Pet News: Electronic Pet Doors

5 Natural Flea Care Tips

You’re resolved: toxic chemicals are out of your life. Now how about your fellow creatures? Our pets deserve natural care too, but fleas are often the biggest pet problem we have to buy chemicals for - or do we? Here are some non-toxic flea care ideas to help you keep your animal companions - and your home - safe and organic.

B vitamins and garlic are natural insect repellents, so supplement your pet’s diet with a pet safe vitamin. Healthier animals are more resistant to pests and diseases, too. It might take a few weeks to notice the effects, so consider this part of your long term flea treatment.
Regular flea combing is essential to making sure eggs and insects never stay on your pet long enough to matter. Simple daily brushing pays off! Plus, it helps you bond with your little buddy.

Castorand Pollux makes a flea collar infused with naturally insect repelling essential oils.

Keep the environment flea-free too. Use diatomaceous earth or boric acid to keep fleas and other pesky bugs at bay. These are minerals that cut up bug’s stomachs, without having any toxic effect on humans and animals.

Biological control: There’s a nematode, called the ‘killer roundworm’, that feeds on flea larvae, and you can buy bottles of it, add water, and spray the tiny worms around your yard. Supposedly they will die out once they run out of fleas to eat, but I’d do a little more research before introducing another species into the garden. Ask your vet about it.

Dogs walk under cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin in Washington, March 31, 2009.
REUTERS/Larry Downing

Washington State Using Dog to Scare Bears from Suburbs
By KATHERINE LONG - The Seattle Times

Some day this spring, a black bear is going to lumber out of the Cascade foothills in search of food.

Some day this spring, a black bear is going to lumber out of the Cascade foothills in search of food.

The hungry bear is going to wander into someone's backyard, searching for a garbage can with a flimsy lid.

An anxious homeowner is going to call the state wildlife office.

And Mishka, the state's first wildlife service dog, is going to go to work.

Mishka is the first Karelian bear dog to be used in wildlife enforcement in the United States. The medium-size, black-and-white Finnish hunting dog is uniquely suited to combat a growing problem in eastern King County: black bears coming into conflict with rural and suburban homeowners.

Last year, King County's bears accounted for 71 percent of all the bear problems that wildlife officers responded to in the area covered by the Mill Creek office, which handles everything on the west side of the Cascades from South King County to the Canadian border.

In 2008, state wildlife officials fielded 881 calls about bear sightings in King County alone, and sent officers out on 260 calls. That's up from the year before, when officers received 679 sightings and responded to 202 bear calls.

Bears have swaggered through yards in Issaquah, rooted through garbage cans in Carnation, dined on dog food in Enumclaw, even traversed greenbelts in Bellevue.

"There's either more bear, or more people put in bear country that weren't there before," said state Department of Fish and Wildlife officer Bruce Richards.

Mishka is one of three bear dogs in the state's new program. They help wildlife officers in two ways:

-With their marvelous sense of smell and extensive training, they can track down a bear hiding in the woods.

-When they find that bear, the dogs can help wildlife officials frighten it so thoroughly that it will think twice about visiting civilization again.

Not every bear can be trained to avoid people, but in a pilot project here last year, about 80 percent of the bears treated with "bear-shepherding" techniques did not return, Richards said.

Even though the dogs have proved their worth, the program faces an obstacle.

Like most state agencies these days, Fish and Wildlife doesn't have funds to start a new program, so it must raise all the money to buy, care for and train new bear dogs through private donations, said department Capt. Bill Hebner.

Over its lifetime, each dog, which lives with its handler, costs about $10,000.

"The dogs are amazing," said Martha Jordan, a private wildlife biologist and member of the board of directors of the Trumpeter Swan Society.

Jordan, who advocates for the use of highly trained dogs in wildlife work, is helping the state raise money to train a new puppy, Colter, and to buy another dog this fall. "It's the biggest bang for the buck this agency has ever had," she said.

Karelians have been used for centuries in Finland to hunt bear and elk. They have an instinctive tendency to face down a big animal like a bear without fear, but also stay out of harm's way, Hebner said.

In a "hard release," the bear is first tranquilized with a dart, then tagged. But instead of being moved to another location - the old way of dealing with problem bears - the animal is allowed to wake up where it was tranquilized or is moved a short distance away.

