Stupid Pet Stories!!

Pet Talk:
Canine Aggression

Aggression comes in all sizes...

Each and every puppy is born with its own unique personality, just like humans. Some are outgoing, some are shy, some will love you unconditionally, and some are angry and aggressive. Canine aggression does not necessarily come from an abusive past, but is usually a part of the animal’s personality. Animal aggression is a big issue for families who have small children in the home, because an aggressive pet can be especially dangerous to children. There are several different types of aggression of which pet owners should be aware.

Dog aggression in the United States is hard to determine because a majority of the incidents go unreported. It has been estimated that numerous dog bites occur monthly. Aggression is the most frequent reason that dogs are relinquished to shelters and that owners seek advice from veterinarians

“Canine aggression can be catalogued in different forms,” said Dr. M.A. Crist, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “Aggression might be fear related, and focused at a group of unfamiliar people including dogs, children, veterinarians, or certain events. Conflict aggression is used to describe conflict that a dog experiences that will result in aggression. For example, if a dog is lying on a sofa and the owner tries to get the dog off the sofa, a conflict may arise. The comfortable spot is a resource the dog is protecting and responding to the owner’s demand is the conflict. The owner becomes more confrontational and the dog may become more threatened and resort to aggression to resolve the conflict. Territorial aggression can elicit aggressive behavior, this may be seen where the dog has territorial boundaries such as fences, doors, cars and yards. Pain related aggression can be shown with the anticipation of pain or a painful insult. This can be an act of guarding a painful limb or self preservation and can be secondary to anxiety. Maternal aggression is protecting offspring against threatening incidents. Predatory aggression is associated with the act of chasing, capturing, killing and sometimes consuming the kill.”

Some signs of fear related aggression can include certain postures such as ears pulled back, tucked tail, active retreat, and raised hair on the back of neck or dorsum. These may occur before, during or after the event that triggers the aggression. A predatory aggression chase is targeted toward squirrels, cats and fast moving objects like bicycles, joggers and sometimes cars. Status related aggression may result in aggression over resources.

Pet owners should not breed dogs with heritable tendencies of aggression. Canine aggression must be managed properly to help prevent further aggressive tendencies. The veterinarian’s role should include intervention advice and to help establish a diagnosis if the aggression is either abnormal behavior, or normal behavior that is unacceptable.

“Some of the types of aggressions discussed may respond to management and behavioral modification” said Crist. “Some may require additional therapies such as pheromones or drug therapy prescribed by a board certified veterinary animal behaviorist. Aggression can be inherited, but many aggressive responses are fear based and continuous socialization might be preventive against the development of aggressive behavior. Medical problems and chronic diseases can contribute to pain and aggressive responses. These medical issues may be controlled, but the aggression may still remain due to learning, fear or anxiety. Some studies have shown low serotonin levels are correlated with increased aggressive behavior.”

The first step in training is to provide safety from the aggressive pet by separating it from the individuals. The correct uses of leashes and head collars, under the direction of a boarded veterinary animal behaviorist, are used to create a safer situation. Try to keep the pet away from its aggression triggers, or block visual access of them.

“Behavioral modification is not a simple obedience task,” said Crist. “It is attempting to change an unwanted behavior with calm verbal commands. The idea is to change the pet-owner relationship to have a command-response relationship. The dog is to earn all things by performing a command to gain access to food, play, attention, and any other activities. Owners should never reach for an aggressively aroused pet, but should leave the room until the dog returns to normal non-aggressive state. These techniques take time and lots of commitment. Serotonin drug therapy or synthetic dog appeasing pheromones may be prescribed by a boarded veterinary animal behaviorist to help treat underlying anxiety and fear components.”


Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the Web at

Tips to Avoid
a Wolf Attack
Submitted by Journal Staff -

The attack of a local dog by wolves last month has prompted a few tips for pet owners to help avoid a similar incident.

Jean Evans, whose dog “Snafu” was attacked, says that pet owners need to watch their dogs closely, especially after dark and before down. Wolves do most of their hunting in the dark hours, she noted.

If you suspect there could be wolves in the area, do not tie your dogs. “They don’t have a hope in heck of trying to escape (an attack),” she said.

