Tesla’s Love is the blog for and about people who love animals. No one here cares whether it walks, crawls, swims, slithers, hobbles or knows how to fly, if there is a story about an animal that you love or loves you, this is the place to share that story. The story can be a tribute, a love story or a memorial. It can be about you, this truly is a site for people. Send your story and photos to teslaslove@gmail.com and we promise to post it here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Aqua's Story

By Lisa "Elle" Merrai

We are a family of six living a charmed modern city life. A confluence of external and internal events have propelled us to reconsider a lifetime of assumptions and make some really big changes. Join us as we explore the new frontiers of conscious living.

“I think God gave pets shorter life-spans so we would learn to not take life for granted.” I said. I heard my voice speak these words as my mind and heart sank deeper. A familiar depth, but one I have not seen for more than twenty years.

My daughter paused and then said, “you should write a story about that.”

Mmmmmm. Maybe.

Aqua died today. A horse tripped over him. The horse my daughter rode. It was a perfectly timed collision of random events that resulted in a freak accident. No obvious signs of harm and yet he teetered and fell. On the way to the Vet his heart stopped. His spirit left his body in my children's arms. What can I possibly do to protect them from this moment? It is fraught with impossible questions. I wish it had been me there. Watching his soul drift away, knowing it was no one's fault. Why couldn't he have died in my arms?

Aqua was a gentle soul; our patient teacher, leaving indelible lessons in our hearts. His joyful energy and enthusiasm for the simple pleasures of a scratch behind the ear, a game of fetch or a swim in the water. He was aptly named for our family loves the water of the Bay and the Columbia. He was our water baby, our buddy, our boy.

If I ever felt lonely, he was there. If I ever felt scared, I would simply say “who’s there?” and his giant bark would scare away the shadows. Now it is we who must learn to chase away the shadows of our grief.

Aqua is buried on our land, but this is not our "forever" land. It seems like a cruel irony that he would die before we reach the land he in part inspired me to seek out. How can I go forward without him?

I know that Aqua wanted us to make this journey back to nature. I learned from our daily walks to watch the skies and listen to the music on the wind. He showed me that there is much more to know about the world than what is contained in books or other people’s experiences. Life is in the seemingly mundane. The simplicity of a roll in the grass, the gift of a sunbeam cascading in the perfect spot and the joy of games and laughter with those you love most in the world.

Unconditional love. Aqua never complained with each demotion as a new member of our pack was born. He accepted his place and loved each one with patience and devotion. He seemed to understand that the baby who poked him mercilessly would soon become the agile child who could throw his ball or over indulge him with treats. He seemed to genuinely love each of us in his own way as we each loved him in our own way, too.

Aqua was, in many real ways, our first child. He kept us awake all hours of the night as a baby. Tested our patience as a young pup and asserted his unique personality in the household. We made so many mistakes and he forgave them all.

Though he had been ailing for a couple of years, Aqua always perked up once we arrived in the NW for summer. I reassured him through all the moving and upheaval the past few months that it would all be worthwhile. He would soon be "home." I think he understood.

He was loved. And he loved us in ways we miss terribly. There was more than one heart that broke today. We will find a way to go on, with his spirit nudging us towards a richer life.

Aqua Vit 1997-2009 For more on this charming family: http://on-purpose.blogspot.com

Aqua Vit 1997-2009 from Elle Onpurpose on Vimeo.

Editor's note: This story is posted with immense gratitude to Lisa and Aqua.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Inuk lost his fight

MYSTIC – We are sad to report today that Inuk, a Beluga whale who made Mystic Aquarium his home, has died.
In a statement released today, Mystic Aquarium, a division of Sea Research Foundation, Inc., said that Inuk, a 28-year-old male beluga whale that had been experiencing kidney failure for the past three weeks, unexpectedly died overnight. For the past two weeks, Inuk had been in stable condition, aquarium officials said in a statement.
“Despite the extraordinary efforts of aquarium staff, regular volunteers and additional volunteers from five different states, Inuk was unable to overcome the effects of extended kidney failure,” Dr. Tracy Romano, senior vice president of research and zoological operations at Sea Research, said in a statement. “He will be missed by all. Inuk provided both staff and visitors with years of pleasure and educational inspiration. He was an iconic animal who captured the spirit of oceanic conservation and understanding.”

Aquarium veterinarians and researchers brought Inuk’s body to the University of Connecticut today, where they, along with staff from the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science, will perform a necropsy to determine the cause of his kidney failure, the statement said. The results of the necropsy will be available – at the earliest – in two weeks.

Inuk became ill on Jan. 29, when he began showing a lack of interest in food, the statement said. A blood test revealed a possible acute infection, further complicated by kidney failure. Since then, Mystic Aquarium’s animal care team had been working around the clock, giving Inuk supplemental fluids in an effort to clear his kidneys, aquarium officials said.

Mystic Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and is considered a leader among AZA-accredited institutions for its expertise in beluga and marine mammal care.

About Sea Research Foundation, Inc.
Mystic Aquarium, Institute for Exploration and Immersion Learning are divisions of Sea Research Foundation, Inc., a private, non-profit 501(c)3organization. The mission of Sea Research is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration.

Editor's note: this information and photograph was wholly provided by Mystic Aquarium in a statement to the press. It is in its original form, lightly edited, as it appears on Tesla's Love.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

When the going gets tough, dogs are there to help

MIDDLETOWN - When people needed help after the explosion at the Kleen Energy plant on Feb. 7, Joe Gore, of Bolton, Conn., and his pal, Zappa, were there.

Zappa, a Fidelco German shepherd, shown here with Gore, "worked through the night at the site of the deadly" explosion, seeking to find survivors, Fidelco said in a statement.

The power plant explosion killed five people and injured about two dozen others.

Gore and Zappa, a Fidelco “career change dog,” have been doing search and rescue work for the last 2 1/2 years as members of Connecticut Task Force 1. which finds, extricates and provides immediate medical treatment to victims who are lost or trapped within collapsed structures, the statement said.

Gore also is a long-time supporter of Fidelco and has raised eight “foster pups,” including his current foster “Zinc,” the statement said.

“Talking with Joe and seeing Zappa as they came from the devastation of the Middletown power plant reminds us all how lucky we are to have teams like them available when disaster strikes,” Eliot D. Russman, CEO and executive director of the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, Inc., siad in the statement. “The fact that Zappa’s breeding and work ethic makes him valuable in search and rescue is even more gratifying.”

Fidelco, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in Bloomfield, Conn., breeds, trains and places its own, unique type of German shepherd guide dogs with people who have visual disabilities, the statement said.

It "pioneered In-community Placement in the United States; a process that allows guide dog users to be trained in the communities where they live and work," it said.

Fidelco relies solely on the gifts and the generosity of individuals, foundations, corporations and civic organizations to help it “Share the Vision.”

Editor's note: the information contained in this post was provided by Fidelco. Tesla's Love would like to offer special thanks to Jack Hayward of Fidelco, for permission to share this story and the work he does to get the word out.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's never pretty when dogs get political

Tesla's Love hereby promises that it will never be political.

That said, Tesla's Love has a lot of friends in a lot of places, and sometimes those friends wear their hearts - and ideas on their heads.
In this case, quite literally on their heads.

So, after we received an e-mail from our friend Melanie that said, and we quote, "There's a site on Facebook called 'Can This Poodle Wearing a Tin Foil Hat Get More Fans Than Glenn Beck.' Of course I became a fan, and the whole household expressed their solidarity. Note: Beck wrote a book about his religious conversion "An Unlikely Mormon." He also talks about using a shovel to beat people that he disagrees with," we had to explore further.

Just what did the statement "the whole household expressed their solidarity" mean? At Melanie's house, everything is adventure and pets rule the roost. The results of their solidarity are shown here.

Editor's note: the images here are solely an expression of the animals' opinions and Tesla's Love does not take a stand on Glenn Beck. Or on rabbits wearing hats.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bogey was the man

This big guy with a big heart gave a lifetime of love

By Bridget Albert

I remember the first time I saw Bogart; it was love at first sight.

His beautiful high black face mask and deep golden color were spectacular. His feet were absolutely huge and his puppy breath was intoxicating. But I wasn’t sure he was the right great Dane for me. Driving down the road leaving the kennel I turned to my friend Mary and said something like "I want him." She looked at me and said "I know. Call the kennel."

And the rest was history.

Bogey soon after became the most wonderful companion one could ever ask for.
He immediately took over the futon in the den calling it home. That mattress has been replaced several times during his tenure on it.
He always kept me on track with feeding times, getting up and marching into the kitchen reminding us it was dinnertime.
And when he realized it was time to go for a ‘car ride’ he would squeal with delight. In his younger days he would leap into the air.
And he had his best girls. When Pat would stop by, Bogey would forget about everyone else in the room and lay at her feet. Of course that was only after she showered him with love. Lorraine was the same way. They would go out into his playpen (a 20 x 20 6-foot high fenced enclosure with pea size gravel) and have ‘personal time."
I was never allowed to know what those conversations were about.
When Bogey was about 5 years old we took a vacation and he went to the kennel. As soon as we returned and brought him home he had to go back for a few more days because of a family emergency. When I brought him home again I had to go right back to work. Something inside me urged me to check on him at lunchtime.
Thankfully I did.
Bogey had bloated due to the stress he had been under. Bloat is a very serious lethal canine condition.
Following a week of surgery, cardiac consultations and medical melee I was faced with the difficult decision. They said there was nothing else they could do for him, implying his time had come. I just couldn’t give up on him. There was a look in his eye that told me he was counting on me.
I brought him home and syringed food into him all weekend. Friends came by, looked at him and just shook their heads at me not wanting to say those terrible words.
That following Monday I was on my veterinarian's front steps when she opened.
Dr. Kim, who had been on vacation during this ordeal, kept him all day. When I picked him up he was able to walk out to me and he took a biscuit from her. A true breakthrough. We all cried with relief and happiness.
He was finally on the mend.
The next several years were challenging with Bogey. He had to have a very specific diet, If he ate too much it would come back up. If he did not eat enough other problems would develop.
There weren’t many vacations those years. His care was too all consuming.
And then we found the most extraordinary boarding kennel, Larkin’s Run in Durham. Bogey thrived there and they showered him with love, catering to his many special needs. They gave us peace of mind.
Last Thanksgiving we had a very special vacation in Provincetown thanks to property owners who allowed Boo to stay with us.
Bogey loved having a beach and ocean water right outside his door. He absolutely loved going up to the fence and saying hello to all the people strolling the beach. Lesley too loved the property because she was able to visit with the dogs strolling. It was truly a wonderful weekend.
This past November Bogey took another turn for the worse. He was having significant problems with his rear. Losing his balance. He was also in severe pain.
With the assistance of Dr. Kim we sought out acupuncture treatments for him and found a truly compassionate veterinarian in Dr. Greg in Northford. He gave Bogey considerable relief to the point he was able to get off pain medication.
Bogey spent Christmas at Larkin’s Run one last time.
In January Bogey went down hill quickly. Unable to move and in severe pain we had to make the most difficult decision one can possibly make.
Bogey crossed the Rainbow Bridge to be with his buds Prudence, Lady Jane and Sophie.

This story first appeared in the Milford-Orange Bulletin. Tesla's Love reprints it here with gratitude to its author.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Help animals have a haven

By Pam Landry

I am honored once again to be hosting this year’s wine tasting for The Animal Haven in North Haven.

It will take place at Aunt Chilada’s, 3931 Whitney Ave. in Hamden, from 6-9 p.m. on March 10.

Last year’s event drew a great crowd and several thousand dollars were raised for Animal Haven’s Emergency Medical Fund.

We basically “took over” Aunt Chilada’s with the bulk of the silent auction items set up downstairs and the party upstairs.

Animal Haven is still looking for auction items from local businesses and the items can be goods and/or services. All proceeds go to Animal Haven.

Last year, people were very eager to bid on items.

I get to act as host for the silent auction, which is a lot of fun; the items up for bid were great and I always find that “animal people” are the most fun people to be around.

There also will be a fifty-fifty raffle, where the winner gets half of the money collected on the raffle.

Some of the auction items include tickets and passes for things such as Red Sox and Rock Cats games, Lime Rock, Long Wharf Theatre, and the Block Island Ferry. Also CD’s and DVD’s and all kinds of customized baskets.

It’s a great night, lots of fun and good feelings and all to benefit the critters at Animal Haven. I am looking very much forward to it.

For more on Animal Haven, visit: http://www.theanimalhaven.com/

Friday, February 5, 2010

Savannah brings smiles

She's also got Esther Williams style

By Ann Nyberg

So this is my dog Savannah Jane.
She has a million nicknames, Nanna, Schmookington, Bun, whatever, none of these names makes any sense, they're just all terms of endearment.
She's a 7-year old yellow, make that white, lab.
The joy this dog, or "hog" as we also like to call her has brought to my family is unbelievable. Of course I know all dog lovers feel that way, but truly, our lives revolve around Savannah.
The great thing about labs is that they just want to be around people all the time.
She has been great company to my three daughters and to my husband, she really is his little buddy.
In the evenings, while I'm at work, Savannah and Mark have their routine. In the winter when Mark goes out for wood for the fireplace, Savannah has to follow with a stuffed-animal in her mouth.
At 75 plus pounds she enjoys sitting on Mark's lap.
Do you have this visual in your mind?
If there is outdoor grilling going on, each time the there is a "check" on how things are coming along out there, Savannah has to accompany Mark. It's a riot.
We have a pond in our back yard that Savannah uses as her pool. When she is in it treading water, she becomes Esther Williams Hog (of course a reference to the Hollywood actress who dove and swam her way into stardom).
Family and friends get such a kick out of this scene.
The rocks around the "pool" are designed to allow easy in-out access for the Hog. We would not want her to be stressed in anyway.
At any rate, life with a dog is so much better and so much richer than life without one.
Savannah, you are one lucky gal!

Editor's note: Tesla's Love has it on good authority that Savannah Jane also is rumored to know how to shut doors behind her. We would not be surprised if this turns out to be true.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

True puppy love

The Jewish Home and Chapel Haven show the difference pets can make.

The Jewish Home says "a wet nose and a wagging tail" is sometimes the way to help provide the "highest quality services to its frail and elderly residents while meeting their individual social, emotional and spiritual needs."

What's not to love about that?
The home has a dog in residence, a black Labrador retriever named Hakay, who is affectionately also dubbed Joe.

The agency says "The move to a nursing home is difficult at best, but for those residents who must leave behind a beloved pet, it is devastating. Many withdraw and become reclusive. Some even stop communicating. Through pet therapy, residents are able to experience the joy and unconditional affection that an animal visit provides."

That hits right home for us at Tesla's Love!

In a statement, the agency said the pet therapy can include "a simple visit to a patient to provide company, or a more structured program to provide stimulation and muscle-coordination retraining to a stroke victim, or independent living assistant to the physically handicapped."

And, "The mere presence of a dog may motivate a response in the non-communicative patient. It can stimulate the recall of memories and help sequence events in patients with head injuries or chronic degenerative diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s disease, and teach appropriate behavior patterns in those with emotional disabilities (Goldman, 1990)."

The agency also teams up with Chapel Haven, a residential program "committed to providing a lifelong network of individualized support services for adults with cognitive and social disabilities, enabling them to live independent and productive lives," it said in a statement.

The participants have challenges such as Asperger’s syndrome and autism.

A partnership was formed between Chapel Haven and the Jewish Home to foster a symbiotic relationship that benefits both the young people and the elders. Eighteen years later it still flourishes, the statement said.

Chapel Haven volunteers visit with residents and help with activities programs, transportation and assist in creating materials for crafts projects and displays by cutting, sorting and organizing supplies.
The motto of Chapel Haven, Every person is to be treated with respect and dignity, meshed well with the philosophy at the Jewish Home, Where Caring and Tradition Meet, the statement said.

An added program is evolving that bring more pet visits to residents on the nursing units. Cailean Oerkvitz, shown in top photo kneeling, is a graduate of the Chapel Haven program and has a special affinity for animals. He spent time at the local animal shelter where he was trained as a pet therapy facilitator.

Now he is able to make weekly pet visits to residents who express an interest or who have a history of enjoying animals.

“You cannot minimize the impact of these encounter for the residents,” Sharon Louchen, director of Therapeutic Recreation, who coordinates the Pet Therapy programs, said in the statement.

“Non –verbal and withdrawn residents demonstrate visible responses to animals.”
For more information, visit http://www.chapelhaven.org/

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

He's not quite a baby beluga

But Inuk is quite beloved by staff and vistors alike at Mystic Aquarium

MYSTIC – Mystic Aquarium, a division of Sea Research Foundation, Inc., reports with "great sadness" that Inuk, a male beluga whale, is experiencing kidney failure.

Animal care staff are working around the clock to monitor and care for Inuk, the facility said in a prepared statement.

The beluga showed a lack of interest in food and a blood test revealed a possible acute infection, further complicated by kidney failure, the statement said.

Since then, Mystic Aquarium’s animal care team has been giving Inuk supplemental fluids in an effort to clear his kidneys, it said.

Dr. Allison Tuttle, staff veterinarian at Mystic Aquarium, with support from Dr. Lawrence Dunn, veterinarian emeritus, has been leading the team monitoring and treating Inuk’s condition, the statement said.
“We have been in frequent contact with other facilities that house belugas, as well as leading experts in nephrology, to share information and provide the best treatment possible,” said Dr. Tracy Romano, senior vice president of research and zoological operations at Sea Research. “We are remaining hopeful that we will be able to restore him back to health.”

Inuk, 28, came to Mystic on an extended breeding loan in 1999 from the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Wash, the statement said.

Typically, the life span for belugas under human care ranges from 25 to 40 years, the statement said.
This information was provided by Mystic Aquarium. The beluga shown is not Inuk, as he is under the weather.