Healthy dogs!

Our Labrador, was tested for Valley Fever;  his test results and xrays are negative.  This is the best news and wonderful blessing.

Labrador Retriever mix
healthy flat coat retriever

If you live in Arizona, you and your animals will most definitely come in contact with Valley Fever fungi.  A strong immune system will defeat Valley Fever just like it would the flu.

The mucous membrane linings of the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary tracts provide one of the first lines of defense against invasion by microbes. Internal defense mechanisms for the immune system include the Lymphatic system, Thymus gland, bone marrow, spleen, white blood cells and antibodies.

valley fever life cycle
valley fever life cycle from the CDC

I’ve learned quite a bit regarding an animal’s immune system and the importance of keeping your pet healthy.

Our Jack Russel, is currently on medication for Valley Fever.  He is doing great and running around like a puppy!  Valley Fever is treated with anti-fungus medication.

dogs swimming in pool
jack russel recovering from valley fever

The immune system is your cat’s, dog’s, bunny’s, etc…  PROTECTOR.   It is the immune system’s job to respond to infectious challenges and antigenic stimuli from the outside world without destroying the host animal itself.

Siamese large cat
Cats can get Valley Fever too

My entire family, with and without fur, wishes you Love, Peace and most of all good Health.  

God Bless you and your families.

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Valley Fever symptoms in our dog

Our Arizona Veterinarian informed us that our dog has Valley Fever, coccidioidomycosis.  This article is to share the information and facts we learned about Valley Fever fungus.  Our dog is on Valley Fever antifungal medicine,  and his prognosis looks good.

the same dog as Wishbone
our dog has valley fever

What symptoms made us visit the veterinarian?

  • Our dog was eating well but losing weight.
  • A few times I caught our pet crying as though he were in pain.
  • Something just seemed off with our dog
Coccidioides is a fungus
Valley Fever is a fungus

Canine valley fever originates in a dog as it inhales the coccidioidomycosis fungal spores. These fungus spores are usually found in dirt and in arid areas of the desert. Once inhaled, valley fever spores grow and multiply very rapidly at the first available point in a dog’s body, the lungs.

Symptoms of coccidioidomycosis, valley fever, usually appear between 1 and 3 weeks after exposure to the fungus.

Common Symptoms of Valley Fever in Dogs and Cats

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Lameness
  • Dry or moist cough
  • Bone swelling/joint enlargement
  • Extreme weight loss with muscle wasting
  • Enlarged lymph nodes

Most fungi are harmless, but some types like Valley Fever can make you sick.  The map below shows areas of the United States that have common cases of Valley Fever in humans and animals.

Valley Fever map
locations where Valley Fever fungus is found

The fungus spores of Valley Fever begin in the lungs until they grow large enough to rupture, releasing hundreds of endospores.  These numerous spores begin a parasitic stage in the tissues and disseminate into the animal’s body.  The Valley Fever Fungus can spread to the organs.

The immune system does have the capability to fight off the Valley Fever infection before symptoms can even be realized, but it requires an exceptionally strong immune system to do so.

valley fever in canine lungs
fungus in a dog’s lungs

According to the University of Arizona, about 70% of dogs who inhale Valley Fever spores control the infection and do not become sick.  The Valley Fever infection can range from mild to severe.

Canine Valley Fever will begin to affect the dog’s joints if the condition continues to progress.  It is very sad when the infection of Valley Fever is so severe in the bones that an animal can no longer move its arms or legs.

joint with Valley Fever fungus
dog’s bone below the knee joint with Valley Fever fungus

It is very important to continue medicating your dog as directed until the veterinarian confirms that the blood tests are negative and tells you to stop medication. If you stop treating Valley Fever too soon, symptoms may recur.  Some animals will have to remain on the anti fungal medication for life.

life cycle of valley fever
life cycle of valley fever

Is Valley Fever contagious from animal to animal, human to human, or animal to human?
NO.  Valley Fever is considered a non-contagious disease. Even if multiple animals or humans are affected in the same household, each Valley Fever case was acquired independently.

Recently, I felt swollen glands on our other dog.  This week we took him to the doctor for Valley Fever blood tests and x-rays.  Already our heart is heavy with our little dog being infected and I can’t yet imagine how crushed we will be if our other dog comes up positive.

our dogs at the Veterinarian
Shadow and Trigger for their checkup

A Valley Fever vaccine is under development. Here’s hoping it is developed soon and may be available to prevent Valley Fever or make it very mild.

Labrador Shepherd mix
our black Labrador

The Valley Fever Center for Excellence at the University of Arizona is the only academic research institution in the world focused on the study of Valley Fever.

