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Humane Society’s Pet Update: Three Years After Katrina

The HSUS - Three Years After Katrina

We’re Working Hard to Help Animals and We Need Your Help

Our disaster relief work since Katrina

Watch Slideeshow

Make a Monthly Gift

August 29, 2008

The devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina three years ago today was a heartbreaking reminder of what can happen to animals — and their families — when disasters strike.

With the generosity of supporters like you and in partnership with a host of other organizations and selfless volunteers, our dedicated emergency teams were able to save thousands of animals who were stranded by the storm. Our relief work in the Gulf Coast region continues today.

For us, those trying times were a turning point, and we now have built the leading animal disaster response team in the post-Katrina era.

I invite you to watch a special slideshow highlighting our crisis relief work during and since Katrina. Then support our efforts to help animals in need by making a monthly contribution to our Disaster Relief Fund.

One of the most significant steps the country took following Katrina was the passage of legislation to help prevent animals from being left behind during disasters. Through the work of The HSUS and more than 324,000 individuals who took action, the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act was signed into law Oct. 6, 2006.

In our disaster response work since Katrina, The HSUS has focused its attention and energy on an unending array of tragedies – both natural and human-caused — around the country and throughout the world.

As you may know, just days ago we led the effort to rescue nearly 1,000 dogs from a puppy mill nightmare in West Virginia. Finally, these innocent animals are free of their cages and on their way to the loving homes they so deserve.

And today, we’re keeping a close eye on Gustav as it moves toward the Gulf Coast. Our entire animal rescue team has been put on standby to deploy at a moment’s notice, but only because your support keeps them operating.

Our work doesn’t stop there. We’ve rescued animals not only from the erratic paths of hurricanes and the horror of puppy mills, but also from unbearable hoarding conditions, vicious animal fighting operations, overwhelming floods, out-of-control wildfires, deadly volcanoes, and other perilous situations.

We’ve made tremendous strides since Katrina, but only with your support can we sustain our efforts to respond to disasters and emergencies.

Watch our slideshow. Then please support our rescue efforts.

I am grateful for all you do for animals.

Sincerely,

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

August 30, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pets, Success Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Doggie ‘doctors’ diagnose their owners’ ills

Canines’ keen sense of smell & intuition helps them detect people’s disease

Morgan, a Yorkshire terrier, jumped at owner Pamela Plante’s leg so incessantly that she that she finally inspected it in the mirror, and realized it was red up to her knee. She was diagnosed with an  infection that had spread throughout her body and she spent a week in the hospital.“After she jumped on my leg, she would sit and look at me and shake or shiver,” says the Smithfield, R.I., woman. (Photo by Pamela Plante)

“From past experience, I knew she would shake like that when she was in pain, so I picked her up and checked her all over trying to find out what was wrong and couldn’t find anything. When I put her down she would jump on my leg again.”

Finally, Plante inspected her leg in a mirror and discovered it was red up to the knee.

Plante called her doctor who told her to get checked immediately. She was diagnosed with sepsis and spent a week in the hospital recovering from the infection that started in her leg and spread through her body.

Sensitive dogs, such as Morgan, are proving that besides being man’s best friend, some canines also have a lifesaving sixth sense. Dogs’ keen ability to differentiate smells enables some of them to know we’re sick long before we might ourselves. Combine that with their 24/7 observation of us and some pets have proven to be skilled diagnosticians, even if we’re not always sure what they’re trying to tell us.

In the past few years, studies have shown that dogs can sniff out both early and late stage lung and breast cancers. The Pine Street Foundation, a non-profit cancer education and research organization, in San Anselmo, Calif., is even training dogs to recognize ovarian cancer.

Some dogs have also been shown capable of detecting skin cancer.

Riker, a 9-year-old Australian Shepherd who lives with Liz and Paul Palika in Oceanside, Calif., poked insistently at Liz’s father’s chest. “Dad, did you leave some of your dinner on your shirt?” Liz teased him. But Riker wouldn’t stop. To satisfy him, Liz and her mother took a closer look. There was a lump on her father’s chest. A trip to the doctor revealed a melanoma that had spread beneath the skin.

Other dogs have been taught to catch when diabetics’ blood sugar levels drop. And for about the past 20 years, “seizure dogs” have been used to alert their owners to a pending seizure and assist them to a safe place until it’s over.

