Tag: Dog

WAN Exclusive With Nina Jackel, Founder Of Lady Freethinker, About Undercover Investigation Exposing Horror At Dog Meat Auction House In South Korea

Photos from Lady Freethinker

A new undercover investigation this summer by animal rights nonprofit Lady Freethinker captured footage and images of confined dogs kept and sold in what is likely the largest remaining dog meat auction in South Korea at Nakwon Auction House in the city of Namyangju.

The auction and investigation took place during the Bok Nal Dog Eating Days, believed to be the hottest days of the year, when dog meat is consumed out of a mistaken belief that it will have a cooling effect. The dogs are typically cooked as boshintang, or dog meat soup, for Bok Nal.

WAN caught up with Founder and President of Lady Freethinker, Nina Jackel, about the investigation which found more than 200 dogs in metal crates and cages yelping in fear as an auctioneer prodded them with a metal hook. The investigation documented that there were 60 numbered cages, each containing three to four dogs.

“Lady Freethinker has partnered for years with an organization in Gimpo, South Korea, called Save Korean Dogs (SKD), run by a dedicated woman named Nami Kim who rescues dogs from the dog meat trade and works with local legislators to end the industry,” Jackel told WAN, noting that they had someone on the ground to film footage of SKD’s work, when the auction house opportunity presented itself. “The videographer was so brave, and wore a hidden camera even though the facility is on high alert for animal activists.”

“The ultimate goal is to save thousands of dogs from suffering at this facility by exposing what happens there,” noted Jackel, who wants officials to close down this auction house, which is most-likely operating illegally by not following regulations. “Our partner Nami, has already met with the mayor’s office following the release of the investigation, and is planning more visits.”

Unfathomably, South Korea remains the only country in the world with large-scale, commercial dog meat farms despite a decline in consumer demand for the meat by locals. The Korean Animal Welfare Association found in a 2019 poll of South Koreans that just 12.2% of respondents were still eating dogs, down from 13% in 2018. And, 41% reported that they used to eat dogs but were no longer doing so, up from 39.5% in 2018.

Lady Freethinker, in partnership with Save Korean Dogs, is also currently sponsoring 20 taxi ads in the city of Paju that state that “Dogs are not food but family,” and has been conducting undercover investigations since 2018; including one that exposed a dogfight breeder in Chile, which resulted in the strongest-ever sentence for animal cruelty in the nation.

While most major dog meat auction houses in South Korea have closed, Nakwon Auction House is believed to be the largest one remaining. The deplorable auction house is operating in a residential area and is advertised as a dog breeding facility. 

Please sign the petition urging Namyangju Mayor Cho Kwang-han to shut Nakwon Auction House down for good, HERE!

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post WAN Exclusive With Nina Jackel, Founder Of Lady Freethinker, About Undercover Investigation Exposing Horror At Dog Meat Auction House In South Korea appeared first on World Animal News.

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Miyoko’s Creamery Founder Helps Fly Dog Meat Trade Survivor From Seoul To Her New Forever Home In San Francisco; More Volunteers Needed!

Miyoko Schinner, the Founder and CEO of Miyoko’s Creamery, has stepped up to support In Defense of Animals and its partner Jindo Love Rescue’s efforts to save dogs from the dog meat trade in South Korea.

On Friday, September 18th, Schinner escorted a recently rescued dog named Koru on a flight from Seoul to San Francisco. There, Koru met her adopters for the very first time.

Schinner is on a mission to change people’s perception of animals who are raised and killed for food. Her Sonoma-based dairy-free cheese brand Miyoko’s Creamery supports the rapidly growing plant-based community and has just doubled its output to meet demand. The company is backed by celebrity couple Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, and the award-winning products are stocked by stores nationwide including Safeway, Kroger, Walmart, Whole Foods Market, Target, Sprouts, Publix and Trader Joe’s. The entrepreneur also has her own sanctuary, Rancho Compasión, to rescue animal victims of the U.S. farming industry.

Schinner was visiting Seoul for a conference and was delighted for the opportunity to team up with In Defense of Animals and Jindo Love Rescue to help Koru on her way to her forever family.

“Dogs might not be the first animals who come to mind when we talk about farmed animals, but they are sadly also victims of people’s desire for meat,” said Schinner in an email sent to WAN. “I hope people look at Koru, and come to understand that she’s just like other unique and individual animals who are exploited and killed by the billions in animal agriculture every year. All animals deserve to live and be loved. I am proud to support In Defense of Animals and Jindo Love Rescue in their life-saving work to rescue hundreds of dogs from becoming dog meat every year.”

