Early July is party time with picnics, barbeques, and fireworks which are fun for humans, but not so fun for our four-footed friends. The fireworks that humans find exciting can drive dogs into a state of utter panic. The explosions (even miles away), the high-pitched swoosh of rockets climbing into the sky, and the flashes of light can all be overwhelming sensory assaults, causing many dogs to cower, tremble in fear, or hide and appear disoriented. Some dogs become so terrified that they take drastic action like crashing through a screen door, jumping out of a window or leaping over a fence. Unfortunately, escape or destructive behavior can be a problem for you and can also result in physical injury to your dog.
Especially around July Fourth, random firecrackers will likely pop off before and after the big day, so it is important to monitor your dog’s reactions and help her overcome any panic. We don’t approve of ever leaving a dog outdoors for extended periods of time, but it is definitely a no-no during firecracker seasons. There are thoughtless and mean-spirited humans who seem to enjoy harassing animals, with recorded cases of people throwing firecrackers at animals to deliberately frighten them.. Many dogs are lost this time of year and sadly, some are never recovered. There are ways to make this holiday safer and more pleasurable for your dog. Most importantly, do NOT take your pet to places where there may be fireworks. Many of us consider our pets as members of the family, so it’s natural to include them in our activities, and they certainly thrive on human companionship, but we must recognize that certain activities, like fireworks, aren’t pleasant..or safe..for them. Keep them indoors, in a quiet, sheltered area of your home. These tips may help you make the Fourth of July a more positive experience for your dog.
- Do not try to force your dog to experience or be close to the sounds that frighten him. For example, making him stay close to a group of children who are lighting firecrackers will only make him more afraid and could create aggressive behavior.
- If your dog is afraid, do not try to comfort her by soothing or cuddling her because this may only reinforce her fearful behavior, as she may interpret this as a reward for her behavior. Instead try to behave normally, as if you don’t notice the fearfulness, but don’t punish her for being afraid. Punishment will increase her fear. Talk to her in a light, happy tone of voice that sends a message that the noise is no big deal.
- Try to create a safe place for your dog to go when he is frightened, remembering that this must be a safe location from HIS perspective, not yours. Pay attention to where he goes, or tries to go, when he is frightened, and create a comfy place as shielded as possible from the frightening sound.
- Do not shut your dog in a crate to prevent him from being destructive…He will still be fearful when he’s in the crate, and is likely to injure himself attempting to get out. If he is comfortable in a crate, it’s fine to place it (door open) in a quiet, sheltered area of your home that is somewhat protected from outside noises.
- Put an unwashed T shirt or other piece of soiled clothing in the crate so that he has your scent. Shut the windows and close the blinds and curtains. Turn on the radio, TV. or fan to muffle outside sounds.
- It’s great to try to try to distract him with toys or treats, or a favorite game, but if he wants to go to his “safe place”, let him. Give him something to fun —like a frozen Kong toy (or two) filled with his favorite treats.
- Be sure to keep current identification on your pets, so that if, somehow they escape, there is a good chance they will be returned. Two forms of ID are always best. If someone finds them, the first thing looked for is a tag, and if they are taken to a shelter they will also be scanned for a microchip.
- If you have neighbors or friends who often leave their animals outdoors, without being judgmental, explain the dangers involved. Perhaps they have not even thought about the distress that fireworks can cause for their animals.
By using common sense precautions, it is possible to prevent undesired distress and anxiety to animals, and both two-legs and four-legs will have a safe, happy holiday. HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!
It’s that special time of year when kids give their dads neckties, power tools, and hand-made greeting cards (sometimes including promises to do some extra chores) to celebrate Father’s Day. Father’s Day was first proposed in 1909 by Mrs. John Dodd to honor her father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran, who was widowed and raised six children by himself. It was after Mrs. Dodd became an adult that she realized the strength and selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge promoted the idea as a national day, but it wasn’t until 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation to honor dads. Father’s day has become a special day to honor fathers, and other men who act as a father figure—stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers and male friends who have been important influences in our lives.
