Why Dogs Bite People - Part I (Photos)

Pet Scraps with Coyote,
Lives to Wiggle Happily
By Erik Lacitis - Seattle Times staff reporter

Tina, the 9-pound Chihuahua-pug mix attacked Monday by a coyote in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood, was given emergency treatment, and Tuesday evening was brought home to treats, costumes and love.

Tina, a Chihuahua-Pug mix that was attacked by a coyote in Magnolia is re-united with her family, LaQuita Fenton, her daughter Quinita, 8, and son Quincy, 6, at Animal Critical Care & Emergency Services in Lake City, Tuesday.The dog was nearly killed by the attack and was saved by emergency surgery. Photo by JIM BATES

Tina, a 9-pound Chihuahua-pug mix who gets fed Kibbles 'n Bits and sometimes is dressed up in a doggy cheerleading outfit, was reunited with her overjoyed owners Tuesday after surviving a coyote attack Monday in Magnolia.

The doll-like Tina, who had been reported dead in early police reports, returned from the vet's very much alive to a warm home in a comfy doggy carrier.

She was kissed by LaQuita Fenton and two of her children who accompanied her, Quinita, 8, and Quincy, 6. The mom held Tina and treated her just like another child, "She's so excited to see mommy! She misses us!"

It was another rainy winter night in Seattle, and the coyote blamed in the attack spent it in considerably less warm surroundings.

Maybe under some bush. Maybe behind somebody's garage.

There certainly was no family waiting to feed it Kibbles 'n Bits.

But there is a certain admiration for such an animal from wildlife experts who deal with human complaints about coyotes.

"I'm impressed with their adaptability, not just being able to survive, but thrive in almost any environment in this continent," said Capt. Bill Hebner of the state's Fish and Wildlife office in Mill Creek. "You have to tip your hat to that very intelligent animal."

Rain forests, deserts, climates cold and hot, from downtown Los Angeles and New York City to the suburbs. You'll find coyotes in all those places, said Hebner.

The one that attacked Tina was most likely 25 to 35 pounds, he said, "although they look bigger because there is a lot of hair on them."

LaQuita Fenton said she was with Tina as her children were getting off their school bus at 4 p.m. Monday in the 2600 block of 23rd Avenue West by Bayview Playground. The dog frequently waits with her for the children to come home and often runs up the steps to the bus.

But on Monday, Tina saw the coyote in a park across the street and ran to the wild animal.

Within seconds, Fenton said, the coyote had its mouth around Tina's neck, "and he shook her like a rag doll."

By coincidence, a KIRO-TV reporter, Chris Legeros, happened to be in the neighborhood on another story, and began throwing sticks at the coyote, who then ran away, dropping Tina.

Police arrived, and Fenton and Tina were taken in a police car to a nearby vet's office, where she was told there was no hope for Tina's survival.

Seeking a second opinion, Fenton and the cops went to the Seattle Animal Shelter on 15th Avenue West, where Fenton was told there was hope after all, but the estimated veterinary cost would be around $1,000.

Fenton said she is an unemployed welder recovering from an industrial accident. She signed Tina over to the shelter, and the dog was taken to Animal Critical Care & Emergency Services (ACCES) in Lake City, a 24-hour emergency veterinary center.

It turned out that the $932 bill was paid by two individuals who'd seen news reports about the attack. The donations allowed Fenton to take back possession of Tina.

Jean Maixner, the ACCES hospital administrator, said Tina's injuries were not all that severe. The dog had some puncture wounds and torn muscles in the neck.

She said the vet hospital would have cut the bill by half had no volunteers stepped up to help.

Waiting for Tina at home Tuesday evening were special doggy treats as well as several other costumes — a Santa Claus outfit, a pumpkin Halloween outfit and a bikini.

Asked if people sometimes overhumanize their pets, Fenton answered, "We love her; she's my baby; she's my child."

Erik Lacitis: 206-464-2237 or elacitis@seattletimes.com

More Pet Heroes:
Heartwarming Tales from Readers
Janice Lloyd - USAToday.com

Our story on pet heroes ran today in the newspaper and unfortunately not everyone I heard from could fit into print. I'm running nuggets of some of the other stories here.