And what a rude awakening. As the bear regains consciousness, wildlife officers shoot rubber bullets and bean bags, set off fireworks and shout at the bear, while the bear dog barks furiously from the sidelines.

After the bear has gone some distance into the woods, the dog is released and chases the bear deeper into the woods.

"We give 'em a chance to become a better bear," Richards said. "If they come back, they're in trouble."

The alternative - transporting the bear hundreds of miles away to a new home - is often much less successful and more dangerous for the bear. The animal may not be able to find enough food in its new home territory and face starvation.

Many times, relocated bears try to return home and are killed when crossing a road, Hebner said.

Mishka's bear-tracking instincts only scratch the surface of what the dog can do. He was originally used to track cougars by wildlife biologist Rocky Spencer, a well-known mountain-lion researcher who studied the animals living on the urban-rural fringe of the Cascades.

Spencer, a good friend and frequent partner of Richards', died in a helicopter accident in 2007, but Mishka still helps Richards track cougars on occasion.

Mishka's keen sense of smell was used to find evidence in an elk-poaching case in Olympic National Park in September 2007.

In Puyallup last year, he helped wildlife officials unravel a would-be mountain lion attack; the victim, it turned out, was not mauled by a cougar as he claimed, but instead by his own pit bull.

Riding through the Cedar River Watershed with Richards one day last week, Mishka leaned out the window and sampled the air as the truck plowed through snow-covered gravel roads.

Suddenly the dog gave a sharp bark. Richards let Mishka out of the truck, and the dog dashed into the woods, then returned to the gravel road and dug a bone out of the snow.

Richards said it's likely the dog smelled an animal carcass in the woods, and the bone was left on the road by an animal feeding on the carcass.

Spencer trained Mishka to bark when he smelled a dead animal and to track down the remains; that skill helped Spencer track cougar kills.

Richards admits Mishka is not without his flaws. His early training was haphazard. He doesn't always respond to every command. He can be lazy. And he's 6 years old, middle age in dog years. He'll probably continue to "work bear" for four more years before his retirement.

Richards emphasizes that although Mishka can help retrain bears, the best way to prevent bear problems is to retrain people: by getting them to keep a tight lid on garbage cans, take down bird feeders in the spring (bears are surprisingly attracted to bird seed) and not leave dog or cat food outside.

A bear that gets too accustomed to scavenging among humans may not be easily rehabilitated by a bear dog and rubber bullets.

"These dogs are not a panacea by any stretch of the imagination," Hebner said. "They're a tool to help resolve the problem."

Or, as Richards puts it: "A fed bear is a dead bear."

Parvo Can Kill Your Cat, Too
By Lisa Fielding - WBBM Newsradio 780


Recent news headlines about Oprah Winfrey's puppy death from Parvovirus infection have put Chicago's dog owners on health alert....but now, veterinarians are warning that the strain can affect cats as well.
"In a facility when you have dogs and cats housed together, this virus can affect dogs and cats." said Dr. Yuval Nir.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the risk for infection with CPV-2c and other variants of the canine parvovirus is highest when large numbers of dogs and cats are housed together in close confinement.
Parvovirus is highly contagious and can be devastating in kennel and shelter conditions.

"It's important to ask questions and get the proper vaccinations." added Dr. Nir.
Young animals between eight and sixteen weeks of age are most susceptible. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and depression.
Dr. Nir says vaccination is key. "If the virus invades the system, and the puppy or kitten is not protected, they will develop the disease."

Animal Planet Special Takes a Look at ‘Puppy Mills’

Animal Planet is set to air a special Animal Cops: Philadelphia episode in April that focuses on substandard commercial dog breeders. The special, entitled Puppy Mills: Exposed, aims to “take viewers inside the world of puppy mills,” according to the network.

“Puppy mills are a blemish on a country that loves and respects its dogs,” Marjorie Kaplan, Animal Planet president and general manger, said in a statement. “Puppy Mills: Exposed tells the truth about these operations — no matter how disturbing — in order to incite emotions and action in everyone who watches.”

Puppy Mills: Exposed premiers Monday, April 27, 10 p.m. (ET/PT) as a special episode of Animal Cops: Philadelphia.

