Happy, Alive, and Built to Survive

Week 11 Recap, and Oncology Visit #12

“A positive attitude gives you power over your circumstances instead of your circumstances having power over you.”

Week 11 Recap

We don’t have much to report this week other than Margarita had a good week so far and is officially moving into her last 3-week round of chemotherapy!

The sky last night was pink for Sweet Reet!

Oncology Visit #12

This week was Rita’s “off-week,” where she just had to visit the oncology office for blood work.  Her test results revealed no abnormalities, and another CBC will be repeated prior to her treatment next week.

This Week’s Treat 

Brian and I took Rita to Rita’s Italian Ice !

Rita waited patiently in the truck as her Pop was in line ordering her a yummy treat.

Margarita enjoyed some licks of a peanut butter milkshake!

YUMMY !!!!!!!!!

***REMEMBER***

Early detection is paramount. Stay informed, remain observant, pet your dog often to check for abnormalities, and take your pup to your family veterinarian regularly. If you are not sure how to check your pup for the more obvious cancer signs, click HERE for a comprehensive guide. Please also remember to take into consideration any other observations that may be out of the ordinary such as:

  • abnormal swellings that continue to grow
  • sores that do not heal despite antibiotics by mouth or an ointment applied topically
  • weight-loss that cannot be explained by a weight-loss diet
  • loss of appetite
  • difficulty eating and/or swallowing
  • bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  • offensive odors
  • reluctance to exercise or loss of stamina
  • persistent lameness or stiffness
  • difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating

 

As always, thank you for joining Margarita in her journey to take a bite out Lymphoma.

When Cancer Bites, Bite Back

Week 10 Recap and Oncology Visit #11

“There will be roadblocks, but we will overcome them.” ~ DJ Khaled

Cancer tried to take another bite out of Reet this week, but she bit back!  The dogs were outside enjoying the beautiful weather this past Memorial Day Weekend on Saturday evening.  Margarita was laying in the grass when she suddenly popped up and nervously began to pace, pant, and spin.   It quickly became apparent that she was straining to urinate.  We knew the drug used in her last chemo treatment (Cyclophosphamide) causes sterile hemorrhagic cystitis  in approximately 10% of the dogs.  Symptoms include straining during urination, urinating small amounts frequently, incontinence, or blood in her urine.  She had this same treatment during week 2 of her chemotherapy, and did not have any complications.  However, what we were observing was exactly what we were cautioned to look our for.  We followed the protocol and called VSEC to share our observations, and their suggestion was to bring her in to the emergency room for evaluation.

On the way to the ER

While Rita was at VSEC, they performed the following:

  • Physical exam
    • No concerning findings
  • Ultrasound
    • Revealed that her bladder was slightly inflamed
  • Blood work to check her kidney and liver values
  • Urinalysis
    • Results were normal

ER Treatment:

Know What to Expect

Nice try, cancer – but this was just a hiccup, and won’t hold Margarita back in her progress. I had prepared my self each week for Rita’s chemo treatments by reviewing the side effects for each week’s drugs with Rita’s oncologist, Dr. Risbon.  Each week I show up with a notebook and pen ask what side effects to expect, in what time frame we should see symptoms, and what to do if Rita begins to feel poorly.  I also often refer back to the “What to Expect” list I was given during our first oncology appointment. This keeps my mind from racing and reduces my anxiety if I happen to see something out of the ordinary.

More Ways to Help Your Fur-Kid Take a Bite Out of Cancer:

Chemotherapy kills the cancer, but also is extremely harsh on the body.  During chemo – especially during the “hiccups” that may arise – we wanted to be sure Margarita’s body was as equipped as could be to fight these little “side battles” if needed.  After speaking with others who have been through chemotherapy with their fur-kid, Rita’s primary veterinarian, and her oncologist, we chose a special diet and specific supplements to best prepare Rita’s body for it’s best defense against the chemotherapy and possible side effects.

Diet

There are many articles that suggest certain diets for canine cancer patients (most are carbohydrate-free / sugar-free diets).  However, Margarita is a unique, complex case, and therefore is on a special prescription diet due to her intestinal disease. Other than her weekly “cheat day” after her chemo appointment, we stick to her special diet as close as possible.  Every dog’s nutritional needs before, during , and after cancer and through chemotherapy are unique,  and should be discussed in detail with your primary vet as well as your pup’s oncologist.