•An 89-year-old man near Centralia, Wash., was protected by his dog after flipping off a four-wheeler. When cougars approached the man, the dog kept them away. More here.

•A woman canoeing in Lake Huron has her dog to thank for keeping her alive. When a freak thunderstorm swamped her canoe, she and the dog ended up in the water for six hours. The dog swam around her, helped support her and keep her warm until rescuers spotted the dog. Both are alive. More here.

•Not every story had an happy ending, unless you find peace in knowing a dog comforted a little boy when he was dying. This dog snuggled around an autistic boy who was lost in the woods. More here.

Others wrote about animals that do therapy work in hospitals. We can't list them all here, but will do more posts in the future about the wonderful ways pets help people. One story I'll never forget was told to me by a woman whose therapy dog befriended a young person struggling with anorexia. That dog was a last hope for the teen. The teen is thriving.

Today, more pets get a chance to be heroes as canine rescue dogs head off to Haiti to help locate people lost in the rubble. Let's wish them godspeed.

Thanks everyone for getting in touch with me. I would love to hear from more of you, including more cat people.

Prevent Ticks and Fleas
Before They Invade Your Pet
By: Lisa Chelenza, News8Austin.com

Flea and tick season is right around the corner, and it's time to start preventative measures

"There certainly are many advantages to protecting your pets from fleas and ticks,” veterinarian Dr. Andrea Lee said. “The primary reason is your pet’s comfort, especially if your pet has an allergy to fleas. Also, you’d like to prevent an infestation of fleas within your home. If your pet becomes infested with fleas in the warm season certainly that infestation could exist throughout the winter.”

“Spot-ons" are effective and convenient treatment methods that involve only a few drops between the shoulder blades of your pet.

Two products your vet will have, Advantage and Frontline, control adult fleas on pets for at least one month. On dogs, Frontline Top Spot lasts up to one month to prevent fleas and ticks.

Another spot-on product available through retail stores is Biospot.

K9 Advantix, a flea, tick and mosquito treatment for dogs, provides extra protection.

If the spot-ons are a bit too costly for you, try the “pill program.”

When given to pets orally once a month at mealtime, the product prevents flea eggs from hatching. Dogs are fed Program in pill form; cats are fed a liquid mixed with their food.

There's a companion product, Sentinel, which contains both the flea control ingredient and heartworm medication all in one dosage.

Starting these medications now will greatly reduce the chances of developing a serious flea problem later in the spring and summer.

If using a spot on treatment, here's a helpful hint to deal with squirming dogs. Smear PNB in the fridge and get ready to apply the liquid on the skin between the shoulder blades. It sounds gross, but if you only have two hands, it works.

Make sure you check with your vet before giving your pet any medications. When you're ready to administer a treatment, make sure you follow each product's directions.

Getting Kids to Read to Their Pet

Our patron, Freedom resident Dawn Alexander-Tapper, read the online article about Louie and his favorite books and she had this memory to share:

I loved the feature on our little Louie! I wanted to share with you what I used to do with the book 3 Stories to Read to Your Cat and its counterpart for dogs. When I taught third grade, I would loan out those books each day to my students and the next morning, the child would tell the class which stories they read to their cat or dog and how the reading went. The kids were so cute. They'd say things like, "Harry's favorite story was the one where they made dog biscuits because he licked his lips when I read it to him." It was such a fun experience! Some of the kids would certainly exaggerate their pets reactions and it was hilarious- but I know for sure that they were reading on those nights that they got the book.

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Why Dogs Bite People - Part I
Thanks to Kathy in BHC, AZ

View Photos of Singles - Match.com
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Pet Talk:
Introducing Two Cats?
'Scents' Their Behavior
By Sharon L. Peters, Special for USA TODAY

Beware the nose of the cat.
Or celebrate it.

Just don't underestimate it.

That's what I, a novice cat person, am learning.

I'd always had huge respect for the impressive power of the nose of the dog. Hard not to when the sniff-out gift was so conspicuous among my canines through the years: the unerring ability to locate a minuscule dot of pizza crust that fell between the sofa cushions months earlier; the laser accuracy with which they would scent out the spot where a visiting cat had deposited its calling card (buried under 3 inches of yard dirt); their instant wakefulness when an unfamiliar canine strolled into their sensory perimeter — half a block away.

