Doggie First Aid: It Really Matters

August 15, 2014 at 11:55 pm (How-to, pugs) (, , , )

As a follow-up to my post about canine heat injuries, I’m sharing some information about how to properly take care of your fur-babyf  You never know what might happen.  But, if the unthinkable happens, and your fur-baby has a minor accident or injury, you’ll be equipped to handle it, even if it’s just to stabilize your pet and get to the vet’s office (or doggie ER, depending on when it happens). 

You can purchase ready-made kits, but they are ridiculously expensive.  You can make your own for a fraction of the cost, especially if you pick up a lot of the supplies at the Dollar Tree (or similar store where everything is $1). So, let’s get started.

First, you need something in which to place everything, preferably with some hint at organization.  If you just toss everything into a bag or pack, you won’t be able to get it quickly when you need it.  My first doggie first aid kit was made from a small tackle box that I picked up from Wal-Mart for less than five bucks.   Now that you have a container, you need to add the equivalent of your pet’s demographic information.  First of all, make sure your pet’s ID, recent photo, microchip info (if applicable), vaccination information , along with your vet’s name and address, is noted prominently.  That way, if you are out somewhere and have an issue, you won’t have to look up the info.  You can drop the info into a baggie and tape it inside the lid. Another option is to use the stick-on document “pouch” that is used by USPS, FedEx, and others to display shipping bills.  

Now, let’s get it stocked. Obviously, how much you can add will depend on the size.  You don’t need a dozen of everything.  Remember, this is just for basics, to take care of the moment, until you can get to the vet.  Start with basic: scissors, tweezers, flashlight/penlight, gloves, eyedropper, bulb syringe or small meat baster (to irrigate wounds), tongue depressor (to examine mouth or use as a splint), nail trimmers, styptic powder (for bleeding), rectal thermometer, disposable razor (safety kind, in case area around a wound needs shaving), brush, towels, emergency thermal blanket (I got one at Dollar Tree), bandanna, hemostat, tick key (for removing ticks), Krazy glue (for small skin lacerations), and anti-bacterial wipes (or  make your own with a bottle of antibacterial liquid and gauze pads).

Next, we’ll add in the mostly disposable supplies that you will want to replace after using them, so your kit stays well-stocked at all times.  You will want the following: sterile gauze pads, roll of gauze, coban (self-adhesive wrap that sticks to itself but not to skin or fur), hot/cold pack,  activated charcoal tablets, Betadine (antiseptic), antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide (for wounds or to induce vomiting), rubbing alcohol (multiple uses, but especially good for cooling the body in instances of heat exhaustion or heatstroke), doggie socks (can use baby socks, used to cover paws for protection or to cover a wound).  Q-tips, sterile saline for eyes (to flush debris from eyes), artificial tears, eye ointment (no steroid), epsom salt (to draw infection and to help itching skin and paws — 1 tsp. in 2 cups warm water), udder cream/bag balm or equivalent (for paw pads).  

Now that you’ve got a great kit put together, you still need to know what to do with all those goodies.  Here is the link for first aid procedures from the Royal Canin’s site:  http://breeds.royalcanin.co.uk/health/diseases-of-the-dog/first-aid-procedures

Familiarize yourself with the basics and you’ll be able to take good care of your fur baby should the need arise.  What else do you need in your dog’s first aid kit? Let us know in the comments below.  

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End the Backlog of Unprocessed Rape Kits

January 18, 2014 at 4:31 am (Current Events, inspiration, Personal) (, , , , , , , , )

NewImage

An episode of Law & Order: SVU a couple years ago highlighted the backlog of unprocessed rape kits across the country.  Mariska Hargitay has portrayed Detective Olivia Benson since the show’s spin-off from Law & Order 13 years ago.  Jennifer Love Hewitt guest-starred on this particular show, giving an incredibly emotional performance as a repeat rape survivor.  Women are traumatized along the way after they survive the actual rape.  They must endure the agonizingly slow and invasive process of evidence collection, which can take 4-6 hours, to obtain the hair and body fluids for DNA collection.  The victims are tended by health care workers (hopefully, but not always, by a trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner). They must tell and re-tell their experience to police officers, legal representatives, mental health professionals, and more. Much of the time, the victim has no idea if her assailant has been arrested, if he is incarcerated, or if he is still out there, free to terrorize others. It is actually up to the victim to follow up and see if their kit has been tested. 

The DNA evidence is often instrumental in the identification and conviction of the rapist.  That is why it is essential that the victims go thru each step of the difficult process.  It is ridiculous that the victim has to follow up on whether or not her rape kit has been tested, but for many tens of thousands of women across the country, that’s just what they must do.  

