Summer Trip pt.2

Hello everyone!

Today my family’s dogs went on their first trip to the beach.  It was awesome!!!  It took a while to find a dog friendly beach under three hours from us but we did and we had a ton of fun (living in Florida you would think that beaches would be closer but NOOOOOO).

We ended up going to a beach just south of St. Augustine.  Going to the beach early in the morning is the best bet if you are going with dogs.  The sand isn’t that hot and y’all can get some playtime in before it gets too hot.  We took water for our dogs and towels for them to lay on when they got tired.  My big dog is a lab mix and loved the water.  Our smaller dog isn’t a fan of water but she still played in the waves a little.

Tips for taking dogs to the beach –

  1. Towels.  Towels for the car, your dog, and laying on the sand, for you.  Towels for everything.
  2. Water. Drinking water is a necessity for playing with your dog in the sun anywhere.  If your dog doesn’t have water they may try to drink the salt water and that can lead to other problems.
  3. Leashes.  Most beaches require that your dog be leashed at all times.  If you do let your dog off leash, make sure they have I.D on their collar in case they get lost
  4. Toys.  If the beach is flat your dog may enjoy chasing a ball or a frisbee.  This is also a fun way to get you running too
  5. Sunscreen.  I haven’t actually used sunscreen because both of our dogs are darker.  However, if your dog has a white belly or nose, dog sunscreen would be a good idea if you plan on staying outside for long periods of time.
  6. Life vest.  Life vests are the best if you have a small dog, your dog has never been in deep water before, or if you are taking your dog surfing.  Sometimes the waves can be too much for even the best swimmer and currents can be a problem too.
  7. Poop bags!!.  When dogs decide to go to the bathroom will forever be unpredictable and no one wants to dig up old dog poop while trying to build a sandcastle.  I just use plastic shopping bags or small bread bags for this task.  And now to find a trash can…

 

I hope this will help a little when going on summer adventures with your pup.  What else do you take when traveling with a dog?  Let me know in the comments!!!

Love,

Leila

 

My Experience with Emus and Alpacas

Hey everyone! My name is Zach, and I’ll be posting here today on Leila’s blog.

 

My Experience with Emus and Alpacas

Fred the Emu

Okay, so I live Tennessee, and there are a lot of farms here, as you might (not) expect. I have a friend that lives on a farm about 30 minutes away from where I live. They have horses, chickens, and also an emu. Yes, an emu. His name is Fred. Sadly, my friend’s family eventually had to give the emu back to the animal shelter where they got him from. Nevertheless, Fred was an adorable thing. Whenever guests on the farm would go to visit him, he always would come over to the fence that held him in to say hello. But, he’s also a quite curious creature. One time, my dad got to close to the fence, and Fred tried to take his phone from his hand!

I miss Fred, and hope he’s doing well in that animal shelter.

The Alpaca Farm

I went to an alpaca farm quite recently. If you don’t know what an alpaca is (which you probably do), they’re basically a smaller form of a llama. Now don’t get me wrong, alpacas are not llamas, but they do look quite similar. Anyways, my family visited a place that had a few dozen alpacas. The owner explained things like how often they shave the animals, how they make money from the fur, and how the weather conditions affect the creatures. Then, we got a chance to visit the on-site store that contained numerous items woven from the creature’s shaved fur! Overall, it had been an enjoyable day with learning and meeting cute alpacas.

 

Thanks for reading my stories about farm creatures!

 

Hello, my name is Zach, and I run a blog named SportsGamer. I enjoy writing about recreation and video games.

Where to draw the line

Hello there!  Hopefully my last post was educational and wasn’t too hard to understand.  I tried to make it readable :P.  Anyway,  as I said previously this post will be about when to draw the line when dealing with a sick goat.

This can be a hard decision and one I hadn’t thought about until a judge asked me that very thing after a demonstration I did; when do you decide to let an animal go, when do you decide you have spent enough money trying to save it?  Honestly it was a decision I had never had to make.  I made my answer brief for the sake of the competition but here I want to go into some more detail.

First, let’s cover the kinds of goats there are.  There are hobby, pet, breeding stock, market, and show.  For each of these there may be a different answer.  Personally, I consider my goats breeding stock and show animals.  Many people refer to them as pets but I don’t like to think of them in that manner.  Right now I have Luna who is the first goat I  have owned that will not be used for breeding and showing.  I suppose she would be considered a pet.  I know some breeders who have goats as a hobby and a lady who kept a goat as a pet

Ivory was a goat that I would have used for showing and breeding.  Because of this, I had to think of what would happen if I tried to keep her alive not only in terms of her value as a doe but also in terms of her quality of life.  If I had tried to save her, she, 1. would have died eventually, 2. would have had to be given many medications to make up for her kidneys and liver not functioning properly, and 3. would not have been useful for breeding.  Because of the dangers of her kids getting amyloidosis genetically, it would have been hard to sell them.  Now, this assessment may sound harsh but it is a reality.  As much as I wanted to keep Ivory alive, it was not realistic on any scale.  No one, not a business or an individual, has limitless funds to keep an animal alive.

Now if you had a pet goat it might be different.  I can believe you would want to save that goat no matter the cost.  But still, everything comes down to expenses.  How much money are you willing to put into an animal of any kind?

A market goat is something very different.  Market animals are sold for their meat.  If a market goat dies from something that is not deadly, its carcass may still be able to bring some profit to the operation.  There is no reason for a market animal to be saved when its purpose is to be used for meat.  Once again these are observations made on a commercial scale.

For a show goat, it depends on their genetics and how they perform in the show ring.  If there is a goat that has proven itself in the ring and has passed desirable traits on to its offspring, many lengths may be taken to save it.  However, if the illness will cripple the goat or inhibit its ability to produce offspring, saving it would not be worth it.

Careful consideration must be made when deciding what to do with a sick animal of any kind.  Ultimately, it is a very personal decision and definitely not an easy one to make.

 

 

Amyloidosis

Hello everyone! Time for a long overdue post.  A couple of months ago I told the story of Ivory.  Her death broke my heart, but now I have the opportunity to use her sickness to educate myself.  If you haven’t met Ivory yet, read her story here.

In the last article I wrote about her I mentioned something called amyloidosis.

What is amyloidosis?

Good question.  Amyloidosis is a general term describing a group of diseases characterized by the deposition of protein fibers.  It is a rare disease that occurs when a substance called amyloid builds up in internal organs. In humans there are twenty different kinds of proteins known to have the ability to come together, dissolve, and be deposited into various bodily tissues as amyloid.  (Hold on, we have some more scientific stuff to cover) Amyloid is a clump of protein that is usually produced by bone marrow and can become folded into the wrong shapes.  This folding allows many copies of that protein to stick together.  These once healthy proteins lose their ability to function normally and can’t stay dissolved in the blood.  They form small, slender fibers called fibrils.  The fibrils clog up nearby tissues and organs, disrupting their normal functions.  In animals there are eight amyloid precursors (proteins cut into smaller pieces by enzymes) described.

There are several different kinds of amyloidosis.  The most common are AL, and AA which is also known as SAA.

AL Amyloidosis is caused by misfolded light chains (protein subunit) in the blood and is the most common type in humans.  Normally these light chains are filtered out by the kidneys but sometimes they are deposited in other organs and cause infection.

AA Amyloidosis the most common form of amyloidosis in animals and is caused by acute phase proteins failing to fold correctly.  AA amyloidosis is a result of chronic bacterial infections.  It is also known as Serum Amyloid A.

Amyloidosis should be suspected in an animal if continuous kidney or liver failure is observed after chronic infections or inflammation.  Since there is no tried and true way to tell if an animal has amyloidosis, the best way is to use the process of elimination.  The vet that treated Ivory did this.  First, he thought Ivory had pneumonia and salmonella.  After some tests it was determined that she didn’t have salmonella and more tests were done to find what she did have.  Sometimes this is the best way to diagnose an animal.  In other instances the cause of the animal’s symptoms is not discovered until after an autopsy is performed.  This was the case with a different goat that was in my care.  She died suddenly and it wasn’t until an autopsy was performed that we found out her large intestine had been twisted inside out, making it impossible for her to digest food (not a pleasant, sight believe me).  Sadly, for animals at least, a cure for amyloidosis has not been found.  Because of the stealthy onset of amyloidosis, it is difficult to diagnose.  No specific treatment has been found to prevent the development of amyloidosis or to make the body reabsorb the protein deposits.  The only thing that can be done to help an animal with amyloidosis is to administer treatment after they have been diagnosed to reduce the infection and inflammation.  Other things can be done to manage kidney and liver failure for a short amount of time.  Even with all of this, the animal will still die.

Even though Ivory’s story gave me inspiration for a blog post, this was not the end of the track.  A few weeks ago I received an autopsy report from the vet that treated Ivory.  It turns out that she did not have amyloidosis.  Actually, they don’t know what she had.  That hurt me a lot.   My mom said that all we do know is that she was a very sick goat and would have died whether she went to the vet or not.  This asks the question, when do you draw the line when dealing with a sick goat?  When is it time for their life to be over?  That will be the topic of my next post.

Luna has social media!!!

Hey guys!  I know I haven’t posted for a while (the horror :/ ) but my life has been crazy busy with Christmas and all the things that come with it.  And to add to that busy-ness I decided to try a new (to me) social media outlet… Instagram.  Never in my life have I ever understood what it was or had any desire to have an account.  That is until my friend made her keychain cow an account.  Now, I like this cow a lot.  He is cute and tiny and she sends me pictures quite often  saying  “Hubert hopes you have a good day and that you don’t have a bunch of homework!”.

It is adorable.

Wanting to see the Instagram account for this little cow led me to make myself an account and I must say it is pretty fun.  I get to see pictures of friends I haven’t seen in a few years and show pictures of my life at the same time.  After about a day of me trying to figure this thing out my mom says,

” You should make Luna an Instagram account.”

Okaaaaayyyy.  I don’t know exactly what I planned on doing with Instagram but I don’t think that was it.

Luna now has an Instagram.

I LOVE IT!  I get to show off my photography and my cute goat all at the same time.  Her account is public so plenty of people are following her and getting to see pictures of my adorable goat every day!  This is the most fun I have had on my phone in a while.

I encourage you to go check out Luna’s account and get a dose of cuteness.  Here is her account name:  _this_little_luna_

If you don’t know who Luna is, the link to her story is >>> here

Thanks so much for reading and I hope you have an amazing New Year.  Don’t forget to comment below!

The Work Behind the Animals

Many people I talk to think of showing animals as just taking them to a show.  In reality there is so much more that goes into getting an animal show ring ready.

  • The animal

First, you should get an animal that you think would have a chance against the competition you will be facing.  For instance, a Boer goat I showed 7 years ago would not do as well in a show now as she did then.  Why?  The industry has changed.  The standard Boer goat from a few years ago wouldn’t stand much of a chance against the big-boned, wide-backed Boer you will see now.  Temperament should also play a big part here.  I have had my fair share of goats drag me around my yard and the show ring.  You need an animal that trusts you and is easygoing.  That said, animals act differently at home than they do at the show. every. single. time.

  • Training

Training!  Just about the most important thing to do with a show animal.  If you and your animal can’t work well together in the show ring you are handicapping yourself.  Severely.  When your animal is being judged, the judge is not looking at you.  What he/she is looking at is how smoothly your animal moves and how natural their conformation is.  If you have to jerk your animal around to control it, you are ruining the impression made on the judge.  A good showman can make a bad animal look good and a bad showman can make a good animal look bad.

  • Hair

So there is absolutely no confusion, this section is about the hair on your animal (Maybe I should have said this section was about grooming *shrugs*).  Just clipping your animal’s hair can take several day to several weeks.  This all depends on how large your animal is and how much experience you have.  When I showed a steer last year (for the first time) I started clipping his hair a couple of weeks before the show so any mistakes I made would have time to grow out :).  A goat takes me at least two days to shave completely and a few more to catch all of the spots I missed or need to work on some more.

 

Thanks so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.  Please comment below!!!

The New Addition

Hi everyone!!! I am here to introduce an unexpected arrival to my family.  Her name is Luna!  Luna is a young pygmy goat kid.  She is the tiniest goat I have ever seen!  She is white with cream and brown spots.  She looks a lot like Ivory.  And, to top it all off, she has blue eyes!  Luna is sweet and loves to be held.

Yesterday we had a yard-sale at my house.  A lady came by and bought some things and my mom helped her put them in the back of her car.  Then, the lady pulls this little goat out of the backseat.  She puts the goat down and of course we say it is so cute and small and ask if we can hold it.  My mom and I tell the lady about my goats after a couple more minutes of talking, the lady asks me if I want the kid (of course!!!)  She brings out the kid’s bottle and hands it to my mom.

I now have a new goat.

With a kid comes a lot of work.  We now have to juggle her feeding schedule and our already busy schedule.  Luna has to be fed every 3 to 4 hours and taken outside to use the bathroom even more often.  This goat has the smallest bladder ever.   She also sleeps in the room with me and my sister Kendra (that is a first).

Since Luna is a pygmy goat, she will get to be maybe 2 feet tall and only about 70-some pounds.  At the moment she is smaller than my sister’s cat and weighs WAY less.

Despite the fact that Luna was unexpected and just added some more work to my life 🙂 she has brought a lot of fun to my family.  Thanks for reading and don’t forget to comment below (I love reading comments!).

Traveling with a Dog

Pets are most commonly injured due to accidents in vehicles.  Being a dog owner myself, I thought it would be a good idea to do a post on keeping dogs safe in the car.

  • It is always a good idea to secure or restrain your pet while they are in a vehicle for their safety and your own.  For longer trips, a crate is a good idea.  The dogs can have a water bowl and a blanket in the crate with them which allows them to feel more secure.  The crate should be secured in the vehicle somehow, either with bungee cords or with a seatbelt (some crates are made especially to be secured with a seat belt).  Another option for securing your dog is a seatbelt harness.  This is a good option if you will be letting your dog out of the car often or are only going a short distance.  It also lets you put your dog on a leash before they have the opportunity to jump out of the car.  Dogs should be kept out of the front seat of a vehicle.  If the airbags were to go off, your dog would be badly injured.  Air bags were made for the adult human body.  A dog’s body isn’t made to handle that kind of force.

 

  • Your dogs should have some form of identification on them, even when they are not traveling.  Identification can come in the form of a microchip, a tattoo, a tag, or a plate on their collar.  The tag or plate should have the dog’s name, your last name, and a mobile phone number on it.  This allows for someone who finds your dog to get in contact with you as soon as possible.

 

  • Be sure to bring enough food and water for your pet on the trip.  It is best to bring food your dog is used to and maybe even a jug of water from home.  This reduces the chance of your dog getting an upset stomach.  Another way to reduce the possibility of digestive issues is not to feed your dog a lot of food right before they are put in the car.  If you do have to feed your dog, do it a couple of hours before you leave, if possible.  This lowers the risk of your dog getting carsick.

 

  • Lastly, your car should have a kit with emergency essentials for your dog such as gauze, bandages for animals, and pain reliever that has been approved by your veterinarian.  Other good things to bring are a photo of your pet, an extra collar and leash, a ThunderShirt if your dog needs one (mine does), toys, towels, and proof of shots.

I hope this posts will help you keep your dog, and yourself, safe.  Thanks for reading!

Lily: forever special.

     My cousin recently sent me a video of a goat that is near to my heart.  Her name was Lily.  She died a couple of years ago but remains one of my favorite animals.  She was sweet, gentle, and a good mother to the two kids she lived to see.  From a professional perspective, she had an excellent conformation.  Lily had a wide chest and thick legs paired with a long body that was not very common in Boar goats at that time.

                                              In this video my cousin is giving Lily a probiotic by mouth.  Most of my goats love it and eat it willingly.  Lily was no exception.

Pearl

Here are some pictures of my sister’s extremely photogenic cat named Pearl.And, I also thought I would add a little of Pearl’s backstory.

Pearl was given to us by our neighbors.  Their cat had given birth to a litter of kittens and left one behind.  The year before, the cat had done the same thing but the kitten had died before the neighbors found it.  This time the  kitten left behind was still alive.  Because our neighbors didn’t have the time to care for a kitten they gave her to us.  We fed her goat milk mixed with kitten formula.  Now she is a growing cat!!!