No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

No good deed goes unpunished.

That was something my mom used to say, and when I was a kid, I never really got it. But, since working in animal rescue, I’ve come to a clear and intimate understanding of what it means. I’m living it again right now.

wolfieA couple of months ago, I told you about a little Maltese named Wolfie. He’s the dog that I arranged to foster for a woman we befriended at the nursing home where Dalene was getting her post-stroke therapy. He is a doll baby. His mama, Anne, hadn’t seen him in 2 years, and now that he lives with me, I’m able to take him to visit 2 or 3 times a week. I did this for Anne, because I can’t imagine being stuck in some facility and not being able to see my dogs.

Fostering Wolfie has not been without issues, and we’ve been working through them the best we can. There was the not- answering-to-his-name issue, and the won’t-sleep-through-the-night issue, and there is the ongoing barking-&-whining-because-apparently-he-likes-the-sound-of-his-own-voice issue. They are all behaviors that we are working to correct. But things took a turn this week, and now we’re faced with something we can’t correct. Wolfie is one of five dogs in our home. Besides the extra costs, now there is also the realization that he will probably not be with us all that long.

Wolfie received a senior wellness exam in late October. Everything looked good except his eyes — which were not producing tears — and his liver enzymes, which were elevated. I had the vet run more tests to get a better idea of what we were dealing with. She prescribed an ointment for his eyes, and suggested that I supplement his food with milk thistle to support his liver. So, I did both of those things, and took him back in to follow up this week. The vet ran the same tests again, and while his eyes are very much improved, his liver is tanking. His ALT enzyme is 769, up from 479 in October. The normal range tops out at 121. His ALP enzyme is 970, same as it was in October. The normal range tops out at 160.

wulff & wolfI had a long talk with the vet about what this might mean and whether or not there’s a way to figure out if he’s got a cancerous tumor or chronic hepatitis, or even the very rare Addison’s disease. There are some very expensive tests that might tell us (MRI, Ultra-sound), but the treatment is the same no matter what it is: Denamarin. (that’s not exactly true — if it’s chronic hepatitis, he might also be helped with a steroid — but after a lot of discussion, we’re not going there.) The little guy just turned fourteen, so this liver business will probably eventually be the end of him. For Anne’s sake, I’d like to make that as distant an eventuality as possible.

Denamarin  is a supplement that contains milk thistle, but also SAMe. A thirty-day supply from the vet is $53.00. (It’s cheaper online, only $26 from 1-800 PETMEDS or Drs Foster & Smith). Wolfie’s eye ointment is $83 for 3 tubes, and has to be compounded. In addition to the meds, I’m going to have to put him on a special food as soon as I find one suitable. It has to be high in easily digestible protein (like fish, egg, turkey, or chicken), low in fat, high in antioxidants, and low in potassium and copper. If you have any recommendations, please comment below. He’ll have to go in a couple of times a year to check his enzyme levels. That runs roughly $140. He’ll also have to be groomed a couple of times a year at a cost of about $40 a pop.

Wolfie’s mama, Anne, is a ward of the state. She receives Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid, and the majority of her money goes toward paying for the facility where she is living. She gets about fifty dollars in spending money a month for everything else she needs. Though her guardian had a little money on hand for Wolfie’s recheck and his eye meds, that fund is finite. I’ll work it all out somehow, but I just wanted to put this out there, in case any of my readers would like to sponsor him, or donate to his care.

If you are so inclined, here’s how you can help out:

  • Send us some Denamarin: DrsFoster&
        ship to: Up on the Woof, 2225 Columbia Rd., Brecksville, OH 44141
  • Make a donation to the vet for Wolfie’s care:
    Bartels Pet Hospital, 7051 Mill Rd., Brecksville, OH 44141 440-526-4818
    Please include a note that the money should be credited to Wolfie Wulff’s account.
  • Donate via Paypal: send to:
    Be sure to send me an email that your donation is for Wolfie’s ongoing care (food,     eye meds, grooming)

———–FEB 1 UPDATE——————————————————

Just wanted to update  everyone on developments in the Wolfie-sphere. I was able to get into contact with his former vets, and one of them was a specialist who saw him for the liver issue. He was diagnosed in 2014 with Cushings and put on a medication. I did not receive any info about this when he was handed over to me, nor did I receive medication for it from his former foster mom. I sent these records over to his current vet, who called me to discuss them after she reviewed them. She now suggests a STEM test to find out if he still has Cushings, or if he was over-medicated and it rebounded into Addisons. He is scheduled to have that test on Feb 14. The cost will be a little more than $200., so donations are welcome and appreciated. I may also start a gofundme for this.

