Quality of Life decisions are the most difficult of times.

I have a friend that is going through the most difficult of times that I personally have suffered through. The days I speak of are the days when you look at your beloved pet and attempt to make the determination is it time to help them across the Rainbow Bridge to end the suffering of this lifetime. It’s difficult because they can’t speak to us directly so we depend on their cues to lead us, and just when you think you know the answer they have an exceptional day and it throws your thinking back to what am I doing because the loss of their presence in our lives is so huge there is no comfort for the pain. My friend shared with me a chart he found on the LapOfLove.com website, a pet hospice site where they have a chart that allows you to assess your pet’s behaviors on an ongoing basis so you can make an informed determination. Below you will find the criteria written in that chart, and if you visit this page you can find the printable chart for your use when the day arrives that you are in need of its services: http://www.lapoflove.com/Pet_Quality_of_Life_Scale.pdf

The directions for using the chart are as follows: Use the key factors of quality of life below to help assess your pet’s condition. Use a Daily Diary to keep track of your pet’s progress. Fill in the appropriate number for each category and then add the numbers from each category for that day. The maximum score is 12 and you can determine your own scale. You can even add categories that pertain to your pet’s particular situation. For example, ‘Respiratory Rate’ if your pet suffers from heart failure or lung cancer. You can give half or quarter points if appropriate.

2 Good Mobility – No difficulty getting around, enjoys walks and going outside
1 Poor Mobility – Difficulty getting up, hard to get in position to eliminate, short walks only
0 B are Minimum Mobility – Needs assistance, pain medication/anti-inflammatory medications do not help.
2 Good Appetite
1 Poor Appetite – Hand feeding, needs enticing
0 No Appetite
2 Adequate Intake
1 Poor Intake/ or increased in some patients with particular diseases
0 Requires Clysis (subcutaneous fluids)
2 Interacts normally with family and other pets
1 Some interaction with family and other pets
0 Hides in the closet or under the bed
2 Normal urination and/or defecation
1 Reduced/Irregular urination and/or defecation
0 None
Favorite Things
2 Normal favorite activities, hobbies, etc
1 Decrease in doing their favorite things
0 No interest in their favorite things

The recommendations are as follow. If your charting averages a daily scale of between 12 – 9, everything is okay. If your daily charting averages between 6 – 8, then your beloved requires Veterinary intervention. If your daily charting is equal to or less than 5 on a daily basis, then it’s time to consider humane tranquilization and euthanasia.

There is nothing easy about this time of life, but this chart gives you the tools you need to make a decision where you won’t spend the rest of your days second guessing yourself and wondering those three words that bring so much pain when you’re already suffering; shoulda, woulda, coulda. Knowing you’ve done the best you can for your beloved during their time of need will remove the guilt after it’s too late. It’s comfort during the time when there simply is no comfort to be found.

Never forget, it’s only through you the Randolph County Humane Society continues to save lives, one by one.

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Microchipping keeps families together but requires your due diligence.

Today I was blessed to witness the miracle of a microchip in action. I stopped in the Shelter for a visit, not something I do often because the faces of the animals that have no one to love them except for the loving arms of the volunteers is almost too much for my heart to handle. They ask to be taken home and loved unconditionally, and I have to tell them I’m not there to be their forever but only to offer them my love for a moment, and it breaks my heart to walk out and hear their cries. So like the weenie I am I hide out in the office, where a phone call came in from a police officer in Northern Illinois. He had a husky/malamute dog in his possession with one brown and one blue eye, a really good dog, that had a microchip registered to our shelter in Southern Illinois. We dutifully took his name, phone number, and microchip information and got about looking up the chip. It seems that at a microchip event we held the owner of this beautiful animal came by, had his dog chipped, but never sent the information in to have the name changed from us as the original purchasers of the chips to his personal information. Fortunately for him, we’d made note of who he was, and thankfully for him this is still a small town, because the phone number we had for him was a cell number and it was no longer a good number, so we were strike one on locating this dog’s beloved owner. So next thought, let’s check facebook, and there he is. Thank God for social media. Not only does facebook show his photo, but it has pictures of him and his dog, and it’s obvious they’re the best of friends so now we’re really motivated to get these two back in each others arms again because any time you have a guy that takes a selfie of him and his brown eyed/blue eyed dog, well you know he’s got my vote in the winner category. Seems he’s taken a job and moved up north to work as a prison guard and the dog went with him, but somehow the dog has done a houdini and escaped. I know how this works because I used to have a husky that got out of every fence we built until we finally had an 8 foot fence with an invisible fence inside of it that held him, but until then he took regular rides in police cars and we would get the call that we could find him happily chained in front of the police station of the town where we lived, chewing on the rawhide the “arresting” cop would buy for him because he was such a good boy. Apparently this husky/malamute was just the same because the policeman that called the shelter just kept talking about what a good dog he was and it was deja vu for me all over again. They are special animals that steal your heart but they have rambling feet that love to travel and meet good folks along the way, but it’s a dangerous world out there and you just can’t be too careful with your beloved. But back to this story. We were able to contact a local facebook friend of the owner that knew his step-mom and got his new phone number, so we made the call to give him the information to reunite the two. Everyone we spoke to knew he would be beside himself as soon as he knew his baby was missing, so he would be grateful beyond words his microchip worked in getting his beloved returned. But there’s a lesson here. We’re not all this fortunate to have a facebook friend that can get a number to reunite us with our beloved when we don’t take care of the business at hand of changing over the information once we get our beloveds microchipped. Microchips are powerful tools that insure the lost are found and we’ll never have to suffer the pain of being alone and wondering where are they, a special suffering I’ve been through and wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. So if your beloved is microchipped, get out the information and make sure your contact information with the microchip company is up to date. It does no good if your microchip leads the finder to someone that is not you. Let this be your lesson. Allow his pain to be your only suffering. This story has a happy ending. Not all stories like this do because not every has friends in this small town. Today was a special day and I was blessed to be part of it just so I could share it with you. I am the luckiest, don’t you think?

Never forget, it’s only through you the Randolph County Humane Society continues to save lives, one by one.

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Crazy cat people aren’t just women anymore!

Cat Daddy

Cat Daddy

You know, cats aren’t just for women. For those that think you need to be a crazy cat lady in order to have cats, a visit to the Tail Talk farm is in order. We have six cats and the real cat person in the household is my husband. I am perfectly happy to walk into the house with a cat accompaniment but when he’s around it’s an entirely different story! Our cats think those precious little paws can’t touch the dirty ground they’re made to walk on so instead they ride his shoulders into the house (not all six, just one at a time). And when the king arrives home from work, it’s not his wife that gets the attention upon his return but he’s greeted by a surround of furlined kitty courtiers, all patiently (and I use that term loosely) awaiting their treats. Now, he thinks they’re showing him love and admiration. Personally, I think it’s the opposite and they’re demanding they come first but you see who wins in this power struggle, and it ain’t me! LOLOL Even though I’m the one that’s been cooking over the hot stove all afternoon, seeing to it his favorite delicacies are ready for him when he hits the door. It’s still those four-legged furry critters that get all the love when the only treats they’re leaving behind are sand covered and stinky. Hmmmm. Maybe I need to learn to purr. Or perhaps a hairball coughed up on his plate would get his attention. Or maybe not, but it gives me great pleasure to ponder it. But it is funny to me how many men love felines, although the general rule of thumb is the crazy cat lady doll isn’t falling off the shelves any time soon. I joke, but if you’re thinking about adding a pet to the household and you haven’t decided yet which would be best, a cat or a dog, here’s a few pointers that go in the cat’s favor. They’re petite little critters, so their food bills are much lower than the 100 lb Moose type dogs (and they hurt a lot less when they step on you as they’re running over your bare feet). They don’t have to go outside with their preferred bathroom facilities taking place in a box that requires daily scooping, a real plus when it’s -10 or pouring down rain outside. They’re not overly affectionate so you don’t have animal breath in your face 24/7, but there are moments when you will have cat butt in your face as you awaken to start your day so that’s a trade off. But here’s the real reason you need to consider bringing some of these little furry masterpieces into your home today. By and large cats are not spayed and neutered as frequently as dogs and they can have 3 litters per year, meaning there are huge numbers of them in the world today. 7 out of every 10 that go into a shelter do not come out. That means 7 out of every 10 in a shelter die. And those are the lucky ones. Because a lot of criminal types just bring them out to the country and dump them, where they starve until they are hunted and eaten by something larger than them, or someone uses them for target practice (and hopefully has excellent aim and doesn’t just maim them). It’s a cruel truth. So spay and neuter your cats. I don’t care how cute kittens are. Your kids don’t need to witness the miracle of birth. Adopt a shelter animal because, remember now, 7 out of 10 are going to die anyway, so be a hero and adopt. Be the change the world needs you to be. Become the crazy cat guy. Women will fall at your feet. Especially the crazy cat lady. Just ask us.

And never forget, it’s only through you the Randolph County Humane Society continues to save lives, one by one.

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When your animals are out of control it’s not always as it seems.

We had an interesting experience at the Tail Talk farm concerning our 6 cats recently. We keep their diet the same and have been happily feeding them the same dry cat food for years. We buy it in the large, 20 lb bags and keep it in a tote, scooping into their various bowls as they empty them. We had also purchased a new treat on the market that they’ve gone absolutely nuts over that we lovingly refer to as kitty crack. My husband doles out the treats, and the moment he gets home from work he is surrounded by cats, demanding treats NOW. We’ve had more than one conversation about whether or not this is a good thing because it began to feel like they are in control rather than the other way around. But after we brought home a new brand of dog food things really turned upside down and all the cats started eating dog food out of the dog bowls, completely ignoring all the cat food bowls. I have been attributing this to the new brand of dog food and the kitty treats, but after a while of not filling any of the kitty bowls from the kitty food tote I began to wonder if perhaps the food in their bowls was stale and not as palatable as the dog food and cat treats, so I dumped the bowls and headed for the tote. When I opened the tote I was overwhelmed with a chemical smell that I remembered smelling when I dumped the new bag of kitty chowder into the tote but wasn’t paying attention, and I can only figure during manufacture a batch that didn’t mix properly and the cats were eating dog food out of desperation because they knew there was a problem with the cat food. We no longer had the bag to report the lot number, but I immediately replaced it with new food and they’re happily eating a different brand. Until I find out what happened to cause the issue I will admit I’m not comfortable going back to the old tried and true brand, but I am grateful my cats were smart enough to know there was a problem and to stay away.

If your cat or dog suddenly stops eating their normal chowder and appears to be in good health otherwise, go immediately to a different manufacturer and try another brand. In this day and age, you simply can’t be too careful. All manufacturers purchase ingredients that come from China in their sourcing so even though it’s manufactured in the USA it’s not necessarily from American ingredients. Cat food and dog food is different, species specific, and it’s not interchangeable, so it’s okay if they eat it for a short while but not as a steady diet. It’s important to pay attention and if the issues continue, start looking at what could be the cause. We can’t be too careful with our beloveds. We have them for such a short time and the least we owe them is to insure they’re properly fed. I’m happy to say now that the food problem is solved things are back in order again and they’re no longer out of control. Dogs are eating dog food, cats are eating cat food, treats at appropriate times only, and everyone is back to being their normally obnoxious, loving selves. I’m a happy camper!

Never forget, it’s only through you the Randolph County Humane Society continues to save lives, one by one.

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Everything I thought I knew about ticks was wrong.

It’s just beginning to show signs of springtime after a long, hard winter and already the cats and dogs are inundated with ticks. I noticed that we had ticks all winter long, so I finally decided to do a little research, and I will admit I was shocked at what I found.

Contrary to popular belief, ticks can still be active in cold weather, even when there is snow covering the ground. Homeowners should be aware that ticks could hitch a ride indoors on firewood, especially if it has been stacked outside in the vicinity of deer, mice and other rodents. Ticks have been found on at least 7 different species of trees with some of the smallest ticks found on more than 45 percent of the tree trunks. Ticks are often found in hardwood habitats like oak and mixed forests, but mice, the ticks preferred host, can be found nesting under fallen logs, in hardwood or pine forests, and in houses and barns. Once inside the home, shed or vehicle, ticks can survive for months in carpets, walls, wooden floors or in tiny crevices before requiring their next blood meal. One female tick can produce 2,000 or more offspring causing an infestation that can be difficult to eradicate. Elevated temperatures and/or immersion in hot water containing chemicals fails to kill many ticks. Researchers at the Department of Agriculture placed ticks in automatic washers and dryers to determine if they would survive a typical wash cycle. At the time of their removal from the washer, the ticks had been affected by the hot water, but 65% were still alive 20-24 hours later. A large percentage was able to survive several hot water washes in which two detergents were used. All ticks were eventually killed in the hot dryer cycle, but only after a full hour of spinning at extremely hot temperatures. The researchers concluded that clothing washed and dried using the normal procedures should not be considered to be free of living ticks.

It appears my notion my animals are safe from fleas and ticks because it is winter is just a misguided thought that if I was uncomfortable with the snow, then surely those little buggars would be frozen solid too. Well, that’s what I get for thinking. I thought we just had a hardy strain of ticks here at the Tail Talk farm, so on one hand I am grateful to find it’s not just me, but I will be using flea and tick control year round from here on out. It’s just not worth the cost to my health when I find a deer tick attached to my person during months when I haven’t ventured outside because the sun hadn’t peeked out in weeks. So the bottom line, you’re not safe and your animals aren’t safe just because it’s cold outside. Be prepared, and take care of business in spring, summer, fall and winter, by using tick protection. It could be the one thing that will save you and your beloveds from years of suffering and there simply isn’t a price you can put on your future health.

Never forget, it’s only through you the Randolph County Humane Society continues to save lives, one by one.

Posted in Animal Lover, love, pets, shelter cats, shelter dogs | Tagged | Leave a comment