Are You Ready for a Pet?

Top 5 Signs You're Not Ready for a Pet
Houston Chronicle

Thinking of getting a pet? Think hard.

Houston's animal shelters and foster homes are filled with pets surrendered by people who made a decision they came to regret. The Houston Humane Society offers five reasons you should not get a pet:

1. Your lifestyle is not set up for a pet. People who travel constantly or work extremely long hours will not usually have time for a pet. Who will care for your pet when you're away? How long will he be stuck home alone each day? Will you be too tired to take him for a walk after you've worked a long day? Do you have time to train him properly?

2. You don't have enough money to care for a pet. The adoption fee is just the beginning of the financial commitment. Food and vet care are the more significant ongoing costs. There are monthly heartworm medications and flea preventatives, not to mention annual vaccinations and licenses. How will you pay to treat an ear infection? What if your pet gets hurt and requires surgery?

3. You can't make a longterm commitment. Many pets can live 10, 15, even 20 years. Are you still going to want him when he chews up your favorite pair of shoes? Next time you move, are you willing to limit yourself to someplace your pet's allowed? If you start a family, are you commited enough to find time for both pets and kids?

4. You have no idea what kind of pet to get. If you haven't taken the time to do a little research, you probably aren't prepared for a pet. It's important to know what breed best fits within your current lifestyle and space. Do you have a big house with a fenced backyard, or do you have a studio apartment? Do you like to take 3-mile walks every day, or do you want a dog who'll sit on your lap while you watch TV?

5. You just can't wait to get a pet. Maybe you think your friend's dog is awfully cute and are dying for one of your own. Maybe you've fallen for a pleading pair of eyes and want to take home that particular dog or cat today. If you're not willing to wait at least a few days for the adoption process required by most shelters and rescue groups, you're probably acting too impulsively. Take some time to think. There's a life at stake.

AP Poll: Most Say They, Pets Understand Each Other
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sixty-seven percent of pet owners say they understand their animals' woofs, meows or other sounds, including 18 percent like King and Thibodeau who say they comprehend completely, according to an Associated poll released Wednesday. In a finding many parents of teenagers would no doubt envy, 62 percent of pet owners say that when they speak, their critter gets the message.

Stephen King of rural Texas says he has his dog's vocabulary figured out. Molly Thibodeau says her cats comprehend her so well that they get it when she simply points.

"I speak to her on limited subjects and she does the same with me," said King, 63, a retired chemist from Kempner, Texas, who says he understands his dog, Dagny's, repertoire of barks signaling anger, eagerness, contentment and other feelings. "Common sense works 98 percent of the time."

The high level of communication is but one way the poll highlights the bond between many owners and their pets. According to the survey, conducted by GfK, only one in seven owners say they have been forced to trim spending for their pets during the past year's recession. More than four in 10 — about as many as last year — are buying holiday gifts for their animals.

More women than men say they and their pets understand each other's verbal stabs at communication. Older and lower-income people are also likelier to cite high levels of comprehension between them and their animals.

Thibodeau, 20, of Fort Riley, Kan., said her two cats understand her so completely that if she wants to shoo them off furniture, "I point at them and they get right down."

On the flip side, men are twice as likely as women to say they and their pets are clueless about what each is saying to the other — a group that overall comprises fewer than one in 10 pet owners.

"It's kind of like, 'What are you doing?'" Edwin Oto, 47, of Moraga, Calif., says of his futile efforts to figure out what his dog, Shilo, wants when she keeps barking after he lets her into the house.

Three in 10 dog owners think their pet is baffled when they speak to it, compared with nearly half of cat owners who say the same about their animal.

When it comes to communicating in the other direction, cat owners do better. Twenty-five percent of them say they completely understand their cats' meows, compared with 16 percent of dog owners who claim to be totally fluent in barks.

But Jane Starring, 48, of Barrington, R.I., says she and her family are confounded by their 8-year-old cat, Flannel, who often chases people about the house meowing.

"We're not sure we're making much progress understanding him," said Starring. "I don't know what his point is."

William Miller, a professor of veterinary medicine and medical director of Cornell University's Companion Animal Hospital, says it's not unusual for many owners and pets to understand some of each other's speech. He said animals and people learn to communicate verbally by over time associating certain sounds with actions, such as a particular bark when a dog wishes to go outside or the soothing tone many people use when petting their cat.

