All posts by Sally Gift

I have been an active participant in the sport of showing and breeding purebred dogs since 1973. While I began my journey with an Irish Setter, Gordon Setters became my passion in 1977 and I've been breeding them exclusively ever since.

Osteosarcoma: Beyond Amputation and Euthanasia

Veterinary Practice News

Osteosarcoma: Beyond amputation and euthanasia

When amputation is not an option, please don’t go straight to euthanasia

March 12, 2019 1:00 pm

[1]
Osteosarcoma of the radius in an eight-year-old Labrador.

When a patient is diagnosed with osteosarcoma, we tend to focus on three options:
• the “gold standard,” i.e. amputation with or without chemotherapy;
• what many call palliative care, meaning pain medication and rest; or
• euthanasia.

But what if amputation is not an option? What if chemotherapy or radiation is out of the owner’s financial capabilities? Or a couple of medications are not enough to numb the pain? What if visible metastasis to the lungs is already present?

Bob Stein, DVM, pain management guru and founder of the Veterinary Anesthesia & Analgesia Support Group (www.vasg.org), recently shared another valid option.*

“With my suggested approach, we can often provide quality of life to even large-breed dogs for six to 12 months and sometimes more than 20.”

Let’s detail Dr. Stein’s protocol.

Pamidronate

Pamidronate, a bisphosphonate, is an injectable drug that is inexpensive and easy to administer (ref: TM Fan et al. JVIM 2007). It helps to reduce pain (in 30 to 50 percent of patients), inhibit bone osteolysis, and has potential cancer-suppression effects by impeding proliferation and inducing apoptosis. The drug has a wide safety margin and can even be used on patients with renal or liver insufficiency. While side effects such as esophagitis, allergic reactions, and gastritis have been described, Dr. Stein has not yet observed those adverse effects at his practice. Note: If pamidronate is backordered when you read this, use zoledronic acid instead.

NSAIDs

NSAIDs are a mainstay in pain management, but they are not particularly well suited to the management of bone cancer pain. Dr. Stein hopes NSAIDs can contribute, but consistently utilizes them for their antiangiogenic, cancer-suppressant properties. They also help with pain related to degenerative joint disease (DJD) in other limbs and discomfort related to weight shifting.

Tramadol

Tramadol has been shown multiple times to be unpredictable and, generally speaking, ineffective when managing canine pain, so we won’t dwell on it. When reaching for a reuptake inhibitor, Dr. Stein chooses amitriptyline or duloxetine as noted later in this column.

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Gabapentin

Several studies have been conducted to prove the effectiveness and safety of gabapentin. Like amitriptyline and duloxetine, gabapentin is better suited to bone cancer pain than NSAIDs. Initially used to treat seizures, gabapentin treats pain by blocking calcium channels. Patients with osteosarcoma receive a starting dose of 10 mg/kg three times daily, but Dr. Stein increases the dose as rapidly as tolerated to as high as 60 to 70 mg/kg three times daily. Due to gabapentin’s nonlinear pharmacokinetic profile, it is very difficult to overdose gabapentin, but you can see lethargy and sedation if you increase the dose too quickly.

Trazodone

Our patients are unaware they have a life-threatening disease. If their activity needs to be slowed down, prescribe trazodone. It doesn’t play well with tramadol (yet another reason not to use tramadol), but works well with gabapentin to provide safe and effective sedation. Use with caution, if at all, when utilizing a reuptake inhibitor like tramadol, amitriptyline, or duloxetine.

Cymbalta

Cymbalta (duloxetine), a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), has been shown to provide pain control by increasing serotonin in synapses. Care must be taken to ensure there are no drug interactions with other medications, such as aspirin or over-the-counter supplements the patient may be on.

Amitriptyline

Amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant, can be used to treat neuropathic pain via a broad variety of mechanisms. Unlike tramadol, amitriptyline can be effective when dosed twice daily. Doses as high as 3 to 4 mg/kg twice daily may be required for peak analgesic benefit.

Amantadine

Initially used as an antiviral medication, amantadine is a N-Methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor inhibitor. It can disrupt the nervous system response to prolonged pain signaling. Also showing evidence of chronic osteoarthritis pain alleviation, this drug can be used for relieving osteosarcoma-related pain.

Food

What we feed a cancer patient is more important than most pet owners realize. Food can either “feed” the cancer or help “starve” it, while boosting the immune system. Prescription diets for cancer patients offer:
• Low levels of carbohydrates (sugar is blamed with “feeding” cancer cells)
• High levels of protein, fat, and omega-3 fatty acids

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Weight control

Weight control is critical in cancer patients. Many veterinary professionals believe weight loss and cachexia are a classic consequence of cancer. Until the disease takes over, being overweight is a far greater risk. Quite often, the owner feels bad for their dog’s fate and tends to use food to offer comfort. Sadly, extra weight puts extra pressure on joints. In addition, adipose tissue releases cytokines that can exacerbate a multitude of inflammatory processes, including DJD, which can contribute to discomfort.
Weight maintenance or weight loss should be a critical part of the discussion regarding a cancer patient. Remember to include serial weight checks and follow-ups to tailor the food amount to your patient’s needs.

Supplements

Glucosamine, chondroitin, injectable supplements, and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) have been recommended to help with arthritis present in joints unaffected by cancer.

Omegas

Not all omega-3 fatty acids are created equal. There is a lot of over-the-counter junk. Proper manufacturing and conservation are critical to prevent the supplement from becoming rancid. According to Dr. Stein, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation can provide anti-angiogenesis properties. Calculate the dose of various supplements with a free calculator located at http://www.vasg.org.**

Harness

Using a harness, such as Help ’Em Up, can help owners lift or support dogs with osteosarcoma in a back leg. It can also alleviate extra strain on the back end when a front limb is affected. An effective harness also reduces the likelihood the client will be injured while assisting their dog.

Physical therapy

As osteosarcoma progresses, weight shifting can cause strain to the other limbs. Physical therapy and massage can lessen the impact of the increased load.

Acupuncture,  myofascial trigger point needle therapy

Needle therapy can be part of a multimodal program for pain control. Acupuncture has been shown to boost beta-endorphins, which are the body’s natural opioids. Acupuncture also can help reduce chemotherapy-related gastrointestinal side effects, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. Myofascial trigger point needle therapy can relieve the painful contracture knots that often form when muscles are overtaxed or injured.

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Others

Countless other modalities, including Reiki, have been recommended to help fight cancer, along with all kinds of nutritional supplements. Claims include cancer growth inhibition and overall support. We will leave it up to you to pick and choose what you believe in. Working with a veterinarian who is familiar with these modalities is recommended. Laser, however, is not recommended anytime cancer is suspected or proven.

When amputation is not an option, please don’t go straight to euthanasia. As Dr. Stein suggests, using some of the modalities mentioned here can significantly improve a patient’s quality of life, as well as their longevity.

Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ, Fear Free Certified is a board-certified veterinary surgeon and author. His traveling surgery practice takes him all over Eastern Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey. You can visit his websites at http://www.DrPhilZeltzman.com and http://www.VeterinariansInParadise.com. AJ Debiasse, a technician in Stroudsburg, Pa., contributed to this article.

References
* VIP conference, April 2018, Cabo, Mexico (www.VeterinariansInParadise.com).
** http://vasg.org/drug_delivery_calculators.htm and bit.ly/2R7fDsL

Source URL: https://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/osteosarcoma-beyond-amputation-euthanasia/

Spay-neuter considerations to maximize health

Feature photo by Bob Segal, Illinois

Tube Feeding Puppies

Over twenty years ago a I co-bred a litter with good friend of mine who handled the whelping of our eight Gordon Setter puppies . Everything went smoothly at the birth and they were all plugging along, doing great and gaining weight when out of the blue, four days after giving birth, the dam became critically ill. An emergency call and wild ride to the vet revealed that Eclampsia had struck, and in addition to being life threatening for our bitch it created the need to completely take over the feeding of those eight newborn puppies, the dam could no longer nurse due to this condition. Without tube feeding, this litter’s chances of surviving and thriving would have been fairly slim. Bottle feeding eight puppies around the clock and all by oneself was not an option. Tube feeding only means by which my dear friend could save those babies.

And that brings us to to thanking Barbara Manson for sharing this excerpt on tube feeding and for bringing this topic to my attention, it’s something I hadn’t thought of in awhile, but it certainly should be given space here, so here we go!

Tube Feeding Puppies

The following is an excerpt from the book, Feeding Dogs and Cats by Mark L. Morris Jr. DVM, Ph D and Lon D. Lewis, DVM, Ph D.  Copyright 1984, Mark Morris Associates, Topeka, Kansas.

