Vet visit

Miss Daisy Mae has decided she cares not for being at the vet’s office. She was not happy with me this morning as clearly evidenced by those eyebrows. Hope she doesn’t hold grudges like Sparky does. #ohsnap #sheisnotpleased

Gratuitous cute dog photo

Miss Thang Herself.

Driving Miss Daisy

Everything seems new to Miss Daisy, including going for rides in the car. She’s getting the hang of it and comes to attention if car keys get touched or if any movement toward her leash is made. I still cannot get over how, well… TINY she is compared to Nemo, but what she lacks in commanding presence, she more than makes up for in her near cat-like ability to quietly climb up onto my lap.

Cat Committee

CFO Phoofie met with other Cat Committee members, Beanie and Boo Boo, this morning about the projects the studio is planning. Beanie is our office administrator and Boo Boo handles research to support the various projects. The Cat Committee handles much of our behind the scenes work.

Daisy Mae’s office

Miss Black Dog seems to have her office decorated the way she wants. A girl can always change her mind and redecorate, but she seems pretty intent that Scooby and Clifford need to be within the confines of the Executive Lounge Pad.

Her own personal chef

Big paws to fill, big collar to fill, big lounge pad and serving station to own. Miss Black Dog decided she prefers dining at the executive table. Her personal chef prepares organic, freeze dried raw dinners reconstituted with bone broth together with natural supplements for keeping her immune system strong to make her upcoming treatment to kick some heartworm a$& as effective and safe as it can be.

Weekly staff meeting

The executives put their heads together at the weekly staff meeting today. CEO Daisy Mae, CFO Phoofie and General Manager Sparky are working on several project proposals at once and timeline strategy for implementation will be key.

First dog selfie

Miss Daisy Mae is learning all the ropes here at Big Black Dog Studio, including how to take dog selfies. A little blurry, but not too bad for her first try.

Casual dining

Daisy Mae reclines to eat her supper the same way that Nemo preferred to. #luvmysillydog ❤

Dog clown

Ever wonder what your dog sees when he or she is looking at a stuffed toy or other fake “dog”? Daisy has growled at this guy twice already so I had to put it up out of her line of sight. I imagine it must be like a human viewing clowns or zombies. Of course, clowns totally creep me out, so if that is what the pieces are doing to her, it looks like I’ll be donating a lot of these sculpted pieces to charity auctions in the very near future. Why? Because my dog’s happiness and comfort are more important than my own 95% of the time. I can always make more sculptures.

What rescuing a dog is all about

Daisy Mae came to me via a wonderful support network of volunteers involved with Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida, District 8. There are a lot of dogs coming out of the Carolinas right now on their way down into Florida and other areas where the last hurricane didn’t flood in order to make room in those local Carolina shelters for the dogs whose humans live there, but who may have gotten separated during the prolonged rain and subsequent flooding. This way, as the humans begin getting their lives back, they can hope that if their pet got loose or lost, someone has found them and turned them in to a shelter nearby where the owners can then reunite with their pets. Folks who don’t live in hurricane-prone areas may not realize it but the livestock, horses, chickens and pigs all needed to be safeguarded, not just domestic pets. Chances are quite a few got displaced.

Daisy Mae’s situation was a little different. She was pregnant and turned into a shelter in Alabama and I’m not very clear as to what the particular circumstances are other than that. She bore seven healthy pups who were adopted out and then Lab Rescue pulled her here to Florida to find a home. During her vetting, it was found that she tested positive for heart worm and must undergo medical treatment for killing the nasty things before she will be completely healthy. Heart worm used to be just a problem in wet, hot areas of the country where mosquitoes would bite an infected dog and then transmit it to the next dog the bug bit. With transporting dogs all over the country, this has made heart worm a national emergency. When I lived in Vermont, we didn’t have many mosquitoes except for the two months it was less cold than the other ten months. But if a heart worm positive dog goes up north, a mosquito biting that dog can then potentially transmit the heart worm parasite to another dog – even with just a short window and even if it hasn’t been a problem in your area in the past. It’s a problem NOW.

Part of Daisy Mae’s traditional Big Pharma treatment plan is to keep her quiet and not let her run or exercise for several months until all of the treatments get done, and even then the lifespan of the heart worms can be as long as six or seven years. This is why most people shy away from adopting heart worm positive dogs. The Heart Worm Society’s website may provide dog owners with a huge eye-opener as to how big a problem this is for everyone’s dogs, not just those in the south or wet areas. Please make sure your pet is on heart worm preventative – especially here in Florida. My Nemo’s preventative meds cost under $100 annually plus his annual blood draw to test. I hated giving him “poison” and had been trying to find an effective natural remedy, but hadn’t yet found one I thought would work on a dog who outweighed me.

I’m looking into finding a holistic veterinarian near me as I write this because the antibiotics and three months of Ivervectin Daisy Mae is going to need just to start her on the road to recovery will likely run just over a thousand dollars going the pharmaceutical route. And being on a Big Pharma “poison” regimen also means she will not be allowed to run around like the wild child she wants to be because the heart worms can clog her arteries if the heart rapidly pumps for that kind of normal exercise.

In other words, normal exercise that any young, happy dog wants could literally kill her if she is not kept calm for her own good. Some of the natural remedies like HWF claim the dog doesn’t have to be crated or kept quiet while undergoing treatment, so obviously, I’m most interested in learning more about that.