"It's not like you'll sit down and have a U.N. conversation with them" spoken in different languages, Miller said.

With many households having more than one pet, 74 percent of all pet owners have a dog and 46 percent have a cat, according to the poll. Men and women were about equally likely to own either kind of animal.

Twelve percent of pet owners have fish, 7 percent have birds, and 2 percent or fewer have horses, rabbits, rodents, turtles, lizards or other pets.

Just 15 percent of all owners said they have scaled back spending for their pets in the past year, suggesting the recession is prompting many to save money other ways before squeezing their pet budget.

"They look to me for food and shelter just like my children do," said Charlotte Phillips, 40, of Abingdon, Va., a mother of two whose family is cutting its overall spending but not for its two dogs and five cats. "They can't fend for themselves."

Of the group that is cutting back, 27 percent say they have seriously considered giving up their pet. Seventy-one percent say they've thought about buying it fewer toys or clothes, while 60 percent cite switching to less costly pet food.

About half spending less for pets say they've thought about postponing routine veterinary visits and getting less grooming. About one in five have considered delaying care for an animal's serious health problems or cutting day care or walking services.

Even so, 43 percent of owners said they would buy holiday gifts for their pets, compared with 46 percent who said they had done so last year. Dogs would seem to have more to look forward to this season: 48 percent of dog owners but just 28 percent of cat owners say they will buy their pets gifts.

The poll was conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media from Dec. 3-8 and involved landline and cell phone interviews with 1,129 randomly chosen pet owners. The margin of sampling error in the poll is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

Associated Press polling director Trevor Tompson contributed to this report.

“Hero” Dog Brings to Light Chileans’ Attitude to Pets
By Colette Bernasconi - Merco Press

A recently released video of highway security film footage showing the heroic rescue of one dog by another on a busy Chilean highway is causing a big stir both in Chile and abroad.

The two dogs were reportedly escaping a dog pound together when one of them was hit by a car moving at a roughly estimated 50 to 60 mph. As the dog lay dying between lanes in the middle of a major highway, the other dog darted out from the divide, dodging heavy traffic until he reached the wounded dog. The “hero” dog then proceeded to drag his friend by the scruff of his neck to the roadside, stopping only to avoid traffic, which did not slow throughout the entire incident.

Three minutes later, the mongrels were on the side of the highway in relative safety and an emergency vehicle pulled up to tardily diverts traffic.

Stories of dogs saving their human owners from burning buildings are common, but Chilean veterinarian and canine psychologist Marta Rio said that this event was extraordinary. “Dogs helping dogs and expressing compassion is fairly common,” she said. “But I have never heard of one going to such dangerous lengths to help another one of its own. It is a truly exceptional story.”

The Vespucio Norte highway security cameras, which are monitored 24 hours a day, captured the rescue but highway operators now say they don't know where the “hero” dog is.

Vespucio Norte spokesman Marcelo Fuentelzar explained the aftermath of the situation. “The dog who got hit died on the side of the road and the other dog that we assume was a stray but are not sure, was dropped off in the nearby residential area of Conchal√≠,” he said. “We figured, if he's a stray, it doesn't matter where we leave him, and if he's not, best leave him close to where we found him.”

Chilean attitudes toward dog ownership differ greatly to those in places like the United States. There are approximately 214,000 dogs roaming the streets or sleeping on sidewalks all over Santiago.

Still, only about 60% of the dogs seen on the street are true strays, according to Rios. “The others are pets, whose owners let them out in the morning when they go to work and take them back in at night when they get back home,” Rios said.

The canine psychologist attributes this nonchalant attitude to a severe problem affecting Santiago. “It's terrible; it's a real problem. Dogs can get hit by cars, and some can get lost,” Rios said. “Also, most of (the dogs) aren't vaccinated or spayed, even fewer are neutered, and so you have a lot of puppies being born in the streets, which keeps the population of stray dogs high. People here need to be re-educated about what it means to keep a dog as a pet.”

The Chilean state introduced a free sterilization program for dogs in 2006. Still, many dogs are not taken in and continue to roam the streets, sometimes attacking people which produce problems of disease. There have been a few incidences of lethal attacks and people often run the risk of contracting rabies through dog bites.

