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iWildWolves Photography

Capturing the essence of animals through my lens

Posts tagged ‘wolf’

Avoid expensive vet bills, how to remove Foxtails at home.

Last night I spent a good 20 minutes going through Beowolf’s feet and fur plucking out FOXTAILS! The previous years have never been this bad with foxtails and Beowolf has always been lucky about not collecting foxtails but I find myself picking them up around the house as he drops them.

 

Given my experience at the clinic, I know just how nasty a foxtail can get. Abscesses and infections lead to expensive vet visits and weeks of antibiotics. Well, the good thing about foxtails is they are predictable and work in the same way, their anatomy is designed to “dig” with reverse burs that hold it in place which is why they don’t fall out on their own sometimes.

They can burrow into the skin and work their tract anywhere in the body, leaving room for infections to fester and grow. Sometimes they can work their way out, but it’s not often we see that. Usually once a foxtail burrows and hides it takes a trained hand to remove it, so address it early on before it becomes a problem.

 

Luckily they are easy to remove!

**If a foxtail has gotten in your dog’s Eye(s), Nose and/or Ear(s) do NOT try to remove them yourself unless you are a trained professional. Please to prevent further injuries, take your pet to the vet**

 

Signs your pet may have a Foxtail in it’s:

Eye(s):

  • Squinting
  • Rubbing
  • Inflammation/ redness
  • Pain
  • You saw it go in

Ear(s):

  • Tilting head to the side
  • Shaking head a lot
  • Possible pain while touching the ear
  • Vocalization (whining, crying, yelping, biting)
  • Scratching ears a lot
  • Inflammation/ redness in ear(s)

Nose:

  • Sneezing a lot
  • Reverse sneezing
  • Bleeding from nose
  • Pawing/ scratching/ rubbing nose
  • Inflammation

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Removal of Foxtails from these areas requires a certain tool, a method of restraint safe for everyone or sedation, and training in the removal of foxtails by a professional. I have seen people injure their pet trying to do this at home and needed further medical assistance than they would have. Please don’t be that person. Maybe someday I will do a tutorial on how to perform those tasks at home, if I get 100 likes on this post I will do a video.

 

Here is what you can do at home now!

Here is what you will need:

  • Tweezers/ hemostats/ forceps
  • Grooming clippers (long hair dogs/ foxtail infestations)
  • Mild soap and water (Dawn is always a safe bet, not too concentrated)
  • Neosporin (with Lidocaine or Pain reliever)
  • Treats

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Hopefully, your dog will be tired during a foxtail check since he likely just came from running around outside.

 

First what you want to do is a thorough once over, do this in the light to make sure you catch every one of them, as just one can cause damage. Light dogs should be extra thorough, foxtails range in hues of gold and can blend in with fur quite easily! Now you can use your fingers for these but for stubborn ones you can use tweezers or hemostats. Be careful to avoid plucking any hair, if this is painful or uncomfortable for your dog this can keep them from trusting you with their paws in the first place. If you think you will need to take a chunk of hair with a foxtail, just shave between the paw pads. It’s much less uncomfortable than plucking healthy fur from between their toes!

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Hot places for foxtails to live:

  • Between the toes, including underneath the paw pad
  • In the groin area or belly (longhair or double coated dogs)
  • Tail fur
  • Neck/ collar area

Once you’re sure you checked everywhere then it’s time to clean up. If there were spots where foxtails pierced the skin then gently clean the area with soap and water and apply a little bit of Neosporin. This should prevent any mild infection and if necessary, you can put a cone on your dog to prevent licking which can cause problems in itself.

 

Ways to keep foxtails from clinging:

  • Shave paws, even if it’s just the paw pads underneath (longhaired dogs have long fur here)
  • Take your pet to the groomer for a Summer cut
  • Brush your dog (I would never shave Beowolf, so I brush him and keep up with baths to prevent the fur from turning into Velcro)
  • Do a good once over after your dog comes in from outside

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I hope this was helpful and will update it as more tips and tricks come!

I found this small inexpensive instrument kit that has everything you would need for at home minor treatments.

Click here for the Ultimate Kit!

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Epic tech fail! I lost all my photos… *Update: I got more!*

I AM DEVASTATED!

We started the day with so much potential. I got up early and got ready to take the dogs out to see the poppies… again. This time we got a hot tip on a public field with LUSH poppies! So we hit the road up to the 14 North until Avenue J exit. Go west on Avenue J until you pass the solar panel facility and to the right just before it DEAD END. You will see the large meadow of bright orange flowers!

The best part? It was totally empty! There was an elderly couple who were nice and only stayed around to say hello to the dogs, oh yeah, Valentine made a new friend!

 

I was able to let the dogs out off leash and they could run through the flowers and enjoy themselves. To my surprise, there were already trails made throughout the field, so they were pretty good and kept from being destructive.

