Feline Leukemia

We usually talk all things dog, but today I wanted to discuss cats because cats are important too and we love them too here at Laber of Love Pet Rescue. Today’s topic is feline leukemia. Feline Leukemia (FeLV) is a fatal disease found only in cats; it cannot be passed to people or to dogs. It is passed from cat to cat through fluids, usually saliva. It can also be passed from a mother to her kittens at birth. This disease virtually wipes out a cat’s immune system leaving them open to many other infections/diseases. It’s not the leukemia that ends up killing the cat, it is some other secondary infection or disease. If caught early, the cat is properly cared for, it is kept inside and taken to the Vet regularly, and the cat can live a relatively long and normal life.
We had the privilege to be the final home for a FeLV positive kitten, Tilly, recently. She was a tiny little thing who came to us with a poor prognosis. She was already sick and had an ulcer under her tongue. Our best guess is that she is one of the unlucky ones that was passed this disease from her mom during birth. She was found as an only kitten by a good Samaritan and taken to the Shelby County Animal Shelter. Thankfully that was the case so that she could find comfort and peace in her last weeks. Too many stray cats and kittens don’t have this good fortune; they die alone.
We had the privilege to be the final home for a FeLV-positive kitten, Tilly, recently. She was a tiny little thing who came to us with a poor prognosis. She was already sick and had an ulcer under her tongue. Our best guess is that she is one of the unlucky ones that was passed this disease from her mom during birth. She was found as an only kitten by a good Samaritan and taken to the Shelby County Animal Shelter. Thankfully that was the case so that she could find comfort and peace in her last weeks. Too many stray cats and kittens don’t have this good fortune; they die alone. are available, is it something you can do on your own? There are plenty of resources online that will walk you through how to get started.
Please see the attached article for more info: 
Let’s all be part of the solution; we can do it together.
Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer

Kids And Pet Responsibility

When having pets with a family, it’s important to teach your children responsibility and how to respect animals. As someone who grew up, and is still growing up with animals, I learned quickly that not all animals will put up with being treated roughly. Both dogs and cats alike will let you know if something is bugging them by leaving, running away and hiding, or nipping and scratching. Although this will eventually teach your child how to be respectful of your animal’s space, it’s still a good idea to teach your child how to be mindful of your pet.

Whenever you get a pet, it’s a good idea to teach your child that pets are not toys. Like people, they eat, sleep, and need exercise. The best way to teach a child this is by involving them in feeding, walking, and training of your pet. Involving kids in the process of caretaking helps casually teach them the basics of walking and feeding your pet. It is not a good idea to get a pet for your child and leave them to take care of a pet unsupervised. As your kid gets older, you can start to

give them jobs related to the pet, like walking your dog, or changing your cat’s litter, or feeding your animals.

When it comes to respecting an animal, most pets will let you know when they’ve had enough, but you still want to monitor your kids with pets. You don’t want your child to tug on your pet too hard and risk your kid getting nipped or scratched, or hurting your pet. You most likely wouldn’t let your child pull and tug on another kid’s arms or hair, so don’t let them do that to your animal, either. It’s okay to pet and play, and as you continue taking care of your pet, you’ll begin to bond with them and get an understanding of their boundaries and what they like and dislike, but you still need to be aware of general respectfulness of your animal and their space. Hitting, constant tricking, or neglecting your animal is bad pet ownership.

If your child is old enough, it’s a good idea to teach them a general understanding of space and what their responsibilities should be with your pet. Knowing how to take care of a living animal is a great skill for your child to have. Owning a pet is a great way to teach kids empathy and appreciation for life in general. (But this is not just a learning experience for your child, it is also the life of an animal so you MUST keep that in mind when taking on a pet.)

Overall, growing up with a pet is an invaluable experience for your entire family if done responsibly. Remember to be mindful of the commitment of getting a pet for your entire family during the adoption process. Again: this is a living thing, treat them like one.

For more information on the relationships between children and pets you can visit these websites:




Clara Brown, Junior Board Member

How To Care For A Blind Dog

As a fospice mom currently fostering a blind, elderly Yorkie, I thought I’d share my experience as well as some advice on how to care for a dog who is visually impaired. I currently have Muffin in my care with Laber of Love, and over the last 17 months with her, I’ve found it amazing how she adapted to my home after just a few short days. She knows exactly which end I sit on the couch, the side of the bed I usually lay on, right where her bed is, her food bowl, the ottoman, the step down on the patio, the outdoor furniture, etc. Muffin is my second blind dog with Laber of Love, and my experience has been the same with both…absolutely wonderful!
Just like humans, dogs can be affected by blindness as well as other conditions like glaucoma, infections, and cataracts. Although a dog’s eyesight can deteriorate in senior dogs, it’s not safe to assume that their deterioration is just due to old age. There may be underlying issues, so please speak with your vet if there are concerns.
Visually impaired animals depend on consistency in their environment without big changes. Once in their environment, they create a scent map and a mind map of where things are, such as the furniture. Moving furniture can be distressing as they are dependent on one less sense, although their remaining senses are heightened.
Talking to your blind dog and using your voice all the time is also important. Consistent communication allows them to be independent while also caring for and reassuring them that they can do the things of a sighted animal with just a little more caution. Using commands like “step up,” or “step down,” or “stop” will alert them to a situation that is different than their normal routine or path.
Sometimes getting down on their level and doing a crawl around your home will give you a sense of what they experience on a daily basis. Are there obstacles that can be moved to make their path easier and/or safer? Are there sharp objects or table corners that you should be aware of?
Try to keep their routine and schedule the same. Knowing their feeding times, walks, etc., will help your pet feel comfortable and know what to expect each day.
Please remember that blindness doesn’t always mean your dog won’t want to play or interact! Toys that make noises or provide a scent will allow your dog to be involved and play as he/she used to!
With a little extra care and caution, don’t forget to treat your dog just like you would any other pet because that’s exactly what he/she is!
Nicole Patrizio, Fospice Mom and Board Member

Building A Happy Pack From The Start

Initially, this blog was meant to be about how to introduce a new dog into your home with your already existing dog(s). But I would like to shape this objective a bit differently. Let’s begin by Building a Happy Pack from the Start. Think of it as the blueprint to your future’s steady pack.
This leads to the question, are we ready to add a fur-ever family member? Do you have a plan in place to set yourself up for success?
Good questions to discuss and answer are:
Do we foresee any significant changes concerning time or lifestyle in the future? This isn’t even about the near future this involves a decision that will affect many years down the road. I know we’re not fortune tellers and life happens but if you are uncertain about what the future holds for any reason give yourself some time before making this decision.
Are you aware of the services that will be needed with the addition of the new fur-ever friend? Do you know which border, groomer, trainer, dog walker, or daycare you will be using if needed? Are you prepared for the cost of veterinary bills?
Do you have a current pet? Is it ready for a new friend? Is it up to date on vet care? Are there any behaviors that might need to be addressed before adding that new fur-ever friend to your family? Most people do not consider the fact that an unaltered animal can be more difficult to adjust to another animal, altered or not. This is a genuine issue when it comes to behaviors regarding animals getting along for a novice dog owner.
These questions are valid and only fair to ask yourself when you’re planning on changing not only your life but the life of your furry companions. And the first step to a solid foundation when building a happy pack. Some of the most responsible pet owners are the ones that know to wait.
So, let’s say you feel confident that now is the right time to add a fur-ever friend to your family, now on to the next level of planning.
Be ready with a routine. Have a training method ready to incorporate into the routine that will create consistency for everyone involved. This creates security for the current dog and the new dog. I personally prefer crate training because that is what works best for my home. Setting up a solid routine will give you something to fall back on if everything seems to be falling apart. There will be times when going back to this routine will remind the dog(s) that you know what you are doing and are in charge without having to question yourself. It is a positive but effective way to set boundaries without having to get frustrated. This will save your sanity.
There are many How To videos and articles involving how to introduce a new fur-ever friend into your life. They all have most of the same advice so follow that and confirm what works best for your lifestyle. Remember it doesn’t have to be hard. Take it slow to build your confidence in order to become the leader your pack needs. These choices are molding the future of your pack and you will reap the benefits for years to come.
I believe that if people would ask questions first before adding that new fur-ever friend then maybe, just maybe we would have a few more responsible pet owners in society. This would allow our shelters and rescues the ability to help those people and pets that are really in need and not just those who see pets as less than a lifelong commitment.
Laber of Love Pet Rescue is dedicated to loving our pets until the very end with respect, compassion, and dignity. Thank you all for your continued support and love.
Chastity Crowder , Fospice Mom and Board President

Potty Training A Senior Dog



Bringing home any new dog can come with challenges, senior dogs are no exception. However, one benefit of senior dogs is many of them are already housetrained (to me that is a huge benefit!) That is not always the case, though. And even if it is, the dog may need a refresher when entering a new home. So how do you potty train a senior dog? It is much the same as any other dog, but there can be some subtle differences. One is how stubborn the dog is or how willing to learn. I’ll be the first to admit some seniors are really stubborn, like our little sassy girls Heaven and Nevaeh. However, some are so eager to please that potty training is a breeze! The other consideration with senior dogs is health issues. If potty training doesn’t go as planned, it is always a good idea to visit your vet to make sure there aren’t any underlying health issues. Urinary issues become more prevalent as our pets get older and affect their frequency of urination and the urgency with which they need to go. Kidney issues can also have an effect. There are other health issues that cause “leakage” and hinder the pet’s ability to even know when they are urinating. It’s very important to be aware and talk to your vet if you are seeing any of these issues. Personally, I use a combination of a crate/playpen and keeping the dog tethered to me when I first bring a new one home to potty train. This gives me more control over where the dog goes and what the dog does. I can also keep a close eye on them and start to recognize their “cues” shown when they need to go potty. Some dogs prance around, some start sniffing more, some turn circles and some start staring at me more. Seems every dog has a different “cue”, and it’s important to recognize your dog’s. Keeping the dog tethered to you also helps form a bond with the dog. I treasure the bond that I make with each and every one! This combined with frequent trips outside and establishing a schedule are the keys to my household. Unfortunately, potty training isn’t always a possibility for senior dogs though. This may be because of past experiences that we know nothing about or because of health issues. If that is the case for you and your dog, there are tools that can help! Diapers, belly bands, and puppy pads have been life savers (and flooring savers) for Laber of Love fospice parents! Hopefully, the attached article can help you if you choose to bring home a senior pet. Be patient, don’t give up. The love of a senior dog is well worth a little time, angst, paper towels, and floor cleaners! https://www.petmd.com/dog/training/ins-and-outs-potty-training-older-dogs-0?

Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer

Lyme Disease Prevention

Flea and Tick protection isn’t just about keeping your pet free of those nasty fleas. It’s also about protecting against ticks, too. Yes, fleas are annoying and can cause health issues, but so can ticks. Those little bugs can cause several infections, but the most serious and potentially deadly is Lyme Disease. I am currently learning quite a bit about Lyme Disease since our newest foster Maggie has presented Lyme positive. This disease can present with many symptoms including limping and swollen joints, generalized pain, sensitivity to petting, appetite loss, decreased energy, mental decline, and weight loss. In the long term, Lyme Disease can cause damage to the heart, kidneys, and liver. Many of these symptoms are what our sweet Maggie is dealing with now, but we are hoping that the long term issues have been avoided for now at least. Unfortunately, we can treat her symptoms and put this disease in remission. It can and will flare up again and again though. And all of this was entirely preventable as quite a few of the issues that we deal with in our hospice dogs. A monthly preventative will help reduce fleas and ticks for our beloved pets. And this will cost considerably less than having to deal with the treatment and long term effects. Please take care of your pets; heartworm and flea/tick preventatives are not an option.
For more information on Lyme Disease, how it’s treated, and how to prevent it please take a look at the attached article.
Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer

Picky Pets/Medication

Dogs will eat almost anything it seems, right? Your sock, your homework, or a stray kitchen floor scrap, but when it comes time to take their medicine for whatever ails them, many of us dog parents find ourselves frustrated when trying to get our pets to take it without a fuss. We’ve all experienced seeing the medication left sitting there looking right back at us!
Before we talk about the many options that may be helpful, always check with your pet’s veterinarian in regard to the details about the medications. Some medications may have a coating on them in which case they shouldn’t be cut or crushed. This coating is necessary for timed release of the medication and breaking or crushing it will destroy it. And always follow the medication directions for timing, dosage, etc. It is also imperative before trying any of the methods below to know your pet’s allergies to ingredients and to check labels thoroughly and consult your veterinarian if you’re unsure.
For most pets, the obvious way of ‘hiding’ a medication is through food. If your pet is food-driven it seems easy enough to hide the pill in a small bit of peanut butter, canned cheese, a marshmallow, a small piece of deli meat, cream cheese, or maybe wet dog food if they are used to dry food. If your dog is especially keen on eating the food and pushing the pill to the side, you could try crushing or grinding the pill. For a medication in capsule form, try opening the capsule and mixing the powdered medicine with a wet food such as gravy, cream cheese, peanut butter, etc.
Another idea is to use your dog’s paw. Whether it’s a crushed pill, a liquid, or powdered medication from a capsule, mixing it a small amount of peanut butter, cream cheese and smearing it on your dog’s paws might also work. They will lick it off and ingest the medication in the process.
If your dog is not taking the medication through food, another option that is especially handy and readily available are pill pockets. These work well if your dog is a fast eater or one who wolfs down their food or treats. They come in a variety of flavors and most dogs seem to like them and they’re easy enough to hide the pill in its whole form.
Perhaps your dog’s medication is a liquid. In this case, mixing the liquid medication with a pate or a gravy from wet food often works well. You can also give liquid meds via an oral “syringe.” This is often successfully done by giving it on the side of the mouth against the cheek. This may be something you can do alone but if not, asking a family member to help is a good idea. Not all dogs are overly cooperative. Giving your pet medicine is not only stressful for them, but it can also be stressful for you, too. Having someone hold your dog while you administer the medication will not only be helpful for you but also less stressful for you and your dog.
As always, asking your vet to demonstrate how to get your dog to take medication with less of a fight is always a good idea. He/she can help show you proper techniques and offer expert ideas into helping make this process less stressful.
In my personal experience, every dog is different like we are as people. You may need to try several different ways until you find one that is successful for you and your dog. Be patient and gentle and ask for help if necessary. In the end, we want what’s the very best for our pets and are willing to try to find whatever works to keep them healthy and happy!
Nicole Patrizio, Board Member and Fospice Mom

