Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Vacation Is No Picnic
27 apr 10 @ 2:52 am cdt
I'm not supposed to be on the computer all this week--I am supposed to be letting my liver settle down to see if it can
go back to near normal or not--but I could not resist checking in when someone left an open laptop next to me on my bed!
My liver was failing at the end of last week--I was losing the ability to breathe because is was so swollen-and I had
to finally subject myself to tests I've been avoiding for months. Until the test results come back, my "nurses"
are following doctors' orders and have me on strict bed rest. Boring but much needed. The only thing I was able
to negotiate was still supervising Project Hope since dogs with distemper don't have a week to wait for me to get back/get
back to them.
I don't know if you want to hear about my personal journey or only about funny dog stories--that
is why I asked for reader feedback. Writing each day about what is going on/my thoughts for the day are much easier
for me to write when I don't feel good than the stories with a gazillion links and photos. I may have to do a mix of
My tests from last week should be back Tues, Wed at the latest--and then I have to see a bunch of doctors.
They are trying to see if I am a candidate to even begin consideration for a transplant or not. My skin is going in
and out of a yellow color, the pain is outrageous and almost cannot be quelled by medication unless it is in an IV line and
my body is full of weird bruises all over that hurt. All a part of a failing liver and no fun at all. I'm only on that
ocean beachfront in my mind...
Please all know that I love you and keep you all with me in my heart. I hope to
have a health update by the end of the week.
Sending hugs from the herd--
Sunday, April 25, 2010
On Vacation This Week
25 apr 10 @ 2:20 am cdt
I need some time to separate from what was my life and what should be my life. I need to make changes and in order
to do that, I need to go away and do some reflecting, praying and thinking.
Ideally, like "I Dream of Jeannie,"
I'd like to cross my arms and blink my eyes and in front of me would be the new Rescue Ranch--with happy animals running around,
fresh breezes and warm sunshine on my face and a simple farmhouse with beds and good food for all inside. Getting there, may
be a little more difficult than blinking my eyes, but very necessary to my life.
On the ride yesterday, we stopped for
a cold soda and a snack. I picked up a package of gum--I have not had gum in years--but "spearmint" flavor
caught my eye. I was enjoying every little chicklet-like piece when Mike noticed the cross on the front of the package--they
are "Testamints"--sugar-free gum. Each package comes with a passage from the Bible on the back. This
"Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help
you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:10
I held up my gum package and said, "Thanks,
God!"--it was a message that I needed right about now. Perfect timing.
I'll write just a little bit during the
week--but honestly, I need a complete break from email, phone, rescue/s/ing. My batteries are depleted and I need some
time to really evaluate and re-evaluate my life.
Sending hugs to all who want them...
Thanks for stopping by,
for listening and for caring.
Especially for caring.
Friday, April 23, 2010
We Are Truly Blessed
23 apr 10 @ 4:36 am cdt
Enjoying a nice rest and vacation--thinking back on simpler times when it was just Poppy, Mebs and the loving company
of dogs we'd saved along the way...
Please have a wonderful weekend. Thank you for your words of encouragement
and really of love. Love is so much more powerful than hate, truth so much more powerful than untruths, and Faith, Hope
and Joy so much more fulfilling than their opposites.
Today, when I picked up my suitcase and headed for the
car, I thought how truly blessed we are. I asked Mike to stop for a minute. I wanted us both to just soak up the
love and joy and company of the furry friends getting in the car with us. It was such a happy, exciting moment!
We all have something wrong with us physically--and yet, none of that matters. We can all have fun together,
enjoy McD's together, appreciate the cool breezes in the car when the windows are down and the love and joy and hugs of seeing
long-missed friends and family.
We are blessed in so many ways. You are also one of our blessings--each one of
you--and for all of this, we are extremely grateful. God always turns bad around for good--so whatever the struggles
behind or ahead, I know He will be using them to do something fantastic!
Thanks for stopping by, for listening and for
caring. Especially for caring.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Taking Time Off
22 apr 10 @ 5:38 am cdt
I need some time to reevaluate the purpose of my blogs and writing. I may be better off not writing and instead,
writing a book...that was the suggestion of one of our vets. It could be a book about dogs, it could be a book about
rescue, it could be a book about the Rescue Ranch--or all of the above. This may be a better use of my time and energy.
leave this post up while I mull this all over. Please feel free to leave me a message. I'll read them when I get
back. I will continue to ask my volunteer assistant to update facebook if there are any developments between now and
Monday. Today, for instance, Project Hope is sponsoring a tap for a puppy, Sasha, just at the edge of neurologic distemper.
Please say a prayer for her this afternoon. I am sure her owners would very much appreciate it.
of course, will be my number one concern. We should be ready to publish in June and this must be done to help so many
other dogs and puppies. Today, an organization in Dallas is sending out an 8 state newsletter all about the miracle
of Dr. Sears' serum/discovery and the importance of Project Hope.
So many others see the value of this project--which
is not medical experimentation--but sadly the Houston rescue community is listening to the emails sent with malignant intent
by a single ignorant individual. Animals are not getting the life-saving serum because they have been scared into believing
that this is an experiment. It is not. It is a proven treatment and we are simply collecting data. Huge
I just need to take a break and separate from the "crazies." I now know why Rush Limbaugh
and other personalities are so darn cranky and just tell it like it is. You almost have to in order to be true to yourself.
I have tried to be as politically correct in my blogs--just helping without much opinion/reaction other than reacting to gross
injury or negligence--but it may be time for me to tell it like it really is.
Penny for your thoughts? What do
Thanks for stopping by, for listening and for caring. Especially for caring.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
The Easy Road or The Right Road?
21 apr 10 @ 7:16 am cdt
In an effort to find foster-to-adoption homes for some
of the animals at the RR, I have learned that no matter how many rescuers/people or rescue groups that I have helped, it all
matters not when I needed help.
I had an illusion that we all help each other in a rescue community. I give
when and where I can--and I give to many way beyond the call of "duty"--and when I needed help, I thought someone
with honor would step up and help me. I thought wrong. This realization has just been devastating to me--making it extremely
difficult for me to write about rescue this week.
I needed was a group who could take animals who have gotten well/are ready for adoption to take them and find them permanant
Finally, after weeks of asking for a foster to replace me, who can facilitate adoptions
(I am really a medical foster), I am just stunned with the disrespect that I am being treated with by a rescue group I was
fostering for just because I want to make sure two survivors are placed appropriately.
Sending out several emails for
weeks that I am sick (Primary Biliary Cirrhosis--a nasty autoimmune disease of the liver) and needed some relief, there has
been no local response--only people from out of state are trying to help/helping. Yesterday, I was told to bring Cherry
and Timmy to X location, at X time today and if I don't bring them--and try to cause "trouble"--someone will be
sent to pick them up. Hmmm.
For weeks, I have been asking for relief and rehoming of Timmy and Cherry--together
if possible since they are best friends--why would I cause "trouble" ? Why would those words even be used in a sentence
to me? That alone was completely shocking. Hmmm.
The rescue group made it clear that it does not want their animals
to be donor dogs for Project Hope and I gave my word that they would not be--and have been nothing but honorable, taking great
care of their animals--but now suddenly I am being threatened. Hmmm. Funny thing is, the moment one of the rescue group's
animals get distemper, guess who they are going to call...
As a diligent foster, I have reiterated that these dogs need
a quiet home with no children/small animals/no aggression. Timmy is an abuse/neglect survivor and Cherry is a distemper
survivor. They both have recovered from near-death experiences and there are emotional side effects. They are
not cute doggie-in-the-window animals--although they are cute.
Because I asked for these dogs to be placed in
an appropriate home--and asked to take them there to make sure it is indeed appropriate/to get them settled in--I am now--after
taking care of them for months, nursing them back to health, paying for all of their medical and special foods, etc--I am
now, being threatened so I will release them without doing all of the normal things that I would normally do to transfer an
I do indeed want Timmy and Cherry to move along to someone who can adopt them or who can foster them to
an adoption. I want to happily bring them somewhere, today, even, would be great. But do I deserve to be treated
like this? Do these dogs deserve to be placed in an inappropriate home, which could set them up to fail? Why would I
drop them at a vet, abandon them, to let a stranger pick them up and take them somewhere else? Why wouldn't I just bring
them where they are going? Hmmm.
There are times in rescue when things could get unpleasant--this may be one of them.
Do I do what is easiest--drop the animals and walk away--or do I do what is right for the animals? I don't want to have
to get professional help involved to make sure these animals are safe but this just may be one of those cases unless I can
be reassured that these animals are going to a safe, appropriate foster home.
Timmy and Cherry need to go to a home
that is safe, quiet, with no kids or small animals--or chaos--and in which they can continue to learn and grow. I need
that reassurance and as their advocate--the only one that they have--I can tell you that these are the tough days of rescue.
penny for your thoughts...
for stopping by, for listening and for caring. Especially for caring.
This weekend is Dine In For Doggies in the Houston
area. Please check out what's for dinner:
Yummy: Dine-In For Doggies Is This Weekend
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Finally, Our Memory Tree
20 apr 10 @ 2:46 am cdt
I was not feeling like doing much of anything Monday--I was still very sad and could not put any words to "paper."
A friend stopped by who does landscaping, and mentioned that the nursery he works for, is closing at the end of the month--and
everything is being greatly reduced. Another business being leveled by this economy. Our friend is selling his equipment
and getting a factory job to make ends meet.
My ears immediately perked up when I heard about the sell-off at
the nursery. I have been meaning to get a Memory Tree for months and this may just be perfect timing. I got out
of bed and asked him to call the nursery and see if they would wait for us to get there. (By the next day, all good trees
could be gone.) We could not buy directly but he could authorize us to tag things for him to pick up. He offered to
plant them gratis.
Skipping a much needed shower, I put my hair up in a bun and threw on some clothes. Once I picked
up my purse and put on some flip-flops, I immediately had a bunch of willing car-riders following my every move--or even beating
me out to the garage! Despite her disability, when Bunny wants to go in the car, she can "run" or "swim"
faster than any of us could run.
Since we had to stop by the Erchonia laser vet to pick up Millie, Brindy and
Bitty--and they were all in crates--we could only take a few others with us. Girl, the Texas Pearl, Poppy and Kasey
hopped in. Everyone else would have to wait until next time.
A quick stop at the vet--calling ahead
to say we were in a hurry--and we were on our way to the nursery. It was closing at 4:30 PM. We got there at 4:29.
Luckily, our friend had called and asked them to let us find the perfect tree. It took me 1.5 hours--but I think we
found the perfect trees!
My first mission was to find trees that would attract hummingbirds. Then, colorful
ones. Then, trees that were not poisonous to curious puppies (no berries, etc.) Then, ones that felt like a Memory Tree should
feel like. (I have never planted a Memory Tree before so I had no idea what it should look like. It is a tree to remember
our much loved animals who have passed on, and I knew when I felt it/found it, I would know it was the right one.)
were given a golf cart to go scout out the different types of trees. (I didn't know what they all were unless I went up to
each and looked at them and read the description.) I could not make the cart go forward, so I took my bows to tie on the tree/s
that I wanted and walked around the whole nursery--twice. Mike tried his best to follow me with the cart. The dogs all happily
watched us from the car--barking up a small storm. They didn't know what was going on, but they knew it looked like fun!
felt really, really good to go out and think of what would feel peaceful and happy and respectful and pretty and well, bring
up good memories and to make new ones under. I still have the prayer rocks and pebbles that you've sent to place under
the Memory Tree, when it was planted. I/we needed a special memory area to be able to walk through and just smile.
Some days, we just need to smile.
With the several donations that were sent just for this purpose (I had tucked away
for a long time trying to save up to buy just one tree), we were able to buy several beautiful memory trees--and ten little
bottle brush bushes--a hummingbird favorite, too. I think they will be all planted next week--and I will take photos
for you to enjoy as well.
Going to the nursery today was a blessing in so many ways. It felt good to be outside.
It felt good to be walking among so many beautiful trees and plants. It felt good to think about doing something special
that I've been meaning to do for over a year. It felt great to be doing it at a fraction of the cost of what it should
have been. (I did feel bad for the nursery staff though.)
It gives me something to look forward to that is good and
pretty and will remind me of so much love. It felt great to know that through photos, I will be able to share the peace
and beauty with you, too--and perhaps, you will plant a Memory Tree or bush--or flower--of your own.
Thank you for
stopping by, for listening and for caring. Especially for caring.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Make The Present Moment Count
18 apr 10 @ 4:56 am cdt
I finally had the courage to download the photos of little Willie's surgery and injuries at 4 AM this morning. I
tried to do it all day Saturday but could not do it. Finally, I decided that I had to do it--I have to tell his story
because in doing so, we may be able to save another dog from a similar fate.
When the photos opened and his little
face looked back at me--especially after the first transfusion, he looked so alive again--I had to stop. I could not
continue to write this story just yet. Maybe this afternoon, maybe not. We all had so much hope that Willie would
survive, it was devastating that he didn't.
I passed his little kennel today and felt my heart hurt. Another little
dog, Charlee (Chula Hula Hoops' twin) has decided to adopt it--and was happily chewing on a Dingo on Willie's blankets.
Normally, when I passed his kennel, Willie would jump and bounce and practically demand that I share my cheese sandwiches
with him--and I did. Once the kennel door was open though, he was like a racehorse at the gates--once they were up,
he raced and raced here, there and everywhere--just like a hummingbird.
For many years now, I have loved hummingbirds.
Mike's grandma bought me a special feeder that attracts them and has sent me books about them and shirts and anything hummingbird
that she comes across at holiday times. They are so diverse in color and amazing to watch. I have bird-watching
binoculars and will sit for an hour and watch the feeder--the hummers come by, eat/drink, play and dive-bomb each other if
they want the feeder to themselves! Suprisingly, it is just great entertainment.
This year, watching the
hummers will be just a little different. I will think of Willie--a hummingbird in a dog's little body--and wonder if
he is racing around in heaven or flitting from heavenly flower to flower. He did not have the temperament to cuddle
and snuggle with but he was happy to be doing his racing around--he needed a whole lot of exercising than the average dog.
In fact, the night he was injured, I specifically took him out to get an extra exercise time in--I knew he needed it, no matter
how tired I was. He was having a ball and was very happy right up until that fateful moment...
Maybe later on
Sunday, I can look at Willie's photos and format them to use in a story. I have to be able to see through my tears and
make sense with my words. I think more time between what happened and doing this will help although this will always
be a great wound on my own heart.
Take the time today to hug/pet/pat/love/snuggle/cuddle/appreciate your pets today.
