Wednesday, January 26, 2011


We are busy busy bees right now, so here are some quick updates:

Sassy had her surgery to remove her spleen, which had a large tumor attached to it. The whole thing weighed almost 10 lbs! She is recovering nicely from the surgery now. The biopsy determined that the tumor wasn't quite cancer per se, but something called fibrohistiocytic nodules. The nodules range from benign (stage 1) to malignant (stage 2). Sassy has stage 2 and 3-5 chemotherapy sessions of doxorubicin intravenously administered are recommended to help minimize the risk that they become malignant in the future. Sassy's surgery cost over $2500 and the chemo will be extra. This is the main reason I am such a busy bee right now as I've taken on new work to help pay for this.

Pip survived getting snipped (ie. neutered) and has been adopted. He shares his new home with 2 boxers and a fellow 5lb chi.

Isis' brother, Otis is entered in the Bissell Pet Photo Contest. Every week, the 5 photos with the most votes advance to the finalist stage. After 13 weeks, a Bissell panel of judges will select the top winners among the finalists. Finalists and winners get a whole bunch of goodies, including spending money and Bissell products. The winning pet gets his/her photo on a Bissell package, and top winners get a grant to donate to their favorite charity.

Vote for Otis every day through Feb 1 at:

And maybe enter your own pet photo. Who wouldn't love to see their pet on the box of something?!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sending Good Vibes to Sassy

Sassy is a senior dog who was surrendered to Lake County animal shelter last year. For 11 years, she lived with a family who fostered children on a regular basis. She slept with a cat every night. Then her human parents got a divorce, had to move, and decided they couldn't keep her anymore. Sassy was so sad at the shelter.

Then an awesome woman named Wendy offered to foster Sassy for our rescue, even knowing that there was a distinct possibility that Sassy wouldn't ever be adopted due to her age. We visited Sassy back in June and were thrilled to see her so happy and loved and still as sweet as ever.

This past Sunday Wendy told me that Sassy coughed up a tiny bit of blood and that her belly felt swollen. Worried about the possibility of bloat, a life-threatening emergency, it was decided that Sassy be taken to the vet immediately. Eventually an ultrasound was taken and it was discovered that Sassy had a massive tumor on her spleen, so enlarged that it was pressing up against her kidney and liver.

Tumors on the spleen can't really be accurately diagnosed as benign or malignant unless the entire spleen is removed and biopsied. Dogs don't really need their spleen so its removal doesn't really affect much. Unfortunately, the surgery is costly, around $2000-$3000. If the tumor is benign, the removal of the spleen solves the problem and the dog can resume her normal life. If the tumor is malignant (ie. hemangiosarcoma, one of the most aggressive types of cancer), the removal of the spleen buys the dog about 2-3 more months before the cancer attaches itself to another, more vital organ. Even with chemo, the prognosis is generally only about 6 additional months.

Samson, one of my 2 first dogs, a german shepherd, had hemangiosarcoma. His spleen was removed and brought him back to his normal self for 3 months. I will always cherish those extra 3 months that we were able to share with him.

After discussing it with 3 different vets, we decided to go ahead with the surgery for Sassy.

Not every vet is comfortable with performing a splenectomy, and Sassy's vet was one of them. Based on the recommendation of a trusted acquaintance and creator of (a site with tons of practical information on dog diet and health issues--we often refer new adopters to the site to assist them with selecting a good quality dog food), I called Oak Tree Vet in Danville. I was told that they could perform the surgery and to have Wendy bring Sassy in right away because of the risk of the tumor rupturing.

Tumors on spleens have generally come out 50/50 benign vs malignant. The doctor explained that the fact that Sassy's tumor has gotten so large (it must have been growing for a long time) without any other symptom of something being wrong (until very recently, there hasn't been any change in her personality) is actually a positive sign that it may be benign.

As I write this, Dr. Arnott and his staff are trying to clear his schedule for the rest of the day so that the surgery can be performed asap. I'm pleasantly surprised and very much gratified at the care everyone there has already shown to Sassy.

Sassy will have her surgery either this afternoon/evening or first thing tomorrow morning. We wish her & Wendy the best. Send them as many good vibes as you can.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Luxating Patellas

I've heard of lots of dogs with luxating patellas who required surgery, and I expect it's just a matter of time before we get a dog with this condition. I knew it related to the knee but that was about it. Here is a very concise and informative video explaining what exactly a luxating patella is, how you can recognize it, and what can be done to minimize the need for surgery.

Full link, which includes a summary of the main points provided, here:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Popeye Makes Taiwan News

Thanks to Princi for letting us know that Popeye made news in a Taiwan newspaper today:

It's in Chinese but you can use Google Translate for a rough translation to English by going to and then copying & pasting the article link into the box.

Popeye is also featured on the Animal Rescue Team Taiwan website:

The Animal Rescue Team is the organization that first provided Popeye with a chance to find a happier life, and they made all the arrangements and covered all the costs to fly him to the US. They are an amazing team, founded by husband and wife schoolteachers, Joseph & Maggie, and their son Antony. They never turn their backs on any dog and frontman, Joseph, isn't afraid to get down and dirty if it means saving a dog's life. Given how many strays litter the streets there and the lack of animal cruelty and spay/neuter regulations, you can just imagine what a truly dedicated organization this is.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I Rescued a Human Today


Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels. I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.

I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn’t be afraid. As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage. I didn’t want her to know that I hadn’t been walked today. Sometimes the overworked shelter keepers get too busy and I didn’t want her to think poorly of them.

As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn’t feel sad about my past. I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone’s life.

She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me. I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her. Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship. A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.

Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.

I would promise to keep her safe.
I would promise to always be by her side.
I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.

I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor. So many more are out there who haven’t walked the corridors. So many more to be saved. At least I could save one.

I rescued a human today.

Written by Janine Allen CPDT, Rescue Me Dog's professional dog trainer. Janine's passion is working with people and their dogs. She provides demonstrations for those who have adopted shelter dogs, lends email support to adopted dog owners that need information beyond our Training Support Pages, and aids shelter staff and volunteers in understanding dog behavior to increase their adoptability. Copyright 2011 Rescue Me Dog;

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Popeye & Phoebe's Leg

Happy new year!

Popeye celebrates by gnawing on Phoebe's leg. I think it's a Taiwan Dog thing.