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The Best of KB-L for 2009

 

December 2009


Context:

Have you ever lost a dog and thought that there could never be another dog like this one, that you could never love another as much? In the midst of our grief, we
often think that we could never replace the one lost. This month's "best of" was forwarded from another list and expresses what each of us know in our heart.

Post:

Subject: The Best Dog in the World
From: [name deleted upon request]
Date: 22 Dec 2009

By T'Mara Goodsell

One's first love is always perfect until one meets one's second love.
~Elizabeth Aston

Years ago, I owned the very best dog in the world.

I was a child when we got her. She was a graceful brown hound, a foundling who taught me that our pets are not purchased, but ordained.
She romped when I did and knew how to smile in that funny way that only some dogs have. She grew up with me, always there when I needed her. My grown hand still remembers the sleek bump on the top of her head and that gentle divot just past her nose that fit my index finger just perfectly. She passed away during one of my college vacations. My heart broke then, and I knew that there would never be another dog like her, and there hasn't been. I was sure that I could never love another dog as much as I'd loved her.

Fortunately, I was wrong about that part.

My next dog came into my life when I was married. My husband traveled for a living, and I was often lonely. This dog grew into a lumbering Wolfhound and Sheepdog mix who taught me patience. He was a large, grizzled sentry, that dog. He rarely left my side until the children were born, and then he became their guardian, too. I can still feel that swirl of fur along his back and the weight of his chin when it rested in my lap. When he passed away, my heart broke. As much as I had loved that childhood dog, I had been wrong. This was the very best dog in the world. There would never be another dog like him, and there hasn't been. I was sure I would never love another dog as much as I'd loved him.

I was wrong again.

We got the next one, a loping black Lab-and-Terrier mix, when the children were little. He taught me the importance of adapting. He was everyone's dog from the beginning, and that was just as it should be. When he played tug of war with the children, he dragged them across the kitchen floor as they shrieked with laughter. He always seemed to sleep in the room of the child who needed his company the most. These days his face is expressively gray, and he spends more time with me since the almost-grown children aren't around so much. The other day my oldest, home from college, played tug of war. We all laughed--just a little--as the dog was gently pulled across the kitchen floor.

He is, of course, the very best dog in the world. I will never forget that exquisitely soft tuft of fur behind his ears or the tickly feel when he nuzzles. There won't be another dog like him. And that's okay, because we will never be at this point in our lives gain.

Sometimes I've wondered why two species that get along so well should have such different life spans. It just doesn't seem right. And then I wonder if that's part of the lesson: To teach us that love itself has a spirit that returns again and again and never really dies.

It's amazing, in a way, how they bring to our ever-changing lives exactly what it is that we need at the moment. They make room for one another, this family of dogs who has never even met. And they fit--into our families, into our lives, into our memories, and into our hearts--because they always have been and always will be the best dogs in the world.


November 2009

Context:

November's "best of" is a lovely introduction from a new Kerry owner in Ireland. Mara was looking for advice on living with a Kerry and has certainly come to the right place. The Foundation website, newslist and other resources, not to mention our wonderful Kerry community, provide invaluable resources for Kerries and their people. This is Mara's first Kerry and we welcome her into our friendly group and wish her many happy years with her Lady.

Post:

Subject: Introduction from Lady
From: Mara Murphy
Date: Mon. 2 Nov 2009

Hello,

I have never been on a "list" before, and don't really know how it works,
but after reading the rules and etiquette I believe I ought to introduce
myself by sending an email to this address. I hope that I am correct?

My name is Mara and I live in Galway, Ireland. Two weeks ago we took in a
stray Kerry. We located her guardians and learned that her elderly owner
was unable to look after her, and relatives had only reluctantly taken her
in. It took about 30 seconds for us to fall in love! But, we try to be
practical and responsible and considered our situation carefully. Strays
come our way all too often, and we already have four rescues of varying
crosses and ages. Two weeks on, however, and no one has expressed interest
in taking her and she has settled in here as though it's been home all her
life.

Her name is Lady. She is twelve years old. She is very friendly and loves
all people, especially men. I believe this is how she ended up straying so
we keep a close eye on her if she's off lead in our park. She's not very
well trained, but is so gentle and calm and is very responsive. She's
learning recall quickly with the help of some home-made liver treats. She
gets on well with other dogs, even though she's been in a one-dog household
all her life. She's starting to join in a little when our dogs play chase.
I'm happy that she is able to keep up with me and our two younger ones, as
she seems to be having a very calming effect on them. They can be excitable
and our 2 yo border terrier cross is nervous of other dogs, but they are
noticeably calmer when Lady is around. She is an absolute joy!

She has a touch of arthritis and a minor incontinence problem - she leaks a
bit when sleeping - but is on medication that seems to work. We had her
groomed as she was very matted, and she's off to the vet this week for a
thorough going over. We had her in for a quick check-up already, but now
that she's been shorn we have found some lumps and bumps.
I'm lucky to be part of a wonderful community of people who all walk their
dogs in our local park, and they have all chipped in to help out with the
costs - providing bedding, food bowls, micro-chipping, grooming, even a
name-tag for her collar!!

She is our first Kerry, and I don't know much about the breed. So if anyone
has any tips or info you feel would be important for me to know, I welcome
it.

