Thursday, December 15, 2011

'Tis the Season...

Here are our two purebred Collies, doing what they’re best at: just being dogs.  They’re my companions, my office staff, my protectors, and my buddies.  Sunny (AKC KaZes Rivendell’s Uptown Girl) is in the foreground of this snapshot.  She’s a Blue Merle Collie, with the distinctive Blue Merle colors and markings.  In the background is her “big sister”, Shadow (AKC KaZes Shadow Tangled Up Heart),  a Sable Collie (like the TV and movie star “Lassie”) two years older than Sunny, scanning the property for deer, squirrels, rabbits, turkeys (we have wild turkeys in our exurban neighborhood), or any other intruder.  They’re not really sisters, but they have the same “dog daddy”, a Collie whose AKC Pedigree starts with the two letters CH – for Champion – from a long line of Champion Collies, so judged by people who eat, sleep, breathe, and dream Collies.

Before Sunny came to live with us in 2010, she was a show girl – winning all sorts of awards on the Collie show circuit.  Shadow has been with us since she was a puppy in 2006.  They are gentle, kind, loyal, loving animals, bred to run the hills and dales of Scotland all day, herding sheep.  To see Shadow or Sunny running across our property at full tilt is to see beauty in high speed, their coats and manes flying in the air, agile enough to turn rapidly at full gallop.  Greyhounds can run faster…about 45 MPH in bursts…but Collies can run at top speed (37 MPH) for long periods.  Rabbits and squirrels are no match for Sunny, who can probably hit 40 miles an hour, and turn on a dime at full speed.  She caught one of each this summer.  Very few rabbits and squirrels will venture across our fenceline, having learned that they’re no match in speed or agility for the Collies.

Both have been exceptionally healthy animals (good breeding), but a few weeks ago Shadow got some sort of rash, and our regular vet, who’s taken excellent care of all our animals for the past 15 years, sent us home with a container of antibiotic pills (Ciprofloxacin) to knock down the bacteria, with instructions to begin administration with the evening feeding.  Not too long after we gave the first pill to Shadow, she had a very big and very bad reaction to it – which our vet had warned us to be alert for – and we took her to Exceptional Care for Animals, the 24-hour emergency veterinary service run by Dr. Mark Koeppl. 

There, Shadow got truly exceptional care from Dr. Koeppl and his staff; they managed her adverse reaction immediately, and sent us home saying they’d call if anything untoward happened during the procedures and treatments they were going to give Shadow.  About four hours later, they called to say she was doing fine, and that we could come and get her if we wanted.  We did.  We were given explicit instructions about how to administer the new medication she’d be on.  She recovered fully and quickly, and is just fine.

Emergency medicine for people is expensive; emergency medicine for animals is expensive.  There are expensive machines and diagnostic tools and laboratory equipment involved in both human and animal emergency care; and the care is administered by highly trained and experienced professionals in both the human ER and the animal ER.  Fortunately, we are able to afford it.  A lot of people can’t.

So now to the point of this post, lest it become nothing but an indulgence on my part about my dogs. ‘Tis the season, and, if you have a few dollars to spare, and love animals, might I suggest a donation to “The Tuffer Fund”.  It’s run by Dr. Koeppl, and is named for a tough little cat Dr. Koeppl and his staff took care of a few years ago.  The fund helps animal owners who otherwise would not be able to afford excellent emergency care.  The Tuffer Fund doesn’t get a lot of publicity; but it helps do a lot of good.

Caring for humans comes first, as it should, for the vast majority of us.  But if you can spare a few bucks (or a lot of bucks!) to help animals, send a check (and put “Tuffer Fund” on it) to the address below.  Thanks in advance for anything you can contribute.  And, so you know, no one asked me to make this solicitation.  It’s just a good thing to do. 

The Tuffer Fund
Exceptional Care for Animals
229 W. Beltline Highway
Madison, WI 53713

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