The one-hour show starts with the law enforcement officers of the Pennsylvania SPCA as they recount the case of Limestone Kennels, where more than 80 dogs were reportedly rescued from last year. According to Animal Planet, officers at the site found multiple dogs packed into cramped cages, food dishes contaminated with feces and animals with multiple birth defects, including dogs with missing eyes. The special then explores similar stories in Tennessee and Florida.

Lastly, viewers hear from a woman in Miami, Fla., who bought her puppy from a pet store. Shortly thereafter, her puppy became sick. In its release about the special, Animal Planet stated that “like most people, the owner had no idea that virtually all pet store puppies come from large commercial breeding facilities — many of which can be considered puppy mills.”


Companion Animal Protection Society’s Undercover Investigation Convicts USDA Licensed National Dog Breeder & Broker Kathy Bauck in Minnesota of 4 Misdemeanors, Jury Dismisses 2 Felony Charges

(Boston, MA) – The Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) is extremely disappointed that the jury for the trial of Kathy Bauck, the owner and operator of Pick of the Litter (aka Puppies on Wheels) in New York Mills, Minnesota, did not find Bauck guilty of two felony charges. However, based on the laws of Minnesota, we understand why they arrived at their decision.

Minnesota statute 343.20, sub. 6 defines pet or companion animal: "Pet or companion animal" includes any animal owned, possessed by, cared for, or controlled by a person for the present or future enjoyment of that person or another as a pet or companion, or any stray pet or stray companion animal. Nothing in this statute indicates that dogs are livestock, but Bauck’s defense attorney raised the argument that the dogs that were shown in the video taken by the CAPS investigator were her "breeding stock" dogs. As such, he stated that they shouldn't be considered pets or companion animals. The legal argument and interpretation will be up to the judge to decide during the final sentencing.

What makes Minnesota Statute 343.21, Overworking or Mistreating Animals, a felony is in the penalty portion in subdivision 9, under subdivision (c) - having a previous gross misdemeanor on felony conviction or (d) the intentional violation that results in the death or great bodily harm of a pet or companion animal, which the prosecution argued. The other sections of this subdivision did not apply to the Kathy Bauck case.

In Count 3, a torture violation charged as a gross misdemeanor under 343.21, subdivision. 9 (b), the jury had to answer additional questions, including whether or not the animal was a pet or companion animal; they answered "No" to that question. Therefore, this made it more likely that the jury would have found Bauck not guilty of a felony.

For there to be a felony, the defendant’s behavior must be proven intentional. During the incident documented below, the CAPS investigator was not wearing a hidden camera daily because of security precautions. Without video evidence for the first felony count, it was hard for the jury to determine if there was intentional behavior by Bauck. This incident was documented by the CAPS investigator in field notes and a report:

5/5/08: I worked from about 8:30 to 17:30 today. I began chores in the puppy barns, and I found that a Bichon on the eastern row of the western room of the Red Barn was having puppies. One puppy, that appeared to be partially flattened, was dead on the pen flooring while a live puppy was hanging from an umbilical cord from the mother. I told this to Kathy, who told me to bring the dog to her. She injected the mother with calcium sulfate to “aid contractions,” and then spent about 15 minutes trying to reach inside to pull a puppy out. She did not wash or sanitize her hands before reaching into the dog’s cavity. She brought a puppy out that was not breathing, and blew hard into its mouth and nose before slapping its back repeatedly and very hard. She would then keep blowing air into the puppy and rubbing its chest until the puppy began to breathe shallowly, though it was dead about two hours later. At about that time, Kathy tried again to get another puppy from the Bichon, and she got the help of Corinne and Andy. The three women alternated using two pairs of surgical clamps that they grabbed the puppy with inside the mother. Kathy tore the tail off of the puppy, and all three women kept pulling tufts of fur attached to bloody skin, until Kathy pulled a rear leg completely off the puppy. About five minutes later, the puppy came out dead and it was decided that no more puppies were in the mother.

The CAPS investigator’s quote: “I observed consistent neglect and abuse at the Bauck family’s kennel. Common sense shows that animal cruelty at their kennel will not end as long as they are breeding dogs. The dogs at the kennel have no way to protect themselves, and that fact should be at the core of the decision in sentencing Kathy Bauck.”

