Pet News - Pet Advice - Hope You Enjoy It!

Lancaster Mayor Decides Some Dogs Aren't Innocent Until Proven Guilty
by Kate Woodviolet, LA Pet Rescue Examiner

Rottweilers, Pit Bulls and dogs who just “look like” Rottweilers and Pits could be in significant peril if a proposed ordinance in the City of Lancaster passes this Tuesday.

As reported in the January 26 edition of the L.A. Times, the ordinance would mandate breed-specific spaying and neutering of Rottweilers, Pit Bulls and mixed breeds “that have ‘predominant physical characteristics’ of those breeds,” which puts the fates of multitudes of big dogs, black dogs, and dogs of various ancestries with appearances similar to Pit Bulls and Rottweilers in the hands of non-experts, in a city whose leader has made clear his intent to persecute dogs in an attempt to harass some of their owners.

On the face of it, mandatory spay/neuter seems a laudable goal, in fact it’s something many animal advocates have pushed for over the years to reduce the number of homeless dogs put to death in shelters every day. Los Angeles passed a mandatory spay/neuter law in 2008 with this goal in mind. The difference however, is that the L.A. law doesn’t discriminate according to breed.

Tellingly, the proposed Lancaster ordinance also links this breed-specific mandatory sterilization with provisions that “a single hearing officer could deem an individual dog to be potentially dangerous or vicious.”

According to the Times this is an admitted and open agenda of persecution against Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and dogs who “look like” Rotties and Pits, spearheaded by Lancaster Mayor, and personal injury lawyer, R. Rex Parris, who flatly states this crusade against certain dog breeds is simply an attempt to harass suspected gang members.

“’I want gangs out of Lancaster,’ Mayor R. Rex Parris said in a recent interview. ‘I want to make it uncomfortable for them to be here. Anything they like, I want to take it away from them. I want to deliberately harass them."

In response to opponents, including law abiding owners of the affected breeds (and any dog who may share a physical characteristic with either affected breed) who suggest that gang members deprived of Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and dogs who bear any resemblance to these breeds could simply adopt another “status symbol,” Parris reportedly countered, “"If they move on to cats, I'm going to take their cats." Since the cases of cats who pose a danger to the public are vanishingly small, Parris is clearly stating his intent is not to reduce overbreeding or take action against proven dangerous animals, but to "take" pets regardless of whether or not they pose a threat to anyone in the community.

While it’s tempting to dismiss Parris as a small town despot, what he’s promoting is a dangerously un-American campaign of harassment and intimidation of the innocent in the vain hope of getting to (or simply annoying) the guilty, since even he isn't suggesting that his campaign against Rottweilers, Pit Bulls and visually similar dogs will actually be effective in eliminating the gang problem in Lancaster.

What’s more, breed specific legislation that targets one or two dog breeds (or in this case, breed-by-interpretation) can’t help but be inherently subjective – one person may see similarities to specific breeds in an individual dog, while another doesn’t. And since the AKC doesn’t even recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier among its catalog of breeds, what breed standard should an animal regulation or law enforcement officer use?

The arbitrary effects of such subjective interpretation can be seen in one episode of Animal Planet’s “Miami Animal Police.” In this episode, a Miami animal control agent prepares to impound a dog he insists is a Pit Bull, not because it has attacked anyone or any other animal, but because Miami-Dade County has breed specific legislation outlawing Pit Bulls. The owner protests that he has a note from a veterinarian stating that the dog is in fact an American Bulldog, which is a distinct breed recognized by various organizations across the U.S. and internationally.

The agent’s response? “You and I both know this dog is a Pit Bull.” Watching one man unilaterally overrule the verdict of a trained veterinarian and interpret the law to suit himself, with the result that the dog owner is forced to relinquish the dog to be killed by authorities, to find someone outside the county to take custody of the dog, or to move out of the county, is a genuinely frightening look at lack of legal due process run amok. And again, in this case the dog did nothing to warrant this legal action except to exist, and to appear – to one man – to look like a Pit Bull.

