Celebrate National Mutts’ Day

July 21st, 2014 Comments off

National Mutt Day is celebrated every July… actually caregivers who are owned by mutts celebrate their four-footed companion EVERY day, but officially animal welfare advocate and founder of Mutt Day, Colleen Paige, explains the purpose of the day is to raise awareness of the plight of mixed breed dogs in shelters and rescue facilities, and to educate the public about the millions of healthy, loving, mixed breed dogs desperately awaiting new homes. National Mutt Day encourages people to adopt a dog-in-need from shelters across the nation instead of pet stores, which are supplied by puppy mills. “Puppy mills are horrific places that neglect and abuse dogs for financial gain. I think that if everyone who wanted a dog would adopt from a shelter or a rescue group, we could make a huge impact on the overpopulation of unwanted dogs in America. Mutts are great family dogs, and are often healthier, behave better, and live longer, and are just as able as purebred dogs to perform expected duties! Please make a visit to your local facility…if you can’t adopt, volunteer to walk dogs, donate food or other supplies needed, or make a donation in the memory of a loved dog. In every heart there is a hole…and in every shelter, there is love to fill it.”

Tips to help you celebrate Mutt’s Day (or any other day):

  • Always be patient and kind and give her lots of love and praise every day. Be proud to announce that your dog is a Mutt.
  • Every dog loves a good walk, or some undivided snuggle time. A good brushing, tummy rub, or massage is always appreciated.
  • Offer to walk a mutt that gets little attention from her caregiver.
  • Write your Congressman and ask that he/she support the ban on puppy mills.
  • Buy your mutt a fun, new dog toy.
  • Throw out all your chemical cleaners, and purchase non-toxic cleaner for your home…both your dog and you will be healthier.
  • Buy a canine first aid kit so that you are prepared in case of emergency.
  • Microchip and I.D. tag your Mutt with current info so if she gets lost, you can be located.
  • Make sure your Mutt has all necessary vaccines and regular health exams.
  • Install a physical fence if you have an unfenced yard, so that your mutt can run and enjoy some freedom at home. NEVER chain him outdoors to a tree or doghouse. Include him in your family be letting him live inside your home with you.
  • Check the ingredients of your dog’s food. Many well known foods are NOT quality foods. Deciphering a pet food label may be confusing, so www.dogfoodadvisor.com, an independent site ranks all of the major dog foods. When you discover how different foods rank, you may decide to switch your dog’s food.
  • Most commercial treats are not healthy, and some are downright toxic. The FDA is continually issuing warnings about dog treats (and foods) that are potentially poisonous to your dog. We recommend no commercial treats, but especially avoid those that are imported from China. It is easy (and cheaper) to make your own homemade treats for your Mutt. Frozen dog treats are always welcome on a hot day, and they are easy to make. Dogs LOVE ice cubes, and flavored ice cubes are even better. What can you freeze for your dog? Just about anything.  You can make pupsickles in ice cube trays, or for larger dogs, use a paper cup, and before serving, peel away the cup. If you want to make your dog work for it, pour your ingredients into a stuffable Kong toy, plug the end with peanut butter or dry kibble. (Yes, they are all messy, but your dog’s appreciation is worth the mess!)
  • Pumpkin pops—Mix some canned pumpkin (NOT pie mix, just plain pumpkin), low fat yogurt, and a bit of water, and freeze.
  • Chicken broth on ice—freeze some low sodium beef or chicken broth…you can add almost anything…a few bits of leftover chicken, beef, or fish…bits of cheese, carrots or even peas. Iced treats are so easy to make and fun to eat. Just be sure to never add anything that is toxic to dogs: No avocado, chocolate, macadamia nuts, onions, raisins, grapes or tomato leaves, please.

AHHH… the joys of having a dog: total and complete love and devotion… loyalty, and the determination to stick with you, right by your side, no matter what. If you are lucky enough to have a dog, you are truly blessed.