Regarding the sentencing, anything short of the judge ordering that all of the dogs and cats be removed and Bauck and her family be banned from the practice of breeding is acceptable. The Bauck family should be allowed to keep one pet cat/or one pet dog as long as this companion animal is spayed or neutered. Bauck should also be banned from employment by any person or business that deals in the raising of dogs or cats for profit purposes. See the State of South Dakota vs. Gary Haiar (August 1992) for a similar sentence. Haiar had approximately 400 dogs and was in the process of obtaining a USDA license when found guilty of animal cruelty. CAPS generated publicity about this deplorable facility in Life magazine in September 1992.

USDA regulations should also be amended to require automatic termination of a license upon a conviction for animal cruelty, whether it be a misdemeanor or felony offense. Section 2.11 of the Animal Welfare Act regulations merely states that a license will not be issued to any applicant how has been fined, sentenced to jail or pled nolo contendere under state or local cruelty to animal laws within 1 year of application. USDA is currently reviewing the CAPS evidence. Sadly, however, even if Bauck loses her USDA license and can no longer sell to pet shops, she will still be able to sell over the internet because breeders who sell strictly over the internet are not regulated under federal laws.

Minnesota has no state inspection program but there is legislation currently in front of the state legislature that would ban state licensed kennel operators who have been convicted of animal cruelty from having a license. CAPS supports this legislation, especially because it would apply to internet breeders.

For more information please visit or call the Companion Animal Protection Society at 781.210.0938.

About Companion Animal Protection Society:

Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting companions from cruelty and inhumane breeding practices in Pet Shops and Puppy Mills. Founded in 1992, CAPS actively addresses this issue through undercover investigations, consumer education through the media, legislative involvement, puppy mill dog rescues, consumer assistance and pet shop employee relations. CAPS has gained worldwide recognition for targeting puppy mill operations and converting pet shops to humane animal adoption centers. The Companion Animal Protection Society is based in the Boston, MA area. For more information please visit

Save 5% on Pet Supplies Orders Over $75

By KRISTEN LEVINE - The Tampa Tribune

Florida views pets as possessions, which creates a problem if you suddenly die or become unable to care for your pet.

Today's savvy pet owners have hurricane plans, diet plans, exercise plans, even travel plans for their beloved animal companions.

But how many have planned for the worst? It's not pleasant to contemplate, but it's a fact: Any one of us could leave for the grocery store today and never come home.

Where would that leave your best buddy?

Florida and other states view pets as possessions, not living creatures. That creates a problem if you suddenly die or become unable to care for your pet.

"Under Florida law, household pets are personal property, similar to one's appliances and furnishings," says Susan M. Charles, an elder law lawyer in Largo.

However, a state law passed in January 2003 allows you to create a legally enforceable trust to care for your pets. A trust, or even a simple will that provides for your pets, is vital if you care about what happens to them after you're gone.

A pet trust outlines a person's wishes for their pet and provides financial resources to carry them out. The language is very specific.

"A person needs to be appointed to care for and make decisions for the pet's care," Charles says.

Even if a pet owner can't afford a trust, she should at least have a plan.

"A willing and able person should receive the pet in the owner's will or trust," Charles says. "It is imperative that the owner confirm this person's willingness to accept the owner's pet, and it's a good idea to leave a monetary gift for this person to offset the cost of veterinary care, food, and shelter ... for the remainder of your pet's natural life."

What if the pet is elderly at the time of the owner's death? It may be difficult to place a senior pet with health issues. Often, pet owners have chosen to have their elderly pets euthanized after their passing.

Those and other wishes can be outlined in a will or trust.

Another possibility is a pet owner suffers an injury or illness that leaves him unable to care for his pet. Provisions should be made in advance through a power of attorney document that allow an appointed person to make arrangements for pets.

If you make no plans, Florida law can step in: The pet is considered abandoned and delivered to the nearest animal shelter after 10 days.

The worst-case scenarios can go a few different ways.

"Someone may step forward to accept the pet, but then finds the pet requires too much work or is too expensive to care for," Charles says.

The person may choose to have your pet euthanized.

Another sad scenario: No one is able and willing to accept your pet, so your representative has the pet euthanized.

Or the pet can end up at a shelter. Maggie, an adult female cat, awaits adoption at the SPCA Tampa Bay in Largo after her owner passed away with no plan for her.

It's a too-common occurrence, says Gretchen Gallagher, director of gift planning for the SPCA Tampa Bay.

