God Gives His Hardest Battles to His Strongest Soldiers

“God Gives His Hardest Battles to His Strongest Soldiers” ~DeMarcus Cousins

For those of you who may have just recently joined our pack’s adventure, Lager was a Contracted Working Dog (CWD) and served our country as an explosives detection canine. His war zone name was Nayt, and he spent 18 months in Iraq, checking cars for explosives at the the US Embassy in Baghdad. He was one of the lucky ones to have had his privately contracted company pay to fly him back to the United a states after his tour ended, as many working dogs are not as fortunate. Upon Lager’s return to the U.S., we adopted him (read his full adoption story HERE). Lager has been enjoying his civilian life with us for the last 7 years with us with his favorite pastimes being swimming & dock diving. However, Lager has recently found himself back in a war zone of a different kind. On September 16th, he was diagnosed with oral papillary squamous cell carcinoma.

Discovery of Lager’s Mass

September 6, 2022

After a phenomenal performance at a World Championship dock diving qualifier, earning better scores as a 10 year old than the 1 and 3 year olds in his division and placing 2nd overall in Warrior Iron Dog, we were riding home in our camper on Tuesday, September 6, 2022 when I discovered the mass. Lager showed absolutely no signs of being in pain or not feeling well before, during, or after the competition. Lager does not appreciate having his mouth examined. Although I brush his teeth, it’s more of a “shove the toothbrush in and brush what I can” kind of thing, and I never get a good look in his mouth. While he was sleeping with his head on my lap on the way home in the camper, his bottom jowls were hanging in a way that enabled me to catch a glimpse of something abnormal. My heart sunk as my eyes focused on a mass located just behind his left lower canine. The growth was mostly covered by all those “extra bird dog bottom lips.” However, had I been able to do regular mouth checks and pulled those lips away from the canine, this mass could have been discovered much sooner. Please consider this a reminder to check your dogs regularly. Checking your dog’s oral health as a part of a routine cancer check is extremely important. If your dog isn’t a fan of you brushing their teeth or inspecting their mouth, get a friend or family member to help you, seek advice on training techniques that condition your dog to allow his/her mouth to be fully scrutinized, or ask your veterinarian to to an oral check at your dog’s routine visits.

Initial Primary Veterinarian Visit

September 7, 2022

I called our primary veterinarian, Dr. Helen Campbell at Old York Veterinary Hospital, from our RV immediately after I discovered the mass. She fit us into her busy schedule on Wednesday, September 7th. She was immediately concerned with what she saw and squeezed him into her surgery day that Friday, September 9th. She explained that most times oral masses such as this grow very deep, often invading the teeth and/or bone, and that getting clean margins during the surgery that Friday may not be possible. Dr. Campbell further shared that often times dogs will have to see an oral surgeon to remove the rest of the affected area whether the mass is malignant or benign. Dr. Campbell is one of the most brilliant, patient and kind people I know, and her staff is beyond amazing. Dr. Campbell and her staff not only provide the best care for our fur-kids, they are gentle and understanding with the humans in our pack. I ask a million questions, conjure up every “what-if” scenario, constantly ask Dr. Campbell to spell-out medical terms that I’m trying to write down in my notepad, and can’t pronounce a single medical term correctly…this woman is a SAINT. I am so grateful for everyone at Old York for not only keeping our 4-legged kids healthy, but also for for putting up with my high-strung personality (Dr. Campbell kindly calls me “motivated”…lol).

Mass Removal

September 9, 2022

On September 9th Lager had the visible part of his oral mass removed by Dr. Campbell at Old York Veterinary Hospital so that it could be sent for biopsy in order to give us better direction on what we are dealing with. Lager made it through the surgery without any issues. However, Dr. Campbell did have to attack this mass as aggressively as possible, creating a gingival flap and cauterizing the area …so Lager’s healing period may be extensive.

Pathology Report – Not The News We Were Hoping For

September 16, 2022

On September 16th, we spoke to our primary veterinarian, Dr. Campbell who delivered the news we feared the most…Lager’s mass is malignant. The pathology report proved that the mass was oral papillary squamous cell carcinoma, and that surgical margins were incompletely excised (that part we were prepared for).

Oral papillary squamous cell carcinomas are locally invasive and potentially locally destructive with a
moderate to high possibility for recurrence due to incomplete excisions. Masses may range from being entirely noninvasive to showing invasive growth, including bone intrusion. They do, however, have a very low potential to metastasize. X-rays were taken during Lager’s surgery with Dr. Helen Campbell. In viewing the radiographs, Dr. Campbell is hopeful that the mass did not invade the bone. There is, however, a questionable area that will be further explored by an oncologist and/or oral surgeon. If the mass did invade the bone, Lager may be required to have teeth removed and/or a partial mandibulectomy.

