We have recently added a Companion Therapy Laser from LifeCure, LLC to our clinic. Laser therapy is a drug-free, surgery-free and pain-free alternative treatment that can provide relief for many common pet ailments.
Below are just a few of the disorders that respond well to laser therapy:
For more information about this new treatment option, please contact us.
Click below to see the many ailments Laser therapy can help with.
Please call to schedule a consult with one of our veterinarians.
“Serena is 14 years old and she was struggling to walk prior to getting her laser treatments.
She is now going for walks in the park and her comfort level has increased by 75 percent."
Muppet is a stunning, young and sweet cat. She is looking for a special home that will give her the love she deserves. More...
Digby is a gorgeous, super sweet, smart, healthy young pit bull mix looking for a forever home. He has lots of love to give! Will you be the lucky person who will be Digby's best friend? More...
Spring saw the passing of the following friends:
Pepper Frey, Pepe Michele, Samson Kellogg, Mugsie Haney, Cosmo Kanefsky, Willow Balsam-Cipressi, Tucker Harmer, Sophie Kann, Murphy Cornwall, Boy "Button" Smaczylo, Bailey Collins, Diamond Bilse, Mocha Merickel, Keily Piper, London Garvey, Cleo Reeder, Angel McFatridge, Oliver Udell, Sasha Brooke, Simone Jurgelewicz, Sprinkles Dallas, Bow Walker Lawrence, Gert Heard, Fleckles Morace, Cookie Simmer, Rio Farrell, Casey Beaver, Bok Choy Mayers, Ebony Collins, Rocky Hunter, Abby Fairbanks, Tata Kruger, Holly McNavage, Abby Goberstein, Heyed Cawthorne, Libby Buell, Bruno Tamaro, Clancy Young, Sampson Rosenblatt, Bella Brown, Betty Boop Glickstein, Bear Jacoby, Jackson Gordon, Midterm Mitchell, Billie DiCiacco, Aladdin Thomas, BooBoo Lee, Samantha Palmer, Stryder Brown, Odi Doyle, Mocha Ruthberg, Charlie Ann Kull, Ceasar Rosario, Luna Martino, Isabel Nuss, Blossom Verdon, Bobby Hochner, Jed Way, Stryder Brunozzi, Kit Kat Gecas, Candy Marks, Febe O'Neill, Lucky Ford, Baby Powell, Sidney Heigold, Frankie Plon, Winnie Bobrow, Glenrose Baker, Sneezy Askin, Boco Malinowski, Pumpkin Schneider, Alex Bridgeford, Buddy DiStefano.
What a Spring we have had! Goldilocks weather, not too hot, not too cold, just right – at least for me and mine. Christopher has been enjoying the fresh air when I open the windows in the morning. He lies on the window sill, scoping out the birds and the neighbors’ cats as they pass by through the day. My old girl Gabrielle likes laying in the sun on the front porch as Grandmom drinks her coffee, and “the baby” Carmen enjoys playing catch and chasing the birds in the morning and before dinner and after dinner and between meals and whenever I can catch a few minutes to play with her. I hope you and your furred and feathered friends are doing the same.
Summer is around the corner and our thoughts are turning to vacations and days spent outdoors. Have you made your pet’s reservation if you plan on being away from home? Email us if you would like a list of the boarding facilities the staff has used and/or clients have recommended. Time permitting, we do recommend you visit any facility you plan on using, and not just the lobby. If the facility does not allow you to visit or view the kenneling areas, or if there is an obvious odor of urine, feces or “dog smell,” walk away. If you are going away for more than a day or two, it is probably best to schedule some one on one playtime for your pet at the boarding facility. This will help to relieve your pet’s boredom and anxiety and make his/her stay an enjoyable one.
