Friday, October 30, 2009

The Greatest Dog in the History of Dogs — Huckleberry Finn by Laura Tidwell

An old friend knew of my interest in owning a Great Pyrenees and alerted me in the summer of 1998 to a couple of Pyr pups who had just been rescued. I understand that folks had been trying to catch the mother and her pups wandering on some old farm land. The mother got away, abandoning two of the puppies. The pups were only about ten days old; they were malnourished; and they were infested with parasites, internal and external.

I made arrangements to meet the puppies in their foster home (foster parents Lynn Provident and Jeff Davis are two of God's protectors of animals here on earth), and I had an opportunity to bottle feed the four-pound puppies, cradling them over my forearm. Over the course of the next few weeks, I diligently attempted to convince the puppies' foster parents that I was worthy of adopting one – the mischievous one then called "Rex." Before he was ready for adoption, though, Rex's health took a nosedive. He was hospitalized, and the vet wasn't sure he would live. But his foster mom never gives up when it comes to the life of a dog. She persevered; he persevered; and finally he was ready to come home with me. Oh, how I loved that dog; we were as close to soul mates as a dog and a person could be.

I named him Huckleberry Finn, and he proved himself remarkably like his namesake. I like to say he was “delightfully rotten,” certainly capable of civility, but occasionally delighting in absolute mischief. A typical Pyr, he was an independent thinker. You'd tell him to do something and could see him considering whether that was something he actually wanted to do. When we signed up for obedience class, my colleagues wagered how quickly we'd be expelled. (In the end, we did graduate. In fact, we got a standing ovation during our final exam when I commanded Huckleberry to come and he came!) When we were in public, he was remarkably well-behaved. He was friendly with other dogs, loving with humans, and extremely gentle with children. I later fostered another Pyr puppy, and I adopted him as a result of, in large part, Huckleberry's love for him. Huckleberry and Klondike became inseparable. They wrestled and played, they lounged on the couch, they snuggled on the hearth. Huckleberry lived in a wonderful balance of good behavior and mischief – resting his head on the dining room table during dinner, relaxing at concerts in the park, stealing a hot dog from my boss' hand at a company event, serving as a terrific companion on long walks. (Klondike was lacking in mischief; he was just along for the ride.) It was a pretty good life.

Our Klondike had always been a bit "sickly," so although he was younger than Huck Finn it wasn't a great surprise that we lost him first. My sweet Huckleberry had a very human reaction to Klondike's death. The two of us moped and mourned for months. Right around the time Huckleberry returned to "normal" I came home to find pools of blood all over the floor and splattered on the walls, and the blood was coming from Huck's nose. We consulted our vet, and we suspected that Huck had broken a blood vessel in his nose. Things were fine for a few months…until it happened again. Our vet did probes, x-rays, biopsies, and blood work, all of which were inconclusive. Ultimately, we went to University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine for a CT-scan. There, clear as day, was a massive tumor literally consuming his nasal passages (nasal adenocarcinoma).

After many tears and much discussion, my husband and I opted against radiation. In the end, I couldn't bear to abandon him for nearly two months while he was undergoing what seemed to be unbearable treatment. Instead, we tried to combat the spread of the tumor with medication. The UT Vet told me he wouldn't last a month, but I didn't believe them. I knew our time was short, and I did everything I could to give him as much enjoyment as possible. We went to the dog park; we went for countless rides in the convertible; we visited his human friends; we went on long walks; I prepared a myriad of home-made food to help him keep weight on, and when he tired of that, we went to the McDonald's drive-thru for plain hamburgers; and, of course, he had a gob of peanut butter with every pill he had to take. His quality of life was pretty darn good. Huckleberry Finn gave me a wonderful birthday gift that year – hanging around long enough to spend the day with me. Five days later, though, his body decided it had enough. Huck Finn died on November 21, 2008 more than a year after he first showed signs of cancer. He was ten years old.

I love my other dogs immensely, and I'll always have dogs. But I doubt I'll ever love another dog the way I loved Huckleberry Finn. He was the greatest dog in the history of dogs.

Solar’s Journey by Michele Handte

When he was just shy of 3 years old, Solar came to live with me. Prior to that, he lived with my best friend, Kate, who happens to be his breeder. Solar always loved me from when he was a little puppy and would turn himself inside out when I showed up. In fact, I wasn’t allowed to be near the show ring when he was being shown because he always tried to leave the ring to get to me.

When he was just over two and had finished his championship, which in itself was a harrowing experience, Kate decided that she was going to place him because he would get more attention in another home. I had always told her that I wanted him if she ever decided to do that. Well, the time came, but I wasn’t in a position to bring him to my house with the six dogs I already had. So very reluctantly, I told her to give him to the other home she had for him. I knew the person, as did Solar, and knew they would take good care of him.

It was important that Solar go to someone with whom he was at least familiar. Why? Well, when he was being shown in conformation, Kate let a handler take him home for the evening because he was showing Solar all weekend. She thought it would be a good chance for them to get used to each other, and she was staying in the area. When the handler tried to take Solar out of his crate, Solar bolted and wouldn’t come close enough for them to slip their hands under his collar. By the time Kate got there, he had run off into the woods. For six days they looked for him. There had been sightings of him near the high school, which is where he seemed to want to stay. The kids started throwing food to him, but he would always run away if they tried to approach him. And of course every time Kate went to the school, he was no where to be found. Finally, on the sixth day when Kate was making one final loop before having to drive back to Pennsylvania for the night, she spotted him at the edge of the woods. When she called him, he hesitated and then realized it was her. Talk about jumping for joy!!! He was SO happy to find someone he knew!

As it turned out, Solar’s new mom ran into some tough times about six months after taking him and had to give Solar back to Kate. Kate had him for a couple of months when I decided that I needed another agility dog because Jagr absolutely hated the ring, and I just couldn’t put him through it any more.

It was at that point that Solar came to live with me and became my competition dog. He absolutely loved to do anything with me, whether it was obedience, agility, Rally, herding -- it didn’t matter. He was my dog and my dog alone. Getting along with the rest of the pack wasn’t an issue. He always respected every one of them and never offered any challenges.

For some reason, he decided that he liked to bark at my husband, Jack, when he would come home or if Jack got up to move around the house. I joked that Solar was obsessive compulsive, just like Jack. Jack really isn’t except when it comes to exercise. You don’t want to live with him if he hasn’t had his workout! But the two of them loved each other in a unique way. Jack always said that Solar’s last breath would be woofing at him.

Solar went on to be a great partner in competition and earned his OA, OAJ, NJP, NAP, CD, RAE2, PT, JHD, CGC and TDI. In addition to competing, he was a therapy dog who visited nursing homes routinely. He even did agility and obedience demonstrations at the nursing home in the summer time out in the courtyard. The smiles he brought to the elderly residents were priceless. It was so difficult to go back there after Solar passed because they all wanted to know where he was. Solar and his son, Shaman, were quite the hit with all the folks there.

Solar retired from herding (sheep) and agility in 2007 when arthritis started to creep up on him. We were still herding ducks and working on a started title when he had to have his leg amputated. Solar’s ducks haven’t been worked since.

On December 7, 2008, our world changed. We were out for a potty break at an agility trial, which I was chairing, when another dog tried to grab him by the neck. Solar tried to get away but slipped on the ice and let out a yelp. He came up lame on his back right leg. I thought it might have been a pulled muscle because he had been limping but responded well to massage therapy that weekend. Besides the initial yelp, he never cried or whined. So we went home and iced his leg and tried to keep him quiet. By Monday morning, it was very evident in his eyes that I needed to see a vet right away. So off to our vet we went. She asked to put him under so she could get better films. I agreed, so that meant I had to leave him. Then the call came – Solar had a badly fractured femur; and we needed to go to Pittsburgh right away.

On the drive down, I had a terrible feeling in my gut that he had cancer; but I tried to think positively. When Dr. Payne came into the room after looking at the x-rays, my worst nightmare came true – osteosarcoma. He explained that the only way to make Solar comfortable and try to stop the cancer was to amputate the leg. I didn’t hesitate. He couldn’t live in the severe pain he was experiencing, and there was no way I would put him down because of this. By this time it was late afternoon so they put him on a morphine drip and did the surgery the next morning, December 9, 2008. His chest x-ray was clear then.

Just a month prior, Dr. Payne had looked at x-rays sent by my vet and diagnosed osteoarthritis in his hips. Solar had been limping off and on for a couple months, and I wanted to find out why. When I reminded him that he had seen x-rays 4 weeks ago, he said he knew and just looked at them again that day. There was nothing that indicated OS on those films. My hope was that we caught it early enough.

On December 22, 2008, he had his staples removed, and we met with the oncologist. She would do 4-6 rounds of carboplatin, chest x-rays that day, half way through and at the end of the treatment. So Solar started his chemo with a clear chest x-ray on December 22, 2008. His next treatment was January 13, 2009. On January 21, 2009, I was concerned about panting at night so requested another chest x-ray. It was still clear. On February 4, 2009 Solar was scheduled for his third round of chemo, but his blood levels were too low. We waited another week, and he was able to have dose three on February 18, 2009. Dose four was March 5, 2009 and dose five was March 26, 2009. The final dose was scheduled for April 15, but his blood count was too low. Worse than that, they found three lung mets ranging in size from .8 to 1.3 cm. Our options were a couple of rounds of reduced dosage of adriamycin or go with the Metronomic protocol (Metacam, doxycyclinel & leukeran). I say reduced dosage because Solar’s MDR1 gene was mutant/normal, thus he couldn’t take all types of drugs. Adriamycin is one of the drugs on the list to avoid. After much thought, I decided it was too risky to do that and I thought I wanted to go with the Metronomic protocol, but then decided that a purely homeopathic route was better for Solar. I made that decision because of the change in his attitude when he came off the chemo. He seemed so much happier and had a great appetite. I just wanted him to be happy and continue to eat well for however long we had with him.

We started acupuncture on him, which he really seemed to enjoy. That’s the only vet from whom he wouldn’t try to hide behind his mom when the vet came into the room. We continued those treatments about every 10 days up until five days before he died. He also enjoyed his massage therapy and Reiki with his buddy, Maria. Every time she worked on him, there was such a complete calmness and contentment that came over him.

Solar went everywhere with me and missed a trip only once. That wasn’t a happy weekend for him or Jack. From the moment I left, he lay in front of the door and wouldn’t move. He wouldn’t even go to bed with Jack. Then it started ... He howled most of the night at the door. When he finally stopped howling, he whined. I promised him I would never leave him again, and I didn’t. He went to St. Louis several times with me and made many weekend trips to lots of different places. He would never leave my side. Even when Kate, my best friend, would try to take him out, he wouldn’t go. He would only leave with me.

His last trip was to Pittsburgh with Jack and me. It was a very special weekend just a couple of weeks before he left us. It was on that trip that I knew the end was coming soon. I could see him slowing down tremendously. We spent a lot of time just sitting by the river watching the boats and people go by. He was really content and happy.

On June 22, Kate and Solar’s girlfriend, Riot, came to stay overnight with us. I asked her to come and say goodbye because I knew the time was coming soon. Solar had a good day that day and enjoyed seeing both of them. Riot and Solar gave us Shaman four years ago.

It was the next day when Solar struggled to walk and started walking in circles that Jack and I discussed letting him go. His vet knew how much he hated going there so she agreed to come to our home. The decision was made and the appointment set for Friday, June 26, 2009.

Solar had a horrible night on Thursday. He just couldn’t stop coughing and wasn’t able to walk at all. We tried to reach the vet to come that night, but she wasn’t around. But I guess it was meant to be that way. Once the coughing settled, he had a peaceful night. And I had some very quiet and reflective time with him on Friday morning. It was so peaceful. I told him how very much I loved him and how much I was going to miss him, and we talked about all the fun things we’d done together and about him being able to see Jagr again. There were so many things to talk about in so little time. I could feel him hugging me as he pressed himself against me on the couch. I told him it was ok to leave me and that he would always be alive in my heart. Then it was time. He passed peacefully in my arms with his dad by my side.

The most beautiful picture of him is hanging in our family room watching over us every day. Nothing can replace his love for me, but seeing that picture helps. I have never had a dog love me with such intensity and with all his heart and soul as Solar loved me. I hope I was worthy of that love.

I love and miss you with all my heart, Solar.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Salty’s Badge of Courage

It's rare that people who post to our blog share the graphic nature of their dog's treatment in photos, and I'd like to thank Lonna Coleman and Salty for their permission to allow us to post some of Salty's radiation photos. They might be disturbing for younger readers but we feel they are necessary. All too often veterinarians can unwillingly downplay the effects of radiation (and chemotherapy). As Lonna wrote to me in her email, "While considering radiation as one of the cancer treatments for Salty, I really wanted to see photos of the effects of radiation on the skin but found nothing. So, I was determined to document it during Salty's treatment with the intention of sharing it with others. Our experience has been that vets tend to downplay pet cancer and cancer treatment, possibly for the sake of pet owners. But with me and everyone I've met along the way who have pets with cancer, the fear is 'fear of the unknown.'"

Thankfully, Salty is doing very well, as you'll see in his photos. We can all learn from his experience, and I thank Lonna for contributing this detailed blog of his treatment.

A Tail of Courage over Cancer By Lonna Coleman and Salty

At 7 years old, a lump became visible on Salty’s right hip. My heart dropped! From observation only, our vet diagnosed it as a Lipoma. A sense of relief! A needle biopsy revealed a few round cells. Despair!!! Histopathy of the lump, after removal, reported it as a Grade 1 Soft Tissue Sarcoma, a tumor originating from the nerve sheath. Utter despair!!!!!

Because of the location, the right hip, one of the most common sites to administer a vaccine, our vet believes a vaccination was the cause of Salty’s tumor. [Lonna adds that, "Since Salty's tumor was caused by a vaccine, I've been doing everything possible to support The Rabies Challenge Fund.] I’ve since learned that, in regard to cancer and injection sites, it is extremely important to have our vet map out injection sights on our pet’s chart each and every time they administer a vaccine.

Because Salty’s tumor was in a difficult position, the surgeon was not able to excise the tumor with wide enough margins, typically curative for peripheral nerve sheath tumors. So, radiation therapy was recommended.

We were left with a decision to leave it and have it return within a year as a much more aggressive tumor (possibly a Grade 2 that could metastasis to his lungs), or treat the tumor with radiation, giving Salty only a 16% chance of the cancer returning in 5 years.

We soon discovered that deciding on a treatment was much more difficult than receiving the diagnosis, realizing that our decision would determine Salty’s life span and possibly affect his quality of life.

At times, we were leaning towards diet and supplements alone. But, with the exception of using Maitake mushrooms to successfully treat Lymphoma, there’s insufficient research using diet and supplements in treating cancer.

After considering these facts: Salty’s age, research proving that radiation treatment will give Salty an 84% chance of the tumor not returning within 5 years, and knowing that Salty jumps into everything head first with all of the joy and enthusiasm he can muster, we opted for radiation as well as diet and various supplements (with the exception of antioxidants and wormwood) to aid his body in its fight against cancer. We were told by our vet, as well as the oncologist, that both antioxidants and wormwood can block the effectiveness of the radiation.

In Salty’s case, the oncologist recommended 20 treatments in a period of 5 weeks. Our vet’s only concern was that Salty wouldn’t be the same dog after being anesthetized 20 times, once for each radiation treatment. But, after talking to the oncologist, our vet was extremely happy with both their procedure (an injection of Propofol, intubation and isoflurane gas), and the experience they have gained from performing such a vast number of anesthesias.

The total cost of Salty’s radiation treatments was $5562.40. And, because we didn’t have the money, it was a consideration, but definitely not the determining factor. We ended up applying the entire amount to our credit card.

Salty always entered the Portland Veterinary Oncology Center taking the place by storm, rushing in to meet and greet everyone in the building with his whole body wagging. And then, he led them down to the room containing the linear accelerator saying, "AWOOO" (his expression of ultimate joy) just before they "knocked him out". This “ritual” continued through all 20 treatments.

Each treatment took approximately 30 minutes, from the time Salty went with them until the time he was returned to me (ready to walk out of the building and jump into the car). The bulk of the time was taken up with putting him to sleep and waking him up (the radiation itself took only a matter of seconds).

The last 3 radiation treatments and the following two weeks were the hardest part for both Salty and I. When Salty started experiencing a lot of pain in the irradiated area after his 17th treatment, it was very hard to bring him in for the next 3 treatments, knowing it would hurt him even more after it was already hurting him so much. Salty was also beginning to show signs of a 2nd degree burn in the area of the incision where the tumor was removed. Over the next 3 days, this spread over the entire area. The extreme skin tenderness and the 2nd degree burn were the only side effects Salty experienced from the radiation treatments.

Several times a day, I needed to soak the area with Epsom salts and apply an all purpose salve from Wise Woman Herbals. It was too painful for Salty to accept the salve in the beginning, so I sprayed the area with refrigerated Aloe Vera until I could apply the salve.

Our greatest challenge was preventing Salty from licking the irradiated area, and it was vital that he didn’t so as not to affect the healing process. We were told that it was very important to prevent him from scratching, licking or chewing, since the skin in this area is easily injured. After several days of frustration and sleepless nights, I came up with a solution that worked, an E-collar AND a No Bite Collar because neither one of them worked alone!

It took almost 3 weeks after the final radiation treatment for the entire area to heal, and the only thing we are presently applying to his skin is Vitamin E. We were told that the side-effects of the radiation on the skin and coat of dogs receiving the same treatment can vary with each dog. So, we can only wait and see, but Salty’s hair has been coming in on the outer edges and slowly working its way towards the center (causing the area to become smaller as time goes by).

We’ve never regretted our decision, especially after meeting and talking with a lady who was going to the Oncology center during the same period of time. She was having her cat treated with radiation for a Soft Tissue Sarcoma as well. Her vet removed it once, it returned in 6 months, her vet removed it again, it returned in 3 months, her vet removed it again, it returned in 1 month. At that point, she opted for radiation treatment. I was told that Salty would have had the same case scenario if we didn’t choose radiation. After radiation, there’s only a 16% chance that the cancer will return in 5 years. We’re hoping that Salty will be within the 84%!

photos from top to bottom:

Salty at AKC Central Point 2009
Salty and friend
Salty's surgical/radiation wound
Wound healing nicely
"Open Jumpers"
"Open Weavers"
"I AM A Cancer Survivor!"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Kava and Taz by Laureen Straw

I had the pleasure of meeting Luke, Murphy and Hudson at the Berks County Animal Rescue League's "Carnival for the Animals" in the Reading, PA. area on October 11. Poor Luke didn't even have a chance to sit down at his booth with the boys before I approached him and bombed him with questions. He was very gracious and answered every one of them. I only recently learned about his adventure and the disease he is bringing so much attention to...cancer. I lost one of my Schipperkes, Kava, in June of this year and I have another one, Taz, who's days with us are numbered.

Luke asked that I email my story so here it is as best as I can tell it.........

My husband and I adopted Kava in March 2001 from the Berks County Animal Rescue League. I'll never forget the day I saw him. I went in to donate supplies and walked through to see the animals. There he was in a kennel as soon as I walked through the door. He had a squeaky toy in his cage and brought it over to me and dropped it at the door with the biggest doggy smile I had ever seen. I fell in love instantly and my husband and I adopted him. It was obvious he had a rough life until then. At the time, our vet estimated he was about 8 years old. When we brought him home, he and our other Schip, Taz, became buddies and our favorite thing to do was to go for walks together along the trails of Blue Marsh Lake.

Last October, Kava developed a tumor on his paw that was surgically removed and disintegrated so they could not conclusively tell if it was cancerous. After that, his weight started dropping and he managed to stay with us until June of this year. It wasn't proven but we are all pretty sure it was cancer. He was always such a happy boy and gave us so many years of joy. Above is a picture of him from October of last year at Halloween.

Now, Taz has a large inoperable tumor on his side and is also losing weight rapidly. Today is his birthday...He is 17 years old! Here is a picture of him with his party hat right after having some special treats to celebrate. We know our time with him is limited and every day is precious as it was with Kava. We take comfort in knowing Kava is waiting for him at the Rainbow Bridge where they will be together again.

I lost both parents and other family members to cancer. It is a disease I would like to see a cure for in my lifetime for both people and animals. As I told Luke I admire him and the boys for drawing awareness and support for a most worthwhile cause. I wish him, Murphy and Hudson a safe journey!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bon by Linda M. Scarborough

I wanted to share the following story about my faithful companion. I became aware of you and your efforts today and I can't thank you enough for what you are doing for canine cancer. It is a passion for me and Malcolm's story has touched me deeply. I hope my story will inspire you and your efforts! Thank you!!!

My golden retriever is nine years old now. March 13, 2009 was his second anniversary as a cancer survivor.

In January 2007, I came home from work one evening and was sitting in my computer chair. My dog, sitting facing me, was still excited that I was finally home. As he was panting with his mouth open, I noticed a lump between his cheek and his jaw on the inside of his mouth. I called my husband to the room since I had never noticed this before. Upon getting a second opinion from my husband, we made an appointment to see our vet that weekend. Our vet said the lump needed to be removed and biopsied. Following the outpatient surgery, he said further steps would have to be taken if the area grew back. We watched and waited. The report on the biopsied area came back "inconclusive." Bonham Lance, "Bon" as we call him, returned for his check up after a few weeks and the vet confirmed that the lump was growing again.

Our veterinarian referred us to the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. I started talking with my friends and family that had experienced treatment with their pets at that facility. Based on their experiences, I prepared to spend several hours meeting with experts that could hopefully diagnose and cure my beloved pet. A young student named "Maggie" seemed very compassionate as she examined Bon. Then a young man examined him and didn't hesitate to tell us that Bon would be staying with them. He would have surgery the following day to remove his lower jaw. They told us that they would try to leave his left canine tooth if possible. I wasn't prepared to hear that we would be leaving him and that surgery would be performed so soon. My emotions got the best of me in that stark examining room and the tears continued to flow as I drove back home without my dear dog.

Once I got home, I began to research canine mouth cancer online. I saw some photographs that showed dogs with their tongue dangling out of the side of their mouth. I also read that they would drool and slobber as a result of this operation. I am thankful that I prepared myself for the cosmetic changes that could occur as a result of this operation.

As I sat nervously at my desk the next day, Maggie called frequently to give me updates on his surgery and his recovery progress. I just kept telling myself that "he is young and strong and he will be okay." Maggie finally revealed that they had to remove his canine tooth in order to get enough of a margin on each side to assure that the cancer had been completely removed.

Bon continued to make great strides with his recovery and we were actually able to pick him up a few days earlier than expected. It took about two weeks before we received the official results of his surgery, but we finally learned that all of the cancer had been successfully removed.

The next few months were learning experiences for all of us. He wore a "lampshade" as we called it, but it was actually an "E-collar" to prevent him from scratching his mouth while it continued to heal.

When he was a puppy, we had struggled to find a food that he liked. He had a sensitive stomach and sensitive skin and we settled on a special dry food that seemed to agree with him.

Throughout the first seven years of his life, he had never really had a big appetite like most dogs. Changes followed his operation. The Blacksburg vet hospital sent us home with canned food and instructed us to make the food into small balls for him to eat. It was very discouraging at first as he struggled to learn how to chew and manipulate this new food in his mouth. His mouth would go one way and his tongue would go another. It reminded me of a young child eating solid food for the first time. It was not a neat process. He didn't seem to have any desire for water and we worried about dehydration. After consulting with the vet, they instructed us to put chicken broth in the water to create a stronger desire for him to drink. We were also told that he was actually getting a sufficient amount of water from the canned food and that he may not drink as much as when he was eating dry food. We eventually weaned him off of the chicken broth and now he drinks regularly and has the best appetite that he has ever had in his life.

I found myself always looking for easier ways for him to eat. I purchased a kitchen gadget used for making melon balls and I use this to scoop his food into edible meatballs from the can. I also discovered a large plastic, elevated feeder with two wide bowls. Not only has this made it easier for him to eat, it has made it easier for me to clean.

We had been living in Roanoke, Virginia during this time. A week after Bon's surgery, my husband found out that we would be relocating to Richmond with his job. My first thought was that we would be forced to leave our wonderful vet. We moved to Richmond in June 2007 and I spent the first few weeks in our new city visiting dozens of veterinary facilities throughout the area to find the perfect place that could accommodate our dog for boarding and care. I am happy to report that we have been very pleased with our final decision.

Last year on one of our daily walks following his surgery, a lady yelled at us to see if our dog would like a drink from her water hose. While we had quickly adapted to his dangling tongue, it was apparent that others, like our neighbor, thought he looked extremely thirsty.

Most recently while we sat in the waiting room at the veterinary office, one man commented to his wife that our dog had the longest tongue that he had ever seen. We never stop to elaborate on why our dog has a long tongue as we have come to overlook this characteristic that makes him look a bit different than other dogs.

We will celebrate his tenth birthday in November and hope to have our wonderful companion around for many more years to come!