Senior Companionship 4 Seniors

Laber of Love Pet Rescue is a fospice care organization.  Our mission is to place experienced pets in loving homes for the remainder of their lives. We also realize that the companionship goes both ways offering unconditional love thus posing the question “Who rescued who?”. Attached is an article that refers to the benefits of senior adults and pet ownership.  As pet lovers, none of us can argue any of the points of the benefits of pet ownership, *Healthy behavior habits. *Improves activity. *A sense of purpose. *Increases interaction. *Relieves stress. *Companionship. The alternative to the above list is the considerations that a senior must face in order to continue to be a pet owner during this season of life. *Experienced pet owner. *Choosing the right pet. *Financial stability. In addition, the article adds that getting an older pet would be a good choice.  Laber of Love Pet Rescue could be a valuable asset when it comes to deciding whether or not a pet is an option during a senior’s years. Going back to the list of concerns it suggests that being an experienced pet owner is helpful.  While some experience is very useful,  Laber of Love has an amazing support system put in place to assist with the basic needs of a pet owner from having a trainer available to reach out to when a questionable behavior might arise. And finding the right pet is just as important to Laber of Love as it should be an honest concern for the new owner. Laber of Love volunteers will be looking for just the right fit in order to make a successful match. Finally, the financial burden that a senior might feel when wanting to take the best care of their new companion. This is where the Laber of Love family of supporters has stepped up in order for our mission to be complete. Laber of Love Pet Rescue is committed to providing the comfort care our fospice pets deserve for the remainder of their lives. We are even there if Vet visits are a problem to manage.  Laber of Love Pet Rescue is so grateful for all the love and support that is sent our way for fospice rescue! We want to continue to pay it forward by sharing the love in the best way possible, saving lives. If you are interested in knowing about ways to help or how our fospice program works check out the fospice section of our website @ https://www.laberoflovepetrescue.com/#fospice

Additional info can be found @ https://www.homeinstead.com/location/347/news-and-media/benefits-of-companion-animals-for-elderly/

Chastity Crowder, Fospice Mom and Board President

 

Research Before Getting A Dog

This may be a long post so please stay with me here.  I want to talk to you today about adding a new dog to your family.  When it’s time to add a new family member, and getting a dog is adding a new family member, you are committing to keeping that dog for its entire life.  Please, first think about that.   We’ll talk about breed and size in a minute, but age is a consideration too when getting a new dog.  If you are adopting a puppy, that could be 15-18 years depending on the breed.  Are you ready for that commitment?  If not, is an older dog right for you?   Puppies require quite a bit more time and training as they need their owner to teach them almost everything.  Older dogs generally still require some training and patience as they enter a new home, but it’s usually quite a bit less than a puppy.

Second, think about where and how you live.  The breed, size, and temperament of the dog you adopt should be compatible with your living situation and your personality.  Apartments are great for some dog breeds that don’t need a ton of exercise, but some dog breeds need a home with a large fenced-in yard to get in some playtime.  Do some research to find the right breed/mix for your situation.  There are lots of websites out there that can tell you all about the breeds and what each needs and the adoption counselors whom you are going to adopt your dog from are great resources to help as well.  Not only can they tell you about breeds, but they can tell you about each specific dog too.  Listen to them.

Third, don’t forget your family.  Make sure you pick a dog that is good for your family situation now and for the future.  Do you have kids now or plan to?  Do you have other dogs or cats or plan on adding more?  Do you have farm animals?  Do you want a dog that will travel with you?  Plan for now and for the next 10 years.

And finally, make sure you have a plan and finances for all the things that your new dog will need.  Some breeds are prone to health concerns that will require additional Vet care, but all dogs will need a minimum of annual check-ups and vaccines.  Food, supplements, toys, and training should not be forgotten either.  Grooming is also very important to consider.  Be sure to know what grooming needs your new dog will have.  Will you need to brush/bathe the dog at home frequently?  With the dog need to see a professional groomer regularly?

Please take some time to think about all of this before bringing a new dog into your family, and have a discussion about it with the entire family.  This is an important decision that should be given thought and consideration.  Too many homeless dogs are in Shelters because their families didn’t take the time and understand what they were bringing home.  Shelters and Rescues are overwhelmed.   Take time to be a part of the solution, not the problem.   Pick a dog that fits your home and lifestyle, not just because it is “cute” or you feel sorry for it.