Supplements

We chose to add supplements to Margarita’s diet to help strengthen, support, and balance her immune system.  Just like the main diet, supplements should be discussed with your primary vet and your dog’s oncologist as to which ones are appropriate for your pup’s individual needs and diagnosis.  Also be sure to ask your oncologist about a schedule of administering these supplements, as some antioxidants and ingredients will decrease the effectiveness of the chemo if given too close before or after your fur-kid’s treatment day.  Here are the supplements we chose for Margarita:

  • Fish Oil
    • Shown to improve survival times slightly in dogs with Lymphoma by helping to boost the immune system
  • CAS Options
    • A powerful blend of four functional mushrooms: Maitake, Reishi, Shiitake, and Turkey Tail,  combined with antioxidants to provide extra strength immune support. Formulated to support and balance the immune system to promote overall health and well-being for pets, especially during times of stress
  • Nupro Silver
    • Holistic product, it will provide your dog with the full range of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and essential omega fatty acids which promotes optimal overall health and well-being
  • Natural form bee pollen
    • Known to help reduce side effects of chemotherapy
      • Be sure to choose unprocessed
  • Probiotic
    • Beneficial bacteria that can exhibit anticancer properties.
    • Margarita also has an intestinal disease so the safe and effective strain of beneficial bacteria in a probiotic promotes and restores normal intestinal microflora for her.

Oncology Visit # 11

Margarita’s physical exam was normal, and her blood work displayed appropriate levels to continue chemotherapy.  Rita’s oncologist, Dr. Risbon, suggested that we continue the Rymadyl and Oxybutynin Chloride until next week’s visit to help with her bladder issues.  Dr. Risbon was not overly concerned about Rita’s elevated ALT value.

Treatment

During this week’s treatment, Margarita received Adriamycin intravenously.

  • We are to monitor the site for any inflammation, oozing, or discharge.
  • Side effects of this treatment may cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and/or diarrhea.
    • As  a preventative, we were sent home with:
        1. Cerenia 24 mg
          • To be given (2 tablets) once a day for 5 days to prevent nausea/vomiting
        2. Metronidazole 250 mg
          • To be given (1 tablet twice a day) at the first sign of loose stool/diarrhea

This Week’s Treat

This week’s cheat day was a visit to Wendy’s !

Margarita enjoyed a few bites of a bacon cheese burger and a couple of chili cheese fries!

As always, thank you for joining Margarita in her journey to take a bite out Lymphoma.

 

Scooby

Scooby is a 9-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer.

His owner contacted GSP Rescue of NJ because he wanted to surrender him.  Scooby’s owner no longer could dedicate the proper time to him after he and his wife had a child.

Brian visited Scooby at his home and did the initial evaluation for the rescue.  Brian also drove back to the home to pick up Scooby to take him to the vet so that Scooby could get neutered and receive necessary shots and veterinary care before he could join the rescue.

Brian and I then went to the vet to pick Scooby up after he was ready to be discharged.  Here he is leaving the vet office.

Scooby is as sweet as can be! We got to spend some time with him at the vet while we were waiting for his discharge papers.

Brian drove the first let of Scooby’s transport.  I couldn’t go since the drive-time would be longer than we are comfortable leaving our dogs without a potty break.  I was glad I got to meet Scooby and wish him well in his new adventures!

Brian left to drive Scooby up to North Jersey, where another GSP Rescue of NJ volunteer would do the second leg of his transport.

Brian said Scooby was a great passenger!

Scooby was handed off to our fellow rescue friend, Michele, who drove him into NYC so he could meet his Foster Mom!

Here is Scooby meeting his foster mom in The Big Apple!

Welcome to the start of your new life, Scooby!

Agatha: GSP Rescue of NJ Foster

Agatha is a three year-old German Shorthaired Pointer who was found as a stray in Northern New Jersey.  GSP Rescue of NJ stepped in to help this sweet girl.  Agatha was on stray-hold for a week, and then was spayed by the rescue’s vet in North Jersey.

 

On November 16th, we drove north about an hour to a turnpike rest-stop to meet a fellow rescue volunteer who offered to transport Agatha so we didn’t have to drive as far to pick her up.

Agatha had a stuffed monkey to help her heal from her surgery.

Once we met her in person, we quickly agreed that Agatha looked more like an English Pointer than a German Shorthaired Pointer.

 

Another fellow GSP Rescue volunteer who had seen our pictures of Agatha on our Facebook, fell in love, and decided to adopt her!

One of my students fell in love with Agatha and drew her picture as a gift to her forever family.

Just a few days later, on the night before Thanksgiving, the rescue volunteer and her husband came to meet Agatha, and took her home!

Happy Thanksgiving, Agatha and Family!

 

 

Margarita’s Therapy Dog Workshop: WonderDogs in Berlin, NJ

Brian and I think Margarita would make a great Therapy Dog, but we were unsure of the requirements, OR if Rita would truly make a good candidate for this type of work.

