Halloween Costumes for Your Dog Part 2 PLUS "I Killed the Class Pet"

How to Tell Your Neighbors
Their Dog Is Too Loud
BY AMY LEE - SunTimes.com

Web site promises to anonymously inform owners of noise problem

Two wars in the Middle East. A global recession. The neighbor's yippy, annoying dog. OK, perhaps the neighbor's barking dog doesn't quite make the list of global concerns, but a peaceful neighborhood ranks high as a day-to-day quality-of-life issue. And a barking dog that wakes a sleeping baby or barks so consistently conversation becomes impossible crosses a line from a nuisance to an aggravation.

The Chicago City Council last week authorized a crackdown that would slap hefty fines - ranging from $50 to $250 for each offense - against the owners of constant yappers.

Southland officers say issues with barking dogs can become so touchy, most residents prefer to have an officer confront a neighbor rather than start a conversation themselves.

"With today's society, it's not like people are out on their front porches and really know their neighbors. They may not know them or they may be very apprehensive and don't want a problem over it," Orland Park Police Cmdr. Chuck Doll said. "Most people want it handled without getting involved, so they'll call us."

A new Web site launched this week seeks to anonymously bridge the divide by informing a dog owner of a problem via e-mail at stopmyneighborsdog.com.

The program "allows victimized neighbors to subtly point out dog barking annoyances by sending anonymous letters to the offending pet parent."

Bark victims will have the option of sending e-mail or traditional mail to the barking offender's owner with an enlightening message "your annoyed neighbors can now find relief and you won't be the goat of the neighborhood!"

Users can select from various messages, from a kind notification to a stern rebuke, and include other information such as "bark control tips" or a list of products designed to control barking. A test of the program shows the sender's e-mail appears as stop@stopmyneigbborsdog.com.

"Most police department budgets are really tight right now. If we can avoid getting involved with a barking dog issue, we do," Homewood Deputy Chief Dale Gustafson said. "We're going to do our job, but a barking dog is really a minor offense. It's not like the 10 most wanted list."

Sometimes a simple conversation with a dog owner can avoid future problems without involving the police. Repeat offenders can get tickets and court dates, said Cmdr. John Burica, of the Frankfort Police Department

"We always prefer neighbors handling things themselves and a lot of times that's more effective than having an officer involved," Burica said. "That's how you get things done."

But if a discussion with a dog owner doesn't "get things done," a polite yet to-the-point e-mail might do the trick. And the neighbor might prefer that to a not-so-polite visit from a local police officer.

Stopmyneighborsdog.com offers sample notes for your neighbor in three "tones."


It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. It is wonderful that we all have homes, families and pets to enjoy. We are so happy to have you in our community and enjoy the contribution you make to our neighborhood. We have noticed that your dog is happy to be here too, so much so that he/she is a very enthusiastic barker. We hope this message is received in the kind spirit that it is intended and please know that any effort you could make to quiet your lovable pup down would be greatly appreciated.


Your dog has lots to tell the neighborhood. As much as we would all like to hear what he/she is trying to tell us, we don't speak DOG. Because of this, we would like to encourage you to have a talk with your dog and ask him/her to try barking a little less. We love dogs here and, while we understand that dogs bark, excessive barking makes it tough to enjoy our wonderful neighborhood. We hope this message is received in the lighthearted nature that it is intended and please know that any effort you could make to quiet your happy pup down would be greatly appreciated.

Shut that dog up now!

It is the goal of this community to respect our neighbors right to peace and quiet. I regret to inform you that your dog's barking is a problem. We are unable to enjoy our community as a result of this noise issue. Your immediate action is requested to stop your dog's barking. Prompt response to this message is greatly appreciated.
While Orland Park, Chicago Heights, Frankfort and other communities have ordinances in place to curb noisy dogs - including fining the owner - most officers say they work to resolve dog complaints before the problem escalates to tickets and court dates.

Tips and Tricks for Grooming
Your Cat
by Sean Davids ArticleLife

Most cats can take care of themselves in terms of cleanliness. In spite of this, you will need to do what you can to keep them clean and healthy.

When you groom your cat it is a good opportunity to check for fleas and ticks. Moreover, you should examine the skin for unusual conditions, damage, or balding when you groom. Read the following for some tips to make your cat look even better with proper cat grooming.

You need to shop for proper pet grooming supplies in order to make your grooming job a lot easier and more effective. You should pick up several products like grooming scissors and a grooming glove, in addition to a brush and comb. Ensure that all of these products are specifically created for the grooming of your cat.

