Thursday, September 22, 2016

Who Knew??

So you're thinking you want a Pointer to join your family.  Like any wise person, you are pondering what you need to know about pointers.  You're researched the breed characteristics, but still, you are curious.  I polled some of the foster homes for Great Plains Pointer Rescue on your behalf.  After all we know all about them, or we've learned along the way.  At one point (no pun intended) we were just like you....ready to love a pointer.

In no specific order here is the scoop.  Now, not all pointers will do these things.  Some will, some won't.  Some will add new things to the list.  No two are alike.

Your new family member may be a sneaky counter surfer.  And, again your new family member may have the good manners not too.  Knowledge is power and we want you to be aware these things can happen.  I had one foster dog sneak a piece of bacon right out of the pan.  Bacon can be really tempting, right?

They love their people, and the closer they can get to their people is important.  Your lap may be full of your new family member.  You may have company when you go to the bathroom.  They like to least most do.  Those that do have no concept of personal space.  Trust me, it's not a bad thing!

Their ears may disengage when their nose is fully engaged.  When the lure of a squirrel, rabbit, bird or even a butterfly fills their head, they can become hearing impaired. Proper recall training is critical.

No two pointers are the same.  Some may have a desire to hunt, some may have a low drive to hunt. Some learn quickly, some are more of a challenge.  Some are food motivated, some not.  Some are very sensitive and some can be stubborn. Make no mistake, they are smart. More than once I've been outsmarted by one. They will train you, if you don't train them first.

They love a job.  It works their brains, as well as their body.  It may be hunting, it may be fetching and carrying, it may be pet therapy work. Don't forget a tired dog is a good dog. Pointers are intuitive...they can read your mood. They know when you need a good cuddle, they know when there is excitement and they can be sensitive to drama.

And, then there is the couch potato phenomenon. Your smart, active, engaging pointer morphs into a complete couch potato.  See my comment about laps and personal space.  Not just a couch potato, but even in sleep they are entertaining and endearing. There is never a dull moment with a pointer. But if a pointer is the right dog for you, you won't want it any other way.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Kendrick's Healing Journey - Part 3

Kendrick and Angie want to apologize for the delay in writing part 3, they’ve been a little busy with everyday things. Kendrick is acting more and more like a puppy which requires regular supervision when said puppy is feeling good! 

The weekend prior to Kendrick’s scheduled skin biopsy, he had a flare up.  His nose, hind legs and chest broke out in red sores. He hurt enough that he was no longer jumping in the chairs to sleep, and didn’t want to take the 3 steps to go outside. It was around this time that my internet searching finally led me to the condition of exfoliative cutaneous lupus erythematosus (ECLE for short).  I cried as I read the symptoms, treatment, and life expectancy of those afflicted with the condition.  The pictures of the dogs with this condition were so like Kendrick I was really struggling to not jump to conclusions.

Kendrick went to the vet on Tuesday 2/23/2016 for the skin biopsy.  They took 3 samples, and sent them off for testing.  We went home to wait, hoping for an answer by the end of the week. On Friday, the vet had not yet received a report, and called the lab.  He spoke with the technician doing the testing, who confirmed we were dealing with some sort of auto-immune condition the type testing was not yet finished.  We decided to go ahead and start a steroid treatment that Friday while awaiting the final results.  Please remember that we couldn’t start those while he had the secondary skin infection, and we did not want to impact the biopsy results, so had to wait.

The transformation in Kendrick was amazing. By Sunday he was jumping in the chair again, far more alert in his surroundings, and perky.  He pranced when he got excited, started jumping over small obstacles (dogs, toys, a book) that were on the floor in the house. He no longer protected himself from being bumped by the resident dogs when they played.

We got the formal diagnosis on Thursday March 3rd.  By Friday 3/4/2016 most of the sores had healed, and only a few scabs remained. The next week was a slow progression of his personality emerging. He does actually play a little fetch.  He pounces when he gets near the ball, and enjoys chasing the resident dogs up and down the hallway even if he doesn’t get the ball. Kendrick loves all his squeaker toys: balls, stuffed animals, Kongs – doesn’t matter, he likes them all.  We only get those out when his foster brother is not around to protect them from being 5 minute toys. 

