Wide World of Pets

Pets Breathe Easier After Group's Gift to Firefighters

Volunteers donate oxygen masks designed to fit over animals' snouts

After years of trying to fit oxygen masks made for humans onto pets or pushing plastic tubes down animals' throats, the Columbus Division of Fire will receive 21 masks to help resuscitate pets rescued from fires.

TelecomPioneers, a volunteer organization made up of telecommunication employees, is donating 150 air masks to firefighters across Ohio. Each set costs $55.

Each of Columbus' seven fire battalions will get three masks - two for dogs and one for cats - Assistant Fire Chief Jerry Mason said.

"We wanted to address the need of the pets but never had the funding," said Mason, adding that the city will not spend any money on the masks.

The project began after Toni Muntean, Ohio president of TelecomPioneers, saw a news report about the oxygen masks. Fellow member Alliss Strogin, who volunteers as an animal rescuer, found H.E.L.P. Animals Inc., a Florida group that distributes the pet masks at discounted prices to nonprofit organizations.

"You get someone passionate about a project and it just spreads," said Linda McCreary, a life member of the Columbus AT&T Telephone Pioneers. "It was a totally different avenue for us."

McCreary hopes to distribute the masks to Columbus firefighters by early January.

"Just giving some out makes other departments aware of them," said Strogin, of Medina.

"I think it's wonderful that AT&T is making sure (Columbus firefighters) have proper tools," said Jodi Buckman, executive director of the Capital Area Humane Society.

In an emergency, firefighters need to protect the entire family, including the animals, Buckman said.

Carbon monoxide and other chemicals inhaled during a fire can burn animals' throats or the lining of the trachea and lungs, said Edward Cooper, an assistant professor at the Ohio State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Damage to the lungs can predispose pets to pneumonia and lung infection, Cooper said.

Firefighters used mouth-to-snout resuscitation or adult human oxygen masks to help animals breathe, but the makeshift methods were "very ineffective," Mason said.

A well-fitted mask can provide the oxygen necessary to offset carbon monoxide, Cooper said.

Telecom Pioneers, founded in 1911, is the largest industry-related volunteer organization in the world, with 620,000 active and retired members. The southeastern Ohio region of AT&T Telephone Pioneers, which includes Columbus and Zanesville, has 550 members.

The group, which also volunteers in schools and at Special Olympics events, funds projects through dues, raffles and interest on certificates of deposit, said Diana Reckart, Northeast Council president.

AT&T Telephone Pioneers donated the Columbus Division of Fire's first "Jaws of Life," a hydraulic rescue tool, in the 1980s, Mason said.

"We are very grateful," Mason said. "I applaud their efforts to help animals."

Meet Simon’s Sister’s Dog! Does he look familiar? That’s because he’s been produced by the creator of the hugely successful animation Simon’s Cat, in support of the RSPCA’s campaign to tackle pet obesity.

Simon’s Sister’s Dog has got his eye on one thing, and one thing only – food! And he doesn’t stop until he’s devoured every tid bit and scrap of dropped food from the Christmas dinner table and has reached bursting point.

There is of course a serious message to this animation. According to leading vets, pet obesity is one of the biggest issues affecting pets’ health and one in three of the UK’s dogs and cats are now overweight. Fat pets can develop serious health problems – including diabetes, arthritis and even organ failure.

The RSPCA has created 'Pets Get Slim' - an online community to help people help their pets lose weight.

We claim to be a nation of animal lovers but are we actually guilty of killing our pets with kindness? The following video is both funny and sad, please watch it.

Cut Out the Stuffing!

Your “Pet”-scription - Identifying the Perfect Pet
Kijiji.com - Free Local Classifieds

The holidays are a time to bring families together, and a new pet is often considered a wonderful addition to a family. To ensure that during this hectic season families understand the responsibility involved with bringing a pet into their homes, Kijiji and The Animal Medical Center, New York’s largest facility for animal care, research and education, have teamed up to spread the word about the importance of identifying the pet that suits your lifestyle. Not only do you want a pet that fits in to your family, you want your family to fit the pet.

10 Things to Consider Before Giving a Pet a Home

Tips from Dr. Ann Hohenhaus of The Animal Medical Center:

1. Consider All Your Options: Think about why you’re searching for a pet – someone to run in the park with, cuddle up with at home, or to teach tricks to? A site like Kijiji, which fosters local connections, allows you to search for many different types of pets in your area, making it easy to welcome the perfect pet into your home. Kijiji also hosts a Pet Adoption category, where many local shelters advertise pets.

2. Daily Responsibilities: This is probably one of the most important things to consider before inviting a pet into your home. Discuss how much time each family member is able to devote to your new pet. Create a daily schedule with responsibilities assigned to each family member before your new pet arrives. Think about responsibilities including feeding, exercise, cleaning and play time.