The topic of canine vagabonds in Santiago is a hot one, and different solutions figure among some politicians' campaign promises. Last year, a dog euthanasia scandal in posh Las Condes prompted then-Santiago Mayor Raul Alca√≠no to react furiously in front of television cameras. Surrounded by stray mutts, he howled at journalists, saying “No one's laying a finger on these puppies.”

It is a divisive issue, and public opinion seems to be turning more against Santiago's begrudged mascots. Perhaps this recent demonstration of canine affection will do something positive for the tarnished reputation of Santiago's stray dogs.

Animal Planet Swoops in to Transform Ordinary Dogs Into Extraordinary Pets in New Series UNDERDOG TO WONDERDOG

SILVER SPRING, Md., Dec 15, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- - The Wonder Team Joins Forces to Makeover Shelter Canines on January 3rd -
Every day thousands of dogs are brought to shelters--unkempt, undernourished and unloved. But help is on the way for these poor pups as Animal Planet's doggie Wonder Team comes to the rescue in the new series UNDERDOG TO WONDERDOG. With the help of our fantastic foursome, each episode follows the transformation of one helpless pup as it undergoes a complete metamorphoses, becoming the dog it was always destined to be. Every shelter dog is rescued, groomed, trained and rehabilitated before finally being placed into a loving home - equipped with its very own custom-designed dog house. Watch as the show's host, trainer, groomer and carpenter use their canine expertise to revamp these down-on-their-luck pups beginning Saturday, January 3, at 8 PM (ET/PT).

"Celebrity makeovers, home makeovers and now finally doggie makeovers," says Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet Media. Not only is UNDERDOG TO WONDERDOG the kind of transformational television audiences love, these surprising makeovers truly change the lives of the dogs and their new families."
The series begins with the rescue of a Yorkshire terrier, appropriately named Lucky. After being hit by a car, Lucky badly needed a surgery that her previous owners could not afford. When we first meet her, she is still in the care of a local shelter, shivering and traumatized.

UNDERDOG TO WONDERDOG'S premiere episode follows Lucky's journey from that shelter in Brooklyn through her transformation with the Wonder Team and finally to her new life with the loving Maryanski family and their 11-year-old daughter Olivia. Complete with background stories on these well-deserving families, UNDERDOG TO WONDERDOG shows that sometimes the families need the love of a dog just as much as the dogs need them.

Of course, the happy ending would not be possible without the dedication of the members of Animal Planet's Wonder Team. Led by host Ryan Smith, the team invests themselves into the rehabilitation of these unfortunate pups. He currently co-hosts BETJ's My Two Cents and is a skilled sports analyst and television personality.
"UNDERDOG TO WONDERDOG really pulls on your heartstrings and gives you a different perspective on what's important in life," says host Ryan Smith. "It is truly amazing to see the dogs go from living in shelters to being part of amazing families in only a few short weeks."

Smith is joined on UNDERDOG TO WONDERDOG by professional dog trainer and author Andrea Arden, who has also appeared on Animal Planet's DOGS 101. In addition, styling extraordinaire Ali McLennan lends her American Academy of Pet Grooming training to smooth out these scuffed-up pups, and the show's big-hearted canine carpenter, David Leon, builds doggie dream homes, complete with windows, stone exteriors and even wallpaper with the help of years of carpentry and masonry experience.

UNDERDOG TO WONDERDOG is produced for Animal Planet by Sharp Entertainment. Bob Larson, Matt Sharp and Jon Grosskopf are the executive producers for Sharp Entertainment, and Mick Kaczorowski is the executive producer for Animal Planet.
Animal Planet Media (APM), a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the world's only entertainment brand that immerses viewers in the full range of life in the animal kingdom with rich, deep content via multiple platforms and offers animal lovers and pet owners access to a centralized online, television and mobile community for immersive, engaging, high-quality entertainment, information and enrichment. APM consists of the Animal Planet television network, available in more than 95 million homes in the US; online assets, the ultimate online destination for all things animal; the 24/7 broadband channel, Animal Planet Beyond;, the #1 pet-related Web property globally that facilitates pet adoption; and other media platforms including a robust Video-on-Demand (VOD) service; mobile content; and merchandising extensions.

Australian Pet Ambulance Finds a Growing Niche

SYDNEY (AFP) — When veterinary nurse Niccole George heard the sobs on the phone, she felt incapable of doing her job because the collapsed Great Dane's owner was too frail to bring the dog to her.