Lifesaving cat
It’s not just dogs who have proven to have life-saving noses. Ardis Matson of Brookings, S.D., credits a gray tomcat named Tuffy with keeping her mother alive and able to live on her own for several years. “My mother was elderly and had insulin-dependent diabetes,” Matson says. “Often, her blood sugar would go dangerously low during the night and if left unchecked it could have caused her to go into a coma and die. Tuffy always slept with her, and when her blood sugar started slipping really low during the night, he would nudge her and walk across her body and keep aggravating her until she would get up and take glucose to make her blood sugar levels rise. When she was in control again, Tuffy would go back to sleep.”

And then there’s Oscar, a cat who lives at Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, R.I. He alerts staff to the impending death of patients, a gift that allows families to be notified in time to say their good-byes.

The answer to how animals know something is wrong may be up in the air — literally. Dogs and cats have a keener sense of smell than humans, and that may enable them to detect subtle changes in body odor caused by such things as cancer cells or lowered blood sugar.

In the case of Oscar, for instance, veterinarian Margie Scherk, president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, notes that he may be picking up a variety of clues that people are too busy to notice or don’t have the sensory capacity to detect.

“Cats live in a world of smells; their olfactory sense is a lot more acute than that of a human,” Scherk says. “People who are dying, as well as those who aren’t eating, emit ketotic odors, which might be one cue that cats like Oscar detect. There could easily be other odors that a dying individual produces that our noses are unable to note.”

In addition to being able to pick up certain odors, dogs and cats also seem to be able to recognize that it means there’s a problem their owners need to know about.

“There is reason to believe that some odors do have an ‘intrinsic’ value to the animal, that evolution has led to the development of neural pathways that specialize in detecting and processing relevant categories of smell,” says Timothy E. Holy, assistant professor of anatomy and neurobiology at Washington University in St. Louis. “Experience, too, plays a big role. You can train a dog to react in particular ways to relatively arbitrary smells.”

Those smells might include the breath of a person with lung cancer or the urine of a person with bladder cancer.

So the next time your dog or cat is nagging you, don’t ignore him. He might have something important to say. Just ask Joan Beck of Cottage Grove, Minn.

“One morning I woke up in the throes of a severe asthma attack. My husband was already awake and taking a shower. I was having so much trouble breathing that I couldn’t call for help. Our English springer spaniel, Sam, suddenly appeared, nosed me for a moment, then turned around and left the room. My husband said later that Sam pushed the bathroom door open and insisted that he follow Sam back to our bedroom. ‘Who needs Lassie when we have Sam?’ my husband says.”

By:  Kim Campbell Thornton is an award-winning author who has written many articles and more than a dozen books about dogs and cats. She belongs to the Dog Writers Association of America and is past president of the Cat Writers Association. She shares her home in California with three Cavalier King Charles spaniels and one African ringneck parakeet.

© 2008 MSNBC Interactive

August 29, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pets, Success Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nude Fur Protesters Bleed For Animals

Animal activists clad in nothing but their underwear and red paint to emulate the blood of animals protested against the torture and slaying of animals to make fur clothing in Buenos Aires in June 2008.

Fur Protesters Buenos Aires 1
Activists clad in underwear with red body paint protest against the use of fur in
Buenos Aires June 25 2008. Photo Reuters

In a previous nude demonstration, PETA protesters say that animals are anally electrocuted, gassed, or their necks are broken and skinned alive just for the sake of fashion. “In this day and age there is no excuse for fur when there are so many alternatives.”

The AnimaNaturalis organization — an international animal activist group — says, “Nowadays it is not necessary to kill animals to get their fur.  Animals need their fur, we don’t.”

Fur Protesters Buenos Aires 2
A group of “bleeding” women lie during a demonstration in Buenos Aires June 25, 2008.
Photo AFP / Juan Mabromata / Getty Images

Fur Protesters Buenos Aires 3
Make-up artist paints with false blood a group of people in Buenos Aires June 25, 2008.
Photo AFP / Juan Mabromata / Getty Images

Fur Protesters Buenos Aires 4
Group of “bleeding” people lie in Buenos Aires on June 25, 2008.
Photo AFP / Juan Mabromata / Getty Images

The organization equates the human use of animals for their fur to the murder of millions of people by National Socialist Germany, stating, “The word ‘holocaust’ can be applied to the animal holocaust as well as to the Jews, without diminishing the importance of the latter.”