According to the Times, Lancaster mayor Parris has no compunction about violating on the rights of the innocent, both human and canine, to attack those who he thinks may potentially be guilty. When asked about the possibility that his proposed ordinance may result in unjust seizures of dogs from law-abiding owners, he “is unapologetic about his desire to restrict the dogs,” saying he is “willing ‘to bear the weight of some injustice’ against responsible owners.”

"Even if people who are not gangbangers have their pit bulls taken away, it means that these beasts are off the streets," Parris said. "And they are indeed beasts."

It’s frightening to realize any city in America has a mayor who is willing to “bear the weight” of any injustice against his fellow citizens (as if the weight could be his to bear), in a country whose very founding principles are justice and equal rights for all, not to mention the premise that we are innocent until proven guilty. But a man who can insist, on the record, that all members of any dog breed are “beasts” is significantly uninformed about Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and, let us not forget, any dog who “looks like” a Pit or Rottweiler.

Parris is also professedly uninterested in the rights of American citizens. Either way, here's hoping the people of Lancaster have enough understanding of their rights, the rights of their fellow citizens, and the rights of animals who have done nothing wrong to exist peacefully, to defeat this ordinance, and tell their mayor that despite his blind prejudice, justice does still exist in their city.

Dead Dogs, Cats Discovered
by Dave Thomas, San Diego News Examiner

Police in Temecula have arrested a man on suspicion of animal cruelty for allegedly mistreating his dogs and cats. According to authorities, more than 200 of the animals were discovered dead on his property.

Authorities say that Elisao Gilbert Jimenez, 66, was taken into custody last Friday after a search of his residence in the 39000 block of Liefer Road showed a number of dogs and cats "in poor health."

Deputies were dispatched to Jimenez's home to assist Department of Animal Services officers with a vicious dog, and when they looked in the back of the suspect's property, they discovered more than 200 dog and cat carcasses.

Animal Control Officers reported discovering 204 dead animals in plastic bags in different stages of decomposition. They also located more than 82 dogs and nearly three dozen ferel cats.

While everyone is presumed innocent, if Jimenez was indeed the main reason for these pets dying, the judge who sentences him should throw the book at him.

Better yet, maybe subjecting Jimenez to such conditions that his animals were allegedly left in would be even better.

Pets were put on this earth to be cared for and to be your best friends. Anything less should not be allowed.

Dogs Sniff Out a Gourmand Adventure
By Sandy Robins - contributor

Your pooch is welcome at the Oregon Truffle Festival in Eugene

Experts claim that any dog can be trained to hunt for truffles, such as this truffle dog Stella, a Labrador retriever.

If you enjoy traveling with your dog and also enjoy sampling gourmet food and fine wines, then take note of the upcoming Oregon Truffle Festival, Jan. 29 to Feb. 1 in Eugene.

The festival, now in its fourth year, draws gourmands and dog lovers from around the country to partake in a variety of activities that focus on this prized edible treasure.

“The reason why dogs are invited to attend is that they play a huge role in the truffle industry worldwide,” says Steve Remington, one of the event's organizers. “People tend to associate pigs with snuffling out truffles. But in fact truffieres started using dogs back in the 1800s because pigs tend to gobble up truffles as quickly as they find them. Dogs seem to enjoy them, too, but they understand commands like ‘No!’ ”

One of the highlights on the festival calendar is a workshop teaching dog owners to train their dogs to hunt for truffles. An actual truffle hunt also is included on the list of events over the weekend.

“I’ve seen everything from dachshunds to Labrador retrievers out hunting truffles, which, incidentally, can sell for as much as $800 a pound,” says mycologist Charles Lefevre of Eugene, Ore., who has been involved in the festival since its inception.