People of any age or wealth should make an estate plan. Powers of attorney and simple wills can be inexpensive - possibly a few hundred dollars. Trust agreements may be more expensive but are recommended for people with larger estates or specific wishes for their pet's lives

Write to pet-lifestyle expert Kristen Levine at Fetching Communications, P.O. Box 222, Tarpon Springs FL 34688; e-mail kristen@fetching


The SPCA Tampa Bay offers a free Estate Planning seminar from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 11 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Financial and legal experts will cover pet trusts, pet planning, charitable planning strategies and more. Guests may bring a friend, but seating is limited so please RSVP to Gretchen Gallagher at (727) 581-3249 or e-mail Gretchen@spca


IDENTIFY AND DESIGNATE someone to assume ownership of your pets. Choose an alternate caretaker as well.

STAY IN TOUCH. Make sure the person continues to be willing to honor this commitment, especially if your pet has special needs.

PROVIDE SUFFICIENT MONEY to care for your pet. Authorize payments for the care of pets and specify that you are willing to pay for food, veterinary care, grooming, exercise, socialization, etc.

AUTHORIZE SPECIFIC PAYMENTS to family members and friends, professional pet sitters, and veterinary clinics.

EMPOWER your personal representative (executor) to make arrangements in the event that the original provisions cannot be honored.

USE LANGUAGE that refers to your "pets" instead of their names. That way no one will be left out if you get a new pet and your documents are not up to date.

USE THE SPCA PET PROFILES to establish a standard of care that you can refer to in your document. The profiles also provide valuable guidance on how to care for your pet in an emergency.

NAME A "TRUST PROTECTOR" to oversee your pet's new owner and the funds you have set aside for your pet's care.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: The SPCA Tampa Bay offers "The Pet Owner's Guide to Estate Planning For Pets," a pet alert wallet card and pet profile forms. To request any of these free materials, call (727) 581-3249 or visit www.spca

Pet Hair for the Environment
Baltimore Sun

Finally this weekend, after much procrastinating, I'm taking my poodle-mix Spencer to get his hair cut. When the breeder sold us Spencer, she told us he was a cockapoo and he would need to have his hair cut about once a year. Well, the vet and groomer informed us he isn't a cockapoo, but probably a terripoo. And he needs his hair cut every six weeks, although I usualy stretch it out to every three months.

Recently I read about Matter of Trust, an organization in San Francisco that collects human and pet hair to weave into mats that soak up oil spills. Salons and individuals can donate to the organization. Now I'm thinking to ask the groomer to bag up Spencer's hair so I can send it away for a good cause.

Deal of the Week 120x60
AmeriMark Direct is a leading direct marketer of women's apparel, shoes, name-brand cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry, watches, accessories, and health-related merchandise.

What to Do With Your Pets in a Flood
Sarah Olson - Fargo Pet Rescue Examiner

Unfortunately, we're facing a flood, and if you have pets you have to figure out how to take care of your pets in the flood.

First of all, if you evacuate, take your pets with you.

It will probably be a pain - I'm the one who'd be traveling down the road with three dogs, a leopard gecko, a panther chameleon, two ball pythons, and food for the reptiles if I had to evacuate, so I know evacuating my house would be a pain, but it's the only way to make sure that my pets will survive, so I'm willing to do it.

Many pet owners think that their pets will survive a flood, but there have been so many stories about rescuers finding dead pets, or people thinking that their pets will be ok, only to find out that they aren't.

If you're being evacuated because of a flood, there's a chance that you'll lose a lot of stuff you love.

Don't make it worse by losing your pets too - take them with you.

Whether you are evacuating or planning to ride out the flood, make sure you have enough food, fresh water, medicine, food and water bowls, bags for waste disposal, bedding for pocket pets,and litter and a litter box for litter box trained pets, to last your pets for at least two weeks.

If you have canned food, don't forget the manual can opener, and don't forget storage containers so dry food and medicines don't get wet.

If you have reptiles or amphibians you'll also need food, food for any live food items, vitamin supplements, a secure cage that will allow proper heat gradients if they are needed, and any special misting, lighting or heating equipment your pets need to survive.

Even if you can get home within two weeks, there's no guarantee that the stores will be open that fast, or that the stores won't be sold out of what you need, so you should have enough stuff on hand to take care of your pets until everything is back to normal.

Make sure that your pets are wearing collars and leashes with identification, and make sure that you have current pictures of each pet, vet records, a pet first aid kit, and any pet prescription information in a waterproof container.

