Cold Weather Advice for Your Pets

You Don't Have to Look or
Think Like Your Friends
to Be Friends
Thanks to Bob in BHC, AZ

Jack the Cat Remains Frail;
Airline Will Pay Vet Bills
By Mary Forgione - Los Angeles Times

Jack the Cat, found after 61 days at JFK Airport, was in the care of a veterinarian Thursday. (Screen grab from Jack the Cat Is Lost in AA Baggage at JFK on Facebook)

Jack the Cat is back -- in the news. The ginger-colored cat found Tuesday at JFK Airport underwent surgery Thursday for a wound on his leg but remains fragile after weeks without regular food and water.

American Airlines, which lost the cat on Aug. 25, says it will pay Jack's veterinary bills and, if asked, transport for the cat and owner Karen Pascoe when Jack is able to travel. Spokesman Tim Smith says he doesn't know how much the care will cost. "We’re just focusing now on helping to see that Jack gets back up to full health," he said.

The Facebook site run by supporters of the search for Jack posted this Thursday:

"Jack's surgery was for a wound on his leg .... The vets were pleased with the outcome of the surgery, but he's still not out of the woods. All of his medical issues at this time are a result of 61 days of malnutrition. Keep the good thoughts and prayers coming..."

The site, called Jack the Cat Is Lost in AA Baggage at JFK, also said Pascoe was being flown to New York to be with Jack, courtesy of American. Pascoe had taken then 18-pound Jack to be shipped from New York to California on Aug. 25 but was later told by the airline that the cat had escaped.

The search was on. The airline started its own Facebook page dedicated to Jack, and supporters have kept the feline on the nation's radar via Facebook. Since Tuesday, the Facebook page added more than 500 new fans.

Petie the Dog Back Home
in Tennessee with Fanfare

Jim Arrighi, 73, of Erin, Tenn., has a joyous reunion on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, with his Jack Russell terrier Petie, who was found in a Rochester Hills, Mich., backyard this week, 600 miles from his Tennessee home. Petie had been missing for three months.

ERIN, Tenn. -- Petie the lost Jack Russell terrier arrived home to Tennessee to much fanfare Thursday after being found in Michigan earlier this week.

And Michigan Humane Society volunteer Nancy Greiser -- the Wayne woman who drove him 600 miles home -- now has an agreement with his owner, 73-year-old Jim Arrighi.

"I did tell Mr. Arrighi (that) if my beagles ever got away and ended up in Tennessee, it'll be his turn to drive to Michigan," Greiser said.

She and a friend arrived in Tennessee at 3:30 a.m. Thursday to deliver the dog missing for three months.

The reunion took place Thursday morning at Arrighi's house.

Outside the home and nearby, balloons and welcome signs with various spellings of Petie's name -- including Petey, the spelling used by the Michigan Humane Society -- greeted the 4-year-old pooch.

Inside were family and well-wishers -- and a steak cooked to perfection for Petie by a restaurant, Greiser said.

But the moment Petie saw Arrighi was the real payoff, Greiser said.

"He's more excited than I thought he'd be," Arrighi said moments after Petie greeted him with barks and a wagging tail.

Greiser said Arrighi was "just so happy. He was just so relieved to see Petie back. It was really heartwarming."

Arrighi had been searching for Petie since the dog wandered from his yard July 28. He pinned up posters and bought ads in the local newspaper, going door to door when he could.

Earlier this week, a Rochester Hills man found Petie wandering in his backyard and took him to the humane society, where workers scanned the dog and discovered an implanted identification chip that led to Arrighi.

The reunion couldn't come at a better time, said Arrighi's stepdaughter, Patricia Parchman, 53, who lives about 6 miles from his home.

About two weeks ago, Arrighi's wife of 37 years, Juanita Arrighi, 77, died with Arrighi by her side in a Nashville hospital.

"He's not used to all this attention," Parchman said Thursday from Arrighi's home, which was filled with TV cameras, reporters, friends and well-wishers. "But I think it tells him to stay busy and not dwell on losing my mom."

Arrighi speculated that his dog could have been stolen by a customer at the restaurant near his home or a passerby. Petie was one of several pets reported missing at the time.

How the dog made it to Michigan is a mystery.

"He meant a lot to me and my wife," Arrighi said. "I figured he was gone. I thought the chip was a waste of money, but I guess not."

Cat Hidden in Couch Survives Colorado Fire
Deb Stanley,

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Firefighters have rescued two cats from a building badly damaged by fire on Monday, including a cat that survived the fire in a couch.

The fire started Monday at 3:30 a.m. at an apartment complex under construction. The flames quickly spread to a nearby building with condominiums and businesses.

While everyone escaped the condos safely, four cats were reported missing, according to Poudre Fire Authority spokesman Capt. Patrick Love.

On Tuesday, firefighters inside the building extinguishing hot spots found a cat on the fourth floor, Love said. The cat was taken to Colorado State University's animal hospital. The cat spent the night in the hospital and was released to its owners on Wednesday.

Then on Wednesday, Love and another firefighter went into the building to search for the last three missing cats.