Here are a few reasons that kids give for loving their dads:
- He runs our races right alongside of us. Unless he gets behind
- He protects us and keeps us safe
- He lets us have junk food when Mom isn’t looking
- He takes us to new places to do new things
- He often says, “Ask your mom,” when he doesn’t know the answer
- He complains a lot about the dog, but defends her when she gets in trouble.
- He sometimes complains about us kids too, but protects us big time from others.
- My dad claims he is tough, but he is really a softie at heart. Sometimes he is a pushover.
- My dad said No Dog in the House, but that rule only lasted a week. Now the dog sleeps with him in his lazy boy.
- My dad is the boss in our house. That’s because Mom put him in charge.
- My dad helps me do the dog chores…sometimes I forget and he feeds and waters her.
- He doesn’t know that sometimes he gets dog kisses on the face, right after she has licked herself in all her private places. But I figure what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.
- Sometimes my dad makes me do things I don’t want to do, but he always says, “It’s because I love you…someday you’ll understand.”
- My dad is one of the most important people in the world to me… he is my friend, my hero, and the best dad in the world.
And then there’s Angie’s Father’s Day Story:
Our daughter Meg had left a BIG bag of candy on the table, and our Beagle Boy can reach the table, so while we were at church on Father’s Day morning, BB ate four candy bars and all the Hershey’s kisses, including the wrappers. When we got home and discovered what had happened, we called the emergency clinic and the vet told us we had to induce vomiting. Yeah…that’s what he said. Have you ever tried to get a dog to drink 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide? NOT EASY. We missed the special Father’s Day dinner, and spent most of the afternoon outside in the yard. Finally he upchucked more gunk than you can possibly imagine…and trotted over to my husband to give him an unwelcome kiss. All he said was, “Well, I guess all’s well that ends well.”
Dads are special: they hold you tight, support you, guide you, teach you, hug you, and protect you. They defend you till they draw their last breath. They may not be able to give you everything you want, but they give you love, time, and attention. They give you the greatest gift anyone could give another person…they believe in you…… You can’t buy those things.
We wish all dads a relaxing, shoes off, wonderful kind of day…and lots of paw hugs and nose kisses from their four-legged friends.
The catch phrase, “boys will be boys’ is often used to express the view that mischievous or childish behavior is typical and should be excused. An incident occurred last Sunday in our community and a casual bystander remarked, “ Well, they shouldn’t have done that , but boys will be boys, you know.”
I agree that “they shouldn’t have done that,” but I hope that their behavior is not typical, and am certain that it should not be excused, especially not the two freshmen ringleaders who inflicted deliberate acts of blatant abuse to a defenseless little kitten. ‘What’s the big deal?’ you ask ‘It’s just a cat…..and cats are a dime a dozen…besides they carry disease….farmers eliminate cats all the time.’ I understand and accept the necessity to sometimes eliminate the cat population on a farm where they might spread disease to the farm animals, but locking a kitten in a closed space, poking and prodding it until an eye is damaged, stepping it and throwing it from one to another cannot be excused as adolescent mischief. The cat was hardly moving by the time two brave young girls intervened. Even though it was a Sunday, our vet cared enough to get fluids and food into his tiny body, and treat the injuries as best he could. Treatment continued until Thursday, when the decision was made that the kindest option was to euthanize the kitten.
Recent studies have determined that the connection between animal abuse and violence directed against humans is well documented, and is much broader than previously thought—not only to violent crime, but to anti-social crimes of all types. Animal abuse, like many other forms of abuse, is about power and control. In Sunday’s incident, it is likely that the two freshmen were “showing off” for the three younger participants in this act of violence, and middle school kids long to be part of the action, so are usually reluctant to challenge the actions of older peers .
It is true that many young children go through a developmental stage of “innocent cruelty” during which they may hurt insects or other small creatures in the process of exploring their world. However, a child who persists in this behavior or who intentionally injures or kills cats, dogs, birds or other animals must be considered at risk of future violent or criminal activity. Documentation shows that childhood animal abuse increases the likelihood of continued physical violence as well as other nonviolent forms of delinquency during adolescence. Experts agree that early prevention and treatment of animal cruelty is the key to stopping the cycle of violence because as aggressive children get older, a variety of other crimes, including violence against people, property crimes, and drug or disorderly conduct offenses emerge. Animal abuse is not just “boys being boys,” and it is important to curb violent tendencies before they escalate to include violence against people.