3. Budget: Welcoming a pet into your home is like welcoming a new family member, and making sure that your new pet is an integral part of your life also comes with financial responsibility. Pet owners need to consider the ongoing costs for pet health, such as food, toys, regular checkups and vaccinations. It is also a good idea to investigate pet insurance or set up a savings account reserved for unexpected pet expenses like emergency care.

4. Age of Your Family Members: Consider your children’s ages before you decide on a pet. Think about how they will want to interact with their new companion and how the companion will respond. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children around the ages of five or six are mature enough to handle and care for a pet.

5. Space Requirements: Consider the amount of space your new pet will require in your home - a collie requires much more room than a hamster. Also remember that your puppy or kitten is not yet fully grown, so you will want to be sure that you’ll still have room for your pet as it matures.

6. Layout of Your Home: Where will your pet eat, sleep and play? Are there any rooms or pieces of furniture that will be off-limits to your pet? It is best for your family to agree on those rules before you introduce your new pet into your home.

7. Location of Your Pet’s Former Home: It’s often best to adopt a pet from a local owner. By using a local classifieds website such as Kijiji, you can connect with multiple owners to visit your potential pet. This way you can consider their current environment and determine if you can provide a similar atmosphere. Additionally, by connecting with a local pet owner, it will be easier to get in touch in case you have any questions after the pet has come home with you.

8. Pet’s Abilities: If you’re looking for a companion that will play fetch, a goldfish is probably not the best match for you and your family. Think about how you would like the pet to be incorporated into your family. Are you looking forward to taking it with you on weekend hikes, or would you prefer a companion that will cuddle up to you when you’re watching TV at night?

9. Allergies: It’s important to make sure that no one in your family has any allergies to pets before you welcome them into your home. Both you and the pet will be disappointed if an allergy is detected after you have brought it home.

10. Health History: Check with the previous owner to find out which vaccinations and shots the pet has already received, and if it has any pre-existing health issues.

Once you have considered each of these items, you will be able to narrow down your pet search so you’ll be more informed once you visit Kijiji.com to find the perfect pet to add to your family!

Click here to visit The Animal Medical Center.

Editorial: Punishing Irresponsible Pet Owners
The Dallas Morning News

After receiving thousands of complaints about the stray-dog menace in the southern part of the city, Dallas Animal Services is cracking down with a vengeance. In the first two weeks of a SWAT-style operation this month, 900 stray animals were rounded up.

That's exactly what southern Dallas needs to see more of – year-round. Residents there cite stray dogs as a top reason why they feel unsafe in their neighborhoods. Getting rid of these dogs will help make streets walkable, raise the quality of life and reduce a major eyesore contributing to the blighted image of many southern Dallas neighborhoods.

Sadly, most of these captured animals will be euthanized. Of the 36,000 animals received by Animal Services last year, nearly 30,000 were put to sleep.

For owners who don't want their pet to suffer a similar fate, this serves warning: Never let your pet run free. Make sure your pet is embedded with an identification chip so that, if he is captured, Animal Services might be able to notify you. Have your pets spayed or neutered so they don't contribute to the exploding population of unwanted animals.

As Dallas Morning News staff writer Jessica Meyers reported last week, the stray problem is particularly bad in southern Dallas. More than 7,000 people in this part of the city called the 311 code-enforcement hotline to complain about belligerent animals during the last fiscal year, compared with 567 for north-central Dallas.

It boils down to "irresponsible pet owners allowing their animals to breed and run loose," says Kent Robertson, Dallas Animal Services manager.

The Dallas City Council should have seized an opportunity earlier this year to dramatically toughen its animal ordinances, crack down on dangerous dogs and make negligent pet owners pay for breaking the law. Unfortunately, the council passed an ordinance that was tepid and failed to make full use of available enforcement measures.

Better still, the state Legislature needs to grant cities broader authority to go after owners of particularly aggressive breeds, such as pit bulls. Owners must understand that they will suffer the severest consequences – including criminal prosecution and jail time – if they allow their pets to roam free and attack. Dozens of maimed Texas children can attest to the need for tougher laws.

It's satisfying to see stray dogs being yanked off the streets, but residents also need to see images of irresponsible owners being hauled off in handcuffs and made to feel the full bite of the law.

Summit County: It’s a Coyote-Eat-Pet World Out There
by Robert Allen - Summit Daily News

Wildlife officials: Do not feed the coyotes

Summit County, CO Colorado

A 15-pound cat named Sammy lived 11 years in French Creek before he was taken from Cary Piecoup’s backyard — and killed.

Piecoup’s other cat, Toulouse, was slaughtered in her front yard less than a year later.

A wily coyote is the primary suspect in both unfortunate deaths.

