Friday, November 29, 2013

Follow-up Friday w/a Reminder about the Diamond Paw Print Pendant auction

I've got a few weeks of posts to follow up on here so let's get right to it, shall we?

Honey, I broke the dog
I really wanted to thank everyone for their input on this. At best I was thinking maybe I'd learn I wasn't the only one this ever happened to. Hearing so many folks talk about similar experiences, possible solutions and even just brainstorming ideas was more than I could have hoped for. There were so many good comments and suggestions that I had to start writing them down so I wouldn't forget to follow up on them.

KB from Romping and Rolling in the Rockies' note seemed to ring truest for us: "I wonder if, in Bella's excitement to see you, she gets hypersensitivity of certain nerves. I know that this type of "hypersensitivity" can happen. It's essentially the body's way of lowering the threshold of a nerve so it fires more easily." When 24 Paws of Love concurred with that assessment from personal experience, it became the opinion we decided to pursue first.

KB suggested we 'tone down' my welcome home which is also what our trainer recommended. It's a good idea but a little complicated to pull off. See, I greet Bella the same way every day. Bella, on the other hand, greets me with more or less enthusiasm depending on her mood. (And she is one moody puppy as we know...)

But I am working on moderating my greeting so that, regardless of Bella's mood, I don't play in to any over-excitement on her part. Cross your fingers.
Don't It Make My Black Dog Brown
Bella has almost finished shedding for this year and between that and adding a little salmon oil and some kelp into her meals, she's not quite as blonde as she was a few weeks ago. She's still nowhere near as dark black as she used to be but at least Carolyn has stopped calling her "Blondie". Crystal from So Fly: My Life with Flyball Dogs made me feel a lot better after recounting the story of a dog she grew up with doing this as well.

Still we'll have Bella's thyroid checked next time she's in the vet's office just to keep an eye on things. Otherwise, it might just be time to realize our little girl is growing up and maturing. Le sigh.
Beautiful Black Diamond Necklace - Auction Starts Now!
Well, the auction is off and running. Thank you to everyone who has jumped in sharing the post or bidding on the pendant. It's only at $79.00 now which is a really good deal for a diamond necklace. The auction runs until Monday at 9:38 PM EST so there's still plenty of time to get in on the action. You can bid on it here!

And remember, 100% of the proceeds (plus a double match!) will be donated to Save a Sato so it's a total win-win. Pretty black pendant for you. Pretty green papers for them.
And finally, I learned in the comments of our Wordless Wednesday post, that Deanna and Day-Z from Deanna Time are in a contest to win a "Dream Dog Park". She made a great video for her entry and you can vote for them by clicking here. If you have a moment, go check out the video - it's definitely worth the 2 minutes of your time.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Not Entirely Wordless Wednesday 113 - Happy Thanksgiving!

Bella, Jan and I would like to wish all our friends here in the States a very happy Thanksgiving Day tomorrow. May you be surrounded by family and friends and lots of love. And we want to wish our friends who are not here in the States a rather lovely Thursday also filled with family, friends and lots of love.

Thank you all for your friendship and support over the years. We have much to be thankful for, not the least of which is every one of you. May all your holidays be joyful.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Beautiful Black Diamond Necklace - Auction Starts Now!

When I attended the Blog Paws 2013 conference last May, I entered a raffle hosted by the ASPCA. I'm not even sure I realized I was entering to win a beautiful black diamond, paw-print necklace donated by Zales Jewelers so was rather surprised to learn over Twitter that I had actually won. (Unflattering evidence of win pictured here.)

The necklace is beautiful as you can see in the picture.

It is from the ASCPA's Tender Voices™ collection and, as far as I can tell, no longer available through Zales (although I have found a few for sale via "Find and Save".)

The necklace is black diamonds (1/4 CT. T.W.) set in sterling silver with an 18 inch sterling silver cable chain. Every online mention of it I have found has it retailing at $199 USD. And it's really pretty. The only trouble is, I don't really wear jewelry.

So, instead of leaving this darling little pendant sitting in its pretty little box, I'm auctioning it off on eBay and donating the proceeds to Save a Sato.

Why Save a Sato?

Save a Sato is the all volunteer rescue group in Puerto Rico that rescued Bella. The work they do is endless and includes hands-on intervention and rescue as well as advocacy and outreach programs. Per their web site:
"Save A Sato is a non-profit, all volunteer organization dedicated to easing the suffering of Puerto Rico's homeless and abused animals. "Sato" is slang for street dog. We rescue Satos from the streets and beaches, give them medical care, food and shelter, and plenty of love. When they are healthy, we send them to one of our shelter partners for adoption into loving homes."
In 2006, the ASPCA recognized Save a Sato's enormous contribution to animal welfare on the island by nominating Gloria Marti, President and Shelter Manager of Save a Sato, for their most prestigious award - the Lifetime Achievement Award. One of 11 finalists, Gloria didn't win but she is certainly a hero among all who know of her tireless efforts to save and care for these Sato dogs.