Tuesday 3/8/2016 Kendrick braved the stairs to the basement for the first time at our house.  My office is in the basement, so prior to this he stayed upstairs on furniture or dog beds with his foster siblings while I worked. Once he came down that first time, there was no stopping him.  He now runs up and down the stairs, follows me to my office multiple times a day. Kendrick has taken over the dog bed in the corner of my office while I work. Sometime this week he started to show puppy behaviors such as getting in the trash, stealing socks from the laundry, and checking out the food on the kitchen counters.  We also saw his tail wag for the first time this week. Previously his tail was up when walking or just hanging out, he tucked it when he was scared or getting ointment he didn’t want. This was the first real tail wag because he was happy!

Friday night, 3/11/2016 we went to the cabin for the weekend.  On Saturday we took our first walk long walk in the trees on a leash.  Sunday we took another walk, this time without a leash and Kendrick did great!  He found interesting scents to follow and enjoyed exploring that evening.  The nice weather combined with his improved condition allowed him to really be outside for a change.  ECLE is a light sensitive condition, Kendrick cannot be allowed to stand in the sun to warm himself and will need to learn what shade is before we can be outside for extended periods of time.  The trees give us shelter from the wind and sun which makes it an ideal place to walk.
Kendrick no longer shows signs of pain when he lies down.  He gets up quickly and for every little sound to go explore what it was.  He barks at the doorbell, strangers, and when excited. He crawls in the chair with me when I’m reading, curls up and cuddles now. So much progress from his behavior when he arrived in January!

We have cut his steroid dosage down twice already, and will do so again next week. Our hope is to get off them entirely, only time will tell.  In the mean time I am trying to learn everything I can about his condition, how to catch the signs of a flare up before he breaks out.  What works best on his skin to minimize his flaky patches and itching. I was introduced to a wonderful lady who has a 9 year old dog with the same condition.  She has shared a wealth of knowledge in her treatment experience.

We currently use coconut oil on his bare patches to moisturize the skin.  We’ve stopped the bathing and will be doing so only under extreme conditions now.  We are testing various topical ointments on the few remaining hot spots (skin sores) in hopes of finding some that work well to quickly reduce the size and severity of a breakout. With his improved condition come the requirement for supervision, and I am absolutely thrilled! 

Kendrick & Angie

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Kendrick's Healing Journey - Part 2

Kendrick's healing journey continues. It is measured in very small steps, baby steps if you will.  His foster Mom has been able to move back home with him which makes life easier. Fostering, and the deep love and commitment it takes, is often a day-by-day, sometimes minute-by-minute process. Victories are precious and worth the time it takes to realize them....and so the process continues.

Kendrick’s Healing Journey – Part 2

As I reflect on the past 2 weeks this Valentine’s Day, Kendrick is making significant progress in his healing.  It has not always been clear he was doing so, nor was it quick.  Slow and steady, that’s what we are aiming for now.  Kendrick’s own immune system has to do some of the work.  I was recently reminded that it took 6 months for it to get this bad, and it won’t heal in a few weeks.

At the end of our previous blog – Kendrick was just starting to turn around from a setback.  It took over a week to see any real progress again.  On Monday 2/1/2016 we started a short stent where his medicated baths hurt his skin, and he did not tolerate soaking for more than a few minutes. There were 2 baths where he actually whined to get out.  Out of all the time we’ve been doing baths that was a first.  So, he got out when he had enough and we switched to more topical ointments for a few days.  Thursday 2/4/2016 his bare skin patches had changed from a bright pink, to a yellowish flaky covering the pink.  This continues today, and those flakes make my skin itchy when I have extended contact with him.

At one point, we were concerned that he was fighting some yeast infection (he smells) and he’s been on extended antibiotics.  However, the anti-fungal he is on should also take care of the yeast.  We started homemade dog food on Friday 2/5/2016 to see if that would help him at all.  He really liked the homemade food, and it settled his stomach.  We continued this for one week.

