Back home in Absecon a day after hobnobbing in the Big Apple with the likes of country music diva and movie star Dolly Parton and Miranda Cosgrove, teen star of Nick's iCarly, Lucy just wanted some treats.
Clad in a pink corduroy fleece-lined coat to keep her from shivering even inside on a blustery day, the Guinness World Record-holding smallest working dog let her owner Sally Leone Montufar know her desires.
She planted her tiny haunches on the floor at Montufar's feet and made what could only be described as a persistent squeaky sneezing noise.
When you only weigh 2.5 pounds and stand 5.7 inches tall from toes to withers, this is what amounts to a bark.
Maybe you saw Lucy, a micro Yorkshire terrier who is a licensed therapy dog, in one of her many television appearances this week.
Montufar said she submitted Lucy's measurements to Guinness on a lark and got word recently she had knocked a 6.6-pound Japanese police dog out of the top spot on the list. The media went nuts for the petite perky-faced pooch with the habit of sticking out the fingernail-sized tip of her perfectly pink tongue.
Local, Philadelphia and national TV outlets carried Lucy's story and footage of her adorable little canine self doing what she does best—making people happy by visiting them in nursing homes, schools and other arenas.
Thursday's appearance on Live! With Kelly in New York City was the icing on the cake. As usual, Lucy won hearts all around, including those of host Kelly Ripa, who snuggled her under her chin onstage for a couple of minutes at the end of the show, show staffers, and Parton and Cosgrove, who cooed over her in the green room, where guests wait backstage before going on air.
Cosgrove tweeted a photo of herself with Lucy, proclaiming her awesomeness. At one point, Lucy had an entire couch to herself while humans huddled on smaller chairs admiring her, Montufar chuckled.
And why not? Lucy's really is a Cinderella story.
Montufar was working in Paw Dazzle, a Smithville pet boutique she used to own, when a lady came in with a couple of dogs she said she was taking to a shelter because she couldn't care for them anymore.
When then-11-month-old Lucy popped her head out of a designer bag, “she looked pitiful and I couldn't let her go,” said Montufar, a retired teacher from New York City.
With TLC by Montufar and her neighbor and friend Linda DeSantis, and under care of staff at Absecon Veterinarian, Lucy gained about a half pound and is the picture of health at age 3. She eats healthily, including her favorite chicken biscuits from Paw Dazzle; the vet has cautioned the Yorkie shouldn't weigh more than 3 pounds, as it would be too much heft for her mini legs to carry.
It's hard to imagine how really tiny Lucy is until you see her in person. In photos, she appears bigger because her head is rather outsized for her 6-inch-long body—bobble-head-like. Lots of guinea pigs are bigger. Even some cheesesteaks I've seen.
As she grew healthier, Montufar said she realized what a gem Lucy really is.
“She became less lethargic and much more strong, with a stellar personality,” Montufar said. “She is non-aggressive and easily trained.”
Everywhere Lucy goes, people exclaim they have never seen a smaller dog. That's how Montufar got the idea to nominate her for Guinness. It was her personality—and her size—that prompted Montufar to put her to work, so to speak.
“No search and rescue for her,” Montufar quipped. “She's not ever going to bring me the paper.”
Montufar sought out Leashes of Love, a Cherry Hill-based group that certifies therapy dogs and connects them with hospitals, special needs schools, library reading programs, correctional institutions and other places where pets can spread joy.
“She'll make someone smile who hasn't smiled in years, nurses have told me,” Montufar said. “They get out of their misery for just a few minutes.”
Lucy often leads the pack when she's around the likes of Great Danes and Siberian huskies.
“She has to hustle to move as fast as they can go in one step, but she doesn't seem to know she's the little one,” Montufar said.
Lucy's cheer is likely to be even more in demand now with her newfound fame. But, other than being busier, her life won't change much. Oh, except for the Twitter account she's likely to get soon.