With an estimated 2.5 million dogs raised and brutally slaughtered for their meat annually in South Korea, change can’t come soon enough. In Defense of Animals and Jindo Love Rescue have successfully saved hundreds of dogs and re-homed them in North America since partnering in 2017.

Koru, formerly named Narnia, is about two years old, and was rescued after having puppies on Christmas day in 2018. A man who was going to sell her puppies to a slaughterhouse kept Koru outside on a chain with no shelter, with barely enough room to move or nurse. Fortunately, Jindo Love Rescue heard about her plight and rushed to save them all. Her puppies have since been adopted, and now Koru is going to have a home of her own.

“Alexx and I are so excited to have Koru join our family,” said Jade Naughton, who adopted Koru with her partner Alexx Ironwolf. “Everyone involved has been amazing at getting everything arranged for us as smoothly and quickly as possible. Honestly, this has been the best and most wonderful experience I’ve ever had adopting a dog.”

As previously reported by WAN, In Defense of Animals and Jindo Love Rescue rely heavily on travelers who volunteer to act as couriers to fly dogs from South Korea to their new homes. Now, however, these efforts are being drastically hampered by a decreased number of travelers, canceled flights and travel restrictions in the wake of COVID-19. Many dogs have been stranded by the pandemic while awaiting flights.

Not only has a lack of travel affected dogs who are waiting to get to their new homes, it’s stifling rescuers’ ability to save more.

Volunteering to travel with a rescued dog doesn’t involve much more than allocating some extra time before departing and after arriving. Jindo Love Rescue takes care of all the details, costs and paperwork for customs beforehand, and adopters will be waiting when volunteer transporters land.

Passengers taking flights from Seoul to airports in the U.S., including Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA) and Washington, D.C. (Dulles and IAD), are being encouraged to volunteer to fly dogs to their forever homes. Canadian airports include Vancouver (YVR) and Toronto (YYZ).

For travelers who are interested in volunteering to help bring a dog meat survivor to their forever home in the U.S., CLICK HERE!

To support these life-saving rescue efforts, please make a donation to In Defense of Animals HERE!

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post Miyoko’s Creamery Founder Helps Fly Dog Meat Trade Survivor From Seoul To Her New Forever Home In San Francisco; More Volunteers Needed! appeared first on World Animal News.

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Miyoko’s Creamery Founder Helps Fly Dog Meat Survivor From Seoul To Her New Forever Home In San Francisco; More Volunteers Needed!

Miyoko Schinner, the Founder and CEO of Miyoko’s Creamery, has stepped up to support In Defense of Animals and its partner Jindo Love Rescue’s efforts to save dogs from the dog meat trade in South Korea.

On Friday, September 18th, Schinner escorted a recently rescued dog named Koru on a flight from Seoul to San Francisco. There Koru met her adopters for the very first time.

Schinner is on a mission to change people’s perception of animals who are raised and killed for food. Her Sonoma-based dairy-free cheese brand Miyoko’s Creamery supports the rapidly growing plant-based community and has just doubled its output to meet demand. The company is backed by celebrity couple Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, and the award-winning products are stocked by stores nationwide including Safeway, Kroger, Walmart, Whole Foods Market, Target, Sprouts, Publix and Trader Joe’s. The entrepreneur also has her own sanctuary, Rancho Compasión, to rescue animal victims of the U.S. farming industry.

Schinner was visiting Seoul for a conference and was delighted for the opportunity to team up with In Defense of Animals and Jindo Love Rescue to help Koru on her way to her forever family.

“Dogs might not be the first animals who come to mind when we talk about farmed animals, but they are sadly also victims of people’s desire for meat,” said Schinner in an email sent to WAN. “I hope people look at Koru, and come to understand that she’s just like other unique and individual animals who are exploited and killed by the billions in animal agriculture every year. All animals deserve to live and be loved. I am proud to support In Defense of Animals and Jindo Love Rescue in their life-saving work to rescue hundreds of dogs from becoming dog meat every year.”

With an estimated 2.5 million dogs raised and brutally slaughtered for their meat annually in South Korea, change can’t come soon enough. In Defense of Animals and Jindo Love Rescue have successfully saved hundreds of dogs and re-homed them in North America since partnering in 2017.