Pathology image of Lager’s oral mass

Initial Plan of Attack

It was a Friday when we learned of Lager’s diagnosis…which was probably a good thing considering I needed a few days to get my head straight. I spent that weekend on a rollercoaster of feelings: Disbelief, sadness, anger, guilt, numbness. Guilt consumed me. I blamed myself for not finding this mass sooner…for not finding a way to get a look in Lager’s mouth…for not seeking help. It took some deep reflection for me to remember that I am no good to Lager when I am wrapped up in myself. I looked back on my past blog entries when I was faced with a cancer diagnosis (not once, but twice) with our beloved Margarita to help me remember that my first priority is not finding the right treatment for Lager – but rather dealing with my emotions in order to clear my mind and be able to focus energy where it is needed…on Lager. I also knew I had to adjust my mindset and find the strength to be hopeful and positive. Living with Margarita’s cancer diagnosis – watching her go through chemo and then beat Lymphoma and maintain remission – only to lose her to hepatocellular carcinoma forced me to change my mindset altogether. Through it all, Margarita lived each day in-the-moment and enjoyed each second. She wasn’t worried about dying – she was focused on living. Even while she was sick, she encouraged others and spread positivity – and is still doing so in spirit to this day. As humans, when we hear that cancer diagnosis, we tend to start mourning our dogs who are still very much living. We have a lot to learn from dogs – live in the moment and enjoy the NOW. Lager has no idea he has cancer – he’s as happy and bouncy as always … and if anyone picks up on human emotion efficiently, it’s a dog (I swear they have super powers!) I am Lager’s guardian – it is imperative for me to maintain optimistic and in good spirits (no matter how difficult it may be) in order to preserve Lager’s emotional well being during his journey.

The next step was scheduling a consultation with the oncologist. I have secured an appointment and have begun to create my list of questions in preparation for the consultation. When we meet with the oncologist, he will advise us at that time on what direction is recommended for Lager.

Effective immediately: Get moving! Although Lager is an active 10 year old in general, I have been slacking lately in the “taking each dog for a daily walk” department. Studies have shown that exercise is beneficial for cancer patients – both human and canine. Exercise can enhance your mood, reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and boost energy… all of which is much needed for both Lager and myself at this point to ensure we are mentally and physically fit for his journey. Lager and I will be starting a daily walk regimen and may even choose to start doing virtual 5K’s for charity again. There is always strength in numbers… join Lager’s Legion…we’d love your company walking with us either in person or virtually!

Oral Cancer awareness ribbon with an American Flag behind it… the perfect choice to support Lager!

United We Stand

We are almost certain at this point that we will not attend the DockDogs World Championship. We are a team…we play together, we stay together, and we fight together. No dog left behind…If Lager has to sit-out, we all sit-out. It is uncertain at this time if Lager is still in any discomfort – or if he will be at the time of the competition. These masses typically cause discomfort, yet Lager showed no signs of pain while competing, chomping down on bumpers and toys with enthusiasm during his last competition before the mass was discovered. Lager will do ANYthing you ask of him, which makes it near impossible to observe if he is in pain. We still need to be careful and make sure Lager isn’t aggravating his surgical area, as it is still in the healing process, and we won’t know if that area will be fully healed by the time he would be at the World Championship. Until Lager is further evaluated by an oncologist and we have more answers, we won’t feel comfortable with Lager participating in competition or traveling 1,039 miles away from his medical team. We look forward to the World Championship every year – we work all season toward the goal of getting all dogs qualified…so we will be greatly disappointed if we miss the World Championship and miss the opportunity to see competitors – extended family – that we haven’t seen since last year or even before Covid… but Lager’s health takes precedence.

Guardian Angels Up Above Please Protect the Ones We Love

September 17, 2022
The night following Lager’s diagnosis, Brian and I went to dinner with my sister, Casey, and my 9 yr old nephew, James. On the way to dinner Casey asked how Lager was doing (we had not told James anything at this point). James asked what we were talking about and Brian gave him the gist of the story, which made James sad. We forgot to make reservations so when we arrived to the busy restaurant we had a short wait. As we stood waiting for our table, Casey spotted a penny on the floor and pointed it out to James. I said to James “Pick it up!… You know what they say – ‘pennies from Heaven’…Someone is sending us a message!” James picked up the penny and without looking at it, put it in his pocket. Later at the dinner table, James bet me the penny on something. I won, and James turned the penny over to me. My eyes immediately filled with tears. The year on the penny was 2016 … the year we met Penelope…who we called PENNY… and adopted as Margarita!! Sweet Reet was letting us know that she’s going to be alongside Lager through his journey!

A good friend sent me this book when Rita had passed away:

Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier

“Captain America” (pic credit: Jim Z)

Hey Cancer, you picked a battle with the wrong dog. Lager was a soldier in Iraq …He is known as Captain America in the DockDogs community…And he has an army of amazing people (if you are reading this, that’s YOU!) behind him…so I hate to break it to ya, “big C, ” but you better be ready for the fight of your life.

Death smiles at us all…oral cancer warriors smile back.
Lager is pictured here on 9/20/22 with a “f*ck cancer” bowtie his Aunt Jackie made.

Goulash with Cheesy-Root-Veggie Pancakes

Goulash with Cheesy Potato Pancakes

Goulash

Goulash is a soup or stew of meat and vegetables seasoned with paprika and other spices. This is my healthy dog-friendly version. The best part about this dish is that you really don’t have to follow the recipe closely…you can add as much or as little of any of the ingredients, and substitute the meat and veggies for whatever suits your pup! I used ground bison and ground chicken as my protein source, but you can use ground beef, ground lamb, ground venison, and even add in some chicken gizzards and/or chicken live or mackerel – the choices are endless!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of organic ground bison (we choose a brand with no antibiotics and no added hormones)
  • 1 pound of ground organic chicken (we choose a brand with no antibiotics and no added hormones)
  • 3 organic eggs
  • (1) 10 oz bag fresh organic broccoli florets (I used about 1/2 the bag) chopped in food processor
  • (1) 5 oz bag fresh organic spinach (I used about 1/2 the bag) chopped in food processor
  • 1 bunch fresh organic kale (I used about 6 large leaves) – chopped in food processor
  • 1 bunch or bag of fresh organic carrots (I used 4 carrots) chopped in food processor
  • (1) 12 oz bag of fresh organic green beans, trimmed and cut into small pieces (I used the whole bag and snipped off 1/4 inch pieces with kitchen shears)
  • 1-2 organic sweet potatoes (I used one very large potato) – grated
  • 2 bags of cooked organic brown rice