Father’s Day is approaching soon, and this offers an excellent opportunity for dads (and moms) to discuss the helplessness of animals, and the importance of treating them with kindness and respect. Encourage the kids to share any incidents of animal mistreatment that they have witnessed where they may have felt uncomfortable, but didn’t know what to do. They might welcome some nonjudgmental suggestions to help them avoid future involvement in any questionable animal activities. Middle school children are impressionable, and I would hope that the three six graders involved in this specific incident will be courageous enough next time to refuse to participate. If you have a child who abuses animals, he needs help…not punishment, but professional counseling. With everyone working together, cruelty to animals, as well as to people, can begin to diminish, and boys can be boys in productive ways.
“One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child
is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it.”
Spring this year certainly has verified E.E. Cummings’s assertion that the world is mud –luscious and puddle-wonderful, but with warmer weather, also come problems like allergies, skin infections and flea and tick invasions.
Pets sometimes cause allergies, but they can also suffer allergies. Although some allergic substances are ingested, most are inhaled, and pets suffer from the same miseries as human allergy sufferers, although they don’t sneeze or blow their noses.
The two common seasonal allergies that may affect your dog are flea allergies and atopy. Flea bite allergies caused by an immune reaction to flea saliva are extremely common in dogs, but are easily diagnosed, and a caregiver has many options available to eradicate that parasite from the dog’s environment. Prevention is always better than a cure.
Atopy or allergic inhaled dermatitis is caused by something in the air or environment like ragweed, pollen, mites, mold, feathers, grasses, trees, and shrubs, or something being harvested in the area. Since these compounds are in abundance everywhere it is obvious that totally preventing exposure is impossible.
Dogs tend to experience skin disorders rather than sneezing and watery eyes, and once exposed, they usually become extremely itchy. The telltale signs that your dog has an allergy are the scratching, licking, and chewing. If your dog really starts to lick excessively, he probably has allergies from inhaling dust or pollens—the canine version of hay fever. When skin allergies are caused by environmental allergens, allergen dogs get very itchy. Typically they will scratch, bite, chew, or rub their face, necks, armpits, groin, rectal area, bottom of the tail, the bend of the joints and between the toes. Continuous scratching can lead to scratch marks, hair loss, darkened or thickened skin, dandruff and greasiness. In some dogs, additional eye and nose allergies, or secondary bacterial or yeast infections develop.
Many topical treatments, including shampoos, gels, lotions, rinses and other treatments, are available to soothe irritated skin, calm itchiness, and reduce inflammation, and antihistamines can be used to reduce the effects of seasonal allergies.
Obviously, it is important to determine the source of any allergic reaction in your dog before a realistic treatment can be established, and since different dogs respond to different treatments, it may take a little time for your vet to find the solution that works best for your dog, but it is important to identify the allergen and, if possible, remove it from your dog’s environment, and to improve his immune responses. There may be no cure for allergy, but with understanding and patience, you and your vet can treat the issue and perhaps correct the imbalance in the dog’s immune system, which will result in a much happier dog.
And a treat –scrumptious would be:
Peanut Butter-Yogurt Cubes (healthy for both two-legs and four legs)
- Blend 1- 5oz. can chicken,
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- 2 cups yogurt
- When well-blended, spoon mixture into lightly greased ice cube trays.
- When frozen solid, pop out cubes and place in freezer bag.
- Serve on easy-to clean surface…
Enjoy a mud-luscious, puddle-wonderful, treat -scrumptious Spring!
“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, but love leaves a memory no one can steal”.
Memorial Day 2015 is now history. The establishment of that day, originally called Decoration Day, was initiated to honor the soldiers who died during the American Civil War, and by the late 19th century, the holiday became known as Memorial Day, and was expanded to include all deceased veterans. In 1971 it was declared a federal holiday, and most of us enjoyed the three-day weekend with parties, celebrations, and various events honoring the brave men and women who gave the ultimate price for our nation.
“Those who serve overseas do so at the cost of great personal sacrifice.
A tale such as this — literal truth or not —
serves to remind us all of how much they give and how much we owe them.”
One of my favorite “memorial” stories is a poignant tale that’s been around for years, about an adopted lab named Reggie, which according to Snopes, isn’t true . The story of Paul Mallory may not be literal truth, but that doesn’t prevent it from being figurative truth to remind us all that kind words and thoughtful gestures, whether on Memorial Day or any day, are always appreciated. Even if you’ve heard it before, it is still a wonderful reminder of the amazing bond that is possible between humans and canines:
James had moved to a new location and was lonely, so he decided to adopt a dog. The local shelter showed him numerous dogs, but he was drawn to a dog stretched out quietly in a cage near the back. The note on his kennel said “Reggie doesn’t respond well to shelter life. His only interest is in tennis balls… not eating well…very lethargic.”
Somehow James felt he had found his dog. The shelter placed all the dog’s belongings, except for a few tennis balls, into a bag, and off they went. Once home, the dog’s stuff was put in a cupboard and the new caregiver struggled to build a relationship with Reggie. Nothing worked. The dog didn’t even respond to his name, and finally James sadly made the decision to return the dog to the shelter. As he packed up the dog’s possessions, he noticed an envelope that the shelter had given to him, and he had forgotten about. The envelope was addressed to “WHOEVER GETS MY DOG”
The letter read:
“Well I can’t say that I am happy you’re reading this….I’m not happy writing it. Let me tell you about my dog in the hopes it will help you bond with each other. First he loves tennis balls. He hoards them. He usually has two in his mouth and tries to get a third one in there. He loves car rides. He hates vets. He loves people. His name is Tank, because that’s what I drive. I made arrangements with my company commander that, if something happened to me, that Tank should be put up for adoption. It was my only real request of the Army on my deployment to Iraq, and my CO said he’d do it personally, so if you are reading this, then he made good on his word. Tank has been my only family for the last six years, and now I hope and pray that you make him a part of your family too, and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me. Tank is my example of service and of love, and I hope I have honored him by my service to my country and comrades. Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home, and give him an extra hug every night from me.
Signed: Paul Mallory”
James folded the letter and slipped it back into the envelope. Everyone knew about Paul Mallory, local kid, killed in the line of duty when he gave his life to save three buddies. He leaned forward in his chair, and rested his elbows on his knees, and stared at the dog. “Hey, Tank,” he said quietly. The dog looked up, his ears cocked. “C’mere, Tank.” The dog jumped up, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor as he went toward James, who kept whispering his name, over and over. A wave of relief seemed to flood over both of them, as James buried his face into the dog’s scruff and hugged him…”It’s you and me now, Tank. Just you and me. “
Tank reached up and licked James’ cheek. “So what’daya say we play some ball?” Tank’s ears perked again, and he disappeared into the next room. When he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.
A well-known cliché admonishes us to make lemonade if we are given lemons. In other words, when we are faced with a bad situation, we should work to make it better. Great solution for humans, but for our companion animals, that’s not an option. They have no voice; they have no choice; they are totally dependent on humans, and sadly, many humans value monetary gain more highly than the welfare of man’s best friends.
Iowa still ranks as the second worst state in the entire country for puppy mills, and puppy mills are certainly lemons…actually worse than lemons…as animal welfare groups and non- profit grass roots organizations such as Iowa Voters for Companion Animals, have discovered the last few years. (And if you don’t live in Iowa, a little research will probably reveal the existence of mills in your state).
What an irony it is that in our country where we spend BILLIONS of dollars on pets every year, a nation where more than half of us share our lives with companion animals, that millions of creatures that we claim to love are born and live in misery in shockingly squalid conditions where they are mass produced for profit each year. Some never survive, and the ones who do are usually scarred, emotionally and physically. The females are bred and bred and bred, over and over and over, to produce litter after litter after litter, resulting in hundreds of thousands of puppies churned out every year for sale at pet stores, over the internet, and through newspaper ads. This cruelty will stop only when people stop buying puppy mill puppies, and we pass better legislation to ensure better care. .
If you want a dog in your life, please understand these facts:
- Reputable breeders care where their puppies go and interview potential adopters. They don’t sell through pet stores, and not through newspaper ads, Craig’s List, or internet sites without meeting and interviewing the prospective family.
- “Purebred” documents aren’t worth the paper they are written on. Even the American Kennel Association admits that it “cannot guarantee the quality of health of the dogs in its registry.”
- A “USDA inspected” breeder does not necessarily mean a good breeder. The USDA establishes only minimum standards, and many USDA licensed puppy mills operate under deplorable conditions with known violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
- Puppy mill puppies often have medical problems, but pet retailers don’t care that poor breeding and lack of socialization may lead to behavior problems throughout the dogs’ lives. They count on the bond between families and their new puppies being so strong that the puppies won’t be returned.
- Puppy mills will continue to operate until people stop buying puppy mill dogs. The bottom line is money… If the mills don’t make money, they will close…so it is up to you and me!
One way to improve the plight of these dogs is to enact AND ENFORCE standards of care for the animals and standards of practice for their sale. Sometimes it seems that our government believes it is doing enough—it’s up to us—“We the people”—to become involved. Don’t close your eyes, and say, “It’s sad, but what can I do?” Animal welfare and rescue groups are struggling to pass better legislation, but if things are ever to really change for the animals that we claim to love so much, WE must ALL join the cause.
Canine victims suffer deprivation and death in nightmare puppy mills. That’s a fact. If life gives you a lemon, you can make lemonade, that’s a fact…BUT if the lemon is rotten, it’s best to just get rid of it…that’s a fact. Puppy mills are rotten… let’s get rid of them. If you live in Iowa, join Iowa Voters for Companion Animals to keep updated on current animal welfare legislation (firstname.lastname@example.org ) If you live elsewhere, find a grass roots animal welfare group that monitors legislation. Keep informed (and educate your friends and neighbors) concerning your legislators’ track records. Let them know your concerns. “WE THE PEOPLE” have the power, but we must use it.
An estimated several million people are bitten by dogs each year, and most of them are children. Now that school is out, the kids are spending more time outdoors, which increases the possibility of being nipped by a dog,, and it is important to understand that any dog can bite if pushed beyond his limits. Ian Dunbar, a respected animal behaviorist and veterinarian, is quoted for saying, “When dogs are upset or annoyed, they don’t call their lawyer… they bite.”
Dogs rarely bite without provocation, but when a well-meaning, excited, squealing child rushes up to a dog and tries to hug the animal, sometimes even a sweet-natured dog may snap. Although most bites do not cause serious injuries, they are frightening experiences, and the tragedy is that almost all bites can be prevented with proper education. Teach your children to never yell, poke or pull at a dog and to never interrupt a dog that is eating, eliminating or sleeping. Also show them how to stroke a dog from below his head. “Most kids pet from the top down, and they do it quickly, which violates the dog’s concept of personal space,” asserts Dunbar. To avoid dog bites, behaviorists offer these suggestions:
- Spay or neuter your dog. Statistics confirm that dogs who have not been altered are three times more likely to bite. Encourage family, friends, and neighbors to get their canine companions “fixed.”
- Properly socialize your dog. Safely introduce him to cars, bicycles, veterinarians, loud noises, other animals, toddlers, stairs, water, vacuum cleaners, and strange people and places. Dogs usually bite out of fear, and if they are not afraid (or in pain), they rarely bite.
- Teach your children to respect life. Show them how to properly touch and handle a dog. Young children should be discouraged from carrying dogs, because they lack the coordination to properly support the dog and keep him from falling. Children need to understand that dogs are living, breathing, loving creatures. There is a direct correlation between children who abuse animals and those kids, when grown up, abusing people.
- Never leave a young child unsupervised with a dog. Never, no matter how well trained you think the child is. If you have toddlers, create a safe place for your dog to go when she doesn’t want to be bothered. If she is not able to get away when she feels threatened, the unfortunate alternative is usually lip lifting, growling or biting. Give the dog a place to go where the child absolutely cannot follow.
- Don’t tease your dog or play mindless games that encourage the dog to become aggressive. Encourage your kids to put themselves in the dog’s “shoes” and treat him with the respect and love that he deserves.
- Don’t tie your dog out. Tied dogs are frustrated dogs and tend to become hyper and feisty. A child entering an area where a dog is or if a neighbor ties a dog out, teach your children to not go near the dog. It is an accident waiting to happen.
- Enroll your dog in obedience classes to establish productive behaviors that will discourage inappropriate actions. Involve the entire family in the classes, so that everyone follows the same rules.
Classes are usually good training for both humans and canines.
Our dogs play an important role in our lives, and they exert a powerful positive influence. They truly are our best friends, and they seldom bite without provocation… usually a human action triggers a negative reaction from the dog. They do not attack out of the blue, but we may not recognize the cause, and unfortunately the dog is usually blamed. Taking common sense precautions is the best way to keep all of us safe and allow us to continue that special human-canine relationship.
“Happy Mother’s Day!”
Americans spend millions of dollars every year buying gifts for their Mothers on this special occasion, but there is an old (but true) cliche that stresses ‘actions speak louder than words.’ The founder of Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis, was vehemently opposed to the commercialization of the holiday, but she certainly approved of random acts of kindness to express thankfulness to Moms. It doesn’t cost much to pamper her a little bit on her day, just as she pampers you all year round. Almost every mother would love a “Services Coupon Book.” There are many chores around the house that she would appreciate help with (Just be sure that you honor your promises when she decides to use a coupon).
While honoring our own moms, let’s speak out about the plight of mothers of a different species: dogs who spend their entire lives caged and neglected in puppy mills—mother dogs who are forced over and over again to produce puppies under conditions of unimaginable cruelty. Google the words, “Puppies for sale” and you will get MILLIONs of hits back, and although some of those listings are legitimate and caring breeders, the majority of the listings link to digital venues for puppy mills that use the internet to peddle their “products.” Using sophisticated, convincing tactics, they reach people who are totally unaware of the actual living conditions where little or no consideration is given for genetic defects, or the health and well-being of the mass produced animals. Documentation of puppy mills across the country reveals dogs living in rows of filthy wire cages in dilapidated facilities where the dogs lack adequate food, veterinary care, sanitation, and human interaction. The breeders’ goal? Make money!!! As we think “Happy Mother’s Day, it is important to become involved in the effort to shut down these places that certainly do not have a happy mother’s day or any other day.
- Never buy a puppy over the Internet or from a pet store. Almost all puppies sold in pet stores are puppy mill dogs, regardless of what the store claims.
- Use extreme caution with classified ads. INSIST on seeing where the adult dogs and puppies live—do not meet the seller at another location. And if you can’t see the mother and her living conditions, don’t walk away – RUN!
- Consider adoption from a rescue organization or search carefully for responsible breeders.
- Support legislation that regulates and reduces breeding of animals. Involve yourself in the legislative process to promote laws that make live better for our four-footed companions.
- Remember: puppy mills will continue to thrive until people stop buying puppy mill dogs. Use every opportunity to educate people with the facts.
- Mothers always have great advice, and here are a few reminders for dealing with both humans and canines (on Mother’s Day and Every Day!):
- Every day is a new day. The opportunity to make a new start. Wipe the slate clean; begin anew.
- Stand up for justice and practice compassion. One of the most powerful things we can do is to spread compassion toward both humans and animals. Let’s use our power!
HAPPY MOM’S DAY!!!
On Mother’s Day, we express our heartfelt thanks for our mothers’ unconditional love and guidance.
“Your mother is always with you… She is the cool hand on your brow when you are not feeling well, and the shoulder to lean on when life disappoints you. A mother shows through in every emotion—happiness, sadness, fear, jealousy, love, hate, anger, helplessness, excitement, joy, sorrow—and all the while hoping and praying you will know only the good feelings in life. She’s the place you came from, your first home, and she’s the map you follow with every step you take. She’s your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy, but nothing on earth can separate you. Not time, not space—not even death.”
– Temple Bailey wrote these words in 1933 for Good Housekeeping Magazine, but they ring as true today as they did then.
Mothers are special, and dog moms are especially special. Here are a few thoughts from a DOG mom:
- Before I was a dog mom, I made and served homemade meals. There was never any dog hair in my dinners…or on my clothes. And now most of my homemade treats are dog biscuits.
- I slept in on weekends, and never worried about how late I got to bed… there were no woofs or wags to wake me up to go outside at 6:00 A.M.
- My house smelled fresh and clean, not like wet dog fur, and no one ever tripped over toys, stuffies, or chewies. I didn’t have to scoop poop, retrieve chewed up socks, or decapitated toys.
- How could a furry, four-legged dog affect my heart so deeply? I didn’t even think I liked dogs much, until I held an innocent puppy mill rescue, and was reminded of the plight of mill babies, and the poor mother dogs who spend their entire lives caged and neglected, as they are bred over and over again to produce puppies for profit under conditions of unimaginable cruelty.
- I didn’t realize that one little creature could make me feel so important. When I am on the verge of a meltdown, I can count on my canine companion for inspiration and comfort. I don’t need a psychiatrist when I have her by my side, and she is certainly better than any prescription tranquilizer.
- I enjoy the warmth, the joy, the love, and wonderment of being owned by a dog. He has taught me so many things about what is really important in life. He has taught me that it is more important to seriously play than it is to play serious. He is a good listener, stress reliever, and empty nest filler, all in one furry package.
- I have become better educated about the plight of animals, and am an advocate for the companion animals who have no voice, no choice. I now realize that if I see cruelty or wrong that I have the power to stop, and do nothing, I make myself a sharer in the guilt.
- Being a dog mom has helped me to be a more loving, compassionate mother to my two-legged kids, and although I may say, “I’m not cut out for this job of motherhood”, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. As a mom, I have one of the highest salaried jobs… since the payment is pure love.
Mother’s Day (and every day) is the perfect time to celebrate the joys of having a mother, or mother figure in our lives. It is because of them that we have learned to embrace every day for what it is, and aspire to make it more. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
I recently reminded caregivers that pet parasites are alive and well…. Now it is time to get serious… REALLY serious. Often the small things in life create the biggest problems, and parasites may be small, but they can cause big problems for your dog. Humans have death and taxes…most dogs are afflicted with parasites at some point in their lives. Almost all puppies are born with roundworm infection, and roundworm is the most common internal parasite in any age dog simply because it is spread from the mother, or can be picked up in contaminated soil. Sometimes roundworms can be spotted in a dog’s stools, looking like wiggling pieces of spaghetti, but who looks at a dog’s bathroom deposits?
Yuk! Checking your dog’s feces is certainly not glamorous, but you can get valuable information about his health from the color, odor, consistency, contents, and amount of his poop. Usually a healthy poop is well-formed, firm but not hard, moist, and doesn’t fall apart when picked up. Various medical conditions can affect the stool, so if your dog’s poop strays from the norm for a day or two, it may not be serious, and even mucus or blood doesn’t mean that your dog is dying, but it definitely warrants a visit to the vet, and whether or not you see worms doesn’t mean that parasites are not infecting your dogs:
- Hookworms can cause significant illness as they have sharp teeth that tear into the lining of the intestine, and they actually feed on the animal’s blood, which can cause anemia.
- Whipworms are tough to diagnose because even a fecal exam may miss them since they do not come out in every stool, but intermittently.
- Tapeworms can sometimes be seen by checking your pet’s bottom. Look for rice-shaped tapeworm segments squirming on the hair near the dog’s anus. Most pets that have tapeworms got them originally from infected fleas.
- Heartworm is one of the most damaging of all parasites and heartworm larvae enters an animal through a mosquito bite, and the mosquitoes are already numerous, meaning that it’s likely to be a huge parasite infection this year!
- Other parasites that are sometimes found in a fecal exam are protozoan parasites, coccidia, and giardia, a very insidious parasite that is found mostly in stagnant water, but it can pop up in lakes and ponds.
It’s time to get serious. Do not wait until you see a flea or find a tick. And yes, the ticks are already active! We removed ticks from a new rescue dog just this last week, and even if you see no evidence of worm infestation, regular fecal samples should be checked regularly to determine what, if any, parasite is present. Protecting your pet from internal parasites is a vital part of responsible pet care because, although they may be puny, they can wreak havoc on your dog’s health. We do not recommend buying over- the- counter wormers or flea and tick preventatives because many of the generic products are either too harsh or may be ineffective, and some are downright dangerous! Trust your vet to help you choose the products that will be most effective in eliminating any problems. Fleas, ticks and worms can all be defeated with preparation, vigilance, and treatment but you must be serious, really serious!