“The comparison is valid from the moment that both are seized and placed in cages (concentration camps). Both are tortured and die of hunger as it frequently happens to egg-laying chickens. Both are finally murdered.”

More than 150 nude protesters made headlines in Barcelona Spain on January 27 this year in a silent demonstration to denounce the use of animals to make fur coats that was organized by AnimaNaturalis, which has staged similar protests in Mexico, Ecuador and Argentina.

Fur Protesters Buenos Aires 5
Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, June 25, 2008. Photo Xinhua

Fur Protesters Buenos Aires 6
Buenos Aires, June 25, 2008. Photo Reuters

Fur Protesters Buenos Aires 7
Buenos Aires, June 25, 2008. Photo Reuters

The protest took place at exactly noon just as worshipers were arriving for Mass. Worshipers found themselves greeted to a throng of protesters curled up fetal style, and covered in what was meant to appear as blood on the steps of the Saint Eulalia Cathedral.

In a scene reminiscent of a bloodbath, the number of protesters involved in the “Nude against Fur” demonstration was to symbolize the average number of animals it takes to make 1 fur coat, they laid on the steps of the Gothic Cathedral in Barcelona city center that bears the name of a young virgin martyr of Roman times.

Fur Protesters Buenos Aires 8
Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 25, 2008. Photo Xinhua

Fur Protesters Buenos Aires 9
Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 25, 2008. Photo Reuters

Fur Protesters Barcelona Spain 10
Barcelona, Spain January 31 2008. Photo Lohasian

The event was also to call attention to the fact that Spain, together with Greece, Germany and Italy are key manufacturers of fur coats according to the animal rights group AnimaNaturalis.

A spokesman for the group said the Cathedral steps were a natural place because many people chose to wear fur to church and the nearby Opera house Liceu.

The protesters displayed placards saying “How many lives does it take to make a coat?”

A press release cited, “Millions of fox, mink, nutria, lynx, beavers, chinchillas, and other species are raised in captivity or cruelly trapped in order to strip them of the fur that they need. Nothing justifies the use of animal skins.”

AnimaNaturalis also opposes Hispanic customs such as bullfighting, dog fights and cockfights.

Fur Protesters Barcelona Spain 11
Barcelona, Spain January 31 2008. Photo Lohasian

Fur Protesters Barcelona Spain 12
Barcelona, Spain January 31 2008. Photo Lohasian

Fur Protesters Barcelona Spain 13
Protesters covered in red paint to resemble blood, on steps of the
Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, Barcelona. Photo AFP

Nudity has a tradition in Barcelona of political and religious purposes that pre-dates modern animal rights activists. Saint Eulalia is the co-patroness of Barcelona and the Cathedral of Barcelona, as well as sailors.

Legend has it that the young Eulalia was exposed naked in a public square during the 4th century A.D. persecution of early Christians by the emperor Diocletian, when a miraculous snowfall covered the martyr’s nudity.

Enraged by the miracle, her Roman torturers placed Eulalia in a barrel studded inside with blades and rolled it down a street (now known as ‘Baixada de Santa Eulalia’) to her death.

Buried in the cathedral crypt, her feast day is February 12th. A hymn was written for the Saint in Visigothic times, which was preserved by the Mozarabic Rite of southern Spain.

For more information on AnimaNaturalis visit their website.

PETA Activists Go Nude for Fur

Sources: Spero News, The Lohasian, and AnimaNaturalis

Nude Fur Protesters Bleed for Animals Nude Fur Protesters Bleed for Animals Nude Fur Protesters Bleed for Animals Nude Fur Protesters Bleed for Animals Nude Fur Protesters Bleed for Animals Nude Fur Protesters Bleed for Animals Nude Fur Protesters Bleed for Animals

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August 28, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heimlich Manuever & CPR for Dogs

EMERGENCY TECHNIQUES FOR DOGS!