Instructions:

  • boil the meat until fully cooked – stirring and “chopping up” meat to separate it (do not drain water from pot – and you can add more water as you add ingredients. I kept the consistency less “soupy”)
  • add in eggs, stirring to break up eggs and mix
  • add in your veggies and mix
  • add in brown rice and stir
  • simmer on low heat until veggies are cooked

Cheesy-Root-Veggie Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • (1) 12 oz bag Cascadian Farm Organic Root Vegetable Hash Browns (you can buy potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots separately and use a grater to shred them, but I love the Cascadian Farms root veggies – – saves time!)
  • organic sharp shredded cheddar – put as little – or as much as you please
  • 2 organic eggs, whisked
  • organic plain bread crumbs
  • organic olive oil cooking spray

Instructions:

  • coat pan with cooking spray
  • mix the root veggies, cheese & eggs together until well combined
  • add bread crumbs until you achieve a consistency you like
  • form pancakes in the size of your choice and add to pan
  • cook over medium heat, flipping pancake until cheese is melted and both sides are browned to your liking

Peanut Butter Macarons

Macarons are a meringue-based sandwich cookie usually made with almond flour, egg whites, powdered sugar, and food coloring. They are commonly filled with buttercream, ganache, or jam. Here is a dog-friendly version I think your pup will enjoy! If you wish, you can omit the peanut butter from the sandwich ingredients to create a “plain” cookie base, and change the filling ingredient to any dog-friendly spreadable food.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup organic whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup organic creamy peanut butter, plus additional peanut butter for “sandwich” filling
    • all-natural, no salt or sugar added, xylitol/birch sugar free
  • 1 large organic egg
  • 2 tablespoons organic honey
  • 1/2 cup organic whole milk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line baking pans with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl add flour, baking powder, peanut butter, egg, honey, and milk. Beat until ingredients are well combined – until a soft dough forms
  3. Flour your work area and roll the dough out about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep, depending on how thick you want the “sandwich”
  4. Use a small round cookie cutter or something similar (I used the mouth of a champagne flute) to cut out circles of dough
  5. Place the cut-outs on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes depending on your oven (I left mine in for 15 minutes)
  6. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool
  7. You can wait to do this next step until ready to give the macarons to your dog, or you can do this step and freeze the treats for later
    1. smear peanut butter on one of the cookies and top with another cookie to make a “sandwich”

Bow-Wow Breakfast Cookies

Cookies for breakfast? You betcha – especially when they are packed with whole grains & fruit! 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups organic whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup organic old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp organic cinnamon
  • 1 large organic egg
  • 1/3 cup organic virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup organic honey
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1 cup organic apple, grated (I used organic gala apples)
  • 1 medium banana, very ripe and mashed
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened mini carob chips

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Line cookie sheets with parchment paper
  • In a large bowl mix together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon
  • In a separate small bowl beat the egg. Add the melted coconut oil, honey and vanilla extract and stir well. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined
  • Add grated apple and mashed banana and stir until all ingredients are well mixed
  • Stir in carob chips
  • Roll the cookie dough into 1 inch sized balls (you can make smaller or larger to suit your dog’s size)
  • Place each dough ball on the cookie sheet and press down lightly with the bottom of a jar, glass, or a fork to flatten a bit
  • Bake for 15 minutes, checking after about 12-13 mins to be sure the cookies are not getting too brown in your oven
  • Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before giving to your dog

Peanut Butter-Banana-Chip PUPcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe organic bananas
  • 2 c water
  • 1 organic egg lightly beaten
  • 3 TB organic peanut butter- room temperature (all-natural, no salt or sugar added, xylitol/birch sugar free)
  • 3 cups organic oats
  • 3 TB unsweetened carob chips
  • 1 TB baking powder
  • Nonstick coconut oil spray

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F
  • Spray mini muffin tins with non-stick spray
  • Mash bananas in a large bowl
  • Add water, egg, and peanut butter to bananas
  • In a food processor, pulse oats and baking powder until it becomes a fine flour
  • Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and mix with spoon until well combined
  • Add carob chips and mix with spoon
  • Pour into mini muffin pan(s) filling each cavity until 3/4 full
  • Bake 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
Limoncello waits patiently as the muffin pans get filled
Lager watched patiently as the PUPcakes bake
Foster Lilly takes a sniff

PB & Pumpkin Pupper Pretzels

Ingredients

  • 3/4 c organic pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 organic large eggs (set one aside)
  • 1/4 c organic peanut butter (pure peanut butter, no salt/sugar added, xylitol/birch sugar free)
  • 3 c of garbanzo bean (chick pea) flour

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Add the pumpkin puree, 1 of the eggs and peanut butter in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until well combined.
  • Gradually mix in the flour until a stiff dough forms.
  • Scoop out some dough and roll into a rope shape. Thickness is up to you. Length depends on what size pretzel you want to make. Form into a horseshoe shape. Cross the ends, twist, and press them against the other side. See ho-to video, click HERE
  • Transfer the to the prepared pan.
  • Crack the remaining egg and transfer whites only to a small ramekin. Apply a thin coat of egg whites to each pretzel using a small pastry basting brush.
  • Bake until pretzels turn “soft pretzel golden brown.” Bake time will vary based on the size and thickness of your pretzels, and if you want to keep them on the soft side or let them get crunchy. I made these pretzels about 2-3 inches in length and it took about 20 minutes in my oven for the pretzels to get to the color I wanted.

