Subscriber Archive

Teaching Fun Dog Tricks

October 3, 2022
Night night 1 thumbnail

Dogs’ brains are built for fun with their people. You can make it easy for them to work-to-earn treats, praise, and most important – physical contact. When I show Mick the treat, he’s ready to learn how to give me what I want. So I move the treat so he can follow it as I tell him, “Mick, Night, Night!” Since he doesn’t yet know what I want, I show him. He gets the food, petting, and praise even though I helped him make it happen. Check out Mick’s next video, Learning Dog Tricks – the Light Dawns

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Tomcat Killed Big Blue

October 3, 2022
mouse

Second in a series The sudden loss of “Big Blue” triggered a derailment in the brains of the two young men who loved him. He was special to them and, yes, he was allowed to run loose but so were lots of other free-spirited Placitas dogs. It was a time of peace, love, and rock ‘n roll. When you only hang out with like-minded folks you can forget that that there are others who may see things differently. If a neighbor is bothered by your dog showing up at their house you would expect them to say so. The possibility of nefarious behavior toward pets was dismissed out of hand. Surely this was an isolated event. After the grief sunk in to Big Blue’s people I offered to keep his body for them until they decided whether they wanted to bury it or have it cremated. They called the next…

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Shocking Discovery

September 26, 2022
german shepherd

First in series He couldn’t even raise his head, his gums were pale, his pulse weak and thready. Had an injury caused this black German Shepherd mix to bleed internally? Was he anemic from an autoimmune disorder? Had he been poisoned? I remember wishing he could tell me what happened. Only a minute earlier this big dog had burst through the front door, just not under his own steam. His 80# self was hefted by a couple of burly bearded men, so highly agitated they were shouting over each other. They’d found their dog barely conscious only 30 minutes earlier next to their home in Placitas. They were frantic for a miracle. Martha, the quiet example of composure, was the usual first stop for our clients but had been bypassed this time. She immediately joined the action by inviting these rough but earnest men into an exam room to gather…

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They’re Not Pigs

September 26, 2022

The Gila Wilderness is among my most favorite places in part because wild animal encounters are to be expected. The rattlesnake in our campsite wasn’t unusual; the javelinas who sauntered past one evening were somewhat surprising. One was foraging. It was later and darker when I caught the other guy. Well, here’s lookin’ at ya, kid.

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Small Dog Protecting Human Mamma?

September 19, 2022
Yorkie

Ignore the Bad; Reinforce the Good Question: I have a 1 year old neutered male Yorkie who is aggressive at all human family members except me, the mom. It doesn’t matter whether I’m holding him or he is just walking around, if anyone comes near he will growl and bark. When I am not home, he is fine with everybody. Dr. Nichol: Your dog is over-bonded to you, becoming hyper-aroused and protective when your family comes close. Anxiety is likely to be at the root of the problem. You can set your pupster up to succeed. Our dogs watch their leaders often for behavioral cues. Non-verbal communications (body postures) are triggers for young Napoleon. He follows your emotional lead, which compounds his protective aggression. When you’re away he doesn’t have a care in the world. Your family isn’t nervous either, making it easier for this hot head to keep his…

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Rattlesnake-Fun or Scary?

September 19, 2022
Rattlesnake in the Gila

I had just doffed my pack when arriving at our campsite in the Gila Wilderness last weekend when my friend Tom said, “Look – a rattlesnake.” And there, right where I had planned to pitch my tent, was this southwestern character. It was hard to miss, with that telltale rattling going on. If it felt cornered it might have struck. We set this annoying but beautiful and potentially dangerous reptile up for success by backing away slowly. We more carefully watched where we stepped during the rest our foray into one of my most favorite natural places. Coming soon: my close encounter with another interesting pair of wild creatures.

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Dental Hygiene at Fault

September 5, 2022

Fourth in a series By day 2 of Gucci’s recovery her temperature had risen to a healthy 101.2 degrees. Her grumbling and complaining, as we gently syringed warm saline through her abdominal tubes, came as no surprise. We’d known this tortoise shell kitty from her previous bouts of barfing. Feline racism is never tolerated but, well, torties are often cranky. I didn’t shoulder this task alone. Our veterinary nurse Hazen spoke gently to our patient as he offered her a veritable smorgasbord of gastronomic delights, which she delicately sampled one lick at a time. Gucci would never let on that she appreciated his kindness but she recovered nicely and went home in just a few days. Success in plucking her from the precipice was thanks enough. Multiple intestinal tears in kitties most often result from a “linear foreign body.” If a cat is lucky, this stuff bunches-up and moves along…

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Out-of-Control in the Veterinary Clinic

September 5, 2022
fearful dog

This poor dog is a nervous wreck, scanning back and forth, waiting for the proverbial shoe to fall. Will a homicidal (canine-icidal) maniac blast onto the scene? Will I, the benevolent veterinarian, inflict violence on her? She has no reason to fret but anxiety is not logical. It’s an unfounded worry about what might be lurking around the next corner. If this dog panics when handled she might get defensive and, in her frantic attempts to escape, she may even try to bite. Restraint would only scare her more. An as-needed antianxiety gel, called Sileo, can be administered between her lower lip and gum. In just 20 minutes a scared dog like this can relax and adapt. Don’t let your agitated dog endure this again. Ask your veterinarian for this gentle treatment. Better still, find a veterinary staff that is trained in Fear Free handling methods. Go to Fearfreepets.com.

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Nip and tuck

August 29, 2022
cat

Third in a series I worked carefully and fast. Gucci, the tortoise shell cat, maintained strong vitals as I debrided (trimmed) the edges of her intestinal wounds and sutured them closed. A lot could still go wrong; I was counting on her robust immune system for all the help it could muster. On my way out of this tough kitty’s abdomen I placed tubes and drains for daily irrigation over the next few days. Small creatures can lose a lot of heat when their body cavities are open to room air. We’d kept our patient wrapped in a warm water circulating blanket during surgery but she still had me worried. As I placed the last stitch in her skin her subnormal 92.4 degree temperature had us quickly snuggling her into a thick towel surrounded by warm water bottles. Very slowly her paws started to flex and then her eyes opened.…

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