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Why Is this Blind Dog So Happy Despite Wearing a Cone of Shame?

My foster dog Blind Willie is a good-tempered little guy.

He rolls with the punches – er, bonks on the head – life deals him and carries on.

jack russell terrier with southern tier brewing company beer

Willie is probably the most determined dog I have ever met. He’s scared of almost nothing and every day amazes me with his ability to get around – like a boss! – even though he’s totally blind.

However, undergoing surgery recently did dampen Willie’s spirit for a while. Although his only remaining eye was useless to him, having it surgically removed was, of course, traumatic.

In addition to pain and confusion, following surgery Willie experienced serious disorientation.

jack russell terrier in e-collar cone of shame

This sucks.

Every dog I’ve ever seen in the cone of shame has an understandably harder time getting around. The cone gets caught on things. They have a hard time judging how much extra space the lampshade requires. Relaxing with your head surrounded by plastic is awkward.

Watching a blind dog stumble around in a cone was particularly hard to watch , especially considering he got around so well before in spite of being sightless.

jack russell terrier and golden retriever walk

Whether made of soft fabric or hard plastic, I think a cone must distort a dog’s sense of sound.

Willie was obviously uncomfortable in the hard plastic e-collar, but I was hesitant to put him in a cone with more give. The worst thing I could imagine was a flimsy cone not preventing something from poking Willie right in his slowly healing eye hole.

Due to fears about that very subject, Willie spent part of his recovery, cone and all, at Kennel Creek Pet Resort, where there was absolutely no chance of his eye hole getting poked because he spent most of his time confined to his suite or on supervised leash walks.

But despite our best efforts, an unforseen complication from the surgery has meant additional weeks for Willie in the cone.

A tiny part of a tear gland was left behind during the original operation. This caused Willie’s wound to weep. For proper healing the only option was for the vet to open up the surgical site again and restitch Willie.

The first night after the follow up visit, Willie was sadder than I’ve ever seen him. He just laid in his bed and groaned. I barely got him to take his pain pill.

But as the days progressed he got his appetite back.

And then he got fed up with that cone.

Never one to settle for an unsatisfactory situation, Willie made his frustration clear. He strutted angrily around the house and rolled his head on the ground through the cone, somehow even managing to loosen one of his stitches.

The vet recommended Benadryl (we use generic brand Walfinate) to calm him down and reduce any itchiness from the healing wound. I decided it was also time for a more comfortable cone.

Luke has an actual Comfy Cone, but it’s way too big for Willie. So, I took the little guy to Brookside Barkery, and two women spent a long time helping me find the best fitting ProCone Recovery Collar for Willie.

jack russell terrier in procone recovery collar

While I know that a panting dog is not necessarily a happy dog, I couldn’t help but feel he was happier in the ProCone when I took this picture just after we left the store.

He also seemed to sleep much better that night. (Thanks, Walfinate!)

It’s been almost a week since we got the ProCone, and I’m happy to report Willie doesn’t really need it anymore. He’ll likely have his stitches removed in the next few days.

Then, I hope we can find someone to adopt him!

If you live in the Kansas City area and have interest in adopting Blind Willie, contact me via the form below.

Help me help more dogs like Blind Willie by supporting my business. We donate a portion of all profits to animal rescue.

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Canine Hearts from Canada

I don’t typically buy a lot of things for myself. But I do like to spoil my dogs.

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Last night, as I was replenishing the kibble supply with a purchase from Brookside Barkery, a deal on treats caught my eye.

All varieties of Holistic Blend Canine Biscuits (8.29 oz package), regularly $9.99 each, were buy-one-get-one-free.

Of course, I picked up a pair: 1 bag of  Pumpkin Spice Hearts and 1 bag of Sea Hearts.

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These Canine Biscuits are all wheat-free and also do not contain artificial preservatives, additives or salt or sugar. The ingredient list is short and include good grains, like barley and oat flour. In each case, the flavor indicated in the product name (salmon for the Sea Hearts) appears about halfway down the list. But I’ve learned that is just the deal with most baked dog treats.

Holistic Blend is a Canadian company. The information on the packaging appears in both French and English. To ensure products of the highest quality, the food and treats are made to standards that exceed FDA guidelines for human consumption.

This human didn’t try one, but I did offer a couple heart-shaped biscuits each to Luke and Charlie Machete.

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Of course, they approved!

Although I’d like to think I will regularly make my own dog treats, realistically, I don’t always have time for that. Holistic Blend Canine Biscuits are definitely seem to be the type of product I would purchase for my pets again.

If you’re in Kansas City, I recommend hitting up Brookside Barkery and taking advantage of this deal before supplies are gone!

In addition to the varieties I bought this time, there are also Cinna Hearts and Yogurt Hearts.

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The heart shapes also make Holistic Blend Canine Biscuits perfect treats to have on hand for Valentine’s season!

Have your dogs tried any new treats lately? Where were they made?

I have no affiliation with Holistic Blend. I bought these treats with my own money. :)

Machete Marketing: Display your adoptable goods

When you’re marketing anything, you have to make people aware of what it is you’re pushing.

From adopt me vests to networking cards, there are lots of ways to generate awareness about foster dogs. Making strategic appearances at locations frequented by dog people is probably the best way to advertise foster dogs to potential adopters.
That’s why rescue groups like to coordinate adoption events at pet boutiques.
Last week, Charlie Machete and I gathered with other Midwest Adopt-a-Bull dogs and volunteers in front of the Lee’s Summit, Missouri, location of Brookside Barkery, a popular grooming and retail chain in the Kansas City area.
This was the first event we have participated in since Midwest Adopt-a-Bull invited Charlie Machete into its program.
Before we arrived, I was incredibly anxious. Unfamiliar surroundings have always made Charlie Machete nervous and a little defensive. I was terrified he would make a buffoon of himself the first time he met our peers in the rescue group.
But I took some steps to help make the experience as un-scary as possible for my adoptable black dog.

Knowing that tired dogs are happier dogs, I took Charlie Machete for a nearly three-mile jog before we headed to Lee’s Summit.

I also brought a large quantity of tasty, chewy training treats so that I would be able to get his attention more easily if he got wily during the event.

When we got there, I did not take him directly where all of the dogs were but instead walked him around the parking lot for a few minutes so that he could adjust to the area.
The other thing I did to prepare for the adoption event was actually required: I brought a kennel.
Because the only Charlie Machete-sized kennel we have is giant, plastic and too big for my car, I borrowed a wire crate from Our Waldo Bungie. For adoption events, see-through, collapsible kennels are ideal because they allow dogs to be seen yet still provide a barrier between the animals and people.

This is Jill!

Of all of the dogs present, Charlie Machete was certainly the most annoyed about being crated. If I dared to walk more than five feet away from him, he would leap to his feet and elicit a cry so pathetic everyone couldn’t help but giggle. (I guess the tough guy really loves his foster mama.)
All of the other dogs seemed more at ease with the surroundings.
It was fun to meet friendly Arria, a beautiful young pit bull featured recently on this blog.
Little pit mix puppy Pippa impressed everyone with her big ears, good manners and the fluttering of her exhausted eyelids by the end of the day.
Jill, who was found not long ago barely alive in an abandoned house, seemed vivacious and full of life. She made friends with the two-year-old nephew of another volunteer.
The rock star of the event, though, was parked next to Charlie Machete for most of the day.
Families were clamoring to learn more about petite, brindle boy Wilson, a laid back young pittie who loves everyone. Potential adopters submitted an application to adopt Wilson that very day.
Although no one submitted an adoption application for Charlie Machete, he did attract a lot of attention for doing tricks and for being an undeniably handsome guy. Wilson’s foster mama, who provided many of the photos on this page, agreed. ”Charlie Machete was a good boy,” she said in an e-mail to the whole group, “especially considering he is not used to being in a crate and having to sit in there with a lot of commotion going on around him and dogs everywhere.”
I was so proud of how well Charlie Machete managed that yesterday I staged a solo adoption event in the neighborhood of the original Brookside Barkery. There was no crate involved – just a good-looking dog shaking hands with strangers on a crowded sidewalk.
Several people walked away with Charlie Machete’s green business cards. Fingers crossed.

How do you help your dog show his or her best side to the world?

To learn more about adopting Charlie Machete or any of the Midwest Adopt-a-Bull dogs, head to the rescue group’s website.

Come back tomorrow to learn about a product we’ve been using to help Charlie Machete maintain his composure at home and in public.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Photo by Fido Fetch Photography

Are you wearing green today? Minnie was last Saturday during the St. Patrick’s Day Warm-Up Parade in the Brookside neighborhood of Kansas City.

Photo by Fido Fetch Photography

We walked with the oh-so-fetching adoptable Lucy Lou from Our Waldo Bungie, who gave her best model pose for Amy, our favorite dog-umentary photographer of Fido Fetch Photography.

Photo by Fido Fetch Photography

The rest of the pack was made up of pups and their owners who all love Brookside Barkery and Bath, a lovely purveyor of natural food and high quality pet supplies and grooming services at several locations around the Kansas City metro.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

To see more pictures from the parade, check out Our Waldo Bungie’s post about it and Fido Fetch Photography’s fan page on Facebook.

Mele Kalikimaka for the dogs

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Although I didn’t go all out buying a bunch of Christmas presents for the pups this year, I did pick up a special treat for them that I had been eyeing for months.

I am obsessed with all things Hawaiian, so I have been looking for a reason to buy Tiki Dog canned food since I noticed Brookside Barkery had begun stocking it. I sprung for a few cans of Tiki Cat back when Luxor still lived with us and was very sick. But I could never justify adding canned food to the dogs’ diet. Grain-free Innova and Evo dry kibble is already a budgetary stretch given the size of our pack. (Oh, Charlie Machete‘s forever family, where are you?)

However, on Christmas Eve, as I was picking out an assortment of locally made baked treats for the dogs, I noticed that several cans of Tiki Dog were on clearance, marked down to $1 each because they expire in January. Finally, I had a reason to spring for the fancy food — doggie Christmas dinner!

Dinner turned out to be dinners. So as not to upset anyone’s stomach through the introduction of new food, we’ve been splitting each of the two cans I bought between all four dogs over the past few days, mixed with the kibble. Just like the cat, the canines seem uber-pleased by the moist, whole food.

Tiki products do not consist of meat-like mush but rather actual chunks of fish, poultry, eggs and vegetables. In fact, the food looks and smells appetizing enough that I would even taste it if I weren’t a fairly strict vegetarian. (Dog food just doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to cheat.)

I wish I could afford to incorporate wet food into the dogs’ diet full-time, but right now that just doesn’t make sense for us. We try to vary their diets by giving them appropriate garden and table scraps. Someday, I would like to do more home cooking for the dogs, but lately we haven’t had time for that. I would also like to find high-quality dog food — wet or dry — that doesn’t have to be shipped from several states away.

So far, I haven’t had much luck digging up locally-made edibles for dogs other than treats.

Do you know of grain-free, organic and/or natural dog food — that’s local to your area or mine?

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