Category Archives: Loss and Grieving

Did You Know

It is National Pet ID Week

April 15-21, 2018

IMG_9609 2We embrace the microchip concept for our OwyheeStar puppies. Every pup leaves with the AKC Reunite Microchip implanted. All our puppy family must do is to register their chip (pay a small lifetime fee) with AKC Reunite. Honestly, if you don’t register the microchip is probably not going to do much good.

Let’s not forget the 4th of July and the hoopla associated with it fills shelters to the brim. These hardworking folks do their best to get every pup back to their family; however, it is an arduous process. This one step does more than anything to get your pup back to and along with the ID collar increases your odds of return astronomically.

Did you register the microchip? We sincerely hope you did. Here is more information from AKC Reunite. Our experience has been positive–they are accommodating.

 


If a neighbor finds your dog, a pet ID tag is the fastest and most efficient way to be reunited with your pet. However, ID tags can fade or fall off, or your pet’s collar can be removed. This is when an enrolled microchip with up-to-date contact information links you and your pet to help ensure you are reunited with your lost or stolen pet.

Save $2 on replacement collar tags and dog collars with coupon code Tag2 through April 21, 2018.

Dewey

The Heavens Weep with You!

29750131_1937474369598816_3743426950965120120_oWe have almost twelve years worth of special memories with our Dewey dog, but we had to say goodbye to him earlier this week. 😢 He was an awesome, gentle (but protective), and special dog. We took him nearly everywhere we went. He was part of our family each time our family grew, and the kids loved him so much. Noellie called him “Big Brother Dog.” 💕We miss him so much.

Memories Captured

Breeder Comment

We remember so well when you took him home. Thanks for letting us know. We weep with you. He can never be replaced–as you well know. We appreciate the life you gave him. It was the best!

In the News

Puppy Carryon

     ~ Common Sense Lacking

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Sen. Marisol Alcantara speaks to protesters demanding justice for Kokito outside LaGuardia Airport. To her right is one of the dog’s owners, 11-year-old Sophia Ceballos.
 (ANDREW SAVULICH/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

Cliff and I have watched, listened, and been saddened by the recent news of the United Airlines craziness. Honestly, I have carried a puppy home on the airplane before. My ticket was with Delta; however, on one leg of the flight home, I was diverted to a United Flight. It was not necessarily a good experience. I received a less than welcome attitude and got a lecture about carryon protocol–it was a rather demeaning lecture. I bite my tongue because I needed to get home with the puppy.

Would I carry on again? Indeed I would. It is an excellent way to travel with a puppy. OwyheeStar has more clients than you can imagine who fly into Boise and bring their puppy home as their carryon. You might be shocked to hear us say it is much safer than a road trip. Avoiding exposure to the deadly Parvovirus is one of the reasons. Nevertheless, getting them home and off to a grand start with the least amount of stress (and risk) possible is essential.

What went wrong? United Airlines Flight Attendant told someone to put their dog in the overhead storage. How insane is that? Honestly, I would have gotten off the plane. I would have made a formal complaint. What is worse is this is a short-snouted dog. Anyone who has dealt with the airlines knows they ask about the breed and they have a specific protocol for these breeds who are prone to breathing issues. (OMG) This loss should not have happened–the owner has to protect the dog’s life always. You are responsible for the ultimate decisions whether you are at a Vet office, a dog park, or planning to fly with a puppy.

We are beyond saddened by this incident. The bulk of the blame is on the flight attendant. Whatever was she thinking? Nevertheless, we are the gatekeeper. You have to make sure your dog is safe. The carryon protocol has always been to use an appropriate airline approved bag which fits under the seat. We have put the bag under the seat for takeoff and landing. Otherwise, I held the bag on my lap–sometimes inserting my hand into the Sherpa Carrier. In twenty plus years of folks flying into to get the puppy as a carryon, there was one incident where the airline was being crazy. The person booked a flight home on another airline. The airline (not United) got a letter from this family who travels extensively with their dogs because they use them as therapy dogs.

Click here to read United Airlines response to this heartbreaking incident.

Two days later there was another mixup. This time due to a connecting flight error in Denver. Honestly, a large number of live animals fly without incident. Nonetheless, connecting flights increase the risk. The scenic route (via Japan) was a pretty significant mistake. Regardless, they were chartered to the new Kansas family awaiting their pet’s arrival. (OMG)

 

 

Gone

Dog Park in the Sky

~pass the kleenex

20180219_121115This is still very surreal for us, but I thought I needed to let you know that Devo has left us for the great dog park in the sky, where he will hopefully have tennis balls and sticks to play with until the end of time.

 

20180221_085019He was not feeling well Tuesday night, and first we thought it was just because he had gotten into something, but by 5:30 in the morning yesterday I could tell that something was seriously wrong, and took him into the only emergency vet in town.  He was having problems breathing and was very cold, and by the time I got there, he could not even move.  I was hoping it was bloat (treatable), but soon was given the news that it was much worse – a pericardial effusion, which likely meant cancer.  They performed a Pericardiocentesis, to relieve the fluid build up and waited for the cardiologist to do a more detailed exam.

After the initial procedure he seemed to be doing better (got up to greet me, tail wagging), so I went home to wait for the news.  A few hours later, the cardiologist called me and our worst fears were confirmed – he had a tumor in his heart (hemangiosarcoma).

And the fluid (blood) kept filling around his heart, so there was no point in even attempting treatment.

Surrounded By Those Who Loved Him Most

We pulled Montana out of school and went to go see him for our goodbyes.  He was surrounded by the people that loved him most on this planet, and we will miss him so terribly that it makes our hearts bleed too – but we know that we did the best we could for him, and I am happy we had him in our lives for 9+ years.

 

 

With grief and gratitude, ~Christine

Breeder Comment

We have spoken a few days back. There are no words to cover Sweet Devo’s departure. We are saddened to hear of the loss. Our heartfelt prayers extended your direction. Oh, Devo, you were much-loved.

Now

Hemi

     ~ Joins Turbo and Sophie

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Happier Times — Turbo, Hemi, and Sophie

I haven’t talked to you guys in quite a while and I thought I would drop you a line or two. Hope guys are doing well. We are doing pretty good here but tomorrow will mark 2 weeks since we had to put our Hemi down. She was 13.5 years and pretty lumpy and bumpy. Her arthritis was getting pretty bad and she developed a chronic cough with sometimes bloody phlegm.

Peaceful Exit

Our vet came out to the house and she went peacefully over the rainbow bridge.

Zoey and Magnum

 

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From the Archives — Zoey and Magnum enjoying life on the sofa

Zoey and Magnum are now settling in with the new adjustment. Who will be the boss now? They are saying. Zoey still drags Magnum around by the collar at times. Do I think she might be the boss? They are very much like siblings.

 

Final Thoughts

Putting Hemi down was such a hard thing to do but I knew it was time. She still ate well and did her business outside and still wanted to go on walks, short ones. She was on pain pills 3 times a day and Rimadyl twice a day. We wanted to say thank you for such beautiful blessings in our lives.

Breeder Comment

What can we say? The passing of Hemi is a huge loss, but we all knew it was only a matter of time. You gave her the best of everything. Of course, she endured the new whipper-snapper crew of Magnum and Zoey. It is good those two had each other. I am sure it gave Hemi a bit of relief.

Thank you, Monica. You folks are more than OwyheeStar clients. It is like extended family to us. We have a lot of history, and I still chuckle at the stories of Turbo’s antics. All the joy and fun and yet it has to come to this. It is how the world works. Anyhow, we sincerely hope that Zoey and Magnum live a long and healthy life. Thank you, again, for being loyal and so much more.

Dakota

Saying Goodbye

     ~Not Easy on Any Level

Green's Dakota2

Green's Dakota1You probably don’t remember us but we purchased our Weim from you nearly 14 years ago.  I wanted to let you know that we had to put our beloved Dakota down today.

You raise amazing Weims and a breed that has taken my heart away.  She was my best friend and wouldn’t have it any other way.  Thank you for allowing us to purchase her and I will always remember bringing home the purple collar puppy from your litter.

                                         ~ Nathan (February 9, 2018)

Breeder Comment

We do remember you, Nathan. We are so sad to hear that Dakota crossed over the rainbow bridge. There are no adequate words. I realize this news will touch many of our followers who dread the day this event visits their home. Others who have walked that path before you know firsthand the hole in the heart scenario left by such a departure. There is no avoiding it. The wonderful gift of sharing life with the Weimaraner never will last long enough for those of us addicted to this breed.

We appreciate receiving the news. We know you gave her the best of life. Thank you, for everything you did for Dakota.

 

Age

Your Weim’s Age 

      ~ in human years

 

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Dusty at 12.5 Years still looking cute

We’ve all see the charts that convert the canine companion’s age to the equivalent in human years. Recently, the last couple of days, I received one in my Email from the Farmer’s Almanac. You would think they would have it right; however, I knew it could not be accurate because they lump all dogs into the same chart. The AKC has a chart that breaks out the age according to the breed size–anything over 50 Lbs is considered Large Breed. Without a doubt, the Farmer’s Almanac is based on a small-sized dog. Here is the chart showing how to convert your dog’s age to human years compliments of the American Kennel Club (AKC).

 

DogYears_Infographic

 

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Dusty and his littermates–Cesar’s Mom shared this with us.

Time flies by so quickly. It is hard to realize they will only be with us for a decade or more if things go well. (OMG) A few Weimaraner live to see sixteen years. I believe this is due to the luck of the draw and extraordinary care. Nonetheless, sometimes things don’t go as planned. We just learned that Dusty’s brother (Cesar) passed on in 2013 due to an issue with his spleen. I have heard of this happening in other breeds (mostly with the German Shorthair Pointer), but it could happen to any dog. I am going, to be honest, I am glad I didn’t know about this before now, for I might have worried way too much. That is a silly thing to do because all the pups in a litter are unique.

 

We all hope for sixteen years. It is not realistic. A few will get the extraordinary gift of sharing their lives for more than 14 years. What can we say? It is hard to talk about this topic and to realize that to love eventually means to let them go when the time comes. It is beyond painful for the reasons you understand. I am hoping Dusty will be around for a while longer.

I also learned that Cesar’s Mom was able to get a female (that they call Daisy) from Dusty’s lineage from a Midwest breeder that we have worked with over the last decade. Sometimes life is kind even when things don’t go as expected.

Extending our Time

Delicate Discussions

   ~ Part Two

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Last Friday we discussed the accidental loss of the Weimaraner. One of those haunting and gut-wrenching scenarios that stick with you forever. Of course, we have to be ever vigilant and make sure they are as secure as it is possible. There are; however, other considerations that may well extend your pup’s chance of survival.

No one wants to consider that they might lose their puppy sooner rather than later. While there are no guarantees there a few things we can do to increase the potential longevity.

  1.  Be cautious with the vaccine — we recommend never doubling up the vaccine. That means if you are planning to get an annual DAPPv (Canine Distemper, Adenovirus Type 1 (Hepatitis), Adenovirus Type 2 (Respiratory Disease), Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus) do not combine it with Lepto, Kennel Cough Protection, or the Rabies. It may be your Vet’s standard protocol, but spreading them out is less of a hit on their immune system. (Getting the Lepto only vaccine also gives you greater protection against Lepto).8-Bernie X Boone WK1-22Follow the suggested OwyheeStar puppy vaccine protocol and get a titer test instead of the typical sixteen-week puppy shot. Getting the titers checked for immunity is the smart approach–even if your puppy has shown no sign of being vaccine reactive. Most Weimaraners who have a severe, life-threatening reaction to the sixteen-week shot never had a problem with any previous puppy vaccination. The vaccine titer costs a bit more but nothing in comparison to developing an ongoing immune system issue.

    After the one-year booster, you might consider (down the road) checking the titers again to see if they are still immune. Many professionals have come around to the idea that the DAPPv protection often lasts three years or even longer. The beautiful thing about a titer test is you can find out their immunity level. The unnecessary vaccine could be a potential trigger to a serious health issue.

  2.  Be as Holistic as possible. There are different approaches to Veterinary care. According to the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA)  holistic medicine humane to the core. The techniques used in holistic medicine are gentle, minimally invasive, and incorporate patient well-being and stress reduction. Holistic thinking is centered on love, empathy, and respect. Click on the link in this paragraph to learn more about this approach to Veterinary medicine.
  3.  Medications–some are not as safe as others in our opinion and experience. 20229379_10155028879813305_8042793045446538520_nRimadyl (carprofen) and its generic counterpart Novox Carprofen are something we are not comfortable using for the Weimaraner. You never know when it is going to have a serious adverse side effect–in our case and that of two other OwyheeStar clients experience it led to severe and uncontrollable seizures. There are alternative anti-inflammatory medications. Whenever possible, we recommend you avoid Rimadyl. If it becomes necessary, then try to reduce the dosage or get off it as soon as possible. To manage or to prevent this situation; however, requires that you advocate because it is most usually the go to drug of choice after surgery or when facing arthritic situations.
  4. No one food is right for every Weimaraner. A quality grain-free food is our suggestion, and we are not speaking about one of these premium brands that touts all kind of additives. We believe in adding a quality supplement in the right dosage and staying away from foods that claim they add these things. Why? You might ask. Well,  supplements get old, and even dog food needs to be fresh. Also, how do you know the quality of the additives? You don’t. Stick with the basic quality food and add something that is proven and has excellent quality control. Keep in mind, many of the Big Name Brands are not as high quality as you might think. Your pocketbook may not be able to afford a raw food diet, or the best dog food money can buy. You can provide basic quality food. The right food is apt to help them live longer.
  5. NuVet--we cannot say enough about this supplement. The only caution we have is for young pups. Too much of a good thing can be counterproductive. We suggest you follow our recommended protocol. A small amount of the NuVet powder sprinkled on the young Weimaraner’s food every day will make a big difference. It might take time to see results if you have existing problems, but there are many testimonials including the one we received last week from Mary.  (Click on the NuVet  link below to learn more about this supplement.)

    She writes. PS – when we got Olli we started both dogs on Nuvet. Rudi had horrible allergies but they steadily improved over the last 2 years to the point of not needing any medication. Coincidence?  I think not. We are sold on the benefits.

  6. Bloat is a complicated and somewhat mysterious life-threatening situation. We are going to refer you to an article (rather than addressing it ourselves).  Click Here to find out more about the risk of bloat, thank you!
  7. Insurance–the pros and cons of having it. We believe you should invest in some kind of major medical coverage. Eventually, the athletic Weimaraner is going to need extreme Veterinary or special care. Sometimes this happens early in life–a torn ACL, etc. There is the threat of bloat (as mentioned above) in this breed, too! We cannot speak to which insurance company pays the best. Our Vet Office has their favorite company because they say they pay quickly. Some people say that if you get the insurance up front that the first year is nearly a wash. Many policies cover the vaccine, general care and then you have the cost of the spay or the neuter. (Typically, there is a set allotted amount to cover basic visits in some of these policies–each one is different).
  8. Do your research, but keep in mind that many of these surgical procedures cost Crane's Lucy4$2,000 and up. Insurance doesn’t negate your personal responsibility. We might forget we are the gatekeeper and in the heat of the moment simply say do whatever is needed. Insurance means it might not be a cost consideration–in the midst of a crisis, your Weimaraner may receive medication that leads to other issues. Everyone just wants to trust their Vet to do what is right. We understand. Nevertheless, it is important to always keep in mind that they are treating all breeds and a lot of mutts. Each Veterinary fur client is important, but they are not all equally sensitive to certain vaccines, medication, etc.

Thank you, for doing the best by your Weimaraner. We appreciate every sacrifice made for our OwyheeStar offspring. We work with the best Weimlovers in the universe. How privileged we are!?!

The photos we added are not directly related to loss–just a reminder of what we value.

 

 

 

Extending Our Time

Delicate Discussions

   ~ Part One

Roxy's FamilyThe last two blogs (Roxy’s story) and (Olli who lost his fur brother) have dealt with the loss of the Weimaraner. There are simply no words to cover such a loss. We can agree on this one thing—what we want to do is to push off the inevitable as long as possible.

This heartfelt desire begs the question of what we can do to make a big difference. We have some thoughts. Our suggestions cover the unexpected accidental loss as well as avoiding potential health issues. Our hope is for every OwyheeStar puppy to arrive at the Rainbow Bridge’s door late in life.

Accident Related Loss

Every few months we get a note about a Weimaraner who has lost their life due to an accident. These events vary–by nature each is unique; however, the underlying cause is similar. Some of the standout scenarios are listed here along with suggestions on how to avoid this type of thing. Eating or ingesting various non-edibles is a common theme. There are other dangers too, but we often forget the Weimaraner will eat anything. 

1. Toys — Even rubber toys lose their integrity. Depending upon your Weim’s chewing strength, you may need to (always) supervise their chewing. Other toys have squeakers that can become an issue and the rope bones, which are a good choice, don’t work for every Weimaraner. Bits of ingested string can build up in and along the intestinal wall leading to a blockage or irritation. A blockage can happen fast and be hard to discover in time to save your pet. Vomiting and not passing a stool are indicators–but these two symptoms are not a sure sign. The same signs for other ailments and sometimes are just mean it is an upset tummy. It is best to get your Weimaraner checked if this is a prolonged event. Taking their temperature (rectally) might not seem all that pleasant, but it can help you determine the seriousness of the event. (The normal dog temperature is 101.5°F (38.6°C). A rising temperature is alarming –-you need to know the standard temperature for your pet because it is much higher than for humans.

2. Medications and things sink side — One of the most heartrending stories involved a Weimaraner that ate someone’s medication–kept at the kitchen sink for convenience. The counter-surfing Weimaraner nabbed the bottle and ate it, and the contents. By the time they got him to the Vet office, it was too late. The Weimaraner might eat anything it seems–we have had others report sponges, dishrag, food, food-scented trash, etc. Sponges and the dish rag could lead to a blockage. Food has all kind of potential risk–bones can puncture the intestine wall, and some food (even the most innocuous kind like the avocado) are potentially toxic.

3. Around the House –There are many things to mouth and ingest. Some are shocking to us. One such item happens more than you might guess. Certain Weims are so obsessed with you and your scent that they may raid your laundry basket. Undergarments have the strongest scent, and some Weims will ingest these–another potential intestinal blockage issue. More often than not, they will pass, but you might discover something hanging out the back end. A hankie, undies, or the sock that made for a quick snack. (oops)

4. In the Fenced Yard –These are multifaceted. The Weimaraners are known for ingesting rocks; sometimes they pack them around in the mouth, and this is hard on their teeth. Pica (ingesting items such as rocks) seems odd to us, but it happens a lot. Marble-sized rocks to those the size of a large plum (such as river rock) are ideal. Rocks sometimes will travel through without a hitch; other times (all too often) they cause an intestinal blockage. Sharp edged rocks can irritate or puncture the intestinal wall. Rocks are not the only culprit in your yard. There are a plethora of toxic plants commonplace. Ones we would never suspect. Anything in the yard (including your house siding) could be chewed. We have known of a Weimaraner left in the yard that dug up a sidewalk, and she ingested bits of concrete. While we are discussing the backyard, some Weims can open gate latches. Others dig and can tunnel out of the yard. Then there are those that if they want to get out to explore, they can easily bound over a 5′ fence. Another danger is a collar that would catch them and strangle them. One extreme dog lover tied his and his brother’s dog to a tree. They didn’t have a fence, and they were only going to the corner store for a moment. Both dogs climbed the tree they were tied to–the young men came back to find the Weimaraner’s collar had caught on a branch she slipped, and you can guess what happened. This haunting experience will never be forgotten (the young man is a practicing Veterinarian). May this serve as a warning to others who think to tie their Weim for a few moments would be the safest solution. It didn’t work out in this situation.

5. Road Dangers

A six-acre yard and a well-trained Weimaraner should not be a problem; however, the devastating loss of their family member proved them wrong. A deer or something spurred the Weimaraner to give chase. Later they found him on a road even though they lived in a remote Northern Idaho location. The inherent desire to give chase (also known as the prey drive) is always lurching in the background–even when you have achieved the seemingly unfailing recall. Traveling with the Weimaraner is not without risk either. Some folks believe it is OK to have them ride in the back of their pickup–some tie them in, so they won’t fall out. Others let them roam free. More than one Weimaraner has seen something that sparked their sudden urge to give chase, and over the side, they went. Not everyone lost their life, but some did. One Christmas Eve in warm Arizona a woman was traveling with her Weimaraner. She had the windows down–the breeze blowing in their faces. She was on the way to a family dinner when her Weimaraner jumped out the window. He rolled down a bank breaking several bones. He lived, but they spent the night at the Emergency Vet Office instead of having a family dinner. He had traveled with the window frequently open; she had no reason for concern until this happened.

Others types of accidents happen but are less commonplace. Day two–we will discuss the other random things that may well shorten your time with your beloved friend and family member. The Weimaraner’s human must look out for their well-being on every level. A watchful eye for the seemingly puppy-like nature and the dangers to this breed are required. We thank you for your vigilance.

 

~ Shela and Cliff

 

PS: We bemoan the lack of photos; however, we were at a loss for which one to put here. We also didn’t cover things like Holiday Mishaps–and the dangers posed by the 4th of July and such. It was a lengthy post, and we have written on these topics many times.

 

 

The Depth of it All

Olli

~ He has never known life without Rudi

Loeffelholz's Olli_0446

Yesterday we made the difficult decision to put Rudi down. He was 14 and his back arthritis was worsening. It was the right thing to do and one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make. It was our turn to love unconditionally and he is now stalking rabbits with his buddies.
Olli has not yet figured out the permanence of the change. He knew something was going on and that Rudi was not doing well. He wanted to snuggle with him on Rudi’s bed but Rudi was not having any of it.  Re picture below is one we took several months ago in the distillery. Two very different temperaments and we love both of them dearly for their personalities and joy that they bring.
Hope you and Cliff are doing well. ~Mary

NuVet

PS – when we got Olli we started both dogs on Nuvet. Rudi had horrible allergies but they steadily improved over the last 2 years to the point of not needing any medication. Coincidence?  I think not. We are sold on the benefits.

Breeder Comment

Eventually, something is going require us to let them go. This gut-wrenching experience is a personal one. A loss is never easy–it affects each of us differently. We process it in our way–honor them in a way significant to us. Some folks grieve for a long time and cannot entertain the thought of getting another. Others feel free to move forward. They are almost driven to find another and begin a new journey. Their take is the departing Weim would want nothing less for them.

Most of us want to extend the journey together as long as it is feasibly possible. With insurance knee replacements, hip replacements, and other major surgical procedures are within reach.

 

How Long Do We Have?

That is a good question. No one can guess. There simply is no guarantee you will get 14 years, or even 11. The only way to approach this risky relationship is to count every day as a special blessing.

From Our Side

If you sat where I sit you would feel what I feel. I read notes from people all the time; ………not always OwyheeStar people. In fact, these are usually not from our clients but people who are seeking and searching for other than what happened to them. They look to avoid whatever health issue took their fur baby away. I am quick to tell them that anything could happen. It scares me when we place a puppy with someone who writes me that they lost their last Weimaraner to a rare form of cancer. I secretly fear that rare cancer could strike again—even many years ago when it had never happened. Honestly, I only remember once it happened –cancer of larynx took a client’s six-year old Weimaraner. She got another from us, but it didn’t replace the first OwyheeStar in her heart.

This concern of someone having an untimely loss is only one of the many stressors in my life—I do care. I think when you adopt a rescue anything can happen. Also, when you bring home a puppy things can happen as well. The risk of loving our beloved Weimaraner is huge but worth it.