Let them know that they are special. If you don't have pets, let your kids/parents/friends/coworkers know what they mean to
you. We only have this moment for sure--in the next moment, our pets--or even ourselves--may hear God call our names...
you for stopping by, for listening and for caring. Especially for caring.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Days of Struggling Ahead
17 apr 10 @ 5:34 am cdt
Each animal-or person-has but one precious life. No matter how big they are or how small, it is the only one that
they are given. We hope that it lasts a natural lifetime--and at a ripe old age, they just pass away in their sleep--but
it doesn't always work out that way.
This week, Willie and I lived through a nightmare but after less than 24 hours,
we lost the battle to save his little life. I will carry the precious memories of him with me for the rest of mine.
I also carry the horrible memories of what happened. I wanted to collapse in shock and just faint away--but knew that
it would not help him or me if I did.
At fifteen pounds, Willie lost his hummingbird-like energy to flit and
jump and run and play. He lost chewing on his daily Dingo bones or Goofballs. He lost sharing my cheese sandwiches.
Willie lost sniffing the roses, tearing up the grass, chasing the girls, smelling the fresh air, enjoying the sunshine.
He lost the ability to zoom around the kitchen islands, my dining room table and the ability to leap four and five feet in
the air. Willie lost his little life--his little life, the only one that he had.
Stuck in a shelter for months
before we rescued him, he was next on their euthanasia list. When the shelter was full, he would have been next in line
to be killed. We could not let that happen. A foster agreed to take him and a rescue group was going to sponsor
him/find him a home. Two weeks into fostering, the family thought he was too high energy for their life-style and he
had no where to go. The rescue group promised to move him but never did--and eventually just transferred him to us.
Willie wound up at the RR by default--but he had found a forever home that he was lacking for so long.
I may not
have spent the quality time with Willie that I wanted to. He was so high energy that I could not hold him and pet him--until
he was injured. He would spring out of my arms, wanting always to run, play, leap and flit. When I found him after
the attack, following the horribly long blood trail, after I freed him by fighting the other dog myself--I made him run away
to be saved--he was sitting still, looking at me. I knew this was very unusual for Willie. I also knew by the
volume of blood that I had followed on the trail, and that was all over me, that he was probably near death.
to drop down and just wail and cry and scream, I wrapped him up and carried him in my arms to the car--driving for the first
time since I've been sick, I knew right where the doggie ER was. I made myself do the exercise I tell my readers to
do--have a full tank of gas, leave the key in the car and know by memory where to drive to--because when you are that upset,
you need to be on auto-pilot.
I was and am thankful that the vets let me stay with him. In the time from his
injury, I left once to take a shower and change clothes and once for a half hour to get the surgery staff lunch so they could
keep working. Other than that, I spent 14 hours rubbing Willie, petting him, holding him, talking to him, telling him
we loved him, that he would have the best medical care I knew to get for him, praying for him--oh, I prayed all that I knew
how to--and was so grateful that we finally had this time together. He could have just died after the attack.
the end, for the last hour, Willie was conscious and awake. He and I were just inches from each other and all I could
do was encourage him, rub his feet and back, kiss his head...holding the oxygen cone for him. His beautiful eyes focused
on me and I knew he knew I was there--and I knew his pain. It was simply too much, too deep and too severe for him to
have the strength to live through. I could see that just looking at the surgery sites.
When Willie died, I was
holding him--the vet was trying to revive him and when his heart didn't beat anymore, I encircled his body with my own and
just started to sob out load. The sobs and wails that I had held in from the time of the attack all came out--and still
are coming out. The vet came over and took off the bandages and took out the IV lines and we wrapped up Willy in his
blanket and I held him like a baby. I never could hold him like that when he was alive--he was too full of life and
I'm sorry to be so sad today. This is different that losing a dog to an illness. The irony
of me beginning to write a story about this subject so others could protect their animals--and having it happen to me at the
very same time--is overwhelming. Maybe now that I have lived through it, what I learned will save other dogs, even though
I could not save little Willie.
I have to hold on to the hope of heaven--there just has to be a better place for our
precious animals and I pray to God, that I make it there to see them again. I have to have Hope.
Thank you for
your kind words and caring. They so make a difference.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Back on Saturday
16 apr 10 @ 7:22 am cdt
Easter, 2010, Little Willie was quite a ham for the camera. He was very difficult to take photos of--he
had a very high metabolism and was always flitting from here to there to here again. He was a 15 pound solid bundle
After an exhausting two days trying to save a little dog who was the victim of a dog attack,
I am physically and emotionally exhausted. Little Willie was so brave and went through serious surgery that looked so
painful. He had a hard time coming out of the anesthesia but eventually did become conscious. He seemed to look
at me and say, "I love you but this is just too painful to live through..." My heart just broke when I realized
that he was not going to make it.
The vet and his team tried valiently to save Willie but in the end, when God calls
our names, nothing that we can do or say can interfere with that. Our time to go on to heaven has come. Willie's
came yesterday at 5:05 PM.
In every tragedy, I am trying to find the lessons--and there are many in this situation.
I will write more over the weekend. Today, my eyes are swollen nearly shut from crying and my body is exhausted.
Everyone was so hopeful that he would live--the vet's assistant even trimmed Willie's nails and the vet was finding little
shirts for him to wear to cover the staples so he could come home. Wilie will rest in peace with his friends on earth and
Thank you all for caring. It means the world to us and without y'all, I don't think any of this would
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
This, That and The Other Thing
14 apr 10 @ 9:18 am cdt
I kind of like my quiet nights, writing my articles and answering emails. The RR is silent--except for snores. All
of the lights are out. In the dark, I can see the stars, the moon outside. It is a very peaceful time. Once I open my
laptop, that is the only thing I can see--and the lighted keyboard allows me to write in the quiet of the night.
went off to New Orleans to try to network a little bit/job hunt with Oil and Gas people, I had to give up my quiet night of
writing last night. Mike left as late as possible--after letting everyone out for the night--on a 375 mile or so drive.
He only took a change of clothes with him--to change at a rest stop and avoid the cost of a hotel--planning on arriving at
the convention center as they opened this morning--and driving right back to let the animals out again for bedtime tonight.
I will only have to worry about the in-between time.
Planning on writing overnight, I found myself changing linens
and giving out medicines, passing out Dingos and treats, and playing a little more than I had planned with everyone.
All of a sudden, my long night to write was gone and it was after 7 AM. Wow! Does time ever fly. I'm hoping that
everyone sleeps in now for at least a few hours while I get in a nap at least.
I've tried calling Mike just now
to make sure he is safe and sound in The Big Easy. His cell phone rings and rolls over to voicemail. I wonder
if he is in the car with a too loud stereo to keep him awake for the drive or is he already inside the convention center and
there is no reception. Either way, I hope he just calls to let me know that he made it OK. No matter how old we
get, I still worry--and until he returns late tonight, I will not really relax. (9:15 Mike just called. He is in New
Orleans and did fine on the drive.)
I posted the update that came in at 2:06 AM about Sgt. Andrew Hampton on my facebook
page--but for those of you who don't want to register for fb, in a nutshell, they started chemo very late last night and when
he finally got home to one of the volunteer's homes, he ate some crackers to test the waters so to speak and when they stayed
down, ate an entire PB&J sandwich. (I have not heard yet if that stayed down overnight though.) He was told
that once he started chemo, food would not taste the same/good any more and so this past weekend, he kept kidding around about
needing to eat his favorite foods/last meals.
They also warned him at MDA that his hair would fall out starting on Day
17. (I guess from the start of chemo??) We tried to reassure him that that didn't matter much. When I was younger,
hair was a big deal--now, it really doesn't matter! He will need a lot of calories to keep his weight up during this
process and if food is not going to taste good and if he gets sick/nauseous, the feeding tube that was surgically "installed"
will become very important sustaining life.
I visited the two Chihuahua sister puppies, Pixie and Panda on Monday--Pixie
is the brown girl and Panda the black one--and could see that even with her little cast on, Panda's leg was dangling/loose.
Turns out that with the help of her little sister, the girls pulled the surgical pin out of Panda's surgery site (ow!) and
now she either has to have it redone or recasted. Pixie's leg is nice and straight thankfully.
It's going to be
a long day for me at the RR--For the last year, I've had Mike's help every day. What I used to do all by myself, i got
used to having a lot of help with. No matter how much I wish Mike was back at work, i am grateful for the extra set
of hands. Recently, I noticed as he takes each animal outside, he pets each one and hugs them, carrying them in or out
as need be. I took a moment to appreciate what I was seeing. He treats each one like the precious babies that
I know and love, too.
Thanks for stopping by, for listening and for caring. Especially for caring.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Please Stop By Again
13 apr 10 @ 7:32 am cdt
I'm a little late this morning writing. I managed to be pretty sick overnight--delaying or maybe even canceling Mike's
trip to New Orleans. (Please stop by again this afternoon for a more detailed update.)
In the meantime, the order form
is up now on the Project Hope page to order DVD's of Dr. Sears' lecture on his distemper protocols. It really is informative--and
engaging--and worth watching if you have any interest in this subject. Just go to www.firststop-laststop.com and click on the "Project Hope" page. Giving a copy to your vet--or watching it and then passing it on--is a great
way to start spreading the word that euthanasia is not the answer to distemper!
Sgt. Hampton starts chemo today at 2
PM. He asked for prayers at that time. I will have an update tomorrow on how he did.
Monday was a serum
day--and Wal-Mart Wally's blood donation yielded 450 ml's of precious serum! That is significant. I was so glad to have
met him and his owner, Suzanne. (I will have photos for you later.) This is the fifth time we made serum in Houston--now,
if we can just find a handful more of donor dogs...
...and Precious did get her stitches out! I have photos and will
do a Precious update story in a few days.
Thank you for understanding--and for caring.
Monday, April 12, 2010
The Legacy of the LIttle Boxes Continues
12 apr 10 @ 6:27 am cdt
At Christmas, one of our RR Angels gave me a big box filled with tiny white boxes tied with red bows.
Each one contained one of ten charms: Hope, Faith, Love...the idea was that whatever box you chose, with a charm inside, was
the gift or message that you were meant to receive. The RR Angel made a key chain for me that had one of each charm
on it--except she could not find a "Hope" charm. The very first box that I opened was Hope. I will remember
this for the rest of my life. (Project Hope is the distemper project we are working on, named after a little puppy named,
When Sgt. Andrew Hampton first landed in Houston a month or so ago, a group went out to dinner--and I went along
to take photos and to get their stories (upcoming). I put about eight boxes or so in my purse. After dinner, I
explained the story of how these little boxes came to be and what they meant. Sgt. Hampton opened his first--it was
"Courage." He is entering the fight of his life--against stomach cancer.
We went around the room--and
even though I already had a set of them, when it came to Lori Birdsong's turn, she handed it to me. "This doesn't
feel like mine," she said. "It feels like yours." Inside the box was, "Life."
just so happened that I had one extra box--I had not counted them out before I left. When she opened her box, Lori had,
"Love." "Great!" she said. "That is just what I needed!" One of the retired
Marines got a precious "Hope" but I knew he didn't know what that meant to me. I didn't explain it--I wanted
him to just sit and absorb the word "Hope" for his own life.
Since that night, I have carried my "Life"
charm with me daily. It is a constant reminder to me that I have to fight to get better if I can--and Lori is constantly
doing research and sending me things to help my liver. Having never met her before, but knowing how very special she
is, I am honored--and I know the creator of these little boxes would be, too--that Lori keeps her "Love" charm with
her in a pocket and carries it with her every day. She is happily married and the "Love" is bigger than that--she
never explained it per se to me, but just told me that it was the right message for her and that she needed it.
so the legacy of the little boxes continues. I think this was an amazing idea--Norma gave them out to everyone who attended
her concert in December. I have been saving them for very special occassions. When we buried beautiful Beauty
in January, I took the "Love" and "Faith" off of my keychain and put them on her collar. I wanted
to send something very, very special along with her to heaven. This was the closest thing to sending my heart with her that
I could get. It was a simple expression of how much I--actually, how we all--loved her--and a reminder that we all have to
have faith, no matter what.
Thank you RR Angels for the amazing things you all do for our animals and for all of the
animals who enter your lives. And thank you, Norma, for this incredible gift that I was able to share.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Animals Must Have Food and Liquids Regardless
10 apr 10 @ 6:01 am cdt
This week, I heard a really sad story. A group was caring for a critically ill animal--a thousand plus miles from
here--and thought if the dog was not eating on its own, and was lethargic/sleeping most of the day, he could be left alone
day after day while the caretakers went to work and just syringe-feed him during the evenings. Eventually, the dog died--it
is thought to have died of malnutrition--and sadly, the caretakers loved him very much.
This has me thinking back to
when I was taking care of my first critically ill animal--no one knew how many calories to feed the dog or how much liquid
to get in per day. Not even her vets. I begged for the answers, knowing that there must be a minimum or a guideline
that I could use to know if I was even coming close. I begged for a recipe or special food that I could feed her. I
knew that people with cancer required a huge amount of calories--especially when undergoing therapy, they can get very, very
thin if they don't eat enough or have a feeding tube in place. No one knew the answer.
I made up my mind that
I would put everything she should be eating into a blender and make it into a mush. I used syringes, cups, my hands...anything
to shovel in a third of a blender full at a time (I was taking care of a HUGE dog). I guesstimated how much liquid I
would need in a day and divided it by the number of blenders (2) I was making for the dog each day.
would throw up, I tried to guesstimate what amount she lost and added it on to the end of the day's syringing--if the amount
was significant. I started to make clear, no salt broth--just boiling skinless chickens--which was better than the store-bought
low salt broth. I syringed that into her, tried Gatorade...just about anything to replace the electrolytes that I knew
she needed. When she could keep things down, her meds were included in her slurry. When she was too nauseous to
do so, I had a prescription for her nausea--and then I would feed her. At the end, the vet taught me to rub human suppositories
of phenergan inside the dog's ear flaps--they absorb the meds there--and insert her pain meds into her rectum, and after a
half an hour or so, she could be given fluids and some light foods and could keep them down.
If no meds were available,
I learned how to use sugar in water (1 TBS per 8 oz) or a dollop of Karo syrup on the back/roof of their mouth to combat the
dog's nausea--they work like a charm. (When they are that sick, I don't worry about spoiling their diet--in just a day
or two, they usually come around and I can stop this.) I extrapolated my own experience with nausea. When I was little, I
would get very sick to my stomach on amusement rides. My family was very much a "everyone HAS to go on the roller-coaster
together AGAIN" type of family but I knew I would throw-up. My dad, who was much smarter than me, bought some cotton
candy one day--before, and immediately after each ride, I had a few mouthfuls--I never got sick again!
could quell my very sick tummy, I tried it on sick dogs in a pinch with great success. (I give it to just born puppies who
are too weak to nurse, too--and to mothers in labor who get very tired. Just a dab of clear Karo syrup (a must for every
dog owner! and keep in the frig once you open it)--proportionate to their size--on the back roof of their mouths, so it melts
and drips down their throats--maybe three or four times in a row (in less than a half hour) will pull everyone around. (Remember,
I am not a vet--I am only sharing my own experiences.)