Mara Murphy
County Galway, Ireland


October 2009

Context:

We all love our Kerry friends for the love and companionship they provide. But it's nice to know that they are looking out for us, too! October's "best of" is this post from Eileen Andrade about her hero, Tristan.

Post:

Subject: My Hero!
From: Eileen Andrade
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 2009

Life in our household has been pretty hectic of late. Between work and home
I feel like I'm on the go all the time, but it is such a comfort to come
home to my Kerry kids. At the moment Trudy is "away at camp". She is
staying with a family who are waiting for one of Justine's puppies (soon to
be born). Since she doesn't get along with any other female in her home
this was a necessity. To be fair I think she is having a wonderful time
being an only dog for a change and having two human kids to dote on her.

At home Justine is getting bigger with every passing second and I'm not sure
that she is going to make it all the way to her due date of Sunday the 1st.
Tristan is still acting like the enamored lover, sleeping curled up next to
her with a leg thrown over her shoulders on frequent occasions. He won't go
so far as to share his food bowl with her, but in all other things he defers
to her.

Last week he did double duty - taking care of all of us. One night about
11:30 he started fussing at me, waking me from a sound sleep and insisting
that I accompany him. He does this sometimes, even though he has access to
the yard it seems like he wants me to go along with him and keep him
company. I grumbled and complained as I roused from my slumbers and
realized that he wasn't going to leave me alone. So I got up and went
downstairs with him, only to discover that my student lodger had put a pan
of water on the stove to boil to make a cup of tea and then gone back to his
room and fallen asleep. The pan had boiled dry and was popping and cracking
something fierce. This was what was bothering Tristan. It was so bad that
when I put the pan in the sink the copper clad bottom popped off!

Once this problem was solved Tristan was ready to go back to bed, but an
award of a nice piece of meat wouldn't be scoffed at he told me!

What would I do without these dogs? The house would probably burn down
around my ears.

Eileen Andrade
Truetype Kerry Blue Terriers
Northern California


September 2009

Context:

Our "best of" for September, from Marie Demarco, is a poam dedicated to our rescue workers whose untiring efforts have made the difference between life and death for many Kerries in trouble. It speaks for itself.

Post:

Subject: I QUIT
From: marie <marie1025d@SBCGLOBAL.NET>
Date: Sat, 12 Sep 2009

To all rescue volunteers:

I want to quit!

My health is bad. There are days I feel so terrible that I can
barely move. My phone bills are outrageous, and I could have
replaced my van with the funds I have spent these last 30
years---on animals that were not my own.

I want to quit!

I spend hours and hours emailing about dogs. There may be 500
messages when I start--and at 4 AM, when I finally shut down
the computer, there are still 500 emails to be read.

I want to quit!

Gosh, I haven't the time left to email my friends. I can't
remember the last book I read, and I gave up my subscription
to my local newspaper---I used to enjoy reading it, cover to
cover, but now it often ends up in the bottom of the
squirrel's cage---unread.

I want to quit!

I've spent days emailing what seems like everyone---trying to
find a foster home, help for a dog languishing in a
shelter---but his time has run out, and the shelter has had
to euthanize to make room for the next sad soul.

I want to quit!

I swear, I walk away from my computer to stretch my legs---let
the dogs out---and come back to find another dog in
desperate need. There are times I really dread checking my
email. How will I find the funds, the help, to save yet
another dog?

I want to quit!

I save one dog, and two more take its place. Now an owner who
doesn't want his dog---it won't stay in his unfenced yard. An intact
male wanders... This bitch got pregnant by a stray... This
3-month-old pup killed baby chicks... The dog got too big...
This person's moving and needs to give up his pet. I ask
you, friends---what town, what city, what state doesn't
allow you to own a pet?

I want to quit!

I just received another picture, another sad soul with
tormented eyes that peer out of a malnourished body. I hear
whimpering in my sleep, have nightmares for
days...

I want to quit!

I just got off the phone. "Are you [Kerry] Rescue? We want to
adopt a male to breed to our female." How many times do
I have to explain? I have tried to explain about genetics,
about health and pedigrees. I explain that rescue NEUTERS!
I usually end up sobbing, as I explain about the vast numbers
of animals dying in shelters across the country, as I
describe the condition many of these animals are found in. I
wonder if they really heard me...

I want to quit!

It is not like I don't have enough rescues of my own to
worry about---but others have placed dogs improperly and
aren't there to advise the new owners.

I want to quit!

I have trusted the wrong people--- had faith and heart
broken...

I want to quit!

AND THEN...

My dog, lays his head in my lap, he comforts me with his gentle
presence---and the thought of his cousins suffering stirs my heart.

I want to quit!

AND THEN...

One of those 500 emails is from an adopter. They are thanking me
for the most wonderful dog on earth---they cannot imagine
life with out their friend---their life is changed, and they
are so grateful.

I want to quit!

AND THEN...

One of my adopted Rescues has visited a nursing home. A patient
that has spent the last few years unable to communicate, not
connecting---Lifts his hand to pat the huge head in his lap,
softly speaks his first words in ages--- to this gentle
furchild.

I want to quit!

AND THEN...

A Good Samaritan has found and vetted a lost baby, "I
can't keep him, but I'll take care of him until you
find his forever home."

I want to quit!