In search of truffles
It is people like Lefevre and fellow mycologist Tom Michaels of Tennessee who have managed to perfect the delicate symbiosis between this fungus and the roots of certain trees that has resulted in truffle farming becoming a viable commercial enterprise in Oregon, Tennessee, Washington and North Carolina as well as parts of Canada.

Apart from actually planting trees that have been specially treated to grow truffles for harvesting, Lefevre says that there are lots of natural truffles to be found. While black truffles usually are associated with Perigord region of France and white truffles with the Piedmont region of Italy, Lefevre points out that if you hunt for truffles, you will find various kinds all over the world — including many parts of America.

“Truffle season lasts approximately from November to February in North America and Canada. Mature white truffles are about the size of a walnut; black truffles can be the sizes of eggs,” he says.

For centuries, truffle hunting in Europe in particular has been cloaked in a veil of secrecy. Those who hunt for them, as well as those who savor their culinary delights, tell legendary tales of clandestine trips under the cover of darkness to scour muddy forests and of competitive rivalry to keep secret those special patches of earth that hide this delicacy beneath the soil. However, foodies and dog lovers attending the festival will literally have everything put on a plate for them.

A variety of packages are available for purchase online and include everything from cooking classes to gala dinners to a truffle hunt. The festival also features workshops, gastronomic events and a marketplace where vendors will be selling a variety of food and dog-orientated wares. Prices start around $475 per person.

Bred for the task
While the experts claim that any dog can be trained to hunt for truffles and will enjoy the adventure, those who are now starting to farm truffles commercially are importing an Italian dog breed called the Lagotto Romagnolo, which is actually bred to be a professional truffle hunter. This ancient breed of water dog looks similar to a scruffy poodle and has webbed feet.

The first trained working Lagotti in the United States were actually imported from Italy by Sam Beall, owner of the Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn. This luxury country hotel is in a farm setting where guests get to spend their time with the resort’s cheese maker, master gardeners and world-class chefs experiencing how the food served to them is cultivated and prepared from start to finish.

If you enjoy truffles and can’t make it to Oregon in January, consider Tennessee for your future travels. Unfortunately, pets are not allowed at Blackberry Farm because it is a working farm, said a hotel employee.

“We have planted our own truffle orchard, but we don’t expect to see the fruits of our labors for a few years,” says Beall. “In the meantime, our dogs are working with mycologist Tom Michael in a nearby cultivated orchard hunting truffles that we are serving to our guests.”

Packages to the Truffle Festival can be booked online at The hotel hosting many of the festival events, the Valley River Inn on the banks of the Willamette River, is pet-friendly.

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

Dealing With Red-Eyed Puppies
PC World

"Photographing Your Pets" was most informative for my future pet shots. But what do you do when you already have a photo with the dreaded "devil eye?"
--Richard "Doc" Wagner, Salisbury, North Carolina

There are very few programs that can deal with red eye in pets, Richard. The only program I've had satisfactory results with is Corel's Paint Shop Pro (you can find it for under $100 at PC World’s Shop & Compare), which has an amazingly comprehensive red eye reduction tool. It sports a full featured pet mode that allows you to choose from among several eye shapes, glint, and other details. If you take a lot of indoor flash photos of your pets, Paint Shop Pro is almost essential.

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Price Gouging of Pet Food?
Ukiah Daily Journal Staff

To the Editor:

Good people at Natura Pet Products, Inc., and Rainbow Agricultural Services:

As Joe Weinstein once quipped, "My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to 99 cents a can. That's almost $7 in dog money."

In the spirit of the sense of responsibility ushered by the new Obama Administration, could you kindly explain to me how come a bag of "holistic" Innova dog food that cost $40 for a 40-pound bag a couple of months ago is now costing $45 for only a 30-pound bag?

