Archive for the ‘pet health’ Category

Special is our Specialty

September 18, 2013

In case you hadn’t noticed, Dawg Squad has a soft spot for dogs with special needs.

Meet Popcorn and Sarge

popcorn with kong 2

sarge look up

These two genial dogs were very neglected in their former lives.   Both were neglected and left outside and their skin suffered….they have demodectic mange. 

Popcorn is just about done with her treatment and is looking pretty spiffy.   Sarge has only been with us for a few weeks and still is not looking his best BUT he will soon….very soon.
connie 1
And Ms. Connie has come along way since she came into Dawg Squad as a very sick puppy.

She was born with artresia ani which necessitated some major surgery at a pretty young age and caused her to not know when she had to go potty.    With the help of some special vets, Connie is now on a restricted diet and what an improvement!   She is now on a schedule and no more messes!

bridge lara 3 8 6
Little Bridgette has juvenile cataracts and can only see shadows.   But never fear!   She’s been to see a specialist too and we are hoping there may be a surgery in her future that will help her see again!

And last but not least is Gertie.  Gertie has Subaortic Stenosis – a pretty serious heart condition.

gertie for thumb

She’s only 5 months old and may not have the longest future ahead of her but we are going to make sure her present is filled with fun, treats, walks, snuggles and anything else this genial gal wants.

All of these special dogs are available for adoption.     If you can’t adopt, think about fostering.

If you can’t foster, a donation to help care for these pups would be more than welcome.

Thank you

The Zada Chronicles Part Two….by Kelley Derr

August 6, 2013

Still separated from the rest of the house on Day 2, I made lots of trips into and out of Zada’s room.

She always cringed as I walked in, but she’d inch over for some attention as soon as I got down next to her.  Later in the day I was treated to a few small licks and a tiny, tiny wag – just the little tip of her tail – but it was there!    And later in the evening I got a skyward-pointed belly with a silent but understood request for rubs.

My heart has broken many times for Zada – it is obvious that she’s not just been ignored and neglected – but my heart shattered for her at about 3:00 AM on Night 2 when I heard her crying from our bedroom.  Not a request to go outside for a bathroom break, but a deep, dark nightmare from which I had to gently shake her awake.  Perhaps it was of her many pups being taken from her, perhaps from being disappointed by a person she loved, perhaps being physically intimidated or worse; only Zada knows.

On Day 3 I put a radio in her room for some soothing company; she likes classical music!

And on Day 4 we decided a together-but-separate walk in our neighborhood with the other dogs was in order. Only a few moments in and Zada was falling in stride with Nessie and it was obvious she wanted to be next to her.  Not wanting to push anyone too far on the first try, Zada spent the rest of the day in her Mozart-filled mudroom.   But that evening Daniel was certain she was lonely and would enjoy everyone’s company, so…another short walk around the block and then into the back yard and then (gasp) off-leash.

And…this dog is a faker.  

OK, not really; her pain and sadness are very real and I don’t want to diminish whatever it is she’s been put through.  But this dog is a dog!  Joyous day!

It was at that point that we started to see the real Zada – a big, burly girl who has found comfort in her new pack.  There was a lot of running, wagging, and jumping and zero growling.  For the past several days, Zada has had the run of the house and although she still darts from room to room and is unsure of her surroundings, she is only sweet, quiet, and affectionate.

Our trip to adoptions on Saturday was a huge success; she was friendly and dare I say outgoing with some of the other volunteers?

zada adoptions 1

zada at adoptions

But my favorite news to report is that Zada has, with the help of Nessie, discovered MY bed, and I caught her stretched out on it in full-frog position.

zada on bed

That’s how far she’s come in 7 days.  I would have settled for simply walking on her own, but she has given us so much more.

They are all special but ……

July 24, 2013

It’s no secret that Dawg Squad is partial to Special Needs dogs–we find it hard to resist a dog with a missing or broken part! So, we thought it might be a good idea to update you on the status of those special dogs still looking for their perfect forever home.

