Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Rock The Dogs And Other Random Musings

It's been awhile, and my poor little blog has been sorely neglected, time for an update.

An attorney who very generously donated his time was able to stop the TIER property auction. It's in a holding pattern now, hopefully enough time to get the next move sorted out. Meanwhile, through a grant and some fundraising, TIER was able to send two of their most needy residents for some training. Both Chino and Autumn have been so traumatized by humans that it's very difficult to do the most basic care for them. The goal is to be able to put a halter on them and have them let the farrier trim their feet. These are the kind of horses TIER helps, which is why it's so necessary to be able to keep them going. The facebook page is here  and their website is here.

Another worthwhile charity has come across my desk. It's called Tazzy Fund/Rock The Dogs. It's run by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Cambell and his wife Marcie. They're doing some fundraising: check out their facebook page and their ebay auctions. This is a great way to donate to a good cause and make a Petty fan (like me) on your Christmas list happy. I'm really hoping they'll start selling T shirts, since my unemployment budget keeps me from bidding on any of their auctions.

I'm so relieved that this election is over. WTF is up with the radical right and why must their crap be all over my facebook page? I realize I have the rebel without a clue thing going, but I'm still shocked and surprised at the vitriol being spewed all over the social media. We're supposed to be an evolved society. NOT

The days are getting shorter and every fly in the area has moved into my house. That's how I know winter is coming.

I'm going to try to make a point of updating this blog more often. People are still assclowns, and there are more stories to tell. But for now, back to the manure pile.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Chase Bank:Hypocritical Ass Clowns

Watch the video above. I've been a long time VolunTIER and supporter of True Innocents Equine Rescue aka TIER. TIER, and the founder, Gail Gleeson, has been dedicated to helping abused and neglected horses find permanent homes. To date, TIER has assisted 800 (yes that is eight hundred) horses. Gail has also helped found the Riverside County Horse Coalition, dedicated to helping horses in need. This is a true community service.

You won't find fancy trimmings at TIER. What you will find are horses that are recovering from serious neglect and abuse that are well fed and taken care of. Some of them were hours away from death and are now on the road to recovery because of TIER's efforts.

Despite the wonderful donors and volunteers, essentially TIER is a one woman act. Every penny donated goes to the needs of the residents and I've lost count of how many times Gail has had to reach into her own pocket to make up the difference. Unlike many other rescues, TIER has taken unsound horses, those who spend the rest of their lives as pasture pets. There have been some that have had to go straight to the vets to be euthanized because a former owner wouldn't do the right thing by the horse that served them so well.

Sadly, there's been a predicament. Gail refinanced her home, which is where TIER is located, then later lost her job. She has been making payments to Chase Bank who has somehow screwed up the paperwork. Earlier this week she finds a notice that her property is going up for auction. A phone call to some random person at Chase gives her the info that her property was foreclosed on in late 2011.

WTF kind of country is this that Chase Bank can foreclose on a property owner without proper notification?! Isn't that a notice that needs to served with proof of service? Had she been aware of the foreclosure back then, she could have done something, instead of this last minute mad scramble.

And Chase Bank, sponsors of the Kentucky Derby and the Keeneland Thoroughbred sales are going to put 34 horses and 3 donkeys and the only person who stood by them out of their homes?  When horses like these from events that Chase sponsors are no longer making money, those that don't go to slaughter end up in places like TIER, which are in short supply. How hypocritical can you get?

TIER's Facebook page is here if you'd like to help or see what the rescue is all about. I don't bank with Chase since I've never liked them, but if I did I'd be closing my accounts. And making a "deposit". One of Princess Pout's.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Guest Blogger!

I've been neglecting my little blog lately. Recovering from my accident and subsequent job loss has left me a bit uninspired. So today I'll turn over the keyboard to Princess Pout, who has plenty of opinions on everything.

Hay there! It's about damned time my human stepped aside and gave me some spotlight. She insists that my first post here be a sort of PSA. Since she controls my food I'd guess I better humor the squirrely blonde.
It's summer, which means it gets hot. If you think you're suffering, try it with fur or feathers. Not all animals sweat, which means it's harder for us to cool ourselves off when the temperature rises.
If you won't get in your car without the air conditioner on, don't expect your pet to either. Don't leave your pet locked in the car, not even for a minute.
We need lots more water in the hot weather. If you're coming home from work and water bowls are empty, fergawdsake add another bowl. We don't care if it matches the other bowls or your decor, that's a human thing. We need water. Dump the bowls out often, give them a good scrub and add fresh water. We stay more hydrated when the water is fresh.
Those metal lick-it things that attach to faucets for dogs to drink out of. If you really want to use one of those, at least put it on a faucet that's in the shade. Think about it.
Speaking of shade, those of us who live outside all day need some kind of shade, whether it's a tree or a small shelter. It doesn't have to be something out of Better Barns and Manure Piles, just a place to go to get out of the heat. It's also a place to get out of the rain during winter, so it does double duty. My former stall mate, the Gay Bay, never went under the cover when it rained. When I questioned his sense, he said it was because when he was on the track he was always locked in a stall unless he was running. I think it's because he liked to spy on the neighbor.
Summer also means pests and insects. It's bad enough out in the heat without stuff crawling all over you or flying and landing on you. So take care of it for us since we can't do it ourselves. Use fly sprays, and flea/tick control for the dogs and cats. Avoid standing pools of water which attract mosquitos, carriers of heartworm, encephalitis and West Nile Virus. See why I said to change our water often?
There's a flake of hay coming with my name on it, so I'll sign off for now. Don't forget to tip your guest blogger.
Hooves and tails,


Saturday, June 2, 2012

When Neglect Becomes Cruelty


I usually don't do this. Between my job and volunteering for rescues, I see a ton of animals in need, and I'm only too painfully aware that no matter how herculean the effort, they can't all have happy endings. However, this was in my news feed, and I just can't ignore it:

Here is the link if it's too small to read.
Whoever owned this horse is beyond reprehensible. From what I can see in the pictures, other than the eye this horse looks relatively healthy.
Owning a horse is not cheap, no matter how much you slash your budget. Feed prices are astronomical, the constant costs such as hoof care and dental have to be budgeted in. And there's physical work involved in horse care. I figure for every hour I spend in the saddle, there's at least 3 hours work involved before I can think about tacking up. Rain or shine, it must be done daily, no matter how you feel or what the weather is like.
I always tell potential new horse owners that if they aren't passionate about horses, it's not worth the trouble. Everyone I know who has the passion drives a used vehicle and budget shops for clothes. And emergency vet bill can mean several months of ramen noodles for meals. All for the passion. If you're not willing, don't bother.
It sickens me that this horse's owner didn't get veterinary care long before the eye got this bad. I can't think of a vet who wouldn't either donate their labor or take payments on the bill to help this horse if money were an issue. Instead this piece of garbage does nothing, and leaves it up to a rescue. Run by an awesome woman who is stumbling under the weight of responsibility for caring for the residents who are already there, she has to clean up the mess of someone who couldn't be bothered to pick up the phone and call the vet. In this bad economy prices are up and donations are down, and she's struggling enough to take care of her own. But she and others like her that truly have the passion, she's working on a way to help Duncan.
Stay tuned either to this blog or on the TIER Facebook Page for updates on Duncan. I'm hoping that very soon I can post some positive updates, especially when he's ready for adoption. I'm sure that eye will have to be removed, but that doesn't mean that Duncan can't live a good life and have a job. There's lots of people who have one eyed or completely blind horses (I was one of them), missing an eye doesn't mean the end of a career-or a life.
To help Duncan, or any of the TIER residents, click here. All donations are tax deductible.

I have just been notified that Duncan's problem was beyond medical help and he was humanely euthanized. He was a young horse and a perfect gentleman. The update is here.
I would like to thank the tireless volunTIERS at TIER for their hard work in trying to make a difference to Duncan. This is the hardest part of rescue, getting them out of a bad situation only to have to euthanize. Duncan's last moments before crossing the bridge were filled with gentle pats and kind words from people who cared about him. And sometimes, that's all we have to offer.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Second Opinion: Dr. Google

You've just been given a diagnosis that you don't know much about, so who do you call? Dr. Google!

Actually, there's nothing wrong with using the internet to educate yourself about things you're unsure about, a new diagnosis or term, or even some symptoms to find out the possibility of what you may be looking at.

However, it's best to use the internet to get a second opinion, not the first one. I get a few phone calls a week from people who have diagnosed their pet's symptoms and want advice-all for free of course, and without seeing their pet, which is against federal law. The info on the internet is for educational and not diagnostic purposes, but it seems most people don't read the disclaimers.

Not long ago we had a case of a young beautiful dog with neurological problems. It was horrible to watch. Not only could this dog not walk a straight line, he had lost control of his bowels and bladder. Turned out the owner wanted to save some money on heartworm testing and medication by giving ivermectin horse paste to his dog. He read about it on the internet. Too bad he didn't read further, he would have found out that his breed of dog carries a genetic mutation that allows ivermectin to pass through the blood brain barrier. This is toxic and can be fatal. For want of saving a few dollars he's spent thousands and his dog has a very guarded prognosis. Not to mention the heartbreak of watching a beautiful young animal go through hell.

Not all internet advice is bad. Here's a few pointers:

Check pages that are written by veterinary professionals. Their credentials will be listed on the page. Same with research done by schools.
Check the publication dates of the page. There are still tons pages with outdated studies/advice that search engines will hit. Look for more recent information.
Take with a grain of salt the manufacturer's page. They're trying to sell a product, and it may not be the right one for your pet.
Likewise, approach with caution the "all natural healing remedies" stuff. They aren't under any kind of regulation, and probably aren't tested.
Message boards/groups need to be approached with caution as well. It's worth reading them because they can be a source of valuable information and links, but it's one of those "don't try this at home" cautions.
It's okay to take the internet information with you to your vet visit and ask your vet's opinion of what you've learned. Making informed choices is a good thing.
If you're not willing to subject yourself or your human kid as an internet advice guinea pig, apply the same rules to your pet. They don't have a choice in the matter.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Vaccination Revisited

I see it all the time in public bathrooms: women washing their hands like they're scrubbing up to perform surgery, carefully not touching the towel dispenser, and using the paper towel to open the bathroom door. Even most grocery stores provide antibacterial wipes to wipe off carts before we use them. People don't want other people's germs around them.
Yet one of the biggest arguments when I got from callers making surgical appointments when I worked for boss man was about our hospital policy regarding current vaccinations on all surgical patients. If they weren't current, then we did them at an extra charge, and the clients were screaming.
Would you sit in a room with people sneezing without covering? Would you accept a drink or food from a waiter who you saw  take a taste before they set your food on the table? Would you shake hands with someone who just sneezed into theirs? Then why in all that's holy would you want your unvaccinated pet in for surgery with all the germs floating around the hospital?
As I explained here it is impossible to live in a bubble or keep our pets in one. Even humans get horrible infections in the hospital, as do pets. Exposure is everywhere. It has nothing to do with how clean or careful you are.
Vaccines aren't 100%  foolproof but they can exponentially increase the survival rate of a deadly disease. Getting vaccinations are cheap compared to the cost of hospitalization. Pretty cheap insurance worth having.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Ostara!!

Happy first day of Spring, or Ostara, Vernal Equinox, or whatever you celebrate. Springtime means something different to everyone, but to most it's the signal of rebirth or new beginnings.
I finally got a new job as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic. This job is different in the sense that I don't do as much catwrangling as I did when I worked for Boss Man. I mostly just check people in and charge them out and don't get to spend much time with their pets.
The clinic I'm at is attached to a city animal shelter, and one of the functions of the clinic is to spay and neuter the pets that have been adopted. We have our share of the sadness that goes with it, but since the subject is new beginnings, I'll talk about my favorite part of the job.
I love checking out the new adoptees to their new humans. These animals have been either lost or dumped by their former owners, and stuck in a cage with others while an attempt is made to find their people. When they are put up for adoption, they get visits by a bunch of strangers in hopes that someone will find a place for them. Then they get shipped to us where they undergo surgery and a few hours later go home with someone who is a stranger to them.
So called experts say that we shouldn't assign human emotions to animals. But anyone who gets the honor of giving them to their new people know better. I know what they've been through before this day.  I sense their reluctance when I gently lift them out of the cage. As I carry them into the crowded room, they see their new human and ears perk up, tails wag, and cats purr. Somehow, they just know. And I'm drowning in a puddle of snot trying not to cry.
It's the coolest thing ever.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Vetiquette: The Second Opinion

It happens to all of us: A pet has a condition that's threatening to empty our savings account. We love our pet, but there is the thought in the back of our heads that maybe we can save a bit of money if we go somewhere else. People we know tell us " MY vet only charged me half as much for the same thing."
Vets can vary widely on their pricing. Unless it's life threatening, you may have some time to shop the price. Keep one simple thing in mind: Shopping prices will cost you.
Unlike getting your car or house painted, vet estimates are not free. You don't shop prices for surgeries on your kids. You have to physically bring your pet in for an exam from the doctor you want the estimate from. Laws governing veterinary practices are very similar to those governing human medical practices. A vet must physically see the patient or risking losing a license.
I've had people call me on the phone while their pet is being prepped for surgery. Estimates from other places tossed across my desk. Owners asking ME to look at their pet and give them an estimate, for free, of course. And of all the issues I've had to discuss with owners that are less than happy, the second opinion answer is the one that creates the most anger : we can't do anything until the vet sees the pet first. I've been cussed out, sworn at, and had stuff thrown at me. In the time owners have spent arguing with me over it, their pet could have been seen and had an estimate given.
Sure, simple spays and neuters can have estimates given over the phone, but other things are more complicated and what is needed depends on the pet's age and condition.
Be prepared to spend the cost of an exam when asking for a second opinion. Bring all records, medications, blood test results and x rays with you when you come for your appointment. Feel free to ask questions. When you see the estimate, it is okay to ask if certain things are necessary, or whether they are optional.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Do's And Don'ts: Vetiquette

Do be polite, if not at least civil. The person you are talking to will be happier to help you if you play nice.

Do ask what methods of payment are accepted before you make the appointment.

Do ask what you need to bring besides the pet. If you have copies of previous vet's records, ask if you need to bring them.

Don't scream or berate. Nothing puts the brakes on my cooperation than being called the C word. Saying "I'm stressed and freaked out and I can use your help" will make me do whatever I can to help you.

Do have a good idea of when you can come in and be as flexible as possible about it. It is okay to ask if you can drop the animal off and have us call you at work when we can examine, suggest treatment and estimate cost. I've gone in early for a certain client because her work schedule didn't coincide with our hours, and was glad to do it because she was such a nice lady. It may cost you a day's board depending on the office, but sometimes that's your only choice.

Don't ask for a diagnosis and treatment over the phone. The person answering is not qualified to do that.

Do ask if the symptoms you're describing are things that should be seen ASAP or can wait if you're not sure.

Don't assume any prices given over the phone are set in stone. Realize the charges will likely go up when your pet is seen.

Don't scream at us when we give you a price quote. We quote the prices, not set them. If someone else has a price you like better, go there.

Do plan on paying for at least the exam, or office visit fee. We don't work for free.

Don't call us and ask for drug dosing advice, or over the counter remedies unless your pet was seen by us and it was prescribed by us. We won't give out that info on pets we haven't seen.

Do your best to show up for your appointment on time. Do call us if you can't make it or need to reschedule. We've set that time aside for you and your pet and, pending emergencies, will be ready for you.

Do make sure your pet is on a leash/in a carrier that is secure and under your control when you bring them in the waiting room.  If your pet is frightened/aggressive, let us know and we'll either get you in a room immediately or have you wait outside with your pet.

Do let us know if you see pee or poop on the floor. It's part of the job, and we'll take care of it if we know it's there. Don't blame us because it happened.

Do allow plenty of time for your appointment. Sometimes we have an emergency in we must take first. It's okay to ask to reschedule if you're waiting too long, but don't berate us. One day that emergency that took priority may be your pet.

Do  ask for an estimate of treatment or surgery when you see the vet. Don't freak out and accuse us of price gouging when you see it. Do ask if treating the symptoms would be okay. Do tell us if money is an issue.

If you have been told that diagnosis is only possible with tests/xrays  and opt not to do them, don't call the help constantly and ask for a diagnosis.

All hospitals have slightly different policies. Ask.  If you disagree, don't argue. Go elsewhere.

If you are required to have proof of vaccines before a surgery/procedure, ask what the policy is and provide proof. Do be prepared to pay again for vaccines if you don't bring proof the day of the surgery.

If your pet is on lifetime/long term medication to manage a medical problem, it is okay to ask if you can have the prescriptions called in somewhere else or the price matched. Some vets are required by law to do that and some aren't, the laws vary by state. Do check your state's laws.

Prescription price markups are pretty standardized. The big difference in price is volume discounts. If a small one vet office only buys one dispensing bottle a year, the price will be much higher than a corporation that buys hundreds or thousands of bottles of the same stuff in a year. Don't scream at the little guy, ask if you can get the prescription elsewhere.

We can't control the market markups. Last year the prices of one drug increased 5 times and eye ointments prices increased over 500 percent. Our costs go up, so do yours. Don't accuse us of sucking away all your money.

Likewise drug recalls or shortages. In 2010, there was a huge recall for liquid Amoxicillin, which is a commonly prescribed antibiotic for children and small animals. What was available went to the human pharmacies first, and vet's couldn't buy it anywhere for awhile. Which had clients screaming because they had to pill their cats. No amount of screaming will make something that doesn't exist magically appear.

If you make the decision to find another vet for whatever reason, do be civil about it. Remember that it is noted in your pet's records if you're a difficult client.  We do trade information with our colleagues about a client's behavior and if they have skipped out on payment.  It's best to leave us where we regret losing you as a client rather than have us do a happy dance while burning your chart. And, we may be the only vet available should you have an emergency, so it's best not to burn your bridges.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Random Horse Stuff

I've been keeping my horses on my property for the past 19 years. The first horse I had here went blind from uveitis. Since she often bumped into things, I made the corrals as safe as I had childproofed my house, and stocked up on wound ointments.
She never had a scratch on her.
Taking care of her got me in the habit of inspecting the corrals and surrounding grounds daily. She went to the bridge years ago, still, I check everything and quickly fix or move anything that may possibly hurt a horse.
Since the subsequent residents here seem to be Band Aid poster children, the practice has stood me in good stead.
The latest on the horsey boo boo list is that the Shitweasel has managed to scalp himself. He is missing a huge patch of hair about 2 inches in width and 4 inches in length, from his poll to his forehead, There's a few scrapes that haven't broken the skin and part of his forelock is missing as well.
I have combed every inch of his stall and I can't find anything that could have possibly done something like that. I can't find the patch of hair either.
The only thing I can figure is that Princess Pout got tired of being bothered and grabbed a mouthful of hair and didn't let go until there wasn't a horse on the other end any more, and what he pulled off was picked up by the high winds we were having.
Shitweasel is solid black in the winter and his skin is pink so you can spot the bald patch from a mile away. There's nothing in the budget for the hair club for horses, so he'll have to live with a comb over until the hair grows back.
Just when I think it's safe to relax....