Heimlich Maneuver.. reach into dogs mouth and get lodged object out…
Stretch DOG up with BACK to your body… reach under it’s chest… AND HUG tightly… Count 1,2,3… rest… Again

OR

Chest down to the floor… with the palm of your hand… push-punch at the back… Count 1,2,3… Again

CPR FOR DOGS

Nose to Mouth... not breathing … Move dog and LAY DOG DOWN on it’s RIGHT SIDE… Reach in and pull TONGUE out to see if anything can be reached in the mouth…

Then CLOSE MOUTH … BREATH INTO NOSE… observe the stomach expanding with air…

Reason to LAY DOG ON RIGHT SIDE…
HEART is closest to LEFT THIGH … feel pulse / heartbeat… observe air in expanding stomach…


Check with your VET. The above were demonstrations on a Dog-doll. Never try on a well-dog as the dog will most probably want to bite. These demos were performed by a Veterinarian on the popular TV Show:

The Mike & Juliet TV Show (8/25/2008)

Mannequin Dog for Pet Quick Response & First Aid Training

August 27, 2008 Posted by | Just One More Pet, Pets, Success Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hey Mom… Do Dogs Go To Heaven??

Of Course Dogs Go To Heaven… Here’s Proof!
It’s summer. The kids are out of school. Flowers of every color populate yards and gardens. It’s time for cookouts, picnics, hide-and-seek, and backyard basketball games. A time for kids to be kids-to enjoy the great outdoors without the burdens of homework or curfews. As a parent, we wish that our kids could remain this happy and innocent forever. Then reality has a way of crawling out of the dark recesses and overshadowing a blissful sunny afternoon.
My son went to play over at his best friend’s house this afternoon. It’s a cute house in a “Mayberry” type neighborhood. Full of big trees, quiet streets, trampolines and bicycles. There are “Slow, Children Playing” signs posted along the road sides and speed bumps to keep what little traffic there is from exceeding the 20 MPH speed limit. A safe haven away from the daily rat race of our hectic lives.
That is, until you look at the ten foot long blood stain that lies on the side of the road. My son was waiting out in the yard when I arrived to pick him up. He walked dejectedly to the car and flopped down into the passenger seat. “Mom, I feel so bad for the neighbors”, he said. I asked what happened and he related the sad story.
Apparently the neighbor children had a dog. Not just a dog, but a member of the family. A protector, companion, and friend named Muttley. Muttley was a good dog. He was well trained; he loved the kids and anyone else who offered him a scratch on the belly or a pat on the head. When the children were outside, Muttley was never far away. Even when he went out for a bathroom break, he knew his limits and never approached the road. He had never needed a leash or a fence to keep him in the yard that he so proudly protected.
Today, something was different. For reasons unknown, Muttley strayed too close to the road. That’s when a 3000 pound, 200 horsepower raging death machine mercilessly took Muttley away from his family forever. What kind of person exceeds the speed limit by at least 40 MPH in a residential neighborhood? What kind of person never even swerves to avoid a hapless creature standing on the side of the road? What kind of person leaves man’s best friend lying in a ten foot long puddle of blood and doesn’t even slow down? What kind of person could look into the horrified, tear stained face of a child and and not stop?
The only answer I have for that question is that the driver of that car shouldn’t be classified as a person, but an animal. No, animal is too nice a term; most animals kill only for food or in self-defense. Barbarian is a more appropriate term. I know that this world is filled with war, poverty, hunger and cruelty. I know that horrific crimes are committed each day. I know that the death of a family pet seems like a trivial thing in the grand scheme of things. But Muttley was a friend…
Tonight there will be a small funeral held in the backyard of a quiet home in suburbia. A cardboard box, lots of tears, a few flowers from the yard, a heartfelt eulogy and many hugs. Afterward, two parents will try to explain the unexplainable to three small children. And there will be more hugs because words can never convey the sorrow that is felt by this one little family. Or take away the trauma. Later, when they are alone, two parents will contemplate another question. A more chilling question. Supposed the hapless creature on the side of the road hadn’t been Muttley, but one of their children? Or one of the other neighborhood children?
Tonight, somewhere, there sits a barbarian. A lead-footed killer with a blood-stained car and no conscience. A murderer who could have just as easily been responsible for the death of a child as he was the death of this poor animal. Sleep well, Barbarian! Because one day I believe that you will answer to a higher power. And then there will be justice.
Meanwhile, at my house, we will say a prayer for Muttley and his grieving family. And I will once again hug my son and reassure him that “Yes, Honey, dogs go to heaven too…”

August 26, 2008 Posted by | Just One More Pet, Pets, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Help Oppose the Torturous Treatment of Dogs and Cats in Korea

hanging dogShould the brutal treatment and death of a dog or cat concern us more than if the same were done to a cow, or a sheep, or a chicken. It shouldn’t, but animals that the “Western world” looks upon as companion animals are treated very differently in Korea.

