Fruitcake and Your Pup

Today is officially fruitcake day!! As you eat your delicious cake, try and keep it to yourself, as your favorite four legged buddy should not eat it. If you are wondering why, well, not only the alcohol contained in these dense cakes can cause a problem, but if it doesn’t the raisins, currants and yeast most definitely will.


Raisins and currants can be highly toxic to your dog’s kidney. Certain breeds are more sensitive than others and since scientists have yet to figure out which toxin is the culprit, it’s best to beware. Dogs that are affected can end up with potentially fatal acute renal (kidney) failure. If you would like to read more on how fruitcake is hazardous to  your dogs health, click here.

World Aids Awareness Day

World Aids Awareness Day – The first identified case of HIV in a human was in 1959, however, the transfer of the HIV from animal to human likely occurred several decades earlier. The infected individual lived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and he was unsure, (and research could not identify) how he was infected. While the first cases of HIV in the U.S. date back more than 30 years to 1981.  In September 1982, the CDC used the term acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) for the first time when describing the mystery disease.  That same year, the first AIDS clinic opened in San Francisco.  By 1994, AIDS was the leading cause of death among Americans 25 to 44.  Read the narrative timeline at this site.

Two events polarized AIDS in the public eye; the death of 1950’s & ‘60’s heart throb Rock Hudson’s from AIDS related causes on October 2, 1985 and diagnosis of Ryan White, the American teenager who was infected with AIDS following a blood transfusion in December, 1984. Both Hudson and White turned the tide in different ways regarding research and laws in the U.S. regarding AIDS.

At his death, Hudson willed $250,000  to create an organization for the research to treat and cure AIDS.  The organization became known as amfAR, with Hudson’s great friend and international movie star, Elizabeth Taylor, becoming chairman and leading fundraiser.  Read about amfARliztayloramfar

Today it’s hard to imagine the full blown hysteria that swept the nation regarding AIDS, but the fear was so great and the disease at that time was a death sentence.  For example, once diagnosed, Ryan White was forbidden to return to school and was ostracized from general society in his own hometown. His mother, Jeanne White Grinder, eventually moved the family after receiving money for his made for television story. She rallied national media support and soon, a public speaker regarding AIDS. Read more on Ryan White here.

Ryan White People Magazine

Medical professionals are still hard at work trying to find a cure for HIV/AIDS.

What You Should Avoid Giving Animals To Eat

Don’t Feed Ducks Bread, Dogs Garlic, Onions or Chocolate. It’s that time of year when the animals in our lives actually get more than normal as they benefit from our “too loving” way. But are they really benefiting?

Innocently enough, much out of habit, and emulating, we humans have been feeding ducks bread for decades. In England and Wales alone, they feed 6 million loaves of bread per year.  The reality is feeding ducks bread is like feeding them junk food. In fact, it causes a debilitating disease known as “angel wing” which doesn’t sound bad, does it?  It’s bad, really bad ,“Angel Wing” is when a ducks wings point out laterally, making them unable to fly. There is much more information on this that can be found here. What should you feed them, here is a short list of alternatives:

  • Can (canned, fresh or frozen)
  • Lettuce, or other greens torn into small pieces
  • Frozen Peas that have been defrosted
  • Oats, either rolled or instant
  • Seeds
  • Duck Pellets

While we’re on the subject of what not to feed animals, did you know dogs can’t digest garlic or onions?  Neither did I.  So I found this handy-dandy list of all the things you should not feed your dog (and most of the time cats too).  This list should be taken very serious. Are you curious what you should do if your dog accidentally eats something they shouldn’t, here’s a good article from a veterinarian that is helpful too!



Giving Gratitude to Operating Room Nurses

Simply said, with a Doctor for a parent, nurses gained a great deal of respect from our family.  Operating Room nurses are a focused, disciplined group that basically perform as a team with the surgeon(s) and other nurses to provide the absolute safest, most efficient environment for one patient at a time. And sometimes, it can be under some pretty crazy situations.  We found this article about 2 different types of OR nurses – at a surgery clinic in a small town and the other, part of a traveling surgical team. This will give you a little more insight on what it really is like to work side-by-side other medical professionals in what can be a very stressful environment. I want to personally thank all of the wonderful OR nurses helping to keep us safe during surgery.



Sustainable Shopping- “GoodGuide”

It is that time, we’re coming into the #1 shopping season of the year here in United States.  So, what happens if you want to purchase products that were truly healthy, sustainable and oriented for the common good, then how about heading to “GoodGuide” ( Dara O’Rourke started “GoodGuide” in 2009 after pondering the chemical make-up of children’s sunscreen (which turned out to be not so good).  His app and web-based platforms use over 1500 scientific sources to rate the health and environmental impacts of everything from shoes to shampoo, to crackers and cleaning supplies.  You can read more about O’Rourke and what changes he’s seen in the past decade since starting “GoodGuide”.


Searching is a snap.  They do a great job of explaining their rating system and even highlight some of the most commonly “chemically laden” items for you to search. If you are not looking for a rating but instead a similar item you can also find suitable alternatives for items on the site. I searched the hand sanitizer, deodorant and soap I use, and they all camel up with mixed results. Puts an entirely new face on “Black Friday” and big box shopping doesn’t it? And if you are interested in using the guide more, here is a link to their actual website:

Let us know what you think, or if you are already using this guide tell us what you like!!