When she's not visiting people, Lucy snuggles with Gabriel, Montufar's cockapoo, and acts like a normal dog, romping and playing. Like many 3-year-olds, she does not enjoy getting dressed, and has been known to run and hide under chairs, from which Montufar has to coax her out.
Lucy loves playing outside, but has to be closely watched so she's not scarfed up by hungry hawks and other predators. Cold weather, she doesn't go out at all, as her body doesn't regulate temperature well. Lucy is warm and toasty on this day, but Montufar complains the bulky coat makes her look “hippy.”
“Eighty degrees is just perfect for her; she wants it 80 degrees all the time,” Montufar said. Hey, what starlet doesn't?
Proving once again—it's a dog's world. We just live in it.
MEMPHIS, Tenn.—Two women were arrested Tuesday when authorities in West Tennessee discovered 128 live dogs, one dead dog and a live cat inside a U-Haul truck and a van during a traffic stop on Interstate 40, officials said.
A West Tennessee Drug Task Force agent found the animals during a stop on I-40 in Fayette County, about 40 miles east of Memphis, said David Lytal, special agent in charge of the task force.
"He could smell the odor," Lytal said.
Lytal says the women told authorities they were taking the animals from California to Virginia, but they did not say why. The driver, Bonnie Sherman, 55, and passenger Pamela King-McCracken, 59, were booked in Fayette County jail on aggravated animal cruelty charges.
They were scheduled to have a court hearing Tuesday afternoon and had not yet secured lawyers, a jail official said.
The agent found dog kennels stacked in back of the truck. Some had overturned, allowing some dogs to get loose inside the U-Haul, Lytal said.
Some animals also were found in a van that was being towed behind the truck, Lytal said. The animals had been in the vehicles since Saturday.
Officials said the animals were to be cared for by shelters in the Memphis area.
MT. GILEAD - A howling dog may have saved a man's life in a house fire.
Robert Hudson, of Morrow County, told firefighters that his dog woke him up, and that's when he saw the smoke.
"He went to bed at nine. The dog apparently heard the smoke detector and was howling. He got dressed, grabbed the dog and got out. The smoke detectors and a dog howling saved his life," Chief Don Staiger of the Mount Gilead Fire Department said.
The fire call came in at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday.
When firefighters arrived at the home in the 2300 block of County Road 67 in Morrow County, the fire was in the front of the house.
"When we arrived, there was fire on the first floor. It burned through to the outside wall," Staiger said.
The front of the house was on fire, and had burned into the floor of the second story bedroom.
Hudson, the owner of the home, was not injured.
Staiger estimated the structural damage at $27,000. "There was about $12,000 to $14,000 in content damage," he said.
The fire started inside the wall above the fireplace.
Cardington and Iberia fire departments assisted the Mount Gilead Fire Department.
Morrow County EMS responded to the scene as well.
Reporter Tabitha Clark: 740-375-5155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. — One western Pennsylvania fire department learned that there’s not necessarily fire wherever there’s smoke.
New Castle’s assistant fire chief Jim Donston tells The Associated Press that firefighters were called when an electrical outlet on a floor was smoking, only to find that happened because the family’s cat urinated into the outlet.
The New Castle News (http://bit.ly/zHd1RS ) first reported the incident Friday and Donston supplied more details to the AP.
The assistant chief says a Columbia Gas worker was at the house checking for a possible leak when he noticed the smoking outlet and called the fire department Wednesday about 7:30 p.m.
Donston says firefighters “found the receptacle wet from cat urine” and shut off the electrical supply to that circuit.
By Ann Hohenhaus, DVM, DACVIM - webmd.com
What is a belly button?
The navel, or scientifically speaking, an umbilicus, is where the blood vessels from the placenta attach to a baby before it is born. The blood vessels are an in utero life support system providing nutrition, oxygen and waste product removal. Once a baby is born, it no longer needs the blood vessel, which then dries up and falls off. The photo of the one-day-old puppy at right shows just a scab where the blood vessel had been the day before. In an adult dog or cat, the belly button is very different than that of a human. Belly buttons are typically flat, without hair and often white like a scar. Even though pets are covered with hair, the bellybutton is easy to find since they occur at a cowlick of hair on the abdomen.
