Surfin' Dogs (Photos)

Owen Brown Dog Rescued from Lake Elkhorn
By Sara Toth,

County fire department called after goose-chasing Chester gets caught in kelp

A rescue dog in Owen Brown needed his own rescuing Friday afternoon, June 3 when he got caught in an area of thick kelp in Lake Elkhorn while chasing a goose.

Chester, a part-Labrador rescue dog, has a penchant for chasing things, said Floyd Roberts, a neighbor of Chester's owner, Charlotte Stripehoff, of Owen Brown. But when the dog spent almost an hour chasing a goose in the lake, Roberts and Stripehoff called the Howard County fire department.

"There was just one specific goose he was chasing, even though there were tons of geese out there," said Roberts, who saw part of the ordeal. Stripehoff called him over to observe Chester in the lake, at which point, Roberts said, Chester had been swimming for the better part of an hour.

"I asked her if she was concerned, and she said she was worried," Roberts said. "We watched for another 15, 20 minutes. He'd been out there for about an hour, hour and a half at that point, swimming from one part of the lake to another, getting further and further out."

Roberts said he and Stripehoff debated going after Chester with a canoe, but worried the boat would tip with the weight of the dog.

Chester eventually chased the goose out of sight, and Stripehoff called the fire department, Roberts said. Just after 1 p.m., units from the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services were dispatched to the lake. Chester had gotten stuck in the thick kelp of the lake, and units deployed a boat rescue crew.

Jackie Cutler, a fire department spokeswoman, said a water technician jumped in the lake and lifted the dog into the boat, where he was evaluated by a paramedic who also is a National Guard veterinarian technician.

By the time the four-man crew made it back to shore with Chester, Roberts said, he'd been in the water almost two hours.

"I was concerned, because Chester is an older dog," Roberts said. "He loves to chase stuff. At the lake there's a lot of wildlife: ducks, geese, groundhogs. Last week he was chasing a groundhog. He's always chasing something, or trying to. This time he got off the leash and jumped right in the water. But now, all's well."

An initial check found the dog was dehydrated and exhausted, Cutler said, but was returned safely to his owner.

Stripehoff and her family left shortly after the rescue for a vacation, Cutler said, and were not available for comment.

Firefighters Free Cat from Storm Grate
By John Toole -

PELHAM — Tripp was trapped.

The 9-month-old male cat was wedged in a storm grate on Pine Ridge Road, head on one side, body on the other. The cat had no way out.

"He was near death when we found him," said Melinda Bastoni, whose daughter Samantha received Tripp as a birthday present a few months ago.

Tripp had eluded the Bastonis, as sometimes he does.

"He's very fast," Bastoni said. "He kind of sneaks out."

This time Tripp's sneaking around led to a drama that played out over eight hours Wednesday in the streets of Pelham, the fire departments of Pelham and Windham, and the Rockingham Emergency Veterinary Hospital in Windham.

A neighbor summoned Bastoni to the grate about 6:30 a.m. The neighbor thought it was Tripp.

"Sure enough, that was my cat," Bastoni said.

No one is really sure how Tripp got stuck, but the suspicion is some animal might have pursued him through a nearby drain.

"We think something chased him and he was trying to get away," Bastoni said. "His body could never have slipped through the grid."

Bastoni, her daughter and the neighbor lifted the iron grate — lifting Tripp with it.

"The three of us lifted it up, it had to be 100 pounds," she said.

Pelham firefighters were summoned. Tripp didn't look well.

"We gave him a bit of oxygen," firefighter and paramedic Robert Horne recalled.

Tripp was stuck, for sure. The question was how to get him out.

"We tried lubing him up with soap," Horne said.

That didn't work.

Firefighters tried their tools and summoned tools from local companies. Eventually, they cut away a section of the grate — with Tripp still stuck.

Dr. Chris Barnett was called in from Rockingham Emergency Veterinary Hospital in Windham.

"His head was swollen," Barnett said. "I sedated him at the site."

Tripp was transported to the hospital. As the extraction continued to stymie his rescuers, Windham Fire Department was called. They responded, bringing more power tools.

Tripp's neck was protected before firefighters went to work with metal blade, power tools and chisel.

"Each square (on the grate) is about an inch thick, so this took close to four hours," Windham Lt. James Brown said.

Windham firefighters had to break away a couple of times to respond to calls involving human patients.

"The cat was in good hands," Brown said of the veterinary hospital staff.

Eventually, their persistence paid off. Tripp is home now.

"He's doing great," Barnett said yesterday.

"He's home here, and he's pretty much sleeping all the time," Bastoni said yesterday of the half Siberian cat. "He's walking normally, but we're concerned about his hearing. They shaved his head and neck."

The Bastonis are thankful for the efforts of those who helped Tripp, including the firefighters, Salem's and Pelham's animal control officers and the animal hospital.

"There was excellent teamwork," Bastoni said.

Edible arrangements were headed to the fire departments yesterday and the Bastonis had another special thank you, too.

"My daughter is baking cookies we will deliver to everybody," Bastoni said.

Fargo Shelter Seeks Home for Kitty
with 'Wobbly Cat Syndrome'
By: Dave Olson, INFORUM

Apollo the cat was born with cerebellar hypoplasia, also known as “wobbly cat syndrome,” which shows up in kittens born to mothers that were vaccinated for rabies when they were pregnant. Apollo is being cared for by Melody Larson of north Fargo while he waits for a permanent home. Photo by Dave Olson / The Forum FARGO

Apollo the cat is a handsome, happy-go-lucky feline. Never mind that his gait is unsteady, or that his big eyes gaze off in slightly different directions.

Despite those traits – or perhaps because of them – Apollo is loved by everyone at the Minn-Kota PAAWS animal shelter in Fargo, where he was dropped off two months ago by a man who found the young cat wandering a nearby warehouse.

Shelter co-director Carol Stefonek said given his coordination and vision problems, Apollo probably could not have fended for himself.

Stefonek said a disorder known as wobbly cat syndrome is to blame for Apollo’s condition.

It shows up in kittens born to mothers that were vaccinated for rabies while they were pregnant.

Stefonek said Apollo is the first cat the shelter has seen with the condition.

Like cats she has read about online with the same condition, Stefonek said Apollo seems unaware he is different and she said he could live a happy and contented life if the right home can be found for him.

Apollo didn’t do well at the shelter, where he was bullied by one of the other cats.

So, he’s now in foster care, living with Melody Larson in Larson’s north Fargo home.

Larson, who has cats of her own in addition to Apollo, is also providing foster care for some kittens.

She said Apollo is getting along fine with the other cats, but it’s his environment that sometimes throws him for a loop.

“We think his vision is impaired,” she said, adding that Apollo will sometimes stare at a wall as if trying to make out what it is.

If his eyesight is poor, it doesn’t seem to bother him, said Stefonek, adding that cats with wobbly cat syndrome “don’t know anything is wrong with them.”

Even so, Stefonek said it’s important to spread awareness about the danger of vaccinating cats that may be pregnant.

Anyone interested in adopting Apollo may call the Minn-Kota PAAWS shelter at (701) 356-7877.

A Shy Dog Left Behind as Owner
Goes on Military Deployment
By Nikie Mayo - Anderson Independent Mail

A 3-year old shepherd mix named "Rocky" is available for adoption at the Anderson County Animal Shelter. Its previous owner is being deployed overseas. Photo by Nathan Gray

ANDERSON — The world turned upside down recently for Rocky the dog. His owner, a serviceman from Anderson, is being deployed.

And Rocky is left behind, to stand and wait.

Inside a cage at Anderson County’s animal shelter, the shy tan and white Labrador-shepherd mix does not compete with his neighbors for the attention of visitors. He won’t run up to the door of his cage and stand on it, begging to be let out. He won’t whine or wag his tail, at first.

But he does appreciate a visitor who will take time with him. And after a few minutes of gentle encouragement, he will burrow his head into the nearest person’s lap.

Rocky was surrendered to the staff at Anderson County’s animal shelter three weeks ago, when his owner, whose name is kept confidential under shelter rules, found out that he would soon have military orders to leave the country.

But the 3-year-old dog could not be put on the shelter’s adoption floor at first; it was already crowded.

This week, Rocky made it to the adoption floor, with his own cage and a bright yellow mat to stretch out on. If he is not adopted, he has 21 days left to live.

Brande Kupfer, who handles day-to-day operations at the shelter, said the staff typically gets at least a dozen dogs a year that are surrendered by military families.

“There are foster programs that are out there for military families with pets,” Kupfer said. “But most of the time, what we hear from families is that they don’t know how long they’ll be deployed, how long they’ll be gone. It might be six months. It might be a year or even longer. They don’t want their dog to get used to living with another family for a year or two, and then suddenly, their owner comes to reclaim them. It’s a shock. They would rather leave their pet at the shelter and hope that another family adopts it.”

The reality is that most of the dogs and cats that come in to Anderson County’s animal shelter don’t get adopted. Of the 14,000 animals that come in every year, 70 percent of them will be euthanized instead of adopted.

This week, the animal shelter advisory committee briefly discussed the possibility of creating a county policy that any pet surrendered by a military family would be fostered until the deployed could come home. Rocky’s arrival was the catalyst for that discussion.

If such a program did exist, officials said, no dog or cat that belonged to a military family would be fostered without its owner’s consent.

But so far, the program is just an idea; it would have to receive the blessing of the county council to become a reality.

In the meantime, Rocky is up for adoption, wearing a red cloth collar, and a separate tag that identifies him only as animal No. 1103448.

Do You Have a Pet File?
By Mickey Zeldes -

Keep it current and accessible in case of emergency

Do you know what veterinarian your dad uses for his dog? Do you know the name of the groomer that does your sister’s cat? Does anyone but you know that your rabbit loves dill but won’t touch kale? It’s not surprising if the answers to these questions are no. Most of us are involved in our own lives but not so deeply involved in our friends and relatives’ lives. What happens though in an emergency if you need to step in and take over the care of these animals?

We recently had a dog surrendered to us from a man whose mother just had a major stroke and was moved to a nursing home. He knew virtually nothing about the animal except his name. It was just like taking in a stray where we would have to get to know the animal and figure out what kind of home would be suitable. What a shame. It was clear from how well groomed and socialized the dog was that he was well loved. I’m sure the mother would want the adopters to know about all the dog’s quirks, likes and dislikes so that the transition could be as painless as possible. Sadly, she is in no condition to share this information with us.

When I think about all the routines my animals have me trained in – this one wants his food warmed up, this one will only eat from a particular dish, this dog will only do his business on a walk – not in our back yard, I know that putting them into a new home would not be easy on them.

So how can we make that transition easier in case it ever comes to that? Planning is key and should be part of your disaster preparedness.

Keep a file on each animal – who is their veterinarian, are they current on vaccinations, have they had any serious illnesses or injuries, what is their favorite game or toy, what brand of food do they eat and how often, where do you keep their medications, his microchip number and the phone number of the registry, is there a friend who knows this animal and can answer questions about them, etc. Add a couple of photos of the pet including a good head-shot, in case you need that to ID a lost animal. Keep this file updated and accessible. Write out instructions for each animal like you were going on a vacation and giving information to a pet-sitter. I know that sounds like a lot of work but it’s sort of like keeping your resume ready to go. In this day, it’s a wise thing to do!

All Pets Susceptible
By Tom Venesky -

There are two times during the year that Dr. Doug Ayers of the Plains Animal Hospital said ticks are the worst. In the fall and right now.

Dr Doug Ayers examines a dog for ticks by checking the eyes at the Plains Animal Hospital recently. Fred Adams/for the Times Leader.

“We see ticks every other day,” Ayers said. “When the ground temperature reaches 50 degrees and the sun hits it, they start moving around.

“Ticks are getting worse and they’re really spreading.”

Years ago, Ayers said, ticks and the threat of lyme disease was limited to rural mountainous areas. But now, the range has spread and ticks can now be found in urban areas.

Ayers sees it all the time at his practice. A dog whose owner lived in Plains was recently brought to Ayers and subsequent tests showed it had Rocky Mountain spotted fever and lyme disease – both are carried by ticks.

“This dog was exposed to a tick with both diseases, and it was in Plains. It’s certainly spread from the mountains to the cities,” Ayers said, adding the increase in ticks and lyme disease has been gradually increasing over the last 12 years.

“I’ve been practicing for 21 years and it wasn’t like this then,” he said.

While all pets are susceptible to ticks, Ayers said hunting dogs are more vulnerable because they frequent areas where ticks thrive. Waterways are one such area, he said, because wildlife tend to congregate and travel through such areas, increasing the presence of ticks.

The situation has gotten so bad that there are some ticks that may be becoming resistant to pesticides that kill ticks, Ayers said.

So what can a pet owner do to protect their dog or cat?

Ayers recommended inspecting your pet for ticks after each trip afield and using the “higher end” topical treatments.

And get your pet tested.

“When we check a dog for heartworm, 10 to 15 percent come up positive for lyme disease or exposure to lyme disease,” Ayers said. “Most can beat it, but once in a blue moon we get a dog that has liver damage as a result.”

Removing a tick
Use fine-tipped tweezers and protect your fingers with a tissue, paper towel, or latex gloves. Avoid removing ticks with your bare hands.

Grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible and pull upward with steady,even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.

After removing the tick, thoroughly disinfect the bite and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

Avoid folklore remedies such as "painting" the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible -- not waiting for it to detach.

Pet Deer's Death Raises Storm of Controversy
By: Jim Bell -

A public memorial service was held Monday at a family cabin on Hemlock Lake for a 2-year-old, three-legged pet deer named Buddy shot by Wisconsin DNR game wardens at the lake May 11. The fate of the deer, which loved pontoon rides and dog biscuits, was sealed after it became "imprinted" on its human benefactors, the DNR says. Duncan and Luann McCannel see their pet's demise as a case of cold-blooded murder.

Luann McCannel said Buddy's story began May 18, 2009, when she heard a sound like a baby crying while planting rosebushes on some nearby property. The sound was coming from a newborn fawn, and McCannel's two dogs reacted differently to the discovery. "We have a little dog, Paisley, a Jack Russell, who tried to kill it. Our other dog, Bailey, a big mutt, tried to protect it." Luann said.

McCannel said she removed the fawn during all the commotion, and returned it to where she found it when things had settled down. "But then the same thing happened," Luann said. She then pulled the dogs away and returned home to find the wobbly fawn following Bailey down the road to her cabin a short time later. "That dog became its mother," Luann said.

The deer soon became part of McCannel family. "It knew us and it knew the sound of our car. It loved to play with the family dogs, stick games and things like that. Sometimes we had as many as nine dogs up here." Luann said the deer often came to the kitchen door for treats. "Buddy loved dog bones, dog biscuits and apples, and he would often come around and lick our hands while we were in the hot tub."

McCannel said Buddy was particularly fond of rides on the family's vintage 1982 pontoon. "He would hop right on and sit down up front. He didn't want to miss anything, and it was the talk of the lake," McCannel said.

The McCannel family almost lost Buddy a year after he joined them. Luann said an animal, maybe a wolf or coyote, but probably a dog, attacked the deer. "You could see teeth marks on its leg. The whole leg was shattered," she said. Frantic, the McCannels located a veterinarian who came out to the cabin and amputated the deer's festering leg. "It took two more surgeries to get it taken care of," Luann said. "But we just couldn't stand by and not do something. It is not in my nature to let something die like that." Buddy recovered and quickly learned how to get by on three legs, although winter ice was a problem for him, according to McCannel.

The sunny days at the lake with Buddy were joyous times for the McCannels, but clouds were gathering. Buddy had added flowers, shrubs and vegetables to his growing list of edibles, and it was causing problems in the neighborhood. "We had complaints, and some people threatened to sue us." Luann said she and her husband bought some "Deer Off" and gave it to their upset neighbors. "They refused to use it. We use it on our garden, and the deer won't touch it," Luann said.

The final chapter of Buddy's life with the McCannels was written Wednesday, May 11. The McCannels had been in Minnesota dog-sitting for their daughter and returned home to find fresh tracks in their driveway, with Buddy nowhere in sight. Concerned, Duncan contacted neighbors, and then called the DNR-over a dozen times-according to Luann. " We had the feeling something was horribly wrong. Finally the DNR called us on Sunday to tell us the deer and been shot and killed. They took him away. They wouldn't give him back to us. I think they did it on our property, but I don't know for sure.

"He was happy to see people. I could just see Buddy walking up to those wardens with his tail wagging. It just makes me sick."

A withering storm of criticism followed the shooting, and the press, both newspaper and TV, picked up on it. The McCannels' daughter set up a Facebook page for Buddy on the Internet, and traffic to the site has stampeded, according to Luann. An obituary for Buddy was published in a local newspaper.

Russ Fell, a conservation warden with the DNR said he was at the lake when the deer was shot, but deferred comment about the incident to his warden captain, David Zebro. Zebro said that an investigation was started after complaints about deer damage came in. "We found out the deer had been taken out of the wild and was possessed illegally. When we have those types of situations we have protocols we try to follow to find some resolution.
"But since 2002, and the advent of Chronic Wasting Disease, we are very limited in our options. Reviewing the statutes, typically deer in that type of situation are euthanized. The laws were put in place after Chronic Wasting to protect the wild deer herd from CWD, and possibly tuberculosis. Our deer season in Wisconsin is a huge business," Zebro said.

Zebro said the DNR did not have the option, under the law, to take the deer to a petting zoo or game farm and the law doesn't provide homeowners the option of fencing the deer. "We could not take the deer to a rehabilitator because it had already been imprinted on humans. Their mission is to make sure the animal is healthy and can be returned back to the wild.

"There are a bunch of comments from around the area that the department did not take this situation very seriously--that we just wanted to go out there and shoot it and get it off the land. That's not true. We understand that when we make a decision like that, there's going to be an emotional response. But we have no other options.

"We don't take any joy in this, we're not proud of the decision we made, we just didn't know what else to do.

"Sometimes people forget there were others negatively impacted by this animal. We also consider their concerns; we try to serve them as well.
Zebro said the loss claims were piling up--several hundred dollars this spring alone. "It's a decision we were forced to make, and we're getting a lot of pushback from it," he said.

Zebro said the deer carcass is in storage for lab-certified testing in Madison.
He also offered some advice. "If you find an animal in the woods, leave it out there. If you have the belief the animal has been orphaned, we do have folks that can take care of those animals and rehabilitate them for release back to the wild."

"We kind of understand they were just doing their job," Luann McCannel said. "I just wish they had waited, at least talked to us. This didn't need to happen the way it happened.

"It's been very, very hard. We still look down the driveway to see Buddy. He was just an amazing, amazing creature. People who did the complaining about Buddy didn't look beyond what Buddy really was."

Pet Tales and Travels
by Christopher Forsythe -

Today I wanted to share with you a couple of interesting things that I encountered while on a recent trip to Costa Rica. Next week I will highlight another trip to Sweden. It seems that no matter which country I venture into, there are always people willing to share stories about their pets and the special relationships they have with them.

San Jose, Costa Rica

I was wandering around the little town of Jaco, Costa Rica when I noticed a small, fashionable shop being guarded by a feisty little Chihuahua. She ran outside the shop, barked, wagged her tail, then ran back inside. Once inside, she turned around as if to beckon me. Was this flirting Costa Rican style? Was she really a guard dog? Was this animal sane? And most importantly, was she in fact the cutest thing I had ever seen?

I went inside, because if there is one thing I can’t resist on a trip to the sub-tropics is a precious little barking Chihuahua. The shop keeper, Nicola came out, and then this little dog went crazy on me, barking like I was a serial killer and the shopkeeper was my next victim.

“Don’t worry,” the shop-keeper said. “She is very friendly. She just barks until she knows you. Go ahead and pick her up if you like”.

So like any pooch loving fool, I did as she said and the moment this little four-pound dynamo was in my arms, the lick-fest began. She went from Cujo to Shirley Temple, so sickeningly sweet I was in heaven. “What is her name,” I asked looking at the big sparkly collar with the “DG” on it.

“Dolce Gabana,” Nicola answered with a big grin.

“Of course that’s it,” I said, “what else”!!!!! Then I noticed what appeared to be a diamond in her ear. “And she has a pierced ear?” There was a one carat diamond stud in her ear. “Yes, I love her so much I told my husband he had to get HER the same ring he got ME!!”

I stood there aghast. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m OK with dressing your pets up, coiffing their hair, and fussing over them ‘til the cows come home, but piercing their ears with real diamonds while people are starving in the streets? Even I thought this was excessive, but chose to simply admire this very friendly dog, who was now trying to kiss my tongue.

“Well you are a lucky lady to have such a great husband,” I said. At this point I thought it was safe to put Dolce down on the floor – I felt we needed a break from the making out. Damn if the little thing didn’t start charging me again like she was the evil twin of Beelzebub. I literally had to run for my life, and run I did, out of the shop. “Bye,” I hollered as I went, and thought that I would never, ever let anyone pierce my dog’s ear.

Rain, Snow, Sleet, Storm ... and Dogs!
by Andrea Kahn -

Local Mail Carrier Discusses the Eternal War Between Canines and the USPS

San Diego mail carrier Ryan Bradford is experiencing his "15 minutes of fame" via a blog entry titled "All The Dogs Want To Kill Me."

In it he posted several blurry (panicked?) photos hurriedly snapped while making his rounds.

Needless to say, the dogs in the photos are not exactly welcoming.

They are in fact, more like a collective of fire-breathing dragons, out for a bite of only one tasty treat: mail carrier.

Which brings us to our own Joe Wright, who this coming July, will have served as a RiverDell mail carrier for 14 years.

Wright is actually a dog lover himself, having been the owner of a devoted sheltie who passed away after 17 years. "I didn't get another dog after Roxy died," he says sadly. "I just didn't have the heart for it."

Does someone who loves dogs as much as Wright does experience a sense of dismay to be barked at, growled at and howled at on a daily basis? "No," he answers, without hesitation. "I understand where they're coming from."

Wright explains that the US Postal Service requires mail carriers to take a seminar on dog behavior as part of the job training.

"I get it," he laughs. "The dogs are under the impression they're doing a great job protecting their homes and families. I come up to their door and they bark. I deliver the mail and then leave. Every day the dogs think they've succeeded once again in scaring me away."

It's just how some (okay, most) dogs are.

Apparently even Roxy, Wright's now departed little Sheltie dog, despised the carrier who worked the route their home is on and would routinely throw a barking fit when the mail arrived.

"The mail carrier doesn't come every day at exactly the same time," Wright says. "So people don't always happen to have their dogs in check when the mail does arrive."

Has Wright ever been bitten? "Not bitten," he answers. "But I've been scratched by dogs who jump up on me and scared plenty of times."

Although May was National Dog Bite Prevention Month, for a mail carrier it's essential that owners implement some of the anti-bite tips year round. If your dog bites someone, the results can be very serious all around.

Most dogs bite for reasons which can be easily avoided by conscientious owners. Here are a few simple musts to avoid bites:

•Never put your dog in a position where he or she feels it is necessary to bite in order to protect either themselves or their family.

•Dogs bite from fear: never let your dog be in a situation where they are afraid of someone who is approaching them.

•Aggressive dogs need to be re-trained. Do your due-diligence and hire a dog trainer to assess and teach you to (humanely) correct the situation.

•Keep doors to the home and yard exits properly's YOUR fault if your dog escapes and is injured or injures someone else.
What additional advice does Wright have for well-meaning dog owners to help keep their mail carriers (and dogs) safe?

"Sometimes I have to ring the bell to deliver something by hand," he says. "If people aren't expecting me they might just quickly open the door without thinking about their dog. Then their pet can rush right out and jump on me."

So, if your mailperson comes a-knockin', make sure your dog isn't going to run out the door if you open it!

"Also," Wright continues, "it's best if you don't try to force your dog to like me when he doesn't." In other words: Train your dog, NOT your mail carrier!

If Rover goes bonkers every time your mail arrives, don't try to get the mail carrier to give your dog treats or pet the angry animal. A dog that is protecting their home from the mail carrier needs to learn to OBEY his owner's commands to "Sit and Stay," regardless of who is at the door.

"I pretty much know all the dogs in the neighborhood," Wright says. "And some even love me!" Apparently Stella, a local regular on his route is one of Wright's biggest canine fans, greeting him each day with a wagging tail and plenty of kisses. Good doggie!

Open doors or gates are unsafe for both your dog and the mail carrier. Keep gates and all house doors secure. If someone rings your bell, know where your dog is before opening the door. For Joe Wright and all the other mail carriers in this world, every single work day is another Dog Day Afternoon!

The 6th Annual Surf Dog Competition 2011

Dental Disease in Dogs, Cats

Have you ever given your dog or cat a cuddle and been overwhelmed by your pet's bad breath? Sometimes the cause of bad breath can be from dental disease. It is not difficult to understand why dogs and cats can have bad breath – they never brush their teeth! Admittedly, some of us are more diligent about brushing our pet's teeth, something most veterinarians advise their clients to do. Unfortunately, often the pet's teeth are last on our list of things to do, in this busy life of home, work and family obligations. Another issue is that some pets can be difficult to hold still when it comes to teeth brushing time, even with pet toothpastes flavoured like chicken or fish!

So what options are there for a diligent pet owner to ensure their pet has good oral health? Certainly owners can start with puppies and kittens at a young age, familiarizing them with having someone open their mouth, look at their teeth and even rub a piece of gauze gently over their gums and teeth immediately followed up with a treat. This will help the puppy or the kitten associate positively with these actions. As the pet gets older, a small finger brush is available from your veterinarian to brush your pet's teeth on a regular basis as well as the flavoured, fluoride-free toothpastes that can be swallowed by the animal without harm during a tooth-brushing session.

Additionally, there are various "bones" and oral rinses on the market designed to help reduce tartar on dog's teeth, and some dry pet food products formulated to help minimize dental calculus (tartar) on pets' teeth.

In the end some pets are more prone to inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and will require a dental scaling and polishing under anaesthesia to remove the calculus on their teeth. Their gums may appear reddened, thickened and the teeth will look brownish along the gum line. The gums may bleed easily or pus may be observed in the pet's mouth around the gum line. As the inflammation progresses, the teeth will loosen in the sockets and may cause pain when the pet eats. This inflammation can lead to bacteria that enter the bloodstream and cause damage to the heart valves, kidneys or liver. Often, gingivitis left untreated may lead to tooth loss and infections that can extend into the bone of the jaws beneath the tooth socket.

Keep in mind that it may be time for a trip to your veterinarian for a dental check-up for your pet the next time you notice their breath is odorous.

Packing Paws
By Michelle Sathe -

Americans love their pets. So much so that many can’t bear leaving the family dog or cat at home when heading out to travel.

“Now that summer is coming, probably about 20 percent of my clients vacation with their pets. They consider pets a part of the family and want to share their vacation,” said Evelyn Vega, veterinarian and owner of Valencia’s Happy Pets Veterinary Center. “I just had a client come back from a three-week vacation to Europe. She took her papillon with her.”

Whether a dog will enjoy family vacations depends upon its personality, according to Vega.

“If you have a nervous, timid dog, he or she may not do well dealing with a lot of new experiences. But if you have a happy, easygoing dog that likes to do stuff and be outdoors with the family, then, yeah, it’s great,” Vega said.

Cats are another story. Most cats would rather be at home than hit the road, but some do adapt well, Vega said.

“Usually, a cat only travels when it has to, such as for a family move, but I have one family who regularly vacations with their cat. The cat has been to Europe and right now it’s in Thailand,” she said.

Road travel and plane travel require different preparations. Here are Vega’s tips to make sure your pet enjoys the family vacations as much as you do:

Road travel
1. Bring a supply of your pet’s regular food, and plenty of it. You don’t want to worry about your pet getting an upset stomach while traveling.

2. Make sure your pet has access to fresh water at all times.

3. Make frequent stops to go potty and stretch. With cats, take out the litter pan when stopped, and put the cat on a leash to go to the bathroom.

4. Place a screen on a car window where your pet will sit to provide shade and reduce exposure to heat and sunlight.

5. Make sure there is plenty of space for your pet to get up and lay down. Cats should be crated in a carrier large enough to accomplish this.

6. If you absolutely have to leave your pet in the car during the day, park in the shade, leave windows cracked and hurry.

Pets should not be left in a car for more than a few minutes as cars heat up to unhealthy or even fatal temperatures very quickly in the summertime. If possible, have a family member sit with the pet with the air conditioning on and take turns using the restroom or taking a break.

7. If your pet is on medication, make sure you have plenty to last the trip, as prescriptions can be hard to fill while you’re away. If necessary, refills can be called in to a veterinarian in the city you’re in by your regular vet.

8. Make lodging plans in advance to guarantee the motel or campsite is pet-friendly. Some have size, breed or weight restrictions and may charge an extra fee.

9. Bring along a proof of rabies certificate and health records.

10. If traveling to the Midwest or the South, use flea and tick control and heartworm preventative medications.

Shelter Shares Its Pet Peeves
By Sue Vorenberg -

Many exotic animals adopted by people end up at humane society

Bearded dragon

Not long ago, on one of the back streets of Clark County, an escaped 2.5-foot-long African land tortoise netted its owner a warning for “running at large.”

Call it an unusual penalty for the typically slow-moving creature, but it’s far from the strangest tale told by the folks at Clark County Animal Protection and Control and the Humane Society for Southwest Washington.

“We once had a call for cruelty to a camel,” said Teri Wilson, who’s worked as an animal control officer for the past 15 years. “We went there but it wasn’t cruelty at all. The camel was actually very well taken care of, so there were no problems at all.”

During her time at the agency, she’s also come across people who’ve kept pet bobcats, servals, macaque monkeys and a coatimundi, amongst other hard-to-spell creatures.

Some of the stranger animals require specialized licenses, some are no longer allowed in Washington as pets and a few creatures are absolute nuisances that will get their owners fines or worse penalties if they’re discovered by the authorities.

Rather than facing trouble, Animal Control and the Humane Society encourage the public to learn more about what is, and what is not, a pet.

Officials said they’re happy to take calls from anyone curious about which is which.

Nuisance animal king
The worst on the nuisance list is probably the humble alligator, which, despite falling squarely in the not-a-pet category, crops up more often than you’d think, Wilson said.

“One call, I thought it was a joke at first,” Wilson said. “The alligator was in a trailer park, and the owner had it in the bathtub.”

For the Humane Society, which has to care for the creatures found by Animal Control as part of its contract as the county animal shelter, two to three alligators a year aren’t unusual, said Lisa Feder, director of operations.

They may be sort of interesting when they’re small, but once they grow, their owners learn fairly quickly how dangerous they can be, she said.

“Sometimes owners will come in and surrender them, and sometimes we get escapees,” Feder said.

A few years ago one person who willingly gave up his alligator donated a specialized habitat to the shelter, which the Humane Society now uses to contain and care for the toothy reptiles until some other group, usually with a reptile specialist, can be convinced to take them.

“(The habitat is) on a low table, with a pool inside, a basking area and heat lamps,” Feder said. “We keep it in the back and pull it out in a space back there when we need it.”

Funky little friends
The shelter has also seen its set of less-dangerous bizarre creatures, including a black-throated monitor lizard, pot-bellied pigs, goats, chickens, turkeys, rats and homing pigeons.

“We get banded (homing) pigeons a lot, actually,” Feder said. “There’s a website you can go to and look up the band number on their leg, and through that we’ve found owners who have come to reclaim them.”

The most common animals that come in, besides the usual array of cats and dogs, are rabbits. The general distribution in the shelter at any time is about 60 percent cats, 35 percent dogs, 2 percent rabbits and 3 percent other creatures, Feder added.

But the problem with taking in some of the smaller animals is that the shelter can’t allow public adoptions of them — at least not yet — because it doesn’t have enough specialized habitats or trained staff members to care for them.

Because of that, creatures like rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, domestic birds and chinchillas still have to be sent to shelters in Portland that are better equipped.

That’s going to change by the end of the year, though, Feder said.

The shelter, which two years ago moved to a 5-acre modern facility at 1100 N.E. 192nd Ave., has been training staff and preparing a small animal room so that it can allow the adoptions, Feder said.

“Rabbits can make really great house pets,” Feder said. “You can even box train them. Some of the other small mammals are great pets as well. We’re looking forward to getting our small animal room set up.”

Beware of the wild
Beyond the fuzzy mammals though, there are a lot of creatures that the public really just needs to stay away from, Feder said.

“We do, unfortunately, get people bringing in injured wildlife because people don’t realize that it’s illegal in the state of Washington for a person to care for or house a wild animal,” Feder said. “We can’t accept them. Coyotes, raccoons, squirrels — people need to call the Audubon Society or Fish and Wildlife for those sorts of animals.”

The shelter will, however, take just about any sort of unsuitable pet that comes through the doors — without raising an eyebrow at the person who gives it up, Feder promised.

“They won’t be scolded by us,” Feder said. “We just want the animal out of that situation. We’ll thank them.”

If Animal Control gets called to your house, on the other hand, you could easily face fines and other consequences for having an unlicensed exotic animal, Wilson said.

“Sometimes what people do is they find some baby animal in the wild, then keep it,” Wilson said. “They later find they don’t have the resources to take care of it when it becomes an adult.”

What’s worse is when people become fearful of a wild animal they’ve raised and then they simply let it go in their neighborhoods, she added.

“People can get hurt,” Wilson said. “It’s much harder to capture an animal that’s been let loose. It’s better to surrender it.”

The most common and troublesome animal in that category is probably the raccoon, she added.

“They’re very cute when they’re babies and then they become quite a nuisance,” Wilson said. “I remember a couple once locked a pet raccoon in the bathroom, and it made mincemeat out of everything in there. You find out pretty fast that it’s still a wild animal when it grows up.”

People who aren’t sure about adopting a strange animal can always call the Humane Society or Animal Control to ask what they’re getting themselves into, she added.

“You want to really research the animal you’re going to get,” Wilson said. “And certainly research how big it will be when it’s grown.”

No comments: