John walking Alfie in Central Park earlier this year we washed Alfie's feet when we got him home ... every time he walked in the snow
Hundreds of dogs and cats die from rock salt scattered by gritters in big freeze
Hundreds of pets are becoming seriously ill and in some cases dying because of the rock salt and antifreeze being used during the cold snap, animal charities warned yesterday. Dogs and cats are walking through the substances left by gritters trying to clear roads and car drivers defrosting their windscreens and then licking them off their paws. Consuming rock salt can cause dehydration, liver failure and pancreatitis, while antifreeze contains the chemical ethylene glycol, which can be lethal when ingested.
The RSPCA said it has received 248 calls about cases involving cats and dogs between January 1 and mid-November this year, compared to 259 for the whole of 2009. It expects this year's total to be 'considerably higher' once figures for the current freeze are taken into account - and added these would represent the 'tip of the iceberg' as only a fraction of cases are brought to its attention. Animal charities said the public should take extra care when using anti-freeze and mop up any spillages. Pet owners were also advised to clean animals' paws if they have been outside and even clip the fur to keep it short.
The symptoms of ingesting anti-freeze include vomiting, seizures, appearing sleepy and a heightened breathing rate. Symptoms of consuming rock salt - which contains the same ingredient as table salt, sodium chloride, but also has harmful chemicals such as magnesium - include burns to the mouth and throat and excessive salivating and drinking. An RSPCA spokeswoman said: 'Owners should contact a vet immediately if they suspect that their pet may have been in contact with these substances or if they see any warning signs or symptoms. "The sooner they are treated, the better their chances of surviving."
My daughter Nicole is a Veterinary Surgeon specialising in Emergency and Critical Care that's her pictured with our Holly in her student days and lately with me in Nevada. The following article was written by Lindsey Lane Verlander, DVM an one I felt compelled to post here for pet owners, potential pet owners, past pet owners and anyone who is ever likely to come into contact with an over worked, under appreciated and certainly underpaid veterinarian, to read and perhaps better understand just how valued your animal's doctor should be.
On behalf of Lindsey, Nicole, Nadine and all the other veterinary professionals who work tirelessly to keep our best friends safe, happy, well and in our lives, I say thank you for taking the time ..... please read on and yes, enjoy!!
"As most of you know, I recently switched jobs from a day practice and now work in a 24
hour hospital as an Emergency Veterinarian. I absolutely LOVE this aspect/side of vet med, and I wouldn't (and don't) want to do anything else... ever (like every other vet, I am a type-A overachieving work-a-colic). However, there are moments when I am hit with the reality of what my job REALLY is, and I wanted to take a moment and share with everyone my experience, especially in light of the recent media regarding vet med.
I walked into work this evening at 5:45pm ready for my overnight shift, and felt like I was walking into a room of chaos. I took a moment just to evaluate my surroundings and see where I could jump in and help. What I realized was: 1) there was nothing for me to do, and 2) the hospital at that moment was the reality of vet med.
*I would like everyone now to really try and picture what I am about to describe. For my vet friends, this won't seem out of the ordinary... in fact, this is probably every day. For those that are not vets, it will give you insight into what YOUR vet REALLY does... it is not all happy healthy puppies and kittens... actually... it is UNCOMMONLY puppies and kittens...*
Sitting in the back on one of the treatment tables was a cardboard coffin with a 5 month old puppy in it, waiting to be picked up by its owner. This puppy had passed away during a neuter. Come to find out during surgery, that the puppy had several congenital abnormalities that were hidden from pre-op bloodwork and physical exam (every precaution to make sure anesthesia and surgery is as safe as possible), and only discovered during surgery, causing the puppy not to wake up after anesthesia. Any veterinarian will tell you that a neuter is one of the simplest surgeries that we do. We could do it in our sleep. However, unseen complications happen, and there is nothing that anyone could have done to prevent this from happening. This was an unhealthy puppy that was not going to live a long and happy life, it would have gotten very sick and died at a very young age. However, the veterinarian that performed the surgery was devastated. This was the first time this had ever happened to this veterinarian in 5 years of practice... 5 years and countless surgeries. Put yourself in this vet's shoes for a moment: You just lost someone's baby under anesthesia for a surgery that YOU recommended. Colleagues and even your own head tell you - This was not my fault. There was nothing that I, or anyone could have done. This happens to everyone. But your heart only feels pain and guilt and anguish for a life lost and your failure, and an inability to serve the purpose that you were put on this Earth to do: HEAL. Now comes the hard part (I know, like everything else isn't hard enough!). You now have to get on the phone and call the owner of that puppy and tell them what happened. You get to break the news to mom, dad, and their son (the person the puppy was bought for) that their best friend is gone. You get to tell someone who is excited about playing fetch and running around in the yard, you get to tell them, I am so sorry, but your dog is dead. It puts a knot in your stomach and chest that nothing else can. It makes you sick and hurt to the deepest part of your soul. You hurt for the owners, for the puppy. You hurt because you caused PAIN.
In this same moment there is a dog and owner in a room with another doctor. This dog has been unwilling to eat and unable to keep anything down for the past WEEK... and oh yea, the dog ate a cactus a little over a week ago. The poor dog is so sick and painful it won't let the doctor feel it's belly. Xrays were taken and revealed three cactus needles stabbing through the dog's small intestines causing a perforating foreign body. the doctor explained to the owner that the only way to even give the dog a chance to live is emergency surgery and gave an estimate for the $1500 surgery and a 50/50 prognosis. The owner's response? Anger. Saying things to the veterinarian like: How could she be so cold and insensitive? She only wants money. If she REALLY cared about the dog, she would do the surgery for free. But no, she doesn't care and is a terrible, cold hearted, unfeeling, horrid person who is MAKING her kill her dog when the dog COULD be saved if she would just stop being such a money grubbing Scrooge. I ask again, put yourself in the vet's shoes. You have a dog that you know for the past WEEK has sat at home, starving, in pain, with a fever, feeling horrible and puking its guts up as three needles stab through it's intestines. And what did the owner do? nothing. You know the dog is suffering, but you can potentially help and save it's life! But what will the owner let you do? nothing. You know that had the owner brought the dog in right after it ate the cactus you could have used the scope and gotten the needles out for about $400. But they waited A WEEK. And according to the owner, this is all your fault. Her dog is going to die because of you. Talk about feeling powerless! You can't even defend yourself! Your response. "I know this is a difficult situation, and I am so sorry." But at the end of it all, you are the one that has to inject in the hot pink euthanasia juice knowing you have the skills and abilities to save this dog's life, and instead, you must end it.
The final scenario that was occurring was an older dog that suddenly started limping on one of his legs. The owners thought, oh he must have arthritis, we will take him in and get some meds and he will be fine. The vet had already taken xrays before I got there and saw the bone cancer that was covering this dog's humerus. Again, put yourself in the doctor's position. You now have to tell someone that their best friend of 10+ years has cancer. The big C. Their options are either 1) amputate the limb, 2) very short term pain management (days) or 3) euthanize right now. You have to shatter their world and make people cry. You cannot offer any relief aside from euthanasia, which is no relief at all for the family. You get to be the bringer of bad news.
All of this occurred at 5:45pm... AFTER an entire day that started at 8am, with even more cases similar to these. This was one 15 minute section of time in a 10 hour long work day. No wonder veterinary medicine suffers from the highest suicide rate and highest addiction rate of any other profession. No wonder all veterinarians at some point suffer from what is called "compassion fatigue". Unfortunately, the majority of people do not understand this about our profession. I cannot tell you how many times people have said to me, "oh you must LOVE your job! You get to play with puppies and kittens all day! Though, I bet it is hard when you occasionally have to euthanize something." I just nod, and smile. What they don't know is that I am thinking - yes, it is very hard. Those THREE patients I euthanized in the past 30 minutes were very hard (which happened on my overnight shift tonight).
I appreciate you if you made it this far!! All I am trying to do is help people to realize what the reality of vet med is... and what it is not. We are NOT in it for the money. We recommend tests and vaccines because we had 8 years of schooling that taught us what was best for your pet. We are overworked, emotionally drained, compassion fatigued, under appreciated/respected, and SEVERELY underpaid for what we do (because no amount of money is worth what we go through on a daily basis, *and side note, average salary for a veterinarian is $45,000/year and average student loan debt is over $150,000 :)* ). Yet, we wake up every morning and devote our life to your pets. We love them as if they are our own, we cry over them when they don't make it, we work long hours and stay late working and reading to learn and try to figure out why your pet is sick. We talk to them like they are people and love them even when they try to bite us. We deliver pain, hurt, bad news, and encounter countless situations that we have no control over throughout our entire day. Our reward is internal... it is knowing that at the end of every day we have done everything that we can to the very best of our abilities for every patient we have touched, even if that means ending their suffering.
Thanks for reading :)
Lindsey Lane Verlander, DVM
We get many direct house/pet sitting requests here also via our house sitting website of choice www.Trustedhousesitters.com We've been registered sitters and home owners of www.trustedhousesitters.com since Andy and Rachel started three years ago. Proud to have been a part of the team since day one, now the resident expert advising home/pet owners and sitters alike. Last night they were awarded two FIRSTS at the Website of the Year Awards in London well deserved accolades, winners indeed but the real winner is House Sitting, the people spoke and voted the concept and www.trustedhousesitters.com # 1 and simply the BEST ...... congratulations!!http://www.trustedhousesitters.com/house-and-pet-sitters/145-sittingperfected/
We won two awards today. The 2013 Good Web Guide People's Choice Website of the Year and the Social / Community website of the Year.
A huge thank-you to everyone that voted, supports what we do, and the great team we work with. It is fantastic to get such accolades and recognition for helping to enrich so many lives through house sitting.
Andy & Rachel x
(pic of Lisa accepting the awards while we're away promoting house sitting in the US
Hope and Valiente a week after arriving at A.R.C.H
I've frequently written about the opportunities our house sitting travel lifestyle presents, we began volunteering this week at the Andalusian Horse Rescue Centre. Before we arrived in Spain I asked our home owner, Michelle, about volunteering with animals, I volunteer with the SPCA when I'm at home. Michelle rescued Bruno and her mother works tirelessly rescuing dogs and cats while supporting other rescuers. She told me about a South African lady who cares for over 50 dogs, that's more animals than many official shelters can cope with and there are many more individuals in Andalusia working to make life better for all the animals the need is huge, cats, dogs, horses, ponies and donkeys, if you didn't know this donkeys have a very high pain threshold and will continue to work literally until they drop, giving their abusers even greater opportunity to create a life of misery for these gentle creatures.
Giving a few hours of help is the very least we can do and please note the collective “WE” yes my husband, the one who isn’t remotely comfortable around anything larger than a Great Dane, especially one that can buck, rear, wears shoes made of steel, has extremely large teeth and has the word Equine attached. I remember when John and I first met I had a beautiful Arab mare Samaya, one day I took him to the yard where I had her stabled as we approached her box she was lying down, trying to impress me with his new found confidence he said “She's amazing and so small” he was feeling quite comfortable at this point. I opened the stable door, walked over to her and just clicked when she started to stand I swear I saw smoke coming from my husband's heels as he sprinted to the other side of the yard, white!! " B***** h*** she's HUGE!" actually she was only **15.2 hands. So to have him accompany me and “work” in a yard is somewhat of a miracle, he's been content to shovel muck, stack hay, clear storm drains, fix fences and yes even get up close and personal with a couple of donkeys and little Hope and Valiente (pictured) it was the plight of these ponies which moved him to overcome his fear and volunteer …. the ponies, A.R.C.H and your wife thanks you!!
**" A "Hand" is a unit of measure equal to 4 inches, used to measure the height of a horse at the highest point of the withers. The number of whole hands is properly followed by a period, then the remaining height in inches. Thus a horse who measures 5 feet and two inches at the withers would be designated "15.2 hands".
I'm constantly amazed at the natural beauty we experience all over this world, mountains, sea, sky although the view from our present "home" remains the same it's in constant change the ocean one day calm, smooth and bright blue, the next moving, rough and grey with the morning and night skies over the Mediterranean an artist's colour pallet. Perhaps if I had time to read the manual on my camera I might be able to capture all the amazement, here's my latest attempt not bad …. still we have another five months or approx.140 at our Spanish house sit time enough to perfect the photography thank goodness for digital, delete that one …... better get busy reading the manual!!
It's been years since I experienced the WOW factor, when grocery shopping I'm not easily pleased it's not like buying shoes after all:) and in recent years costs have been spiraling, in BC especially, so imagine this a basket of fruit and veg costing just $15.00 (US $'s) including just baked bread and home made potato chips ..... $15.00 and from a real green grocer not an over priced, over packaged, supermarket produce department. The grocer in question is located in the small town of Arroyo de la Miel just a short drive from our "home" www.benalmadena-arroyo.com/arroyo-de-la-miel-map.php
frequented mostly by locals and thank goodness self serve, I'm still working on my Spanish although the really nice young chap who's served me twice now doesn't expect too much in the way of conversation, he's obviously an expert at reading foreigners quizzical faces.
Since we're talking prices of important items at the wine tasting last week www.birdievinos.com
I reported that John replenished our stocks, well I've just looked at the bill 36 bottles at an average price of $9.00 (US $'s) for excellent reds, white and my bubbly, in British Columbia where taxes are so high and alcohol purchases are government controlled, you cannot purchase alcohol anywhere other than at BC Liquor Stores (it's the same throughout Canada) there are a few private stores opening up but they're usually more expensive. The selection and choice is also very limited although John's found red wine sold by the carton which he says is quite palatable, on the box it reads "Lasts for approx 6 weeks" he's yet to see if that's really true:) Point is you'd be hard pressed to get a decent bottle of anything for $9.00 even my "pop" white Zinfandel (cannot possibly call it wine) starts at $8.00 + (Cdn) so we'll eat and drink very well at our Spanish House Sit .... muchos gracias!!
You know that "really must do that today, OK definitely will tomorrow” scenario it's been mine all week so my blogs never quite made it to the page creating more work I now have a weeks worth of Benalmandena experiences.... is the memory that good I ask!
Firstly the weather (always a popular subject with the Brits) many years ago I watched an interview on British television with the American comedian George Carlin he was commenting on how we Brits always talk about the weather being somehow shocked at how cold it can get in the winter he made a statement that was both funny and profoundly realistic …..
“Have you people ever looked at where you are on the world map? There's absolutely NOTHING between you and the North Pole and you wonder why you get lousy weather” http://www.georgecarlin.com/
With that statement who needs to listen to any meteorologist …...... but we're not in the UK we're in Southern Spain where temps have been hovering in the high 20's that's celcius. There's something very “Like Button'ish” (Facebook action) walking at 8.00 am with a new four legged friend dressed only in shorts, tee shirt, flip flops and of course sun glasses. Winds that have been incredibly high through the week one evening I walked with Bruno and could hardly keep my feet, face lift speeds:) it was really quite scary but then again the house we're sitting is halfway up a mountain (well very high hill) so to be expected really, now if this had been Vancouver Island we'd have been without power for days, here didn't even lose the wig (joke)
We always like to stay close to “home” at the beginning of any assignment with pets makes them feel more secure also helps with the bonding especially on a long assignment, it's so rewarding to see pets happy and settled, gives us a warm fuzzy, job well done feeling knowing they're not stressed and missing absent pet “parents” We have the opportunity to really spoil them simply because we have more time, no pressures of family, work and all that daily life involves our “job” is exactly this … Bruno and his home full stop!
On a very personal note I did manage to find a good nail technician in Arroyo de la Miel http://solnails.50webs.com/hair.htm
having my nails done is just a small thing I've gotten very used to and isn't it the little things that mean a lot?
Then there are my teeth like many I'm one of those post war children who suffered at the hands of butchers, disguised as NHS (National Health Service) dentists, as a result I have a debilitating phobia just writing about it my palms are wet. I have to be almost euthanised just to get through the door thankfully my dear husband has escorted, nay carried, me through many surgery doors, staying with me for sometimes hours, even though I am comatose, he knows my dental work as well as any dentist brave enough to have worked on me. Two years ago I had extensive work carried out by my lovely dentist in Vancouver my new teeth are brilliant, I love them only drawback they wont stay in my mouth, veneers have fallen out (same two) six times, now seven counting this Thursday. Lost one in New York, London, Las Vegas and San Francisco …. a song perhaps “I left my veneer in San Francisco, from the restaurant it calls to me ….. la la la” and now Spain. Point is I'm always miles from Vancouver when this happens. Poor John now has the trauma of not only finding a dentist willing to work on a gibbering idiot but one that speaks English then he has to get me there and very soon I hope as “I can't smile without my veneer …. la la la” (Barry Manilow “Can't smile without you”) I wont name my dentist or the practice as I'm sure it's just my bad luck ... I know I'm too nice:)
We did take a day off and go to the annual wine tasting event recommended by our home owner Michelle at http://es.birdievinos.com/
in Fuengirola http://www.visitafuengirola.com/index.php?lang=en
it's obviously very popular with locals and ex pats alike, Brits, Germans, Italians etc. Ronda is approx 100 klms fom here and on our list of places to visit is quite a large wine producing area I'll go into more detail in a separate blog meanwhile the following link has some great info for wine enthusiasts is at http://www.turismoderonda.es/gastronomia/eng/productoseno.htm
John stocked us up to the point that we either need many wine loving visitors, to open a wine bar or pace ourselves over the next few months whatever route we take we'll enjoy getting there.