What determines an innie or an outie?
Outies are not very common in humans and some estimates suggest only 10% of the population has an outie. Since most births of puppies and kittens are not attended by a veterinarian, I wasn’t sure what the determining factors for the type of belly button were. I contacted a friend who is an obstetrician at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She has delivered a lot of human babies and I thought she could shed some light on my question. My obstetrician friend says, “When a human baby is born, two clamps are put on the umbilical vessels by the obstetrician. The placenta is separated from the baby by cutting between the two clamps. When the baby is discharged from the hospital nursery, the clamp is left on the umbilical vessel, which falls off a few days later.” The clamp nearest the baby is nowhere near the belly button location and in my friend’s expert opinion, a belly button happens on its own; she has no control over whether it’s an innie or an outie.
Why did Joey have an outie?
In some cats, dogs and people, the muscles of the abdominal wall do not close completely around the umbilical cord during development. The defect in the body wall is called a hernia and in severe cases, abdominal organs can protrude through the hole. Joey had an umbilical hernia which did not cause any medical problems but was successfully repaired at the time of her spay surgery since the umbilicus is near where the spay incision is routinely placed.
Once upon a time, they were his beloved furry pets. Then nature stepped in, and they were his 94 beloved furry pets.
A beleaguered Lawrence hamster enthusiast placed a desperate call last week to the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
“He said he needed help. He realized he was in a little bit over his head and sought us out,” said Heather Robertson, outreach coordinator for the MSPCA’s Nevins Farm in Methuen. “They were generally in good health, so we took a few days to prepare and sent two staff members to help.”
She said the man, who is not being identified, is not an animal hoarder. He was just a pet owner who found himself on the wrong side of biology’s arithmetic.
The nearly eight dozen hamsters, she said, were all healthy and well nourished.
“He had taken very good care of them,” Robertson said.
After collecting the rodents, staff members spent hours examining each for health problems — and separating them by gender to prevent further breeding.
Next on the agenda for the MSPCA: 94 new homes for the hamsters. Nearly half of them already have been farmed out to shelters throughout New England. Nevins Farm kept 50, many of which already have been adopted.
Adam Zimmer of North Andover, who has provided a foster home for abandoned cats from Nevins Farm for 14 years, said his son Aidan found out about the hamsters. “Then he walked around all day asking for one, so I talked to my wife that night, and we agreed we should do it.”
Zimmer took his three children to the farm yesterday. They left with three female hamsters, one for each child.
“It’s funny because one of them is a little runt, like my youngest,” Zimmer said.
Zimmer added he is happy the original owner decided to give up the animals, although it may have been difficult.
“He clearly cared for them and loved them, he just realized they were more than he could care for,” he said. “It will make a lot of families very happy.”
In this past issue’s Ethicist column, I featured two pet-related questions. And if there’s one thing that the Most E-mailed List proves, time and time again, it’s that New York Times readers ♥ pet stories. Accordingly, the column generated a bumper crop of reader comments and e-mails.
Many took up the ever-popular premise that human beings are horrible, immoral, cruel and self-serving.
In the first letter, that verdict was applied to both the aging Pomeranian-owner who contemplated euthanizing her healthy pet and the veterinarian who contemplated granting her request, as well as anyone who would consider denying that request, given the even scarier alternatives. In the second letter, that judgement was applied to the cat owner who let her pet out of the house and the neighbor whose dogs dispatched it (along with a few other neighborhood cats) and who now contemplates telling the cat owner despite her ill health. It was also applied to Peter Singer, the celebrated philosopher who, for reasons I still can’t quite figure out, agreed to weigh in on the Pomeranian’s uncertain fate. And of course it was applied to me.