On a side note, in the last newsletter, we talked about dental health for your dog and cat. I had made some recommendations for easy to use tartar control products and promised to let you know how Christopher did with the oral sprays. Well, I didn’t try the spray but decided to try a food additive that a friend recommended. It is called EvoraPet, a probitiotic that you just sprinkle on your dog or cat’s food. There is no apparent taste or smell, and I do suggest starting slowly. After 2-1/2 months I am happy to report that the “kitty breath” is pretty much gone, and at Chris’ last checkup the tartar was less and softer, making it much easier for Auntie Liz to clean off. So far so good! I picked mine up locally at Stan’s Health Food on Frankford Ave in Northeast Philadelphia. It is reasonably priced at $15.99 for a 60 plus day supply. Don’t forget to keep me posted on your own pet’s road to dental health so I can share your success and tips with other pet owners.
This month we have some interesting reads including tips on traveling with your pet, along with our own experiences, the heartworm medication shortage, recommendations on proper leads and tasty summer treats for your pets. I hope you enjoy and don’t forget to keep in touch with RVC happenings on Facebook.
Have a fun and safe Summer! Kathy
Traveling with your pet can be a lot of fun for both you and your pet and it is a whole lot easier these days as there are many pet friendly hotels and bed and breakfasts. But while there are many more hotels that now welcome pets, you must check directly with them to find out what their restrictions and fees are. Below are some tips on making the experience fun and trouble free!
Naturally when you travel with your pet, you’ll want to bring any medications your pet is taking as well as food, feeding dishes and favorite toys. Even a bed if your pet is used to one at home.
Occasionally, traveling can upset your pet's stomach. Take along ice cubes, which are easier on your pet than large amounts of water. It is recommended that you keep feeding to a minimum during travel. If you are traveling by car, a light meal for your pet two to three hours before you leave is advised. If you are traveling by air, a light meal four to six hours before departure is recommended. Allow small amounts of water periodically in the hours before the trip.
Whether your pet travels with you or by another means, it should wear a special identification tag in addition to its regular one. Write the pet's name, your name, the person to contact at the destination, their phone number, a destination address, or that of a friend or relative who knows how to reach you during your travels. Remember, while tags and collars are a must, a microchip is a permanent form of ID that cannot be lost and can be implanted in a simple visit to your vet’s office. Call the Rockledge Veterinary Clinic to schedule your pet.
Always keep your pet on a leash when outside your car or hotel.
Are you planning on taking your pet overseas? Rabies vaccinations are a must for all travel abroad. Check with the airline and country to which you are heading. Many countries, especially those of the European Union, have detailed and time-sensitive requirements on bringing pets into the country. As soon as you entertain the idea of taking your pet with you, visit The Pet Travel Store online for your destination import requirements. You can also check with the USDA/APHIS local PA office for any updates to what you may need. Check the airline's requirements to see if your pet can travel in a carrier that can be kept under your seat in the cabin or must travel by air freight. Most airlines have a limit to the number of live animals per flight in cargo/cabin, so be sure to book as far in advance as possible.
Not sure where a pet friendly destination may be? Give me a call at 215-884-2130 or email me and I can help you plan a funfilled vacation for you and your four-footed friends.
Why are we getting different heartworm preventatives than we used to?
As some of you may already be aware, there is currently a shortage of both Interceptor and Sentinel due to the pharmaceutical company, Novartis, temporarily suspending production. Interceptor and Sentinel are monthly heartworm preventatives commonly used in dogs at our clinic. They are/were the primary heartworm preventative we recommended because they not only protected dogs against heartworm disease (a potentially fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes) but also dewormed dogs gainst roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms (three different intestinal parasites). Regularly deworming dogs against intestinal parasites is important because roundworms and hookworms can cause disease in dogs and be spread to people (children, the elderly and the immune-compromised are most at risk).
Although the reason production has been suspended is unclear (initially Novartis released a statement stating it was voluntarily closing one of its plants to make "process and compliance improvement activities,” further information has revealed the FDA was involved), dogs still need their monthly heartworm preventative. Due to the shortage, we are currently supplying Heartgard. There are two main differences I would like to make people aware of with this change.
One is that Heartgard is an excellent heartworm preventative and an excellent intestinal dewormer but it does not deworm against whipworms (still covers roundworms and hookworms). Although whipworms are not as common as other intestinal parasites, they can cause disease in dogs. Symptoms of whipworms are loss of appetite, diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain and dehydration. Dogs should have their stool sample regularly screened for intestinal parasites and possibly treated if symptoms develop (whipworms can be difficult to diagnose).
