The Story of Brutus

Photo Credit: SOURCE: Colorado State University
Photo Credit: SOURCE: Colorado State University

It is not everyday that you hear about a dog who has had all four paws amputated, being rehabilitated by a foster parent, in hopes that one day they will be adopted into a forever. Generally, animals that have conditions like this are euthanized because of the costs it takes to rehabilitate them to the point they can go to a new home. This is the case with Brutus. Brutus is a two year old Rottweiler, who is learning how to walk with four new prosthetic legs. He is only the second dog known to receive prosthetic limbs.

When Brutus was a puppy, he was left outside in the cold, and got frostbite on all four of his paws. The breeder, in hopes to salvage his paws, amputated the damaged areas themselves, leaving him permanently maimed.  Since then, Brutus has not been able to walk without pain. He has had to go through surgery to remove bone fragments and his dew claws, in preparation for the prosthetic s he was going to receive.

Photo Credit: SOURCE: Colorado State University
Photo Credit: SOURCE: Colorado State University

Along with several orthopedic specialized veterinarians from Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, and a company named OrthoPets, Brutus has received a set of prosthetic legs in hopes to live a normal life. Each day is a challenge for Brutus, but he is adapting to the strange contraptions on his his. His foster mom, Laura Aquilina, has dedicated herself to giving Brutus the life that he deserves. Teaching him to walk and run like a dog should. To be able to go to the park, play fetch, and just do what any other normal dog does.

This story is not only touching, it shows how cruel people really can be to an innocent puppy. Brutus’s story is remarkable, and his foster mom, Laura Aquilina, has been a complete life saver for Brutus. Better Paws For Brutus: CSU Helps Quadruple-Amputee Dog tells the whole story or Brutus. Additionally, you can watch a video of his story, and see him learning to walk in his prosthetic legs: Quadruple Amputee Dog Learns to get Around in Prosthetics.

There is a GoFundMe Account set up for to help in Brutus’s medical costs. I encourage you to donate!

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Sahrabis Got His Teeth Cleaned

A few weeks back I made the decision to take Sahrabis into the vet to get his teeth cleaned, for his 6th birthday. Although his teeth were not terrible, I thought it would be better to have them cleaned now, rather than them get any worse. His appointment was last Thursday, and I woke up early to get him to the vet at 7:30 in the morning, because he would be spending the day there. Usually I am alright taking him to the vet, because I get to take him right home with me. When I dropped him off, I got really nervous about leaving him, and couldn’t seem to let him go. I think I felt like this because he is getting older, and I am scared of something happening to him (not that anything would, our vet is amazing). I guess it was a good thing that I had made the appointment because when we got into the exam room, the vet noticed that he had chipped a tooth, and that it needed to be removed. At this point I was relieved that he noticed the chipped tooth, and was able to fix it at the same time as cleaning his teeth. Being that he is six years old, he is considered an older dog now, so they recommend doing blood work on older dogs, so the vet was going to do that too. The part that really made me nervous was that he was going to be put under general anesthesia. Teeth Cleaning for Older Dogs talks about some of the different risks and approaches that a vet may use for older dogs being put under anesthesia for this procedure.

Photo Credit: Personal Photo
Photo Credit: Personal Photo

The day seemed to pass by very slowly, because I was staring at the clock waiting for it to be 5:30pm so I could pick him up. Once I got to the vet to pick him up, and they came into the exam room with him, I was so relieved. All I could do was hug him and tell him that we were going to go home and lay on his favorite bed. The vet informed me that all of this teeth were in good shape, and that they didn’t have to pull the chipped one. They were able to take the chipped part off and file down the edges to save the tooth. That was also a relief. He also told me that for a six year old Rottweiler, he was perfectly healthy, and that all of his blood work came back normal. I felt so happy at that point that I had taken him in, because everything that the vet had to say was good news. His trip to the vet was well worth the $450.00 that it cost me, and he looked so handsome with his clean teeth!

When we got home he was very tired from the anesthesia, and just wanted to sleep. He probably slept for close to 16 hours, but the next afternoon he was back to his normal self, and bugging me for more food. Overall, even though I was more nervous that he was to go to the vet, I was so happy I went through with it. Sometimes taking your animals to the vet is stressful, especially when you don’t know what to expect, but the health of your pup is so important! In my previous post Do your dogs fear the veterinary clinic? I talked about ways to help your dog not be afraid of the vet, and it is important not to show that you are nervous taking them. I guess that is easier said than done, for me!

Is it just me that gets nervous taking your dogs in? If not I would love to know your stories, please leave a comment.

Proper Leash Etiquette

It goes without saying that all dogs love to go on walks. Not only do they love to go on walks, but they also like to go places with their owners. They get to be outside, which most dogs love, and chances are going for a walk could mean that they will have some interaction with other dogs.This seems like such a good time for both pet and owner. For example, in Reno, a walk along the river downtown can lead to an impromptu decision to grab lunch, or maybe a drink at one of the local eateries along the river. This is a perfect option for your dogs that are well mannered on a leash. On the other side, what about the pets who have absolutely no idea how to act on a leash?