 

Now I had pictures to show and was going to make a cool video and post it but when I uploaded all of my footage to my Enuoda flash drive, the DATA DISAPPEARED! EVERYTHING GONE! My laptop nor my phone can find the file! I have no idea how to fix it, yes I knew that sometimes flash drives don’t last or can break, but all of the ones I had lasted forever! I was using this one strictly for “On the Go” photos, transferring my phone images to my laptop where I can edit them. I was in freak out mode for a while but I’m holding out hope.

 

If anyone knows how to fix this please comment below! I’ll keep the flash drive and try it here and there by chance it will work, at that time I will upload images to this post!

**Update**

So I wasn’t going to go down quite that easy, I was in such a bad mood that I lost all my photos that I knew the only thing that would make me happy are to go get more! So that’s what we did, I originally wanted to go back to catch the scene during the Golden Hour, so no time like the present. I loaded up a little after 6 and to my surprise, there wasn’t much traffic! We made it back to the field which was completely empty! Not a single car drove by the entire time we were there, we even stuck around to catch the sunset behind the mountains. The dusk was so pretty that I even got a ton of photos afterward, and yes this time I remembered Slytherin so I got great shots with him!

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Just goes to show, anything can happen, but it’s all about what you do afterward that makes the difference. I learned a lesson with my flash drives and now I back up all sessions until the transfer is successful. I didn’t throw my flash drive away and will recover those images someday, but I got some killer shots the 2nd time around and I couldn’t be happier!

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San Diego or BUST! Taking the PCH with Beowolf to stealth camp in Bonita.

If you’re tired of being in LA this spring and want to venture out to other areas of Southern California then San Diego is the next obvious choice! With so many things to do, places to see, the zoos, the safari park, the beaches! Paired with perfect weather it’s the ultimate day out scene. Want to step it up a notch, well if you have the gas and the patience then taking PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) is the way to go!

 

I have always wanted to drive up the coast of California along the 1 PCH and never had the time or the opportunity, but this weekend all of that changed. I have a newer reliable car, better gas mileage and some money in the bank as a cushion. Also I was set to attend the USMRA National Championship, details on the event to come!

 

I cleaned the car, checked all the fluids, filled up the tank (mine cost $40-45 to fill) and loaded Beowolf into the car. I needed to keep Valentine home for this one, the size of the event along with number of other dog’s present can be a lot on her and it was just me so I wouldn’t have help to handle her, it wouldn’t be fair to Valentine or helpful in her training to not give her my full attention. Not to mention I was also working as a stand in RVT so even Beowolf would have to be put up if I was needed. Even though it was a quick trip I managed to do a lot! I saw my father who also got to hang out and watch the event, I took Beowolf to Ocean Beach Dog Beach which is our favorite place to go when in town and we got to see some of Camp Pendleton which is my old stomping grounds! Though I would have loved to do more and see more, this was a short visit.

 

So let’s get started!

To get to PCH I headed on the 405 West to the 110 in Carson and hopped onto the 1 in Harbor City. Firstly I wouldn’t recommend this, take the 405 to Seal Beach. From Harbor City on its mostly Long Beach inner city and residential areas, I feel like I wasted time and gas on stop and go inner city traffic and wasn’t even close to the oceanic sights I was seeking. This was a lesson I learned for YOU!

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Stay on the freeway until you get to Seal Beach, from there the PCH is beautiful! We stopped at Starbucks for some drinks and food and I needed to go to the bathroom, so I let Beowolf out to stretch his legs and he got his pupaccino! I saved money here as well, using a Starbucks gift card I got a long time ago, so it was FREE today! When we were relaxed it was off to the second leg of our adventure!

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You still go through beach cities like Huntington Beach, Newport Beach (home of my beloved show, The O.C), Laguna Beach (shout out to my girl Kristen Cavallari!), all the way to Dana Point. It was so nice listening to my music on a beautiful sunny spring day driving through the cute little cities with glimpses of the ocean as you pass by! We didn’t stop anywhere because I was still on a schedule and the plan was just to drive the PCH, next time we will get off and hit the beaches or eat somewhere.

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This was basically a recon mission, where to start the PCH journey, where the places I want to get off at, and any other little details I made note of as I passed by. Beowolf spent most of the time with his head out the window saying hi to the beach goers on the sidewalk who were equally in awe of him.

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Once we passed through Dana Point I decided to hop back on the 5 freeway as Beowolf was getting fidgety and likely had to go to the bathroom again, I didn’t want to stop in the city to try and find a park, but I knew there would be rest stops.

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We reached our first rest stop just before you reach the Main Gate of Camp Pendleton, Beowolf stretched his legs and sniffed for a good spot to potty while I stared at the oceanic views that were once my own back yard. I also longed to be back living on Camp Pendleton that was also once my home, but that was another life, still I couldn’t help the nostalgia from sneaking in momentarily.

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We spent 10 minutes at the San Onofre rest stop and when Beowolf was finished we hopped back in the car and was ready for the 3rd and final leg of our drive. As it was a little after 1:30 pm, it wasn’t too busy although there was still plenty of traffic. At this point I knew the freeway like the back of my hand, as this was the route I took to get to work when I lived in Oceanside and worked in Mira Mesa. It was like falling back into line, except this time I wasn’t on my way to some low paying job, and I had more entertainment to look forward to.

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I made it to Rohr Park in Bonita just before 3:30pm. Most of the set up for the next day event was done, but there was still plenty to do. So I let Beowolf rest while I ran around taping, cutting, hammering, and other stuff trying to help everyone finish in time for dinner. I didn’t go to the dinner with everyone because I wanted to see family, so my father bought pizza and we just hung out with Beowolf catching up on a lot.

 

Catching Z’s

So as any normal person would do, they would stay the night with family. However I am a future vanlifer (not nearly ready to start) and need to get the experience living in my car…again. Since the event was set up on a public park they needed overnighters to stay in the parking lot and keep an eye on things. This was the job for me and another girl who came to compete with her dog. Originally the plan was to shoot over to Ocean Beach and sleep in the parking lot there, it’s free and permitted until 2am then opens back up at 4am. A few friends suggested I do that as well as reviews sounded promising, the only risk would be being woke up by police between the hours of 2-4am, though the risk was low as not many cops bother you if you’re not bothering anyone. Plus in my car I just look like a tourist who parked her extra car there, versus a large RV that’s a big target. Nonetheless the sanctioned opportunity to just stay in the parking lot at the park was better, I didn’t want to really do more driving and there was a bathroom right by the car. It was also quiet and more private than at night where there can be a lot of passerby people who could disrupt my sleep.

 

I let Beowolf out to run around the huge field while I set up the bed in the back of my car and got dressed into something comfortable then it was time for night night. Only 1 parking patrol car drove by around midnight (park closes from 10am-6am) but they didn’t bother me, not sure if they didn’t care about 2 vehicles doing nothing, or if they knew there were 2 vehicles permitted to be there, but I slept like a baby. It was so warm and cozy as I used this new car air mattress I got on amazon. It was easy to inflate and insulate the heat better than I thought, in fact when I woke up the next morning all my windows were dripping from the steam we created!

 

I was glad in the end that I stayed there, the bathrooms were better than portal potties. I let Beowolf out for a minute and then deflated the mattress putting away our night things and got ready for the beach! We got to Ocean Beach dog beach around 7am and it was already getting busy, there weren’t many dogs though which I was happy about. There is a reason I stopped taking Beowolf to dog parks and that reason stretches to public beaches as well. He has never once started a fight or caused trouble, but not everyone watches their dogs or has control of them, Beowolf can also be a… wolf… which means he doesn’t always come when called either. It had been a while since I let him mingle freely with other strange dogs and so before getting out of the car I gave him a pep talk to be on his best behavior.

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He heeded my advice and was a very good boy, though like I predicted he didn’t much want to come when called. He was more focused sniffing the thousandth pile of seaweed to care about my commands (something we need to work on) but all in all he was well behaved and made new friends, he also made sure to stay close by. I managed to get amazing footage of him, but my stupid phone was dying and his reluctance for paparazzi meant I couldn’t get all the shots I wanted! Oh well, reason for another trip I suppose! We stayed there a little over an hour and then went back to Rohr park where it was already packed!

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The event was awesome! I got to see friends that I haven’t seen in a while and watch people from our club compete on the National levels which was great, my father stopped by to hang out and watch the event too. Even Beowolf sat with us for a good portion of the day until it was time to break for lunch in which case it was time to put the beggar away. As it grew later in the day I needed to head out, like I said it was a very quick trip, I needed to be back to work the next day and didn’t want to get in too late. My father checked out my car and made sure I was ready for the 3hr drive ahead of us, I filled up the rest of my tank (I never start a long-distance drive without my tank FULL) and headed out.

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The drive home was great, later than I wanted so the sun was lower than I like, making it so I must constantly flip back and forth the sun visor for shade. Overall it was as I predicted. I just took the 5 straight up because at this point I just wanted to get HOME! This made it easier too not having to navigate a lot of traffic, just stay in this lane and we’re good. I travel this way a lot as well, my grandpa lives in La Habra and so I take the 5 everywhere.

 

I got home around 7pm which was good timing for the drive. Bagheera and Valentine were ecstatic to see me, I let Beowolf out to run the property with Valentine while I unloaded the car and got settled into the house. They could use the nice stretch of their legs too, Beowolf with me having jetlag and Valentine from being in the kennels overnight.