That was the phone call that inspired George and her partner Gareth O'Connor to start PetMedics, a 24-hour pet ambulance service for pet owners unable to get their animals to help when an emergency arises.

"I had felt so bad for her and wished there was something that I could have done," George, 24, told AFP of the Great Dane.

"So that's where it all came from. We knew there was a market for it and we knew a lot of people needed that service and it was a way we could help out."

With financial support from a non-profit organisation for young adults the couple bought a van. But they had to be more innovative when it came to equipping the vehicle with pet-sized medical tools.

O'Connor drafted in a box-making company in Melbourne to make a pet stretcher using thick tarpaulin, while George flew to the United States to pick up an oxygen chamber from an emergency veterinary conference.

Resuscitation devices were easier to acquire, as only the connections were different from those used for humans.

By the time the service, which generally charges an 85 Australian dollar (59 US) call-out fee, was ready to roll late last year, all that was needed was demand.

George and O'Connor said the round-the-clock service has been busy despite the global financial crisis, which has seen some pet owners abandon their furry friends or cut back on veterinary care as the credit crunch bites.

"In the first months, it was one or two calls a month. But in the next few months, it increased. Now we get over two calls a day," O'Connor said.

In the last six months, Australia's Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has recorded an almost 100 percent increase in the number of dogs and cats surrendered at its south-west Sydney shelter compared to the same time last year.

"We have had an increase of people stating that they are surrendering their pets as they have to make a choice between feeding and caring for their human family and their animals," shelter supervisor Karen Schlieper said.

Despite the impact of the credit crunch, the trend towards personal pet care -- reflected in the emergence of day spas and other luxury treatment for dogs in Sydney -- still points towards a change in the way Australians view their pets, said veterinarian Dr Katrina Warren.

"Pets used to be outdoor animals and dogs used to run the streets and the backyard and cats used to do what they wanted, whereas now pets are definitely a lifestyle decision," Warren said.

"They are often substitute children, they are definitely treated as part of the family. And now that they are accepted as part of the family we absolutely spoil and treat them."

George and O'Connor have witnessed the extent to which pet owners -- one in three Australian households has at least one pet -- become attached to their animal friends.

Often the ambulance is called by owners who are so upset about their sick pets they are unable to drive it to an animal hospital or even explain what is wrong with it.

"Sometimes we get there and they can barely speak, they can only point and we go and help their pet," O'Connor said.

While most of the pets George and O'Connor transport are dogs, cats and birds, the company has also received distress calls to save more usual pets such as a chicken, a goat and a turtle.

George said she believes it is the alienation that some people can feel in an urban environment that makes pets so popular.

"I think pets are for a lot of people that consistent source of affection and loyalty." she said.

An elderly woman drinks coffee while she feeds her cat as they try to keep warm in central Kiev December 17, 2008. Ukrainian consumers could default on 60 percent of their debt obligations with a hryvnia currency rate of 9 to the dollar, an aide to President Viktor Yushchenko said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Help Your Pet Avoid the Perils of Christmas
Sharon Peters - USA Today

I spent Christmas afternoon two years ago in the animal ER.

Big old Rufus had developed a little stomach upset the day before that I thought would resolve with the often-prescribed bland diet of rice and chicken. But by midday Christmas, even water was shooting through him at turbo speed. We needed help.

Turns out the animal ER was a very busy place that day. Standing-room-only busy, crammed with pets (and owners) in varying stages of distress — one of the humans still dressed in some sort of elf attire and bedroom slippers (pointy-toed elf shoes, obviously, not conducive to a warp-speed drive across town).

There were the predictable holiday-related calamities requiring medical attention: the whole-turkey consumption by a now-miserable Lab, and the crash down a flight of ice-slicked stairs by a boxer that had been wearing a Santa hat that may have impaired his vision.

There also were some mishaps you wouldn't necessarily think of as yuletide perils for pets (but which are, in fact, linked to the general chaos and owner distraction of the season). There was the young dog badly chewed by a visiting dog buddy apparently driven to uncharacteristic behavior by the brunch-table delectables and hordes of sugar-rushed children. And the indoor-only cat that, when Christmas Eve carolers clomped into the entrance foyer, raced out the door, spent the cold night outside and now seemed odd and lethargic.

