Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New Novel About The Animal/Human Bond---ALL THE LITTLE GRACES

All The Little Graces, written by local musician and author Eleanore MacDonald, is a novel set in Greece about the complicated beauty of the human-animal relationship, woven around the lives of the strays of Greece's streets. If you purchase a copy of the book here at the shelter, ALL proceeds go directly to Sammie's Friends.  You can also purchase the book online where a percentage of the proceeds will go to benefit Sammie's Friends and the Skiathos Dog Shelter, in Skiathos Greece.

From Amazon.com: "Life is not easy for a stray. Dodging traffic, unfriendly feet and thrown bottles, a frightened and weary little dog scrambles to find nourishment where she can and fights to keep her new litter of vulnerable pups safe from the many perils that linger in Greece's shadows. There is little mercy here. It's a very hard life for a street dog, especially for one who once knew the caring of a human. Fierce and unforgiving, she barks endlessly at the day's many dangers and keens to the empty darkness of the night, but just as she begins to sink into a despair that only a dog can feel, the red haired girl appears and life begins to change.

It is the spring of 1990. The young American family boards a ferry, traversing the vast Aegean blue into the Greek archipelago in pursuit of four months of sun, sea and adventure ... but just as they begin to settle on an idyllic whitewashed island Eleni, Harry and 12 year old Lily come face to face with the loud, scruffy stray who shatters their peace – and their plans. Of course, tender Lily is drawn to the wild little dog boldly protecting three young pups, and it's in the wake of their very first meeting that trust begins to take the place of fear. The dog, Margarita, claims the family as her own and in turning their attentions to her life on the streets, the plight of the island's cast-off animals comes into a finely tuned focus.

Wedged between the welcoming beauty of sun, sea and antiquity and their ignorance of a culture just recently coming up for air after years of oppression, is the family's love for all animals – and it's their caring for the desperate strays that imposes an unexpected turn on their blissful holiday. While Eleni, Harry and Lily come to lasting friendships with locals and an intimacy with the peace and beauty of their island, they also come face to face with some of the country's darker secrets. Both the light and the dark get distilled down into one grand odyssey – several years along a Grecian path cobbled with utter delight, worries and sorrows and ultimately, with redemption. Along the way they fall deeply in love, with little Margarita ... with the sea and it's gorgeous island cloaked in myth and mystery ... with the people and their vibrant and enigmatic culture ... and with a fisherman, Vassili, who shelters his own secrets and a potent sadness. In the end, favored by all of Margarita's little graces, the beautifully revealing and sometimes painful journey leads not only to the rescue of human hearts, but also toward recognizing and rectifying the lives of the homeless animals of Greece’s streets."

Come by Sammie's Friends and buy your copy!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hot Summer Care To Keep Your Dog Cool

Justice enjoys the shade after playing hard
Someone just called the shelter to say there was a dog locked in a car at the grocery store. "Go inside and ask them to make an announcement for the owner," I said, "then call animal control at this number." Another call came in from a man who couldn't find his dog the night before. He called the dog to no avail and looked everywhere. Or nearly everywhere. His dog loved to jump in the car, and when the owner put the screen over his car window, he didn't see his dog jump in. Tragically, he discovered his dog the next morning in the car.

These are horrible stories, and we hope to hear no more of them this summer. But, summer in the Sierra Foothills is HOT and we've outlined a few things to remember about dog safety.

 Swimming: Can your dog swim in a fast moving, cold mountain river?  Some dogs don't have enough fat on them (think greyhounds or whippets) to stay afloat or regulate their body temperatures. The rivers and streams can still be quite cold, even with our outside temps being in the 90s.

Some dogs get swept away and drown in fast moving streams or in river areas with strong undertows.

If you enjoy water play with your dog, take a moment to strap on your dog's safety vest.

Hot Pavement: We all know our dogs' feet are tough, but are they tough enough to really walk where we won't?  Asphalt gets unbelievably hot. Pads softened by playing in water are even more vulnerable to burning. Keep and eye on your dogs feet, and if she gets burned pads, flush with cold water and see your vet.

Hot Cars: Not the kind that look cool, but the kind that can make your dog seriously ill or worse. You get into your car and can hardly breath because it's so very hot. Even with the windows down, the inside temperature of your car is simply too hot for survival. Unless your dog will NOT be left in the car, he should stay at home. Period. End of story. 

Share these flyers with local businesses, and print some to leave on cars that have pets in them with the windows down. If the windows are merely cracked a few inches, it is too hot for the dog. Call animal control or find the owner. Don't Wait!

Doug and Justice have some skateboarding fun.
Too Much Play: Can lead to heat stroke. Avoid hard play during the hot time (mid-day) of the day. Some dogs simply don't want to stop playing. You'd think they'd know when they're becoming uncomfortable, but they'd rather keep playing or jogging with you. A panting tongue that's out too far, will be your first clue that it's time for a break. Add a kiddy pool to your play time!
Pool time after play makes Justice a happy boy!

Signs of Heat Stroke include (but are not limited to):
  • body temperatures of 104-110F degrees
  • excessive panting
  • dark or bright red tongue and gums
  • sticky or dry tongue and gums
  • staggering
  • stupor
  • seizures
  • bloody diarrhea or vomiting
  • coma
  • death
Seek veterinary attention immediately!

  • Get your dog out of the sun!
  • Cool your dog with cool water, not ice water. (Very cold water will cause constriction of the blood vessels and impede cooling.)
  • Place cool, wet cloths on your dog's feet and around his head.
  • If your dog's temperature is under 103 F degrees, do not try to cool---some dogs can actually get HYPOthermic or too cold if they aren't over-heated.
  • Offer ice cubes for the animal to lick on until you can reach your veterinarian, but DO NOT force ice or water on your dog.
Learn more about heat stroke by following the link, and stay cool.

Photo credits: swimming dog copyright Matt Barber; dog in life jacket copyright Soggydan; dog using hose copyright Wonderlane, woman on beach copyright WJ Harrison. 

Michelle McKenzie lives in Grass Valley, with her six dogs, two cats and a foster kitty, three horses and two donkeys. And a very understanding husband.