Notes:

  • The amount of pretzels yielded depends on the size/thickness you choose
  • Recipe can be doubled to yield more pretzels
  • I froze the pretzels and kept a few at a time in the refrigerator to keep them fresh
Foster pup Lilly giving the pretzels a try

November 2021: Cardiology Check-Up

  • Cardiovascular Examination:
    • Auscultation: Grade 3/6 left apical blowing quality murmur. Heart rate 100bpm and regular. Lungs clear.
    • Thrill: none
    • PMI: left
    • Femoral Artery: good quality bilaterally
  • Release Notes:
    • Limoncello’s heart disease is stable on the current medication and supplements. There has been an improvement
      in the heart size.
    • Her blood work was completely normal.
    • Current medication and supplements will continue with no changes. Sleeping respiratory rate (SRRs) will be tracked at least 2-3 times per week. This is extremely important to anticipating fluid shifts and the onset of congestive heart failure.

Blood Work:

Echocardiogram and Ultrasound:

Porter’s Status Epilepticus Episode

It has taken me 11 months to write this post, as it is a recap of one of the scariest days (and couple of weeks) we’ve ever had with our pups. 

November is Epilepsy Awareness Month. For those of you who may just be joining our pack’s adventures, our 4-ish-year-old English Pointer, Porter, suffers from severe clustering Grand Mal and Focal seizures caused by idiopathic epilepsy. Eleven months ago, Porter almost lost his battle with this horrible disease when he experienced Status Epilepticus (SE) – a cluster of seizures lasting 5-minutes or more  in which the dog does not return to “normal” in between seizures. If it is even possible for something positive to result from Covid, it is that both Brian and I were working from home at the time of Porter’s SE.  Had we not been present for this SE episode, Porter would have seized to death.


December 22, 2020

At 8:44am, Porter began to seize. Porter’s seizures had become a regular…almost “normal?” event in our family. We acted quickly, but calmly, because we were prepared with Porter’s seizure protocol and armed with emergency injections. If he clusters, we give him the shot…end of seizures, right? Not this time. When we saw that he was clustering, Brian administered Porter’s emergency injection of Midazolam. However, despite giving the injections, this time, the seizures kept coming. The seizures were severe, emerging one-after-the-other, Porter was violently convulsing and was extremely vocal… it was one of the most awful things I have had to force myself to watch. Brian had given Porter the maximum number of emergency injections allowed with no success in stopping the clustering. Helpless doesn’t even begin to describe how we felt. Porter was then rushed to the emergency hospital.

We were informed that Porter was experiencing Status Epilepticus (SE), and that it was critical to act quickly because neurologic damage continues to occur until seizure activity has ended. The emergency facility was still not allowing clients inside because of Covid, so Porter was taken into the hospital, immediately admitted to the ER and placed on an IV with anesthesia. Standard procedure for a SE is for the dog to be placed on an IV catheter in order to administer anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). Dogs are usually heavily sedated with anesthesia while receiving AED treatment. While this treatment is being administered, there are several risk factors:

  • Hypertension, and then hypotension – and both can worsen with addition of AEDs, so closely monitoring blood pressure is extremely important
  • Hyperthermia – temperature must be closely monitored and cooling efforts are often needed. After seizure activity stops, if the dog has been heavily sedated, hypothermia may occur, and warming may be needed at that time.
  • Difficulty with upper airways – gag reflex has to be monitored. If the dog is unresponsive, or if the gag reflex is insufficient, it may be necessary to intubate the dog to help prevent hypoxemia and protect the dog’s airway from aspiration. 

We were told Porter’s prognosis was poor – as less than 25% of dogs who experience SE will not survive the hospital discharge. Given his current state, euthanasia was also suggested as an option. We refused to even acknowledge this as a choice for Porter until we could more clearly determine what his quality of life would be …IF he survived once he came off the IV. 

Porter survived the IV procedure. However, once taken off the IV, the doctors reported that Porter had lost both his sight and the ability to walk (common for dogs who experience SE). Some dogs who are lucky enough to survive the AED therapy make a partial recovery, some dogs make a full recovery, and others remain disabled. Only time would tell for Porter. If he did not recover enough from this point to have a good quality of life, we knew we would have to help him cross over the rainbow bridge.

We were not able to visit with him during his hospital stay due to Covid restrictions. Although it was excruciating not to be there with Porter, the ICU staff kept us updated with photos and video of our boy. 


December 23, 2020

In just over 24 hours, Porter’s vitals and response to medications were enough to convince the doctors that he had a fighting chance and could be released from the hospital. The days that followed Porter’s return home felt like an eternity as we watched for signs of improvement, indications of decline, and additional seizures. 

When we brought Porter home, he laid motionless on the dog bed- eyes glazed over. I have to admit – after seeing him in this state, I began to prepare myself for having to say goodbye to him. The last thing we ever want is a poor quality of life for any of our fur-kids.


January 5, 2021

However, slowly but surely, over the next two weeks, Porter began to show improvement! His eyesight began to return, he was able to pick his head up… then sit up… then stand up…then walk!

As we celebrated his recovery, we also had to decide along with Porter’s neurologist and primary veterinarian, what to do from here. Although in the past, Porter did not respond well to Potassium Bromide, it suggested that we add this back in to his complex cocktail of medications. We believe that addition has played a major role in his recovery and our goal of aiming for zero.


Fast forward to November 2021

Porter went from having a seizure every seven to fourteen days… battling Status Epilepticus (and winning!)…to only having two seizures (one mild Grand Mal, and one mild Focal) in the past 11 months! To say we are thrilled is an understatement. Porter goes on walks, runs in the yard, plays with toys, and partakes in shenanigans with his siblings. He’s happy and loves spending time with any human or dog that will pay him some attention! He is an amazing warrior! At the same time, we know full well that Porter’s battle is far from over. The life span of dogs who experience SE is drastically shortened. In addition, the amount of medication Porter is taking can harm other organs, and also dramatically reduces the other drugs he can take that may help him battle other illnesses and diseases.


November 8, 2021

Porter had his annual neurological evaluation at BluePearl Pet Hospital. Overall, his neurologist is pleased with Porter’s recovery and current status. However, in recent routine blood test, Porter’s Bromine level was a bit high at 3.4 (normal is 1-3 mg/mL). Adjusting his Potassium Bromide dose at this point could put Porter back into an undesirable seizure cycle again, so his neurologist is reluctant to decrease the dose at this time. Porter’s liver panel displayed that his Albumin level was low at 1.8 g/dL (normal is 2.7 – 3.9). His low Albumin is not thought to be related to his abnormal Bromide level. However, we need to find out where Porter is losing protein – the cause of the low Albumin level. A urinalysis was done and came back normal. So now he will have a Fecal Alpha Proteinase Inhibitor test to rule out any gastrointestinal disorders that may be causing Porter to lose proteins. Porter will be monitored closely while the additional fecal testing is underway and discussions among his medical team are conducted.

In the mean time, we will continue to aim for zero as we celebrate each and every day with this very special and amazing soul.

Please help us spread Epilepsy Awareness by sharing Porter’s story.

Dog Tricks

“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.” ~Author unknown

Trick training is a wonderful way to build confidence, engage and challenge your dog while nurturing and strengthening the bond you have with your pup. Tricks are also an effective method to channel your dog’s energy into positive and rewarding outcomes for both you and your best friend. All dogs regardless of age or breed can learn tricks!

The 3-Parts to Teaching Your Dog Tricks

Trick Training Mantra: Cue, Action, Reward

  1. Verbal or Physical cue to your dog, signaling the desired behavior
  2. The action performed by your dog
  3. Reward your dog

Guide your dog through the process, rewarding each small step along the way. Don’t expect your dog to learn the desired action on the first try. The goal of each training session is to improve the results from your last. If your dog doesn’t seem to be picking up on the trick, go back to an easier step for a bit as to not frustrate you or your pup. Consistency and effort are key. Go through the same motions each day and soon you will see improvement as your dog starts to “get it.” Be sure to move at a pace that is appropriate for your dog, and always choose behaviors which are suitable for your dog’s abilities, age, temperament and health. Keep training sessions brief and be sure to have a variety of rewards for your dog so that he or she remains motivated to play the “trick training game” with you. Always end on a positive note and while your dog is still wanting more – even if you have to go back to an easier behavior.


The sub-menus of this section are a collection of the trick titles our pups have earned from Do More With Your Dog. Do More With Your Dog offers four standard Trick Dog Titles: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert. Each must be earned consecutively. Titles are earned by demonstrating a set number of tricks from a checklist. Your dog’s title comes with a PDF certificate and optional hardcopy certificate as well as a ribbon. Tricks must be taught with positive methods, and evaluators have the discretion to take into account the dog’s age, disabilities, and characteristics, and will work with you to establish alternate criteria. Trick titles are recognized by AKC, CKC, DKK.

Do More With Your Dog also offers specialty tittles such as 20:1, Summer Scavenger Hunt, and Alphabet Tricks. These are fun challenges geared toward enhancing your training by utilizing your dog’s skills and your creativity. These challenges also come with a PDF certificate, optional hardcopy certificate and custom ribbon.

What are you waiting for? Grab your treat bag, your dog’s favorite toy, and get started! Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions along the way!

Slice-n-Bake Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic whole wheat flour
    • Contains fiber, protein, carbs, vitamins, and minerals
      • **Also contains a protein called gluten, which can be a trigger for allergies in some dogs 
  • 2 oz. finely grated organic cheddar cheese
    • Contains protein, calcium, vitamin A, essential fatty acids, and B-complex vitamins
      • **You can choose low fat cheddar, Swiss and Monterrey Jack, or you could use a non-dairy choice like almond milk cheese
  • 2 slices of uncured bacon cooked extra-crispy and crushed into bits 
    • Fat can be a source of energy, but bacon should be used sparingly as it is high in fat and sodium
  • ¼ cup organic unsweetened applesauce
    • Has fiber which will help keep your dog’s digestion working at its best
  • ¼ cup water

Directions

1. With a fork, whisk together the flour, bacon, and cheddar cheese in a large bowl until well-combined

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the applesauce and water.

3. Pour the applesauce mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined

4. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap, and place the dough onto the wrap.

5. Lay another piece of plastic wrap on top of the dough and twist the ends together.

6. Using your hands in a rolling motion, form the dough into a log.

7. Place in the freezer for 45-60 minutes.

8. Preheat oven to 325° F

9. Spray a baking sheet with an organic non-stick cooking spray (I used an organic olive oil spray)

10. Unwrap the log of dough and slice into 1/4 inch thick cookies.

11. Evenly spread the cookies on the baking sheet.

12. Bake for 25 minutes.

13. Cool completely on a wire rack for a softer treat, or turn oven off and let cool in oven for a crunchier treat.

14. When completely cool, let your pup enjoy!

Refrigerate for approximately 2 weeks or freeze for approximately 6 months

Halloween 2021

Wishing you all the 𝙋𝙀𝙎𝙏 Halloween ever!


💛 If I told y’all once, I’ve told you 1,000 times… Stop buggin’ me!!…This time I’ll be sprayin’ it not sayin’ it! #buzzoff

Limoncello

🕷 My mom says I spend too much time on the web. 💚

Hooch

🐝 Just bee yourself and do your own sting.❤️

Lager

🐭 I’m not sure what I did wrong, but now I’m on mouse arrest.💜

Whiskey

🕷 All the ladies can’t help but get tangled up in my web of love.💙

Porter

🕷Creepin’ it real.🧡

Jägermeister

🐛 I am aspiring to be a real social butterfly one day.🦋💠

Martini

1st Annual Elm Street 5K

In celebration of Halloween, Lager completed the Nightmare on Elm Street 5k!

Part of his miles were completed on 𝙀𝙡𝙢 𝙎𝙩𝙧𝙚𝙚𝙩 in Moorestown, NJ.


He completed the rest of the distance by visiting all the scarecrows on historic Main Street in Medford, NJ.

Way to go, Lager!

This event was hosted by Gone For a Run Virtual Race Series . A portion of our race registration was donated to American Red Cross .

Seize the Day 5K

Hey everyone! I’m excited to announce I did my very first 5K! For those of you who don’t know me very well, my brain has epic raves without my consent…my Mom says its called “seizures” … I just think she can’t handle that I’m a total PAWty animal. This 5K was important for me because in registering for this event, a donation was made to an organization that helps research a cure for epilepsy!

Like everything else I do, I completed this 5K in my MY own special way. 

First, I leashed-up my Mom and took her on a 0.71 mile stroll (Mom said in walking for epilepsy, we were helping those with seizures by taking “steps toward zero).” A 0.71 mile walk is a far distance for me since sometimes the many anti-seizure medications I take cause ataxia, so I stumble often and tire out much quicker than the average 4 year old Pointer.

For the next 2.02 miles, I had my mom chauffeur me around town in my Chariot (Mom insists that it’s a “bike trailer” made especially for dogs 🙄) . We discovered my Mom’s electric bike had a flat, so we hooked up my Chariot to her regular street bike and set out “on the road to zero!” Lucky for me school was just letting out… our town doesn’t have a bus service so all the kids ride their bikes to/from school, and they love to say hello to me as they zoom past us (don’t tell her I said so, but my mom is super slow on a bike).

We only had 0.38 miles left to go until I could get my award for completion of my first 5K, so I had my mom transfer me over to my Trophy Trolley (which mom incorrectly refers to as the doggie stroller😑). The “stroller” was originally bought for my sister, Rita…but I think Sweet Reet would want me to use it in her honor. I love the “stroller” because many people stop to ask all about me and while they pet me, my mom gets the chance to spread awareness about rescue, epilepsy, and “seizing the day.”

Remember: Two feet may move the body, but four feet move the soul. Humans need you – so all you puppers out there, grab your PAWrent and walk some miles for mutts! You don’t even have to be fast to participate in a race – in fact, the MORE time you spend with your human, the better!! My mom will be posting any dog-related 5K’s she finds in case anyone wants to join in on the fun. It’s never too late to sign up – and for most virtual race organizations, even if the race time frame has passed, proceeds from your registration will still be donated to the selected charity! 

A portion of the proceeds from the Virtual Strides “Seize the Day” virtual race was donated to CURE. CURE is the leading nongovernmental agency fully committed to funding research in epilepsy. The organization was founded by a group of parents of children with epilepsy who felt helpless in protecting their children from seizures and the harsh side effects of some of the medications. Since its origination in 1998, CURE has raised more than $34 million to fund research and initiatives that aid in leading the way to a cure for epilepsy. 

2021 DockDogs Season Recap and World Championship Invitations

Tomorrow we leave for our road trip to Iowa for the 2021 DockDogs World Championship! We are beyond excited to embark on this grand adventure and overjoyed that we will be able to spend time with our dockdogs family – some who we haven’t seen since pre-Covid!! We will miss our Canadian dockdogs family immensely. 

We chose to skip the trip in 2020 due to neither of us being vaccinated yet for Covid, so regardless of how our pups perform, we are just content and thankful that we will be able to go this year, and our focus is on gratitude and having fun with our pups! Brian and I are very proud of our pack considering they only competed in a couple of National events and still qualified for the world championship. Although our pups each earned multiple invitations, we chose to decline some and accept only a limited number. This will lessen our load at Worlds and allow us to focus more on Porter, Martini, and spending time with friends after a rough season.

2021 DockDogs World Championship Invitations

Just some of the reasons we are so proud of our team this year:

💛Limoncello

After a mandatory retirement in 2018 due to advanced Dilated Cardiomyopathy, Cello miraculously had a complete recovery in 2019 and was cleared to compete with no restrictions. Although her DCM has resurfaced and she is on a restricted activity schedule with limited jumping at events, she still managed to earn a Big Air invitation and will be competing at the World Championship in the Legend Division (this division is for 10-11yr old dogs). 

💚Hooch

I scratched Hooch the weekend Rita passed away so with the limited events we attended this year he did not have enough scores in Extreme Vertical, or Iron Dog to be ranked worldwide in these disciplines. This year at the World Championship he will be be competing in Big Air / Master Division.