The advantages of house sitting on a long assignment are many and becoming involved in the local community is important, fulfilling and personally satisfying whatever your interests. Opportunities to give back, help, share, support and become educated abound, using your professional or life skills for the benefit of others or simply making yourself available can be rewarding and empowering, you never know what fate has in store. I believe we find ourselves where we're meant to be for reasons we may not realise until we've left ..... rather heavy and profound I know but it's been one of those days very humbling.I wanted to get involved through my passion for animals and their welfare during my time here in Spain, as I suspected the opportunity and need is huge. Yesterday I contacted two ladies who work tirelessly and against great odds to rescue, treat, re-home ponies, donkeys and horses, they currently care for 17, the newest rescues being two badly neglected young ponies Valiente and Hope
a post on their Facebook Page three days after their arrival ....
"OK latest update on our 2 new babies. The vet has been to see them today and was horrified at the state of the boys hoofs, he has never seen anything like it. We will be doing some digital x rays on him tomorrow but we are looking at 50/50 if not less of them being able to be repaired. The little girl now named Hope is about 3 years old, blind in one eye and partially sited in the other, it looks like she has a ulcer in the eye probably caused by a blow to the head. She also has a abscess on her back hoof, she is a complete bag of nerves and scared to death, we managed to give her a injection of antibiotics.
Tomorrow morning we will know more"When I saw them today, 16 days post arrival, the improvement is remarkable they both still have a very long and tough road ahead but they are in the best possible
of caring and loving hands ....... it will be my privilege to help.I didn't take any photos today but will have plenty of opportunity n the next few weeks meanwhile please go to the ARCH Facebook page, like share and support their work and
they are posting daily reports and photos of the ponies along with all their other lucky equines .... lucky to be at ARCH!https://www.facebook.com/pages/ARCH/206324929402837?fref=ts
On Wednesday of last week I did a Skype interview on house sitting and engaging a house sitter with Cathy Severson of www.retireWOW.com object of recording this was to put the conversation out on the web unfortunately the recording was scuppered by the touch of a button (failing to hit the right one) ever resourceful Cathy transcribed the interview which you can access on her website www.retireWOW.com
a great resource for everyone of a certain age ... our age. The interview is pretty good as well
Retirement Life Matters Tools and resources to create a Meaningful Third Age www.retireWOW.com
Welcome to this edition of the Retirement Life Matters Newsletter. Perspective
Earlier this week, I was in a bit of a hurry-you know how that goes, and had a few things to do on the computer. As usually happens when I’m in a rush, nothing worked right. It just felt like I was doing battle with the technology gods and by the time I was through, I wanted to move off the grid and never see a computer again.
I actually met someone recently who doesn’t have email or even own a computer. Could I really go there? Nah! As much as I get frustrated with implementing all the crazy things I think up, I can’t imagine my life without access to the amazing world we have at our fingertips.
I have friends I’ve never actually met or physically talked to. We have access to information, beauty and fun at the end of a keyboard. Is it perfect? No. Is there a downside? If you watch the news, you know there is. With every new technology, there are both good and evil. I remember reading how bad Einstein felt for his contribution to the nuclear world.
This week, we embarked on two new endeavors at retirewow.com.
The first was a teleconference panel discussion I refer to as a Tele-event. We had a panel of experts who talked about fashion and style and looking good as we age. If you missed the call, you can listen to the recording at Saucy and Sophisticated
Secondly, I became interested in learning about house sitting as a way of traveling the world. Angela Laws and I scheduled a Skype call on Wednesday. She’s house sitting in Spain for six months. Even though, I went through a number of test calls, the only recording was my saying, “Hi, Angela.” I did take notes which you can read at How to Hire a House Sitter for Extended Stays
and Travel the Word in Retirement House Sitting
. We’ll schedule a do-over in a few weeks.
Both of these new technology formats are part of an attempt to have us (you and me) engage in a more meaningful way.
Today our mission was to find Halloween treats thought we'd better after finding a polite night on the car "Will be calling around 8.00 pm, don't feel obliged to open your door" ..... really?? So John and I spent all morning going from one Supamercado to the other on our quest. Halloween's not big on the Costa del Sol as you can probably tell from the pictures, pumpkin on the door ... Spain, yes it is a front door had to shoot on the side to get the whole display in!! Skeletons in the garden .... Los Angeles, California.
Pleased to say we finally found some, now sitting looking at each other waiting for the Goblins to call ..... oh that they do, chocolates and candies are really not big on my "must have" food list.
Update: Candies almost gone, funny all the trick n treaters have British accents and some of the "children" looked as if they'd come directly from the "Witches of Eastwick" film set ... perhaps I'm just getting old:)