Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lara Exceeds Weight Loss Goal Today! 30 lbs.!

Team Lara, from left: Dr. John Harrison, Lara and Dr. Carmine Bausone celebrate Lara not only meeting, but exceeding her weight loss goal this afternoon. Since her first visit to the Acacia Animal Health Center on June 12, Lara has dropped from 102 lbs. to 72 lbs.

Julene is the first to give Lara a congratulatory hug.

Lara can't resist the opportunity to show off her stitches. Dr. Bausone was impressed with Dr. Haver's excellent handiwork.

After weighing in, Lara received another VOM treatment from Dr. Harrison which has been at the heart of her transformation from the sedentary life of a backyard breeder into the athlete she's become at the dog park. This was Lara's first session since being spayed 8 days ago. Dr. Harrison explained that post-op discomfort most likely caused her to put up her guard which, in turn, affected the way she walked and created problems with constipation.

"I concentrated on her lower lumbar and paraspinal muscles," he said. "She was tight on each side of the spine which would dovetail with symptomology of being constipated."

Dr. Harrison used a vibracussor and joint stimulator in and around the lumbar vertebral area which increased blood flow to the muscle, relaxing and mobilizing the area.

Let's not forget how Lara looked when we first met her at 102 lbs. six months ago.

I want to thank Dr. Carmine Bausone for generously agreeing to manage Lara's weight loss program last June. Integrating western veterinary medicine with acupuncture has given Lara an opportunity to make up for lost time by adding valuable years to her life. Dr. B and his staff at the Acacia Animal Health Center have treated Lara like gold, an experience that was completely new to her. She was so at home at the clinic today that she helped herself to a Christmas present under the tree before leaving!

I can't say enough good things about Dr. Harrison and veterinary orthopedic manipulation (VOM) which Lara will continue in the new year to ensure her health and vitality as we begin a new chapter of her life. I also want to thank Michelle & Mike Dougherty of the fabulous Windsong Pet Resort in Escondido for introducing Lara to the lifestyle of a diva with their luxury beauty makeovers. And wonderful Rebekah Peterman, holistic (pet) health practitioner from Sunnybrook Farm in Encinitas who spoiled Lara with aromatherapy, Reiki body work and dowsing.

Finally, I want to thank Alison Hardison, Pam Chandler, Carol Cote, Leslie Davies, Susan Healy, Keith Blackburn, Dr. Gary Haver and others who do heroic work on behalf of the animals at the Palomar Airport Shelter. If you have the space, please consider fostering. If you have the money, please consider donating to one of the fine rescue groups who work tirelessly to save dogs like Lara and Barney every day. Each of them deserves the same life of kindness and unconditional love that they so freely give to us.

Happy Holidays and all our love,

Lara, Barney & Lillian

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Barney's Reunion with Dr. Haver

Barney had a joyous reunion with Dr. Gary Haver this morning when he arrived at Dr. Gee's office in Encinitas to be neutered. Dr. Haver was the attending veterinarian at the San Diego County shelter in Carlsbad when Barney, known then as Cujo, was surrendered last summer weighing only 105 lbs.

"It was great to see Barney again," Dr. Haver said. "Because I work general practice and shelter medicine, I have seen a lot of animals' transformations. I get great satisfaction in seeing the changes in the animal and the bond that develops with their new family.

"Back when I first met Barney, I was presented with a very thin dog in poor condition. So poor that humane euthanasia was contemplated. He seemed to be very compliant to a physical exam and I thought that because of this, the great staff at the San Diego's County Animal Shelter were willing to go the extra mile and devote their efforts to treating him.

"He obviously was neglected. Some of his problems were that he was weak, depressed, had severe skin and ear infections, and worst of all he had a maggot infestation. The maggots were so bad that the smell permeated the halls of the shelter for several days. An experienced shelter technician, unable to stomach the odor and mess from the larvae, had to excuse herself from the room while treatment for the maggots was instituted. There were so many maggots, that the following day the drains in the kennel where Barney spent the night had maggots crawling out of them. It was like a scene from a bad movie.

"Today I was blown away when I saw Barney. Not from his clean coat and ears, or by the near 15 pounds he gained; but by his outgoing and loving personality. He wanted to be with someone, anyone, at all times. He seems to be a happy, well-adjusted dog that is everybody's friend.