Last night we took her to a Therapy Dog workshop at WonderDogs in Berlin, NJ, where we have taken both Limoncello and Hooch for obedience training when they were young pups. (Click HERE to see Limoncello’s graduation from Puppy Head Start class at WonderDogs, click HERE to see Hooch’s graduation from Puppy Head Start class, and click HERE to see Hooch’s graduation from the Terrible Teens class at WonderDogs!)

Jenny and Rita getting ready to start the first activity at the Therapy Dog Workshop:

unnamed

Margarita lovers her “place” mat, and was a well-behaved, attentive student:

unnamed-3

The instructor, Judith Azaren, focused on a variety of skills, including:

  • Greeting/Disengaging on cue
  • Working calmly around other dogs
  • Handler engagement techniques
  • Moving exercises
  • Distraction work including dogs, people, wheelchair, walker, etc
  • Physical handling
  • Stress signals

We feel as though Margarita did very well for her first time being presented with the tasks that were covered in this workshop.

Margarita quickly learned to look at me to earn a reward when she discovers staged piles of treats on the floor.  Therapy dogs come across many items on a floor, such as medication/pills accidentally dropped on the floor.  It is imperative that the dogs look to the handler rather than ingest what they find:

Here is Margarita weaving past other dogs, and not engaging:

Rita practiced loose-leash walking:

unnamed-4

Margarita did well working around distractions such as crutches, wheel chairs, walkers, and a vacuum cleaner:

unnamed-1

Margarita picked up on the “touch” game very quickly!  Each time she touched my hand with her snout, she earned a treat.  That was a fun game for her!

Here she is working on “touch” while not engaging with other dogs as they walk by:

Working on “touch:”

unnamed-2

We have already contacted several Therapy Pet Registering organizations in order to start the process of Margarita’s evaluation and registration.  We are hoping that with some additional training and practice, we will be able to have Margarita certified as a Therapy Dog so that she can help provide affection and comfort to those in need!

Do you think  your dog or pet may be a good candidate for becoming a Therapy Dog?  Each organization has different requirements, so be sure to do your research.  Here are some of the most well-known for therapy pets (click on the names below to be directed to the organizations’ website):

Penelope, The English Pointer

The rescue we volunteer for, GSP Rescue of NJ, covers all of New Jersey, parts of New York, and assist other recognized out-of-state GSP rescues in urgent situations. In addition to rehoming GSPs, they also work with owners to help them with any issues they may have with them.  In emergency situations, the rescue will also reach out to help English Pointers.

GSP Rescue of NJ offered to help a female English Pointer, known as Penelope.  Although the rescue was willing to help this poor girl who was found as a stray, our foster homes were full, and there was no one available to foster her.  This meant that Penelope could find herself in a shelter.  Although we do not usually foster, we decided that we just couldn’t let this skinny pretty girl end up in a shelter. On March 3, 2016, we committed to fostering Penelope so that she could begin her road to recovery.

She was transported to the rescue’s vet, and was examined.  Penelope was emaciated, appeared to have had many litters, had a lump on her neck, and severely damaged and rotted teeth.  She also had a cut on her tail and her belly.  While at the vet, she was supposed to have dental work done, and also be spayed.  The dental work took so long, that not all needed teeth could be pulled, and the spay could not be performed due to the length of time she was under anesthesia.  She had a total of 6 teeth pulled.  The vet set her up with a future appointment for continuation of dental, her spay, and removal and biopsy of the lump on her neck.

Another rescue volunteer, Mandy, was nice enough to pick Penelope up from the vet and meet me half way to cut down on my 2 hour drive-time.

File Mar 12, 1 15 05 PM

Penelope was a great passenger, and rested calmly for her ride to our home.

File Mar 12, 1 15 26 PM

File Mar 12, 1 15 44 PM

Once home, we introduced her to each of our fur-kids individually on lead by meeting out on the street and taking a short walk together.  After the initial greetings were over, we gave her some time to explore the yard on her own before we settled her down in a crate.

File Mar 12, 1 16 08 PM

In just the first night and day that we spent with Penelope, we got her to sit for a treat, and sit-stay for a picture.  She does not appear to know basic commands, but is very food-driven and eager to please.  She did wonderfully in her crate, ate well, and slept soundly.

File Mar 12, 1 19 29 PM

File Mar 12, 1 19 47 PM

We introduced her to our cat, Loki, and she seemed to be just fine with him.

File Mar 12, 1 16 27 PM

We also introduced her to fellow rescue friends Jen and Grace’s male English Pointer (Penelope LOVED him!) as well as our friends’ two GSP puppies.  She did amazing with all the dogs, and had a very fun-filled, exhausting day!

DSC01030

DSC01010

We will be fostering Penelope until she has her vetting complete, and can be adopted.

Click HERE to view a public photo album of Penelope!

 

Update!  Penelope has been adopted – by US!  Meet Señorita Margarita!

Share the Light

Cello won a contest, and we are proud to announce that she is now helping to “share the light” with Charity Wick Candles!

Cello Candle

Cello’s 16 oz Candle, “Red Hot Cello,”  has the aroma of fresh-cut granny smith apples, smothered in butter and topped with cinnamon… YUM! 

The candle is made with all natural, kosher 100% soy wax with a lead and zinc-free self trimming cotton wick. The burn time for this candle is approximately 150 hours.

…The best part of this candle?  $6 of the purchase price benefits the German Shorthair Pointer Rescue of NJ !

All Charity Wick’s candles are produced from vegan friendly, kosher certified, soy beans grown in the USA.  All candles are free of any dyes or coloring, and feature lead free, self trimming cotton wicks,  as well as environmentally conscious fragrance oils.

Even more reasons to buy a Cello candle:

  • Lasts up to 50% longer
  • Burns slower and cooler which helps to better distribute the fragrance of the candle
  • Melted soy wax will not cause severe burns
  • Non-toxic
  • Less likely to trigger allergies
  • Clean up off of fabric and carpet with soap and water
  • Produces very little soot compared to paraffin wax based candles.
  • Made from American-grown soybeans, so it supports the U.S. economy instead of foreign oil conglomerates
  • Biodegradable
  • Manufactured here in the USA!

The positive attributes of Charity Wicks soy candles, combined with the fact that your purchase benefits the GSP Rescue of NJ, makes any

Shorthair Candle the best choice for any candle friendly household!

Help “Share the Light,”for the GSP Rescue of NJ,  and order your Shorthair Candle Company candle today by visiting Charity Wicks website!

gsp candles

Charity Wicks is sharing the light on Facebook too! Visit their page by clicking HERE.

Beautiful Bella, the German Shorthaired Pointer Puppy

We received a post from the GSP Rescue of NJ about an owner-surrender situation.  Someone had purchased a GSP puppy from Tennesee, not having researched the breed very well.  The puppy arrived to NJ at 8 weeks of age, and 8 weeks later, the owner was in over their head.  They could not provide this pup with an appropriate amount of exercise to diminish the GSP puppy craziness, so they decided to surrender the puppy to our rescue.  As soon as I read 16 week old female puppy, I could not help myself!  We agreed to foster this baby until a forever family was found for her.

On October 17th we picked Bella up from her home.

DSC08063

We immediately fell in love with Bella!  She was loving, playful, and got along with Cello and Hooch so well!  We actually gave thought to adopting her ourselves!

DSC08089

Hooch could’t keep up with the girls!DSC08090

How can you resist this face?!DSC08074

Bella had a blast running off lead in our yard! DSC08066

Bella has one ear that is shorter than the other…our vet said it looks to have been “cut” off. DSC08059

Just gorgeous!DSC08055

…having fun and being a happy puppy!
DSC08041

Bella also has a really cute tan area that you can see in this picture:DSC08010

In just 6 short days, Bella was adopted by a family that lives not too far from us.  We hope to get all our pups together for play-dates often!

Bella is now known as Pepper, and is just loving her new life!! She is living with an AMAZING family who just adores her, has a HUGE yard to run all that GSP energy off, and has (2) very beautiful and loving 2-legged sisters, and (1) 4-legged sister named Mocha.  Mocha is a Viszla/Weimaraner mix who looks like Cello’s twin!

Mocha and Pepper:

unnamed

Pepper is a very lucky gal to have found such an awesome home, and we are so thankful for having met her new wonderful forever family! We are SO happy for Pepper!

German Shorthaired Pointers are often discarded, given up, abandoned, and returned due to their high energy level and strong hunting drive.  Some are discarded by hunters because  they won’t hunt, or they may be “gun-shy.”   We have fallen in love with this often misunderstood breed. ..So…Cello, Hooch, Brian, and I have been volunteering for the GSP Rescue of NJ.  We have made phone calls to vets for background checks and references, visited GSPs in shelters to evaluate them and offer the help of the GSP rescue, called potential adopters for initial screening and application review, transported GSPs to their foster homes, temporarily fostered, and have done home inspections for potential adopters.  Cello and Hooch have even volunteered as donation dogs, wearing a donation vests and “working the crowd” with their cuteness at events such as the Ocean County Gunning and Decoy Show in Tuckerton, NJ.

