Darby, the Demodex Boy

We took in a new foster tonight.  This is Darby.  He has a horrible case of demodex after being rescued from the streets as a stray.   We will make sure this beautiful boy gets back to 100% healthy and finds hi forever home!


Here are the videos of him on his first steps towards a clean bill of health and his forever home, he also got to meet the crew already 🙂


Darby just got his first bravecto pill so he is officially on his road to his healthy and happy new life.  If you want to follow Darby’s progress follow us on twitter and/or the hashtag #darbysroadtorecovery


My DIY Lure Course Failure(so far)

I spent the better part of last night brainstorming ways that I could make the dogs a lure course after my girlfriend tagged me to watch a video of one of our fosters going through one at a recent event”


The logistics of it didn’t seem that hard to me.  Use something like:


To guide the string around the yard, and figure out a way to get the string moving.  Seems simple in theory right?  Well, as I laid in bed last night I thought that using some sort of dowel or bit with the string wrapped around once then attaching that to a drill would do the trick.  Here is the result of that initial idea:


As you can see it did not perform as planned.  The string wouldn’t catch on the bit, and when it finally did the result was a lot of useless fishing string!

The hooks in the trees worked really well, I attached some blue ribbon to the middle and pulled it around manually to see if the dogs would like it.  I had some good laughs watching Sully scare himself when he would run into the fishing string or when I would reverse the direction back at him and they all were chasing it.  So seeing that he and the other dogs would really like the course if I could figure out how to get it to work I rededicated myself to doing just that.

My next thought was that our old electric weed trimmer would still be functional and if I could figure out a way to attach it to the rope we would be golden.  I took all of the rusted screws out and took the head completely apart to see what I was working with.   The motor still works but I couldn’t figure out how to get the top black part off.  “What the heck, lets give it a shot anyway”, I thought…..

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Strike 2 with some injuries to boot!

I was getting no where with trying to mechanize my latest contraption so I decided to go old school.  What else could possibly be better than an old fishing reel for this job?!  The only drawback is that I would have to spin it manually and that’s no big deal.  I didn’t consider that the old fishing reel…is old.  It’s all rusted and gunked up inside so that the spool won’t even spin!

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I’m now severely injured 😛 and frustrated at this point, so I decided to take a break and share my failure with the world

My next idea is to cut out the middle man.  Attach the spool of fishing line to the motor of the old weed trimmer, put it in a box, and make it so it just winds up the line, which I will have to re-thread through the course everytime, but hey, at least it will work and the dogs will have some fun.  I figure I can make the course part longer so that the dogs will still have a lot of running to try to catch the lure.  I will let you guys know how it goes!

The Dreaded Nail Clippers


Trimming nails can be, and often is, extremely stressful for both the dog and the owner!  Coral was no different from most other dogs in that she didn’t like her feet touched, let alone, held and clipped. So, after quite a bit of trial and error with the rest of the crew, and some research on best practices, we have landed on a method for doing nails that alleviates the stress of nail trimming in the long run.

The way that  has worked best for our dogs is slowing down the process and helping thme, and us,  form a positive association with having their nails done.  This type of “teamwork”, where dog and human are putting faith in one another with positive results, also builds trust and strengthens the bond between them.

The main focus of our plan is to make sure that every experience our pup has with the nail clippers is a positive one.  The video below is the second time I’ve sat down to clip Coral’s nails.  As you can see it makes her very uncomfortable and I am constantly treating and praising her while I’m positioning her to get to her nails and trim them safely(more to come on this in later posts).

Our first time I just had the clippers in my hand and kept giving her bite size treats, as well as praise, for about 2 minutes before I even touched her feet.  After that I just played “gimme your paw” for a bit with her while teasing her nails with the opposite hand, to get her used to me touching them.  She pulled her leg back the first few times when I started to try to get the clippers around the nail. This is ok and we should never use force to keep a hold of the dogs foot/leg if she is dead set on pulling away.  This will just cause her to react with more fear/discomfort, which we want to avoid at all costs.

In the video below you can see that Coral pulls her leg away and I let her go, reassure her that it is all going to be ok, and give her a treat.  After that I resume the process and would have continued to do the same if she pulled away again.  Patience is key, dogs are great at sensing frustration from our body language, so I make sure I’m in the right mindset before I begin.  I also go somewhere quiet, without distractions, to make sure I have her full attention on me and what we are doing.

As with all things when a dog is afraid or unsure, I always err on the side of doing less rather than trying to push the dog too far before he/she is ready.

The first time we sat down to try to do Coral’s nails, I only did one.  This time she was much, much more comfortable so I decided to do two.  As you can see I probably could have done more, but stopping and making a fuss over how awesome she did will build that positive association in her brain for the next time!

Please comment below with any stories or methods that you have found work for you and your dog!


Boo Boo’s Odd Food Behavior

Ever since she was little girl with a head way too big for her body, Boo has had a behavioral tick that is baffling to me.  Every now and again, regardless of how much she likes her food, she will only take a few bites.  She will then proceed to look at me like I am crazy when I tell her to finish up.  It’s like she is saying “Dad, I have to watch my figure, I can’t eat all that!”.

At first I would get worried that something was wrong with her.  A dog not wanting to eat is a surefire sign that something is wrong.  But I could set my clock by this personality quirk, every 3 weeks she will just, out of the blue, take 2 or 3 bites and not want to finish.

The part that makes me laugh is that she will go and stand guard over her non eaten food if the other dogs come sniffing around.  She doesn’t do so aggressively, she will just stand in front of her food bowl and give the other dogs the stink eye…it really is comical to watch.

Here’s the look:

“Dad, beach season is coming up, I can’t eat ALL of that!”


The Labyrinth Crew


These beautiful babies were 5 days old when they came into our home and rescue.  Due to unavoidable circumstances their Mom had to be euthanized by animal services, but being the amazing people that they are,  they reached out to our rescue to see if there was anything we could do.

It just so happened that we had Mama Irelyn and her babies, who were just a couple of weeks older than these guys, in our upstairs bedroom.  My girlfriend suggested that we try to introduce these 4 to Irelyn and see if she would adopt them.  I have to admit that I was severely skeptical that it would work and wasn’t sure that we should try, but because my gf had spent so much time with her, I decided to trust her judgment and went along with the plan.

Boy was I wrong!

I have to give my girlfriend a lot of credit for thinking ahead and believing in the dog she had taken care of for a month.  She even took a blanket that was with Ireyln and her puppies with her to animal services.  The new pups rode back wrapped in the blanket to get their smell all over it as well.   She used a basket to carry the new babies, still wrapped up in the blanket, into the room and, being the amazing dog that Mama Irelyn is, as soon as she heard one of the babies cry, she couldn’t get over to the basket fast enough.  Here are the pictures of the first few moments of Mama Ireyln accepting the puppies as her own.(Her actual puppies are in there too!)


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And these are our “orphaned four” today at 5 weeks old.  They will be available for adoption in 3 weeks(right around easter)


WAY TO GO MAMA IRELYN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We call them the Labyrinth crew because they are all named after characters from the 80’s Classic movie “The Labyrinth”






Sir Didymus




Demodectic mange, What is it and how to treat it.

Demodectic mange is what is commonly referred to as “mange”.  It is an infestation of microscopic mites that take up residence near the hair follicles in most mammals.

Demodectic mange is a common ailment for our canine companions.  Fortunately with recent medical breakthroughs the treatment is much less painful for our furbabies and just as, if not more, effective than the treatments of the past.

I recently participated in a thread on reddit where redditor leetee91 has a dog with a persistent case of mange.  The treatment she is on up til now has been a pill called bravecto, which is normally a flea/tick guard, every 3 months.  Bravecto has been shown to kill demodectic mites, and therefore, to be an extremely effective treatment for mange.

The problem this particular dog was experiencing was a recurrence of infestation when taken off of bravecto.  While it is rare, some dogs do have a genetic predisposition for becoming re-infested.  This is because normally dogs that have had a demodectic infestation will build up an immune response to the mites and will be able to check them spreading again(most dogs have a minute amount of mites in their fur that never cause problems)

In this case I did some research and found that tweaking the treatment plan for worms, fleas, and ticks would serve to also combat the recurrence of the demodectic infestation.  The dog is currently on trifexis and has been getting a bravecto treatment every 3 months.

In the south, where the lone star tick can be found, the treatment cycle for bravecto is 8 weeks.  Anywhere else it is 12, rather than treating twice for fleas/ticks(which is part of treating with trifexis) a switch to sentinel for heartworm prevention and bravecto for flea/tick would also allow leetee91 to treat the demodectic as well.

In our rescue we have had a few dogs that have come to us with awful cases of mange.  We have treated them all with bravecto(8 week cycles because of the ticks and we are in an area where they are found) and we have had amazing results.  Here are some before and afters of a couple of the dogs we have had. 10655348_10152794609608928_665518884183284743_o 11168871_10153581420438928_2036039948263379370_o 11828636_10153537646583928_6427395179381862119_njaycejayce after  jayce1  sloane sloane1sloane after