Love said they were searching around and under furniture when a firefighter noticed a couch that had a hole in a screen. The firefighter also noticed a depression under the couch, Love said.

That depression was one of the missing cats.

Love said the cat wasn't meowing or making any noise so it may not have been found if firefighters hadn't looked closely.

"It was luck, mostly," Love said.

Two cats are still missing. Love said live traps have been set in the building to catch the pets.

Fire Damage

Love said there appears to be heavy fire damage to the fourth floor and roof of the condo complex. There is water damage to the first, second and third floors.

Despite that, Love said there is quite a bit of property that can be salvaged.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Love said the investigation may take several weeks or months.

100 Years Ago: Area Families Use Pets as Lawn-Mowers
By Sarah St. John — Lawrence Journal-World

From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Oct. 28, 1911:

•"A. G. Pike, state pure food inspector, was in town today.... Mr. Pike told us interesting stories of his work in the state. 'I went into one of the largest western towns,' he said, 'where there were four grocery stores all in a row. I asked each one to show me the measures they used for selling cranberries. They all gave me their quart measures and none of them was like the other. And they were all supposed to be selling a quart. Some were over, some less, but we insist on the measures not being too small or too little -- but just right.'"

•"The Frye family living at 709 Florida has a fine goat for a family pet. When the grass grew too high the goat was turned loose and kept the grass down to the required height. Not only did it save the energy of pushing a lawn mower but the grass was nutritious for the animal.... Broer Gustafson, who lives at 942 New Hampshire street, has probably the most novel idea for keeping his grass cut. The Gustafson family has a large white rabbit for a family pet. Generally these big bunnies are nice to have around, but they are not much good as far as usage is concerned. However, the Gustafson bunny worked industriously. He is kept in a large cage that is moved around in the yard. As soon as Bunny nibbles off the grass in one spot he is moved to another. By this manner the whole yard finally is trimmed down in fine condition. Passersby who know about the pet lawn mower stop and watch it, as everyone in the neighborhood is loud in praise of the work the white rabbit does."

Aurora Dog Café is the Cat’s Meow
Jim Wilkes -

Buddy's Kitchen, a new doggie cafe in Aurora, offers fresh food for discriminating "pet parents."

At Buddy’s Kitchen in Aurora, no pooch pun goes unspoken.

There are baked treats from the Barkery, a daily Yappy Hour and two “wines”— a white Sauvignon Bark and red Barkundy made from water, apple cider vinegar and fruit juice — that pups can slurp at the doggie bar.

That’s all after wolfing down a $5 platter that begins with crunchy artisan biscuits made on site, followed by a patty of either beef, lamb, chicken or salmon mixed with fava and pinto beans, pumpkin and vitamins. Dessert is soft and chewy cookies scarfed down while “pet parents” sip coffee or tea and get tips from a canine nutritionist.

It’s all delivered on square porcelain plates through doghouse-styled portals onto turf-covered eating areas.

It is, according to president and “chief dog wagger” Peter Kaufman, a Starbucks for the pet set.

“We don’t make dog food,” he explains. “We make food for dogs.”

Buddy’s Kitchen is the retail front for Kaufman’s manufacturing plant that produces human-grade food for dogs. Aurora Mayor Geoffrey Dawe will officiate at opening ceremonies on Friday.

Kaufman says the concept — pairing production with retail — is a first in Canada.

“On the human side you see trends to fresh foods, real foods, locals foods. These are the same things we’re doing here from locally sourced ingredients.

“It’s an artisan approach, but also embracing science and nutrition to complete the meal.

“In the past, the pet food industry was predicated on mystery meats, mystery ingredients, that mystery can,” Kaufman says. “A lot of what ends up in many of these hyper-processed pet foods is complete garbage.

“When you connect the dots, it’s no wonder we see so many of the health issues in dogs today that we see in the human population — obesity, cancer, diabetes, allergies.

“It’s a cliché, but garbage in, garbage out.

“But when we start with the best fresh whole food diets that are scientifically balanced, your dog will have to see the vet less for any number of issues.”

Customers who come to the plant/café in a multi-unit building on Industrial Parkway South will be allowed to wander a corridor with windows that overlook the bakery and butcher shop where workers turn fresh cuts of meat and fish into patties, each topped with an edible heart.

Kaufman said he sources his ingredients from producers within 100 kilometres of Aurora.

“We’re using the same ingredients that you and I eat,” he says. “If we can’t eat it, we don’t feed it.

“The engineering we do is very serious business, making sure the diet is properly balanced and that dogs just don’t survive, but they thrive.”

Kaufman has worked in the pet industry since 1997, making private label nutritional supplements for dogs, cats and horses.

“It’s a passion of mine,” he says.

Kaufman, 41, lives in uptown Toronto, where his twin 12-year-old daughters and 10-year-old son hope he’ll soon get them a new dog. Dave, the family’s 17-year-old cocker spaniel, died two years ago.

Kaufman has paired with Maurizio Barbieri, Buddy’s executive chef, who oversees the small production line and designs the café plates, which can feature snow peas and sliced strawberries fanned out to complement the meat and fish patties.

