Sending up the Bat Signal!
In January, we spent twice as much as we took in in donations and more in vet bills than we've ever spent before. That means we had to reach into our piggy bank and spend down our savings. We aren't sure why, but January brought in a number of emergency dogs.
There was baby Donavan, a cleft palate puppy:
And Kristoff, a gorgeous boy with a spinal injury his owner couldn't afford to address (this is one of the reasons we strongly recommend pet insurance):
Bishop came to us with intestinal lymphangactasia, malnutrition, and a hemoglobin of just 18%.
Hans, another spinal case, came down with pneumonia to boot, so he spent quite some time boarding at the vet's office!
And Lakota, our girl with Cushing's Disease, who is very, very slowly growing into a healthy hide and regrowing some skin.
Your donations allow us to comfort and treat these dogs and others like them. If it's been a little while since you last donated, please help us help these and other frogdogs by donating to FBRN. As always, we are very grateful for your generous support!
Frenchies and Ear Health
As a follow-up to the Frenchies and Eye Health home page story we did last fall, here’s some information about Frenchie’s ear health.
There are a number of conditions Frenchies are heir to when it comes to their ears. Deafness is a problem in white and mostly white Frenchies. Thankfully, many breeders recognize that a deaf puppy can grow up to find a loving, dedicated family.
Some dogs aren’t born deaf, but through neglect and untreated ear infections become deaf. The lucky ones come to FBRN and undergo TECA (total ear canal ablation) which removes the “cauliflower” looking growths, like the ones you see in Bohemian’s photo. Following TECA, the ears are usually floppy, like Bohemian’s after pic.
Ear infections can cause dogs to scratch their ears or shake their heads, resulting in hematomas. A hematoma is when blood pools in the ear. Sometimes a Frenchie can survive hematomas with his ears upright, but more often a hematoma will result in a crumply ear, like Hera’s.
Ear infections can be caused by allergies to food, to the environment, or because they are not being cleaned often enough. Since Frenchie ears stick straight up, they catch all kinds of gunk. Frenchie ears should be cleaned once a week. You can get a good ear-cleaning solution from your vet, and while you are there, ask for an ear-cleaning demonstration—proper ear cleaning is different than you might think! Do we have to tell you this? NEVER use a Q-tip type object to clean your dog’s ears!
Another cause for your dog to scratch or shake his head is the horrible foxtail. A foxtail is a seed container with a sharp, barbed end that can embed in the flesh of an animal, and has been known to go so far under the skin that it can kill when an infection forms around it.
Mites and other parasites can cause your dog’s ears to become infected and/or to smell bad.
If your dog’s hair starts to thin or get patchy on the ears or the edge of the skin gets dry and crumbly, a vet visit is in order. Adrenal problems or hormonal changes like hypothyroidism could be the cause.
One last thing to beware of, especially at this time of year: Frostbite. Circulation is not that great to the ears, and if a Frenchie is out too long in cold weather (frankly, most of our Frenchies object to going out in the cold, but there are dogs who surprise us), their ears could be frostbitten and fall off. We are grateful to a woman who recently bought 4 of these perfect hats for some of our frogs. The company added 2. Here are photos of Lakota and Manny sporting their ear-protecting chapeaus from Snorf Industries!
Those adorable bat ears come with a price: Frenchies’ ears are especially prone to infection. From the first week you bring your Frenchie home make it part of your weekend to clean your dog’s ears. And you might want to buy some stock in cotton balls.
It's a Wonderful Life
If you are an FBRN Frenchie! And the reason that's true is because we have people like you who are supporting, adopting, and sponsoring the dogs in our care, whether that means sharing FBRN's Facebook posts or adopting a dog or coming to an event or sponsoring a dog. To say thank you to our friends and adopters, here are some photos of a few of the memorable dogs who've passed through their foster families' lives this year. As you look at these photos, remember that these dogs' lives could have been very different--from dogs whose families lost their homes to dogs rescued by Good Samaritans at puppy mill auctions to dogs who were at risk of euthanasia and more, when the dogs needed help, you gave it. For all you do to support the organization, the volunteers and Board of Directors of FBRN are deeply grateful.
Kong's owner lost her home and lovingly surrendered him to us to give him a chance at a healthy, comfortable old age. He gets around in a cart, he turns 13 on Christmas Eve, and he was adopted this year!
Tabitha Rose--who came to us emaciated, dehydrated, full of heartworms, and near death--was on our hospice page. Her devoted foster family saw her through a very long recovery to health, and she was adopted!
Miracle Max, an elderly dog whose owner had to go into assisted living, was adopted by a wonderful couple who were deeply touched by his story. We were crushed when he passed away suddenly the very day he was to go to live with them.
Coraline, a puppy who had heart problems, was one of our hospice dogs. She lived longer than we expected her to, but of course it was very hard to say good bye. Her older brother, Paulie Walnuts, also a heart case in hospice, died just a few months before she did. We are so proud to have a hospice program, and you make it possible.
Patrick spent his first 7 years in a mill, considered nothing more than livestock. His adopter drove 17 hours to come for him and take him home. He is beloved.
Macho Man, who was once a breeder, then a "yard dog", and who is now called Mac, hit the jackpot when the star of Hell on Wheels, Anson Mount, adopted him! He's even gotten to appear on a few episodes of the show! We love to see someone who could easily afford to buy a perfect dog come to our rescue and adopt an imperfect Frenchie.
These are just a few of the memorable dogs who passed through FBRN this year thanks to your kindness. Happy holidays and a very Happy New Year to you and yours from all of us at French Bulldog Rescue Network!
A Proud Moment for FBRN
Volunteer. Donate. Review.
We're proud to say that Guidestar, an organization that provides information about non-profits and charities to prospective donors, has recognized FBRN as one of 157 top-rated non-profits for 2014. Top-rated organizations are well-reviewed by donors, beneficiaries, and volunteers. Thank you to everyone who took a moment to comment on their experience with FBRN. We're delighted to have received this distinction.
Eye Health and Frenchies
Our Frenchies’ eyes are frequently called “bumpers” because they are protuberant on the sides and front and there is not much snout to protect them. A dash into a rose bush, a hostile meeting with a cat—well, you can imagine the many ways a Frenchie could injure an eye! If your dog’s eye is red, if he’s scratching it, if he’s squinting, if it is teary or there are any spots on the surface of the eye—get to the vet without delay.
Frenchies get eye ulcers very frequently—ask the owner of an elderly Frenchie if their dog has had one, and he’s likely to say, “Oh, yes!” Eye ulcers are generally caused by an injury to the eye or even by dry eye. You will not likely be able to see the injury, but your dog’s eye may be watering or your dog might be squinting or rubbing his eye. Have you ever scratched your cornea? Then you know how much it hurts! Untreated eye ulcers can lead to infection, blindness, and, in the worst cases, your dog can even lose his eye.
Zydeco lost an eye
Nanna has dry eye
Lana has pigmentary keratitis.
We’ve had many, many foster dogs who’ve come to us with untreated eye ulcers. Some have had to lose their eyes, some are blind or vision-impaired. There are various degrees of ulcers, ranging from relatively mild to very serious, as you can imagine. If your dog is squinting or rubbing her eye, don’t wait—get to the vet. This injury will require the hard-plastic cone of shame for at least a few days. Stock up on treats.
Another very common problem for Frenchies is dry eye, and as mentioned above, dry eye is one of the causes of corneal ulcers in Frenchies. Dry eye means tears aren’t being produced properly, whether from injury, age, or some other cause. You may know your dog is having trouble in a few different ways, but sometimes there will be a thick or gooey discharge instead of proper tears. Or your dog’s eye might look cloudy or not have the usual bright appearance. The fix for dry eye is easy, but you must be diligent with giving eye drops or applying the ointment your vet will prescribe. Over the counter eye drops or saline are not going to work, unfortunately.
Cherry eye is the condition that looks most dire but may be least dangerous in fact. You’ll notice a cherry-red bulge in the corner of your dog’s eye. It’s caused by the prolapse of the third membrane of the eye. Sometimes you can press the bulge gently back into place, but it will almost certainly reappear at some point, and you should make a vet appointment to discuss your dog’s specific situation.
Pigmentary keratitis can be hard to see, but it often means that some constant or chronic irritation to the surface of the eye has caused discoloration or scar tissue deposits on the eye. Our available dog Lana currently suffers from this condition, and she is visually impaired as a consequence. There are many reasons for that constant scarring, including dry eye, including a condition called entropion, where a number of eyelashes form on the inside of the eyelid. There’s a surgery to take care of serious cases, or vets can pluck the lashes every few weeks. There are a number of other constant irritants to the eye, so if you see a brownish spot or patch on the surface of your dog’s eye or spreading over the conjunctiva or white part, mention it to your vet.
Owning a Frenchie means constant vigilance! Between palate and tail, a lot can go wrong, and many Frenchie owners joke about sending our vet's kids to college--or at least a study-abroad semester--while ruefully offering up our credit cards at the counter. Understanding that your Frenchie will likely require more medical attention, and in the long run will very likely be more expensive than another breed, may help you decide whether a Frenchie is for you.
Veterinary Costs Are Our #1 Expense
Thanks to Trevor Wood of the Nova Scotia Community College for putting this infographic together for us!
Like balloons, like yeasty dough, like young people's spirits in springtime, vet costs rise and rise. The better the technology and services available, the more clients pay, and that's a good thing! It's wonderful that we have MRI's available nearly everywhere nowadays--we remember not so long ago when MRI's were only for people, and animals had to be sneaked in after hours if at all.
Take a look at these numbers for routine procedures. If you live in New York or Los Angeles, you will laugh ruefully at the idea of a neuter costing only $350, but in much of the country, especially the Midwest, that is the going rate. For some people, the cost of a spinal surgery is way out of reach no matter where they live.
We are so grateful to our monthly donors and sponsors who help us pay the bills and make it possible to take in truly needy rescues who don't have anywhere to go. Thank you for your steadfast dedication to our Frenchies. We could not do it without our sponsors, donors, and friends.
If you are thinking of adopting a dog from us, be sure your expectations are in line with reality.
Many rescue dogs come with baggage, whether emotional or physical, and before you think about applying for a rescue dog, think about what you can manage. Rescue dogs aren't for everyone, and they are certainly not a way to get an inexpensive Frenchie. Many adopters find they will spend as much on a rescue dog in vet bills as they would had they bought a Frenchie from a reputable breeder.
The biographies of our dogs are extensive, so you should have a good idea of whether the dog is good with kids or other dogs, whether the dog is house trained and crate-trained, and any ongoing medical concerns he may have.
Once you apply, you should be prepared for a call from the foster parent, and you should know we'll be calling your vet to make sure your animals are well cared-for. If the calls are positive and your family seems a good fit for the dog, we'll move on to a home visit. It's important you know that this is a required step. A volunteer will come to your home and make sure the fence (if there is one) is in good shape, make sure everyone in the family is on board with the idea of a new dog, make sure the house doesn't have any dangerous plants or wide-set railings a dog could fall through, and go over your questions with you.
Once the home visit is completed, the application and home visit are forwarded to the Board of Directors, who will look over the documents and vote whether to approve the adoption.
When your adoption is approved, pick up can be arranged. You'll be asked to sign a contract that assures FBRN that in the event you can no longer take care of the dog, you will return the dog to our care.
When you arrive to pick up the dog, it's a great idea to have a tag with your information on it ready to go. Many dogs are lost during transports, and having your current information on the dog will be key to getting the dog back. There will likely be toys or some personal items coming home with you from the foster family residence.
Try to take a few days to settle in with your dog. If you have a dog, for the first day or two allow the Frenchie to hang out with you in a room separate from other dogs. Be calm and let her come to you. If she wants to stay in her crate, let her. You can stop by with treats from time to time. Let her get used to the new sounds and smells and the rhythm of the house. Your dog's foster parent will describe slow introductions to resident dogs to you.
Start familiarizing your Frenchie with her new schedule as soon as you can. You should absolutely expect the stress of changing homes may cause your dog to lose her housebreaking for a time, and you may have to go back to square one, crating when you aren't paying attention, taking her outside immediately, giving exuberant praise for pottying outdoors, etc. Being realistic about the fact that most dogs are not plug and play will prevent stress and disappointment.
If you have children, it's key that all interactions between dogs and kids must be supervised, for everyone's safety. Children aren't born knowing how to be with dogs, and even if you already have a dog or two, not every dog is the same. While one dog will allow a child to poke him in the eye and pull his lips and ride on his back, others will object. If you can't be in the room with your child and the dog, the dog should be in a room by himself or safely in his crate with a toy. Children are especially liable in the first days following adoption to be excitable and to want to carry the dog or show them affection. Difficult as it is to ask your kids to restrain themselves, your dog will be happier if you can ask children to remember to be calm and gentle.
Wait a few days to introduce your new dog to your friends. Let him get to know and trust you first, then widen his circle of familiar and trusted people.
Sign up for pet insurance.
Dog-thefts are on the rise all over the country. It's not safe to leave your dog outside in the yard unattended. Dog-doors are not safe, either. Many areas are experiencing a rise in coyote and cougar sightings, and we recently heard of a California family who lost two Frenchies to cougars on two different occasions. Walk your dog on a lead or exercise him in the yard in your company.
Be aware that dogs take time to reveal themselves. For the first 3-6 weeks, dogs are learning who's the boss, where the treats are, what the routine is, who is a good belly-rubber, and who to avoid. Their true personalities may be evident right from the start, but it's likely that your new dog will be holding back until he is confident of his place and the routine.
Remember, you are adopting a rescue dog to give a homeless Frenchie a second chance. Adoption is something you do to make both your lives better. Keep in mind that your Frenchie wants to fulfill his purpose to be a loving companion dog, but his first instinct in the first few days will be to survive and be sure the new place is safe for him and that you are trustworthy. By the time you take your dog home, FBRN will have been convinced you are a trustworthy family, but your dog has to learn that too.
2015 CALENDARS ARE IN!
Allison is one gorgeous classic Frenchie queen. A handful? Sure, you could put it that way. A handful of cuddlebunny snuggles! A handful of fun and fetching! Also a bit of a handful in the behavior department; she prefers streets without a lot of dog traffic when she promenades. And she doesn't want any competition for your love. Why, she's offended by the very suggestion that your attention might be divided between her and some other ragamuffin animal. Allison is adequate--possibly more than adequate--for anyone. If your yard has a fence and your throwing aim is true, you and she might be spooning soon. Check out her bio and see.
Bliss Paws Collapsible Travel Bowl
The Collapsible Travel Bowl is perfect for every dog owner. Our eco-friendly dog bowl collapses into a flat design for easy carrying so owners can be ready when their dog needs that drink. Made of high-grade silicone, sturdy, durable and extremely lightweight. Also included is a carabineer for easy fastening onto a dog leash, purse strap or belt loops. As a bonus, owners get a durable nylon pouch to carry the Collapsible Travel Bowl to prevent wear and tear. Keep everything clean by slipping the bowl into the pouch after use.
FBRN's mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home French Bulldogs in need from commercial breeding kennels, import brokers, public shelters, private rescue groups, owners or Good Samaritans. Our organization is comprised solely of volunteers who nurture and foster these dogs as well as provide education and training. Our goal is to place healthy and happy French Bulldogs into forever homes.