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Bitter Cold Weather Tips
by Mary Bushnell, St. Louis Pets Examiner

The weather in the Midwest has been about as unpleasant as it can get. As bad as it is for people, think how it affects the thousands of animals left outside.

Temperature and wind chill will kill. Here are a few ideas on winterizing your pet accommodations if you have outside pets. Let me say that I wouldn’t have any outdoor pets if given the choice; the ones I have are ones that have moved in with us and we don’t have any way to bring them inside.

We have a number of dog houses in various sizes. I buy these cheap at garage sales over the summer. Most outdoor dogs are quite happy in these houses with some straw down as long as they are out of the wind. Use straw or wood chips; blankets and rugs get damp and freeze. A porch, deck or garage is a great place to put a dog house. We usually start out with a door on the house, but some dogs just hate to have the door so it gets ripped off. We also have a couple of houses in the barn for any cats we have at the time. There again, this works well until….it doesn’t. And it doesn’t work when the weather is -10 degrees out. Too cold, even for the hardiest.

So we have modified the end of our garage with a big dog house built inside, accessed through a doggy door. They come into an interior pen through the doggy door and then they can lie on straw on the floor or go into the big dog house that is further insulated. They tend to cuddle together in this space. On top of that, we have a coffee can or inexpensive can light high on the inside of the dog house with a light bulb inside that will keep the temp up to bearable if we need to use it. Of course, use every precaution when using a light bulb around straw. Cover the end of the can with a mesh so straw never touches the bulb and the dog can’t burn itself. We have one dog that does not use the garage and has her own house on our deck. She is a husky with a really thick coat We have to watch her closely. During this weather we turned on her light and so far she is fine. But we have to watch and if she would start sleeping outside the house you know you have too big of bulb inside and she is too warm.

Also make sure that outside pets have a covered area to eat. We enclose a small porch with plastic sheeting in the winter to keep wind and rain off of food.Outdoor animals often dehydrate during the winter from lack of water. Keep plenty of fresh food and water available.

While writing this article a neighbor called and my daughter and I went and picked up a huge Rottweiler that had been outside all last night and all day today. He didn’t have the winter coat of an outside dog and was shivering so badly he could hardly walk. The neighbors were afraid of him because of his size. His eyes were almost swollen shut from the cold. We brought him home and put him inside, warmed him up and fed him but he obviously wasn’t a cat loving dog. It wasn’t going to work out for long. All our other options are full. We got in touch with a wonderful lady at a rural shelter that was off work but met us at the shelter and they are putting him up for the night. He is toasty warm as I write this. He was so exhausted he fell sound asleep on the way there! He had a collar and rabies tag but at 5pm it is impossible to track down information. I have also put a found ad in the local newspaper. FYI found ads are almost always free in a newspaper. Hopefully, by tomorrow we will have reunited him with his family.

Keep a close eye on the outside animals. Report neglect when you see it. Take in the ones you can. When the temperature is as bitter cold as it has been lately you may need to be creative….but provide a dry, out of the weather place for them to stay. Check out the sites I've listed for more information on winter tips.

Every Good Pet Rescue Deserves Another
By Matthew Stolle - Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

When Don and Darlene Ahlstrom adopted their dogs, Hope and Chance, someone at the humane society asked the Rochester couple if they were ready to become famous. Because famous they were about to become.

The two Great Pyrenees that the Ahlstroms adopted that day had been found in a ditch a decade ago, starving and crippled. Someone had beaten the dogs with a metal pipe or bat. When the Wright County Humane Society appealed for donations to pay for the surgery to amputate each dog's mangled hind leg, donations poured in. Hundreds of people applied to adopt the traumatized dogs.

The society chose the Ahlstroms, operators of a hospice and adult foster care home called L'Amour et L'abri (Love and Labor).

The Ahlstroms story is one of 28 featured in a new book, "Saved: Rescued animals and the lives they transform," by Karin Winegar, a former reporter for the Star Tribune who grew up in Albert Lea. Each story illustrates the unique bond that exists between humans and animals. The book goes a step farther than most, telling how the rescued animal eventually benefited and transformed the lives of the people who saved them.

Winegar, who has also written for the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, said she and photographer Judy Olausen traveled coast to coast to research the book. They did 28 chapters, but "could have done 10,000 chapters."

Winegar said her love of animals began early in life, while growing up in Albert Lea and visiting her grandparents' farms.

The book contains several Minnesota-based stories. The chapter on the Ahlstroms, called "White Angels," was a natural for the book, Winegar said. Rochester was not only in her backyard, but as the home of Mayo Clinic, it reinforced the theme of healing that runs through the book.

"It was exactly what we had in mind: reciprocal rescue. How an abused animal, rejected and abandoned, is rescued and really gives back more than it was given," Winegar said. "That's what 'Saved' is about. It's about reciprocity and the human-animal bond."

In another chapter of her book, Winegar tells the story of a woman suffering from Alzheimer's who can't remember her husband or her family, but still responds to dogs.

"Our connection to animals is so primal to us and so joyful and necessary that even when we forget our spouses, we remember the animals," Winegar said.

Hope and Chance are now at least a decade old. Since their adoption, they have become an integral part of the adult foster care home in Rochester. That's illustrated when Hope hobbles into each resident's room every morning to check on them before she goes outside.

It can also be seen in the interaction between Hope and Mildred, a longtime resident who suffers from Alzheimer's. Mildred sits quietly and impassively in her wheel chair much of the time, but when Hope sidles up to her and waits to be petted, Mildred's hand suddenly awakens and reaches over to caress Hope's head.

The dogs have helped ease the transition of new residents who arrive at the foster home upset about being moved into new surroundings. The dogs have had a way of breaking down that resistance. When one of the residents died last year, they sat by the person, very still and very quiet.

Darlene Ahlstrom says the dogs have helped her survive.

"They help us. They help us all. It's kind of a mutual thing," she said.

Shaved Dog Later Dies: Owner Questions Groomer
Erica Green - NewsChannel9

A Chattanooga couple is looking for answers after their 16 year old dog, who they say was fairly healthy, quickly deteriorated and died. The two believe it happened after a local grooming mobile unit wrongfully shaved their dog. But as NewsChannel 9's Erica Green found out, the stories from both sides do not match up.

Kelly Lewis says her dog Cody was her best friend for 12 years.

She recently had trouble grooming him. He was 16 and had arthritis. So she and her husband called the Aussie Pet Mobile.

"I really just wanted a nail trim and then a bath for just a pleasant thing for him," said Lewis.

But that's the moment she says she wishes she could take back.

"I opened the door and he was holding Cody in his arms. Cody was shaved completely bald."

Lewis says she told Carl Rochford, the groomer, to cut off some of the mats. But Rochford says he fully explained that the dog would be shaved because of the amount of mats.

"Honestly if I thought that she didn't understand I would have gone back in. But you know it's a common sense thing to do," said Rochford.

10 days later Lewis came home and says she found Cody dying. She brought him to a Fort. Oglethorpe Veterinarian. She and her husband say they decided not to run tests and put Cody out of his pain.

"' How can I?' Every morning I get up I'm like 'you know you just can't not bed here? Cody?' It's just like losing a family member," said Lewis.

" I tried my best to make Cody feel better," said Rochford.

Aussie Pet Mobile, which is owned by the Rochford Company, says Lewis signed a consent form. Yet she still filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Rochford say they applied to become BBB members when they first opened in April. They have been on a waiting period since then.

Air Travel Safety Tips for Pets
by Maria Devore, Denver Pet Health Examiner

Despite the extensive amount of news coverage of airplane crashes and unplanned landings, air travel is still one of the safest ways to get from place to place. Does that safety record apply to pets as well? It’s hard to determine, but the Department of Transportation has started publishing monthly reports on injuries and fatalities of animals occurring on air flights.

The safest way to protect your pet is to leave him at home. Many pet sitters will visit your pet in your own home, allowing him to remain in his familiar and secure environment. Ask for references and understand the sitter’s policies. Kennels are another option, provided you research and visit the facilities beforehand.

If you must travel with your pet by air, do some research to make the trip as safe as possible. Some animals, such as cats and small dogs, are allowed to travel in the cabin with you, the safest option. Pets shipped as accompanied baggage or live cargo shipments travel with the luggage in the cargo hold. Rough handling, temperature changes, and an unfamiliar environment can add to your pet’s stress. Never fly with pug-nosed cats (Persians) or dogs (Pugs, Boxers, Boston Terriers) unless they are in the cabin with you. These breeds can have trouble breathing under normal conditions. Reduced oxygen in the cargo hold can exacerbate this issue.

If you are relocating across the country (or overseas) and driving is not a feasible option, consider using a service that specializes in transporting animals safely by air.

Check with the airlines and your veterinarian for traveling requirements for your pet. The animal’s kennel must meet certain regulations. Make sure you have your pet’s current vaccination records; a health certificate from your veterinarian is a good way to document your pet’s health and ability to withstand air travel.