AND THEN...

"Jamie took his first steps holding on to our [Kerry]."
"Joan, you should see this dog nursing this hurt kitten!"
"I was so sick, and this dog never left my side...

I want to quit!

AND THEN...

I get an email from a fellow rescuer, "Haven't heard
from you in a while---you OK? You know I think of you..."

AND THEN...

A dozen rescuers step up to help, to transport, to pull, and
to offer encouragement. I have friends I have never seen,
but we share tears, joys, and everything in between. I am
not alone. I am blessed with family of the heart, my fellow Rescuers.

Just days ago it was a friend who shared her wit and wisdom,
whose late night email lifted my heart. Sometimes it is
friends who only have time to forward you a smile. Often, it
is my friends who forward me the notices of dogs in need.

There are Rescuers who see a flailing transport and do everything
they can do find folks to pull it together for you. Rescuers
who'll overnight or foster your dog while you seek
transport. There are Rescuers not used to or comfortable
with your breed, but who put aside their discomfort to help.
There are Rescuers whose words play the music of our hearts.
Foster homes that love your Rescue, and help to make them
whole again---body and spirit. Foster homes that fit your
baby in, though it may not be their breed. Rescuers whose
talents and determination give us tools to help us. Rescuers
we call on for help in a thousand ways, who answer us, who
hear our pleas. Rescuers who are our family,
our strength, our comrades in battle.

I know I cannot save every dog in need. I know my efforts are
a mere drop in a sea. I know that if I take on just one
more---those I have will suffer.

I want to quit! But I won't.

When I feel overwhelmed, I'll stroke my dogs head while
reading my fellow Rescuers emails. I'll cry with them,
I'll laugh with them---and they will help me find the
strength to go on.

I want to quit! But not today.

There's another email, another dog needing rescue.

This piece is dedicated, with love and gratitude, to all my fellow Rescuers.
The author is unknown.


August 2009

Context:

This month's "best of KB-L" is a post from Judith Bruno, written in response to a plea from Linda Grisley, Rescue Director for Canada. Linda is looking for a forever family for Kim, a seven year old Kerry who, through no fault of her own, has lost her family. But Kim's age seems to be working against her and Judith has come to the defence of older dogs who still have so much love to give.

Post:

From: Judith Bruno Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 7:38 AM
To: KERRYBLUES-L@APPLE.EASE.LSOFT.COM
Subject: Adopting and living with older dogs

I was just looking at Craigslist yesterday and found a local ad giving away a 4 year old of another breed. A friend of mine several months back lost her beloved of the same breed, so I passed the ad on through a friend who was closer to her. Her response was typical, "I want a rescue, but I want one under 2 years of age". I'll not consider helping her on that quest.

People who have been on the List for a while will recall our adoption of Scamp. When she was found the shelter listed her as 5. She wasn't in good shape when she was rescued so we made the rounds to various vets, some who felt she was an older puppy. When we went to UCDavis for dental work, through the study of her teeth (those that remained) her Iris and xrays of her spine and hips they put her age at 11 or 12. No one can be certain, but we are certain that no one ever told Scamp.

As far as personalities, she was the most amazing creature, ever!

We had her for 5 years or so.

And I think this is what people need to understand, we always felt we had had her for her entire lifetime. We never felt shortchanged. She packed so much quality time into those years we have more memories than we will ever be able to review once.
The KB-L archives are filled with stories about Scamp.

Also I chronicled my early days with Miss Pinky, our first puppy ever. Pinky is a good girl, don't get me wrong, but I'll say it again, raising a puppy is not for the faint of heart - it is a ton of work. Some of us are so hoodwinkied by these charming pups, that they get away with murder. So to debunk a myth I hear over and over, you have no guarantee that a pup you raise will turn out better behaved than an older rescue (due to your own weakness and fault!). Pinky is the worse mannered Kerry we have ever had, and in the past we've only had girls from the school of hard knock. Pink just knows how to manipulate us, and that Roland just has to look at her and melt. And she is darling and loveable and affectionate, even if she prefers to potty in the warm dining room on a cold winter night.

Listers also know that our Heddy is waiting with baited breath for her carrot cake in October to celebrate her 15th birthday. All day long she keeps up with 4 year old Pinky. Her hearing is failing, and as a result she sleeps deeper and harder. Pinky understand this and goes over and barks loud in her ear when we're getting ready to do something, but Heddy charges up, out of her sleep, like a bull.
Here, here to living with older dogs!

And, Yes, there is a section on the website, which I write on Elder Kerries, dedicated to dogs over 15. I am certain there is a dedicated photographer and historian out there on the List, who has well chronicled the life of one Kerry, who might be able to provide a time lapsed history of one Kerry through the years in photos. That would be a great addition to the website.

Judith Bruno
Palm Desert, CA


July 2009

Context:

With summer upon us, this post forwarded by Marie DeMarco is very timely. Every year we hear of dogs succumbing to heat stroke. Here is some very valuable, possibly life-saving, information for all dog owners.

Post:

Subject: Heatstroke in Dogs
From: Marie DeMarco<marie1025d@sbcglobal.net>
Date: July 2, 2009, 8:24 PM

The first thing that needs to be understood is that dogs and people are different enough that most of the info cannot cross lines. Dogs do not lose enough electrolytes thru exercise to make a difference, but if the dog gets truly into heat stroke, the physiology changes will make them necessary BUT oral replacement at that point is futile, they need intravenous fluids and electrolytes and lots of it.

Cooling:

Evaporative cooling is the most efficient mean of cooling. However, in a muggy environment, the moisture will not evaporate so cooling does not happen well. I cool with the coldest water I can find and will use ice depending on the situation. The best way is to run water over the dog, so there is always fresh water in contact with the skin.

When you immerse a dog in a tub, the water trapped in the hair coat will get warm next to the dog, and act as an insulator against the cool water and cooling stops. If you can run water over the dog and place it in front of a fan that is the best. Misting the dog with water will only help if you are in a dry environment or in front of a fan. Just getting the dog wet is not the point, you want the water to be cool itself, or to evaporate.

For MOST situations all you will need to do is get the dog in a cooler environment, in shade, or in the cab of the truck with the air conditioning on (driving around so the truck does not overheat and the AC is more efficient). Up to a couple of years ago, I was very concerned about my dogs getting too hot in the back of my black pickup with a black cap. New white truck fixed a lot of that problem. When I had one dog I just pulled the wire crate out of the car and put it in some shade and hopefully a breeze. But having 2 dogs and running from one stake to another, that was not feasible. So I built a platform to put the wire crates on, this raises the dog up in the truck box where the air flow is better. Then I placed a 3 speed box fan in front blowing on the dogs with a foot of space to allow better airflow. purchased a power inverter that connects to the battery and allows the 3 speed fan to run from the truck power. It has an automatic feature that prevents it from draining the battery. When I turned that fan on medium I would find that the dogs where asleep, breathing slowly and appeared very relaxed and comfortable in a matter of 20 minutes orless, even on very hot muggy days.

Alcohol:

I do carry it for emergencies. It is very effective at cooling due to the rapid evaporation. It should be used when other methods are not working. You should be on your way to the veterinarian before you get to this point. We recommend using rubbing alcohol, which is propylene alcohol, not ethyl, for those of you not aware. So do not try to drink it. Alcohol should be used on the pads and lower feet area where there is little more than skin and blood vessels over the bones. Use a little bit and let it evaporate, you can use too much as some is absorbed through the skin. There are concerns about toxicity, but you have to get the temperature down. I purchased those cooling pads that you soak in cold water, but found that the dogs would not lay on them. I would hold them on the back of a dog that just worked to get a quick cool, but have not use them for years. I also bought a pair of battery operated fans but found them pretty useless. Spend your money on the power inverter and get a real fan.

Watching temperature:

If you feel your dog is in danger of heat injury, check its temp and write it down. Keep checking the temp every 3 minutes. I recommend to get a "rectal glass thermometer. The digital ones from the drug store I have found to be very unreliable, Don't forget to shake it down completely each time, sounds silly, but when are worried about your companion, things tend to get mixed up. This is VERY IMPORTANT**once the temp STARTS to drop, STOP ALL COOLING EFFORTS. The cooling process will continue even though you have stopped. If the temp starts at 106.5, and then next time it drops to 105.5, stop cooling the dog, dry it off, and continue monitoring. You will be amazed how it continues to go down. If you do not stop until the temp is 102, the temp will drop way too low. I cannot emphasis this point enough.

When the dog is so heated that it is panting severely, only let it have a few laps of water. Water in the stomach does not cool the dog, you just need to keep the mouth wet so the panting is more effective. Do not worry about hydration until the temp has started down. A dog panting heavily taking in large amounts of water is a risk of bloat. Due to the heavy panting they will swallow air, mixed with a large amount of water they can bloat. Once the temp is going down and panting has slowed to more normal panting then allow water. The dog will rehydrate it self after temp is normal. If the dog has a serious problem and even though you have gotten the temp normal, get the dog to a vet, as it can still need IV fluids and some medication. Also, a case of heat stroke can induce a case of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (not parvo), with a ton of very bloody diarrhea and a lot of fluid and electrolyte loss. These cases need aggressive treatment.

The best method of treatment is prevention. Learn to watch your dog, and see the changes in the size of the tongue, and how quickly it goes down. Learn your dogs response to the different environments, and be careful when you head south for an early season hunt test or trial. I have been to Nashville at the end of May, only 5 hours away, but the difference in temp and humidity did effect the dogs as they were used to more spring weather in Ohio . Try different things in training to help the dog cool and learn what works better. Another very important point - Do not swim your hot dog to cool it then put in put in a box/tight crate. Remember, evaporation can not take place in a tight space, and the box will turn into a sauna and you will cook your dog. Carry a stake out chain, and let the dog cool and dry before putting it up.

I demonstrated this lesson this spring with my 10 month old pup. After doing a 15 minute session in yard drill on a warm 70+ degree day, she was panting pretty hard and was pretty hot. She was OK but it was time to stop. Just for the heck of it I took her temp. She was 103.6, above normal but too bad for a dog that had just finished working. In my back yard I have a 300 gallon Rubbermaid tub filled with water. I took her to it and she jumped in and out 3-4 times. She appeared totally improved, tongue was much smaller, and eyes brighter and her full spring was back into her step. So I re-took her temp and it was 104.2, so even though she looked better she was hotter. This is a perfect lesson to show not get a hot dog wet and then put them in a box. The water on her skin caused the blood vessels to constrict, decreasing blood flow to the skin. Therefore the hot blood was shunted back to the dog's core and retained the heat. You may have felt the same thing, after exercising but still being very warm, take a shower and get cooled off but as soon as you turn the shower off you start sweating again.