Christmas can be pretty rough on pets. "If it's not the busiest day of the year, it is definitely one of the busiest," James Gaynor, of Animal Emergency Care Centers in Colorado Springs, told me. Much of what is emblematic of the season carries a big skull and crossbones for pets, which, unfortunately, the animals don't observe.

Most people know that chocolate (especially baker's or dark) is toxic to dogs, and that fireplaces and lighted candles are pet burn-jobs in waiting.

But many other potential hazards are lesser-known emergencies-in-the-making that could turn the festivities into a horrible race for a pet's survival. Gaynor recalls long holiday ER stints treating dozens of ingestion cases, some of which could have been fatal if not tended to fast. He remembers the retriever banished for hours to the yard — for being too rowdy around guests —. The dog sliced its tendons on metal lawn edging and required extensive surgery and rehab.

Enjoy yourself, but take extra precautions for your pets. They may not always display perfect judgment during this time of upset in their routines. Locking them in a spare room when guests are roaming about or you're distracted is sometimes the best route (even though you regard them as part of the family). And take special note of these hazards-in-waiting:

• Macadamia nuts. Rover snarfs a bowlful and within hours is completely paralyzed. Can't move an inch. Many owners, believing the dog has had a stroke, choose euthanisia. But actually the dog will recover on its own in 72 hours. So before making a hasty decision, consider whether macadamia nuts may have been consumed.

• Raisin cookies. Raisins are highly toxic to many dogs. So if yours gets a boxful, or a chunk of raisin-studded fruitcake, or any like product with raisins (or even a bowl of grapes), get to a veterinarian fast. Rapid intervention is crucial.

• Tree-stand water. It quickly becomes a breeding pool for all kinds of bacteria; it also might contain fertilizer, pesticides or other chemicals from the tree. Prevent slurping by stretching aluminum foil across the bowl (cats hate that) and then covering it with the tree skirt, taped to the trunk.

• Tinsel and ribbons. Very attractive to cats, mylar and other flexible shiny strips can, if swallowed, shred their innards or wrap around intestines. Surgery is probably necessary.

• Xylitol. The sweetener used in sugarless gums and mints can rapidly cause liver failure in dogs. So place visitors' purses, coats and luggage high enough that probing canines can't reach. Same goes for guests' medicines. Human med ingestion, in fact, is the most frequent cause of ER visits.

• Pine needles. If swallowed, they can puncture intestines.

• Lilies. They're toxic to cats. Keep them out of the house. If an arrangement arrives, pull lilies out and deliver them to a cat-free home.

• Holly and mistletoe. Both are potentially toxic and should be kept from pets. Poinsettias, despite the reputation, aren't fatal (but can cause intestinal upset).

• Booze. Don't let dogs lick eggnog, beer or spilled wine. Dogs don't metabolize booze well. They don't understand being high, and it panics them.

Thinking ahead and avoiding hazards is the best way to keep pets safe.

Take a moment to go to and click on the Animal Poison Control Center link to gain familiarity with other risks. And tape the ASPCA's Poison Control hotline number — 888-426-4435 — someplace obvious so you don't waste time if you need it. Veterinarian specialists answer it 24/7, 365 days a year. You give them your credit-card number for a $60 consultation fee, and they explain how to handle a toxic ingestion (including things you should do on the way to the ER). They'll stick with your case for that fee, advising the vet who treats your animal.

I was lucky that Christmas of 2006: Rufus had a bug, he got meds, and in short order was fine. I wish the same for all your pets needing intervention this season.

My Pet World: Try Treating Cat's Conjunctivitis with L-lysine Supplement in Food
By Steve Dale -

Q: My 5-year old cat has black and gooky stuff like blood coming from her eyes. Whenever she shakes her head or rubs up against anything, she leaves the telltale signs of her leaky eyes. One veterinarian recommended we supplement her wet food with L-lysine. I've never fed her wet food before, so she has gotten fatter, but the eyes are the same. Do you have any advice?

— C. H., Las Vegas

A: According to veterinary ophthalmologist Dr. Ralph Hamor, professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, the dark discharge is probably not blood. However, it is likely chronic conjunctivitis, a result of a chronic herpes infection. While there is no cure, per se, controlling the infection is important to your cat's comfort and quality of life.

Indeed, the amino acid L-lysine is a perfectly reasonable beginning treatment. Oftentimes, this effectively prevents the virus from replicating.

