It’s not what it looks like

Someone said this to me the other day: “You have such a glamorous life.”

And I laughed, because I assumed it was sarcasm, but she said it with such sincerity that I paused and said, “Really?”

And she said, “Oh, you know, maybe exciting is a better word- all the travel and….well, the trips and stuff you talk about.” She paused, tilted her head to the side, and realized she was talking to a person holding a grocery bag full of mops and Zero Odor. I was, in fact, on a trip as we spoke. To the grocery store. Which has been the  extent of things lately, as tends to happen sometimes.

It was ironic to me that the person chose this day of all days to make that statement, because this is perhaps the least glamorous day I have had in some time. Apollo has been engaging in some marking behavior the last few months, and if there is one thing that turns my normally mild-mannered spouse into the Hulk, it’s the acrid stench of cat urine in the entryway of the house. Can’t say I blame him. So here we go again, off on a cleaning spree and figuring out what has so disturbed Apollo’s little kitty-brain that he sees no other option than to back on up to the nearest wall and let loose.

The offending area was easy to spot, a Niagara of urine splattered on the wood of the front door, pooling underneath and soaking into the grout and the tile. A lovely way to greet new neighbors, by the way.

I mopped it, dizzy with the fumes.

I mopped it once, I mopped it twice, and still not smelling very nice, I went ahead and mopped it thrice. Even then, it was no dice. My feelings then were not so nice.                                    -Dr. ScrewLoose

After about 18 rounds of attempting to clean the area, including liberal doses of Anti Icky Poo, I could still smell it. I wondered if perhaps there was another area I was missing. I got out the blacklight and investigated the entryway, but if you are anything like me I have no luck with that unless it’s already pitch black in the house, and who wants to clean at midnight? So I went old school, sticking my nose to the ground and trying to ascertain if there was an errant area I was missing in my cleaning attempts by olfactory input.

Did I mention I have a glass door that looks right into our entryway that you pass on the way to the front door? It’s pretty private, which means you have to be in the middle of walking up to the door to see anything, which means of course that any time I’m doing something I’d rather not have witnessed, someone invariably shows up.

There I was on all fours, nose pressed to the ground sniffing like Scooby Doo looking for a Scooby snack with Brody dutifully trailing behind, when I heard a polite cough from the region of the front door. This seems as good a time as any to mention I had just gotten back from a run and didn’t see the point of showering before cleaning up cat pee, so I was in stinky gym clothes and my hair pulled back in a sweaty ponytail while I crawled around smelling my floor. I pushed up to my hands to see the UPS man trying hard to look anywhere but inside the door, well aware that I was probably going to be “sight of the day” at the UPS locker room this evening.

I took the box and shut the door. Sometimes explaining “It’s not what it looks like. I was just sniffing for cat pee” is not the correct answer.


So there you have it. The glamorous life of a veterinary writer looks a lot like the life of any person with a grumpy cat, bad timing excepted.

If there are any small favors in life to be thankful for, it’s that I was discovered by the UPS man and not, say, the neighbor kids who already have one story too many to share about the weird lady on the corner.

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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The Bull(y) and Strong Dog: Staffordshire Terrier

The Staffordshire bulls are known for their great strength because of their sizes. Their variety is muscular and stocky but is also known for their agility. Surprisingly, this breed is one of the two breeds recognized by the UK Kennel Club as very suitable for children. Furthermore, their types ranked 5th when it comes to dog popularity in the UK, where the breed originated. Interestingly, Staffies are the only breed of dog that are “totally reliable” when it comes to standard of breed.

The following are some of the basic facts breeders would really love to know about Staffies:

Category: Terrier

Living Environment: either indoors or outdoors

Coat: smooth (or silky like most terriers), dense, and short

Colors: black, brindle, red, blue, fawn; or any of these colors mixed with white

Height: between 14 and 16 inches

Weight: between 24 and 38 pounds

Colors: brindle, blue, black, red, fawn, white; or any of these with white

Temperament: aggressive towards other animals but very friendly with children

Health Issues: heat stroke, cataracts, and breathing problems

Care and Exercise Tips:

•    Bathe when necessary.
•    Brush their coat only occasionally using a brush with firm bristles.
•    Rub down their coat with a chamois or towel to remove hairs that are loose.
•    Their physique requires a regular exercise routine which includes a daily play time while on a leash.
•    They should be on leash while walking in public places.