 

Heatstroke is a Potential Killer

July 13th, 2014 Comments off

People have efficient ways to keep cool during the hot summer months…if they don’t have air conditioners, they simply sweat, but dog’s don’t have the luxury of turning air conditioning on, and they don’t have sweat glands on their bodies like we do.  They may perspire a bit through the pads on their paws, but basically they rely on panting to regulate their body heat. If a dog is confined to a hot, humid environment or has been exercising too strenuously under the scorching sun, heat exhaustion can pose serious health problems, and if the condition progresses to heatstroke, nervous system abnormalities may include lethargy, weakness, collapse, or coma, and the dog needs immediate treatment or it may be fatal.

On hot, humid days, your dog is better off spending most of his time indoors in a temperature-controlled environment. Limit her outdoor exercise to early morning when the temperatures and humidity are at their lowest level, and watch her tongue. If you see the end of her tongue widening, that is a signal that she needs to rest and cool down. Other signs of heat exhaustion are loud, rapid breathing, and excess salivation. If not immediately moved to a cool area, she will begin to show signs of heatstroke, including rapid heartbeat, agitation, staggering, vomiting, white or bluish gums, and eventual collapse. (Only one or two of these symptoms has to be present to indicate that she may be in trouble.)

A few tips to help keep your dog from getting overheated all summer long:

  • Dogs can dehydrate very quickly, so make sure yours has plenty of fresh, clean water available at all times. If he has to be outside for any length of time, he should have access to complete shade.
  • A shorter summer hair-do is great, but leave it at least an inch long, because his fur helps protect him from the sun. Don’t shave your dog too close!
  • Don’t overdo exercise or play sessions, regardless of the time of the day. Over exertion in hot weather—even after dark—can bring on heat-related health problems. Exercise during the coolest parts of the day, stay in the shade if possible, and if it’s 90 degrees or more, stay inside, and increase indoor activities.
  • Keep your dog off hot asphalt or concrete. It can burn his paws and the heat rising from the hot surface can quickly overheat your low-to-the-ground friend.

Leaving pets unattended in a vehicle is not wise in any weather, but many states now consider it a criminal offense to leave them in extreme heat or cold. Most communities have rescue provisions which allow police officers or store employees to do whatever is necessary to rescue an animal trapped in a vehicle in dangerous temperatures. No matter where you live, if you see a pet confined in an unattended vehicle, alert the store management and CALL LAW ENFORCEMENT. Even with the windows open, the temperature in a car can rise to deadly levels within MINUTES.

Unfortunately too many dogs succumb to heat stroke when it could have been avoided with a little preparation and forethought. Know your dog…some have a higher sensitivity to heat and a lesser ability to evacuate heat once they have been exposed to high temperatures. Recognize what level of activity is appropriate under different conditions for your dog, and know when to say when. The best treatment for heatstroke is prevention. Learn the signs of heatstroke, and take the necessary steps to prevent it, to ensure your dog will beat the heat this summer!

In the good old summertime

July 7th, 2014 Comments off

Summer is a time for both you and your dog to enjoy the sunshine and outdoors, but along with the fun, there are some dangers for your animal. To keep your companion animals safe this summer:

  • NEVER leave him in a parked car. The temperature in a car can reach 120 degrees in just minutes even on a moderately warm day. If you see an animal in a parked car, alert the management of the store, and if the owner does not respond promptly, call the police. Take a look at this public awareness video by Dr. Ernie Ward: http://youtu.be/JbOcCQ-y3OY.
  • Summer is often when people fertilize their lawns and work in their gardens. Plant food, fertilizer, and insecticides can be fatal if your dog ingests them. In addition, more than 700 plants can cause harmful effects in animals…complete lists of toxic plants can be found at www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plant-list-dogs.
  • Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes which are abundant this year, so be sure that your dog is taking heartworm prevention medication prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Dogs can’t perspire and can only dispel heat by panting and through the pads of their feet, so it is important to provide plenty of water and shade while they’re enjoying the great outdoors so that they can stay cool.
  • Dogs need exercise even when it is hot, but extra care needs to be taken to limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Keep in mind that cement and asphalt get very hot and can burn your pet’s paws.
  • Fleas and ticks are another summertime threat! Use only flea and tick treatments recommended by your veterinarian. Some over-the-counter products can be toxic, even when used according to instructions.
  • Pets can get sunburned too, and your dog may require sunscreen on her nose and ear tips. Those with light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears are particularly vulnerable to sunburn (and skin cancer). Don’t shave the coat of a long-haired dog too closely for his “summer coat.” Hair helps insulate and control body temperature, and exposed skin is more susceptible to sunburn.
  • Avoid taking your dog to crowded summer events such as rock concerts or fairs. The loud noises and crowds, combined with the heat, can be stressful and dangerous for pets. For their well-being, leave them home!