If your cat is taking the L-lysine in moist food, balance your cat's food intake by decreasing the quantity of kibble. If you need lots of moist food to sway your cat to take the L-lysine, you may require only a teaspoon worth of tuna or salmon. Another option is to speak with your veterinarian about L-lysine sold in various compounded formulations, such as fish-flavored L-lysine.

If the L-lysine treatment fails to reduce your cat's "gooky stuff," consider seeing a veterinary ophthalmologist to rule out another medical issue. If it turns out to be conjunctivitis that is simply failing to respond to treatment, an antiviral medication may be tried. However, this is not a first resort. Antivirals that may help people may not be safe for cats, and the antivirals that are safe to use are expensive.

Write to Steve Dale at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207. Send e-mail to Include your name, city and state.

The Internet Has Gone To The Dogs…And Cats, Birds, Fish, Gerbils And Lizards

(NAPSI)-First, they became a part of the family. Then they grew to be the drivers of one of the largest spending sectors in the country. Now they've invaded the Internet. Who are these interlopers? Why, family pets, of course.

A simple Google search of "pets" will return about 300 million hits. A Google Blog search, 3,854,049 hits. Google Shopping, another 3 million results. Quite impressive for creatures that can't even talk, let alone use a mouse and keyboard. But their owners can, and do. And this has led to an explosion of innovative sites for pets and their owners to connect and share information.

Quickly growing in popularity are social networking sites such as, which is the largest with more than 300,000 registered members and more than 500,000 pet profiles. Zootoo allows members to share information, get news, find local area services, rate pet products, post photos and videos of their pets, form peer groups, host and join events and contests, all while earning points for their shelter of choice to win a makeover. allows pet owners to write messages to one another about shared interests and offer advice on health problems, training or local dog-friendly parks. PetSmooch is another where, according to the site, pets smooch and owners schmooze. is a site where "pets and pet parents connect, share, educate and simply have fun." lets users arrange playdates and coordinate petsitting.

Some sites are dedicated to dog lovers, like, where members supply their pups' "voices" and share photos, videos, advice and stories. You can create a profile for your dog and connect with other dog owners using the Dogbook application on Other canine sites include, Uniteddogs and Doggysnaps.

Now there's even a downloadable social networking widget designed to connect animal lovers with pets in need of homes, called People who download the application gain easy access to information on pets available for adoption through right from their Facebook or MySpace page.

A blog network called DogTime collects pet-related blogs that, according to its founders, are "handpicked as the most entertaining, informative and knowledgeable pet blogs that embody the deep passion and love people have for their pets."

For other pet types there's, Unitedcats and And if a social network hasn't been created yet for reptile or bunny owners, it's probably in the works.

"If you asked me three years ago what a social network was, I wouldn't have been able to tell you," admits Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association (APPA), who launched his own blog-Pet Industry Insight-two months ago. "Now there are dozens of these sites purely dedicated to pets and pet owners, which is no wonder, given that pet owners spend over $40 billion every year on them."

Vetere's organization actively engages in the social media focused on pets. Along with his blog, APPA has its own Facebook page, YouTube videos, Twitter feeds, RSS feeds and two other blogs-one focusing on the joys of pet ownership called Pets Add Life (PAL) and the other on the world's largest annual pet products trade show, Global Pet Expo.

"This is the wave of the future. Social networking will continue to grow and become a part of our lives and, apparently, our pets' lives. Which means I better start a page for my dog, Dakota, soon," Vetere jokes.

Since 1958, the American Pet Products Association has been the leading not-for-profit trade association serving the interests of the pet products industry. APPA membership includes more than 1,000 pet product manufacturers, their representatives, importers and livestock suppliers. APPA's mission is to promote, develop and advance pet ownership and the pet products industry, and to provide the services necessary to help its members prosper. Visit for more information.

Increasingly, pet owners are bringing their love of animals to the Internet.

"Thanks" to RedKat in Bhc, Az

What is Pit Bull Rescue?
Melanie Coy - Southeast Missourian

This Sunday, December 21, from 1:00 to 4:00, Petco of Cape Girardeau will host Pit Bull Rescue for their second Celebration of Rescue. This event will give the public a chance to meet the American Pit Bull Terrier and gain first hand knowledge of one of the most misunderstood breeds in our history.