Keeping the hair washed and neat is one way to keep your cat looking good. By combing and trimming the hair on a regular basis you’ll both be able to enjoy the rewards of a well groomed cat. You should use a brush that has many small pins when grooming your cat’s hair. For easier brushing, ensure the head is relatively small. In order to properly groom the hair of a cat, you need to brush it in the direction it grows. Otherwise, together with a few scratches, you will likely have a furious cat to contend with.

An occasional bath is an important component in the grooming routine for your cat. While the use of a towel will keep her as calm as possible, the use of a carrier will make the job of bathing less difficult. The shampoo you select ought to be formulated for cats and work up lots of lather. It should also make your cat more comfortable by stopping dry, chafed skin.

Making certain that your cat doesn’t get matted, knotty hair is another vital part of cat grooming. If your cat’s hair is long, trim it regularly using the right grooming tools along with a comb. Always move carefully to avoid puncturing or scratching sensitive skin on your cat.

To lessen shedding and make brushing smoother and gentler, use a grooming glove on your cat. A pair that’s machine washable is best. You ought to also be able to utilize it to get rid of that unwanted cat hair that gets everywhere.

The right tools can make the difference between a sleek, attractive cat and a scruffy looking one. The tools you use for grooming should be used in a way that makes the experience calm and pleasant for your cat.

About the Author:
When it comes to keeping your pet happy and healthy there is nothing more important than proper pets grooming. Whether you take your pet to a professional groomer, do the job yourself, or call up a mobile pet grooming service, you are demonstrating your love and affection for your pet.

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Ask the Vet:
How to Get a Cat to Take Its Meds
Kirsten Williams - SF Gate

Q: I would love for a veterinarian to provide some realistic ideas for getting meds into a cat - besides pilling them (yeah, right) and shooting a syringe down their throat (good luck). One workable idea came from a friend who said to dissolve the meds in canned tuna water and let the cat lap it up. That works, but there must be better ideas, too.

A: Giving medications to cats can be daunting for even the most experienced owners, but there are alternatives to make the process easier. Many people have had success hiding medications in the cat's favorite treat or in commercially available treats designed with a pouch for hiding pills.

Another option is to have medications compounded into a form and flavor that works for your pet. This involves dissolving or suspending medications into a palatable liquid base that can be given directly into the mouth or hidden in the food.

Cats are sensitive to bitter tastes or strange smells in their food and may not get the full dose if this approach is used, but specially trained pharmacists at compounding pharmacies can add sweeteners or use a different form of the base medication to offset bitterness or acidity. They also have a large range of flavoring agents, from meat to fruit flavors, in order to appeal to many different species.

Some medications can also be made into a chewable, flavored treat. Compounding pharmacies are available throughout the Bay Area. Ask your veterinarian if this is an option the next time a medication is prescribed.

Compounding pharmacies can also put some medications in gels or patches where the drug is absorbed transdermally (through the skin or ear flap). This route is not available for all medications, and the dose actually absorbed can vary depending on ambient temperature or blood flow to the skin; however, it's a nice option for many patients.

Finally, some owners have an easier time giving injections. Your veterinarian can show how it is done if he or she feels that's an appropriate option.

Kirsten Williams, DVM, Creature Comfort Holistic Veterinary Clinic, Oakland, and Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center, San Ramon.

Picking a Parakeet -
How to Choose the Best Parakeet
By Stephen Branch

If you have made a decision to get a new pet to introduce to your family environment, and a Parakeet is the pet you want then be certain to pay some attention to the things that you want to have a look for and understand, when picking a parakeet.

You must make sure you are getting a healthy bird, and preferably from a reliable and reputable source, like a parakeet breeder, or respected pet store. Make your selection, based on what it is you want from your bird, either a friendly interactive companion, or something more beautiful that can be admired from a distance.

The way in which a bird is raised, either by humans or its natural parents, determines the way the bird will behave around folks.

To obtain a pet that is to be kept in an aviary and can be admired from a distance, consider a parent-raised parakeet, this way he has not yet been too affected by human intervention and will act more natural in his environment.

On the other hand, if you want a playful bird that will interact with family and pals, a hand-fed bird is a much better choice. These birds are removed from the nest at a very early age, at which time they are cared for by humans instead of the natural parents.

Picking a parakeet is really quite easy. Actually obtaining your parakeet needs some care. Picking a parakeet isn't something that you want to do gently, so make sure that you either (a) buy from a breeder (b) buy from a reputable pet store, or (c) Adopt a bird from an animal rescue shelter.

Parakeet Breeders dedicate a large part of their lives to parakeets, and are intensely knowledgeable when it comes to picking a parakeet. They are totally in tune with the care and training needed for your pet. One of the great things about purchasing from a reputable breeder is the fact that they are certain to coach you through the various stages of parakeet management.

An important thing to think about is that when you visit with the breeder, you need to naturally get the impression that the person loves birds, and that they are receptive to your questions both now and into the future.

Pet Stores should be reputable stores with a great reputation, and preferably with a specialty in birds. Picking a parakeet is a heavy consideration for you now, and the last thing you want is for a salesperson attempting to change your intelligence, or sell you things you do not want. Staff should be very knowledgeable and you must feel that you can approach them anytime after the sale, to gain help.

All animals in the store should appear healthy and clean, and food should be fresh. Take a little time and wander the store, conduct an investigation of sorts, and do not be afraid to ask questions.

Animal Shelters and bird rescue centers are a great source of animals, particularly birds. Birds are well cared for generally, receive all necessary health checks before being put up for adoption, and the cash you spend here, is usually going to a good cause as against somebody's mortgage.

Take a look at your local council guides for information about centers in your area.

Stephen Branch is a parakeets expert. Do You Want To Quickly and Easily Have the Perfect Parakeets: Healthy, Happy, and Thriving For Years to Come?
Discover more information about Picking A Parakeet, visit http://www.parakeetscaresecrets.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Stephen_Branch

Cat Survives Shipping Mishap

Maggie Rodriguez spoke to the Bennett family about their missing cat that had been accidentally shipped 950 miles in a UPS crate.

On Monday, Oct. 5, Cody the cat went missing in Dallas, TX. His frantic owners couldn't figure out where he'd gone - until they received a call from a chiropractor two days later and 950 away.

Cody the cat, and his owners, 9-year-old Natalie Bennett, her mom Marie Webster, and her dad, Darryl Bennett, shared their cat's story with Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez.

The family flew in from Dallas and was allowed to have Cody sit on their lap. He trembled the whole way, but he was more relaxed on set.

Natalie was the first to notice that Cody went missing. Cody usually greets her when she gets home from school and follows her around the house.

"I know he likes boxes because one day I was walking in my mom's room and I saw little eyes and I opened up the box and he was in the box," Natalie said.

"They (cats) run off occasionally, so I knew that it was normal," Darryl added. The family has another cat, Zack.

After failing to find Cody, Natalie suspected he had been mailed out in a box from the family-owned medical supplies company - a theory her mother immediately dismissed.

Two days later and 950 miles away, a chiropractor in Woodstock, Ill., opened up a UPS box of neck foams and found the purchases all covered with fur. At the bottom of the box, there was a surprise: 2-year-old Cody, skinny, but alive. The cat had no food, no water, and didn't soil the box for two days.

Cody's tag had his name and his owner's contact information, so the chiropractor called Marie to tell her that her cat had accidentally been shipped to him.

"I said I am so sorry I shipped you my cat," Marie told the chiropractor on the phone.

(Turns out that Marie didn't do the actual shipping, but an employee did.)

She went on to say that she would pick Cody up before she learned how far away he was.

Although scared from the incident, Cody surprisingly acted normal.

"He was himself; he was just a little bit skinny," Natalie said.

From now on Marie and Darryl vow to take Natalie's instincts more seriously.

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Halloween Costumes for Your Dog
- Part 2 of 3
Thanks to Kathy from BHC, AZ

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Pet Poison Helpline Offers
Halloween Safety Tips
posted by Daphne Sashin - Orlando Sentinel

Halloween can be a dangerous and stressful time for a pet, say the folks at the 24-hour Pet Poison Helpline. Make sure your kids know to hide their treat stashes from food-seeking dogs, and keep these other warnings in mind:

Chocolate: Keep in mind, the less sweet and the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to your pet. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem.

Overeating: Remember when you felt ill after gorging on too much candy? The same thing can happen to pets. Large ingestions of high-fat, high-sugar foods may lead to a condition called pancreatitis — a painful and potentially fatal inflammation of the pancreas. Signs of pancreatitis typically show up two to four days after ingesting a large high-fat meal. Monitor your pet for a decreased appetite, vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea and other odd behavior.