Tube feeding, for most people, is the easiest, cleanest, fastest, safest and most preferred way to feed orphans,  An infant feeding tube (available from many hospitals, pharmacies or pediatricians), number 8-10 French, or a small male urethral catheter can be used.  Once weekly, mark the tube 75% of the distance from the nose to the last rib.  This is the length necessary to just reach the stomach.  If more is inserted, when withdrawn it will frequently come back doubled, possibly damaging the esophagus.  Attach the tube to a syringe, aspirated the amount of formula needed and expel any air aspirated.  Open the mouth slightly, and with the head held in the normal position (not flexed upward or downward) gently pass the tube to the mark.  If an obstruction is felt before you reach the mark the tube is in the trachea.  If this is not the case, slowly administer the formula over a two minute period to allow for gastric dilation.  If resistance is felt, stop.  It probably indicates the stomach is full.  With these precautions, regurgitation rarely occurs.  If it does, withdraw the tube and do not feed any more until the next scheduled feeding.  For the first few weeks of life after each feeding, burp the animal (just like an infant) and swab the genital area with moistened cotton to stimulate deification and urination.

Below you’ll find more resources, including websites with photos to help guide you, simply click the colored links to go to there.  This is also where I ask other breeders if they have techniques or advice about tube feeding that can be shared with others to help round out this information? Please use the comment section to add your thoughts or if you’ve got more detail to add than can be shared in comments feel free to send me your notes or an article at gordonsetterexpert@gmail.com and I’ll get it published on here.

About the Silence

Hello World!

That this blog has been silent for awhile is no secret. That I’ve been off track and unable to focus on this mission is also obvious. Reaching out to Gordon Setter lovers to share information is still a passion and an objective I don’t intend to abandon, it’s simply that other things in life got in the way.

While I haven’t been writing here, I have been busy supporting our Gordon Setter through work I’ve been doing for the Gordon Setter Club of America over the past couple of years or so. It’s been a busy and sometimes a challenging time there and it’s taken a great deal of my free time to accomplish some projects I’d taken on.  And, sometimes life throws us curve balls that take us down another path that eats up time and energy and that’s what transpired last winter with my diagnosis of breast cancer.  Treatment options are great in the medical world today, Following sugery and radiation, I’m undergoing chemo these days, and am happy to report that my prognosis is excellent. I feel so blessed that my odds of remaining cancer free, moving forward, are greatly in my favor.

With all that said, I hope to get back to publishing more in the coming weeks, and I hope there are passionate folks, like myself, among you who will share in the work needed to accomplish this blog’s mission by sharing articles, ideas, photos and the like you feel are of value to our readers.

Sally Gift, Mesa AZ

Ready Set(ter) GOOOO!


I believe you can never get enough of a good thing! If once was good, twice is even better -right? So, I’m posting this article by Guest Blogger – Linda Stebbins of Los Ranchos NM for the second time, because the first was way back in 2015 and it is well worth repeating!

Linda shares her Gordon Setter Agility Training experience with us and we’re both hoping it might be enough to encourage some of you to give this fun competition a whirl! So here’s Linda… I know you’ll all treat her right, give her a big round of applause or shake her hand to say “thanks so much” next time you see her!

Linda Stebbins

Agility success with a Gordon Setter requires flexibility, concessions, a desire to learn, train with restraint and understanding and a SENSE OF HUMOR! One of my Gordon Setters was running a clean course in a large horse arena and at the end of her run, a pigeon dive bombed her and returned to the rafters. She took a sharp U-turn, raced up the dog walk and went on point to the pigeon. So much for BEAUTY, BRAINS and BIRD NONSENSE.

Although I do not consider myself an expert, my 25+ years in a breed I dearly love, allows me to make valid comments, constructive criticism and appropriate recommendations.

When I write about a topic, I am pulling from my own experiences and do not deny there are other methods and styles of training whether it be in conformation, performance or field. I do not proclaim to be a professional trainer and am in a perpetual learning mode. I do this for FUN!

Because I handle my own Gordon Setters in all venues, the journey to their titles is extremely long, self satisfying and rewarding for me. I live in New Mexico where 80% of competitions in the conformation and performance rings are a 7-8 hour drive away. This can be long and grueling but I am totally committed to showing and competing with my Gordons. There is a sense of pride when one can train and show their own dogs.

I like to get my Gordon Setters’ Championship and Grand Championship titles as soon as I can so I can start playing in the agility ring. I don’t begin competing in trials until my Gordons are two years old and I know that their growth plates are closed. I use rally trials as a tool for socialization, obedience and  positive reinforcement. My true love is agility and I can honestly say I am an agility-holic.