Full story at:

In the New York Times of Jan. 18, (Business section, page 5), the giant Cargill, Incorporated, ran an ad that read: "Pet food companies are like any food company. Constantly fluctuating input costs can play havoc with margins and profitability. They need costs to stay predictable. Cargill helps a large global pet food company accomplish this by providing risk management strategies to hedge the cost of soybean meal and whole grain corn and wheat in commodity markets -- while supplying them with key ingredients. Our expertise assures that even if commodity costs rise or fall, the company can keep prices stable and the quality of ingredients high for products like dog and cat food. Because no one likes to raise prices on their best friend."

So, good people, what gives? You've just increased the price of your product by about 50 percent. Any "holistic" justification, or simple price gauging?

To say the least, and to use one of our former president's, George W. Bush, favorite expression, this is a huge disappointment (though not on par with the absence of WMDs in Iraq) -- a huge disappointment nonetheless.

I'd appreciate getting your side of the story before I stop shopping at Rainbow and start buying another brand of healthy food for my dog.

(Question to the Press: Could you take the time to cover the real stories out there? We are being pilfered left, right, and center...)

A puzzled and very "disappointed" customer.

Gilles d'Aymery


In response to Price gauging of pet food?'

To the Editor:

In 26 years of business Rainbow has never been accused of price gouging, but let me assure you I feel your frustration. Perhaps President Obama can help us here by lowering taxes on small business, lowering the cost of providing health insurance to our staff, eliminating needless regulation, allowing my staff a more flexible work week etc. etc.

Our local store has no control over the size of the bag, or the cost of the bag. While it is true that we do control the retail markup, the market retail price is usually set by the big box stores. As a local store we must stay competitive. I checked this product and we are marking up this item 25 percent. Out of this markup we must cover the cost of our entire operation.

Unfortunately the Natura company is not alone in this pricing strategy of decreasing the bag size and increasing the price. We have experienced dramatic cost increases from almost every company we buy from. In fact this behavior caused us to bring in several other lines of pet food that are more competitively priced. Next time you are in the store, please ask one of our associates to help you select one.

My advice is vote with your wallet. Don't stop shopping at Rainbow, but perhaps choose a different brand we stock to feed your pets. Our staff can help you with this selection, but each consumer must measure the price to the value of the product supplied. By the way, I feed my dog Dixie a Nutura product called EVO and it costs over $72 for 30 pounds; but she is worth it... oh, and she only eats 1/2 cup per day.

Our suppliers feel it and notice it when sales decline and that effect multiplied by consumers throughout the nation may have a chance to influence the pricing strategy of manufacturers and suppliers.

Jim Mayfield


Rainbow Agricultural Services


Motivational Book Uses Dog Stories
By LISA IRBY - The Bismarck Tribune

Title: "Be a Dog with a Bone: Always Go for Your Dreams"

Author: Peggy McColl

Pages: 95

Available: Booksellers and online

The catchy title of this little book caught my eye. And it looked like it was a quick read for a snowy afternoon.

Truth be told, I love my dog. I'm a sucker for a picture of a pooch. I cried unashamedly at "Marley & Me."

Peggy McColl uses dog stories that every pet owner can relate to as examples for the motivational steps she believes will lead individuals to success.

The analogies are familiar, such as relating how a dog takes hold of a bone and never lets go to having the "dogged determination" to attain one's goal, and how taking a puppy on its first walk is like the leash of limitations we put on ourselves, and how you can learn the behaviors that will guarantee your success (teaching an old dog a new trick).

While there were cute examples of dog behaviors, I had a hard time getting past all the cliches. Here are just a few to judge for yourself:

- "Drool unto others as you'd have them drool unto you."

- "What to do when you're feeling 'ruff'" (subtitle for Chapter 12).

- "'Paws' for a moment and give thanks for the many blessings in your life."

The motivational lessons, too, were a bit like attending a pep rally; you feel somewhat charged up, but the game plan was lacking depth. Perhaps, though, that impression is more of a reflection of my general opinion about self-help books that try to convince me I'm capable of doing anything - all in 14 chapters with fewer than 100 pages.