Having a pet that does not know proper leash etiquette is hard. It makes owners dread taking their dogs out on walks or into public. Sometimes dogs that do not know how to walk on a leash properly need to go through an entire training course to fix the problems, or it could just be a simple fix like getting a different type of leash. No matter what the problem is, it is important to fix the problem, so you are able to take your dog out to get some additional exercise, or just to enjoy some time together. There are some simple changes that you can make in order to get your dog to have proper leash etiquette.

Photo Credit: AUSDOG
Photo Credit: AUSDOG

The first step I mentioned previously. Getting the correct type of collar for your dog. While most people who want to solve the problem quickly will jump to a choke chain or pinch collar, that is not the answers. Those types of collars will often cause dogs not to want to walk on a leash at all. If your dog pulls a lot I would try a head harness. There are several out there such as the Gentle Leader or the Halti Head Harness. Both of these harnesses allow you to control your dogs from underneath their snout, instead of around their neck. It allows for more control when your dogs is wanting to pull. They are very rewarding once your dog gets used to having something around their nose and mouth, but once they do, it will work wonders. Additionally, for dogs that do not have good leash etiquette, you should use a standard 6 ft leash, and not a retractable leash.

The next step is to tire your dog out to an extent before taking them out on a walk. This will calm them down, and they will have a better chance of being able to focus on the commands that you are giving them. It is also important to train with your dog in an environment that is going to foster success. For example, you do not want to walk them to a dog park where there are too many distractions. A walk around your block is usually a great place to start, if there are not too many dogs in your neighborhood that bark.

The last step is to not give up. It is not an easy task trying to train your dog, especially if they are adult dogs and very stuck in their own ways, but it can be done. It may be frustrating if they do not get it right away, but the key is to keep on it. Get in a training routine, like every evening take them on a walk around the block. Practice the fundamentals with them everyday, and they will learn. The problem that most dogs have when trying to learn new things is that it is not consistent enough for the to remember. They need to be worked daily in order for it to become a routine for them. Once they learn the proper leash etiquette it is important to not let them get away with anything else. Consistency is key.

Does anyone else have any tips for proper leash etiquette? Please leave a comment!

Do Your Dogs Fear the Veterinary Clinic?

Photo Credit: Pawcurious.com
Photo Credit: Pawcurious.com

Some puppies and dogs develop a fear of the veterinary clinic. It is common for dogs to develop this fear, because it is somewhere that they do not visit often. If you think about it, when you were a child, you probably did not enjoy visiting the doctor, because you were much smaller and had no idea what was going on. It is the same concept for dogs. Going to a strange place, one or two times per year, where you are placed in a small room does not sound appealing to most. Even more so because the vet expects the dog to stand still while they are examined. The real question is how can you prevent your dogs from being afraid of the vet.

One thing that will help your dog from being afraid of the vet clinic is always bringing treats with you to give to them while they are there. It is even a good idea to bring their favorite treat or their favorite blanket, just to make them feel like there is something familiar to them there. Another thing that can help ease the fear of the vet is taking occasional trips to the vet clinic, to get more familiar with the clinic itself. When at home it is a good idea to do mock examinations, where you check their teeth, and get them to hold still while you look in their ear, etc. This will get them used to the movements that the vet will do with them. These simple steps will help ease the fear that your dogs experience when visiting the vet.

Although there are some ways to help prevent this fear, there are also ways that it can be made worse. The one thing that is very important not to do is be to be stressed out yourself when you take your dog to the vet. Dogs can sense emotions in people, especially their owners, and they will detect the way that you are feeling.The ASPCA-Fear of the Veterinary Clinic and PetMD- Extreme Fear and Anxiety in Dogs are excellent articles that provide some good guidance on what causes this type of fear, and some tips on how to ease the fear of the vet.

Does anyone have a dog that is afraid of the vet? Please leave a comment.

The Importance of Crate Training

Photo Credit: Unleashed Unlimited
Photo Credit: Unleashed Unlimited

Crate training a puppy or an adult dog can seem like a daunting task, especially when your dogs do not want to cooperate. For puppies, being locked up in a crate can be frustrating at first, and they often whine until they are let out. Adult dogs may not like the idea of being locked up in a cage either, especially if they have never been crated before. Even though they may not enjoy it at first, they will eventually.

There are several benefits to successfully crate training your dogs. The first, is it provides them with their own space. Somewhere that they can go when they want to relax, away from everyone. Crate training also helps housebreaking puppies. A puppy does not want to sleep in a wet bed, so it teaches them to not go to the bathroom in their house. It can even reduce the separation anxiety that dogs experience when they are away from their owners. Their crates become their safe places, and they feel comfortable in them, even when they are in an uncomfortable position.

