a vegetable farm) and we came across this vehicle in a parking lot.  I looked.  I looked again.  My husband walks over and all I can say is "Really!?".  Probably said it 4 or 5 times in a row.  I just had to take a picture.

Now I must be way behind the times because when I got back to the clinic I was all excited to tell everyone about this SUV I saw advertising a business that would come and clean up dog poop from your yard.  A few were surprised, but several had heard of this before.  Really?  Maybe it's because I live in a township of less than 1000 people.  It is mostly farmland and dogs can roam a lot of acres.  I live on a farm too, but I like to keep the doggie droppings picked up from around my house.  I have three dogs too so they do their fare share of doo doo.  But really, it takes what? Maybe 10-15 minutes once or twice a week to do this task.

Well after I found out that this is a business that people have heard about before, I checked out the Scoop 4 U website.  They have a really nice web site.  Plus there is a link on there for a site called Pooperoni.  It is a directory of pooper scooper companies all over the U.S.  You just have to love the entrepreneurial spirit of people.  I am not belittling this at all.  In fact, I think it is great.  I just can't believe someone would pay someone else to scoop their dog's poop.  Really?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Support your LOCAL animal shelter

I'm going to do something in my blog this week that I normally avoid and that is scraping along the edge of politics. My mama always told me "if you don't have something nice to say about something, then don't say it". Good words to live by. And although I am certainly far from perfect, I really try to look at the positive side of issues. That is why I try to avoid politics like the plague. Sometimes the truth just needs to come out and be told. And the truth is that animals need our help. Specifically, the thousands and thousands of animals that end up in animal shelters in this country every year. Now all of you who know me, know that I am a HUGE adopt a pet from a shelter fan. The people who run these shelters are such good people. They work hard. They love caring for the animals. And it's a tough job because most local animal shelters struggle with funding. But for those of us who love animals, there is not a better cause than supporting your local animal shelter.

So where's the part about politics and the truth? Well, it has to do with the Humane Society of the United States. Now, if you are in favor of what this organization stands for and how they operate then by all means support them. They are a lobby group. They are strongly entrenched in the animal rights movement that would love to see the end of things like ALL livestock farming, not just the large commercial farms. All livestock farming. Period. And realize this: the Humane Society of the United States is a very wealthy political action group. They are NOT the parent organization for your local humane society or animal shelter. They give only a very small percentage of the money they raise to animal shelters. I LOVE this advertisement that ran in some national publications some months back. I think it says so much.
I guess what bothers me the most about HSUS is they love to place pictures of forlorn puppies and kitties in their literature soliciting for donations. It makes people think they are helping the local animal shelters when the fact is the money raised is all about supporting a big political action group. It's just deceiving and that is what gets my goat. Well, if I had a goat. Of course the HSUS is probably thrilled that I don't have a goat. Check out the information at It may be a little eye opening for some.

Here in Ashtabula County, we have two larger organizations, the Ashtabula County Animal Protective League and the Ashtabula County Humane Society (they are not and I repeat NOT NOT NOT affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States) plus several smaller privately run animal rescues. They all need our help. So as the saying goes "Donate, Volunteer, Adopt". There are so many good people out there doing the hard work for all the homeless dogs and cats. Let's all donate locally to make sure the money gets to where it needs to go.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Throughout our lives, there are people who touch our lives in unique ways. And throughout the life of a veterinarian, there are animals who do the same. Today's blog is about a very special dog. Adrian died two weeks ago today of a ruptured tumor on the spleen. It still doesn't seem real to me as his loss was so sudden. He was 11 years old which is a good number of years for a German Shepherd Dog, but still it seems too soon.

Adrian was a police dog and the partner of Sergeant John Koski of the Ashtabula City Police Department. I feel very privileged to be able to work with these incredible dogs and with the officers who are their handlers and their partners. As a veterinarian, I understand the human-animal bond pretty well. I understand the pain of losing a trusted friend and companion. But I really think I cannot fully understand what these canine officers mean to their human counterparts. It is not just about love and companionship. It is about life and death on the job every single day. These dogs are invaluable and repeatedly save the lives of the officers they work with. It is a level of bond that I think you need to live to fully understand.

I must admit that I truly admired Adrian for very selfish reasons. Here was a working dog that was trained to be aggressive and known as one of the hardest biting dogs on the police force. But in all my years as his veterinarian, Adrian never once displayed an ounce of aggression in the clinic. Not a growl. Not a lift of the lip. Not "the look". Nothing. Some of the police dogs we work with actually become very fear aggressive in the clinic setting. Not Adrian. He was an amazingly social and well adjusted dog. I could do a physical exam on him without fear of losing any fingers or facial features. Sergeant Koski would often tell me how good Adrian was with his own kids. I know he took Adrian to schools for presentations. That is why Adrian commanded my respect. A lot of this praise should be heaped onto Sergeant Koski as well. I still remember a conversation I had with him some years back when Adrian was in his middle years of life. We were talking about training dogs and Sergeant Koski talked about how every single day he took time to run Adrian through his paces even if it was only for a few minutes. That is what it takes to have a well trained dog. All of us with house dogs that disobey commands on a daily basis should stand up and take note. We train our dogs and then forget that reinforcing that training is a daily commitment. I am as guilty as the rest of not following through. Perhaps Adrian's legacy to me is to remember him by being a better dog owner and training my dogs like they should be trained.

And to John Koski, my heart goes out to you. In your pain, think of all the lives that were touched and made better by knowing Adrian. You were a huge part of that. Thank you sir for the job that you do. I will always think of you and Adrian together and smile.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Rat discrimination

Last week, I had the opportunity to take a tumor of a little rat named Fonsworth. She is the sweetest little rat that there ever could be. I just wanted to give Fonsworth's "mom" the biggest hug for having this tumor taken off. She had actually been to another vet awhile back that said nothing could be done. And so the tumor got bigger, but it was in a pretty good location to be able to be removed. Now rats are little tumor growing factories so to speak, but a lot of the tumors they get are benign. They just get so darn big that they do gross things like break open and get infected. But if taken off early, surgery can make big difference in a little rat's life.

I must admit there were a few snickers about doing surgery on this rat, but not from me. I think it is shameful that rats are discriminated against. No one would say a thing if this were a dog or cat. So why should a rat be different? Some said why do surgery on a little critter that can be replaced for not very much money? Uh, I have yet to pay one dime for any of my cats, but I spend lots of money to feed, spay/neuter, and give flea and heartworm prevention to them. Plus treat them for their illnesses if anything goes wrong. I have only bought one dog in my life (a hunting beagle for my husband). Every other dog I have ever owned as been free. Ok, acquiring them has been free. Afterwards, not so much. Just ask me about the "free" beagle I adopted that got a stick up inside her nasal passage a few weeks after I got her. A trip to the specialty clinic and several hundred dollars later, not so free.

Maybe it is the life span issue. But again, I clean teeth and take lumps off my 13 and 14 year old dogs that may only live another year at most. So do a lot of my clients. So I am not buying that either.

I just think rats have a stigma. So rat lovers unite! Spread the word that they are not disgusting little vermin running around the barns and fields and buildings of this country. Well, ok the ones that run around barns and buildings are disgusting vermin. But no, I'm talking pet rats here. I for one think they should be treated like any of our other pets we keep in our homes. Just meet Fonsworth. She will make a believer out of you.