Live in the NJ/NY area and want to help GSPs in need?  Contact our rescue today!

Want to help dogs in your area but don’t know how? Click HERE to see just some of the ways you can help!

Thinking of a GSP?  Think rescue! The National GSP Rescue lists regional GSP rescue groups across the United States and Canada. If you are interested in adoption, volunteering, or would like information on how to surrender your dog to rescue (Please do not surrender GSPs to a shelter or abandon them!!!!), please contact the group that covers your state or region.  If there is no contact listed for your state, you can email the National GSP Rescue at rescue@gspca.org .

A GSP rescue will help match you up with the perfect GSP for your family!

GSP Rescue of NJ at Doggie Appreciation Day

Yesterday Brian, Cello, Hooch, and I volunteered for the GSP Rescue of NJ at Doggie Appreciation Day, held on the grounds of L’Oreal in Cranbury, NJ.  This was a free, dog-friendly event.

DSC04023

 

Just some of the great activities going on were:

  • Puppy stadium races
  • 10th annual NJ State Puppy Limbo Championship
  • NJ State Dog Bone Stacking Contest
  • Rescue Bingo all day (great prizes to benefit our Rescue friends)
  • Raffles
  • Doggie Swimming Pools
  • Over 75 Rescue Groups and Pet Vendors

DSC03981

This event was an opportunity to talk to people about German Shorthaired Pointers and rescue/adoption.   It’s important as a rescue to “get the word out” of animal-related events happening in the area, and spread the word about the work rescues do.  Brochures and other materials were available to help publicize our organization, rescued GSPs were present, and adoptable GSPs were displayed on a information board.

Hooch won over the heart of fellow rescue friend, Jen:

DSC04041

 

And Rescued GSP Eve welcomed Hooch to the event:

DSC03993

Overall, it was a great day spent education people about the breed and rescue!

photo (7)

Working Dog Winery, Hair of the Dog 5k and Chesterfest Wine Festival, East Windsor, NJ

We made it out this Sunday to Working Dog Winery in East Windsor, NJ, for the Hair of the Dog 5k / Chesterfest Wine Festival!

Proceeds from the 5k race benefit local animal rescues. The Chesterfest Wine Festival immediately followed the race.  $10 got us entrance to the festival, and a souvenir wine glass.  Award winning wines from Working Dog Winery were available to buy by the glass or bottle.  Flying Fish Beer had a tent set up to purchase their beer as well.  Food carts from Nomad Pizza, and Zinna’s Bistro provided yummy food choices. Live music was also provided by Vic Della Pello.

Everyone brings blankets and chairs, and spends the day enjoying delicious wine and good music…all while supporting local shelters!

DSC01100

 

DSC01108

Located in Mercer County, NJ, and formerly known as Silver Decoy Winery, Working Dog Winery recently changed their name in honor of their hard-working good-natured dogs!

photo 3

Originally our schedule did not allow us to make this event, but when plans changed, we jumped in the car and headed to the Festival!  We missed the 5k by the time we got there, but Cello was able to volunteer as a donation dog to help raise funds for the GSP Rescue of NJ.

photo 1 (4)

DSC01101

 

DSC01114

DSC01122

The owners of the winery have a German Shorthaired Pointer as well.  We just love the winery’s name – and the wine labels!

photo 1

photo 3 (1)

 

It was a beautiful day, and we got to meet some fellow volunteers of the GSP Rescue of NJ that we have only known at this point through email.  It was great to meet the other volunteers in person…and to meet their rescued GSPs.

DSC01129

DSC01133

While we were at the festival, Brian noticed that there was a woman selling some jewelry.  I am not a big jewelry person, so I hadn’t even noticed the table of jewelry – but Brian told me that I “HAD” to go look at this woman’s jewelry.  What I didn’t realize, is that this lady was selling jewelry made from sea glass. Brian knew that as a child, I would collect sea glass at the beach each year my family stayed at the Jersey Shore.  Brian spotted this, and knew I would just love it! He bought me a necklace made from sea glass, with a charm attached that was shaped like a heart with paw prints on it. Brian is such a thoughtful husband…and I’m a lucky gal. 🙂

photo 2 (2)Visit Phyllis at  PK’s Kreations to see some of her really cool jewelry made from sea glass!

Margarita visited this winery on July 24, 2016!

File Jul 25, 8 10 20 PM

File Jul 25, 8 11 20 PM

File Jul 25, 8 11 37 PM

File Jul 25, 8 12 02 PM

 

Lager visited here on November 11, 2017