Bayou, our beautiful girl with only one clear blue eye, has been looking for her forever home the longest of all.

bayou adorable

Although born with only one eye, it doesn’t effect her vision at all as she seems to gaze at you in a very thoughtful manner! Although good with most larger male dogs, Bayou would probably be happiest in an only one dog household with no cats and very high fences or an apartment. She is quite athletic and could easily jump most fences!

Connie is our 6 month old Rottie who was born with an incomplete intestinal system, resulting in bowel incontinence.

connie 1

We are thrilled to report that a special diet restricted to duck and peas has made a huge difference and we are hoping for continued progress as she grows. Connie is gorgeous, very sweet and gentle and tolerates diaper changes very patiently!

Bridgette is our 7 pound scruffy terrier with juvenile cataracts in both eyes.

brig in pjs

As a result of these cataracts, she is gradually losing her vision and surgery is not an option for her. Quite a little personality, Bridgette seems to look forward to weekly adoption events where she happily takes on our biggest dogs! Bridgette is great with all small dogs and cats, but probably would not be happy living with small children.

Our latest Dawg Squader is Happy, another small scruffy terrier, similar in appearance to Bridgette.

cute face

She came to us from one of the LA shelters with a broken leg. We have no idea how the leg was broken, but we don’t think she was abused because she is, well, as Happy as she can be, and seems to love all dogs, big and small, and is fine with cats too.

Finally, we can’t forget my personal fave, Popcorn!

popcorn with kong 2

We are happy to report that Popcorn’s mange condition continues to improve, but she still has some pink spots and may have some further allergies that aggravate her skin. Popcorn continues to be full of joy and love and is quite the handful! She is still working on her manners!
None of these dogs know they have “special needs.” All they really want is some love, a warm bed, and good food to eat.

Please consider adding a “special” dog to your home!


Your Roving Reporter,


Popcorn Takes Over The Squad

June 7, 2013

Lately at the Squad it’s all been about Popcorn!

Just a few weeks ago,we just couldn’t resist the photos we saw of this chubby pink dog with a blue and yellow scarf.

Actually, she looked more like a little pig than a dog! We immediately had to run down to Harbor Animal Shelter to meet her and we immediately fell in love!

Popcorn really was pinker that her photos–in fact, she was neon pink due to a non-contagious form of mange that causes painful sores and loss of hair. It is very curable but requires a very long course of medication. Thanks to our kind and generous supporters, we were able to raise the funds to rescue her! And we are all so happy we did!

Popcorn had to stay at our vet’s for a couple of weeks due to a bad case of kennel cough along with the mange. But despite being hospitalized for so long, she happily greeted everyone she met. And once she was allowed to join the rest of the world–well, WOW!

When she jumped in the back seat of our car, she rolled and wiggled around on her back, snorting with joy, just like a little pig! When we walked from the car into Unleashed by Petco, well, she literally stopped traffic twice!

One lady stopped in the middle of the parking lot, with cars waiting behind her, to meet Popcorn and take a photo; and a little later, a young guy who looked just too cool to get excited about anything jumped out of his car (again with traffic behind him) to ask about her!  And once in the store she acted like quite the celebrity (or politician), excited to meet all!

Popcorn had never had any training, so we thought we would all be exhausted by the end of the day after dealing with such energy and exuberance, but a couple of our younger and stronger volunteers worked with her throughout the day and she quickly began to learn her manners!

Medication had been effective in resolving Popcorn’s kennel cough and her hair is starting to come in nicely–she is becoming less pink and looks at this point that she is probably going to be white with maybe some fawn patches. But the road will be a long one.
One of LA’s finest professional photographers, Lori Fusaro has jumped on the Popcorn bandwagon and has offered to donate 25% of all proceeds for photography sessions booked during June and July to help Popcorn and the rest of the Dawg Squad dogs! So, please take this perfect opportunity to have some great professional photography done of your best friends and help Popcorn at the same time!

lori fusaro flyer


Notice to all Popcorn fans–she will be appearing at Unleashed by Petco in Ladera Center this Saturday from 11:00 – 2:30. Hope to see you there!