The second bit of information is of importance for our Collie-type breed owners. Collies are known to be sensitive to ivermectin (the active heartworm preventative ingredient in Heartgard). This is due to a mutation in the MDR1 gene. Other breeds have also been implicated such as Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs and Old English Sheepdogs. Luckily, the dose of ivermectin in Heartgard is low and can be used safely in dogs with the MDR1 gene mutation. It is only the high doses of ivermectin used to treat diseases like mange that can cause neurologic problems in MDR1 affected dogs. To give you an idea, the dosage of ivermectin used to treat mange is about 50 times higher than the dosage used in Heartgard to prevent heartworms.
All in all, do not be alarmed if you are given a different heartworm preventative product. We are trying to inform our clients about this change when it affects them. When you run out of Interceptor or Sentinel, please do not just stop giving your monthly heartworm preventative and put your kids (both fur and non-fur) at risk. Just give us a call and we will have the new product ready for pick-up at your convenience. Yearly heartworm testing is still recommended but no test is needed when products are switched (only if dosages are missed, please call us if that is the case).
Thanks and I hope this clears up any confusion!
As Summer approaches, many of you may think about taking your pets with you onvacation. The following story is about my choice and experience with my dog, Hopi.
This past January, I decided to take my beloved Hopi out to Arizona with me for the family’s annual sojourn. Hopi is 45 lbs. so under the seat flying was not an option. The big question became, “How do I get her there?” Driving was not feasible since half of my vacation time would have been spent in the car. I investigated the possibility of having her fly with Pet Airways, as they leave from Washington, D.C and go to Phoenix, but the flight is an overnight ordeal and I did not want her away for that length of time. So I looked at the rules and regulations for Delta and American Airlines, the only airlines that will fly pets in baggage. Since it was January, outside temperature restrictions could be of concern and Delta was the most lenient. If the outside air dips below a certain temperature, the airline could refuse to fly my dog. Baggage temperatures always have to be controlled since the air temperature at 30,000 feet is usually around minus 30 degrees F. Any liquids in our bags would freeze if the temperature was not regulated. The downside to all of this for me was that it was not a nonstop flight. Since the choice was to go through Atlanta or Chicago, I chose Atlanta. I had a Delta booking agent assist me with the timing and once she learned that I would have a pet on board, she could not have been more helpful. Knowing that I would be on the same flights with Hopi helped to waylay some of my anxiety.
On the day of the flight, all went smoothly. Of course, I needed the appropriate crate and a ride to the airport to transport the crate, Hopi and me. Crate shopping was not difficult. Delta has the specs online. When we arrived at the airport, the attending agent was very helpful. There was only one other person in line waiting to get checked in (there is not a special check in area when you have a pet). After the appropriate paperwork was completed and stickers placed on the crate, Hopi and I proceeded to the “scanning” area. They have to scan the crate before the dog is put into it. I was assured that she would be held in that room, in the crate, until just before take-off. The baggage area where she would be held during the flight is between 72 and 80 degrees. Perhaps a little warm for some dogs, but not unreasonable.
After I boarded the plane, just 5 minutes before departing, one of the flight attendants called out my name. He had a tag for me that indicated my Hopi was on board. So … off we went.
Our layover in Atlanta was only 50 minutes, just enough time for me to get to the next plane. My only anxiety was that Hopi would make it as well as no one gave me a tag this time to indicate that she was on board. But, thankfully, she was, and when we arrived in Phoenix, I was happy to see her.
We made it! Our second flight together. The first was when I brought her home from the Hopi reservation in Arizona as a puppy. However, at that time, she fit under the seat. The flight home was equally uneventful. The check-in line was more crowded, but the Delta representative had me stand off to the side with Hopi until it was my turn. They could not have been nicer to us.
All in all, for me, it was worth the time and expense. I had a client who used to fly his Labrador Retriever to Israel every summer to be with the family. This gave me the confidence to put Hopi on the airplane. I know that there are horror stories about flying pets in baggage. It’s certainly not without risk, but the reward for me outweighed my anxiety. Hopi and I enjoyed an Arizona adventure that I will never forget.
Dr. Francie and Hopi enjoy time together during a visit to Arizona. Hopi enjoyed going back to the place where she was born and Dr. Francie was glad to share the adventure with her!
I considered titling this article “What I Hate About Prong Collars and Flexi Leads.” Being a dog trainer and Veterinary Behavior Technician who prides herself on taking a positive approach to problem solving and learning, I reconsidered. From a positive perspective, may I say that there is a wealth of well-made and effective equipment on the market nowadays that will help you keep your dog safe and controlled while in your home, out in public and on walks.
Let’s start by looking at collars. We are limited by the physical conformation of our dogs. We are restricted to using either their necks or torsos on which to place their visible identification in the form of tags. All dogs, whether microchipped or not, should wear an identification tag at all times. Most people choose to use a neck collar on which to hang that tag. If your dog lives with other dogs and plays with those dogs, I would highly recommend that their in-home collar be a safety release collar. This type of collar releases when an undue pressure or pulling is exerted upon it. I have personally had my dog’s bottom jaw get dangerously trapped in the neck collar of another of my dogs while they were playing. The dog with the bottom jaw trapped, panicked and pulled. The pulling caused my other dog to start to become asphyxiated. I was able to release the collar snap in time and the choking dog survived the ordeal. I learned a valuable and almost very costly lesson, never leave a flat buckle or snap collar on my dogs when they are free to play in the home or the back yard. I do, however, put their flat buckle collars on when I take them for walks or for car rides to grandma’s house.
I also like to use martingale collars for walking dogs that have a tendency to pull away from me when I am walking them. Martingale, also called “greyhound” collars were invented for greyhounds. The greyhound’s head is very thin therefore making it very easy for them to slip a flat buckle collar over their head. Martingale collars will constrict to the circumference of the dog’s neck but, unlike a choker collar, will not continue to constrict. These greyhound collars do not put increasing pressure on the neck muscles and trachea. I feel very strongly that there is no place in dog owning and training for anything that causes pain. Choke and prong collars constrict the neck. They cause pain and can damage muscles. I don’t use them.
The other acceptable place to hang your dog’s identification, is on a body harness. Harnesses come in a vast array of styles and fabrics. I separate body harnesses into two categories; harnesses that help the dog to pull, leash attachment ring on the dog’s back; and harnesses that restrict pulling, leash attachment ring at the front of the dog, near the dog’s sternum. My favorite of the front-clip harnesses is a harness made by Wiggles, Wags and Whiskers. It is called a Freedom Harness. The Freedom Harness is well-made and sturdy and has a front clip ring and a back clip ring that is attached to a Martingale loop of fabric and has the capacity to tighten if the dog pulls. The other feature that makes this my favorite walking harness is that the material for the strap that goes behind the dog’s front legs and under the dog’s chest is made of velvet. It is comfortable. Unlike the nylon fabric on some of the other front-clip harnesses, the Freedom Harness strap does not cause irritation under the dog’s front legs. The Wiggle, Wags and Whiskers Company also has an optional leash which you can attach to the front ring and the back ring at the same time. This allows you to control the pulling dog by working against the forces of their strong shoulder muscles and steer them back toward
Another option for pulling dogs is a head collar. In general, head collars have a loop of material on the dog’s nose and a loop of material that fastens behind the dog’s ears. There are several head collars on the market. They all work essentially the same way, by allowing for easy control of the dog’s head. If you can easily control the dog’s head, you can control the rest of the body. Head collars do not muzzle the dog. They do not, therefore, stop the dog from panting or eating or biting for that matter. The downside to head collars is that most dogs need to be conditioned to wear them. This process can easily be accomplished but it does take a little work. Many dogs do not immediately accept a nose loop on their noses. They see the loop when they look out at the world. It is a nuisance to them and they try to get it off by rubbing their heads in the grass or by pulling it off with their paws. I give my clients a one week acclimation schedule to follow to help them easily acclimate their dogs to the head collar. In short, they are instructed to condition the dog to associate the presence of the collar with high value food. In no time at all, the dog thinks that the collar predicts that they will get chicken. Presto. The dog is happy to wear the head collar.
