Kids N' Pets Part 1 (Photos)

The Amazing Bionic Dog
By Tyrus Cukavac -

Meet the world’s first dog with four artificial paws

Naki’o uses his mechanical paws to jump and play like other dogs. (Christie Tomlinson /

Check out Naki’o—he can run, jump, and play catch! Since Naki’o is a dog, that may not seem remarkable. But Naki’o lost all four paws as a puppy. Now, with four artificial limbs created by a veterinary company in Colorado, he can move and play like any other dog. He is the first dog ever to have four artificial paws.

Naki’o’s first human family abandoned him as a puppy when they left their home. During the winter, his paws froze in a puddle of water. Frostbite, or damage to the skin from extreme cold, left only stubs at the end of his legs.

A veterinary surgeon named Christie Tomlinson found Naki’o in a Colorado animal shelter and adopted him. As a puppy, he was able to play and walk around. But as he grew bigger and heavier, his damaged feet could not support his weight. He had to slide around on his belly to move.

Then Tomlinson learned about OrthoPets. OrthoPets is a company that creates prosthetics, or artificial limbs, for animals. Martin Kaufmann, one of the founders, used to make prosthetics for humans.

Nakio’s new paws are designed to “replicate [copy] the muscle and bone structure of the dog’s natural limbs, and so allow him to do everything a normal dog would be able to do,” OrthoPets said in a statement.

Tomlinson raised money to give Naki’o two new back paws. OrthoPets was so impressed by Naki’o’s adjustment to his new limbs that they built his front paws for free. “An animal is a much better patient than a human,” says Kaufmann. “They have drive, determination, and they just won't quit.”

Now, Naki’o runs and jumps with all the other dogs. Tomlinson is happy to see him on his paws again. “Naki’o can now not only chase after a ball with other dogs, but he can beat them to the catch!” she says.

Utah Pet Found 750 Miles
From Home Eight Months
After Disappearing

SALT LAKE CITY – Eight months after disappearing from her Salt Lake City home, two-year-old Miniature Pinscher Fadidle was Saturday reunited with her owner, after being found 750 miles (1,200km) away.

The beloved pet was found in San Diego, the Deseret News reported, but thanks to a microchip the dog's owner, Sharalyn Cooper, was tracked down and they were reunited.

Cooper said Fadidle vanished last October, and after months of scouring the neighborhood, posting fliers and diligently checking animal shelters, she had given up hope of seeing the small brown dog again.

Athena Davis, an employee at the San Diego Humane Society, said the dog was brought to them by a Good Samaritan and was at first believed to be a stray.

Davis said that the microchip made all the difference and recommended that everyone with a pet get one. In this case, it led to the "happy ending."

Given the distance involved Cooper believes Fadidle was probably stolen.

"I would love to hear what she has to say about this whole thing," Cooper said.

Dog Thefts on the Rise Across the Nation

Dognappings have risen 49 percent in the country in the past year, Lisa Peterson, communications director for the American Kennel Club, told "Good Morning America."

Dogs have been stolen from pet stores, from breeders and from right under their owners' noses at home. Some of the brazen thefts have even been caught on tape.

John Husky and Dina Martinez of Venice, Calif., felt the effects of this growing trend firsthand.

The couple were devastated when their 4-month-old dog, Mr. James Brown, went missing.

"We were really concerned this wasn't going to end well," Husky said.

The pair decided to hire a detective – Annalisa Berns of the California-based pet search company Pet Search and Rescue – to recover their beloved pet. Berns brought in a search dog, which followed Mr. James Brown's scent to the fence, after which the trail vanished.

This story had a happy ending. A reward was offered and the dog was returned, but not every case ends so well.

"Most people, over 80, 90 percent, they can get their pets back on their own if they know what to do, they don't need the search dogs," Berns said. "The biggest prevention tip is a collar and tags, hands down it's the easiest, simplest, most inexpensive thing that you can do and really have that increase your chances of getting your dog back safe."

Protect Your Pet
The American Kennel Club also recommends that dog owners have their pets fitted with microchip. It's a simple procedure in which a tiny chip programmed with an ID number is embedded just below the animal's skin. The ID number corresponds to a database containing pet owners' contact information.

Most vets and shelters have equipment to scan a dog for microchips.

China's 'Cat Army' Fights Rats
VOA News

A cat plays on a discarded sofa in a dump in Shenyang in northern China's Liaoning province (file photo).

A remote west China city is rounding up stray cats and putting them to work catching rats that infest pasture lands.

China's official Xinhua news agency says around 150 strays, dubbed by the media as the "cat army," were turned loose on the range lands outside the city of Bole in May to fight what the local government called a plague of rats.