 

 

 

Adding a second cat: the cat hissing is over, meet NEFFRON

It is very important to give your newly adopted pet TIME to adjust.  We talked about getting another cat through adoption.  With so many pets in Arizona shelters, cat rescue was the option for us.  I’d like you to meet our new kitty cat Neffron.

our second cat
our Siamese cat, Neffron

Honestly, at first we thought we may have to return our newly adopted cat.  The introduction wasn’t easy with our Labrador, Jack Russell and another cat.  Tension was very high with cat hissing, barking and new cat behaviors I was not familiar with.

After hours of research on success when adding a second cat, we came up with a plan.

cat room
our adopted cat has his own room

At the shelter Neffron was in a cage.  We held this lovable Siamese cat and found him to be very easy going.  Neffron was a 6 yr old neutered male and quite large.  This was good as our tenacious Jack Russell Terrier would not do well with a young, smaller cat.

Before bringing our new cat home we had set up the back bedroom with food, water, and fresh litter.  Our second cat would have a climbing post with a stimulating view from the window.  By nature cats are very territorial and our other cat would naturally resent an adult feline intruder.  Our adopted pet would have their own safe room.

Neffron
our Siamese cat is getting used to us

According to the Animal Humane Society and S.A.F.E.,  Saving Animals From Euthanasia, the sex of the cats makes very little difference.  Many feline behavior experts agree that age and temperament are the most important factors.

My husband and I would take turns relaxing in the room with Neffron.  Now our 12 yr old cat was very nervous and upset.  The behaviour of our older cat changed from mild-mannered to angry.  On the second day, I began to hold our older cat and sit with him across from Neffron for short intervals.  Batman, our 12 yr old was making deep moaning, growling noises and hissing at the new cat.

Siamese cat
our new cat is exploring

Periodically, we started to leave the bedroom door open so Neffron could explore his new house.  Our Jack Russell was put on his leash so he would not chase the new cat.  With treats in hand, I would reward the dogs as Neffron walked passed.  At bedtime, Neffron was safely brought back to his cat room and the door was shut.

litter box
Batman gets his own litter box

Our 12 yr old cat, Batman, was having a harder time with the adjustment of adding a second cat.  We provided him with his own new litter box.  In his behavior I noticed our darling cat wasn’t eating.  This worried me so I placed extra bowls of cat food in different rooms that Batman was hiding in.  Also we gave extra petting and attention to help him feel safe.

2 cats
Neffron and Batman

These two cats sit down together but will not look at each other.   I giggle as I learn how a cat behaves with other cats.  The cat hissing and growling has finally stopped!

Neffron
a happy Siamese cat

Two weeks of constant supervision have passed and we are so grateful that Neffron is part of the family!  Bedroom doors remain open, cats are eating and drinking, the tension has gone and only hugs, toys and playtime remains.

Siamese cat
our Siamese sleepy cat
Trigger, our dog
our Jack Russell dog, Trigger

It is hard to predict how a cat will react when you add a new feline to the family.  You won’t know until you try and we are sure glad we did!  Best wishes to all you pet owners and future pet owners.

My dogs rolling in the grass! Labrador and Jack Russell

Shadow, our Labrador / Shepherd mix, and Trigger, our Jack Russell Terrier, just love to roll in the grass!

our labrador loves grass
our labrador loves playing on grass

We live in the Arizona Sonoran desert with Mesquite trees and cacti as our only neighbors.  Unfortunately, grass does not exist near our home.

Labrador Mix and Jack Russell
Labrador Mix and Jack Russell

When mom places the dog collars on Shadow and Trigger, the tails start wagging!  Our dogs know we are taking a trip to Lakeside Park in Tucson, AZ.

Our Jack Russell loves grass
a grass filled park in Tucson , AZ

It is so fun to watch Trigger, our tenacious Jack Russell Terrier, sprint to the middle of the park, turn upside down and swirl back and forth in the bed of grass.

Trigger upside down in the grass
Jack Russell Terrier rolling in the grass
Shadow
A happy black Labrador mix, Shadow

Shadow is one happy, content dog.  He has a fun, gentle demeanor that is common for Labrador retrievers.

Lakeside Park in Tucson offers fishing, picnics and of course rolling and romping in the grass!  http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/urban_lake_lakeside.shtml

Trigger
Jack Russell Terrier, Trigger

“Sly” my cat passed away today – my dearest pet I love you

This morning one of my darling cats passed over the rainbow bridge….  I ask myself, “My pet died, now what am I supposed to do?”    The first thing I want to do for my cat ( that was like my little boy ) is honor his memory.

my son and his cat
my son, our cat and dog together

At our home, shortly after sitting on the couch a white fluffy ball of fur would land on your lap.  This cat would rub his head on your arm, look at you with that adorable black patch over his eye, purr and rub your arm again just enough to motivate you to pet him.  Watching his playfulness and nudges of appreciation was so joyful one would find themselves petting Sly for hours.

best cat - my buddy
he grabs the sheets

Sly, as I pulled the sheets out of the dryer you would ready yourself on the bed. 😉  You made making the beds so entertaining for me!  It took me four times as long to get the sheets fitted but I didn’t mind because watching you have fun and jump around the covers was so joyful…  This chubby cat made me smile every day.

my beautiful cat
Sly loving his catnip!