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We’re exhausted, to say the least, but it was a great time! Even though it was short I mostly wanted to see if I could do it and take advantage of things I’ve been wanting to do. Like, get a first-hand knowledge of Pacific Coast Highway and stealth camping in other places. I intend on taking PCH northbound at a later date to check out those areas as well, likely will be when I go up to Sacramento for my stepdad’s grand opening of a restaurant.

 

In the meantime, stay classy San Diego!

How to protect your dog from Rattlesnake bites!

Spring has arrived and that means outdoor dogventures are on the rise! If you’re anything like me, spring symbolizes the time to leave the house from hibernation all winter, and into the lure of fresh flowers in the air its enough to pull you out of the sweats and strap on the hiking shoes. With the large number of wanderlusters going out that increases the number of potential dogs tagging along. If you own a dog you know that unless they are on a proper leash (Not a retractable) then they like to stray from the beaten path, this is okay if we were the only ones out in nature, but that’s never the case. Snakes are among the wildlife that you will encounter. There are many different species of snake out there.

For those of you who don’t know, here’s a quick education about snakes:

There are 2 main types of snakes:

 

Constrictor- These are the pythons and kingsnakes among others. Basically, these snakes catch their prey with their mouth and curl their body around them and constrict, this is how they kill their prey, suffocation. These are what are considered not as dangerous (though snakes of various sizes can be a danger to a small child or dog). These snakes are NOT poisonous, though they do have teeth and can still bite.

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Handler showing children a Milksnake at a Charity event

Venomous- These are your rattlesnakes, vipers, and basically anything that kills their prey while remaining at a safe distance. These guys will strike and envenomate their prey and while they die the snake will wait nearby until they can consume them.

 

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You can tell the difference from a distance just by looking at the snake’s head. Constrictors have a narrow head slightly wider than the body, whereas venomous snakes have a wide head at the cheeks because of the pockets of venom that are stored and it’s more triangular.

 

Most of the time you will HEAR the rattlesnake before you see it, their tail rattle will vibrate and sound like a buzz. All snakes have a striking distance of half their body length; math time, if a snake is 4 feet long and their striking range is half their body length then what is their striking distance? That’s right, 2 feet!

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So now that you have a brief overview of the types of snakes you may encounter let’s move on to the dog facts.

 

We all know dogs use their nose to sniff and they are curious af! Working in a vet clinic I would see many cases of rattlesnake bites and I have personal experience with rattlesnake encounters. Typically dogs would get bit on the face, this is bad news bears! If a dog gets bit in the face the swelling can obstruct their airway through their nose and for the obvious reasons you need to see a vet!

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Now some dogs have gotten away with getting bit by a snake and nothing happened, a lot of clients have told me this that their dog was bitten on multiple occasions and never sought medical attention and the dog was fine. This is your own risk! Most of these clients are ranchers and their dogs are ranch dogs, so not to say the owner didn’t love their dog, relationships are different for everyone. Dogs stem from wolves and their immune system is meant for survival so yes perhaps some dogs have a stronger tolerance of snake bites, not to mention every snake is different so please don’t base the decision for medical treatment on that.

**If your dog has been bitten by any snake please go to your nearest emergency veterinary clinic. Note: If you see the snake that bit your dog, please try and identify the snake correctly, I know you may be shaken, but knowing what type of venom you’re dealing with will absolutely help your dog’s medical staff**

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How to protect your dog:

There are many ways to protect your dog this spring and summer from all types of snakes, in particular (if you are a California resident) Rattlesnakes!

Vaccines: Yes there is a vaccine for Rattlesnake. There is a company in Woodland, Ca that has formulated a vaccine the aids in the protection of dogs from rattlesnake bites. A common misconception of this vaccine is that it is a “preventative”, it is not. A preventative vaccine is like Rabies, Distemper, Parvo, and Bordetella among some others. These vaccines protect the function of cells from diseases and viruses. However, snake venom is venom, like a poison, which kills the cells in the tissue altogether. Like all vaccines though, it creates memory cells to help the immune system fight off what it can. This vaccine buys your dog valuable time to seek medical treatment when the time is of the essence in a snake bite situation.

 

I always told clients that it’s better to have the vaccine on board than wish you had it and you didn’t. Since there is no set time frame when the venom passes through the body it’s better not to waste or risk it, especially in the case when you are in the middle of nowhere and must hurry back to the car and race to a hospital.

 

Call your local clinic to see if they carry the vaccine. If they do please consider getting it for your dog. It’s a 2-vaccine series spread out 4 weeks apart, in some cases there may be a 3rd vaccine for extra large dogs, but if you stay consistent with it then you will only need 1 vaccine per year after that. My dogs are vaccinated and it’s a real peace of mind knowing they are current with the most protection I can give, especially since Beowolf roams freely about the ranch while I work. The best time to get started with the series in February and March as the peak of the snake season is April, however, you can start or booster anytime during the spring and summer, again better to have it and not need it.