The local government said in late June that rat holes had decreased by more than half.

Rodents and other pests have grown more numerous as a result of overgrazing and killing off natural predators like foxes.

What Can I Do About Someone
Publicly Abusing Their Pet?

Q: Hello,
I want to know if I see somebody abusing their pet, like beating or pushing the animal by force, somewhere like in the subway, street, what can I do for the poor animal? Even if I know somebody that is abusing their pet what can I do?!? It is very bad to see and have no right to do anything.

A: Cruelty to animals is against the law. Contact the Ontario SPCA if you are aware of cruelty to an animal. You can also contact your local police department. People who observe an animal (or person for that matter) being injured in their presence, often get involved to stop the abuse.

Submitted by Sanaz, Ontario, Canada
Answered by Elinor Molbegott

London Riots:
Police Dog Suffered Fractured Skull

A Metropolitan Police dog is recovering after suffering a fractured skull when rioters pelted officers with missiles in north London.

Obi, a three-year-old German shepherd, was on frontline duties in Tottenham on 6 August when he was injured.

His handler, PC Phil Wells, said they came under "heavy bombardment" with bottles, bricks and petrol bombs being thrown, and a brick hit Obi.

PC Wells said Obi had been signed off until he fully recovers.

Riot officers were called to Tottenham High Road when trouble flared following a peaceful march in protest at the fatal shooting by police of Mark Duggan.

Bleeding nostril

PC Wells said: "We were on a stationary point when we came under heavy bombardment.

"There were lots of missiles coming at us, bottles, bricks, petrol bombs, street furniture, too many to count and one hit Obi on the top of the head."

PC Wells checked the dog over, who he said seemed fine, and they stayed on duty for several hours.

But afterwards it became clear he needed veterinary treatment.

"He was lethargic and was bleeding from the left nostril which could be a sign of head trauma so he was taken to the vets and assessed," said PC Wells.

Best friend

He was transferred to The Queen's Veterinary School Hospital in Cambridge for a CT scan which showed he had a fractured skull above the left eye socket.

Obi has lived in Surrey with PC Wells, his wife Laura and two children since he was a puppy.

The officer said it was very emotional to see him lying injured at the vets.

"Although he is not a pet - he is a working dog - when he is at home it is family time and he is part of our family.

"To see your best friend and work colleague get injured while at work is difficult but he is getting a lot support from everyone and he will be back fighting fit."

He said all eight dogs in his unit on duty in Tottenham High Road that night suffered cut paw pads from broken glass and debris and some suffered cuts and broken teeth.

Back to School:
10 Worst Classroom Pets
by Anissa Ford -

It's back to school time and teachers looking for creative ways to keep kids entertained and educated on the circle of life should avoid these classroom pets.

For back to school tips, PetMD compiled a list of the top ten pets that should be kept out of any classroom.

10. Snakes
They don't shed, aren't noisy and, if you keep their habitat clean, don't emit a strong odor either. So, why don't snakes make good classroom pets? Their unpredictable temperament (especially when molting) can result in aggressive behavior towards inquisitive children. Most importantly, being reptiles, snakes have been known to transmit salmonella.

9. Ferrets
These carnivorous members of the weasel family fall under the category of exotic (read: more expensive to care for) pets. Plus, they have a strong odor even after their musk glands have been removed. Generally, ferrets have excitable and aggressive dispositions. Even well-trained, they have a tendency to nip when they feel threatened. Overall, ferrets and small children are not a good combination.

8. Birds
If children in your classroom suffer from allergies, you might think a bird would be a good fit -- but birds shed dander. They're also messy and noisy. Birds bite if handled too much, especially if they're not being handled gently. Also, all that classroom noise and activity isn't very peaceful; a nerve-wracked bird will pluck out its feathers. Finally, they can transmit bird diseases like parrot fever and salmonella.

7. Rabbits
It is a myth that children and rabbits go well together. Rabbits don't like kids. Thinking pet rabbits are safe for young children is one of the biggest mistakes teachers make when picking a classroom pet. Rabbits don't like to be handled and retaliate by biting or scratching with their strong hind legs. The House Rabbit Society has a downloadable PDF listing the criteria for keeping a rabbit as a classroom pet. Unfortunately, many don't meet the standard, especially in providing a peaceful environment.

6. Frogs
Raising a frog to adulthood from the tadpole stage, or keeping an adult frog in a class full of young children is appealing but misguided. Why don't frogs make good classroom pets? Younger children will want to handle and pet the amphibian and that poses a considerable risk for transmission of salmonella.

