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Avoid Buying Pet Medications Online
by Kelly Russ, Orlando Pet Health Examiner

With the economic hardships crunching your wallet, you may be tempted to cut corners to save money. However, buying pet medications online may save you a little up front, but in the end, could cost you hundreds in veterinary bills!

1. Your vet knows your pets.
Unless you visit new veterinary offices frequently, your veterinarian knows the history of your pet(s). It is important to account for previous medical history before prescribing any pet medications. You wouldn't want a doctor to prescribe you medication without asking you questions about your medical history, would you?

2. Online pet pharmacies may sell expired products.
All medications, even those for animals, must be stored in cool, dry places and can expire after certain time periods. Veterinary offices regularly check their stock of pet medications to ensure none are expired. However, many online pet pharmacies may sell products that are expired or have been stored in hot, humid warehouses. This can make the medications less effective or even not effective at all. No government agency regulates these online pharmacies, either.

3. Some medications should not be administered without certain medical tests.
For example, heartworm medication given to a dog or cat who has already contracted heartworm disease can be fatal. All pets should have a negative heartworm test at a veterinary office prior to beginning heartworm prevention.

4. Medications are often administered according to weight.
It can be difficult to weigh your pet at home, and veterinary clinics have special scales to weigh your pet, plus trained staff. If you go by a previous weight, you may be off and either overdose your pet, or not give it enough medication to be effective.

5. Some medications require follow up monitoring.
Occasionally, pets can have adverse reactions to medications, so it is important that your veterinarian be able to monitor him while taking the medication.

Prisoner Sues After Pet Parrot Dies
By Aislinn Simpson - The Telegraph

A dead parrot named Freddy is the focus of a U.S. lawsuit after his ex-con owner claimed prison guards denied him a phone call that would have saved the bird's life.

Thomas Goodrich is seeking a total of $500,000 (£347,000) in punitive damages from the Delaware Department of Correction Commissioner and a warden at the correctional institution where he was held for 12 days over an outstanding arrest warrant and an expired driving licence.

The 48-year-old claimed he was denied any contact with the outside world, meaning he was unable to contact a friend to feed Freddie, a £15,000 gold and blue macaw which had been his beloved pet for 20 years.

Mr Goodrich said when he was finally released on December 19, he found Freddy dead. Two other parrots, both Amazons, survived. "They apparently had enough food in their cages," he said.

In court papers submitted to the local federal court, Mr Goodrich said he was given a code number to operate a prison phone that did not work, and he was told he would have to wait eight days for a replacement number.

He alleges that prison officials lacked compassion and acted "irresponsibly" when such "animal cruelty was taking place".

Although the case has all the comedy value of the Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch, US legal experts insist it raises the serious issue of the rights of an accused to secure his or her freedom, most commonly through a phone call.

One, criminal defence attorney Joe Hurley, said that inmates sent to Young prison tended to go missing for days while staff processed the paperwork created by their arrival. "That is the way it is," he said, adding that Mr Goodrich was lucky his situation involved a parrot "and not his child".

Martin Mersereau, from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said that if true, the situation was "absolutely appalling" and "horrific", and that prison officials should be held accountable.

from CutePuppyDog

Pet Services Not Feeling the Economic Pinch
By: Jesse Buchanan - My Record Journal

Ann Marie DiMauro knew she would stick with Happy Tails Doggie Day Camp in Cheshire even when the camp closed for two months to switch locations. DiMauro brought her basset hound Bosco back to Susan Zabohonski's daycare when it reopened on Dec. 22.

"Once people like her, and I know a lot of us do, they were willing to wait for her," DiMauro said.

Neither the slow economy nor the sabbatical resulted in a noticeable decrease in business for the daycare, Zabohonski said.

Sandy Connors, financial manager for Paws Pet Resort and Spa in Cheshire, also said business for the luxury pet service had not slowed - instead it had increased in the last year.

These stories defy the trends of pets being abandoned or turned in to animal shelters as their owners are una-ble to support them.

Steve Sackter, vice president of the Connecticut Dog Federation, said he has seen a decrease in pet-related spending in other areas of the state.

"People are putting their pets on hold," he said. Sackter breeds huskies, and said requests for puppies were down this season. He has also spoken to veterinarians who say they have cared for fewer pets in the past few months.

"Groceries (or) take the dog to the vet - the groceries win," Sackter said.

Owners' attachment to their pets and the town's affluence allows Cheshire owners to maintain their pet's services, according to Sackter.

Pet businesses in other towns are maintaining their customers too, though. Bruna Verna of The Playground Doggie Daycare in Wallingford said she has not seen any slowdown at all.

