We Three Shepherds...

 These three came to us within a week of each other. All three have suffered traumatic injuries.



Tiegen is a youngster who, in a moment of exuberance leapt the wrong way and suffered a compound fracture. She had a complicated surgery, with pins and rods and bone grafts...oh my! This resulted in her injured leg being almost 2" shorter. She has recovered beautifully, you would never know watching her move that she suffered such an injury.
Good Girl Tiegen!

Gia is now 3 years old. Gia and her brother  came to live with their new Mom later in their life. Perhaps unfamiliar with her new surroundings, or perhaps she thought she could fly...Gia attempted to clear the gate of a chain link fence. She did not quite make it over. Her back leg got caught in the decorative thingy's on the top of the gate. Gasp!!
She suffered multiple injuries, but thanks to her Mom's diligence, excellent care and lots of love she is doing wonderfully.
Good Girl Gia!

Finn, this handsome hard working guy was injured on the job. Finn has recently retired from our local Sheriff Department due to an injury he suffered while on a track. His injury was so traumatic his recovery to date has been slow and not totally successful. We aim to change that!
Good Boy! "Swim Finn"


Write A Blog, Feed A Shelter Dog

This blog post is a bit different from my usual 'wet dog' fare. It is however for a cause very close to my heart...helping dogs. Pedigree has given everyone an opportunity to make a HUGE difference You can make a difference too. It is simple...read on!
Each year, more than 4 million dogs end up in shelters and breed rescue organizations. Pedigree created The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive to help shine a spotlight on the plight of these homeless dogs.
Now for the really Pawsome part!...Pedigree has given everyone a chance to help feed shelter dogs simply by writing a blog post!  It is a wonderful opportunity that, I, and bloggers everywhere have to make a huge difference.
For each blog that posts about the PEDIGREE® Adoption Drive through September 19th, PEDIGREE® will donate a 20lb. bag of their new Healthy Longevity Food for Dogs to shelters nationwide. It’s just that simple: Write a post, help a dog.
AND... the dog food drive is not limited to pet blogs. So spread the word to all the bloggers you know!
Once your blog post is written, simply go to this link: Life With Dogs 
Scroll down to the comment box and leave your info...Simple...PAWSOME!

And while we are on the subject, check out their facebook page also because this year the PEDIGREE Adoption Drive is raising awareness for homeless dogs by donating a bowl of food to shelter dogs for everyone who becomes a “Fan” or “Likes” The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive on Facebook. So far more than 1 million bowls have been donated. 


Mikey's Story

Many folks have asked us who is that dog featured up there on your blog home page? Well that is Mikey. He is a 5 year old Golden Doodle, who is also a Certified Therapy dog with a very busy schedule. 
Mikey came to us hoping to get into better shape before major surgery.
Mikey has severe hip dysplasia and was scheduled for surgery to totally replace his right hip. His left would have to be done some time down the road.

There was much preperation in Mikey's household planning for his post-op recovery. With 4 other fur siblings in his house, and Mikey limited to crate rest for at least 4 weeks, their household was not going to be 'normal'. His special area was set up with his new orthopedic bed, work schedules were adjusted, vacation time taken to accommodate Mikey's lengthy and complicated recovery regime.

They were as ready as they could be for such a major event.

Mikey went in for his Pre Surgery X-Rays the day before his scheduled surgery at 7am the following day.

Mikeys Mom called us from the surgeon's office, absolutely beside herself with joy.  Mikey's highly respected Board Certified Surgeon said.."Mikey DOES NOT NEED THIS SURGERY NOW".

The Surgeon is so very impressed with what we are doing with Mikey. "His improvement since he started swimming is amazing"
All this was accomplished in just 16 swims!
Mikey's Mom has been instructed by the Surgeon to swim Mikey once a week. As long as he can do that he will Never Need Surgery!

We are so very happy to have helped Mikey!
You are Welcome big guy!


"Syracuse Sadie" Welcome

Welcome to Sadie, she is from...Syracuse. We have a few Sadies so we need to have our own pet names for them so we know which Sadie is which.

Sadie was a rescue so her actual age is unknown, she is somewhere between 7 and 8 years old. Sadie recently had cruciate surgery and is comming here to swim to assist in her rehab.

These pictures were taken on day three of her Orientation swim. Sadie took to the pool right away. When she arrived for her second swim she was so excited she could barely wait for her Mom to open the car door.

 Sadie's recovery is comming along very well. Swimming will help speed up her return to her normal self...and she is going to have a Great time doing it!

We are happy to aid Sadie on her way to total recovery.
and Sadie....well she is just happy!


Happy Hanna

Welcome Pretty Girl!

Hanna is a happy 7 1/2 year old Husky Retreiver mix. She has just finished her 3 day Orientation swims. She is very comfortable in the water now, and is enjoying her swims. She was diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia when she was 3 years old.

Her Humans have managed to maintain her weight and her exercise level so her hips have only just started to bother her. Arthritis is now setting in.

She now has been diagnosed with a Thyroid Issue which is making it more difficult to keep her weight under control. Swimming will help her with her weight control...and of course her hips!

And she likes it!



Rocky is a 6 year old Black Lab that came to us needing to lose weight. Quite a lot of weight. At his largest Rocky weighed in at an incredible 134 lbs. Rocky has other issues, he has mild Hip Dysplasia and was exercise intolerant. Not a real active dog by nature according to his Pawrents, Rocky is very happy just relaxing.

While he is more of an English Lab type, generally a stockier body, Rocky can no longer get away with being just "big boned"!
Having hip problems and being obese is a recipe for dog disaster. Taking Rocky for a walk was actually doing him no favors. He had no energy, no will to do anything other than amble over to his bowl.
Rocky was caught in a  no win situation, that had to change...otherwise Rocky may not see 7. 

His first few visits he just hung in the water...not moving. It took a few visits to get him to actually swim, In the begining it was a huge success to get him to swim half way down the  pool.
Now Rocky can swim two entire laps of the pool without resting, and he does it by himself. ( We use to have to kind of push/poke him to move) 
Rocky is wearing a "Snood" it's like a doggie bathing cap. It is perfect for dogs that are bothered by water in their ears. Rocky rides pretty low in the water and he was getting water in his ears.

Rocky has been swimming weekly for about 4 months now. His Pawrents report he is much more active at home. He now enjoys going for walks (short ones still) and he has more interest in life in general.  He is a  much much happier doggie.

On this picture day Rocky weighed in at 105lbs.

Our goal weight for Rocky is 90lbs. 
Come on Rocky one more lap around the pool...


Emily's Journey

Emily is a beautiful 6 year old Great Dane. She was a happy healthy dog, that never showed any signs of anything being wrong. One day Emily's Pawrents came home and she was just not moving right. At first the vet thought she had somehow hurt herself romping through her house. Unfortunately it appears to be a neurological problem.  It seems to be a mystery at this time as to exactly what Emily is dealing with.

Emily is progressively getting worse. She is losing feeling in her back legs, at times she does not know where they are, or how to control them. She has started to drag her paws, causing damage to her toes. Her muscles wastage is a problem, especially for a dog a large as Emily. She weighs 168lbs. and is very very tall.

Our plan is to strengthen her core so she is better able to balance herself, and to increase her stamina and cardio health. The best case scenario will be Emily will be able to transfer her full range of movement from the pool to land. Emily moves beautifully in the water, using her back legs flawlessly.

Emily has just finished her three day orientation swim. After two days of swimming her Pawrents were so happy to report they have noticed an improvement in Emily already. Apparently when eating Emily did not have the strength to stand up for her entire meal. She would eat about 1/4 of her meal standing up, she would finish the rest lying down. After her second swim, that evening she stood for her entire meal And  she drank her water still standing, then she walked to her bed to lie down.
                                                 Good Girl Emily!!

It is so incredibly rewarding to see how quickly dogs are able to start to improve.
We are so happy Emily is improving. She will be back in the pool in a couple of days to continue her journey.


More Heartbreak via Blue Green Algae

I found a copy of this disturbing post while I was researching my first Blog post about Blue Green Algae. For me it puts a 'face' to it, which I will not soon forget. Again I was shocked at how many dogs face the same fate as Vita. My hope is everyone that reads this equates to at least one less dog that will be exposed to this silent killer.
Here is Vita's story:
It is with a very heavy heart that I write this and I apologize for its length.
Please, PLEASE pass this around.

On Monday, June 25, 2007 I took my healthy 9 month old Border Collie
Vita swimming at approximately 6:30 p.m. Vita and two other BC's
spent about an hour and a half diving off the dock, chasing the Water
Kong, and running around. The temperature that day was just over 90
degrees, but none of the dogs looked particularly winded or hot.

Vita emerged from the water and looked as if she was going to vomit.
She threw up lake water three times. I wasn't particularly concerned
as she took in a lot of water from retrieving and swimming so much
and had seen other dogs do that in the past without complications.

After the third time throwing up, she lay down and closed her eyes.
Her tongue was hanging out of her mouth and I began to suspect she
may have heat stroke. I immediately placed ice on her stomach and
checked her gums. They were pink. I took her temperature which was
101.9, still normal. I then called my Vet who said these conditions
did not indicate heat stroke and said I needed to get emergency
medical attention right away.

Vita was not responsive and when I picked her up to put her in the
car she was limp and her eyes were still closed. Her breathing was
slow and her heart was racing. I arrived at the emergency clinic only
a half hour from the time she showed signs of distress. The ER Vet
asked me what sorts of things Vita had been doing all day. I
explained that she was crated as I was gone for the latter part of
the afternoon and that upon coming home, the only other place she
went was to the lake.

Vita's eyes were fixed and dilated and the Vet suggested there was
already brain damage. After administering an IV and oxygen, the Vet
called me in and said Vita was not responding and that it appeared
that she was suffering from some kind of toxic poisoning. Her heart
rate was 200. He mentioned that he had recently seen a couple of dogs
who died from Blue Green Algae Toxicity. I told him that the lake had
what appeared to be algae blooms on the surface of the water. Neither
of the other two dogs showed any of the signs that Vita had and that
neither dog took in as much water as Vita apparently did. We decided
to put her on a ventilator overnight and give her a "chance" to pull

When I got home I did a Dogpile.com search of "Blue Green Algae
Toxicity in Dogs" and found some very disturbing information:
-Swallowing water that has cyanobacterial toxins in it can cause
acute, severe gastroenteritis (including diarrhea and vomiting).
And the following:
-Liver toxicity (i.e., increased serum levels of liver enzymes).
Symptoms of liver poisoning may takes hours or days to show up in
people or animals. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and
-Kidney toxicity.
-Neurotoxicity. These symptoms can appear within 15 to 20 minutes
after exposure. In dogs, the neurotoxins can cause salivation and
other neurologic symptoms, including weakness, staggering, difficulty
breathing, convulsions, and death. People may have numb lips,
tingling fingers and toes, or they may feel dizzy.

Vita had indeed exhibited salivation and signs of weakness,
staggering, difficulty breathing and vomiting.

At 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 I called the Vet and was told
that they took Vita off the ventilator a couple of times during the
night and that she was not breathing on her own. I told him to
discontinue the procedure and to let her go.

I called the DNR here in Michigan and was told that Blue Green Algae
didn't usually appear this time of year and I told the agent that the
conditions were that of late summer in Michigan, very hot for the
last two days and reminded him that Blue Green Algae can appear at
any time. He told me not to panic or to alarm other people. I told
him that had someone else panicked, we wouldn't be having this
conversation right now.

Later that morning I found out from a neighbor that her two
 young boys had vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps last week and her
Doctor suggested she bring in a water sample. I do not know if she
did or not.

I also talked to a woman from a neighboring county whose neighbor's
dog ingested a lot of water from a pond and died suddenly a couple
weeks ago.

As of this writing, Wednesday, June 27th, I have not heard anything
from Michigan State where I took Vita for a necropsy and toxoligical
panel.For the time being, I would strongly suggest you watch your dogs when
swimming in small lakes and ponds as the potential threat of toxic
poisoning from Blue Green Algae is prevalent. Had I known that algae
of any kind was toxic, you can be sure my dogs wouldn't be swimming
anywhere and that Vita, whose name quite ironically meant "life" in
Latin, would be alive today.

Missing you more than you can imagine.
May you rest in peace, Red Top Vita
09/05/06 - 06/26/07

Bob Tatus
Mabley Hill Road
Fenton, Michigan 48430


Let's Jump Right In.....Or NOT!

While it may be a little early in the year, it is never too early to be aware.

Where we live in Upstate New York toxic algae is rampant! Below is an excerpt from the Whole Dog Journal.

"The dangers of a “toxic bloom” of blue-green algae are well known in some states. According to a website published by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, certain environmental conditions that generally occur late in summer can trigger a sudden overgrowth of a certain family of algae called cyanobacteria. This type of algae occurs in many aquatic environments year-round, but may thrive to a dangerous degree during periods of sustained warm, sunny days in shallow, nutrient rich bodies of water. In these conditions, the blue-green algae suddenly “blooms” – that is, reproduces exponentially. The algae produce a powerful toxin – one of the most powerful natural poisons known.

Dog owners should be aware that toxic algae blooms usually occur in late summer or early fall, but can occur at any time. They can occur in marine, estuarine, and (especially) fresh water. The latter are of the greatest concern to dog owners, as dogs are commonly taken to ponds, lakes, and reservoirs in the summer for recreation, exercise, and cooling — and they routinely drink the water. Some of these algae blooms look like foam, scum, or mats on the surface of the water. The blooms can be blue, bright green, brown, or red (“red tide” is perhaps the best-known so-called “harmful algal bloom”) – but some blooms may not affect the appearance of the water. The water may or may not smell bad. As a further difficulty to dog owners trying to protect their dogs, not all algal blooms are toxic!

When an algal bloom is toxic, obviously, it can kill or seriously sicken an animal, sometimes as quickly as within 15 or 20 minutes of ingestion. The effects depend on the amount ingested, the size of the animal, the amount of food in the animal’s stomach (a full stomach has some protective effect), the sensitivity of the species and individual animal, and the amount of toxin present in the bloom."

In our area Ontario Beach in Charlotte was the seventh worst in the state in 2009. Durand Beach in Rochester and two swimming areas at Hamlin Beach State Park were near the top of the list in New York State for bacteria problems.

Call (585)-753-5887 in the Rochester area to hear Monroe County Health Department daily report on conditions at Durand and Ontario Beaches.

Although all blue green algae should be treated with suspicion, there are many strains and not all of them produce toxins. In the long run, it's better to err on the side of caution and keep your dog away from any water you have reason to believe is contaminated.


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