FOCUS ON: Bad Advice on Cats and Infants

T. Barry Brazelton’s article about cats begins with accurate information about toxoplasmosis and is good advice. (See: "Cats Pose Risk to Health of Fetus, Life of Infant," Jan. 15)

However, he stated as fact that a "jealous" cat will seek out an infant and purposefully lie on the baby’s nose and mouth. This is irresponsible and perpetuates a myth that is, at best, inaccurate and at worse, cruel. To assign the human ability to purposefully harm an infant over jealousy is ridiculous.

More accurately, cats may lie near sleeping infants; they are a still, warm place to lay, which is appealing to a cat. Indeed, infants should not be left alone with any pet, when they are sleeping or otherwise, nor should they be left alone with young siblings or playmates.

This does not mean you have to dispose of a beloved family pet when you have children. As with many things related to infants, with a few simple precautions it is possible to keep pets while maintaining a safe home for the child.

My family has always had cats and after nine children spread among us, we have never had a problem with any pet. My cats have never even tried to get near the baby, although I always close her door and make sure there are no cats in the room when she sleeps.

Brazelton has done a disservice to pet owners, parents and children themselves who miss out on the opportunity to grow with a family pet (cat or otherwise).

— Jennifer L. Morales, Mansfield

Your Premier Source For Information On Discus Fish Breeding

Hello and welcome to Discus Fish Resources.Com your premier source for finding aquarium fish information. We would like you to know that we are committed to supplying to you, quality informations about discus keeping. We have quality informations here about breeding for your use. Once you have bought your fish, you want to make sure it get into your tank as soon as possible.

The correct way is to float the back of discus on the surface of its new habitat no longer than maximum 5 minutes. Please don’t net the fish; tip the bag so that discus can gently swims out into your aquarium. This will prevent Ph burn.

{Discus fish like to cohabit with other discus in a group. Discus fish will form hierarchy in the tank with the most superior fish leading the crowd. The dominant discus fish is usually the largest, will be the first to eat and the first to pair off. Discus adapted better to large deep tanks. Besides that, they normally grown to around 6 to 7 inches.

Discus feeding sometimes can be demanding. Due to their lack of having a unique nutrional provision . However,caring for discus fish includes giving them the right amount of food, at the right time. Discus enjoy eating small live prey, which is a better choice for them in the long term. Discus enjoy eating the following foods:mosquito larvae, bloodworms, brine shrimp and blackworms. Earthworms, whiteworms, and flakes are also a good option but granules retain vitamins, minerals and other trace elements better than flakes. The more often you feed your fish the faster they will grow. Hence they will create more waste with more food. Feed discus 2-4 times a day.

7 Questions to Ask Yourself before Buying Pet Fish

1) Salt Water or Deep Water fish? - Fish generally fall into these two categories. For the sake of simplification, beginners should raise fresh water fish, as these are much less demanding in terms of equipment required and effort involved in raising them. Salt-water fish are recommended for experienced aquarium owners, but have the added advantage of allowing their owners to place other decorative salt-water life forms, like living coral and starfish, in their aquariums.

2) What size of fish should I choose? - This goes hand in hand with the question of aquarium size. The bigger the fish, the more food it will eat and the more water it needs. Beginning fish raisers should choose small yet highly decorative fish like guppies or goldfish, or may be a pair of midsize tropical fish as their pets. Large, grumpy, and demanding fish, like arwanas, are best left to experienced fish raisers.

3) How many fish am I raising? – Again, this goes along with the question of fish size. If you’re raising multiple fish and are a beginner, try raising only one breed of fish, and pick one that tends to travel in schools. Raising a lot of fish that are solitary or, worse, combative or predatory in nature is a good way to quickly depopulate your aquarium. If you want to stay on the safe side, raise two fish, a mated pair, in a relatively small sized aquarium and you should do fine.

4) What are the eating habits of that fish? - There are two kinds of processed fish food available: plant and animal based. Naturally, you want to buy one that’s appropriate for your fish’s diet, whether it’s an herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore. If you’re not sure about the different brands of fish food, pick an omnivore for easy maintenance. It doesn’t stop there however; fish are also divided into shallow surface feeders, bottom feeders, or ones that eat while swimming around the middle of a tank. Fish foods, to address these differences, are also divided into the types that float on the surface of the water, settle quickly to the bottom, or float down slowly yet are light enough to be kicked up again with a bit of turbulence (for middle-feeders).

