Thursday, December 30, 2010

Give a Dog a Bone cares for animals in custody

Give a Dog a Bone cares for animals in custodyPepper was an emaciated pit bull who arrived at San Francisco Animal Care and Control for the first time in 2007. The 9-year-old dog was held in city custody while her owner was investigated on charges of starving an animal. For 11 months, Pepper spent her days in a small kennel while waiting for the legal system to decide her fate. Ultimately, the district attorney lost the case and, because animals are still considered property in the eyes of the law, Pepper was returned to her abusive owner. As a volunteer at Give a Dog a Bone at San Francisco Animal Care and Control, Susie Leni sees dogs like Pepper all the time. Pepper is but one among thousands of dogs in similar situations throughout the country.

Custody dogs, as they're called, end up in shelters because their owners are hospitalized, have been jailed or evicted or, as in Pepper's case, face animal cruelty charges. While a shelter may have custody of the dog, often the owner wants it back.

Previously, custody dogs were not taken on walks and were not touched or even let out of their kennels to relieve themselves. Since the creation of Give a Dog a Bone, custody dogs receive quality-of-life enrichment, affection, attention and mental and physical stimulation. The program was founded in 1999 by Animal Care and Control volunteer Corinne Dowling. When she learned about custody dogs, her dedication became a full-time commitment to address the needs of dogs in long-term shelter care.

As a volunteer, I help attend to custody dogs, even those that may be too dangerous to take out of their kennels; these we touch with special devices designed to mimic human contact. All dogs get treat-driven puzzles to keep their brains stimulated, and enjoy loving attention until they can be released for adoption, returned to their owner, or, in some cases, euthanized. Volunteers provide custody dogs with compassion, even holding and stroking their heads and whispering lovingly to them as they die. We may not be able to save their lives, but we ease their pain with love and care, even if only for a few days or weeks.

In July, a gaunt Pepper was impounded once again. She arrived 20 pounds underweight, but at least was at a place where she could eat, play and receive love from her shelter family - things she never experienced with her owner. Despite her fragile state, Pepper showed promise, engaging with us, offering kisses and running for toys to bring back to us. It was obvious she had been deprived in many ways. Knowing that Pepper had spent many months in confinement at the shelter, we were determined to help turn her into the beautiful, well-fed dog she should have always been. Gradually, Pepper's energy and zest for life were restored. And this time her outcome was different.

Though the district attorney again failed to protect Pepper in its prosecution of her owner, Animal Care and Control managed to persuade the owner to surrender her to the city's custody, and had someone willing to adopt Pepper so she could live out her life with love, stimulation and food. Despite her many years of abuse and neglect, Pepper now lives peacefully with two other dogs and her human guardian. And I consider myself blessed to have worked with a dog like Pepper and to witness the happy ending that all dogs deserve.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Coffee drinkers get a purr with their buzz in Seoul

Coffee drinkers get a purr with their buzz in SeoulSure, Oh Yoo-jin wanted a cup of coffee, but what the 24-year-old university student really wanted to do was commune with the residents of her tiny neighborhood cafe the cats. On a recent afternoon, Oh and her boyfriend shared the brightly lighted cafe with a dozen felines. There were cats lounging on the windowsills, curiously nosing customers' coffee cups or taking leisurely strolls past the register.

That's the point of Seoul's newest cat cafe: Why just caffeinate when you can indulge with a purring tabby or Russian gray on your lap? "Mom-and-pop cafes are everywhere and there's a Starbucks on just about every corner in Seoul, but this is different," Oh said as she petted a cat whose coloring matched her leopard-print blouse.

In South Korea's capital, which in recent years has felt the buzz of the coffeehouse craze, entrepreneurs know that it's not enough just to serve up drinks and scones. If you want to stay in business, you've got to separate yourself from the crowd.

So, many have turned to cafes that invite parents to relax while their children romp in supervised play areas, or where English, Mandarin or any other language but Korean is the requisite tongue.

There are cafes where customers can bake a cake, get their hair and nails done, have their fortunes read, or just marvel at hundreds of Barbie dolls.

Want a little unconditional love with your morning coffee and paper? You can head to cafes where dogs of all breeds and sizes are available for petting and friendship. At other coffeehouses, customers play board games such as Monopoly and Scrabble, compete in quiz contests and even dress up in costumes.

One university cafe features statues of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy and Woodstock.

"We offer the complete Peanuts experience," manager Hur Su-ji said, sniffing at the green Starbucks coffeehouse logo across the street. "And we do OK."

Unlike coffeehouses in other cultures, many of Seoul's themed caffeine cafes are bereft of customers in the morning. It's only in the evening that the crowds come out. But in Kwon Hyuk-jin's Cat Cafe, the customers come as soon as he opens his doors at 1 p.m. A cat lover, Kwon saw the success that a friend had introducing cats and coffee drinkers and opened his own business last month.

"Some customers come for the coffee, but most come for the cats," he said as one large tabby nosed a coffee grinder behind him. "A lot of women lead their boyfriends here by the hand."One woman, an artist, comes in each day to do paintings of the animals. Another is so fascinated by the concept that she often lingers until closing time, Kwon said.

Most tables include a lint roller. Customers are required to remove their shoes and pass through a safety door to guard against cat escapes. The Cat Cafe has rules: Don't wake up sleeping cats or grab a passing feline. You can't feed the residents, and the menu also politely asks, "Please don't tap the cats' behind.""This is a place where you can make friends with the cats," a sign reads. "However, cats are not toys."

Two friends sat on the floor and played with several rambunctious kittens. "I like Randall, the gray cat. He's a very special animal," college student Kim Joo-young said. Her friend, Choi Hee-eun, who lives with her parents, wants her own cat but her mother is against the idea. "In Korea, some of the old-timers still believe that cats bring bad luck," she said.

But there seems to be little bad karma at the Cat Cafe. At a window table, near a box that housed a sleeping kitten, Oh Yoo-jin and her boyfriend looked pretty much at peace. "I like this environment," said boyfriend Lee Ho, sneaking a glance at Oh. "And who knows, one day I could see myself actually proposing here."

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Horse racing losing patrons to casinos

The horses prick up their ears as a flamingo hue bleeds into the dawn sky. They chortle through their velvet nostrils. They nod their silky heads. The sun is rising at Calder racetrack and the horses are ready to run.

Eddie Plesa, trainer of thoroughbreds, moves around the barn with a brisk gait, from tack room, to office, to stalls. He talks to riders, grooms, jockey agents, a veterinarian and a blacksmith while overseeing a routine that never changes. There are poultices to be applied, flanks to be rubbed and a hopeless case named Malini, who runs like he's in quicksand, to be shipped to a farm.

In Calder's backside village, Barn 74 is the home of Edward Plesa Stables, symbolized by the black diamond P. Every day for 40 years his horses have run around the track and walked around the shedrow, generation after generation of winners and losers, round and round.

``How'd you go, Pete?'' he asked an exercise rider aboard To Heir Is Human. ``Real smooth, boss,'' Pete Shelton said after galloping the gelding through a workout. Plesa, 59, started hot-walking horses and filling bags of clover for 50 cents when he was 5 years old. His father was a jockey and one of the first trainers at Calder. His wife's father was a jockey, and her brothers are trainers.

Plesa's daughter, studying equine science at the University of Kentucky, longs to become a trainer. But he hopes she finds a different passion. His livelihood, and a way of life, is vanishing.


The sport of kings once had a regal atmosphere to match the magnificence of the animals. Presidents and playboys, moguls and movie stars came to tracks in jackets and ties and fancy dresses to watch Man O'War, Citation, Secretariat. They sat in their name-plated boxes and dined at the Turf Club. Aristocrats owned horses as a hobby.

These days, tracks across the country are in trouble. Maryland racing, which includes the Preakness Stakes, was ready to shut down Dec. 31 until the governor orchestrated a Dec. 22 deal that includes state bailout money. In South Florida, Hialeah, once a jewel, was closed for eight years; it's trying to revive with unfashionable quarter horse racing. Gulfstream's corporate owner, which also owns Santa Anita and Pimlico, was in bankruptcy and lost $23 million on racing last quarter.

At Calder, the motley crowds are as small as the prize purses. Maybe 2,000 spectators in T-shirts and baseball caps watch races that pay $12,000. The grandstand is empty except for a few senior citizens. The wagering clerks and food stand workers have a faraway gaze as they wait for a customer to place a bet or buy a slice of pizza. The silence is broken by gray-skinned bettors cursing at TV screens simulcasting races from other deserted tracks.

Outside, the patchy grass of the once-lush paddock is ringed by wilting impatiens. Worthless tickets skitter in the breeze. The bugler's tune echoes across the finish line. ``It's a dying sport,'' Plesa said. He closes his eyes for a second, and tries not to sound wistful. ``It hurts to see how this place has deteriorated.''

But stroll 50 yards away from the racetrack into the year-old Calder Casino and it's like leaving a dilapidated amusement park and entering a swanky nightclub. The floors are lined with thick, colorful carpet. The lighting is soft and low. Pop music is pumped throughout the warehouse-sized room. There are free soft drink stations, plus the Twin Spires Tavern and Front Runners Café. Employees are attentive, perky.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Pet Adoptions In Full Swing For Holidays

It was one of the Humane Society's busiest times of the year. Dozens of prospective pet owners were in search for the perfect addition to their family for this holiday season. In order to help find these animals a new home the humane society reduced the price of adoptions to 50% off for dogs six months or older. It was the final day to name your own price for the adoption of cats.

