Old Jake’s Christmas Wish

With Christmas coming, it is a very common request for a child or even teen to request a “puppy” for a gift, but are you ready for life after the puppy stages? The average dog lives for a dozen years…are you ready to commit for twelve years?. Will you have a child and still have enough time to care for your dog and the baby? Will you be moving in the next 12 years. Will your next home be pet friendly?. These are just a few questions you need to consider before you decide to adopt a super sweet, totally dependent, puppy as a Christmas gift. When you get a puppy, it will pee and poop in the house. They will chew toys, carpet, anything around because they are not trained. Would you bring a newborn baby home and get angry when he has accidents? You have to expect accidents with a puppy. They cannot train themselves.. training is your responsibility. The arrival of a dog changes a household considerably…for years. Someone has to be responsible for their daily needs—feeding, exercise, health care, grooming. The decision should be thought about, talked about and negotiated, and a new dog doesn’t necessarily have to be a puppy. There are many older dogs who would make wonderful companions. Old dogs like Jake have a special sort of dignity and charm all their own, if only they are given a chance.

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the pound

Not a creature was stirring, except one lonely old hound.

His dim eyes could see the shelter was decorated in holiday trim

And poor old Jake kept waiting for a visit from Him.

All of his friends had found a new home,

Except for old Jake, all cold and alone.

But Jake knew it was Christmas, the gift-giving season;

He hoped his friends were placed for the appropriate reason.

He had seen it before, the holiday gift…

A new dog at Christmas….gave everyone a life.

But a dog isn’t a gift; it’s a lifetime commitment..

The dog that on Christmas who brought so much joy,

Ends up tossed aside, like an old worn-out toy.

The dog becomes a problem; they don’t want it around,

And often the Christmas pup ends up back in the pound.

The night grew colder, and no one came.

Who would want an old dog, all crippled and lame?.

So Jake closed his eyes and drifted to sleep

It was a good nap, all peaceful and deep.

Jake didn’t wake up that Christmas Eve night,

But he had found his new home…everything was right.

He was in his eternal home, where he was loved, he knew.

Old Jake’s Christmas wish had finally come true.

 

IF YOU CAN’T COMMIT, PLEASE DON’T GET A DOG!

Iowa Dogs Remain on Horrible Hundred

Imagine spending your entire life barefoot on a wire floor. Your feet are always sore, and often bloody. There are three (or more) other living beings in your cramped, dirty cage with you. There is little protection from the sun, rain, wind and snow. You are constantly forced to breed, and your offspring are taken from you and sold, except for the babies that die from lack of proper care. You are exhausted, starving, and sick. The large male shut in with you attacks you when you try to eat or drink. You have infected bites and scratches all over your body, and you are always afraid. You may die from any number of ailments, and if not, you might wish you did. Such is the fate of thousands of dogs in our country, and Iowa ranks as the second worst state in the entire country for puppy mills

Our Iowa legislature was sent a very simple bill asking that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship be allowed to inspect the Iowa puppy mills that had received direct violation citations from the USDA – Nothing more than that. The bill would have, quite simply, provided a tiny bit of additional oversight of the worst of the worst Iowa breeders. Most of the final language was actually proposed by the IDALS, and they informed the House and Senate leadership that they would register in support of the bill when it came forward. Then, House leadership decided to bow to a request to send the bill to the House Ag committee where it was left to die. It never made it to the floor for a vote. It appears that the House Ag Committee is where all animal welfare bills are sent to die…this has happened before, and documentation confirms that it has happened to other animal welfare bills.

Don’t our legislators care about the welfare of our puppy mill dogs, or the national publicity that Iowa receives for being on the Horrible Hundred List that reveals the very worst puppy mills in the entire nation (based on the analysis of USDA inspection reports)? Iowa is getting better at being worse! I am not a political activist, but apparently our ability to get laws passed that will provide any protection for Iowa’s puppy mill dogs is totally dependent on the people we vote into our Iowa state legislature. This November every House seat in our state legislature and every even-numbered Senate seat is up for election.

Talk to your candidates about this issue. Let them know that animal welfare is important to you, and that having the second largest number of the nation’s worst puppy mills is shameful. If you REALLY want to make a difference, but need facts and figures, Iowa Voters For Companion Animals, a non-radical grass roots organization, is a great contact. Go to mlahay@iowavca.org , for updated information , and ways that you can make a difference in the lives of Iowa dogs. (Even if you don’t live in Iowa, they would appreciate hearing from you!) The power of animal lovers joined together can change animal protection and welfare. Let’s use our power to help the animals.

There they languish, huddled in dirty, cramped cages; frail bodies shiver in defeat, sadness reflected in their pleading eyes. Because of man’s callous greed they are ripped from their mothers far too soon. They long to love and be loved, but no one seems to care. The mills consider them property to be bought and sold. Only you can help these animals in need, and end this awful greed.

Don’t Get Pinched by the Leprechauns!

On March 17, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, a day rich in tradition. The Saint for whom the day is named was kidnapped from Britain, and was made a slave in Ireland for six years. Upon his escape, he returned to Britain, but late in life, he felt called back to Ireland to join the Christian missionary effort then in place and lived out his life there. He promoted the meaningful message of working hard, and having firm faith and convictions…. the day was originally a Catholic holiday celebrating this patron saint of Ireland.

Today St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of Irish culture, with festive foods and celebration. It has become customary to wear something green, but why do we wear green? It has been said that blue was the first color connected with St. Patrick’s Day. However, Ireland’s tri-colored flag features blue, and Ireland is also known as The Emerald Isle because of its deep green landscape. The color of spring is also green, as are shamrocks. There is a legend that wearing green on this day makes you invisible and leprechauns can’t pinch you because they can’t see you.

Ireland is known for more than “wearing of the green,”; it is also the country of origin for many dog breeds which have gained popularity in the United States.

  • The best known Irish dog is probably the Irish Setter. The Irish Red Setter is an elegant, intelligent, auburn-haired bird dog who likes to have a job to do. The Red and White Setter is nearly identical in build and personality to his red-headed cousin, and is primarily used as a gun dog.
  • There are four terrier breeds from Ireland, and they have a lot in common, but THE Irish terrier is the only one with an all-red coat. They are also the oldest of the Emerald Isle’s native terriers, and were originally developed to hunt vermin. The Irish terrier gained world- wide popularity after serving as a messenger dog and sentinel during World War. This hardy, loyal terrier makes an awesome family pet.
  • The Glen of Imaal Terrier, originally bred to eradicate vermin, was developed to withstand hard work with little affection, but these dogs have become favorite family dogs because of their endearing terrier enthusiasm and deep affection for their people.
  • The Kerry Blue Terrier was also originally bred to catch rats and other vermin on farms, and is as hardy and devoted as the rest. They are known for being great all-around farm dogs and family dogs.
  • The Irish water spaniel is a big, vibrant hunting dog with a distinct “rat tail” and a waterproof coat. They resemble the Portuguese water dog, and it is possible that they derived from dogs brought over in Portuguese fishing boats.
  • The Irish wolfhound, according to the AKC, is the tallest of all dog breeds, with adult males measuring up to 34 inches at the shoulder. It is also likely the oldest Irish dog breed, dating at least as far back as the fifth century, and is considered a beloved symbol of Irish resilience.
  • The Kerry Beagle is not to be confused with the traditional beagle that we know and love. It is a larger, longer hound with more in common with the American Coonhound. It is likely that he originated from Celtic hounds bred with dogs from “the continent” to make strong hunting stock.
  • Wheaton Terriers are active dogs with a bountiful supply of playfulness, and can be very noisy, but they excel at many outdoor and obedience activities. They do not do well in hot weather, and have been known to easily overheat.
  • The Irish Toy Collie’s lineage includes some very useful dogs, such as the Shetland Sheepdog, among other talented herders. This breed also includes a large amount of Spitz-breed genetics, resulting in a lively, very smart dog with a sweet personality.

If you are considering adopting, check out the awesome Celtic canine breeds (for more info on Irish Canines, go to www.irishcentral.com). Whether your fancy runs to Irish dogs, leprechauns, the emergence of Spring, or the heroic life of St. Patrick, this holiday holds something for everyone! (And just in case the leprechauns are watching, play it safe and wear a touch of green!

May your day be touched by a bit of Irish luck, brightened by loyal four-footed friends, and warmed by the smiles of the people you love. HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!!!

Will You Help the Helpless?

WILL YOU COMMIT TO HELPING THE HELPLESS?

Animal welfare groups across the country are struggling to raise awareness of the plight of hundreds of thousands of puppies suffering in cramped, crude, filthy puppy mills where there is constant breeding of unhealthy and often genetically defective dogs solely for profit. . It is common to find dogs housed in makeshift shelters such as salvaged trucks, semi trailers, or old buildings without heat or adequate ventilation, meaning that the dogs freeze in the winter and die of heat in the summer.. Kept in small cages their entire lives, their fur is matted and filthy, and bodies are covered with sores. Many have bite scars because of the dog fights that occur in such cramped conditions from which there is no escape. They aren’t exercised, and lack socialization or human compassion. They are not provided adequate vet care or nutrition. Adult dogs are bred until their bodies are so worn out that they stop producing or develop serious health problems, at which time they may be shot, abandoned, or sold at auctions. Unfortunately this is a reality for thousands of dogs in Iowa puppy mills.