Strewn throughout the chapters are some amusing quotes by notables throughout history ranging from Miguel de Cervantes' "Every dog has his day," to Andy Rooney's "If dogs could talk, it would take a lot of fun out of owning one."

I am, however, reminded daily of one of the illustrations McColl uses to teach her readers to be happy and show appreciation. My dog, Flash, enthusiastically expresses his appreciation by jumping to greet me every time I walk through the door, even if I've only been gone for five minutes to check the mailbox. That's a gift we all can give - gratitude to a loyal friend.

(Lisa Irby is Conservation Services Manager for Ducks Unlimited. She lives in Bismarck with her husband and three of four sons.)

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How to Stop a Dog On a Leash From Lunging

A dog that pulls on the leash can spoil more than a nice walk, and Emily Pelecanos of Silver Spring, Md., has the photos from her 50th birthday party to prove it.

Her husband had ordered a limo to take them downtown to a fancy restaurant - but of course, first the dogs needed to be walked. While she chatted with a neighbor, her dog, Buster, saw a dog that she didn't see coming — and he lunged for it.

"I hit the pavement with my hands and my face," she recalls.

Determined not to cancel the party, Pelecanos iced the emerging bruises. "Then I put makeup on and big sunglasses," she says, "but you should have seen everyone in the restaurant whispering."

Even if your pulling dog doesn't stop a party, the problem can be a vicious circle. A dog that's difficult to walk gets walked less, so he doesn't get enough exercise and socialization. Then he becomes more excitable and difficult on each walk.

There are a number of special harnesses and halters that are designed to solve the leash-pulling problem. (Don't confuse these with regular harnesses, which actually make pulling easier: There's a reason that dogs are attached to a sled with a harness instead of by their collars.)

But even if a no-pull harness helps, it's best not to rely on it as a permanent solution, if for no other reason than that it may not last. For Buster, a front-attaching-style harness worked — until he grew bigger and more accustomed to it.

So trainers recommend that you view these products as a tool that allows you to give your dog enough exercise and exposure to new situations that he'll be able to concentrate on training.

To start training your dog not to pull, first, recognize that lunging in reaction to something exciting, like Buster did, and constantly walking at the end of a taut leash are different problems. Some dogs do both, and owners may describe both as "pulling."

For a dog that lunges, try what trainers call "training an incompatible behavior." The idea is simple: "Instead of lunging at the bicyclist, you sit and get a treat," says trainer Victoria Stilwell of "It's Me or the Dog" on Animal Planet.

Make sure your dog can reliably sit for a treat at home. Then, start by having him sit for a treat on walks when nothing is happening to distract him.

Next, when you see an exciting dog or squirrel before he does, get him to sit and keep sitting as the distraction passes by. Most dogs catch onto this quickly, especially for a desirable treat.

If you don't react in time to get a sit before your dog lunges, it's best not to ask him to sit afterwards; it's easy to accidentally train the dog that lunging and then sitting is what gets him a reward. But do your best to prevent the lunge in the first place, because it's "self-reinforcing" — that is, it's so rewarding to the dog that it easily becomes a habit.

If your problem is a dog that's always dragging you down the street, try what behaviorist Emily Weiss calls the "red light" method: "When the dog hits the end of the leash, you stop. When the dog relaxes and there's slack in the leash, you start walking."

As Stilwell says, the basic idea is "teach the dog that it doesn't get to where it wants to go when pulling." And remember that you're not teaching him to heel at your side, which is different, and much harder. He can walk ahead of you, as long as the leash is loose.

Make sure to do this training when the dog is fairly well exercised, so he's worked off enough energy to concentrate — that's what your no-pull harness can help with.

With enough patience, your dog will catch on. "You're going to look silly when you're walking down the street, and it can take a while," says Weiss, "but your dog will eventually learn the connection."

No Such Thing as 'Seeing Eye Cats'
By MIKE REDDING / Carolina Traveler

(WARNING: I'm a dog lover. Cats bore me. I get that some people love cats. That's fine. I'm just not a cat person. Cat lovers please know my dog bias will surface from time to time in the following story.)

You never see a blind person walking through the mall with a seeing-eye-cat in a harness leading the way. The reason for that is cats aren't as smart as other animals, which can be trained to become a person's eyes. Cats are mostly useless. They make acceptable company and all. But they really are not utilitarian. You can't even play fetch with one.

Dogs, on the other hand, can do dozens of jobs. Helping the blind go from shut-ins to socially active has to be the most amazing. Think about that. A dog can change a person's life. And not just in the, "No matter how awful my life is when I come home he's always there wagging his tail and making me feel good!" way.

How a dog gets to the "guide" stage is an interesting story. A story of sacrifice and love. I'm sure you've seen them around -- young playful Golden Retrievers or Blonde Labradors at the end of a harness with that red or blue vest on their back stating, "Don't pet me. I'm in training." Or "I'm working." Or words to that effect. I can't tell you how many times I've simply refused to see those words and started playing with a guide dog. I'm just not right. I swear I'm not as smart as the guide dogs themselves. I'm probably closer to a cat when it comes to my usefulness.

Anyway, there are families out there called "puppy raiser families." They take a young pup into their home, love it, feed it, play with it, train it and then about 20 months to two years later have to part ways with this amazing dog. That would break my heart. And it breaks theirs, too. Each puppy raiser told me they cry the day they have to give up their dog. To a person, they added, how proud they are in that moment knowing all their love and attention will go to changing the life of a blind person.

Muffin is just such a dog. And Hope Klontz is just such a blind person.

"The first time I ever walked with Muffin I felt free," Hope told me, smiling ear to ear. "Muffin has really changed my life because I feel so much more independent. If I want to go somewhere I have Muffin. Muffin is my eyes."

Wow! I need to say that again, WOW! Just Wow!

Hope was matched with Muffin when she was 17. And here's the payoff: Hope immediately enrolled in college and four years later graduated from Wingate University and is looking to do social work professionally. What cat on earth can help a person get through college?

In case you're wondering, Southeastern Guide Dogs is always looking for "puppy raisers," among other things. Enjoy our story and then check out their website:

Ask the Vet's Pets: Dog Boots and Paw Pads Aid Traction
By Dr. Lee Pickett - Reading Eagle

Berks County, PA - Dear Daisy Dog: Our elderly dog, Leland, has arthritis, and his back feet slide out from under him on the kitchen's slick linoleum floor. Arthritis medicine helps, but we think rubber boots might give his paws added traction. Have you ever seen such things?

Daisy Responds: Yes, boots to help Leland maintain his footing on slippery floors are available from some pet supply stores and on the Internet.

Our favorite online site for such products is

When you visit there, click on Help Pets Walk and then on Pet Boots. You'll find several types of boots as well as a product called Paw Pads.

Paw Pads provide traction without interfering with normal movement. Made of a thin, textured, rubberized fabric, they attach to the dog's pads with a medical-grade adhesive that lasts up to three weeks.

To find similar products and other boot designs, search "dog paw pads" and "dog boots" through your Internet browser.


Dear Christopher Cat: We just adopted our first cat, Simba. What advice do you have for us?

Christopher Responds: Congratulations! To ensure that you are as happy with Simba as I know my humans are with me, follow these guidelines:

•Have your veterinarian neuter and microchip Simba. The microchip provides permanent identification, essential if Simba ever escapes from your home.

•Plan to visit your veterinarian once or twice each year for a physical examination, vaccinations and fecal and other lab testing. Regular veterinary visits help prevent problems and let you address small concerns before they escalate.

•Keep Simba inside your home, where it's safe, but be sure he gets adequate exercise. Environmental enrichment is important, too, so offer a kitty condo, toys and stable places to scratch and stretch. If Simba wants to spend time outside, install cat fencing to keep him safe.