But the most heartfelt comments, of course, came from those pondering the moral stature not of human beings — those pasty, warty, cranky bipeds — but of our four-legged soft-coated friends. And there the debate fell into a few armed camps:
1) Dogs are precious; cat had it coming.
“Don’t cry on my shoulder when a dog, in his own yard, attacks your cat.” “Dog owners have absolutely no obligations to maintain a place of safety for marauding critters.” “Any cat that uses our yard as his toilet instead of it’s own deserves whatever fate it gets”
2) Cats are fuzzy bewhiskered innocents; dogs are vicious killers.
“I do wonder about a pack of dogs that gets so jazzed up every time they see and corner a cat that they kill it. Really? Its called training and socialization.” “Think of the cats for a moment their lives should mean something to you too??” “I was upset that not much feeling was extended to the felines, and actually, was somewhat horrified that the majority of letters in response to your article did not show much concern at all for the cats, either.”
3) A pox on both their houses; I like cows.
“Hello, I always enjoy your column and was so pleased to see you address the issue of “animal lovers” and the specifics of the animals they loved. I like cows. Cows do their business somewhere out in fields in the country, dogs leave my sidewalks a filthy, smelly wet mess of urine and uncleaned feces. I am supposed to support the A.S.P.E.A., saving dogs and donating money to help pay for the food they eat, gotten by killing other four legged creatures. … don’t get it … thanks for hoping planting a seed of thought in others. C. Diane”
It's a blizzard outside! The winter time can be a fun time to share memories with your furry friends. Here are 5 helpful tips to keep your pet safe this winter season.
1. Pets are prone to frostbite, so after your fun in the snow be sure to soak their paws in warm water (not hot) and dry them well. This ensures that no icy cold snow stays packed in the pads.
2. Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze. If you know of an outdoor kitty, set up an area for shelter to block the wind with blankets. Also use a hot water bottle under a blanket, they are sure to find the nice warm bed you provided for them.
3. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
4. Protect your pet's paws. Salt, de-icer and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet's feet. Thoroughly wipe off your pet's paws, legs and stomach with a damp, warm towel when he comes inside. Pets can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals that can also irritate their mouth when licking their paws. Safe Paws is a de-icer that is 100 percent salt-free and safe for pets to walk on. Use kitty litter or sand as an environmentally friendly alternative to salt – while it will not melt ice, it will provide better traction.Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center more information.
5. Make sure all pets have ID tags and a microchip. A higher number of dogs are lost in winter months, as they can lose their scent in snow and ice and become unable to find their way home. Don't let your dog off the leash and make sure he wears an ID tag and has a microchip, so he can be easily returned if lost.
Your pets are part of the family, so remember to give them the cold weather care and protection they deserve! Thanks for being a pet hero.
by Monica Collins - cleveland.com
Q: Although I do not have a dog yet, I read your column in The Plain Dealer quite regularly and I find it useful and interesting.
I have been thinking about getting a puppy for a while now, but cannot make up my mind because of one issue: We have an adult cat. The cat is 8 years old. Although he is not aggressive, I do not know how he will react to a new pet.
Some friends have advised me against taking a dog because they believe that the cat's life will become miserable. On the other hand, while the puppy is young, I could see that the cat may become aggressive toward it.
I would like to have peace in my house. Before I make a commitment to another animal, I would like to hear advice from a professional like you. Please let me know what realistically I can expect from having an adult cat and a puppy at the same household. How should I introduce them to each other? How to prevent/minimize aggressive behavior from one pet toward another? -- Anna
A: Here's the basic wisdom about dogs and cats living together: Better to put an old cat and a young dog together than an old dog and a young cat.
A puppy will be much more malleable and trainable around your senior feline, who knows all the tricks of the trade about how to elude the canine interloper.
There's a good chance that after a period of adjustment they will get along like ham and eggs -- smooshing on home plate when they have to. The puppy will have no reason to believe the cat is anyone but his mother; the cat, of course, will have a different opinion.
Still, as long as you give them space and time, there's every reason to believe they will get along just fine (and read the book or rent the movie "The Incredible Journey" if you need reassurance). Now, please understand Dog Lady does not have a cat. She has a senior dog who becomes catatonic at the sight of a kitty, so she might not be the best one to suggest a critter summit. You alone have the power to give peace a chance by introducing the animals happily, matter-of-factly and confidently.
I grew up with dogs but took in a rescue cat 13 years ago, my Maggie. She has been with me through thick and thin, and when my boyfriend left me, she climbed up on my lap as I cried. "Guess it's just you and me, girl!" Animals sense when something's wrong. -- Stephanie
Companion animals of all species provide implausibly simple comforts in times of stress and woe. They know far more than we can ever imagine. Thanks for sharing this magic cat story. Yes, even the felines give generously and unconditionally.
Pet perplexed? Visit askdoglady.com to ask a question or make a comment. Follow "Ask Dog Lady" on Facebook and @askdoglady on Twitter.
I must admit, diapers for a pet seemed way over the top to me. But recently some of my patients have convinced me otherwise. Their use of diapers is only part of the medical management required to keep them active and happy members of their family. Here are their stories.
One of the obvious uses for a diaper is on a female dog in heat. If your dog comes into heat unexpectedly or if you are waiting a heat cycle before breeding her, a diaper may be a good solution. The diaper protects the furniture, rugs and floors from staining while your female dog is in heat. Don’t count on the diaper as a form of contraception, as a male dog will find a way around the diaper and you may find an unexpected litter of puppies. Always keep a female in heat away, crated or in a separate room from an unneutered male dog.
Sophie is another example of how helpful a doggie diaper can be. She has several medical problems which we keep in check with regular visits and a strict medication regimen. Sophie’s bladder capacity is limited since she had surgery last spring to remove a bladder tumor. Her Cushing’s disease and elevated calcium level cause her to drink more water and consequently produce more urine. This combination of problems make her use of wee-wee pads unreliable, so she wears a diaper when her owners are not home. Sophie is happy, energetic and a vital member of the family.
Spenser only needed a diaper for a few weeks after his bladder surgery. Surgical manipulation of the bladder made it painful for his bladder to hold much urine and it was difficult for him to wait between walks. Even though his owner walked him extra times following surgery, the diaper prevented embarrassing accidents until his bladder recovered and he could hold urine normally again.
I even have a cat patient who occasionally wears a diaper. Even though he is a neutered male cat, Pumpkin has a bad habit of spraying urine on the living room drapes. When his family wants everyone to be together in the living room, Pumpkin wears stud pants, a special form of cat diaper to prevent urine spray on the drapes. The female form of cat diapers are sometimes called queen panties since female cats are referred to as queens.
Over time the water in your fresh water fish tank can become foggy or cloudy, making it difficult to see your colorful swimmers. There are a variety of things that cause cloudy water and once you determine the cause you can work on clearing it up.
One of the first things to consider if the water has become cloudy is the stones you are using. If you just set up your tank or just replaced the stones, they could have been dusty from the inside of the bag. If you didn’t rinse them before you put them in the tank, the water could have stirred up the dust. To find out if this is the cause, remove everything from the tank, rinse everything in hot water, then set the tank back up. Wait about an hour and if the water is still clear then the stones were the problem.
Another reason why the water could have become cloudy is insufficient bacteria growth or too much bacteria. In a new tank, it takes time for the right amount of bacteria to form so the water may appear cloudy in the meantime. The only resolution is to wait at least a few days to see if the water clears up on its own. When the water has too much bacteria it can raise the pH level and the fish will not get enough oxygen. In order to test the pH level of your water, you can purchase a tester kit in any pet store. Some pet stores will even test the water for you if you bring them a sample. Once you determine if the pH level is too high, you can purchase the conditioner.