Many Koreans still believe that if one eats dog meat from dogs that have been tortured to death, it will make them more sexually active. The marketing of dog meat as a health food was initiated and perpetuated by the dog meat dealers to keep their billion dollar businesses going. The rationale behind savagely beating a dog to death lies in the primitiveness that when a dog is beaten they produce high levels of adrenaline hence the selling of their meat as a kind of “natural” viagra for impotence and vitality!

This adrenaline rush is achieved by hanging dogs from ropes on trees and leaving them to slowly strangle to death, and then while still alive, their fur is blowtorched off.

Cats do not hold any position of affection in Korean society. They are not eaten as dogs are but many attempts have been made to eradicate them, not by humane methods, but rather by beating the animals to death in sacks or, in some cases, boiling them alive in large pressure cookers to supply the insatiable demand for another “herbal” remedy – although clearly animals do not fall into this category.

The Korean government does not enforce its animal welfare laws so people make an assumption that farming dogs, slaughtering them and selling their meat is legal. It is not. The sale and cooking of dogs is illegal under Korea’s food and sanitation laws.

INTERNATIONAL PROTEST WORKED BACK IN 1988 AT THE SEOUL GAMES.
IT CAN WORK AGAIN WITH YOUR HELP.

Please write and send e-mails to the following individuals and demand that they stop defining Dogs as “livestock”. Also to enforce existing laws that prohibit cruelty to and consumption of dogs.

President Kim Dae Jung
Blue House
1 Saejong-Ro,Chongro-Ku,
Seoul,South Korea 110-760
Web email: http://www.cwd.go.kr/e_mail_president.html

Chairman Park Joon Kyu
The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea
1 Youido-dong,Youngdungpo-ku
Seoul,South Korea 150-701
E-Mail: webmaster@assembly.go.kr

Minister Kim Myoung Ja
Ministry of Environment
1 Joongang-dong
Kwachun City
Kyoungki-do
South Korea 427-760
Email: mjkim@me.go.kr

Minister Kim Sung Hoon
Ministry of Agiculture
1 Joongang-dong
Kwachun City
Kyoungki-do
South Korea 427-760
Email: webmaster@maf.go.kr

For more information:
Kyenan Kum {co-founder}
International Aid for Korean Animals and the Korean Animal Protection Society.
E-Mail: kaps@koreananimals.org
Website: www.koreananimals.org

See our interview with Kyenan Kum founder of IAKA and KAPS.

Even if you just wanted to contact Kyenan to let her know that there are plenty of people out there that are also deeply concerned. We know she would appreciate it.

If I told you In South Korea, it is common to eat dogs. This is not done in a humane manner, but by torturing them to death by hanging, strangulation, and beatings with such objects as bricks, large rocks, heavy rod-like objects and electrocution. They do this for long periods of time in order to terrorize and cause great suffering to the animal. They die a very slow and painful death. This brutal execution is done to dogs, because many South Koreans believe the flesh from a dog who is tortured to death has aphrodisiac qualities and tastes better. Some South Koreans torture cats by hitting them on the head repeatedly with hammers, by placing them in sacks which are then pounded on the ground, or by other methods that produce slow and painful death. Dead cats are cooked along with ginger, dates and chestnuts to make a brown paste or “Liquid Cat” which is foolishly thought by many South Koreans to be a remedy for rheumatism and joint problems,”

http://www.animal-lib.org.au/lists/korea/korea.shtml

“Never believe that animals suffer less than humans.
Pain is the same for them that it is for us.
Even worse, because they cannot help themselves.”
— Dr. Louis J. Camuti (1893-1981)

August 25, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You A Better Actor Because You Have A Pet??

Walleve

Studies are showing that pets help with both emotionally and physically ill patients, the elderly, loneliness, depression, children with ADD and ADHD and now it seems like they just might help aspiring actors as well… JOMP~

Remember those mortifying, eye-roll-inducing improv classes where the teacher would make you pretend to be an animal and walk across the room as that creature in front of the whole class? Well, to this day I have no clue whether my crouching around on a dusty linoleum floor impersonating a tarantula when I was 19 resulted in my becoming a master of my craft, but I know for sure that there’s another version of this acting exercise that works much better for me: having actual live animals around to watch.