He’s spent 25 years in the food industry, mostly behind the scenes, as a policy advisor for government and maker of artisan breads, pasta and products for human restaurants across Greater Toronto.

“I can bring all these years of people food experience to people and their pets,” says Barbieri, 46.

“To see pet parents and their pets fully satisfied is what brings me back to the kitchen every day.”

Kaufman said that while the concept has been percolating for some time, Buddy’s Kitchen is an idea whose time has come.

“It’s a place for dog fanatics — dog parents — to engage, to connect, to meet other similar-minded people,” he says.

Each month he’ll have a special event to parallel activities in the human world.

When wine snobs are celebrating the release of Beaujolais Nouveau varieties late next month, Buddy’s will be issuing its own wines to a discriminating clientele of four-legged critters.

Kaufman said he hopes to open other locations in Toronto and area if the concept catches on.

See Buddy online at and

Ask Amy:
Child’s Birthday Party Goes to the Dogs
By Amy Dickinson -

DEAR AMY: Recently, I hosted a birthday party for my daughter’s 5th birthday. I own two dogs, a full-grown dog and a 6-month-old puppy.

In attendance was my husband’s aunt. Every time I turned around this woman was yelling at my puppy, who is well-behaved.

She yelled at the puppy when she bounded forward to greet the aunt. After that, just about every time the aunt saw my puppy she yelled at her, including when the puppy peed on the grass (like she’s supposed to do).

I host a lot of parties at my home, but I’m not inclined to invite this aunt back.

This was my puppy’s first party, and she did well. My policy is if you catch my kids or dogs doing something they’re not supposed to do, correct them but don’t yell at them for looking at you.

What should I say next time the aunt comes for a visit? I have no problem putting my pets outside for short visits, but when the kids are running through the house, a dog needs to enjoy it too.

I really do enjoy my husband’s aunt, but her behavior was unacceptable. -- Dogged

DEAR DOGGED: In this scenario, the people in your life should come first. Rather than worry about your dogs having a good time at a party, you should do your best to ensure that your human guests are comfortable.

Many people — myself included — don’t like it (or are fearful) when dogs run toward them and jump up. An older person could easily be toppled by an enthusiastic puppy.

However, I agree that no guest should yell at your kids or dogs.

Respond to this respectfully and firmly by saying to the aunt, “I know that ‘Snickers’ bothers you, but we’re doing our best to train her and she’s coming along well. You don’t need to yell at her, though. Do me a favor: If she creates a problem, let me know first and I’ll take care of it, okay?”

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

My Pet World:
Giving Female Dog a Male Name is No Big Deal
By Steve Dale -

Question: On a walk with our dog, Payton (a male shepherd/collie mix), we met two girls with a female miniature schnauzer named Butch.

I realize dogs don't know a male name from a female name, but people laugh at this dog all the time. This is wrong, and I assume the dog has a complex about it. What do you think? — S.H., Chicago.

Answer: Dogs just accept things and move on. I suggest you do the same.

People may smile or chuckle when they realize Butch is a female, but I see no harm in that. Dogs put smiles our faces anyway — one of many ways they're healthful for us.

Now, I do believe dogs can feel demeaned, so if people truly bully Butch over her name, that would be a problem. My advice would be for the Butch's owners to stay away from those boorish, immature folks. As long as Butch's family is loving and cares for their best friend; I think I get the joke — and I think it's funny!

Q: I'll be attending a Halloween costume contest with our little Japanese Chin, Nancy Oh. I read on a humane website that we shouldn't dress up pets for Halloween because they might feel humiliated. Could this be true? — B.J., New York

A: I agree that some dogs can feel humiliated.

They might stand still as a statue, head down, ears back and tail tucked. Other dogs (they tend to be small breeds like yours), however, seem to eat up all the extra attention they get dolled up as Cinderella or Darth Vader. Thinks about it: The family dresses them up (that's extra attention), then everyone tells the dog how cute she looks. What egocentric pooch wouldn't relish all that praise?

You're the best judge of your pet. For dogs who appear demeaned or want to chew up their costumes, skip the dress-up session; maybe a bandanna will be enough. If your dog appears totally indifferent to the entire affair, or relishes the attention — go for it.

Be sure the costume you pick doesn't limit the dog's mobility or impair its vision. Tight-fighting costumes are not a good idea.

Q: My 1-½-year-old miniature Australian shepherd gets car sick.

I've tried Cerenia (a medication), holistic remedies, the Thundershirt, Dramamine, and a pet-calming tablet. I've tried feeding the dog in the car, and driving without feeding him. He gets anxious and starts to drool when he thinks we're going for a ride.

I've tried making a game of getting him into the van. No luck. We've tried to make all destinations a "happy place," and have even taken along another dog who doesn't mind car rides. The thing is, despite his problem, we take our dog everywhere. Any advice? — S.D., Cyberspace

A: "You've certainly made a great effort," says dog trainer Victoria Stilwell, host of "It's Me or the Dog" on Animal Planet.

Cerenia is an excellent drug for motion sickness, and Dramamine also works. Consequently, the odds are this problem is not limited to the motion itself. Still, it's not a bad idea to check with your veterinarian to insure the following advice makes sense.

"First, let's eliminate those pre-departure cues," Stilwell says. Pretend that you're about to go for a car ride, but only go to the door. Repeat this move until your dog doesn't seem to care anymore. Now, do the same, except this time, take your dog to the car and offer him a treat. Don't even open the car door to let your dog in. Again, repeat this maneuver until the pet isn't bothered at all.

"We want to create a positive association with the car," says Stilwell. "This may take a while because the dog is so upset about the car now. Once he's happy to approach the car, open the door and toss special treats inside."

At the same time, whenever your dog eats indoors, play a CD with music from Stilwell's new Canine Noise Phobia Series (available soon at Soon, he'll associate the music with something very positive: dinner. Once he's fine with jumping in the car and chewing on treats, play the same tune from the CD in the car, at first, without turning on the engine.

The music is specifically designed to relax dogs, not to mention creating a positive association between the music and dinner. You might also consider using a D.A.P. collar, which emits an analogue of a soothing pheromone.

Once your dog happily jumps in while you're playing the calming CD, you can finally turn on the engine. However, go nowhere the first few times. Soon, you can drive someplace nearby that your dog enjoys, like a park. Or drive around the block and return home for dinner. Repeat this trip several times before you choose a different destination.

"This is tedious because the fear is so deeply ingrained," say Stilwell. "The more time you take, though, the more chances of success."

Q: Once a week, my 12-year-old cat doesn't eat. This has been going now for about a month. Is the cat just being finicky? — C.V., Orlando, Fla.

A: I wonder if indeed something consistent happens on the day your cat doesn't eat; it could be anything: Aunt Sally arrives for her weekly visit, or perhaps you work longer hours. Any time there's a change in a pet's behavior (especially an older pet), a veterinary visit is recommended. However, it's possible your cat simply is being finicky.

Are Your Birds Affected by the Pine Nut Recall?
by Elizabeth Opperman, Parrot Examiner

A recall on 5,000 pounds of Pine nuts has parrot lovers scrambling to find out if the treats they feed their parrots are affected. The recall was issued when the CDC linked 42 salmonella cases from Georgia, Arizona, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Of those states, New York had the highest number of cases reported. The nuts were traced to Sunrise Commodities, the importer of the nuts, based in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Those who purchased pine nuts in the bulk food department of Wegman’s Markets are advised to return the product for a refund.

Some bird owners expressed concern when they found that the food they bought contained pine nuts and did not know how to find out if they had cause for worry. One consumer had just purchased ten pounds of pine nuts from Nuts Online, who says they do not get their pine nuts from the importer and are not affected by the recall.

Salmonella is a bacteria that, in people, can cause fever, possible bloody diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Salmonella can be passed to birds and birds can be affected by the bacteria. They can also pass along the bacteria in feather dust, droppings, and crop contents. Vertical transmission is also possible.

Click here to read entire story.

Eldorado Residents Face Off
Over Keeping Chickens as Pets
Anne Constable | The New Mexican

The Eldorado community still isn't completely sure about how it feels about sun-tracking solar collectors sprouting in the subdivision south of Santa Fe.

Now it faces another issue that could divide residents: backyard chickens and goats.

Some say that having a few hens and nannies is a way to live more sustainably; others argue that barnyard animals are smelly, spread disease and would draw more coyotes and rodents to their neighborhoods.

The subdivision's covenants are somewhat ambiguous on the subject.

The section pertaining to household pets states that "no animals, birds or poultry" are allowed, except for "recognized household pets" that may be kept for the "pleasure and use" of occupants.

That language clearly allows residents to have cats and dogs, as well as other inside critters like parakeets, guinea pigs, lizards and fish. But on the surface it would seem to rule out Rhode Island Reds and nubians.

But maybe not.

Some residents say the covenants could be interpreted to allow them because they are as much family pets as the dog and cat.

The board of the Eldorado Community Improvement Association (ECIA) has asked its Sustainability Planning and Education Committee to look into the matter and decide whether to recommend changes in the ECIA's guidelines to clearly permit such animals — and to decide under what conditions they would be permitted. The guidelines assist the board in interpreting the subdivision's covenants.

A working group of the committee, led by Eduardo Krasilovsky, is doing research into how other communities have dealt with the issue and will prepare a report for the committee presenting both sides of the issue, possibly by the end of the year.

"There is no easy answer to this," the ECIA's lawyer, John Hays, said.

In an informal opinion, he said the question hinges on whether hens and goats are generally "recognized household pets." He suggested that one way to address the issue would be to present it to the community. If the community's sense is that hens and goats are OK, then that would support Eldorado's "recognition" of them as household pets.

The issue has arisen in recent years in other parts of the country. In a North Carolina case, for example, a judge agreed with the owners of two 30-pound dwarf goats that Fred and Barney were pets and not livestock prohibited in the bylaws of their homeowners association.

In the city of Santa Fe, residents can have as many chickens as they want in their backyards.

While the city Animal Services Division gets occasional calls about roosters crowing at the crack of dawn, manager Pat Alano said, "It hasn't been a problem around here."

He said that some years ago there was an effort to restrict the numbers of poultry allowed, but "the City Council said no."