Iowa is still the second worse state in the entire country for the number of puppy mills, and it seems like everyone “feels bad”, but improvement is slow… until we become involved, really involved, things will not change. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” In a world of people who seemingly couldn’t care less about puppy mill dogs, , hopefully excerpts from this letter I am sharing (with permission) from a rescuer to a puppy mill owner, will inspire us all to become people who couldn’t care more! One of the most powerful things we can do is to spread compassion to animals. The power of animal lovers joined together can change animal protection and welfare. Let’s use our power and decide to help the helpless!

“Dear Puppy Miller,

I have been involved in dog rescue essentially my entire life, and for the record, I am not an animal rights activist. I am simply a person who believes in the right of humane treatment for all living beings. What I witnessed on your property was far from humane. Hundreds of terrified ailing faces, imprisoned in their wire confines, some staring at me, but most too fearful to look into my eyes, so unsure of how to interpret human contact. That experience has caused me countless sleepless nights and to this very day, the sadness and the fear in their eyes haunt my very being.

I am completely aware that you were operating within USDA standards and that many of your dogs are AKC registered—what a despicable thought this is. I am also aware that in your circles, commercial breeding dogs are considered livestock. Dogs are not livestock…years ago, man domesticated dogs to be our protectors, hunters, herders, guardians, but most of all our companions.

I focus on just one of your dogs, Lily, that I brought home with me. It was agonizing for our family to watch her survive through four surgeries to remove mammary tumors, to attempt to repair her decaying face, and to spay her, removing the papery black, pus filled organ that was once her uterus. How selfish of you to never see her pain, just dollars. You spent more than forty years of your God given life, using dogs for personal gain. No regard to their physical or mental well-being, just cashing in on their ability to reproduce. Think about the thousands of dogs that passed through your hands—you robbed them of the simply joys they so deserve…a good meal, a warm, comfortable place to sleep, medical attention, and most of all, a human companion to make their lives whole. In our home, Lily learned about being a family member, being a dog, being worthy, being loved. She changed our lives forever, and she died as a direct result of the neglect she suffered for seven years in your care. How many others have suffered the same fate? Your industry has been hidden far to long. The word is out. The days are numbered. People like you will soon venture out into fields of honest work and leave the care of God’s creatures to those of us who truly care.”

To see the complete story of Lily and other puppy mill dogs,  go to http://milldogrescue.org

If you are really concerned about the plight of Iowa dogs, we invite you to mark Saturday, October 3, on your calendar. The TLC, 602 East Chaney Street, Newell, Iowa is hosting an informational meeting and a PIZZA PARTY!!! Come join us at noon for pizza, and learn the facts about Iowa dogs. We are privileged to have Mary Lahay, President of Iowa Voters for Companion Animals, as our honored guest. Mary will share specific ways you can be involved in making life better for Iowa dogs.

Please RSVP that you will join us for free pizza and inspiration – call 712-272-3553 or e-mail plarsen@rconnect.com

There may be times when it seems we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to try…A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history—Gandhi

 

Our First Plea for Help in Fifteen Years!

Our first plea for help in fifteen years!!!

Most of you know that Iowa still ranks as number 2 in the number of puppy mills in the state in Iowa. For fifteen years , the TLC Canine Center has been actively working to raise awareness to the problem, and help Iowa dogs…we now have a GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY, but we NEED HELP. We understand that animal rescue groups are all struggling, but we would appreciate it if all of you would just post our plea for help on every site you can think of, and list a link to our center- tlccaninecenter.com – perhaps some will be led to help our venture. As Mother Teresa observed, “I can do things you cannot; you can do things I cannot. TOGETHER WE CAN DO GREAT THINGS!”

Ellen Hartstack has been involved with the TLC for eight years, and she has committed to re-locating to Iowa in the Story County area…a very needy area that received a great deal of negative notoriety recently because of one of the 10 worst puppy mills in the entire country was located in that area. This facility has finally been closed down, which offers the TLC the opportunity (and responsibility) to turn a Bad Newz Puppy Mill into a GOOD NEWS rehabilitation and training center for homeless dogs out here on the Iowa prairie.  We have the option to buy the perfect place right down the road from the Bad News Mill…All perfectly situated to be exactly what we want and where we need it.

Our goal is to help find forever homes for deserving dogs and train dogs with behavior problems who might be in danger of losing their homes. WE NEED $100,000 TO BRING THIS DREAM TO REALITY! IMPOSSIBLE? As Shel Silverstein asserts, “Nothing is impossible. Anything can be.” We have been pledged $50,000 but WE NEED MATCHING FUNDS. I am reminded of Mother Teresa’s observation: “I can do things you cannot; you can do things I cannot. TOGETHER, WE CAN DO GREAT THINGS.” On behalf of the many Iowa dogs that are lonely, frightened, suffering, and sometimes dying, we humbly ask for your help. Working together we can make the Iowa prairie a safer, healthier, happier place for needy dogs. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

God Bless & Merry Christmas!
Pauline and Ellen
Co-directors of the TLC Canine Center

‘Tis Pumpkin Season

Here a pumpkin…there a pumpkin…everywhere you look there is a pumpkin…or two…or three…or more, and it is definitely the season for everyone to indulge in pumpkin-flavored sweets, and by everyone, we mean everyone, dogs included.   There are many human foods that you should definitely not share with your pooch, but pumpkin has health benefits for both two-legs and four-legs.  Loaded with nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, and alpha and beta carotene, the health benefits of pumpkin can result in a healthier immune system, healthier skin, healthier eyes, and a healthier coat.  (Even the seeds are a doggy super food.) Wow!  That’s not too shabby for a treat that almost all dogs love.    Here are a few health benefits of pumpkin when given in small portions:

  • Some health care professionals believe that the oils contained in the seeds and flesh of pumpkins support urinary health in dogs, and anyone whose dog has had bladder or kidney stones, know how much suffering they can cause.  Supposedly adding pumpkin to his diet can help avoid this painful condition.
  • The antioxidants and essential fatty acids contained in pumpkin seeds help moisturize your dog’s skin   from the inside out.  Spread seeds evenly onto a lightly greased baking sheet, and roast in a 375 degree oven for about l0 minutes, and cool before serving one or two as a special daily treat.   (Leftover seeds should be stored in an airtight container).  Don’t overdo the portion sizes, since minerals like iron and fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A can accumulate to unhealthy, even toxic levels.
  • According to Laci Schaible, founder of VetLive.com, pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix with spices and sugar…just plain pumpkin) is great for digestive health.  Adding a tablespoon or two (in proportion dog’s size) to their regular meal is known to help keep a dog regular.  It can also help dogs with indigestion or upset stomachs.  Again remember to not overdo portion sizes.
  • Most of our dogs seem to have the same weight problem as most of us humans, and dogs seem to naturally love pumpkin, so if you are looking to take a few pounds off your overweight companion, try reducing the portion of their food and mix it with a small amount of canned pumpkin.  The tummy will feel just as full, and she will enjoy the new taste treat.

November seems to be the month of putting delicious pumpkin into every baked food imaginable, so adding pumpkin to dog biscuits should be a no-brainer.   Hopefully you will forget about non-healthy commercial dog treats and try this easy-to-make recipe

PEANUT BUTTER – PUMPKIN BITES

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (plain pumpkin, not pie mix pumpkin)
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 ½ cups whole wheat flour

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees while you mix the first four ingredients.   Then add the flour.  (I knead it with my hands).  Dough should be workable…not too sticky, but not dry and stiff.  (Add a few drops of water if needed).    Pinch off bite sized pieces and place on lightly greased cookie sheets.  Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown.   If they get too brown, it’s okay…they will just be crunchier….if they are still soft, they will be chewier…dogs aren’t fussy…they love them any way they turn out!

 

Enjoy spooky music, chocolate treats and scary movies?

For most of us, Halloween is a festive time with spooky jack-o-lanterns, kids in costumes, and plenty of candy, and money conscious marketing experts are promoting the idea of putting the dogs in costume, and millions of Americans are following their suggestions. All the pet catalogs and pet departments are featuring a grand variety of costumes, and many of them are really cute…hard to resist, but the fact is that they are commercial ventures targeted to gullible humans, not for the enjoyment of the dogs. Do you really believe that your dog will enjoy wearing cheaply made, ill-fitting, sometimes dangerous clothing? If you are honest, you will probably admit that your dog would be more comfortable in her “birthday suit” than wearing a costume. Our dogs love us and have a deep desire to please…they will do almost anything to gain their humans’ approval, but who benefits from dressing them in costumes? Dogs are dogs, and most of them dislike the confinement of costumes, and dress up is usually a major mess-up for the animals. We encourage you to reconsider before you rush out and spend big bucks (or even little bucks) on that cute costume.

Now for another fact: I realize that many pet parents are going to ignore my suggestion, (some have already purchased the outfit), and so here are a few tips:

  •  Think safety, not cuteness…the costume should not restrict the animal’s movement, vision, or his hearing, and should not impede his ability to breathe or bark. I browsed through some really cute costumes in several pet departments, and almost all of them had small, dangling, or easily chewed-off pieces that the dog could choke on. Buttons, tassels, and ribbons can cause serious intestinal blockage, and poorly fitted outfits can get twisted or caught on external objects.
  • Does your dog have sensitive skin? The synthetic materials found in most of the costumes, besides being uncomfortable, can generate allergic reactions, which will result in an evening of uncomfortable scratching and skin irritations, even with non-allergic dogs.
  • Don’t wait until the BIG NIGHT to try on all costumes…you need to have several dress rehearsals, and if your pet seems distressed or shows abnormal behavior, pay attention. If he starts to lick or chew at himself or the costume, it is likely that he is stressed. Sure he looks cute, but forcing him to do something that he does not want to do can result in bad behaviors and future conflicts. Is the “cuteness” worth the price? Wouldn’t he honestly be happier going “au natural”? And if you can’t resist parading her in a costume, never leave her alone. Ridiculously cute can quickly become downright dangerous.

It really is fun browsing through the catalogs and pet departments to see all the unique costumes, but ask yourself what your real motivation is…will your dog be happier with or without a costume? My advice is FORGET THE COSTUME! Your dog will appreciate a decision to settle for a festive collar or a cute bandanna.

Your dog has one aim in life—to bestow his heart… and he asks for little in return.

He may well be the most memorable friend in life,

one who loves you even when you aren’t very lovable.

Without a choice, without a voice,

your dog depends on his humans to make the best decisions for him.

—J.R. Ackerley

 

Treat Tactics for a Healthy Dog

What better way is there to love your dog than by giving him treats?  The trick is choosing HEALTHY treats…sounds simple, but it’s not.  Walk down the treat aisle in any pet supply story (or even your local grocery store), and you can’t miss them: row upon row of attractively packaged types, styles, sizes, and brands to choose from, and since treats are not required to be nutritionally complete and balanced, very few are healthy for your dog.  An ideal dog treat is one made from good quality ingredients, low in calories and fat, high in protein, and offers additional health benefits. BEFORE you buy any commercial packaged treats, check the ingredient list on the package. (You will probably be horrified to find out what is really in those cute little tidbits!)

Good treats should not contain:

  • Animal by-products…this term can mean almost anything. AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) defines chicken by-product meal as consisting of “the ground, rendered parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidable.” Doesn’t sound very savory, does it?
  • Artificial preservatives such as BHT, BHA, or Ethoxyquin.  There are safer and healthier preservatives such as Vitamin C and E. (Vitamin E is sometimes listed as “mixed-tocopherols”)
  • Artificial colors. Your dog doesn’t care what color his food is. Artificial colors are absolutely unnecessary chemicals.  Green, red and yellow treats do not contain healthy vegetables; they contain dyes!
  • Artificial or low quality palatability enhancers. Treats are sort of like candy; they should taste better than the dog’s regular food, but they shouldn’t contain anything bad for the dog. I suggest avoiding treats that contain high amounts of sweeteners such as sucrose or corn syrup. 
  • Propylene glycol.  Yes, it’s the stuff that’s in antifreeze and it is toxic to dogs.  It is used in some pet treats to keep them moist and chewy.

If you are serious about giving your dog healthy treats, the best solution is to make homemade ones (or a raw baby carrot).  There are many simple, easy-to-make recipes to satisfy the most finicky dog.

Treats are a form of affection and an invaluable training tool, When high quality treats are given discriminately, they promote your dog’s enjoyment and confidence! 

Cheesy Treats

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flower (preferably wheat flour)
  • 1  ½ cups of shredded cheese
  • ½ cups of canola oil
  • 4 or 5 tablespoons of water

Directions:

Combine ingredients and mix well to form a stiff dough.  Pinch off small hunks of the dough and place on lightly greased baking sheet. Flatten slightly with your thumb, and bake for about 18 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

Simply Scrumptious Simple Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of cornmeal
  • 6 tablespoons of oil
  • 2/3 cups meat broth
  • 2 cups of wheat flour

Directions:

Combine ingredients and mix well. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Honey-licious Treats

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • ¾ cup cornmeal
  • ¼ cup oatmeal

Directions:

Mix thoroughly. Drop walnut sized pieces on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.