"There's a lot of unwanted pets and its sad so today this is our way of contributing," said Amy Killion. The Humane Society provides every adopted animal with health tests and also recommends inserting microchips into your pets necks before the holidays. "With the fireworks going off throughout the new year, the animals freak out with all the noise and they tend to run away," Adoption Supervisor Violet Iuta said.

A micro-chip contains the contact information of the pet's owner. In the case that a pet gets lost, the microchip can help insure that every lost pet can be returned to its owner. Micro-chips cost on average anywhere from $15 to $30 dollars. The humane society offers the placement of microchips for $5 dollars if you adopt an animal from their facility.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Family Pit Bull Attacks Toddler

A toddler in Riverside suffered injuries to her face and head after being attacked by the family pit bull. Riverside County Animal Services Captain Tammie Belmonte said officers responded to a call Wednesday night involving an attack. Officers and emergency responders with the city of Riverside initially handled the 911 call from the residence in the 9500 block of Arlington Avenue.

Animal Control Officer Lorena Barron made contact with the victim's parents at Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center in Riverside. Due to the severity of the injuries, the victim was later transferred to the Loma Linda University Medical Center.

The parents were not home when the attack occurred, but their 2-year-old daughter was under the supervision of a grandmother and aunt. Tonka, a 3-year-old male American bull dog mix, was looking "oddly" at the toddler immediately before the attack, the aunt told Officer Barron.

Tonka attacked the girl and pinned her against a television. The aunt jumped up to separate the dog from her niece, according to Officer Barron's report. The aunt pulled the dog away and shielded her niece. Tonka then attacked her, biting her right calf.

Although the attack was apparently unprovoked, a second dog at the residence, a 5-year-old female Australian shepherd named Coby, was believed to be in heat, Captain Belmonte said. The American bull dog's behavior could have been more unpredictable due to the female dog's fertility signals, Belmonte said.

The parents signed over both dogs for euthanasia. Neither pet had been sterilized, vaccinated or licensed. The American bull dog mix will be sent to a lab to test him for rabies.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dog 'cooked to death' in hot car

A dog left muzzled and restrained in a car on a Christchurch rooftop car park on a sunny day probably "cooked to death" in the heat, the Canterbury SPCA says. The SPCA is investigating the incident and says the owners could be fined up to $75,000 or jailed for up to three years if found responsible for the death.

SPCA manager Geoff Sutton said the little pomeranian, which had been harnessed to a seatbelt and tightly muzzled, was already dead by the time staff arrived at the car park in Shirley on Saturday afternoon. A dog or any animal trapped in a hot car would literally "cook" to death, he said.

"It cooks really, from the brain, the blood, every part of it. A dog doesn't sweat like you and I do. A dog can only cool itself down through panting."A dog also needed access to plenty of water and be in cool, fresh air to moderate its temperature.

He was reluctant to comment on the case until post-mortem results were returned and an official investigation was completed. However, the cause of the pomeranian's death was likely to be heart failure brought on by "severe heat stress".

Mr Sutton said that keeping a dog in a car while doing activities such as shopping, visiting friends or going to the beach was irresponsible. "This sort of behaviour is all too frequent and whenever it happens it is quite frankly stupid," he said.

"It's completely avoidable, it's completely unnecessary... a dog should only be transported in a car when it's going somewhere for the dog."However, putting a dog in a car was not an offence and the SPCA could only take action once the dog was in distress or pain.

"Nobody can really take preventative action other than the owner not taking it out in the first place. We will always respond if the dog is showing signs of distress but sometimes that's too late."

Animal neglect made him angry, he said. "Animals can't talk - they rely on us to provide them with all the things they need to have a safe and happy life."He pleaded with the public to look after their pets responsibly. "If the trip is not for the dog - don't take it. I don't know a simpler way of saying it," he said.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Trap costs dog a leg (Video)

Laila, a boxer-mix, loves to chase squirrels and rabbits. Her owner expects the dog will be back on the trail before long, even though she had a leg amputated Monday after getting caught in an illegal steel wildlife trap.

“It will slow her down for a couple weeks,'' said Fred Frasure. “I'm sure she'll be back at it soon enough.”The Nebraska Humane Society received a call Monday about an injured dog near 84th Street and the Papillion Parkway. Human Society officers spotted Laila running near the Papillion Creek with trap still attached to her leg. Officers captured Laila, removed the trap and contacted her owners.

Mark Langan, spokesman for the Humane Society, said dogs that lose a leg often can get around just fine with three legs. Layla had been missing since Oct. 26, and Frasure had made numerous attempts to find her.

Frasure said Laila got loose after he put her in the fenced backyard at his home. The fence's gate may not have been latched all the way, he said. Langan said that setting traps like the one that caught Laila is illegal in the city limits. He said it's rare for a pet to get caught in one of the traps. Langan said he's concerned that there may be more of the traps set near the creek. The traps also would be dangerous for people, particularly children, he said.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Dog-friendly winter destinations

As the holiday travel season hits high gear, leisure industry insiders predict that more people will be traveling with their dogs to winter destinations in 2010 than in previous years. “There are fantastic deals for pet-friendly vacations offering travelers rates at least a third cheaper than the usual standard rates at this time of the year,” said Victor Owens, Vice President North America of “We’re predicting this to be the best season since 2007.”

The website, which offers vacation seekers more than 90,000 hotel options to choose from, is paying close attention to popular pet-friendly destinations. Owens says that while various cities across America in states such as Colorado and Vermont have a well-earned reputation for being pet-friendly, people traveling with dogs are broadening their horizons and looking to vacation in more “undiscovered” locations such as Jackson Hole, Wyo., Bismarck, N.D., and Pierre, S.D.

“We have people scouting these areas and adding information to our website on a regular basis,” says Owens. “These are definitely destinations to watch in the future.”

Owens says another state putting out the welcome mat for pets is Montana.

“Granted it's cold, but many people like the idea of big open spaces to enjoy snow activities with their pets.”

Winter sports activities
Popular winter activities for people with pets include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing on pet-designated trails and the popular sport of skijoring, in which a dog equipped with a harness pulls a cross-country skier across the trails.

Every year, the dog travel magazine Fido Friendly publishes its top 10 ski destinations for powder hounds.

“I think Park City, Utah, is another upcoming Fido-friendly destination,” says Susan Sims, the magazine’s publisher. “There’s been a huge increase in the number of properties in Deer Valley that welcome furry guests. Choices include private homes, renovated historic mining cabins and luxurious hotels like the Montage in Deer Valley.”

In addition to dog-friendly trails, Sims says Park City also offers excellent dog-sitting amenities such as Doginhaus, where dogs can enjoy canine fun with other pooches while their owners negotiate serious slopes.

Lake Placid, N.Y., is another destination that Sims recommends. At the Lake Placid Lodge in the Adirondack Mountains, the general manager’s golden retriever, Maggie, is happy to show people around and guide them back the lodge. The area also offers excellent opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing with pets.

Red River, N.M., is known as the Ski Town of the Southwest and offers a good selection of pet-friendly activities and accommodations. The Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Area has three miles of trails designated for people to ski or snowshoe with their dogs and hosts "Dog Days" at the end of the season, where the entire area is open for dogs to frolic and have fun. Dogs are also welcome in any of the shops on Main Street.

Dog-friendly Aspen
Aspen, Colo., has a longstanding reputation for being pet-friendly. The city’s original dog-friendly hotel, the Limelight Hotel, is across the street from dog-friendly Wagner Park and continues to host many regular doggie guests. This popular ski resort offers miles of hiking and walking trails, including the beginner-level Rio Grande Trail, the popular Smuggler/Hunter Creek Trail, and the challenging Ute Trail.

Today the city boasts numerous upscale pet-friendly resorts, including the trendy Sky Hotel. Dogs stay free, and the hotel has a dog-walking service for pet owners who want a little alone time. For budget-conscious travelers, the conveniently located Aspen Mountain Lodge also is friendly to Fido.

The famous Little Nell’s Petiquette Program offers doggie-sized portions of the hotel's room-service menu, including such dishes as beef tenderloin with scrambled eggs and brown rice. The same amenities are available at the newly opened Residences at the Little Nell. The resort’s 'Living Room' and 'Terrace Bar' invite dogs to join their human companions for five-star dining.

For anyone looking to adopt a new dog, the Aspen Animal Shelter allows potential pet parents to take pets back to their hotel for a trial sleepover. The successful program helps ensure that potential owners have found the right pet before proceeding with adoption.

Another Colorado destination, Telluride, boasts more dog residents than people — and the numbers increase further during the holiday season. Pets are allowed in select cabins on the free gondola that connects Telluride with Mountain Village. They are also allowed on the Galloping Goose, the town’s free shuttle bus.

More favorites
Websites such as and offer an excellent selection of pet-friendly destinations around the country. "Traveling With Your Pet: The AAA PetBook" is a handy publication that also lists pet-friendly places catering to every price range and every paw.

Grayling, Mich., is another upcoming destination looking to entertain pet owners during the winter season.

“It’s a great place to avoid crowds,” says Ilene Wilson, spokesperson for the Grayling Visitors Bureau. “About 70 percent of this Michigan county is owned by the state and federal government, so there are lots of wide-open spaces for vacationers to take their dogs snowshoeing or backcountry skiing.

“While Grayling doesn’t have any pet-friendly restaurants, but there are numerous very affordable motels in the area that allow pets.”

For pet owners looking to pamper their pooches, the Gunflint Lodge on the Gunflint Trail just north of Grand Marais, in northern Minnesota, hosts special dog lover’s weekends. The next one, called the Woofda Uffda, is scheduled for Jan. 21-23.

“The program includes dog sledding, skijoring, trick training for dogs, and special doggie socials,” says Lisa Sellman, who also arranges special Tellington Touch sessions to relax and sooth canines after a day of fun in the snow.

Another popular winter favorite for the pet set is South Lake Tahoe.

“We have regulars that return every year,” says Robin Eichenfield, owner of the Deerfield Lodge at Heavenly in this popular year-round resort. “In fact, people with pets are the majority of our business. Our canine guests love to romp in the snowy courtyard while their families build snowmen. It’s always such fun to watch the longer-haired breeds get covered in snow until they look like huge snowballs.” Mammoth Mountain is another world-renowned ski destination with a pet-friendly reputation. Apart from typical winter activities such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, dogs also get to enjoy snowball chases. Hotels such as the Westin Monache, located at the base of Mammoth Mountain, cater to canine snow enthusiasts, as do many restaurants in the village, including the Side Door Bistro and Gomez’s Restaurant and Cantina.

“It’s a pooch paradise,” says Westin Monache spokesperson Natasha Bourlin. “From doggie bakeries to super pet boutiques, it’s a destination that caters specifically for the four-legged travelers.”

Sandy Robins is an award-winning pet lifestyle writer. She is the recent recipient of the Humane Society of the United States' Pets for Life Award. Her work appears in many national and international publications.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pets as presents not recommended

Almost Home Humane Society Executive Director Michelle Warren said giving the gift of a puppy this holiday season is not recommended. "We are on the position of not doing it. Just because the holidays are so stressful, and transition for a pet at that time is not ideal," said Warren.

Warren said the surprise of a new pet is the biggest issue, it means the owner and pet don't have time to figure out if they are compatible. "The actual person that's going to have care of the animal, be responsible for the animal, needs to pick it out. Actually make sure that's what they're looking for. Not all cats are the same, not all dogs are the same," said Warren.

Warren said bringing a pet home as a present for the holidays can be stressful for both the owner and the animal. "A lot of people have, you know company coming over. There are things in the house like Christmas trees and decorations in the house that aren't normally around. transitioning an animal from a shelter, or anywhere, they need the most calm introduction into the family possible," said Warren.

New pets aren't the only ones to worry about during the holidays. Warren said old pets need special attention over the holiday season as well.

"You just want to be very careful with the decorations you have out, the plants that are out. And than feeding off the table also can cause major stomach issues, especially if they're not used to it," said Warren.

Warren encourages people set on giving a pet a home this year to come in to Almost Home Humane Society, and purchase a gift certificate.

For those with pets, the Almost Home Humane Society will hold their holiday open house on Sunday December 12. The event gives pets and owners the opportunity to take photos with Santa.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Dog care facility opens

As the end of December approaches, some people may be heading out of town for the holiday season. While making sure that every family member is safe, secure and jolly throughout Christmas, one member may tend to be forgotten. Dave Carr and Paula Russello have that special member in mind. Carr and Russello are owners and head trainers at Complete Canine, a 9,500 square-foot dog care facility that provides a dog day care, boarding, private training, grooming and pet portraits. Their goal is to provide dogs with a relaxing, stress-free environment.

The state of the art facility, newly opened on Dec. 1, is located at 6746 Martin St. in Rome. The building houses a reception area, indoor and outdoor play area and kennel. This may sound like a typical canine kennel but the philosophy that Carr and Russello have instituted at Complete Canine is what stands out in the dog-eat-dog world of canine care.

"We believe in training dogs with structure," says Russello.

"We run a very regimented program. We teach dogs leadership skills, stress socialization with other dogs and animals and we also conduct in home behavior modification that focuses on home problems such as playing too rough, barking, etc."

This, combined with approximately 15 years of experience and life-long passions for dogs, explains why Complete Canine has garnered attention.

Russello and Carr both dreamed of creating this haven for dogs back when they started Complete Canine in 2006. Training out of their backyard, the two planned for a move into an actual facility that featured an indoor area. After a year of preparations, they decided on the Martin Street location. Russello, a self-proclaimed "germophobe," took over from there.

"Being a mother and dog owner myself I wanted a place that would be safe and clean for dog and child alike," Russello says. "The material that covers the ground and up the walls of this facility is anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. The dog's waste is immediately cleaned up whether playing or in the kennel area. If I find any sign of waste, dirt, etc. left unattended, someone is going to be in trouble. That is how serious I am."

Dogs and their owners are pleased and impressed at the setup and protocol of the indoor play area. The room is divided into two sections. A little dog area that can fit 25 dogs and a big dog area that can maintain up to 50 dogs comfortably. The room is replete with innocuous toys and obstacles that allow the dog to let loose while still remaining safe. The dog toys are rubber and hard in order to maintain the anti-bacterial environment that Russello strives for. The outdoor play area, just outside of the indoor area, is concrete as opposed to grass in order to make it more difficult for the dogs to contract any bacteria or viruses.

The kennel section contains dozens of custom-built boarding cells that provide a dog of any size the space to sleep and relax comfortably. Privacy is stressed and exhibited by the fact that each cell is walled on three sides with a gate that deters the dog from feeling boxed in. Above each cell is a panel hung down from the ceiling. These panels are designed to absorb sound, such as the echoing bark of a dog, to relieve the dogs of unneeded stress. When asked why the couple has gone to such lengths to cater to the animals, Russello has flashbacks.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

How to care for your dog in winters

Dog is a man's best friend. As winters are approaching, here's how you should take care of your most trusting friend.

1 Get it checked: Take your pet for a check-up before winter kicks in, to be doubly sure that they don’t have any medical problems that will make them more
vulnerable to the cold.

2 Warmth is the key: Keep your pet indoors as much as you can when the mercury drops. Staying warm requires extra calories. Your pet may require more food or a change in diet. Consult your vet.

3 Clothe them up: Some dogs especially short haired dogs get very cold and may require a dog jacket to keep them warm. However, this doesn’t keep them entirely warm as pets lose most of their body heat from under their feet, ears and respiratory tract. Booties and ear puffs will help keep them warm.

4 Blow dry: If your dog gets wet, then towel or blow dry them to get them dry as soon as possible or else they will catch a cold easily.

5 Treat stiffness: Be particularly gentle with elderly and arthritic pets during the winter. The cold can leave their joints extremely stiff and tender. Make sure they have a thick, soft bed in a warm room for the chilly nights.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

How to Keep Your Pets Safe This Winter

While people merely need to put on a coat and gloves to stay warm in the cold, pets need us to protect them from old man winter. All outdoor pets should have shelter from the wind, rain, and snow. When the temperature outside drops below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit), we should provide adequate protection from the elements for our pets. When the outside temperature and/or wind chill drops below zero, then our pets should have access to shelter that has heat! Young pets don't regulate their body temperature as well as adults, so bring them inside when it gets cold. Also, older pets, or pets with illness are especially susceptible to the cold. Keep them inside with you.

Use A Heated Water Bowl

Pets need access to fresh, unfrozen water at all times. It is better to use a heavy plastic water bowl in the winter instead of metal. Metal lose heat quickly and the water will freeze faster. Plus there is a chance the dog's tongue could get stuck to the bowl. A heated bowl is best for outside dogs.

Layer With Sweaters and Booties

When you take your dog for her daily walk, put a sweater on dogs with short or thin hair.

Dogs that should wear a sweater: older (geriatric) dogs, short-haired dogs (like Chihuahuas, Miniature Pinschers, Dachshunds, Greyhounds, Boxers, Boston Terriers), and dogs that are sick.

Ice balls can form around your dog's feet or between the toes. These can be painful and very uncomfortable. Clipping the hair around the feet will help reduce this. Plus, try apply a little Vaseline or cooking spray to the bottom of the feet before a walk to keep ice and snow from sticking. Make sure to wipe the dog's feet when she comes back inside.

Keep Pets Away from Rock Salt and Antifreeze

Salted roads and sidewalks can be irritating to the dog. If their footpads are cracked from the cold weather, the salt will be like "salt in a wound". Not fun. Plus you don't want your dog licking all that salt and swallowing it. Be sure to wipe off your dog's feet when she comes in from a walk. Booties are very helpful in keeping the dog's feet dry, and clean of salt and other chemicals. Of course, it may take some time to teach your dog to wear them!

Antifreeze poisoning is a big risk during the cold months. This is a life-threatening medical emergency. If your dog or cat ingests antifreeze and receives no medical attention, they could die in less than a day. Signs of antifreeze poisoning: depression, lack of coordination, diarrhea, thirst, and seizures (ethylene glycol is the toxic agent. Antizol-vet can be given to stop the effect of the ethylene glycol). There is a safer antifreeze that is made with propylene glycol that doesn't damage the kidneys but it is still toxic and can damage the nervous system.

Be Aware of Pine Needles

Make sure your tree is well-secured. If you have a tree-climbing cat or large dog that likes to wag its tail, anchor the top of the tree to the wall using a strong cord or rope to prevent pets from knocking it over. Other potential hazards from the tree itself include pine needles. If ingested, sharp pine needles can puncture your pet's intestines. So, check around trees and boughs frequently.

Keep Tinsel and Lights Out of Reach
String objects: many pets -- especially cats -- also like to chew on string objects, such as tinsel and ribbon. If ingested, they can wrap around intestines or ball up in the stomach, so they should be kept out of reach and safeguarded at all costs.

Electrical lights and cords: holiday lights (both on and off the tree) mean more electrical cords, and many pets -- especially puppies and kittens -- like to chew on them, which means they could get electrocuted. So, be sure they are secured and out of the way.

Holiday Plants Are Poisonous To Pets

Other holiday plants: holly and mistletoe (especially the berries) are extremely poisonous to your pets if eaten. And, while poinsettias may not be truly poisonous, their leaves and sap can cause gastric distress. With so many hybrid varieties out there these days, it's probably best to keep all holiday plants out of your pet's reach.

Never Leave Lit Candles Unattended

Candles: you should always use caution when burning candles around the house, especially if you have pets. Never leave lighted candles unattended, and be sure they are securely anchored so they won't be dislodged by the swat of a paw or tail. If you can, use only candles with domes or cylinders that enclose the flame.

Keep Pets Away from Leftovers

Human food: don't feed your pets scraps from the table! High-fat foods, which are typically found on holiday menus, can upset your pet's stomach. Instead, keep your pet's favorite treats on hand and offer them when the rest of the family is enjoying their meal. The following foods are commonly found around many homes during the holidays, and can be especially hazardous to your pet:

• Bones: The holiday turkey or chicken will provide lots of tantalizing bones, but don't feed them to your pet. Small bones or bone chips can lodge in their throat, stomach, and intestinal track. Beware of steak bones, and ham bones, too.

• Onion and garlic: These contain sulfides, which can cause the destruction of red blood cells, and are toxic to animals. Foods spiced with onion and/or garlic should not be given to pets.

• Raisins: Many people use them while baking during the holiday season. But, they could pose a choking hazard, so keep them out of reach. Raisins are particularly problematic for cats.

• Chocolate: What would the holidays be without boxes of chocolate and warm cocoa? And, though it may be tempting to sneak your pet a little piece...don't! It can be toxic, or even fatal, to dogs and cats (chocolate poisoning occurs most frequently in dogs, but other animals are susceptible, too).

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Effects Of Boredom, Loneliness And Separation Anxiety On Your Family Pet

Most pet owners consider their four-legged friends as members of the family. Owners tell funny stories to friends about their pets amusing antics. Some pet owners even celebrate the birthdays of their feline and canine companions. Like other family members, owners cuddle with pets, talk to them, nurse them when they are sick, and punish them when they do things that are against the rules. Yet, while most pets are well-behaved, many owners have come home to find things ripped to shreds by their dog or that their cat soiled a favorite comforter. As much as owners may react harshly by yelling at or otherwise punishing their furry friends, consider the likelihood that these pets are reacting out of boredom, loneliness, and separation anxiety.

The reality is that many pets are subject to boredom, loneliness and separation anxiety just as children are. Although it is difficult to rationalize the destruction of property, pet owners should be careful not to anthropomorphize (to ascribe human characteristics to things not human) pet behavior. It is essential to realize that animals need mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom and loneliness. Pets enjoy the company of their fellow pack animals to alleviate loneliness, for example, and an owners patient and compassionate help in overcoming separation anxiety is critical.

Researchers and veterinarians are not really sure what causes separation anxiety in some pets and not in others. Lately, the theory is that some pets have experienced a traumatic separation experience and/or may be genetically predisposed to anxious behavior. Animals that are separated from their mothers too early, or have been in and out of animal shelters, appear to be prone to anxious behavior. It is easy to understand why these experiences may dispose pets to continuing anxiety about becoming separated from those to whom they have formed attachments. Pets are creatures of habit, just as humans are.

Many dogs know that it's time for a walk when they see owners grab the leash. Cats salivate when tea is made. They react to the sound of the spoon hitting the side of the cup, expecting a dab of milk as a treat. And, most importantly to this discussion, pets know that they will soon be left alone when you begin to wrap up your morning routine and prepare to leave for the day.

You may have noticed that your happy go lucky dog or cool as a cucumber cat become agitated or tense as you brush your teeth or put your shoes on. This agitation becomes near panic as you reach for your keys and grab your coat. And the panic becomes aggravated when you leave the house. Perhaps the tension doesn't begin until you open the closet door and reach for your coat. "How cute," you think, "Rex wants to go outside." Yet, candidly, dogs and cats know the difference between going for a walk and their owners abandoning them for the day. Your pet is asking to go with you; and, when you appear to be ignoring his needs, he becomes anxious at the thought that you are leaving and may never return.

Have you ever returned home to find that the kitchen cabinets have been opened and all of your dried, boxed food has been ripped open and strewn haphazardly on the floor? Even worse than the actual mess, you recall that you put your dog in the crate before you left for work. The door to the crate is still closed; but your pet is sitting in the middle of the living room floor, surrounded by what's left of your shredded wedding photo album, innocently wagging his tail. The neighbors have started complaining that your pet has been barking and howling constantly and your door frames have been chewed to bits.

A pet that suffers from loneliness, separation anxiety or boredom may display only one undesirable behavior. It is just as likely, however, that your pet is reacting only when you are not home. And unfortunately, this behavior is wreaking havoc on your relationship with your beloved pet. Observe your pet for signs of impending trouble as you go about your morning routine. A dog that is exhibiting signs of separation anxiety will often whimper or whine when they sense you may be preparing to leave.

Pacing the floors, shaking or shivering, and even aggressively trying to prevent your departure are not uncommon behaviors when your pet knows your departure is imminent. In fact, some pets have even taken to gnawing at his paws in an effort to alleviate anxiety - much like humans chew their own fingernails. An pet in the throes of extreme anxiety will occasionally injure himself or herself as a result of their behavior. These are extreme cases and need to be taken very seriously and solved immediately. A chewing behavior often extends to objects, doorways, and your pet may even dig and scratch at windows in an effort to find you.

Some animals may become depressed when they feel their humans have abandoned them. Depression in animals often takes the form of anorexia (refusal to eat) or vomiting. If an owner is leaving for the day, and a pet refuses to eat for eight or nine hours, this is not a significant issue. However, if an owner leaves for an extended period of time, say for a vacation or a job that involves traveling for more than a day at a time, a pet may become malnourished and may require medical treatment. Extreme cases may end with the death of your beloved pet. Incessant barking and howling is also common behavior for a dog that feels abandoned.

Cats who suffer from separation anxiety display many of the same behaviors as dogs. Many pet owners are fooled into thinking that cats have no apparent reaction to their comings and goings. However, just because cats are not known to cause major property damage, there is no reason to ignore their suffering, or to believe they are not bothered by your absence. A cat that is suffering from separation anxiety will pace, and often becomes nervous and clingy when an owner is preparing to leave for the day.

A cat suffering from separation anxiety can also display noisy protests to his owners departure. Cats may also urinate or defecate in inappropriate places and scratch doorways and furnishings. While it was thought that cats did not suffer from separation anxiety, the most recent research indicates that cats, like dogs, form strong bonds with humans, and may become anxious and overwhelmed when their masters leave. In fact, like dogs, cats may groom themselves to the point of baldness or sores.

While there is a tendency of a pet within a specific breed to suffer from boredom, loneliness or separation anxiety - often pure bred dogs and cats, mixed breeds suffer from the same emotional afflictions. Dogs and cats are social creatures. When deprived of the security of their natural mother and siblings, a new pet becomes attached to his new human family members. This is normal social animal behavior. Problems arise, however, when the attachment to the human family becomes excessively dependent. The pressing questions are how do we identify this behavior, and, subsequently, correct the resulting problems. Pets that form intense attachments to their masters are the likeliest candidates to suffer from boredom, loneliness or separation anxiety. Pets need to learn that we will be coming back soon and are not abandoning them forever, especially since animals have no real concept of time.

Soon after an owner departs, a pet begins to miss this attention, likely believing that the owner will be gone for a very long time. Those of us with children have learned that playing peek-a-boo teaches children that parents disappear, but return immediately. Animal experts do not suggest that you play peek-a-boo with your pets. They do, however, know that pets need to learn their owners will return. A dog that practically looses his mind with joy upon the return of his owner is likely suffering from separation anxiety. This is not to say that an emotionally healthy pet should ignore you when you walk in the door after a long day; but, he should definitely not act as if they have been deprived of all human contact for the last decade.

The lessons that reassure pets that their masters will return are best begun while they are young. Leaving animals with their biological mother until they are at least eight weeks old can go a long way toward eliminating feelings of separation. If you have a canine or feline companion that is no longer young, and he is not adjusting appropriately to your absences, you will need to put forth the effort to correct the situation yourself. However daunting the task seems, don't lose hope! Regressive behavior that is a result of boredom, loneliness or separation anxiety can usually be remedied at any age. Old dogs can learn new tricks! Old cats, however, can be a different case altogether. Cats that have learned undesirable behavior are difficult to retrain. As a matter of fact, cat owners know full well that the word "train" often does not apply to cats. Cats are often immune to behavior modification. Yet, take heart, change is still possible.

Curiously enough, some pet owners and experts alike swear by the use of punishment to "break" an animal of an undesirable behavior. Although one must wonder why an owner would want a broken companion, the fact is that punishment is often counterproductive. A fostering of trust with any animal is imperative to building a sound relationship. For the purposes of this discussion, punishment is not a recommended course of action to rid your pet of undesirable behavior; and it is certainly not the way to teach your animal to trust that you have not abandoned him. It is important to remember that your pet is not attempting to punish you for abandoning them by gnawing on everything in sight or urinating on the floor. They are merely afraid that you will not return home. The resulting destructive behavior is the product of their fear of isolation.

Providing a pet with the services of a daycare center is an option, but not always feasible, and prohibitively expensive at that. In lieu of a pet sitter, owners should begin their campaign to reform their pet's behavior by never making a big deal out of leaving their pet alone. Although many owners themselves experience separation anxiety, especially when a pet is new to a home, it is important that owners do not reveal guilt for leaving a new pet. The coming and going of pet owners is simply a fact of life, and a pet cannot always come along. The earlier pets come to accept this fact, the better they will fit into the family. Desensitizing your pet is the first step in helping him or her accept that an owner is not available.

Leave your pet for short periods of time and increase to longer periods. Actually leave the house when you do this exercise, as some pets are not easily fooled. When crate training a dog, use the same process. Leave the dog in the crate for short periods of time, gradually building up to longer stretches. Contrary to what some pet owners believe, crates are not cruel devices for dogs. Dogs are den animals. They often prefer the security of feeling like they are in a warm, safe den-like enclosure. Many dogs that have been crate trained are often found relaxing in their wired den with the door open, happily chewing on a bone or taking a nap. Remember, however, that you should never use the crate as a form of punishment. The crate is a safe haven for your dog, not a time-out room and should always retain positive associations. Additionally, upon returning to home or upon removing a pet from the crate, owners should actually ignore their pet for a short while. Remember, your comings and goings are not a big deal. The idea is that there is no cause for alarm or excitement when you depart or arrive.

In extreme cases of separation anxiety, the process of desensitizing a pet will need to be undertaken in very small steps. Using a variation of the process described above, owners of an anxious pet must approach the desensitizing procedure carefully. Approach your morning routine as you normally would, but in small steps that are easy understand.

1 Begin by putting your coat or jacket on, then sit down on the couch. After a minute or two, remove your coat and put it away. Repeat this action until your pet does not become anxious.

2 Next, put your coat on and grab your keys (purse, bag, lunchbox, or whatever else you may take with you when you leave for the day), then sit on the couch again. After a moment, put your keys and coat away. Repeat this action until your pet does not become anxious during this process.

3 When your pet becomes comfortable with what you are doing so far, you can take the process a step further. Put your coat on, grab your keys and then open the door. Close the door, replace your keys and put your coat away. Repeat until your pet becomes comfortable.

4 You will now repeat everything you have previously done, but now you will actually step out of the house (but don't close the door). You will then re-enter the house and reverse your actions. Do this until your pet is comfortable.

5 Then further the process by actually closing the door for a few seconds or so. Re-enter the house, reverse your actions and repeat until your pet accepts these actions also.

6 The final steps in the process involve closing the door and leaving the house for longer periods of time. Once you are able to leave the house for an hour and a half or so, you should be able to leave your pet alone for a work day. (Make sure that you put your favorite shoes in a secure spot - now is not the time to tempt him.)

Take it slowly. Be consistent. The steps detailed above are a guideline. The actual formula that you use should include pieces of your personal getting-ready-to-leave routine. The idea is to teach your pet that there is no cause to worry. Your pet will soon learn that his human pack members have not disappeared off the face of the earth.

In very extreme cases, there are medications that may help; but, they should be only used as a last resort, and only in combination with desensitization training. To use them alone would doom your pet to a lifetime of medication while ignoring the actual root of the separation anxiety problem. Your vet can prescribe medications such as clomipramine (Clomicalm), fluoxetine (Prozac), or buspirone (Buspar) for a cat or dog who is clearly suffering from the effects of separation anxiety. These medications have been used successfully for separation anxiety in pets and are readily available for use.

Research has shown that pets will often display anxious behavior soon after the departure of owners. Experts believe that occupying a pet during the crucial twenty to thirty minute period after initially being left alone will alleviate any undesirable behavior resulting from boredom, loneliness or separation anxiety. Some dog owners have had success with a "kong". A kong is a hollow rubber toy into which the owner slathers peanut butter, cheese or soft dog food. The theory is that the dog will be so occupied with the yummy kong or bone treat that he or she will not even notice that his master has disappeared. And by the time he or she does notice, the period during which separation anxiety often occurs will have passed. Kongs have been known to work great for some pet owners. Others have discovered that the kong is still full of peanut butter when they come home and pets have instead opted to devour other significant household items. Generally, this is the sign of a dog that is not anxious, but is instead bored and/or lonely.

Providing your cat and dog with appropriate playthings can ensure comfort and entertainment when you are not at home. Make sure that your pet has plenty of bones, a kong, or balls, and offer your cat a catnip mouse and balls with bells inside. Additionally, know that a sleeping pet is a well-behaved pet. It's difficult to cause trouble when tired. Therefore, make sure that your pet gets sufficient exercise. Take walks regularly and allow your dog to interact with other canines. The purchase of a laser light can provide hours of exercise and fun for your cat. Cats love to chase a dot on the wall, and this amusing exercise will keep him fit and out of trouble.

Changing the environment of your pet may also make him feel more secure. Your dog knows that you turn off the television or radio when you leave; so change it up a bit. Dog owners have had some success with leaving the television or radio on while they are gone. For pets, environmental noise is something that occurs only when you are home, and. therefore, alleviates the anxiety that occurs when he thinks you are not in the vicinity. Providing visual or audio stimulation is very successful. Providing a window perch where a cat can observe birds that fly by the house is an example, or you can take advantage of videotapes or DVD's that show birds.

Unlike dogs, when cats misbehave, you cannot march him off to obedience class. Correcting unacceptable feline behavior can be significantly different than correcting canine behavior patterns. A bored or lonely cat may display many of the same behaviors as a cat suffering from separation anxiety. Yelling at him usually generates little response. Inappropriate urination is a very common reaction for cats and can be eliminated using a combination of patience and ingenuity.

For a cat that insists that he must urinate on your clothing or bedroom floor, you must first make sure that there is a litter box nearby. Cats tend to make the decision as to where they want their box located. If your cat is using your laundry hamper as a litter box, try placing his box near the hamper. Gradually move the box to the location comfortable to you. Make sure that the box is filled with the litter that your cat prefers. Cats can be quite finicky about what they put their feet into. Generally, cats prefer clumping litter to clay. Additionally, make sure that the litter is kept clean. By clean, the litter must be clean according to your cat's standards, not yours. Cats are fastidious animals and the difference between a box that has recently been urinated in and a box that is freshly scooped may well be the difference for success.

There certainly are options for pet owners to rid both their canine and feline companions of undesirable behavior. Changing behaviors in both cats and dogs takes patience, planning and lots of rewards. The trick is to make the offensive behavior unpleasant for your dog or cat. Doing so will make both the pets, and their owners, happier and far more comfortable.

In the final analysis, while most pets do not suffer from separation anxiety, all pets suffer from boredom and loneliness. It is a fact. The question becomes how to reverse this perpetual condition. It is an inescapable reality that pets, especially indoor pets, are alone with little stimulation for 10 to 12 hours at a time. There are alternative and creative ways to combat this syndrome. A pet that is hampered with boredom may become restless and destructive. A pet that is lonely has a greater chance of suffering from depression.

With the prevalence of technology today, it is economically possible to engage and befriend your pet during the day, while you are away. Take the time and effort to research those ways that will brighten and liven the days of your pet. Doing so will not only demonstrate that you care, but bolster the health and happiness of your pet. This in turn will only benefit you as a pet owner. You will get more satisfaction of having a healthier and happier pet. You will have peace of mind and reduce sense of guilt of not completely abandoning your pet.

In closing, may all pet owners recognize that we need to be best friends to our best friends. is a new marketing and advertising platform that allows businesses to "eRaffle" products and services to local and global eRaffle members. eRaffle members are able to actively view businesses and get FREE tickets to win exciting items. Business owners are assured that their "eRaffle campaign" is being exposed in quantified ways.This is powerful and effective marketing. And since anyone can win a raffle, unlike auctions, where the highest bidder is the winner, business owners and eRaffle members share in the excitement.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Famed Fat Cat 'Prince Chunk' Dies at 10

An enormously fat cat named Prince Chunk who became famous when he was found wandering in New Jersey after his owner lost her home to foreclosure has died. Prince Chunk's adoptive owner, Vince Damiani of Blackwood, said the white tabby died in his sleep Sunday. He was about 10 years old. Damiani said a veterinarian had diagnosed the cat with heart disease.

Prince Chunk skyrocketed to fame in August 2008 after the Camden County Animal Shelter, which took him in, reported that he weighed 44 pounds, just shy of a world record. Damiani believes that estimate may have been somewhat exaggerated. He said Prince Chunk weighed 22 pounds when he brought the cat home from the shelter. He soon became a media sensation, appearing on "Good Morning America," "Live with Regis and Kelly," the covers of the New York tabloids and in People magazine. The Damiani family was chosen from among 500 applicants to adopt him.

The pet's plight inspired the Damianis to establish the Prince Chunk Foundation, a nonprofit that helps financially distressed pet owners keep their animals. The foundation operates in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and California. Its mission is to prevent animal homelessness by providing temporary assistance to dog and cat owners, including free emergency vet care and pet food, Damiani said.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving safety tips for pets -- What not to feed your dog or cat this holiday

Thanksgiving safety tips for pets -- What not to feed your dog or cat this holidayThis Thanksgiving, fight the urge to feed Fido your leftovers. Your pup may whimper for table scraps but they could cause him serious harm. "Thanksgiving can be a hazardous holiday for our pets," said Dr. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer of the American Veterinary Medical Association. "Our pets simply can't handle fatty foods as well as we can.”

You can feed your dog a bite or two of turkey but make sure it’s well-cooked to avoid choking and salmonella risks, the ASPCA advises. But be careful. Too much fatty turkey skin and gravy can cause pancreatitis, a serious inflammation that can turn a happy Thanksgiving dinner into an emergency run to the vet’s clinic.

Sorry, no stuffing. Herbs, such as sage, contains essential oils that can cause stomach upset and more serious health problems in both dogs and cats. Onions and raisins are also a no-no. Keep dogs and cats away from chocolate, nuts, alcohol and raw bread dough. Make sure you tie your garbage bags tight to keep hungry paws away. If your leftovers go south, your dog will suffer the consequences of spoiled food: gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms of food poisoning.

No bones, please. Cooked turkey bones are fragile and hollow and can cause serious internal injury to your dog. It's best to keep your dog on his regular schedule, advises the North Shore Animal League. Walk him and feed him the way you normally would to avoid problems.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cat Owners Follow Similar Careers

Cat Owners Follow Similar CareersWe’ve all heard people claim to be either a dog person or a cat person, and this pet preference is supposed to provide insight into their personality. But does the type of animal you own say anything about your career path? According to nationwide survey released last week by, it does.

The online survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, looked at dog, cat and other pet ownership in relation to a person’s chosen profession, compensation and job satisfaction. More than 2,300 U.S. workers with cats, dogs and other pets were polled for the survey.

It found that workers with dogs were more likely to hold senior management positions, such as a CEO or senior vice president. Workers with snakes or other reptiles were more likely to earn six figures, and bird owners were more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, according to the survey.

In terms of career paths, the survey found that owners of certain pets were more likely to report being drawn to certain professions. Specifically:

• Dog owners were more likely to be professors, nurses, information technology professionals, military professionals and entertainers;

• Cat owners were more likely to be physicians, real estate agents, lab technicians, machine operators and personal caretakers;

• Fish owners were more likely to be human resources professionals, financial professionals, hotel and leisure professionals, farming/fishing/forestry professionals and transportation professionals;

• Bird owners were more likely to be advertising professionals, sales reps, construction workers and administrative professionals; and

• Reptile owners were more likely to be engineers, social workers, marketing and public relations professionals, editors or writers and police officers.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Holiday Travel with Pets

Holiday Travel with PetsWith the holiday season on our doorstep, many people are already in the process of making travel plans to visit family and friends. Some folks are eager to get away, in search of a warmer climate, or perhaps even to a fancy winter wonderland, for that much needed vacation. But what are those pet pawrents doing who cannot bear the thought of traveling without their beloved fur companions, leaving them at a boarding facility or at home with a pet-sitter.

So I found it fascinating to read a survey recently, done by, (the leading pet travel and transportation service provider) of more than 7,000 pet owners worldwide. In their first annual survey, Pet Relocation found that sixty-three percent of pet owners say that during the holidays they travel at least 50 miles with their pets. Additionally, 85 percent of the respondents said that the distance they are willing to travel over the holidays is greatly influenced by their pets, but a greater number of pet owners (57 percent) said that their travel plans are not influenced at all.

It was no surprise to me that dogs were significantly in the majority of the pets folks plan to take with them on holiday. And while both species are considered as family members, since most cats are prone to greater travel-related stress than their canine cousins, this may account for this finding. 71 percent of folks traveling with their pets during the holidays choose to remain in their home state during the holidays, while 28 percent plan to be traveling out of state.

During the holiday season, 45 percent of pet owners surveyed spend between $50-$100 on pet-related products and services with an 85 percent majority taking holiday trips with their pets for a week or less. The remainder of pet owners traveling with pets responded their trips can stretch out for two weeks. What arrangements are you making to travel with your pets over the holiday season? Leave a comment and share them with us.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pete's Pets dinos stay put

The dinosaurs are staying. They are not up for adoption, for auction or for sale. Since closing Pete's Pets on Cerrillos Road in 2008, longtime owner Pete Sanders says he has received more than 100 phone calls from people interested in buying the two plastic sculptures of Tyrannosaurus rex on top of the building, which was recently purchased by the city for a homeless shelter.

Getting rid of the 70-pound displays was not negotiable, Sanders said, because they are simply part of the building. "They've been modified. The tails have been cut off and they've got holes in them to set them in place," Sanders said. "And they seem pretty comfortable up there."Plus, the approximately 8-foot-tall figures were always treated with special care, he said. Lois Owens, a Santa Fe resident, is one of those coveting a T. rex.

"I have always loved dinosaurs. It's like I'm 7 instead of 57," Owens said via e-mail. "The possibility of a large dinosaur for the yard would be the ultimate!"

The Santa Fe Children's Museum also inquired about them, said Terri Rodriguez, city of Santa Fe Youth and Family Services Division director. Since the city plans on keeping them, the museum got a pond and pump that was in the building instead, she said.

The Rev. Ken Semon, rector of the Church of the Holy Faith and chairman of the Interfaith Community Shelter Group that operates the homeless shelter, said the dinosaurs serve as a landmark for those who ride the public bus there.

"We tell people we are at the sign of the dinosaurs," he said. Vahid Mojarrab, lead architect for the building's renovation in April, said that no exterior alterations will be made and that he plans to leave the dinos exactly where they are. Knowing that makes Sanders happy, especially because both tyrannosaurids have a long history. One came from Los Angeles more than 15 years ago and sat outside Pete's Pets in Santa Fe.

A second lived on the roof of Sanders' Los Alamos store. He and other businesses were constantly in trouble with the city, which prohibited rooftop advertising. In 1999, someone decapitated T. rex and made off with his head. Even though someone in the community offered a $1,000 reward for its return, it never turned up.

Sanders ended up buying a replacement in 2000; when he closed the Los Alamos store in 2004, he moved the figure to Santa Fe. "We dragged them in and out of the store. We called it dino dancing," Sanders said.

Eventually they were moved to the roof and drew lots of attention. "People stopped by to take pictures of them," Sanders said. "We decorated them for Christmas; they had Easter baskets for Easter. We always treated them as if they had a personality."

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pets can power greater fitness

A national fitness program to be announced today by Mars Petcare suggests looking no further than the family pooch. The Power of Pets, which aims to get families and pets walking and playing together, makes its debut this month at YMCAs in five cities: Brooklyn, N.Y.; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; Nashville; and Portland, Ore.

"Healthy lifestyles are about nurturing the spirit, mind and body -- and pets certainly play a role in that," says Ted Cornelius, executive director of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee. "We encourage families to play together every day, and incorporating the family pet is a great way to make everyone more active." Programs will include owner-dog yoga, obstacle course events and Frisbee contests.

Mars Petcare, through its Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition, is a major sponsor of research on the benefits of human-animal interaction. Recent studies show children who have pets are more active, and seniors who walk dogs are healthier than seniors who rely on human partners for exercise.

"With obesity levels rising and health levels falling, we want to, ... help address those very serious issues," says Waltham's Karyl Hurley. "Walking or playing with a pet doesn't feel like 'exercise.' ... You might find excuses not to make it to the gym, but you will make sure your dog goes for a walk."Having a pet does help people be more active, suggests the company's survey of 1,000 owners: # 39 percent of pet owners say ensuring their pet is active has made them more active. # 64 percent of dog owners prefer to exercise with their pet than alone.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Can pets help keep you healthy?

People have lots of reasons for owning pets. A small but growing body of research suggests that owning or interacting with animals may have the added benefit of improving your health. People and animals have a long history of living together and bonding. Perhaps the oldest evidence of this special relationship was discovered in Israel where a 12,000-year-old human skeleton was buried with its hand resting on the skeleton of a 6-month-old wolf pup.