Since I was concerned I couldn’t see much progress in his condition, I spoke with the vet again on Tuesday 2/9/2016 about the flaky patches wondering if this was another setback.  He asked lots of questions, and we discussed additional medications, food changes, probiotics, and his behavior.  We decided to leave everything as is, and continue with his appointment on Friday as planned. The rest of the week was much of the same. The one area we have seen significant improvement over the past weeks is Kendrick’s confidence.  Kendrick has grown comfortable enough that he allows his collar and leash to be put on each time we go outside without flinching or backing away.  He also hovers around wherever I am rather than hiding in his bed or under the table all of the time. He can go outside without a leash, and will stay near me.  We’ve gone for a few walks when the weather is warm enough for him, and he does very well.  This is one of the most “dog” like behavior I’ve seen from him to date.  He smells the trails, and looks around.  He never pulls on his leash and always walks nicely.  Kendrick chews some bones, and enjoys treats.  Toys are still a mystery to him, we’ll continue to work on that.
Friday 2/12/2016 we went back to the vet.  Several office staff commented on how much better he looked and how he was behaving compared to the previous two visits.  Kendrick did not shy away or cower from the staff moving about the office.  He wanted to greet the other dogs in the office, and explored the waiting area smelling all the foods and treats.

The vet was happy with his progress over-all, but we are concerned with the pinkness of all his skin.  There are only a few scabs left on his legs and belly, most are gone from his head and back.  He got another dose of antibiotics, did another skin scrape to test for yeast (negative), and the following continuing orders:
  • Topical ointments daily
  • Antifungal daily, ordered a 30 day extension
  • Medicated bath every 2 to 3 days
  • Food – No beef, chicken or corn.  Switching to Lamb and Rice temporarily.
  • No steroids of any kind, including hydro-cortisone shampoos or creams
  • Skin Biopsy tentatively scheduled for 2/22/2016
The biopsy is set for the end of the first 30 day anti-fungal dose, and is dependent on rather he has healed enough by then. Vet would like to see more of the scabs healed over, and less pink skin.  We don’t know if he has any food allergies, but want to avoid the most common.  Some of the directives are to avoid messing with the biopsy results, and limiting the number of variables leading up to the test.

Kendrick spent a couple of hours outside recently at the lake, and seemed to enjoy himself.  He is currently curled up asleep in the recliner, comfortable and content. We’ll let you know what we hear from the biopsy results as soon as we get the results.

We were able move back home.  The vet said he is probably not contagious to our dogs.  However, we need to be cautious of being around animals, as he will be very susceptible to picking up things from others.

We thank you for the support, both financially and through Kendrick's wish list on Amazon. It touches our heart to know you deeply you care and are pulling for us. 

More soon.  ~Kendrick and Angie

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Kendrick's Story - The Journey to Healing

Fostering takes an incredible sense of dedication, a commitment to love, and the patience to see the process through.  No two foster dogs are alike, and Kendrick is a special pup.  He doesn't know this, he doesn't know how far he's come and how lucky he is.  Mostly he's known misery, and lately he is learning the comfort of gentle touch and healing.  This is the first of chapter of Kendrick's story.

Kendrick’s Healing Journey – From Foster Mom’s perspective

As I begin this story, we are on day 16 of his time with us.  The request for a foster home, the research into his condition of Ringworm, and the planning/decision to take him was actually a week or 10 days.  I’ve had dogs for most of my life, and even had some previous sad cases as a foster parent for GPPR – but nothing like Kendrick. Kendrick arrived at GPPR as an owner surrender, due to his condition not being manageable. We only knew he had ringworm.

Research taught me that this fungus (not a worm) was highly contagious to other animals and to humans. People posted about cleaning regimens, laundry, pet bedding, no sweeping, only vacuum or wet mops, etc. I prepared by going to the cabin, 35 miles from my home, and removing all of the rugs, toys, shoes, and anything else that was not needed or easy to clean. I stocked up on Clorox wipes, Swiffer sweeper dry cloths, wet cloths, bleach, paper towels, and athlete’s foot cream. I plan to stay at the cabin for as long as Kendrick is contagious.

His diagnosis was quickly confirmed, plus a secondary skin infection, by an emergency trip to a Minnesota vet on Friday 1/14/2016 before he was transported to Nebraska. Kendrick was so in so much pain, he wouldn’t lay down to sleep when he arrived Friday night.  He made his first visit to the Nebraska vet on Saturday 1/15/2016. Since he was not eating well after his transport and changes in his life, we decided to go with an injection for his antibiotic which should last about 14 days.  He received another injection for his pain, and was sent home with me with the following instructions:

 Pain medication, up to twice a day

 Anti-fungal daily

 Medicated baths every 2-3 days

 Topical ointments as needed

 Lime Sulfur Dip once a week

 Rest

The first couple of days, Kendrick hurt so bad I used his kennel as I carried him in and out of the cabin. Kendrick rested for a full 5 days.  He wouldn’t get out of his bed, the bottom half of a plastic kennel, unless I picked him up and carried him outside to go to the bathroom.  I picked him up to put him in his bath.  He would only eat if his food bowl and water dish were reachable from his kennel. Nothing enticed him to get up or come out, and I tried all the good high value treats including hamburger and steak. So, I would sit next to his kennel and talk to him.  I would apply some ointment, and pet his neck and ears which were the only areas he didn’t cringe when I touched.

On day six, Kendrick came out of his kennel when I called with a treat a few feet away. He stood next to me and allowed me to rub/massage his tender shoulders and a small portion of his back.  I stopped every few minutes at first, allowing him a chance to back away.   He inched closer each time. We stayed like this for 1.5 hours.  This became our regular routine, twice a day.  I would massage and rub any area he could tolerate for as long as he would stand and request it.  It took almost a week before I could touch some areas of his body.

This also turned into our bath routine. The cabin only has a shower, so I’ve got a plastic storage tub in the shower stall.  Fill it with 3-4 inches of luke warm water and some of his medicated shampoo to create a tub. The medicated water helps his feet/pads while I wash the rest of him.  The first few baths were little more than pouring the medicated water over his body and letting the suds sit on his skin for 10-15 minutes. He couldn’t tolerate much of the massage in the beginning.  Baths now are a 1.5 hour process, as we do the dry massage first, then the bath, then another massage with the towels. He is no longer afraid of his baths. We were so concerned when he first arrived, I actually had a muzzle just in case he couldn’t tolerate them, and I needed to bathe him anyway.  I am so glad we never had to use that!

Monday January 25th was the height of his improvement progress.  Most of his scabs were gone, the pink skin that showed through his fur looked healthy, and his nose was visibly healing.  Tuesday Kendrick stopped making progress.  Wednesday he had new sores on his nose.  Wednesday I called the vet again. We decided the 14 day antibiotic shot may have worn off, and we should start the oral antibiotics we had. They were started at noon that day. His anti-fungal medication was a custom compound from out of state, and only available from one lab.  Those meds ran out Friday, and the new ones didn’t arrive until Tuesday.

On Friday we realized the oral antibiotic were not well received by Kendrick. He stopped eating again, had an upset stomach, was back to sleeping all day, and not wanting to get out of his bed. Back to the vet we went. While the two medication changes should not have been a big deal, in Kendrick’s case they were. The vet immediately began thinking auto-immune. Only if the area was already compromised would a med change like this have such drastic results.

New plan:  30 days of anti-fungal (started Tuesday 1/26/2016) and 30 days of antibiotics.  Clear up the infection completely, then do a skin biopsy to confirm the auto-immune diagnosis.  If it is auto immune, then Kendrick will need a low dose medication the rest of his life to help manage the condition.  No, we can’t start the treatment for auto-immune without waiting for the 30 days.  If they sent the biopsy now, it would come back as ring worm, and secondary skin infection – which we already know.  Treatment for the condition is usually a steroid.  Again, can’t start that now because while it may help in the short term – in cases like this the infection will come back with a vengeance once the steroid treatment ends.  We have to treat the current condition completely, then look at the long term plans. This was the low point of our treatment to-date.  Much of the health pink skin was now red and angry looking, or scaly and itchy again.  While we don’t have the scabs this time, it was like stepping back a full week in his treatment.

Saturday, Kendrick started to show some signs of improvement again.  No new sores, and slight visible progress on his nose and Sunday is a little better yet.  The weather was warm, and we spent an hour outside today since he could tolerate the temperature with his missing fur.

My family have been very supportive, and visit us at the cabin a couple of times a week. While we visit them each time we make a trip to the vet.  Kendrick was introduced to our resident dogs on Saturday the 23rd, and he shows us more personality when they are around. They visited again last night and today. We will continue to take it one day at a time.

More Progress notes to come as we continue this journey.  … Angie & Kendrick

Monday, January 11, 2016

Power To The Powder Faces

I may be biased....I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Senior Dogs Rock. They sure do. In so many ways.

Puppies are darling, don't get me wrong.  But a senior brings so much to the table. Maturity, a laid back temperament, lower exercise needs.  They love a nap, a cuddle and the soft touch of a loving hand. They may enjoy a run, but don't have to run all day. They get straight A's in companionship!! Mostly, your shoes are safe from getting chewed on!  Plus, potty training is not a new concept.

Sure everyone melts when they see a puppy, but puppies are a lot of work.  Seniors, not so much. Seniors have as much love to give as a puppy at a more relaxed pace. They are grateful and mellow. Give them a soft bed, or a pillow, and odds are it will stay intact (some exceptions may apply)!

Sadly, seniors get overlooked in the adoption process.  People think a younger dog is better, that they don't want to get attached to an older dog, that seniors are fraught with health issues.  Not necessarily so. Seniors want a soft spot to land, just like we do. They long to be loved, just like we do.  They have oodles of love to share. Hopefully, just like we do!

Seniors have so much to offer. Wisdom, patience, love.  Perhaps that is exactly what an adopter needs to love one. Wisdom, patience and love.  Adorable doesn't always come with sharp puppy teeth. Often it comes with a gray face, a powder face.  It grows in the heart of one who loves selflessly. It brings blessings and joys one could never anticipate. Think about it, there is a senior pointer in our program who needs you, who needs your love.  Show them the good life.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Won't You Be Our Partner AKA How You Can Help!

The good news is 100% of the funding GPPR receives goes to the dogs.  You read that right, 100%.  Now I wish I could say our funding needs are 100% met, but they aren't. However, you can help.

You can sponsor a specific dog and be a Pointing Partner.  Your donation goes to your partner's food, vet care, toys or anything else needed to help in the journey to a forever home.  You can have a direct impact on the second chance your Pointing Partner has in our program.  In doing this you support the dog, the foster home and GPPR.  Gotta love that.

Sometimes we have dogs in our care with special medical needs.  They are not adoption ready and are listed under the title of Sponsorship.  Lila and Pete are both examples of Sponsorship dogs.   They need lots of love and financial support to assist in the healing process.

You can also donate in the memory of a loved one, either two footed or four footed.  It's all good and goes to helping our dogs find wonderful forever homes.  Maybe you are the family looking to adopt and maybe you can't adopt, but still want to help.  We love you for your support.  Just like we love the dogs in our program.  In whatever way you can....won't you be our partner???

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Love Is In The Air At GPPR

A few words about love and GPPR.  I may be uniquely qualified as I am both a volunteer for GPPR and an adopter from them. Right now I am Buddy's foster Mom. In the past I was the foster Mom for Layla, Chukar, Addy, Wallace, Snowflake and Jesse.  It's a revolving door of fosters here and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Valentine's is just around the corner and we have some real sweethearts looking for love on our website.  

It takes a special person to adopt a rescue dog.  We find they are people full of hope.  People who embrace second chances.  People who are willing to love a new dog, and the special quirks they come with, into their lives. Quirks you say? Yup, we have them and dogs have them. Quirks, idiosyncrasies, baggage, history. I mean that in the best way!!! Rescue dogs are grateful, loving, adaptable.  Some do best with experienced owners, some may have special needs.  All are waiting for that perfect forever home. Are they adoptable - absolutely.  Are they fabulous - completely.  Do they have a whole lot of love to give - totally.      

We understand that adopting a new pet is a commitment, and we are committed to helping your new family member adjust into your home and heart.

Think about the love you have to offer, and the dogs waiting for their forever home.  Let's do a little matchmaking.  Love is in the air.