Evens surmises that the wolves stopped their attack because she and friend Larry Oveson were yelling loudly. “They knew there were humans nearby,” she said.

Oveson said human presence is a key factor in avoiding wolf confrontations with pets. He said if pets wander from humans and away from structures they are more at risk.

“This happened quite close to the cabin, but it’s just one little hole in the middle of a big wilderness,” he said.

He added that, like in any other emergency, it’s important to be prepared to move quickly for medical attention. “Thinking ahead with communications or having a vehicle ready is always helpful,” he said.

Denise Atchley, receptionist, at Rainy River Veterinary Hospital, also urged that pets be kept from wandering in wooded areas during darkness to minimize the risk

Like Oveson, she said making your presence known to wolves can avoid confrontation. “They feel threatened by us,” she said.

And while darkness is most comfortable for wolves, veterinarian Angela Davis said animals can be attacked in daylight in their own backyards and should always be watched.

Especially in remote areas, she said it’s a good idea to leash your pet.

Should a pet be attacked by a wild animal, including wolves, Davis said bandage areas that are cut, open or bleeding with towels or any other cloth available, and apply pressure to bleeding areas.

Keep the pet warm to avoid shock and seek medical attention as quickly as possible, she added.

“Wolves see dogs as food,” she said. “So much damage can be done quickly.”

Kiss a Frog?
Veterinarians Say 'No'

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., In the movies, kissing a frog can result in a prince. But, as the disclaimer often says, "Do not try this at home."

Frogs, like all amphibians and reptiles, can be a source of Salmonella infections in people. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV) are reminding the public that instead of a prince, improper handling of amphibians and reptiles -- and that includes kissing a frog -- can result in a nasty illness.

Frogs passing on Salmonella to people recently made headlines when the CDC reported on Dec. 7 that water frogs were the source of 48 cases of human Salmonella infections in 25 states in 2009.

While the majority of illnesses were reported in children less than 10 years of age, the AVMA and ARAV are encouraging people with pet amphibians and reptiles to think twice before finding new homes for their pets if they have, or are expecting, children in their households. Instead, safe handling and some common-sense precautions can prevent illness.

"Individuals who have pet amphibians and reptiles really just need to be conscientious about the care of these animals," says Dr. Mark Mitchell, associate professor of zoological medicine at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. "Certainly there is a risk associated with keeping them in their house, but it's no different then the risks associated with cooking chicken or eating raw vegetables. We need to understand that there are potential concerns, and we need to follow through by practicing appropriate hygiene.

"Just like any potential risk, we need to be aware of it so we can protect against it becoming a problem."

Dr. Mitchell stresses the importance of hand washing after handling amphibians and reptiles to prevent the spread of Salmonella. In addition, amphibians and reptiles, and anything that comes in contact with these animals, such as housing or cages, should not be cleaned in areas where people prepare their food or clean themselves, such as tabletops, sinks, or bathtubs.

The AVMA has developed a complete list of tips on how amphibian and reptile owners can protect themselves and their families from Salmonella infections. These tips are available on the AVMA's Web site at This Web page also includes links to resources from other organizations, such as the ARAV, U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

For more information, contact Michael San Filippo, AVMA media relations assistant, at 847-285-6687 (office), 847-732-6194 (cell), or

The AVMA and its more than 78,000 member veterinarians are engaged in a wide variety of activities dedicated to advancing the science and art of animal, human and public health. Visit the AVMA Web site at to learn more about veterinary medicine and animal care.

SOURCE American Veterinary Medical Association

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How To Choose
A Perfect Dog Coat
by Dylan Brodderick -

When I was a child dogs rarely wore dog coats. There was a wide spread myth that a dog's fur was enough to keep them warm on cold winter days. Clearly, this was false as some dogs are simply not naturally suited for colder climates. The dog coats that were available were generally pretty ugly and generally pretty difficult to put on.

Times have changed and there are now a plethora of dog coat options ranging from the practical to the ridiculous, from the inexpensive to the uber-pricey. There are models that the dog can step into, models that wrap around, and models that are similar to a cape with an elastic waist band. There are water-proof models and insulated models and light weight models. There are models suitable to short haired dogs and models suitable to longer haired dogs. Some of the coats for larger dogs have pockets for owners to carry small items such as books or water.