Getting back to my first critical "patient"--It was
a battle--an exhausting battle trying to keep up her calories and her ounces--even with Mike here to manage the rest of the
herd, which was much, much smaller then, I was falling down tired but I knew how important it was--and came to find out just
how difficult. Sometimes sick dogs will inadvertently bite down on your fingers, fight to not eat--and often made me
cry, begging this big girl to cooperate to save her own life.
When I heard about the dog who died this week, I know
what the caregivers were going through--they should have had guidelines to strive for--and if they could not have met them,
they should have found a stay-at-home/work-at-home person to take the dog. If they could not do that, they should have
boarded the dog just for the days at a vet--and had IV fluids put in. (Just an aside, Parvo dogs do better with IV fluids,
Dr. Sears teaches rather than sub Q.) If they had the solution and the supplies, they could have done sub Q fluids--putting
a bubble of fluids under the skin that is slowly absorbed by the body--but you have to know the correct dose for that as well.
(Too much at one time can give the animal a fatal heart attack.)
This would not have addressed the animal literally
starving to death. He just ran out of energy--his body fat was all used up and he didn't have the calories to keep his
heat beating, no matter how much he was loved. I learned that using Hill's a/d, a high calorie cat and dog food, mixed with
fluids was an easy way to syringe in food and water--a cat can size of it is over 1100 calories. There are other high-calorie
foods and yes, you could make your own like I did originally, but I think a/d and no-salt chicken broth is actually better
for the first days of recovery or hospice--but I had to learn this the very, very hard way.
I wrote to Dr. Sears tonight
and asked him for the guidelines of food calories and liquid that an animal needs to sustain life. As soon as he answers
me, I will write an article about this subject in my Houston Chronicle blog and will mention it here as well. As more
and more of us are willing to try to help animals and not just accept euthanasia as a solution to just about everything, we
need more and more information. (Euthanasia is used way too often by vets--which, quite frankly, I do not know how they
live with themselves unless it is really, truly needed as a release from horrible, uncontrollable pain or un-fixable injury.
That's a blog for another time...)
If you are dealing with a sick animal now, know that liquids 'round the clock are
needed. I take the total for a day that I think the animal needs and divide over 1.5 hour intervals. I know what
my goal is when I begin syringing. If I can't get all of that session's liquids in, I add it onto the next session/s.
I know that during several, I will be able to exceed my "average." The same with food--and always, please,
rinse the animal's mouth out with clear liquids after a feeding.
I can't imagine anything worse than being too
sick to eat or drink on my own, and having to sit for an hour or two or more, with a mouth full of muck. Even if I have
to use a towel, and rinse the animal's tongue and teeth off onto the towel (if they don't want to swallow more), I leave them
with a clean mouth and dry linens. I always put myself in their place--that is what I would appreciate, so that is what
I will do for them. (Don't use cold water--heat it up just a touch so it doesn't shock their teeth--and make sure you don't
burn them either. Test it on your own teeth!)
It is very hard taking care of critically sick animals--even animals
with the flu or a virus or after surgery of any sort. I don't get a break--Mike doesn't take turns with me. (He
wil bring me supplies if I holler loud enough!) Just remember, someone's precious life depends on you to do the right
thing--and to do it for as long as either they get better or they don't. You can't give up in-between--they will never
have a chance then.
If you don't get a chance to stop back again to see what Dr. Sears recommends, just think about
the volume that the animal, you are caring for, ate while it was well. That is at least something to go by--and for
liquids, it is a lot! Try to envision what the animal drank day to day in its water bowl when it was well. If you had
to refill it four times a day--measure it out with a cup and see what you need to strive for--and divide that by 1.5 hour
intervals over a 24 hour day. (Yes, I set an alarm clock to get the night syringes in.) When your eyes are wanting to close,
and your arms hurt and your back is aching, know that many of us are praying and "sitting" right there with you--or
would if we could. You are not alone.
Thanks for stopping by, for listening and for caring. Especially for caring.
PS Friday was a day of changes--serum is being made Sun night to all day Monday (the vet had several emergencies come
in who needed surgery); Andrew, the soldier with cancer we have been following, had to attend classes at MD Anderson on Friday
to learn how to deal with all of his cancer protocols coming up. He will now have chemo started on Monday for the very first
time, staying in Houston until Wed--to get it shut off. He can leave the hospital in-between--the chemo will be in a
So many people did collections and sent him help, that he is going to be able to pay his mortgage, car
and utiltiy bills at least six months forward (in advance)! This way, he can fight his cancer battle without worry.
That was an amazing gift that y'all gave him! When I heard this today, I wanted to hug everyone--group hug?! Thank you for
caring. Especially for caring.
Friday, April 9, 2010
A Heating Pad Kinda Day
9 apr 10 @ 2:30 pm cdt
In anxious anticipation of meeting Wal-Mart Wally and his owner, Suzanne, on the day we were to make our fifth batch of
serum, I've been on a heating pad trying to get my body limber enough to get out of bed for the afternoon. I never knew
there was this much pain in having a liver disease--and always thought medication could deal with it. Silly me.
Even when I feel this bad, the excitement of getting us one step closer to publishing our data and of saving many dogs
from death, will move my heart and will to move my body to get up. I was counting on this today. Last night, we
left it that our Project Hope vet was going in at midnight or 1 AM to give Wally the tiny NDV injection which would start
the reaction we need to capture in his blood between exactly the eleventh and eleventh and a half hours. Exactly.
If you cannot do this, you have to wait. When two emergency surgeries came in before that, the vet knew he had to postpone
this until Monday. We cannot capture the blood any later or any earlier. It must be exact.
There is a peak
time in the animal's body that we are trying to capture--this blood is spun down and the serum gleaned off. (The serum
can be given to any blood type--the blood would have to be typed to specific animals only.) This serum, containing the
strong reaction to the NDV in the healthy animal is then given to the sick animals. It enters their body at the peak
of activity and wipes out distemper--since the sick animal doesn't have NDV in it, the immune reaction goes after the distemper.
In 24 hours, the distemper is all gone. Depending on how quickly the owner had the animal treated, will depend
on its recovery. If there was no brain damage, in three days, the dog or puppy will be up--eating and playing--like
the healthy, happy puppy they were before they got sick. If the owner waited until the animal was having seizures/tremors/neuro
issues, which means the distemper is very advanced, not only will this dog need serum in its body but it will need a brain
tap. That is the only way to kill distemper once it has crossed into the brain. The recovery after that can take months.
The distemper is dead but the brain had to repair the damage and most times, it will repair most or all of the way.
here, in front of my computer, day in and day out, I see requests for help from all over the place. Some people have
found vets who are willing to help--they just need supervision (our vet and/or Dr. Sears help them at no charge). Others,
just read a tidbit or two on the web and don't really understand what is going on but know that their dog will die soon if
they don't do "something." Those people we ask to get in the car and drive to Houston. Some do, sadly
some don't. Kids, pets...etc. keep them from driving overnight.
I've been there--it is a very hard decision to
make. We have the Rescue Ranch to worry about and had to drop everything twice--for two 24 hours drives/treatments--to
help Hope and Cherry, back when there was no vet in Houston to help us (we tried). We decided if we could not get a
sitter that dogs can free feed with food and water for 24 hours--and do fine. Tile floors can be cleaned up. No
matter what, we would do all we could to save their lives. Kids, well, we are past the point of school agers--but I
would have tossed them in the car, too--a once-in-a-lifetime science lesson would trump gym class any day!
