Sudden Weight Loss in Dogs: Signs and Symptoms

Sudden weight loss in a dog that is not attributable to increased exercise or activity should be brought to the attention of your veterinarian. Some dogs do experience cyclical weight changes because they live in seasonal climates and are exercised and walked less during the cold winter months.

To be healthy, a dog should have sufficient fat covering the ribs. …
Dog’sHealth.com Blog

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thank you for stepping up for these dogs and givin…

thank you for stepping up for these dogs and giving them a chance. regardless of bad breeding or whatever, you are giving them a chance and once again standing up for the underdog
BAD RAP Blog

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Ivy enjoying Deep Creek Lake

Ivy was having fun with the family (including Cammie the Jack Russell) in Western Maryland this weekend:

ivy and cammie deep creek

loch ness ivy

ivy deep creek


Natural History

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Meadow fox finds a mate

gray fox winter

It is the “dead of winter” or so the sobriquet for that time of the year goes.  It is the time when the trees stand as gray skeletons and the piercing winds come questing down from the arctic and the snow comes in storms to blanket the land. It is a time of darkness, a time when the sun seems to rise only for the purpose of setting once again with the ancillary effect of torturing sun-worshiping humanity with its sallow winter rays.

And so our kind curses the winter. Much of our natural history occurred in the tropics, so this relatively recent remove to the middle and higher latitudes means that we spent the winter yearning for the sun upon our skins.

Most of the herbivores don’t like it much either. The deer had better have built up a nice layer of fat for this time of starvation. If oaks don’t drop tons of acorns in the autumn, then the deer don’t built their fat, and the hunger sweeps through them. The does reabsorb their fetus, and the old ones die in agony.

But not all things suffer through the long winter darkness and cold.  A gray fox vixen, which we last saw mousing in the July swelter, has come to run the logging roads in search of cottontails that might be trying to graze a bit of sustenance from the dead winter forage.  They are not the dumb bunnies of high summer but predator-tested quarry that can give a fox a good course. But as winter’s famine takes its toll, they become weaker and weaker, and the coursing runs more often end with a squealing rabbit in the vixen’s jaws than a white tail diving for the impenetrable thickets.

She is a lone vixen still, but she is a master of the cottontail hunt.  She has come to know where the rabbits hang during the long winter twilight and when they likely will run when she puts pressure to them.

What’s more, she has found a good winter supplement of corn, which gets shot of out of a deer feeder every night.  Omnivory is another of her tricks.  Corn shot from deer feeders and sand pears from an ancient tree at the edge of the old meadow have been welcome additions to her diet.

But a lone vixen can only be alone for so long. By winter’s end, the estrus clouds will rise from her genitals, and the male foxes will want her.

Unlike a domestic dog, which will typically come in heat and mate with the first male she encounters, the gray fox is a bit more choosy.  She will pair up with a mate before the estrus time hits, and he will breed her and then stay with her through her pregnancy and help raise the young.

Now is the time for the pair up, but every night, the vixen goes on her hunts. She smells where people and dogs have crossed the road.  She smells where a sow raccoon and her two nearly grown kits have moseyed along the ditches in hopes of catching a hibernating frog. She smells the skunks and the deer and the wandering opossums.

But not once does she catch wind of another of her kind.

However, as she sniffs a bit of grass that she likes to mark with a few drops of urine,  the pungent odor of a dog fox’s urine rises into her nostrils.  She lifts her nose and casts it into the wind as if hoping to catch scent of his body.

Gray foxes are so territorial that the scent of a stranger would have her a raging war dog by now, but this time, she’s not in the least aggressive. Instinct and hormones are telling her to be curious and flirty.

Air scenting doesn’t reveal the stranger’s location, so she casts about, trying to pick up his trail in the leaf litter.

A great rabbit tracker like her soon finds his scent and begins trailing him along the logging road. Her receptors tell her that this dog fox is one of this year’s kits, one that has spent the autumn months trying to catch voles and chipmunks.  He will be long and lean from those days of running long and hard for such little food.

She tracks him along the edge of the multiflora rose thickets. He’s been trying his luck as a rabbit courser, but he’s had no luck at all.  He’s just been running like a fool, and the rabbits have been scared off.

If this were a normal time of the year, she would be ready to fight. But not now.  Right now, she is intrigued by this stranger.

She sniffs to inspect his urine marks, which he leaves every hundred yards or so, and she becomes almost intoxicated by them.  The smell is so good, so pure, so perfect.

She soldiers on through her long track. As she makes her way along the logging road and visits each thicket, she becomes lost in the scent.  She begins to prance with an air of cockiness, the way only truly confident animals can.  This is her domain, and this dog has her fancy.

As she sniffs along another stand of multiflora rose, a raspy gray fox bark rises from a boulder some 50 feet away. The dog fox knows the vixen is about, and he has his defenses up.

She lets loose some whines and whimpers and soft little fox chuckles. She is calling to him, telling that she comes in friendship.

The little dog fox rises from the boulder. and he is gaunt and rangy from running so much and catching so little.  He left his mother and father’s land back in August, and he has spent most of his time chasing quarry or running from coyotes or dogs or resident gray foxes that don’t want him around.

A big dog gray fox took the tip of his right ear in September when when decided to go grasshopper hunting a little too close to that mated pair’s den.

His life has been that of an urchin, a vagabond, and now when he hears the approach of another gray fox, he becomes flighty.

But it hasn’t been since those warm spring days when he suckled his mother’s teats that he’s heard another fox make those noises. He wonders if his mother is calling him, and so he runs down to the thicket to the vixen.

She hears his approach and runs toward him. They touch noses and lick faces. He instantly knows he’s not looking at his mother, but the softness of her eyes and the gentleness of her face tell him that she is all right. She is more than all right.  She is good.

They whimper and whine in the darkness. Young dog fox and wise mature vixen, now begin the process of pair bonding in the night. They lick each other’s muzzles and ears,

They are fully smitten.

That morning, they den up in the great boulder pile where the vixen has made her home. These are ancient rocks of Permian sandstone, more ancient than even the old lineage of canids from which gray foxes are derived.

The flinty wisps of snow flurries fill the air.  Bigger snow coming tomorrow.  The rabbits will be lying low in the thickets, easily caught by the fox who knows where to sniff.

The two foxes sleep near each other. They haven’t quite bonded yet, but they will soon be curled up together, a truly mated pair.

And the estrus clouds will rise in the frosty air, and they will be together.

The meadow fox has found a mate once again.

She doesn’t need one to survive.

But now, she can thrive.

 

 

 

 


Natural History

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Carrion bird

turkey vulture in november

We have begun our descent into the grayness of November. The deer are entering their time of being libidinous and dumb, and arrow have already taken a few of the bucks.

But soon the guns will crack, and gut piles will be scattered throughout the land.

And the turkey vultures will glide through the sky, casting their nostrils into the air current for the scent of blood and bile and stinking rumen.

The will drop from the sky and eat their late autumn repast, and then fly up into bare trees to digest their grisly fare.

Odd among the avian kingdom, the turkey vulture has fine sense of smell, and the black vultures and the ravens are keyed into their wanderings.

Turkey vultures will soon be heading south.  But maybe not. If the snows don’t fall, they’ll hang around to cast around on the air currents, fighting with the winter ravens as winter’s famine takes its toll upon the land.

I came across this big carrion bird on Saturday as I traipsed around in the first gloomy weekend of November. It had three companions that soon took to the wing at my approach.

But this vulture stayed put for a while longer, staring down at me with imperious disdain.

The great feast for the vultures is nigh.  The gray skeleton trees and the rutting bucks mark its coming.

This one seems to know what it is coming along with the sinking sun.


Natural History

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Kenny Chesney Helps Dogs, Cats Affected by Hurricane Irma

When Hurricane Irma made landfall on the island of St. John in September as a category five storm, its 185 mph sustained winds stripped the landscape bare, tearing away homes from their foundations…



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DogTipper

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We need your feedback! #Giveaway

We need your feedback! As we begin to look ahead to 2018, we want to be sure that we’re reaching YOU in the most effective way possible–whether that’s on the blog itself, through…



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DogTipper

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Tampa Bay Lightning 2018 Barks and Bolts Calendar Helps Dogs in Need

The Tampa Bay Lightning may have won the Stanley Cup during the 2003- 2004 NHL season, but the current roster of players on the professional ice hockey team have won the admiration of animal lovers…



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DogTipper

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Current Facebook Group is shutting down

Due to my more liberal moderating of my Facebook group, I have had a severe infestation of trolls, coming from a group appropriately called “The Dog Snob Rejects.”

Because I cannot ferret out who is doing screen shots to that harpie-filled den of soulless fockin’ eejits, and drama queens I am deleting the current Facebook page for this blog on Saturday, and I will revive it with a more selective group.

I’m sorry for any convenience this might cause.

Also, Facebook needs a better system to report harassment and bullying.


Natural History

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Golden Retriever Saves His Lost Canine Sister

Dog Golden Retriever Saves Lost Canine Sister

Photo Credit: News on 6

Knox, a Golden Retriever in Grand Lake, Oklahoma, deserves a hero’s cape and reward after finding his canine sister who had been lost, alone and hungry, for days. According to News On 6, although rewards, boats, and drones were unsuccessful and finding Tara Vreeland’s missing dog, Knox came to the rescue.

Tara has three dogs, Knox and two German Shepherds – Scarlett and Ruger. These days the three dogs hang around their neighborhood enjoying the usual doggie delights of fetch and walks, alongside rides in golf carts. In the past, when Tara was an anchor and reporter for Channel 6, Knox used to go to work with her. She said that back then Knox “used to run the roost there, used to run around on the floor.”

On a walk in early September, Scarlett “just darted through the trees,” according to Tara, “she was gone.” Tara searched for hours, but had no luck finding her beloved dog. Tara then offered a reward, went on a boat on the lake to scan the cliffs for her dog, and asked a friend to use a drone to search for Scarlett. Nothing worked. After four days of searching, Tara began “really just trying to think outside the box,” as she told News On 6.

She walked Knox to a spot near the bluffs. She noted that Knox has not been trained as a search and rescue dog, but she wanted to see what he might find. Suddenly, Knox “put his nose to the ground like Scooby Doo, and just starts sniffing around, sniffing around, sniffing around,” Tara said. She added, that she “was scared for the worst.” Then, she heard a dog’s whimper and a collar’s clink, and felt like her “heart stopped.”

Scarlett had been found, trapped on a small ledge, 20 feet down from the top of the bluffs. Despite days without food or water, Scarlett was somehow okay. A neighbor climbed the 20 feet down and brought Scarlett back to Tara and hero dog Knox.

Tara tried to describe how she felt about her superhero, “I can’t put into words how incredible I think he is. He’s pretty cute, he’s really funny, he’s feisty, he can be a little bit of a brat, but he’s also a hero.”

Reporter and friend of Tara, Tess Maune, said, “I believe any pet owner knows that undeniable bond that you have with your dog, your cat, your rabbit, whatever it might be. When you have a pet there is a deep connection.” We here at Halo understand that connection and are so glad that Tara’s connection with Knox helped her find Scarlett. As Tara told Tess, “It’s a happy ending when everyone was scared there wouldn’t be.”

Halo Pets

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