These coats are available in a wide range of colors, fabrics and styles. There are so many different dog coats on the market that it sometimes can be difficult to choose the right coat for your dog. A few things to keep in mind should make choosing a dog coat easier.

1. Where do you live? Or what is the purpose of the dog coat? Is the coat really needed to protect your dog or is it really just to match your new umbrella? If you live in an area that rarely sees freezing weather then you needn't worry about the warmth of the coat and, in fact, you should be wary of your dog overheating. If you live in an area that experiences severe winters then you should look for a coat that is wind proof and uses high quality fabrics such as gortex. You may also want a coat that is both breathable and water proof.

2. Washable. Dog coats can get awfully dirty during the course of a winter and especially during the spring thaw. I would only consider getting a dog coat that is machine washable. The amount of washing will depend on your dog and the areas in which you allow your dog to play and exercise. On average you should expect to wash her coat in the mid-season and again before you put it away for the summer.

3. The ease of putting the dog coat on your dog. If the coat isn't easy to put on then you won't use it. If you don't use it then there is no point in buying it. Look for a coat with good quality Velcro fasteners as these seem to be the easiest. Also look for a coat that fastens at the back or side of the dog.

4. Size of dog coat to purchase. Before you start searching for the perfect dog coat you need to take a few measurements. Measure again the circumference if his neck and add 1 inch. Measure again around the broadest part of his chest and add one inch. Lastly, measure your dog from the start of her tail to the base of her neck. Take these measurements with you when shopping for a dog coat.

Ay, Chihuahua —
Little Dogs Pile Up

These small dogs have made it big — perhaps a little too big. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Chihuahuas are all over Hollywood these days. Paris Hilton famously owns one; Mickey Rourke mourns one; they’ve even got their own feature film. And, according to the Los Angeles Times, that’s exactly the problem.

“All the shelters in California are seeing an upswing in Chihuahua impounds,” says Deb Campbell, a spokesperson for San Francisco’s animal control department. “It’s been a slow and steady climb.”

As the Chihuahua glut threatens to overrun California shelters, animal advocates point the finger at Hollywood for inspiring the trend. From 2001’s “Legally Blond” — where star Reese Witherspoon sports a pint-sized pup named Bruiser — to deceased burrito peddler Gidget (of “Yo quiero Taco Bell” fame), showbiz loves an underdog.

Owners, however, are still on the fence: As many as one-third of San Francisco’s shelter dogs are at least part Chihuahua, Campbell says. And if something doesn’t give, that number will soon rise to 50 percent, according to officials.

That’s because, despite their adorable appearance, Chihuahuas aren’t among the easiest breeds to manage. Chihuahuas are “small, fragile, door-dashers, nervous, not a good fit for families,” says Kim Durney of Grateful Dogs Rescue.

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Kitten Apparently Rides
120 Miles in Wheel Well

TUALATIN, Ore. — An Oregon man says a 3-month-old kitten apparently hitched a cold, 120-mile ride in the wheel well of his SUV.

Marc Lichty left Olympia, Wash., after finishing a day of work Wednesday. He heard meowing when he stopped at a rest stop along the way home but couldn't see a cat.

When he reached his home in Tualatin, Ore., he heard the meowing again and grabbed a flashlight. Sure enough, he says, "the cat was up underneath in the spare tire spot."

Daughter Jenna helped coax the passenger out with a bit of salmon.

Lichty says he can't imagine making that trip at 70 mph in this week's subfreezing temperatures.

The family called Olympia businesses in the area where he was working Wednesday but didn't find the kitten's owner. The animal had no collar or microchip; the Lichtys say they'll keep the kitten.

Information from: KPTV-TV,

As Flood Season Nears,
Microchip Your Pets
The Associated Press/Seattle Times

As flood season approaches in Washington state, veterinarians are urging you to remember to microchip your pets.

KENT, Wash. —
As flood season approaches in Washington state, veterinarians are urging you to remember to microchip your pets.

King County's Kent Animal Shelter is holding a low-cost pet-microchipping clinic on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The microchips, about the size of a grain of rice, will be implanted by veterinarians for $20 at the clinic.