Before agility I participated in obedience and hunt tests. Agility became a strong desire for me because it gave me and my Gordon Setter a sense of mental and physical challenge. I truly appreciate Gordons who have titles on both ends of their name, and there is every reason for a Gordon to be extremely successful in this sport if so desired.

I am a strong proponent of breed standards so when one wants to take up agility with their Gordon Setter, we must keep in mind how substantial this sporting dog is. The normal jump height is 24″. The physical demands of agility are significant. Larger boned dogs may require negotiating some of the obstacles more carefully. Good structure (balanced conformation), temperament and soundness are very important.

While most breed show dogs are campaigned for a relatively short period of time, many agility dogs compete into their senior years with the jump height going to 20″. As for temperament, I like a Gordon who has a desire to work and a willingness to train. I was asked in an interview, “In your opinion, what makes the Gordon Setter such a special breed?” I replied, “Versatility!”

They aim to please. They can hunt expertly, are extremely agile, obedient out of love, flow like a stream in the show ring, are a form of positive therapy for the owner’s “dog days”, full of snuggles and contentment whether in your lap or in their beds. As a learner, the Gordon Setter in general is intelligent, quick to learn and of bold character. I like the Gordon’s willing and forgiving attitude which makes a great partner. Curiosity and independence are traits which I think allow the Gordon to be a successful student.

Ready Set(ter) Goooooo!

My training philosophy consists of the Five F’s “Fun, Fair, Firm, Flexible and Fun”. I support positive reinforcement using rewards based methods. I want to develop teamwork. As the handler, you have to think step by step through the shaping process needed to train for an end behavior. I enjoy looking for the good things my dog does successfully. Rewards I use are treats, tug toys, tennis balls and/or verbal praise. Clickers are a true way to mark desired behaviors for problem solving and I do incorporate that in my training. Eventually the clear click sound transfers to me saying “YES” or “GOOD”. Whatever the method, I want to find a special connection that makes us a team.

My puppy starts in puppy socialization class which includes manners, and then moving into basic obedience where he/she learns to have a reliable sit, down, stay, and recall. We transition to “flat work” which is agility foundation, teaching me how to handle and making my body language clear and timely. The puppy learns how to take direction from me. After all, it is on the flat surface where I do most of my job navigating my Gordon. A combination of training class, private lessons and creative home training make a great equation for success on the agility course. A class exposes my Gordon to different sounds, breeds and people. Private lessons help clarify and tweak those skills that I so desperately need to have for my Gordon to advance.

Homework is a must and this reinforces and gives my Gordon a purpose. At home I like to introduce my puppy to a rocker board, and later trading it out for a wobble board for building confidence and being comfortable with movement and sound.

The Fit Paws Disc is another way to develop canine fitness, balance and confidence.

Learning fundamental skills properly is vital because training mistakes will be very hard to fix later on. I have learned from my mistakes and work to overcome them. One big recommendation is do not compare the speed of your progress to other members of your class. This has been very difficult for me to ignore, primarily because I am generally the only sporting dog in a class of many herding dogs. I find the herding breeds are a natural for this sport and excel quickly.

When searching for an agility instructor and facility, attend a local trial where you can watch the various handlers and trainers. Find appropriate times to talk to the people and ask them questions about the training methods, styles, techniques, etc. I find most agility competitors are very receptive and want to help newcomers. When you visit training centers and talk with the instructor(s), see if he/she has a willingness to work with all breeds and a variety of energy levels. Not all dogs are high driven. I have had Gordon Setters who have been moderate in drive and consistent on the course. I also have had the total opposite where I have had over the top, high driven Gordons. Once again, don’t compare your Gordon to the speed demons. The instructor should be able to work with all levels of drive. Of course this goes without mentioning, but knowledge and staying up with current changes in the sport is crucial. I personally need to work with someone who has a sense of humor. After all, Walt Disney didn’t create Goofy after the Gordon Setter for nothing. This is supposed to be a FUN sport for you and your Gordon. Make sure there are a variety of classes offered, addressing specific skills and it is not just your basic levels of agility; availability and communication is vital. My READY SET(ter) GOOO! instructor(s) will ask for a video of my homework attached in an email. I will receive feedback commenting on the rights and wrongs. This is extremely helpful! The training center must offer a good foundation so when your Gordon is ready to compete, it is confident and safe on the equipment.

Agility is constantly changing and evolving. Many handlers have gone to the internet to take instruction. I have not experienced this type of training but it is getting to be more and more popular. In fact books became outdated quickly and the internet has taken its place. Seminars and camps are well sought after and the training center you attend will have announcements posted.

A few resource recommendations are:

Gordon Setter Club of America members who have far exceeded anything I have accomplished and are reliable resources are Gail Deller, PA, and Susan Wey, TX. I am sure there are many others who are knowledgeable and successful but these three have helped and supported me immensely in the sport.

Team Work and Making the Dream Work requires your commitment, patience and sense of humor as an agility handler. Those embarrassing moments will occur and you must be willing to be amused by your Gordon Setter’s exuberant antics. It just means you didn’t proof the skill or train it long enough. 99% of the mistakes made fall on the handler, not the dog!

The Gordon Setter can transfer the ordinary day into extraordinary moments and memories.

Auntie Mame said “Life is a banquet!”  I say “Living with Gordon Setters makes it a feast!”

Linda L. Stebbins,  Los Ranchos, NM

Keeping It All About the Dogs

I confess I’m not sure how to tell this story, though I’m sure it must be told just as I’m sure it must be read. To begin you should also know that I’m positive that kind, generous, moral and ethical dog people far outnumber the bad eggs. So, that’s not where this story leads, to the denouncement of dog clubs or dog people, even though it is about a few dog people who behaved badly. People who continue still today, behaving badly toward a fellow club member. People who would harm an innocent, unselfish dog loving person.

This is a true story about people who love purebred dogs. The name is changed to protect the innocent so I’m calling the story’s heroine Joy. I won’t name wrong doers, but do hope that those people just happen to read this story and recognize themselves. Maybe with any luck, some will change their behavior, for the dogs and the sport. If they don’t change, maybe some of you will call them out when you witness their bad behavior. Maybe together we can force a little change for good, stifle bad behavior in our rank.

Many love affairs begin by chance, a serendipitous event that changes the direction of our lives, melts our hearts and brings us joy. A walk in a field leads to the recovery of a stray dog brought home to safety and shelter. When the stray’s owner isn’t found this happenstance blossoms into a love affair with the breed because the stray had stayed, becoming a beloved pet. Two is better than one as all dog lovers know, so Joy acquires a second puppy from a well-known dog show exhibitor and breeder. The typical contacts between breeder and pet owner carry on in the early part of  puppy’s life, but those contacts dwindle to nothing as both go about their busy lives. The years pass with little contact between these two casual acquaintances, Joy and the breeder.

Joy commits herself to supporting her breed by joining dog clubs, her breed’s parent club and a couple of the local breed clubs. She contributes time and financial support to rescue efforts and serves as an officer for a local breed rescue. Joy is one of those members fondly referred to as a pet owner. She is one of thousands, heck maybe millions of pet owners who support AKC parent clubs.

Not being involved in dog competitions, Joy is blissfully unaware of the political maneuvering, power mongering and gossip that occurs among that group. She knows nothing of the fighting and controversy that can darken AKC dog sports. Because dog club leaders are often selected from among people who participate at AKC dog events, they sometimes bring their competitive penchants and accompanying power plays along impacting the leadership of a club. Rarely, if ever, is a pet owner included among the ranks of parent club leaders. Rarely, if ever, is a pet owner aware of the controversy or competitive power plays among club leaders.

When Joy reads a blurb in the club newsletter seeking a qualified member to fill an officer vacancy, she recognizes that she owns the skill-set needed to fill the job. Wanting to help, she volunteers. Joy had no attachments to any individual, had no preconceived notions, and had no contact with any of the leaders. Joy had no dog in any fight, so to speak. Joy is simply a pet owning member of the club, enjoying life with her dogs, unaware that any controversy existed in her club. Joy just happened to notice that work needed done for the club and she was willing to offer her help. Joy was a pet owner, unaware of back channel politics, power mongering and gossip. She innocently volunteered.

When called upon she joins the club’s Board to fill the vacancy. Joy believed she’d been asked to join a group where each held the commitment that what was said and done would be about taking care of the club and giving back to the dogs.

 If only this were a fairy tale and not a true story. In a fairy tale moral acts would prevail. Joy would marry the prince and together they would rule over the people with dignity, grace and justice for all. The village would stand united while puppies run happily through fields and the children laugh and play. And, there’d be sunshine, and rainbows and unicorns…yes, let’s have some unicorns too.

This story actually happened though, so we face the reality that some people do behave badly. In a true story a white knight doesn’t ride in to save the princess, because sometimes, in a true story, people cave to their own self-serving mission declaring it for the greater good. They mislead, they lie, and they distort the truth to achieve their personal mission, to serve themselves. Their allegations are false but repeated anyway to any who will listen. Unrest is sewn with lies stitched into stories whispered mouth to ear. Their personal mission is crafted to harm, to sew unrest, to lead the villagers, pitchforks in hand to the castle to unseat their enemies. Harm is done merely to serve the selfish needs of a few.

So, a few people, needing to drive controversy, depict Joy, a selfless volunteer, as a political pawn. They tell this story because they think, they don’t know as a fact, they only think she’s consorted with others. Their stories, their false allegations and their lies are spread among members to cause harm to Joy and controversy in the club.

 ­­Now mind you, Joy isn’t aware that her integrity is under attack, and most certainly doesn’t know that nasty gossip about her is spreading rapidly among the members. A few club members, acting out in a wicked way have twisted the motive behind Joy’s selfless act simply to create drama that would promote their own personal agendas. Joy doesn’t know about the gossip channels used by exhibitor members, she’s a pet owner who goes about her work unaware of this behind the scenes plot.  

Why did they choose to focus an unprovoked attack on Joy? Why was Joy singled out, dragged through the mud and into the midst of a controversy she never knew existed? The connection they used to craft their lies, the one and only small shred of truth in all that story telling was that once, years ago, Joy acquired a puppy from one of their targeted foes. That’s right, they aimed an attack at Joy because she once acquired a dog from a person they believed was their nemesis.

Wouldn’t it be grand if I could tell you the mean-spirited garbage and gossip ended there? Sure, there was some dirt thrown about, but our Joy, even after learning about their attack, ignores the fracas and goes amicably about her work supporting the club. Wouldn’t it be nice if it all stopped there? If there was no more harm, no more fouls?

Nope, didn’t happen. Joy, who never meant nor caused harm to anyone in any club, is still under attack today by a few exhibitor members, those who do so love to stoke controversy.  She continues to receive derisive emails ladled with snide remarks from those who simply want to hurt her. Some people still gossip when they’re in a group, and she’s often a target of their gossip.

In my eyes Joy is a heroine. Joy is strong, intelligent, kind and giving. Joy is a dog lover devoted to giving back to our canine friends and her club work is truly motivated by her devotion to the dogs. Joy won’t allow petty human antics to affect her, nor would she ever stoop to such tactics. Joy lives by the creed that for dog clubs to survive and breeds to flourish we shove all that human nastiness firmly aside, choosing instead to enjoy time devoted to productive activity shared with the kind and compassionate dog lovers who are are abundant in our clubs.

Sally Gift, Mesa AZ

On Being an AKC Delegate

From the February 2014 issue of Dogs in Review magazine.

Ever wonder “what does an AKC Delegate do?”

The delegate is supposed to represent his or her dog club to the AKC, but that’s only half the job. This tongue in cheek essay from Dogs in Review magazine will give you an all around look at the job and bring a few smiles along the way.

From the age of five I have been going to dog shows. Since then, I have organized a university outreach course on canines, served as president of an all-breed club and of the Clumber Spaniel Club of America, and been show chair, but until I became the AKC Delegate for my local all-breed club 12 years ago, I didn’t really have a clue as to what that really meant. So I thought it might be of interest to others in the dog world to try to explain what it’s all about, with the good and the bad.

There are about 5,000 AKC kennel clubs in the United States, of which only about 600 are official member clubs, entitled to elect a delegate, and thus supposedly have a voice in the organized dog world. The other kennel clubs are simply licensed to give shows, etc., but are not represented. It’s a big deal to be a member club and involves fulfilling a number of requirements (mainly size, continuity, breeding and shows). The Clumber Spaniel Club of America was founded in 1972, and it took us 17 years and a lot of paperwork to finally be approved in 1989.

The delegate is supposed to represent his or her dog club to the AKC, but that’s only half the job. The other half is to represent the AKC to one’s club, and given the present AKC, that’s not always a pleasing task. About 80 percent of delegates serve long-term and can help serve as informal institutional memory. The delegate is expected to give regular reports on official (and unofficial!) AKC doings. How do we know what to report? As many as two emails come each day with what AKC wants us to know. Also there is an online magazine by delegates for delegates. To learn what AKC doesn’t want us to know, delegates get to meetings early and stay late, and listen to the “old-timers” with 20 or more years as delegate.

But WARNING! It takes essentially three elements to be a delegate: a passion for dogs, plus time and money. The passion for dogs is probably what we share the most. Time available varies with each of us, but money is something else. It’s not cheap being a delegate. In addition to airfare, hotels and meals, there are the two days off one’s job, kenneling, gas, airport parking, van to the hotel and other travel expenses. Most clubs contribute $200 to $250 per meeting, which is at best one-third of the actual costs. Very few clubs pay all delegate expenses, and some delegates pay all expenses themselves so as not to be a burden on the club’s precarious finances. But as the old joke goes, you can actually get rich being a delegate! It takes a good thumb, a bag of cheap peanut butter sandwiches and a good supply of old newspapers. The thumb is for hitchhiking cross-country, the sandwiches for food and the newspapers for warmth at night sleeping on a park bench. Then you invest the money your club gives you and get rich!

There are four meetings a year, all on the Atlantic coast. You probably think AKC stands for American Kennel Club; in my opinion, it stands for Atlantic Kennel Club. There are executive offices in New York City, operational offices in Raleigh, North Carolina, and meetings held in New Jersey, North Carolina and Florida. So reflect on that, especially if you live in Kansas, not to mention California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska or Hawaii! Another problem: Some parent clubs schedule the national at exactly the same time as the important election meeting in March.

Once elected and having gone through the 3-month AKC approval process, you go to your first meeting. (One can represent only one AKC club at a time, and when I was elected delegate for the CSCA, having already served as a delegate for my all-breed club for 12 years cut no ice.) If this is really your first meeting, it looks like organized chaos. There are about 400 of the 600 delegates typically present at a given meeting. All are running around in the same big hotel, attending myriad committee meetings and one huge general meeting. It’s so bad that at your first meeting they hang a sign around your neck that says, “FIRST MEETING,” so people will take pity on you. And you are assigned an official mentor, normally someone in your breed. Meetings are rife with unwritten rules, dress codes, etc. Also you have to be formally introduced on the floor at your first general assembly meeting with a résumé of your dog activities, normally by someone in your breed.

Meetings are held on Mondays and Tuesdays (helps keep out the working stiffs!). On Monday there are individual committee meetings (e.g., parent clubs, all-breed clubs, canine health, dog show rules, obedience, herding, coursing and so on). Many take place at the same time, so you have to choose. Each committee has an elected board. To be elected, one presents an unblemished attendance record for hopefully 200 years and great dog activity. The committee board members sit at the head of the room and officiate. Any delegate can attend any committee meeting but can be heard only after the board members have had their say concerning the agenda. At the end of this first day there is a big general meeting with no agenda, so anything worrying people can be brought up and discussed. None of the professional staff are to attend these Monday meetings, except by special invitation. It’s just delegates talking to delegates. Monday evening is a cocktail party, and later it’s a good time, especially for people in the same breed, to have dinner together and talk dogs.

On Tuesday there is a complimentary continental breakfast, standing, followed by some sort of informational presentation organized by the professional staff, and then the very formal official general assembly meeting in a huge ballroom (where there are never enough chairs). Presiding is CEO Dennis Sprung with reports from the AKC Treasurer and other officers. There are microphones around the room, and new delegates are formally introduced. The agenda is sent out far in advance, with proposed rule changes. Any new member clubs, after having been cleared by the professional staff, are voted in. There are matters such as inevitable new Beagle trial details. (Afterwards, in the men’s room, one guy will ask, “Does anyone understand what the heck we just voted on with Beagle trials?” We all agree we don’t have a clue, but everyone likes Beagles, and if that’s what the Beagle people want…)

Next we all adjourn to a large dining room for a nice luncheon, compliments of the AKC. This is a good time to meet other committed dog people, but the conversations are soon interrupted by Dennis tapping on a glass and endless awards, interspersed with dutiful clapping. Then unless any items on the morning’s agenda still remain, we turn in our badges and go our separate ways.

THE END

References for more information on the Delegate role visit the AKC website by clicking the link below.

Delegate Meeting Minutes

The American Kennel Club is a “club of clubs”, and not a club of individuals. There are over 500 clubs that meet AKC membership requirements and have duly elected or appointed Delegates to represent them at quarterly meetings of the Delegate Body. Each delegate functions as a representatives of his or her member club in voting on matters coming before the Delegate Body and electing from amongst their membership the thirteen individuals who serve on AKC’s Board of Directors. Under the Constitution and Bylaws of The American Kennel Club, the Delegate Body”… shall have sole power to make the Rules governing dog shows and field trials and the clubs or associations formed to conduct them.”

