Category Archives: Langley Cornwell

What if Dogs Wrote Valentine Love Letters?

By Al and Frosty Cornwell, canine guest bloggers

A Valentine Message from Al to Frosty:

Dear Frosty,

I’ll never forget the day we met. I was living in that noisy place with lots of other dogs, sleeping on concrete. Lots of people came to that place. Most of them would look at me behind those bars and pass right by. Then on that fateful day, one of the workers came and took me out in the yard. He told me, “Petey (that’s what they called me there), we’ve got someone we want you to meet. Come on, big boy.”

And there you were, already out in the yard. You looked so pretty and white and dainty. And you smelled really good. You were fun to play with, too. Friendly, but you didn’t take any guff. You quickly let me know who was boss, and that was okay with me. We got along from the very beginning.

That was the best day ever. Meeting you has changed my life.

Dog-Animated-no-offerI love being your boyfriend. Your house is warm and you let me get up on the soft furniture. The food is good here too. I know you like me to wait until you have finished eating your CANIDAE before I start. It’s clear that you are the boss of me. That’s fine. There is always plenty to eat and drink. You are so good to me.

One of the best things about living with you is those two people who work for you. They feed us and pet us and clip our toenails. They take us for walks and car rides and runs in the woods. We even get to sleep in their bed. No more concrete floors! Thanks for letting me share them. I love you and our life together, Frosty. Thank you for everything.

A Valentine Message from Frosty to Al:

Dear Al,

You’re a big, clumsy, stinky mess… but you’re my stinky mess. For many years it was just me, the humans and the cat. I didn’t mind being single, but being your girlfriend is more fun. When our people leave the house, I’m not alone. Well, I wasn’t really alone before but I can’t count the cat. He doesn’t like to play the same way that you and I do. See, that’s the thing: I like having someone to wrestle with and boss around. The cat won’t let me do that.

My favorite time together is when you and I are running free in the woods, racing each other at top speed. The wind blows our ears back while we playfully body slam each other, good-naturedly growling and snarling and yapping. Good times.

One thing I’d like you to work on, however, is your neediness. When the humans are petting me, you always run up and butt in. You push me out of the way and shove your head under their hand. And when I’m sitting on the couch curled up against one of them, you try to wedge in between us. Why must you be so desperate, Al? I find that a bit unattractive.

Otherwise, I appreciate you. When I hurt my leg you took such good care of me. You were attentive and concerned, you wouldn’t leave my side. When I tried to stand up and get around on three legs, you were right there, encouraging me to keep trying. You didn’t want to do anything that I couldn’t do. You didn’t even want to go out in the yard if I wasn’t there. I’m glad my leg is getting better but it certainly showed me how much you love me. You are a good dog, Al, and I’m glad to be your girlfriend.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Photos by Langley Cornwell

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How to Improve your Dog’s Focus

By Langley Cornwell

There is a funky little strip of shops near our house. A popular local coffee shop, a Mexican taqueria, and an artisanal bakery are in this strip along with many other laid-back destinations. The area also houses one of the most well-respected boutique pet shops in town, which is the place my friends and I buy our CANIDAE PURE dog food.

I don’t know if it’s because of the pet shop, because of the bistro tables and chairs lining the fronts of the shops, or because of the relaxed nature of the patrons, but I’d guess one out of every three people that hangs out in the area has a dog with them. I always marvel at these dogs; how they’ll sit quietly under a table while their humans sip a coffee or enjoy a taco, how they’ll walk, unbothered, right past other dogs or children or skateboarders or runners.

Frankly, I’m jealous. If you have dogs you can do these types of things with, kudos to you. We don’t, not by any means. We are working on it, though. It all starts with learning how to desensitize your dog and maintain his attention in any situation.

Some dogs are raised in bustling cities and gradually become accustomed to loud sounds, people milling around and general commotion. Their composure develops via a steady, deliberate exposure to the chaos often found on urban streets. We don’t believe our dogs were raised that way. In fact, we have no idea how our dogs were raised since we rescued them when they were well past puppyhood. Once they were safely in our care, we made the mistake of doing all of their training in our house and in our yard; places that were familiar to them and didn’t hold many distractions.

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John and George: The Dog Who Changed My Life

By Langley Cornwell

I take a ridiculous number of pet photographs. Every time one of our pets strikes a new pose or just looks extra adorable, I snap a picture. Most of my animal-loving friends do the same thing, and have a ton of pet photos on their camera phone. When I look at the photos of my pets or photos other people have taken of their pets, it’s a treat to see the strong connection between photographer and pet. Without trying to sound too cheesy, it’s like I see the animal through a lens of love.

That’s probably the first thing that grabbed me when I stumbled upon artist John Dolan’s sketches of George the Dog. Long before I learned about their incredible life together, I responded to the connection that was so evident in the simple black and white portraits John drew of his beloved George. And, like me, it seems that John picks up pen and paper as often as I pick up my camera; he’s created hundreds of pen and ink drawings of George the Dog in a variety of positions and circumstances. It’s heartwarming.

To discover Dolan’s art is one thing, but when you learn more about the back story, it’s quite another. The first time his art and story came to my attention was via an article in the UK publication, the Hackney Citizen. Apparently this exceptionally talented guy has a rocky past that includes multiple jail stays. He eventually ended up living on the streets of London before he was “discovered,” and he attributes all of his success to George the Dog.

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Dog Breed Profile: The Fancy, Mutt-Looking Berger Picard

By Langley Cornwell

Have you seen the movie Because of Winn Dixie? We watched it recently and fell in love with the big, scruffy mutt that played the title role. But wait – was the role of Winn Dixie really played by a mixed breed? Many famous animal actors really are mutts. For instance, the famous Higgins of Petticoat Junction and Benji fame was a rescued shelter mutt, so it’s entirely possible that Winn Dixie was too. Curious, I decided to research it and discovered that he wasn’t a mutt at all. Even though the dog that played Winn Dixie looked like a shaggy, loveable cross between several breeds, he was actually a Berger Picard.

Pronounced “bare ZHAY pee CARR,” the Berger Picard is a rare French purebred dog whose origins date back to the ninth century. This herding breed is also referred to as a Picardy Shepherd.

Background

The breed was introduced to northern France by the Celts in the ninth century. The Berger Picard became useful for herding sheep and cattle as well as for smuggling tobacco and other contraband across the borders between France and Belgium. In the early 1900s, the Berger Picard was considered a legitimate breed and the first breed standards were written.

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Steps to Take in a Common Canine Emergency

By Langley Cornwell

At one point or another during life with your dog, you’ll likely encounter some type of canine emergency. And if you are fortunate enough to have a dog that behaves well enough to get out and about with you, it may happen more frequently. When minor predicaments occur, it’s good to know what action to take. Here are three common canine emergencies and what you should do when they strike.

Dog Bites

Dog bites happen. Sometimes it’s because a new dog acts up at the dog park or because a dog slips his lead during a walk. Regardless of how or why it happened, it’s time for you to take action. Clean the wound thoroughly but gently and investigate it. If the skin is broken but the bite does not seem to require stitches, you can avoid a trip to the vet.

Place sterile cotton pads against the clean wound and wrap it all with sterile gauze. Be careful not to wrap the area too tightly because you don’t want to constrict the blood flow. Then put some type of inflatable or cone recovery collar on your dog so he won’t aggravate the area. Change the bandage every day and scrutinize the area for signs of infection. If you notice additional redness, warmth, swelling, oozing or increased sensitivity, then make an appointment with your vet to get it looked at.

Skunk Sprays

This is one area that I have personal experience with. Well, not me exactly (thankfully) but my dog. When I lived up north, I had a Spitz mix who was an escape artist. Every time she got out, she seemed to head straight to her favorite skunk’s house. I’m telling you, this happened several times a month. At the time I thought tomato juice was the antidote so I soaked her in it. Not only did the smell linger, but she ended up looking like a golden retriever most of the time. That juice stained her white hair orange. It was a constant mess.

Skunk spray contains oils that help it stick, so you need a solution that will cut through it. Bathing your dog with a mixture of one quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, a quarter cup of baking soda, and a teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap (with grease cutting action) is what some “skunk experts” recommend. The recipe may need to be doubled for large or extra-hairy dogs. If your dog gets hit with a blast of skunk spray and you don’t have those ingredients on hand, white vinegar diluted with water will suffice. Whatever solution you choose, take care to protect your dog’s eyes. You’ll also want to follow up with a bath using your dog’s regular shampoo, and everything should be back to normal.

Bee Stings

For most dogs, bee stings are uncomfortable but manageable; you should remove the stinger and then apply cold compresses to reduce swelling and inflammation. Be extra cautious if your dog is stung in the face or around the mouth area, especially if your dog happens to be a brachycephalic breed like a Bulldog, Pekingese, Pug, Boston Terrier, etc. These dog’s airways are already restricted, so any additional swelling can be serious. You should seek veterinary care in this instance.

It is widely agreed that administering a low dose of anti-histamine like regular Benadryl (not “non-drowsy”) is okay in a bee sting situation for dogs other than the short-nosed breeds. The recommended dose is 25 mg for smaller dogs and 50 mg for larger dogs, but please call your vet to confirm.

After a bee sting, if your dog acts confused, has labored breathing, excess swelling or hives or if he is vomiting or has diarrhea, then go straight to an animal hospital.

We can provide our dogs love and shelter, and feed them premium pet food like CANIDAE grain free PURE, but sometimes things happen that are beyond our control.  Dogs can get into all kinds of mischief, so it’s good to know what steps to take in a common canine emergency.

Top photo by Michelle Tribe/Flickr
Bottom photo by Owen Parrish/Flickr

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Help for a Dog with a Collapsed Trachea

By Langley Cornwell

When we adopted our most recent family dog, Al, he had been stuck in the system for a long time; he’d been transported to several different animal shelters in the hopes of finding him a good home. I applaud the local shelters for recognizing that he had potential despite some behavioral problems. Even so, he was on borrowed time, and when my husband and I met him, we agreed that we were ready for the job.

To help his transition, we started Al in behavioral training classes immediately. We still have a very long way to go with this dog, but he’s part of our family and we’ve pledged to give him a safe, loving and comfortable home for the rest of his life.

As it turns out, Al’s behavioral problems are only half of the picture. Once the adoption was finalized, we took him straight to our veterinarian. His examination revealed that Al was heartworm positive and had a collapsed trachea. The heartworm condition has been corrected, but we have to take special precautions not to aggravate his tracheal collapse.

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