Charlie Bear here and that’s a pic of my good buddy, Rex.
I’m a little guy, just shy of 20 lbs., but Rex was a Golden Lab with some weight on him. Okay, Mom Peep says it was all muscle, and that’s mostly true. He was a strong son-of-a-gun, but he was big. Heck, I could almost walk underneath him, if I ducked a bit.
Anyway, in his older years he had arthritis in his joints. Mom tried to keep him exercised, and watched his food intake so he didn’t put on too much weight and impact those joints too much, but he was prone to limping if he overexerted by running or jumping.
So, at the vet’s suggestion, Mom gave him Glucosamine tablets. Just over-the-counter ones you buy to take yourself. In fact, she gave one to Rex in a pill pocket, and then put one out for Dad and one for herself at each dinnertime meal. It was a ritual that helped them all.
Here’s a quick list of things that Dr. Jon of PetPlace suggests:
TODAY’S PET TIP
Ways to Help an Arthritic Dog
Arthritis refers to inflammation or swelling in a joint. The cause can be abnormal bone or joint development, instability of the surrounding ligaments and tendons, damage or injury to the joint, an infection, or injury caused by the immune system.
Here are 6 things that you can do that may help your arthritic dog.
1. Slip-free Flooring
2. A Soft Bed
5. Weight Control and Dietary Therapy
* * *
So Mom Peep did all she could with Rex (many of the things on the list) and it helped him a lot. Do you have a dog like Rex?
Wiggles and Woofs,
Remember that contest Mom Peep and I ran?
We asked you to open the latest issue of http://www.americanpetmagazine.com and take note of the title, then post a “comment” and tell us what we wrote about. The deadline to enter was June 10th.
We want to thank all you who did just that! Me, Charlie Bear, chose the winner by random draw. Here’s how I did it. Mom put all of the names on small pieces of paper folded up tight. Then she tossed them onto the floor in front of me. The first one I grabbed in my little ‘ole mouth is the one I chose as the winner.
I didn’t know who it was, but I do now. JAKE and EUDIE!
Eudie and Jake, please send Mom Peep an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with your U.S. Mail address and she will send out your prize. It’s pretty cool: 2 books! 101 Stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can’t Believe My Dog Did That, and 101 Stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can’t Believe my Cat Did That. (If you don’t have a cat in your house, you can give it as a gift.) Congrat’s again, and enjoy!
Wiggles and woofs,
Charlie Bear here and you won’t believe what kind of dog Becca Hart has helping her. Just read this wonderful story and you’ll see. Even a dog like ME could be a helper. In fact, I AM A HELPER, just not that kind. But a very real helper for sure, just ask Mom Peep.
Anyway, here’s Becca’s story (it’s kind of long, but you can read the parts you want — I think it’s pretty cool). Thought you might like to join Mom and me as we burst the bubble of what we all think of as the “norm” for what a service dog looks like!
Local teen hopes to increase awareness of service dogs
May. 19, 2013 Author of story: Jimmy Tomlin
Becca Hart and Mike have been companions for two years now, and Mike has done wonders toward helping Becca with her heart condition, lupus and OCD.
Becca Hart is young, smart, kind and pretty — all qualities that are easy to see. On the surface, she’s exactly what you would expect the reigning Miss High Point Teen USA to be.
What you don’t immediately see when you meet this amiable 17-year-old, though, are the bumps in the road that have shaped — and continue to shape — so much of her life:
• Heart surgery at age 12, and residual heart issues that continue to this day.
• Lupus, an unpredictable, often misdiagnosed and misunderstood autoimmune disease.
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, an anxiety disorder that can be characterized by irrational fears and, in some cases, repetitive behaviors such as hand-washing to avoid contamination from germs. Becca, for example, takes a daily two-hour shower. She knows it’s irrational, but she can’t help it — that’s what OCD is.
“My OCD is so severe that just getting through a day can be nearly impossible,” she says.
Bridging the gap between what you see in Becca and what you don’t see is her constant companion, Mike, a 9-year-old brindled greyhound that acts as her service dog.
Becca Hart, shown here with her service dog Mike, created Harts 2 Paws to help educate the public about service dogs.
Mike can sense when Becca’s heart rhythm changes, when she’s experiencing — or about to experience — a panic attack, and when she’s in pain. If she needs assistance, he can provide it or go get someone who can.
“He really is an amazing dog,” Becca says, glancing over at Mike as he rests on his dog bed in a corner of the Hart living room.
Like many greyhounds you see around here, Mike is a rescue, retired from a career of racing in Florida. Truth be told, though, Becca’s family didn’t just rescue Mike.
He’s rescued them, too.
* * * *
Becca’s journey with Mike began a couple of years ago, when she was diagnosed with lupus and OCD, which is considered a byproduct of the lupus.
An otherwise normal teenager, Becca Hart sends a text with one hand while holding Mike’s paw with the other.
In addition to irregular heart rhythms she’s had since her surgery at age 12, and the joint pain and fatigue associated with her lupus, Becca struggles mightily with the symptoms of her OCD. Obsession with germs is only one facet of the disease for her; she also experiences irrational anxiety triggered by certain types of floor textures, extreme cold, and even the touch of paper.
“You don’t realize how much a day that you touch paper,” Becca says. “Even something as simple as going to get the mail is an issue. OCD is a very real thing — it’s the 10th most debilitating disease in the world. A lot of people discount it, but it’s definitely real.”
Becca’s OCD doctor, who owns greyhounds, suggested their calm, gentle demeanor might offer them a complementary companion that could help ease some of her anxiety.
“She suggested a greyhound for distraction techniques and to kind of be therapeutic for me,” Becca explains. “We got Mike, and he was learning everything we needed, but what we didn’t realize when we got him was that he can actually detect when my heart doesn’t beat correctly.”
At first, Becca’s cardiologist didn’t believe Mike could sense her irregular heart rhythm, but he’s seen it happen enough times now that he’s a believer, according to Becca’s mom, Tonya Hart.
Now, Mike is also learning to get help for Becca when she’s on the verge of a panic attack.
“When I feel panic coming on,” she explains, “I’ll say a certain word to him, and he will be trained to either go find my parents or push a button to call them, and then if they don’t answer, it will call 911.”
The Harts say Mike can also sense Becca’s pain and will touch the source of her pain — for example, her leg or her stomach — when he senses it.
Trained by Elite Canine of Winston-Salem, Mike is a certified service dog, which is unusual for greyhounds. He’s registered with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, and he wears a vest indicating he’s a service dog.
Still, there were skeptics.
“Some people didn’t believe he was a service dog, because I wasn’t in a wheelchair or wasn’t blind or didn’t have any kind of physical symptoms that they could see,” Becca says. “That’s why we started Harts 2 Paws.”
* * * *
Harts 2 Paws is a nonprofit foundation, established by Becca and her family, “to change the perception of what somebody’s service dog should look like, and to educate about the laws related to service dogs,” Becca says.
Tonya Hart says the foundation grew out of their frustration. “Because (Becca’s) challenges are not as visible as someone that may be sight-impaired, she has encountered many situations in public that have led to her — and us — being very frustrated,” Tonya says.
“So we had two choices — get angry, and nothing would change, or we could educate the public on seeing people’s challenges and service animals from a different perspective.”
To that end, Becca has begun speaking at schools, churches, civic group meetings and other gatherings to talk about the Americans with Disabilities Act as it relates to service dogs, and the importance of the proper etiquette when encountering a service dog.
Becca’s also writing a children’s book about service dogs, and she has chosen Harts 2 Paws as her official platform when she competes in the Miss North Carolina Teen USA Pageant in High Point this fall.
Despite her anxiety issues, Becca says she’s not nervous about competing in the pageant.
“I’m more nervous about doing well to get my cause out there, because it’s something I have a real heart for,” she says. “So I guess I’m nervous only because I care so much about Harts 2 Paws.”
* * *
Contact the writer of this story at: email@example.com
* * * — * * *
So there you have it! The new face of a service dog. Pretty cool, huh?
Wiggles to you all,
Charlie Bear the rescue helper dog : o )
Pet Lover? Like to read?
Charlie Bear here with an issue from American Pet Magazine full of information on all things pets.
Want a chance to win a prize? It’s easy: just open the latest issue, find the column I wrote, and take note of the title. Then post a “comment” to this post and tell Mom Peep what I wrote about. She’ll help me pick a lucky winner out of all who reply within the next 10 days. The winner could be YOU!
(Hurry…you only have until June 10th)
Wiggles and woofs,
Charlie Bear here with a message about leaving. Mom Peep leaves me home with Dad when she goes off to writers conferences. Heck, I don’t mind (I love having time with Dad), but there’s something special that happens to her when she goes to these things. Maybe you’ve been to one? More than one? Then you might know what I mean.
Mom comes home on cloud twelve. In dog words, it would be like going to the dog park and spending the whole day there sniffing, running, playing, romping–getting exhausted, but in a good way.
Mom says that’s just what happens! From morning ’til night the fun goes on. (Here’s a pic of Mom Peep and her Guideposts writer friends enjoying camaraderie and popcorn one night.)
There are workshops, major morning tracks focused on their writing genre (that’s a weird word, don’t you think?), keynote speakers, meetings with editors and agents and other writers, and then even night owl sessions for those who don’t go to bed early, like me. (Here’s a pic of Mom and the class of night owls learning about writing for Chicken Soup.)
These were all taken at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in March of this year. Coming up on the agenda for Mom is an October conference: Antelope Valley Christian Writers’ Conference. http://www.avwriters.com
She’s also been approached about teaching at the FCWC Florida Christian Writers Conference in February/March. She’s never been to this one before, have any of you? http://www.floridacwc.net (she says it looks pretty and sounds like tons of fun)
I’d say it’s definitely for a good cause when Mom Peep goes away. Do you have plans to go away this summer? What does it do for you?
Wiggles and woofs,
Charlie Bear here. You know what? It’s Memorial Day Weekend. Time for hot dogs, grilled brats, corn on the cob, watermelon, ice cold drinks and swimming in a neighborhood pool.
But it’s also time for something else.
Remembering all those special men and women who have fought for our freedom. I have freedom. You have freedom. Without those brave souls who put their lives on the line, we wouldn’t have any of it. I’m holding a special place in my heart for all of the families who have lost a loved one who has fought for us, and for those who are still there fighting.
Won’t you join me in remembering them this weekend? Thank you!
Wiggles and woofs,