My little buddy I will miss our catnip times.  Oh what a silly cat you would become and start wrestling with your brother.  You brought a lot of spirit into our home Sly!

white and black cats
Sly and Batman playing after catnip!
brother cats that love eachother
these 2 cats love each other

The kitty love between Batman and Sly was precious.  Batman will start looking for Sly by tonight so our family will be extra attentive to him.  Sly,  we will take good care of your brother and hope your spirit will visit him often.

cats together

 

My fluffy Sly,  lets remember the 12 1/2 years of loved filled days.  All the adventures around the house.  How about the times you set your doggies in their place.  My darling cat,  your cancer worsened and it was time for you to be at peace.  As I held you this morning I told you over and over how much you are loved and I know you felt it.  It was torture to let you go my little boy; but no pet should have to endure such pain.  You live in my heart forever.  Sly our lives were better because of you and I will think of you everyday.

 

loving cats
Sly and Batman

 

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

IN LOVING MEMORY OF    SLY 8/27/2012

When it is 110 degrees – Dogs go Swimming! Best Dog Pictures

These dogs need to cool off from this summer heat! What better way than dogs jumping in the pool.

  Picture of Shadow

Our wonder dog doing a Cannonball in the pool!

Trigger’s photo of the Lifeguard Dog

This Jack Russell has so much energy, Trigger runs around the pool and then this amazing dog jumps in a goes swimming, he is so funny

Look at the height in this picture, one amazing dog diving in the pool

The Best Dog Pics – Shadow Photos – Labrador Information

Life is meant to enjoy and my 2 furry boys are having a ball!  Shadow and Trigger are a very important part of our daily life.  Our dogs are our family.

Shadow, 4 yr old Lab/ mix and Trigger, 6 yr old Jack Russell

The Labrador Retriever (also Labrador, or Lab for short) is one of several kinds of retriever. This breed characteristic is webbed paws for swimming, which is the breed’s original purpose of retrieving fishing nets.

What is the most popular breed of dog? It is the Labrador. That includes Canada, the United States and the UK.  The Lab is one of the most popular assistance dog breeds as well as being used by police for their detection and working abilities. Typically Labradors love to play catch, swim and retrieving games.  Labs are good as a family pet as they work well with young children, elderly and for protection.

This boy is a gentle soul, extremely intelligent, but don’t under estimate this dog – when he senses danger he will change into “Rambo” protection mode

Shadow was a rescue from  The Humane Society of Sedona . A specialist at the shelter told me that Shadow was a  Flat-Coated Retriever but they were not at liberty to tell me for sure as his papers stated LAB/MIX.  After much research and being with Shadow everyday, I agree.

The Flat-Coated Retriever is a gundog breed originating from the UK. It was developed as a retriever both on land and in the water.  Flat-Coated Retrievers have strong muscular jaws and a relatively long muzzle to allow for the carrying of birds and upland game. Their head is unique to the breed and is described as being “of one piece” with a minimal stop and a backskull of approximately the same length as the muzzle. They have almond shaped dark brown eyes that have an intelligent, friendly expression. The ears are pendant, relatively small and lie close to the head. The occiput (the bone at the back of the skull) is not to be accentuated (as it is in setters, for example) with the head flowing smoothly into a well-arched neck. The topline is strong and straight with a well feathered tail of moderate length held straight off the back. Flat-coats should be well angulated front and rear, allowing for open, effortless movement. They are lighter, racier and more elegant in appearance than the other retriever breeds.

Shadows webbed feet make this Lab an excellent swimmer!

These retrievers do best with plenty of exercise and engagement to help channel their natural sporting energy. Including them in one’s daily routines whether for a walk, jog, or car ride are great ways to indulge their innate desire to be with people. While flat-coats will protect their owners and property with an assertive bark, they are unlikely to back up such noise with actual aggression.  Because of their excellent sense of smell, combined with their boundless energy and eagerness to please their master, they are sometimes used as drug sniffing dogs.

Eager and quick to learn, Flat-Coats are best trained in short intervals as they may bore with repetition. This breed retains its youthful, puppy-like outlook and demeanor well into old age. Paddy Petch, author of The Complete Flat-Coated Retriever, refers to these dogs as the “Peter Pan” of the retriever breeds, given they never quite grow up.

