Healthy dogs!

Our Labrador, was tested for Valley Fever;  his test results and xrays are negative.  This is the best news and wonderful blessing.

Labrador Retriever mix
healthy flat coat retriever

If you live in Arizona, you and your animals will most definitely come in contact with Valley Fever fungi.  A strong immune system will defeat Valley Fever just like it would the flu.

The mucous membrane linings of the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary tracts provide one of the first lines of defense against invasion by microbes. Internal defense mechanisms for the immune system include the Lymphatic system, Thymus gland, bone marrow, spleen, white blood cells and antibodies.

valley fever life cycle
valley fever life cycle from the CDC

I’ve learned quite a bit regarding an animal’s immune system and the importance of keeping your pet healthy.

Our Jack Russel, is currently on medication for Valley Fever.  He is doing great and running around like a puppy!  Valley Fever is treated with anti-fungus medication.

dogs swimming in pool
jack russel recovering from valley fever

The immune system is your cat’s, dog’s, bunny’s, etc…  PROTECTOR.   It is the immune system’s job to respond to infectious challenges and antigenic stimuli from the outside world without destroying the host animal itself.

Siamese large cat
Cats can get Valley Fever too

My entire family, with and without fur, wishes you Love, Peace and most of all good Health.  

God Bless you and your families.

Valley Fever symptoms in our dog

Our Arizona Veterinarian informed us that our dog has Valley Fever, coccidioidomycosis.  This article is to share the information and facts we learned about Valley Fever fungus.  Our dog is on Valley Fever antifungal medicine,  and his prognosis looks good.

the same dog as Wishbone
our dog has valley fever

What symptoms made us visit the veterinarian?

  • Our dog was eating well but losing weight.
  • A few times I caught our pet crying as though he were in pain.
  • Something just seemed off with our dog
Coccidioides is a fungus
Valley Fever is a fungus

Canine valley fever originates in a dog as it inhales the coccidioidomycosis fungal spores. These fungus spores are usually found in dirt and in arid areas of the desert. Once inhaled, valley fever spores grow and multiply very rapidly at the first available point in a dog’s body, the lungs.

Symptoms of coccidioidomycosis, valley fever, usually appear between 1 and 3 weeks after exposure to the fungus.

Common Symptoms of Valley Fever in Dogs and Cats

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Lameness
  • Dry or moist cough
  • Bone swelling/joint enlargement
  • Extreme weight loss with muscle wasting
  • Enlarged lymph nodes

Most fungi are harmless, but some types like Valley Fever can make you sick.  The map below shows areas of the United States that have common cases of Valley Fever in humans and animals.

Valley Fever map
locations where Valley Fever fungus is found

The fungus spores of Valley Fever begin in the lungs until they grow large enough to rupture, releasing hundreds of endospores.  These numerous spores begin a parasitic stage in the tissues and disseminate into the animal’s body.  The Valley Fever Fungus can spread to the organs.

The immune system does have the capability to fight off the Valley Fever infection before symptoms can even be realized, but it requires an exceptionally strong immune system to do so.

valley fever in canine lungs
fungus in a dog’s lungs

According to the University of Arizona, about 70% of dogs who inhale Valley Fever spores control the infection and do not become sick.  The Valley Fever infection can range from mild to severe.

Canine Valley Fever will begin to affect the dog’s joints if the condition continues to progress.  It is very sad when the infection of Valley Fever is so severe in the bones that an animal can no longer move its arms or legs.

joint with Valley Fever fungus
dog’s bone below the knee joint with Valley Fever fungus

It is very important to continue medicating your dog as directed until the veterinarian confirms that the blood tests are negative and tells you to stop medication. If you stop treating Valley Fever too soon, symptoms may recur.  Some animals will have to remain on the anti fungal medication for life.

life cycle of valley fever
life cycle of valley fever

Is Valley Fever contagious from animal to animal, human to human, or animal to human?
NO.  Valley Fever is considered a non-contagious disease. Even if multiple animals or humans are affected in the same household, each Valley Fever case was acquired independently.

Recently, I felt swollen glands on our other dog.  This week we took him to the doctor for Valley Fever blood tests and x-rays.  Already our heart is heavy with our little dog being infected and I can’t yet imagine how crushed we will be if our other dog comes up positive.

our dogs at the Veterinarian
Shadow and Trigger for their checkup

A Valley Fever vaccine is under development. Here’s hoping it is developed soon and may be available to prevent Valley Fever or make it very mild.

Labrador Shepherd mix
our black Labrador

The Valley Fever Center for Excellence at the University of Arizona is the only academic research institution in the world focused on the study of Valley Fever.




Adding a second cat: the cat hissing is over, meet NEFFRON

It is very important to give your newly adopted pet TIME to adjust.  We talked about getting another cat through adoption.  With so many pets in Arizona shelters, cat rescue was the option for us.  I’d like you to meet our new kitty cat Neffron.

our second cat
our Siamese cat, Neffron

Honestly, at first we thought we may have to return our newly adopted cat.  The introduction wasn’t easy with our Labrador, Jack Russell and another cat.  Tension was very high with cat hissing, barking and new cat behaviors I was not familiar with.

After hours of research on success when adding a second cat, we came up with a plan.

cat room
our adopted cat has his own room

At the shelter Neffron was in a cage.  We held this lovable Siamese cat and found him to be very easy going.  Neffron was a 6 yr old neutered male and quite large.  This was good as our tenacious Jack Russell Terrier would not do well with a young, smaller cat.

Before bringing our new cat home we had set up the back bedroom with food, water, and fresh litter.  Our second cat would have a climbing post with a stimulating view from the window.  By nature cats are very territorial and our other cat would naturally resent an adult feline intruder.  Our adopted pet would have their own safe room.

our Siamese cat is getting used to us

According to the Animal Humane Society and S.A.F.E.,  Saving Animals From Euthanasia, the sex of the cats makes very little difference.  Many feline behavior experts agree that age and temperament are the most important factors.

My husband and I would take turns relaxing in the room with Neffron.  Now our 12 yr old cat was very nervous and upset.  The behaviour of our older cat changed from mild-mannered to angry.  On the second day, I began to hold our older cat and sit with him across from Neffron for short intervals.  Batman, our 12 yr old was making deep moaning, growling noises and hissing at the new cat.

Siamese cat
our new cat is exploring

Periodically, we started to leave the bedroom door open so Neffron could explore his new house.  Our Jack Russell was put on his leash so he would not chase the new cat.  With treats in hand, I would reward the dogs as Neffron walked passed.  At bedtime, Neffron was safely brought back to his cat room and the door was shut.

litter box
Batman gets his own litter box

Our 12 yr old cat, Batman, was having a harder time with the adjustment of adding a second cat.  We provided him with his own new litter box.  In his behavior I noticed our darling cat wasn’t eating.  This worried me so I placed extra bowls of cat food in different rooms that Batman was hiding in.  Also we gave extra petting and attention to help him feel safe.

2 cats
Neffron and Batman

These two cats sit down together but will not look at each other.   I giggle as I learn how a cat behaves with other cats.  The cat hissing and growling has finally stopped!

a happy Siamese cat

Two weeks of constant supervision have passed and we are so grateful that Neffron is part of the family!  Bedroom doors remain open, cats are eating and drinking, the tension has gone and only hugs, toys and playtime remains.

Siamese cat
our Siamese sleepy cat
Trigger, our dog
our Jack Russell dog, Trigger

It is hard to predict how a cat will react when you add a new feline to the family.  You won’t know until you try and we are sure glad we did!  Best wishes to all you pet owners and future pet owners.

My dogs rolling in the grass! Labrador and Jack Russell

Shadow, our Labrador / Shepherd mix, and Trigger, our Jack Russell Terrier, just love to roll in the grass!

our labrador loves grass
our labrador loves playing on grass

We live in the Arizona Sonoran desert with Mesquite trees and cacti as our only neighbors.  Unfortunately, grass does not exist near our home.

Labrador Mix and Jack Russell
Labrador Mix and Jack Russell

When mom places the dog collars on Shadow and Trigger, the tails start wagging!  Our dogs know we are taking a trip to Lakeside Park in Tucson, AZ.

Our Jack Russell loves grass
a grass filled park in Tucson , AZ

It is so fun to watch Trigger, our tenacious Jack Russell Terrier, sprint to the middle of the park, turn upside down and swirl back and forth in the bed of grass.

Trigger upside down in the grass
Jack Russell Terrier rolling in the grass
A happy black Labrador mix, Shadow

Shadow is one happy, content dog.  He has a fun, gentle demeanor that is common for Labrador retrievers.

Lakeside Park in Tucson offers fishing, picnics and of course rolling and romping in the grass!

Jack Russell Terrier, Trigger

When it is 110 degrees – Dogs go Swimming! Best Dog Pictures

These dogs need to cool off from this summer heat! What better way than dogs jumping in the pool.

  Picture of Shadow

Our wonder dog doing a Cannonball in the pool!

Trigger’s photo of the Lifeguard Dog

This Jack Russell has so much energy, Trigger runs around the pool and then this amazing dog jumps in a goes swimming, he is so funny

Look at the height in this picture, one amazing dog diving in the pool

The Best Dog Pics – Shadow Photos – Labrador Information

Life is meant to enjoy and my 2 furry boys are having a ball!  Shadow and Trigger are a very important part of our daily life.  Our dogs are our family.

Shadow, 4 yr old Lab/ mix and Trigger, 6 yr old Jack Russell

The Labrador Retriever (also Labrador, or Lab for short) is one of several kinds of retriever. This breed characteristic is webbed paws for swimming, which is the breed’s original purpose of retrieving fishing nets.

What is the most popular breed of dog? It is the Labrador. That includes Canada, the United States and the UK.  The Lab is one of the most popular assistance dog breeds as well as being used by police for their detection and working abilities. Typically Labradors love to play catch, swim and retrieving games.  Labs are good as a family pet as they work well with young children, elderly and for protection.

This boy is a gentle soul, extremely intelligent, but don’t under estimate this dog – when he senses danger he will change into “Rambo” protection mode

Shadow was a rescue from  The Humane Society of Sedona . A specialist at the shelter told me that Shadow was a  Flat-Coated Retriever but they were not at liberty to tell me for sure as his papers stated LAB/MIX.  After much research and being with Shadow everyday, I agree.

The Flat-Coated Retriever is a gundog breed originating from the UK. It was developed as a retriever both on land and in the water.  Flat-Coated Retrievers have strong muscular jaws and a relatively long muzzle to allow for the carrying of birds and upland game. Their head is unique to the breed and is described as being “of one piece” with a minimal stop and a backskull of approximately the same length as the muzzle. They have almond shaped dark brown eyes that have an intelligent, friendly expression. The ears are pendant, relatively small and lie close to the head. The occiput (the bone at the back of the skull) is not to be accentuated (as it is in setters, for example) with the head flowing smoothly into a well-arched neck. The topline is strong and straight with a well feathered tail of moderate length held straight off the back. Flat-coats should be well angulated front and rear, allowing for open, effortless movement. They are lighter, racier and more elegant in appearance than the other retriever breeds.

Shadows webbed feet make this Lab an excellent swimmer!

These retrievers do best with plenty of exercise and engagement to help channel their natural sporting energy. Including them in one’s daily routines whether for a walk, jog, or car ride are great ways to indulge their innate desire to be with people. While flat-coats will protect their owners and property with an assertive bark, they are unlikely to back up such noise with actual aggression.  Because of their excellent sense of smell, combined with their boundless energy and eagerness to please their master, they are sometimes used as drug sniffing dogs.

Eager and quick to learn, Flat-Coats are best trained in short intervals as they may bore with repetition. This breed retains its youthful, puppy-like outlook and demeanor well into old age. Paddy Petch, author of The Complete Flat-Coated Retriever, refers to these dogs as the “Peter Pan” of the retriever breeds, given they never quite grow up.

Shadow’ typical SMILE!

After its introduction into the U.S., the Flat-coat began to quickly gain in popularity as a gundog, and from 1873 when the breed became a “stable type” according to the American Kennel Club until 1915 when it was officially recognised as a breed, the number of Flat-coats grew rapidly.

However, soon after, the popularity of the Flat-coat began to decrease, eclipsed by the Golden Retriever, which was actually bred in part from the Flat-coat, along with other breeds. By the end of WWII, there were so few Flat-coats that the breed’s survival was uncertain.  Beginning in the 1960s, careful breeding brought the population back and the breed gained in popularity again as a companion pet. Today, the Flat-coat enjoys a modest popularity and is moving ahead as a breed through attentive breeding for the conformation, health, multi-purpose talent and exceptional temperament that are its hallmarks. It has yet to return in substantial numbers.

Flat-coats have a higher risk of cancer than most dogs.  According to studies sponsored by the Flat Coated Retriever Society of America (FCRSA), the average lifespan of the Flat-coated Retriever is only about 8 years, with a high percentage of deaths due to cancer.

This is how Shadows tells me to get off the computer and feed him – and so I do!
Puts his nose right in the Cactus Flower