If your pets like to chew their collars and leashes, bring extras.

If your pet has a favorite toy or bed, and you have enough room, take them along.

Hunter is a lot calmer, and barks a lot less when she has a squeaky tennis ball to chew on.

Fortunately she desqueaks them fairly quickly, but she still enjoys them, and when she has them she doesn't beg the other dogs to play so much, so it makes all of our lives easier.

If you're thinking that this is a lot of stuff to take when you're evacuating, you're right - so you'll probably have to plan ahead and not wait until the last minute to evacuate.

If you have pets talk to friends or relatives that aren't in danger of being evacuated, and see if they'd be willing to watch some or all of your your pets in an emergency.

I don't know of anyone who would be willing to let the snakes stay with them right off hand, so I'd probably have a bit of trouble if I had to evacuate with them.

If there isn't anyone who's willing to watch your pets, check around and see if there are any hotels that aren't in danger of flooding that will allow pets in them.

Even if they won't allow them normally, some hotels will allow pets during natural disasters.

Unfortunately, most emergency shelters don't accept pets, although I have heard some reports that some women were able to take their dogs to a shelter today.

The best time to gather information, and figure out what you'll do in an emergency is well before the threat of an emergency, but that isn't always realistic.

In closing I just want to remind you to take your pets with you if you evacuate.

If you can't or won't, give them a fighting chance, and don't tie them down.

Move caged pets to the highest levels of the house, and let any pets that normally roam free in your house, roam free.

Even if you do this, there's always the chance that a broken window or something else will allow your pets to escape or that they won't survive the flood waters.

If you've evacuated your pets before leave a comment and let me know how it went.

Is there anything you wish that you'd done differently, or anything you learned from the situation.

What would you like to tell other pet owners about keeping their pets safe in a flood?

I hope you and your pets are safe, warm, and flood free.

Hotels Here Put on the Dog for Pets
BY CHERYL V. JACKSON - Chicago Sun-Times

These days, Dillon is working like a dog at Kimpton's Hotel Burnham. You won't hear him bitching about it though.

The 4-year-old bulldog is the new director of pet relations, serving as ambassador for pets at the hotel at 1 W. Washington. Stationed in the hotel's living room, Dillon greets travelers, poses for photos with guests and helps provide treats to traveling pets. "We're die-hard about our pets," spokeswoman Jennifer Navarro said.

Dillon got the gig by following his owner, new general manager Duncan Clements, to the hotel from Dallas, where the bulldog served in pet relations at Kimpton's Hotel Lumen.

Hotel Burnham is among several Chicago hotels going all-out to welcome pets. Affinia Chicago provides pet treats from C-House executive pastry chef Toni Roberts, pet psychic appointments and a pet taxi. The James Chicago offers a room service menu for pets from David Burke's Primehouse restaurant and raincoats and galoshes.

Gary Bogue: Here's Some Advice on Electronic Pet Doors
By Gary Bogue - Contra Costa Times

What a beautiful day.

Electronic pet doors

Tuesday, Irish in cyberspace asked for advice to keep a cat from entering their pet door. I suggested getting an electronic pet door and asked if anyone could recommend one.

I have been using a medium-size model magnetic/electronic door for five years for my two 30-pound dogs. I purchased it online from Solo Pet Doors and have been delighted with it.

They make several sizes. It keeps the cat in, and the strangers out. Price averages $500 for the door itself, plus it needs to be installed by an electrician (possibly another $500). Dogs wear a small magnet (size of a nickel) on their collars, and one has never broken off. Main caveat would be since the door operates electrically, in the event of power loss, the dogs could be trapped on the wrong side of the door. It has two sensors that the owner can regulate: one sets the distance from the door the magnet can be for the door to open; the other sets the time the door remains open. There is also a shut-off switch that prevents the door from opening. (Cynthia Baker, Martinez)

We have the High Tech electronic pet door that lets our Shih-tzu puppies go in and out at will.

The pet door is operated by transmitters on the dogs' collars. Everything works great if you don't submerge the collars in water. When we visited our son's house, the two dogs jumped onto the steps of the pool and stood there wondering what happened. One of the transmitters was submerged and wouldn't work again even after opening it and letting it dry in the sun. So we bought a replacement.