I know this is a bit long, but hopefully this is easy to understand and helps provide some useful information. Remember: Prevention, learn your dog.

It is worth the time and effort.

Nate Baxter, DVM


June 2009

Context:

In reply to a member's inquiry for travelling advice, Judith Bruno sent an excellent post outlining her tips for travelling with our Kerries.

Post:

Subject: Travel
From: Judith Bruno <jbruno@ralden.com>
Date: June 14, 2009, 3:24 PM

For the past 15 years we have regularly traveled between Palm Springs and San Francisco (500 miles) with all our Kerries.

You're going a greater distance but I do have some suggestions:

#1 Your dog should be wearing a new ID tag with your cell phone number on it. I spent a good deal of time 2 years ago trying to help a family find their Kerry. They were moving from the PNW to Arizona, and assume their dog must have jumped out the window while they were gassing up in southern California - which they didn't notice until they got to Arizona.

#2 Based on 1, you should count all heads before pulling away from any stops.

#3 Your dog should be restrained at all times, either in a doggie seat belt or in a crate, not only for his own orthopedic safety, but to prevent a dash from the car (see #1 above). Heddy loves the seat belt, but Pinky doesn't - so Pinky is always on her soft crate.

#4 You should have a special designated place to keep the leashes, like the seat pocket - so if you, or someone else, needs to get the dogs out of the car quickly (in an emergency) it can be done safely. Also constantly looking for the leashes in a crowded car, at every stop, is a drag.

#5 Your dog should never travel in the front seat when the airbag is on. One trip to UC Davis on a day of orthopeic intake will show you what the force of an airbag will do to a dog. Remember, because of airbags, it is recommended that people under 110 lbs should not sit in front passenger seats when the airbag is on.

#6 Remember, it is tricky to make long trip alone with a dog, especially during the summer. Driving back and forth to SF up the "5" it would be impossible to leave a dog in the car alone during the summer months even for the few minutes it would take to dash in to a restroom. When I have had to travel alone, if necessary, I have taken the dogs into the restroom with me! It can also be tricky to even gas up, so be sure the dogs are restrained and open all window before turning off the engine to gas up.

Remember - it gets hotter in a car in the sunshine, even with the windows down, than the outside temperature Regarding this point I found this online:.

Never, ever leave your dog in a parked car! Not even for a few minutes! Heat inside a parked car can build, in just a few short minutes, to as much as 40 degrees above the outside temperature. For instance, on an 80 F day, temperatures in a parked car can reach 120 F in as little as ten minutes, especially if the car is in the sun. Leaving the windows cracked helps very little and that's only IF there's a breeze. Factor in humidity and the dog doesn't have a snowball's chance!

Read more about heat stroke.

#7 I have thin cotton infant blankets, which I always have in the car, as the dogs can get quite a chill from the air conditioning.

#8 I have some of those infant window screens to help keep the direct sun off the dogs in both rear seat windows, and one for the back window as well.

#9 We prefer not to potty our dogs in the dog areas of the public rest stops. Call me neurotic, but they don't clean the pet areas regularly, and I don't care to have my dogs exposed to such filth/germs. We usually pull off the road at an exit and walk the dogs at a gas station or restaurant - all usually have a well maintained green lawn

#10 Have a good supply of pick up bags and clean up after your dogs so the potty area you choose stays clean.

#11 We usually fill a thermos with lots of ice and cold water, and it usually stays cold all day - the dogs don't care for room temperature water.

#12 We usually pack a cooler with human treats and the kind of high value treats the dogs love (cheese sticks, cut up apple, etc) The dogs deserve a reward for the hours of confinement.

#13 Even the best traveled dogs can have trouble on some twisty, turny roads. It pays to have some towels and supplies to clean up car and dog afterward.

I remember taking Molly out to Point Reyes once, and we tried going to San Diego with Pinky over the mountains - both got very sick. I'm never sure what to do once they get sick, it doesn't seem to help to slow down on the turns, so we usually try to comfort the dog verbally and get through the rough patch as quickly as possible.

#14 On one trip to SF, I was traveling alone with my 3 KBTs and I got bad gas and broke down on Route 5. So be sure to have a fully charged cell phone.

It can be a scary prospect. While along the side of the road for over a hour and a half no one stopped to offer help. We were lucky it was not during the summer. Regarding bad gas, I have read that it is best never to gas up when the tanker truck is at the station delivering gas - it turns up sediment from the bottom of the tank, also it is best to get gas well before your tank it too empty.

#15 Keep in mind some ideas to keep the dogs comfortable if you do break down over the summer. Towels again are great to have on hand, because if you do find yourself without a/c, you can soak towels with drinking water and drape them over the dogs to keep them comfortable until help arrives.

