A cuddle-bunny named Sophie

If you stray, as we all do from time to time, and you end up at the shelter during Easter, they name you Bunny. When you get rescued, you get a name that suits you. Sophie it is. I’m not a fan of renaming dogs if they are already trained to a name, but this 8 year old beauty has a mysterious past. Along with a new start and a new collar, she gets a new name, an I’m not a pole dancer name.

Welcome Sophie. We’re glad you’re here.

One of my favorite things is introducing the new guests to the resident and foster dogs at our hotel. My dogs are very social. I love to see all of the tail wagging as they meet, circle, sniff, and hump the new guest (stop it Bailey!)

We are sort of like a Bed and Breakfast, but for dogs,so actually more of a Crate and Bowl. If we were running an ad it would say:

Welcome to our Hotel for Dogs. We are located in sunny New Orleans, just barking distance from a whole host of tourist attractions and excellent restaurants. If you are lucky, you will be asked to sit table-side at some of our outdoor venues. We are located just next to the Broadmoor walking trail and we have on-site exercise facilities with a personal trainer available. We serve 3 in-crate meals daily, have 24 hour concierge service, and training snacks and water are always available. Rest awhile on our spacious front porch, play ball in the yard, or, on particularly hot days, we offer a small pool and sprinkler for all of your cooling off needs. 

Thank you for choosing to decompress and heal* at the Cecchine Hotel for Dogs. 

*2 of our guests, Henry the beagle, and Sophie the lab, will be undergoing heart worm treatment under our care. Last week, Sophie was on her third week of four weeks of the antibiotic doxycycline. Her tummy was upset; she wouldn’t eat. Even though she wasn’t feeling well, she was her regular, cheerful self. She was slightly dehydrated, so I walked her to the vet where she sat very calmly for 4 separate needle pricks to get fluids. She got some anti-naseau medication and we switched her from kibble to chicken and rice and she is feeling all better. She is done with this first step of treatment, hooray!

Miss Sophie is just a darling. She is the oldest guest in the hotel and she mothers all of the other guests. Here she is with our 8 month-old-tripod, Trey. Isn’t that sweet?

What can I say about Sophie? She is beautiful. She loves it when I scratch behind her ears. She likes to be brushed, which we do a lot, because this girl is fluffy. Sophie loves to take walks around the neighborhood. She likes to meet other dogs who are also out walking. She’s quite social. I have to be careful opening the front gate, because she would like to explore. She doesn’t run out, she ambles out.

I really love that when she smiles, she looks young!




I can’t imagine a forever home that wouldn’t love this calm, gentle girl.  Sophie is available for adoption through NOLA Lab Rescue here.

Sophie - fostered 22 April 2017 - 31 May 2017
Adopted in Covington, Louisiana

Henry and Edward – Arooooo

Those eyes. Those big, sad eyes. I followed the posts about this stray beagle until they were marked URGENT. I reached out to every beagle and hound rescue between Louisiana and Florida. I couldn’t get those eyes out of my head. I could not let this dog die.

There are deadlines in rescue, both for the dogs and the fosters. The dogs that are in the shelter the longest are at the highest risk of being put down. If someone brings new dogs to the shelter, and they don’t have space, the long-timers have to go. Henry and Edward (pictured together above) were already sharing a crate. The shelter was full. They were facing a hard deadline.

I had a short window in which I could rescue a dog. I had foster dogs coming and going on transport quarantines. These dogs were going to Virginia for adoption. When stray, or in a shelter, these pups have been exposed to a lot. They go into foster homes for about three weeks and we make sure that they are healthy and ready to travel. At the end of their quarantine, the foster takes them to the vet to get a Health Certificate, which allows them to cross state lines legally. This documents that they are healthy and up-to-date on all immunizations, have current rabies tags, and even lists their microchip number (in case they get lost). During the quarantine time, you don’t want to bring in a new dog from the shelter that might expose them to new illness. Worms and kennel cough are highly contagious. So, I’m always getting in new dogs, but the timing has to be managed.

I hate worms. I never used to. I wasn’t overly fond of them, ever, but they never used to be the enemy. I feel like I’m fighting battle after battle against worms. Roundworm, tapeworm, hookworm, whipworm, heartworm, worm, worm, worm, worm, worm. They come to us with worms. I didn’t used to know what deworming was. Now I rely on it.

Worms are the most common health problem in dogs. Here are the signs that your dog might have worms:

Visible worms in the feces Tapeworms appear as small moving segments that look like rice. Roundworms look like pasta.

Diarrhea  If you see soft stools, your dog may have worms. If you see bloody stools, they may have hookworms, which are not visible to the eye.

Vomiting If your dog is vomiting, there may be worms behind it. If they are roundworms, they can be visible in the 

Sudden changes in appetite If your dog is infected with roundworms, you may notice a loss of appetite. as the worm's multiply and steal the dog's nutrients, an increase in appetite will be apparent.

Weight loss Tapeworms and whipworms can cause sudden weight loss.

Loss of energy A lethargic dog may have worms.

Itching and Scooting Worms can sometimes cause skin irritations and itching in the anbal region. If you see your dog scooting across the floor or ground, they are trying to relieve the itch. Have your vet check for worms, as well as 
checking their anal glands.

Bloated puppies Puppies can easily pick up worms from their mother and often 
appear to have bloated tummies. Puppies can be infected with the mother's 
roundworms at birth.  Puppies also contract worms by eating larvated eggs in 
their environment or the larvae can be passed through the mother's milk. 
Nursing mothers should be kept on monthly preventives and treated for 
infestations to decrease the risk of transmission. Puppies should be dewormed 
at 2, 4, 6,and 8 weeks of age and then receive a preventive monthly treatment. 
Fecal examinations should be conducted several times per year.

Cough Dogs with hookworms, roundworms, or advanced heart worms can develop a cough.

Dogs' worms are contagious, they are shared by coming into contact with an 
infected dog's feces. (Scoop it up right away if you can.) Roundworms are 
the most common and do pose a risk to us as well as to other pets. Contact 
with contaminated soil or feces can result in human infection. 
Roundworm eggs may accumulate in the soil where your pets go. Walking 
barefoot in that area should be avoided.  Roundworms can cause eye, lung, 
heart and neurologic problems in humans. Children and pregnant women are 
most at risk. Remove feces regularly to keep your dog's play area clean, 
and wash your hands thoroughly.

If you suspect worms in your dog, take them to the vet. Most intestinal 
worms are easily treated with medication. If left untreated, a severe 
infestation of worms could damage your dog’s internal organs and lead to 
loss of consciousness and death.

Henry, like many strays in Louisiana, is heartworm positive. I will be learning all about heartworm treatment  as we get him through it. Step 1 is to start monthly heartworm preventatives and 30 days of doxycycline, a pretty serious antibiotic. Doxy is used to fight the bacteria that come along with heart worms. If your dog has heartworm there is a lengthy and expensive process of treatment. Heartworm is awful, and fully preventable with monthly preventive medication.  Consult with your vet for recommendations for your dog.

Here is my worm haiku:

Now we are not friends
The worms live within the dogs
Pooped out

I know it’s gross, but look at your dogs poo. If it looks or smells different, something just isn’t right. Talk to your vet.

Back to the beagles. I had a short window. Henry and Edward had a short window. I am not exaggerating when I say that I spent about 18 hours trying to convince various rescue groups to help me help these dogs. I was close to begging. As much as I wanted to just drive over and pick Henry up, I couldn’t. I would have had to adopt him and take on his medical expenses, which I cannot do. I want to help as many dogs as possible, and that way won’t work.  So, I kept reaching out. I finally found a rescue willing to help, *if we could raise some money to defray the medical costs. Heartworm treatment can be expensive; prevention is cheap. I had never done any fundraising before, but I was determined-going-on-obsessed that this beagle, Henry, was not going to die. A wonderful mother of my son’s school friend made a donation. Once we had that, the ball started rolling, and we were able to raise enough money to get Henry out. Coco’s House Senior Sanctuary and Rescue in Mississippi, was willing to help, but we had to rescue Edward also. N o beagle left behind! I was able to bring them both home and breath a huge sigh of relief. Sometimes you pick a dog; you can’t get it out of your mind. You HAVE to rescue that dog. Henry was like that for me. I fought for him. He was the first dog that I fought for. And I won. I saved him. It felt great.

Edward was a sweet dog…with Henry. Unlike Henry, Edward was not neutered. He came into my house and immediately tried to establish dominance with every other dog here, including some very large ones. It wasn’t going to work out. I was worried about every dog’s safety. I had to keep him separated overnight, and then I drove him to Mississippi to the rescue the next day.

Henry, on the other hand, was chill. He was reluctant to even enter the house for the first few days. It was obvious that he had never been an indoor dog. Henry likes to curl up on a particular chair on my front porch office and snooze. He is usually the first dog to alert the pack that another canine is approaching the house. He has a great nose. He howls. He has a great howl too. He alerts and then all of my dogs run along the fence while a dog is walked by. Henry’s our dog alarm. He is very protective of us. But mostly, Henry naps.

Gradually, Henry learned the many joys of indoor dog life. In other words, he is now happy to be a pampered pet. Those big brown eyes aren’t sad anymore. This is his I’M-RESCUED-FACE. I love this face!

My husband calls Henry ‘Barny Fife’. Henry is pretty low-energy most of the day, but he is a morning dog, and a ringleader. He likes to get up and play a good game of chase. He grabs a toy and runs. All of the other dogs chase, and try to get the toy. There is howling involved. (I love it when the puppies try to imitate his howl.) We try to keep this game quick and distract the dogs.  I’m sure my neighbors will appreciate it. Just like with kids, it’s hard to stop them from having fun, even if it is loud.

Henry always goes to the front door when I call for all of the dogs to go to their cages as I’m leaving the house. They all run to their cages and get a treat. He stands at the door. He wants to come along. Henry loves to window surf in the car. He also likes to table surf. He’s basically a surf dude. He is clever, very sneaky. When in the house, you can often find Henry lying underneath the dining room table, but occasionally you will find him standing on top of it, surveying his kingdom, maybe having a light snack. (I no longer leave bowls of fruit on the table. He likes fruit.)

Henry likes to wander. We actually have to keep him from running out the front gate. On a leash, he moves at a snail’s pace, leisurely sniffing and strolling, absolutely in no hurry to get anywhere. This beagle drops my blood pressure and chills me out.

Day by day, we have watched Henry feel better, become more playful and wag his tail more. It’s wonderful to watch the transformation as these dogs get healthy and learn to be indoor dogs. Henry isn’t out of the woods yet.  On June 1st he will get his first of several lumbar injection to kill the actual heartworms.  This will require periods of confinement while he is getting better. I can’t wait to post pictures of him happy and healthy and worm-free!

Henry - fostered 18 March 2017 - present 
Edward - pulled from the shelter 18 March 2017 and driven to Coco's House Senior Sanctuary and Rescue in MS