  • Ranked dockdogs #1 GSP Worldwide in Big Air (an amazing accomplishment for the 4th time in his career!!)
  • Ranked dockdogs #1 GSP Worldwide in Speed Retrieve 
Photo is from a previous season. Photo credit: Nancy Miller

🇺🇸Lager

Lager’s excitement for the dock is just as vibrant as when he participated in his first dockdogs event back in 2015. His enthusiasm is a daily inspiration for us. This year at the World Championship he will be competing in Big Air / Veteran Division (This division is for dogs 8-9yrs old). Lager will also be competing as in Iron Dog in the Titan Division. 

Photo credit: Precise Image Creations

💜Whiskey

Wish the Fish started off strong and even though we still don’t have a set routine in place for the dock, she began the season by jumping off the dock in less than 30 seconds, and earned her World Championship invitation in her first 2021 competition. By her second competition she was back to her dock shenanigans and more interested in entertaining the crowd with her zoomies on the dock. She has qualified for the World Championship each year since 2018, but has never actually jumped in the pool at the event… so finger crossed we will have a wet Whiskey at Worlds this year! 

Photo is from a previous season. Photo credit: Nancy Miller

💙Porter 

Porter has spent this season taking over the position of Team-Attention-Glommer, and he’s done a darn good job of it! He has very much enjoyed the naps, head scratches and belly rubs from all who took time out of their 2021 competitions to visit with him at our team canopy. After nearly losing him during a status epilepticus episode 10 months ago, we are beyond grateful for the added time we have been granted and are very excited for him to make his second trip to the World Championship.

🧡Jägermeister 

Nothing but excitement for this boy! He was surrendered due to his epilepsy, and not only been seizure-free for over a year now, but he has also fell in love with the sport of dock diving! This was also only his first year competing in National events! During his first DockDogs World Championship, Jägermeister will be competing in Big Air / Senior Division, and Speed Retrieve / Turbo Divsion. 

  • Ranked dockdogs #1 GSP Worldwide in Iron Dog (a combination of all 3 disciplines) 
  • Ranked dockdogs #3 GSP Worldwide in Extreme Vertical 
  • Ranked dockdogs #3 GSP Worldwide in Speed Retrieve

Photo credit: Precise Image Creations

💠Martini

Martini attended her very first DockDogs competition in September and did a wonderful job amongst all the commotion. We think she actually felt more comfortable being around a big group of dogs, as she came from a large kennel situation prior to being saved by Pointer Rescue Organization. We are hopeful that she will feel just as secure at Worlds, but it will be a new environment, which could be challenging. Thankfully we will be able to watch her closely thanks to our limited competition schedule. 

💖Margarita

Sweet Reet, you were THE BEST Cheerleader any team could ever ask for. This is the first World Championship without you. I will miss painting your little piggy toes pink in preparation for the event, so I will be painting mine pink in your honor. We will miss you dearly, but also know that you will be by our sides in spirit. You will forever be the team MVP in our hearts.

Team Bling

Between trying to cope with the loss of Rita and dealing with the major construction at the house, we chose to skip the Worlds bling this year.  The bling (team trading cards, decals, shirts)  is my job so I’ll take full “blame” for it. Part of it was me not wanting to accept having to adjust our logo (don’t worry- Rita will still be on the future cards, shirts and decals!)… and part of it was just way too much construction mayhem – – the dogs having to be cooped up during the long construction hours creating not enough construction-free-time in the day to exercise them and still get other things done.  With the permission of GSP Rescue of NJ & Pointer Rescue Organization, I do plan to do a (newly designed) Liver Killers T-shirt fundraiser for the rescues when I am able to update our logo… so stay tuned! 

Our Team will be wearing their new EMM Loans sponsored Super Fly Suits that also have Margarita’s angel wings embroidered on them to help our pups fly!


Over the next week or so we hope you join us on our pack’s biggest adventure of 2021 by following along on our team’s Facebook and Instagram pages!

Kings Road Brewing Company; Medford, NJ

The brewery’s name, King’s Road, refers to the establishment’s original address on the historic Kings Highway. King’s Highway is America’s oldest road, originally laid out from 1650 to 1735 in the American colonies. The “King’s road” was built on the order of Charles II of England, and used by post riders to deliver mail. It was eventually widened and smoothed to accommodate horse-drawn wagons and stagecoaches. In New Jersey, the highway was built in 1681 by the Colonial Assembly. The road passes through 8 different historic districts and 6 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Kings Road brew crew took craft beer to the next level by opening a brewery and tasting room in 2017 on King’s Highway in Haddonfield, New Jersey…a previously dry town since 1873!

Kings Road has a Mug Club. Each club member receives their own personalized numbered mug that hangs from the ceiling of the brewery’s two tasting rooms. Mug Club members get specially-priced pours from their very own mug each time they visit.

Love beer and cooking? King’s Road also offers yummy beer-inspired recipes.

In 2021, Kings Road Brewing Company opened up a location in Medford New Jersey that included a dog friendly outdoor seating area. On October 3, 2021 Porter joined us for our first visit.

This was a bit of an emotional outing for me, as Margarita had always been our brewery/winery companion. As you can see from the unedited photo above, I think she joined us in spirit and was laying right next to Porter. Porter had many admirers and received an abundance of hugs, kisses, and belly rubs while Brian and I enjoyed our beer tasting.

The atmosphere here was fun, the staff were welcoming, and the beer was delicious! We were also lucky enough to catch the finals round of the King’s Road Steinholding contest, which was very exciting to watch (I think we may need to start training for next year’s competition)!

If you and your pup are ever in the Haddonfield or Medford areas of NJ, be sure to check out King’s Road Brewing Company!