Turns out cats are no slouches in the nose department either, though their deftness isn't as blatant as dogs.

Cats use those little nubs to find food and mates and their own territory — and (this is where we pathetic human house-sharers can land in consternated perplexity) for scoping out danger. Danger, of course, can take many forms when you're a cat: interloper of any sort (including one of their own species) or any scent unfamiliar.

This scent sensitivity can be a reason why two cats that have gotten along for years suddenly don't. If one is sick and smells different, or if one has just returned from the vet or from a bath, carrying unfamiliar (read: scary) odors, the previously friendly cat might be so troubled as to act weird (read: avoid the other cat or fight it).

It's also why most experts recommend that when you bring a new cat into an existing cat's home, you employ "scent exchange" — often for a very, very long time — before allowing them to meet.

I learned about cats' olfactory complexities just recently (and felt like a dullard, but was told my ignorance of this catdom puzzle is common, so I share this information). These insights befell me as I tried to learn why Gus the Cat (the household's long-termer) and Grisabella (the newcomer) united reasonably well at first, then didn't, then after being separated because one was ill, reunited well and have remained collegial.

Many factors may have been at play, but a likely contributor was the fact that although I'd kept them separated for a couple of weeks when Grisabella first arrived, then had them watch each other through glass for a while before supervising the face-to-face intro, I'd left out the all-important scent exchange. That step, I now know, might have made each feel more comfortable, more familial.

This is the bare-bones version of the approach advised by cat behavior consultant Marilyn Krieger (thecatcoach.com): Confine the new cat to a room. Gently rub the scent from the cheek of one cat onto a clean sock or rag and leave that cloth where the second cat will encounter it (but not near food, litter box or sleeping area). Using a second cloth, you reverse the process. Repeat this, using clean cloths, twice daily.

Don't rush, as having too much of another's scent too close is "offensive to a cat," says Krieger. Days, weeks or months later, depending on the cats, move each scent cloth to the other cat's bed. Eventually, with cats still separated, put the cloths by each cat's feeding station, placed increasingly closer to the door separating them so they'll associate something great (getting dinner) with the other cat. Eventually you can let them see each other while they eat. Then, well, the barrier between them gradually comes down, and … you get the drift.

Some, though not all, experts say this scent-exchange process could include (while the cats are still separated) rubbing each cat's face with the face scent of the other, as the face is an area ripe with possibly appeasing pheromones.

That being the case, a reasonable person might ask if since this face-scent rubbing may work in stranger-cat introductions, can house-sharing feuding felines be persuaded to bury the hatchet (or retract their claws) by being rubbed with the scent of the enemy?

Maybe, maybe not.

A few experts recommend using the scent-rubbing approach, sometimes referred to as "owner-facilitated allogrooming," as a means of neutralizing tension or even hostility between cats. Fervent-enemy cats should be separated (in the same manner a new-cat introduction would be conducted) for weeks while this exchange of scents is going on. If done gradually enough, adding treats during the process, it might, it is said, promote familiarity, maybe even chumminess.

Not everyone agrees. This human-forced rubbing of scents onto hostile cats is "definitely not advisable," says cat behavior consultant Pam Johnson-Bennett (catbehaviorassociates.com), who has written several books on cats. If the cats already live together, "the scent of each is already distributed everywhere," and "forcing the scent on each other is not going to change the mind" of anyone.

Moreover, an upset cat confronted/rubbed with the scent of another with no way to escape may fight back in the only way possible: teeth and claws. "In addition to creating unnecessary stress for the cat, the person is putting herself in danger." The thing that must be altered "is the feeling that exists with one or both cats," and that's best accomplished by providing each with "positive things at ever-increasing proximity to each other."

Nothing with cats is ever simple.

But one thing's not in dispute: The nose of the cat must be respected.

Woman Keeps Pet Snowball For 33 Years

Hunk Of Ice Stays In Bread Bag

Prena Thomas has the usual things in the freezer of her home in Lakeland, Fla. Vegetables, pancakes and fish, she told a Tampa television station.

But she also has a snowball that she made in 1977.