"I'm a dog owner and I would do for my dog whatever I would do for myself," she said. "It's love. That's the only explanation."

Zabohonski offered the same reason for the consistency in the pet business.

"Most of the people we service, their dogs are their children," she said.

Happy Ending to Tale of Stolen Dog
Puppy, Owner Reunited
By Joe Johnson - OnlineAthens

Butters, a 2-month-old English bulldog, is back with owner Will Kiser after he was stolen Monday from Kiser's home and then sold.

Butters was back into the happy routine of puppy life by Tuesday - licking faces and gnawing on fingers - not showing any trauma left behind after a burglar snatched him from his new home Monday.

And Will Kiser was elated to have his 2-month-old bulldog, an unlikely reunion made possible by loyal friends and Athens-Clarke police helping a distraught pet owner.

"It was just an amazing ending to the story," said Kiser, who lives on Summerwood Place.

The story of Will and Butters actually began more than seven months ago.

Emma Kiser asked relatives and friends to help buy her brother his dream pet - a pure-bred English bulldog, which can cost $1,500 or more.

When Will Kiser opened his 30th birthday card in May, he found a check earmarked for a bulldog pup and a list of everyone who chipped in.

"An English bulldog is just something I always wanted," said Kiser, volunteer coordinator and events director for Nuci's Space in Athens. "I just always thought they were cute."

And Kiser had a soft spot for the breed from his days as a student at the University of Georgia and even after graduating, when he covered UGA football games for an Atlanta radio station and got to know Georgia's bulldog mascot, the late Uga VI, on the sidelines at Sanford Stadium.

Kiser researched and visited bulldog breeders for months, and last week finally found Butters in Canton.

The timing made Butter's arrival feel more like a Christmas present than a birthday gift, Emma Kiser said. Will brought Butters to meet the family at their holiday gathering in Marietta.

"It kind of was like both (a Christmas and a birthday gift), but it seemed like a Christmas present for the family," she said. "Everyone just fell in love with him."

Kiser left Butters alone for the first time Monday, when he left his home off Pearl Street in East Athens to go to work about 10 a.m.

He returned home to check on the pup at lunchtime, but Butters didn't come running when Kiser called his name.

"I looked around for him, then I saw the busted glass," Kiser said.

A burglar had thrown a rock through a bathroom window, climbed in and ransacked the house.

The burglar took a guitar that was custom built for Kiser by a local guitar maker, but Kiser was more distraught that Butters was missing.

"It was horrible," he said. "I know I just got him, and I can't imagine how I would have felt if I had him for years. I was devastated. It wasn't just the feeling of having my home invaded. I was thinking about the person who took (Butters) and hoping they were being nice to him."

Kiser tapped into his network of neighbors and friends, who helped post fliers with Butters' photo and a reward offer of $500.

A man called at 9:45 p.m., and helped connect him with a woman who bought a similar dog from a neighborhood crack addict. The woman said she wanted $700 for Butters.

"She said she paid a lot of money for the dog and really liked it," according to Kiser.

Police told Kiser to set up a meeting outside a Huddle House on North Avenue.

A man and woman drove up about 11:30 p.m., Kiser verified that Butters was in the back seat and a police officer told the couple they had to give Kiser his dog back.

Butters took a while to begin to act like a normal 2-month-old puppy, according to Kiser.

"He definitely seemed to be in shock," Kiser said. "He was traumatized."

Officers didn't arrest the pair who had Butters, but investigators continue to look into the dog-napping, which may be related to a rash of thefts in East Athens.

Kiser was just glad to have Butters home.

"I stayed positive throughout, but at one point I actually was ready to never see him again," he said. "This was an incredible story with a good ending."

A Poem for 2009 by DogTime blogger

Dogs - A Poem by Bridget Hanley

A hundred thousand years ago
cute little wolf pups
were plucked and nurtured
as camp pets and helpers
while hunting. By the 5th
century, dogs were revered
as protectors and guards. Legends
tell that fifty dogs saved the town of Corinth
when it was viciously attacked. By the end
of the battle, only one dog remained. He
was made a hero and given a life-long
pension and a silver collar.
Before the days of medical machines,
dogs were thought to know when a person
was dead or in a coma. A wag of the tail
meant life was still murmuring in veins,
but a quiet dog meant the end had come.
In the Dark Ages after the fall of Rome,
packs of abandoned dogs roamed the streets,
hungry and snarling. People blamed them
for deeds beyond the doing of any mortal
canine. Mythical werewolf monsters
showed up in nightmares
and stories by day.
Later, monasteries bred and sold
friendly dogs who became guardians
with a simple command. These animals
were so popular, their owners even brought them
to church. When priests objected, congregants
sat outside with their pets, listened vaguely
to the service, gazed at the sky
and sighed with content.

Dog Owners Can Try to Control Pet's Digging Behavior
Smudge & Bryson - The Stateman-Journal

Dear Smudge and Bryson: I am a 3-year-old female catahoula leopard dog mix who was adopted a couple of years ago at the humane society.

I am very playful and loving. I especially like going to the dog park where I play with my friends. I am almost the perfect dog except I love to dig. I have created numerous lovely holes in the backyard that my parents do not appreciate.

I have a doggie door because they work and are not at home during the day. The doggie door is especially helpful because whenever I want to dig the entire backyard is mine.

My dad would like to get another dog so I have a playmate but my mom is fearful that instead of one digger we will end up with two. What do you think of the idea of getting a friend for me and is there a way to stop my digging? Help is needed ASAP before I am banished from the backyard. — Andie

From Bryson: Hmmm. This is a tough one.

I've never seen the allure in digging, so I am a completely perplexed Rottweiler.

But I know someone who won't be so confused — Dr. Melissa Turnbull of West Salem Animal Clinic. Take it away, Doc!

From Dr. Turnbull: Dear Andie — Thanks for writing in.

The first thing your parents need to do is to determine whether you are digging to play or you are digging because you are anxious, hunting or seeking shelter.

For a lot of dogs, digging is a normal behavior that is self-rewarding.

If you are digging to escape, your parents need to find out the source of your anxiety.

If you are digging as a normal behavior, your parents have two options: 1) wear you out with exercise first thing in the morning or prior to them going to work — then they could also give you some toys or treats that will keep your attention such as a Buster cube or a stuffed Kong.

2) Your parents could create a fenced off "digging zone" where you are allowed to dig and have access to while they are at work — this "zone" should have looser dirt and maybe some toys to uncover as a reward.

As far as getting you a new doggie playmate, one of two things will happen — it could distract you enough to stop the digging behavior or your parents could end up with two diggers!

Your parents also could shut the doggie door and then they could correct you when the behavior occurs.

As always, if your parents need any additional advice or help, they should contact their veterinarian.

Thanks again and good luck! — Dr. Melissa Turnbull

From Smudge: A thoughtful, pet-loving reader has sent in the following request, and we're asking for reader help.

Hi Bryson and Smudge: My mom adopted me from a shelter four years ago.

The first thing she did while she was waiting for my adoption to go through was give me a quilt to take back to the foster home where I was staying.

That was a great idea because when she picked me up, I had something familiar and cozy to take with me, and help with the transition. That quilt is still my favorite!

My mom would like to to make the same sort of quilts and fabric toys for other dogs who now find themselves in the same situation I was in.

Perhaps having their own quilt for a bed or a toy to chew on will bring them some comfort while they wait for a forever home.

This brings me to the reason I am writing: Are there any dos or don'ts mom should be aware of if she is going to make and donate washable, cotton quilts and toys to the local shelters?

Also if you've overheard your pet parents and their friends talking about anyone having clean cotton yardage or batting (by the roll is best, but I know she uses the other type to stuff the toys), or even money (so mom can buy materials) they would like to donate, could you let my mom know?

And if anyone has a workable industrial sewing machine they'd like to contribute to the effort, that would be great! I hear mom muttering a lot when she tries to sew over all those thick seams.

Here's mom's e-mail contact information:, or readers can call: (503) 399-1732.

Thanks for any advice you can offer my mom or any contacts you can supply for donations. (I don't know if you can address this topic in your column, but if you can I know mom will be glad.) — Meg

Smudge again: Dear Meg — Marsha Frost of West Salem told me about sewing the same sort of dog beds a couple of years ago. In a story published in the Statesman Journal last January, she explained how she helped the local animal shelters.

She took new fabric when it was offered, but she made most ofher shelter beds from recycled pajamas, robes, blankets, sleeping bags, extra-large sweatshirts, bedspreads, flannel sheets and any other soft item she could get her hands on. Her only criteria was that it had to be clean and not thread-worn.

She used double-stitching when necessary, and hand closed with extra care, all of the holes created to insert the batting and squeaker toy. Like you, she also was in search of a commercial or industrial sewing machine on the verge of retirement.

Keeping her little dog Sophie from running off with the newly made toys was just about her only challenge.

Frost bought many of her squeaker toys in bulk online, but she watched sales at pet stores because often she could get them cheaper there, and she cleaned and sanitized every item before sewing it.

She published her need for batting and fabric on Web sites such as craigslist and

Officials at the Marion County Dog Control shelter say they welcome donations of dog beds and toys from several women throughout the year, and would be happy to take your pet parent's donations as well.

Smudge and Bryson provide tips and solutions for confused pets. Area experts will help them answer your questions on Fridays in the Life section. Write to them at

Did Santa Give Your Dog a Toy? Make Sure It's Safe
Lindsay Barnett - The Los Angeles Times

We told you about the 10 weirdest items eaten by pets, but a destructive dog can do a lot of damage to his insides without ever going near a tent peg or rubber duckie. Many common dog toys can be hazardous if broken or swallowed -- so if your dog (like ours) got some toys from the grandparents for Christmas or Hannukah, you'd be wise to give them the old once-over to make sure they're safe. The Humane Society of the United States offers this advice:

Toys should be appropriate for your dog's size. Balls and other toys that are too small can easily be swallowed or become lodged in your dog's throat.

Avoid or alter any toys that aren't "dog-proof" by removing ribbons, strings, eyes, or other parts that could be chewed and/or ingested. Discard toys that start to break into pieces or have pieces torn off.

Many veterinarians and pet owners debate the safety of rawhide chews, but Dr. John Payne, a veterinary surgeon, came down hard on the "con" side in an interview with ThePittsburghChannel:

"Rawhides, in my opinion, are no-no toys. I know a lot of people like them, a lot of dogs like them, but they are one of most common foreign bodies we pull out of dogs. They're stiff, they're not very pliable and they can get stuck either in the stomach or sometimes even in the esophagus," Payne said.

(Regardless of their stance on rawhide toys, most experts agree that dogs should be supervised when chewing them.)

Pet Calendars Brighten Days, Support Animals
By SANDRA ECKSTEIN - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re into a new year. And what does everyone need in a new year? A new calendar, of course.

Many local rescue groups put out petcentric calendars, which not only have great photos but also help support homeless animals or pet organizations. So if you’re still looking for a calendar, here are some from local groups featuring local animals:

• Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta: This 14-month calendar features more than 100 rescued goldens and Labrador retrievers, all now in loving homes. $15 at or at their adoption Jan. 11 at the Barking Hound Village Athletic Club, 2115 Liddell Drive, Atlanta, noon-2 p.m. More info: 770-915-4922.

• Atlanta Humane Society: The 13-month “All Pets Allowed” calendar is $12.50 at the shelter at 981 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta, online at or call 404-974-2876.

• Good Mews: This cat-focused calendar is $20 at the Marietta no-kill cat shelter, at 736 Johnson Ferry Road. For more information go to or call 770-499-2287.

• Dogs Deserve Better: Four Georgia dogs are featured among the 28 rescued dogs and their stories in this 14-month calendar. The group advocates getting dogs off chains and out of tiny pens so they can live happier lives. All of the Georgia dogs were found chained, neglected and unloved but now are in adoring homes. $10.97 at or 1-877-636-1408.

• SmallDog Rescue: Twelve cute adopted dogs are featured on this calendar, which supports SmallDog Rescue and Humane Society. $20 at

• Atlanta Pet Rescue: A 13-month calendar featuring dogs and cats rescued by this northside group. Professional photographer Leesia Teh took the photos. $15 each at or 404-643-2332.

• Adopt A Greyhound Atlanta: A 13-month calendar and a weekly calendar are available, both featuring rescued greyhounds. Wall calendars are $12 and desk calendars $15 at or 404-384-2987.

Cat class

Wondering why your cat does that? You could find the answers at this Kitty Kindergarten class at the Humane Society of Hall County. The class will focus on training and understanding our feline friends. People only, please. 10:30 a.m.-noon Saturday. Cost is $3 or a bag of cat food. 845 W. Ridge Road, Gainesville. More information: or 770-532-6617.

More City Dwellers Raising Chickens As Pets
AHN Staff - AllHeadlineNews

Pleasant Hills, CA (AHN) - While thousands of dogs and cats are being given up by pet owners across the U.S. as times become harder, chickens are gaining popularity as household pets in some U.S. cities.

The rising popularity of the feathered creature is due to the chicken's ability to provide eggs, pest control, fertilizer and eventually meat. To address zoning regulations, homeowners are working to amend local laws in areas like Fort Collins, CO, Bloomington, IN and Brainerd, MN.

One of the pioneers of raising chicken as household pets, Rod Lublow of California, even created the Website to help the growing web community with 19,000 members throughout the world address issues concerning their poultry habit. In the U.S., the portal counts members from California, New York, Washington, Oregon and Colorado.

Some cities like New York, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle already allow chicken to be raised by urban residents, according to Longmont, Colorado city planner Ben Ortiz.

The proposal, though, to amend local laws is expected to encounter some resistance from other residents who believe the backyard chicken habit is an urban fad which will pass some day.

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

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