So with serum
being postponed til Sun night/Monday, Mike is going to leave a day later than he was planning so we can do our Project Hope
duties on Monday. After he gets us home, he'll head out to New Orleans. Hopefully, he can gather some names of
hiring managers from the oil and gas companies there. He says many times the people he actually needs to talk to are
at the convention--they just may or may not have time to chat. I'll be praying on this end that they do.
Hampton was able to go home to a Soldier's Angels home late last night to get a few hours of sleep-MD Anderson put in the
IV line into his arm for chemo yesterday. I don't think they solved (yet) the severe pain that the feeding tube was
causing. He was back at MDA early this AM to have the chemo started--the plan is to give him a fanny pack with the chemo
in it and the injector--stay in the Houston area--and on Sunday he has to return to MDA to get it unplugged (please forgive
my non-technical description).
If he feels well enough, he can go back to Dallas for 12 days until the next go-round.
(If the VA in Dallas can follow the MDA protocol at no charge to Andrew, he can do that until it is time for radiation.)
And so it will go for two months or so--then he will start daily radiation--and for that, he will need to live/stay in the
Houston area. The big side effect, we were told at a treatment planning meeting, is profound exhaustion. He will need
a constant companion during this time, per the doctor's instructions--so there may be a volunteer sign-up sheet coming up!
A few week break after radiation--then major surgery at MDA--hoping the tumor has shrunk enough to save a part of his stomach.
(More volunteers/visitors will be needed for several weeks.)
Our new gal, Maggie, coming to the RR for rehab could
not be released last time--she had a bad urinary tract infection and the vet didn't want to burden us with caring for that
(we would have). I know it is stinkeeee and messeeee and they need lots of baths until their medicine works but it is
his patient. So, maybe on Monday, when we take Precious in to get her stitches out and have a serum day, we will get
Dizzy, or Bitty as I call him, the little Chihuahua boy who is here--who lost his penis due to traumatic
injury--had the same problem. Between laser therapy, cranberry extract capsules and Clavamox, we can keep it at bay.
If we back off on any of them, it starts up again. It is because his new bladder entrance is so close to where his bowel
movements come out--so the exchange of bacteria causes infection. He probably will need to be on a lifetime of extract
and meds but he is very, very happy now which is a blessing to see every single day! (He is in L-O-V-E with Mike! You would
laugh hysterically to see how happy and bubbly/dancing/twirling/excited Bitty is when he even hears Mike's voice!)
y'all a wonderful weekend! Thanks for being patient with me.
Hugs from the herd!
Thursday, April 8, 2010
A Little Too Much Vacation?
8 apr 10 @ 8:43 am cdt
As we were sitting here in Houston, enjoying the nice spring weather, Sgt. Hampton, whose journey from war hero to cancer
patient is just beginning, was in sunny California. His doctors at MD Anderson gave him a week off to get his affairs
in order--and to go and visit his family. It had been over 13 years since he'd seen his father and brother. His
mother had died during that time and he had not even seen her grave.
Twice during his visit, Andrew called me to check
in--and the excitement and just pure "life" that was in his voice gave me such joy to hear. Just days earlier,
I slept in the chair next to his hospital bed while he suffered through the pain of surgery to have a feeding tube put in
as a "just in case"--just in case he becomes too sick during chemo or radiation to eat, he can pour himself some
breakfast, lunch and dinner! He would be given a small pump to hook the feeding tube up to that would force X amount
of high calorie liquids into him.
The first time we talked, he had been there a day and had already sent his phone contacts
a photo of his 8 year old son, Cayo (cye-o) eating bisquits at the local base and another of his father--smiling from ear
to ear. Andrew was sharing his family and his "happy" with all of us.
The second time he called
was on Easter Sunday. Andrew, his son, his brother, Bruce, and his Dad were all in the car--they were going to eat and
to visit America's grave (their mother). Later that day, all of us got photos of his mom's gravestone and another of
Andrew and his son visiting it. I was struck by the dates on her headstone--she died before Cayo was even born! What
a shame I thought, they didn't get to meet each other but then I had a second thought: maybe they passed each other coming
and going in heaven!
After I spoke to Andrew that morning, he asked me to hold on--he passed the phone first to his
brother; next to his dad and last to his son. In between each, he introduced them to me. The pure joy and love
between them was contagious and I was a long way away! His father told me how long it had been since he had seen "Andy"
and how happy he was to have his two sons together; his brother sounded like a giddy school boy, which was so wonderful, I
was smiling from ear to ear, too; and when I asked Cayo what part he liked best about California, he answered, "The Candy!!"
That cracked me up!
When we all said, "Happy Easter!" and they went on with their day, I sat for a minute
in grateful silence. I wanted to share these precious moments with you but I also wanted to cherish them just a little
bit. I needed to let them sink in deeply so I could then share deeply.
Because of all of you, Andrew/Bruce/Dad/Cayo's
life-changing weekend came to be. Some gave to help pay his mortgage, others sent gift cards; some are helping get his
medical care on track and to give him moral support; a family donated frequent flier miles to get them out to California and
retired soldiers gave their time and paid for the gas themselves to fly him up to Dallas to connect with his son--and back
again yesterday to get back to MD Anderson. Others have prayed, reached out...those joy-filled, wonderful moments belong
to y'all, too! Although they were not my family, per se, the happiness and holiday cheer and chatter were something
that we all would recognize (I hope)--and cherish--from at least one moment in our lives.
Today, Andrew is supposed
to have surgery to install a permanent (until he is done) line to have 24 hour liquid chemo sessions. First, the docs
have to determine that the pain and discomfort he was having, that had him in two ER's in the last two days, is just from
a fun vacation--plus an accidental kick to the stomach (kids!), a good-bye jab (Dad!) and lots of good food and travel.
If it is something else, he will need to have it addressed first, most likely.
As soon as I hear what his status is,
I will update my facebook page and this page as well. I know some of you want to meet him or go and reconnect with him
again--he is very engaging and uplifting (when he feels well). I just don't know how long he'll be in Houston this time
Thank you everyone for caring. Especially for caring. You have made a huge difference in someone's
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Just An Ordinary Day
7 apr 10 @ 7:29 am cdt
At supper-time, Sgt. Andrew Hampton and Lori Birdsong from www.linensforanimals.org are flying down from Dallas courtesy of the Houston Ground Angels. Andrew is due to check into MD Anderson tomorrow
to have the IV line installed in his arm for chemotherapy. Lori is coming along for moral support and to ensure all
goes well for his first go-round. I hope to catch up with them at some point. They are two very special people.
just broke ground on her new animal sanctuary! Lori and her husband bought a piece of land, designed a sanctuary (they
have a full-time caretaker on-site) and are building a simple, clean, new sanctuary. I am so proud of her--this is just
huge. Some day, I hope to be able to write that we are breaking ground for the new Rescue Ranch sanctuary! Truly, taking
care of last chance animals and doing medical rehab and hospice is where my calling is. I just don't know how to get
to building the sanctuary that we really need. Right now, we've adapted what we have to be a sanctuary but really, we
need something much different.
Mike is getting ready to go off on a job hunting/interviewing trip--there is a
big Oil and Gas conference coming up--and he needs to go and meet people/collect email addresses, etc. They have a free pass
to look at the exhibitors/meet people. Now, we just have to figure out where he can stay in New Orleans. I'm hoping
to feel better in a few days so I can take over all of the RR duties.
I really, really, need help with at least five
puppies--people to foster/foster to adopt them. They are now seven months old and beautiful but need to go on to forever
homes. If you can handle one more puppy in your home, please let me know. They are wonderful and beautiful--and
all boys about 25-30 lbs (the girls are OK together)--but the boys need to be separated now. They are getting to be pretty
rowdy together--having a ton of fun but really, for their sake, they need to go to their own homes. We don't have a
free minute to go to adoption days--and even if we did, we can't bring home potential diseases from events that mix direct-from-shelter
animals with fosters, especially when we rehab sick and injured animals here.
If you haven't kept up with the other
things happening with Project Hope and/or the RR, please register on facebook and become our "friend"--you will
get the little tidbit updates that I post and can leave comments as well on my home page or "wall." I am registered
at "Rescue Volunteer" or by my email address: email@example.com Project Hope is helping two dogs in the Washington, DC
area today! From trying to save a little puppy, Hope, there is now HOPE for so many! To God goes the glory--and
to all of you, our profound thanks!
Cherry and Timmy got into a little mischief yesterday! They went out for a
good run and--dug a big hole which got to the sprinkler system and led to a broken valve and ripped up wiring. Eek!
Mike went and repaired it and well, someone else dug it up again--same spot--and broke it again, all in about 12 hours.
There is just not much I can say or do during these times. It is what it is--we just have to fix it again and this time
(I would have done it the first time), cover the "spot" with a cement block or bricks or something until the grass
Thanks for stopping by, for listening and for caring. Especially for caring.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Too Much Dog Lovin' Hurts
6 apr 10 @ 4:32 am cdt
Easter Sunday was wonderful. Everyone just lazed around enjoying a quiet day. We watched a movie or two and
napped in-between. There is just nothing that can compare with napping on a Sunday with lots of furry snuggle-bunnies.
Later in the week, I have more behind-the-scenes Easter photos to share with you--Timmy and Cherry were dressed up...and took
their bunny ears off on a tug-of-war race; Baby decided to nap when she had them on; Brindy tried to tear off Millie's dress
during their photo session (and tore a hole in it)!
One of my Easter Sunday nap buddies, Girl, the Texas
Pearl, got a little too excited when I was playing with her and her front paws landed square on my already very swollen liver--and
something happened that didn't, and still doesn't, feel quiet right. In fact, all day Monday, I was very very sick and
by Tuesday morning (now), I am realizing that this may require doctor intervention.
I was planning on making
the RR kids scrambled eggs and bacon for Easter dinner (just enough to mix up with kibble) but we never got the chance. The
pain was off the charts when it happened but is manageable right now with heat/ice/rest/medication. (Please be patient with
me this week--I'm doing the best I can.)
In the meantime, I have been overwhelmed with gratitude and pride. Stuck
laying in bed, I began reading thank you notes from people whose dogs and puppies we have been saving. Some people are
even dropping "thank you" gift baskets and cards off at our vet's office! (He is very special.) Not only are
we saving these animals but we are also saving these people from heartache and sorrow--and giving them a bright future to
look forward to with their animals. It is absolutely amazing!
We need to speed up the process somehow
of notifying vets and shelters that there is a treatment for distemper--the serum also works on canine herpes, parvo and about
four other diseases. Just this past weekend, I dealt with a Parvo case. The puppy's vet only offered IV fluids therapy
for Parvo treatment--not even Tamiflu (a must for any virus and now a part of the Project Hope distemper protocol)! Three
injections of serum and a change in antibiotics to the same as our Project Hope uses for distemper, and the puppy is up and
running again! That owner could have spent thousands of dollars for 24/7 IV fluids and the puppy could have died from
The same is happening for the distemper cases. Vets think there is no alternative so they are
prescribing antibiotics to quell the upper respiratory symptoms--knowing full well that they will probably be euthanizing
that animal later on down the road--allowing the distemper virus to take hold. By the time the owners find Project Hope or
Professor Bond's website, the dogs are near death. Had the vets known to refer them or the owners known to contact us
sooner, the animals could have most likely been saved.
I think the fastest way to do this is to make a "Did You
Know..." flier for vet's offices, dog parks, etc. that can be posted letting owners know both what are distemper symptoms
and what to do if they suspect distemper--or even parvo. (Anyone feel inspired?) In addition, I am writing a letter
on behalf of our Project Hope vet that will go out to all 300 or so Houston area vets asking them to either participate or
to refer suspected animals to him.
Of course, we need to reach the real source of the sick animals--the shelters--and
teach their vets that there is an easy and successful treatment for these diseases. The animals can be treated before
they go out into our communities. If all vets would stop vaccinating pregnant animals--directly impregnating the fetus with
disease--the serum plus proper vaccines combined will just about erradicate some of these diseases.
I will write an
update about Project Hope this week. When I looked at my records, we actually spent $6842.07 on Project Hope--in just
vet costs for making serum, donor dog screenings, sick dog testing and some acute care--in March. (This does not count
the supplies or antibiotics that had to be ordered separately. I will have a total soon. Click Here to help with April's expenses. See note below, too.)
We are going into April literally with a hope and a prayer...to
sustain this project is so very important to all of us who own animals--once the dog project is published, we can apply this
NDV research and model to help any mammal, per Dr. Sears. It is that important! A little group in Houston is forming a repeatable
model and will publish the data to share/validate Dr. Sears' distemper treatment with the world--but we cannot do it alone.
you for stopping by, for listening and for caring. Especially for caring.
PS We still need help
finding a portable hyperbaric chamber. Our Project Hope vet can house one at his facility--we need a company to perhaps
offer a three month trial? If you can help or want to know more, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
learn more about Project Hope, please Click Here.
To go to Professor Bond's website, please Click Here.
Donations Now Tax-Deductible! If you would like to send a tax-deductible donation for Project Hope,
please make checks payable to: "Kind Hearts" and be sure to put "For Project Hope" somewhere on the check.
Please mail to: Rescue Ranch, c/o Ward, 945 McKinney Street, Unt 242, Houston, TX 77002. Please include an email
address so I can let you know that your check arrived. We are working with Professor Bond's group which is a 501c3 non-profit.
100 percent of your donations will come back to Project Hope in Houston IF you notate that on your donation check. Thank you
Sunday, April 4, 2010
4 apr 10 @ 10:24 am cdt
Wishing y'all a wonderfu Easter (and Passover)! Big Mandy tried to be a bunny but she was just too big
to fool me! To read more, please see today's story in the Houston Chronicle:
Many Imposters, But Only One Real Bunny
Today is a quiet day--tomorrow, we all have to get back to work--rescuing animals and stopping distemper!
from the Herd...
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Serum's Purpose Expanding
3 apr 10 @ 7:02 am cdt
Dr. Sears is now including the NDV-induced serum in protocols to treat not only canine distemper, but parvo and herpes
as well as several other diseases. The first puppy testing positive with parvo had serum and within just several days,
her fever went down and her recovery seems to be rapid. This is making me think some.
First of all, having the
serum is like having a life-insurance policy for our dogs/puppies. As long as we act fast enough, and don't waste weeks
with other vets getting ineffective treatments, the serum is very close to miraculous. If I didn't know that serum was
in Houston, I would be very nervous about the outbreaks of distemper and parvo.