Today animal companions are more popular than ever. The pet population nationwide has been growing dramatically for nearly a half century, from about 40 million pet cats and dogs in 1967 to more than 160 million in 2006. About two-thirds of U.S. households now own at least one pet.

Researchers have only recently begun to explore this wonderful relationship and what its health benefits might be. The general belief is that there are health benefits to owning pets, both in terms of psychological growth and development, as well as physical health benefits.

Some of the largest and most well-designed studies in this field suggest that four-legged friends can help to improve our cardiovascular health. One study looked at 421 adults who’d suffered heart attacks. A year later, the scientists found, dog owners were significantly more likely to still be alive than were those who did not own dogs, regardless of the severity of the heart attack.

Another study looked at 240 married couples. Those who owned a pet were found to have lower heart rates and blood pressure, whether at rest or when undergoing stressful tests, than those without pets. Pet owners also seemed to have milder responses and quicker recovery from stress when they were with their pets than with a spouse or friend.

Several studies have shown that dog owners may get more exercise and other health benefits than the rest of us. One study looked at more than 2,000 adults and found that dog owners who regularly walked their dogs were more physically active and less likely to be obese than those who didn’t own or walk a dog.

Another study followed more than 2,500 older adults, ages 71-82, for 3 years. Those who regularly walked their dogs walked faster and for longer time periods each week than others who didn’t walk regularly. Older dog walkers also had greater mobility inside their homes than others in the study.

Man’s best friend may help you make more human friends, too. Several studies have shown that walking with a dog leads to more conversations and helps you stay socially connected. Studies have shown that people who have more social relationships tend to live longer and are less likely to show mental and physical declines as they grow older. It’s hard to walk a dog and not have someone talk to you or interact with you, compared to walking alone.

Other research suggests that pet ownership may hold special benefits during childhood. When children are asked who they talk to when they get upset, a lot of times their first answer is their pet. This points to the importance of pets as a source of comfort and developing empathy. Therapists and researchers have reported that children with autism are sometimes better able to interact with pets, and this may help in their interactions with people.

Several research teams are examining the potential benefits of bringing specially trained animals into clinical settings. These animal-assisted therapies are increasingly offered in hospitals and nursing homes nationwide. Although there is little solid scientific evidence confirming the value of this type of therapy, clinicians who watch patients interacting with animals say they can clearly see benefits, including improved mood and reduced anxiety.

A difference is noted in many patients when the dog is at their bedside. The dogs add a bit of normalcy to a difficult situation. The dog will sit calmly, and the patients don’t have to talk to anyone. They can just pet. This may help with some of the suffering.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Isn't Always a Holiday Treat for Pets

The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) would like to remind pet owners that although Halloween may be a fun holiday for humans, but it can be a potentially dangerous and frightening time for pets. Here are a few tips to keep your pets safe this Halloween:

•Keep pets indoors in a secure, comfortable area with a radio or television playing in the background. Many pets fear the noises of trick-or-treaters.

• Always keep current license and ID tags securely affixed pet your pet's collar. A license tag is the only voice a pet has if he or she becomes lost.

• Do not leave pets outside unattended. Loud noises frighten pets and they may panic, become confused, and go through great lengths to escape their enclosures.

• Keep pets away from all candy. Chocolate, which contains theobromine, can be poisonous to pets, causing nerve damage and even death.

• Properly dispose of all candy wrappers. Tinfoil and cellophane candy wrappers are tempting treats for pets and can cause pets to choke or to have intestinal blocks.

• Keep pumpkins or jack-olanterns away frompets. Pets can easily knock them over, which could result in a burn.

•Halloween pet costumers can pose safety hazards for pets. Do not dress your pet up unless he or she is used to it. Make sure the costume does not restrict their movement, vision, hearing, or the ability to breathe or bark. Halloween pet costumes should not have small or dangling accessories that can be swallowed by your pet.

• Post the numbers of emergency clinics as well as the number of your local animal control agency on your refrigerator or another location where you can easily find them in case of an emergency.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween safety tips for pets

Halloween safety tips for petsPet parents beware. The fun of trick-or-treat night can quickly turn into a nightmare if you don't take precautions to keep your pets safe. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals asks you be on the lookout for potential dangers.

No chocolate treats: Keep candy out of your pet's reach. Chocolate, particularly dark and baking chocolate, and candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be dangerous to dogs and cats. Call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, 888-426-4435, if you suspect your pet ate something toxic.

Decoration danger: Halloween décor such as pumpkins and colorful corn are relatively nontoxic, but they can cause stomach upset. Put carved pumpkins with burning candles where pets cannot easily knock them over. And prevent a life-threatening electrical shock by keeping wiring that lights your decorations out of pets' reach.

Wardrobe malfunctions: If you dress up your pet, make sure the costume doesn't constrict him. It should allow him to move, hear, breath and bark or meow. Also, be sure the costume is free of small pieces he might chew off and swallow.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pets - nature's own mood enhancer?

Pets - nature's own mood enhancer?Psychologist Fran Vertue has just written about how pets can make people feel secure and loved. It's well worth reading. And it made me think again about how having a pet can shift your thoughts and emotions.cI've nearly always had a cat in my house, for the past 20 years. But I didn't have a dog around until two years ago. And, maybe coincidentally, I think I'm a more cheerful person than I was two years ago.

True, I've asked my partner and he doesn't notice a difference: he points out that I still get stressed and grumpy when rushing for a bus or plane, and I can still be heard addressing the TV with bad-tempered comments such as "wankers". (In my defence I find this hard to avoid, most nights, and in this interactive age I view it as feedback.

But for me, from the inside, I feel less bothered, more smiley, more likely to laugh at things that don't matter. I think this would have happened anyway, as I've managed in those two years to rebuild my working day into one that's manageable and productive rather than a constant hassle, through the simple solution of working from home. Plus I'm two years older, past a certain milestone birthday, and with age comes calm wisdom, right?

Still, though, I'm sure that the impact of my dogs on me is to improve my humour and shorten any negative moments that happen. Each dog makes me laugh at least three times a day. Multiplied by two dogs, that's six laughs a day. They're also drop-dead cute, so that's at least six "awww" moments per day, easily outweighing the "ugh" and "ewww" moments. The dogs also need exercise, so that means a good deal more fresh air, movement and collegial conversation (with other dog walkers) than I would have had otherwise.So I can see how the dogs improve my wellbeing. But "secure and loved"? Hmmm, not sure that it applies to me. But evidently it does for a lot of people, especially those on their own or dealing with a big setback in their lives. Has the presence of a pet ever helped you through such a time? Or lifted your mood like a natural anti-depressant or tranquilliser?

I wonder about one more thing. You'd think that a person who feels more secure and loved, or whose mood is generally lifted and made more positive, will become a better or "nicer" person. They'd be less stressed than otherwise, more forgiving or cheerful. So do pets generally lift the quality and likeability of humanity? Or do they just make a person feel better about themselves, not about other people or the rest of the world, leaving them grumps who reserve their best behaviour for Marley or Miss Happy Paws? Research that one, psychologists.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pets of the Week

Pets of the WeekGinny is a female black and smoke-colored, short-hair tabby cat. She is under 1 year old. Ginny loves people and is very social with them. She is not a fan of other cats, but she is OK as long as they don’t come up to her and try to be her friend. Ginny is a lap cat and is looking for a loving home where she can lie in someone’s lap to her heart’s content.

Butch is a 1-year-old neutered male white and red boxer mix. He is very sweet and active. Butch would be good with other friendly dogs and older children. Shelter staff do not recommend him with cats or children under 5.

Ginny and Butch are available at the Yucca Valley Animal Shelter. Adoption fees are $85 for puppies under 4 months old, $92 for dogs over 4 months and $55 for cats and kittens.

All adoptions include at least one vaccination and a rabies vaccination for dogs over 4 months. All animals are spayed or neutered and are microchipped prior to adoption.Dogs receive a new collar and all cats go home with a pet carrier.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pet Care - There's No Other Job Quite Like It

"Pets are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions and they pass no criticisms" said George Eliot about pet animals. Pets often reciprocate the love that their masters lavish on them by demonstrating various forms of affection including licking, hickeys, even love-bites.

There's no other job quite like keeping a pet. Pet care is in fact a permanent job, and includes the very important functions of grooming and striving to maintain good pet health care. General pet supplies could be considered a definition of useful tools for grooming and keeping your pet in good health.

Pet Supplies:

An essential list of pet supplies for purchase could include the following: pet food and food dishes, pet id tags and collars, pet medications, supplements and tonics, etc. Some other items to consider are animal carriers, pet houses and furniture, pet beds, clothes, and pet jewelry.

Online Pet Supplies:

Online pet supplies are supplies that can be purchased from pet stores over the Internet. There are numerous pet grooming product manufacturers and pet-grooming stores selling their products online through their individual official websites.

Pet Grooming Supplies:

Pet grooming supplies include items such as grooming clippers, pet hair care products, soaps, shampoo and perfumes.

Pet Health Care:

Pet health care is a very important responsibility of pet ownership. For puppies and kittens, or any other four-legged pets, important treatments would include giving a hygiene bath, cleaning, combing, brushing, checking ears, paws, teeth and underside of the tongue, nail trimming, removing fleas and insects, and fixing regular meetings with a professional veterinary. A good pet owner should follow a regular schedule of grooming sessions.