Run for the Rescues 5K

I received such an amazing gift and tribute to Rita from a friend – a necklace – made from the photo of the Stronger than Cancer 5K we did together in 2020. 

I took the arrival of this unique and special gift as a sign that I need to get back to doing things I did with Rita – things that I have stopped doing altogether due to the pain I have been experiencing with Sweet Reet’s absence.  Rita I did 5k’s together- that was our “thing.” We had so many great adventures while logging many miles to benefit less fortunate dogs. A few months before she passed our vet told me Rita had to retire from 5K’s. I bought Rita a stroller so that I could still do 5k’s with her, and I registered for the Flex it Pink “Run for the Rescues” 5k that benefited the Have a Heart Humane Society. Although Rita got to take a “maiden voyage” in her stroller, we never got to do the 5k before she gained her angel wings.

I haven’t walked hardly at all since Margarita crossed the rainbow bridge…but today I put on the necklace and got the courage to get back out and walk.

I took Lager with me – we completed the 5k – and although I cried often- I smiled a lot as well.

I stopped to let Lager cool off in the lake … and took a photo…if you look closely there’s a double rainbow going across Lager and orbs on the lake directly in front of him… I’m taking that as a sign Rita was right there with us on that 5k.

Although Lager has been on a couple of hikes in the past, this was his first official 5K.

Remembering 9/11: 20 Years

Today we remember and honor all those who died as well as those who risked their own lives to help save others on September 11, 2001.

Silhouette is of our Jägermeister
🇺🇸

When the World Trade Center collapsed, nearly 10,000 emergency rescue workers joined in the efforts to help. More than 300 of those heroes were dogs.

🇺🇸

Click on the link below to read about some of the Hero Dogs of 9/11:

https://www.dogingtonpost.com/remembering-the-hero-dogs…/#patriotday#nationaldayofserviceandremembrance

Dog Days of Summer Wild Card Double Header: North Ridgeville, Ohio

Such an emotional weekend with so SO much to be thankful for. Although many tears were shed as we spent the weekend at the same facility that we competed at when we lost our Sweet Reet, we shared just as many if not more laughs and celebrations with our dock dogs family. This community is truly amazing. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with everyone. Congratulations and great job to all competitors who participated throughout this weekend… and a HUGE thank you to Christine at Canine Superheroes as well as dockdogs staff Linda, Sean, and Joe for a safe, fun, and well-run event …we very much appreciate all of your hard work!

Limoncello

Cello looked pretty as usual as she paddled through the air and jumped exceptionally well despite limited dock time (doctor’s orders due to her decline in heart health and some arthritis).

  • Big Air:
    • 14’7″
    • 15’4″

Hooch

Hooch has steadily been jumping in the 21-22 feet range for quite some time now, but busted out a 23’8” jump this weekend, and earned several 1st place medals for his Big Air jumps.

  • Big Air:
    • 23’8″ 2nd Place Master Division
    • 22’11” 1st Place Master Division
    • 22’3″ 1st Place Master Division
    • 22’2″ 2nd Place Master Division
    • 22’7″ 1st Place Master Division
  • Speet Retrieve:
    • 7.795 seconds
    • 6.997 seconds

Lager

Lager did well in Big Air and took first place in Speed Retrieve Round 1 (Turbo Division). He also thoroughly enjoyed competing in Dueling Dogs.

  • Big Air:
    • 18’1″
    • 18’10”
    • 18’5″
  • Speed Retrieve:
    • 7.054 seconds 1st Place Turbo Division
Lager competing in Dueling Dogs (Lager is on the right)

Whiskey

Wish the Fish took 59.999 seconds out of the allotted 60 seconds…but jumped 4 out of the 6 times she was on the dock, and of course entertained the crowd with her dock antics (multiple times she decided zoomies on the dock was much more fun than jumping in the pool)!

  • Big Air:
    • 7’6″
    • 6’7″ 1st Place Novice Division
    • 6’9″ 2nd Place Novice Division
    • 7’5″ 1st Place Novice Division

Porter

PoPo was thrilled to play with a puppy and 2 adorable children two days in a row and did a great job of glomming attention and pets from everyone he could. He even took a nap with Justin from team Malinois Mania DockDiving! As a token of his gratitude, he left each visitor with enough Po hair on clothing to make their own take-home mini Porter souvenir.

Jägermeister

Jäger did well in competition, and took first place in Speed Retrieve Round 2 (Turbo Division). He quickly made himself well-known with the crowd as he decided that he enjoyed staying IN the pool was way more fun than getting out.

  • Big Air:
    • 18’9″ 3rd Place Senior Division
    • 20’7″
    • 19’5″ 2nd Place Senior Division
  • Speed Retrieve:
    • 7.823 seconds
    • 7.002 1st Place Turbo Division
  • Extreme Vertical:
    • 4’6″
  • Iron Dog:
    • 2739.21 points 5th Place Warrior Division

Martini

Tini did WONDERFULLY- she was confident in her crate under our team canopy, welcomed visitors sitting outside of her crate, and also accepted treats from new people. Special thanks to the kind, amazing (and very patient) people who sat on the ground next to her crate and helped our Tini Beanie tremendously.

Liver Killer Bling

Remembering Reet

The number of people Margarita touched in her short time with us continues to amaze us. Rita’s passing was a devastating loss and the tributes to her as well as the support we continue to receive is beyond appreciated and will never be forgotten. Thank you to all of you at Canine Superheroes this weekend.

Team Malinois Mania had a special collar made for their pup, Scout to wear in honor of Sweet Reet!