“We couldn’t be happier for Koru, who is so deserving of all the love in the world. We wish her and her new family the best, and are so thrilled that Miyoko volunteered to help us get her home,” said Patti Kim, President of Jindo Love Rescue.

Koru, formerly named Narnia, is about two years old, and was rescued after having puppies on Christmas day in 2018. A man who was going to sell her puppies to a slaughterhouse kept Koru outside on a chain with no shelter, with barely enough room to move or nurse. Fortunately, Jindo Love Rescue heard about her plight and rushed to save them all. Her puppies have since been adopted, and now Koru is going to have a home of her own.

“Alexx and I are so excited to have Koru join our family,” said Jade Naughton, who adopted Koru with her partner Alexx Ironwolf. “Everyone involved has been amazing at getting everything arranged for us as smoothly and quickly as possible. Honestly, this has been the best and most wonderful experience I’ve ever had adopting a dog.”

As previously reported by WAN, In Defense of Animals and Jindo Love Rescue rely heavily on travelers who volunteer to act as couriers to fly dogs from South Korea to their new homes. Now, however, these efforts are being drastically hampered by a decreased number of travelers, canceled flights and travel restrictions in the wake of COVID-19. Many dogs have been stranded by the pandemic while awaiting flights.

Not only has a lack of travel affected dogs who are waiting to get to their new homes, it’s stifling rescuers’ ability to save more.

Volunteering to travel with a rescued dog doesn’t involve much more than allocating some extra time before departing and after arriving. Jindo Love Rescue takes care of all the details, costs and paperwork for customs beforehand, and adopters will be waiting when volunteer transporters land.

Passengers taking flights from Seoul to airports in the U.S., including Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA) and Washington, D.C. (Dulles and IAD), are being encouraged to volunteer to fly dogs to their forever homes. Canadian airports include Vancouver (YVR) and Toronto (YYZ).

For travelers who are interested in volunteering to help bring a dog to their forever home, CLICK HERE!

To support these lifesaving rescue efforts, please make a donation to In Defense of Animals HERE!

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post Miyoko’s Creamery Founder Helps Fly Dog Meat Survivor From Seoul To Her New Forever Home In San Francisco; More Volunteers Needed! appeared first on World Animal News.

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5 Reasons to Test Your Dog for Diabetes

Did you know that some authorities feel that 1 out of every 100 dogs that reaches 12 years of age develops diabetes mellitus1?

Pet owner feeding their dogDiabetes mellitus (DM) is a hormonal problem where the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, the hormone that helps push sugar (“glucose”) into the body’s cells. Without the insulin, the body’s cells are starving for sugar; unfortunately, this then stimulates the body to produce more and more sugar (in an attempt to feed the cells). That’s why your dog’s blood sugar is so high (what we call a “hyperglycemia”) with diabetes mellitus.

Without insulin, the sugar can’t get into the cells; hence, why you need to give insulin to your dog with a tiny syringe twice a day. In dogs, this is a disease that can be costly to treat and requires twice-a-day insulin along with frequent veterinary visits for the rest of your dog’s life.

So how do you know if your dog has diabetes? Clinical signs of diabetes mellitus in dogs include:

As your dog gets older, it’s worth talking to your veterinarian about doing routine blood work to make sure your dog is healthy. This blood work will help rule out kidney and liver problems, anemia, infections, electrolyte problems and diabetes mellitus. The sooner you recognize the clinical signs, the sooner your dog can be treated with insulin and the less complications we see as a result.

So, if you notice any of the signs above, get to a veterinarian right away. Now, continue on for 5 important reasons to test your dog for diabetes:

1. Your dog will live longer

Diabetes mellitus can shorten the lifespan of your dog, as secondary complications and infections can occur. With diabetes, the body is immunosuppressed and more likely to develop diabetic complications which cause long term harm to your dog.

Little boy kissing his dog

2. Your dog will be able to see

Did you know that the majority of dogs with diabetes eventually go blind from cataracts? Even in well-controlled diabetic dogs, the excess sugar in the body can have secondary effects on the lens of the eye; it causes more water to influx into the lens, which disrupts the clearness of the lens. As a result, cataract formation occurs, resulting in eventual blindness and secondary inflammation in both eyes. While cataract surgery can (and ideally, should) be performed, it can be costly.

Happy dog with his tongue out

3. You’ll save a lot of money

Treatment for diabetes mellitus includes twice-a-day insulin treatment, insulin syringes, prescription diets, and frequent veterinary trips for blood tests. Also, as diabetic dogs can’t go without their insulin, it may mean hiring house sitters or pet sitters to treat your pet while you are on vacation.

Man looking over vet bills with his dog

4. You’ll have less urinary accidents in the house

One of the biggest signs of uncontrolled diabetes mellitus is excessive drinking, urination and having urinary accidents in the house. Because of the hyperglycemia, dogs are also at increased risk for urinary tract infections, wrecking havoc on your carpet. The sooner you can treat your dog with insulin and get the diabetes controlled or regulated, the less your dog will drink and urinate, making your dog more comfortable too!

Dog had an accident

5. You’ll have more peace knowing that your dog is healthy

As a veterinarian and dog owner, I want to make sure my dog is as healthy as possible. You might already be talking with your veterinarian about vaccines each year in a dog that is older than 7 years of age; next, talk to your veterinarian about doing an annual exam and routine blood work too. It’ll pick up on medical problems sooner, so you can rest assured that your dog is going to live a longer, happier, healthier life!

Having a diabetic pet is also a big commitment, as it requires dedicated pet parents who can give twice-a-day injections of insulin. Caring for a diabetic dog does require frequent trips to the veterinarian to regulate the blood sugar. That said, dogs can live with diabetes for years with appropriate care and treatment. When in doubt, make sure to monitor your dog carefully for the signs of diabetes, and seek veterinary attention sooner rather than later to help test for this ever-growing problem!

Woman hugging her dog

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian — they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

References:

  1. “About Diabetes Mellitus.” MyPet. MERCK, Web. 23 Sept. 2015. 

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Kidney Disease in Dogs: What Dog Owners Should Know

Boxer laying by it's owner's feet /><p>Perhaps the most important thing to know about <strong><a href=Kidney disease is very common in dogs, and protecting your pooch from kidney disease means you should be prepared to look for problems early. Studies show that 1 in 10 dogs suffer from kidney disease, reports Dr. Celeste Clements. Dogs can get kidney disease for any number of underlying reasons, and even worse, it’s often difficult to spot. Some of the earliest signs of kidney disease in dogs may include subtle weight loss, urinating/peeing more often and drinking a lot more water. Therefore, if you notice your dog is peeing on the floor or asking to go out more, or if your dog is always thirsty, it’s time to visit your veterinarian.

Unfortunately, sometimes once these signs are present, there’s typically already been a great deal of kidney damage. Fortunately, new advances in the veterinary world are making it easier to find kidney disease in dogs earlier (even without signs being present).

What is kidney disease in dogs?
Kidney disease in dogs is notoriously hard to catch early and can have devastating effects on our canine friends. In general, kidney disease (sometimes called “kidney insufficiency or failure”) happens when your dog’s kidneys stop doing their job as well as they should. The kidneys help clean waste products from the blood, if they are not working properly these waste products can build up in the blood. (Learn more about what kidneys do for your dog.) This damage, once done, can be permanent and can be caused by a variety of issues. (Learn more about 10 common causes of kidney disease in dogs.)

Kidney disease in dogs is classified in two primary ways, as:

Learn more about kidney disease in dogs:
Since kidney disease impacts so many dogs and early detection is so critical, it’s a great idea for any dog parent to learn and know everything you can about the disease. We’ve included some in-depth articles about kidney disease in dogs and additional tools below, as well as tips for helping keep your dog’s kidneys as healthy as possible for the long-haul:

Kidney disease quick tips:

  • Kidney disease is a leading cause of suffering and death in pets,3 and has been so difficult to combat because it was often not detected until most of the damage was done and permanent.
  • Certain factors like kidney stones, urinary tract infections, or other infections, including Lyme disease, or hereditary conditions could make kidney disease more likely.
  • Treatment options for advanced kidney disease are usually limited to supporting the kidneys and treating the signs of kidney disease as dialysis and kidney transplants are not readily available for dogs.
  • Encouraging your dog to drink more water can help with kidney health    
  • As dogs age, the likelihood of developing kidney disease increases.

The IDEXX SDMA™ test is a maker of kidney function and can help identify decline in kidney function and disease months to years earlier than previously possible.3[Editor’s Note: IDEXX Laboratories is the parent company of Pet Health Network.] This can allow your veterinarian to take early action to treat some causes of kidney damage, and better support kidney disease.

There’s much more to learn about chronic kidney disease if you want to protect your dog, and having this knowledge is step one in the fight against a disease that has claimed far too many lives. Check out the resources below, and ask your veterinarian what you can be doing to keep your dog healthier, happier and in your life longer.