#16 If you have friends along the way, it is nicer for all involved to plan to stay with them, rather than at a hotel. It will give you and the dogs a whole lot more freedom. This week we actually had friends spend the night with their 3 dogs, cat and 2 horses - they were relocating from Northern California to Florida, and we had them overnight. When we stay in a hotel, before we check in, we stop to get take out, as we don't like to leave the dogs alone in a strange hotel room. They are usually all hyped up about the trip and being left in a strange room alone is probably not comforting. At the very least they would probably bark and disturb the neighbors.

Those are a few obvious things that come to mind.

Judith Bruno
Palm Desert, CA


May 2009

Context:

During a discussion about various training aids, N'anne Smith wrote about her preferred tool. This low-tech item seems to do the job for her, and, come to think of it, I think it worked on me, too!

Post:

Subject: Tool
From: nannesmith <nannesmith@CABLEONE.NET>
Date: Mon, 11 May 2009 16:09:29 -0600

Hi all,

I have been following the list on all the tools used to train your KBT kids and I have one too! It lives on top of the fridge and it is used for the demise of flies...

Kerry Blues in this house have told the tale of this tool from generation to generation without it ever being used on any of them. The Dreaded Fly Swatter!!

Now let me back track...every single one of our Kerries have been afraid of flies--they just come unglued if there is a fly in the room. Addy Jay assumes the position of the 50's air raid drill-head down butt in the air, and Ganni Claire just leaves the room, army crawling.

This tool has been used to kill flies and some times a scorpion or spider. I will admit that I use a rather loud swat for a scorpion but it has never been used on a Kerry butt in this house. OK. Now we get to the Tool part for a kerry blue kid....

All I have to do is say, "Guess I'll get the fly swatter", and I have the best two kerries this side of the Pecos River. They will sit, calm down, and not move a muscle.

If I have company and they are going crazy, just stand by the fridge and I can clear the room of kerries. I don't even have to say anything--it is uncanny.

If a toy is being torn apart, just get the swatter and they try to put the toy back together or return it to the toy box.

They can be out back coming unglued over a cat and I just have to go to the door and say "swatter", and they become best friends with the cat.

It has been like a fluke tool in my kerry training. Sometimes I just have to look like I am getting the dread tool and Addy Jay and Ganni Claire are so still and sitting down looking like the sweetest kids on the block.

So that is my Tool for my KBTs. I know that this fear of the fly swatter started with Keri Lisbet, who told Molly, who told Timmy Pat, who told Briggs and Hannah, who told Addy Jay, and who finally taught Ganner Claire. All I did was kill a fly or spider along the way!! I never did one bit of training with the swatter and it has never been to class with them so I only know that they have told each other through the generations to watch out for the tool on top of the fridge. Ganner Claire knew at nine weeks!!

Hope you all have a tool at your house--it has been my life saver, even in a Kerry Brawl!


N'anne Smith
Roswell, New Mexico


April 2009

Context:

In January, we learned about MacGyver, a mature Kerry with aggression issues, and his search for a new home. As with most problem dogs, MacGyver had potential in spades and he could have had a good life with an adult experienced family to work through his issues, but that family was not found in time and he was lost. Linda Grisley's post below informed us of his sad fate. Please, if you are in a position to offer a home to an older dog with or without challenges, if you have the experience, the time, the patience and the love to work with them, let the Foundation know so we can save dogs like Macgyver. He still had so much to give. 

Post:

From: Linda Grisley
Subject: [KBL] MacGyver
Date: Friday, April 24, 2009, 3:00 PM

MacGyver has been on our web site for adoption for a couple of months. It was very difficult for his family to acknowledge that his aggressiveness,
especially towards their child warranted his rehoming, but they were willing to continue to keep him in their home until a suitable new home
could be found.

Today I am very sad to tell you, listers, that his family has taken the extremely painful path of putting MacGyver to sleep.

MacGyver did not have any adoption applicants come forward, although he would have made a fine addition to an adult home with no children. He was only 9 years old and still had an active life potential, but people were just not interested in taking on an older dog with problems. I know we have previously discussed the benefits of adopting older dogs, but here is another case of a sad ending to a beautiful Kerry's life.

Hug your dogs and may MacGyver now be at peace.

Linda Grisley
Rescue Director, Canada


March 2009

Context:

Throughout the month of March, we received a number of posts from Michael Cunnington regarding the decline of his beloved Kerry Kasey. Though Kasey rallied for a short time, he continued to lose ground and Michael and his wife made the difficult decision to let him go. Here is his recounting of Kasey's last day.

Post:

From: Michael Cunnington
Subject: [KBL] Kasey - The Aftermath
Date: March 21, 2009 12:18:31 AM PDT

Dear Kerry friends,

I believe this will be my final message on the subject of Kasey, my beloved Kerry Blue companion.

My previous email was not conclusive, so I write to tell you of the final moments and aftermath of Kasey's demise.

As I reported earlier, due to Kasey's physical deterioration I decided that the time had come when the kindest thing I could do was to set him free from further pain and suffering.

When I telephoned the Southern Animal Hospital, I asked if Phil Hutt, our regular veterinarian, could make a home visit because I didn't want Kasey to be be distressed by travelling, or disturbed by distractions caused by the smells and presence of other animals.
I'm pleased to say that that Phil immediately agreed to come to our home. He knows Kasey well and I like to think that he had a slightly more than professional interest in this particular patient.

On reflection, I'm so glad that we didn't have to take Kasey to the hospital where the procedure would have taken place in clinical and impersonal surroundings. By conducting the whole affair at home, my wife, Gay and I, were able to grieve privately without feeling disconcerted by the presence of strangers.

When Phil arrived, carrying his ominous black bag, Kasey was resting on his own little bed where he had lain for most of the day. He was very tired and although he kept his eyes fixed on me, he showed no inclination to get up.

In order to demonstrate his physical weakness to Phil, I called his name and commanded, "come!" Poor boy! He struggled to get to his feet but his coordination was very poor and he had difficulty maintaining his balance. So, I immediately went to his aid and placed him back on his side.

I then asked Phil to confirm that I was doing the right thing and sought his assurance that there was little to be gained by giving Kasey further medical attention. Phil had no hesitation in supporting my viewpoint and he also expressed the opinion that Kasey might be suffering from a cancer but at his advanced age, there was little point in pursuing the matter further.

So, the moment we dreaded was upon us! Phil opened his black bag and took out a pair of scissors, which he needed to remove a little hair from Kasey's leg in order to administer the injection.

So that Gay and I could remain in our places by Kasey's head, Phil trimmed the hair from one of his back legs, then began to prepare the fatal injection.

Up to this time, although my wife was weeping, I had managed to contain my emotions. However, I now realized that Kasey and I were only seconds away from parting and I could not restrain my tears.

As the needle was inserted, I held his head, looked into his eyes, told him I loved him and thanked him for all the wonderful years that we had spent together.

He looked calmly back into my eyes as the syringe emptied its contents and I waited for some muscular spasm or any sign that would tell me the final moment had arrived.

There was nothing! Kasey continued to gaze at me with the same calm expression in his eyes. I glanced to the side and saw that Phil had removed the needle. I looked at Kasey's chest and noted that there was no longer any sign of breathing. He had gone!

What a beautiful ending. I can report that Kasey was delivered from life without the slightest tremor that might suggest he suffered any discomfort and I am left with the feeling that it was the kindest act I could have performed for my ailing friend.

Of course, since Kasey's departure, our house has been rather sombre and my wife has shed many tears. This morning I went into the garden and noticed that she had placed a small vase of flowers in his kennel.

For the moment, I am still walking around with an invisible dog at my heels and must keep reminding myself that he is no longer with me.

Still, it is said that "time heals all wounds" and we will not lose the many happy memories of our wonderful Kerry friend, Kasey.

I must pay tribute to Phil Hutt and the staff of the Southern Animal Hospital for their expertise and caring concern. I was overwhelmed this morning to have a display of flowers delivered to my home with a card which carried the message, "With deepest sympathy from all the staff at the Southern Animal Hospital for the loss of Kasey"

Such wonderful people.

I would like to close by thanking all the list readers who have offered condolences at this time. Your messages have been of great solace to my wife and myself.

Michael
Adelaide
South Australia


February 2009

Context:

Question of the week #335 "Do you "dress" your Kerry before going out in bad or cold weather?" certainly generated a lot of discussion, with 42% stating they would not be caught dead with their dog wearing any kind of clothing! Regardless of your take on "doggy fashions", for those of us living in more northern climes, appropriate clothing can save a lot of drying or "deicing", while allowing our dogs to enjoy more outdoor time in inclement weather. Kanako Ohara's post gives us the practical side of the argument based on her experience living in Tokyo, New York City and now, London.

Post:

From: Kanako Ohara <tokyo_dale@MAC.COM>
Subject: Re: [KBL] dressing dogs up
To: KERRYBLUES-L@APPLE.EASE.LSOFT.COM
Date: Wednesday, February 11, 2009, 2:43 AM

I don't know why people have such reactions to dressing dogs up. Unless one is doing it to be Paris Hilton, I think dressing dogs up is practical in many occasions.

Say, when it rains or snows, it's less dogs to dry afterwards when they come into the house. Perhaps people who live in a single family residence with a yard don't feel the need to go out in the bad weather, but those of us who reside in apartments are constantly out regardless of the weather, and hence having less to dry is nothing but bonus.

Somebody also mentioned that Kerry coat makes pompoms in the snow. It's a timely topic for me because I just experienced this very thing in the big snow we just had in London. (If you are interested, please refer to the recent entry in my blog to see the photo: http://teddydale.jugem.jp)

With my Airedale's rough coat, those pompoms were just nuisance, but with Kerries, I find them much more problematic because they only get bigger and bigger and while doing so it twists their soft fur in them, making it rather painful for the dogs. The only way to get rid of those snow ball pompoms is by melting them in the warm shower. You can't brush them off because doing so will only pull out their furnishing.

So if I lived in a snowy country, I'd not only consider getting the dogs suitable winter gears (such as OBTRACK™ Skrylle: http://www.obtrack.com/eu/index.html), I would even consider getting ridiculous (yes, I admit) outfits that cover their legs (such as this: http://www.barkingmadclothing.co.uk/shop/products.asp?cat=12).

As for the boots, they are also very practical. When I lived in NYC with my Airedale, they were necessity because of the salt they put on the icy pavement. I used to wash my dog's feet if they get really dirty after walks, but when you go out 4 times a day, getting your dog into the shower isn't always practical. They also prevent snow balls to form between their pads, which can be painful as well.

