Traffic School for Pet Owners

Understand Commitment Before
Buying Pet for Christmas,
Shelter Director Says

Christmas means gifts, and often, that means pets. But the pet you buy today may be the one you want to rid yourself of by Jan. 1.

There are plenty of financial and lifestyle commitments that many people overlook when deciding to buy a pet, according to area animal shelters.
“They have to keep in mind that it should be a lifetime commitment for an animal that could live 15 years,” said DeNeen Wyles, director of the Humane Society Adoption Center of Monroe.

The cost of caring for a pet also entails much more than just buying the animal.
According to the Ouachita Parish Animal Shelter, buyers should be ready to pay for shelter for an outdoor pet, food, vaccinations and boarding during vacations.

Owners should also be prepared to spring for emergency surgeries, should the need pop up.

Some doctors offer pet insurance to help defray the cost of such emergencies.
Potential owners should also make sure their home or apartment can accommodate a pet, and account for the animal growing, in the case of dogs.

“A lot of people will get a dog before they check whether the landlord will allow it, and they end up taking it to the shelter,” Wyles said.

In addition to financial considerations, pets also demand a steady stream of time and attention.

Smaller pets may not work well for families with small children.

If people are short on time or want a pet that will do just fine being isolated for most of the day, there are options.

Options include hamsters, snakes and cats.

According to Pick of The Litter Pet Stores in Sterlington, snakes need daily regular feedings to thrive.

One potential pitfall? Owners need to make sure a potential amphibian friend stays clean, which means placing hands in a tank or cage.

The Popularity Of The GPS
Dog Tracking System
Continues To Grow Each Day

Many would say that finding the right GPS dog tracking collar to help you find your pet dog should he stray away from your home is going to be a real challenge. The simple truth is that no two dog owners are going to have the same needs and so no one particular GPS pet tracking system will fit the bill for every dog owner. However, with some tips and advice it is possible to zero in on the best option.

The GPS pet tracking device is the result of advances made in Global Positioning Systems (GPS) that were developed as well as promoted by the Defense Department in the US. Such systems are able to pinpoint the location of objects (and obviously dogs as well) with extreme precision and for this to happen the system makes use of satellites.

The options open to dog owners in regard to buying a GPS pet tracking device may be limited but that is not to say that whatever is available is not very useful. In fact, some of the options available are very smart and power saving which means that you at least will not need to worry too much about high operating expenses.

The GPS pet tracking system provides highly accurate data about your pet dog and this information can be used to rescue the dog in good time. It therefore makes good sense to invest a little money in purchasing a good GPS dog tracking system because the chances of locating your lost pet dog with such a device in hand will increase exponentially.

A third important consideration is understanding the location of the antenna. This is especially important because a GPS pet tracking collar can have issues with its signals; more so when the antenna is located in the chest region of the dog. Ideally, the antenna must be located at a higher level because only then will it be able to send stronger signals. So, review various options before making your final decision.

The base station doubles up as a battery charger and when it receives information that the batteries in the GPS pet tracking device have started to run low will immediately turn off all components barring the antenna in order to conserve power.

The bottom line with using GPS dog tracking collars is that they provide you with peace of mind and will help ensure that you don't waste time fretting about what is going to happen to your pet should he wander out of his home. These devices also come with a wealth of features that in turn will minimize your and your dog's world to a more manageable size.

For the GPS dog tracking device to work you will need to ensure that your pet dog wears a collar into which a transmitter has been fitted in it. This transmitter will send an alert to the dog owner whenever the dog strays out of a pre-designated area.

Even better, you will also find GPS pet tracking models that can track not only your dog but another two pets as well - simultaneously. All you need to worry about is that the GPS dog tracking device that you buy must be easy which ensures that at least you won't have to worry about learning anything fancy in order to get the device to do its job.

GPS Dog Tracking systems don't have to cost hundreds of dollars. Learn why our system is better at

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Keeping Pets Sane
During the Holidays

Even though more than 90 percent of families consider their pets to be important members of their pack, animals can easily get lost in the hectic holiday shuffle.