The Staffordshire bull terriers, also known as the Staffies, are known to have existed around the 17th century. Since dog fighting gained a surge of popularity over bull baiting, it became a must to develop a breed of dog that is agile, strong, and has a more punishing head than the Bulldog.

In this light, fighting Bulldogs of that time were crossed with some terrier blood. The hybrid was known as the Pit Dog or the Bull and Terrier. The new cross breed became well known for their tenacity and courage, and despite their reputation of being furious with other animals they were excellent companions especially with children.

The Staffie pit dog became a favorite of steelworkers and miners alike. The breed also provided chain makers of the “Black Country” with extra income when worked against ratters or badgers.

The enforcement of the Humane Act in 1835 completely prohibited sports like dog fighting and bull baiting. However, a group of men in the Staffordshire chose to maintain their breed of dogs by introducing them to the show business.

Through the years, the breeders themselves changed the name of the dog into Staffordshire bull terrier to differentiate its physique from the English bull terrier. However, the name of the dog was officially registered only in 1935 by the American Kennel Club.

In 1938, a couple of Staffies gained popularity as Champions at the Birmingham National. The popularity of Ch. Lady Eve and were Ch. Gentleman Jim reached many established countries including France, Australia, Germany, Spain, Holland and even the USA. Since then, Staffies became successful as show dogs and were very popular as compared to other terriers.

The Stafford bull terrier, yes, has become a popular pet while still retaining reputations gained through generations of fighting dogs bred for tenacity, courage, agility, and most importantly, its reliability and great affinity with people especially with children.

And today you can say that the bull is not so bully after all! In fact, the bull is totally reliable as children’s pets.

Welcome to The Top Dog Blog!

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What happens if you remove a tick with your bare hands?

Question by Tita: What happens if you remove a tick with your bare hands?
My neighbors dog had so many ticks on him. I felt so bad and started to remove them. I did not wear gloves or used tweezers. My first instinct was to remove the tick. I then squashed the tick. Put peroxide on the infected area than washed my hands. I read that you must wear gloves and to put the tick in alcohol to kill it. Someone told me that if you squash it, that won’t completly kill it. Just tell me if I did not do the right thing. I already know that next time to use gloves. What else?

Best answer:

Answer by Bear
You should be fine, you only have to worry about lime disease but that’s if your bitten by a tick. However, when pulling the tick out you may not have gotten the whole thing out. You might have to make sure the head and everything is out too.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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Swept away with “Sense and Sensibility”

Me and a friend were talking about “Sense and Sensibility” and I shared how I really enjoy the “Insight Editions” of the book that was published by Bethany House. What makes this different from the gazillion other copies that are out there? For me, it was the just the side notes that provided insight into…

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Sunflower Faith

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Hip Dysplasia in Pugs

Although it is not very common to find hip dysplasia in Pugs, it still is one of the diseases that a Pug owner should be aware of.

Pugs love to relax on your couch or favorite chair, whether you’re around or not. They’re alert and attentive pets and will follow their owner from room to room, always ready to play or go for a short walk.

Pugs are friendly to everyone, especially so to any person who pays a lot of attention to them. They relish being cuddled and petted and often become jealous or troubled when an owner devotes attention to someone else. Pugs are generally patient dogs and get along well with children. They love being around people and are not happy when left alone. They are curious and intelligent dogs and make good watchdogs. They have a strong bark rather than a “yappy” one like many smaller breeds.