Shadow’ typical SMILE!

After its introduction into the U.S., the Flat-coat began to quickly gain in popularity as a gundog, and from 1873 when the breed became a “stable type” according to the American Kennel Club until 1915 when it was officially recognised as a breed, the number of Flat-coats grew rapidly.

However, soon after, the popularity of the Flat-coat began to decrease, eclipsed by the Golden Retriever, which was actually bred in part from the Flat-coat, along with other breeds. By the end of WWII, there were so few Flat-coats that the breed’s survival was uncertain.  Beginning in the 1960s, careful breeding brought the population back and the breed gained in popularity again as a companion pet. Today, the Flat-coat enjoys a modest popularity and is moving ahead as a breed through attentive breeding for the conformation, health, multi-purpose talent and exceptional temperament that are its hallmarks. It has yet to return in substantial numbers.

Flat-coats have a higher risk of cancer than most dogs.  According to studies sponsored by the Flat Coated Retriever Society of America (FCRSA), the average lifespan of the Flat-coated Retriever is only about 8 years, with a high percentage of deaths due to cancer.

This is how Shadows tells me to get off the computer and feed him – and so I do!
Puts his nose right in the Cactus Flower

Pictures of Cats being Cats – my funny cat photos

Cute photos of my cats doing what they do best. Sly and Batman are brothers. We adopted them and love them to pieces. Cat rescues are rewarding.

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Cat Quotes

  1. “No matter how much cats fight, there always seems to be plenty of kittens.” – Abraham Lincoln
  2. “Of all God’s creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.” – Mark Twain
  3. “After scolding one’s cat one looks into its face and is seized by the ugly suspicion that it understood every word. And has filed it for reference.”- Charlotte Gray
  4. “People who hate cats, will come back as mice in their next life.” – Faith Resnick
  5. “If I die before my cat, I want a little of my ashes put in his food so I can live inside him.” – Drew Barrymore
  6. “Cats do care. For example they know instinctively what time we have to be at work in the morning and they wake us up twenty minutes before the alarm goes off.” – Michael Nelson

This is our cat Batman, now if I could only get him to do the dishes!

Sly wants to cook his own meals in this funny cat picture.

Cute picture of Sly outside

Checkout the Brotherly love in this picture of these wonderful cats!
These are indoor cats, but in this picture our cats are having some garden time.
Sly and Batman could be this cat!
Sly’s favorite Cat Game is guarding the scratch post after I rub catnip on it.

In this picture Sly is the cat telling the dog not to come any closer or else. Our cats love catnip!

This is such a funny picture of our chunky cat. Sly is Mr. Personality in the above photo.

Batman is telling Shadow to stop herding him! Pictures showing how fearless a cat can be are some of my favorite candid photos.

My Jack Russell Terrier caught a Black Racer snake in the garden

Trigger, my wonderful speedy Jack Russell dog, nabbed a young black racer that was in a shade area of the garden.  Jack Russell dogs can live for 15 years easy, that is if they don’t chase snakes!

One thing about living here in Arizona is snakes! Rattlesnakes, at least 13 species live here in Arizona, more than any other state. (according to AZ Game & Fish Dept) – I have had 2 Western Diamond-Back Rattlesnakes in my front yard. One, my Jack Russell, “Trigger” cornered (not good) and the other I trapped till Animal Control arrived.

Last summer Trigger had the Diamondback coiled in the corner of the yard,  I heard this excruciating LOUD noise that sounded like a sprinkler broke! Hard to explain but the rattling was so intense! Across the yard I saw little Trigger and the snake – I ran over and grabbed my Jack Russell Terrier by the collar and lifted him up just in time!

Jack Russell caught a snake
Our Jack Russell caught a fast black racer snake

In the photo is the young BLACK RACER from today, they are very fast snakes and are NOT poisonous. Racer Snakes like to eat mice and rats so they are GOOD to have around the yard and garden. There is no way Trigger would let a small creature or any other animal (javalinas, coyotes and an occasional Cooper’s Hawk included) stay in our yard.  After all, Jack Russell Terriers  were bred with high stamina for the hunt, and fearless courage and formation to chase out foxes underground.  Our Trigger is sturdy, muscular, tough, and tenacious.

Jack Russell playing
our Jack Russell Terrier playing

He is a smart dog that is alert and ready for action.  This little Jack Russell has cornered rats and never lets up until he conquers. He is a member of our family and I pray a rattlesnake never crosses his path, I could not bare to lose my furry boy that I love.

Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell Terrier
Trigger our Jack Russell
Our Jack Russell getting his checkup