There is one last category of equipment that I need to discuss in order to fully prepare you and your dog for an enjoyable walk: the leash. Leashes come in a variety of styles, sizes and materials. There is even a leash on the market that makes an aversive sound if the dog pulls. You guessed it! I do NOT recommend that leash. My favorite leash is a well-worn one half to one inch, six foot leather leash. Leather leads are an investment but they are so worth the cost. Six foot leather leashes last a lifetime and get better with wear. One word of caution: put your leather leash up high and out of reach when you are not using it. Dogs LOVE to chew leather leashes. The cotton and nylon leashes you see in stores are more economical but they take their toll on your hands and wrists if your dog is a puller.
Finally, I would like to devote this closing paragraph to the evils of flexi leads. Flexi, or retractable, leads are dangerous. They are dangerous to pet walkers, to pets and to unsuspecting passersby. The pet walker has no control of their dog if they are manipulating the bulky handle of the flexi leash while they are writing out a check at the counter of the veterinary hospital. The dog can wrap the cord of the leash around the owner’s legs or, worse yet, around the legs of someone else standing nearby. The leash allows dogs to go, unsupervised, to dangerous places like into the face of a cat sitting on the lap of a waiting veterinary hospital client. Sometimes it allows them access to the street when they are out on a walk. I have personally known two dogs that died when they ran to the end of a flexi leash and into the street. Dogs need to be supervised when out on walks. They need to be controlled when out mingling with the public. Flexi leads do not provide safe supervision or control.
What is the well-equipped and safe dog wearing this Spring season? A flat buckle collar with their microchip and identification tag affixed to it, a Freedom Harness and a leather six-foot leash. If you want to be ready for springtime walks with your pooch, make sure you’re well equipped.
Road trip! When you hear those words what comes to your mind? Driving down to the shore or up to the mountains with your little brother poking you in the head for two hours? Beach towels and the smell of baby oil and french fries? Or maybe for you it means a ride to pick pumpkins or apples in the fall. For me it means all the above (except for the brother part) but mostly I envision dog crates – a lot of them – leashes, bowls, gallon jugs of water, a packed car and friends … lots and lots of friends. For close to twenty five years during the months of April thru October, my family traveled to dog show events. From Maine to Georgia, Ohio to Minnesota, and North Carolina to Tennessee we hit the road, mostly over a long weekend. I can remember the first show we drove to – and, at the time, we thought it was FAR – a 4-5 hour drive to Manassas, Virginia. Ha! Piece of cake. Amazing how perceptions change, isn't it? I know, I know. Y'all think I'm crazy but my craziness is what makes me a self proclaimed expert on "how to bring your pet on vacation.” So, to make it more interesting, I'll walk you through a weekend and its preparations and hopefully you will see how much fun it can be to bring your dog along for a day at the beach or on vacation. I can even tell you what to pack for your guinea pig, too!
The destination: Piedmont Kennel Club Fairgrounds in North Carolina for a dog show. Well, actually just past in Rock Hill, South Carolina. You see, North Carolina did not allow dogs in the motel rooms and the collective “we” do not leave OUR dogs in the car. We booked our rooms one month in advance – ground floor, outside access. No one wants to lug 8 dogs and crates through a motel hallway. OK, reservations are made so now the final touches are put on the dogs. Exercise is increased and diet is calculated so that the “weight pull” dogs are beefy enough the day of the show, and the conformation dogs are neither too lean nor carrying too heavy. I know that they’ll lose a little from the stress of the drive so we can’t cut it too close. Nerve wracking to say the least ... and the night before we leave, baths for everyone.
We plan to leave Friday morning, by 7 AM, out of King of Prussia so we can hit Washington, DC after rush hour and roll into our motel by 6 PM. Oh, and who is the “we”? My kennel partner and long time friend Jacki, our friend Nadine, sometimes another girlfriend Gracie, an occasional boyfriend or husband (depending on the year) and of course the dogs and sometimes other assorted critters – but more on that later. With this schedule in mind, I take a half day off work on Thursday to go home and pack. Tack box with brushes, a show collar for each dog, extra leads, weight pull harnesses for the girls, coat conditioner, nail clipper, colored chalk to fill in the “blank” spots on the coat. Ummm, what did I forget?