I can't compare our pet door with another brand, but I can relate that we are very pleased with it. (Phil in cyberspace)

Things to do:

Contra Costa SNIP: The next Spay/Neuter Impact program (SNIP) clinic for feral (non-socialized) cats is Sunday, April 5 at the Contra Costa Animal Services Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic, 4800 Imhoff Place, Martinez. Contra Costa County feral cats and kittens older than four months of age will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and ear-tipped for permanent ID for only $10 per cat.

Humane traps are required; resources to borrow or rent traps will be provided. For more details or to make reservations, call 925-473-5027.

More clinics are scheduled for 2009. See

Thanks to Contra Costa Humane Society for donating $10 for each surgery, and to Contra Costa Animal Services for the use of their Spay/Neuter clinic.

Join a National Park Service ranger for a free early morning wildflower walk Saturday (March 28) at John Muir National Historic Site. The two-hour walk begins at 9 a.m. with an easy saunter up Mount Wanda looking for wildflowers. Meet at the CalTrans Park and Ride lot at the corner of Alhambra Avenue and Franklin Canyon Road, Martinez (at the Alhambra exit off Highway 4). Bring water and good walking shoes.

Call 925-228-8860 for more details.

Free Workshop: "Trap-Neuter-Return, How to Manage a Feral Cat Colony," Saturday (March 28) 1-3 p.m. at Contra Costa County Animal Services, The Diane Iwasa Education Room, 4800 Imhoff Place, Martinez. Space is limited. Call for reservations at 925-231-0639. More details at

Safe Cat Foundation: Nine cats and kittens rescued from Bethel Island in the Delta are ready for adoption, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday (March 28) at Petsmart, 1700 Willow Pass Road, Concord. More details at

Dogs and Cats Injure Owners
Baltimore Sun

My colleague Frank Roylance, who covers health and science for The Baltimore Sun, passed along a tip about this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released today:

Every day an average of 240 people are treated in emergency rooms for injuries from falls involving dogs and cats, the CDC says. That adds up to about 87,600 people injured each year.

The CDC study examined five years of emergency department data and found that 88 percent of fall injuries caused by pets involved dogs. Among injuries related to dogs, about 31 percent of people fell or tripped over dogs and 21 percent fell after being pushed or pulled by dogs.

For injuries related to cats, 66 percent fell or tripped over cats.

This study reinforces the American Veterinary Medical Association’s recommendation for obedience training for dogs to reduce behaviors such as pushing and pulling that can cause falls, the CDC concludes.

Now only if there could be training that would stop my cat from lying on the steps all the time. Any day, I fear, I will become one of the CDC's statistics.

What about you? Have you suffered a serious fall caused by your dog or cat?

A major danger, I would think, is dogs in the kitchen while cooking is going on. I've nearly tripped over my little terrier a couple of times in that environment. The dog is curious about all the food, and the human being is oblivious, and may be carrying red hot pots and pans, or sharp implements. It's a recipe for carnage, so better to keep Fido out of the kitchen at those times.

Posted by: Sean March 26, 2009 4:56 PM

I tripped over one of my cats yesterday morning as I was going to get the morning Sun. I fear training cats is out of the question. Train the owners to look down!

Posted by: Dahlink March 26, 2009 5:27 PM

Great blog.
I think you'll enjoy this animation about how important a good dog is in these troubled times.

Posted by: allen mezquida March 26, 2009 11:41 PM

I didn't fall over my dog. I fell when he decided to switch directions by 180 degrees when we were walking and took off after a rabbit. He spun me around and I fell hard. It was several weeks before my ribs stopped hurting. I use a harness now when I take him out since it seems to reduce the attempts to suddenly take off after small animals.

Posted by: dlb March 27, 2009 8:19 AM

Dogs should always be taught, and reminded at the time, to go down the steps before the human being, not behind, not next to.

Posted by: city redux March 27, 2009 9:18 AM

I have learned to always stop and let the cats pass me before I go up or down the stairs. They tear up and down the stairs at top speed and you do not want to get in their way.

Posted by: EL March 27, 2009 1:28 PM

My mom fell down the stairs and broke a couple ribs tripping over our dog's toy. She had a basket of laundry, and didn't see the toy.

Posted by: Christina March 27, 2009 2:34 PM

Click here to visit The EZ Online Shopping Network of Stores

No comments: