Lex was a working military dog that went to Fallujah, Iraq, with US Marine Corps Cpl. Dustin J. Lee. Lex was wounded in an attack that killed his handler, but despite his own injuries, Lex refused to leave Cpl. Lee’s side. Lex had to be dragged away to be treated by medics. Lex was the first active-duty working military dog that was granted early retirement in order to be adopted. He was adopted by Cpl. Lee’s parents, Jerome and Rachel. Despite his mobility issues due to retaining over 50 pieces of shrapnel in his body from war, he still worked as a therapy dog visiting military veterans at VA hospitals and retirement homes. Lee was awarded an honorary Purple Heart and in 2008 was given an Award for Canine Excellence (ACE) by the American Kennel Club.
2. Rin Tin Tin
This German Shepherd, after being saved from the trenches of WWI, was the first ever canine movie star. He was found on a French battlefield by an American soldier Lee Duncan. After returning to the US, Duncan trained Rinty and he stared in a few small roles in some silent films. Rin Tin Tin’s first big break came in 1929, when he got the role in Warner Bros.’ “Where the North Begins.”
A trained search and rescue dog named Appollo was on-site with his handler Peter Davis of the NYC Police Department within 15 minutes of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. In the following days, over 350 search and rescue dogs and their handlers came to the Twin Towers site, and to the Pentagon, to search for survivors.
Smoky was a Yorkshire terrier found in 1944 by an American soldier in the New Guinea jungle. After being Cpl. William A. Wynne’s partner for the next two years, she became something of a WWII mascot. She slept in Wynne’s tent, shared his rations, and followed him wherever he went. Smoky survived over 150 air raids on New Guinea and made it through a typhoon at Okinawa. Thanks to her keen sense of hearing and danger, Smoky saved Wynne’s life on multiple occasions warning him and his comrades of incoming fire. She was also the first therapy dog on record.
Sinbad was a mixed-breed canine sailor aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter George W. Campbell. Sinbad served 11 years of sea duty in the Coast Guard, including combat in WWII. He was originally intended to be a gift for Chief Boatswain’s girlfriend, but the girlfriend’s apartment did not allow dogs. Sinbad put his paw print on his own enlistment papers and was issued his own service identification number. He went on to be awarded the American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and the Navy Occupation Service Medal.
By Dr. Ashley Dawes
The Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced Show-Low-Itz-Quint-Lee), is also known as the Xolo (Show-Low) or the Mexican Hairless Dog. The Xolo is an ancient breed that is considered a national treasure in Mexico and is the only dog whose name begins with an “X.” The word Xoloitzcuintli is derived from the name of the Aztec god, Xolotl, and the Aztec word for dog, Itzcuintli. These dogs descend from hairless dogs prized by the Aztecs and, over 400 years later, these dogs were still found in Mexican jungles. The Aztecs believed this breed had mystical healing abilities. Their hairless body radiates heat more than other breeds and ancient people used to use them as heating pads for aches and pains. Frida Kahlo and Diego Riviera put the Xolo back in the spot light and can be seen in many of their works of art.
The Xolo has three sizes, toy, miniature, and standard, as well as two coat varieties, hairless and coated. They are known to be an alert, calm, and loyal breed that is trainable; however, since they are such a good watch dog they can be wary of strangers. They make an excellent companion with moderate exercise and grooming needs. The hairless excretes an oil that protects them from the sun and from insects. The Xolo requires occasional baths and body lotion to help moisturize the hairless variety. They are more prone to developing skin problems, especially acne so appropriate skin care is important. The hairless variety prefers a warmer environment and actually requires sunscreen while it’s outside so it does not burn!
Some believe that this hairless dog can be better tolerated by people who suffer from allergies and asthma. Although their saliva, sparse hair on their heads and feet, and skin all produce the same irritant that bother some people with allergies. If you have allergies to animals, it is important to do your research to determine if this is the right breed for you.
A hairless dog with bat ears and a stubbly Mohawk might be too exotic for some, but for those who believe bald is beautiful the Xolos rule. This breed takes their watchdog role seriously and do bark when they have something to say. The Xolo makes a loyal family dog and a very affectionate pet. We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic enjoy working with all kinds of dog breeds as each of them is unique in their own way.