Now that we have four serums,
plus I have a little left from Hope's serum donor, Teddy, some girls, some boys, different breeds, I was wondering if it would
be worth having the serum sent out for an analysis to further define the donor dog--are females stronger donors or males?
Are certain breeds better? I know there are some exclusions and mixed breeds/unaltered are the number one choice, but
this could be very interesting to see the comparison. I sent Dr. Sears and Prof. Bond an email about this issue to see
what they think.
I want to share an email that I received yesterday from a rescue group who has tried the serum (I changed
the puppy's name):
"As a group that primarily focuses on puppies we have all experienced the devastating effects of distemper on a
litter and would do absolutely anything to avoid going through it. We know what a terrible disease it is and how heartbreaking
it is to watch a litter of puppies die from this.
All of our core fosters have felt the panic and helplessness that accompanies distemper
and some of us would probably give one of our toes or fingers not to have to go through it again. It is the worst, most sickening
feeling when you realize that your wonderful, precious little pups have distemper and you will have to watch them die one
by one. We are all just wanting a way to combat this awful disease.
On Rocky, he is doing great! The test
results came back high positive for distemper. The first few days after the treatment as we were trying to figure out the
antibiotics for the pneumonia he was having a little bit of a hard time, but he is almost completely recovered now—eating
voraciously, just sneezing a little, up and about. Really it was less than a week before he was feeling better which is pretty
Also, although she wasn’t ever tested, the pup I had from my previous distemper litter
that was treated is doing well too. She was very sick when we administered the serum and it took her a long time to pull back
from it. She really struggled with coccidia for about a month and didn’t grow or put on weight for a while. But then
when she did kick it she really started to grow and flourish.
We held onto her for quite a while after her
siblings were adopted out to make sure she was going to be okay. We did notice that when she is in a deep sleep she has a
slight twitch in her front paw but it wasn’t present when she was awake. She also has the brown teeth in the back. One
other peculiarity is that she loves vegetables and grass more than any other dog I’ve ever met. I wonder if it is because
of the intestinal issues she experienced? Other than that she seems fine. She went to her new home last weekend and I have
to admit I miss her!"
When I get emails like this, I stand in awe. These
two dogs were so sick, they nearly died. To read that they are up and around and playing, makes me so very thankful.
Y'all should share in this accomplishment with us--after all, Project Hope is a collective effort.
am going to forward this email to Dr. Sears for some feedback. I think the second puppy, the little girl, may need to
have the brain tap just to kill any residual virus. I will let you know what his response is.
a different note, I had a call tonight from Sgt. Andrew Hampton--he called from California! There for the weekend, he
was with his son and brother and had just seen his father in the nursing home. It was the first time in many years.
He sounded happy and exhilarated. He emailed a photo of his dad to my cell phone (I have to figure out how to import
to my computer) and it brought tears to my eyes. How wonderful that through the effort of many, a very sick man is getting
to fulfill a dream of seeing his father and visiting his mother's grave (she died about 14 years ago) finally--before starting
cancer therapy in Houston later this week. I will have another story on Andrew mid-week.
have a new girl coming into the RR today--Maggie. I will know more a little later when I pick her up. She was found
tied to the door of a shelter and managed to find her way (thankfully) to our Project Hope/distemper vet--and there is no
better place to be! I will post her photo and more about her--and perhaps one of you will fall in love and want to foster
and/or adopt her!!
I am also going to visit our little Chi puppies--they really need names...I have
never seen two puppies who are so small and yet so animated. Usually at that size, the puppies are just nursing but
these puppies are clearly miniatures. You just would want to put one in each pocket and take them home!
a wonderful, restful weekend. We're saving our Easter photos for tomorrow!
read more about Project Hope, or to help, please Click Here.
Friday, April 2, 2010
New Parvo Strain Appearing At Easter
2 apr 10 @ 3:10 pm cdt
Holiday weekends mean lots of sick dogs--and no where to take them. My email will be busy and so will I. While I cannot
treat any animals, I can at least help the owners sustain their animal's lives until their vets open on Monday. Emergency
clinics seem to only offer animal owner these choices: surgery, lengthy IV treatments or euthanasia. All they seem to
want to hear is "cha-ching" as the thousands of dollars rack up on worried owners credit cards.
sick puppy came across my desktop last night--her owner took the fecal sample in today to her vet and she tested positive
for Parvo. Unfortunately, they only tested for high, low or negative. There is another test for the strain of Parvo
but that, I think, is a send-out.
This could be very important though in the long run--everyone must know that
our dogs are not protected against the new strain of Parvo. It is not in the vaccines and will require treatment if
they catch it. Hence another reason to keep your dogs home these days. It is just too risky--and treatment is expensive.
(It will cost $3-400 just for the medications to save a dog, nevermind if you have to have it hospitalized for three to four
days on IV fluids.)
Dr . Sears:
"PARVO is easy to treat: Tamiflu 1 mg/lb twice daily (5 days) and fluids: 100 cc per lb/every 24 hours. Need intestinal
antibiotic and a systemic. Pecto/Tylan orally and injectable Pen-G and Chloromycetin. Fluids are just as important as the
Tamiflu. Should work within 3-4 days. Sub Q fluids does not work in Parvo cases. Need an IV and lots of fluids."
I don't know why this always happens but as vets are fixin' to close for a vacation/holiday,
dogs are gearing up to get sick. I wish some vets would take the night shift at regular rates and for regular treatments.
I know I would do it if I had a vet license.
So, this Easter, enjoy yourselves, your pets and your family--and
be careful where you venture. I'll have special Easter photos of the RR gang for you--they want to surprise you! We
love Easter Sunday at the RR--it is a time of renewal, peace, thanksgiving and as Christians, we recognize the Risen Christ.
I was younger, my parents would hide Easter baskets, leaving clues all over the house so we could find them; when I was a
teenager, they left them behind our bedroom doors; in college, a small basket and a present was left on the dining room table--we
found clothes, or something that was needed, along with a little chocolate bunny and some jelly beans. We always went
to church together--and then had a wonderful dinner afterward. For the rest of my life, each holiday, I silently thank
my parents for giving me memories that literally will last me a lifetime.
Now, Easter is simply a time to recognize
our religious beliefs--and to enjoy the hopefully beautiful weather. Mike will buy a small chocolate bunny on Monday
on the 75 percent sale isle. Holiday's are not like they were when I was growing up but it doesn't have to be.
Every day here, we thank God for our blessings--many of them are barking and twirling and playing right in front of us.
time to start preparing for a ton of sick animals. 24/7 now, my email box will be full with owners, from all over the
country, desperately trying to save their animals--especially in the middle of the night. Sadly, this could mostly be
avoided by keeping them indoors or in your yard; using booties; taking them to the vet in a kennel and carrying it in.
I cringe seeing dogs walking in and out of vet's offices--that is where all of the sick animals go, too--and through their
pads/paws, distemper is shed...Pet owners have to learn a different kind of normal now. Distemper mutates and there is a new
strain of Parvo...
The sun, I have learned, is especially important. It kills many diseases and worms (not all)--so
if I was to walk my dog, I would only walk over areas that get a lot of constant sunshine all day long. I would not
walk in shady areas right now.
Today is a Project Hope serum day--the first serum made in Phase Three: Cassie's
Song. It is a glorious day. 15-20 more dogs/puppies will be saved which is just amazing.
all for your help, kindnesses, Dingos!, treats, doggie clothes, donations and prayers. We could not continue to do this
work without any one of them--or you. All together we can move a mountain--and we are doing just that.
Jane, Mike and the RR Herd!