Dr. Suzanne Hetts, the certified animal behaviorist behind PetSmart's "If Your Pet Could Talk program," offers these tips for helping furry family members stay jolly from now through the New Year.

Pay attention

Keep an eye out for any significant behavior changes, such as your cat eliminating outside of her litter box or your dog acting less energetic or more aloof than normal. Especially during this time of year, a cat's elimination habits may change if she is fearful or anxious about holiday visitors. By relieving herself, say, in the bedroom closet, she successfully avoids the risk of encountering people she doesn't know on her way to her litter box. Not only will you want to ease your cat or dog's potential anxiety about visitors, but you might also want to check in with your veterinarian to make sure your pets' behavior issues don't indicate a more serious medical problem.

Try not to project

Dogs "do what works," meaning that they display behaviors that get them what they want. Dogs and other animals, don't "sulk" or get spiteful when things don't go their way. Instead they experiment with new strategies that will (hopefully) get you to FINALLY take them to the park or engage in a play session. Pets excel at finding ways to get their needs met. It's good to remember that their behavior is usually all about them and not about you!

Flexibility and adaptability may vary

While some pets are super easy going, others loathe any changes to their daily routine. If your dog isn't getting enough exercise, he might decide to take out his anxiety on your sexy New Year's stilettos. Or your cat may start "counter surfing" if you are late with his dinner because of a holiday party. Try your best to keep your pets on the same routine (by feeding them at the same times each day and making sure they get regular exercise) even when things feel hectic. As an extra treat for you and your dog, consider hiring a dog walker on the days you simply can't do it all.

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Pet Owners Go
to Traffic School
by Stephanie Feldstein -

Some cities give you the option of reducing your speeding ticket by going to traffic school; now San Diego has a program where people can get animal-related fines reduced by attending a class to learn the rules of the road of responsible pet ownership.

The Responsible Pet Ownership program applies to "minor" violations, such as leash laws and dogs locked in cars. Criminal record blemishes and fines don't do much for the animals involved, but education has the potential to change their lives. In my experience, most of these types of mistakes are due to ignorance or carelessness. The new program involves a three-hour class covering the basics of animal care, laws, and responsibility. The people who didn't know better will learn and those who weren't paying attention might start to care a bit more. As for those who were just taking a few extra liberties and letting their dogs run free, maybe the class will give them a sense of how others treat their animals and inspire them to set a better example.

It's such a simple, yet ingenious concept. On the surface, there's no impact on the city budget, since the class fee will cover the costs of the program. But in practice, it has the potential to save lots of money in animal control and law enforcement expenses that won't be necessary with the new, improved pet owners in town. It's good for the city, good for the owners, and good for the animals. Hopefully other places will follow San Diego's lead.

Dog Treats:
How to Select the Best
Chantee Hale -

With literally hundreds of different brands and types of dog treats out on the market, how do you select the best? Well, here are a few tips to help you pick the healthiest treats for your dog.

As with dog food, dog treats that contain real ingredients like chicken or beef as apposed to chicken or beef “meal” are best for your dog.

--Try to choose treats that offer less additives like wheat, artificial colorings and flavors, or ‘animal byproducts.’

--Avoid foods or treats with ingredients that dogs are allergic to like brewer’s yeast, soy, avocado, or onions.

--For overweight dogs many veterinarians recommend feeding them healthy vegetables and grains, like sweet potatoes, rice, amaranth, bananas, peanut butter, millet, or carrots to reduce fat content in your dog’s diet.

--Never give your dog human ‘junk food’ like candies or chocolates as they can be toxic to your pet and also cause dental disease.

--Read the label of any treat you are thinking of feeding to your dog to ensure that it is full of healthy, real foods. To avoid causing obesity in your pet, make sure to treat your pet in moderation. Only one treat at a time is a good rule of thumb.

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Dog Rescued After 10 Days
Trapped in Fox Hole

PERRY — Like any beagle, 7-year-old Daisy is known to wander.

She usually spends her days exploring the Post family’s acreage near their home on Page Road. And she’d always be home before nightfall.

That came to an abrupt end Oct. 30, when Daisy failed to return. Little did the Posts know she’d gotten herself into an extremely tight predicament.

“There wasn’t much worry at first,” said Diana Post on Saturday. “Until nighttime, you know? When she didn’t come home.”

Daisy isn’t known as a troublemaker. Yet she’d been critically injured a month before during a walk with the Posts.

They’d had a surprise encounter with a German shepherd and Daisy took the worst of it. She was treated at the Perry Veterinary Clinic for a badly torn abdomen, and somehow pulled through.

The diminutive beagle was gradually recovering at the time she disappeared.

So now Halloween had passed with no sign of Daisy. And the days turned into a week.

Diana and her husband, Mike Post, began to suspect Daisy’s injuries were too much to overcome, and maybe she’d wandered off to die. Or perhaps somebody picked her up roadside and dropped her off the Wyoming County dog shelter.

Their son David, 10, made missing dog posters. The family circulated them with no results.

“The more the days go by, you wonder if she’s dead or alive,” Mrs. Post said.

They didn’t realize it, but Daisy was quite literally underfoot.

Daisy was missing 10 days when the Posts started putting away their deck furniture on a beautiful Friday afternoon.

Mrs. Post decided to take a walk along a nearby ditch to see if she could find any signs of the beagle. She approached the woods that make up part of their property.

“I just kept walking,” she said. “I got to the edge of the woods, and Roxy, our other dog was with me. I hollered to her, and I think when I hollered to her, Daisy heard me.”

Mrs. Post heard what sounded like a muffled bark. So she called once more and again heard what sounded like Daisy in the distance.

She called a skeptical Mr. Post, who arrived and hollered himself. And he heard the beagle too — funny thing was, when they any distance away from one certain spot, her muffled bark was even fainter.

Mrs. Post went to call David, who was visiting friends at the neighboring Dueppengiesser farm. And in the meantime, Mr. Post found the dog.

Brushing aside some leaves, he discovered a fox hole, and Daisy was trapped deep, deep inside.

The Post family’s rescue operation began as darkness fell on the woods.

David arrived with his friends Jared, Ryan and Becca Dueppengiesser. So did Mr. Post’s brother Tim, along with family friends Scott Wolcott and Tim Post.

Daisy’s situation was dire. The beagle had managed to claw her way halfway through the approximately 10-foot-long fox hole, which had a single opening at each end.

She was trapped about four feet underground, with a tree growing above her.

Delicate work followed. The family chainsawed the tree’s roots away and dug carefully. David and friends monitored Daisy to make sure her face wasn’t buried while the work was under way.

The turning point came when Mike Dueppengiesser arrived with a backhoe. He gingerly dug a parallel trench, so the Posts could dig a little further and remove the trapped canine.

“You stand there, and you’re hoping they don’t hit her,” Mrs. Post said. “It was pretty intense.”

Daisy went back to the Perry Veterinary Clinic for another two days of treatment. She was severely dehydrated and had lost eight pounds over the course of the 10 days.

She was also filthy from the days underground and needed a bath.

Her left rear leg suffered abrasions and nerve damage which David said may never heal completely. But she’s getting around and is recuperating inside the family’s home.

“It took us three hours to get her out,” Mrs. Post said. “We finally pulled her about 7:30 p.m. I guess, or eight o’clock ... That’s why Daisy sounded so faraway. The further we got from that spot, calling her name, we didn’t hear it anymore, because she was underground.”

As for Daisy’s holiday post-burial?

She’s been getting plenty of treats, including her share of skin and fatty material from the Thanksgiving turkey.

“She’s O.K.,” Mrs. Post said. “Happy to be home.”

Cathy M. Rosenthal:
Help Child Cope with Pet's Death

When I was 7 years old, my little dog Pepper saw a cat across the street and ran out the open front door. Before I could get outside to catch him, he ran into the street and was hit by a car. I remember screaming and crying. I was overwhelmed by what I had just witnessed and shocked over what I had just lost in a single instant.

It took awhile to recover from Pepper's death, but it helped that my parents included me in Pepper's burial. We read a poem and said some nice things about Pepper. Being part of the ritual didn't stop me from sobbing for weeks, but it did help me feel like I had been a part of Pepper's life.

Some parents may feel ill-equipped to talk about the death of a pet with their children. Take for example, my 9-year-old niece's best friend. Her dog was hit by a car and killed while she was spending the night at my niece's house. Her parents waited until the next day to tell her the news. In fact, by the time she got home, the family had already buried the pet. Yikes!

I am sure they thought they were protecting their daughter, but what they really did was keep her from sharing in the family's grief. My niece's friend did not get the chance to watch how the adults in her life coped and so she learned nothing to help her the next time around.

My niece learned something though. After watching how her best friend found out about her dog's death, she let her parents know that she wanted to be called if her pets died — no waiting — and that they better not bury any of her pets without her present. (If I know my niece, she has drawn up a contract and had her parents sign it just to be sure they stick to these promises.)

If you have pets and kids, you will eventually have to help your children cope with the death of a pet. My son lost five pets when he was between the ages of 4 and 18. At the time of each pet's pending death, my husband and I talked to him and, based on his responses, determined what he could handle.

He didn't need to see the euthanasia of a sick pet at 6 years old, but at 12 he wanted to be there for those final moments. In fact, even though he said it was hard to be present, he felt calmer afterward and knew that in those final moments he was giving his pet a great gift.

Teaching children about the death of a pet is a gentle process. You truly have to know and understand how your child will handle the news before you decide how much information is too much information. But don't overprotect them by leaving them completely out of the process. They can learn how to handle the death of a pet only by watching and modeling you.

Send your pet stories and questions to Cathy M. Rosenthal, c/o Features Department, San Antonio Express-News, P.O. Box 2171, San Antonio, TX 78297-2171, or Cathy's advice column runs every Sunday. You can read her blog, Animals Matter, at

Ginger and Chip-
Our Adoption Stories

Hi there!!! Sorry to be so late posting these stories, but we have had a big year!!! First Dad was transferred to Ohio from Albany, NY and Dad, Mom and Ginger lived in the La Quinta Inn hotels for 8 months. Then We moved into our new home on Mom's 47th birthday. Then the plumbing problems began. Mom's Dad died suddenly in September and THEN Chip was adopted. I was supposed to be adopted Labor Day weekend, but Mom's Dad became very ill and then died two weeks later. Lucky for me, Dona Jo Snow of DRNA was able to keep me until after the funeral. Ginger was originally an owner surrender from the Pittsburgh, PA area who started her DRNA journey with Dona Jo Snow, then was adopted, and surrendered again. She then ended up in NY where she was adopted by Mom and Dad from Michelle Warg, another DRNA foster mom, in March 2008. Chip's origins are relatively unknown. He is 8 and was a DRNA adoption, but it did not work out-- he had to go to the vet a lot, but still made his mark in his adoptee's home. His previous adopter was very good- she got him ready for us and we are very grateful to her for all that she did for Chip. Chip is very thankful for her too- without her and her obvious love and concern for Chip, who knows what would have happened to him. She surrendered him and he ended up with Dona Jo Snow of DRNA, and we adopted him in September of this year. HE is no where near as shy as his bio suggested and has taken over the neighborhood completely.

"Dear DRNA,

Just wanted to drop you a line to tell you that I am doing quite well. I have finally gotten my forever home family trained the way I like them. I now have my own queen size bed, which I generously share with Mom and Dad, I have a Toyota Rav4 in which I am chaufferred about, for my subjects to adore me from a proper distance, and I have my own couch from which to watch tv, and on which I take long naps. (It is so difficult staying so beautiful, but I make the sacrifices necessary). I even have my own car blankets and pillows, as well as pillows for the couch. Mom bought me some more blankies, but I still prefer the one that came with me. My new one from IKEA is nice, and I love to roll up in it, when my other one is in the wash- It gets washed every week, so it doesn't smell bad for me. (Mom is convinced that I have a sensitive nose!!)

I am definitely a Daddy's Girl- I simply while away the daytime hours until he gets home from work, and then I take him on a walk. I still sleep on Mom and play on the computer with her- I really like Webkinz and wish that they would finally make a dachshund!!!! I have quite a wardrobe now, and I have a pink collar, pink harness and a pink leash, to go with it. (Pink is my signature color). All of the dogs in the neighborhood know that I am in charge here. The kids love me, and always want to pet me. I am busy protecting Mom from the nefarious mailman and UPS man.

We are now down to two cats- my friend Max died a few weeks ago and Mom was very upset. He was almost 19 years old, and I took care of him when he started to get sick. I still chase Liffey, the girl cat around, but Bear, the other boy, and I are great friends- he is always sneaking out when I have to go outside. When Mom is feeling better, we go for long walks around the neighborhood, so I can visit all of my favorite smells. The other dogs know to stay away from me, too. Dad and I walk almost every night.

I have done a lot of traveling lately. I even have my own cooler for my food and treats, and my own suitcase for my clothing and bankies. and my pillows come along. (Dad leaves one in the car at all times, since I never know when the next adventure will happen!!!!)We went on vacation to New Jersey, so I could see my grandparents, the week after Memorial Day. I had a blast- their house is huge, and has a great backyard, but the above ground pool isn't open yet. I got to play with my aunt Gingie, a long furred doxie, and we guarded the house while everyone went to Strasburg to ride the steam locomotives. Then, the following weekend, I went to Boston, and am going to be in a movie!!!. Dad's company sponsored a charity event, and we went to work on it. We painted score boards for the baseball field. I of course supervised, and had my first night in a hotel and rode a bus for the first time. Then I was in a video that the company was making, with my Dad- I was the belle of the ball, and my stage name is Ginger De Mille. I was very good- I really enjoyed having my picture recorded for posterity, especially the closeups!!! I was very popular

Mom and Dad have finally figured out that I do like canned food mixed in with my dry- it only took five different types of dry for them to do so, but I am content. I also get dog vitamins, so I am extra healthy. I prefer Wendy's to McDonalds, and like pizza crust and vanilla ice cream. I don't like fish, though, but I am very well behaved at meal time. I still get fed twice a day, and my treats are very limited,because I sometimes get a taste of what is called "people food". I don't know what that is, but it tastes better than what I get in my bowl!!! I do share my bowl with the cats, and sample theirs, so make sure that is is safe for them to eat. I also help Mom make Dad's dinner. I love raw carrots and cucumber!!!

Mom broke her ankle two weeks ago, while we were out walking. I stayed with her until someone came to help her home, and until Dad got home and the ambulance arrived to take her to the hospital. Dad and Mom told me that I was a very brave dog, and that they were very proud of me for taking charge of Mom when she got hurt. (No, she didn't trip over me or my leash- her foot found a previously undiscovered hole on our morning walk.) She has a pretty pink cast, and goes to the doctor once a week, so I am in charge of the house while she and Dad are gone. Mom and Dad are very proud of me for my help with Mom- I even help her walk on her crutches- she looks so funny. We get lots of snuggle time too- I sleep on her lap of on her shoulder, until Dad gets home from work. Someone has to take away the pain from a broken ankle, and Dad says that no one can do it better. Mom and Dad even got me pink sunglasses called Doggles to thank me for my special help.

I have visited the Blessed Kateri shrine in Fonda twice, and Dad blessed me with some holy water- I really love going there- I love running up the hill to the well. Mom can't keep up with us, but she tries. (We have to slow down for her)

I just wanted you to know that I am safe, loved, and content. Thank you for taking care of me. I am also sending some pictures of me from the Boston movie location and from home."

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