Thursday, June 28

Frenchies and the Fourth!

You might be tempted to take your Frenchie to a Fourth of July party with you.  We strongly urge you to leave him home where he’s going to be safe, but if you do take him, remember these things.

1.     Don’t trust that your dog is going to be safe wandering the party without you.  Keep him close by on a lead.
2.     Be sure your Frenchie is cool.  If you take your frog with you to a block party or a friend’s barbecue, be sure you have a cool coat or cool collar and a water bottle with you.  If he overheats, don’t wait—crank up your car’s a/c and take him to the ER vet.  

Magnolia models her Independence Day decorations! Oo la la!  You should see what she breaks out for Bastille Day.  

3.     Be sure your Frenchie is not allowed near the pool.  We lost one of our graduates to drowning when he fell into a pool during a party and no one noticed.  Keep your frog on a lead or make sure he’s wearing a lifevest near water deeper than 8 or 12 inches.
4.     Pork ribs? Beef ribs? Barbecued chicken?  These classic and delicious parts of the festivities are going to produce irresistible bones.   Be sure no one shares their bones with your Frenchie!   Bring some treats with you to give to people who want to make friends with your frog.
 Get a load of this handsome young patriot!  Carlos, owned by a volunteer, is ready to celebrate and he doesn't mind looking good while he does it.  Ears, man.  The boy has a set of ears!

5.     Also be careful with sneaky bites.   Be sure your Frenchie is not getting lots of little bites of people food from generous friends.  Nobody wants to see your Frenchie visiting the hospital with a case of  pancreatitis from eating too much potato or macaroni salad.  Don’t let anyone give your dog “just a sip” of anything with alcohol in it, and don’t let him drink from unattended cups of hooch!
 FBRN grad Aiden and sister Gracie welcome the holiday.  Sort of.

6.     Go home before the firecrackers come out.  Even if your dog isn’t nervous under ordinary circumstances, firecrackers are unpredictable, loud, and potentially harmful--both as they are being set off and afterward--the burned parts are loaded with toxic materials.

Try it.  Zenobia is begging you to try to take her ball.  See what happens.  (We advise you to resist her dare.  The last guy who tried to take her ball hasn't been seen since. We're not saying she's responsible.  We're just saying that's her ball. Get it?)
7.     Be sure to keep a barrier up if you are having friends over for the 4th.  It would be a good idea to put your frog in an empty room and post a note asking people not to enter, or put up a baby gate between the main house and the front door so your Frenchie can’t run out when you are welcoming guests.  Some Frenchies get so very nervous they can knock down baby gates, and we’ve heard of dogs who have jumped out of window screens in their panic, so crating him might be the best idea. Be double sure your dog’s id tag is firmly attached to his collar.

FBRN grad, Nauti, is looking for her parade.  Where is it?  Where are the children and the bands and the horses?  Every year Nauti's parade goes right past the house, celebrating the splendor of Nauti.  She may be taking a typically Frenchie approach to any celebration, anywhere, for any reason (all this?  For me? What took you so long?), but she'll stay on the porch where she's safe and cool.

8.     Even if you aren’t going out for the 4th, talk to your vet well before the holiday if you know your dog is nervous.  See if he’s a candidate for a little Valium or another medication that could help smooth things out.  It might be too late to order a Thundershirt, but you could get one for next year and for other nerve-wracking events.  Many of our volunteers have found Thundershirts to be very helpful in reducing their dogs’ anxiety.

Happy Independence Day to you and your Frenchie!

Arby is rolling around, looking for someone to love.

Wednesday, June 20

Minneapolitans! Go Here!

FBRN grads Summer and Maizee and their sister Keeghan are your hosts for these events!  Get out and enjoy some pretties.  And look at some jewelry, too!

We're very grateful for this fund-raiser, and we hope that if you can, you'll join other FBRN friends and volunteers!  Thank you, Omorphia!

The Frog Princess

Sunday, June 17

It's HOT Outside! Keep Your Frog Cool!

Many of you have read the articles we've written over the years about overheating and Frenchies, but just in case you are new to the world of frogdogs, here's a link to learn more about how important it is to keep your hot dog cool.
Here's Pongo, a dog owned by one of our volunteers, modeling a "cool coat."  These coats are made of polyester "chamois" and when dunked in water, will keep a dog cool via evaporation.  There are other styles and brands available.  There are also other options, like this cool collar.  You may want to spread a cooling pad on the back seat as you drive for your Frenchie to keep cool on.  Your vet may have other recommendations for you. 

Any time you are out and about with your Frenchie this summer, you should have some way to quickly cool her down. 

Pikachu finds her own way to bring down her temp pdq!

Keep some chemical ice packs in the car's first aid kit to apply to her tummy and neck if she goes into distress.  One of our grads died after a lovely day out in temps that were in the high 60's and low 70's; certainly not what we'd consider "hot" by any means.  But before her family could get her to the vet she had passed away from simply sitting in the sunshine watching a Little League game.  It was heartbreaking for everyone!

Here's Clyde, another volunteer's dog, dealing with brain freeze.  He's wearing a cool collar and sipping some icy cold water in the front seat getting the full AC while he and his mom wait in the car.  Of course, when the car is in motion, he is in the backseat, strapped into a safety harness.

It's important to stress to any family or friends who are visiting this summer that Frenchies cannot tolerate heat and mustn't be walked in the heat of the day.  They also can't swim, and shouldn't be allowed near water without a lifevest.  Frenchies are high maintenance little dogs.  Many people who have not grown up around brachycephalic dogs don't understand--might not even believe you--when you tell them about Frenchies' special needs.  It's your responsibility to make them understand.  Every summer we learn about a grad who has drowned or who has died from overheating.  Who knows how many Frenchies die each year unknown to us?

With a little preparation, everyone can have a great summer, and your Frenchie can spend time outdoors with you.  Be prepared, pay attention to her, and have remedies on hand, like bottled water and instant cold packs, if they should be needed.

Speaking of heat, it might be time to dabble our toes in the baby pool in the royal garden, reckons

The Frog Princess

Friday, June 8

Ask the Frog Princess: Slow Introductions

Someone asked, "Why do you have photos of some of your dogs on their available page with other dogs, but the bio says the dog has to be an only dog?  It's confusing!"

You've probably seen that there are a number of dogs on our available pages who show up in photos with other dogs, but when you look at their boxed info, the answer to the Dogs? question is NO!  How can this be?  Why would we show a dog hanging out with other dogs and then say "NO other dogs!" in the bio?

It's because many times a dog has been given a lot of time to learn to live with the dogs in her foster home, and there's a great photo op that includes another dog.  So we use it.  Dogs that are reactive to other dogs at first can often learn to live safely with other dogs if they go through "slow introductions."  We have asked all our foster homes to use the "slow introductions" method when they bring home a dog.  Minerva is a case in point.

Minerva has a puppy mill past, and like a lot of dogs from puppy mills or breeding situations, she hasn't been properly socialized with other dogs--even though she probably spent a lot of her life living in a crate slapped up next to, under, and/or on top of other dogs' crates, she has never learned the finer points of doggy etiquette.  So when she meets or sees another dog, she is reactive.  She barks, pulls, lunges, and so on.  You've seen reactive dogs at the park or behind fences. 

We get a lot of foster dogs who are reactive around other dogs.  This is a problem, since very few of our foster homes have no other dogs.  So we consulted smart people, and this is what we learned.

When dogs are moved into a new home, they need time to decompress, time to learn the new routines, to smell the new smells, identify and learn to ignore new sounds, and to get comfortable in the new environment.  Of course, some dogs are really easy-going and they will let newcomers wander in and never raise a hair.  Some newcomers are really easy-going, and they are able to walk in the door and fit right in like they were to the manor born.

But mostly not.  Slow introductions means we ask our foster families to set aside a room in the house where the new dog can hang out all by herself for at least 2 or 3 days and maybe as long as 3 weeks.  We are building confidence in the foster dog that she's ok and no one is going to hurt her or take her food or endanger her in any way.

During this time, the dogs of the household dogs can go about their business, but they aren't introduced to the new dog inside the house.  The people in the house can stop by and visit with the new dog, but the resident dogs don't get to come in the room.

After a couple of days, the new dog and the old dog will meet outside in no man's land.  They can take a walk together with separate people holding their leads.  Then back into the house, one at a time, and back into their respective corners.  After several days,  all the dogs will have been introduced to each other, and maybe, if the walks went well, they can meet in the backyard.  And back into the house in their separate spaces.  Keep this up until you are convinced that there will not be fighting--when you introduce your new dog to the dog inside the house after they've met on neutral ground several times and then in the backyard, allow the dogs to meet each other indoors, but keep a leash on them.  Let them drag the leash for a few days.  If you have been careful and all the stars align, the reactive dog and the resident dog will be able to get along.  You'll still have to be careful to keep anything that might be fought over (toys, food, beds) picked up until you learn where the reactive dog might be reactive--what their triggers might be-- but eventually your dogs should all be able to get along.  Like Minerva and her foster brothers!

Sadly, when we've placed reactive dogs in adoptive homes with resident dogs, we've found many adopters are simply not willing to follow instructions about slow introductions.  They are excited to have a new dog in the house!  They want their friends and neighbors and family to come over and meet the new dog!  They want the new dog to meet the old dog!  And it's all fun and games until the new dog or the old dog loses an eye and then the new dog has to come back to FBRN.  Patience is hard in the face of a new dog.  We do understand.  And because we understand that it's just too hard for most people, we say no to families with dogs when our foster dog is reactive.

So that's why you may see photos of dogs like Minerva cuddled up next to a dog in some of the photos on her available page, but the requirements for adoption say "No other dogs."  We don't want anybody's dogs to get hurt, we don't want anyone to be injured breaking up a fight that broke out because adopters didn't want to do slow introductions, and we don't want to upset the foster dog by breaking up her routine more than we have to.

We want what's safest for everyone, affirms

The Frog Princess