However, many area homeowners' associations, including the Rancho Viejo North Community Association, prohibit all but "typical household pets."

In the past, the ECIA board has held that chickens are poultry and required any resident reported for having them to seek a variance from the covenants.

When the variances were approved, they typically set limits on the number of hens, banned roosters and prohibited coops from being made into permanent structures. Approval was contingent on lack of further complaints from neighbors.

The current manager said in a recent email to a board member that the staff does not make chicken violations a high priority and would be "happy to treat chickens as pets if instructed to do so."

At least a dozen Eldorado property owners are keeping chickens, and some have goats in their backyards, "although you wouldn't know it," Krasilovsky said. While some residents have obtained variances, others simply go ahead without informing the ECIA.

Now the issue is reaching a head. Rather than allow yet another variance, the board last summer decided to table the request before them and try to clarify the matter, said Mark Young, Eldorado's covenant compliance representative.

Meanwhile, support for allowing chickens and goats seems to be growing in the area. The community college, for example, offered a full-day seminar earlier this year on raising backyard chickens.

"Times are changing. There are more people in Eldorado who want to have a few chickens," Krasilovsky said. "I think the population has changed and people are looking at building [a] more self-sufficient community. [They feel that] having pets that give us food makes us more independent, more resilient."

Chickens were permitted in his former hometown, Montclair, N.J., which is much more densely populated than Eldorado, he pointed out. Given that lots in this subdivision are an acre or more, Krasilovsky said, "I don't know what would be the problem here." Hens only require 10 square feet of space to keep them happy, he said, and "you don't need that many hens."

Dana Richards, chairman of the Sustainability Planning and Education Committee, said supporters of allowing chickens and goats believe that in Eldorado, a semirural community, producing your own eggs and growing your own food is an asset.

Richards recalled that when his family lived in California, raising chickens was a "wonderful part of the children's upbringing." Here in Santa Fe, he said, people remember the empty shelves during recent snowstorms and road blockages and "want a little more self-reliance."

He added, "We don't want to put up obstacles to people taking care of themselves or saving money."

Elan Colello, vice president of the board, said that hens make less noise than dogs, don't bite people, eat the bugs in your yard and "look really cute."

And, he argued, they really are pets because "Everyone who owns them, they hold them, pet them, scratch them under their feathers. It's not just about the eggs." (Some, according to an Eldorado resident, refer to them as their "feathered pets.")

Because the covenant states that pets may be kept "for the use of occupants," Colello believes that this "clearly defines our covenants as allowing livestock for use but not for profit of the household."

On the other side, some residents worry about diseases carried by poultry, barnyard smells wafting into their living rooms and the likelihood that the chickens will attract more vermin and predators such as mice, rats and coyotes to their yards. All these issues could have an impact on the desirability of living in their community, they say.

Claudia Daigle, who has started blogging on this and other issues (, said, "I understand why people want to have chickens, but they should live on farms. This is not appropriate for a small subdivision." Realtors, she said, tell her that the main reason people buy in Eldorado is because of the covenants.

Daigle recalled sitting on her couch last summer with the windows open while a herd of goats camped out on Avenida Del Monte Alto, where they were taking a break from eating weeds. "The goats are adorable, but my house smelled like a barn," she said.

Allowing chickens and goats would "totally change our subdivision and ... will plummet our property values," she predicted.

Daigle believes, however, that if the community wants to allow them, it must amend the covenants, not just write new guidelines, and a majority of the lot owners must therefore consent.

If the board does not put the issue to a vote, she vowed, "I will seek counsel to stop it."

If the amendment passes, however, "Then I will have to accept it," she said. "But that is the only way."

Contact Anne Constable at 986-3022 or

From the covenants governing properties in the Eldorado subdivision:

No animals, birds or poultry shall be kept or maintained on any lot, except recognized household pets which may be kept thereon in reasonable numbers as pets for the pleasure and use of the occupants but not for any commercial use or purpose.

Love Your Pets
By: Paulette Dean -

We have said it many times in the past, and we will say it again: The law can make you provide food, water and shelter for your pets, but the law cannot make you love your pets and want to spend time with them.

We were reminded of this just recently in two separate cases. A few weeks ago, we were asked to investigate the care of a dog being kept in a lot in the Gretna area. When we went to the address provided, we found a nice, big dog lot with a lone dog in it. The ground was muddy, but the dog had a bowl of water. He was not fat, but not thin. What really caught our attention was how lonely he seemed. He strained to reach us through the fencing, and wagged his tail every time we gave him any attention. A neighbor told us that the owner comes by every day or so to give him food or water, but the owner no longer lives there. That means the dog, basically lives a solitary life with only the sight of traffic on the road to occupy his interest.

A few days later, we were driving down another street, and saw a dog get so excited about children getting off a school bus. He ran to the road to greet the children, with his tail wagging. The group of about five children paid no attention to him. Not a single one said a word to him, petted him or acknowledged his presence in any way. With his tail still, he followed the children from the bus to their homes.

Although we allow adoptions of dogs that are going to be kept outside all the time, that is not our first choice. We want the adopted dogs to be allowed inside, where they can become an important part of the family. It is harder for a completely outside dog to have all of his needs met.

Most people know that dogs are pack animals, but many people do not know that cats like attention, also. Sometimes, when we go to a house, the cats come running up to us, wrapping themselves around our legs. My adopted cats follow me around the house, and sit either beside me or on my lap.

Birds are flock animals, and may require as much attention as dogs. Yes, I know that from personal experience. Even guinea pigs and rabbits require more than daily food and water, in order to be happy. Hamsters enjoy time out of their cages.

If families or individuals do not have a lot of time or desire to spend with a companion animal, we suggest that they focus on the animals that are happier as solitary animals. A fish aquarium is a good option. I overheard a man speaking with his wife one day at the shelter, and he told her that it would be selfish to adopt a dog with their current lifestyle. I was grateful that he recognized that.

The animals that we take into our homes and lives to be our companions have certain requirements to be happy beyond the basics of food, water and shelter. Only people who are willing and prepared to give time and love should be the ones to have companion animals. Having a pet is not a right; having a pet is a privilege that comes with a lot of responsibility.

Some Tips on Bringing Outdoor Pets
Inside for the Cooler Weather
By Jacque Estes -

As the thermometer makes that slight seasonal dip, it's a good time to encourage outdoor pets to come inside. While our "low" temperatures may bring a sneer from the upper 48, it's colder than what our critters are accustomed to and bringing them inside is not all about the temperature. This is just an excuse to coax your wild feline to a safer abode -- inside with you.

A tall climbing post, toys to pounce on and chase around and grass to chew can offer cats outside excitement without the dangers. They are stalkers with no worries.

Many people are firmly convinced that their cat will not be happy inside. This can be true if the move is sudden and your idea. Cats like to think they are in charge and, in most cases, they are. But there are ways to make the move inside "their" idea.

Scoop up a cat and force it inside and there will be resistance, and possibly claws. Furniture will be shredded, high-pitched yowling will bounce off the walls, and most owners will quickly surrender out of self-preservation.

Ease the resistant wild one inside for short periods at a time. If dinner is generally served outside, move it inside and let the animal play inside for a bit afterward. Slowly increase the time they stay in after dinner. Of course there may be those that decide they like it inside and don't want back out after dinner.

Oh, if only it was that easy.

Cats need to hunt and their prey can be a ball of aluminum, crumpled up paper or elaborate toys that don't fight back.

Have a litter box at the ready and place the cat in. The first response will most likely be to bounce right back out, but after a bit curiosity your cat will be in the box scratching through the litter. Old-fashioned scratching posts are out, replaced by corrugated floor "posts" available in the pet supply aisle. Some of these come with a baggie of catnip that can be rubbed into the cardboard to attract the cat.

An empty box is an unexplainable attraction to cats. Houses with cats rarely have empty boxes.

A pillow atop a table in a sunny window, various vantage points to watch the birds and bugs, will amuse your cat and you for hours as they watch and press paws against the window. Pet supply stores also have special grass you can grow specifically for the feline's green cravings. This discourages them from nibbling your houseplants and will aid their digestion.

Why do you want to go to all this trouble? Hopefully, because you love you cat. Dangers abound outside -- cars, wild animals, snakes, dogs, predatory birds and, in Florida, alligators.

Some cats are more resistant to change than others and a pet behaviorist may be able to help. If your cat doesn't acclimate, refuses to use the litter box, or goes after your furniture, consult your veterinarian to rule out any medical causes. Cat claws can be easily clipped with regular nail clippers, though sometimes it takes one person to wrap the cat in a towel, extracting one paw at a time, while the other clips.

Persistence will pay off. There's a whole side of your cat, the playful and comical side, that you may have been missing and he may find he's been missing something too -- a nice warm bed.

Cold Weather Means Special Care for Outdoor Pets
By Matlin Smith - Current-Argus Staff Writer

CARLSBAD — The weather outside is frightful, and a local veterinarian offered some tips to keep your pets safe in the colder temperatures.

Dr. Robin Sankey from the Carlsbad Animal Care Center said animals should have adequate shelter as the temperature drops over the coming months. Animals should not be kept on chains, but if it is unavoidable, the chain should give plenty of room for the animal to reach and stay out of the cold.

She suggested bringing pets inside the home or providing an alternate source of heat within the shelter when the temperatures reach freezing.

Pets should always have plenty of food and water, said Sankey, who urges owners to check water bowls several times a day to ensure that the water is not frozen, leaving pets without hydration.

Another deadly issue for pets in the colder weather is antifreeze. With its sweet taste, pets are drawn to antifreeze, and ingestion of the fluid can be fatal. Sankey said it is crucial that people immediately clean up antifreeze spills and leaks.

Other ways to keep pets cozy through fall and winter includes pet sweaters, blankets and boots to protect dogs' paws.

Livestock should also be closely watched during this time of year, said Sankey. Horses should don blankets in temperatures under 50 degrees and have shelter, and the livestock's water should also be watched closely in the event that it freezes. Sankey said water warmers are available for purchase to prevent freezing troughs.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers more tips for keeping your pets warm and safe when temperatures drop:

- Keep your cats and kittens indoors. Outside, cats can freeze, become lost, stolen or injured.

- Never let your dog run around off its leash on snow or ice. Dogs might lose their scent in snow and ice and become lost.

- Wipe off your dog's paws, legs and stomach when they comes in from the snow or ice. Salt or other chemicals might make your dog sick if they swallow them while licking their paws. Their paw pads are sensitive and might bleed if snow or ice covers them.

- Never leave you dog, cat or any other animal alone in a car in cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator and your animal could freeze.

- If your dog spends a lot of time outside playing, make sure to give them plenty of food and water to keep their fur thick and healthy through the winter.

Bad Economy Bad for Pets
BILL NOVAK | The Capital Times

One of the more sobering stories in this economic downturn is families having to give up their pets because they can't afford to take care of them.

The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that shelters across the state are at or near capacity mainly because of cats being surrendered.

According to AP, Heather Schmid, executive director of the Coulee Region Humane Society in La Crosse said the facility is always over capacity with cats but lately it hasn't had enough room for dogs as well.

The Dane County Humane Society is loaded with cats also, spokeswoman Gayle Viney told, but there hasn't been an overabundance of dogs, since they are adopted "pretty quickly and regularly."

Viney said the economy is putting a new slant on why people are giving up their pets.

"It used to be because you are moving and can't keep the pet, or you don't have time for it, but now we really are seeing it trend toward people surrendering their animals because they lost a job, lost their home," Viney said.

"What's hard is these are animals we normally wouldn't see, because their owners really wanted to keep them," she said.

As of Thursday, the Dane County Humane Society has more than 310 adult cats under its care and about a tenth as many dogs.

Because of the glut of felines, a "pay what you can" promotion to get people interested in adopting cats started Thursday and will run through Sunday.

The normal adoption fee for an adult cat (six months old or older) at the Dane County Humane Society is $40.

"Pick your price," Viney said. "Pay whatever you are able to pay."

The new owner can take a cat home the same day.

The promotion is on at the Dane County Humane Society main shelter on Voges Road, the west side shelter in a strip mall at Mineral Point Road and D'Onofrio Drive, and at Mounds pet stores.

Money Saving Tips for Shopping
 for Pet Medications
by Maryann Mott -

Walking out of a veterinary clinic with your pet's prescription already filled makes life easier. But, if you're on a tight budget, you'll be saving money by going elsewhere to buy your dog or cat's medications and preventatives.

Typically veterinarians charge a dispensing fee of $7 to $12, plus the cost of the medication. According to some estimates, those mark-ups are hefty, ranging from 100 to 300 percent or more.

Since many drugs prescribed for pets are the same ones given to people, asking for a prescription from your veterinarian is the first money saving step all owners should take.

"Family budgets are tight and every opportunity to save matters," said Utah Congressman Jim Matheson, who earlier this year introduced the Fairness to Pet Owners Act of 2011.

The proposed legislation would give pet owners a money saving opportunity; it would give them the ability to shop around for the best prices on medications by requiring veterinarians to write a prescription. Currently, in about half of all states, veterinarians don’t have to provide a prescription to clients, even if asked.

The American Veterinary Medical Association, which consists of more than 80 percent of all U.S. veterinarians, is out to quash Congressman Matheson's bill, claiming it adds an unnecessary regulatory burden on doctors.

Of course, the money saving opportunity for the consumer would also cut into profits.

Wendy Myers, a veterinary practice consultant in Colorado, says drug and medical supplies generate 17 percent of hospital revenues.

"Depending on which region you’re in, a veterinary hospital’s revenue from flea, tick and heartworm products (alone) is easily $100,000 or more a year,” she told Veterinary Information Network News Service last year.

Buying pet medications at a reasonable cost isn’t difficult if you know what questions to ask your veterinarian, and where to look for the best deals.

Here are a few easy, money saving tips to try:

Money Saving Tip #1: Ask if Human Equivalent Exists

If your veterinarian prescribes an animal-only medication, ask if there's a human drug equivalent instead. Recently my veterinarian prescribed Simplicef -- a pricey, animal-only antibiotic. When I balked at the cost she wrote a script for Cephalexin, a human generic, that I purchased elsewhere.The savings? $52.

Money Saving Tip #2: Opt for Generics and Shop at Big Box Retailers

Opting for human brand-name drugs and generics (whenever possible) allows you to flex your financial muscle by shopping for the best price at big box retailers like Costco, Target, Sam's Club, Walgreens and Walmart. Better yet, some of these pharmacies offer discount prescription drug programs that sell 30-day supplies of generics for as low as $4.

Money Saving Tip #3: Comparison Shop

Even among the retail titans, prices on drugs can still vary widely, so be sure to comparison shop, especially for life-long medications and monthly preventatives. A one month supply of Ketoconazole and Cyclosporine – something regularly needed for my dog's skin disorder -- is $89 at Costco. (Membership, by the way, isn’t required to buy from Costco's pharmacy although it offers additional savings.) Across town, at Target and Walmart, I discovered the price jumps to $190. Yikes!

Money Saving Tip #4: Get a Free Prescription Drug Card

Get a free prescription drug card from the National Association of Counties (NACo) that offers savings of up to 24 percent off the regular retail price at participating pharmacies. The program is for both two and four legged members. Nearly half of all counties nationwide participate in NACo's program and it's available to residents, regardless of age or income.

Money Saving Tip #5: Check Out Target's New Program

Go to Target if you live in Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina or Tennessee. The mega retailer introduced the PetRx pilot program last year at more than 140 pharmacies in those states. Locations fill veterinary prescriptions for animal-specific medications and offer free, special flavorings, like chicken, to liquid medications for pets.

Money Saving Tip #6: Check for Coupons!

Check drug manufacturer websites for printable coupons redeemable at your vet's office.

Money Saving Tip #7: Don't Be Afraid to Bargain

Lastly, bargain with your veterinarian. Ask for a price match from a Vet-VIPPS accredited online pet pharmacy, or a discount for buying preventatives or regularly needed medications in bulk.

Savvy hospitals and clinics know about the increasing pressures from outside pharmacies and don't want to lose your business, so speak up. Otherwise, you'll pay up.

U.S. Pets Getting Sicker;
Decline in Vet Visits Blamed
By (ARA) -

When Michele Sebesto, of Staten Island, N.Y., adopted JC 10 years ago, she said the chihuahua was an invaluable source of comfort. As a New Yorker, she'd just gone through the 9/11 attacks, and the two developed a special bond. Unfortunately, JC had some minor but persistent health problems.

About twice a year, JC would get a urinary tract infection. During an annual preventive care appointment when JC was about 4, Sebesto's veterinarian took an X-ray and made a startling discovery.

"When she showed me the X-ray, I couldn't believe it. The kidney stone was the size of a grape, which is pretty big for a chihuahua," Sebesto says. "My veterinarian did surgery to remove it, and I was pleasantly surprised at how fast JC bounced back."

After the surgery, JC was put on a special diet, and the dog, now 10, sees the veterinarian for regular checkups and has been healthy and free of urinary tract infections since the surgery.

Unfortunately, Sebesto is part of a shrinking population in the United States. Recent studies show that while the number of pets in America is increasing, fewer pet owners are bringing their pets in for regular checkups, and this could be causing a rise in preventable diseases.

"Despite the ever-increasing emotional bond we have with our pets, research shows pets are getting less preventive health care," says Dr. Rene A. Carlson, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). "At the same time, illnesses that are totally preventable, such as dental infections, ear infections, diabetes, intestinal worms and heartworms, are increasing."

Troubling trends
AVMA research shows that veterinary visits for cats and dogs have been on the decline for at least a decade. The average number of annual veterinary visits dropped between 2001 and 2006 from two visits a year for dogs to 1.5 and from one visit per year for cats to 0.7 visits, according to the AVMA's 2007 U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook.

Perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that, while veterinary care appointments have been declining, incidents of pet diseases have increased. In particular, totally preventable diseases are on the increase. The Banfield Pet Hospital's State of Pet Health 2011 Report found that since 2006 flea infestations were up in dogs by 16 percent and 12 percent in cats, diabetes increased 32 percent in dogs and 16 percent in cats, and hookworm infections in dogs were up 30 percent and 3.5 percent in cats.

An ounce of prevention
The vast majority of pet owners care deeply about their pet's health, says Carlson. In fact 59 percent of dog owners and 53 percent of cat owners say they would, in fact, take their pets to the veterinarian more often if they thought it would help their pet live longer, according to the Veterinary Care Usage Study.

"This study shows us that pet owners really do care about their pet's health and well-being, but they may not correlate the importance of regular checkups with maintaining health," Carlson says. "Pet owners shouldn't wait until a pet is sick to take it to the veterinarian, because pets, particularly cats, will often hide the symptoms of illness when they are sick. So your pet may be sick or in a great deal of pain and it would be very difficult for you to know."

Pets - excluding tortoises and some exotic birds - have much shorter lifespans than humans, and, as a result, diseases can develop more quickly. An annual checkup for dogs and cats is like a person going to see their doctor once every seven years. What's more, pets with existing health problems, like obesity, are at an even greater risk of developing a chronic condition.

"It is estimated that 40 percent of dogs and cats are obese. That's 54 million dogs and cats. Obesity can result in life-threatening illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis," Dr. Carlson says. With so much information now available on the Internet, it is estimated that about 40 percent of pet owners turn to the Internet before their veterinarian for pet health care information. But are they getting the right information from credible sources?

"While some websites may provide valuable background information on diseases, many do not. And relying on what may be misinformation may delay the inevitable visit to the veterinarian. By the time the owner finally gives up on what might likely be incorrect information from an untrained source or advice from other pet owners in a chat room, the pet may be twice as sick or the cure may be many times more difficult or costly. Your pet's veterinarian is the best source for advice on how you can keep your pets healthy, happy and with your family for a lifetime," Carlson says.

Sebesto agrees.

"I think that when you own an animal, you have to make a commitment to provide them with veterinary care," Sebesto says. "I take my dog into the veterinarian every year."

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