5) What is the natural environment of that fish? - Aquariums come with a variety of extra gadgets to ensure the comfort of your pets. Water filtration systems, heaters, and lighting are important to keep your fish healthy. Knowing the natural environment that your fish are suited for can help you choose which equipment to get. Tropical fish, for example, thrive in warm waters and aren’t adverse to sun exposure, so using a good heater and a lighting system which simulates sunlight keeps them healthy and happy. Deep-water fish and underwater cave/reef dwellers, on the other hand, will prefer cool temperatures and minimal lighting conditions.

6) Is the fish territorial? - If you’re getting more than one fish, this is a very important question to ask yourself. Some fish are very aggressive and highly territorial, like lionfish, so they will need larger aquariums to keep them out of trouble. Furthermore, avoid mixing breeds of fish that tend to look at each other as natural enemies or a food source. For example, raising a school of guppies in the same tank as an arwana is tantamount to telling the arwana to eat hearty and have a nice time…

7) What other things can I include in the aquarium? - After selecting what breed of fish you want to get, you can throw in little things to make it more comfortable. Salt-water aquariums are great places to put living corals, and this provides salt-water fish with places to sneak into to doze off. Fresh water fish aquariums can be decorated with fronds that will help the oxygen supply in the water, and even help to filter nitrogen build up from decomposing fish excrement, which can be poisonous to fish. Without a good filter system and/or plants to naturally clean the water, your fish will be living in the human equivalent of toilet, kitchen, and bedroom in one. Definitely not a cozy thought.

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Making History for Animal Rights in Burke County
Peg DeMarco - The News Herald

Earlier this month, in a Burke County courthouse, a man, who allegedly chained, starved and tortured his dog, strolled out of the courtroom, passing first a stunned district attorney and then an even more disheartened and surprised animal cruelty investigator before slamming the door behind him.

Prior to presenting the case, the investigator, a volunteer with Friends for Animals Humane Society of Burke County, and working under Ed Davis, senior investigator, followed up on a tip that led him to the defendant in the case. What he saw shocked and sickened him.

After giving the defendant a warning to feed the dog and provide shelter for him and taking many pictures to document the case, he went back for another inspection.
Nothing had changed and at that point he was able to confiscate the animal. He brought the dog to Animal Control and after a mandatory waiting period, Friends for Animals was able to take the dog. It was examined by a veterinarian and fed small meals several times a day by the concerned volunteers.

There is a happy ending to this story because the dog, which was named Petey by my husband who sponsored his care, is now twice his weight, playful, healthy and ready for adoption up at the shelter.

However, the sting of this case, the first of 2009, has not subsided and instead has become part of the dismal statistics that Animal Control and Friends for Animals faces on a daily basis. Although the judge hearing the case admonished the defendant for starving and torturing the dog, because of a loophole in the current laws concerning ownership, the judge was forced to find the defendant not guilty.

Over two years ago, Ed led a team that drafted legislation to strengthen the current Burke County laws with regard to instances of animal cruelty. As a witness and an investigator in animal cruelty cases for more than years, Ed had seen it all and knew precisely what was missing from the current state and county laws.

Taking parts and pieces of legislation from other states and agencies, what resulted was a dynamic 32-page draft of proposed legislation that covered every horror imaginable with regard to what he had seen. The draft legislation had also provided remedies for perpetrators who broke any part of the law and the fines hit them where it hurt the most — their pockets.

Not only did Ed's legislation provide specific examples of cruel treatment of animals, but it delved into what is considered to be adequate care, including requirements for proper shelter (dimensions, structure type, and examples of what is not considered proper shelter for an animal), the provision of food and water, failure to provide veterinary care when needed, and provisions concerning tethering animals (including chain dimensions and the length of a chain).

Procedures for abandoned animals also were included followed by penalties for all articles and sections of the proposed legislation.

On Feb. 3, at 6 p.m. in the Commissioners' Board Room of the County Services Building at 100 N Green St., Friends for Animals will once again be on the agenda to re-present the 32-page document to the new County Board of Commissioners.
And this time, as Bob Dylan once crooned way back in the 1960's, "The times … they are a changing."

Animal rights and issues are more prevalent today than ever before. You read stories in the newspapers that uncover animal cruelty cases and see many television shows devoted exclusively to animal issues, including episodes on Oprah and Ellen.

Even the film industry is finally getting involved by putting out pet-oriented movies featuring real live people rather than cartoon-like, whimsical characters.
Tackling animal cruelty or the death of an animal in the movies always has been risky or taboo because people would prefer to sit in a darkened theatre watching Lassie Come Home rather than Old Yeller. But, animal rights activists know that even a subliminal message delivered by an animal is better than no message at all.
Sometimes we forget that we, as people of Burke County, the U.S., and in fact all over the world, are compassionate, good people and that it's those who abuse animals who are thankfully in the minority.

The reintroduction of this legislation is the first step in our recognizing that animals are living, breathing creatures, just as we are and deserve compassion, love and respect to survive peacefully among all creatures of the world.

One of Friends for Animals' new Board of Directors' members, Marie McClure, once said, "It doesn't cost anything to be humane," and her words ring loud and true every day that I get up in the morning, put on a pot of coffee, and get ready to face another busy day. The real cost that we pay, and it has nothing to do with dollars, is to sit back and do nothing when you know there is injustice.

So, I ask all of you who love your animals, share these ideals, and agree that it's time to crack down on those who perpetrate animal cruelty, to join us on Feb. 3 and show your support. With that support, we can truly make history for animal rights in this great county we all live in.

For information on the meeting or how you can help, please call Friends for Animals at 433-1115 or e-mail me in care of the News Herald.
And please don't forget about Petey — he's ready for adoption, and they tell me he's a very loving dog who just needs a good home.

Four Easy Tips to Live Harmoniously with Your Favorite Fur-ball
by SC Johnson - Montana's New Station

(ARA) - You play, laugh, snuggle and sleep together. In fact, you're best friends! But, just like their owners, pets have their quirks: chewing socks, begging, stealing food and some things they just can't help, like shedding hair everywhere.

One out of three dog and cat owners admit that they've left the house with pet hair on their clothes in the last three months, according to the Pledge Fabric Sweeper for Pet Hair survey. For the 63 percent of Americans who have pets, this is not the most pleasing statistic to be a part of. It's time for houseguests to walk in the front door of your home and notice how great your home looks, not how hairy you or your furniture is.

Here are some weekly housecleaning tips to reduce the pains of cleaning up after your pet so you can finally declare, "Welcome to the Sofa!" without the fear of hair, scratching or fleas getting the best of you.

* Stop those bad habits.
Whether puppies are teething, or your dog just has a bad habit, it is frustrating when your beloved pet chews on furniture. One option is to spray your furniture with chewing deterrents, which are available at pet stores. For cats who scratch, scratching boards are a must-have.

* Play fetch with pet hair.
Most pets shed, lovingly leaving their fur behind on your upholstery. For upholstered furniture, the new Pledge Fabric Sweeper for Pet Hair does the trick. It is a handheld solution which traps hair - picking up as much hair as 145 of the traditional sticky sheets. Rollers grab, lift and trap pet hair inside the device as you slide the device side to side over upholstered furniture, keeping the living spaces clean and hair-free. With this cleaning tool, it's easy to welcome your pet back to the couch for a snuggle while watching your favorite TV show.

* Make fleas stay away.
Eliminate flea problems naturally and with a pleasant smell using peppermint and eucalyptus oils. They can be used on your pet's coat and you can also use eucalyptus leaves under your pet's bedding to prevent fleas and add a pleasant smell to the bedding.

*A million toys and nothing to do.
No matter how many toys you have lying around the house, dogs often still act bored or prefer your shoes. In order to help maintain your dog's interest in toys, rotate them so a few are available each day.

Cleaning up pet hair has never been easier. Visit to learn more about the Pledge Fabric Sweeper for Pet Hair.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Do Your Cats Deserve Designer Furniture?
By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

In America, pet cats outnumber pet dogs by 13.5 million (88.3 million vs. 74.8 million), writes Marcia Schnedler in Saturday’s HomeStyle section.

But of the $43 billion Americans spent on their pets in 2008, canines were more indulged than felines, 59 percent to 41 percent, according to the American Pet Products Association. That’s true right down the line of basic annual expenses including veterinarian visits, food, boarding, grooming, dietary supplements, treats and toys (clothing and costumes).

Yet exceptions to human consumers’ dogged favoritism of canines do exist: designer furniture for cats.

The stylish stuff is created as much for pet owners as for their felines, who generally can’t tell the difference between the tacky synthetic carpeting stuck to cat trees and the models made from hardwoods with color coordinated platforms. But pet-parents can, especially when such furnishings add to modish home decor. The only trick may lie in convincing your cats that they, too, love their new furniture.

Alex the Chow Mix

Why is a Bite Wound More Likely to Get Infected?

“Will my dog’s bite wound get infected?”

“My cat got in a fight. How do I prevent the wound from getting infected?”

“I cleaned and disinfected my dog’s bite wound. Why did he get an infection?”

Click here to read Mia Carter's valuable and important article.

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