5. Hamsters
They're low maintenance and take up virtually no room, which makes this "starter pet" a top choice for teachers in the pet store. But hamsters are nocturnal rodents. This means disappointed children won't get to observe or interact with it at all and it's hard for children to resist the temptation to wake the animal during play and observation time. Also, the end result of a rattling the cage to wake up and play with "Harry the Hamster" is usually a bite.

4. Hedgehogs
It's probably better to get a poster of Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends rather than bring a real hedgehog to class. Hedgehogs are nocturnal, which means they won't be in a good mood if they're woken up and will likely bite as a result. Falling under the "exotic" category, hedgehogs have very specific environmental needs, and their quills can be very irritating to young children.

3. Chinchillas
Like hedgehogs and ferrets, chinchillas are nocturnal, excitable, and don't like to be handled. This pet needs to stay in constantly cool temperatures (under 85 degrees Fahrenheit) and to be set free daily so they can roam. Even considering taking a pet chinchilla to class for one day is considered a bad idea.

2. Turtles
Their patience, hard shell and ease of care make turtles a seemingly perfect fit for the classroom. But like frogs and snakes, turtles commonly carry the disease salmonella, which is highly infectious and transmittable to humans. In addition, turtles are not as docile as people think.

1. Iguanas
Iguanas are, in many ways, the least ideal pet to keep in a classroom. Like most reptiles, iguanas don't like to be handled. And because iguanas can grow to over six feet in length, a tail "lashing" can be quite dangerous to young children. Iguanas also have unique dietary needs and cannot subsist on greens alone.

Teachers are exemplary models of compassion, nurture and care in terms of caring for pets in the classroom. Interactions between a teacher and a classroom pet are learning examples that children imitate. The teacher must always provide care (food, water, clean environment) for the classroom pet. And teachers must establish boundaries between the students and the pet or pets. Teachers must teach children how to gently care for and handle the chosen pet, if the pet is an animal that can be picked up and removed from its cage or living habitat.

Teachers should also explain that although the pet is the classroom pet, it's also the teacher's pet. This prevents the awkward moment when students want to take the pet home for the summer or home during holiday breaks.

PetMD referred to the Humane Society's list of "social creatures" "best bets for the classroom." Healthy pet rodents, such as rats, gerbils, and guinea pigs present less disease risk and the animals are fairly social. The Humane Society recommends however, that these animals be given a companion of the same species to prevent boredom and stress that accompanies captivity.

Although birds don't make good classroom pets, it's a good idea to help students set up birdhouses, feeding stations and birdbaths around their schoolyard. Then arrange schedules for students to observe the animals.

The Humane Society noted that Goldfish are also an excellent choice for students who may suffer from allergies. They are relatively low-maintenance to care for and feed, and most importantly, they aren't disruptive to a healthy learning environment.

Kids N' Pets Part 1
Thanks to Bob in BHC, AZ

Parker Woman:
Insurance Co. 'Totaled' My Dog
By Lance Hernandez, 7NEWS Reporter

Black Lab Mix Covered As 'Property' In Insurance Terms

PARKER, Colo. -- Marcia Pinkstaff said she couldn’t believe it when her dog was hit by a minivan last week and the driver’s insurance company told her they’d pay for one or two trips to the vet and would then “total out” her dog.

“I don’t see how you could total out a family pet,” she said.

Pinkstaff was walking west in the crosswalk at Canterberry Parkway and East Idyllwilde Drive, in Parker, when an eastbound minivan made a left turn striking Sasha, a 9-year-old Lab mix.

“She didn’t see us and she hit Sasha very, very hard,” Pinkstaff said. “Sasha has tears in her lungs, a tear in her diaphragm and liver damage.”

Farmers’ Insurance sent Pinkstaff a letter stating it would reimburse her for the initial trip to the vet and would consider paying for a follow up exam, but nothing more.

“I was horrified,” Pinkstaff told 7NEWS. “They said they were totaling out my dog. It broke my heart because she is like a child to me.”

“I’d never heard of anybody totaling out a dog before,” she added. “I think it’s horrible.”

An insurance industry source told 7NEWS that dogs are not covered the same way humans are.

“If a human is injured, they can be reimbursed for pain and suffering, lost wages and medical care,” the source said.

“A dog is considered property and is covered by the property damage part of a policy,” the source added.

In Pinkstaff’s case, the adjuster told her they were limiting how much they’d pay for property damage.

A spokesman for Farmers’ said the phrase “totaling out” is industry jargon and refers to the property damage part of a policy.

“I’m very sorry about the circumstances,” said Farmers’ Vice President of Media, Jerry Davies. “I have a dog, too.”

He said, “We have issued reimbursement of payment for the initial expenses and will continue to work with her on payment of those bills.”

Pinkstaff said she’s grateful that she wasn’t hit and is grateful that Sasha survived.

She told 7NEWS that Sasha has another appointment with the vet on Aug. 16.

“She has to have more blood tests and more x-rays,” Pinkstaff said. “The vet will determine whether her injuries are healing or if she needs surgery.”

Pinkstaff said some of her friends have delayed paying their mortgage to help her with her vet bills.

“I would like to see the driver’s insurance company take care of the bills,” she said. “And if the insurance won’t, I would like the driver to take care of it.”

Pet Rail: Answering Readers' Questions

Question: My 3-month-old chocolate Labradoodle has some nails that are clear and some that are black. The breeder told me to cut her nails every week so that she grows up just thinking that having her nails trimmed is not an issue. However, I cannot see the blood line in the black nails like I can in the clear nails. How do I know where the bloodline is with those dark-colored nails?

Answer: Some dogs have all clear nails, some have all dark nails and some have both depending on their skin pigmentation. The blood line - or quick - in the dark nails is the same length as it is in the clear nails, so just use the clear nails as a guide. Use a sharp pair of trimmers and just clip the absolute tip of the nail on a diagonal going away from the toe itself - sort of the way that you cut the stem of a flower. If you do hit the quick in one of the dark nails by accident, do not panic - it is not good for the dog. No dog ever died from blood loss by clipping the nail a bit too far and a pinch of Kwik Stop powder squeezed onto the bleeding end will stop it before the dog can track it all over the house.


Q: I've had parakeets for as long as I can remember. Eventually all go to parakeet heaven from one cause or another. My last one was fine and happy in the morning and when I came home she was on the bottom of the cage, so she obviously had passed on earlier in the day. Since she had not been ill at all, I was wondering if birds had heart attacks? She was 6 years old. I am wondering how long parakeets can live.

A: Only a vet's post-mortem could determine exactly why your bird died, so at this point it is only speculation. But birds can, indeed, suffer heart attacks and strokes just as humans can. I have seen some birds suffer a stroke, become paralyzed and yet regain their movement over the course of time under veterinary care.

Parakeets are sexually mature at 6 months of age. Any creature that grows that quickly cannot live for a very long time. But I was told by an experienced bird vet in Germany who studied longevity in parakeets in a controlled laboratory situation for a major European bird food company that if a parakeet lives past 3 years of age, it will usually make it to 6 or 7. If it lives past 6 or 7, then it can live to a very old age - even 15 or better. I've had a few live to be 13 and I know a few bird keepers who have 16-year-old birds.


Q: I noticed fleas on my 6-month-old ferret yesterday. How he got them I do not know as he never goes outside. I washed out his cage and threw away the bedding and gave him a flea bath with a flea shampoo that I bought from the pet store. I was wondering how he got them and if I can put the Frontline on him like I do with my cats?

A: Ferrets are right next to the ground all the time, and if fleas hitchhiked into your house, then the ferret is a prime target for fleas looking for a new home. Many ferret keepers use Advantage and Frontline on their ferrets for flea control and thus far there does not seem to be any issues with the situation.

However, neither of the companies that make the products advertises that they can be used for ferrets, so I am a bit reluctant to use them on mine. . Marshall Pet Products manufactures flea sprays and shampoos specifically for ferrets, so I play it safe and use those products.



The other day I saw a birdcage from the '60s at a garage sale. I bought it for old times' sake. It is amazing that pet birds survived in those cages. If you needed a cage for a larger parrot, you were out of luck unless you were handy and could jury-rig something together.

I remember I kept my first large parrot in a refurbished shopping cart. Now there are all sorts of nice birdcages available. When choosing one, look for the following features to be sure that your bird will have a happy and healthy life in it.

1. Many cages are manufactured in countries with no quality control. Be sure the manufacturer guarantees that there is no zinc in the metal used to build the cage. Zinc can be toxic to birds.

2. Be sure that the cage has an easily removed grate on the bottom to separate the bird from its droppings. The easier it is to remove, the easier it is to keep clean.

3. Look for cups that can be taken out of the cage from the outside. Some birds get possessive about hands going into their cages. If the cups can be removed from the outside, then when you go on holiday and ask a family member to care for your bird, it can be done without anybody getting bitten.

A New Addition to the Family
by Trish Feldt -

My kids want a pet. Let me clarify that one wants a dog and the other wants fish. My husband and I are just not “pet” people. I enjoy other people’s animals, but when it comes to the responsibility of having a pet of my own, I’m just not ready for all that entails.

My youngest son, Andrew, has been asking for a goldfish for months. Both my husband and I thought this would be a fleeting thought, but much to our surprise Andrew’s desire for a fish kept getting stronger. We finally agreed that if he wanted, Andrew could get a goldfish for his birthday.

Well, after months of anticipation, it was “goldfish day.” With great excitement, we headed to Petco as soon as the store opened. Unbeknownst to me, goldfish require slightly more care than a bowl full of water. As it turns out, goldfish are best suited for an aquarium with a water pump and filter to keep the environment suitable. Also, goldfish can grow to be up to a foot long and 5-6” in diameter. In order for the fish to be healthy and happy, it is best for them to live in a 10 gallon tank. That is for only ONE fish. If you want more than one fish, you need an even larger tank.

I attempted to talk Andrew out of getting a goldfish and get something smaller that could live in a nice little fish bowl. He wanted nothing to do with my suggestion, so the next thing I knew; I was leaving Petco with a 10 gallon starter aquarium.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take our new pet home just yet. Our awesome salesman, Brendon, recommended we wait about 24 hours before bringing our fish home, but Andrew would have nothing to do with that recommendation. Brendon could see the disappointment in Andrew’s face, so he suggested that we get our tank set up and let the water pump run for a few hours. We could bring Goldy home later in the day, as goldfish are pretty hardy fish and adapt to new conditions easily.

After doing as Brendon suggested and bringing a sample of our water to be tested, it was deemed safe for Goldy to come home with us. Andrew was over the moon! After Goldy got situated in his new tank, Andrew sat in front of the tank for hours watching him swim. I even caught him talking to him which was so cute!

Later that night we headed out to the Cardinal’s game. During the entire game Andrew talked about Goldy non-stop. He was anxious to get home to his new pet. Unfortunately, our arrival home came with some tragedy. Goldy was dead. Andrew was devastated. The whole situation was just awful. As a parent, it was so hard to witness. Watching a child’s heart break is just gut wrenching. I quickly promised Andrew we would return first thing in the morning to Petco and get a new Goldy.

Upon our return to Petco, we found out that we probably didn’t do anything wrong with Goldy, but rather he was probably in shock or maybe even injured. Goldy had arrived into the store earlier in the day that we brought him home and getting used to two new tanks in one day just might have been too much for him.

After some browsing the tanks, Andrew decided he didn’t want a goldfish this time. “No one can replace Goldy,” he told me. So we ended up with three new, much smaller fish. I was quite nervous to get three fish at once as I don’t think I could handle any more heartbreak and fish funerals.

Well, I’m happy to report it has been a week and all three fish are still alive! Andrew enjoys sitting in front of the tank and watching his fish swim around. If all goes well, we plan to add a couple more fish to our tank in a few months. Until then, we are just going to focus on keeping these three alive.

Life Can Be a Beach for Some Dogs

What you need to know before heading to a beach with your dog.

Dog-friendly beaches and resorts that cater to canines have grown in popularity in the past few years and can be found around the country. Here's few tips to help ensure a fun outing.

If you planning to visit a public beach, check with state or local governments to make sure dogs are welcome. For example, dogs are prohibited on public beaches in Seattle. Look for signs posted at area parks such a Green Lake. Fido's little dip in the water can cost you a hefty fine.

If you're headed to a dog-friendly hotel or resort, find out in advance what the rules are so you and the pooch don't get kicked out or hit with extra costs.

For beaches that allow dogs, remember to bring a leash, poop pick-up bags, fresh drinking water and a bowl.

Be aware that the biggest risk for a dog at the beach is salt poisoning from the water, said Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director for the Animal Poison Control Center run by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Urbana, Ill.

"Dogs who like to retrieve balls and other objects out of the water can ingest enough water to make them sick," she said. In fresh water, the games are the same but the problem can be drinking too much water, or water intoxication.

"The most common treatment of salt poisoning or water intoxication is intravenous fluid therapy," the veterinarian said.

Other things dog-owners should watch for:

"Dogs can get sick from eating dead fish, crabs, or even bird feces," Wismer said. "If a dog ingests dead animals, or feces found on the beach, they may need fluids and antibiotics, depending on what and how much was ingested."

In some areas, jellyfish can show up in the water. Their stings can be very painful for both dogs and humans. "If a dog is stung by a jellyfish, pain medication could be necessary," Wismer said. Some sea stars are also poisonous and can cause severe vomiting and drooling in a dog.

Don't assume your dog can swim or even likes the idea of swimming. Some dogs are happy to just wade at the water's edge.

Make sure there is shade near by so you and the pooch can take break out of the sun.

Check the paws, prolonged exposure to hot asphalt or sand can cause burns.

Also avoid overexertion in hot weather. Try walking or playing early in the morning or late in the evening when it's usually cooler.

Pet Business Tips from a Pro
By Alissa Wolf,

The 'Pet Industry Guru' Offers Priceless Advice

While I have frequently offered what I believe to be sound pet business tips, it’s always a good idea to get “second opinions” from other pros.

To that end, I spoke with Howard London, a sales and marketing pro who’s a veteran of the pet business, who provided some excellent business tips for those who are in, or want to get into the critter business.

The self-styled "Pet Industry Guru,” who is now the national sales and marketing director for Pet Kings Brand, Inc. and columnist for Pet Business Magazine, has been in the pet business in one form or another for more than 25 years.

Without further ado, here’s are some of his top pet business tips.

Pet Business Tip # One: Do Your Homework

“Even if you have a lot of money, don’t just jump into it (the pet business),” he said. “If you’re able to work for a company for six months to a year to get your feet wet, it’s not a bad thing. See what works and what doesn’t. It’s a little investment of time, but in the end, it’s not going to hurt. If it’s a perfectly run store, it’s a good model; if it’s horrible, it’s a good model. You will learn something either way.”

Pet Business Tip # Two: Research the Competition

“Like the saying goes, ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.’ PetSmart and Petco are not going away. But figure out how to compete. Talk to them; go visit them."

Pet Business Tip # 3: Offer Something the Big Box Stores Don’t

London and I are very much on the same page when it comes to this crucial pet business tip…

Above and beyond customer service is worth its weight in gold!

“Offer something the big guys don’t or can’t,” he said. “You can’t compete with their prices. They, however, cannot beat the independents in customer service. Their employees are like little robots. It’s hard to find a person on the floor because they’re doing stock.”

Pet Business Tip # 4: Avoid Bad Business Pitfalls

This is something that drives me crazy, which I weighed in on before.

“When someone goes into a pet store, there’s no one to be found, or they’re ignoring you, or two employees are talking to each other and ignoring you. Or they don’t know where the product you are looking for is, or they’re out of it. I get if it’s a hard to find item that they sell one of every three months. But if it’s a bag of pet treats I use every week, then I won’t go there again.”

Pet Business Tip # 5: Take Full Advantage of Social Media

Here’s where the independent pet shops may actually have an advantage over the big guys.

“Petco and PetSmart have Facebook pages that are national. They (the independents) should have a Facebook page, as well as a presence on Twitter and foursquare, where they can offer specials. These sites really are built for the local businesses. The big guys are so big that they can only speak nationally, not locally. The smaller businesses need to engage the local community.”

Some Other Important Pet Business Tips

There are some other crucial skills and traits one must possess to successfully run and operate a pet business, or any business, for that matter:

•Being good at sales, or hiring someone who is

•Knowing how to effectively market your business

•The ability to manage finances and profit and loss statements


The latter is extremely important. As I always say, if you really believe in the products and services you offer, and have a passion for this pursuit, you already have a “paw up” on the competition.

A Parting Pet Business Tip

Don’t let fear hold you back.

“I just think that, even though we are in this recession, it’s the best time to start or run a successful business,” London advised.

“The standards for products and services have increased 10-fold in this recession. This has actually opened the door for great products and services. If you can deliver it, you can be successful. Don’t believe what the government tells you, that you have to cut back. So many successful businesses were started during a recession or the Depression. Personally, people might be hurting. But for business, it’s a great time.”

Hints From Heloise:
The Joys of Pet Toys
By Heloise,

Dear Readers: Pet toys are wonderful and provide bonding time with your pet. Plus, playing with toys can help keep dogs from destructive chewing on furniture, shoes, drywall (!), etc.

It is better to have toys specifically designed for dogs, since toys for children usually are not “chewproof” and may have small parts that can break off and be ingested.

Does your dog like squeaky toys? Lots of them do! Supervise play so the dog won’t eat the squeaker.

Keeping toys clean is important. Rinse rubber chew toys in a mild chlorine-bleach solution (1 tablespoon of bleach in 1 quart of water). Mix just enough to use in one or two days. Or wash the toys with mild dishwashing soap. Would you like some more simple, time-tested cleaning hints? I have compiled a pamphlet of my favorite, easy-to-use homemade cleaning solutions. If you would like to receive one, send $5 and a business-size, stamped (64 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Heloise/Cleaning Solutions, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Every little dog and cat deserves the cleanest toys. Take extra care with your pet’s favorite toy. How many toys is too many? Cabbie, our mini schnauzer, has at least 20 -- not counting ones hidden out of sight! -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Speaking of pet toys, Sharon in San Antonio e-mailed a picture of her rescued Chihuahua, Daisy, taking a snooze with her favorite toy, her Pink Pig, which is a rather dingy shade of pink from being played with so much! To see Daisy and her Pink Pig, as well as our other Pet Pals, go to and click on “Pets.” Do you have a picture of your pet playing with a favorite toy? Send it to us: Heloise/Pets, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: We have a bay window with two chairs and a table with a lamp on it. When our two Jack Russell terriers see a squirrel in the back yard, they run excitedly between the chairs and the windows. On several occasions, they have pulled over the lamp when they got tangled in the cord. I tried wrapping the cord around a leg of the table, leaving just enough cord to reach the socket, and there hasn’t been a lamp accident since! -- Betty Peterson, Keller, Tex.


Dear Heloise: Need to give your pup a pill? You can wrap the pill in lunchmeat. The trick is to keep the dog looking upward at you while he swallows the pill. Hold a second piece in your other hand high above your dog’s head as you are giving him the pill-laced meat. Your dog will focus on what is in the air, and the pill will slide effortlessly down his throat! Then reward him with the second treat. -- Sharon from West Virginia

Check with your vet to see if it’s okay for your dog to eat lunchmeat. -- Heloise

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

Pet Vet: Odd Behaviors

Dogs and cats are popular pets, not only because of how social they are, but how smart they are, too. You may wonder then why pets often behave in ways that do not make any sense.

Pet Vet, Dr. David Visser, explains some of these odd behaviors and how to understand them a little more.

There are several behaviors that pet owners can find unusual.

Eating Rabbit Droppings
For example, some people notice their dogs eating rabbit droppings. Believe it or not, there is actually a flavor to the pellets that some dogs like; maybe because the protein or B-vitamin is very high.

Sporting dog breeds may do this as part of tracking or hunting behavior, too.

So is it bad for dogs to do? There’s no doubt it can upset their digestive tract if a large amount is eaten. Additionally, pets can get certain parasites from these droppings.

The best advice is to keep the yard clean with a rake, water-in the droppings or at least try to keep your dog away from these unfortunate rabbit gifts.

Sometimes, dog owners will see their pets drag their rear end on the floor. This behavior is called scooting.

When they do this, dogs are basically scratching an itch. You may notice that it’s the more portly dogs that do this, and that’s probably because they can’t reach to scratch the itch by chewing.

The most common cause of this itching is a pair of fluid-filled glands that are similar to skunk glands. These glands get distended and it itches like crazy. So to try to get them to drain, they do this little itchy dance.

Allergies can also cause itchiness of the backside, but contrary to popular opinion, “worms” are not a common cause of scooting.

Reverse Sneezes
Another common, yet sometimes alarming, behavior is a reverse sneeze.

Dogs will clear their respiratory passage in three different ways:

•When there is irritation in the front or nasal part of the upper airway, an out-through-the-nose sneeze occurs.

•When the irritation is in the windpipe, the result is an out-through-the-mouth cough.

•But irritation in the area in between, like the post-nasal-drip area, creates this inward snort, which is actually a way to slap the soft palate at the itchy back of the throat.

Now, as serious as this sounds, and many people think their dog is struggling to breathe, it is often just a little irritation or mild allergy response. But there are cases where pets have growths or polyps in the back of the throat that cause those signs, too.

Odd Behaviors
It’s interesting to see how pets have become part of our families, almost like our children, and yet they retain many of their natural tendencies.

The important take-home message is that if there doesn’t seem to be a logical explanation, and the behavior doesn’t stop on its own, you should seek the advice of your veterinarian.

If you want to contact the Pet Vet, Dr. David Visser, you can reach him at the Roseland Animal Hospital by calling 574-272-6100 or at the Center for Animal Health by calling 888-PETS-VETS.

You can also shoot him an email at

Q&A: Cats and Cat Allergies on a Plane
By Harriet Baskas,

Some airlines allow pets in the cabin, but Christopher Ambler wants to know what the options are for a traveler who has allergies. David Mcnew / Getty Images file

Overhead Bin recently answered a reader’s question about taking pets on planes, but Christopher Ambler of Seattle sent in a flip-side question: What if you’re allergic to cats?

“If I have an allergy attack, it manifests as asthma that could not only cause a trip to the hospital, at best, but also typically means I will be recovering for days after receiving treatment,” wrote Ambler.

He tries to call ahead to see if there might be cats in the cabin, but “I’m often told that I have no recourse. They have said that I should ask for a seat change, but with re-circulated air, no seat is safe. Travel insurance also doesn’t cover this, as it’s a foreseeable circumstance.”

Rebooking on another flight sometimes solves the conflict, but then he’s often hit with an airline’s change fee, Ambler said.

Ambler is not alone. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), about 10 percent of people with allergies are allergic to pets.

“It can be tough,” said Todd Rambasek, an AAAI fellow and a doctor with E.N.T. & Allergy Health Services in Cleveland, Ohio. “You can try avoidance measures and ask to be moved to another part of the plane. But even if there’s no pet in the cabin or near where you’re seated, remember that a lot of people carry pet dander on their clothes.”

Rambasek said asthma sufferers on airplanes might consider pre-medicating or wearing a face mask, such as those worn by some travelers during flu season.

Ambler has his own suggestion: During the booking process, he’d like airlines to alert a passenger if a pet is already booked on the flight. “If so, I would gladly say, ‘Hey, they booked first, I’ll take a different flight.’ But if someone with a pet allergy books first, pets should be disallowed on that flight. First to book should win,” said Ambler.

Overhead Bin ran that idea past a few airlines. American Airlines told us such a plan would be too complex, too time-consuming and too unreliable to administer.

“Just as with our policy for peanut allergies, we simply cannot assure customers that our aircraft are free of allergens, even if there is no pet onboard,” said American Airlines spokesperson Andrea Huguely. “We cannot guarantee our flights to be allergy-free, and customers should consult their physician as to the best way to medically deal with that issue.” (American does not serve peanuts, but allows up to seven booked pets per flight.)

But here’s another strategy that may help. Many pet-friendly organizations list airline pet-policies on their websites. Studying those will tell you how much each airline charges for an in-cabin pet (some airline pet fares can top $100 each way) and how many pets each airline allows in the cabin. Frontier Airlines, for example, allows up to 10 pets aboard each flight.

Travelers seeking to avoid flying with other people’s pets might choose an airline that either limits the number of pets in the cabin or charges a high fee for passengers to bring their pets along.

Ask Dog Lady:
Be Careful About Giving Dog as a Gift
The Eagle Tribune

I am 11-years-old. I have a Basset hound named Scooby and I have some questions about getting a new dog. My mom's birthday is coming in two weeks and my grandma is going to get her a small dog or puppy but she had questions. I believe that you can help us. We want to know what small breeds are good with children. I have two other sisters, age 5 and 14, and what breeds do not shed or are hypoallergenic. Grandma and I greatly appreciate your answers.

Your grandma should think it over and do more research before she gives your mom a dog. First of all, does your mom really want a dog? To give a dog as a gift is not such a great idea because sometimes the person who receives the dog as a present might feel trapped into accepting the living creature. This can lead to resentment, which is no way for a new dog owner to feel. Maybe your grandma can give your mom a funny birthday card with a made-up certificate good for a one dog. She and your mom can look for the dog together. They should go visit an animal shelter to find out about small dogs that are hypoallergenic (you spelled this word correctly, congratulations!). Basically all dogs shed a little, but those that shed least are any poodle or poodle mix. These mutts are generally adorable. You know them because they have a "poo" or "doodle" in their breed titles, such as shih-poo or Malti-poo or Labradoodle. These mixes are also generally good with kids but grandma and mom should ask their own questions.

My 12-year-old "Boomer" has recently decided he was an outdoor dog. For the last 12 years he has been king of the house, master of his little kingdom. But about a month ago, he started refusing to come in the house, at all. I have to bribe him with cheese, late in the evening, to get him to come in.

About a month ago, we had a ton of thunder/lightening storms. He was so afraid. We held him as he shook with fear from the storm. One day, during a storm, he started to hit the door to go out and ran around the house. I finally let him out. Ever since, he won't come in the house. He'll stay on the porch if it rains, crying, but won't come in. It's so sad. I comfort and pet him at night.

Boomer could be having a senior moment. Or the storms spooked him into a new outdoor lifestyle. First of all, you should always remain calm around your dog. Don't be overemotional about holding too tight or comforting too much. Also, the latest thinking about dogs and thunderstorms is that static electricity in the air causes hyper-sentient dogs to become frenzied. One solution untested by Dog Lady but recommended by others is to rub down your dog with a dryer sheet when a thunderstorm approaches. This quells the static clinginess. Because conventional dryer sheets contain toxic ingredients, organic dryer sheets are recommended. Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbena is one brand but there are others. Be advised these are more expensive than regular dryer sheets but they don't contain harmful chemicals.

Also unproven by Dog Lady but highly touted by others is Thundershirt, a garment that, supposedly, holds in a dog's anxiety — literally. Go to to read all about this. Such a remedy might be just the trick to lull Boomer inside.

But here's the most important proviso: Whenever your dog exhibits a marked change in behavior, there could be a medical cause even if you don't think your pet seems ill. It's always wise to have a veterinarian rule out any health problems.

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