For more information, please take a look at the following: https://www.happyhounduniversity.com/single-post/essential-factors-to-consider-when-adopting-a-dog

Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer

Why Canine Influenza Vaccine

As of recent more and more dog boarders are starting to request that dogs have their canine influenza vaccine, but exactly why? Well, canine influenza, or CI, is a highly contagious viral infection, which is mainly seen in dogs. CI is transmitted through droplets from coughing, barking, and sneezing. CI can also be spread indirectly through shared feeding or drinking bowls, collars, or leashes. Because of CI’s fast and invisible transmission between dogs, this infection is easily contracted and shared between pets, making the vaccine highly suggested by vets and other pet health professionals. But what does the Canine Influenza vaccine do? Similar to human vaccines, the CI vaccine is not going to stop your dog from ever contracting CI, but make the symptoms and severity of the illness less harmful and long-lasting. This allows you if in serious condition, to check in with a vet to ensure your pet’s health and that they aren’t in clinical condition. And this doesn’t just stop with dogs. CI can spread to cats too, causing respiratory complications, fever, and eating inconsistencies. Because of this, CI vaccines for both your canine and feline friends are often recommended or required for most boarding shelters. As always, be sure to check with your Vet for specific recommendations for your pets. For more information, visit the AVMA website: https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/canine-influenza

Clara Brown, Junior Board Member

Why Foster/Fospice Care

June is National Foster a Pet Month and local shelters, and rescues are always looking for fosters. According to the ASPCA, “Approximately 6.3 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year.” Fostering a pet is not only providing a loving and caring home but can also save a pet’s life. “Data tells us that if we could encourage 2% more of the 85 million pet-owning households to foster just one pet a year, we can eliminate preventable euthanasia and save the lives of the 800,000 shelter animals at risk of euthanization.” Says Susanne Kogut, President of Petco Love.
One of the easiest ways to be part of Foster a Pet Month is by supporting your local animal shelter or rescue. Whether you choose to volunteer your time, donate financially, or foster a pet in your home you can make a difference! Traditional fostering is generally short-term while preparing the animal for its forever home. This provides the animal a peaceful place to live outside of many already overcrowded shelters. You may be the first to teach it basic manners, commands, and socialization. You may also be the first to provide that animal with unconditional love and care and doesn’t every pet deserve that?
In addition to traditional foster care, there are also rescues that focus their efforts on fospice care. Fospice care is end-of-life care for shelter pets in loving and caring foster homes. These pets are often senior in age and may also have medical issues. Fospice care is given to these pets for the remainder of their lives. It allows them to live in loving homes while being cared for physically and emotionally with the assurance they pass with dignity and comfort which they are so deserving of. Being a fospice mom myself, I was fortunate to care for and love a senior dog with kidney disease for 4 short months a year ago and it was an experience that has never left my heart. I felt humbled to be able to provide him with what he was in need of and to let go when it was time, knowing he had been cared for and loved. I currently have another senior dog in my home and it brings me joy to know she’s happy and loved (and spoiled!).
These are two very different types of fostering and while fospice care may not be for you, maybe traditional foster care is or vice versa. What we know for sure is there are thousands of pets in need of the love, care, and safety of a foster home and there are families out there looking to provide that.
If fostering a pet is something that calls to your heart please reach out to your local animal shelter or rescue.
Nicole Patrizio, Board Member and Fospice Mom

The Importance Of Microchips

This month’s blog is to inform you about the importance of microchips and how it would be useful for your senior dog to have one. I’m going to break this month’s blog information down into a couple of different points so stick with me because knowledge is power.
The Myth: OLD PETS WONDER OFF TO DIE
I believe this myth was started a long time ago for several different reasons: owners would like to believe the dog was doing them a favor and saving them the pain of saying goodbye. This releases the owner from having to find their missing dog that is probably off suffering somewhere. This was a way of thinking when responsible pet ownership was different and better options were not available so, let’s educate ourselves as responsible pet owners and DO BETTER!
If you read the article, I hope it is an Aha! moment and we can stop spreading this myth so that our older or sick dogs can say goodbye with the dignity and peace they deserve.
Busting the myth only brings us to the point of ok, so what can I do to help prevent my senior dog from becoming lost? If you are noticing a difference in your dog’s behavior, it is always a good idea to get a vet visit scheduled to determine if the behavior is coming from a health issue. Keep a closer eye on your dog. If the dog’s hearing or eyesight has become impaired, they may wander off unintentionally and become lost very quickly. If your pet isn’t already microchipped, consider the benefits of having your dog microchipped. It might seem pointless to consider microchipping a senior dog but it really is an inexpensive, reliable solution to help prevent losing your dog. What is a microchip and what is its purpose? A microchip is about the size of a large grain of rice and is injected under the dog’s loose skin between the shoulder blades. The microchip is a unique identifier that gives off a radio frequency once scanned. Once registered, the information on the microchip is the pet owner’s contact information. A microchip is not a GPS tracking device. As a foster mom of senior dogs, I have had several occasions when my senior dog has wandered off just following their nose but calling them back was not an option due to hearing loss. We would be walking together but when they would realize they had gone too far or lagging they were unable to see me because of their poor eyesight. I even had one lose her balance and roll down a hill and couldn’t get back up the hill to find us.
There are many reasons any dog ends up in an animal Shelter but when senior dogs are found as strays and brought in, when the owner comes and claims the dog they will commonly say, “I just thought they went off to die.”. And unfortunately, some never get claimed just for that same reason. Don’t let that be your beloved companion.
Chastity Crowder, Fospice Mom and Board President

My Dog Is Having A Seizure – What Do I Do?

