Hypothyroidism in German Shepherds: FAQs

Hypothyroidism in German Shepherds is often ignored as many symptoms look similar to that of other diseases. German Shepherds are among the canine breeds more susceptible to this hormonal disorder. Unless treated early, hypothyroidism may lead to long-term complications.  

Is hypothyroidism life threatening?

Hypothyroidism in German Shepherds is characterized by an underactive thyroid gland. Normally, the thyroid gland produces thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) hormones. T3 and T4 are responsible for regulating the metabolism – the process of converting food into energy – in the body. Dogs aged between 4 and 10 years and those neutered are at an increasing risk. Though hypothyroidism is not life-threatening for your German Shepherd, it may make him vulnerable to serious diseases and disorders.  

 

What causes hypothyroidism in German Shepherds?

The following causes may trigger hypothyroidism in German Shepherds. 

  • Thyroid gland tumor 
  • Shrinking thyroid gland 
  • Medications, particularly corticosteroids 
  • Immune system attacking the thyroid gland 
  • Lack of exercise  
  • Obesity 

 

 What are common signs of hypothyroidism in German Shepherds?

If your German Shepherds has any of the following symptoms, he may be suffering from hypothyroidism disorder. 

Skin and fur problems

Hypothyroidism in German Shepherds often leads to dull and thin coat. Their fur may become dry and brittle. It also results in the shedding of the fur from your dog’s torso and tail. In some cases, the tail turns bald. The disorder may also darken your German Shepherd’s armpits and groin. One notable thing about hypothyroidism-related skin issues is that affected dogs do not really feel itchy.  

Ear infections

Recurrent ear infections indicate hypothyroidism in your pet. Bacterial staph infections are the usual cause of ear infections that are related to underactive thyroid.  

Eye infections

Eye infections do not necessarily indicate hypothyroidism in German Shepherds. But if your dog suffers from recurrent eye infections combined with other symptoms mentioned above, there is a good chance that the disorder may be there. 

Lower cold weather tolerance

German Shepherds generally do well in the cold. However, if you find your dog unable to tolerate cold weather, he may have metabolism difficulties attributed to hypothyroidism.  

Anemia

Anemia is the only consistent abnormality of the blood that is found in hypothyroid dogs. Researchers have found that hypothyroidism can cause different types of anemia in humans, and it is believed that the same can happens to dogs.  

Excessive sleepiness

Excessive sleepiness and lethargy are signs of many diseases. Senior dogs tend to be more sleepy than young puppies. If your typically energetic German Shepherd seems tired, sluggish, and “mentally slow,” he could be suffering from hypothyroidism. 

Weight gain

Weight gain is the most obvious and common sign of hypothyroidism. Dogs with hypothyroidism tend to add on the pounds despite eating the same amount of food, as their metabolism slows down. 

Aggression

Aggression is often seen in hypothyroid dogs but the reason behind it remains a mystery. There is a theory suggesting that hypothyroidism affects a dog’s hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which controls how the dog reacts to stress.  

How is hypothyroidism in German Shepherds diagnosed?

Hypothyroidism is easily diagnosed with blood tests. Additional tests are also recommended if there are abnormalities seen in the initial tests or if your pet has epilepsy or heart problems. An X-ray is sometimes taken if the veterinarian suspects the presence of a tumor in the thyroid gland.  

What are different types of hypothyroidism in German Shepherds? 

Primary Hypothyroidism

This form of hypothyroidism seen in about 95% of all cases occurs due to the destruction of the pituitary gland. Conditions called lymphocytic thyroiditis and idiopathic atrophy are common causes of such type of hypothyroidism in German Shepherds.  

Secondary Hypothyroidism

Secondary hypothyroidism is rare. This form of hypothyroidism in German Shepherds happens when a tumor grows in the thyroid gland damaging the thyroid tissue. Malignant thyroid tumor can reduce the thyroid’s hormone production. However, thyroid cancer is very rare in dogs. 

Other Forms of Hypothyroidism

The disorder is also caused by the destruction of the thyroid tissue and abnormal growth within the thyroid gland. Congenital hypothyroidism is rare in dogs.

 

How to treat hypothyroidism in German Shepherds?

Primary hypothyroidism is treatable using medications, such as levothyroxine or L-thyroxine. This drug helps maintain regular hormone levels that normalize your German Shepherd’s metabolism. Diet changes also work. You may provide iodine-rich diet, which prevents further injury to the thyroid gland of your dog. Daily exercise too assists in the metabolism process that suffers due to underactive thyroid.  

 

Silly German Shepherd Dog Tries To Catch Water Spurting From The Hose!

This German Shepherd is too funny and silly.

Watch as this dog tries to catch water spurting from the hose.

The dog’s owner is filling a plastic tub with water using the hose, when the GSD sees the opportunity for playtime.

The water pressure is high and when the water from the hose hits the water in the tub tiny bubbles are created – piquing the pooch’s curiosity.

The silly GSD decides to stop the water from the hose by catching it!

See the pup snap and bite at the water in an attempt to stop it – but no avail.

Will this pup ever catch the water?

Do Dogs See Color? What Colors Do Dogs See?

Dog dogs see color or do they see in black and white? How do dogs see the world?  It was once believed that dogs only see in black and white and this myth was debunked only recently.

Do Dogs See Colors? If They Do, Do They See the World the Way We Do?

If you have normal eye vision, you probably appreciate all the colors of the world thanks to your cone cells. Cone cells or cones are special light catching cells that respond to colors and humans have three different kinds of these so-called cones.

The three cones work together to give us full-color vision. Colorblind people often have a missing, non-functioning or abnormal cone. Despite the absence of a functioning cone, these people can still see colors, but only fewer compared to people with normal color vision. Dogs only have two types of cones and these enable them to see colors, but not as rich as the colors humans with normal color vision see.

Jay Neitz at the University of California, Santa Barbara confirmed this. In a report published by Psychology Today, Neitz did different test trials to see in dogs do see in colors. In the study, dogs were shown three light panels in a row: two of the panels of the same color and a different colored one. The task of the dogs is to go to the panel with the different color and press it. If the dog presses the correct panel, a computer will deliver a treat reward to the cup below that correct panel. With the study, Neitz concluded that dogs do see colors but instead of seeing ROYGBIV, they would see it as very dark gray, dark yellow (brownish), light yellow, gray, light blue and dark blue. Meaning, the dogs see colors but only in yellow, blue and gray. Dogs see the colors green, yellow and orange as yellowish; violet and blue both look blue; and blue-green looks gray.

 

Do Dogs Distinguish Things According to Color or Brightness?

After the study that confirmed that dogs see colors, some researchers wanted to know more about how dogs really see the world. Scientists at the Institute for Information Transmission Problems of the Russia Academy of Sciences suspected that dogs distinguish levels of brightness to distinguish objects instead of color.

With dogs having only two kinds of cones, the researchers suspected dogs would see shades of yellow, blue and green, but not orange and red. During the research, the dogs were trained to respond to one of four pieces of paper. The papers are of different colors: light yellow, dark yellow, light blue, and dark blue. The sheets were then placed in twos in front of meat-containing boxes. The researchers placed the pieces of paper with the color the dogs had been trained to respond to in front of a feeding box – along with a paper that is brighter but of a different color. The reason behind this procedure is that the researchers wanted to know if dogs who were trained to respond to light blue would respond to dark blue instead of light yellow.

Contrary to what the scientist first suspected, majority of the dogs went for the color identifier instead of choosing the ones with the brightness identifier.

All the dogs went for the color-based choice more than 70% of the time, according to the study that was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.On the other hand, 75% of the dogs who participated in the study chose the color-based choice 90 to 100% of the time.

 

Megaesophagus in German Shepherds

Megaesophagus in German Shepherds is a condition that results in an enlarged esophagus, the tube-like part of the digestive system that connects the throat and the stomach. The esophagus’ function is to allow transport of food down to the stomach for digestion. When the esophagus is partly blocked over a period of time, it slowly grows in size. It eventually becomes a storage organ, causing backflow of food. As dogs with megaesophagus regurgitate some or all of the food they take in, the condition often leads to weight loss and aspiration pneumonia.

Eli, a German Shepherd puppy suffering from megaesophagus, sits on his customized ‘Bailey Chair’, a high chair designed to help with digestion. Photo by Dan Sherwin via Etsy.

Causes of Megaesophagus in German Shepherds

Congenital

Most cases of megaesophagus in German Shepherds are found to be congenital in nature. Congenital idiopathic megaesophagus, according to research studies,  is linked to chromosome 12. Symptoms of this type of megaesophagus typically start showing at around 5 weeks of age when the puppies start eating solid food. The mortality rate in young puppies is high and those who survive need lifelong eating management to overcome this disorder. However, there are cases of congenital megaesophagus in dogs that resolve when they turn 4 to 6 months of age.

Most German Shepherds with congenital megaesophagus have a development disorder in the nervous system, particularly at the lower esophagus. The disorder causes weakness and even paralysis of the esophagus muscles. This prevents food to pass down from the affected point of the esophagus, causing the part above it to enlarge.

Acquired

Acquired megaesophagus in German Shepherds occurs when there is an injury causing physical obstruction in the esophagus. This blockage may be caused by cancerous tumors or the presence of foreign objects. Other causes of this type of Megaesophagus are:

  • tumor in the esophagus or nearby organs
  • a foreign body that is stuck in the esophagus
  • neuromuscular disease that could be caused by canine distemper, myasthenia gravis, and myositis
  • swelling of the esophagus
  • lead or thallium toxicity
  • parasite infestation

Symptoms of Megaesophagus in German Shepherds

Congenital megaesophagus in German Shepherds is easier to detect because its symptoms typically begin when the puppy start eating solid food. Acquired megaesophagus, on the other hand, may occur regardless of the dog’s age.

The symptoms of such megaesophagus include

  • regurgitation minutes after eating
  • nasal discharge
  • cough
  • pneumonia
  • extreme hunger
  • drooling or salivation
  • weight loss
  • poor body development

Although they look similar, vomiting and regurgitation are two different things. Regurgitation refers to the backflow of undigested food from the esophagus to the mouth, while vomiting is the expulsion of stomach contents up to the mouth.

Regurgitation episodes may happen many times a day or even as infrequently as once every few days. Because of the backflow of food to the throat and mouth, affected dogs and puppies are also at risk of aspiration pneumonia.

 

Diagnosing Megaesophagus in German Shepherds

To have a proper diagnosis, the vet asks questions about your German Shepherd’s eating habits, how he vomits food, the consistency or texture of the expelled food, and more. Your German Shepherd also has to undergo a thorough physical examination.

Standard thoracic radiographs and fluoroscopy may also be done. The thyroid gland and blood samples may also be checked.

 

Treating Megaesophagus in German Shepherds

There is no cure for congenital megaesophagus. On the other hand, acquired megaesophagus is treated by addressing the underlying problem that causes the esophagus to enlarge.

Secondary infections, such as pneumonia is treated with antibiotics. And because megaesophagus disallows food to be digested, there should also be changes in feeding your pet.

Serve small regular meals on raised bowls or high chairs to an affected dog. The intake from a high level allows the food to move down the stomach easily. The food texture must also be put into consideration, as it is important for dogs with megaesophagus to swallow food easily. Giving high-calorie, semi-liquid food rich in nutrients may also help an affected dog get his daily nutritional requirements. Drugs may also be prescribed to boost the affected dog’s abdominal movement.

German Shepherd Plays Monkey In The Middle With Her Owners In The Pool!

Here’s a nice and fun idea to play with your dog!

Watch as this German Shepherd plays Monkey in the Middle with her owners in the pool!

 

It’s a beautiful day to soak in the pool and these two men have found a cool way to keep themselves and Roxie the GSD entertained!

Most dogs love balls and Roxie’s no exception. But what she loves even more is swimming in the pool. The pooch has the best of both worlds and doesn’t seem to mind that she never gets a tooth or paw on the ball.

As the two men would throw the ball to each other, the eager German Shepherd swim towards the person who has it!

Roxie’s humans are teasing her – they toss the ball away whenever she gets near!

But the German Shepherd seems to love the experience!

It looks like this beautiful dog doesn’t mind being the monkey in the middle!

Go Roxie!

German Shepherd Puppy Thinks She’s A Human Baby!

This is Karma, an adorable little German Shepherd puppy who thinks she’s a human baby!

Most puppies are content with a chew toy and socks, but this young German Shepherd pup from Welling, Kent in the UK is different. She is a baby and she likes sucking on her pacifier, sleeping in a baby trolley, and being fed with a bottle.

Karma started mimicking her owner’s baby grandson when she was 3 months-old.

 

“Karma and Kayden are almost like brother and sister at times, I’m sure she copies what he’s doing and because it’s like she’s a human baby too,” Iris Armstrong, the dog’s owner, said.

Now at five months-old, it seems that the German Shepherd pup believes she’s a human.

Karma began by stealing pacifiers from her owner’s grandson. She also regularly sleeps in the baby’s trolley and even feeds from milk bottles. The baby dog sleeps in a little onesie.

“She first started with dummies at three months-old, it was a little pink one that she pinched it from the side and just sat there suckling on it like a baby,” Iris said. “Whenever she gets a bottle she chews on it and then drinks the milk too, it’s pretty hilarious and we try not to let her do it too often.”

Iris found it initially funny when her pup started copying her two-year-old grandson, Kayden. But now, even after putting her in a playpen,Karma still manages to escape to play with her human best friend.

“Karma turned out to be so fully of energy she even escapes when I give her a time-out in the playpen meant for children,” she said. “Whenever she escapes she sneaks back to go and play with Kayden again, whenever she sees him she gets so excited it’s so sweet.”

Of course, the bond between Kayden and Karma is inevitable.

“She’s always pinching my grandson’s onesie too, we put her in it a couple of times and now she absolutely loves wearing it, she always runs off or poses with it,” Iris said. “Quite often my grandson and Kayden fall asleep together and I have to put a blanket over them both, with one of their teddies.She’s like Kayden’s little playmate and I’m sure that as they continue to grow older together they’ll become best friends.”

How High Do You Think A German Shepherd Can Jump!

It is a known fact that German Shepherds are athletic and intelligent dogs!

In this video, Tefnut demonstrates just how high a German Shepherd can jump!

 

The dog’s owner uses a ladder to put Tefnut to the test.

To show the scale and height of the ladder, the owner stands up beside it for comparison.

The owner holds a stick up at shoulder level.  In just one jump, Tefnut reaches and grabs the stick easily!

Then he climbs one step, holds the stick up once again, and Tefnut jumps for it with ease.

Owner and dog complete the exercise on the lower rungs of the ladder until it’s time to climb up the highest step of the ladder.

Can Tefnut reach the stick?

After a couple of tries, Tefnut succeeded!

So amazing!

German Shepherd And Brown Bear Are Best Friends!

A German Shepherd and a brown bear are best friends!  What an unusual interspecies friendship!

Watch them play as the brown bear sprays her canine buddy with a hose!

While we think bears belong in the wild, Tima, with the help of her German Shepherd friend, seems to be doing okay!

The footage was, captured in Villacarrillo, Jaén, Spain. The 300kg brown bear, originally from Siberia, was adopted by a Russian circus artist in 1995 when he was just five months old.

The pair travel the world together, performing in shows and films.

The bears owner says Tima was very easy to train.

“He has amazing qualities, he loves to play, he never shows any aggression, he’s not greedy and he’s great friends with my dog. We are very fond and proud of him. He is a member of our family.”

Heartworm Disease in German Shepherds

Heartworm disease in German Shepherds is a type of parasite infestation. Caused by heartworms or dirofilaria immitis, a parasitic roundworm transmitted via mosquito bites, the disease is considered one of the deadliest of parasite infections seen in dogs.  

What is Heartworm Disease in German Shepherds?

Heartworm disease in German Shepherds can cause irreparable organ damage, heart failure, and death if left untreated. Dog heartworms are found worldwide and are transmitted via mosquito bites. They infest not only the heart but the lungs and blood vessels of your dog. These parasitic roundworms can grow longer than a foot inside a dog’s body and reproduce up to several hundred worms – causing an array of symptoms, including a dry cough and exercise intolerance.  

German Shepherds love exploring outdoors and if you live near areas where heartworm disease is widespread, your pet is at a greater risk. Dogs are natural hosts for heartworms allowing these parasites to live inside your German Shepherd’s body until they mature and replicate.  

 

Heartworm Disease in German Shepherds: Is Dog-to-Dog Transmission Possible?

No, there is no chance of dog-to-dog transmission of heartworms. Only infected mosquitoes can transmit these parasites from one animal to another. When a mosquito bites an infected dog or any other animal, it becomes a carrier. The heartworm undergoes an incubation period in the mosquito, who is capable to transmit the parasite into your dog through bites thereafter.  

 

Heartworms in German Shepherd: The Transmission

Your German Shepherd can get heartworms when a mosquito that carries microfilaria larvae bites him. When the microfilaria matures into an adult heartworm, it can reproduce hundreds of heartworms that clog up the arteries leading to the lungs. These parasites can also irritate the blood vessels connecting the heart with the lungs. Because of the blockage these worms cause, your German Shepherd’s heart may need to work harder to pump blood through the lungs to continue the oxygen circulation.  

When the heartworm population becomes too large, your German Shepherd’s chest needs to work harder and harder. This may result in the heart enlargement or eventually heart failure due to overwork. 

 

Signs of Heartworm Disease in German Shepherds

Heartworm disease is a silent killer in German Shepherds. Signs of heartworm infestation are often overlooked and ignored because they can be seemingly mundane and ordinary. Some symptoms can even be passed off as signs of aging and other illness. Most signs may not appear until the worms are mature enough, which is usually 6 to 7 months after the transmission occurs. Listed below are the most common signs of heartworm disease in German Shepherds.  

  • Dry cough 
  • Lethargy 
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Weight loss 
  • Depression 
  • Reluctance to exercise 
  • Protruding  chest 
  • Rapid or Labored breathing 
  • Pneumonia 
  • Unusual allergies 
  • Collapse 
  • Nosebleed 
  • Seizures 

Heartworm Disease in German Shepherds: How To Detect

If you suspect your German Shepherd is suffering from heartworm disease, it is important to have him assessed by a veterinarian to determine the severity of the infestation. The veterinarian may ask to have blood tests done to determine the stage of the disease. The blood sample taken may also be used for the canine heartworm antigen test and microfilaria test.  

A Heartworm Test indicating the presence of the Dirofilaria immitis antigen in the blood.

The canine heartworm antigen test is the most commonly used method for detecting adult heartworm infection. It helps specifically detect the antigens produced in reaction to the presence of adult female heartworms. However, these antigens can be detectable only 6 to 7 months after the infection. It may reveal the approximate number of adult females present.  

But, this antigen test may also show false negative if: 

  • it is done too early in the infection 
  • there is only a small population of heartworms 
  • the heartworms are all male 
  • the heartworms are young females 
  • there are errors in conducting the test 

If the canine heartworm antigen test kit reveals a positive diagnosis, the veterinarian may also ask for a microfilaria test. This test shows the presence of microfilaria in the blood confirming that adult heartworms are present in the heart. There are different methods for detecting microfilaria in the blood, including concentration tests, such as the Knott’s test and the filter test.  

Depending on the veterinarian’s assessment, other laboratory tests may also be done to see if there are abnormalities in your German Shepherd’s internal organs linked to the presence of heartworms. Here are some of the other tests that may be done on your German Shepherd. 

  • Radiographs (X-rays) – This can be used to detect inflammation, enlargement, or swelling of the lungs and the heart. 
  • Ultrasound – An Echocardiography (not abbreviated as ECG) can also help check if the heart is healthy enough for treatment. This test can also confirm the presence of heartworms in the heart and  
  • ECG – Electrocardiogram (ECG) can detect abnormal heart rhythms. This test can also detect enlarged heart chambers. 

 

Treating Heartworm Disease in German Shepherds

Heartworm disease is a terrifying condition. However, it is treatable although the treatment is long and expensive. There are different ways to treat heartworm in dogs, and vets usually assess the case of each dog to determine which method is better for your pet. 

During the course of treatment, antibiotics may also be given to your German Shepherd, as Wolbachia bacteria can be present alongside heartworms. The bacteria are released by heartworms die when they die causing an immune response that can worsen your German Shepherd’s condition. This reaction may also result in inflammation of lungs and kidneys. Also, if your German Shepherd has another serious health issue, the vet may opt to address that issue first before proceeding with heartworm treatment. 

Here are some of the methods used in treating heartworm disease in German Shepherds. 

Option 1: Combination of Heartworm Preventatives and Melarsomine 

The vet may prescribe heartworm preventatives, a course of antibiotics, and steroids prior to proceeding with the adult heartworm treatment. Heartworm preventatives kill young heartworm larvae and unless it is done, the treatment for adult heartworms may not be effective, as the larvae (microfilaria) will grow up again. For this, veterinarians commonly use Ivermectin. There are also other medications that can kill heartworm larvae like milbemycin. But a lot of vets prefer using Ivermectin because it kills more slowly. Killing microfilaria too quickly can cause shock, collapse, and blood vessel blockage. This step often takes 1 to 3 months depending on your German Shepherd’s condition. 

After being given a course of heartworm preventatives, your vet determines if your pet is ready for adult heartworm treatment. Currently, the medication that is known to kill adult heartworms effectively is melarsomine. This organic arsenic drug is injected deep into the back or lumbar muscles. These injections can be very painful for your German Shepherd. To reduce the pain and discomfort, pain medications are often given concurrently with these injections. 

There are also two protocols veterinarians follow when treating heartworm disease using melarsomine. 

  • First Protocol – This protocol is advised for dogs who the vet thinks are healthy and not showing significant and serious signs of heartworm disease. They are given two injections of melarsomine with 24 hours interval. 
  • Second Protocol – This protocol is the most common and all infected dogs regardless of their age and stage in the disease receive 3 melarsomine injections – first melarsomine injection, the second injection a month later, and a third 24 hours after the second. 

The second protocol is the most recommended for melarsomine-based treatment because it is slower and safer. Remember, the slow treatment is better to tackle heartworm disease because of less chance of adverse effects.  

It is recommended to let your German Shepherd stay with the vets on the days the melarsomine is given. Your German Shepherd may experience adverse reactions after the injection so having a veterinarian nearby to look after him is recommended.  

Option 2: Slow-kill Treatment 

Depending on the condition of the dog, some veterinarians recommend using the “slow kill” method for treating Heartworm Disease. This treatment option involves using monthly heartworm preventatives to kill heartworm larvae and waiting until the adult worms die a natural death.  

This treatment option is only recommended for dogs (usually senior dogs) who are not healthy enough for the melarsomine treatment. This option can take a very long time as adult heartworms can grow as old as two years before dying. With that much time, they are still capable of damaging the heart, the lungs, or both. 

Option 3: Surgery 

There are cases wherein surgery is needed to treat heartworm disease. If heartworms reach the caudal vena cava, a large vein found between the liver and the heart or when the heartworms fill the whole right side of the heart choking the blood vessel that leads into the heart, surgery is the only option. 

Post-Treatment Care 

It is very important that you limit your German Shepherd’s activity during and after any treatment option to decrease chances of complications. This helps to prevent dead worms from blocking the blood flow through your German Shepherd’s pulmonary vessels. If your pet keeps on working out, blood flow may increase to blocked areas and this may cause the capillaries to rupture as the heart pumps blood through them. This results in breathing difficulties and even death. 

During the course of treatment, it is highly recommended to give your German Shepherd a complete crate rest except potty walks and in-house roaming.  

Even the treatment is finished, let your German Shepherd undergo retesting after six months. This is to make sure that all of the microfilariae, larvae, and adult heartworms are gone.  

 

Preventing Heartworm Disease in German Shepherds

Preventing the disease is always better and less expensive than having it treated. There are heartworm preventatives available in the market that not only protect your dog from heartworms but also kill other parasites. You can choose between monthly pills, spot-on treatments, or 6-month injections. 

Vines Of Sweet Border Collie Hugging German Shepherd Go Viral! See The Sweet Dogs’ Videos!

Two sweet dogs have become celebrities in their own right! Awesome vines of a Border Collie hugging a German Shepherd are making their rounds in the internet and have gone viral!

Taylor Duguay taught her 2-year-old Border Collie to hug his furry best friend, a 2-year-old German Shepherd named Grizzly. The two have since become internet celebrities!

Lottie’s latest hug, which was posted on Vine last week, has been looped more than 35 million times!

“Lottie has a knack for doing tricks and she loves nothing more than performing for crowds,” Duguay told ABC Newsvia Facebook. “In my eyes, Lottie is a super dog.”

The proud dog owner shares that although Lottie is a pretty lovable dog who does lots of tricks like sledding, dock diving, and catching Frisbees, “she’s very much a normal dog.”

“Lottie isn’t perfect,” she says. “I’ll be the first to admit she’s like every other dog. She barks when someone comes to the door, she’s chewed a roll of paper towels and she likes spending her days taking naps.”