NewImageDriven to become an advocate for sexual assault survivors after receiving so many moving letters from women telling her what they had endured, Mariska Hargitay founded the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 to help the survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence “heal and reclaim their lives”.  The Joyful Heart Foundation is committed to helping end the rape kit backlog. To this end, they have launched endthebacklog.org, with the goal of ending the backlog of untested rape kits, and identifying best practices for eliminating this backlog by increasing public awareness at every level: local, state, and federal.

Every two minutes, someone is raped in America. One staggering statistic from the FBI notes that only 24% of reported rape cases result in an arrest. The enormous backlog in untested rape kits has a lot to do with it.  At an average cost of $1200 for each kit tested, many crime labs and police departments simply do not have the necessary resources to process the kits. The backlog not only allows the rapist to get away with his crime, it also prevents the victim from getting justice.  In many cases, the rapist will rape again and again.  Survivors deserve justice.  

In New York City, the arrest rate for rape went from 40% to 70% after the city eliminated its rape kit backlog in 2003.  In Detroit, after testing began on more than 11,000 kits, over 100 potential serial rapists were identified from just the first 1600 kits tested.  In August, a $500,000 grant was awarded to the Memphis Police Department to screen untested rape kits.  They would be able to send 2226 kits for preliminary testing, which would still leave over 10,000 kits untested, some of those dating from the 1980’s.  It makes me sick to my stomach to think about over 10,000 untested kits sitting on a shelf somewhere in my hometown, kits that could put criminals behind bars for the rest of their lives, and kits that could bring closure and peace to some of my friends. 

What can you do?  Help spread the word about the rape kit backlog.  Use social media to tell others.  They have an excellent and informative website, and the pages can be quickly and easily shared, just by clicking the Twitter or Facebook icons.  You can help end the backlog.  
 

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End the Backlog of Unprocessed Rape Kits

October 15, 2013 at 6:18 am (inspiration, Personal) (, , , , , , , , )

NewImage

An episode of Law & Order: SVU a couple years ago highlighted the backlog of unprocessed rape kits across the country.  Mariska Hargitay has portrayed Detective Olivia Benson since the show’s spin-off from Law & Order 13 years ago.  Jennifer Love Hewitt guest-starred on this particular show, giving an incredibly emotional performance as a repeat rape survivor.  Women are traumatized along the way after they survive the actual rape.  They must endure the agonizingly slow and invasive process of evidence collection, which can take 4-6 hours to obtain the hair and body fluids for DNA collection.  The victims are tended by health care workers, hopefully, but not always, by a trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. They must tell and re-tell their experience to police officers, legal representatives, mental health professionals and more. Much of the time, the victim has no idea if her assailant has been arrested, if he is incarcerated, or if he is still out there, free to terrorize others. It is actually up to the victim to follow up and see if their kit has been tested. 

The DNA evidence is often instrumental in the identification and conviction of the rapist.  That is why it is essential that the victims go thru each step of the difficult process.  It is ridiculous that the victim has to follow up on whether or not her rape kit has been tested, but for many tens of thousands of women across the country, that’s just what they must do.  

NewImageDriven to become an advocate for sexual assault survivors after receiving so many moving letters from women telling her what they had endured, Mariska Hargitay founded the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 to help the survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence “heal and reclaim their lives”.  The Joyful Heart Foundation is committed to helping end the rape kit backlog. To this end, they have launched endthebacklog.org, with the goal of ending the backlog of untested rape kits, and identifying best practices for eliminating this backlog by increasing public awareness at every level: local, state, and federal.

Every two minutes, someone is raped in America. One staggering statistic from the FBI notes that only 24% of reported rape cases result in an arrest. The enormous backlog in untested rape kits has a lot to do with it.  At an average cost of $1200 for each kit tested, many crime labs and police departments simply do not have the necessary resources to process the kits. The backlog not only allows the rapist to get away with his crime, it also prevents the victim from getting justice.  In many cases, the rapist will rape again and again.  Survivors deserve justice.  

In New York City, the arrest rate for rape went from 40% to 70% after the city eliminated its rape kit backlog in 2003.  In Detroit, after testing began on more than 11,000 kits, over 100 potential serial rapists were identified from just the first 1600 kits tested.  In August, a $500,000 grant was awarded to the Memphis Police Department to screen untested rape kits.  They would be able to send 2226 kits for preliminary testing, which would still leave over 10,000 kits untested, some of those dating from the 1980’s.  It makes me sick to my stomach to think about over 10,000 untested kits sitting on a shelf somewhere in my hometown, kits that could put criminals behind bars for the rest of their lives, and kits that could bring closure and peace to some of my friends. 

What can you do?  Help spread the word about the rape kit backlog.  Use social media to tell others.  They have an excellent and informative website, and the pages can be quickly and easily shared, just by clicking the Twitter or Facebook icons.  You can help end the backlog.  
 

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First Aid: Cache Style

May 10, 2013 at 10:03 pm (Geocaching, Productivity) (, , )

Ok folks, it’s springtime!  You know what that means.  Spring cleaning…oh joy…and cache first aid.   For the geocache. First Aid for the human geocachers will be another post. 😉  Yes, it’s time to check on your caches to make sure they fared well through the winter, and to make sure they are ready to be found by a new group of eager geocachers. I’ve already provided a little first aid for some caches I’ve come upon in the past few weeks. They were exhibiting typical signs of post-hibernation wear: spider webs, water damage, mold, ants, torn baggies, full logs, and occasionally a few other unpleasant discoveries.  To combat those little hindrances, I keep a Cache First Aid Kit in my GeoBag. It’s handy for performing those little random acts of geokindness that give one the warm fuzzies, and because it’s just nice to do nice things for others. Karma, and all that. 

Cache 1st Aid

Start with a small bag or container.  Then just add the things you’re most likely to need for performing a little cache first aid or some minor repairs. Some large and small ziplock bags are essential. IBB’s (Itty Bitty Baggies) can be found at craft stores, such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, and are great for keeping small logs protected from the elements. Carry several sizes of replacement logs in your bag. These can be found online and printed from several sites. Geocacher University’s site has a page devoted to Downloads and Printables,  where one can print logs for a variety of containers, as well as FTF certificates, stash notes, geocaching brochures, and more. Another good resource is MadCacher. They include links to most sizes as well as options for logs in color or black and white. 

A multi-tool is essential for caching in general, but it also helps for things like prying open rusted containers, getting stuck things unstuck, cutting things to fit, sizing tape, etc. I keep small pencils (grab a couple extra when you play mini-golf) and a knife can be a great pencil sharpener in a pinch. It’s not a great idea to keep ink pens in caches because they don’t fare well with the elements. They dry up or worse, leak or explode on the logs. Mix that with some moisture, and it’s a recipe for disaster, not to mention unreadable and forever ruined log sheets.  So, small pencils work best. It’s quick and easy to sharpen them and return them to their cache. 

Super glue is almost a must these days. It works great for reapplying velcro tape to cache containers and works really fast. I keep a couple strips of velcro for replacements purposes as well, along with a couple of magnets, rubber bands, craft wire (for rehanging containers on branches if their wire has been twisted one time too many), and a black sharpie marker. I also try to keep a couple of small O-rings, in case I come across a cache that has lost it’s “waterproofness” because of a lost or worn out O-ring. A quick replacement fixes it, and keeps the log dry again. 

Duct tape goes without saying. It is the one thing I would have if I didn’t have anything else. Now that it comes in so many colors and patterns, we don’t have to stick with basic grey. I generally have some black 1″ tape along with the standard 3″ camoflauge pattern. Both are great for quick and easy repairs, to cover containers, seal leaks, and can even be twisted to “hang” an item if needed. What would we do without duct tape?  😉   

Once I’ve provided a little love to the cache, I write a note on the cache’s listing page and submit it so the CO (cache owner) will see what was done. Sometimes, there have already been a couple of “needs maintenance” notes submitted, and doing a few little things like replacing a log or an O-ring will save the CO a trip.  That’s really all there is to it. Did I leave anything out that you do for spring cleaning? What other equipment do you keep in your Cache Maintenance kit? Keep on caching!

 

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Summitt Steps Down; End of an Era

April 19, 2012 at 4:25 pm (inspiration, sports, ut) (, , , , , )

It happened a lot earlier than I’d hoped.  Eight months ago, Pat Summitt announced she was playing her toughest opponent yet. This time, even though the whole team would be behind her, the game would be one-on-one. Coach Summitt had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type, a progressive neurological disorder that gradually robs its victims of their memories. 

Coach Summitt met this opponent just as she had met every other challenge over her 59 years: head-on. She made the courageous decision to go public with her diagnosis with her son, Tyler, at her side every step of the way. She would continue coaching “as long as the good Lord is willing”, she said in her announcement. Those of us, like myself, who count ourselves her biggest fans, along with her family and friends, were hopeful that she would be able to continue coaching for at least a few more years.

Pat Summitt passes whistle to Holly Warlick 1

But as the season wore on, it became more and more obvious.  Things were changing, and not in a way I liked.  The once fiery Coach Pat Summitt sat on the sideline, sometimes with a vacant look in her eyes, while Assistant Coach Holly Warlick worked the sidelines and the referees, yelling instructions and calling plays.  Those same assistant coaches took on even more responsibility, particularly Holly Warlick, who, in addition to being the sideline coach, was now also handling the media duties that Pat so enjoyed.  

Seeing all this, we began to see the season for what it was: a farewell tour.  Everywhere they played, there were prolonged standing ovations for Coach Summitt.  The first couple of times I saw it on television, it was almost funny.  I thought, “you do realize she is the opposing coach, right?”.  But then, it hit me.  I realized that this was most likely the last time these folks would ever see her coach. It was amazing how supportive everyone was, even the opposing players. ‘Gracious’ was the first word that came to mind. I think most of these coaches and players realized that they wouldn’t be where they are today, playing and coaching the game they love, had Pat Head Summitt not paved the way nearly four decades ago by being dedicated, stubborn, and courageous. But, she was all those things and still the unfailingly polite country girl who treated everyone with respect.  

Coach Summitt passed her whistle to new head coach Holly Warlick at a press conference this afternoon.  Warlick, a Knoxville native who played under Summit at UT and was the first player to have her jersey retired at the end of her career, has been an assistant coach under Summitt for the past 27 years.  Because of Warlick’s experience, she was the logical successor to Summitt, and will likely provide the smoothest transition imaginable for the program. 

Summitt is the Head Coach Emeritus now. While her title has changed, her day to day activities likely will not, primarily because it is essential that she stick to a relatively normal routine. She will still attend practices, help with recruiting, and continue to mold the lives of young student athletes for as long as she possibly can.  I, for one, hope that is for several more years.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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Summitt battling Alzheimer’s, Will Continue to Coach

August 25, 2011 at 8:51 pm (inspiration, sports, ut) (, , , )

University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt announced in text and video statements Tuesday that she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Coach Summitt was diagnosed to be in the early stages of the disease after undergoing a battery of tests at the Mayo Clinic over the summer. She informed the current squad during a team meeting on Tuesday.  Recording the video with her yellow lab, Sadie, sleeping on the sofa with her head in Summitt’s lap, she said she plans to continue coaching “for as long as the good Lord is willing” although noted that there will be more delegation of responsibilities to her three assistant coaches. She said, “Obviously, I realize I may have some limitations with this condition since there will be some good days and some bad days”.

Although most everyone was shocked to hear of the diagnosis, few were surprised that Summitt chose to battle it in such a manner. She has always met every challenge head on and this is no different.  She says her son, Tyler, a senior at UT, urged her to speak out about her diagnosis.  She plans to use medication and mental exercises to help manage the disease.  It can only be beneficial for the Alzheimer’s Association to help spread the word about Alzheimer’s diagnosis, treatment, and research. Dementia is considered to be a group of symptoms that interferes with daily functioning by affecting social and intellectual abilities. It is progressive and there is no known cure.

Summitt is college basketball’s winningest head coach. She has spent 37 years at Tennessee, having first taken the job as a graduate student in 1974. At that time, she made $250 per month, drove the team van, held bake sales to raise money for new uniforms, and washed the uniforms herself. She is an icon for all women’s sports, not just basketball. She was instrumental in legitimizing women’s sports when Title IX was passed. This legislation forced schools to finally allocate money for women’s sports that they would have never done otherwise. Title IX, by definition, prevented women from being excluded from any education program or activity. She was one of the early promoters of women’s sports and no one has done more for women, particularly women’s basketball, than she has.

Abc pat summitt nt 110824 wgBarely older than her players, she was still playing herself when she first started coaching at UT. She was on the U.S. Women’s Basketball team, and had torn her ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) just months before the Olympics. With her characteristic determination, she rehabbed herself while continuing to teach, work on her Master’s degree, and coach the Lady Vols. She helped her U.S.  team win a silver medal at the 1976 Olympics.  It is that kind of toughness that she expects from her players and that kind of toughness that will help her in her current challenge with Alzheimer’s. 

Spending much time in East Tennessee during my formative years, I was first exposed to Coach Pat Head Summitt when I was just a little tyke.  I don’t remember how old I was when I saw my first Lady Vols game, but I do know that it was not in the huge 21,000 seat Thompson-Boling Arena where the games are now played. There were not a lot of people at the first games I attended, but they were faithful, and I was instantly a fan, both of the Lady Vols and of Coach Summitt.  I desperately wanted to play for her, but sadly I lacked both the ability and the knees to do so. But I could watch and support the team. So I did.  I watched, and supported and something happened.  Under her guidance, the team grew into a powerhouse.  The Tennessee Lady Vols are women’s basketball. They may have had record-setting seasons and won multiple games at the local, regional, and national level.  But the real success, according to Coach Summitt, is in the classroom. 100% of her players who finish their career at Tennessee have graduated. That is a very impressive statistic.

I don’t know how long we will see Coach Summitt at the helm of her team, but I’ll be watching and supporting, just as I always have. This is one battle that I, for one, hope she wins.

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