*Standard reactions are a lump at the injection site that can appear anywhere between 2 days and 2 weeks from getting the vaccine, more severe cases are abscesses that appear though these are very rare but considered normal. If you see this you can apply a warm compress for 5 minutes a couple times a day and please call to notify your vet of this as they are to be reporting reactions*

 

Rattlesnake avoidance classes: Yes there are rattlesnake classes that you and your dog can attend together. This is held by various people with usually the assistance of a professional snake handler. Typically the rattlesnake used is alive with its mouth taped for the protection of the dogs in the class. E-collars or electric collars are used as an aid for a deterrent in the training, what the class does is it shows the dog the snake in a natural environment. The rattle begins to vibrate and as the dog pays attention to the snake the trainer hits the button on the E-collar. My dogs have yet to participate in classes, but we hope to get started soon. I know a lot of clients who love the classes and feel it has helped them and their dog in avoiding rattlesnakes.

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Antivenom: This is a treatment method that is also time sensitive and must be given IV slowly. This is only administered by a veterinarian and should only be used in the event of an actual bite. Sometimes if medical treatment is immediately after a bite and clinical signs are not sever then you can get away with IV fluids and IV antibiotics and pain killers along with monitoring and not need the antivenom, but most cases do.

 

You: You should have known that everything with your pet boils down to you! If you know you are going out on a hike with your dog take extra precautions, this isn’t just for your dog’s safety but yours as well. People get bit all the time by stepping on a snake accidentally. So here are just a few ways that you can accomplish this.

Research- Investigate the area where you’re going and see if there are any natural inhabitants to watch out for (rattlesnakes are NOT the only ones out there to watch for).

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Tools- Leashes are best with keeping your best bud close to you on the beaten path and out of tall weeds and rummaging through wood piles.

Your eyes- Nature is beautiful no doubt but try to draw your eyes to the ground ahead of you and scan the ground for anyone on the path ahead of you. Scanning for snakes can help you and your dog from accidentally stepping on a snake.

Your ears- For the obvious reasons you want to listen out for rattlesnakes, a lot of times you can hear the rattle before you see the snake.

 

*I do all these things when I go hiking, also when I am just walking around the ranch. I have a lot of paths that I take to get to the horses to feed them and there are plenty of places to stumble upon a snake. I am constantly scanning not only where I step but the area where Beowolf is walking around too. I am a little more lenient on Beowolf being on the property lose because his instincts are strong and he has a good sense of danger, at least keeping his distance long enough for me to get to him*

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The DL on rattlesnakes:

Rattlesnakes and all snakes for that matter are not out to get you, I 100% respect the fear people have of snakes though I cannot personally relate because I love snakes. A snake will not jump out at you, they will not hunt you down or chase you unless you are really pissing it off like I’ve seen on YouTube videos with men taunting cobras. A rattlesnake out in nature will not do that, in fact, I watched a documentary of a snake hunter looking for rattlesnakes and when they found 2, the snake did nothing but curl in a ball and rattle. It wasn’t until they grabbed the snake with the catcher that it even bit the catch pole, snakes feel pain and have fears as well. They would rather stay far away from you for their own safety, it’s not until someone steps on them and messes with them that they even do anything. This is how dogs get bit, sticking their nose in their face and barking pawing or taunting them.

 

As a cold-blooded animal snakes like to sunbathe, and you will find them in the early mornings when it’s starting to get warm sunbathing on a rock or dirt road. Basically, they spent all night chilling out and now they want to warm up. They typically live under a large pile of wood or stick piles.

 

Rattlesnakes have natural predators, the most common is Gopher snakes and the California Kingsnake. Kingsnakes are cannibals and will eat other snakes, hence their name. Both Kingsnakes and Gopher snakes are relatively friendly and harmless to people, they do have teeth and can bite, yes, but the risk is much lower. I found a California Kingsnake last year, it slithered into the arena where we were working dogs and I was able to walk right over and pick it up. It tried scurrying away from fear, but I gently picked it up and relocated it somewhere safe (not around working dogs that would kill it). I have not found any gopher snakes around, but these are the GOOD GUYS! I would gladly take them as a gift and release them around the ranch, a natural deterrent, and predator to rattlesnakes is more humane to me. The circle of life. I can’t stand that people kill rattlesnakes, I understand why they do it, but rattlers have been around since before I was born, and nobody will ever completely kill them off.

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California Kingsnake- Harmless to people, a natural predator of Rattlesnakes! Pictured above is a juvenile.

 

Donate them to SCIENCE!

Chances are if you are in an area where Rattlesnakes reside, there is a snake wrangler who will come and catch a snake if you find one and safely capture it. The snake wrangler in my area Bruce Freeman will take the snakes he captures and sends them to where they can be humanely milked for their venom. This venom is a vital ingredient to both the Rattlesnake vaccine and antivenom! Yes in order to successfully create and distribute vaccines and antivenom they need snake venom from live snakes. Rather than waste a life, call someone who will come and give snakes a purpose!

 

A friend recently found a juvenile rattlesnake that a kid killed for him. He brought it to me so that I could skin it after he used it to train his dogs for avoidance. He’s new to the area and terrified of snakes so I couldn’t blame him for it but still, he didn’t quite know what he was doing. Firstly they put the dead snake in a Clorox bottle and froze it. Crickets. First, the bleach will affect the scent of the snake, which he wanted to let his dogs smell the carcass and shock them to avoid the smell. This isn’t going to work, I told him that if you rely on your dog sniffing a snake and running away then you already lost. By the time a dog got close enough to sniff the snake, his face is already bitten and that’s the worst place you want your dog to get bit. Then the scent will be wrong anyway because it’s been sitting in a bleach bottle.

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Next, the most effective method of avoidance classes is the live rattle, the sound of the rattle will carry and will warn a dog before he’s within striking distance. Snakes like to warn you to KEEP away, not just get away, so if the dog hears the rattle chances are they are in a safe distance to warrant a warning, not a bite.

 

I then explained to him about Bruce Freeman which he didn’t know he could call a guy to get the snake for him. I also told him about the work Bruce does and the importance of the live rattlesnakes to the vaccines and antivenom we use to protect our dogs. He had just got his dogs vaccinated and so it was perfect to point out that if not for live rattlesnake venom his dogs wouldn’t be able to get a quality vaccine. I hope next time he calls Bruce instead of letting some idiot kid lie to him that he can train his dogs for rattlesnake avoidance with a dead rattler.

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Slytherin hanging out with us and playing with our Valentine’s Day Backdrop at the clinic.

I really hope this post helps you in both understanding the nature of snakes and tips to keep your dogs and yourself safe this summer!

Have fun and be safe out there!

A quest for the Hidden Falls!

If you’re near the Sacramento area this summer looking for a great place to hike then look no further than Hidden Falls trails. Nestled in the mountains of Auburn, California. This quiet pristine wilderness is suitable for all levels of hikers, dog hikers, and horse hikers alike!

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Location: 7587 Mears Pl, Auburn, CA 95603

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As you drive toward Reno the adventure begins, as you slowly leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind the freeway begins to lighten up. You can see the dense forest from the road grow heavier the further you go and it’s a beautiful site to see!

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The parking lot is huge, I’ve never had difficulty finding parking here, though it is usually busy along with horse trailers to the side. As you enter the trail there is a vast meadow you walk alongside, depending on the time of year this can be green with tall grass, littered with wildflowers or dry wheatlike stems (hotter months). Nonetheless, it is beautiful and you will often see families enjoying it, horses trotting, or dogs running around exploring. If you continue on the trail begins to descend at once although it’s not difficult to navigate I would still recommend you watch your footing. It’s nice the forest engulfs you and as far as the eye can see there is dense brush and trees everywhere! Green is all over! Horses take this trail as well so remember to share the road, especially if you have kids and/or dogs. The trail zig-zags its way down the mountainside and once you hit the bottom it’s mostly level and an easy stroll to look around and enjoy the sites. At this point you are given a choice which trail to take, one for different levels of hikers, I am obviously a beginner as Beowolf and I are weekend warriors. So we take the shorter hike.

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This trail takes you around the mountain and through some smaller paths. You walk alongside a beautiful stream that leads you to the river (shallow and slow), this is great during the summer when it’s hot to let the kids play or dogs romp and cool off. By now, if your dog is anything like Beowolf, he has pulled so much he gave himself a workout and cool water will do him good! Following along the trail there is so much foliage it’s amazing, the smell is invigorating and sweet, while even in the middle of summer it won’t get too hot as there is so much shade!

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Eventually, the trail begins its incline which isn’t too bad, it’s not too steep or for long but by now you’ve been walking and so it’s enough to get your heart rate up. It will open up into a meadow as you reach the top, this is usually where I rest and get some water, there are still lots of trees and shade so again it’s not so bad.

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Following along you reach the Hidden Falls lookout, which is basically a giant patio that overlooks the river and one of the smaller waterfalls. Depending on the time of year this may be closed off, usually due to construction or repairs, etc. It was closed every time I went (yes the website does show this as well, but other trails lead to different aspects of several waterfalls). Continuing on it then leads to a very small path that apparently cows graze up to on the other side, as there is a gate that is to stay closed at all times so the cows don’t walk through and get lost. I never saw any cows, but I know they were there as there was poop.

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This small path leads to a tiny fork in the road, going one way and you continue with the trail, however going the other way and it leads you to another place to overlook the river. There is also a beaten path that leads down to the water, it’s pretty easy to navigate and it’s worth descending for, as there are lots of large rocks to sit on and enjoy the water. It’s also a very shallow area with a nice bank to enjoy the cool water and a nice rest. Which of course I had to let Beowolf play in the water, he was so grateful.

