September – Puppy Mill Awareness Month

I’m sad that we have to talk about this as it is still a problem. I wish people would understand the problems of puppy mills and backyard breeders and the huge trauma they cause for these animals. When you “purchase” a puppy or kitten from a pet store (and it is not from a rescue)…. it is likely a puppy mill or backyard breeder where these animals are coming from.

Ralphie- formerly sold as a Jack Russell Terrier to a family out of state, was relinquished to a kill-shelter and was saved by rescue. He is not a JRT. He was from a puppy mill.

I want to clarify, I am not against breeders that are responsible about breeding and do their research. I do believe there are so many responsible people that breed dogs for agility, showing and for working dogs, and it is not fair to lump them into this group. I have photographed so many pure bred animals and the owners and handlers of these dogs do their research and make sure these pets are healthy and well and have the right temperament to carry on through generations. This is so very different from puppy mill breeding.

Puppy Mills are usually on large properties in secluded areas where not many people are able to view the operations. With that said, it is also possible they are right in the middle of a city as well, in the basements of homes. It is scary to think about the kind of life these animals endure in their first few months and the trauma they go through before being sold off.

Here are some stats to think about……. (estimations from Puppy Mill Project)

There are an estimated 10K puppy mills in operation throughout the United States

Over 2 Millions puppies are bred in puppy mills every year

Every year 1.2 Million dogs are euthanized in shelters.

Approximately 500+ pet stores are selling dogs from puppy mills.

PLEASE PLEASE! Do NOT buy a puppy from a pet store. Rescue a dog from a non-profit instead! If you want a pure bred dog, please do your research and ask for references! Make sure you’ve found a dog that was cared for and is happy & healthy!

There is a group called Bailing out Benji that is working to expose known puppy mills. They have a wealth of information on their website and have done the research. They have a map listing states and the number of puppy mills per state. If you click on your home state, you can see per county how many puppy mills are active as well. They also have a database of known puppy mills and list yearly the largest in operation. Before getting a dog/puppy, I urge you to check out their work and understand the information they are presenting. It could save so many lives.

A huge shout out to our friend Ralphie and his Human, Erica. They are both doing their part to educate on puppy mills and the importance of not purchasing a dog from a pet store. Ralphie has his own FB and Instagram…. Ralphie on Facebook Ralphie on Instagram Follow him to learn about puppy mills and also see his very cute photos!

September – Guide Dog Awareness Month (Part 2)

Continuing on from our last post about guide dog awareness….. I wanted to showcase one particular group – Leader Dogs for the Blind out of Rochester, MI. They graciously allowed me to observe a puppy raiser meeting as well as their more formal training of their dogs. Once the dogs have been with a puppy raiser for a year or so, they move back to Leader Dog HQ for more serious training with the staff at Leader Dog and when they graduate training, they are placed with someone needing a guide dog.

Golden Retriever puppy from a puppy raiser meeting in Chesterfield, MI.

If you didn’t catch part 1, you can get caught up here. I dove into the basics of working dogs and what a guide dog is. It is important to understand these differences especially when you see a working dog out in public. Please read their harness signs/patches carefully to know what is appropriate handling of their dogs. If you see a therapy dog, there is a good chance the handler will not mind you petting the dogs, but if the dog is a guide dog from Leader Dogs for the Blind or a search and rescue dog, it is very likely petting or interacting with the dog is prohibited.

Labrador Retriever puppy at a puppy raiser meeting looking to handler for guidance.

My first question was where do they get their dogs? Their group does their own breading and their dogs range from Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers to German Shepard Dogs and sometimes a mix of those breads depending on the temperament they want to cultivate in their guide dogs. The bread isn’t as important as much as the health and personality of the dog. Leader Dog needs their guide dogs to be trainable and non-reactive. From the whelping process to puppy raisers, most of the people fostering these dogs are all volunteer. After puppies are born, approximately 10% of these puppies are unable to proceed as a Leader Dog due to health concerns. This is called a “career change”. Any dogs that do not move forward as a Leader Dog are adopted out and career changed. If you have any interest in adopting a Leader Dog, get in touch with them ASAP! They have a long waiting list.

After the puppies go through training and living with a puppy raiser handler, they are then turned back over to Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester for more extensive and formal training. As a puppy they wear bandanas or a fabric vest, but once they are in formal training, they are upgraded to a leather harness. When the LD is wearing the leather harness they are officially “working”.

Leader Dogs for the Blind have a very rigorous training regimen for their dogs. It is of the utmost importance to go through this training and to make sure the dogs pass. If at any time a Leader Dog does protect their training handler it could mean danger for a blind handler once they receive the dog. The clients receiving these dogs are at varying levels of blindness and it is the dogs job to keep them safe and out of danger. They are essentially the eyes for these handlers.

LD handler practicing a stop with a van in Rochester, MI. The dogs are trained to keep the clients from stepping out into traffic if it is present.

I have witnessed first hand the training they receive and the dogs love the job and like “working”. Leader Dog uses positive reinforcement to train and it is an excellent way to make the training enjoyable for the dog and training handler. The dogs in harness know they are working. Once the harness comes off, they are on break and are either “parking” (going potty) or able to relax or play. I think there is a common misconception that these dogs are always working, and never get to have a break, but that is not the case. There is plenty of down time for these dogs to relax and enjoy life.

Lucian chillin’ in his yard waiting for a ball toss. Lucian is a German Shepard that lives with a client and is trained to go with her in a car or on a bus whenever she needs assistance.

Once a Leader Dog gradates and is handed off to a new handler, Leader Dogs for the Blind remains in touch with them and continues to make sure they are doing well with the dog and that dog is a good fit for the home. I was happy to see that once a dog goes to placement with a home, there are so many people within the Leader Dog community who follow-up and remain friends with all the clients. Between the volunteers that whelp, puppy raisers and the employees that are involved in the training, all of these dogs are a big part of their lives and remain in their hearts. It is always nice to get updates from the handlers on how the dogs are doing.

Leader Dogs for the Blind is a 501 (C) (3) non-profit. They are funded through donations made directly to their organization as well as the Lions Club. The Lions Club is major part of the organization and are very invested not just financially but emotionally to the work Leader Dogs for the Blind does. They are proud of the organization they started and how it has grown over the years.

They could not do the work they do without donations from the public. If you want to assist them in helping the blind community, you are able to make donations on their website at https://www.leaderdog.org/donate/. This group of humans are incredible and I admire the work they do. The volunteers and staff put in so much time and energy to make sure every Leader Dog is successful.

Lucian out of harness and having fun playing fetch in his yard.

September – Guide Dog Awareness Month (PART 1) The Basics

September is National Guide Dog Awareness Month and is an opportunity for you to show your appreciation for all the working dogs helping those that have disabilities. This is a time to celebrate all the hard working trainers and volunteers that are putting dogs through training and schooling to be ready to keep people safe. They put so much time into working with guide dogs just to have them leave to help those that are blind.

Lucian and his Handler, Lisa. (Flint, MI) Lucian is a Leader Dog/Guide Dog.

Before we dig into the guide dog bit (and more specifically we will be talking about Leader Dogs for the Blind out of Rochester, MI in a three part series), there are some clarifications we feel we need to make. There is so much misinformation on what a guide dog is, or even sometimes called service dog, but there are also other types of service dogs and also therapy dogs. These are not necessarily all the same thing. It would be easy to be confused…. but it is so very important to understand the difference especially if you see them out in public.

Caius and his Puppy Raiser, Cheryl, with Leader Dogs for the Blind. (Chesterfield, MI)

For this first part, I want to give you some background on the different types of working dogs.

Guide Dogs- These dogs are specially trained to assist those that are blind. They are trained to be with their human/handler and assist them in there everyday activities while out in the world. They are trained to keep the human from walking out into traffic and also navigate around obstacles.

Service Dogs- help those in wheelchairs or who are otherwise physically limited. They may open doors or cabinets, fetch things their handler can’t reach, and carry items for their handler. There are service dogs that are trained to recognize seizures and will stand guard over their handler during a seizure or go for help.

Search and Rescue Dogs – From missing persons cases to natural disasters, dogs have been an integral part in finding people in extreme and dangerous situations.  Search and rescue (SAR) dogs can either use a scent in the air or the scent of a specific object to find who/what they are looking for.  They can be used in many different situations, including disasters, cadaver searches, drowning situations, and avalanches. Typical SAR dogs will be scent hounds like Bloodhounds and Beagles.

George, Belgian Malinois with American Belgian Malinois Rescue. (Grand Ledge, MI)

Explosive Detection Dogs – These canine HEROES work with the police, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and military to locate dangerous materials.  The dogs go through an intense training (sometimes years) to learn how to locate and identify a wide variety of explosives and to alert their handlers of its presence. Breeds that excel in this kind of work include German Shepard Dogs (GSD) and Belgian Malinois Dogs.

Kitt & Pearl and their Human – OFc Knight (Rochester, MI)

Therapy Dogs – These are are dogs who go with their owners to volunteer in settings such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. They provide comfort and relaxation. There is extensive training for certification for these types of dogs to make sure they are well behaved and non-reactive. Their goal is to assist in calming and relaxing people.

Lance & Alicia – Certified Therapy Dogs (Greyhounds) in Grand Blanc, MI
Gus – Certified Therapy Dog with Go Team Therapy Dogs. (Troy, MI)

Cancer/Disease Detection Dogs – Just like explosive sniffing dogs, there are some that assist in sniffing out disease to help detect it early or even detect when someone may be going into a diabetic situation. Cancer cells and other diseases within the human body give off different odors than regular cells and they change the way a person’s breath or body smells– a dog’s keen nose can tell the difference.

Wow, yeah….. that’s a lot of information I know. There are so many working dogs out there that I didn’t even list here. Some that detect allergens in schools as well as dogs that herd livestock and animals. It is important to be clear though, not all working dogs are guide dogs. A Leader Dog or guide dog which we will be elaborating on this month are specifically for those that are blind and to assist them in the world and help navigate obstacles.

Stay tuned for Part 2! We will be discussing the phases of training as well as the time that goes into making GUIDE DOGS available to people that need them.

September – Responsible Dog Ownership Month

Ahhh, another reason do celebrate our dogs! September is Responsible Dog Ownership Month…. and this is a great time (with more time at home) to look into ways to be better and more responsible dog owners.

First, let’s talk about what being a responsible dog owner is about. This means keeping your dog healthy and happy as well as properly groomed and in a safe place. Here are ways you can do that-

EXERCISE! One huge thing you can do for your pooches is get them enough exercise! Depending on the size of your dog will determine how much walking and outdoor play they may need. If you have a Siberian Husky for instance, it is so important to walk your dogs several miles per day to keep them happy and calm. They need the exercise and opportunity to expend their energy. If you have a small terrier or a small companion dog, it’s more likely they only need short walks and less time for exercise. Knowing what your dog needs is so important and getting the appropriate exercise is vital in their longevity.

HEALTH & WELLNESS! It is so important to get your dog into your veterinary office regularly. Keeping up with vaccinations is so important too. Helping them prevent disease and disease spread keeps them living a healthier and potentially longer life. Keeping your dog on the proper dose of heart worm preventative not only helps your dog, but helps other neighboring dogs as well by keeping the spread down. While we know our dogs pretty well, it is important to get them a regular veterinary exam so they are able to get their weight checked and be looked over for any anomaly’s.

SOCIALIZATION! With the increase of dog parks and pet groups that do pet outings, there is no reason to not get your dog out there and socialized with other doggos. There are so many parks in Michigan, while some do charge a fee, there are some with no fee whatsoever. There are several websites you are able to search for dog parks near you. LINK You must have your dog up-to-date on their vaccinations to be able to enter most dog parks.

TRAINING! While most of us are working from home or spending more time at home due to Covid-19, there are many more opportunities to take a little time everyday to train our dogs. There are also so many businesses that you can drop your dog off too that will do the training for you! Honestly though, training could be as little or a lot of time as you’d like it to be, but any efforts in working with your dog will benefit them.

TRAVEL! Yes! I said it! I know….. most of us are not travelling right now… but if you are, there are places you can take your dogs! There are so many dog friendly cities in the United States alone that have dog bowls outside their establishments as well as treat buckets to snag a bone from for your fido. There is an app and associated website call Bring Fido where you can find all sorts of places that are pet friendly… whether it is a day trip or week long vacation, find dog friendly establishments here!

Happy National Wildlife Day (September 4)

National Wildlife Day is an opportunity to step outside…… take a deep breathe and appreciate what surrounds us in the nature. Not just animals, but insects and plants as well.

I know I’m a pet photographer and love animals as our loving companions, but I think it is important to highlight National Wildlife Day for so many reasons. Animals, and not just as our pets, serve so many purposes for the earth. It is important to recognize and respect their existence.

It is increasingly common for species to become stressed and endangered or even extinct more quickly now than ever before. The Center for Biological Diversity wrote an article on human population growth and its correlation to the increase in extinction. LINK

When I ponder the human impact on wildlife and also what we call the “circle of life”, I’m concerned over the possibility of the harm we as humans have caused. Because of our increase in urban sprawl and decimating crop land and forests to do so, we deplete the habitat for which our wildlife can thrive. It is important to preserve land for wildlife to be able to continue to exist. Their existence continues to benefit us even when we don’t know it.

Consider this…… I’m sure you’ve read or saw on social media that opossums are incredible with eating and consuming lots of ticks… well, it’s true! The National Wildlife Federation wrote about their ability to groom themselves and consume 95% of the ticks on their bodies as well as on the ground. LINK By having the wonderful opossum consume these disease carrying insects, it helps reduce the population of ticks and and by default helping to curb the spread of diseases like Lyme Disease. So, please be careful with our wonderful wildlife and our earth. It is a delicate balance.

Yay to Pooper Scoopers!

We are only about five months late…. but we wanted to get this post out anyway.

In April we were hoping to write about the amazing pooper scoopers we have out there that are taking the brunt of the task of taking care of our doggos poop…… but before we could get this out…. we had uh, what? Covid -19? Well, sh***

The first week of April is an Ode to Pooper Scoopers and is officially International Pooper Scoopers Week. We dropped the ball, or, er bag of poop on this one. So, we are here now…. showing some appreciation.

I will say, I know it has been a very crappy year likely for all of us, not just for our scoopers…. but I’m an optimist and always believe in making the best of everything. It will get better. I believe it will….

Well, Cristina does too. Cristina McKay is the owner/operator of Puppy Poo Patrol. Her business truly does its best at taking the Sh** out of your life. Literally.

If anyone can make scooping poop look hot, it is her. She is seriously legit. Before the Michigan Executive Order 2020-21 took place, I was able to follow Puppy Poo Patrol for a day on the job and see how they operate.

I’ve always known there are services and businesses that assist in picking up pet waste in residential yards, but I had no idea the detail that goes into the various aspects of the job. So much to think about.

When I showed up to shadow Cristina for a day on her job, I was prepared for the bucket and the poop and the picking up… but I had no idea how important it was to clean equipment between jobs and the idea to consider how you have to dispose of this waste as well.

After every yard, she wraps up every bag of waste and secures it then proceeds to hose down all her equipment with a bleach solution. This is so important for so many reasons. Did you know that worms can spread from yard to yard on soil or pet waste? In the off chance one of her client’s dogs had some kind of parasite or worm….. she has the potential to transfer that from one yard to another if she didn’t clean her equipment. She makes sure this doesn’t happen. Aside from parasites, there are other fecal spread diseases like giardia, parvovirus, campylobacter, salmonella, cryptosporidium. This stuff is nasty business. If she weren’t thoroughly cleaning her equipment like she does, contaminants could be spread around very quickly where other dogs can pick it up! I trust her process to keep it clean though.

You all know your dogs eat anything and everything in the yard?!?! If something was carried to a yard…. there is the potential for spread. Cristina is doing her best to make sure she isn’t aiding in the transfer of parasites. This is so much work! I am so impressed with her process and her professionalism. She even follows OSHA/MIOSHA guidelines on labeling for her bleach container. She has all her bases covered.

She even makes sure she secures the yards and takes photos of the latch on the fences to keep her clients at ease that she secured the area for safety for their pooch.

So, obviously I can’t say enough good things about her…. but don’t take my word for it. Puppy Poo Patrol was recently nominated in the “other” category for Click on Detroit, Vote for the Best PETS. WDIV Channel 4 does a great job at highlighting local business and does an especially great job at focusing on pet businesses.

Puppy Poo Patrol won 5th place. I think this is a little misleading though. She was actually 1st place in pooper scoopers as she was up against dog rescues, crematory services and photographers (yes, me) as well. If Puppy Poo Patrol has enough people standing by her to vote her that high in the polls, well…. she must be good.

So, my fellow pet loving friends…. tip your hat to this woman. She is amazing and does an incredibly professional job. If you would like more information about her services… visit the Puppy Poo Patrol website.

Our undervalued HEROES.

Supermarket Employees

Gas Station Attendants

Sanitation Workers

Delivery Drivers

Health Care Professionals/Veterinary Offices

Energy Workers

Food & Agriculture Workers

Police officers, conservation officers, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, firefighters, and 911 call center workers ……

Working Dogs

Before the pandemic we are currently facing hit hard in the United States, I had the honor of photographing a canine handler, Officer Knight with his two working dogs, Officer Kitt & Officer Pearl. I had planned on writing a post about their job and their work later this Spring…. but I wanted to post them now.

There has been so much gloomy press these days with so much uncertainty for many Americans. While we hear a little about health care workers being on the frontline of this epidemic, there are also so many other people (and canines) that are not getting much gratitude, if any at all. Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for all the doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and those working in hospitals either prepping rooms or cleaning them up for the next case…. but there are so many people still working under the radar to make our days in staying home as normal as possible…. they get very little credit and they are putting so much at risk too.

While my husband and I are held up at home, we are still able to order our groceries as needed and get them delivered. We even ordered take-out from one of our favorite pizza places this past week (Tomatoes Apizza in Birmingham)….

We are able to live a pretty normal life even in self isolation thanks to all these people getting us the things we need and keeping everything running as normal as possible. This is especially true for our police and fire departments. While most of us don’t see or hear from them ever, they are still there doing their work and keeping us safe. If you say thank you , they say they are just doing their job…. but their job right now means being potentially exposed to covid-19 and other viruses for that matter….

Because of the nature of their positions, they may not have time to grab a mask, gloves or protective gear. AND…….This isn’t just now, this is ALL THE TIME. Their jobs require them to work hard and fast and they may need to react faster than time will allow to protect themselves from all the potential harm.

This is also true for our canine officers out there. They ask for nothing and give us everything. They are loyal and will always have the back of their human counterpart. They are for sure among the group of undervalued heroes.

I know this is a hard time for everyone and some of us are finding ourselves out of work for a little bit or maybe longer…. but please be kind to one another… be patient, we will all get through this…. we will be safe and make it through because of all those humans and furry friends that keep showing up to do their job.

Also- do me a favor and give a shout out to your favorite officer, fire fighter or department and especially their working canines that choose to keep going.

Pictured in this article are Officer Knight with the Rochester Police Department and his working dogs Kitt and Pearl. Kitt is probably one of the most gorgeous German Shepard’s I’ve seen. He is originally from Czechoslovakia and came to the US specifically to work with Officer Knight and Rochester. Pearl is the happiest canine officer I ever had the privilege to meet as well. She is a career changed Labrador Retriever from Leader Dogs for the Blind.

February – Pet Dental Health Month

Dental health for our pets is just as important as it is for humans. While most pets don’t see signs of tartar and problems until about 3 years of age, it is important to start cleaning and giving your pets dental bones and brushing’s early, before the problems start.

There are so many items on the market that can benefit your pets teeth. Dental chews, Dental toys and even tooth brushes and finger brushes to use on their teeth are available at a wide variety of stores.

Pictured here is George the rescue Belgian Malinois with a DentaPup. This product is available on Amazon and is made by a business in the state of Michigan.

There are different kinds of chews available like Greenies and Whimzee’s. These are consumables you are able to purchase at most pet stores. You can also get OraVet chews from your Veterinarian. These are great in most cases and are consumed pretty quickly. Pet’s loves these, but you have to keep in mind how many calories they are consuming when you are giving them these chews and to not give them too many.

OraVet Chews available at your Veterinarian’s Office.

While the chews are great, they are not a replacement for actually brushing your dogs teeth. It is important to regularly brush their teeth the keep them healthy. It isn’t just about cosmetic issues. Just like humans, by keeping up with your pet’s dental health, you are benefiting their overall health as well.

There are a whole smattering of products on the market that are non-consumable toys that help break the plaque and tartar off their teeth. I like to use Dentapup for my dogs for a couple of different reasons.

For me, it’s about buying local. While the Dentapup is available nationwide, it is made by a company in Michigan and I love to support Michigan company’s. This “toy” also is super durable and is virtually indestructible and can keep working on breaking plaque of of your pups teeth.

February – National Cat Health Month

Happy National Cat Health Month!

This is hugely important for so many reasons. Even though this month is designated as Cat Health Awareness….. any cat owner would argue that EVERYDAY is important and a priority for any cat parent to take care of the kittums health.

Let’s start with food…. While all cats are different, feeding cats and getting the right amount of food daily is extremely important. Cat obesity will not only lead to sluggishness in your cat, it could lead to diabetes and a whole gamut of diseases. It is important to regulate their food and keep them active and healthy. If you are concerned about your cat’s weight, it is always good policy to consult a veterinarian to find what an ideal weight would be for your kitty.

Keep your kitty active. To keep your cat at their ideal weight, you also want to keep them active. Cats love to play and it’s a great way to bond. You can invest in cat toys or make your own if you have the time. Uh, laser pointer or feather wands?!?! YES PLEASE!! Some cats love to chase a balled up piece of paper too— quick, easy and likely something you have already around the house. Get those kittums moving!

Cuddle your kitties. I think it’s a myth that cats are solitary creatures…. and don’t crave interaction with their humans? Right? Cats love a good cuddle (maybe not with strangers, uh, that would not be cool). Your cats want quality time with you! Spend time on the couch with them, snuggling up. Pet them. Rub their bellies. Stroke them between the ears. Enjoy their purring. Let them get comfy and watch all the FRIENDS reruns you can fit in… they’ll love it. I promise.

Keep their teeth healthy. This is where you will want to consult your veterinarian ….. ask them what you can feed to keep your cat’s teeth shiny and white. Your veterinarian may also recommend teeth cleaning as they get older. If teeth aren’t properly cared for, your cat will potentially lose his teeth, will have trouble eating and an infected tooth/teeth can lead to other health issues. I know you don’t want them. Keep an eye on your cats teeth and keep them well.

Get your cat vaccinated or have titer tests to see if vaccinations are necessary. Even indoor cats need to be vaccinated against disease. I’ve met folks that believe their cats do not need regular vet visits because their cats are indoors only…. this is NOT true. They need vaccinations and care just as much as cats that make it outdoors.

Keep your kitty safe from indoor toxins. There are so many plants that are harmful to your cat’s health. Research them and make certain you don’t have any toxic plants where your cat can come in contact with them. This can be life or death. I found this link of plants that are harmful for dogs and cats…. check it out!

Rescue Dog Sherman & the Torture of Heartworm+

Sherman is the sweetest Belgian Malinois I have ever met. He is currently in the care of American Belgian Malinois Rescue (ABMR) and will likely spend his remaining years in their care as well. The rescue found him in a shelter in Florida where he was likely found as a stray before he made his way to the pound. 

Before they could pull him from the shelter, they needed to secure a foster to take him in. Little did Sherman know, that would send him on a trip across several states and into a completely different climate. The foster available to take him was in Grand Ledge, MI….. but before he could make the trip, he needed to get well enough to travel. You see, Sherman is heartworm positive, he has a grade 4 heart murmur, an enlarged spleen and when he was pulled from the shelter he was ~20 pounds underweight. His initial Florida foster was able to put some weight on him and get him well enough to travel to his permanent foster in Michigan, but unfortunately they were unable to do any treatment for the heartworm. Sherman’s compounded health issues make him ineligible for heartworm treatment which also lowers his life expectancy.

Let’s talk about that for a minute…..There’s heartworm PREVENTATIVE and heartworm TREATMENT for those who don’t know. The heartworm preventative is something you give your dog monthly to prevent them from contracting heartworm. The actual treatment once they have heartworm is a different medicine and much more complicated.

The heartworm, once contracted, live primarily in the right side of the heart, and in the nearby large blood vessels. The female worms produce large numbers of immature heartworms which circulate in the blood.

The microfilaria (baby heartworms) are ingested by a mosquito biting an infected dog. After living in the mosquito, the microfilaria is injected into another dog when the mosquito feeds. It takes about six months for the heartworm to reach adulthood after infecting the dog. If you have your dog on heartworm preventative, it is very unlikely the microfilaria will survive and therefore preventing the disease.

If heartworm is not prevented, a great deal of damage can occur before any obvious signs of heartworm are even noticed. Delayed treatment may result in heart failure and/or permanent damage to the liver, lungs, and kidneys with eventual death.

Treatment for heartworm disease consists of a series of injections, based on the dogs weight, that will kill off the adult worms. The dog may be required to stay in a hospital for several days after the injections as reactions to the medication are extremely common and range in severity. Dogs receiving treatment also need to be kept on crate rest to prevent the dead worms from breaking off and causing heart attacks, strokes and could also float to the lungs and cause damage.

Back to Sherman, he is not able to receive the treatment for heartworm because he is already in bad shape and the actual treatment may be too much for him where he may not survive the injection. ABMR is taking the approach  to “prevent” new microfilaria by giving him monthly heartworm preventative in hopes it will prolong his life and stop the progression of heartworm disease.

Because of his severe health issues, Sherman will not be able to be adopted out and is considered a hospice foster dog in the care of the rescue. He will live out his senior life in the care of ABMR and his foster mom, Robin.

Since arriving in Michigan, Sherman’s foster noticed his fur was thin and equipped him with a couple of jackets and boots to keep him warm in the harsh Michigan winter climate. He’s gained another 10 pounds in Robin’s care and has gained considerable energy. She says he is sweet as sugar and perfectly content to just sleep most of the time on one of the five big dog beds that litter her floor. He is totally unassuming and doesn’t ask for much.

Along with his laundry list of ailments, his ears have a bunch of little hematomas in them and don’t stand up anymore so he doesn’t always look like a normal Malinois, but he doesn’t seem to care. Sherman also has arthritis.

Now that he is also on medications for arthritis, he is feeling so much better and is reported to even “trot” around the yard. The medications and a happy home have absolutely improved his quality of life.

This leads me to another side commentary…. Senior dogs. Whether they are dropped off at the shelter, left with rescues or just released into the world, there are some individuals, that instead of seeking better care for their senior dogs, they let them go- into the responsibilities of others. These dogs are most of the time perfectly wonderful dogs with nothing wrong other than their joints hurting them a little and their bodies moving a little slower. While these senior dogs could have more health issues than this, regardless of their health status, these animals need to find care within rescues and for these rescues it is usually allowing them to live out their lives in foster care.

For these rescues, this means sometimes extensive medical treatment and costs that they will not recoup without donations. These senior dogs are able to live their golden years in amazing care and the rescues foot the entire bill.

For those in Michigan, I want to highlight a couple rescues I know of that take in senior dogs with the anticipation they will not leave their care….

Silver Muzzle Cottage – rescue and hospice for homeless senior dogs.

3785 Rice Rd NW, Rapid City, MI 49676 (231) 264-8408

https://silvermuzzlecottage.com/

Donate: https://www.paypal.com/us/fundraiser/112574644767835624/charity/143495

Joanie’s Place- Senior Dog Sanctuary Linden, MI (248) 982-8602

https://www.facebook.com/joanniesplace/

Donate: http://www.paypal.me/SSAA2018?fbclid=IwAR3GvFvXg51dkwMpygW1st73QaVxCMJTXrdgBrG8iTD4QpJcLB2vhcas_fg (Joanie’s place is supported through Stepping Stones)

Canine Companions Rescue Center

PO Box 1017, Clarkston, MI 48347 (248) 834-9419

https://www.ccrcdogs.com/

Donate: https://www.ccrcdogs.com/ongoing-fundraisers.html

As stated above, American Belgian Malinois Rescue will take senior Belgian Malinois dogs on long term hold as do many breed specific rescues. Please consider their group as well for donations.

American Belgian Malinois Rescue

PO Box 847 Stevens Point, WI 54481 abmr.rescue@gmail.com

https://www.malinoisrescue.org/

Donate: https://www.malinoisrescue.org/info/donate