"I will always remember Barney; not just the image of maggots crawling out of his ears but seeing him weeks later resting his head on my leg soliciting me to pet him."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Freedom: Lara's Big Day

Yesterday at 8:15 a.m. I delivered Lara to Dr. Milton Gee's office in Encinitas for spay surgery which was performed by Dr. Gary Haver. Dr. Gee is one of many vets that offers discount spay and neutering surgery through a partnership with the San Diego County Department of Animal Services.

The procedure officially brought an end to any chance that Lara could be exploited as a breeder again.

"Lara was great. She was very friendly and high energy when she arrived," Dr. Haver said. "Her excitement for being in the company of people was contagious and it made everyone want to be with her. After an exam and review of her medical history she was given a 'preanesthesic injection.' She soon was in a much calmer state."

11: 16 a.m. Vet tech McKenzie Russell prepares Lara for surgery.

11:24 Dr. Haver begins surgery.

11:27 a.m.

11:43 a.m.

11:51 p.m. Finishing up.

"The routine surgery was completed without incident and she was soon back in her kennel recovering from anesthesia, though she still was in a calm state from the pain injection given intraoperatively," Dr. Haver said. "I want to see her back in 10-14 days to remove her sutures. I can tell already that she will not hold any grudges about the surgery and will be excited and happy to come in and be the center of attention once again."

5:15 p.m. Home, in the stairwell.

7:32 p.m., awake, but groggy, and still in the stairwell.

6:23 a.m. this morning.
"Little does Lara know that her better life began yesterday," Dr. Haver said. "No more potential sex hormone induced problems in her future, she will never get ovarian or uterine cancer, and the threat of a life threatening uterine infection has been completely eliminated. And though she probably could be a great mother, I'm sure she put her maternal time in earlier in her life and will be happy to enjoy her life without concerning herself with puppies."

Sunday, December 6, 2009

"Houston, We've Got A Problem"

We've had to deal with a bit of separation anxiety here at home this weekend. I've been busy figuring out how I'm going to keep Lara and Barney separated since discovering that she's in heat Friday night.

Neither dog had been fixed upon advice from their respective vets: Lara needed to lose weight first and Barney had to recover from anemia brought on by the maggot infestation. Both were scheduled for surgery Dec. 23 to be performed by Dr. Gary Haver at Dr. Milton Gee's office in Encinitas.

I met Dr. Haver last month while interviewing him on SNAP's Neuter Scooter for an article in The Coast News. We were surprised to discover that we both knew Barney: I was fostering him, and Dr. Haver had taken care of him when he was surrendered at the county shelter.

I remember Lisa Hamilton returning to her office at the Mission Animal Hospital Aug. 7 after assessing Barney at the shelter and reporting: ". . .they have done a super job at the shelter of getting him well on the way to recovery. Bless who ever spent hours shaving and pulling maggots from his wounds!"

That was Dr. Haver.
He seemed very pleased to hear that Barney was doing well and vividly remembered that day.

Because of his history with Barney, it seemed only natural that Dr. Haver, who works at Dr. Gee's office on Wednesdays, would neuter him and, of course, Lara. After Friday night's revelation, I was eager to move surgery up from Dec. 23 to avoid any chance that Lara would become impregnated.

Although Dr. Haver's surgery schedule was full this Wednesday he graciously offered to squeeze Lara in. The only challenge now is keeping the two pups separated till then. Let's see, it's 6:10 p.m. on Sunday. 62 hours and counting. . .

Thursday, December 3, 2009

You Go Girl! You're Almost There!

In the past month, Lara's weight has dropped from 77.1 to 76.2 lbs. Now it's not a matter of pounds, but ounces before achieving a goal weight of 75 lbs. -- and victory!

Last Sat., after her weigh-in at Acacia Animal Health Center, Lara and Ginger were all smiles. Hopefully, Lara will achieve her goal on the next visit scheduled for Dec. 19. Then she'll have the satisfaction of being at her ideal weight on Jan. 1 while others, bloated from the holidays, will just be getting around to making new year's resolutions.

When Dr. Harrison greeted Lara in the lobby for her VOM treatment, she sprung up on to a cushioned bench next to where he was standing. She looked like she was going to jump into his arms. Fortunately, she gave it a second thought. As he noted later, she is one limber, muscular little girl. She greets her male pals at the dog park by charging, then head banging them -- her tail wagging all the time. I saw her closing the gap while in pursuit of a young male great dane last week and remarked to a friend: "Look, she can keep up with him." He responded, "Lillian, he's trying to get away from her."