A third cause of cloudy water could be the filter you are using. Check that your filtration system is working properly and set up according to the directions. Also make sure the pad is clean and the water is flowing freely. If you are still unsure if your filter is working properly, contact the store where you purchased it to find out more information. A working filtration system is the most important part of your fish tank.
If you are still unable to clear the cloudiness from the water, you can try removing half of the water and replacing it with fresh water. This will help to regulate some of the bacteria growth.
Most pet stores will test the water for you so if you’ve tried all of these remedies and still have cloudy water, you may need to enlist the help of the professionals!
Last week we discussed that training a dog starts with getting their attention. This week, we will discuss how giving your dog attention can prevent several common behavior problems such as excessive barking, chewing and digging.
For domesticated dogs, humans are an important part of the family unit and we must meet their social and mental needs. This does not mean giving into jumping or pestering. In fact, removing attention by calmly and quietly walking away from a dog when they try to jump on you, even closing the door, gives a clear message that this behavior doesn't work. Once they are calm, giving them attention reinforces the correct behavior “four on the floor”.
It is also important to understand how critical attention and mental stimulation are for domesticated dogs. If these needs are not met, consequences may follow. Excessive barking is one of the biggest consequences of a dog being left alone all day. Dogs get bored, stimulated by sights or sounds, or anxious at being alone and start barking. Barking becomes a habit that is challenging to change and deserves an article of its own. However, here are a few tips to prevent barking from starting or help address a barking problem.
Make sure your dog has adequate aerobic exercise. Play games with them that engage both their bodies and their minds such as fetch, ball or nose games. These kinds of games also encourage healthy social interactions between you and your dog. Give them several chew toys that require problem solving for mental stimulation. Hire a dog walker if you are gone for long time periods. Put up visual blinds to prevent stimulation by passing people or other dogs. Additionally, new methods to address auditory stimulation called “Through a Dog's Ear” are proving effective.
Excessive chewing and digging are also symptoms of boredom, anxiety, frustration or simply not knowing what is “OK” to chew on. Catching inappropriate chewing in the act and trading out the inappropriate object for a toy, bone or something they can chew on is one of the easiest and most effective ways to teach a dog what they can and cannot chew on. Supervision of dogs when they are outside is essential to curb unwanted digging or barking.
Your company, attention and supervision are important to your dog. Addressing their social, mental and exercise requirements will prevent common unwanted behaviors and also strengthen the bond that you share.
Louisa Morrissey is a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) and owner of Skijor-n-More. She is a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and a licensed Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer. www.skijornmore.com.
TULSA, Okla. - When we last caught up with Irwin the pet kangaroo, his owner, a woman from Broken Arrow, Okla., had been granted a city council exemption that allowed her to keep Irwin under certain conditions.
Now the case is - forgive me- bouncing back into the news, with exotic pet owner Christie Karr - forgive me again - all hopped up and moving out of town.
According to CBS affiliate KOTV, in 2011 city officials revised an ordinance, and allowed Carr to keep the kangaroo as a "therapy pet" provided she meet several conditions: get a permit, purchase a $50,000 insurance policy for any injuries inflicted by the animal, and certify the marsupial has adequate housing for its health and to meet all federal and state guidelines for licensing.
In April 2011, an anonymous donor paid the liability insurance for Irwin.
Karr, who's been diagnosed as clinically depressed, says she and her pet kangaroo are moving to live with her parents in McAlester because city workers told her they would take the animal or fine her. But Broken Arrow officials say no threats were made to seize Irwin, and that Carr has simply not filed the necessary paperwork as required by the ordinance.
"If she did not fill out the paperwork, we are going to have to take Irwin away from her," said Broken Arrow spokesperson Stephanie Higgins. "I do not see the city council denying this application," Higgins added.
Carr told KOTV she doesn't trust the city. She'll fill out the forms, she says, but until the process is completed, she and Irwin are leaving town.
As a not so incidental footnote, Irwin has had problems of his own. The kangaroo fractured his neck when he ran into a fence, and that's when Carr initially took him home and nursed him back to health.