I had already done a lot of research about putting Nemo onto a raw diet because of his itchy skin from food allergies, so I was familiar with Dogs Naturally Magazine. I have been doing more research on how to use homeopathic and natural remedies to help rid Daisy Mae of the heart worm and any other nasty parasites to help her Big Pharma treatment accomplish its goal faster and keep her as healthy as possible. I will be supplementing Daisy’s meals using some of the suggested recipes and natural foods I found recommended there. I eat healthy, natural food as much as I can; why wouldn’t I want my dogs to?

It is easier in the summer when it’s so incredibly hot and humid to convince a dog to stay inside in the air conditioning, but we are approaching the lovely time of year in Florida. So far, she seems to be feeling better as far as security of being in “her” home goes, her appetite is fine and she’s settled in with all those who reside here. But as for walking across to the marina to watch sunsets and chase the birds off of the dock like Nemo and I used to do nearly every night, that will have to wait until she is able to walk that far.

This is the first time I have had a dog with heart worm, so it is a learning experience for me. My plan is that Miss Daisy Mae will live out a long, happy and hopefully healthy life here.

Own the Bed

Some of the similarities between Nemo and Daisy strike me when I compare pictures like this. It’s like Nemo truly sent her because just by looking at her, there would be no way I could assume she would have similar poses and quirks that are starting to slowly come out as she gets comfortable in her new home.

Settling in

Miss Black Dog is settling in quite nicely in her first week at the studio. Here she is shown conferring with her fluffy assistant, CFO (Chief Fluffy Officer) Phoofie about upcoming matters.

Executive lounge pad

Daisy Mae is hard at work filling the huge paws, collar and even the Executive Lounge Pad of her predecessor, My Nemo, in her new role as C.E.O. (Canine Executive Officer).

Miss Daisy Mae Blackberry named new CEO

(For immediate release): Dunedin, FL – Big Black Dog Studio is pleased to announce that Miss Daisy Mae Blackberry, a petite Black Lab mix lady, has graciously accepted our offer to assume the role of leadership as the new CEO (Canine Executive Officer) of our studio. Miss Daisy’s Cinderella story is one of a hard-knock life turned around for a happy ending. She comes to us from Alabama where as an unwed mother, she took refuge in a shelter where she birthed and weaned seven healthy pups, who were all successfully adopted out.

Special thanks go out to Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida, 8th District for believing in her to recruit her to the area for hopes of a brighter future. Knowing that she had the potential to rise above her humble beginnings, she was recommended to us to interview for the open position at Big Black Dog Studio following the passing of beloved Founder and original CEO, Eenie Meenie My Nemo, known affectionately to his friends as Nemo.

Filling the collar and paw prints of such an epic figure in the community is not going to be easy, but after consideration of her impressive application, she completely won the hearts of the Board of Directors. Following a unanimous vote, Business Manager Sparky made the official offer this evening. Miss Daisy Mae immediately accepted and we welcome her to the studio.

Big Black Dog Studio is an equal opportunity employer, and we are pleased to hire a petite female for this top executive position to lead us into the next phase of our organization together. Please join us in welcoming the new face of Big Black Dog Studio.

Nemo knot

It’s been a whole month since Nemo passed away, and although it feels like a year one moment and like yesterday the next, he is still always on my mind. I dug out the celtic knot sketch I did of him a few months ago and realized the thing I wasn’t happy with on it was his tail.

He had a Great Dane tail with a Lab head. I tweaked the tail and think it’s now looking more like My Dog. I’ll probably keep working on it until I’m happy. What do you think?

Baby album memories

Was taking a brain break from coursework and found this adorable baby picture of My Nemo from eight years ago when he was just five weeks old. He always loved his cold air ducts ❤

How animals grieve

Phoofie has always been odd. He made it a personal mission to clean pack members over the years if they were anywhere receptive or patient about humouring this quirk.

When Nemo was very young, Phoofie attempted to clean the big guy’s face, and whether the fluffster’s rough tongue rubbed wrong on My Dog’s toes, nose, ears or his eyes is anyone’s guess what the offense was. Anytime the cat walked anywhere near his face or feet, Nemo would growl at him, and during the last few months of his increasing canine dementia, even snapped at him. This freaked the poor cat out and he’d retreat under a chair or table a safe distance away while Nemo would put his head back down and let out an occasional low growl as if to say, “I know you’re sitting there looking at me. Don’t even think about it.” But Phoofie never gets insulted.

Since Nemo’s passing, you’d think the last one to care would be the elderly cat who got growled at, run over by 130 lbs. of excited to go out and chase squirrels, or who often got quickly scooped up and off a comfy dog spot when the dog wanted it and a human had to intervene before fur flew. Yet animals grieve for the loss of their family members in their own way.

Phoofie has been sleeping on air conditioning floor vents, especially on The Fave one, and on all of Nemo’s rugs and throws. He was the only one who noticed at all that My Dog was missing. Sparky really hasn’t noticed or acted outside of his weird zone. Maybe I’m overly sensitive to their behavior, but I’m convinced from many years of observing animal interaction inside a family setting: Phoofie is definitely missing My Nemo.

Job opening: Bird Chaser

Nemo took ridding the docks of messy birds pretty seriously. No boater diligently spends hours cleaning his prized boat to get ready for guests and then wants his family to walk down the dock and climb in after traipsing through gobs of bird poop, so Nemo’s job of Bird Chaser at our marina was a pretty important one. With him now gone, who will step up? Who will be the next Bird Chaser? Applications now being accepted. Position open until filled.

Nemo shrine

My Big Black Dog’s box is in its place of honor on my desk. I realized that with his ashes and all the photos around (yes, there are more than just shown here), the only thing my dog shrine is missing is a candle.

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