My name is Sylvia Dickens, a dog lover who is concerned about the welfare of our pets. I am the creator and owner of this site, which is dedicated to providing the advice that will help ensure your dog lives a long and healthy life. I will be adding more dog-related content over time.
You can be sure the information provided is as accurate as I can make it. My goal is to research each topic by going to the experts for real facts that I can pass on to you.
Who Am I?
I've had dogs all my life... that means over 50+ years of dog ownership. First, it was our family dog, a cocker spaniel we brought with us from England when I was 8. She died of cancer at the age of 12. We had several more spaniels after Jeannie. One of them, a cute American Spaniel, died before her first birthday from kidney failure.
Afterwards, we had several pound pups of mixed breeds that died for various reasons, but none reached their age potential.
My Dogs Stories
In 1975, I got Nikki, an American Eskimo Spitz. He was only 5 weeks old and an absolute joy. That's him in my logo and on my product covers. He always looked like that, happy and inquisitive. He was my absolute best friend.
He was full of energy, always ready to play and take that much-desired walk every day. Throughout his entire life, he was healthy, except for a few minor things... a small lump on one eyelid that was removed before he lost use of his eye, and a leg injury he got while chasing the neighbor's cat. Neither were life-threatening and he recovered just fine.
He was fun, affectionate, protective and he had a great sense of humor (as do all my dogs). Then one day when I came home from work, he was agonizing on the floor, panting with his eyes wide in fear. An emergency trip to the vet showed that he was having some sort of seizure, so the vet gave him steroid medication that helped him significantly. But he never fully recovered.
Two weeks after that first attack, he became extremely limp and unable to stand. Another trip to the vet revealed that he was in kidney failure and that it would have been inhumane to make him suffer. He died at the age of 16-1/2.
All of you will know how painful that was, so I won't belabor it except to say that I swore I wouldn't get another dog. I just couldn't go through that pain again. But it wasn't to be.
Five years later, I took possession of another American Eskimo, this one from the pound. He was about 7 months old. He'd been abused in his first home and was very small and thin. His second family was afraid of his fear aggression and wanted to send him back to the pound. So he came to my house instead.
Kobe lived 15-1/2 years and died from multiple organ failure that started with his kidneys. He spent most of his life protecting me and I spent a good part of that time trying to get him to trust people. He disliked everyone and every animal, including dogs of all sexes.
When he was 2 years old, I decided to try introducing a female puppy to socialize him. To my surprise, he did eventually take to her, but it took a couple of months before I fully trusted him not to try to hurt her.
Cindy was a lab/chow who would have ended up at the pound if I hadn't taken her. She was about 6 months old when I brought her home and introduced her to Kobe. She was the most docile dog I'd ever owned. In fact, she was rather 'dumb', but she made up for it in her cuteness, affection and playfulness, not to mention her sense of humor.
She pretty much ignored Kobe's aggressive actions and it wasn't long before she had him turned around. He became her playmate and her best friend. It was wonderful to see the transition in him, and watch the two of them pretend fight. Cindy being the bigger dog would drop to the ground the moment Kobe caught up with her, giving him the "advantage" and satisfaction of thinking he'd brought her down. It was so clear to me what she was doing.
When she was 8 years old, she developed a huge tumor on her chest. The vet operated and she lived about another 2 years when she died from cancer that had spread around her heart.
My dogs have shared a large part of my life. Nothing can compare to the bond that develops between dog and owner.
As far as I'm concerned, my dogs could have lived much longer because they actually do have a life expectancy of close to 20 years. Nikki came the closest, but I would have given almost anything to spend more time with him. Just as I would with my other dogs.
Cindy was a huge heartbreak because she was so young.
And then came Tyler, a Belgian Shepherd. He's my current dog. I found him at the local pound after Kobe died in 2006. The animal control people picked up as a stray, yet he was well trained already. I can't help wondering why the owners wouldn't retrieve him.
He's a very good natured dog, loves other dogs, children and especially boys. It makes me think he had belonged to a young man or boy. We can't walk past a school or baseball diamond where people are playing ball without him going into a frenzy to participate.
Tyler would love to get back to the wild which makes it difficult to contain him, and perhaps is the reason he got away from his first owners.
The vet figured he was somewhere between 6 months and 2 years old when I got him, but I felt he was closer to 1 year old. We enjoy long daily walks together. When it's time to go, he brings me his Kong toy because that is his chosen method of communication.
Everyone we pass loves this rambunctious and beautiful dog.
Why I started This Site
One day, I was reading about the recent dog food scare, where dogs and cats were dying from some ingredient in their food. The recalls had me wondering if I could have made a difference to my dogs' lives if I'd been aware of the problems manufactured foods can cause your dog.
And then I learned about the dangers of certain human foods, such as chocolate, onions and raisins. It made me wonder what dangers I might have exposed my dogs to and if I jeopardized their health.
Considering that both Nikki and Kobe had kidney failure and Cindy died from cancer, I now know that the dog food could very well have been their downfall, since these are two of the most common conditions resulting from additives and dangerous chemicals such as gluten that are added to dog food.
That's when I decided to develop this site, so I could share my findings with you as I learn them myself.
I hope you stay with me and learn as I do how to get every possible minute with your dog. It doesn't take long for your relationship to develop which means that every day you get to enjoy that bond is precious.
And we all want those happy times to last as long as possible.
If you have any dog-related issues you'd like me to investigate, just email me and I'll do my best to see what I can find out.
Dog Lover and Web Site Owner
Aurora, Ontario, Canada