NYC also has a problem of loose electric wiring under the pavement in some parts of the city, and sometimes dogs get mildly shocked if they walk on those parts with their bare feet. One woman actually got electrocuted to death one winter when her dog peed on something that hid the loose wiring. The salt water is a good conductor of electricity, you see. While this problem isn't for most of you, it's just something that is true for some people.

Having said all this, I also admit that I find dressing dogs up is fun because they look absurdly cute. I'd subject my guys to the idiocy every time it rains or every Halloween, or heck any day just to get some laughs with them.

Kanako with Louie and Sakura
London, UK
http://teddydale.jugem.jp


January 2009

Context:

It is never easy to say goodbye to our dear Kerries but when their days on earth are done, many of us have their remains cremated so we can keep their ashes in a place of honour in our homes.

In January, the topic of pet cremation came up and several listers posted their experiences, both good and bad, with different companies. Judith Bruno's post outlined appropriate questions for your veterinarian and aftercare providers to help you ensure that your dear friend is handled in a respectful manner.

Post:

From: Judith Bruno <jbruno@RALDEN.COM>
Subject: [KBL] Due Diligence of Pet Cremation
To: KERRYBLUES-L@APPLE.EASE.LSOFT.COM
Date: Wednesday, January 14, 2009, 3:24 PM

That's my point.

And there was an infamous case of Brent Marsh and the Tri-State Crematory in LaFayette, Georgia in 2002 where they found 339 unprocessed (for lack of a better term) human corpses at a crematorium site.

I also read of a case in LaSalle, Manitoba, Canada of the closure of a pet cemetery for unacceptable practices.

I wondered if the pet cemetery and cremation business is not at all regulated and I did read that in all but a few states it is without any regulation, except landfill permits for pet cemeteries and air general permits for crematories or incinerators. So there seems to be no regulation for business or ethical practices.

In reading this morning, I found a very informative article. It's contents may be disturbing to some, but in order to demand better service for our beloved
pets when the time comes, we need to know and understand some of the pitfalls of this industry:

http://www.kindredheartshome.com/pdfs/caution.pdf

I found this on line at:

http://www.petresource.com/NAPFD/cremation_consumer_report.htm

Questions to ask a veterinarian who offers to arrange after death care for your
pet:

  • What services do you provide?
  • How long does it take to perform the actual cremation?
  • Do you personally do these cremations or is this contracted to a third party?
  • If third party, how are you affiliated with this company?
  • Where is this company located?
  • May I have a brochure explaining the services this company provides as well as a pricelist?
  • Do you charge a fee to arrange these services and what is that fee?
  • How long will it be until my pet is picked up and how many pets are picked up at one time?
  • How long will it take for me to receive my pet's cremains back?
  • What will my pets cremated remains be returned in? (TYPE OF URN)
  • If I ask for a communal cremation, how many pets are cremated at one time?
  • Where is the final disposition of my pet's cremated remains? Will I have visitation rights?
  • Can you tell me how many communal cremations this company does per year?
  • Can you tell me how many private cremations (the cremation of one pet. Only one
    pet in the cremation chamber during the entire cremation cycle. No other pets
    are placed in the chamber until all the cremains from the previous pet are
    removed.) this company does per year?
  • May I be present for my pet's cremation? If not, why not?

Questions to ask a Pet Crematory when you are making arrangements directly:

  • What services do you provide?
  • How long will it take for you to pick up my pet after you have been notified it has died?
  • Do you offer 24-hour a day service?
  • May I have a brochure that explains your services as well as a pricelist?
  • How long does it take to do the actual cremation service?
  • May I be present for that service? If no, why not?
  • May I come and visit your facility before the services are needed?
  • Do you offer pre-planning?
  • What will my pet's cremated remains be returned in? (TYPE OF URN)
  • Do you have other types of urns available?
  • What is your definition of a private cremation?
  • What is your definition of a communal cremation? Where will my pet's cremains be interred? Do I have visitation rights?
  • How many private cremations do you do per year?
  • How many communal cremations do you do per year?

You can also investigate if Pet cremation and burial services are regulated in your state, and see what those regulations are. Also google the service provider you are investigating and see if anything pops up.

You can check with your states Department of Consumer Affairs and Attorney's General to see if any complaints have been registered against that service provider.

In my case I did not have a direct relationship with the crematorium, had no idea who they were, where they were located and what their facility was like. When I sent my gurls to be cremated, the most important thing to me was that that is what was returned to me. Never was I provided with a description of the crematoriums procedures, assurances and guarantees. I guess I assumed that my vet had looked into it, but I tend to doubt that she made a site visit and site inspection.

I should have done more research before I needed the services, as Molly has been ill for several months and we knew Scamp was as old as the hills. I could have been better prepared and not just gone with the flow when the emotional crisis hit me.

I think this is adequate information for us all to begin the due diligence we each need to do in our own community for our own piece of mind. Should I have time to make a visit to a pet crematorium or find more information, I will gladly share it at the time.

It is a time none of us want to face, losing a beloved friend, and a topic none of want to have to think about or worse explore, but I think the bottom line is, like in anything, buyer beware - it pays to do your research and due diligence for these services well in advance of your anticipated need.

Judith Bruno
Palm Desert, CA
jbruno@ralden.com

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