A new test is available to help detect kidney disease earlier,
ask your veterinarian about the new IDEXX SDMA test.

Learn about
IDEXX SDMA testing


More Kidney Disease Resources

 

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian — they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

 

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Eight Tips for Keeping Your Dog Free From Tick-Borne Diseases

Ticks are such annoying little creatures, but far more significant than the nuisance factor is their ability to spread disease. Ticks that embed in a dog’s skin can transmit a variety of serious and even life threatening infectious diseases including:

Another problem ticks can cause is a rare neurological condition called “tick paralysis.” Lastly, ticks can produce inflammation and bacterial infection right at the site of the bite.

Prevention strategies
Prevention is the golden rule when it comes to keeping your dog free from tick-borne diseases. Here are eight tried and true tips to accomplish this:

1. Learn which season is “tick season”

While ticks are prevalent throughout North America, and year-round tick prevention is recommended, the time of year they are most problematic varies from region to region. Ask your veterinarian when tick season occurs in your neck of the woods. This will be the time of year to be most vigilant with tick control measures.

[Ticks don’t go away just because it’s cold. Learn about ticks and fall here.]

Man outside with dog

2. Know the lay of the land

Ticks prefer areas with dense vegetation. Much of their time is spent on the ground, but they are adept at crawling up to the tips of shrubs and grasses. This vantage point enhances their ability to successfully leap onto an animal passing by. Best to avoid exposing your dog to such shrubby and grassy areas, particularly during peak tick season.

[Learn about ticks hiding in leaves here.]

Dogs running outside

3. Use tick prevention products

There are a variety of products on the market that prevent and/or kill ticks. Some tick collars work well, but are not a good choice for dogs who do a lot of swimming or those who have “mouthy play” with other dogs (chemicals within the collar might be ingested by your dog’s playmate).

Other tick-prevention options include monthly medication administered orally or applied topically (to the skin). There are a variety of products to choose from and most are combined with flea prevention medication. Talk with your veterinarian about which tick prevention products make the most sense for your dog.

Using tick prevention on dog

4. Frisk your dog daily

Perform a “tick check” on your dog daily, particularly following outdoor excursions. Getting rid of the little buggers before they’ve had a chance to embed eliminates the possibility of disease transmission. The ticks’ favorite places to attach are your dog’s neck, head and ears, so pay particularly close attention to these areas.

[See how to check your dog for ticks here.]

Woman checking dog's ears

5. Save the ticks you remove

Sounds gross, I know, but saving the ticks you remove just might prove to be useful. Different species of ticks transmit different diseases. Given that symptoms of the various tick-borne diseases overlap, having knowledge of the type of tick your dog was exposed to may help your veterinarian hone in on a diagnosis more expediently. I recommend dunking and storing the ticks in a disposable container filled with isopropyl alcohol. Show them to your veterinarian should your dog become sick.

Ticks in rubbing alcohol

6. Remove embedded ticks promptly and properly

Do your best to remove any embedded ticks as soon as possible. Less time spent attached to your dog lessens the odds of disease transmission.

You’ll find dozens of recommendations online describing how to remove an embedded tick. Be wary of what you read. Burning a tick with a hot match is not effective, and you risk singeing your dog’s haircoat. Coating the tick with Vaseline® or some other type of lubricant does nothing but render the tick slippery and more difficult to remove. And acetone, such as the chemical found in nail polish removers, causes the tick to become brittle and more likely to shatter during the removal process.

Talk with your veterinarian about preferred methods for removing embedded ticks. Whichever method you choose, be sure to wear gloves so as to eliminate any risk of disease transmission for yourself.

[Learn how to safely remove a tick here.]

Removing a tick from a dog

7. Consider the Lyme disease vaccine

The Lyme disease vaccine has been available now for several years. Most veterinarians who specialize in infectious diseases continue to recommend against vaccinating dogs who do not live in areas where there is a high incidence of Lyme disease. Additionally, there is lack of agreement about exactly how much protection the vaccine provides. Discussion with your veterinarian on this topic is certainly warranted.

[Learn more about vaccines for adult dogs here.]

Dog getting vaccinated

8. Know the symptoms and seek early veterinary intervention

Rest assured that the majority of dogs exposed to ticks never develop a tick-borne disease. But for those who do, early recognition of symptoms, quickly arriving at a diagnosis, and prompt treatment by your veterinarian enhance the likelihood of a positive outcome. If your dog has tick exposure, talk with your veterinarian about what symptoms you should be on the look out for.

Dog laying on floor

Questions for your veterinarian

  • When does tick season occur here?
  • Which tick prevention products do you recommend for my dog?
  • What method of tick removal do you recommend?
  • Does the Lyme disease vaccination make sense for my dog?
  • What are the symptoms of tick-borne disease that I should be watching for?

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian — they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

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How My Former Puppy Mill Dog Changed All of My Pet Health Assumptions

I’m the first to admit that I tend to go a little overboard for my pet’s care. After all, as a life-long animal advocate, I’ve seen too much inhumanity, too much pain, too much suffering put on these animals not to want to reverse that in my own home. I’ve also seen how amazing, resilient and inspiring they can be. Even for me though, some treatments can seem too extreme for some pets. When I’m faced with a serious medical decision, it can be difficult and stressful to decide what’s right. 

Recently, I found myself in just such a situation with my dog, Fiona. I hope that my story might help you in the future.

Meet Fiona, former puppy mill breeder
Meet Fiona, perhaps the worst candidate for treatment (or so I thought). My little Fiona is an 11-year-old former puppy mill breeder who spent the first 7 years of her life in a cage, pumping out litters of (badly) purebred Italian Greyhounds. While her puppies were probably shipped to families across the country, she spent 7 years with little-to-no human interaction, affection or medical care. By the time she got to rescue she was so emotionally stunted that — despite being smaller, younger and healthier than many other adoptable dogs in NYC — she spent two years in foster care. She kept getting adopted and returned because she was so afraid to live like a normal dog.

I met Fiona shortly after her second anniversary with K9Kastle, a great rescue group I volunteered with at the time. I took Fi on as a foster to help with her socialization. I hoped I could work to get her to a place where she could bond with other people. Eventually, Fi and I got her there, but also ended up falling undeniably in love on the way. So I “failed” as a foster mom and became Fi’s permanent “mom” instead.

Fiona’s fear of treatment
Two years later, Fi’s gone from the terrified pup who would duck for cover anytime someone moved, to approaching strangers on the street. (Thank you, bacon treats!!!) As she always did, she adores cuddles and chin scratches, but now seeks them out from people she doesn’t know. She’s even started doing a little post-poop dance and run in the mornings.

Fiona’s not without her scars. Recurrent urinary issues and frequent stress-related colitis are two of the biggies. It took over a year to find a secondary caretaker who she’d be comfortable with when I traveled to keep her from developing heartbreakingly bloody stools from the stress. She’s never learned to play, but has found solace in stuffed kongs and rawhide chews.

Medicating Fiona can set her off, so her veterinarians have often opted for the “wait and watch” approach when anything new comes up. It’s not that they don’t want to treat her; it’s that treatment has often made the problem worse.  

So Fiona didn’t seem (to me) like the kind of pup who would be a good candidate for chemo. When we discovered a rare form of mast cell tumor in her gum I assumed treating it would mean destroying any quality of life she had left – something I wasn’t willing to do.

My decision to treat Fiona
I’d never gone through chemo with my dogs or cats before. I’d known others who had tried it, to varying results. However, I secretly always assumed that chemo would be a little extreme, even for me and especially for a dog like Fi. And, lucky or not, any time I’d battled the big “C” with pets before, chemo wasn’t a good option.

But then Fi’s diagnosis came back and, yet again, she started teaching me to throw all of my assumptions to the wind.

  • The cancer was inoperable, but slow-growing
  • A chemical released by the tumor was making her nauseated
  • Chemo provided a small chance, but a bigger one than I’d assumed
  • She had to be medicated for the nausea and tumor side effects either way

I was given a GREAT referral to an excellent oncologist, and had a quick crash-course in mast cell tumors and chemo for dogs. The conversation was eye opening and soon, Fiona started chemo.

Fiona’s amazing reaction has changed all of my assumptions
Fiona’s now two weeks in and, amazingly, doing better than she has in months. Her poop-dance is back. She begs me and my partner for pets. She comes running down the hall, ears perked, at “wanna go for a walk?” She hasn’t started running away from me when it’s time for her meds, yet.

We won’t know for a while whether the chemo’s actually doing anything, but for now, I’m just thankful to have hope and yet another lesson from my “little old lady.”

What is it they say?

“Never give up. Never surrender.”

Fiona’s got that one down.

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