Is Your Child Ready for a Pet?

Dog Gets Head Stuck in Pot
Reported by: KPSP Local 2 News

"Smokey," a two-year-old dog from Hemet, got his head stuck Friday afternoon. (Riverside County Animal Control)

A dog from Hemet got himself stuck in a tricky situation Friday afternoon.

"Smokey" somehow got his head stuck inside the top, canister-like portion of an old smudge pot! Poor little guy! Smokey is the dog's temporary nickname.

The two-year-old male dog was spotted around 2 p.m. in the 45-900 block of Willowbrook Road, near Florida.

Riverside County Animal Services Officer Amy Farrell showed up just in time to help Smokey out of his misery.

He was "probably chasing a mouse or other critter," said Farrell when asked how the dog wound up with its head stuck.

Farrell said the dog seemed slightly underweight, but is otherwise friendly and playful.

He didn't have a microchip, but he did have a collar. The animal is being cared for at the new San Jacinto Valley Animal Shelter, which is not yet open to the public.

Smokey's owner is urged to call Animal Services at (951) 358-7387.

Minneapolis Woman Who
Tried to Mail Puppy Wants It Back
Sara Duane-Gladden - Minneapolis Examiner

The woman who tried to ship a puppy across the country through the U.S. Postal Service has filed an appeal to get the dog back.

On Jan. 25, Stacey Champion, 39, was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty after she tried to mail the 4-month-old pup to Atlanta in a box with no air holes, water or food. The canine, named Guess, was discovered after the package moved and a postal worker heard breathing inside. Had the package been sent along in an airplane's unheated, non-pressurized cargo hold, the puppy would likely have died.

The black poodle and Schnauzer mix, which is being held by Minneapolis Animal Care & Control, was supposed to go up for adoption on Saturday, but now that process has been suspended. Minnesota statute allows an appeal hearing after an animal has been impounded due to a cruelty investigation.

On Monday, an administrative hearing will determine whether or not Champion is a danger to the puppy. There is the possibility the dog could be returned to her custody. Even if she wins the puppy back during her appeal, a judge could restrict her ownership of animals.

If it is determined that the dog should not be returned prior to the court date for Champion's criminal charge, she would need to either appeal the case or post a bond that would cover the cost of Guess' care and kenneling at a price of $15 per day. If she doesn't post a bond, Animal Control would be able to place the dog for adoption. In the meantime, the puppy will stay at the shelter while the hearing is pending.

Many people from around the Twin Cities area and beyond have been asking about adopting Guess. Though Minneapolis’ adoption policy is first-come first-served, the process involves basic screening of potential owners to ensure the animal will go to a suitable home. When many interested parties are present at the shelter, a drawing will take place.

Opie the Cat Saves Tenant from Apartment Fire
By Melissa Reid -

WHEELING -- A pet cat is being hailed a hero after saving a woman from her burning apartment.

Denise Huss was sound asleep when the fire broke out at the two story residence on South Park Street in Woodsdale.

As black smoke filled her room, Denise grabbed her pajamas and her purse and ran.

"I had no time. It was dark, there were no lights, I had to scramble. I brought nothing out," said Huss.

Firefighters saud the fire spread throughout the two-story house very fast.

They said the layout of the house and the origin of the fire made it difficult for crews to put out the flame.

"Initial crews found heavy fire in the basement but there was an electric hazard there. We had to wait for AEP to get here and cut power to the structure, so we had to fight the fire from the outside until then," said Wheeling Assistant Fire Chief Jim Blazier.

Firefighters said that things could have been a lot worse if Denise had not been awakened by Opie.

"I'm gonna hug it, but I'm normally very short with it because the meows a lot. I just thought it was once again, but this time, it sensed that fire," said Huss.

Firefighters say the house is a total loss.

Scuffle Over Dog Biscuit Leads to Arrest in Montana

LIVINGSTON, Mont.—A Montana man who took exception to someone else giving his dog a biscuit faces a misdemeanor assault charge.
The Livingston Enterprise reports one man had reached over a fence to give a dog a bone Thursday when the dog's owner grabbed him and threw him up against a garage.

Livingston Police Chief Darren Raney says the dog's owner believed the other man was trying to poison the dog. He was not.

The biscuit giver was not injured.

Vet's View:
It's a Dog-Eat-Dog-Food World
By Patty Khuly, Special for USA TODAY

I get asked some version of this question so often that I've finally broken down and decided to make my answer public.

Some of you might argue this issue is a no-duh no-brainer. But you might be surprised to learn just how many of my cat owners feed their precious felines dog food … or look the other way as Fido wolfs down the kitty's kibble.

Some of my clients have even taken to feeding the alternative species' food because it's either cheaper (as is the case when feeding dog food to cats) or because the dog got a taste of it once and now turns his nose up at everything else.

Not that it should be too tough to wean a dog off cat food or pony up a few extra pennies for the El Cheapo cat food —— not for my suburban clientele, anyway —— but it happens, and much more often than you might think.

That's why it's always worth detailing the differences between the two — perhaps so that you'll not make the mistake of allowing your cat to eat the dog food she craves. But maybe also because, well, you never thought to wonder and now you'll know why dog and cat food are NOT interchangeable.

Though it's not so common for cats to adore commercial dog food, I have met my share. They gobble down the big kibble with wild abandon, chewing messily so that chunks fly and saliva drips. It's not pretty. And so you know, it's not a great idea, either. At least not on a regular basis and definitely NOT as an exclusive diet, for these four key reasons:

•Vitamin A must be supplied in cat food, whereas dogs can make do with beta carotene instead (their bodies can turn it into vitamin A). While some dog foods may contain additional vitamin A, many won't have the amounts a cat requires for a lifetime of optimum health.

•Taurine is an amino acid all cats require. Dogs can make their own. Many dog foods may be deficient in taurine, the result being a cat who suffers a devastating kind of heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This also happens when cats eat a fish-only diet, since fish meat is so deficient in this amino acid. Which is probably why you've heard that fish is "bad" for cats, even though it's not. Well, not unless you're offering a poorly balanced diet. (Most commercial cat foods offer extra.)

•Arachidonic acid is a fatty acid that dogs can make for themselves, given enough other building blocks. Cats need the real thing. No substitutions allowed.

•Protein levels are another big reason not to feed dog food to cats. Though some dog foods do offer very high levels of protein, most do not reach the percentage of protein our carnivorous cats require. A lifetime of low protein may not kill your cat, but we know it's not their natural diet, and therefore it can't be a good thing.

More common than the kitty-in-the-dog-kibble thing, however, is the dog that will turn up his nose at commercial dog foods but gulps down the cat's food with gusto. This canine penchant for cat food leads many frustrated owners to mistakenly consider feline-only diets an acceptable alternative for finicky dogs. And it's not!

Although a dog can live on cat food alone (unlike cats and a lifetime of dog foods), it's not considered advisable. The caloric density, high protein levels and heavy doses of fat aren't ideally suited to all canine gastrointestinal tracts — or to their waistlines.

More than anything else, cat-food-eating dogs tend towards the obese and suffer more gastrointestinal ailments than others. Diarrhea, vomiting and even pancreatitis (which can be life-threatening) are possible outcomes for either short- or long-term feeding of cat food to dogs. Kitten food, with its even higher protein and fat levels, is even less appropriate for dogs.

But is a feline "snack" every once in a while going to hurt your dog? Will a doggie biscuit harm your cat? Not likely. Still, it wouldn't be at the top of my to-do list for optimal pet health.

So now you know. And the next time you run out of dog food and couldn't possibly be moved to drive to the market or "starve" your dog? Please don't feed him the cat's food. Try a little oatmeal and scrambled egg instead. But go easy on the serving size, OK?

5 Things to Know About Catnip

Q: What is catnip?

A: Everyone has a weakness. For me, it's salted caramel ice cream. For my dog, Lulu, it's expensive shoes. For most cats, it's catnip. Here are five things every cat lover should know about this mysterious product that drives cats batty.

1. Catnip is an actual plant.

A member of the mint family, Nepeta cataria L. (aka catnip) grows throughout the United States. The plant features small, lavender flowers and jagged, heart-shaped leaves that smell faintly of mint.

2. It's easy to grow.

Cat lovers who possess a green thumb can grow catnip from seed after the last hard frost of the season. As a perennial, this herbaceous flowering plant will return each year with proper care. Keep in mind that catnip requires plenty of room to grow and flourish, much like most felines. Once it grows, you will have the most popular house in the neighborhood - at least among the feline population.

3. Most cats love it.

Catnip leaves and flowers can trigger chemicals in a cat's brain that lead to bouts of energetic euphoria or laid-back laziness. For that reason, dried catnip and catnip-laced toys make regular appearances on pet store shelves. Mary Ellen Burgoon of Park Pet Supply in Atlanta advises cat owners to sprinkle dried catnip leaves on scratching posts as a training tool. Pinch the leaves first to release essential oils, and a little goes a long way. You also can refresh old toys by placing them in a sealed jar along with a sachet of catnip. It's a great way to jump-start a fat cat's exercise regimen.

4. Use with care.

Once cats get a whiff of catnip, it's best to leave them alone until they've lost that loving feeling. Catnip also can cause excessive drooling, so you may want to retrieve those cat toys after use. No one wants to step on a soaking wet cat toy. Burgoon also suggests storing catnip and catnip-laced toys in an airtight container or a cat-proof area.

5. People like catnip, too.

Catnip also can be used for tea. The presence of a chemical called nepetalactone produces sedative-like affects in humans, making catnip a popular home remedy for headaches as well as insomnia. To make catnip tea, add one teaspoon of dried catnip leaves or three to four teaspoons of fresh catnip leaves to a mug of boiling water and let it steep.

Advance Planning:
Burial With Your Pet
by Lady Bee -

Would it be a bit easier on your loss of a pet if you knew that you could be buried with him or next to him? If so, you are not the only one who would get solace from this knowledge - not by any means.

Americans are buried next to their cats, dogs... even iguanas, and more are preparing for their own inevitability by purchasing plots in advance right next to their pets.

The International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories told the United Kingdom's Press Association that nearly a quarter of pet cemeteries are accepting humans and that the demand is growing.

"We hear about it all the time in our membership, people asking for it," said Donna Bethune, the group's executive secretary.

The Hartsdale Pet Cemetary, about 40 minutes north of New York City, gets 10 to 12 requests a year from owners wanting to be buried with their pets and, at Hartsdale, they are accommodated. About 700 persons have joined the 75,000 buried pets they loved. Hartsdale, which opened in 1896, is the first American pet cemetery, and it probably offers more services to the grief-ridden than most other pet cemeteries.

If you choose to be buried with your pet, one or both of you will have to be cremated. Of course, this is not a very popular choice for burial, even today. When a pet is buried in a human cemetery with his owner, the pet has to be cremated and placed in the coffin with the owner. Is it irony or justice that in most pet cemeteries, humans must be cremated to be buried with their pets?

Know If Your Child is Ready Before Getting a Pet

Deciding to get a pet for your child can be a tough call. However, pets can definitely teach youngsters a thing or two about love and sharing.

Pets are the best companions for children.
I would advise the parents of a single child to definitely get a pet. Pets are the best companions for children. They make them feel secure and completely melt away the feeling of loneliness. In a family with two or three children, they learn the art of sharing when they have a pet at home. They also learn to take care and protect another being. This helps in psychological development and overall personality building.

The best part of having a pet is the child never feels lonesome. Even if animals cannot talk, they respond through gestures. A pet is good for a family as a whole. However, people who suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems are advised not to keep pets. In that case, getting a fish tank is an option. Fishes also make for good pets.

I have come across couples who complain that they got a pet on the persuasion of their children who started neglecting them after a while. Sometimes, children are extremely excited about getting a pet but then grow out of the fascination. This leads to unnecessary frustration at home. Keeping a pet is a responsibility, so it’s only if everyone in the family agrees to chip in that you should go ahead and get one.
Seema Darode, clinical & school psychologist

Fishes are fantastic pets once children are little older.
It is a brilliant idea to have a pet at home. It is most beneficial for single children or kids who are shy. You can start by keeping a fish tank. Fishes are fantastic pets once children are four or five years old. Later on, you can opt for pets like dogs and cats.

The interaction with animals helps children learn many new things. Firstly, they get comfortable with touching and cuddling pets; moreover, they learn many biological functions. Their inhibitions and shyness can reduce to a great extent. Children also become more active since they have someone to play with all the time.

Children learn how to look after someone without being self-centred. It also makes them socially and individually aware. Though pets cannot express like people, their gestures convey so much more. Thus, automatically, children learn to think more humanely about others. They are able to build and develop relations in a better way.
Dr Bhooshan Shukla, child & adolescent psychiatrist, Trimiti Clinic

You become understanding, caring because of pets.
It’s been two-and-a-half years that I have a pet. My younger brother and I always wanted one, but my mother kept postponing it till she felt we were responsible enough to take care of a pet. Looking after a pet is a task, especially a complex one like a dog.

In the initial stage, you have to train dogs in how to live in a confined area while ensuring that they develop social manners. You also have to keep them active or else they become lazy and behave lethargically in all situations. While teaching your pet all this, you also start becoming socially aware.

The best part about having a pet is the love and care it brings. Whenever I come home, Tyke sits beside me wagging his tail to welcome me. It’s such a beautiful feeling to know someone is so happy to see you.

You learn to be understanding, loving and caring because of pets. They cannot speak but understand a lot. You can share your feelings with them like you do with any friend.

Having a pet is like having a sibling. However, you need to be careful when you get a pet for a child. The child should be old enough to understand what a pet is, how it should be cared for and so on.
Tanushree Mahajan, pet owner

My pet dogs, fishes are a real blessing for us.
I have two dogs and a fish tank at home for my child who is 5 years old. I had heard that getting a pet for a single child is good. I wanted to get fishes not just for my child, but also others in the family because they have a calming effect on the mind. I also got dogs that have been a real blessing. They are not only great companions for my son, but are also very protective about him.

Once a snake had entered our compound and the dogs saved my son from getting bitten by it. Thus, pets are extremely loyal and devoted to the owner. My child plays with them and shares everything.

I am extremely happy seeing my son learn so much from our pets. He is different from other five year olds that I have seen. There are small changes in his behaviour, like he will not eat until he distributes what he has and ensures everyone gets it. Usually, children are very possessive about their toys and chocolates. But my son is not like that. He shares everything with the dogs and involves everyone in his activities. Getting these pets was the best decision I made and I know it is going to benefit us
Rahul Shewale, pet owner

Cats have been a constant part of my growing years.
I adore cats and we had five earlier. Since the last five years, my cat Lily has been a companion for the whole family. I was in standard XII when my cat came home. Before that I had two tomcats called Steve and Mark. I have always loved cats more than dogs. In fact, they have been my friends since my childhood. My sister also loves cats. They are naturally clever and do not need any kind of training.

We have not trained Lily in any way, but she knows every nook and corner of our home and colony. Whenever we get home, she welcomes us with joy. She reacts in this manner only with a few family members and does not bother when there are guests. It is amazing the way she uses tricks to get attention. She perseveres till she gets what she wants. Pets make you feel special; the love they shower on you is overwhelming at times.
Hrishikesh Joshi, pet owner

Pets are family members who seek love & attention
I still remember the day we (my dad, younger brother and myself) made a pact to get a puppy home. It was just the three of us because my mom was totally against the proposition. However, when we finally got an innocent black and brown furred German Shepherd puppy, she had very little to complain as he was completely adorable. We named him Judo after noticing his fondness for extending his paws in a fighting stance. We had him for a good 11 years through our school as well as college years — a completely memorable time.

A pet dog is like a family member wanting his share of attention and care. We as kids use to play with him all day considering his insatiable energy. However, along with play also came in the responsibilities — like feeding him, toilet training, regular wash as well as manners at home.

Pets also serve as a great stress-buster. I remember Judo used to bark endlessly whenever we brothers had a fight, urging us to end it and make amends immediately. Pets have one quality that really differentiates them from us humans — that’s their unconditional love. When my dad passed away, Judo did not eat for almost 10 days. He was as much in mourning as all of us. My only advice to all parents wishing to bring in a puppy is to adore and respect it as much as your children.
Indrajitt Shirke, pet owner

Pet Care Tips –
5 Ways to Pamper Your Pet Dogs and Cats

A good way to treat you pet dog or cat is to pamper them once in a while. Giving them care and pampering is indeed a way of reciprocating the joy and companionship they have given you all the time. Here are some pet care tips and some pampering you can give to your pets.

(1) Get your pet a toy.
A frisbee would be greatly delightful for your pet dog. Choose a frisbee that is lightweight and but something that can’t be easily chewed apart. You can also give your pet rubber balls to play with. Some important pet care tips – be sure that you choose a toy that does not have some parts that can be easily swallowed and don’t leave them playing with something that they can tear into pieces and swallow.

(2) Style and shoot.
Give your pets the celebrity pet look and have a photo session for them. You can get good pet dresses for your dog or cat or you can also get themed dresses to make the photo shoot more exciting. This may be a challenging task but it could be a fun activity to spend time with your pets.

(3) Get a treadmill for your pet.
A pet treadmill is an amazing way to exercise your dog indoors. It can be convenient if you do not have the luxury of time to go outdoors and give them a good walk. Although a walk in the park can also give them a breath of fresh air, your dog treadmill can be helpful if you want to stay indoors. You can also choose a manual treadmill so they can have control over it, and never leave your pet on their own when exercising. One of the important pet care tips to keep in mind is to be responsible for the safety of your pets in whatever gadgets you are putting them in.

(4) Schedule a pet spa.
If you like going to the spa to pamper yourself, you can also book a great spa for your pet dog or cat. Bring them to pet day spa where they can be treated like a royalty! – just exactly what you want them to feel. A good massage, a great nail clipping and teeth and ear cleaning… it can be a great experience for your pets. You can even apply for programs on teaching your pets to do some tricks. This experience will definitely be great for your pet and for you as well. Having a clean, sweet-smelling pet at the end of the day is indeed something that you would want to cuddle and play with.

(5) Give them a good bath.
Of course, the easiest and most common thing you can do for your pet is a good bath. Give your dog a good bath but do not also give them frequent baths as this can also make their skin dry and susceptible to skin infections. You can however clean them by rubbing their body with a damp towel and cleaning their paws. Cats on the other hand can manage to clean themselves but you can also give them a good bath. You can use lukewarm water and pour, not spray, on them. If you can’t get your cat to take a bath especially the older ones, you can also rub them with damp towels. Also comb their hair before bathing to get rid of loose hair and make your shampoo more effective.

You can start with this pet care tips to give your pets the pampering they need. You can also find more ways to make them feel important once in a while.

Hints From Heloise:
Just Like Cabbie?

Dear Readers: Some say most mini-schnauzers LOOK ALIKE, but do they? Our Cabernet (Cabbie for short) is a silver-haired sweetheart with big, brown eyes. If you have a dog that looks like Cabbie, send in a photo, and we will pick a handful to post on my Web site. So, take a look at to see several photos of she who runs the household! Each person whose pet photo is posted will receive a special thank-you from Cabbie and Heloise Central. Please send a good-quality photo to: Heloise/Cabbie, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279, or e-mail, and please put in the subject line "Cabbie." -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Laurel Cameron in Rindge, N.H., sent a picture of her black-and-brown short-haired cat, Suki, sitting on top of the fish tank. This is her favorite place to sit, much to the dismay of the goldfish in the tank, which is looking quite nervous! To see Suki, go to and click on "Pets." -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My friend says that he feeds his hamster dry dog biscuits. Is this okay? I've heard of giving hamsters treats, but I've always bought them at the pet store, and I have never given mine a dog biscuit! -- Harry in New Hampshire

Harry, your hamster can chew on a dry dog biscuit occasionally. It's best to give hamsters a small piece of one every day or so, along with their regular hamster food. Did you know that a piece of apple is another good treat? -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Rather than destroy old toothbrushes, pet owners should save them for use as facial brushes for their dogs and cats. The toothbrushes are the right size to brush around the eyes, snout and ears without being frightening to the animal. My wife and I have been giving kitty facials for years, and all our little felines love them. -- Russ Vaughn, Ruidoso, N.M.


Dear Heloise: One day, as I was walking out back while it was raining, I saw my cat, Kringles, sitting under an old pickup-truck bed cap of my brother's. She was dry and could still see outside. Since one of the side windows was broken out (which was why my brother wasn't using it), I carefully removed the rest of the glass, scattered straw under the cap, and now ALL my cats love it!

There's plenty of room for them and their dishes, they are out of the wind, rain and cold, and it holds heat from the sun really well. In the summer, I open the "tailgate" window to let air in. -- Tessa in Empire, Ohio


Dear Heloise: I adopted my fourth animal from the city pound. To make sure that none of my other animals feels jealous, I spend a little time with each one separately. They feel loved and comfortable with the new addition. -- Elizabeth in Texas

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