Disco Dogs and Pet News

Blind Dog, Attacked by Cougar, Has Guide Dog Buddy
By Judith Lavoie, Times Colonist

Blind Buddy, right, is led around Telegraph Cove by his guide dog Joey.Photograph by: Mary Borrowman, Times Colonist

As Buddy meanders around the boardwalks at Telegraph Cove or greets visitors to the picturesque northern Vancouver Island community, he relies on his guide dog Joey to steer him around hazards.

As he takes naps, Joey always keeps a watchful eye.

What Joey is doing may be run-of-the-mill stuff for highly-trained dogs -- except that Buddy is a dog too, a five-year-old Shih Tzu left blind by a cougar attack. Joey the guide dog is a one-year-old Shih Tzu/Lhasa Apso cross.

It is a partnership that amazes their owners, Jim and Mary Borrowman, who run Stubbs Island Whale Watching.

"Buddy doesn't go anywhere without the puppy. Joey was only eight weeks old when we got him, so he really attached himself to Buddy," said Mary.

In February last year, Buddy, who weighs about eight kilograms, was snoozing on the boardwalk outside the gift shop.

The front door was open and Mary, with assistant Cara Aman, saw a shadow, which they thought was a large dog.

"We went outside to shoo it off and a cougar stood up and turned around with Buddy in its mouth," Mary said.

"The cougar started casually walking down the boardwalk and then Buddy started to fight, so we knew he was alive and we started yelling and screaming," she said.

Jim grabbed an axe and gave chase as the cougar took off up the stairs toward the Borrowmans' house.

As the cougar growled at Jim, it dropped Buddy, who rolled down the embankment and under the boardwalk, allowing Jim to scoop him up.

"There was just so much blood," Mary said.

"He's just a little designer dog and his eyes had already popped out of their sockets because of the pressure." They took Buddy to a vet, who treated the dogs eyes, cracked jaw, broken teeth and other injuries.

"He had five surgeries between February and June. It cost $1,200 a surgery, but it was not even a question. We didn't take a holiday that year. I don't think we could have lived with ourselves if we had put the dog down because of the almighty dollar," Mary said.

The cougar was treed by a neighbour's Rhodesian Ridgeback and shot by a conservation officer, who felt it would be dangerous to allow it to stay around a tourist area after tasting blood.

Some of Buddy's injuries healed, but he lost his sight.

Throughout that summer, Buddy seemed to be coping, Jim said. But, when fall came, the dog seemed to fall into a depression, he said.

"We started talking about another dog to get Buddy off his furry little butt. He didn't want to do anything," Jim said.

Mary contacted support groups online and was advised to get another dog. It was a gamble, though, because Buddy does not like many dogs.

"He loves people, but becomes a pitbull when there's a big dog around," Jim said.

Initially, Buddy would have nothing to do with Joey, growling at him every time the pup tried to play with Buddy's ears or tail.

But, little by little, they became inseparable and Buddy now follows Joey, said Mary, who is writing a book about Buddy.

"It's hard to know if he knows whether or not Buddy's blind. They just truck around together. The puppy's always with him," she said.

Dogs Get Disco Club in Manhattan

NEW YORK -- New Yorkers can now drop their dogs off at Manhattan's first dog disco when they spend a night on the town, the firm's co-founder said.

The Fetch Club, in New York's Financial District, features a disco ball, stain-resistant carpeting and a sheepskin rug where dogs can get a massage when they're all danced out, the New York Post reported.

When the canines are done cutting the rug, they can dine on barbecued-squirrel treats or even dog sushi, co-founder Jenna Lee said.

The pampered pups can also curl up on luxurious day beds scattered around the floor, and if they're dog-tired they can head over to the sheepskin for their mutt massage.

"They love to stretch out on this rug and get a gentle rubdown," Lee said.

Dogs Get into 'Howl-o-Ween' Spirit
By JOHN SAMMON - MontereyHerald.com

Canine costume contest raises money for animal shelter

Audrey Appleby holds the prizes and her dog, Pacino, a spitz-Pomeranian. (DAVID ROYAL/The Herald)

Dogs paraded in Halloween costumes Saturday at the Salinas Animal Shelter, reflecting the imaginations of their owners, many of whom wore matching attire.
The third annual "Howl-o-Ween" at the city's Hitchcock Road shelter featured a pet-and-owner costume contest, barbecue, silent auction and other stuff.

"We heard about this event and just had to come out," said Kathy Mauzey of Salinas, visiting with her daughters Stacy and Elizabeth, granddaughter Jasmine and 11-day-old grandson Benjiman. "Our dogs are like family. Of course, we spoil 'em rotten."

Three-year-old Jasmine wore a pumpkin suit to match that of her two dogs, Leila, a 10-month-old chocolate Labrador, and Haole, a 2-year-old Great Dane mix.

