Thursday, August 8, 2013

Docked Tail Breed Highlight: Schnauzers Look GREAT with Tails

Don't ever let anyone dissuade you, every dog deserves a tail and natural ears. No matter what excuse or reason that is given for docking or cropping, it is not valid. Seriously. I have read and heard every excuse imaginable and I can refute every single one with clear and sound logic & reality based facts. The truth is, docking is done for cosmetic "aesthetics" and to maintain an overly obsolete "breed standard" for certain breeds. In this photo you can see sweet Pixel's gorgeous ears blowing in the breeze.

A supporter of our campaign, and advocate for dogs having their tails, recently shared these photos on our "No Tail Left Behind" Facebook page of her gorgeous miniature schnauzer Louie, which is the breed my sweet Pixel is, and his long, beautiful tail and natural ears.
Louie's tail looks perfect on him, he looks whole. He looks complete...and he uses it for everything. Jennifer Blazewick, his mother, says that Louie communicates with her all the time using his tail. He points, shows love, uncertainty, danger, playfulness...all sorts of emotions he shows with his tail. All dogs deserve to communicate with their tail.

In stark comparison, look at the end of my sweet Pixel's back. There is a nub, a missing tail, and no way for her to communicate fully what she is feeling via her tail. Many times, when filled with excitement and joy, when normal impulses get sent through her body and into her tail....those impulses hit a brick wall, or rather a nerve bundle and some scar tissue. She can't do all the things that dogs with tails can do...and it's not fair. She's beautiful, she's brilliant, but she is not whole. Look at Louie and look at Pixel...why are so many dogs denied their right to a tail?
In this photo of Louie running in the snow, you can see he has it up and is using it for balance as he runs through the snow.
Pixel and I have several friends in Europe and Australia that are Schnauzers & Schnauzer Mommies. They ALL have their tails and it's as right as rain, as natural as can be, and I love seeing their beautiful tails wagging with sheer joy.

The miniature Schnauzer is just one of many dog breeds whose tails are taken from them as a puppy, denied this vital tool for their entire lives. So, we must work to convince our lawmakers that natural is better, that all dogs deserve tails, and that no dogs deserve to be cosmetically altered by having their tails removed or their ears cropped. This must be about the dog's best interest and well being, not the human's "right" to do what they want to a helpless animal.

As always, I'd love to get your feedback. Please let me know your thoughts on this post. Do you have a breed of dog that typically gets their tail docked, but their tail is whole? If so, I'd love to hear from you too. If you wish to see a certain docked tail breed highlighted on the blog, and you have photos of them with tails, contact me by either leaving a comment here, or visiting us on Facebook and Twitter.

Remember always that EVERY DOG DESERVES A TAIL. It is not our right to dock them, it is our responsibility to ensure that they have a happy, healthy, pain-free life.

Special thanks again go out to Jennifer Blazewick and her handsome miniature Schnauzer Louie, for sharing these wonderful photos of Louie and his amazing tail!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pixel Blue Eyes' Dream - A Special Poem for No Tail Left Behind

I dreamed I had a tail to wag, I dreamed that I was whole.
I dreamed I had a tail to wag, it made my spirit soar!
My tail was oh so beautiful, its fur was brown and white.
My tail was long and slightly curved, it was such a pretty sight.

I wagged my tail all day and night, I held it tall and proud.
I was so glad to have a tail, I even barked out loud!
All other dogs around the world, they all had their tails too.
Each docked dog now was perfect, their cut tails now brand new!

I didn’t feel a single pain from where my tail was missing.
With so much joy inside my soul, I couldn’t keep from kissing
My Mommy, family, all my friends, no single face left out
The reunion of all happy tails made everyone want to shout!

“Oh happy day! A Miracle! All tails have been returned!
All docking dangers lessons have finally been learned!”
I sang and danced, and danced some more. I twirled and twirled and twirled.
The joyful news within my dream was shared around the world.

But in a flash, my dream was gone. I suddenly awoke.
I turned around, looked at my tail and saw it still was broke.
I cried as Mommy held me close, she told me I was strong.
“We still have much to do my love, we must continue on.

So many pups depend on us to go and spread the word.
Tell the truth of how it hurts til’ every ear has heard.”
My role in life is clear to me; I know this doggie’s task.
I need to face the ones who maim, hard questions I must ask.

Like “Why inflict such awful pain on puppies just by breed?
Why do you want to cut off tails? Is it because of greed?
Just think of it, how would it feel if this was done to you?
A vital piece of body, gone! Such needless pain put through!”

No matter what “tail takers” say, the pain is oh so real.
How can they cause such suffering? This pain no dog should feel.
I promise I will always fight for dogs to keep their tails.
“Don’t take away our right to wag,” our message must prevail.

So please think twice before you chop or cut or shave off tails.
The puppies that you maim…a life of suffering they travail.
“Every dog deserves a tail!” I cry out in my mind.
My dream forever lives in me, that No Tail is Left Behind.

©2013 Jenny Lewis, Pixel Blue Eyes & No Tail Left Behind

Friends, please help us in our cause. We wish to educate everyone on the dangers & truths about tail docking. No matter what 'tail takers' say, tail docking hurts. It hurts the day it is removed from millions of puppies each year, and it hurts for many years cosmetic docking really worth all that suffering for the dogs? Find us on Facebook, Twitter, right here. Remember, ALL dogs deserve a tail!
We're in it to end it ...are you?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A BIG Apology - No Tail Left Behind thanks you all for your comments!

Dear friends, sometimes Mistakes Happen and today such an event occurred. I was checking comments for the blog and found several very nice comments that I thought had not been published yet. I selected ALL of them at once and had full intent of publishing them. Unfortunately, instead of the normal 'Publish' button that I have selected dozens of times for Pixel's fun blog to publish comments...somehow the button was the 'Delete' button and ALL comments for No Tail Left Behind have been wiped out! I am SO sorry. They all were great comments full of encouragement and sharing of your hearts. I tried to get them back but there is no 'undo' for deleted comments. Searching for an answer on Google and Blogger came up with no remedy.
So for all of you who spent the time to write a comment to No Tail Left Behind here, please forgive this mistake. Keep commenting, keep sharing. Sometimes technology works against us. I promise that from now on, I will let Pixel take care of publishing them. She no doubt will have better success than I did!

Docked Tail Pain is Real - Signs Your Dog is Suffering from It

Pixel is the only dog I've ever had with a docked tail. Before I had her, it never occurred to me the serious ramifications that tail docking posed to dogs. I never liked it, but it never dawned on me that tail docking is actually an amputation and very painful. I just didn't know. It is an unnecessary removal of an important body part...part of the spine. Docking removes vertebrae (and not always cleanly), muscle, tendons, and nerves. The tail is removed in a number of ways, including cutting it, banding it  until it falls off, and even vets will use things like dog grooming razors to dock a new puppy's tail. I know this because I've seen it. There is no anesthesia and no 'surgical precision', so it is no wonder that there are so many dogs running around with docked tail issues. It has taken me years of studying Pixel, doing research and talking to hundreds of dog owners who have docked tail dogs with pain and discomfort at varying levels, to compile this list of signs to look for in a dog with a docked tail.

Before Pixel's current vet, Dr. Mask, I actually had one vet tell me that it was probably all in Pixel's head. They did not even want to bother to look for physical issues in her tail. Six months later, it was found that Pixel had a shard of vertebrae at the tip of her tail nub, several scar tissue adhesions and definite nerve damage from the docking. Don't believe anymore that tail docking does not hurt or do any long term damage...the truth about tail docking is that it very much DOES hurt, and often for the life of the dog.

Remember that every emotion that a dog feels, whether it's joy, excitement, uncertainty, fear, all goes through the tail. You can tell a lot about a dog and how they are feeling by their tail, so when that tail is missing, or halfway cut off, those nerves still want to do what is normal for them, and that is why their tails can give them such a fit at times.

There are many symptoms and behaviors that a dog can exhibit when they are having docked tail pain. Some might seem unrelated, but they are. Here are just a few signs that a puppy or adult dog is having pain, irritation or difficulties with a docked tail:
1. Biting, licking, 'chasing' or whining at the tail or back end. Scooting or rubbing their bottoms or tails on the floor or against a piece of furniture.
2. Hiding under a bed or in a crate. Isolation from the family or laying alone in a back room.
3. Delayed or difficulty potty training, either on paper or outside. Often difficulty having a normal bowl movement (BM), including running away from a BM as it is occurring. Pixel is 5.5 years old and she still sometimes runs away from her BM's while they are happening.
4. Unexplained potty accidents, even if they are potty trained. If you are paper training and you occasionally have rogue locations where pee or poo will occur. Sometimes they have trouble holding it due to the cut tail muscles. They rely on the entire tail for this body function so it can be hindered with a docked tail.
5. Redness, inflammation or scaling at the tail nub tip. Before Pixel's surgery to try and correct her tail pain, would get seriously red and inflamed at times. Now it gets red after she has 'gone after it' due to pain & discomfort.
6. Sudden and unexplained moments where the dog leaps, jumps, or catapults themselves off of a bed/couch/chair and either runs away or goes after the tail. Leaping up suddenly then leaping down again off the furniture is often a sign they are getting sudden stabs of pain or stinging at the tail nub and are trying to 'get away' from the source of discomfort.
7. Sulking, having head down, and acting like they are in trouble or are being punished for no apparent reason. Dogs often associate the stabbing, stinging pain as something that is being "done to them" so they might very well feel they are being punished when they feel it. It's very psychologically traumatizing for them.
8. If someone goes to pet or touch the dog near their back end or tail, is there occasional crying out, yelping, or even nipping at that person (or another pet  if that pet gets too close to the tail). This can occur when someone is trying to either pick the dog up or move the dog for whatever reason.
9. Refusing to come when called, even though the dog knows and usually obeys that command. When you try to call them, they might sit in a bed, on a rug, in the corner, etc, just looking at you while you are calling them, trying to get them to come to you. This can be an infrequent occurrence where other times the dog obeys with no problems or hesitation (again, this refers back to them either thinking they are in trouble when they are hurting or that you are the cause).
10. Playtime, happy reunions, and/or meal time excitement getting interrupted by a sudden tail biting episode. Getting excited over a loved one coming home or a fun play time, can often cause a sudden bout of pain or stinging that results in yelping and 'going after' their tail. Excitement runs through the nerves in all dogs tails (or tail nubs) as they wag with joy, so docked tail dogs get 'punished' (in their eyes) for being excited.

This is one of the hardest things for my heart to deal little one, your little one, being in pain or discomfort just because they are happy. Whenever Pixel gets excited to see me, especially when I come home from being gone, and sometimes during meal time or play, her tail will give her a fit and she will even scream like I have hurt or hit her, then she either runs away or desperately tries to get out of my arms. I used to think something else was going on. The fact is, during these excited times, when she should just be able to enjoy my homecoming, she is being stung by the nerves in her tail. Pixel can't even show how happy she is to see her Mom without her tail stinging and hurting.

The above list is just a few of the signs and behaviors of a docked tail dog. Docked tail pain is a very real and very serious issue that should be addressed as soon as possible for any dog who exhibits signs and/or behaviors that their tail nub is bothering them. Quite often, things are overlooked, missed, or misdiagnosed, and the dog suffers silently and without understanding. Make sure your vet validates the issues your dog is having and that they really analyze the tail nub to see what is wrong.

Don't despair though, because there is hope. You can still have a happy dog, you just need to help them deal with docked tail pain. In my next post, I will share ways to help dogs with docked tail issues.
Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest updates.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

No Tail Left Behind Shares Two New Campaign Posters

These are the two newest "No Tail Left Behind" posters that I have made for our campaign to educate about the dangers and terrible side effects of tail docking. I'd love your input on them. 
 Pixel's eyes say it all here. She was going through a rough time with tail pain, and I just wanted to capture what she was going through. Her eyes just seem to say, "Make it stop Mommy." I was doing all I could to help her at the time.

Pixel's story and her smile are both compelling. I wanted to have a poster that engaged people and would make them want to come visit the page and blog. We are here to educate, share information and help others.
Please help us spread the word by sharing our posts from Facebook and Twitter, sharing our blog posts & posters, and most importantly, sharing our message. You can share this post with the 'share' tools to the right of this post.
We believe that every dog deserves a tail!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Breeders Who Choose NOT to Dock Tails Have Healthier Puppies

Most people in the U.S. are used to seeing certain breeds with docked tails.  It has been "done" for so long, that no one even thinks twice about it. More often than not, anyone who has an individual dog who has puppies will get the tails docked because "that's just what you do when you have a mini Schnauzer, doberman Pinscher, Yorkie, <insert other dog breed here>". Quite often, most people actually think that certain breeds are born with shorter tails.

Lichen, a Standard Poodle with full tail - 2013 Adrienne Bea Smith
Poodles are one such breed. I myself never knew that they actually were born with very long, beautiful tails. Several "No Tail Left Behind" supporters are breeders who used to dock the tails of all their puppies. These supporters include poodle breeders and other dog breed 'breeders'.

Lichen, Standard Poodle - 2013 Adrienne Bea Smith
The following is a direct quote from a poodle breeder who has been a supporter of No Tail Left Behind since we began: "I breed standard poodles and we haven't docked litters in a long time. I will never hack a tail off again and I will always promote leavings tails. Pups with their natural tails walk earlier and have more stable locomotion. When their tail is docked, not only is it cruel but it triggers an immune system response that should not be happening at such a young age, especially if it is intentional."
THANK YOU LAURA BERNIER!! You are a real gem, and No Tail Left Behind's spokesdog, Pixel Blue Eyes, can't help but smile at this!

Normally, when people find out that something they are doing is hurting another living being, they want to find a better way so that those living, breathing creatures can thrive and not suffer. It is a common response to choose to do things differently once danger, or threat of serious injury, is discovered to be happening. I have heard from numerous breeders who no longer dock their puppies tails, and all of them have had nothing but great responses from customers. That is why No Tail Left Behind is here. Together, we can change the basic views of people.

If all you ever see are docked tail dogs, you will think that is the norm and the only option. I've had so many people tell me, "Oh my God, I never knew!" (regarding how harmful tail docking is) and immediately wanted to start spreading the word on the negative effects of tail docking. Just remember though, that if you see someone with a docked tail (or ear cropped) dog, they might not be the ones who either got the dog docked or did the deed themselves. We cannot, must not, vilify people who already have docked tail dogs. After all, I have a docked tail dog, and didn't know much about docking at all until after I was adopted by a little dog with blue/green/hazel eyes.
Let's help to educate others about the dangers, risks and negative side effects that tail docking brings, and then let us work together to bring about change for puppies not yet born by helping to ban tail docking in the United States. Please share this post, share my Facebook posts, and talk to people. Don't forget the information from the breeder whom I quoted earlier in this post. Undocked puppies develop better and have less problems than puppies with docked tails.
Thank you friends! ~ Jenny & Pixel

Monday, April 15, 2013

Blog the Change: Tail Docking Dangers - Bringing Awareness on a Painful Epidemic

This month marks the 1 year Anniversary of the creation of "No Tail Left Behind", an online campaign to educate the public on the dangers of tail docking, bringing awareness about the truth of this painful, out dated, unnecessary practice. This weekend, I debuted my No Tail Left Behind blog you are reading now, and today is the great "Blog the Change for Animals" blogging event where bloggers from all over the world come together and blog about important animal advocacy issues that are important. Bringing awareness to the perils that some animals face is of most importance to us all. I felt it most apropos to share my own story and why tail docking must be banned in the U.S.

Tail docking, and the terrible trauma that comes with it for a dog whose tail gets docked, is a subject that is very important for me. It is something I must live with every single day. You see, I am one of those breeds in which tail docking is the 'standard', so every little puppy has its tail removed when they are days old. Not many people realize it is the severing of the end of our spine, as well as the chopping off of nerve endings, tendons and muscle. It is incredibly painful for each puppy that must go through it. It has been PROVEN that PUPPIES FEEL MORE ACUTE PAIN THAN FULL GROWN ADULT DOGS!! Don't let anyone fool you with the false claim that "puppies nerve endings have not yet finished forming. According to scientists in Australia, where tail docking is banned, anatomical studies demonstrate that pain in day old puppies would be actually MORE than in an adult dog due to the way impulses are sent through the puppy's unmyelinated fibers, aka nerve endings. Here is a link to the article detailing their findings: Studies Reveal Tail Docking in Puppies is Painful. As an example of how the puppies are suffering...go look up "mini schnauzer puppies" images and really look at their faces (for the ones with docked tails only a few weeks after it is done). They are MISERABLE! Do any of them look happy? Think about it.

Some dogs appear to do fine with their docked tails. I verify evidently did not. Mommy did not realize that some of my behaviors were from tail pain at first...things like running from my BM's, very delayed potty training, biting at my tail, and constantly holding my tail nub down. Every time I would get excited, those raw nerve endings would stab in my tail so badly. I couldn't even say, "I am so happy you are home" properly, because once the pain started, I'd run away from Mommy and run all through the house, biting at my tail between running away from it.

Pixel "hiding" from her tail pain
For years we went to too many vet visits. I tried different arthritis medicines, steroids, creams & ointments, and even had one young vet tell us that maybe it was "all in my head"... that maybe I had nervous 'tick' of biting my tail for no reason. It was so frustrating for both Mommy and me. At one point 3 years ago, one vet discussed surgery since part of the spine was poking at the skin. Whether the tail docking was done by a vet or the docking was done by the breeder, we can't be sure. Docking is not an exact science by any stretch, since they literally cut off the tail either by shaving it off (YES!) or by using some type of cutting instrument like scissors or a "tail snipper", so bone shards are common place at the end of a tail nub. The vet who originally mentioned surgery decided against it at that time because she said there was not much tail left to work with.

Mommy and other members of my family have spent many a day or night holding me so I would not bite at it or run from it. I have even dashed off the bed at night over and over, while trying to fall asleep with my Mommy, because I felt like my tail was attacking me. I now am on wonderful nerve pain medicine which has removed the pain about 90% of the time, but I still have bouts of severe stabbing pain. We just trudge through those episodes until I am better and my tail pain stops, and then I am a happy little girl again. My last episode inspired Mommy and I to start our "No Tail Left Behind" campaign on Facebook and Twitter (follow us @NoTailLeftBhind).

Here are some misnomers about tail docking:
1. The puppies don't feel pain when they get their tails docked within the first week of birth. FALSE According to Dr. Wasnbrough, "puppies slower conduction due to incomplete myelination, is offset by the shorter interneuronal and neuromuscular distances the pain impulse has to travel, therefore, creating greater pain due to the pup's undeveloped inhibitory pain pathways. In layman's terms, Dr. Robert explains that cutting through muscles, tendons, nerves, bones or cartilages, would result in intense pain to a level that would never be allowed to be inflicted on a human being!
2. Docking a dog's tail will help keep it cleaner so that poo does not get matted up in the fur. FALSE There are dozens of dog breeds with far more fluffier tails than breeds such as Pomeranians, German Shepherds, and many others. They don't get their tails docked to "keep them clean".
3. A working dog needs to get their tail docked so they don't injure it when out running around in the fields. It could get caught in a fence...those injuries can be nasty! FALSE Yes, dogs can get injured, they can get a tail caught in something and an injury can be bad. However, dogs can hurt a paw, or scrape the side of their body on something and get injured too. The "chance" of an injury does not equate removing an entire appendage. We don't remove their paws so they "won't get it hurt". Inflicting harm upon a dog to prevent injury does not make any logical sense.
Oh, and on the subject of "working dogs", there are MANY breeds that are working dogs, doing police work, or doing search and rescue work in dangerous earthquake rubble or in dangerous urban environments. They don't dock their tails. Have you ever seen a noble German Shepherd with a docked tail so it doesn't "injure it"? Exactly.

Incidentally, I did finally get tail surgery when my current wonderful vet felt like she could help make it better for me. She found that not only did I have nerve pain, but I also had a shard of vertebrae at the tip, and adhesions that pulled with every movement my little nub made. The image is an X-ray of my tail before surgery, and then the vertebrae she had to remove along with the shard of vertebrae. It helped me a lot, but I still have bouts of pain, and the phantom pain and some nerve pain will never go away. So I take my medicine everyday, and Mommy comforts me when she sees I have issues. We travel the road together, hand in paw. I don't know what I would have done without her really seeking to find solutions. If I had some other person as my Mommy, they might have thought I was just a "troubled youth".

I know tail docking is a touchy subject, but so is my tail pain, and the botched tail docking of so many other puppies around the country. I don’t know if I can change the way anyone thinks, I just wish to share my experiences and perhaps help others deal with the terrible results of tail docking. I have met so many people over the last year who had no idea that it was such a terrible thing. You know, it is so 'common' that it just becomes 'commonplace' to dock a tail. One wonderful thing is that several breeders have stopped docking tails after being in touch with us and our informative campaign. How glorious is that? We've been able to help a lot of families  identify what to look for, unusual signs, behaviors and symptoms that their docked tail dog is having pain and trouble. See, us pups are famous for hiding our's part of a dog's survival instinct, even though we are so well domesticated. So we look to our humans to help seek out those signs and get us the help we need. I shared information in a previous blog post I did on my Pixel Blue Eyes blog with a list of signs and symptoms that your docked tail dog is having troubles. I will post them in another blog post here this week as well.

So friends, what can you do to help? I'm glad you asked! First, please follow this blog (you can sign up to the right of this post), LIKE my Facebook page (there is a box in the right rail as well to LIKE us on FB) and you can follow us on Twitter at @NoTailLeftBhind. Share my blog posts, share my Facebook posts, re-tweet me on Twitter. Tell EVERYONE but please always be nice. Many people do not know, and you attract more bees to honey, and more change of thinking with kindness. Contact your local Congress people and Senators about it too. The more letters they receive, the more they will want to bring about change. Here is a List of Congress members by State and here is a List of Senators by State. Always be polite and give good information. And please refer them to us. I will soon be drafting a letter for everyone to use in case they need a little assistance.

My Mommy Jenny & I want to thank you friends, for taking the time to learn more about tail docking dangers and how you can help. It is a subject that needs as much conversation as possible. Please leave a comment with your thoughts on the subject. I encourage sharing of information and even altering opinions. Just please again, be kind. We are talking of the pain and suffering of animals...that should always supersede the 'rights' of a person to remove one of the most important communication tools that a dog has.
Please make sure to also visit our host for this important blogging event, Be the Change for Animals. They are an amazing group and I am honored to be associated with them. They actually did a feature on No Tail Left Behind back in October 2012. They are amazing! Make sure to visit some of these other bloggers below who have important messages as well.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Welcome to No Tail Left Behind's Blogging Debut

One year ago this week, my Mommy and I launched our "No Tail Left Behind" campaign to educate about the truth and dangers of tail docking. I am a miniature schnauzer whose tail was removed when I was just days old. There was no logical reason to do it, but it was done because that is what you do to all mini schnauzer puppies to conform to a 'breed standard'. It hurt terribly when it was done. They didn't use any anesthesia or pain relieving medicine because no one believed I could feel pain yet. It has been scientifically proven however, that puppies actually have a more heightened sense of pain than a full grown adult dog. Unfortunately, my pain never ended. When my Mommy found me at around 10 weeks old, I was exhausted from the pain, and physically sick. She and her vet nursed me back to health, but I had certain behaviors that perplexed her. I had a super hard time learning potty training, I would sometimes run and hide from her for no apparent reason, I would "go after" my tail when anything exciting happened, and I would run from my bowel movements as though someone was getting me.

Mommy ended up spending years watching pretty helplessly as I suffered from nerve pain, phantom pain and other physical ailments directly caused by my tail being docked. Mommy has told me that she was not happy that my tail was missing, but she didn't know what tail docking really entailed. Not many people do.
She started doing research, talking to different vets, taking me to see a few vets, and trying to find ways to help me through those difficult times. She started making the connection that everything was tied back to my docked tail. Mommy refused to accept the lies of why docking was important, and she really understood about the nerve pain. One vet told her that maybe it was "in my head" and I just had behavioral issues. Another vet said that surgery wouldn't help but she did put me on Neurontin after Mommy strongly insisted we try it for the nerve pain. It did help some, but I was still traumatized by my phantom tail pain and nerve pain. It was around this time that we launched "No Tail Left Behind" on Facebook to raise awareness about tail docking and the terrible effects it has on dogs.

Finally, a wonderful vet took Mommy's pleadings seriously and validated what she'd been saying for docked tail nub was causing me terrible pain, discomfort and stress. In my next blog post, I will share what was done to help alleviate some of the pain.