Thomas said that over the decades, she has never had a power outage that would destroy the cold hunk she says is precious to her.

"It's just like a little pet," she said.

However, she does sometimes take it out of the freezer, unwrap the bread bag that contains it and shows it to friends.

"Look Ethel, there's that crazy Snowball Lady!"

Don't Let Vets' 'Bark' Determine
Your Opinion of Their Expertise
By Patty Khuly, Special for USA TODAY

Patty Khuly is a small-animal veterinarian in Miami, Fla. She is author of Dolittler.com, an award-winning blog on pet health; she writes weekly for the Miami Herald and monthly for Veterinary Practice News. Her USA TODAY guest column appears each Friday.

Khuly lives in South Miami with her son, Max, dogs Vincent and Slumdog, goats Poppy and Tulip, and a backyard flock of chickens.

Do you want a vet with a great "bedside" manner … or do you want a great vet?
Some vets are charming soft-talkers who recruit your involvement in your pet's care with their winning, whitened smile and a penchant for flattering, incandescent lighting.

Others might well be better vets (or not), but their delivery leaves much to be desired.

We vets can't always be all things to all people. But some clients demand the whole package — on every visit. And that's not always going to happen. In fact, it almost always won't.

Case in point: The client I referred to a local internist yesterday. After explaining that her dog required a higher level of care than I could provide, I sent her to see my favorite internal medicine diagnostician with caveats in hand about expenses, wait times, etc.

Immediately after her visit to the specialist (she was still in the hospital's parking lot), she called me on my day off to complain about the guy I sent her to see. Here's the list:

1) He couldn't tell me what was wrong with Fluffy.

2) His staff wanted me to pay as soon as I agreed to the estimate for the tests he wanted to do.

3) I won't be allowed to be next to Fluffy during all the tests.

4) He was kind of curt when I complained.

Granted, my preferred internist can be somewhat gruff at times. But it's also pretty clear that the client's expectations were unreasonable. So here's where I get to my point:

A vet with a brilliant bedside manner can usually set anyone at ease on the first three points. After all, it's only a matter of explaining why the policies are in place and pointing out the obvious: "We're trying our hardest to find out why Fluffy is sick. Unfortunately, her situation is complicated and we need to run tests. I know you understand that — otherwise Dr. Khuly wouldn't have recommended that Fluffy see us."

But all that is easier said than done. When an owner is being (even understandably) demanding despite your every attempt to relax him/her, it's easy to get annoyed and abandon the bedside decorum you know would serve you — and the pet — best.

Which brings me to my next point:

It's really hard for vets to keep it together 100% of the time, and for some vets it's tougher than for others. Some of the best vets I know, clinically speaking, don't always handle clients really well. Yes, they can seem "curt" at times.

In fact, that's sometimes why vets go into specialized medicine. They prefer a more academic, scientific path. They want to take on more challenging cases that require more patient-specific face time. Compared with generalists like me, they don't usually value spending time easing your mind and making sure you're satisfied. In many cases they're well aware they don't have the patience or the skills for the human side of their practice.

But does that mean they can't do what needs to be done to cure Fluffy better than anyone else out there? Nope.

When I go to a specialist for my own health care, I know I'll be waiting longer in the waiting room. I know I'll be paying more. And I definitely know that my doc won't appear to care about me as much as my general practitioner does. Of course, I expect explanations and an answer to every question I ask. But I don't expect a stellar bedside manner.

In my case, even the general practitioner I've selected is a crotchety older woman with a notoriously caustic tongue. And why do I put up with it? Because I've come to learn that she's good — really good.

So why is it so hard for some clients to accept that sometimes the best vet won't be the one who will put you immediately at ease?

She won't always make you laugh. He won't typically spend 30 minutes explaining things or take the time to write his cellphone number on the back of his business card for your personal use. She won't necessarily smile or even say goodbye in a personable way. He might even lack for personal hygiene.

Nope, most won't inspire automatic confidence in the James Herriot sort of way we might like. Some vets will even treat you (almost) like dirt — as in, you're there, but she barely acknowledges you. She's all about your pet.

And isn't that ultimately what you want?

So here's my recommendation the next time you see a new vet: If you can find it in yourself to trust the person who referred you just long enough to figure out if this cranky vet's poor bedside manner is worth it, you might just realize you're in the same room with the greatest veterinarian on planet Earth: the one who has the power to fix your loved one.

How Are Dog People and Cat People Different?
By Elizabeth Landau, CNN

Fabian Bonasera's son, left, peers at cat Korben Dallas. Naveen Rajur, right, loves his dog Maddie.

(CNN) -- Do you rejoice at the sound of barking but cower at a meow? Or do you look at a cat and feel an instant sibling-style connection?

With the proliferation of Web sites cultivating photos and videos of animals doing cute things, it's easier than ever to get your daily fix of the pet variety you have, or wish you had. Ever wonder what your preference for cats or dogs says about you?

A team of researchers led by psychologist Sam Gosling at the University of Texas at Austin wanted to find out. They posted a questionnaire online as part of a larger study about personality called the Gosling-Potter Internet Personality Project.

About 4,500 participants answered questions that measured their personality inclinations in five areas: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. These five dimensions have been shown in previous research to encompass most personality traits. They also indicated whether they considered themselves cat people, dog people, both or neither.

It turns out that the "dog people" -- based on how people identified themselves, not on what animals they actually own -- tend to be more social and outgoing, whereas "cat people" tend to be more neurotic but "open," which means creative, philosophical, or nontraditional in this context.

To love cats, you have to be able to love things for themselves; they have their own life, they aren't necessarily dependent on you. Your dog kind of lives for you.

--David Bessler, veterinarian

Dog people scored significantly higher on extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness measures, and lower on neuroticism and openness than cat people, the survey found. The effect persisted regardless of gender of the respondent.

"Once you know the findings, it kind of falls into place," Gosling said. "You think, 'of course, agreeableness and extraversion -- dogs are companionable, they hang out, they like to be with you, they like your company, whereas cats like it for as long as they want it, and then they're off."

But this foray into your deeper pet subconscious isn't the final word, Gosling says -- after all, if the findings had been reversed, they would also make sense to some people. These are, of course, generalizations and don't apply to every individual.

"It means that if you knew nothing else about them, that would be your best guess," he said.

The findings do make sense to 12-year-old Naveen Rajur, a "loving dog boy" in Andover, Massachusetts, who considers dog people to be outgoing and active. He also agrees about the agreeableness and conscientiousness of dog people because they "always have to want to take care of the dog and always kind of be by its side."

Fabian Bonasera of Norcross, Georgia, who must give away his two cats soon because he and his wife and son are moving to Iceland, said the cat findings are about half-true of himself -- he considers himself laid-back and easy-going rather than neurotic, but the "openness" does resonate with him.

"They just like something a little more soft, more gentle," he said of cat people. "They're good pets, they're more independent, they do their own thing."

Cat rescue volunteer Eddye Sheffield, of Gadsden, Alabama, said she's seen all kinds of cat owners, and can't pin down personality traits that apply to all cat people. Outsiders might label Sheffield herself a "crazy cat lady" because she has 11 cats, she said, but she doesn't view herself that way.

"All of them are rescued cats and they need a place to go, and I had room, that's how I ended up with that many," she said. Owning that many has also gotten her more involved in rescue efforts, which has put her into more contact with other people, not less (score one for extraversion).

Veterinarian David Bessler, senior emergency clinician at NYC Veterinary Specialists in New York City, said he was a dog person growing up, but that owning a cat has "converted " him. It hasn't changed his personality, but he can imagine that dog people and cat people have personality differences.

"To love cats, you have to be able to love things for themselves; they have their own life, they aren't necessarily dependent on you," he said. "Your dog kind of lives for you."

Participants in Gosling's study were recruited to the study through search engines, portal sites, voluntary mailing lists, and word of mouth from other visitors. The study will appear in the journal Anthrozoos in September 2010.

The findings are useful for identifying the right pet for a particular person, and for pet therapies, Gosling said.

Is it that people choose pets that are like them, or that pets change people over time? Research has not come to a conclusion on this question, experts say.

Beyond personality characteristics, people may have physical features in common with the animals they like or own. A study by University of British Columbia psychologist Stanley Coren found that women with long hair liked Springer spaniels and beagles, which have long ears, and women with short hair liked the short-eared basenjis and huskies.

A study by Michael Roy and Nicholas Christenfeld found that participants could match photographs of owners to their purebred dogs about 67 percent of the time, based on appearance alone. Results suggested that the owners selected dogs that looked like themselves and did not grow to look like the dogs over time, as there was no relationship between how long the people had lived with the animals and how similar they looked.

Both of those studies are mentioned in an upcoming book called "Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why it is So Hard to Think Straight About Animals" by Hal Herzog, professor of psychology at Western Carolina University.

Herzog told CNN there are plenty of reasons why a cat person would own a dog, or vice versa: allergies as well as other lifestyle factors, such as space for the animal, come into play.

Herzog and his wife consider themselves dog people, but own a cat, Tilly, because they can easily leave her alone when they go away for the weekend.

Although he appreciates cats, he does not feel that owning one has changed his personality. But, Tilly is fairly social for a cat, he said, which may have something to do with how she was raised.

Empty-nesters such as Herzog and his wife, as well as retirees, are among those increasing pet ownership in America, he said.

About 37 percent of American households have dogs and 32 percent have cats, but the cat population (82 million) is significantly higher than the dog population (72 million), said Herzog, citing 2007 data from the American Veterinary Medical Association. That's because people tend to own multiple cats, as they are more amenable to many people's lifestyles, he said.

People tend to gravitate toward the animals they were raised with, Herzog said. Cat owners tend to be raised in cat families, and dog owners tend to be raised in dog families. In fact, one study found the animal you like is the one your grandparents lived with, he said.

The field of anthrozoology, the study of how animals and people relate to one another, only recently took off, Herzog said.

"I think our interactions with animals shed a lot of light on larger issues in human psychology," he said. "With pets it's things like attachment and why we're altruistic toward other creatures, especially creatures that we're not genetically related to."

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After Long Crawl Home,
Injured Cat's Broken Legs Healing

- One down.

One to go.

Giggle-Blizzard had one cast removed and has one left to go. Staff photo by MICHAEL EGGER

Giggle-Blizzard, the Hernando County cat that crawled home more than a mile after being hit by a car in November, got his cast off his left leg.

"Right now it's just a matter of getting that strength back. He's lost a lot of muscle mass and it's just, you know, getting used to it again," said owner Tracie Steger, petting the cat's long, gray and white fur.

It's been a long road to recovery for Giggle-Blizzard. He disappeared from Steger's Spring Hill home Nov. 15. He crawled home 11 days later, on Thanksgiving, with two broken legs. He'd been hit by a car more than a mile from home.

"I'm amazed every day by what I see animals get through," said Steger. "Things people would not endure."

Giggle-Blizzard has had numerous surgeries to repair his legs. His right leg still is still in a cast.

"He gets round the house now by pulling his two legs forward and using his back left leg as a rower," Steger said.

Giggle-Blizzard's story has gotten worldwide attention. Steger said she's gotten calls from Animal Planet and People Magazine. It's been printed in newspapers as far away as Russia.

"When I go on the Internet and see that his story has been around the world and back, I think his story just touched some hearts at the right time of the year," she said.

Steger estimates she's gotten hundreds of letters and emails, as well as several donations to help pay for the cat's medical bills, which total more than $4,200.

"All the well-wishes, all the emails, the donations, it's just been something to carry me through each day," she said.

But Steger said the stories she's heard from the owners of other missing pets have touched her the most. She has encouraged other owners with missing pets not to give up hope their pets will come home.

"That's the part that people don't see," she said. "The thank you's I've gotten because of the few pets that have returned because of Blizzard's story."

Giggle-Blizzard is expected to get the cast off his right leg in a week. After that, veterinarians expect he'll need a month of rehabilitation before he's back up on all fours.

"It's just a work in progress. He's been a trouper," said Steger.

Dog Leads Owner to Unconscious Man

PINE CITY, Minn. (AP) - Police credit a 15-year-old German Shorthaired dog with saving the life of an elderly, unconscious man in Pine City.

Brett Grinde says he took Effie out for their usual walk on Monday evening, but within a couple minutes she started pulling on the leash, wanting to go in a different direction.

Effie then took off running, leading Grinde to a neighbor's house where a 94-year-old man was on face down on the driveway. The dog started licking the man's face. Grinde called 911, then started CPR.

KARE-TV reports the eldery man, William Lepsch, regained consciousness and is in serious condition at North Memorial Medical Center.

Information from: KARE-TV, http://www.kare11.com

Jessie T. Wolf - Designer Doghouses

I got Jango a doghouse last night, since I'm going to be doing a bit of outdoor training with him once the weather starts getting a bit nicer. Ideally I'd like him to get used to being an indoor-outdoor dog, like Mojo is, so it'll be a gradual training process with him.

When I got Mo a doghouse for his outdoor run, Tor was convinced that he'd never use it because he thought is was too small. On the contrary, Mo uses it just fine on the rare occassion he actually sleeps outside, and being a retired sled dog he's used to sleeping in a doghouse anyway. People think that doghouses are supposed to be huge for their dogs, when the whole point is that if they curl up they're supposed to preserve body heat, which gets lost if the doghouse is too big for them. So I got lucky finding just the right size for Mo on Craigslist (best resource ever!).

Yesterday I got lucky again and was able to find a bigger one on CL for Jango, for $40! It was advertized as only $30, but I had two $20's on me, and the guy didn't have change, so I let him keep the extra $10 since he originally spent about $140 on it, for his Black Lab mix who never used it, and then it just sat in his yard for two years. Jango went in it on his own too, when we went to go see it, which is a good start anyway.

In searching for doghouse designs online, I came across this collection of Designer Doghouse models.

My goodness, what dog owners will buy to spoil their dogs!! I mean, as far as art design goes, these are brilliant pieces of work, and the artists who made them should be very proud! But as a dog trainer, first of all I kind of have to shake my head at people with loads of money who spoil their dogs rotten like this, since too much love and affection and no rules or leadership is what creates bad behavioral problems in the first place. Secondly, if someone's goig to spend thousands of dollars to create an intricately detailed miniature version of their own fancy home for their dog... then they might as well just keep their dog in their home with them in the first place!

I agree with some of the comments on that website - those doghouses aren't for the dogs, they're for their rich owners to show off. Dogs don't care what their doghouse looks like, as long as it works as a safe, dry place to stay. The two that I have are plain and simple.

Mojo's looks similar to this:

Jango's looks pretty much exactly like this:

I'd feel bad for any dog that had to stay out all of the time anyway. What's the point of having a dog? It's amazing how many people call me for training advice for an outdoor dog, which is considerably harder to manage than having a dog that lives inside with it's owner. Jango's brother for instance, Kobe, is chewing everything in their yard, including the back wood stairs, which they say they'll need to replace soon. He asked me for advice, and I told him that unless he's there to supervise and manage Kobe's behavior at every moment, you can't really do much to stop unwanted chewing of your property, other than restrict his access to the things he chews, or make sure he's got a lot of his own stuff to chew on! Outdoor dogs get bored. Your stuff becomes their entertainment.

I wonder if Jango will ever start chewing on his doghouse...? Hmmm. I guess we'll just have to wait and see!

Lolo, a black Jaguar, plays with her newborn spotted cub inside their cage at Jordan's zoo in Yaduda February 16, 2010. The two-month-old cub made his first public appearance on Tuesday after being born to Lolo and Falah, who originate from South America. Photo/Ali Jarekji

Vet Has Pet Healthcare Tip
to Keep Coats Shiny

Glossy coats are all the more pleasurable to pet - and ethical insurance seekers may want to take one vet's tip on board to make sure their pooch gets all the attention it wants.

Dr Greg Martinez posted some advice on social media networking site Twitter saying adding a teaspoon or tablespoon of canola or olive oil to a pet's dish can help keep its fur shiny and healthy.

As the author of Dog Dish Diet, the vet has many other tips on improving an animal's wellbeing by changing its eating habits.

He said on his website that 30 to 40 per cent of all the conditions he treats on a daily basis as a pet healthcare professional are down to diet.

Dr Martinez also said all furry friends have individual nutritional needs and owners should not be afraid to take to the kitchen after consulting with their vet to make sure they get what their bodies are seeking.

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