Seeing your pet having a seizure is one of the scariest things that has happened to me as a pet owner.  I hope that by writing about my experience I can help someone else who may have this happen to them at some point in their pet ownership journey.  Twenty years ago, I had no idea what to do or what my dog having a seizure meant the first time it happened to one of our pets.  Poor little Sadie barked at me to wake me up in the middle of the night and was running around the house as I had never seen her do before.  Then she collapsed and just started shaking uncontrollably; she wouldn’t respond to anything I was saying to her.  The shaking lasted for about 2 minutes, but to me, it seemed like 20.  After the shaking stopped, she laid there for a while and slowly “woke up” and was just very tired the remainder of the night.  This was 20 years ago, our Vet didn’t have emergency hours; I didn’t know if there was a 24-hour emergency Vet anywhere like there is today.  I don’t think I slept at all the rest of the night.  Thankfully though when we did get to the Vet the next day, they didn’t find anything wrong with our girl and she lived another 12 years before having another seizure.

The next seizure was much more severe than the first.  It was at 1 o’clock in the morning.  But this time I knew what to do.  It wasn’t completely unexpected – we knew that Sadie had a nasal tumor and our time with her was growing short.  That didn’t make the seizure any less scary because it was much longer than the first – this one lasted well over five minutes.  And she did not recover from this one.  All I could do was lay beside her and talk softly to her to let her know she wasn’t alone.   Following this seizure, we took our girl to MedVet where we humanely euthanized her because we knew that was the right thing to do for her.  We loved our sweet Sadie for 14 years through her very last breath.

Please take a moment to read this article to learn more about the causes of seizures in pets, what the signs of a seizure are (because it’s not always the flailing, shaking like what we experienced with Sadie) what to do for your pet when one happens, and how to talk to your Vet.  This may one day help when you least expect it.  The more we know, the better pet owners we can be.

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dog-seizures-what-to-do/

Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer

Female Dogs Don’t Get Menopause!

This blog post is dedicated to our sweet princess Jedi:
As most of you know Jedi was with Laber of Love for 1 year. At 14 she came into the rescue with several mammary tumors, one in particular where surgery was inevitable due to size. Once she was settled into her new forever home LOL was able to get her vetted and have the tumor removed. This procedure can be quite risky and invasive for a 14-year-old dog but Jedi was true to her name and bounced back with vigor. It was encouraging to see a senior dog recover so well and we were excited to allow her to finish her life out strong. 
For the next 8 months, Jedi was able to live a healthy life with minimal to no health issues. Then she went into heat. After having her for 9 months she had her first menstrual cycle. Soon after, she acquired a UTI (urinary tract infection) a common side effect for females that have not been spayed. The UTI was treated but unfortunately, Jedi did not seem to be able to recover from this issue as well. She continued to have urinary issues until the end of her life which made her last few weeks even more uncomfortable while trying to love her with the dignity and care she deserved. We were in constant fear of pyometra which is a deadly infection in the uterus that goes into the bloodstream very quickly. In the end, we believe it was cancer that Jedi’s body was attacked by. The article attached states that the 2 common, deadly risks to having a female not spayed are mammary tumors and pyometra. There are several opinions as to when is the right time to have your dog spayed but please realize that having your dog spayed is necessary. 
This was written through tears and love by:
Chastity Crowder, Fospice Mom and Board President

Caring For Your Pet’s Teeth Is Important

More and more pet owners are understanding the need to care for their pets’ teeth. But not enough. Over the last few years, almost every dog that has entered our home through Laber of Love has had dental problems. Rotten teeth, nasal fistulas, broken canines, no teeth at all. These poor babies are in pain and they have health problems caused by horrible dental issues. Heaven has scar tissue growing in and around her mouth due to the fact that her teeth were removed at a young age (she is only 9), and the vet who removed them left the canines broken off in her gums. Nevaeh has no teeth left at the age of 10, her heart damage is probably due to bacteria from her teeth that entered her bloodstream. She also has nasal fistulas which are holes from her mouth up into her nasal cavity – the vet that removed her canines either didn’t properly close the incisions or there wasn’t follow-up care. Unfortunately, we can’t fix that issue due to her other medical conditions. Poor Forrest’s mouth was such a rotten mess that his dental cleaning cost $800, and he was in so much pain afterward due to the Vet having to pull so many teeth. Ray’s dental disease was a factor in his kidney disease. Can you imagine how painful that must be for all of them and for us to watch? Virtually all of this could have been avoided by regular dental cleaning at the Vet and a few simples things that pet owners can do at home. Please take the time to take care of your pets’ dental health. It’s not a minor part of their overall wellness – it is a major factor that can help or hurt their overall health from how well they eat to their heart, kidneys, and liver functions. It also keeps them happy. Imagine how you feel when you have a toothache, and multiply that times 42 because that is how many teeth a dog has. If interested in helping your pet’s dental health, take a look at this article for more information: https://www.stfrancisvh.com/blog/7-reasons-why-dental-care-for-dogs-is-important/

Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer

Introducing A New Pet

Introducing a new pet to your already established pack can sometimes feel stressful and overwhelming. Whether it be a pet that you’re keeping long-term or just interacting with another pet while you’re out and about, the key is to remain calm and be observant of the situation.

If you and your dog are out on a walk or in a store and encounter another dog, always make sure the encounter between your pets is mutually acceptable. Some dogs may be working, timid, or not great with close, social interactions. Once the interaction has been agreed upon with the other owner, watch for initial behaviors to gauge the pets’ willingness to interact cordially. If they seem to be tense, are turning their tails down, growling, yawning, and/or their hackles are raised, this is a sign that they are not comfortable with the interaction and should be separated before the situation escalates. Again, it is always important to know your dog’s behavior and watch for signs that do not seem friendly toward the other party.

Another way you may encounter this type of situation is if you are introducing a new pet to your home. While it can be a big task to take on, always remember to first do your research, remain calm, and know when to call in the experts if needed.

Every instance of introducing a new dog to your home can be different. Pets have different personalities just like humans. For example, puppies are developing skills and learning boundaries that adult dogs already have. If you are introducing a puppy to an established pack, keep this in mind and watch for those uncomfortable, tense behaviors. Don’t scold your adult dog for these behaviors. Instead, take a step back and give the adult dog a break or breaks as needed. If you’re introducing an adult dog to your home remember that each dog has had different experiences in life and may not approach an interaction the same way. Take the interaction slowly and if need be, change your approach. Your established dog may feel more comfortable at first with the new addition on a leash outside versus both being loose inside. Pay attention to your intuition and seek experienced help if needed.

Don’t give up on your furry friends if introducing them is not going well and don’t let a bad first impression sway you to make a rash decision. I’ve been there and experienced vastly different meetings within my own pack. You will never regret the time and patience that you give to bringing in a new pet to your home.

If you need help, reach out to your local training community for tips and/or training. I also found some helpful tips in this article from OSU: https://indoorpet.osu.edu/dogs/new_additions_dogs/dog-dog-intro

If you’re introducing a new dog to your home through adoption or foster, we wish you the best and hope you found this information helpful!

Nicole Bolin, Interim Board Secretary 

Keeping Pets Comfortable, Happy & Healthy As They Age

As our pets age, we have to make some adjustments to keep them comfortable, happy, and healthy.  These adjustments may be as small as adding a supplement (as guided by your Vet).  But they can be bigger things too.  At our house, we have primarily older or sick dogs as I am sure everyone has guessed.  Some of these dogs find it hard to go up and down steps because of aching joints.  Because of this when it came time for us to move we specifically bought a house that is one story.  We also installed a ramp from the back porch down to the yard rather than them having to go up and down even those three steps.  I can definitely say that the ramp not only helps the dogs but it helps my back too – I don’t have to carry anyone up and down!  I’m not saying sell your house to make it easier for your aging pets, that’s just something we did because we knew we would have older pets at our house all the time with what we do.

There are a lot of small ways that you can help.  Pet ramps are amazing – for both indoors and outdoors.  They can help your pets get on and off the couch so that they can still be with you and are comfortable.  They can be used for the bed as well if your pets sleep with you.  A ramp can be a lifesaver for the car too!  You can buy them online or at your local pet store, or if you are handy you can make your own.

As our pets age, their nutritional needs change as well.  At your annual visit be sure to talk to your vet about diet.  There are foods designed especially for senior pets, and there are supplements and vitamins that can be added to get the right balance for your pet.  Your Vet would be happy to advise you on what is best for your situation.

Hopefully the better we take care of our aging pets, the longer they will be with us!  For more ways, you can help your aging pet be comfortable, happy, and healthy check out this article: https://www.thesprucepets.com/aging-pet-care-awareness-3384785

Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer