My dog Louie went to the Rainbow Bridge today

My furry love of my life

My furry love of my life

So sorry to share that I had to help my dog, Louie, onto the rainbow bridge today unexpectedly. This morning we woke up as we usually do on weekend mornings. Louie and I remaining in bed after Mike gets up. Louie moves in on Mike’s space and uses Mike’s piillow. When he sees that I am stirring, Louie rolls over on his back asking for a belly rub. He got his morning belly rub this morning…and for some reason I emphasized and told him this morning that I would love him forever. “Forever”, I said it out loud.

I went to get ready in the shower and all seemed as it has for so many days before this. After I got ready, I fed Louie. He ate like he normally does and even did his usual business outside. He then went and lay on his bed in the front room. When it came time for me to take him out for our morning walk, he wouldn’t get up off the bed. Not even for a treat…highly unLouie-like. I went and sat by him and rubbed him. His breathing was a little quick, his ears were droopy and his eyes were sad. I petted him for awhile. He just laid on his bed.

We decided to make a quick run to the grocery store. We always put a treat on the carpet in front of the fireplace when leaving. I had read to do that oh so long ago when Louie came to our home. It was suppose to not make the dog sad that you were leaving. Louie did not get up excitedly to get the treat like he usually does. He just laid on his bed. When we came back a short time later and the treat was still laying on the rug, I knew something seriously was wrong.

I petted him some more and asked him to tell me what was wrong and what to do. I decided to take him to the emergency vet. He wouldn’t get up and walk when I put the leash on so we dragged his bed towards the door. This is a 70 lb dog and not easy to get him to move when he does not want to move. I took him towards the car and had a little glimmer of hope when he walked around a bit to find a good place to pee. However, he wouldn’t walk back to the car and we tried putting him on the blanket and dragging it to the car. He walked a bit and I lifted him in.

Tears all the way to the vets. When we got there he would walk just inside the door but then no further. I could tell from when they checked his gums that things were serious. They brought him in back on a cart that they had to lift him on. When they came back and took me to a little room, the news was not good. His belly was full of blood. His heart was surrounded with fluid…likely blood, too. The diagnosis was that he had some sort of tumor (can’t remember the medical jargon but I remember sarcoma – which isn’t good). The tumor had burst inside him and filled him with blood. Surgery was a remote option and not really recommended. He was too sick to even take home for a bit. It was time to say goodbye.

The staff at WVRC in waukesha was wonderful. I could have as much time with him as I wanted. They brought him to me on his little cart. I sang him the Louie sang that I sing to him (not very well mind you). I reminded him of all our wonderful times together – training classes, agility classes, vacations, therapy dog visits, quiet times together, and walks…we went on SO many walks…in the neighborhood, in the county parks, in the state parks, all across this state from North to West, South to East. I told him how much I would love him…FOREVER. I told him how much his papa Mike loved him. Louie mostly laid there. He looked me in the eyes a few times. I cried on him to the point where his fur was wet. I kissed him. I hugged him. I told him again how much I loved him. He was a little anxious looking around at the noises outside our room occasionally. He laid his head on my arm that I had around him. I hugged him and kissed him some more. And I knew it was time to let him be peaceful.

He laid his head on his paws. It was a peaceful and very sad goodbye. I hugged him and kissed him some more.

We had a WONDERFUl but always too short time together. I learned how to be a better dog owner with him. He enjoyed doggy day care, learning tricks, agility classes, therapy dog work and walks…especially our walks. He hated riding in the car but LOVED walking in the park. LOVED to be out in the woods with us. I have many, many good memories to help me when I look around and see he isn’t here in the days ahead. I love you Louie. I will always love you. You will be a part of me and you made me a better person for having had you as part of my life. I love you Louie.


PetFirst Cautions Pet Parents of Holiday Trouble

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times – chocolate is toxic for our pets. And, with the holidays come many more things that are toxic and hazardous to dogs and cats. PetFirst shares this list of holiday hazards to avoid a trip to the vet’s office.

Toxic Temptations include:
Lilies: Cause kidney failure
Mistletoe or holly berries: Cause gastrointestinal upset (vomiting, nausea, diarrhea); also could lead to cardiovascular problems
Candies and gum with xylitol: Causes blood sugar to drop, resulting in depression, loss of coordination and possible seizures
Alcohol: Can lead to a coma and result in death from respiratory failure
Decorations: Can become lodged in the intestines and cause an obstruction
Aluminum foil and cellophane wrappers: Causes vomiting and intestinal blockage
Christmas tree water: If it contains fertilizers, that can upset the stomach of your pet; stagnant water can be a breeding ground for bacteria causing infection or illness if ingested
Leftovers: Too much of a good thing can cause upset stomach and diarrhea; also watch for bones that may splinter and create a choking hazard
Poinsettias: Cause mild vomiting or nausea

In addition to avoiding these hazards, always have your vet’s phone number close by just in case your pet becomes ill. It is also a good idea to have the number to your local 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital for treatment recommendations and the number to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435).

About PetFirst
PetFirst is the fastest growing pet insurer in North America offering easy-to-understand lifelong coverage for dogs and cats. PetFirst’s comprehensive coverage is unique in the industry providing simplified policies with coverage for hereditary, chronic and breed-specific conditions with no per diagnosis limits. PetFirst offers pet insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia through animal welfare agencies, retailers, employers as well as other partners. PetFirst polices are underwritten by American Alternative Insurance Corporation (Munich Re) which is rated by A.M. Best as A+. Additional services are underwritten by Lloyd’s. For more information about PetFirst pet insurance, or call 877-894-7387.

PetSafe Donate up to 15,000 Toys to Shelters Across the Nation Through Facebook

PetSafe®, an industry brand leader in the development of innovative pet behavioral, containment, lifestyle product solutions and services, is spreading the love to shelter pets across the nation this holiday season. For every “like” the brand’s Facebook page receives between now and Dec. 31, PetSafe will donate one toy to a pet in a shelter.

“PetSafe is proud to support the lifesaving work happening in animal shelters across the country,” Jim Tedford, PetSafe Director of Animal Welfare Initiatives, said. “PetSafe products are designed to strengthen and preserve the bonds between pets and their people. Our tagline is ‘Protect. Teach. Love.’ and those are three words that can also be used to describe what is happening in shelters nationwide.”

PetSafe aims to provide up to 15,000 toys, including the brand’s popular Busy Buddy® Barnacle, to pets in shelters across the U.S., including:
• Los Angeles Animal Services (Los Angeles, CA)
• Los Angeles County Animal Services (Long Beach, CA)
• Miami-Dade Animal Services (Miami, FL)
• Maricopa County Animal Control (Mesa, AZ)
• New York Centers for Animal Care & Control (New York, NY)
• Denver Animal Control (Denver, CO)
• Seattle Animal Shelter (Seattle, WA)
• Philadelphia Animal Control (Philadelphia, PA)
• Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control (Fort Wayne, IN)
• Nashville Humane Association (Nashville, TN)

To help PetSafe donate a toy to a shelter pet, visit and click “Like” by Dec. 31. Current Facebook fans who would still like to help can participate by inviting their friends and family to “Like” PetSafe’s Facebook page.
For more information about PetSafe and its shelter outreach efforts, please visit

About PetSafe®
Headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., PetSafe® is an industry brand leader in the development of innovative pet behavioral, containment and lifestyle product solutions and services. For more information, please visit or connect with us on Facebook ( and Twitter (

Halo Pet Food’s “Inspire Tour” Will Deliver 500,000 Meals to Homeless Pets

For the third year in a row, and Ellen DeGeneres’ natural pet food company, Halo, Purely for Pets®, will make the holidays brighter for homeless dogs and cats across the nation.
During the 2013 Holiday Kibble Drop “Inspire Tour,” Halo and will deliver more than 500,000 meals to pets in need. The Kibble Drop trucks, including two 18-wheelers packed full of food, will make a combined 12 stops throughout this holiday season.

At each Kibble Drop location, 5-8 shelters will receive a substantial food donation in honor of a special, inspirational pet in that city.

“Supporting shelters is part of our company’s mission,” says Halo CEO Steve Marton. “We are inspired by the stories of hope and love we hear every day – and want to honor those pets, pet owners and organizations who exemplify the incredible bond we have with our pets.”

Halo retail partners in many of the cities along the Kibble Drop route have generously provided a place where area shelters and rescues can meet the truck and pick up their donation of Halo’s Spot’s Stew natural pet food.

The Holiday Kibble Drop provides homeless pets the highest quality food possible, helping shelter pets look and feel their best, sometimes helping them find their forever homes. In fact, in a survey of 85 shelter professionals, 71% said that better food quality “definitely helps” dogs and cats to get adopted.

Since 2008, has donated 11.5 million meals to shelters and rescues. As’s official pet food sponsor since 2010, Halo donates the kibble distributed to shelters and rescues throughout the U.S.

“This year is the Third Annual Holiday Kibble Drop and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it,” says Mimi Ausland, founder. “It makes me feel great to know that so many homeless dogs and cats will be getting healthy, nutritious meals over the holidays. I hope the Kibble Drop will also inspire people to help shelter pets and to think of other ways they can make an impact on animals’ lives.”

2013 Kibble Drop Cities include: Nashville, TN; Washington, DC; Raleigh, NC; Philadelphia, PA; Greenwich, CT; New York, NY; Wichita, KS; Phoenix, AZ; Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA; and Bend, OR.

Participating retailers include: Phydeaux, Doggie Style, Pet Pantry Warehouse, All Paws, Pet Club, At Your Service Pets, Red Barn Feed and Saddlery, and Pet Food Express.

The magnitude and positive impact of past Holiday Kibble Drops inspired partners like and C.H. Robinson to donate resources, time and effort to the trip. Both organizations donate a portion of the freight costs, and each offers volunteers at each stop.

In addition, professional photographers who donate their time and talents to helping shelter pets through’s One Picture Saves a Life Program will be on site in many cities taking photos of the events.

About Halo, Purely for Pets®
For over 25 years, Halo, Purely for Pets® has created holistic pet products of uncompromising quality. Halo believes nutrition is the single most important factor in the quality of a pet’s life. Halo offers natural pet food, treats, supplements and grooming products – including the award-winning Halo Spot’s Stew, Dream Coat and Liv-a-Littles treats. Ellen DeGeneres – a long time Halo customer – became a part-owner of Halo in 2008. Halo’s natural dog food, natural cat food, treats, supplements and grooming products are available at Petco, Whole Foods Market, your local pet specialty and natural food store, and online at

Seventeen-year-old Mimi Ausland created when she was 11 years old to help feed the homeless dogs and cats at her local animal shelter. and are two of the five most-visited animal rescue web sites in the world, with over 125,000 combined daily visitors. With the help of Freekibble’s 500,000 loyal monthly followers, they have donated 11.5 million nutritious meals to over 200 shelters, rescues and food-banks across the country. works with Halo, Purely For Pets® to distribute the pet food to all the animal shelters they are assisting. Freekibble is played in 137 countries.

Pound dogs trained to be lifesaving rescue K9s in new film

Bringing hope to hopeless situations – locating missing children, lost elderly citizens and recovering murder victims – is realized in Reliance, a new documentary film that follows the true story of a state police sergeant who rehabilitates discarded pound dogs and trains them to be lifesaving search and rescue K9s.

And now members of the public can be a part of this success story by making pledges to the film’s Kickstarter fundraising campaign, which officially launches 12/10/2013. (campaign link:

“Reliance gives people a rare behind-the-scenes look into the world of missing person searches,” says Mary Healey Jamiel, the film’s award-winning producer and director. “In many cases, these searches mean life or death for a missing victim, or the ability to provide answers or closure for decades-old tragedies. This story is remarkable and it has been an unbelievable privilege to capture on film the incredible activities that occur behind the scenes on a missing persons K9 Search & Rescue operation.”

Through Reliance, which is nearing completion, Ms. Healey Jamiel shares real life stories with her audience by following Rhode Island State Police Sergeant Matthew Zarrella who has mastered the transformative connection between humans and dogs where both learn to trust each other in performing crucial search and rescue tasks.

The Reliance Kickstarter campaign has a 30-day goal to collect $70,000 in pledges. Pledges are earmarked as finishing funds to see the film to the big screen. If the goal is not met, the money is returned to backers and Reliance gets nothing. To learn more about the campaign see:

To learn more about the film, see:

Mary Healey Jamiel is a documentary filmmaker and associate professor at the University of Rhode Island. Her 2005 award-winning documentary, Holy Water-Gate, was the first film to lay bare 25 years of institutionalized cover-up of child sexual abuse by priests, detailing the methods and mechanisms that concealed these crimes for decades. Holy Water-Gate premiered on Showtime Networks and broadcast on CBC/Canada, SBS/Australia, TVE/Spain, RTSI/Switzerland, DR/Denmark and the Documentary Channel.

Kickstarter is an online crowd funding resource, where individuals and entities from around the world can contribute to a creative project’s fundraising campaign online. In return, backers are given items associated with the project – such as a T-shirt, a DVD, or (for as little as a $100 donation) their name in the credits.

Link to Today show item:

Season Greeting From Elmbrook Humane Society

With the Holidays fast approaching, Veterinarian Specialist, Dr. Marla Lichtenberger owner of The Milwaukee Emergency Center for Animals is already thinking about those who will be less fortunate this time of year.

While she donates much of her free time raising money to help protect Police K-9 heroes by way of her recently formed foundation, today Dr. Lichtenberger continues to underscore her passion and love for animals with the launch of her new campaign called MECA’s Angels for Animals Holiday Tree Giving sponsored by MECA and Animal Fairy Charities.

The public is encouraged to visit The Milwaukee Emergency Center for Animals (MECA) or any of the participating animal shelters from December 1st through December 31st to choose a special ornament from the Angels for Animals Holiday Tree. Ornaments can be purchased for $20.00 each with all proceeds going to the individual shelter where that specific ornament was created. Best of all, each ornament will also include a wish list item for those who wish to do more.

“This campaign is very special,” said Dr. Lichtenberger. “We’ve teamed up with the largest animal shelters in Southeastern Wisconsin in effort to raise awareness as well as donations for the thousands of homeless pets who will remain in shelters during the Holidays,” she added.

Participating shelters include (EBHS) Elmbrook Humane Society, (HAWS) Humane Animal Welfare Society in Waukesha, (MADACC) Milwaukee Are Domestic Animal Control Center and Wisconsin Humane Society. Each organization will feature their own Angels for Animals Holiday Tree with ornaments crafted by shelter volunteers.

“We are hoping this campaign will inspire more people to show kindness and empathy toward animals during the Holidays by getting involved,” Said Dr. Lichtenberger. It’s also an excellent time of year and a perfect way to teach children a lesson in compassion through the positive interaction with animals,” Lichtenberger added.

For more information you can log on at or call MECA at 414-543-7387.

ASPCA “No Pet Store Puppies” Campaign

The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), as part of its national “No Pet Stores Puppies” campaign, urges holiday shoppers to help fight puppy mill cruelty by refusing to shop at pet stores and on websites that sell puppies. The holidays are one of the busiest times of the year for pet stores as many families hope to give the gift of a new puppy, but many consumers are unaware they are supporting the inhumane puppy mill industry by shopping for anything at pet stores and websites that sell puppies.

“Many pet buyers don’t realize most pet store puppies come from puppy mills,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA president and CEO. “Their purchases keep this cruel industry in business, so we urge anyone looking for a new pet to adopt from a shelter, where plenty of healthy, loving animals are waiting to be saved.”

According to a national poll conducted in 2012 by Edge Research, 37 percent of Americans, roughly 88 million people, planned to buy a gift for a pet during the holiday season. Based on the number of pet gift shoppers and an average spending of $30 per person, Americans could spend more than $2.5 billion on pets during the holiday season. Unfortunately, 59 percent of pet gift shoppers would consider buying gifts at a store that also sells puppies—meaning some of that $2.5 billion in revenue may be supporting the puppy mill industry.

As part of its No Pet Store Puppies campaign, the ASPCA is promoting a holiday video called “What Not to Buy? Pet Store Puppies!” and encouraging viewers to share the video on their social networks, thereby raising awareness about the connection between pet store puppies and puppy mills. Operators of puppy mills breed dogs in unsanitary, overcrowded conditions where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs. The ASPCA believes that consumer action is a critical element in the fight against puppy mills, and urging consumers not to shop for anything—including food, supplies, or toys—at stores that sell puppies is an effective way to stop the demand for puppy mill dogs.

The ASPCA recently launched a new database containing more than ten thousand photos of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) licensed commercial dog breeders and links many of them to specific pet stores throughout the country that have sold puppies from the breeder within the last year. Consumers are able to search the database by pet store name, USDA license number, name of the breeding facility, or by zip code and specific breeds. The photos were taken by USDA inspectors during routine inspections of the facilities.

“Consumers need to know that they should not be falsely reassured when a pet store tells them their puppies come from USDA licensed breeders,” said Gina Miller, manager of the ASPCA Puppy Mills Campaign. “Unfortunately, USDA standards alone do not ensure that dogs are raised humanely in an environment in which they can thrive. We hope this new tool will help holiday shoppers make informed decisions and refrain from buying puppies at pet stores.”
To learn more about the ASPCA’s No Pet Store Puppies campaign and to sign the pledge, visit

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.