Charles Newing remembers the good old summer time with nostalgia, recalling a time when he and his big old dog just sat on the front porch, enjoying each other’s company:

Are rocking chairs in this country, I’m asking myself, being rocked on summer evenings as much as they once were? Or do they stand abandoned and motionless on deserted porches across the land? Do humans still find a place under the shade trees to take naps with their beloved four-legged companions, now that the air conditioned homes offer relief from the pesky flies and blistering heat? How often do they engage in a game of fetch- the- stick, or bring- me –the- ball now that they have their laptops and i-pods and cell phones?

Emily Dickinson, in a letter from 1856, noticed the awesomeness of summer, writing, “If God had been here this summer, and had seen the things that I have seen—I guess that He would think His Paradise superfluous.” I can’t brag in this same fashion about our summer this year, because of all the rain, (and the humungous size of the mosquitoes) but we have been so busy that we haven’t really taken time to enjoy much of anything.

I seldom take time to walk around the block with my dog, much less rock on the front porch….and now that I think about it, I don’t have a front porch any more.  But even without a front porch, (and no rocking chair), the world won’t stop spinning if I ignore all my “to-do” lists and obligations (and turn off my cell phone) for a little while. The good old summer time will be gone too quickly, so come on, fella, let’s go out under the shady elm tree and take a good long nap…then maybe we can have a game of fetch.

Fourth of July Litter

June 30th, 2014 Comments off

I seldom rerun a story, but occasionally we all find it necessary to sort through our piles of papers, and a good dog lover-friend found this column that I had done five or six years ago, and suggested it was worth sharing again, so here’s the story of The Fourth of July Litter.

Another year’s celebration of high-pitched swooshing rockets climbing into the sky, with the fantastic light shows and lots of food and fellowship is history. It was certainly a fun outdoor time for picnics and parties, and now park employees and city crews are busy cleaning up the litter left behind. Shelters are already receiving frantic calls about missing dogs that apparently panicked and ran to escape the festivities. They are also receiving numerous calls about animals simply dumped for one reason or other…frightened, confused, and starving. This is a sad story, but the truth is that helpless pets are left to suffer and die, and I would hope that the next time you see a homeless animal, you will be reminded of this tale. As Charles Doram says, “Folks will know how large your heart is by the way you treat a needy dog.”

For several days the little shaggy dog had stayed next to a trash can in the park where it was shady and cool. The fresh earth of the small hole she had dug beneath the picnic table gave a little comfort to her skin, skin that was embedded with thorns and covered with fleas and ticks that were slowly draining the life out of her frail body. She could barely see because of matted fur that was covering her eyes. Weak and in pain, she had not felt like looking for food and water. Vaguely she remembered a bowl filled with food, a wrinkled hand and another one with fresh water. Oh yes… cool, refreshing water!

Suddenly her head raises, her tail starts to thump, hesitantly and slowly at first, then getting faster and faster. Cars are coming through the park! The morning peace and the song of the birds are interrupted by the noise of trucks, cars, people shouting and children laughing. Tables are set up, covered with all kinds of things. The little dog recognizes the smell of food. Wearily she raises her head to see what the hustle and bustle is all about. More and more people are arriving. The smell of food is getting stronger and the little dog starts to stagger around, in hope of finding some crumbs, to ease the nagging hunger pain inside of her. Maybe there will be even a few licks of water somewhere.

There is music and everyone is having a good time, so the little dog is hardly noticed. However, two children give her a few pieces of their hotdogs and some ice cubes from a paper cup, which lessen her thirst. She follows the children who stop to talk to a large man. All of a sudden the man comes rushing at her, screaming, clapping his hands and yelling at her to “go away”! She runs as fast as she can, gets tangled in a cloth of red, white and blue colors, and desperately seeks a place for safety under a picnic table. A man bends down and gives her a gentle pat on the back. She curls up next to his seat, hoping that he will touch her again.

Drained of the little strength she had left, she falls asleep. When she wakes up, the sun is setting. The man is gathering up his belongings and is getting ready to leave. Hopefully, she wags her tail, wanting to be taken along. The man pats her once more and says, “Go home, mutt.” Then he leaves. The little dog watches until the car disappears from sight.

It is quiet now. She crawls back into her hole under the table and curls up into a small ball. Weakness relaxes her body… she is tired… so tired! Her small body quivers, and a tiny sigh escapes from her mouth. Her eyes slowly close. The noise of the fireworks do not disturb or frighten her any longer, in fact… nothing will ever frighten her again. She sees another man’s face, one she used to love so much. She feels his gentle, wrinkled hand stroke her body. The little dog is home again! This time for good.

The next morning city workers are cleaning up the park. They talk about the wonderful party they had the day before, as they pick up the trash that is carelessly scattered all over the park. One of them discovers the little dog. He picks her up. For a quick moment, a sign of compassion softens his face, then he tosses her body into the trash can with the rest of the litter, shakes his head, and walks away.

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The world is a dangerous place, not only because of those who do evil, but those who look on and do nothing. In the ideal world, there would be none left to rescue, none left to buy, none left to suffer, none left to die, none to be beaten, none to be kicked…all would be loved—Albert Einstein

Who will care for your dog if you become ill or die?

June 15th, 2014 Comments off

As a responsible pet caregiver, you provide your dog with food, water, shelter, vet care, and lots of love, but what happens if you become ill or incapacitated? Let’s face it: no one knows when an accident or sudden illness might change life for you, and to insure that your beloved pet will continue to receive proper care if something unexpected happens to you, it is critical to plan ahead. Statistics show that a high percentage of the more than 2 million Americans who die each year are animal caregivers…in other words, more than a million companion animals potentially lose their caretakers annually, and if definite arrangements have not been made, these animals can wind up neglected, abandoned, or euthanized. Do NOT just assume that a family member or friend will automatically accept responsibility. It is not enough that long ago someone verbally promised to care for your animal. Right now we have several elderly dogs whose caregivers died with assurance that their dogs would be well taken care of by family and friends, but, for one reason or another, they ended up at the shelter, confused and frightened.  It is vitally important for EVERY pet caregiver to make plans if tomorrow comes and you’re not able to care for your beloved companion. These tips can help you create a plan:

  • Find at least two responsible friends or relatives who agree to serve as caregivers in case of emergency. Provide them with keys to your home; feeding and care instructions; the name of your vet and any other helpful information.
  • Have alternate caregivers, just in case your first choices become unable or unwilling to accept the responsibility. Stay in touch with the designated caregivers and alternates. Over time, people’s priorities and circumstances change, and you need to be sure that the arrangements you have made continue to be accepted by them. Communication is the key!
  • Make sure that your neighbors, relatives, and friends know how many pets you have, and information about those who have agreed to serve as caregivers. Have an “alert list” with names and contact information in your home in a conspicuous place where it can be easily seen . Keep a card in your purse or wallet giving emergency names and phone numbers.

If you aren’t sure exactly how to provide for your pet’s care without you, there is a new, easy-to-use, book out to assist you prepare for your dogs’ future.  “If I Should Die Before My Dog…”, by Joe and Cathy Connolly is well written, beautifully illustrated, and includes worksheets that encourages caregivers to fill in the blanks, covering the obvious (name, medical history) and the not-so-obvious, but important (like what words to use to initiate potty needs). The information in this book is sure to make the life of a dog easier during difficult transition periods, and the book is available for under $15.00 from Amazon. I recommend that all responsible pet caregivers use this absolutely wonderful book.

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"If I Should Die Before My Dog -- "

"If I Should Die Before My Dog -- "

Product Description

A thought provoking check list for dog lovers, who unfortunately and with much sadness can no longer take care of their dog. This book will assist those who want to prepare for their dogs future in an easy to use format that will guide them through the process of telling the "story" of their dogs life, for their pets "Next Guardian". None of us can predict the future, but in the event situations arise such as death, health impairment or left with no other choice but to give them up, this book will be there to assist your beloved pet with the transition from one home to another.

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Another book that I suggest for ALL humans who want to stay healthy for both their four-footed companions, and their two-footed companions, is the book Unaccountable, by Marty Makary. This book is not a fun book, but it contains information that is vital to the well-being of everyone, and is also available for under $15. from Amazon.

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Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won't Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care

Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won't Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care

Product Description

“Every once in a while a book comes along that rocks the foundations of an established order that's seriously in need of being shaken. The modern American hospital is that establishment and Unaccountable is that book.”—Shannon Brownlee, author of Overtreated

Dr. Marty Makary is co-developer of the life-saving checklist outlined in Atul Gawande's bestselling The Checklist Manifesto. As a busy surgeon who has worked in many of the best hospitals in the nation, he can testify to the amazing power of modern medicine to cure. But he's also been a witness to a medical culture that routinely leaves surgical sponges inside patients, amputates the wrong limbs, and overdoses children because of sloppy handwriting. Over the last ten years, neither error rates nor costs have come down, despite scientific progress and efforts to curb expenses. Why? To patients, the healthcare system is a black box. Doctors and hospitals are unaccountable, and the lack of transparency leaves both bad doctors and systemic flaws unchecked. Patients need to know more of what healthcare workers know, so they can make informed choices. Accountability in healthcare would expose dangerous doctors, reward good performance, and force positive change nationally, using the power of the free market. Unaccountable is a powerful, no-nonsense, non-partisan diagnosis for healing our hospitals and reforming our broken healthcare system.

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I seldom urge readers to purchase specific books, but these two books are exceptions. Thirty dollars is a small investment with HUGE rewards. The one book could save your animal’s life, and the other one could literally save YOUR life.

None of us wants to think about the heartbreaking and devastating event of not being there for our dogs, but life sometimes takes unexpected turns, and it is important to plan ahead to ensure that our beloved animals will continue to be loved and cared for in the best possible way.

What is a Dad?

June 8th, 2014 Comments off

Mrs. John Dodd, of Washington, first proposed the idea of a “father’s day” in l909, because she wanted a special day to honor her father, a Civil War veteran, realizing the selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent, after his wife died. Father’s Day has become a day to not only honor your father, but all men who act as father figures; stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, and adult male friends are all honored on Father’s Day. An estimated billion dollars is spend each year in the United States for Father’s Day gifts, but there are more collect calls on Father’s Day than on any other day of the year, meaning that dad is still paying the bill on phone calls from the kids.

 

A dad is someone who wants to catch you before you fall,

 But instead picks you up, brushes you off, and allows you try again.

A dad is someone who teaches you how to relate to people and animals,

Understanding that a rescued dog offers unconditional love and loyalty.

A dad is someone who wants to keep you from making mistakes,

But instead lets you find your own way,

Even though his heart breaks in silence when you get hurt.

A dad scolds you when you hide a stray puppy in your room,

But recognizes your compassion toward everyone, two-legged and four-legged,

A dad is someone who comforts you when you cry,

And has faith in you even when you fail.

A dad will hold you tight, support you, guide you, teach you, hug you,

Protect you and love you with all his heart and soul.

I AM BLESSED

 

Like many fathers, my dad turned a blind eye to the faults of his kids, both human and canine.  This arrangement suited me and his favorite dog Chester, as we both were sometimes disobedient. Dad loved our high spirits and didn’t want to curb them or restrict our freedom…Now, Mom was a different story…she ran a tight ship, and both Chester and I knew our boundaries and limitations with Mother. For instance, when the neighbor called to complain that Chester had made off with the ham she had cooked for dinner, Mom demanded that Dad go and apologize and that Chester be confined to our own yard from that day forward. He went, reluctantly, mumbling that we would certainly replace the roast, but apparently on his apology-visit, he learned that the neighbor’s boys often left the door leading from the garage into the house ajar. Immediately he defended his companion with “Well, what does she expect if they leave the door open? Chester viewed this as an invitation to enter and sample whatever lay on the counter.” Mother replaced the ham and included some homemade cookies, and Chester stayed confined to the yard for two days, until Dad said he couldn’t stand it anymore….we were never sure whether he meant he couldn’t stand it or Chester couldn’t stand it, but Chester went back to his old exuberant self. And me? I grew up knowing, even when I was disagreeable or disobedient, that I had everything I needed…love, time, and attention, and to this day, I think my dad turns a blind eye to my faults, and although he didn’t tell me how to live, he lived an exemplary life, and I watched him do it. I am blessed to call him DAD.

We wish all dads a relaxing, shoes- off, slippers- on, wonderful kind of day. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

 

Categories: Holiday & Seasonal Tags:

Remembering Those We Have Lost

May 21st, 2014 Comments off

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was initiated to honor the soldiers who died during the American Civil War. The establishment of a public holiday was meant to unify the celebration as a national day of remembrance, and by the late 19th century, the holiday became known as Memorial Day, was expanded to include all deceased veterans, and in 1971, was declared a federal holiday. There is an inspirational nationwide display of patriotism with many families visiting war memorials and military cemeteries to honor the brave men and women who gave the ultimate price for our nation, and it is also a time when families visit civilian cemeteries to honor friends and relatives who never served in the armed services, but served their country, communities, friends, and families in other important ways.

Americans across the country remember those whom they have lost, echoing the sentiment found on an old tombstone, “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; love leaves a memory no one can steal.”

Just an Old Man and His Dog

He was getting forgetful and arthritic; his hearing was failing fast.

He sat with his old dog Skip, telling stories of his past:

Of a war that he once fought in and the deeds that he had done.

Skip listened as he told how his buddies had been heroes, every one.

And though sometimes to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,

His old dog Skip listened intently, believing what the old man spoke.

But we’ll hear his tales no longer, for ol’ Bob has passed away,

And the world’s a little poorer because a soldier died today.

He won’t be mourned by many, just his old dog Skip and his loyal wife,

For he lived an ordinary, quiet, unassuming sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family who were grown and gone away:

Few will even notice the passing of this brave soldier today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,

While thousands note their passing, proclaiming they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories, from the time that they were young,

But the passing of a soldier often goes unnoticed and unsung.

Skip sat by the empty chair of the soldier who had offered up his all,

Without a reason to live, Skip gave one last sigh,  and closed his eyes to die.

Certainly no headline in the paper will say,

“Our country is in mourning…a soldier and his loyal dog died today,”

But it’s folks like this who won for us the freedom that we now enjoy,

And the world’s a little poorer for a solder and his dog who died today.

 –Author unknown

 

As we attend parades, celebrations, various events, and family get-togethers, we remember our loved ones who are no longer with us. “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our HE-roes, and our SHE-roes!” – Maya Angelou

 

It was no Happy Mother’s Day for Puppy Mill Mamas

May 11th, 2014 Comments off

As we bask in the after- glow of a wonderful Mother’s Day of love and inspiration, it seems important to speak out about the 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 for profit under conditions of unimaginable cruelty.

If we believe that a dog is man’s best friend, how can we allow thousands of abused mother dogs to suffer in puppy mills across the nation, where they are confined in substandard, crowded, dirty conditions, without sufficient veterinary care, food, water, and socialization, with breeding dogs bred as often as possible without rest between litters, in order to increase profits.   Mothers churn out litter after litter of puppies, with the puppies taken away from their mothers too young, and   often stacked in trailers and trucked to pet stores across the country.  Others are sold over the internet.  According to Bob Baker, an investigator with the Anti-Cruelty Department of the ASPCA, “We are seeing a surge in the number of dogs being sold online, and we warn consumers to NEVER buy dogs over the internet.  It is disturbing that people will purchase a dog and have it shipped to them without ever seeing where it came from.  Is it any wonder that these puppies often show evidence of alarming genetic disorders, as well as behavioral and psychological problems? “

Consider these facts:

  • Breeding dogs at puppy mills endure constant breeding cycles and are kept year after year, as long as they are productive breeders, with  almost no regard for the dog’s health or any existing genetic conditions that may be passed on to the puppies.
  • Puppy mill dogs typically receive little or no medical care and live in crowded, squalid conditions, in wire bottom cages, without exercise, socialization or human interaction, in blistering heat and freezing cold.
  • Puppies from puppy mills are sold in pet stores, online, and directly to consumers with little or no factual information as to the dog’s health, genetic history or future welfare.
  • Breeding dogs are subjected to dog auctions where mill owners buy and sell dogs for breeding.  Puppy millers dump dogs they no longer want, and other mass dog producers come looking for a good deal.  These dogs are auctioned off like used furniture.
  • Purchasing a puppy for sale at a pet store or online usually supports the horrible puppy mill industry, and buying anything in pet stores that sell puppies support the industry too.

NEVER buy a puppy from an internet site or a pet store.  Be sure to visit the physical facility of an animal shelter or screen a breeder’s facility IN PERSON!  Responsible breeders and rescue groups will be more than happy to offer you a tour. If there is nothing bad to show, there is nothing bad to hide…if you are not welcomed onto the property, you should RUN, not walk, away!

The only way to advance humane and responsible treatment of companion animals is through education and grassroots advocacy.  If you are honestly concerned about their welfare, and want better laws to protect them, GET INVOLVED.  Write your legislators… If you live in Iowa, you know that a bill to regulate breeding facilities got close, but didn’t pass in this year’s legislature.  The dogs will have to wait another year, but you don’t have to wait… GET INVOLVED NOW.   Iowa Friends of Companion Animals works tirelessly to get state oversight of USDA-licensees, and better standards of basic care…larger cage sizes, no wire-bottomed cages, access to the outdoors, and annual vet checks.   I find it incomprehensible that ANYONE can object to what this group is advocating.   If you would like details on Iowa Friends of Companion Animals, and its sister organization, Iowa Voters for Companion Animals, please contact Mary LaHay at mlahay@iafriends.org.  (If you live outside of Iowa contact them anyway.  They could offer you suggestions about organizing an animal advocacy group in your own state).

A tribute to mom

May 5th, 2014 Comments off

A TRIBUTE TO MOM

“Dear Mom:

Sometimes I find myself wondering…Did I remember to thank you for all

the times you were by my side to help me celebrate my successes

and accept my defeats?   Or for letting me keep all the stray puppies

that seemed to follow me home, with both of us knowing that you’d be the

one to nurse them back to health and find them good homes?

Or the long nights we sat with the best friend a boy ever had, and cried together

as  our l4- year – old Golden Retriever lost his battle with cancer?

Or for teaching me the value of hard work, good judgment, courage and honesty?

Have I ever thanked you for the simple things…?

the laughter, smiles,  and quiet times we’ve shared?

Sometimes I forget to express my gratitude, so I am   thanking you today,

and want you to know that you are appreciated.”

 

Mother’s Day is a day to pay tribute to mothers!   A Jewish Proverb says, “God could not be everywhere, so He made mothers to be the banks where we could deposit all our hurts and worries.”  Moms are special, knowing that a kind word and a hug can heal a broken heart.  Your mother, and those who have been a mother figure to you  are your  first love, and nothing on earth can separate you…not time, not space…not even death.

 

As we honor our mothers, we also understand that real mothers:

sometimes moan, “Why me?” but know it is all worthwhile when someone says, “I love you,” or the puppy offers paw hugs and nose kisses.

  • often have sticky floors, filthy ovens, and happy, rambunctious two-legged and four-legged kids.
  • know that their kitchen utensils might be in the toy box or the dog bed, or even outside in the sand box.
  • accept the fact that dried play dough and pet urine are bad for carpets, and really don’t want to know what they just stepped in.

 

Real mothers often ask questions like:

  • Are you trying to give me a heart attack?   Keep this up and you’ll send me to an early grave.
  • If you don’t stop teasing that dog, we will take him to the pound.  You want that?
  • Don’t you know that I am doing this because I love you?
  • Why should I be reasonable?  I am your mother.
  • Why?  Because I said so.  That’s why.
  • He’s your dog, so why should I clean up after him?
  • Do I ever get any thanks?  You know there are millions of children in this world who aren’t blessed with mothers like me.
  • Am I complaining?  Not really… I wouldn’t trade the joy and satisfaction of being a Mom for anything!

 

A Mother is a true friend to both two-footed and four-footed kids: when troubles come, when adversity takes the place of prosperity, when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, only to desert us when trouble thickens, she will remain faithful to us, no matter what.   Special blessings to all Moms!

 

Categories: Holiday & Seasonal Tags:

A Mother Makes Life Special

April 28th, 2014 Comments off

Most beautiful things in life come by two and threes, by dozens and even hundreds.  Plenty of stars, sunsets, rainbows, flowers, and friends—but most of us are privileged to have only one mother in the whole world.  There is no influence so powerful as a mother…with limitless patience, continual encouragement and unswerving love…and for those six little words that help us through so many trying times:  “because I said so, that’s why.”

A mother makes life special…the moments of love and laughter, the traditions and memories we will carry with us throughout our lives, and most of all, a Mother shows the true meaning of love in everything she does.

As Mother’s Day approaches, a dog-lover friend recently browsed through her Mother’s memory album, and found this poem on which she had written,  “How blessed I am to be a mother… even though I sometimes hide in the bathroom to be alone!  I am learning to appreciate mud puddles, dandelions and hairy creatures called dogs, thanks to my wonderful children.”

 

                MUD PUDDLES, DANDELIONS, AND DOGS

When I look at a patch of dandelions, I see a bunch of weeds that are going to take over my garden.

My kids see flowers for Mom and blowing white fluff to wish on.

When I see a bedraggled, old homeless guy, and he smiles at me, I figure he wants something.

Kids see someone smiling at them, and they smile back.

When I feel wind on my face, I worry about it messing up my hair.

My kids close their eyes, spread their arms and fly with it, until they fall down laughing.

When I pray, I say ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ and ‘grant me this, give me that’.

My youngest always says, “Hi, God!  Thanks for all my toys and my friends,

and for my new puppy and especially for my Mom who puts up with the messes that  we make.”.

When I see a mud puddle, I step around it.  I see muddy shoes and dirty carpets.

My kids splash in it with the puppy, happily anticipating hours of fun.

When I see a starving, frightened dog standing by the side of the road,

I think of my clean car, and hope that “some Good Samaritan” will help him.

The kids see a wonderful, beautiful, loyal companion and insist that WE are the “Good Samaritans” sent to rescue him.

I wonder if Mothers are given kids to teach or learn from?   No wonder God loves the little children!

I have learned to enjoy the little things in life, knowing that one day,   I will look back and realize they were the big things.

I am so blessed to have learned and hopefully have taught my children:

  • Life is too short to waste it on petty things.  And it is petty to think you have to win every argument.  Forgive everyone everything.
  • Never compare your life to others.  You have no idea what their journey is about, and envy is a waste of time.  You already have all you need.
  • Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful, or joyful.
  • Forgive everyone everything…in five years it won’t matter that the puppy ruined your carpet, your couch, and half your shoes.   He will grow up to become the love of your life.
  • Enjoy your family, both two legged and four legged.  Miracles are waiting everywhere!
  • ENJOY MUD PUDDLES, SUNNY YELLOW DANDELIONS, AND   UNCONDITIONALLY LOYAL DOGS!