There are a few tips that you should consider when you are starting to crate train. It is very important to place your dogs crate in a place that is close to you. For example, next to the couch or somewhere in the living room is the best. This way your dog does not feel isolated when they are in their kennel. They will also go into their crates to relax more if they are still near their owners. It is also important to put some comfy blankets in there for them to lay on. Chances are they do not want to always lay on cold plastic, and will not be happy to go into their kennels. Food is another important consideration. You do not want to feed your dogs in their kennel. It is important to feed them outside of their kennels, that way they will not begin to think that every time they go in their kennel they are going to be fed. Treats are a different story, it is alright to give them a treat when you tell them to get in their kennels, and they listen!

When introducing a kennel to a puppy or an adult dog that isn’t kennel trained, it is important to not just lock them in their and leave them. Becoming comfortable in their kennel is a process, and you do not want them to hate being in a kennel. Start with small time periods, and even put a treat in the back so they go find it. Giving their kennel a name helps. For  my dogs, it’s “go to your room” not “go to your kennel.” They absolutely love their kennels! It’s also okay to put their toys in their for them! I keep my dogs toys in their kennels and they will bring them out and even put them back.

It is definitely a process crate training your dogs, but in the long run it is well worth it. It becomes their safe place and your dogs will love their kennels, in time.

If you are new to crate training check out http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/why-crate-train-dog and http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/crate_training.html for some great tips and tricks to crate training!

Does anyone else have any tips? Please leave them in a comment if you do!

Which dog toys are tough enough?

Let’s just say that my dogs have a tendency to go through a lot of dog toys. I feel like no matter what toys I have bought, they still completely destroy them. I’m not sure if it is because the toys just cannot stand a chance against my three dogs, or if my dogs really are just too rough with them. I find myself giving them new toys on the weekend, and then by Monday, they are torn apart and ready for the trash. It just seems weird to me because I don’t see any of my dogs fighting over them or being rough with them.

Delilah with her  Photo Credit: Personal Photo
Delilah with her
Photo Credit: Personal Photo
Sahrabis with his stuff-less toy Photo Credit: Personal Photo
Sahrabis with his stuff-less toy
Photo Credit: Personal Photo

Even though there are many brands of dog toys that are not tough enough for my dogs to have for any length of time, there have been a few that I have come across that last a little longer than the others. Zanies Toughstructables are very durable toys that all of my dogs seem to love! Although they are not indestructible, they seem to have lasted longer than previous toys. Indestructible dogs toys brand also make a toy called the mega tugowar that has seemed to have stood up to them as well.

Another toy that I tend to purchase for them that they are very fond of are the stuff-less squeaker toys. I am particularly fond of these because there is much less of a mess associated with these toys than some of the other toys that I get for them. These toys are also less expensive than the other toys, which means I can buy more of these for the same price as the other ones!

Finding the right toys for your dogs can be hard, especially when your dogs destroy everything that you give them. It is all about finding the ones that last the longest, and don’t make much of a mess that you have to clean up! http://dogtime.com/interactive-toys.html and http://gizmodo.com/5913008/the-6-best-toys-to-keep-your-dog-really-busy have some good toy reviews for your dogs.

Who else has found a toy that they love for their dogs! I need more recommendations on new ones to try! Please leave a comment below.

Vaccinating is Important!

Photo Credit: Dr. Fosters and Smith
Photo Credit: Dr. Fosters and Smith

Vaccinating your puppy before taking them into public is probably the most crucial thing for you to do. More aI see more and more people these days out in public with their puppies that are too young to be FULLY vaccinated. I emphasized the fully because that is the most important part. A puppy needs a series of three vaccinations, before they are protected from several viruses, including parvovirus. The first vaccinations are usually done at eight weeks, twelve weeks, and the last at sixteen weeks. Additionally, it is important to keep up on yearly vaccinations.

Photo Credit: Canine Journal
Photo Credit: Canine Journal

Parvo is a virus found in both cats and dogs that can be spread either through indirect contact or direct contact. Generally, parvovirus is spread through feces, because the bacteria can live up to six months in the feces or the ground where the infected feces was. The mortality rate for untreated cases of parvo is over 91%. This virus is very aggressive and spread quickly if it is not noticed quickly.

Some of the symptoms of parvo is lethargy, vomiting, fever, and bloody diarrhea. If your puppy is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to get them checked out by a vet as soon as possible. Once the dog has parvo, the treatment is harsh, and it is long. They are generally hooked up to IV’s to keep fluids in them, and are given antibiotics, and anti-nausea injections.

The best thing for you and your puppy is to not take them in public, or anywhere that other dogs have been, before they have received all of their vaccinations. Sometimes it may be hard to leave your puppy at home, especially because you want to show them off, but remember it is for their best interest. I am sure that everyone would rather have a healthy puppy over them getting sick from going into public with you. To find out more about canine vaccinations, check out http://www.caninejournal.com/dog-vaccinations/ and https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/vaccinations.

What does everyone else think about vaccinations? Please leave a comment!