Pugs like moderate temperatures. In cold weather they can easily catch a cold, and in hot weather they can overheat and die if not kept in an air-conditioned home. They adapt well to living in apartments because they don’t need a yard or lots of room to run around in. They do need plenty of exercise or they can become obese which results in health problems and a shorter lifespan.

Pugs are short and stocky, with a round head, flat muzzle, and round, dark, bulging eyes. Their wrinkled brows make them look continually worried or bothered by something. They have velvety dark ears and long straight limbs that gives them a spry step. Their coats are smooth and soft and come in black, silver, fawn and apricot colors.

Because Pugs have flat muzzles, they tend to snort, wheeze and snore when fluid gets caught under their palate. You don’t have to worry when you see them displaying this behavior as they are capable of handling the situation on their own.

Pugs are one of the world’s oldest breeds, although no one is sure just how old. The predominant belief is that Pugs were shorthaired versions of Pekingese dogs that were favored by royals in the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 B.C.). Another popular theory is that they are a smaller version of the French Mastiff or Bulldog.

Their name is also mysterious. It is commonly believed that the shortened name came from a nickname for marmoset monkeys or possibly from the Latin “pugnus” meaning a fist.

Pugs are also known to be susceptible to developing hip dysplasia and the resulting arthritis.

Hip dysplasia in Pugs is a genetic disease that primarily affects large and giant breeds of dogs but can also affect medium-sized breeds and occasionally small breeds. It is primarily a disease of purebreds, although it can also occur in mixed breeds.

To understand hip dysplasia and the resulting arthritis, you need a basic understanding of how the dog’s hip joint is affected. The hip joint is comprised of a ball and socket that forms the attachment of the hind leg to the body. The ball portion is the head of the femur and the socket is located on the pelvis. In a normal hip joint the ball rotates freely within the socket. The bones are shaped to perfectly match each other with the socket surrounding the ball. To strengthen the joint, the two bones are held together by a strong ligament. The joint capsule, a strong band of connective tissue, circles the two bones to provide added stability.

A normal hip joint:

Hip dysplasia is linked to abnormal joint structure and a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that would normally support the dog’s hip joints. As the disease progresses, the articular surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other. This separation of the two bones within the joint causes a drastic change in the size and shape of the articular surfaces.

An abnormal hip joint:

Most Pugs who eventually develop hip dysplasia are born with normal hips, but due to their genetic make-up the soft tissues surrounding the joint develop abnormally. This leads to the symptoms associated with hip dysplasia. The disease may affect both hips, or only the right or left hip.

The symptoms of hip dysplasia in Pugs cause afflicted dogs to walk or run with an altered gait, similar to a bunny-hop. They begin to resist any movement that requires full extension or flexion of the rear legs. They will experience stiffness and pain in their rear legs after exercising and on first rising in the morning. Climbing stairs becomes difficult if not impossible. Some dogs will limp and are less willing to participate in normal daily activities, including walks they formerly enjoyed.

The amount of calories a dog eats, especially during its fast-growth period from three to ten months, has the biggest impact on whether or not a dog genetically prone to hip dysplasia will develop the disease.

Obesity can increase the severity of the disease in dogs that are genetically susceptible and the extra weight will intensify the degeneration of a dog’s joints and hips. Dogs who are genetically prone to hip dysplasia and also are overweight, are at a much higher risk of developing hip dysplasia and eventually osteoarthritis.

Too much exercise can be another risk factor. Dogs genetically susceptible to hip dysplasia may have an increased incidence of the disease if they are over-exercised at a young age. Moderate exercise like running and swimming is best for exercising young dogs.

Because hip dysplasia is primarily an inherited condition, there are no products that can prevent its development. Through proper diet, exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, you can slow, and sometimes halt, the progression of these degenerative joint diseases while providing your dog with relief from its pain. Winston’s provides many of the raw materials essential for the synthesis of the joint-lubricating synovial fluid as well as the repair of articular cartilage and connective tissue.

If people insisted on purchasing a Pug whose parents and grandparents were certified to have good or excellent hips, and if breeders only bred these first-rate animals, then the majority of the problems caused by hip dysplasia would be eliminated. If you are looking to purchase a Pug now or in the future, the best way to lessen the possibility of getting a dog that will develop hip dysplasia is to examine the incidence of hip dysplasia in the dog’s lineage. If at all possible, try to examine the parents and grandparents as far back as three or four generations.

There are different beliefs on how to prevent the progression of hip dysplasia in Pugs. Poor nutrition, inadequate or improper exercise, and increased body weight may all contribute to the severity of osteoarthritis after the hip dysplasia has developed. By watching the calories your puppy or young dog consumes and preventing obesity in your dog, allowing only non-stressful types of exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, are the best things you can do for your dog.

Find Out How To Improve Hip Dysplasia & Improve Your Dogs Health

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Grace when feeling in a slump

I was reading this daily devotional from Waterbrook, Inspired Newsletter and it goes: The devotional really got me to thinking about those days when we just seem to not feel like reading our bible…..studying our memory verses…do we really want to do that study today? Ever have those days? Days like that…it might be a…

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Sunflower Faith

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Nice Pet Scratch photos

A few nice Pet Scratch images I found:

gus (scratching) and betsy in the sun
Pet Scratch

Image by Keithius
Gotta scratch that itch, eh Gus?

Head Scratch
Pet Scratch

Image by DonnaGrayson
Cinnamon gets her head scratched

Pet of the Week: Gremmie, 6122868
Pet Scratch

Image by LollypopFarm
Gremmie is a sweet and beautiful cat. She is a 2-year-old gray-and-white female who is spayed and litter trained.

Gremmie likes to play with toys, but most of all she likes to be petted and spend time sitting on your lap or on your desk while you work. She loves getting head scratches, too! Gremmie is shy in new situations, but before long, she becomes more confident and very affectionate!

She is currently living in a staff member’s office at Lollypop Farm and is getting along fine with the two dogs who are there during the day. Gremmie would be happiest in a quiet home.

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Comfort Dogs for Boston

It’s been 2 weeks since the attacks in Boston, and all of the facts are still being gathered.  One aspect that PetsitUSA is especially interested in is the comfort dogs that visited Boston.  The simple acts of having a dog present or hugging dogs can help victims feel better.  The Lutheran Church Charity K-9 Comfort Dogs were available to help during the week after the attacks.  Comfort dogs can be sent across the country.  They were also in Texas after the recent fire.  Some great pictures can be seen in the following articles about comfort dogs:

K-9 Comfort Dogs

Boston Magazine

The First Lutheran Church of Boston


PetsitUSA Blog

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{Simple Womans Daybook}April 29,2013

FOR TODAY Outside my window… I am thinking…what will we be planting late summer and early fall, and along with it, just the amazing miracle of life that gardening reminds us…’s a constant circle of cycles and watching some of the plants grow from seed to plant to seed….such a reminder of the blessings that…

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Sunflower Faith

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What is the best way to treat and eliminate mites on Syrian Hamsters?

Question by Megan: What is the best way to treat and eliminate mites on Syrian Hamsters?
What is the best way to treat and eliminate mites on Syrian Hamsters?
Friends of mine have a Syrian Hamster and she itches all the time. They have heard that she may have mites but they are unsure on how to treat them.

What is the safest and most effective way for them to treat the their mite problem?

Best answer:

Answer by Hamster Xpert
Mild cases of mite infestations can be treated with an anti-mite spray designed for rodents available from pet shops. The head of the hamster should be shielded to avoid spraying into the eyes and the body sprayed. The cage should be cleaned, sprayed with the anti-mite spray and clean bedding should be provided. This treatment should be repeated as directed on the anti-mite spray.

Hamsters suffering from mites should be isolated from any other hamsters or animals and be placed in a room of their own to avoid spreading mites to other animals.

If mild cases fail to improve within a day or two or in cases of severe mite infestation, or if signs of Mange develop veterinary treatment should be sought.

What do you think? Answer below!

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