So, about that auction?

Starting tonight, 11/25/13 at 9:38 EST, my little necklace will be available for bidding on eBay. You can bid on it here!

I'm setting the starting price at just $29.99 but I'm hoping it'll fare better than that as 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Save a Sato. To sweeten the pot, I will double match the final price (up to a maximum match of $500).

I'm hoping we can give Save a Sato a healthy donation to brighten up their holidays.

The auction will be open for 7 days and bidding will end promptly at 9:38 EST on 12/2/13. As soon as payment has been confirmed, I'll wrap the little box up and send it anywhere in the world.

I can't guarantee a Christmas delivery to everywhere in the whole world but I will certainly do my best in case you were thinking this might make a lovely little holiday present for someone you know.

Please help spread the word about the auction. Unless you want it for yourself, in which case, go, bid, bid, bid! And join me in wishing the stray dogs of Puerto Rico a happy Christmas and their very own forever home in 2014.

PS - The eBay listing was made using my husband, Jan's, account. He had an offer from eBay to waive the seller fees so we used that in order to ensure that 100% of the selling price goes to the Satos.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday 112 - So pretty

Back when Bella was truly black. Insert wistful sigh here.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Don't It Make My Black Dog Brown

Or something like that...

So we're full of strange little happenings here these days. Last week it was Bella's mysterious and intermittent pain. This week my black dog is changing color. And I mean changing color to the point that our trainer, Carolyn, has actually taken to calling Bella "Blondie".

Carolyn was the first to notice a few weeks ago. My mother was next to comment. Jan and I must be too close to notice subtle day to day changes but it has become painfully obvious that my black dog is no longer black.

I have no idea what's going on. She is shedding like a Husky but it's Fall and that's to be expected. It never caused her to change colors before.

The before:
Okay, seriously, how stinking cute was she?
Now to be fair, Bella is not exactly and entirely black. Or rather, she never had been. Peel back that silky black coat and Bella's undercoat was always a light brown. For some reason, however, a few weeks ago, that light brown undercoat started to overtake her silky black top coat and Bella is now going blonde.

I'm okay with that as long as it doesn't make its way to her beautiful black face with those marvelously expressive brown eyebrows and charming little freckles. I may have to take a Sharpie to her head were that to happen. (I kid, I kid!)

All kidding aside, Bella seems otherwise perfectly normal. She has energy and appetite. She still has all her crazy little idiosyncrasies and she's still our beautiful Bella. She's just, well, lighter.

The after: 

We have added some fish oil back into her diet but otherwise, all my research has turned up nothing of concern. I'm thinking I may bring her in for some blood work though just to make sure there's nothing else going on. She is hypothyroid so that could be in play.

But I am curious as to whether or not my 'very-well-educated-in-all-things-dog' readers have ever seen a black dog turn brown? Mind you, this isn't a graying of the muzzle, this is happening on her body - almost exclusively from her front shoulders, across her chest and back, all the way to her back thighs.

So what do you think? Anybody ever see this before? Anyone? Bueller?

PS - If you are not old enough to get the reference in the title, please see: Crystal Gayle and "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue".

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday: Prepare to ooh and awww

Jan wants to know why I got this:

While he got this:

Well, Gunner, what do you have to say about that?

I'm a puppy. It's what I do.
Oh Gunner, you sweet boy. Have a wonderful life, little one.

Gunner was a rescue transport we did for New England Brittany Rescue this weekend. He is now happily settling in to his very own forever home.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Honey, I broke the dog

Here's a strange little story for your consideration:

A few weeks ago, I came home from work on a Friday night. There was nothing extraordinary about this Friday night. I wasn't especially late nor unexpectedly early. I came in the door to my regular welcome home: Jan, in his upstairs office called down "Hello" and Bella, from her perch in the kitchen came bounding into the bedroom to greet me.

Bella and I did our routine little 'snuggle snuggle kiss kiss' and all seemed well. Although in retrospect, Bella did seem just a tad more excited to see me than usual.

I'm not 100% sure of exactly what happened next but I ended up with my hand petting her neck and she screamed in pain. And then she lunged at me.

Oddly, Bella often seems to 'know' it's me even when she flips out and the very second her mouth connected with my hand, she stopped herself. By this time I was standing (I am not as dumb as I look after all) but I did not raise my voice or my hand. She was obviously hurt or scared and reacting to protect herself. She immediately went into a very submissive posture and was trying to cuddle as she cowered next to me.

Posing with her "Peace and Paws Rescue" calendar.
Safety first

I wanted to check her out to see what the heck I had done to hurt her so I quickly grabbed her muzzle and put it on while yelling up to Jan to stay upstairs.

Bella has been trained to accept a muzzle for safety purposes but she's not crazy about it. Still, if there was any possibility my checking her out would lead to her mouth on my skin, she was going to get checked out wearing her muzzle.

And indeed, when I gently ran my hand over her neck, she screamed in pain again and had another little flip out, although not one involving teeth. And again, immediately she was back near me, submissively cowering at my feet.

As an aside, there are no words I could ever find to describe how unspeakably heart-breaking and devastating it is to see her in these moments. There just aren't.

I have never, ever in our history hit Bella. And yet, I have hurt her on two other occasions in the past. Under these exact same circumstances: coming home from work, a happy, excited, little greeting turns into Bella howling in pain at the most inoffensive touch. The really strange thing is it has been while I was touching different parts of her body each time - once on her "croup" (the top of her butt area near the tail) and the other time on her hind right thigh/flank.

They all think I'm nuts

I have tried to recount these situations to vets we have seen in the past about various ailments but they have looked at me like I was losing my mind. I don't know what it is and I don't know what to do about it. I can say that I'm glad, at this time, it has only happened to me and that Bella recognizes me enough to restrain her bite. I do not want to think of what would happen were someone else other than me to trigger her trouble spot.

In fact, I don't even know if it's even possible for someone else to trigger it. This has only happened when she's been interacting with me and all 3 times after I've come home from work. Is there something in her anatomy that gets "tweaked" when she gets so excited? Is she pulling a muscle or pinching a nerve? Is a vertebra slipping out of place? I don't even know what the possibilities could be.

Then again, is this part of what has been happening between her and Jan? While I don't believe there has been any of the "screaming in agony" as part of their altercations, could it be something we have missed?

I do believe there is a component to Bella's issues with Jan that stems from her fear of being hurt rather than any actually pain endured. And yet, in the situation that has happened with me it feels clear that I did in fact hurt her even though I have no idea how or why. And even though I may have actually hurt her, still she moderates her reaction.

Oh Bella, it's a good thing you're cute. 

Bella is a complicated girl and I spend an awful lot of time trying to figure her out. But at this point, the vets don't seem to have any answers and I don't honestly know what to do about an issue that has manifest itself only 3 times in the last 5+ years. If anyone has ever experienced a similar situation or has any insight at all into what is going on here, I welcome all counsel.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

This and That Thursday: A couple of announcements

First, we here at Bringing up Bella are pleased to share this special announcement from our friends over at Kol's Notes:

Art pieces make a unique and thoughtful gift.

With the holidays approaching, everyone is looking to find gifts that will show their loved ones how much they care. What better way to honour the pet lover in your life than with a custom drawing of their furry friend - past or present?

With only a few weeks left until the Holiday deadline (all orders must be placed by Dec. 1 in order to receive the finished piece before the holidays), AJ Emm wants to give you a gift:a custom portrait of the special pet (or person) in your life.

One lucky winner will receive a single pet illustration or a digital portrait, custom made based on their own loved ones pictures.

(If you have already ordered a portrait or want to order one to ensure holiday delivery, the cost will be refunded to you or you can choose to have a second custom piece created.)

Click here to order your portrait now and enter below for your chance to win.
(Save 25% by using coupon code UNICORN at the check out!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Next, we'd like to announce our own very special upcoming event: an auction to benefit Save a Sato rescue in Puerto Rico.

When I attended the BlogPaws conference in May, I was lucky enough to win a beautiful black diamond paw print pendant from the ASCPA.

Unfortunately, I don't really wear jewelry so I have decided, with approval from the ASCPA, to auction off the necklace and donate the proceeds to Bella's original rescue, Save a Sato.

I haven't worked out all the details yet but as soon as I do, I will post all the information here, so stay tuned. To sweeten the pot, I will double match the winning bid (up to $500). This would make a lovely holiday gift for you or the dog-lover in your life.

We are very excited to have this opportunity and most grateful to the ASCPA for their generosity. Bear with me as I work out the logistics of this. A full post with the details about it will be coming soon.

This and That Thursday is brought to you by 2 Brown Dawgs and Ruckus the Eskie.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday 110 - Bella speaks out

You just can't let it go, can you?
This is what I think of your silly stegosaurus suit.
What's that you say?
It's not a stegosaurus, it's a triceratops?
Are you sure?
'Silly stegosaurus suit' simply sounds sweeter.
Fine. Whatever.
"Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries."