Why I Partnered With Guard Dog
Welcoming Jolene into my life is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. That little terrier-Chihuahua-mystery mix was just three months old when we first brought her home. She still fit in the palm of our hands, and making sure she was loved and cared for instantly became our top priority.
The smartest little pup in the world, Jolene had already learned to use her pad and to sit for treats. But the first few months of her life had not been easy. After being found living alone at just weeks old in the backyard of a home in the desert with little shade to protect her from the sun, our little Jo was brought to a big-dog rescue where a kind, elderly Chihuahua with epilepsy became her protector, yipping at the larger dogs who saw Jolene as a nuisance and consumer of their food rather than a baby in need of care.
We are so grateful that the folks at MaeDay Rescue found Jolene and her Chihuahua guardian and vowed to find them homes. Within days, we had Jojo cuddled up next to us. She was loving and trusting and perfect, but remanence of her difficult first months of life remained: severe separation anxiety and a whole colony of fleas had followed her from the desert.
We knew we had to de-flea Jolene, but I was terrified to use anything with chemicals. As a teenager, I watched heartbroken as our family dog Coco’s health began to deteriorate—his tiny, fluffy white body trembling with seizures of increasing frequency and intensity in the final months of his life. My family’s sorrow turned into anger when it was discovered that the vet had prescribed a flea medication that was too strong for a dog of Coco’s size and the chemicals had likely attacked his nervous system.
I know flea and tick medicines are well-tested and deemed completely safe when prescribed and administered correctly, but the PTSD of losing Coco unnecessarily has stuck with me for decades. I refused to risk putting any chemicals on or near little Jolene, so we turned to organic remedies. We bought spray bottles and doused every surface of our small one-bedroom apartment in cedar oil. It smelled for days, even after leaving all the windows opened, but our couch and bed and Jolene were flea-free and I had the peace of mind that she was safe.
Jolene is now six years old—and, while she still has separation anxiety, she’s thankfully remained flea- and tick-free. We trust what the vet prescribes her when necessary, but still opt for the organic route whenever possible, which is why it excited me when the team behind Guard Dog told me about their mission (and products that wouldn’t require airing out my living room) and asked if I’d like to blog about pet care on their site. I’m grateful to get to write for a living, but it’s rare the subject matter is something I’m as deeply passionate about a this.
Making sure Jolene has the best life possible is of the utmost importance to me, as I’m sure caring for your little ones is for any of you reading this. I don’t claim to be some pet-care savant, but I look forward to sharing tips and tricks from experts in addition to a few things I’ve picked up on my own. But this isn’t a one-way street. If you have questions you want answers to, let us know by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org We’re all just doing the best we can, but it sure can help to know there’s a community all trying to do the same and sharing what they’ve learned along the way.
- Patrick Gomez