Brandi Casey of Salinas wore a suit with a Poison Ivy theme matched by her dog, Shyla, a 2-year-old white shepherd. The dog sported green leaves and tutu with a red wig.

"My costume and my dog's are both hand-made," Casey said.

One pooch wore a Batman costume. Another dog was a devil with horns, while another wore a unicorn suit with a tiny princess doll perched on its back.

Cindy Burnham, animal services manager, said the event raised $1,600 last year for the care of stray and lost animals.

"The money goes directly to help our animals, for spay and neuter programs, and, for example, toys for the animals kept here," she said.

The shelter's budget has been cut 10percent, and more dogs and cats arrive daily, often abandoned by owners. The facility has a yearly budget of about $900,000.

"We're getting more animals," Burnham said. "We have about 60 dogs and 40 cats in the shelter currently, and for dogs, that's about a 20percent increase over the past few years."

Many of the shelter's dogs are young Chihuahuas or Chihuahua-mixes, Burnham said.

"It used to be mostly pit bulls, though they're still popular," she said.

Burnham said it's easy to adopt a pet and, for $150, each dog is provided with vaccinations, is spayed or neutered, and is implanted with an identifying microchip.

After 72 hours if nobody claims a dog, it can be put up for adoption. Dogs are adopted, sent to rescue groups or euthanized. About 20percent of the dogs have to be put down and 60percent of the cats, including feral animals.

"We do our best not to euthanize," Burnham said.

Burnham said she would like to see more owners searching for lost pets.

"I'll go in the back and look at a dog and say, 'I know you have an owner somewhere, where are they?'" she said.

Man Flashes Woman,
Woman’s Dog Takes Care of the Rest

A man who indecently exposed himself to a woman ended up being bitten by her dog.
The victim, aged in her 60s, was walking her pet in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, when she was approached by the flasher.

A police spokesman said the man exposed himself and the terrier growled. It then bit him on the upper right arm.

Sgt Ian Dowling, of North Cotswolds police, said the dog seemed "to have acted instinctively".

The incident happened near Dunstall Flats at about 1930 BST on Thursday.

The offender is described as slim, about 5ft 2ins tall and with "large, bluey-brown" eyes.

The victim said he was wearing navy blue tracksuit bottoms, a light blue top and a black hat.

Sgt Dowling said: "This was clearly an upsetting incident for the woman and her dog.

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How to Bond With Your Dog –
Tips for New Dog Owners
Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen - TheAdventurousWriter.com

Knowing how to bond with your dog isn’t just being affectionate! These tips for new dog owners include dog training, obedience, and discipline. I’m no “dog whisperer”, but I am a new dog owner who wanted to return her to the humane society for a month after I got her. Now, I’m so glad I stuck it out! I hope my tips help you bond with your dog.

Before the tips, a quip:

“I talk to him when I’m lonesome; and I’m sure he understands,” said W. Dayton Wedgefarth. “When he looks at me so attentively, and gently licks my hands; then he rubs his nose on my tailored clothes…the good Lord knows I can buy more clothes, but never a friend like that.”

That was one of my issues with owning a dog – her wet nose and slobber all over my clothes, furniture, truck, and everything! But once I accepted it as part of dog ownership, I bonded with her much faster. I also watched all the Cesar Millan Dog Whisperer DVDs, which helped me learn about pack mentality and consistent, firm leadership.

Here’s what I learned after a month of owning and bonding with a new dog:

Give it time – bonding can take months. I regretted my decision to get a dog for almost a full month after we brought her home form the humane society. Our dog Jazz is a one-year old black lab/German Shepherd – she’s 75 pounds of puppy energy and eagerness! I’ve always been a cat lover, and never owned a dog as an adult. Since my husband and I can’t have kids, we thought a dog might enrich our lives. And she is enriching our lives now – after a full month – but it’s been a long haul. So, new dog owners, my first tip is to accept that it takes time to adjust and bond with your dog. Give it time!

Get a home assessment with a dog trainer. It can be expensive – it cost us $160 for two hours – but a home assessment with a professional dog obedience trainer can make the difference between success and failure for new dog owners. Our dog trainer helped us with everything from our tone of voice when giving commands to what type of “work” to have our dog do. Plus, she’s now “on call” for us – her service includes unlimited phone calls if we have questions or concerns.

Stay consistent with the dog obedience training. It’s physically and emotionally exhausting to constantly train your dog – especially for new dog owners! But, training and obedience is a crucial element to creating a strong bond with your dog. Firm, consistent training solidifies your position as “pack leader”, and helps your dog respect you. I learned a lot about dog training from 101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog, the Dog Whisperer, and the dog trainer who did our home assessment. And, we’re taking dog obedience classes (not online, but in person) next month.

Keep trying different toys, like a Kong or Ultimate Ring. Part of knowing how to bond with your dog is giving her “work” to do. Our dog trainer recommended cow or buffalo thigh bones; dogs like to chew and lick the marrow inside. Plus, bone marrow is healthy! I’ve learned that our dog gets bored with the marrow bone everyday, so I kept experimenting with a Kong Dog Toy until I found what works. That took time – I was making it too easy for her. And, I found a Rumble Ring, which she loves.

Combine training and play with your dog – it helps with bonding! From books like 101 Dog Tricks, I learned how important it is combine play with training. We’re in the early stages of dog obedience training, so we’re still working on “sit”, “lay down”, “shake a paw”, and “fetch.” But our dog trainer encouraged us to have high expectations for Jazz. For instance, her husband hides her dog’s toys all over the house. The dog’s job in the evenings is to retrieve all her toys, one at a time. This is playful training, and it’s a fantastic way to bond with your dog!

Dog Wellness – Safety, Wellness and Health Tips

If you are considering adding a dog to your family it is important to understand all that is entailed with being a successful, happy dog owner and ensuring you have a happy healthy dog. Of course, there are many things to know and understand before getting a dog but these dog wellness tips are a good place to get an idea of things you need to have and take care with to ensure safety, health and wellness for your dog. If you already own a dog ask yourself this; Are you aware of the things that can hurt your dog and aware of the things he needs to stay happy and healthy? Good dog wellness practices start with pet owner knowledge and awareness.

With compliments of Dr. Jon, veterinarian, here are some dog wellness tips to increase your knowledge and add to your compilation of necessary pet care knowledge.

Bread Dough

When bread dough is ingested, it rises in a dog’s stomach and as the dough ferments, alcohol is produced, causing alcohol toxicity. After ingestion, dogs will act nauseated, vomit, act painful, lethargic or become disoriented.

If your dog does get his paws on bread dough, call your veterinarian or local emergency clinic.


Not only does extra weight put stress on joints and discourage exercise, but obesity may also lead to increased risk of diabetes, arthritis and cancer. Check your dog’s conformation to determine if he is too chubby. An obese dog has a rounder girth, a paunch on his underbelly and his ribs are buried.

Traveling with Your Dog

When traveling with your pet in the car, it’s import to follow these tips:

Use Proper Restraint: When traveling in your vehicle, your pet should always be properly restrained for both your and their safety. In the case of an accident, a dog can weigh up 30 times its weight upon impact while traveling at 35 mph. Today, many companies create seat belt systems and crates to keep animals safely secured while on the road.

Never Leave Your Pet In the Car: In 70-degree weather and above, it takes only minutes for the temperatures in your car to escalate to triple digits. Leaving the window open an inch does not provide adequate ventilation. Many states are passing laws that prohibit leaving your pet alone in your automobile.

Bring Water: Car travel can make your pets feel anxious and result in nervous panting. Be sure to take frequent breaks during your trip to allow your pet the opportunity to re-hydrate. Let him out of the care on a leash and give him some water in a bowl and even a nice healthy treat.

Healthy Dog Signs

There are several signs that can indicate a problem with your dog. It is important for dog owners to be aware of the signs and symptoms that indicate a problem. Problem signs include a lack of appetite, decreased activity, weakness, changes in water consumption, not grooming, bad breath, sleeping more, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, trouble breathing, frequent urination or bloody urination.

Ideal Pet Food Storage

An ideal choice for a dog food storage container is a sturdy, airtight, bug-proof container that is easy to clean and large enough for an entire bag of kibble.

Choosing a Doggie Door

Your ideal doggie door is sized to fit the standing height of your full-grown dog when measured from the top of the shoulders, and the width at the chest.

Bad Doggie Breath

Many people think that dog bad breath just comes with the territory of being a dog. This is not the case. Dog bad breath can be associated with teeth and/or mouth abnormalities.

Exercising your Senior Dog

Exercise and play is important to all dogs, including your elderly dog. Exercise helps maintain a healthy body weight. Being overweight may lead to a number of health problems. It places excess stress on your pet’s heart. Excess weight on degenerating joints can speed up the development of arthritis.

Your elderly dog’s mental health may also benefit from exercise. Activity keeps oxygen and other nutrients at optimum levels in the brain. The brain is like every other organ in the body in that it requires good nutrition.

Removing Skunk Odor

Try a mixture of 10 parts hydrogen peroxide to 1 part baking soda. Add a dash of dish-washing soap and pour into a spray bottle. Spray liberally over dry coat and allow to air dry. Avoid eyes.

This same mixture works on inanimate objects as well.

Healthy Teeth Tips for Dogs

Keeping your dog’s teeth clean can help keep your dog healthy. Use a soft toothbrush. A child’s toothbrush for small dogs is ideal; an adult size should be used for larger dogs. Use toothpaste formulated especially for pets, available at pet supply stores or your veterinarian’s office. Do not use human toothpaste – it is not safe for your dog.

Begin by only brushing the outside surfaces of the teeth. When your pet has adjusted to this, add the inside surfaces between the teeth and tongue.

Nail Trimming Problem

If you make the mistake of cutting your dog’s nails too short here is a home remedy to stop the bleeding. A small amount of flour packed onto the end of the nail will often quell the bleeding. Also try rubbing a bar of soap on the end of the nail for the same effect. Nothing, however, beats having a stash of styptic powder, which you can buy at your local pet store or at your vet’s office.

Cocoa Mulch

Mulch is commonly used in landscaping. Most types of mulch are safe, however, cocoa bean mulch is toxic. The cocoa bean produces beautiful dark mulch that has the aroma of chocolate. Unfortunately, this type of mulch is dangerous because of the by-products of the cocoa shells. When ingested, dogs can show severe signs of chocolate toxicity. If you do any landscaping make sure to use pet safe mulch.

Adding a new dog to the one you already have.

Don’t encourage ill will between future buddies with a too-close-for-comfort feeding time routine. Make sure to feed the new member of the household in a separate location, using a using separate food bowls.

Puppy Proofing your Home

Start by assuming you have a two-year-old child.

Everything that you would lock up for a child, lock up for your puppy.

Keep all cleaning materials, household chemicals, and medications locked behind cabinet doors.

Keep poisonous plants, electric cords, and children’ toys out of reach.

Block off portions of your home such as bedrooms, bathrooms, or any part of the house you are not occupying most of the time. The new puppy should have a very limited place to roam in your home until he properly potty trained and outgrows chewing on things.

Winter Paw Care for Dogs

In cold weather, the pads on the bottom of your dog’s feet can take a beating. One way to protect them is to buy special boots made of neoprene or similar materials.

Preventing Heatstroke in Cats

Do not leave your cat in the car – even if you think the weather is fine. Cars heat up very quickly and become similar to a small sauna.

When the weather is hot or even warm make sure your cat has plenty of shade and water if he is outside. Consider leaving a small tub of water for your cat to play in and stay cool in the hot weather. Make sure the amount of water is drowning proof safe.

Bland Diet for Vomiting

Many veterinarians recommend a “bland” diet for dogs that have been vomiting or had vomiting and diarrhea. The general approach is as follows:

1. First, start with water. After the small increments of water are offered, gradually offer a bland diet.

2. Small frequent feedings of a bland digestible diet such as: Hill’s prescription diet i/d, Iams Recovery Diet, Provision EN or Waltham Low Fat are usually recommended. Homemade diets can be made of boiled rice or potatoes (as the carbohydrate source) and lean hamburger, skinless chicken or low-fat cottage cheese (as the protein source).

3. Return to regular dog food should be gradual over one to two days. If vomiting continues at any time or the onset of other symptoms is noted, call your veterinarian promptly.

Protect your Dog from Common Household Dangers

There are items in every home that can hold hidden dangers to pets. Many household items may look benign yet have potential to cause serious injury. For example, a recliner can crush a small puppy or fast-closing doors may allow paws or tails to be caught. Here are a few items to keep your eye on:

1. Paper shredders

2. Ethylene glycol

3. Doors

4. Recliners

5. Potpourri

6. Bones

7. Human foods and substances

8. Trash cans

9. Unsecured medications

10. Glues and cleaners

Tips for a Successful Vet Visit

When you go to your veterinarian for your dog’s next visit, make sure you get the most out of the visit. Ask lots of questions and be prepared. Here are some tips:

Write down any questions and health concerns you have before you go and take the list with you.
Make a list of any medications your dog is on, the dose and frequency. Be sure to discuss any effects the medication may or may not have had or any difference in behavior if any since taking the medication.

Yard Safety Tips

There are several possible hazards in your yard that can cause injury or create problems for your dog.

1. Sharp nails or wires on fencing

2. Loose fence boards or areas where pets can sneak out, around or under

3. Trash tossed or blown into the yard that may be chewed on or ingested

4. Improperly stored toxins such as rodenticide, slug bait, fertilizer or antifreeze.

5. If you landscape or are having any landscaping done at your home, make sure to use pet safe mulch.

6. Make sure you do not have any pet toxic plants in your yard.

Natural Remedies for Cats and Dogs

Pet natural health care is becoming extremely common amongst pet owners around the world. It is important to remember that just like an over the counter medicine there are several different approaches and natural ingredients that can be used, so monitor your pet while he is being treated in case he needs to try a different dosage or different mix of medicine.

Being a responsible pet owner means knowing how, when, where and what when it comes to your pet, keeping abreast of changes and new findings, and putting pet wellness practices into motion on a daily basis or as required.

I will be adding new tips for pet wellness as they come my way, so be sure to check back for updates, new findings, and new advice

Pet Trivia: Do you know that dogs can be trained to detect epileptic seizures?

Caring For Cats –
How To Take Care Of Your Cat
by Jeff Parke - Exotic-Pet-Tips.com

Cats are playful animals. If you are planning to get one, you should know the basics about house cat care. The moment the cat is brought into the house, you should give it his or her own room for the time being with food, water and a bed. If it has not yet been toilet trained, you should start teaching it so there are no stains in the carpet. If ever they do something wrong like climb up on the table or scratch the furniture, you must never scold them as they are very sensitive animals. You can enforce discipline without causing any harm by squirting water on their face.

If you got this as a kitten, it will easily be able to adapt itself to the environment because it will allow itself to be ruled by other pets. This means there will be fewer incidents of fighting among themselves. Your kitten will follow you wherever you go and at times jump or climb up to the kitchen counter or table. This isn’t good if you have food there so discourage this habit by having a bottle full of water around so you can squirt it into their face.

Apart from working on the scratch pad, you should trim their nails before it gets too sharp that it could hurt someone or damage the furniture in the house. You do this by pressing down on each toe which makes the claws extend. This should be inspected regularly so they also get used to it as they grow older.

You must also provide a scratching pad so it can play around without causing any damage to your furniture. This should be 3 feet in height and placed either near the furniture or their bed. When their nails get too sharp, you better trim it so they don’t hurt you or themselves.

If you have a big cat, give them room to adapt to the new environment on their own.

If your pets quarrel, don’t worry or get in between them because this is normal. But if things are really bad, then you have to separate them by confining both in different rooms. An older cat also needs to be disciplined so they know what they can and cannot do. This is why you need to keep the squirt bottle handy as this is the best way to tell them it is wrong without physically hurting them.

Lastly, bring your cat to the vet regularly and when you see something new in their behavior as quick thinking could prevent a possible sickness from getting worse. If you don’t know any, get a recommendation from one of your neighbors. House cat care is challenging but rewarding. You just have to put in the time and effort when you decide to bring a pet into your home.

Our cats rely on us to take care of them and figuring them out is key when caring for cats.

Critter Care:
Have Plans, Funds Ready
for Pets That Outlive You
By Sue Novak - LJWorld.com

About 15 years ago I met a woman who had recently purchased a young Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. He was a magnificent bird who made me think twice when he spread his wings and raised his huge crest, bobbing his head up and down. When he hooked his beak on my wire-rimmed glasses, I gave them up pretty quickly. I’m pretty sure that pleased him.

Aside from the fact that this bird was a force to be reckoned with (he got loose from his cage one day and chased all the other animals in the house out the dog door onto the back porch), his owner realized that he would outlive her. Given that these birds can last 70 or more years, and this woman was already in her 50s, that meant that at the bird’s death, she’d be … well, older than any of us ever get to be.

Because it is much more common for us to outlive our pets, this posed a problem for her that many companion animal owners don’t often think about: Who would take her pet when she was gone?

I spent some time thinking about her situation, and as a result I have since outlined instructions, which I keep with my will, that detail what I want done with my pets after I move on to cleaning those litter boxes in the heavens.

It’s not a pleasant thing to think about, and with each pet’s passing, it means updating those instructions, but it gives me some peace of mind. I don’t want some stranger coming into my home after I’m gone and thinking of my furry family members as they would a chair or a lamp or some article of clothing to be disposed of.

After attending the wonderful Dogtoberfest in Lawrence’s South Park this past weekend, however, I learned of another way that people can provide for their animals who outlive them, if it’s within their budget.

The fantastic people at the veterinary school at Kansas State University have helped create the K-State Perpetual Pet Care Program, which, according to the brochure, is “a comprehensive program designed to provide animals with loving homes once an owner is no longer able to provide daily care.”

The program, which you can link to at www.vet.k-state.edu/depts/development/, had its start in 1996 with Lou and Norma Jane Ball, a couple in their 70s who owned two much-loved Himalayan cats. Realizing that they might at some point need someone else to care for their pets, they approached Jake Mosier, a veterinarian and hospital director at K-State.

Together they outlined the type of care the Balls wanted for their cats in their absence, and in return, the booklet explains, the Balls would “provide financial assistance to the College of Veterinary Medicine through a trust.” This began the program in which, “through a bequest, the pets’ medical care is covered for life. The remaining balance can be designated to support initiatives such as hospital renovations, programs and services.”

In preparing for your animals’ futures, the K-State team will take down all the details that are important to you for your pets’ continued care. This includes such information as daily routines and basic home life, so the staff can closely match your pets’ future adoptive home to your own, which reduces the stress in the new placement. The screening process for a replacement family is stringent.

The rewards of the program are great for everyone involved. “Your pet is assured a loving home, companionship and medical treatment,” the booklet explains, and you may choose whatever form of donation that proves best for your particular needs.

The remainder of the money that extends beyond your pet’s needs goes to the veterinary school scholarship, endowment or fund of your choice. These funds assist the school with “teaching, research and clinical health care service.”

The funds donated to this program can help veterinarians become better at what they do, which in turn improves life for pets and their owners in the future.

The K-State Perpetual Pet Care Program offers three levels of funding, beginning at $25,000 for small companion animals and reaching to $75,000 for special needs animals. Once you’ve enrolled, you may add other pets who come into your life, and if the pet you enroll predeceases you, you may substitute another animal.

Today, 76 animals from more than 20 families are involved in the program, which has provided more than $4 million to the veterinary school.

Many people who have large or close families may decide that their remaining family pets will be well cared for, but some who are more on their own may consider this a good option. It’s a win–win situation not only for your loved family members but also for the advanced understanding of companion animal medical care that you will help bring about.

— Sue Novak volunteers with the Lawrence Humane Society.

Ask a Veterinarian:
Finding, Treating Fleas and Ticks
Important for Pets
By Melanie Goble - htrnews.com

Fleas and ticks are parasites that live on the skin of animals and can spread disease. Prevention of fleas and ticks is very important.

It is recommended that you speak with your veterinarian to find the appropriate prevention tool for your pet. There are many concerns about products being used inappropriately, so it is important to read and follow the directions, and make sure you are not using a dog product on a cat.

If you have plants or wildlife in your yard, then you are at risk for fleas and ticks getting into your home. This risk goes up if you have pets that go outdoors, especially cats or dogs that hunt or chase the wildlife, or if wildlife is able to get into your home.

Fleas survive by biting and drinking blood. Some flea bites cause animals to have a severe reaction called Flea Allergy Dermatitis, which can cause them to be excessively itchy, lose fur and have infections of the skin. FAD often requires additional medical attention.

When animals groom themselves, they may ingest the fleas, making the fleas harder to find and potentially infecting the animal with tapeworms.

Although fleas do not prefer to feed on people, they will in severe infestations.

Flea bites on people are normally found around the ankles, although they may be found in other places.

Treatment of fleas includes treating the animals in the household (speak with your veterinarian about appropriate treatment for each pet) and treating the environment (the home, car, even the yard).

Your veterinarian or an exterminator can help you determine what is appropriate for your home.

A newly hatched flea can live in the pupa stage for up to 140 days before appearing as a recognizable adult flea. Therefore, treatment can last five months or longer to help prevent re-infestation.

Ticks are another external parasite that may carry diseases that may cause problems for animals and people.

There are many types of ticks, and each type can carry different diseases. The most well known is the deer tick, which carries Lyme disease.

Other tick diseases that we can see in this area include (but are not limited to) ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis. Some dogs can clear the infection; others may show signs such as limping, lethargy (being overly tired), not eating or drinking, vomiting or diarrhea.

There is a simple blood test that can check for all three of these diseases as well as heartworm disease in dogs.

Although cats can be bitten by ticks, they do not appear to develop disease as
readily. If your dog is bitten by a tick, the tick should be removed completely and the site should be monitored as reactions to the bite itself can occur.

The test to check for tick-born diseases should be run about six weeks after the bite or if signs develop.

If the test is positive, additional testing and treatment may be needed.

Fleas and ticks do not hibernate and do remain alive on wildlife year round, so it is recommended to keep your dogs and cats on preventative year round.

Dr. Melanie Goble is a veterinarian at Memorial Drive Veterinary Clinic in Manitowoc.

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For Common Ailments, Pet Insurance
Can Cost More Than Paying Out of Pocket
By Gregory Karp - DenverPost.com

Consumers should have health insurance, but whether you should buy health insurance for your pet is a different question. And it might have a different answer.

Consumer Reports Money Adviser recently analyzed nine pet health insurance plans. It used an average 10-year-old beagle as an example. The dog had common ailments and accidents over the years. Given those circumstances, none of the nine health insurance plans would have been worthwhile, the report found. In fact, the pet owner would be $2,500 to $4,300 in the hole, compared with paying out of pocket.

If the dog had chronic and major problems that boosted vet bills over the decade to about $12,000, a few insurance plans provided a relatively minor net benefit of $78 to $1,714 in a scenario analyzed by the publication.

Some veterinarians, the Humane Society of the United States and a host of pet advocates endorse pet insurance, however. They say it provides pet owners peace of mind, can mitigate vet expenses and possibly avoids "economic euthanasia."

If you would try to extend your pet's life no matter the cost, insurance could be a good idea, experts say.

My Littermate Brother, Gus!

On Saturday I was at the park
when my littermate, Gus, came to visit!
It was great to see him again!

We were able to run and play in the park!

And I showed him the gopher patch I had found!
We had fun digging them out!

36 Dogs Get New Leash on Life
in Puppy Mill Rescue
By Brian Meyer and Deidre Williams - BuffaloNews.com

The 36 dogs arrived frightened and unkempt on Halloween night, and their rescuers could only imagine the horrors they encountered during their short lives.

One cocker spaniel was pregnant. So were three miniature schnauzers.

A Yorkshire terrier was limping. Another dog was being treated for a stomach disorder.

Lhasa Apsos, an American Eskimo dog, Papillons and other breeds were carefully removed from cages in a truck that pulled into an East Amherst dog training center Sunday night.

The dogs share a harrowing past. They were rescued from a Missouri puppy mill that had recently decided to close. Animal advocates are convinced that its appearance on the U.S. Humane Society's "Dirty Dozen" list of the most deplorable facilities in the state contributed to its closure.

"They were squishing a bunch of dogs in a little cage like this," said Janice Jabcuga, pointing at a cage that was about two feet long and two feet wide. "That's how these puppies were living."

Jabcuga's dog training center on Transit Road became the nerve center Sunday night for what advocates described as one of the region's largest rescue missions. Prior to arriving here, the group delivered 15 rescued dogs to various sites.

Numerous groups from across the country, including the Perry-based Going to the Dogs Rescue, converged on the closed puppy mill in Mexico, Mo., to place bids on dogs. Their goal was to acquire as many animals as possible in hopes of preventing breeders from buying more stock for their mills.

Melissa A. Henchen of Going to the Dogs Rescue said groups managed to acquire about 200 of the 870 dogs that were placed on the selling block. Following a journey that spanned more than 700 miles, some dogs were shaking and disoriented.

"A lot of puppy mill dogs have known a certain way of life for a really long time. And that is a cage," Henchen said.

Voters in Missouri will consider a referendum this week that would impose stricter regulations on puppy breeders, another factor that she believes helped trigger the massive auction over the weekend.

Groups across the nation raised $15,000 to place bids. A man from Byron bought the truck needed to transport the animals back to New York. Dozens of residents showed up Sunday to help wash and groom the dogs. Others volunteered to serve as temporary foster parents, and they applauded as the truck pulled up at Love Your Dog Inc. on Transit Road.

"These two are going home with me," said Akron resident Mary Prentice, pointing to two tiny Yorkshire terriers. Prentice also offered to provide temporary shelter for a Puggle.

But there's a lot of work to do before many of the animals can be permanently placed in home.

The dogs that arrived Sunday following a 16-hour journey haven't been around people. Most would have to learn basic tasks such as how to walk up stairs -- not to mention walking on leashes.

"They'll need to get socialized," said Allison Ramunno, who along with Kelly Ganzenmuller founded Speaking Out for Animals, a group that rescues cats and dogs.

The sad reality is that some of the rescued animals might not be suitable for permanent adoption, said Jabcuga, who has been training dogs for 25 years. But many of the dogs can become beloved pets, especially with training.

Michelle Senters, who works at Love Your Dog Inc. brought home two rescue dogs Sunday, even though she already has three dogs in her West Seneca home.

It's not unusual for people involved in animal rescue to offer temporary homes to large numbers of animals. John Henchen of Going to the Dogs Rescue said he and his wife Melissa have been foster parents to close to 200 dogs, he estimated.

Earlier Sunday, animal advocates held a peaceful demonstration on Sheridan Drive in Amherst to raise public awareness of some puppy mills.

The demonstration -- which was organized by Jackie Flanigan, a Buffalo native who moved to Pennsylvania two years ago -- was not targeting the Missouri kennel. But one of the pickets, 27-year-old Tara Bruegger of North Tonawanda, said it is not unusual for puppy mills across the country to contact rescue agencies for help under certain circumstances.

Morgan Dunbar, president of the Animal Allies Club at Canisius College, said most pet shop puppies come from kennels that are in deplorable condition. The animals receive little to no veterinary care.

"It's really a disgusting industry and it needs to be stopped," she said.

bmeyer@buffnews.com and dswilliams@buffnews.com

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How To Convert an Old TV into a Fish Tank

If you've been having trouble deciding what to do with your old analogue television once the digital conversion is in place or you just don't know what to do with a TV that no longer works, there is a solution. Consider adding new life to the old TV by making it into a habitat for pet fish. Follow these steps and you can convert an old TV into a fish tank.

--Old TV
--Small aquarium
--Wire cutters
--SawBlocks of spare wood or 2 x 4s

Step 1: Unplug the TV. Before you do anything you need to be sure that the TV is not receiving any electrical power. If the TV recently stopped working or works fine but you just wanted to upgrade, then you might consider having an electrician handle step two to avoid any possibility of electric shock.

Step 2: Open TV back and remove tube and wires. Unscrew the back from the set and remove any of the interior pieces including the tube, electrical boards and any wiring. Some wires may be connected to the rear of the TV and these wires will have to be cut then removed. Once done with this step you should have a hollow TV shell.

Step 3: Remove the TV top. If you are using a console TV you will need to saw off the top wood panel of the TV in order to access the fish tank. You can elect to either leave the console without a top or place hinges in the back of the wood top and reset the top you removed. If using a TV without the wood cabinet then just leave the back of the TV unattached then prepare to place your tank where the back is not visible.

Step 4: Measure the TV interior. Before you buy an aquarium you want to know it will fit into the TV. Measure the length, width and height of the interior of the TV.

Step 5: Buy the aquarium. Using the measurements from step three, purchase an aquarium that is smaller than the interior of the TV set.

Step 6: Check the TV for fit and stability. Before you place the aquarium into the TV you should make certain that the aquarium will fit into the set and that the TV can hold the weight of the aquarium once it is filled with water. Consider placing blocks of wood underneath the rear of the TV set to stabilize the tank and hold the weight. Even with a console TV you might need the added stability.

Step 7: Place the aquarium into the TV. Slide the aquarium into the TV set. Place cotton padding anywhere needed to ensure a snug fit. Place support blocks under the aquarium if the TV base is not level. Install lightning if wanted.

Step 8: Fill the aquarium. Pour water into the aquarium then populate it with fish.
Converting an old TV works best when you have a console unit but it is possible to make a fish tank with any old tube TV. You may need to add some additional support under the aquarium when using a tube TV that doesn't have a console base.

Follow these steps to create the tank and then enjoy the new, serene habitat you have created.

Dog Days of Autumn
By John Kelly - Washington Post Staff Writer

When is the best time to be a dog? Pretty much any time.

Dogs live in the moment. Dogs go with the flow. Dogs roll with it. Dogs make do with what they've got.

In winter, our black Lab, Charlie, loves frolicking in the snow. In spring, he likes sniffing the new grass - then eating it. In summer, he enjoys lounging in the hot sun. But like a lot of dogs (like a lot of humans), I think his favorite season is autumn.

Dogs such as Charlie are made to walk through fallen leaves. When I walk him in the autumn, listening to the rustling he makes as he trots along, I'm reminded of how delicate Charlie actually is. Yes, he weighs 75 pounds, but he flicks his forefeet with a certain daintiness, bends what I guess are his wrists with a certain elegance. The pads of his feet may be rough, but inside he is a dandy, the desiccated leaves the equivalent of the carefully strewn sand of a soft-shoe dancer.

Not that Charlie is overly precious when it comes to the leaves. I don't know exactly why, but dogs are especially fond of peeing on piles of leaves. Do mounds of leaves - their photosynthesizing duties done - exude some chemical odor irresistible to dogs? Or is a raised berm of any sort just too attractive a target to pass up? Is it a canvas awaiting a brushstroke, a plinth awaiting a statue?

Whatever the reason, an autumn walk with Charlie is longer than its summer or winter counterpart. He pulls at his leash, eager to sniff at the leaves. He is a connoisseur of leaves - an annoying connoisseur, actually. He seems to sniff every leaf in a pile, every blade and vein and rib. What is he looking for? What catastrophe awaits if he pees on the wrong leaf?

Charlie's favorite kind of fall day is one like we had in the middle of last week: sunny, but with a chill in the air, the sky a deep blue.

I was working at home when Charlie came up to me. That's usually a sign that he wants something, although what I think he wants most is for me to magically pull a meatball from my pocket and toss it to him.

I got up and opened the back door to let him out. But Charlie didn't want to go out. He just wanted to look out. He plopped down in a pool of sunlight and breathed in the smells of autumn. The breeze picked up, and crinkled leaves, like tea-stained love letters, blew in.

The most colorful tree in our back yard was a dogwood. Charlie approved.

Let There Be Light

Nearly as much fun as dogs are teenagers. The other day, our resident teenager told me that I needed to remind her to change the light bulb in her room.

There's a joke in there somewhere, but I couldn't think of it right away. What I did think, and say, was this: "Why do you need me to remind you to change your light bulb? I would think the darkness would do a pretty good job of that."

It's a funny thing about teenagers and reminders, though. They don't like to be reminded of certain things: You need to clean your bathroom. Did you write those thank-you notes like I asked? Don't you have homework you need to finish?

Dad, I know. Geez! You don't need to remind me!

But forget to remind them of something obvious, and you may get, say, a panicked and accusatory phone call from the school bus: "Why didn't you remind me to put my English paper in my backpack?"

Oh they're smart, those teenagers. Take homework. Our teenager deploys homework like a defensive shield. Almost any request for domestic assistance is answered with "I have homework."

How can we compete with that? Don't we want her to do her homework?

I suppose it must be what living with Alexander Fleming was like. "Honey," Mrs. Fleming would say, "don't forget that you promised to take out the trash."

"I'm busy discovering penicillin," Mr. Fleming would say.

"Oh, all right. I'll do it."

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