Pet care can require a lot of patience. Like children, pets often require special attention. A puppy, kitten or any other pet in its infancy needs to be handled with extreme care. In particular they must be groomed properly, fed carefully, and bedded properly.

Choosing A Pet:

The process of choosing a pet is very important. Choosing a pet depends on one's preferences, but there are still some important things that should be kept in mind. One should always choose an animal of good breed. Secondly, the pet should be healthy especially if it is still in the initial stage of its life. A healthy young pet shows good fast growth.

Pet Grooming Business:

The pet grooming business is a flourishing business today. There are numerous pet grooming schools offering the equivalent services of a pet grooming professional. People hire the services of these professional experts for the proper grooming of their pets. Professional pet grooming is becoming quite popular in United States, Canada, and European countries.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Humane Society announces free rabies clinics

Humane Society announces free rabies clinicsThe Waldo County Humane Society will host a series of rabies clinics in towns around Waldo County this fall. The first clinic will be held Saturday, Oct. 16, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Waldo Pierce Reading Room, Main Street (Route 1A), Frankfort. Dr. Blake of Blake Veterinary Hospital will be the attending veterinarian.

The rabies shot will be free to animals residing in Waldo County. Pets from other counties are welcome to come for their shots for a small fee. Remember to bring all animals on leashes or in portable pet carriers.

The clinic will also serve as a fundraising and awareness event for Miss Millie's Cupboard, the Frankfort-based food pantry for domestic companion animals. Miss Millie's Cupboard was opened last March to help local families in need of assistance feeding their pets.

"I kept hearing about people who needed to surrender their pets because they couldn't afford to feed them. I knew I could to do something to help," founder Reba Stewart remembered. "The need has been overwhelming. Times are hard, people are losing jobs, and whatever I can do to help pets stay with their families is a good thing."

To help support the pantry a bake and book sale (with books donated by Waldo Pierce Reading Room) will take place on the day of the clinic across the street in the parking lot at the Frankfort Town Office from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Miss Millie's Cupboard will be open from noon to 2 p.m. that day. Donations of cat or dog food, as well as any monetary donations, would be gratefully accepted.

Donations to Miss Millie's Cupboard may also be mailed to: MMC, 67 West Hill Road, Frankfort, ME 04438. Starting in November, Miss Millie's Cupboard will be open the last Saturday of each month from noon to 2 p.m. above Frankfort Town Office for those in need of food for their pets. For more information about Miss Millie's Cupboard call Reba at 223-4334.

Additional WCHS rabies clinics are planned for Saturday, Oct. 30, 9-11 a.m. at the Freedom Town Office, and Saturday, Nov. 13, 9-11 a.m. at the Brooks Fire Station. In addition to the rabies shot, coupon discounts toward the cost of having your pet spayed or neutered can be picked up at any Waldo County Humane Society rabies clinic and used at local vets' offices.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Halloween's coming; keep your pets safe

The ghoulish holiday is still a few weeks away, but store aisles are filled with candy and decorations now. This most likely means many pet owners are buying the stuff now, and so it's time for the annual halloween advisory.

Keep holiday treats and candies out of your pet's reach as they can make your pet quite sick. Candy wrappers cause an upset stomach. Chocolate, particularly unsweetened, dark, bittersweet and baking chocolate, can be toxic to pets, especially dogs, who are more prone to eat it. If your dog eats chocolate, call your veterinarian or an animal poison control center, as treatment may be needed immediately. Symptoms of toxicity include excitement, nervousness, trembling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst or urination, muscle spasms and seizures.

Keep gum, candy or breath fresheners containing the sweetener xylitol away from your dog. When a dog eats even a small amount of xylitol, it causes a surge of insulin, and the animal's blood sugar may drop quickly and dangerously. Cases of liver damage have also been associated with ingestion of xylitol. If your dog ingest xylitol, contact your veterinarian or an animal poison control center immediately.

If you plan to partake in Halloween festivities, such as answering your door to trick-or-treaters, keep pets in a quiet part of the house. Pets can become overexcited, confused or frightened by trick-or-treaters in costume. Watch for open doors and make sure your pets have ID tags and/or microchips in case they do get out. Remind your guests that your normally friendly pet may want to be left alone. Young trick-or-treaters may be scared of dogs who run excitedly toward them when the owner answers the door. Outdoor pets, especially black cats, should be kept indoors on Halloween. Halloween decorations such as fake cobwebs should be kept out of reach of pets. Glow sticks can be hazardous if chewed or ingested. Light strands, loose wires and electric cords can be a serious hazard to your pet, especially puppies, who may chew them.

Never leave candles, such as those in jack-o-lanterns, unattended, especially around puppies and kittens.

Never allow your pets to eat a leftover jack-o-lantern, as a rotted, moldy pumpkin can make them seriously ill.

Some pets might not mind dressing up for Halloween, but for others it could be a stressful experience. Costumes should fit properly and not hinder your pet's movement, vision or breathing.Have your pet try out the costume several times before Halloween so it can get used to wearing it.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Pet Care Supplies Is Essential

Pet InsuranceWhen you own a pet you have to take ample enough of time to treat your pet with love and tender care. Looking after a pet may be an easy job. But with it comes basic things that every pet dog or pet cat should have. Here are some of the things that every pet owner should have or own when they have a pet in their warm home.

1. Pet supplies- It is essential that the pet owner makes a list of what is good for the pet. Make it a point that pet supplies should include pet food, food bowls, collars, pet medications, and pet tonics. Other things that you can consider are pet furniture, pet houses, clothes and pet jewellery (accessories).

2. Pet Grooming Supplies- It is necessary that you groom your pet once in a while. It helps to improve hygiene and keeps your pet healthy. Some of the pet grooming supplies are that of clippers, pet hair care products, pet shampoos and soap.

3. Pet Health- When you own a pet it is your duty to see that your pet is clean and free from fleas. Regular visits to the vetniary is a must as it helps to keep a routine check on your pet's health. Important treatments related to pet health is that of regular baths, combing, brushing, checking its ears, brushing of teeth, nail trimming etc.

4. Care For Your Pet- It is very important taht you set aside time for your pet. Like how a child is loved and cared for, your pet should also be treated with love, care and respect. A puppy or a kitten has to be handled with alot of care and special attention is required. They have to be fed carefully and groomed properly.

5. Pet Insurance- Like how you get yourself insured. It is advisable if you get your pet insured too. There are many insurance companies that provide helath insurance for pets, so make use of it and secure the life of your adorable pet. These are some of the tips that every pet owner should keep in mind when they own a pet.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

All Saints to bless animals

Pets of all shapes and sizes will be lining up at the All Saints Anglican Church for the Blessing of the Animals. Animals are blessed across North America for St. Francis Day (which officially falls on Oct. 4), dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi — the patron saint of animals and ecology. Penny West said the Cochrane blessing has been going on for the last four years. She said when the service begins the animals seem to sense the importance of what’s going on.

“The minute the service starts everything goes quiet,” she said. “When it’s time for them to get their blessing, they line up. We’ve had dogs lined up behind cats, nobody bats an eye.”West said last year’s blessing even had a quarter-horse. Other than the usual cats and dogs she said she’s seen rabbits and a photo of a fish.

Animals line up and are blessed with an evergreen sprig dipped in holy water by Anglican minister Greg Clark and brothers from the Mount Saint Francis Retreat Centre. “All the animals are God’s creatures just like you and the rest of us,” West said. The event is open to all owners and pets, and the service starts at 2 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring donations for the Cochrane and Area Humane Society.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What Can an Adopted Dog Bring to Your Life?

What Can an Adopted Dog Bring to Your Life?The Humane Society of Greenwood is celebrating the American Humane Association’s national Adopt-A-Dog Month this October. They are asking prospective pet owners the question: What can an adopted dog bring to your life?

“There are as many responses to that question as there are dogs in this world,” said Heather Henley, Humane Educator. “Whether you want an exercise buddy, a best friend for your child, a partner in agility competitions, a constant companion for an aging parent or simply a fuzzy face to greet you after a hard day at work, an adopted dog can be all of these – and more. Adopt-A-Dog Month is the perfect time for people to adopt a shelter dog and experience the joy of finding their own answers.”If you’re thinking about bringing an adopted dog into your family, here are some things to consider:

Like children, dogs are completely dependent on their owners for all their needs – food, water, medical attention, exercise, shelter and, most important, companionship. But unlike children, dogs will never learn to pour themselves a drink, fix breakfast or clean up after themselves. Opening your home to a dog can be highly rewarding, as long as you understand and accept the daily responsibilities and routines that come with owning a dog.

The qualities and personality you want in a dog are more important than size and appearance. For example, an older shepherd mix might do better than an energetic terrier in an apartment. Very often the pet that has the characteristics you’re looking for will come in an unexpected package. The Humane Society of Greenwood had dogs of every type, size, age and personality waiting for loving homes. Visit this October at 235 Wilbanks Circle, Greenwood, SC, or website at to find out what a shelter dog can bring to your life during Adopt-A-Dog Month!

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