Tooth Or Consequences

A topic that I have written about before, and will again, is pet dental health. Why is this so important? Because the dental health of your pet can affect so many aspects of their lives, and not only health related.
· Did you know that by age 3, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs are experiencing some form of dental disease? This is not just an “old pet” problem! Bad breath is not normal for pets; it is either a sign of a health issue or a dental disease. Let’s put that myth to bed right now.
· Pets are good at hiding their pain, and if we wait until they tell us there is something wrong by not eating or rubbing at their mouth, the damage will be extensive.
· Pain can lead to behavioral changes in pets. They can become aggressive in general or just when someone is trying to touch the affected part of their body.
· The bacteria that forms in a pet’s mouth and causes dental disease causes plaque and tartar. It also affects their gums.
· Dental disease can lead to many other health issues including (not limited to this list):
o Heart issues
o Liver issues
o Kidney issues
o Complications for dogs with diabetes
· If not treated dental disease can lead to other complications with your pet’s oral health including:
o Abscessed or infected teeth
o Infections that lead to swelling in the face
o Broken teeth
o Rotting, weakening, and wearing away of the jaw bone leading to a broken jaw
As a pet owner myself, I have learned the hard way to take care of my pet’s teeth. And not just my dogs, but cats too. Early detection is key to avoiding all of the consequences noted above. Annual checkups with your vet and listening to their advice on when to get your pet’s teeth cleaned are key. Please take care of your pet so that they don’t become a statistic or have the issues our sweet Nevaeh has. We don’t ever want to see another dog end up where she is (but rest assured she is now being spoiled and taken care of!).

Why Shelter Seniors?

“ADOPT DON’T SHOP” this is a catchphrase that has helped shape the animal community as we know it. The “Adopt Don’t Shop” Campaign has been around for years, promoting the adoption of rescue pets from animal shelters. The campaign was started by an organization based in Los Angeles called “Last Chance For Animals” founded by Chris DeRose in 1984. There had come a time that drawing attention to the wonderful adoptable pets that have found themselves in a shelter was much needed in order to make a change. Since then, in a bill sponsored by State Senator Bob Hackett, the Shelter Dog was named the official state dog of Ohio! The bill was backed by nearly 100 co-sponsors and went into effect in March 2019. All this information is encouraging for animal lovers and those that believe that the animals that end up in shelters deserve a second chance. But then you have the fact of the adoption rate of senior pets. The sad reality is that senior dogs are one of the most at risk groups in shelters as they are usually the last to be adopted, spending up to 4 times longer than a younger dog. With a 25% adoption rate, compared to the 60% adoption rate of younger dogs and puppies.
The founder of Laber of Love Pet Rescue (Nicole Laber) recognized the need for senior dogs and cats while volunteering at her local shelter. It was then she had the opportunity to assist in fostering the less adoptable senior pets in order to get them out of the shelter for the remainder of their lives. After time and finding several like-minded, passionate people Laber of Love Pet Rescue was established in August of 2019. Laber of Love Pet Rescue is a Fospice Rescue that pulls terminally ill or senior pets from shelters and places them in a home for the remainder of their lives. The board and all those involved with Laber of Love Pet Rescue find themselves very fortunate to have the opportunity to help these senior or terminally ill pets find their way out of the shelter and into their forever loving home.
Chastity Crowder, Fospice Mom and Board President

Keeping Our Pets At A Healthy Weight

Walter joined Laber of Love weighing in at 26 pounds, extremely overweight. We were fortunate that given his age and weight that his blood work didn’t show any issues. However, we were not comfortable putting him under anesthesia at that weight for his dental so the procedure had to be postponed for a few months. We are very thankful that his amazing fospice parents were able to put him on a diet and get some weight off and he was able to have the dental done a couple of weeks ago.
We all want to spoil our pets and give them all the food and treats they want. We just want them to be happy, right? But, like Walter, this leaves our pets open to being extremely overweight and at higher risk of many health issues. Heart related problems, arthritis, diabetes – there are so many health related problems whose risks are raised for obese pets. Diet and exercise are extremely important in mitigating those risks. The attached article gives some great information on the risks of an overweight pet, how to maintain a healthy weight, and how to know what a healthy weight is for your pet. Please take a moment to read so we can all keep our pets happy, and healthy, and allow them to live long lives as our best friends!
Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer