This Furry Wiggle Butt Is Broadway Bound!

Little known fact: I played “Molly” in my high school musical production of Annie way back in… well, a long time ago. So, when I heard that an old colleague of mine from my video game writing days has a dog playing “Sandy” in Annie Jr., I became super excited. And guess what? Sandy (whose real name is Phil Collins) is a Cocker Spaniel!

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Rumor has it that Phil Collins is made for the stage and maybe even bound for Broadway! You can find out for yourself if you live anywhere near Tarrytown, NY because the show is running now thru August 1st at the Tarrytown Music Hall. Tickets for students and seniors are $16.00 and adults can catch the show for $18.00. Click HERE for tickets and showtimes!

Do you know any talented Cockers that you’d like us to feature? Drop us a line at furrywigglebutts [at] gmail [dot]com.

Take Pawesome Pics With The Pose A Pet™ Mobile App

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This adorable photo of Shelby was taken with a mobile app called Pose A Pet™. Created by an established pet photographer named Jennifer Whaley of Chicago-based Fetch Portraits, Pose A Pet™ enables users to take the perfect photograph of any pet by offering a collection of noisemakers to attract an animal’s attention while accessing the device’s camera. Pose A Pet™ is available for both Android and iOS devices and it really works! Shelby was completely attracted to my camera when I played the noises, some more than others.

Here’s the kicker about why you should download Pose A Pet™:

Now thru Sunday, they are donating 50% of all upgrade fees to Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue. Just download the Pose A Pet™ app on the App Store or Google Play and upgrade for $2.99 to enjoy the premium version.

If you have a foster pet, Pose A Pet™ can also automatically create an eye-catching flyer that you can share via social media or on their site called Rescue Revolution to help find that pet a loving forever home.

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With the premium version of Pose A Pet™, you’ll be able to enjoy these noisemakers plus save and share your photos with friends! 

  • Squeaker
  • Toot
  • Zing
  • Howl
  • Dog bark
  • Duck quack
  • Cat meow and hiss
  • Beep
  • Doorbell
  • Phone ring
  • High pitch
  • Sheep sound
  • Bird chirp
  • Rooster crow
  • Turkey gobble
  • Goose honk

Have you downloaded Pose A Pet™? Let us know what you thought of it by leaving a comment below.

The Search For Sugar Continues: #FindSugarNYC

If you live in New York City, then you’ve probably seen a poster about Sugar, a beautiful Pitbull mix that went missing on February 23rd in Manhattan between 25th and 26th Street off Third Avenue. Sugar is female, 4 years old, and tan/brindle with white markings on her head, chest, and paws.  She weighs approximately 62 pounds and is known to be shy.

According to 7 Online, Sugar had been left in the care of a dog walker by her owner, Morgan Bogle, who was away in London on a business trip. As a fellow New Yorker and dog owner, my heart breaks for this poor woman who is desperately trying to find her baby.

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Sugar (and Bogle) live in the East Village and used to frequent Thompson Square Park on a fairly regular basis. Bogle had apparently used this dog walker that “lost” Sugar for 3 years. According to 4 New York, Sugar’s collar, leash and coat were found in the dog walker’s apartment but there was no sign of the dog.

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What’s even more troubling is the information about this dog walker having some sort of psychotic episode. When Bogle initially received a call from a neighbor in her building about Sugar, she was told that the dog walker was “frantic,” and even tried to beat up another dog walker in the Bogle’s building. Reports also surfaced that Sugar’s dog walker was running to the roof of the building though it’s not clear why. As far as I know, no charges have been filed against the dog walker.

If you or someone you know has information about Sugar’s whereabouts, please call 949-887-0283. To stay up to date on this story and help spread the word via social media, please like Sugar’s Facebook page here.

You’ll Never Believe What Disease My Dog Caught

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Last summer, Shelby fell ill rather quickly. Although I made several trips with her to the vet, I had no idea what was really wrong with her and that petrified me.

Many of my loyal readers may recall that my last Cocker Spaniel, Frenchy, died suddenly in 2012 of an immune-mediated illness. In a matter of 6 short days, Frenchy went from panting a lot to leaving us forever so, to say that I was worried about Shelby is a massive understatement.

The Signs

The first thing I noticed was that Shelby vomited and had trouble walking.  In fact, she fell a few times which was very odd. I immediately suspected hip dysplasia because Frenchy also had this problem for years and I knew short-legged dogs (especially overweight ones) are prone to this. Frenchy never had surgery for hip dysplasia but she had flare ups from time to time and was treated with steroids. I figured this was Shelby’s issue but a day later, she began walking a bit cockeyed, seemed slightly disoriented, and her head was tilted. This didn’t seem like hip dysplasia anymore and I worried it was her spine.

I thought of some of the senior Cocker Spaniels that I’ve seen under Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue‘s care – many of whom have vestibular disease (their heads are tilted), but I was pretty sure Shelby was too young for something like that since she’s only 4 years old.

Vet Visit #1

My vet did a thorough examination and didn’t think anything was wrong with Shelby’s hip or spine. I was actually relieved to hear this information. But she did pick up on something I had not: Half of Shelby’s face was paralyzed. One of her eyes would not close and her mouth drooped on that same side. She had been drooling all over her neck and ear but I didn’t actually notice the drooping until the vet pointed it out to me.

Two weeks prior to all of this, I treated Shelby for an ear infection. Unlike most other Cocker Spaniels (including Frenchy), Shelby rarely has an ear infection so it was a bit unusual. Because of my history with Frenchy’s ears, I’m very comfortable cleaning and treating infected ears so I put some ointment that I had on hand in Shelby’s ears without spending money on a vet visit. Turns out, the vet believed Shelby’s partial facial paralysis was likely a result of that recent ear infection. Her ears were still fairly red and inflamed but because the vet couldn’t see anything terribly bad, she suspected it was a nasty inner ear infection. Apparently, many dogs actually experience partial facial paralysis from such things. The paralysis is typically only temporary but on rare occasions, it is permanent. I went home with antibiotics, steroids, Dramamine, and eye drops (to keep that paralyzed eye moist), and I prayed the paralysis would magically disappear.

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From Bad To Better… To Worse

Shelby finished all of her medicine. The paralysis didn’t go away and I was feeding her dry food out of the palm of my hand to make sure she could eat with the drooping. She was still drooling quite a bit so I changed the water in her water bowl often. Her spirits seemed lifted and I thought we were on the road to a full recovery until…

I realized that her right eye was infected. I took her back to the vet as soon as possible. My vet performed various tests on both of Shelby’s eyes, waving her hand extra close to Shelby’s face to see if her eyes blinked but Shelby didn’t flinch. Bad news: The other side of Shelby’s face was now paralyzed also. Her eyes were not closing except for her third eyelid which helped her blink. I was in shock to say the least. At this point, my vet believed the cause might be idiopathic and she recommended I see a neurologist for X-rays and an MRI to rule out a brain tumor.

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The Neuro

I brought Shelby to The Animal Medical Center in Manhattan, a 24-hour animal hospital that Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue often brings dogs for treatment. By this time, Shelby was occasionally bumping into walls in our apartment and objects outside during our daily walks. She was in good spirits so I figured this was all due to more disorientation caused by the fact that her eyes couldn’t close.

A team of neurologists examined Shelby in a back room (this is normal procedure at the AMC). When our main neurologist returned, he told me that they didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary with her behavior except for a slight head tilt. I argued that she was bumping into objects but he said she seemed fine in the back room and explained that one of the reasons they remove a dog from its owner is to observe their behavior in a new environment with new people. He said under normal circumstances, they would try antibiotics for an inner ear infection but because I had already tried this route, he wasn’t confident that would solve the problem.

At this point, I had a vivid flashback to my first year of graduate school when I visited my university’s infirmary for a terrible sore throat. They wouldn’t let me see a doctor and the nurse who examined me refused to give me antibiotics because she thought I just had a virus. I was in so much throat pain that I begged and pleaded, and even drew tears for a strep test. She left the room to consult with the doctor and when she returned, she not only granted me that strep test but she wanted to test me for mononucleosis. (Good hunch and good thing I didn’t take “no” for an answer; I tested positive for mono).

I SWORE to the neurologist that Shelby was bumping into things and I needed answers. He left the room to consult with the rest of the team and while he was gone, Shelby hit her head rather hard on the metal garbage pail that was hanging from the examination table in the room. I knew something was wrong. After I relayed this information to the doctor, he agreed they should proceed with an MRI and a spinal tap.

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Testing for Answers

I dropped Shelby off a few days later for her MRI and spinal tap and headed to work. The neurologist called me in the afternoon to tell me that Shelby’s ears were clear. In fact, he said, they were quite surprised by how clear they actually were considering her breed. He also said there was no presence of a tumor but that they weren’t able to get enough spinal fluid to test. She was waking up from the anesthesia and I could pick her up in a few hours.

Of course, I was relieved to hear she didn’t have a brain tumor but I was secretly hoping they would find an inner ear infection because at least that would explain her symptoms. Now I was left with nothing! No explanation!

When I picked Shelby up at the AMC, the neurologist told me that they wanted to test her blood for infectious diseases. I asked if Lyme Disease was one of them but he told me that Lyme doesn’t have neurological symptoms in dogs the way it does in humans. They would be testing for several different diseases. It was a long shot and expensive but they hoped it would reveal something. Low and behold…

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Positive

Shelby had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The doctors were just as surprised as I was because apparently, they had only seen 5 recent cases of it. It was a low positive which meant they weren’t sure how long ago Shelby contracted the diseases but it was high enough that the team of neuros thought it could have caused symptoms and that she should be treated for it. They weren’t 100% positive that her paralysis would go away completely and warned me that it could be permanent.

Shelby was treated with 30 days of a strong antibiotic. Her personality eventually went back to normal. The paralysis in her face has all but gone away. She still has some drooping on the right side of her mouth but it doesn’t seem to affect her drinking or eating habits. I continued to treat her eyes with gel drops to keep them moist. It took about 4 months before they were eventually able to close.

What I Learned

  1. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a tick-borne disease. From what I’ve read, the symptoms vary but often affect the eyes and a loss of coordination. I should have demanded blood tests up front, though my vet likely would not have tested for such a rare disease so I’m not sure if initial blood work would have solved things.
  2. Just because I live in New York City, does not mean that my dog is immune to illnesses caused by ticks or mosquitoes. I should know all about this because I wrote a 2 part blog post series last May about the dangers of insect bites after I interviewed certified dog consultant and behaviorist Steve Dale. Note to self: Do NOT skip flea and tick preventative treatment… ever.
  3. I was right to push for answers. I know my dog better than any vet and I knew something was wrong. I continued to ask questions until the mystery was solved and most importantly, I never gave up hope.

Disclaimer: This post is provided for informational and educational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for any medical advice provided by your veterinarian. You should not use information contained in this post to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or prescribe any medication. If you suspect that your pet has a medical problem, contact your veterinarian. 

Did this post surprise you? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.

Your Pet’s Health Needs By Age [INFOGRAPHIC]

Did you know that your pet’s health needs change at every life stage? Check out this pawesome infographic from Petbrosia below and share it with your friends!

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Deal Alert: Free Dog Food From Petbrosia!

Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 9.54.33 PMRemember that dog food that Shelby fell in love with a while back? Well, it’s called Petbrosia and they’re offering a Black Friday special for new customers! Right now, you can a FREE 10 pound box of Petbrosia’s custom dog food! That’s a whole lotta kibble.

After you enter your dog’s breed, age, and weight, Petbrosia designs a personalized blend of food just for your dog. They use all natural ingredients and it’s made right here in the USA. So, what are you waiting for? Quantities are limited so click here to scoop up your free box of Petbrosia now with code THANKSGIVING14.

Why There Should Be Fruits and Vegetables in Your Pet’s Food

Photo credit: Portik Lorant / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: Portik Lorant / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Most pet owners know that dogs love to eat carrots and blueberries and cats adore an occasional melon ball. Fruits and vegetables can be tasty treats for pets and they are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Because they are so expensive, however, most commercial pet food producers neglect these essential ingredients in their recipes.  More and more pet owners are looking to provide their pets with diets that are sourced from natural ingredients, including fruits and vegetables, especially as they begin to realize that grains are not a healthy additive in pet foods.

Dogs are Omnivores

Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not strict carnivores. While they are meat-eaters, in the wild, dogs will eat plants in order to get essential nutrition when meat is scarce. This means that dogs do not require a meat-only diet. There is a popular movement that promotes feeding dogs a raw-meat-and-bones diet (often called the bones and raw food diet or BARF). However, in order to maintain proper nutrition dogs do require plant like fruits and vegetables in their diets.

Cats Are Carnivores (With a Twist)

Cats, on the other hand, are carnivores. However, domesticated cats have been eating plants for many years, including the grains used in bargain cat foods as filler. So what does this mean? Cats must get their protein from animal meat, as their stomachs cannot properly process plant protein. However, there should be a variety of fruits and vegetables included in a cat’s diet to provide carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

Photo credit: wockerjabby / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: wockerjabby / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Why Fruits and Vegetables?

In the past, commercial food manufacturers have included plants in their recipes, but those plants are often corn, wheat, or soy; ingredients that contain little nutritional value and can be difficult for the stomach to process. High grain content can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and the inability to properly absorb nutrients in many animals, especially those with sensitive GI tracts.  Pet owners should instead choose a food that includes a variety of real fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors. The more colors present, the wider the variety of nutrients available to pets.

Essential nutrients that pets require that are readily available and easily digested from fruits and vegetables include:

  • Dietary fiber

  • Vitamin A

  • Vitamin C

  • Vitamin E

  • B Vitamins

  • D Vitamins

  • Beta Carotene

  • Calcium

  • Phosphorus

  • Magnesium

  • Zinc

  • Potassium

  • Iron

  • Carbohydrates

When choosing a pet food, scan the nutritional facts and ingredients label. You should be able to identify most, if not all ingredients by name. Carrots are carrots. Chemicals are chemicals. If you require an advanced scientific degree to understand the majority of the ingredients in your pet’s food, that food should be avoided.

Do Not Offer Your Pet Vitamin Supplements

Some pet owners may see this list and think, “I’ll just provide my dog with vitamin supplements to ensure they get these nutrients.” However, owners should never supplement their pets. Animals require a specific balance of nutrients, and vitamin supplements can actually upset that balance. This is especially true among minerals. Too much of one mineral can interfere with an animal’s ability to absorb others. Therefore, in order to ensure proper nutrient balance and absorption, look for a nutritionally balanced, natural pet food that contains a variety of fruits and vegetables.

This post was originally published on Petbrosia.com. The views expressed in this particular post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Furry Wiggle Butts. If you suspect that your pet has a nutritional issue or deficit, please consult your veterinarian.

To read my personal review of Petbrosia’s dog food, click here. For more information about Petbrosia’s unique blend of dog food that is customized for your pet, please visit their website.

Deal Alert: Crumps’ Naturals Sweet Potato Chews Just $4.49!

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I received a pawesome deal from our friends at Petbrosia today about Crumps’ natural Sweet Potato Chews! This 5 ounce bag of all natural, 100% sweet potato treats are made by Crumps.

I did some research and learned that all of Crumps’ dog food and treats are manufactured in Canada and the U.S. In Canada, they manufacture in a SQF certified facility that is also certified by the USDA, FDA and Canadian Food Inspection Agencies (CFIA). Plus, all of their beef, lamb, chicken and sweet potato passed for human consumption by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, FDA and USDA. And they don’t use any ingredients from China which, as we all know, is very important.

These Sweet Potato Chews can be a great alternative to rawhide and they’re 100% sweet potato! Use promo code ‘50SPTREATS‘ and the normal $8.99 price will be stripped down to just $4.49! That’s two for the price of one, people!

November is Adopt-A-Senior-Dog Month

The following post was written by Nomi Berger. Nomi is the best selling author of seven novels, one work of non-fiction, two volumes of poetry and hundreds of articles. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her adopted Maltese, Mini, and now devotes all of her time volunteering her writing skills to animal rescue organizations throughout Canada and the USA.

Photo credit: MTSOfan / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: MTSOfan / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Psst! Spread the word. Now is the time. Time to brighten the darkening days of November. Time to warm the cooling nights of November. Time to think snuggles and slippers and cookies and cuddles.

Want a hint?

There’s nothing more satisfying, more contenting or more comforting than curling up with a good …. no, not a book.

A good old boy or a good old girl.

And these golden boys and girls — all available for adoption — come packaged and gift wrapped in every imaginable breed, shape and size. Their tags may describe them as “senior” dogs, but they’re breathing, barking proof that you are only as old as you feel.

Most of these golden oldies are hale and hearty, healthy and happy. And don’t pass the iron pills to any of these spry and sprightly members of the not-so-geriatric set. Many of them could outrun you in a four-legged race with one leg tied behind their backs. In an age of ageism, age is just a number, and what’s considered a senior dog in one breed is still a teenager in another.

Photo credit: NorCalGSPrescue / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: NorCalGSPrescue / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Why, then, adopt a senior dog? For more reasons than you can shake a stick at. Throw a ball for. Or toss a bone to.

Older dogs may know all the old tricks, but they’re still open to learning new ones.

Older dogs are fully-grown, and so are their personalities: what you see is precisely who they are.

Older dogs are like mind readers because they’ve long practiced what their earlier owners preached.

Older dogs slip as easily into a comfortable home and a comforting routine as easily as slipping into an old shoe — preferably one of yours.

Older dogs understand the true meaning of the word “mutual” as in mutual admiration (including love, loyalty and devotion) society.

Older dogs no longer leap tall fences in a single bound, but they still need and enjoy the proverbial walk around the block every day.

And, finally, on a more serious note, older dogs are usually the last dogs to be adopted from shelters, and the first dogs to be euthanized.

With their golden years still stretching out ahead of them, to lose those years is to be cheated out of something most precious: time.

Why, then, adopt a senior dog? If for no other reason than that: time. Time to love them as fully and deeply as they, most assuredly and unconditionally, will love you.