The Puggle’s Story

January 16, 2013
For being only 6 months old, Rocco had been through quite a bit.   The little guy came to us suffering from “cherry eye.”
rocco for thumb
Officially known as Nictitans Gland Prolapse, this conditions effects a dog’s third eyelid (dogs have 3; people, 2). Their tearglands somehow get out of position, causing severe redness, swelling, and irritation. It is unknown why this happens, but is more often seen in Beagles, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, and a few other breeds.  Left untreated, painful eye ulcers may develop and surgery is required to reposition the tear glands.
We couldn’t let Rocco wait for long to get his surgery and we are happy to report that Rocco had successful surgery on both of his eyes on January 9th!
He had a quick recovery and his winning personality had him adopted within a week.   Rocco is living with a great guy and another Puggle in West Hollywood.
rocco home1
Rocco’s surgery, of course, was expensive, so we would appreciate any and all donations towards the cost!
If you would like to help out Rocco, please click on  Rocco and all the Squad  is very thankful for all donations, both large and small!
And here’s another way to help the Squad! Tamagotchi Spirit is celebrating hometown heros and our Founder, Carole, is a nominee! The winner’s organization will receive a $5,000 donation!
So, please click on and vote for Carole! The race is close, so vote everyday and help Dawg Squad win $5,000!
Your Roving Reporter,


November 16, 2012
Did you know that November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month? 
We have some wonderful seniors and try to match these special dogs with the perfect companions for their remaining years; yet often people don’t consider adopting a senior because they are concerned the dog may not have much time left.
However, these older dogs not only adjust and settle in quickly, but they are easy to please and bond immediately!

Nessie – 6 year old female Rottie who found the perfect home filled with grandkids

We did a little online research about dog life expectancy and found that researchers do not know what causes aging and why some dogs live longer than others.
All dog breeds are the same species, yet they age at different rates, with the average life expectancy 12.8 years. The key appears to be weight, with dogs weighing less than 30 lbs. living the longest, 15-20 years.


Dogs greater than 50 lbs. live an average of 10-12 years, with giant breeds such as Irish Wolfhounds having a life expectancy of 6-8 years.


Chihuahuas live an average of 15 or more years; Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds, 10-14 years; Boxers 11-14 years; Rottweilers and Bulldogs 10-12 years. Mixed breeds; and, interestingly, females, tend to live longer.


And, of course, people play a big part in increasing their pet’s life span by providing good nutrition, proper exercise, preventing obesity, and regular vet care!
So, please consider opening your heart and home to one of these deserving pets! And, if you are a senior citizen yourself, please ask us about our “Seniors for Seniors” program!

Archie – our first pup in the Seniors for Seniors program

Rebuy is a gorgeous Rottweiler who is about 8 years old. He is a very kind gentleman who was found in a school yard. He is great on a leash and good with other dogs.


Bobby is a large Rottweiler/Chow mix, about 7 years old, who was a favorite of the volunteers at the West Los Angeles shelter. They contacted us because they were concerned that Bobby had been at the shelter for a very long time, probably not adopted because he is older, large, and black. Lots of people missed out on a great dog! He is lots of fun and very loving!


Britney is our newest addition to the Squad. She is a blond shepherd mix, who, as you can see, is quite a lover!


So give a Senior a 2nd chance.   Come and meet these oldies but goodie on Saturday at Unleashed by Petco, 5325 W Centinela Ave, Los Angeles 90045 from 10:30 – 3:00


Your Roving Reporter,





It’s all about FOOOOOD!

September 8, 2012

Looking for ways to help homeless dogs, but don’t necessarily have the time to volunteer or extra cash to donate to the cause?

We have a couple of great suggestions!

We all need to buy groceries, right?  Well, Ralph’s has a fabulous program for their Rewards Card members! It’s easy to sign up–just go to Once you have your Rewards Card, sign on to “my account” and then select “community rewards.”  Select “Dawg Squad” and a percentage of your Ralphs purchases will automatically be donated to the Squad! If you have previously signed up and designated Dawg Squad, remember you have to renew your designation each September!

And, we all need to get out and have a little fun and exercise too, right? Well, Sunday September 30th, Dawg Squad is having our annual fundraiser, “Bowling for Collars!” This is always a great family event, with bowling, great food, and fun! So, come on out, spend an afternoon bowling and help dogs at the same time!

Also, just a reminder that our adoption events are now held on Saturdays at

Unleased by Petco

5325 West Centinela Ave.  Los Angeles, CA 90045

This is a fabulous store, well stocked with a wide variety of pet food, treats, toys, and every accessory you’d want for your best friend! The staff is really friendly and helpful too!

We’ll be there from 10:00 to 3:00, so, please stop by and say Hi!

Your Roving Reporter,




It’s Hot, Hot, Hot

August 11, 2012

It’s really starting to get hot outside now, and that means we have to take extra care to keep our dogs comfortable, especially if they spend a lot of time outdoors. I thought it would be helpful to do a quick online search for tips to keep in mind:

If the dog must be kept in the yard during the hot parts of the day in the summer it is absolutely essential that there be a dark, shady place where the dog can escape from the blazing sun. A tree is probably not good enough. A ventilated dog house, or a pen with shade cover, or a covered patio is a must. Make sure that there is adequate shade at all times of the day that the dog is outside.

Dogs and Water
If the dog is outside, make certain that there is a good supply of clean water in a weighted dish (or two in different locations in case one gets knocked over anyway).

Keeping Dogs Cool
Some dogs enjoy water and can keep cool if a misting system is left on during the day, or if there’s a kiddy wading pool for them with a couple of inches of water in it where they can sit to cool off. Keep these in the shade, too. Sitting in a tub of 110 degree water won’t help the dog. Some people provide a sandbox with damp sand for the dog. Digging must be allowed in the sandbox–you’ll only frustrate a dog with a sandbox where digging is not permitted!

Dogs in the Pool
If your dog has access to your swimming pool or spa, make sure the dog is trained to get out of the pool. The dog needs to know how to get to the steps. If there are no steps or shallow areas, like in some lap pools, make sure the pool is fenced and locked so the dog can’t get in. Every year puppies and dogs drown in backyard pools because they could jump in, but they couldn’t get out.

Walking the Dog in Hot Weather
It’s best to walk your dog early in the morning or later in the evening, about an hour after the sun has gone down. That’s because not only is the temperature high, but the sidewalks will be too hot for the pads of the dog’s paws. They’ll burn. General rule: if the sidewalk is too hot for you to walk barefoot, it is too hot for your dog to walk on. If you choose to walk your dog in the summer, hopefully early or late, bring along water and make frequent water stops for the dog. Don’t take long walks or over-exert in the summer. Consider these walks light exercise.

Dogs and Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is common in dogs. It can happen your own yard, or on a walk. Dogs cool themselves by panting. If panting does not reduce the body temperature the dog will develop heat stroke. Early signs of heat exhaustion include rapid breathing, heavy panting, and salivation. Other signs are fatigue, muscle tremors, and staggering. If you see a dog that is experiencing heat exhaustion, take the dog to a cool, shady place, and apply wet towels or cloths to help cool the dog’s body down. Try to give the dog small amounts of water, and immediately call a vet.

Dogs and the Sun
Dogs get sunburned. Especially dogs with short hair or little hair on some parts of their bodies. Keep them out of the sun or use a sunscreen designed for children.

Hiking with the Dog in Hot Weather
Like to hike with your dog? Please do it very early in the morning. Carry plenty of water, and make it the easy hike, please.

Dogs Breeds That Don’t Like Heat
Overweight and older dogs will have more difficulty with the heat. As far as breeds are concerned, it is generally accepted that snub-nosed dogs, like boxers, bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, Lhasa apsos and shih tzus have poor panting mechanisms, and so are more susceptible to being affected by heat. These should be indoor dogs, and should not be kept in the yard during the day. They should spend their days lounging in air conditioned comfort. Dogs with heavy coats can be trimmed for the summer, but not shaved bare or else they’ll have a hard time insulating themselves and will be prone to sunburn and other skin irritations.

Dogs and Summer Exercise
It’s never a good idea to exercise your dog by having him run alongside your bicycle. If for some reason you do this from time to time, please don’t do it in hot weather.

Dogs in the Car
If you are going to run some errands, and it’s 100 degrees outside, and the dog wants to come along in the car, please do him a favor and leave him home. If for some reason you have to take him along, do not ever leave him in the car without the A/C on. Even with the windows cracked, that car will heat up fast enough to cause brain damage or death in just a few minutes.

So, all of us at the Squad hope you and your pets are having a fun, relaxing summer!

And please note that this Saturday August 11th only, The Squad will be showing our dawgs at a new site: Unleashed by Petco. They are located in Ladera Shopping Center at 5325 W. Centinela Blvd., Los Angeles, 90045. We’ll be there from 10:00 – 2:30. Hope you can stop by!

Keep Cool!

Helen, Your Roving Reporter


April 25, 2011
Not Just An Old Dog Condition

By Jon Bernstein, DVM

We humans aren’t the only ones who can suffer from arthritis. Our dogs can get it too and it can be caused by several issues. Arthritis is technically any inflammation of any joint. There are several types of arthritis including infectious, autoimmunity, injury and degeneration. There are three joints in dogs that are most commonly affected; the hip, the knee, and the elbow.
Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition wherein the “socket” is shallow and the “ball” doesn’t fit tightly. Over time, boney changes occur which results in osteoarthritis. Dogs can also have developmental problems with the elbow. The elbow is a complex joint with 3 bones meeting in a very precise manner. If dysplasia (abnormal development) occurs in this joint, severe lameness can occur.

The knee commonly can have one of two conditions. Dislocating patella (knee caps) is hereditary and can cause pain and lead to inability to use the limb. The other common abnormality is due to tearing of a cruciate ligament. This is an acutely painful condition that will lead to a degenerative joint.

There is treatment for all of these joint problems. Some are surgical and some medical. In all cases, early diagnosis affords a better outcome.

If you see your dog limping, or having trouble getting up from a sitting or lying down position, take him/her to the vet. The earlier this condition can be diagnosed the better!


April 24, 2011

Important Facts You Need to Know

By  Jon Bernstein, DVM

“My dog has fleas” is not solely an aid for tuning string instruments. Unfortunately, it is a statement of fact for many Southern Californians. These tiny insects are responsible for making the lives of pets and their owners miserable. Fleas can cause irritation from a bite, but they are often responsible for more severe reactions.

Many animals develop allergies to flea saliva and this results in widespread skin irritation, not restricted to the area that was bitten. The itching is often so severe that many dogs wear their front teeth down to the gums seeking some relief.
There are approximately 2,200 types of fleas in the world, but only four are of significance in the U.S.A. Of these four, Ctenocephalides felis is by far the biggest problem for our pets.

To attempt flea eradication, it is helpful to understand the life cycle of the flea. In order to lay eggs, a female flea needs to ingest blood. After feeding, she will lay 20-50 eggs per day and can live for 3-4 months. Once on a host, the flea will spend the rest of its life there ingesting blood and laying eggs. White eggs are laid on the hair, but quickly fall off. Within a week, the eggs hatch into little white caterpillar-like larvae.

These larvae feed on organic matter in the ground, carpet, or bedding. The main food source for the larvae is flea droppings, which contain partially digested blood. The pet’s sleeping area is the best place for larvae to develop. After 5-11 days, the larvae spins a cocoon, which is a safe hideout since it is resistant to many environmental threats, as well as to flea control chemicals.

These pupae are ready to hatch in 1-4 weeks, but may lie dormant for up to 6 months. They hatch in response to stimuli in the environment, such as touch, warmth, carbon dioxide, or vibration. This “trick” is the basis for a hungry horde of fleas welcoming the family home when returning from a vacation. These newly emerged adult fleas have only 3 objectives: find a host; suck their blood; and reproduce!

For every 5 fleas you see on your pet, you can assume that there are 10 pupae, 35 larvae, and 50 eggs in the environment. For this reason, flea control needs to be systematic and continuous. There are effective and safe products available to eliminate fleas. If you still see fleas after treating your pet, it does not mean the fleas are resistant or the product is no good. Consult your veterinarian to help formulate an effective flea control program.