King County animal control manager Nancy McKenney says that with winter approaching, floods are likely in many areas. If cats and dogs are swept away, they can lose their regular license tags, but the microchips programmed with their name and address stay with them always. That helps ensure they're sent back to their rightful owner if they turn up later on.

Cathy M. Rosenthal:
Dachshund Lives 25-Plus Years

Dear Cathy,

A few months ago, my 25-year old dachshund, Stacey, died. She originally belonged to my mom's neighbor where I grew up. I was 22 years old when I first saw her; I am now 47.

Back then, her owners had decided to put her down because they were moving. I asked them if I could have Stacey and they said just take her. She has been in my life ever since. With her passing, I feel a chapter of my life has come to an end. I miss her terribly, but will always remember all the good memories we shared.

— Diane Arrellano-Herrera

Dear Diane,

I am sorry for your loss, but am completely flabbergasted at how long Stacey lived. Dogs generally don't live 25 years. That's like 175 people years. I would be curious to know if anyone else in our area has had a dog live as long as Stacey.

On the flip side, many people still abandon pets when they move. How fortunate that you took Stacey in and shared so many years together. Thank you for being such a kind soul and giving her a permanent home.

Dear Cathy,

Which food should I feed to my cat, wet or dry?

— Jessica

Dear Jessica,

Both wet and dry food can provide all the essential nutrients cats need to be healthy, so either way you choose is fine. But cats derive most of their water from their food source, which wet food provides. Dry food, on the other hand, can help keep their teeth cleaner, which can be a problem for cats as they age. I have fed my cats exclusively dry diets for several decades with no problems at all, but I do keep extra water bowls in the house for them to drink.

So either way is fine or you can introduce both wet and dry food into their diet. The two most important things to remember when feeding a cat (or dog) is to feed them food that corresponds to their age (kitten food for kittens, senior food for senior pets) and be sure that the pet food you choose has the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) label on the bag or can. The AAFCO label ensures that the food you are choosing has the nutritional requirements needed for the feline at the right stage of its life.

Dear Cathy,

A big hug to you for your answer to F.T. who said that if a pet was sick and needed $2,000 in surgery that the pet should be put down because you can get 20 more for that price. A person who is truly a pet lover could never think the way. I adore my little animals and love them as much as my next breath! I hope F.T. is not a pet owner.

— Michele

Dear Michele,

Lots of people wrote in with the same sentiments, so big hugs all around.

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

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Stupid Pet Stories


I'll start with mine.

My dog, Teddy, has a beanbag and he knows EXACTLY where it is (usually in the middle of the living room) -- and one night, I had just finished vacuumming the room, and let my dog in for the night, and he ran into the hall, leaped, and PLOPPED into the carpet where the beanbag used to be (I moved it on the table), and I just laughed my head off, and put the beanbag back to its usual place.. and he hopped on it, growling at me, and I gave him his toy, and I thought it was pretty funny.



It's not a whole story
But...never take your pet snake into a rope hammock with you. Within five minutes, it'll be twined in the hammock, and it'll take you another 15 minutes to untangle it. Believe me, I know.


that's just TOO cute... snort.

poor little guy, hope he wasn't tied up in knots over the whole episode.



I still can't get used to my cat spending a minute staring at the wall.
I mean, a blank wall.

She'll sit there, utterly transfixed, staring at the wall.

Maybe she sees something I don't.


Haven't had my Tiel long...
but she hisses at the camera. (trying to take her picture)

once she was on the arm of the sofa. There was a little toy/treat in front of her. She decided to walk down the arm of the sofa (she was walking towards me) she comes upon the treat, it is in the way, with one deliberate side "KICK", off shoots the treat half way across the room, and then she continues her little waddle towards me.


Mine does that too.

"Ethel" will sit in my bedroom completely fixate and meow at the corner of the ceiling. She has done this for years now. It's especially interesting to her around the time I go to bed. It keeps her completely entertained for hours. I wish my threshold was that low. I tried it once but it didn't do much for me. Her brother "Fred" just sits on the bed and looks at her like she is insane.


My dog has this silly 'Piglet' soft toy that he just ADORES, and he refuses to go to sleep without it, just like a little kid. One night, he could NOT find it and was pacing around the house looking for it, because he wanted to get into bed and sleep with us, like always. Click, click, click... toenails on the linoleum for at least an hour. Finally, I could stand it no longer and got up and look in all the places he couldn't, and lo and behold, I'd scooped it up and put it in the hamper when I picked up mine and Tony's clothes.

Problem solved, and we all got a peaceful night's sleep--- finally.


Put another log on the fire

Okay, so it's not MY pet but my friend's. Here goes: I fly to good ole western North Carolina (Hi everyone)and am hanging out with adults I knew when we were kids and on the deck of my friend's house she has these portable stove things that are the rage these days. It's dark outside and in the country so I think I'd better put some logs on to give us heat and light. The logs aren't burning so well so I start gathering twigs and branches as kindling to get it roaring. I pick up a small twig but it's squishy and limps on me. I scream and drop it because I realize it's small doggie-do. Everyone laughed all night.

Character Assassin:
I tried to teach that damn goat algebra once. Man, was he stupid!

My dog takes 1 Benadryl every night for her skin
at 10:00.

At about 9:48, she'll start lobbying for it (she gets it inside a Snausage). If we don't remember by 10:00, she'll bark at us. If we miss 10:00, she'll run back and forth to the kitchen, and shake her head in that direction.


True Confessions:
Each of my dogs gets a jelly bean every night before bed.

I'm a volunteer dog obedience trainer and if my students knew this, I'd never hear the end of it.


The case of the tell-tale Raspberry Newtons
When my cat Amos was a wee bit of a kitten, he would often jump on my lap and start eating whatever it was I was eating. One day it was a Raspberry Newton, upon sampling which he discovered a tremendous fondness for the pastry and he tried repeatedly to pull it out of my hand. This was followed by some caterwauling and lunging attacks. I was surprised that a kitten could so love the raspberry flavor.
A week passed and I had bought another package of Raspberry Newtons, which I had left unopened on the kitchen counter when I went to work the following morning. Upon my return that evening, I discovered the package more than half-way up the stairs to the second floor, a corner of it slightly ripped but not plundered, and Amos was sound asleep on my bed. This furball weighing little more than the package itself had obviously knocked it off the counter, dragged it down the hallway, up a short flight of stairs to a landing, and halfway up the remaining steps before exhaustion overtook him.


One of my dogs
goes nuts any time he hears the song "cars" by Gary Newman. I'm not kidding. They were using it as background music for some commercial a while back and he would go apeshit every time the commercial came on.

We usually have several cats to entertain us. Once Richard, a cat
we brought from West Virginia to Oklahoma figured out how to balance on the toilet seat and pee. He taught the other six cats (cats learn by watching other cats) and, after that, we waited in line every morning to use the toilet, seven cats, two people. We had to be last because the cats never learned to flush.

Now we have a polydactal named Georgie who uses his big six toed paws in creative ways. He too goes into the bathroom but only to jump up on the cabinet and then jump to the top of the door. His weight swings the door open into the hall and to the linen closet. He reaches out, opens the linen closet door and jumps in. Great place to sleep!

Last week, late in the evening when I thought all the cats had gone downstairs, I noticed that the bottom drawer of the kitchen cabinet was open. We have several cats who can open the drawer and get to the back of the cabinet which is also apparently a fine place to sleep. I closed the drawer then sat at the kitchen table reading. I heard a noise, a scritch, scritch, scrabble, scrabble so I got up to see what was happening. The drawer was opening. Georgie's head was coming into view, he was on his back in the drawer and had curled his many toes up to the bottom of the wooden panel within which the drawer sits and was pulling the drawer open!


Newman the moocher
Newman, god rest his soul, was my part-siamese cat that we had to put down back in January.

He loved to sit and stare at us while we ate.... mooching is what we called it.

Anyway, one day he's sitting up on the window sill, watching us intently as we eat, and he manages to completely miss the fact that Siouxsie, then a kitten and about 1/5 of his size, is down on the floor and ready to pounce.

And pounce she did. She jumped up, wrapped both paws around Newman's neck and took him DOWN!

It was wonderful kitten comedy.

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