Evelyn and The Uncooked Grain

Y’all, Evelyn is up from her starting weight of 11.8 lbs to 13.3 lbs!!

Yay! Get excited!

This weight is coming on her very slowly, but I think that’s a good thing. It’s real weight. I can see muscle tone in her belly, whereas before, there was just loose skin over bone. I can no longer count all of her ribs by just looking at her.

She eats with passion. Her poops are healthy, solid, black. And she sleeps soundly.

Photo on left is her first day  with us (9/5). Photo on right is Saturday (10/10). One and a half pounds is nearly 10% of her original body weight in a month.
Photo on left is her first day with us (9/5). Photo on right is Saturday (10/10). One and a half pounds is nearly 10% of her original body weight in a month.

She’s coming along beautifully, IMHO.

We have one small issue — I think it’s one issue — it has 2 symptoms.

Her coat is not improving, and she has been scratching excessively. So, I’ve put on my Sherlock Holmes hat and went on a mission to sleuth it out.

The ridiculously insane scratching began in earnest early in the week. She got her second dose of Sentinel on Monday, and finished her 30-day round of Doxycycline (part of the slow-kill method for heartworms) on Tuesday. By Wednesday, she was out of her mind biting and scratching herself by any means available.

I’ve never before seen a dog throw herself on the ground to scratch from nose to tail. 

Tuffy, the Alpha.
Tuffy, the Alpha.

I rubbed her with coconut oil mixed with a few drops of chamomile essential oil; I bathed her in lavender shampoo & conditioner; I sprayed her with itch-relief spray– all of which gave only a short reprieve.

When topical treatment fails, it has to be coming from the inside.

By Saturday afternoon, and by process of elimination, I’d narrowed it down to three things: oats, Sentinel, or a skin infection that the Doxy was keeping in check.

I can’t do anything about the Sentinel at this point. It’s part of the very essential heartworm elimination process. And if there is a skin infection, continuing with the raw diet should go a long way toward solving that problem. 

But the past couple of weeks, because it’s fall when grains are harvested and because I like to feed according to the seasons, I’ve been soaking whole, uncooked oats overnight in goat’s milk to soften them, and then pureeing them with apples or berries for her breakfast.

OUT WITH THE OATS!

Simplifying her meals will make it easier to identify any other culprits.

Because she may still be anemic due to the heartworms, she’ll be eating beef to build iron in her blood. Because pumpkin is plentiful right now and is a great source of fiber, I’ll add freshly cooked, local, pureed pumpkin to her beef. I’ll hit it with turmeric for inflammation, and milk thistle seed to support her liver after a month of antibiotics.

For breakfast, she will have green veggie smoothies made with goat’s milk. Find recipes here.

All her treats will be grain-free (thanks to Cahabones!) smeared with coconut oil.

We’ll see how it goes. I’ll keep you posted!

pugs & kisses,

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Week 2 Observations of Evelyn

Last Sunday, Evelyn got into the dehydrated raw cat food bag. Recall my spectacularly failed effort to convert Chester to a lover of the raw diet. Well, I had set a bag of Sojos for cats out of the pantry to either give away or return to the store….like a fool.

While I was working in the backyard, Evelyn discovered its riches.

I came in to check on her (because she was the only one not trailing me around the yard), and found her fully engaged in a private smorgasbord of dehydrated deliciousness as the contents of the bag were all over the living room floor.

She, of course, drank a ton of water, after that. And her little belly bulged.

She slept like a rock.

Evelyn takes over the big bed like a boss.
Evelyn takes over the big bed like a boss.

The next morning, she had gained half a pound!

The rest of the week, she fluctuated between 12-12.5lbs, and seems to be holding strong there despite being fed the same or greater as the other 2 dogs who are twice her weight. She has a lot of healing to do. She is building muscle mass. See?

Here she is last Monday morning. She's beginning to fill out nicely around the middle.
Here she is last Monday morning. She’s beginning to fill out nicely around the middle.

I also made a few fundamental observations about Evelyn during Week 2.

  1. She is definitely a puppy.

Her energy level is much higher than Pearl’s. Pearl is 4, enjoys a good stroll, is interactive, and loves to play tug & fetch with her favorite pink flamingo. But Evelyn needs more activity than that. She rolls on her back, wiggling for affection, and gurgling in a friendly please-rub-my-tummy kind of way. Her gray muzzle and status as a mama dog belie her true age, which has got to be no more than 2.

2. She is a Miss Bossy Pants.

Evelyn has Alpha Female tattooed on her DNA. Consequently, she has picked a couple of fights here and there, even with Truman, the most laid-back dog in the history of dogs.

The fights have come most often while the three are lined up watching me prepare their meals. Pearl’s excitement is something I’d grown accustomed to, and hadn’t bothered to correct it because it made ME feel good that she was so excited about her food. #truth

Evelyn doesn’t appreciate the degree of excitement in Pearl’s state of mind and has set out to modify it. But that’s a problem because if I let her do the correcting, she is assuming the dominant role in the house, which is not where we need to be. #whostheboss?

More on that later…

3. She is not deaf.

Period. She can hear just fine. She comes when I call or whistle for her. Pearl has never learned to respond to my whistle, and Truman is deaf so it’s lost on him. But Evelyn picked it up after a day or two. She’s very smart.

All in all, we’re still making progress. Stay tuned!

pugs & kisses,

Evelyn’s First Week

Because Evelyn is so very small and so very malnourished, I have been concerned with how much to feed.

I know to feed for the desired weight, not the actual weight. But I also don’t want to make her sick in the process by overfeeding. Pugs are pretty notorious for over-indulging, if permitted.

Slow & steady wins the race, right?

The first day, all she had was Answers‘ raw fermented goats milk. 2-3 oz every 2-3 hours until she had consumed about 10 oz. I preach and preach on this stuff. It is awesome. Such a gentle protein, it’s easy on the digestive tract because it’s fermented, which means it’s LOADED with probiotics.

She slept like a baby all night.

See how tiny she is by comparison? (She's the apricot in the middle)
See how tiny she is by comparison? (She’s the apricot in the middle)

The next day, I added a farm fresh, free-range raw chicken egg to her milk. I thought the extra protein would hold her while I was at work and unable to come feed her every 3 hours.

But, when I weighed her on day 3, she had dropped to below 11 lbs.

I freaked out.

Pearl & Truman both weigh about 25 lbs. Recently, I learned that to determine the amount of raw meat & bone to feed your dog, multiply the dog’s body weight by 10, which will give the number of grams to feed.

25 lbs x 10 = 250 grams. Converts to about 8 oz per day.

And that is what they get. (plus treats)

I don’t want to tax Evelyn’s system, so I only increased her intake by 2 oz. Also, she is crated during the day, so the decrease in activity should help as well.

Because she’s anemic, I wanted to add a blood-builder. So I fed fresh, raw organic chicken livers pureed with her goats milk for 2 meals. Unfortunately, it was too rich, and gave her the runs.

Crap!

So, back to the egg & milk routine, with a little baked sweet potato added to the mix. After one meal, no more runny poop, and by Friday, she added a few more ounces.

We are now holding steady at 12 lbs. Woop woop!!

She had her first bath on Thursday night to finally wash off the significant stink from the streets of Birmingham, the kennel, the vet. Plus, her coat is a total nightmare right now. It’s rough as a boar bristle, and the conditioner I used really didn’t help.

This coat is a complete wreck. The base of her tail is totally hairless. The dark bald spots have to be from previous flea infestation.
This coat is a complete wreck. The base of her tail is totally hairless. The dark bald spots are from previous flea infestation.

So I’ve added coconut oil to her diet. 1 full teaspoon everyday, whether by itself or on a treat. She devours it!

She is great in the tub. She holds very still and seemed to enjoy the warm water and the gentle massage across her frail frame, and loved being wrapped in a warm towel at the end. She is finding her place in the family, and the other 2 are adjusting to her encroachment.

Room enough for 3 in mama's lap.
Room enough for 3 in mama’s lap.

She has a LOT of energy for such a tiny, skinny pug. She LOVES to play. She’s a good little retriever, and enjoys a good game of tug. Despite her previous pregnancy/ies and the gray in her face, I am more convinced each day that she is much younger than anyone thought.

She’s a big help with the blog to boot.

Evie takes over The HOL Dog.
Evie takes over The HOL Dog.

She got a new JazzyJ collar this week, and is making herself at home.

We’re on an upward trajectory, folks!

pugs & kisses,

Happy Birthday to us! Meet Evelyn, the newest (foster) member of our pack!

After years of supporting from a distance, it finally came time for me to get more involved in the Alabama Pug Rescue & Adoption.  But, because I get so attached, I’ve never been able to commit to being a foster parent…

…until now…

Last week, I learned from APRA that a stray Pug had been brought to the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. She was heartworm positive. Translation: long-term (min. 5 mos. ) foster commitment. Was I willing to take her?

Of course! (duh)

But, will I be able to give her up in the end…??

A few days later, I learned she did not do well after her spay surgery. She was very frail, and things might end sadly, which could be difficult on a first-time foster parent. APRA would get her from the GBHS and take her to their vet for a more thorough assessment and let me know.

A day or two after that — Good news! In addition to heart worms, she’s just anemic, is extremely malnourished, has an ear infection, and may be deaf. She’ll be fine!

In celebration of The HOL Dog’s 1st Birthday (woot!), I picked her up on Monday while I was off work for the holiday. (Thank you, labor unions, for my last work holiday till November) (Thank you to my followers for an awesome 1st year).

Everybody, meet Evelyn!

Hey, can I come home with you?
Hey lady, can I come home with you?

She weighs a whopping 11 lbs.

ELEVEN.

Less than half what Pearl weighs.

Pearl is a hoss, but still.

Heartbreaking.

This is what an underweight dog looks like. You can count her ribs without touching them.
You can count her ribs without touching them. Bless her heart.

Not sure how old she is. Tough to say for several reasons.

  • She’s had at least one litter of puppies, but the vet said she hasn’t had many.
  • She’s gray in the muzzle, but her teeth are very clean and it looks like she has a full set.
  • Her coat is a wreck. It’s thin, rough, and she has multiple bald patches.
  • Her ear is torn.
  • But, she is spry, energetic, loves to play, and clearly is happy to be in a home.

Maybe once she adds some weight, we’ll get a better idea.

Challenge accepted!

She loved the car ride.

She chirped like a little bird all the way home.
She chirped like a little bird all the way home.

She’s been around people, is not afraid of men, and has lived inside a home, possibly with a cat.

She blew past Chester like he wasn’t standing there, and let him come get a good sniff a little later sans reaction.

Once she explored the yard and the house, I fed her what is surely her first raw meal.

I mean, she is a little sack of bones. Why make her wait till 6pm?

Start slow.

2 ounces of Answers raw goat milk (aka, miracle food) #pouralittlelove in a bowl in the crate so she can drink it undisturbed by her always starving to death foster siblings.

They need to get a good look & recognize. IJS.

She lapped it up and wanted more.

2 hours later, 2 more ounces. Then, she found a comfy spot for a good nap.

She's finding her place in the house, and got a good nap a couple of hours after we came home.
Bad quality pic, but didn’t want to wake her.

3 hours later, dinner consisted of a whole raw farm egg (pasture raised chicken egg from a great local farm) mixed with 2 ounces of goat milk, a pinch of unrefined sea salt, and a bit of powdered kelp (for iodine & hair growth).

I’ve decided to stick with the egg & goat’s milk regimen for the next few days to see how she does. She needs easily digestible proteins right now, and probiotics.

Powerful antibiotic (heartworm eradication process) + ear drops + eye ointment AND abdominal surgery = gut in need of gentle repair.

I’ve never seen a dog this skinny in real life. Ever. We’ve got to take it easy.

My hopes are up, but I’m trying to remain realistic. I don’t want to get over-zealous in my desire to heal this sweet pup and end up doing more harm than good.

Big shout out to the GBHS for working with Pam Mayes and APRA so that we could give this starving, neglected little angel a fighting chance. I’m honored to have been chosen for the task.

I’ll keep you posted.

pugs & kisses,