TRACIE HOTCHNER: SOMETIMES SAYING GOODBYE ISN’T SO SAD

traciehotchnerI had to say goodbye to my old Collie-mix dog Jazzy this weekend. People were feeling sorry for me when I told them my vet had come to put her to sleep – but I wasn’t sad. It was such a relief for me and for Jazzy – to be able to let go and soar above this world and the pain of just getting from one point to another.

I’d had to watch her over a couple of years diminish in her ability to get up, to get out the door, to navigate the big stone step up and down off the porch. She didn’t feel sorry for herself that it had been years since she’d even been able to walk down our lane with me and the other dogs; years since she could go out with us in the car which she had adored, because getting in and out was beyond her ability anymore, despite having the assistance of a Twistep or a ramp.

Jazzy and I had been hanging in there for each other for a long time. The burden was never far from my mind of wondering whether she had enough quality of life to justify the depth of her pain and immobility. Then she woke up Saturday morning and just let me know- she had come as far as she could and she was done. She was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs – she hadn’t been able to go up stairs for five years at this point – and she was panting hard, her tongue dark red and dripping saliva. Trying to turn around seemed nearly impossible because one of her back legs crossed over the other because she had no control over it.

I had the privilege of being able to call my kind and thoughtful vet, Dr. Linda Morris, who came right over with her wonderful vet tech, Sarah. Jazzy lay peacefully on the carpet as they gave her the injections. We did what we had the luxury of being able to do – end her suffering before it became any more acute than it already was.

As we watch our pets age and they begin to suffer the pain and indignities that often come with getting older, it becomes part of our daily thought process to monitor their comfort and wellness and ask them and ourselves, “Is today the day?” Helping her out of this world was a tribute to a dear old dog whose body was used up and whose spirit could not sustain the physical compromise and crippling pain anymore.

DFF-logo-ProudSponsor175x166She didn’t want to eat much of the time. I usually offered her kibble (Halo Small Breed to be easier on her old teeth) with some cooked turkey or chicken, but it often didn’t interest her, even if I put soft white bread (her favorite treat) broken up on top. Then I found a can of Halo Spot’s Stew in my cupboard. Voila! She gobbled it up, licking her chops as if to say, “What took you so long, silly?!” and that’s all I gave her in her final weeks. She showed me that old ladies need only canned food to eat like a trooper – until Saturday, when food was just not on her mind.

Sometimes saying goodbye is sort of a state of grace, an acknowledgment of a life well-lived that has come to the end of its road. I had adopted Jazzy 11 years before, when she was two years old. My trainer and dear friend Aimee Sadler, who ran the training program at Southampton Shelter (and has since become nationally recognized for her shelter program “Dogs Playing for Life”) told me “There is no dog more deserving of a home than this one. She’s been at the shelter for 6 months. She was adopted once briefly but they brought her back. She’s beautiful and smart and vivacious and just a little difficult to read, perhaps.

But she deserves the kind of home and life you can give her.” Needless to say, I drove over and brought her right home, before even introducing her to my big blue Weimaraner, Billy Blue (from the wonderful rescue Friends for Pets in Sunland, California) and my Rottweiler, Yogi Bear, who had been discarded in a cardboard box one summer day by the side of the road. She fit right in by taking the lead, a bossy bitch if ever there was one! And just what the boys needed, to get over their grief about the recent death of Lulu, my first rescued Weim from Friends for Pets, who had also come East with me from California.

Jazzy lived through 5 household moves with me and two marriages. She was always there, my stoic guardian, as I changed where and how I lived and buried 3 other dogs on her watch. Now it was her turn, and a pain-free and loving end, and the beginning of a well-earned eternal rest. In death she looked just as content and peaceful as this photo of her from several years ago, basking in a bit of sunshine.

I buried her myself, having halfway dug a grave in the Fall and covered it over, fearing she might not make it through the winter. I put a planter on her grave site and ordered a grave stone. I wasn’t sad – I was grateful she was at rest. Then today some flowers arrived. I thought it was for my birthday, a day late. But I was knocked out by the thoughtful kindness upon opening the card: “What a lucky dog Jazz was to have spent her life with you! From all of us at West Mountain Animal Hospital.” And then I could let myself cry.

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Tracie began her fascination with dogs and cats by turning her eye as a former investigative reporter on every aspect of living with them, resulting in her encyclopedic resources THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and then the THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. Before long, Tracie was established as a leading pet wellness advocate as her all-encompassing books covered everything from medical issues to behavior, nutrition and environmental enrichment.
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Tracie began her career as a radio personality with a live show – DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) – on the local NPR station in the Hamptons, Peconic Public Broadcasting (WPPB) from Southampton, New York (the show is now also carried on the NPR station Robinhood Radio in Connecticut and the Berkshires). DOG TALK® won a Gracie® Award (the radio equivalent of an Oscar) in 2010 as the “Best entertainment and information program on local public radio” and continues weekly after more than 450 continuous shows and 9 years on the air. Tracie’s live weekly call-in show CAT CHAT® was on SiriusXM satellite radio for seven years until the Martha Stewart channel was canceled in 2013.

Tracie lives in Vermont where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based, on 13 acres well-used by her all-girl pack – two lovely, lively Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda, and a Collie-mix, Jazzy.

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FORMER INMATE WINS ANIMAL RESCUE $25,000

dunbar-dog-lgWhen Maria Dunbar of Toledo, Ohio was sentenced to two years in prison, she knew she’d hit rock bottom. What she didn’t know was that helping homeless dogs would help turn her life around in more ways than one.

While incarcerated at the Ohio Reformatory for Women (ORW), Maria joined the Second Chance Greyhound Program, where she earned her Dog Training Certification. “It was there that my rehabilitation had begun,” Maria said.

In the program, Maria trained retired racing dogs to become adoptable pets. The work changed her outlook. “I learned to be patient, compassionate, and trustworthy,” Maria said. “I began to trust again, as well. I let my guard down for the first time in a long time.”

But once she left prison, she had a hard time. “I struggled to find the peace I felt when I was with the dogs,” she recalled. Soon after, her mother died, sending Maria into a downward spiral of sadness, anger and regret.

One day she found herself at an adoption event for Toledo’s PET bull Project. “I had no idea it would change my entire life,” Maria recalled.

Click here to read the complete story.

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Tuesday Top Ten: Dogs Stuck in Awkwardness

OK, so there are more than ten, and there are even a few cats included, but I’m still calling it a Doggies Top Ten. Thanks to all of you (sorry – none of these had names attached) who took these pictures of your dogs in their less-than-glamorous moments, and thanks to my friend Roxanne who […]


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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SHELTER CAT WAVES AT WOULD BE ADOPTERS

cat-wave-lgOne homeless cat knows what it takes to get adopters’ attention.

According to Love Meow, a Reddit post by a volunteer at Tabby’s Place, a cat sanctuary in Ringoes, New Jersey, told the story about Sienna, a sweet senior cat looking for a new home. Sienna was left at Tabby’s Place after, sadly, her owner passed away.

This wise 13-year-old kitty obviously knew how to charm humans and had no intention of being homeless for long. Whenever anyone would pass by her enclosure, she would run up to the window and “wave” at them by pawing at the glass and rubbing up against it.

“The staff and volunteers are gaga for her because she always runs to the window when she hears someone go by. She’s missing her human very much… she has a lot yet to offer, too,” a volunteer of the Tabby’s Place wrote via reddit.?

Sienna’s efforts paid off and now she has a forever home! Good job, Sienna!

Click here to read the original story.

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Bad hair day …

Bad hair day …
RIVIERA DOGS

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Pet Food Recall: MARS Petcare Nutro Chewy Treats Apple 4 oz.

MARS Petcare has issued a voluntary recall of its Nutro Chewy Treats Apple 4 oz.  The recall information is below.  It was found at PetSmart.

Dear Valued PetSmart® Customer,

MARS Petcare has issued a voluntary recall of the following Nutro dog treat due to potential mold.

 

Product Description

 

PetSmart SKU

 

Product UPC

 

Impacted Lot Codes

Nutro CHEWY TREATS APPLE 4OZ

5229600

7910511344

Lots codes beginning with ‘4 50’, ‘5 02’, ‘5 03’, OR ‘5 05’ (regardless of best by date).

 

The Lot Codes are located on the bottom of the bag under the Best By date as shown below:

 

 

Please stop feeding this product to your pet and bring any remaining Nutro 4 oz. Apple Chewy Treats affected by this recall to your nearest PetSmart for a full refund. PetSmart sells a wide variety of treats from many brands, and our associates can help you find the right item for you and your pet.

If you have questions about this voluntary recall, please contact Nutro Customer Service at 1-800-833-5330.


PetsitUSA Blog

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Friday Funny: Awkward!

Nothing to see here! Keep moving! Come back on Tuesday for a Top Ten Pictorial of more dogs stuck in awkwardness. Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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MUTTS COMIC STRIP FOCUS OF A NEW PBS “SHELTER ME” EPISODE

286_Dogster_LogoHalo, Purely for Pets is so proud to be the founding sponsor of the PBS inspiring series Shelter Me.

In the “Hearts and Paws,” episode where filmmaker Steven Latham profiles an icon in the dog world, at least to those who enjoy the Sunday funnies: animal advocate Patrick McDonnell, creator of the MUTTS comic strip.

“I realized that Mooch and Earl have such great homes and loving guardians, and I thought about all the dog and cats who don’t and are just sitting in shelters waiting,” McDonnell said in the Shelter Me episode, debuting in May.

Click here to read the complete article.

Halo

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My Hair Story (Embarrassing Pictures Included)

So today I thought I’d talk about something fun and light-hearted and even slightly embarrassing, and share with you guys the long, ever-changing story of my hair. Yep, my hair. I am by no means a beauty expert (which is the main reason that beauty posts around here are few and far between), and as far as makeup and skincare go, I’ve had pretty much the same routine for a good decade. But when it comes to hair, I’d covered all the bases – from hippie dreadlocks (true story) in my college years to bleach blonde to natural, from curly to wavy to stick strait, from bangs to no bangs back to bangs again, to my hair today (see above photo). I’ve admittedly never had short hair aside from the chin-length bowl cut I sported in the 80s (thanks mom!), but aside from that, I’ve been all over the place.

The current chapter in my hair story, about which I’ll also share a little today, includes a newborn baby and toddler – which, although often overtaken by thrown-together topknots, also means a (very important!) need to feel like myself again appearance-wise. To achieve this, I’ve gotten a new cut (the bangs are back, man), and established a cleansing and styling routine that seem to be working in terms of keeping my hair in a happy, healthy place. But more on that in a minute.

As you can see from the collage of pics above, I’ve gone down quite a winding road of hair adventure. From super-hippie dreadlocks (I had them for five years) to long and straight and 100% natural, from cherry red emo streaks with side swept bangs to straightened and blonde with blunt bangs, from long and wavy and highlighted to dark and bed head messy, my hair has been around the block. There were actually about twenty more pictures showcasing my hair’s intrepid journey but I had to stop myself before things got out of hand.

While we’re all embarrassed to some degree by the ghost of hair styles past, I honestly think that, just like anything else, it’s important to embrace the choices we’ve made and changes we’ve experienced with our hair – because ultimately, it’s brought each of us to where we are today. I love looking back through old photos of my hair styles, unfortunate decisions and all, because it takes me back to who and/or where I was at each of those times.

And that brings me to my hair today. I’m genuinely happy with my hair cut, style, and condition right now, but I gotta tell you guys, it hasn’t happened on its own. Although I don’t want to admit that it could possibly be age-related, my grey roots are becoming more plentiful with time, which means monthly root dying (done by yours truly in my bathroom) – and dye means damage. Let’s add to that the joy of postpartum hair effects (ahhh, sweet, sweet shedding), the dry air of wintertime, and the fact that the combination of a newborn baby and a two year old and a job don’t leave much time for hair upkeep, and my hair has taken a beating. To remedy this, I got a brand new haircut recently that involved lopping off four inches and adding textured bangs after a couple of years growing them out, and I grabbed some of the new Dove Regenerative Nourishment Collection at Target and started using it religiously. Getting rid of damaged ends and even just changing up my ‘do made a massive difference. And the shampoo, conditioner, and Serum in Oil from the Dove Regenerative Nourishment line have nourished my hair and gotten it to a place where it’s healthy, renewed, and visibly damage-free, by replenishing nutrients and reinforcing my hair inside and out – essentially making it smooth and strong against breakage. I use the Serum in Oil both on my damp hair right out of the shower and when it’s dry to give shine and prevent fly-aways. It also prevents split ends, which is a major bonus for me. I plan to keep up this routine of regular cuts and Dove Hair goodness as part of my busy (aka constant state of train wreck) mama self-care, and hopefully I’ll continue to be in a good place for this chapter of my hair story. (If you’re looking for a hair pick-me-up, I highly recommend getting a cut or even just a trim, and grabbing the new Dove Hair Regenerative Nourishment Shampoo, Conditioner and Serum in Oil the next time you’re at Target. Your hair will thank you!)

Okay, spill it guys. I know you can’t post picture in the comments, but tell me about some of your past hairstyle and/or how your hair has changed over time. Or leave me a link to a picture. I want to know!

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Dove Hair, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #MyHairStory #DovePartner http://my-disclosur.es/OBsst

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Feb 8, Breed Specific Dog Food | Best Dog Food Guide

Breed specific dog food a marketing gimmick or do dog food companies have solid reasons to manufacture these canine menus?
Dog Food Blog | Best Dog Food Guide

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