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Photos of Poisonous Plants and Flowers

From those that are safe for pets to the most deadly, a list of poisonous plants and flowers commonly used in arrangements and landscaping. Dogs,  don’t seem to know the difference, at least mine don’t, my Gordon’s will chomp on the Lantana in my backyard every chance they get! Hope this list is helpful to you!

Sally Gift, Mesa AZ

 

1st in Flowers! Home Page

Flowers Toxic to dogs that are commonly used in flower arrangements
Chrysanthemums

Dangerous Parts: All Parts
Reaction: Diarrhea, vomiting, hypersalivation
Flowers and plants that cause rashes (Dermatitus)
Chrysanthemums

Dangerous Parts: Leaves and Flowers
Reaction: Rash
Flowers that cause upset stomachs (Vomiting, diarrhea, and gas)
Baby’s Breath (Gypsophila)

Dangerous Parts: Flowers and Stems
Reaction: Diarrhea, vomiting
Plants that cause upset stomachs (Vomiting, diarrhea, and gas)
Cyclamen

Dangerous Parts: All Parts
Reaction: Diarrhea and vomiting
Flowers and plants that cause organ damage (Kidney, liver, stomach, heart, etc.)
Cardboard Palm

Dangerous Parts: All Parts
Reaction: Vomiting, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, liver damage, liver failure.
Flowers and plants that cause death
Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)

Dangerous Parts: All Parts
Reaction: Convulsions and death
Flowers that are not toxic to dogs and are commonly used in flower arrangements.Below are some of the flowers that are commonly used in floral arrangements which are listed as Non Toxic to dogs by the ASPCA.
Snapdragons

Emergency Contact Information.
If this is a poison emergency call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 1-800-222-1222
The ASPCA also provides a poison emergency phone line and they maintain one of the most comprehensive databases of flowers and plants toxic to pets. This database was used to identify many of the flowers and plants in this article. If you are looking for a plant or flower that isn’t covered here, you should try the ASPCA website.

 

Please feel free to download the PDF versions of this page, a single page printer friendly list or a multi page list with pictures. While these documents are intended for personal use, veterinarians, animal shelters and other such caregivers are invited to make copies for distribution to concerned pet owners.

Grooming – Gordon Setter Videos

Oster ProfessionalOster  has offered many best selling grooming products for many years and are especially known for their animal clippers. Now they’re offering even more help and support for the self groomer via their website where they’ve posted very helpful video clips demonstrating how to groom several breeds. For us that includes the Gordon Setter. How wonderful is that? Here are all the links to their videos…happy tails to you all!

Sally Gift, Mesa AZ                                                                                  Photos by Ben Perez

14 Videos about grooming a Gordon Settter13173347_178245152575572_8841807142114207002_o

Face & Skull – Gordon Setter

Face & Muzzle – Gordon Setter

Face & Eye – Gordon Setter

Face & Ear – Gordon Setter

Body & Neck – Gordon Setter

Body – Gordon Setter

Body 2nd Time over – Gordon Setter

Body 3rd time over – Gordon Setterjuly

Front Leg & Legs – Gordon Setter

Legs & Front Foot – Gordon Setter

Rear leg – Gordon Setter

Rear Foot – Gordon Setter

Tail – Gordon Setter

 

Recap Complete – Gordon SetterJuly3

Nail Grinder – How to use

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Photo by Bob Segal

Why are European Dogs So Well Behaved?

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Why Are European Dogs So Well Behaved?

Dogs, Euro Style

By Kama Brown CPDT-KA, January 2017

GSCA All Breed Agility Trial!

 

Ring in the New Year with a GSCA All Breed Agility Trial!

Agility fundraiser December premium

Hello GSCA Members,
As a fundraising effort for the 2019 GSCA National Specialty, the host committee is putting on a THREE day agility trial.  The event will take place December 29th-31st, 2018 at Purina Farms near Saint Louis, MO.  We’ve got some great judging lined up, and would love to see more of our Gordon Setter Clan there!
The premium list is attached.
If you have any questions, please reach out to the trial chair, Melissa Fritz (fritzfamily123@yahoo.com).
Hope to see you in December!
Rachel Fritz
2019 GSCA National Specialty Event Coordinator
Thanks you Rachel for sharing this with us and to all the voluteers working to make it happen! Best of luck to all competitors!
Sally Gift, Mesa AZ
Photos from the National Specialty Agility Trial in Ohio 2016.