Yesterday, I spent a good deal of time researching foods for one that will be beneficial to him. Today I went to PetValu and talked the people there, and we looked at various brands. I came home with a bag of NULO Freestyle Adult Trim. The base is fish, so it is high in protein but low in fat. It is also loaded with lots of anti-oxidants.

I also stumbled across a website called which is a site for people whose dogs have liver issues. They recommend spring water and a home-cooked diet plus supplements, so I may go that route in the near future. The supplements are not expensive, but the plan calls for a combination of 4 of them, and that *is* expensive.

And the beat goes on . . .

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Year End Update – Up on the Woof


I cannot wait to kick 2017 to the curb. It’s been a truly terrible year in my neck of the woods. We’ve had to deal with lots of sickness and loss this year, and then there’s all the stuff the new administration has been doing to break our spirits. I am hoping that 2018 will be better. To close out the year, I wanted to update you on some of the things I wrote about in 2017.

wolfie pupIn November, I wrote about our new foster dog, Wolfie.  He has settled in here, and he’s about a million ways of cute. At first, he wouldn’t sleep through the night, now he is at least doing that . . . BUT, now we kind of know why his last foster home kept him doped up on Diazapam. He barks All. The. Time. I guess it’s not unusual for the Maltese breed to be so vocal, but if you have any tried and true ways to get a dog to stop barking (that doesn’t involve a shock collar) shoot me an email, or tell me about it below,  in the comments.

Speed Star 1.1431374  00In October, I wrote about losing our boy, Waldo. To be completely honest, our hearts are still broken. I am having a very hard time with the loss – but I think I finally figured out why. We have lost a lot of pets over the years, but each time, the animal was old or sick, and we had given him/her palliative care for months before he or she had died. Not so with Waldo. Outwardly, he seemed pretty much OK, right up until the time we put him down. But once we knew how he’d been silently suffering, and what the prognosis was, our path was clear to us. So there was no extended palliative care, no diminishing of mental faculties. One day he was here, and the next he was gone, and the suddenness of that is what has made it all so hard. Everything we look at reminds us of him. We weren’t feeling festive this year, and chose not to celebrate Christmas because: the presents, the snow, the tree, the snacks, the annual card — it was all Waldo Waldo Waldo Waldo Waldo. One day the loss will soften, but I think that’s still a ways off. I know some people will bristle at me comparing it to this, but I think this is what it must feel like to lose a child.

Img06_08-04-2017In August, I wrote about Jeb, a hound dog we knew who had been neglected.  I pondered the question of how can a person say they “love” their dog, when they are not willing to take care of even the dog’s basic needs? Jeb’s owner put him down a few weeks after we took him to get his nails clipped.

In March, I asked my readers to advocate.  I told you about Alyssa Duvall, a young woman in Calhoun Georgia, who got mad at her dog and beat the cowering animal with a frying pan. Duvall was arrested ( and charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty. I was not able to locate any court records or sentencing for a follow up. If you know how this case turned out, please let us know in the comments.

evangersIn February, I wrote about Evangers Pet Food that was recalled because it contained Pentobarbital, the drug used to euthanize pets.  The FDA reviewed a bill of lading from Evanger’s supplier of “Inedible Hand Deboned Beef – For Pet Food Use Only. Not Fit For Human Consumption” and determined that the supplier’s facility does not have a grant of inspection from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Testing by USDA-FSIS of Evanger’s Hunk of Beef confirmed that the meat used in the product was bovine (beef). The investigation by the FDA is ongoing and includes examination of the suppliers of beef to Evanger’s and Against the Grain to determine a possible cause for the presence of Pentobarbital.

In April, Evangers filed a $20 million lawsuit against their meat supplier, Wisconsin based Bailey Farms. ( )

In May, Party Animal Pet Food filed a lawsuit ( against Evangers for $20 million, citing breach of contract, breach of warranty, and fraud.

In June, a $5 million consumer class action lawsuit was filed against Evangers.(

Whether or not Evangers will recover from this remains to be seen.

why am i cover_thumbOn the personal front, we still have not found a childrens book publisher to take on my first children’s book, Why Am I?

Here’s hoping 2018 is much, much better.



Would you like to offer us a helping hand here Up on the Woof? We have vet bills up the yin yang. We could also use some help setting up a fund for Wolfie’s needs while he is with us (vetting & grooming). We are always looking for coupons for certain items we purchase for our dogs on a regular basis. If you have Cesar coupons, Bil Jac Frozen coupons, or milkbone coupons that you will not be using, please save them for us. Contact me if you have some to send. Donations for Wolfie’s fund can also be sent via Paypal to


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In the Company of Wolfie

dancin dogAfter my last blog post about losing Waldo, we received an amazing outpouring of gifts through the mail. Big fuzzy thanks to all of you who sent something from our wish list. Your kindness is wildly appreciated!

So while we were struggling (and continue to struggle) through the loss of Waldo, something else happened. A lot of something elses, really. In the weeks leading up to Waldo’s passing, we were working through Dalene’s recovery from a cerebellar stroke.   That’s a stroke that happens in the back of the brain and doesn’t present like other strokes. In fact, it’s pretty rare, and accounts for something like only 2% of all strokes. But that’s all Dalene. She always gets the weirdest of the weird. The stroke presented in a gradual procession of symptoms, beginning with drunken walking that progressively got worse, and then drunken speech. From the hospital, Dalene went to rehab at the nursing home a couple of miles up the road from us. It’s the same place where her dad stayed during the final year or so of his life. The six weeks Dalene spent there were a mash-up of anger, sadness, denial, and finally, very hard work. I would go up twice a day: in the morning while she had two hours of therapy, and again in the evening, around dinner time. In the evenings, I would take one of our dogs along, and whomever it was would visit with the residents who were up to it. So many of the residents expressed how much they missed their own dogs. We made some friends there.

wolfie1One of our new friends is Anne. She is in her late seventies, and just the most adorable woman. I don’t know Anne’s whole story: what I do know is that she has no family locally, and before she went into a facility, she was living in her car with her dog, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. She was given a court-appointed guardian, and Wolfie was taken away from her and put into the care of an appointee. Anne loved it when I took our dogs up to visit, and she would dote on them and walk them around the halls of the facility. She told us about her Wolfie, and about how much she missed him. She said that the last time she had seen him was on her birthday two years ago. His caretaker lived all the way out in Painesville, and it was just too far to bring him for visits.

I’ve always believed that ideas are out there kind of flying around in the ether, and that any of us can reach out and grab onto one at any given time. I think it accounts for similar books being written around the same time, or crazily similar movies, and sometimes even similar inventions.


Wolfie is a thirteen-year-old Maltese. He reminds us a little bit of Lammy-Lamb.

Well, there was just such a moment of synchronicity last week. I was sitting in the nursing home thinking about Anne’s little Wolfie, and my friend, LeAnn, was writing a proposal for a class about helping the elderly who can no longer care for their pets. So I suggested to Dalene that we try to find out who was taking care of Wolfie, and see if we could foster him at our house so he could visit with Anne a couple of days a week on a regular basis. The next day, I read LeAnn’s report, and then, we knew we had to work to make it happen.

anne&wolfieThis morning, we met Anne’s guardian out in Willoughby, and he handed over Wolfie and all of the little guy’s earthly possessions. We drove straight to the nursing home to bring Anne and Wolfie together again. He spent the afternoon with her.

It was an awesome day.


“The wolves knew when it was time to stop looking for what they’d lost, to focus instead on what was yet to come.”
― Jodi PicoultLone Wolf



Would you like to offer us a helping hand here Up on the Woof? We have vet bills up the yin yang. We are always looking for coupons for certain items we purchase for our dogs on a regular basis. If you have Rachael Ray Nutrish coupons (we are still trusting Ainsworth foods),  Cesar coupons, Bil Jac Frozen coupons, or milkbone coupons that you will not be using, please save them for us. Contact me if you have some to send. Donations can also be sent via Paypal to

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Beautiful, Beautiful Boy

Have you ever been so sad that you felt like throwing up? So sad that you could barely breathe — and couldn’t think?

It is October 7, 2017. 10/7/2017. If you add up the numbers in 2017, they equal 10. If you add the month and day, they equal 17.   10/7/10, 172017. But I can’t find any meaning in those numbers.

I can’t find any meaning in the past forty days.


me with Waldo

It was a little longer ago than that, when Waldo stopped wanting to take daily walks with me. That was our thing — walkies. He and I did 1-4 miles a day, depending on the weather, and it was our special time together. Then, one day he said “I’m not walking any more,” and he said it so clearly, that I listened. I didn’t think a whole lot of it. We figured that he was getting arthritic. He was ten-and-a-half years old, and he’d had two ACL surgeries before the age of three. He was also very very large: nearly 100 lbs of lean, gorgeous muscle. Looking back, that was probably the first sign that something was going on.

Waldo was a beautiful boy. We could never really account for his size. He was much bigger than either of his parents. Dalene had his DNA done, and it said he was Boxer and Border Collie, with a little Australian Cattle Dog thrown in. None of them are large breeds.

We lost our beautiful boy today to Hemangiosarcoma: a fucking bitch of a fast-growing cancer that shows no real symptoms until it’s too late to do anything about it.

waldo14wks_sm.jpgHe was pampered his whole life. He only ate the best food. He went to the groomer. He was on heartworm preventative. He was always up to date on his shots. He went to the dog park. He went to doggie daycare. He went camping. He was a ride-along dog. He had a big yard to run and play in. We doted on him. He loved to be hugged and cuddled and kissed. He was a gigantic baby, and so gentle that he let the small dogs in the house boss him around.

How did he get this cancer?

He had half a dozen nicknames. He was Wally and Walrus and Smoosh. Scoobs and Moobie, and Moosh. He was Border Collie brilliant. He could learn how to do anything we showed him, and taught himself to do a few things besides. I’ve never seen another dog teach himself to bounce a tennis ball and catch it. He was an excellent communicator.

waldo_sleep1Waldo and I didn’t like each other much when we first met. Over the years, though, we fell deeply in love. I didn’t think I would ever love a dog the way that I had loved Dillon, my heart dog, but my love for Waldo surpassed even that. He was always happiest when Dalene, and he, and I were together. When we played fetch, he would take turns, bringing the ball first to her to throw, and then to me, or vice versa.

When Rocket joined the family, Waldo would take a mouthful of food out of his own bowl and put it on the floor next to him for Rocket to eat. He loved little dogs, and I think that he thought that he was a little dog, too, the way he would beg to sit in our laps.


Lammy Lamb, Waldo, Rocket Boy and Maria, chillin’.

“Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans. . .” – John Lennon

In August, Waldo started to get fussy about his food. He had a loose front tooth, so we thought that maybe his teeth were hurting him when he ate. We took him in to the vet, and he seemed fine except for his teeth, so they did a dental and removed six of them. He seemed to feel a lot better after that.

Last week, Waldo began having trouble, and not managing to pass anything that looked like his normal stool. He seemed less interested in food. I watched him for a couple of days, checking his gums, and inspecting his poop. I was concerned that he might have a blockage, because he had taken Rocket’s rawhide one night and swallowed it whole. That was something he’d done many times in the past, and it had never caused him any trouble, but when he drank water one morning and then vomited it all up, I was concerned enough to take him to the vet.


He didn’t have a blockage. He had pancreatitis, and it was making him nauseous. It was also causing him considerable pain. Over the next three days we did further tests, and found that he had a mass on his spleen, enlarged lymph nodes in his chest, and an abdomen full of fluid. Not good.

We put him on meds to help with the symptoms. I cooked him some chicken and rice and he ate well yesterday. Then very early this morning, he started this weird panting. Short huffs. I gave him his morning meds, and we went out. He was walking with a hunch: the sign of a dog in pain. He passed a little stool and then slowly walked around a little bit like he was going to try again, but then, he looked up at me, his legs wobbled, and he collapsed in the grass.

I have never felt so completely helpless. He was too big for me to pick him up, so I knelt down next to him and stroked him and told him how much I loved him. How special he was. How handsome. How smart.

Finally, I coaxed him to get up, and he gingerly walked back to the cabin.

We tend to grow dogs old. We’ve had over a dozen dogs, and only one other lived less than fifteen years. Three of them lived to be eighteen. Two of them lived to be twenty. Ten-and-a-half years is not long enough. Not for two people who were very much in love with the beautiful boy.PICT1391

Waldo was exceptional. He didn’t deserve to suffer, and yet he had been suffering silently. We weren’t willing to put him through one more moment of pain for us, so we consulted with the vet, and decided to let him go. I held our beautiful boy, and he went peacefully, my kisses and tears on his gorgeous face, my heart in his paw.

Close your eyes
Have no fear
The monster’s gone
He’s on the run and your mommy’s here

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

Before you go to sleep
Say a little prayer
Every day in every way
It’s getting better and better

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

Out on the ocean sailing away
I can hardly wait to see you (come of age)
But I guess, we’ll both just have to be patient
‘Cause it’s a long way to go, a hard row to hoe
Yes, it’s a long way to go but in the meantime

Before you cross the street
Take my hand
Life is what happens to you
While you’re busy making other plans

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

– John Lennon

me and waldo cover

Would you like to offer us a helping hand here Up on the Woof? We have vet bills up the yin yang. We are always looking for coupons for certain items we purchase for our dogs on a regular basis. If you have Rachael Ray Nutrish coupons (we are still trusting Ainsworth foods),  Cesar coupons, Bil Jac Frozen coupons, or milkbone coupons that you will not be using, please save them for us. Contact me if you have some to send. Donations can also be sent via Paypal to

We also have a wishlist of items that we just can’t afford, but would make life a whole lot easier. It has recently been updated. Click the link below to view.

Things we need Up on the Woof



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