"Lara's all muscle," Dr. Harrison noted after treatment. "She has great muscle tone and definition in her shoulders going into her spine. Her legs are stronger and she's walking straight and more relaxed. Her paws are strong and defined. She's balanced. She sits in a comfortable position the way she's supposed to."

The activator (below) infuses mobility and motion into Lara's vertebra, lubricating the joints. This removes nerve interference that might have occurred from a muscle injury.

Dr. Harrison uses a vibracussor which sends calibrated pulses to tissue. This drains congestion and increases blood flow to enable the area to move easier.

As we left, our friend Carol Cote arrived with her older pup, Morgan, for their first appointment with Dr. Harrison. Carol is a rescue volunteer who saw Lara at the county shelter in Carlsbad back in June when she looked and felt like a beached whale. "I can't believe how Lara has changed," Carol said. "The transformation is unreal!"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dr. Harrison Performs VOM on Rabbits

Dogs aren't the only animals who benefit from veterinary orthopedic manipulation. Horses, cats, even birds, realize the same dramatic improvements that Lara has since first visiting Dr. Harrison in June. Her followers will enjoy this demonstration of Dr. Harrison performing VOM on a member of the San Diego House Rabbit Society. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Harrison call the Acacia Animal Health Center in Escondido at (760) 745-8115.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lara Loses 10 lbs.! Only 2 More to Go!

Lara's not only beautiful, inside and out, she's become the embodiment of physical fitness.

We visited Acacia Animal Health Center yesterday for a VOM (veterinary orthopedic manipulation) treatment with Dr. Harrison. Before starting she stepped on the scale to reveal a weight of 77 lbs., down 10 lbs. in a month, and 25 lbs. total.

Truth be told, part of the weight gain last month was from bloat which she lost an hour later when we went to Dog Beach and she had a sizable bowel movement.

The rest of the weight loss is attributed to a grain-free diet, no snacks and a minimum 30-minute run every evening.

Dr. Harrison couldn't have been more pleased.

"During the last visit there was a lot of misalignment in her lower back due to bloat," Dr. Harrison said. "That was released at the beach."

"Today her cervical spine is clear, too. All around, everything's real good!"

As Lara loses weight, her workouts are more vigorous because she has more energy. She's the one to beat on the beach -- outrunning most other dogs!

Barney occasionally runs inter-
ference when an overzealous dog gets too rough while catching up with her. He'll break away from me, trot up to the offending dog, then lower his head and give him a nudge to say, "Okay, buddy, move on." There's never a growl from Barney, just a gentle reminder that he's Lara's protector. And there's never an argument from the other dog.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

“Basil’s Bow-Wows”

This is compliments of Henry Zecher, a friend many years ago from journalism school. Today, Henry is the world's greatest authority on William Gillette, who played Sherlock Holmes.

The following tribute was written by Basil Rathbone in 1933, upon the death of his beloved Moritz, a black German shepherd. Rathbone was a major dog lover and among the finest actors of his generation. He is remembered chiefly for playing Sherlock Holmes:






Come winter time and summer time,

Come sweet and cleansing rain,

Come spring time and the autumn,

Both sun and moon shall wane,

Come seed time and flowering,

And harvesting the grain,

The Earth will cease and time grow old,

But we shall meet again.

'Twas not for naught we walked the fields,

The sidewalks and the lanes,

Sharing our hopes, our fears, our doubts,

Beliefs, our joys and pains.

And though I, with human weakness,

Have not always understood,

You with your dog devotion

Blindly believe me good.

Now you will sleep a little while

And dream in peace, please God,

Then one day I shall follow you

And sleep too beneath the sod,

To rise with you and walk again

With a vague sense of remembering

That we had loved in other lives,

Before this new ascending.

For more information, visit “Basil’s Bow-Wows” at

Thursday, October 15, 2009

St. Bernards/Rule #1. Don't postpone daily walk.

Tuesday night instead of taking Lara, Ollie and Barney for their 5 p.m. visit to the dog park, I decided first to make oatmeal cookies for a dinner at Sharon and Richard's at 7 p.m. My thought was to take the pups to the park while the cookies cooled. So I pulled out oats, cinnamon, eggs and flour -- then ran to the store to pick up butter and brown sugar. I arrived home to what looked to be a blizzard in the kitchen. Lara and Ollie were hiding while Barney, the only one tall enough to reach the flour on the kitchen counter, was unapologetic.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ooops. Lara Gains 4 Lbs.

Sorry it's been so long since the last post, but I've been sidelined with a bug that doesn't seem to want to go away.

Anyone who's tried to lose weight in a household where someone's trying to gain knows how difficult it can be.

Barney arrived a couple of months ago weighing 104 lbs., about the same as Lara when she came at the beginning of June. Trouble is, Lara's ideal weight is
75 lbs. while Barney's is a minimum
of 120 lbs.

I've tried to bulk him up with snacks, but it's hard to do so without including Lara. Instead, I give her smaller pieces. Even tried baby carrots. Barney loves them, but Lara spits them out. Anyway, no snacks for Lara. She's very active, more so than Barney and Ollie, so that should help to move her weight in the right direction.

During our visit with Dr. Harrison he noted, "Lara's doing well. Her neck has cleared up -- no reflex or misalignment in the cervical spine. She's alert, friendly, no stress."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Presenting "Beach Blanket Amigos"

Everyone will enjoy this feelgood movie about Ollie, a little black mutt, as he introduces Lara, an English lab used as a backyard breeder, and Barney, a severely neglected St. Bernard, to new friends at Dog Beach in Del Mar, Calif.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Lean On Me." Lara and Barney Enjoy First Party

Lara and Barney enjoyed their first party last weekend -- to celebrate Joey's 18th birthday. A couple of apologies: I'm new to video taping and couldn't figure out how to end the clip at the conclusion of the performance. Also, the video file was too big for my blog, so I uploaded it to YouTube:

Note my third dog, Ollie, taking care of Barney's oral hygiene (drooling). "The 3 Amigos" made such a good impression that one friend said she was going to talk to her husband about adopting a second shelter dog.

The lady petting the pups is friend Kathy Herington, formerly with The Mar-Dels. The background singer is friend, Laurie Lehman, a former blues singer turned social worker. The cockatoo is Lucy, Joey's new booking agent.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rancho Santa Fe Turkey Rescue, Sept. 13, 2009

Today when Lara, Barney, Ollie and I returned from a long hike at San Dieguito County Park, we heard cooing as we approached our van which was parked at the lower level entrance on El Camino Real. I looked up to see a brilliant white hen and tom turkey standing on the far side of the road. I saw a couple of people trying to block them from crossing the busy thoroughfare, so decided to lend a hand.

One of the Good Samaritans was Karen Carhart, a volunteer with the San Diego Humane Society, Large Animal Rescue. She called Leslie Buncher, a fellow volunteer who arrived with a cage. A passerby said she had a dog kennel we could use to house the tom temporarily. It went very smoothly with minimal stress to the birds. Leslie explained that he was transferring the couple to the humane society with the hope that their owner would claim them. If they don't, he assured us that both birds would be adopted out together since they were obviously mates, and pets. It was a great outcome. You can view a video of the birds on my other blog, Lillian's North County Notes.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lara - The Movie

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Minus 19 lbs. and Dropping

Lara's followers might remember the trouble we had on June 29, trying to get her to mount the scale at Acacia Animal Health Center. That day she weighed 100 lbs., down 2 lbs. from her starting weight.

At one point it took 3 of us to get her on the scale. Not so any more. She steps right up these days following direction from Julene, the receptionist at Acacia. Over the past 3 months, Lara and the front office staff have become quite fond of one another. The weight loss no doubt has also made her feel younger and more agile.

Dr. Harrison was pleased to report that a month after her last adjustment, Lara remains in perfect alignment except for one small part of her neck. "I expected that," he said. "Everyone goes out of alignment at some point. This happens when there is more muscle tension on one side of the neck than the other."

"This can be applied to the human condition -- muscles are being tightened and pulling vertebrae into states of tension and structural fixation," Dr. Harrison said. "This is why the adjustment of veterinary orthopedic manipulation (VOM) is so helpful because it remobilizes that joint system for better movement and nerve coordination between the brain and the body."

Feeling happy and fit, Lara will return for a follow-up appointment in a month.