The Original Dog Club Members
Oh yes rabies certificates, dishes, water buckets for the crates, and fans that clip on the front of the dog crates. Then dry food for meals, Carnivore Cookies for the dog that refuses to eat, dog biscuits and 2 gallons of spring water for each dog for the road. We always pick up more when we get there as we do not want any tummy problems or raging diarrhea! And of course, blankets for the dog crates and paper towels, LOTS of paper towels.
I was showing four dogs. Two were entered in weight pulling. Our mascot guinea pig will also be along for the trip. Wait, I can’t forget the Pig’s food, extra bedding and fresh fruit and veggies for him that get packed in the cooler. And one dog will be staying home at Jacki’s with her boyfriend Bongo, so I’ll need food and water for him, too. Now I pack my stuff, the easy part, I manage to shove T-shirts, 2 pair of jeans, 2 pairs of shorts, socks, undies and shoes into one suitcase with a small bag for makeup and incidentals. I figure if it’s too cold I can always buy an extra sweatshirt at the show. And lastly, one nice outfit for dinner after the show Saturday.
So after bathing the dogs, I roll into bed about midnight and set the alarm for 4 AM. When the alarm buzzes, I get up, take a shower and pack everything into my Explorer. Boy, I miss that truck! I leave a note for my friend that will be taking care of the cats and the rats at home, feed the dogs a light breakfast, let them out one last time, and then load them into their crates in the car. Oh yes, the Pig? His cage is bungee corded to the top of the dog crates so he can see where we’re going … kind of like the guinea pig in the Dr. Doolittle movie, only inside the car. I run back into the house for a quick head count. Are all the cats inside and are all the dogs in the car? OK, we head out. Ooppsss, I forgot to lock the garage door. Oh well. We are on the way to Jacki’s. Tired yet?
I pull into Jacki’s driveway, unload three of the dog crates, load them into the pony trailer with the other dogs (8 total), put three women’s suitcases into the Explorer with Pig and my old dog, Lena. My dog Duke will be staying behind, so into the kennel he goes. I go over feeding with his caretaker and we’re off! Oh, first we hook the pony trailer to the truck and make sure the weight is distributed evenly and now we’re off to the Sunoco for ice for the cooler and gas, McDonald’s for breakfast and coffee. We are almost on schedule. It’s 7:30 AM and we are on the Blue Route heading South.
First stop, the Maryland House, a turnpike rest-stop, to walk the dogs and clean up the mess the pup has made. This is Sierra’s first long trip and she’s a little carsick. That’s where the paper towels come in handy! After the dogs have stretched their legs, we offer them some water and we’re off again.
Most of our trips were taken before Mapquest so we usually consulted a good old AAA Triptik. I was the official navigator and as cool as GPS and Sync are, I do miss an old fashioned paper map. We did have this neat little handheld computer thingy I bought from QVC that was the precursor to the modern GPS. It would tell you the locations of hotels, restaurants and rest areas, which is always a good thing to know especially with three girls and eight dogs! I do recommend stopping every two to three hours to exercise the dogs. All of mine have learned “go potty” which is handy when you are in a time crunch and have to get back on the road. This gives them a chance to stretch their legs and relieves some of the boredom. Oh yes, don’t forget a chew toy to keep them occupied, though I would say that they spend most of the time napping. The ride is pretty smooth and traffic is light most of the way. Except for a brief thundershower and a little wind, which can make pulling that trailer a little tricky, it is a pretty uneventful ride.