Raisins/grapes: While small boxes of raisins are popular and healthy treats for people, keep them away from dogs. Even small numbers of raisins or grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs (and possibly cats).

Candy wrappers: Few animals will bother to unwrap Halloween treats before eating them. Ingestion of foil and cellophane wrappers may cause a bowel obstruction when ingested in large quantities.

Glow sticks/jewelry: Pets, especially cats, love to chew on these colorful toys. Though not highly poisonous, the glowing contents can cause pain and irritation in the mouth as well as profuse drooling, nausea and vomiting.

Costumes: While dressing up pets can be entertaining, keep in mind the animal may not enjoy it. Make sure the costume does not impair their vision or movement. Also, beware of costumes containing metallic beads, snaps or other small pieces. If ingested, some metals (especially zinc and lead) can result in serious poisoning. And never dye or apply coloring to your pets’ fur. Even if the dye is labeled non-toxic, many are not meant to be ingested and can potentially cause harm.

Additionally, pets may be afraid of people dressed in costumes and may not even recognize those they typically know. Fear can cause animals to act aggressively or in an unpredictable manner. If your pet seems nervous or afraid, make sure to have a safe area for them to hide or take a “time out.”

If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately at 1-800-213-6680.

I Killed The Class Pet
Caroline Howard, Forbes.com

It wasn't an accident. Cupcake's death was premeditated murder.

Cupcake was my son's first-grade class pet. He (she?) was brought into the classroom by Jenny Lombard, who was, according to my son, a "most awesome" teacher. She taught the class how to add and subtract, write poetry and, as an accomplished ukulele player, appreciate a good ditty.

Jenny also shared her love of animals. So she brought in a hamster, Cupcake, whose name was bestowed by a democratic show of little hands.

Cupcake was about the size of a tennis ball and nearly as bulky, thanks to his long, loose coat of golden fur. He was as friendly as a hamster gets and was not afraid of children. Oh, and did he like to have fun. You should've seen him go on his wheel and run-around plastic ball.

At the end of the school year, it was time to find Cupcake an adoptive family. My son asked if he could bring him home and I said sure.

Cupcake's new home was a glass aquarium on top of a bookcase in the kitchen. His world consisted of a carpet of cedar chips, food bowl, water bottle, wheel and the occasional cardboard core of a roll of toilet paper or paper towel to crawl in and chew on.

The average pet hamster lives about three years. We had Cupcake for about two and a half years until one day I walked into the kitchen and spotted trouble. He appeared to have suffered a stroke.

There was a marked weakness to his right side, he couldn't turn his head and had difficulty walking. For about a week, Cupcake mostly slept, hardly ate or drank and barely dragged around his glass cage.

The situation was grave and I brought him to a veterinarian. "Stroke," he said, without even taking Cupcake from the shoebox.

I value life. If there's a spider in my home, I gingerly cup it in my palms and take it outside rather than shmooshing it. But while the vet was laying out the options--extensive treatment, wishful thinking or euthanasia--I thought back to a woman I once met whose pet rat was going through a third round of chemo after yet another one of its teats developed breast cancer; female rats typically have six pairs of nipples.

"How much will it cost to euthanize?" I asked.

It didn't take much thought to reject his answer of $250 to put Cupcake to sleep and take care of his tiny body. I have a conscience but I also have a checkbook.

I sought counsel. One neighbor offered to break Cupcake's neck. That seemed harsh at the time, but in retrospect, it was probably the most humane option. Another friend suggested I simply throw him down the garbage chute. I spent several days with my son, then nine, staring at Cupcake, wondering what to do.

Finally, I decided to purchase rat poison. The packaging suggested it was tasty and quick. The following morning I sprinkled the contents on top of the hamster's sunflower seeds and kibble corn, expecting to walk in from work and after-school pick up to find him dead. It didn't work. Then again, he wasn't really eating.

I started to worry. Although my son knew Cupcake was an invalid and couldn’t be saved, how was he taking this lesson on death, particularly when it was a mercy killing? When we discussed it, he had a distracted but serious look on his face, which I knew meant he was taking it in but wouldn't cop to it.

The following day I added a second dose of poison. It took one more day. We came home and Cupcake was still.

For the first time together, my son and I said a special prayer for the dead. Then I scooped Cupcake up, placed his stiff body inside a brown paper lunch bag and, yes, tossed him down the garbage chute.

The death of pet can be traumatic and is always sad. Share your stories in our Comments section.

Caroline Howard is deputy online editor of ForbesWoman.com.

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