•Feed Simba a balanced feline diet and keep him slim. Treats should comprise less than 5 percent of his diet. Cats' nutritional needs change through life, just as they do in humans, so ask your veterinarian for advice during Simba's wellness visits.

•Maintain good oral health by feeding dry food, preferably a dental diet, and forgoing canned food. If you and Simba are up to it, brush his teeth with pet toothpaste. Have professional dental work done when your veterinarian recommends it.

•Prevent attacks by internal and external parasites. Some feline parasites infect humans, too, so it's important to have your veterinarian test Simba's fecal sample at least once a year.

•Make an appointment with the vet if Simba develops any problems, including coughing, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea or changes in energy, appetite, water consumption or litter box use.

•And don't forget to allow plenty of time for playing and cuddling.

•Ask the vet's pets appears Wednesday. The animal authors of the column live with veterinarian Lee Pickett, V.M.D. Write to them at P.O. Box 302, Bernville, PA 19506-0302, or visit

Military Pet Owners Can Set Good Example
by Sandy Britt - The Leaf Chronicle

I received a lot of supportive e-mails for a recent column I wrote about a military wife who wanted to get rid of two cats because her family was moving on post. The cats weren't altered, she didn't want to take them to the county shelter, and she was extremely rude when given advice she didn't like. She said she'd "leave them at the farm and cross her fingers."

The column focused on military members, a big part of the animal problem in the county because moving is a top reason given for relinquishing pets, and they move the most. But there also are scores of wonderful military pet owners like the Daleys, who always do the right thing.

Terri Daley wrote: "I told my husband when we got married (I had my two pugs, Loki and Cybil, since before we were dating) that if the Army put him on orders for somewhere that dogs were not permitted that I would see him when he returned. I was not leaving my dogs. I made a commitment to them when I got them, and I took it very seriously. My husband quickly fell in love with them, and he now feels the same way as I do about dogs."

It's not always smooth sailing when military families move pets, as the Daleys discovered when they were returning stateside from Germany.

"We were in the air on Sept. 11, 2001 ... our flight was turned back around to land in Ireland. It was chaos at the Dublin Airport. The dogs were sent out on the luggage belt and then had to be quarantined while we were in limbo, unsure when we could go home. It was four days until we could fly back to the U.S.," Terri said.

Loki and Cybil lived happy, long lives with the Daleys. Today, the family has two other dogs, Piper, a pug mix adopted from Second Chance and Happy Tails, and Leo, a pug adopted from the Montgomery County Animal Shelter. Terri says Leo and Piper will always go wherever the Army sends them.

Roxanne Birdsong, who posts on the Pet People blog, always felt the same way about her cat, Skeeter, who she and her husband Mark took along on every move. When Mark separated from the Air Force in Louisiana, they drove with Skeeter to Mark's parents' house in Virginia, where they lived until the Army offered Mark a job near Denver. With Skeeter in tow, they drove to Colorado, then Texas a year later. Roxanne and Mark lived in three different rental houses during their five years in Texas and never would consider housing that didn't allow pets. (Another excuse shelter workers hear when people want to give up pets). A stint in Germany followed.

"We never thought for one minute about leaving our baby Skeeter behind. He was our responsibility and had to go with us," she said.

Mark even negotiated with his boss to include Skeeter-related expenses as part of the relocation package he was offered for the job in Germany.

A few years later, Mark turned down a job in England because of the long pet quarantine period. I know several military families — with no choice in assignments — who pay this expense to move their pets.

"We had (Skeeter) for 16 years and made sure he was comfortable with every move and decision we made in our daily life. Isn't that what any good parent does?"

Yes, that's exactly what a good parent — and good person — would do. Anyone not willing to do those things should never get a pet, only to later abandon them, which ends up hurting the animal, the community and the shelter workers who struggle to fix the broken hearts of those left behind.

Sandy Britt is an animal-welfare advocate who lives in Clarksville with three dogs, two cats and one husband. Join other pet lovers on the Pet People blog at Contact her at

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