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Then we went back up to the trail to go ahead further. Because we were on the short trail we eventually ended up back to the trail map at the beginning of the hike, coming around from the opposite side. Getting back to the parking lot, we had to zig-zag our way back UP the mountain, which it was great going down but not so great going up as the entire time you’re climbing. I clipped the leash to Beowolf’s harness so he could help me up a bit, as he still had the strength and energy to pull me up I let him.

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We passed a few horses on the way up which is always nice for 2 reasons: 1- I like looking at horses. 2- There isn’t a lot of room on this path so someone has to move aside and let the horses pass, this gave us opportunities to stop for a quick break as we waited for them to go by. As we reached the top and exit the forest the sun will greet you with a hot slap to the face! I usually take a wider trail that circles through the meadow, allowing Beowolf to run more freely on the long leash and gives myself a chance to just stroll through and catch my breath. There’s also another area where you can overlook the valley as you stand on top of a peak so to speak. We rested and drank more water before calling it a day and heading back to the car.

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All in all, it was a great day! I love this hiking spot for its beautiful green scenery and easy accessibility to the river. I wish that when I go next time I’m either in better shape to take a harder hike and make it to the main waterfall, or the lookout deck is open so I can get some great pictures!

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I would rate this trip a 5 out of 5.

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Roads: Paved the entire way to the parking lot and it’s an easy drive to get there.

Trails: Clean and well maintained. Do watch out for poison ivy off the paths, but there shouldn’t be an issue if you stay on the trails. Everything is marked with arrows and signs where to go and how far you’ve gone.

Environment: It’s covered with foliage but the trails still give you a lot to work for so bring water and comfortable clothes. As well as snacks as all the trails lead to the main picnic area to stop and rest or eat.

Gear: Camelback for sure. Hiking boots aren’t necessary on the short trail but I do not know about the longer trails, yet I see people wear all kinds of shoes, and they seem fine. I had Beowolf wear a hiking pack to carry his own water and food, along with his pet first aid kit and a pair of boots just in case. He didn’t need the boots this time, and a friend went with us and so his dog shared “Pack duties” carrying the load for half the trail.

Hydration Camelback

Dog boots

K9 Hiking pack

Alltrails.com: I love this app. It gives me important information about potential sites to see and is always a reliable resource.

This trail will always be a staple for me when I’m in the area and looking for someplace green to visit. Check it out and you will see why I love it!

Salutations!

Enjoy these photos!
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Thinking of getting a wolf hybrid? Let me tell you what to expect.

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For the past 9 years, I have lived side by side with Beowolf, my Timberwolf Malamute cross, and not a day goes by that I am not thankful for him. He has gotten me out of some questionable situations, he helped me with my battle with depression, and he is always there for me to this day. Being that he goes with me everywhere, since day 1 practically, I get asked all the time… how did I get him? What’s it like owning him? How is his temperament? Well to answer all of that I need to take you to the beginning because over the past 9 years life hasn’t been easy with a hybrid.

2 months old

Before getting into the juicy details I would like to introduce you to my new book, Adventures of Puppy Raising. This is a compilation of everything I learned during the puppy years, as well as answering questions from other puppy owners and advice from working in the veterinary field. It has everything a puppy owner should need and then some!

Beowolf was given to me as a gift, he was purchased from a breeder in San Diego and was delivered to me as a surprise in Sacramento. Granted I knew about the puppy for a while before he was delivered so I had time to prepare and research, I was no dummy, I grew up with dogs and admired wolves, obsessed with them was more like it; but I knew that living with a mixed one would be different and boy was it.

3 months

First, he was a 3-month-old 30-pound puppy, so not only was he big but he was a baby as well. Knock off what we already know was difficult, teething, potty training, regular training, and socialization. The last 2 I had to wing it and tweak it for his nature. Wolves are social pack animals that spend a ton if not all of their time with each other, so needless to say Beowolf wanted to be around me all the time and would do anything to make that happen. Enter in the destructive phase, he destroyed carpets clawing at the door, and even pulled one completely from the floor and rolled it to the opposite corner of the room. He dug holes in the yard to break out of his kennel and bent most of the links pulling at the gate. He howled every freaking moment he was alone and even while he was with my roommates, he still wanted me. Which leads me to Bring my dog to work phase.

5 months

I worked at a movie theater… in a shopping center… there was no doggy daycare nearby and nobody could watch him anyways because he would cry for me, so I improvised. I figured, my Jeep with the back seats down was still a much bigger space than the biggest most expensive crate I could find, so he was better off staying in there. So I changed my hours to closing! and met up with the evening security guard to explain, luckily he was a friend of everyone who worked in the center. I introduced him to Beowolf who he instantly fell in love with, I showed him the bowl of dog food and ice water and had my windows open enough. Also, I parked behind the building where the shade and privacy were better so nobody would bother with him, yep Beowolf had his own condo and security. This went on for 3 months without a hitch until we moved in with friends from work. Big mistake, the other dogs in the house were very aggressive and attacked Beowolf, he was 8 months old needless to say we didn’t stay there long, a week to be specific.

7 months

Which leads to the following 6 years of moving and roommates and other housepets. I have no idea how we made it out of that alive, to be honest early on I recall kneeling in front of 6-month-old Beowolf cursing him and crying that he was sent from the devil. I was a little dramatic, but he ate my cellphone! Twice! On purpose! People mock me but he does do things on purpose, once people get to know him they find that to be true. We tackled a lot, food aggression, socialization, dog friendliness, no matter the challenge we came out together on the other side.

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Everyone who meets him wants to get one of their own, I’m not ashamed to say that I often play dumb where I got him. The truth is, though he is a remarkable animal, it takes someone willing to work with a hybrid to get the results I did and frankly I still think of myself blessed that he was my first. He taught me a lot about patience, I did tons of research and countless hours of youtube videos on handling wolves and their instincts. This isn’t your typical labrador or energetic pitbull. He’s what’s considered a high content wolfdog, this means that I have no real idea how close his instincts are to surface, what can trigger him to do something and who will be like? He has energy because he was built to run 30 miles a day, he still to this day has separation anxiety because he wasn’t meant to be away from his family (me), just the other day he broke out of my window because I was simply 50 yards away talking with a group of people that were here for training! 50 yards, 50 yards!? Come on Beowolf, dammit.

 

People who meet him now swear there is something human in him, his ability to comprehend us when we talk to him, you can see him thinking and problem-solving in his eyes. He’s considerate and goofy as hell. But it’s his manner that intrigues people so much, he is wonderful around children, does amazing under pressure, calm in loud settings and even knows how to listen and behave himself when in public places (yes he goes everywhere with me.) He is a certified ESA and Seizure alert dog for me.

4 years

All in all a few things are true:

  • A hybrid in the right hands will make for an amazing animal, in the wrong hands they can be dangerous and left to make a bad name for the mix and the wolf species.
  • Their intellectual capacity is incredible, there is nothing that they can’t do and no challenge they can’t overcome, whether that’s in your favor or not is… 50/50.
  • They get big, big teeth, big claws, thick coats, and bigger shit. Beowolf is neutered and still marks and mounts females here and there, he is very dominant and will not back down to any dog so like I said those instincts are strong.
  • You’re gonna wanna watch them, study their body language like breathing, know what every twitch of his ears means. Each glance to me as a dog bothers him, is a request to get him out of that situation, intervene before your hybrid feels the need to do it himself. Understanding what you’re getting into is only half the battle, but you’ll thank me for that later. Why risk a lawsuit when you can take measures to protect your new best friend, California don’t play with dog bites loosely and most laws are tight on hybrids.
  • If you can, try and get one, they can be needy af and want all of your attention this can lead to other problems both for you and for them. Not to mention, when your pack is together 24/7 while you go to work every day, you may feed them but don’t think yourself that secure anymore, eventually, you will become the outsider. Not to mention, I have another dog and a cat, and though I love my other dog dearly, she was unexpected and I was really hoping that for once in his life Beowolf could be an only dog. Nonetheless, I try not to feel guilty about spending alone time with each of them, but I know, if Beowolf could have it his way, he would be the only dog in the house.
  • Separation anxiety is very likely and is not something to be played with. Chances are that most of the dogs you know personally have it, but only show a low grade; whining, pacing, panting. With hybrids it is different, you already read about the house destruction, but there’s more. He’s broken out of windows, climbed out of 2nd and 3 story windows and has been found on the roof several times. He has run away trying to find me, luckily I keep all of his tags updated and kind people called me to alert me that my Big dog is at their house. Honestly, it’s to the point where I worry less, not that someone wouldn’t steal him, they definitely would, but he has what I call a 3-day self-destruction period. He has only ever made it 2 days away from me staying with people he knew before he became uncontrollable to handle. It would surprise me that if he were stolen I would get a call or he would have broken out by day 3 for me to come and get my dog.

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I hope my story with Beowolf has helped you if you were thinking of getting one, we had our ups and downs but I wouldn’t change the experience ever! The truth is, Beowolf is my heart and soul and there will never be another dog like him for me. Even though hybrids are a lot to handle a lot of the time, I probably won’t ever live without one for the rest of my life. Beowolf is my best friend, my therapist, and my ride or die, I can’t say that about any human ever in my life.

 

Don’t miss out on my book available on Amazon now! Includes everything all new puppy owners should know, as well as tips and advice from a veterinary professional! Check it out!

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