Since we first began publicizing this event, many people have asked the question "What is Pit Bull Rescue?". As a way of answering this question, I would like to relate the story of Lonely, a Pit Bull that went through the entire rescue process.

I was contacted early last fall by the assistant to the representative of the 110th district, regarding one of her constituents that had been caring for a young Pit Bull. This dog had shown up on their doorstep, beaten up and starving. AT first they tried to make him leave. They quickly found out, once a Pit Bull adopts you, you are adopted.

Lonely, as they called him because of his very "lonely" sounding vocals, was cleaned up, fed and set up in an outside storage shed. His wounds healed and he quickly became a healthy, magnificent example of what a Pit Bull should be. What had once been a dog, thrown away by uncaring humans, was now a beloved, cherished pet.

Unfortunately, Lonely was living in an area that did not care about finding out the truth about Pit Bulls. Public opinion was formed by the negative stigma surrounding these dogs. No one cared this dog posed no threat to the community. He was a Pit Bull, and if he was not removed, he was in danger of being tragically "eliminated".

I drove the hour and a half to the home of Lonely's benefactors not really knowing what to expect when I got there. What a surprise I had! My first sight of him was standing loyally at the side of his "mom", with the sun shining on his sleek, copper colored coat. I was speechless. This was the first time I was to pull a dog from a loving home because of ignorance and what a dog he was.

I spent some time visiting these wonderful people. They shared stories of Lonely growing up and some of his likes and dislikes. All the while, Lonely watched me warily because he knew I was not just another visitor. We all knew this was going to be one of the hardest things we had ever done. I had to remove this dog from the only loving home he had known. The people that loved him had to let him go in order to insure his safety. He had to trust us to do the best we could for him.

Because this rescue coincided with the seizure in Old Appleton, Lonely was boarded by LaCroix Pet Hospital in Cape Girardeau. Over the years they have seen me drag in many refugees, but this was the first time I had to enlist their help for long term care. If they had any misgivings about this big boy, they never voiced them. For the entire week he was there, and all during his health checks and neutering, he was cared for as if he belonged to the staff personally.

Then came the time when Lonely's space was available at Mutts-n-Stuff Rescue in St. Louis. Mutts-n-Stuff is one of the largest Pit Bull rescues in our area. They stepped up in the very beginning to provide Lonely with a foster home until he could be placed in his forever home.

His forever home came in the form of a family that is dedicated to giving him the love and care that he has come to expect since back when he showed up as a broken pup on a stranger's doorstep.

This dog may have had a hard start in life, but he has known only kindness and care since he was a very young dog. He has been moved into different placees by strangers that have dedicated their lives to the unfortunates amoung us. He is a shining example of a dog that was raised with love.

I wish I could say all of my rescue stories had such a happy ending. I wish all of my rescues had been this easy. They have not. Rescuers lose more than they save. It is a sad fact of life that more dogs in the United States lose their lives than are saved. Many more are the victims of horrendous abuse and we do not find out about them until it is too late. But this is what rescue is. These successes are why we continue to put our hearts on the line. Rescue is all about being there when animals are in need.

Please join us this Sunday at Petco in Cape Girardeau to celebrate the successes and to honor those that have fallen. We promise you big sloppy kisses and unlimited smiles!

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I have two pit bulls. One from a pound in Poplar Bluff, and the other I found walking the streets of downtown Cape. I've had both for over 4 years now...and never a single problem. They're loving, devoted, caring animals who value the relationship they have with their owner. They're extremely trainable (more so than any other breed I've had experience with), and understand the concepts of discipline.

-- Posted by curthe on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, 11:40 pm CDT

I have met pit bulls of both good and bad character. The big difference is in their raising. They are among several breeds of dogs who can be very dominant, and owners need to take a firm, affectionate stand with them, socialize them from puppyhood, and always hold them to their learning. They have a great grin when they are good!

-- Posted by beja on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, 5:37 pm CDT

Wonderful story to read! They are truly wonderful Companions and very loving and compassionate. Most people don't know that they are the dogs that settled the american west with the pioneers as populations spreaded west. I'm appalled at the stigma society has placed upon these loving animals. It's nothing short of racism be it in dog form. Why is it i am required by law to carry special insurance for my pet that carries heavy premiums even though she hasn't ever hurt anyone?

-- Posted by Bushman_212 on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, 11:26 am CDT

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