Inspired by the hit movie Wall-E, I went on a mission a few weeks ago to find two kittens to adopt. I knew exactly what they would look like: one would be an orange tabby that I would call (of course) Wall-E, and the other would be an all-white female cat that I would name Eve. If you’ve seen the film, you know that Eve is the pretty female robot who captures Wall-E’s heart.

Thanks to Craigslist, I was soon bringing home Eve from a rough L.A. neighborhood called South Gate. Wall-E came from a friend’s neighbor whose feral cat had a litter of multi-colored babies.Walle_3

Soon my daily life was transformed into a behavioral observation workshop. I watched as Eve and Wall-E used different techniques to cope with the radical change from the surroundings they had known before. When I got Eve in the car to drive home, she immediately crammed her entire body in the crevice between the windshield and the dashboard so she could “hide” from the terrifying prison of my Toyota Scion. Her eyes filled with fear, she spent the entire ride home farting on my friend’s shoulder. Lovely.

I wondered if I had ever been that scared for my life, and whether or not I would be able to portray such panic on stage or screen. I knew that by watching Eve that day, I was closer to knowing how.

Two weeks later Eve is transformed into a sweet, playful feline princess with a belly full of Pounce treats. Feminine and elegant, I thought she would be the perfect role model for Wall-E. Wrong. The smaller orange tabby entered the picture and was immediately chased into the empty kitty crawl space of my couch, conveniently provided by the cheap-ass furniture manufacturer known as Ikea. I had to turn the couch on its side several times before I saw a single shivering paw dangling between the two corkboard panels. Sheer terror, justified. Eve was the head of the household and boy was she pissed about the new kid in town.

I watched them more. Fighting, growling, hissing, chasing. Then a little less fighting, some suspicious smelling, and chasing resumed. Day by day, the hostility slowly eased until one day I caught them snoozing next to each other under the bed. They didn’t even bother denying it. They just looked at me and (I swear) shrugged.

Without knowing it, in the last month, my cats told a story. By being their characters, a perfect dramaturgical arc unfurled. It was without a doubt, a better acting lesson than crawling around pretending to be a spider for a bunch of other acting students.

Wall-E and Eve are more than living up to their superstar blockbuster names; I can’t wait to tune in tomorrow to see what happens next.

If you know you’re a better actor because of your pet, leave a comment below and tell me why!

Cat photo provided by author; Wall-E photo courtesy Disney/Pixar.

Miki Yamashita

Also Featured in BackStage LA Actor Online Magazine

August 23, 2008 Posted by | Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pets, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great Update About Dogs Removed From Michael Vick’s Compound

Heard a great update today… It seems that all but two of the dogs removed from Michael Vick’s dog fighting compound have been rescued and placed. I just caught the tail end of coverage today as I was walking by my TV… I believe it was on Entertainment Tonight. It is a great ending to a tragic situation for all but two of theses dogs, mostly pit bulls. One has even been trained for pet therapy.

Usually in dog fighting ring situations like this, the dogs are all destroyed, but because of the media focus on this particular story, the ASPCA stepped in…. “I thought, if we see four or five dogs that we can save, I’ll be happy,” said Randy Lockwood, an animal behaviorist with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “If we had to euthanize the majority, then we could at least say we’d tried.”

Let us hope that we all learned something from this situation and that it not only will change laws and awareness but also the realization by in most cases, this dogs who are victims and have already led horrible lives can be saved. See related article below:

Saving Michael Vick’s Dogs

Pit Bulls Rescued From the Football Player’s Fighting Ring Show Progress in an Unprecedented Rehabilitation Effort

Shelter for the Scarred

When football superstar Michael Vick pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to run a dogfighting operation, we knew he had kept about 50 pit bulls on his 15-acre property in rural Surry County, Va., on a road named Moonlight. We knew the dogs were chained to car axles near wooden hovels for shelter. And we knew the dogs that didn’t fight were beaten, shot, hanged, electrocuted or drowned. For rest of this story…

August 21, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Success Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Animals Help the Ailing, the Elderly, and the Young

Researchers are finding that animals, especially small ones, have shown promise in helping with many conditions, both social and physical:

A Naples Community Hospital has volunteers who bring their pets to visit patients. The animals are specially trained to remain calm and must pass a “good Citizen” test before they are certified for hospital visits.