Piecoup said a neighbor “saw a coyote running with something big” and the description matched Sammy.

And she heard Tolouse fighting for his life: “What I thought was wind blowing our chairs over was him trying to get away from whatever got him,” she said. “I can’t prove it was coyotes — it’s assumption — but we’ve got a lot.”

Piecoup said it’s “pretty odd” for an animal that’s ordinarily shy to be entering peoples’ yards.

“I’d say just in the last year, probably about 20 cats (were) killed just in our area,” she said. “Our next door neighbors had a dog killed last winter by a coyote right in their backyard, a little poodle-type dog.”

“Brazen coyotes” have become an increasingly serious problem from metro Denver to Summit County and Grand Junction, said Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton.

A coyote was shot at Copper Mountain in February after it had become increasingly aggressive around skiers.

Earlier this month in Erie, a fourth-grade boy fended off a coyote with a snowboard after the animal bit his arm.

He said that as human populations increase, the animals appear to be growing more comfortable with them and are growing up in urban environments.

“Coyotes are very adaptable animals, and they quickly adapt to their surroundings,” Hampton said.

There have been several encounters along the Front Range, especially in the foothills.

“Coyotes come and take pets right off the end of the leash,” he said.

Certain traps, snares and poisoning methods for controlling the animals’ population are illegal because of a state constitutional amendment passed in 1996.

The best option for municipal residents with coyote problems, Hampton said, is to contact the division of wildlife.

Shooting coyotes also is an option for people holding small-game licenses.

“The coyote season is year-round, and take of coyotes is unlimited,” Hampton said.

A coyote took Breckenridge Councilman Jeffrey Bergeron’s 11-year-old dog, Robby, while he and his wife were cross-country skiing earlier this month.

“In a lot of ways, I can be vindictive,” Bergeron said. “When it comes to this, they (coyotes) were probably here before Cairn terriers in Summit County.”

The dog was attacked on the Peabody Trail off Gold Run Road, about 50 yards from the trailhead.

Bergeron said he’d seen about 15 people and 10 dogs on the same trail that day.
Signage has since been posted at the trail, warning of the coyote danger.

“Even a tough dog probably doesn’t stand a chance against a coyote,” Bergeron said. “There’s tough guys in bars and there’s tough guys in prisons ... These coyotes are pros. They kill for a living.”

Summit County Coroner Joanne Richardson, who lives in Silverthorne, takes no chances with her beloved felines.

She’s installed a galvanized-steel enclosure made in Canada to protect them.
“This way, they can go outside, and I can feel safe,” she said, adding that Summit County is “in nature’s backyard.”

The cage device from Habitat Haven is claimed to be even bear-proof, she said.

Hampton said one of the best ways to prevent coyotes from growing comfortable near people areas is to “not ever, ever feed those animals.”

Coyotes go through a phase of trying to figure people out, he said, and when people are loud and try to scare them off, it can help the animals decide it’s not worth the trouble.

“Try to yell, scare it off, make it uncomfortable,” he said of a coyote encounter. “It’s OK to throw a rock at it.”

Hampton added that the animal should not be cornered.

To help deter a possible coyote attack, pets should always be kept on leashes — especially when in the backcountry, he said.

Coyote management from a biological and social perspective, Hampton said, involves a balance between two schools of thought:

“First, (there are) people that believe coyotes are a nuisance and potentially a danger — these are the people that say: ‘Kill them when they come toward town.’”

The others, he said, recognize that coyotes were here first and believe we should live in unison.

“It’s a difficult balancing act,” Hampton said.

Wildlife officials constantly work to educate the public about the danger of coyotes and other wildlife.

Nancy Ring, director of Summit County Animal Control, said her office has received no recent reports of coyote attacks, as the state typically handles such incidents.

However, the office received reports last year of coyotes following hikers and their dogs along a trail near Dillon Cemetery.

Hampton said that when a coyote becomes a nuisance around people, relocation is not an option.

The relocated animal inevitably will be attracted to move near people, so the most likely DOW procedure in such situations is to put the coyote down.

For more information on coyotes, visit the Division of Wildlife website at http://wildlife.state.co.us.

Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or rallen@summitdaily.com.

Animal-Loving Japanese Face New 'Pet Tax'
By Danielle Demetriou in Tokyo - The Telegraph (UK)

Japan's booming pet industry may face a new "pet tax" in a bid to protect domestic animals from mistreatment.

Politicians are about to propose a unified tax on the purchase of pets that would enable the authorities to improve pet safety and minimise the number of abandoned animals.

While the government is struggling boost the nation's dwindling birth rate, the pet industry is booming across Japan.

Worth an estimated one trillion yen (£7.5bn), the number of pet dogs in Japan has doubled to more than 13 million in the past decade -­ a figure that eclipses the number of children under the age of 12.

Japan has a host of pet-friendly services for the nation's four legged friends; from dog cafes, fashion shows and yoga classes, to cat reflexology, dance sessions and on-line pet networking sites.

However, the rise in pet ownership has gone hand in hand with a surge in cases of mistreatment and abandonment, with 374,000 pets taken off the streets last year by local government authorities, 90 per cent of which were put down.

As a result, Kunio Hatoyama, the internal affairs and communications minister, has led a group of politicians to tackle the issue by formulating a proposal for a nationwide pet tax.

Funds raised from the pet tax will be used to finance the promotion of animal ID tags and internal microchips, the operational expenses of animal shelters and a campaign to highlight animal welfare among pet owners.

A new policy limiting the number of abandoned pets taken in by local authorities to around 210,000 by the end of 2017 has also been imposed by the Environment Ministry.

Book by Veterinarian Well Worth Every Pet Owner's Gift List
By Suzanne Sparhawk - Fosters.com

I do not recall ever devoting a column in this paper to the subject of one book, but that is what I will do today. I have never happened upon a book written for the general public that offered so much vital information for every person who owns and loves a pet, whatever the species, and it is because of the importance of this book that I will describe it for you, in hope that each of you will seek a copy at your local library or book store and sit down for a good read that is also immensely informative.

"Tell Me Where It Hurts, A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon" (Broadway Books, New York 2008) by Dr. Nick Trout, is one of those rare books any writer will wish they had authored. It is funny (Trout exhibits a Yankee sense of humor, despite his origins in England) and sad, helpful and irritating, and crammed full of explanations for all those things pet owners question about the practice of veterinary medicine and the role it plays in their life with a pet.

Trout is a surgeon at Angel Memorial Medical Center in Boston. Angel is a referral hospital, often the place of last resort for difficult cases. Other than animals brought to Angel's emergency ward, all patients are sent to Angel by a referring veterinarian. According to Trout, that means that, while one will have had the opportunity to select their pet's primary care physician — who they meet with at Angel can sometimes feel like the luck of the draw. This can lead to some entertaining, frustrating or heart warming encounters between pet owner and doctor.

"Tell me Where It Hurts" is framed as a "typical" 24 hour period, beginning at 2:47 a.m. with a phone call that brings Trout from his bed to the hospital for emergency surgery on an 11-year-old German Shepherd bitch that had several symptoms including "bloat" — a terrible and life threatening medical crisis. The question is whether or not to perform surgery on a bitch that is already past her prime; is the risk worth it for a dog of this age? Is the cost worth it for the elderly owner?

We follow "Sage" throughout the book, finally learning her fate in the last chapter. The problem of Sage is complicated, as are all the incidents recounted by Trout, by her owner and his family situation. Trout has the amazing ability to describe and explain most of the major questions facing pet owners in a society where it is now possible to perform organ transplants, joint replacements, and where state-of-the-art cancer treatments are all available, at a cost.

How does one justify spending a few thousand dollars on a "useless" animal when people are starving in the world? Is it simply a case of vets working to pay for their new boat? Do vets become wealthy on the back of our love for our pets? Not so much. As women have become the prevailing gender in veterinary schools, the income for veterinary practitioners has declined. Clearly not a cause-and-effect situation, but one now common to other professions.

Current incomes have not declined by much, veterinary medicine was never the road to riches. But as the cost of veterinary training has increased, leaving most graduate vets with a large debt burden, and the cost of establishing an animal hospital has grown exponentially to pay for all those wonderful gadgets (oxygen tents, special X-ray machines, ultra sound equipment, tricked-out surgery suites that would easily fit into a major hospital for humans, trained and certified nurses, on-site laboratories, etc.) the resulting net income of most veterinarians hardly exceeds $50,000 five years out of school. How many physicians would accept that level of pay?

One of the most difficult decisions pet owners have to make is how to deal with the end of their pet's life. Does one take the "natural" course, or does one "interfere" and opt for euthanasia? Trout deals with this difficult situation with tenderness and honesty, a hard balance to make. Along the way he explains the whys and wherefores that should help each of us to make the best decision for our own situation.

Ultimately, the reason I so strongly recommend this book to all of you, whether you live with a guinea pig, a Schnauzer or a horse, is that while taking the reader along for the ride of a typical day in the life of a veterinary surgeon, Trout gives the reader the answers along with the reason for the answers, to help you understand and work more effectively with your own animal's doctor to improve your animal's life and yours. I have been living and working with animals of one sort or another for more years than I care to admit. In the process I have known and worked with over a dozen veterinarians. Yet, in all these years, I never understood as fully as I do now, after reading Trout's book, how these doctors thought and what they believed. Read this book. You will like it. And your pet will be glad you read it.

Your Dressed-Up Pet Photos - Part IV
The Boston Globe

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