Finally, around 6 PM we pass the Carowinds amusement park and we are almost at the hotel. We check into the Motel 6 and thankfully our room is around the back and close to a grassy area. As we pull in, we see some friends from Massachusetts and make arrangements to meet them at the Denny’s for dinner in an hour. We unload the dogs and crates one by one. As one person puts the crate in the room, the other person walks out the dog. Person number three is responsible for the luggage and the Pig and getting the dogs’ dinners ready. We feed the dogs, freshen up, no need to change for Denny’s, and head out across the highway for some much anticipated Sweet Tea. After dinner it’s back to the room, walk the dogs one last time, and decide who does a morning/evening shower. Then it’s time to hit the sheets. It’s 11 PM and we need to be up at 6 AM to get to the show on time. Registration starts at 8 AM. The next morning we get dressed, walk the dogs, give them a drink and head to Denny’s for our favorite breakfast, Moon Over my Hammy. It’s a staple for our road trips. Then, back to the motel to load up the dogs and the Pig. On to the show site – about a 15 minute ride. Once there (we’ve finally gotten the hang of backing up and parking that trailer), we register the dogs, take out the four that will be competing in the weight pull, have them weighed and then give everyone breakfast. Whew, time for a five minute breather before the weight pull starts at 10 AM and the first show class at 11 AM. It turns out to be a pretty warm day so I won’t need to buy another sweatshirt, but I make sure to hang crate fans for the dogs as well as on the Pigs’ cage. We do OK as a team that day – a couple of first place conformation winners. The “pull” dogs placed in their classes also, with one dog finishing his champion title that day. At the end of the day, the club holds its raffle and now we have to find someplace to stash the three 50# bags of dog food that we won as well as some assorted smaller things – collars, a hat and a really neat cast iron pit bull door stop. Well, that first day of showing is done and since the hosting club is having a pig roast and barbecue that night on the grounds, we don’t have to travel far for dinner. First, we are sure to feed, water and walk out the dogs, make sure Pig’s water bottle is full and that he has his plate of pellets and oranges. Then it’s time to relax and hang with friends. The whole routine starts again the next day. The show is done early on Sunday. Much to our delight, we won the Best Puppy trophy! It’s a big trophy, but we’ll find room for it in the truck even if we have to give away a couple of those bags of dog food. We decide to stay that night and just head out early in the morning.
We manage to force ourselves out of bed early on Monday, feed the dogs a light breakfast as it will be a long ride and head out. On the way home we decide to hit our next favorite road trip restaurant, the Cracker Barrel. The food is decent and predictable. They have the most awesome sweet tea and it’s a great place to shop for little kitschy things and souvenirs for Mom. As great a weekend as it was, I have to say that it was a loonnngg ride home. After four days of togetherness, all of us are anxious to sleep in our own beds without the snores of 8 dogs lulling us to sleep.
On the way home we are always sure to hit the Chesapeake House rest area in Maryland. Popeye’s red beans and rice is a favorite. I know, I know, the restaurants I’ve talked about are not exactly fine cuisine but some of the fun of a road trip is the tried and true favorite and not having to worry about finding a “good” place to eat. On my road trips I have eaten just-caught lobster in Maine – the best ever – fresh picked oysters in Delaware and dinner at a steakhouse in Tennessee that was reported to be owned by Reba Mcentire. The best pasta carbonara was found at an out of the way restaurant off of I-95 just outside of the Massachusetts border. Oh wait, did you know they have drive thru Daiquiri Shacks in TX? How cool is that!
The ride home was uneventful and we got back into King of Prussia at about 8 PM that night. We unpacked the trailer, I collected Duke, kissed everyone good-bye and headed home to my own bed. The dogs were all quiet on the ride and even Pig slept on the way home. Some may ask why I took him on the trip as it’s no place for a guinea pig. I have to say, I think that he certainly enjoyed the company, was interested in his surroundings and was a lot easier to “walk” than 8 dogs.
Would I do it again? Of course, and I did. Though my dog show trips are now limited to one- or two-day events and usually within an hour’s drive, the planning and the excitement are the same and I thoroughly enjoy every hectic, dog-infused moment. And the friends I have made along the way will forever be in my life.
The weather outside can get quite hot and steamy in the summer time. Some dogs love to play in a kiddie pool or even with a sprinkler, it’s fun and it keeps them cool and comfortable! For a yummy, healthy, inexpensive and easy-to-make summer treat most dogs can’t refuse, check out this Basic Frosty Paws Recipe.
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