By Ashley Dawes, DVM
The very thought of euthanizing a pet makes our heart sink to the pit of our stomach. When our beloved pets are elderly or ill, we have the enormous responsibility and great gift of deciding when it is the right time to let them go. Euthanasia is a gift to pets and, sometimes, can feel like a curse to owners.
Most of our furry companions are aware that their time to say goodbye is approaching before you do. Of course, this does not make it any easier on the owner. Our pets often times recognize our sadness, conflicted grief, and concern and worry that they might be the cause of our sadness. During the euthanasia process it is important to interact with your pet to comfort them and reassure them that they will always be remembered fondly.
Owners often apologize for crying over their pets, but we as a veterinary profession want you to know that crying is allowed and welcomed. We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic are also pet owners and understand how difficult it can be to see our loved ones suffer. This is a time for pet owners to grieve and remember their loved one’s long and happy life that they have shared together.
The vast majority of pet owners opt to stay with their pets for the euthanasia process. If you can, we highly recommend accompanying your pet through this difficult process. As a veterinary profession it is our responsibility to comfort your loved ones as they pass on when you as the owner cannot do so; however, pets are much more comfortable and relieved when their owners are present. Pets are much more confident when their owners are there to reassure them. If you can find the strength to be there with them during this difficult transition, please let your love, your touch, and your presence be the last thing your pet experiences.
During the euthanasia process, you are welcome to bring treats, tell stories, laugh, cry, and celebrate your friend’s life. Surround yourselves with their favorite blankets or toys. Share your favorite stories of your loved one about that trip you took together or their favorite toy, trick, or past time. This is going to be one of the hardest days of your life, but it does not have to be for your best friend. The more you celebrate your pet’s life, no matter how long or short, the easier it will be to continue to live your own after this difficult transition.
This moment between you and your pet should be just that, entirely about your lives together. Prepare yourself ahead of time to understand the process if possible. Speak with your veterinarian or veterinary technician prior to coming to the clinic to have them discuss the steps with you so you have a better understanding of what is to come.
Each relationship between pet and owner is different, just as every euthanasia is different. While it can be incredibly difficult to cope with and experience euthanasia with your pet, we at Dupont Veterinary Clinic hope to guide you and your furry family member through it as seamlessly as possible. As I heard a veterinarian once say, “We love animals so much, we are willing to experience pain right down to our souls in order to keep them from hurting. What greater gift to give a friend than to suffer in their place?”
By Ashley Dawes, DVM
Reef had no idea how he would begin to impact a life in November 2015. Reef was raised with an organization called Canine Companions for Independence, which is the largest non-profit provider of assistance dogs. The organization is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs and the longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. Canine Companions is volunteer based, from the caretakers that provide homes for the breeder dogs and whelp the puppies until they are eight weeks of age, to the puppy raisers that provide socialization and obedience training to the puppies. Between fifteen and eighteen months the puppies make the journey back to one of five regional training centers across the country for six to nine months of training with professional instructors. The new owner is then required to travel to one of the regional training centers for two weeks to train alongside their new companion.
Reef was selected to help his owner that has been diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis). His owner is wheelchair-bound and Reef has been trained in multiple capacities in order to assist her throughout the day. Reef can pull her manual wheelchair, pick things up that she has dropped, retrieve bottled water from the fridge, turn light switches on or off, push the button for automatic doors, as well as about 40 other commands. In addition to helping her physically get through her day, Reef has helped his owner emotionally as well. His owner remarked that it only took one day to fall in love with Reef and that he has changed her personality for the better.
Reef was one of only 40% of dogs that make it through service dog training. There are four types of assistance dogs that Canine Companions helps train which are as follows: service dogs, hearing dogs, skilled companions, and facility dogs. The service dogs, like Reef, help assist adults with physical disabilities by performing daily tasks. Service dogs have also been trained to help disabled war veterans. The hearing dogs help to alert the deaf and hard of hearing to important sounds. Skilled companions are placed with children or adults with physical, cognitive, or developmental disabilities that cannot guide the assistance dog themselves. There is a family member that directs the skilled companion in ways to help the disabled owner. The final type of assistance dog is a facility dog that works with a professional in a visitation, education, or healthcare setting. If you happen to see Reef, or another assistance dog, out in public it is important to remember that they are working and to never approach them to pet them without the owner’s consent.
If you or someone you know would benefit from a dog like Reef, they can visit www.cci.org in order to learn more or even apply for an assistance dog. The Canine Companions for Independence organization is always looking for volunteers or even donations so they can continue to provide assistance dogs free of charge to owners in need. We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic love to see the numerous ways that animals, like Reef, continue to impact the lives of humans every day. Reef is truly an extraordinary companion and continues to bring joy to his owner’s life every day.
By Ashley Dawes, DVM
You arrive at Dupont Veterinary Clinic nervous about how your appointment is going to go, because your pet has been vomiting all night and has been unusually tired at home. You know it is important to see your veterinarian, but you are worried about your pet’s anxiety level since he or she is not a big fan of visiting the vet. Your pet’s constant whining and pacing in the waiting area is adding to your increasing level of stress.
You are put at ease when you are greeted by our friendly and enthusiastic receptionist who knows your pet by name. The recognition and the familiarity comforts you some and you start to feel a little bit better.
You are escorted back to an exam room by a veterinary technician that asks a series of questions about your pet and the reason for your visit. You answer the questions to the best of your knowledge, but are anxiously watching your pet’s mounting level of tension.
The veterinarian enters the room in a few minutes and performs a full “head-to-tail” physical exam and discusses your pet’s clinical signs with you. The doctor recommends lab work and radiographs (x-rays) to help determine the cause of your pet’s clinical signs.
The doctor is starting to help ease your anxiety when they mention that they are going to take your pet to “the back” or to “the treatment” area to run these additional tests. Your heart sinks as you relapse back to your anxious state.
“What does the doctor mean by “the back”?,” you anxiously wonder. “Is my pet going to be alright on his own?”
The majority of pet owners have heard the phrase, “the back,” during one of their visits. We are providing full disclosure to our clients to help them understand why this part of the exam is necessary.
Here is a photo of our actual treatment area, where there are three extra exam tables with surgical lights (better light than in the exam room), water, extra supplies for blood draws, bandaging, diagnostics, etc. There are more technicians here to help your doctor run blood tests, take care of your pet, and even to help with x-rays. The treatment area allows the staff to work together as a team to tend to your pet much more efficiently. The treatment area is often a busy place, but it can also be quickly converted into one of the quietest rooms for those extra nervous pets. With better lighting, bigger exam tables, and more staff to help your doctor, this is why the treatment area can be superior to the exam room when helping treat your pet.
Some pets are actually calmer away from their owners, which makes it easier to perform a thorough physical exam, draw blood, or provide the treatment that they need. This allows the veterinarian and veterinary technicians to accomplish tasks more efficiently and safely, while reducing stress for your pets.
If your pet needs to come to “the back” for x-rays this is another room off of our treatment area (far back right in the treatment area photo) that is quieter and darker for the highest quality x-rays. Here is a photo of our x-ray area where your pet will be escorted.
In our treatment area we also have a full lab, where we can run the majority of your pet’s diagnostics, such as in-house lab work or cytology (to look at ear infections, masses/growths, skin infections, etc.). Here is a photo of our lab area (back right of the treatment area photo) where your veterinarian and veterinary technicians will be busy running your pet’s diagnostics to more efficiently and effectively diagnose your pet.
We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic hope that by providing full disclosure and visuals of our treatment area, owner’s minds will be put at ease when their pets need to be escorted out of the exam room for further treatment or diagnostics. We aim to provide the highest quality of care for your pets as we know they are an important part of your family… and ours!
By Ashley Dawes, DVM
It can be hard to leave your dog or cat at a boarding facility while you are away on vacation or business since we often times consider them family members. Make sure to do your research to find the kennel that best suits your pet’s needs. Some kennels are very basic and some have all of the extras. Here are some tips on finding a good boarding kennel for your pet.
Looking for a Kennel
When you are starting to look for a boarding kennel, one of the best places to start is by word of mouth from people you know and trust. Getting an honest opinion from someone that has used a boarding kennel can be one of the best evaluation of the facility.
It is a good idea to research a kennel as soon as you bring a cat or dog home, just in case you have an emergency or suddenly need to leave home. Some great places to start looking are by searching online, in the phone book, or even calling Dupont Veterinary Clinic to ask your veterinarian. When searching online, the boarding kennel may have a blog or place for customers to write their own reviews of their services.
Make a trip to the facility in person before scheduling your pet to board. Be sure to look at the sleeping area for your pet, where they will be exercised, the overall cleanliness, and take a look at how comfortable the staff is with your pet and other animals at the facility.
Look at all of the additional services that the facility provides, do they include extra play time or exercise, do they play with your dog, or do they have organized play time with the other dogs. If your pet has a specific diet be sure to communicate that to the facility and see how they will accommodate that or if you need to bring food from home. Talk to the boarding facility about any medications they may be taking to see if they are comfortable or able to give those medications. Especially if your dog is diabetic and needs daily insulin injections, ask them if they would be able to give these injections at the facility and if they are able to properly store the insulin bottle. If your pet has specific health needs make sure you ask them what the facility would do in case of a medical emergency. If your pet has a special bed, blanket or toys, find out if you can bring them when they stay there. Those familiar items may help decrease your pet’s anxiety while being away from home.
Find out Which Immunizations are Required
Once you have selected a boarding facility, be sure to get a list of immunizations your pet will need in order to stay there. Compare the list to your records or call your veterinarian at Dupont Veterinary Clinic to determine if your pet is up to date on all vaccines. Be sure to look at your pet’s vaccine records ahead of time so you can schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if needed.
What to Bring
When taking your pet to the boarding kennel be sure to take any food, medications, toys, or bedding with you. Bring copies of your pet’s vaccination records to show proof of immunization if needed. It is also important to leave multiple phone numbers and an emergency contact just in case it is needed while you are out of town.
Once you have found the kennel that you are comfortable with and your pet is current on all their vaccines, you are ready to leave town! Taking these additional steps ahead of time will ensure that your pet is more comfortable and you will be less concerned about their well-being while you are away. We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic hope you and yours have a happy and healthy holiday season!
Choosing a dog that is a good fit for your family can be a very exciting time, but knowing which breed is the perfect fit for you and your children can sometimes be daunting. The most important characteristics to consider are the dog’s age, size, temperament, energy level, and how much he or she may need to be groomed. Here is our list of top 10 dog breeds for families.
- The Mixed Breed
The mixed breed dog is typically found at shelters or with foster families, which allows the whole family to visit them and get to know them really well before adopting. Mixed breed dogs tend to have fewer health problems than pure breed dogs. There is a mixed breed perfect for every family!
- Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds, especially for families. They are known to be playful, loyal, patient, and reliable. They are an outgoing breed that plays well with other people, children, or other pets.
- . Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever is very loyal, intelligent, and patient, which is great for families with kids. They do require more exercise, but they love to play which makes exercising them fairly easy. They do require some grooming, which entails fairly regular brushing of their thick, longer coat.
- Standard Poodle
The Standard Poodle is a very proud breed that is smart, caring, and loyal. They do require regular grooming, but they shed very little. They need a moderate amount of exercise to stay happy and healthy.
- Irish Setter
The Irish Setter is known for their beautiful red coat. They are playful, energetic, and love being around people. This breed is considered high energy and needs a lot of exercise, but is a great fit for energetic kids.
Beagles are scent hounds that require regular exercise. They are curious, friendly, loving, and easy going. Since this breed is known to follow their nose, having a fenced in backyard for them to play in would be ideal. Their short coat does not require a lot of grooming.
The pug is a wrinkly-nosed breed that is loving, charming, and mischievous. They are eager to please and have a moderate amount of energy. Their short coat requires little grooming. During the warmer months they will need to have access to air conditioning as they can over-heat more easily. They are great for kids as they are clowns at heart.
The Newfoundland is known as “Nature’s Babysitter” and is great with children. They are very sweet, patient, and devoted dogs that are great swimmers. The Newfoundland has a moderate energy level and their thick coat requires regular brushing and grooming.
- French Bulldog
The French Bulldog, also known as the Frenchie, is playful, smart, easygoing, and adaptable. They are indoor dogs that will require air conditioning in warmer weather. Their coat requires minimal grooming and they are not a very active breed.
- Basset Hound
The Basset Hound is charming, easygoing, laid-back, and even a bit lazy. Their coat requires minimal grooming. They are a very patient breed that is great with families.
We hope this list helps you find the perfect breed for your family! Are there others that might also be a good fit? Sure – and we are here to help answer your questions before you bring home a new dog. We want pet ownership to be a great experience for you and your family for years to come. Call us at 260-637-7676!
By Ashley Dawes, DVM
For a lot of people Halloween can be a fun and spooky time of year, but for pets it can be an absolute nightmare! We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic would like to recommend some precautions this Halloween with the following ten pet safety tips.
- No tricks or treats!
Halloween candy can be very enticing for pets, but can be severely toxic if ingested. Chocolate contains a compound called Theobromine as well as caffeine, which are both very toxic to pets. Chocolate toxicity can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, tremors, rapid breathing, and increased heart rate. The dark or baking chocolates are the worst kinds of chocolate, as they contain higher amount of these chemical compounds. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is found in candy that can be very toxic, even in small amounts. Xylitol can cause a sudden decrease in blood sugar, which can lead to staggering and seizures in pets.
- Keep Halloween pumpkins and decorative corn out of reach
Halloween and fall decorations are relatively non-toxic, but might seem like a tasty snack to pets. If ingested in large quantities these decorations can cause stomach upset or intestinal blockage.
- Keep lit candles in pumpkins away from pets
Pumpkins are very festive, but curious pets can burn themselves on lit candles or knock them over causing a fire.
- Keep decorations with wires or cords away from pets
Wires and electrical cords from Halloween lights or decorations can cause cuts, burns, or even life threatening electrical shock if chewed on by curious pets.
- Have a dress rehearsal before the big night
Try on pet costumes before Halloween to see how they react to wearing clothing and to make sure it fits comfortably. Some pets dislike costumes and for those, festive bandanas usually work well. Be sure that the costume does not restrict your pet’s movement, hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark, or meow.
- Keep nervous pets in a quiet room
Some pets become very nervous with the constant ringing of the doorbell and excited chatter from trick-or-treaters outside. For these pets it is best to keep them inside a quiet room in the house to rest until the festivities are over.
- Make sure pets have proper identification
When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, it is easy for pets to escape and become lost. Be sure your pet is wearing a collar and tags and/or a microchip (with updated information!) so if they should escape they have a better chance of being returned to you.
- Do not leave pets outside, especially black cats
Halloween pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, or otherwise harm pets. While this act is inexcusable, it is very preventable by the owners. Black cats are especially at risk for cruelty-related incidents. Many shelters do not adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution.
- Keep glow sticks and glow jewelry away from pets
Although the product inside of glow sticks or jewelry is not likely toxic, it tastes terrible and can cause excessive salivation and odd behavior. Stomach upset can occur if they are ingested by pets, especially in large amounts.
- Familiar people can be frightening
Costumes and masks change how people look and smell to a pet, so even familiar people can become frightening. Even if you are just having a few friends over for a Halloween party, keep your pets away from the festivities in their safe room.
By Dr. Ashley Dawes
We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic want to make sure that owners are well educated so that they and their pets can live long, happy, and healthy lives together. Here is a list of the most common veterinary myths associated with pet health care.
- A cold, wet, dry, or warm nose indicates something about the pet’s health.
While there may be a few circumstances where a pet’s nose may be able to offer us useful information, most of the time they do not. Veterinarians do not rely on this information at all when taking your pet’s history or performing a physical exam.
- A pet that eats grass outside is sick to his stomach.
While some dogs that have an upset stomach may feel an urge to eat or chew on unusual objects, a dog that eats grass is not always ill. Some dogs simply like to play with grass and chew on it for fun!
- Eating ice cubes or snow kills dogs.
Dogs do not bloat from eating ice cubes, snow, or drinking ice water. In fact, giving them ice water or ice cubes can help cool them down on a hot day. Bloat is most commonly seen in deep-chested, large breed dogs and can be caused by genetics and/or food and gas build up in the stomach. Freezing toys or treats for dogs, especially puppies, to chew on can help to keep them occupied while you are away.
- A dog that scoots his hind end on the ground has worms.
Scooting is usually caused by an impacted or infected anal gland or localized skin infection. Pets can, on occasion, scoot on the ground if they have tapeworms because the segments that they shed on their hind end can be itchy or irritating.
- If my dog is inside a fenced-in yard, or mostly indoors, they cannot be exposed to mosquitoes and contract heartworm disease.
Mosquitoes can get inside fenced-in yards and can even get inside your house; therefore, even mostly indoor dogs need to be on heartworm prevention too. The same goes for fleas and flea prevention as they can hitch a ride on your clothes or shoes and be introduced into your house.
- Grain free or gluten free diets will fix my pet’s allergies.
While there are some dogs that may be diagnosed with a grain allergy, gluten allergies in dogs are exceedingly rare. Dogs can have food allergies or environmental allergies that cause them to have red, irritated, and itchy skin. If you think your pet is experiencing an allergy contact your veterinarian at Dupont Veterinary Clinic to have them examined.
- My dog eats his own feces so he must have a nutritional deficiency.
This statement is simply not true as some dogs find this smelly snack to be a delicacy!
- Dipping your pet in motor oil can cure mange.
There are dips that can be given to bathe pets in to cure mange but motor oil is not one of them. In fact, motor oil can be really harsh on a pet’s skin and coat. If you think your pet has mange, please speak with your veterinarian about the best treatment for them.
- Pets need to lick their wounds in order for them to heal.
Licking a wound is great to clean off debris from a fresh injury, but continuous licking worsens inflammation and infection. This is why E-collars are used. It is especially important to keep pets away from a surgical incision as they can reopen the site and cause a serious infection.
- Sibling pets do not need to be spayed or neutered because they will not mate.
Animals do not have any taboos against this and will mate if given the opportunity.
If you have questions about your pet’s health, give us a call at (260) 637-7676. We are here because we want to help keep your pet healthy and foster the bond your family has with your pet.
By: Dr. Ashley Dawes
Ruby is a 7-year-old black Labrador Retriever that has been trained from an early age to assist her owner that is visually impaired. She was trained to be a guide dog in a program based out of Michigan called Leader Dogs for the Blind. This program not only trains guide dogs but also matches clients with a dog that best fits their lifestyle, travel pace, physical size, stamina, and other considerations. Ruby passed guide dog training with flying colors and has been helping her owner on a day to day basis ever since.
During the first year of training, guide dogs grow up in homes with volunteers of the organization where they are taught basic obedience and are exposed to the world. Guide dogs are then coached through four months of formal harness training with a professional guide dog mobility instructor. It is during these four months that they learn guide dog skills, such as stopping at curbs, avoiding obstacles, and finding doors. For example, Ruby was trained to stop at a street curb and wait for her handler to give the command to go forward. Ruby looks for approaching traffic and decides whether or not it is truly safe to cross the street. In this and numerous other ways guide dogs are able to assist their handlers throughout their day.
Ruby is in semi-retirement according to her handler; however, she still stays by her side each and every day. Ruby goes to work with her owner at an organization that was designed to help individuals with disabilities and mental illness so that they may live as independently as possible. Ruby may be at work but she is well known throughout the office and is quick to greet everyone each morning or even console workers if they are having a tough day. Ruby is a happy-go-lucky girl that is eager to please and ready for any task at hand.
At Dupont Veterinary Clinic we value the human-animal bond that enriches so many lives every day. We are proud of Ruby and guide dogs like her for the wonderful service that they provide for their handlers and we hope you feel the same!