Here is a short list of conditions being helped by enlisting cats and dogs

  • Pets help Alzheimer’s patients by bringing them back to the present. Specially trained pups can also help alert others that an Alzheimer’s patient has wandered into harm’s way. “Pets can provide a measure of safety to people with the disease,” says Thomas Kirk, a vice president of a chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
  • Children who suffer from attention deficit disorder (ADD) are able to focus on a pet, which helps them learn to concentrate.
  • Mentally ill patients, or those with emotional problems, share a common bond when a cat or dog enters the room. Instead of reacting negatively to one another, it boosts morale and fosters a positive environment.
  • Pets are an antidote to depression. Life in a care facility can be boring. A visit from a therapy cat or dog breaks the daily routine and stimulates interest in the world outside.
  • Pets provide social interaction. In a health care facility, people come out of their rooms to socialize with the animals and with each other.
  • Everyone has the need to touch. Many humans are uncomfortable hugging or touching strangers, even those close to them. Some people are alone and have no hands to hold, no bodies to hug. But rubbing the fur of a cat or dog can provide a stimulation that is sorely lacking. The nonverbal connection is invaluable in the healing process.

(Perhaps we can convince the Chinese to re-think their eating habits and leave dogs and cats off their menus once the Olympic are over and to develop a “Good Citizen Program” instead with dogs and cats for hospitals, institutions and kids with challenges??)

August 20, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Crate “Training” – Blessing or Abuse??

To Crate Train or Not To Crate Train…That Is The Question~

You may think that putting your pet in a crate is mean or inhumane and that it might cause your pet to resent you or to develop some type of psychological damage, keeping in mind that dogs view the world somewhat differently than humans. Or you may think it sounds practical.  But either way crate training is a commonly suggested training method, so something to be given a thought for many.  Yet no matter what your choice, leaving your dog in a crate for extended periods of time or daily is inadvisable, and you should keep the words ‘training’ and ‘temporary confinement’ in mind, if crate training is your choice.

A dog crate is a cage usually made of wire or molded plastic whose purpose is to provide confinement for reasons of security, safety, housebreaking, protection of household goods, travel or illness. And your dog sees the crate as a room of his very own – a “safety zone”, if used correctly. The crate can help to satisfy the “den instinct” inherited from when his ancestors and relatives were den-dwellers. Most pets will feel secure, not frustrated once accustomed to his crate. Your pet wants to please you and you want to enjoy him. The crate can help you in achieving a better relationship with your pet by preventing unwanted behavior when you aren’t available to supervise him.

The positives with the help of a crate are:

  • You can enjoy peace of mind when having to leave your puppy or young dog alone, knowing that nothing can be soiled or destroyed and that he is comfortable, safe, and not developing bad habits.
  • You can housebreak your pet more quickly by using the close confinement to motivate your pet to wait until taken outside, since canines naturally avoid soiling their den.
  • You can travel with your pet without risk of the the dog getting loose and becoming lost or interfering with safe driving.
  • Your dog can enjoy the security and privacy of den of his own to which he can retreat when tired or stressed.
  • Your dog can avoid much of the fear and confusion caused by your reaction to problem behavior.
  • Since he can more easily adapt to staying in unfamiliar places as long as he has his familiar “safety zone” along, your pet can be included in family outings, instead of being left behind alone.

The negatives of using a crate are:

  • Too Much Time In The Crate… A crate isn’t a magical solution. If not used correctly, a dog can feel trapped and frustrated, so other arrangements should be made to meet his physical and emotional needs. Pets can’t and shouldn’t be expected to control their bladders and bowels for extended periods of time.
  • Whining. If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether he’s whining for attention and to be let out of the crate, or whether he needs to be let outside to eliminate. If you’ve followed the proper training procedures, then your dog hasn’t been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from his crate. So, if that is the case your dog is just testing you and he’ll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at him or pounding on the crate will only make things worse, because that is a form of attention, so just try ignoring him again. But if the whining continues after you’ve ignored him again for several minutes, use the phrase he associates with going outside to eliminate. If he responds and becomes excited, take him outside. And, this should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you’re then convinced that your dog doesn’t need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore him until he stops whining. Don’t give in (within reason); if you do, you’ll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what he wants. If you’ve progressed gradually through the training steps and haven’t done too much too fast, you’ll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again.
  • Using A Crate For Separation Anxiety. Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won’t solve the problem. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counter-conditioning and desensitization procedures. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but he could actually injure himself attempting to escape from the crate. You may want to consult a professional animal-behavior specialist for help rather than try the crate to solve this problem.

Dogs are social animals. Place the crate in an area where the family spends a lot of time – kitchen. family room, etc. The top of the crate can serve as extra shelf or table space. At night, move your puppy’s crate into your bedroom so you can hear him if he needs to go out.

A young puppy should have no problem accepting the crate as his place. When you first bring a puppy home, crying is caused, not by the crate, but by adjusting to an unfamiliar household or being newly separated from his mother. Do not reward barking or whining with attention! If you are sure he doesn’t need to eliminate, ignore him until he is quiet, then praise him or take him out of the crate. Do not leave meals in the crate or feed your puppy immediately prior to confining him. Most puppies will spill water left in the crate. Do leave a safe chew toy in the crate for your pet. Close your pet in the crate whenever he must be left alone or can’t be closely supervised by a responsible person.

Never crate your pet longer than you know he can wait to eliminate, and definitely less than 4 hour intervals during the day. If you occasionally must be gone longer than this, place the crate with the door open in an enclosed area such as a bathroom or laundry room, or kitchen area. Place newspapers on the floor of the room to facilitate clean-up. Your puppy should soon stop eliminating overnight and then may be crated in his regular place.

Crate training puppies over 6-months old may be more difficult. Therefore the dog’s first association with the crate should be pleasant. And there are some animals (usually adults) that can or will not tolerate this form of confinement. A few will show no desire to keep the crate clean. Be sensitive to you pet’s needs!!

Crates can be purchased at pet stores, department stores, and from pet supply catalogs, some stores even have used crates for sale that they have taken in trade. Look for a wire crate that includes a removable metal floor pan. Plastic crates can also be used, although some dogs will chew the plastic and it is much more confining for your pet (unless it is only used for traveling).

Also, look for one with a smooth floor for your pet’s comfort and line the bottom with a comfortable pad, once they are house potty trained. Purchase crate large enough for your pet to stretch out on its side and to sit or stand erect. If you have a puppy, it is more economical to buy a wire crate that will accommodate him as an adult, then partition it to the right size. A movable wire or pegboard partition can be made or purchased. Too large a crate can undermine housebreaking because your pet may eliminate at one end of the crate and lie down at the other. For bedding, use an old blanket or buy a washable crate pad. Depending on size and construction, a new crate may cost $45 – $180. This is a bargain compared to the cost of replacing a sofa, woodwork, or carpeting. But the ultimate goal is to use the crate for travel, special need times, and an available spot for your pet to voluntarily retreat to; not as an every day area of confinement. And a few chewed base boards or carpet corners are sometimes the trade-off for having a completely loyal best friend, just like a few scratches in the furniture and spill marks on the carpet are the trade off of small human additions to your family. When you are old it is their love that you will remember, not the small messes and inconveniences.

Use a crate for your pet, if needed and if it works for them, but don’t abuse its use.

  1. Children should be taught that the crate is a special room for the pet and that they should not pester the dog or puppy when it is in the crate or use the crate as a playhouse.
  2. The use of a dog crate is NOT RECOMMENDED for a dog regularly left alone all day, although some individual animals can tolerate it. If it is attempted:
    • The pet must be well exercised before and after crating.
    • The crate must be equipped with a heavy, non-tip dish of water.
    • Your pet should get lots of attention and complete freedom each night.
  3. If you do not have time to take a puppy or dog outside to eliminate and exercise as recommended here, you should reconsider getting a dog as a pet, or at least hiring a dog walker. Crate or no crate, any dog consistently denied the attention and companionship it craves, may still find ways to express bored anxiety, and stress, and regular confinement for long periods of time actually cause stress, anxiety and even aggression in your dog.
  4. Always ask yourself… Is my choice, for using the crate or other decisions, for my convenience or for the well-being of my friend?

I myself am not an advocate of crate training, but it is a viable tool if used correctly. But if used incorrectly, it can be abusive.

Sources: Humane Society articles and Wikipedia

A Cute Photo From CuteOverload

Two species getting along great in their crate!

August 17, 2008 Posted by | Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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