Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

Betrayed… Frightened…Confused… He Would Never Do This To You!

We Would Never Do This To You

‘Until One Has Loved an Animal, Part of Their Sour Remains Unawakened’

Pets… Animals are family too and they are forever, just like children.  Dogs are man’s best friend and they would never abandon you! 

Homeless With Pets – Choosing Pets Over Shelter

Where there is a will…

Economic Forecast: One Million Pets May Lose Homes in the U.S.

Just How Bad Is The Economy??

If you have the love in your heart and the room in your home… adopt just one more pet, or help someone to keep theirs.

And if you really can’t keep your pet(s) find them a new home… do not abandon them or take them to the shelter

November 2, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal Rescues, Dogs, Dogs, Fostering and Rescue, Help Familie Keep Their Pets, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, NO KILL NATION, Outreach for Pets, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, Toughen Animal Abuse Laws and Sentences | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dog Age…

A popular old wives’ tale claims that one year of a dog’s life is equal to seven human years. This has been proven to be false. For example, dogs are capable of reproducing at around one year of age, but a seven-year-old child is far from sexually mature. Veterinarians have now come up with a much more realistic comparison between human and dog years.  This new chart has been updated from pet age charts created just a couple years back.

The chart below is an average for a small to middle-sized dog in good health, but there are many factors… breed, health, living conditions, etc. 

Generally speaking the larger the dog, the shorter their lifespan, but there are always exceptions and each breed as well as each dog is different.  One of the shortest living breeds are Great Danes, who live between 7 and 12 years.  The oldest dogs living now are a 32-year-old Chihuahua and two Dachshunds at 26 and 28-years old.

The differences in dog age compared to human age begin at around age 6.  Example… at age 6 small dog is equivalent to 40 in human years, a medium sized dog is more like 42 in human age and a large dog is closer to age 45 and the gaps become wider each year.

Dog Years Chart


How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This…

A Dog’s Life… Can Be Longer Than You Think…

Part 2 of Dr. Becker’s Interview with Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote: The Seven Factors that Determine How Long Your Dog Will Live

Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs, by Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote – Available in Bookstores This Week!

World’s Oldest Dog Dies At Age 26….Requiescat in pace

Pet owners turning to non-traditional

A Natural Herb That Fights Cancer, or Chemotherapy for Your Sick Pet… Which Would You Choose?

‘Until One Has Loved an Animal, Part of Their Sour Remains Unawakened’

Adopt a Senior Pet…

WCBM’s Les Kinsolving’s beautiful tribute to Brendan, Griffen, and all dogs and dog owners

How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This…

The Nutrient Your Pet Needs More of As They Age: Protein 

Life in a Dog Pack: Old Age 

Cat & Dog Owners Not Considering Age When Selecting Food

‘Dogs Have The Intelligence of a Human Toddler’

GoD and DoG 

If I Should Die Before My Dog…

Providing for Your Pet’s Future Without You

In Pets We Trust  -  Also see:  Every Dog’s Legal Guide 

Pet Alzheimer’s Disease – Is Your Dog or Cat Showing Signs? 

Celebrating Animals in the Afterlife

Your Dying Pet End Life in a Kind and Gentle Way

A Dog’s Purpose – Out of the Mouth of Babes

Pet owners turning to non-traditional

A Natural Herb That Fights Cancer, or Chemotherapy for Your Sick Pet… Which Would You Choose?

‘Until One Has Loved an Animal, Part of Their Sour Remains Unawakened’

Beck family spends time with Victor – Photos

The Kindest Decision – In Home Euthanasia for Pets

Rainbow Bridge…


Animals and the Afterlife: True Stories of Our Best Friends’ Journey Beyond Death (Kindle)

Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond (Kindle)

Help Your Dog Fight Cancer: What Every Caretaker Should Know About Canine Cancer, Featuring Bullet’s Survival Story, 2nd Edition

November 2, 2013 Posted by | Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , | 3 Comments

The New Rules About Who Gets Your Family Pet in a Divorce

Story at-a-glance
  • Nowadays, when pet owning couples break up, it’s less likely the family dog or cat (or bird or other companion animal) will be viewed as just another piece of property to be distributed.
  • Both pet owners and those in the business of settling divorces realize pet custody issues can be as thorny as child custody disputes. These days, divorce mediators and judges are more apt to consider the best interests of the pet.
  • In deciding who should get custody, the courts take into consideration such things as which party takes care of the animal’s basic daily needs, veterinary visits, socialization and training, and who is better equipped financially to care for a pet.
  • Couples who are splitting up should keep their pet’s interests in mind and make custody decisions based on providing the best care and stability for the animal.
  • Depending on many factors including the type of animal involved, it makes sense for some couples to share custody, while others will do the right thing by relinquishing a beloved pet to the person better able to care for it.


By Dr. Becker

Not so long ago, when couples got divorced, their pets were viewed as property to be divvied up right along with the furniture and fine china. And in fact, in the eyes of the law, that’s what a pet is – personal property. But more recently, with both divorce and pet ownership rates soaring, pet custody has become a stickier issue when couples split up.

Pets are often viewed as family members these days, and divorcing couples are more apt to battle each other for the right to keep a beloved dog or cat. In recognition of the human-animal bond, and because pet custody is a sensitive subject not unlike child custody disputes, divorce mediators and family court judges are recognizing the need to consider what’s best for the pet.

According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF):1

"Although animals are considered property in the eyes of the law at this time, some courts are beginning to recognize that one’s relationship with this particular form of property known as the family cat, dog, bird etc., is much different from one’s relationship with other forms of property such as your couch, your watch or your coffee pot."

In deciding who should be awarded custody of a family pet, the court may consider such things as:

  • Which party takes care of the animal’s basic daily needs for such things as food, shelter, potty walks or litter box maintenance, exercise, grooming, and supervision?
  • Who takes the pet to the veterinarian?
  • In the case of a dog, which party insures he gets plenty of social interaction with other dogs and people, and sees to his training?
  • Who has the greatest ability to financially support the pet?

If you and your spouse or significant other (or roommate, in some cases) are splitting up and there is a pet involved, my hope is that you will put the animal’s best interests first.

Doing What’s Best for Your Pet

Some “who gets the pet” situations are clearer than others. For example, if you came into the relationship with a pet, that pet should stay with you unless for some reason your spouse or partner developed more of a bond with the animal than you did. Also, if your pet is much more attached to one of you, in most cases he or she will be the person who assumes custody.

Equally obvious is what to do in situations where one or the other of you is moving to a residence that doesn’t allow pets. In that case, you can consider having the non-custodial owner visit the pet, or take her for walks, or to the dog park, or on vacation.

If you and your spouse share joint custody of children, you might think about having your pet go back and forth between residences with the kids. This plan can work with dogs, but not so much with cats, who attach to a familiar environment. Most kitties will suffer stress-related issues if forced to shuttle back and forth between homes.

If there is more than one pet and they can be easily separated, all other things being equal, it might make sense for each of you to take a pet. Another option, if there is only one pet, is for the person keeping it to help the other party with the cost of acquiring a new pet.

Pets Need Consistency – Especially During and After a Family Breakup

Your dog or cat should live where there’s an established daily routine in which things happen on a predictable schedule. For example, if one of you is always home by 5:30pm while the other works a lot of overtime, the pet should spend most of his time with the spouse who’s home in the evenings.

If you don’t work, work from home, or are able to bring your pet to work with you, it makes sense for the pet to stay with you. Like kids, pets do best when there’s a parent around to supervise and keep them company.

If you and your ex are both able to provide consistent care for your pet and want to share custody, it’s best for the sake of stability and consistency not to shuttle your dog back and forth too frequently (and I don’t recommend shuttling kitties at all). If you can work out a monthly arrangement, it’s preferable to a weekly back-and-forth schedule.

If you’re sharing joint custody of a pet or pets, as part of your separation negotiation, it’s a really good idea to decide ahead of time who will be responsible for which pet-related expenses. This would include regular wellness exams, unplanned visits to the vet, and emergency care. You might want to look into pet health insurance plans as well.

October 6, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , | 2 Comments

Memorial Day Pet Events in Atlanta… Check for Similar Events in Your Area

Remembering those who have died to keep us free this Memorial Day weekend.

Memorial Day Weekend Pet Fun

Here are a few options for pet-related activities this upcoming Memorial Day weekend in metro Atlanta that you can enjoy with or without your pet:


Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Pioneer Days
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Friday), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday)
Location: Tanglewood Farm Miniatures, 171 Tanglewood Drive, Canton, GA 30115
Cost: $10 for the tour
Click here for more information.


LifeLine Wellness Clinic
Time: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: 129 Lake Street, Avondale Estates, GA 30002
Click here for more information.

Caturday Open House at the Furkids Shelter
Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: 2650 Pleasantdale Road, Suite 8, Atlanta, GA 30340
Click here for more information.

Puppy Hour at Doguroo
Time: 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Location: Doguroo, 1456 Northside Drive, Atlanta, GA 30318
Click here for more information.

Low Cost Vaccination Clinic
Time: 1 to 4 p.m.
Location: Georgia SPCA Adoption Center, 1175 Highway 23 (Buford Highway), Suite 109, Suwanee, GA 30024
Click here for more information.

Bunny Care 201
Time: 2 to 4:30 p.m.
Location: North Georgia House Rabbit Society, The Rabbit Center, 2280 Shallowford Road, Marietta, GA 30066
Cost: $10 donation for materials and bunny healthy treat bag
Please contact Marlene by email marlenelarkin@bellsouth.net or by calling 770-792-7222 to reserve your spot.
Click here for more information.

Barks n’ Beers
Time: 4 to 8 p.m.
Location: Der Biergarten, 300 Marietta Street, NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
Click here for more information.


PAWS Atlanta Vaccination Clinic
Time: 1 to 3 p.m.
Location: PAWS Atlanta, 5287 Covington Highway, Decatur, GA 30035
Click here for more information.

Related topics

As we honor or pets and fallen, let us remember that many animals have served as well!!

Sergeant Stubby

1st national monument for war dogs honors four-legged pup soldiers of World War II and beyond

May 24, 2013 Posted by | Animal and Pet Photos, animal behavior, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Holidays With Pets, Just One More Pet, Pet Events, pet fun, Pets, Working and Military Dogs and Related | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Non-Profit Provides Food Stamps for Pets

Pet Food Stamps, a New York-based nonprofit that will give qualifying pet owners throughout the U.S. (who must be receiving government assistance for themselves) funds to buy food for their animals from the website PetFoodDirect. Applications can be filled out here on the –> Pet Food Stamps website

WSJ: If you believe the economy is improving, you’ve likely never met someone who still can’t afford a can of cat food.

Marc Okon, who has worked as a stockbroker, entrepreneur and business consultant, has a friend from his old neighborhood in Bayside, Queens, N.Y. He’s known her since age 10. Her parents died. She fell on hard times. And the economy hasn’t come back for her yet.

"She told me she sometimes fed her cat before herself," Mr. Okon said in a telephone interview.

In February, as headlines raged about a strengthening economy, Mr. Okon started a privately funded nonprofit called Pet Food Stamps. People who are already on government assistance can apply for free pet food.

The group has been swamped with more applications than his staff of a dozen people can readily process. Most applicants send letters detailing how they lost their jobs to outsourcing, their homes to foreclosure or their health to disease or accident.

"I just heard from a lady in North Carolina who has an autistic son whose only companion is a Jack Russell Terrier," he said. "It’s cookie-cutter sadness. … Little details change but the gist of each story is the same."

Despite nominal improvements in the unemployment rate, the U.S. Department of Agriculture counts more than 47 million people in its food stamp program—nearly one out of every seven Americans.

Food stamps cannot be used to purchase pet food. But they can be used to buy Coca-Cola.

Last week, the National Center for Public Research complained at Coca-Cola’s annual shareholder meeting in Atlanta that the beverage maker lobbies heavily to keep soda on the list of wholesome things that food stamps can buy.

Taxpayers subsidize about $4 billion worth of soda sales each year, the group groused, even as the sugary drink contributes to an obesity epidemic that drives up government health-care costs.

But you know what they say? Food stamps go better with Coke.

Mr. Okon, 36 years old, said he spent his 20s chasing money, first as a stockbroker, then as the founder of a company that sold pay phones as cellphones displaced them. He also did consulting work that took him into the bowels of many other companies.

He said he briefly worked for a firm that sold dubious medical benefits to seniors in the South. "Their whole corporate philosophy was to manipulate seniors who didn’t have any type of insurance," he said. "I could only do that for about a week and half."

He is a man so disgusted with the lack of ethics he witnessed in private enterprise that he founded a nonprofit to hand out dog food.

"I’ve been around enough shady businesses and surrounded by salesmen-types who were always talking about the deal," he said.

Self-dealing helped destroy the economy—so focused on the bottom line and so unfocused on consequences for everyone else. Dogs and cats don’t know what hit them.

"Millions of pets are surrendered to shelters each year and euthanized because their owners can’t afford to feed them," Mr. Okun said.

And to top it all off, the people in charge of fixing the economy are the same ones who helped destroy it.

"The people in power were put there by fat cats, who have money and control," Mr. Okun said. "I see it getting worse and worse, decade after decade. I don’t know what’s going to change."

See CBS News Video: Non-Profit Provides Food Stamps for Pets

(CBS News) SALEM, Ore. – Tough economic times in recent years have led to heartbreaking decisions for many pet owners. But now, there may be more help on the way.

Marissa Jenkins’ 6-year-old Dachshund, Olivia, is more than a dog.

Marissa Jenkins is thankful for an organization that helps feed her dog.

Marissa Jenkins is thankful for an organization that helps feed her dog.

"She’s been part of our family, she’s definitely not a dog," Jenkins said. "She’s a kid to us."

Recently, the Salem, Ore., family welcomed a new addition – and a new challenge.

"My husband lost his job in February and we just had a baby in December, and so all the costs of having a baby and a dog and a family is adding up," she said.

Now on food stamps, they turned to a non-profit for help to feed their dog because food stamps cannot be used for pet food.

Launched in February, Pet Food Stamps has received over to 160,000 applications from needy families across the country. Marc Okon is the charity’s founder.

"Hundreds of thousands of pets a year are put to sleep, simply because the owners can’t feed them," Okon said.

Okon says dog and cat owners on public assistance are eligible. He’s partnered with a company called Pet Flow to provide free delivery.

" It was a relief for us that we were able to get some help for our dog and because we couldn’t provide for her, somebody else could," Jenkins said, wiping away tears.

While Marissa is grateful for the free pet food, there’s an even more valuable benefit.

"We wanted our child to be able to grow up with animals and our dog is really great with her," she said.

Once back on their feet, the Jenkins say they will donate to the program to help other families in need.


Pet Food Stamps

Struggling families can now apply for nonprofit’s Pet Food Stamps

Homeless Shelters that Allow Pets

How to Help Pets of Homeless People

A Patchwork of Food Assistance for Pets

Help Feed Hungry Pets

Humane Society list of pet financial aid-related organizations

No-No Foods for Pets

Homeless With Pets – Choosing Pets Over Shelter

“One can understand a society by how it treats the weakest among them… the sick, the elderly, the children and the animals!”

**If you can donate or perhaps work with this program, Pet Food Stamps, to help all families in need feed their pets, please do so.

May 3, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Dogs, Dogs, Help Familie Keep Their Pets, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

16 Heartwarming Photos Of Lost Dogs Reunited With Their Families


1. Abby


Abby, who also happens to be blind, went missing for more than a week during super heavy snowstorms in Alaska. Luckily, she managed to find her way home for Christmas. (A Christmas miracle!!!)

Image by McKenzie Grapengeter / AP

2. Bailey


After Bailey, a little Chihuahua mix, went missing for two months, his owner opened a newspaper and found him featured as the shelter’s pet of the month! Just another reason to own a newspaper subscription, folks.

Source: nwitimes.com

3. Puzzle


Puzzle went missing while on a walk in a Seattle park, and returned home nearly a week later. The funny part? Puzzle’s owner left the backdoor open, and Puzzle just happened to walk in.

Source: fremocentrist.com

4. Ruca


The 8-year-old Shih Tzu went missing for just over a week, and here’s the thing: Ruca was a gift from an Iraq soldier to his then-girlfriend, now-wife, Brittney. So, when Ruca dug a hole under the fence and escaped, a real-life Ace Ventura pet detective was hired to find her. Voila, home safe and sound!

Source: turnto23.com

5. Gizmo


This fellow 8-year-old Shih Tzu was found with the help of a microchip after being lost for four months. Awww!

Source: latimesblogs.latimes.com

6. Pooka


The Chihuahua-dachshund mix (Chiweenie) was missing 18 months and wandered all the way to New Mexico before being reunited with her owner in Kentucky. A handy microchip’s to thank for that!

Image by Jeri Clausing / AP

7. Beethoven (probably)

Beethoven (probably)

This big guy was missing less than a week, thankfully, otherwise who would those adorable children cling to?!

Source: imgur.com

8. Aka


Aka spent two years away from her family before being located more than 20 miles from home at an animal shelter. The reason the Alaskan mix was returned? A microchip.

Source: dailynews.com

9. Ginger


Ginger flew the coop for 10 years. Yes, you read that right, but the story gets even stranger. Because when the basset hound’s owner lost custody of Ginger as part of a divorce agreement, he never thought he’d see her again. So, imagine his shock when he opened a paper and saw the dog listed as part of an adoption center’s listings! Looks like she’s back with her dad for good, though.

Source: nydailynews.com

10. Oreo


It was over four and a half years before Oreo was found. He ran away while in the backyard, and his family had all but lost hope that they’d ever see him again. But he was found wandering the streets, thanks to a microchip.

Source: nbcbayarea.com

11. Buster


During Hurricane Sandy, 1-year-old Buster escaped in the chaos of the storm. After searching for close to a month, they found him: On a shelter website where he was due to be euthanized the next day. Luckily, they were able to reach the shelter just hours before he was scheduled to be put down.

Source: huffingtonpost.com

12. Shorty


Shorty disappeared seven years ago from her Louisiana home during Hurricane Katrina. At the age of fifteen, she was found with a microchip, wandering through North Carolina. It’s unclear how she made it into a different state, but for now she’s back with her family.

Image by WCNC

13. Nick


The 10-year-old military police dog, who served two tours, went missing from his yard. Even though it was only for a day, the family had serious cause for concern: Nick suffers from a serious genetic medical condition that affects his hind legs and requires medication. Luckily, the dog was spotted in a different neighborhood and returned safely to his family.

Source: inforum.com

14. Petunia


This mix breed pit bull disappeared from her home in Virginia back in 2003, and was found eight years later in California. That’s roughly 3,000 miles from her home! She was reunited with her elated family on live TV. Pretty emotional homecoming!

Source: digitaljournal.com

15. Earl


Poor Earl. This loyal German shepherd was stolen from his Virginia home and lost for nearly a month before he was found. Turns out that two men took him from his yard and began train hopping with the dog! Earl was found when the men were arrested for illegal train hopping in North Carolina, and he was immediately returned to his family.

Source: Brittany Randolph/The Star

16. Lizzy


Lizzy had been lost for over a month, not a great thing considering she’s blind. Yes, a blind rat terrier. But an anonymous man, who called himself Santa, dropped her off at a Michigan City animal shelter. The rest is adorable history.

Image by Matt Fritz / AP

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal and Pet Photos, Animal Rescues, animals, Chiweenie, Dogs, Dogs, Fostering and Rescue, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Success Stories | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Part 3 of Dr. Becker’s Interview with Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote: Fixing America’s Broken Animal Shelter System

Story at-a-glance
  • Today, in the final segment of a three-part interview with best-selling author Ted Kerasote about his latest book, Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs, Dr. Becker and Ted discuss the problem of homeless pets in North America and the need for shelters to transform themselves into no-kill facilities.
  • Ted also discusses three-and-a-half-year-old Pukka’s life as a healthy, athletic, free-roaming dog, and the benefits and risks of the lifestyle Ted has chosen for him.
  • Finally, Ted discusses two fascinating new projects – one he has just put the finishing touches to, and another he’s currently working on.

By Dr. Becker

I’m back with bestselling author Ted Kerasote for the final installment of our three-part interview. You can see part one here and part two here. We’re discussing Ted’s wonderful new book just out in bookstores, called Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs.

The problem of homeless pets.

One of the huge, complex topics Ted takes on in Pukka’s Promise is the “crisis” situation in North American animal shelters. I worked in a shelter as a teenager, and Ted’s treatment of the subject in his new book has caused me to view the situation in a very different light.

I asked Ted to talk about his research into how unwanted pets are handled in other parts of the world vs. in the U.S.

Ted said he’d first like to address the use of the word “crisis” to describe our homeless pet situation. While it’s true about 1.5 million animals are killed in shelters each year in the U.S., 40 years ago we were killing 20 million per year.

The point is, progress has been made, and Ted believes credit is due the organizations that have worked so hard to bring that number down so dramatically.

How dogs are cared for in Western Europe vs. North America.

As to the question of differences between how North America treats homeless animals vs. other areas of the world, Ted explained that he traveled extensively in Europe to see how the situation was handled over there. He says you don’t see stray dogs roaming all over Western Europe, as happens in some parts of the U.S.

And the assumption is that because Western Europe is so highly urbanized, it can’t have free-roaming dogs. Everyone by necessity must control his or her dog, which is why there’s no so-called pet “overpopulation” problem. But Ted says that actually, there ARE free-roaming dogs … in Hyde Park … at the Bois de Boulogne in Paris … the Villa Borghese in Rome … and the Englischer Garden in Munich. In all these places there are free-roaming, off-leash dogs running about, under the voice-control of their people, and they’re not spayed or neutered, either.

To the casual observer, this seems risky at best. After all, everyone knows how quickly a male dog can mate with a female dog, right? So, why aren’t countless unwanted puppies being killed in shelters? The answer is that in Europe, people sequester their female dogs when they’re in heat. It’s just what they do, because it’s their tradition.

The Europeans carefully manage their female dogs when they’re in season. The dogs stay at home – in the barn or the kennel. They are walked only on a leash. There’s no way you don’t know when your female dog is being mounted by a male dog, if she’s at the end of a four foot leash and you’re holding the other end.

Ted explained that like most Americans, prior to his fact-finding trip to Europe, he didn’t really comprehend that there’s a way to have intact dogs and not have litter after litter of puppies.

Ted further explained that according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the U.S. is number 27 out of 31 countries with respect to overall poverty and the amount of social justice its citizens enjoy. In Scandinavia, for example, there are no dogs killed in animal shelters. They have a very secure social services network that takes care of citizens “from cradle to grave.” Of course, taxes are high, but everyone’s taken care of, including pets.

By contrast, in the U.S., most dogs are killed in counties with low median incomes. It’s absolutely true that you can’t determine the number of dogs killed in a shelter by the amount of money per capita that is spent in that shelter. Some shelters spend $6 per capita and kill a lot of dogs. Others spend $1.50 per capita and don’t kill that many dogs. But it’s also true that for the most part, poor communities kill more dogs in their shelters.

No-kill solutions every shelter can (and should) embrace.

So the question becomes, how can we help the shelter system work better? Better social services across the board might help. Eliminating poverty might help. Those are long-term goals. Ted says that in the meantime, there are many people working on helping shelters operate better. There’s the No Kill Advocacy Center, whose solution involves hiring compassionate shelter directors who are committed to implementing ideas that have worked all over the country to reduce the number of shelter deaths.

Some of those ideas include keeping shelters open at least one day on the weekend. Keep them open in the evening – employed people aren’t available to come see adoptable animals during the workday. Implement a foster care program to reduce the number of kittens and puppies who are killed. Send the little ones out to foster families so they can grow up to be adoptable pets.

Other ideas include partnering with local pet stores to stop selling purebred dogs from breeders and instead feature shelter pets ready for adoption. The stores make money, a percentage goes to the shelters, and the animals find homes. It’s a win for everyone.

Another idea is to do outreach programs where the shelter takes adoptable pets to places like PetSmart and Petco for adoption events. The shelters that have implemented these techniques have low kill rates. But according to Ted’s research, many, many more shelters need to adopt these ideas.

Ted also mentioned Maddie’s Fund, which helps shelters and animal welfare organizations that are trying to reduce the kill rate. Maddie’s Fund sponsors a massive ad campaign, The Shelter Pet Project, to convince prospective pet owners to adopt a shelter animal. In addition, the CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, told Ted that ”a no-kill nation must be one of the greatest aspirations of this organization.” But according to Nathan Winograd, the head of the No Kill Advocacy Center, out of 3,500 shelters across the country, only about 200 have become no-kill, meaning 90 percent of the dogs and cats who come into the shelter are adopted, fostered, or find other suitable living arrangements.

Ted believes that ever so slowly, we are working on the problem of homeless pets. In my opinion, it boils down to how committed and passionate each shelter is to becoming a no-kill facility.

Pukka’s life as a young, athletic, free-roaming dog.

Next I wanted Ted to talk about the role of genetics in helping dogs live healthier lives, and specifically, how he has applied the principles of his research to his own dog, Pukka, who is now almost four.

I asked Ted if he has encountered any challenges with Pukka’s health he wasn’t expecting. Ted said that overall, Pukka is a vibrant, thriving dog, who according Ted, just happens to beat himself up a lot – he’s hard on his body. He’ll jump off something, and the next day he won’t be quite as fast when he runs. He’s like many young athletes in that he doesn’t know his own limits.

Ted went on to explain that when Pukka was two, he almost died from a self-inflicted wound. He was running with a stick in his mouth, and he jammed it into the ground going full tilt. The stick broke and its jagged end pierced his tongue, severing his sublingual artery. Pukka came into the house gushing arterial blood.

Ted got the dog in his car and drove about a hundred miles an hour to the animal hospital in Jackson, Wyoming. He had stuffed a dishtowel in Pukka’s mouth, but he was still spraying blood all over the car. At the animal hospital, the vet staff clamped off the artery, but they had some initial difficulty finding the injury because there was just so much blood.

So Pukka is a healthy, athletic youngster who injures himself from time to time. Other than that, what worries Ted most is Pukka’s potential exposure to chemicals in the area where they live. Grand Teton National Park and Teton County are sprayed with chemicals every spring to control spotted knapweed. During those times, Pukka is confined to the house and walked under Ted’s supervision, even though all the literature on those sprays claims they are non-toxic.

Ted believes that Pukka, like most dogs, was exposed to many potentially harmful toxins as a puppy, for example, by chewing on dog toys. And he’s exposed to environmental pollutants just as we all are. Ted explained that he’s tried to create a non-toxic house, but Pukka also roams around the village where they live, so it’s impossible to say what he might be exposed to.

People say to Ted, “You should fence Pukka. You should lock him up.” But for Ted, that’s not an option. He’s willing to assume certain risks so that Pukka can live as a free-roaming dog.

Fortunately, Ted has a very unique situation in that he lives in a small village that provides an almost picture-perfect environment for dogs to live independently and free and to make their own choices. Of course, not all of us are fortunate enough to have such an amazing living arrangement.

Ted explained that there are nonetheless risks associated with living where he does, and they are unusual, for instance, grizzly bears … mountain lions … and wolves, the wolves posing the greatest threat to dogs in northwestern Wyoming since wolves will kill domestic dogs. They consider them interlopers in their territory. When Ted and Pukka are hiking during the summer months, or mountain bike riding, Pukka is often a half-mile ahead, doing his thing. If he runs into a pack of wolves, it could be the end of him. But Ted explained that he’s willing to take those risks so Pukka can have his freedom.

What Ted is doing now.

Ted has put the last five years of his life, heart and soul into researching and writing Pukka’s Promise. Now that it’s out in bookstores, I asked Ted what’s next. He responded that he breathed about a five-minute sigh of relief after he finished the book, and then he went back to one he started years ago, before he met Merle, about a young jaguar named Jorge, who lives in Central America. He’s just putting the finishing touches on it now. The title is The Jaguar Who Ran.

As Ted’s story goes, Jorge the jaguar doesn’t like where he was born, because he can’t run in the jungle. He’s always running into trees and slipping in the mud. His mother tells him, “Listen, jaguars slink and crouch and hide. They don’t run.” Jorge responds, “But dad ran when he went up to the land of the Still Star,” which is what the jaguars call northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. Jorge wants to run. So he goes to the land of the Still Star and gets into loads of trouble, but manages to persevere. It’s a story for all of us who dream of living a life different from that of our families and cultures.

Ted said he’s also working on a book about street dog management in developing areas of the world, where extermination has traditionally been used to reduce the incidence of rabies transmitted to people. This has not worked. Nor can adoption work since people in such places don’t have enough money to adopt and care for a dog. Since the 1990s a different approach has been tried. It was pioneered in India. Street dogs are captured, sterilized, vaccinated, and then released in the exact location where they were captured. This strategy has been very successful and has reduced both the number of street dogs without harming them, while also reducing the incidence of rabies transmitted to people.

Ted explained that he has met some very interesting veterinarians doing this kind of work all over the world. He thought their story would make a good book and might be applicable to some extent here in the U.S. because we also have a large stray dog problem in some areas. Depending on whose numbers you believe, there are 5,000 to 50,000 stray dogs in Detroit. There are stray dogs in Watts, in Baltimore, St. Louis, and on Indian reservations. The Navajo reservation is home to a couple hundred thousand stray dogs.

What typically happens is we capture these dogs, put them in shelters, and kill the majority of them. Ted wonders if it might not be a better idea to capture them, sterilize and vaccinate them, and turn them loose again – especially if they’re healthy.

My sincere thanks to Ted!

I want to thank Ted Kerasote for joining me for this three-part interview.

I’m very excited about the release of his new book, Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs, and I’m so thankful I was able to get an advance copy to read. I’ve really enjoyed it, and I know our listeners and readers here today will as well.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry … you’ll be informed and inspired by Pukka’s Promise.


Part 2 of Dr. Becker’s Interview with Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote: The Seven Factors that Determine How Long Your Dog Will Live

Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs, by Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote – Available in Bookstores This Week!

Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs

Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog

Pukka: The Pup After Merle

StemPets and StemEquine – Stem Cell Enhancers for Pets

If I Should Die Before My Dog…

February 18, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Part 2 of Dr. Becker’s Interview with Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote: The Seven Factors that Determine How Long Your Dog Will Live

Story at-a-glance
  • This is part two of Dr. Becker’s captivating three-part video interview with bestselling author Ted Kerasote, author of a brand new book just released last week called Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs.
  • Today, Dr. Becker and Ted discuss the seven variables that he and other experts believe most influence a dog’s health and longevity. These factors include breeding, nutrition, vaccinations, environmental pollutants, spaying and neutering, the animal shelter system, and the amount of freedom dogs enjoy.
  • In his discussion with Dr. Becker, Ted also touches on such wide-ranging topics as the importance of exercise for dogs, why veterinary schools seem stuck in a time warp, how he discovered most dog toys contain toxins … and his pet peeve when it comes to the health care of dogs.

By Dr. Becker

I’m back with bestselling author Ted Kerasote for part two of our three-part interview series. You can see part one here. We’re discussing Ted’s latest wonderful book, which hit bookstores last week, called Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs..

Many of you will remember Ted’s amazing book, Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog. The new book is about the dog Ted has now, Pukka. Interestingly, the book didn’t start out titled Pukka’s Promise, so I asked Ted to share with us how and why the name changed.

Ted explained the original title for the book was Why Dogs Die Young, and What We Can Do About It. He came up with the name because, as we discussed last week in part one and in our discussion last year, after Merle’s Door was released, he received many inquiries from readers asking, “Why do our dogs die so young?” So it seemed natural to Ted to title the book in response to those questions, and in fact, Why Dogs Die Young was the working title for four years.

But when Ted’s publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt held a meeting last year with sales reps for the new book, they all stated that they loved the content, but hated the title. They called the title “a downer and a bummer.” So over the course of the Thanksgiving weekend, Ted came up with the new title, Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs..

The #1 contributor to early death in dogs: poor breeding.

In Pukka’s Promise, Ted outlines seven key variables that he and other experts agree contribute to the longevity of pet dogs. These variables include breeding, nutrition, vaccinations, environmental pollutants, spaying/neutering, the animal shelter system in North America, and the amount of freedom dogs enjoy.

Ted feels that breeding is at the top of the list of contributors to how long a dog lives. He gives the example of short-faced dogs (brachycephalic breeds), who typically suffer breathing difficulties. Those dogs may not live as long as dogs with longer muzzles.

Another example are dogs bred with abnormally long spines and therefore, inherent back problems. Those dogs, as well, are probably not going to live as long as dogs whose bodies are in better proportion.

Ted makes the point that dogs who are highly inbred and have just a few common ancestors are also at risk of early death. He cites the example of Golden Retrievers bred in North America, 61 percent of whom die of cancer. Why? One reason is that they have very few common ancestors and consequently lots of recessive genes — the kind that can lead to genetically transmitted diseases. With these genes now spread far and wide throughout the Golden Retriever population, they frequently meet, causing health problems and shortening the lives of these dogs.

Ted says he knows of only one breeder who, over a long career, has selected her breeding stock for longevity as well as for how her dogs look or work. Health is not at the top of the list for most dog breeders.

Next on the list: nutrition, vaccinations, and environmental pollutants.

The next most important variable according to Ted is nutrition, and of course I certainly agree.

As Ted pointed out in part one of our discussion last week, it’s expensive to feed our dogs well. But there are ways to do it, including cooking meals at home – or buying a high quality kibble instead of raw food.

Third on Ted’s list is actually vaccinations AND environmental pollutants, because they are similar in terms of their potential toxic effect on pets. In both cases, we’re exposing our dogs to unnatural substances, and while vaccinations are useful for protecting our own pets and others from parvo, distemper and rabies, dogs certainly don’t need the number of vaccinations currently recommended by many veterinarians.

Dogs, like children, have smaller bodies than adults, so environmental pollutants and substances injected into them have a greater effect. And our dogs are low to the ground — their feet and noses are right down in those chemicals in many cases. As Ted points out, environmental toxins are one of the easier things to help our dogs avoid. We don’t have to use lawn chemicals. We can remove formaldehyde-filled carpets from our homes. It’s not necessary to expose our dogs to some of these very common but dangerous chemicals.

Skiing the mountains of Wisconsin … or, the importance of exercise for dogs.

Ted also puts exercise at the top of the list for its value in giving dogs healthier lives. Most dogs just don’t get enough exercise.

Ted, of course, has a slightly different definition of exercise than most of us do –especially city dwellers. Ted lives in a very small village in Wyoming at the edge of Grand Teton National Park, and a regular workout for him is skiing uphill for an hour or so in an afternoon and much longer workouts on the weekend. Meanwhile, I have to get on a treadmill because I live in the Chicago area!

Ted tells the funny story that when he was driving on Interstate 90 from O’Hare airport for our interview, he saw a billboard that said, “Ski the mountains of Wisconsin,” under a picture of what looked like the Jackson Hole, Wyoming ski area. He says he almost drove off the road thinking, “Mountains of Wisconsin?” (There are hills in Wisconsin – no mountains!)

Ted realizes most people don’t live in the Rockies. But dogs are still dogs, whether they live in the Rockies or in an apartment overlooking Central Park in New York City. They still need exercise, and so do their owners. And a little stroll outside isn’t really sufficient to get a dog’s heart pounding – it’s not aerobic exercise.

Ted thinks off-leash dog parks can be a good substitute. At least the dog, if not the owner, is getting some physical activity. In an off-leash, fenced-in dog park, dogs can really be dogs. They can sniff, smell, and move at “dog speed,” as Ted discusses in Pukka’s Promise.

Of course, there are also plenty of city dwellers that are lean, and so are their dogs, because unlike many suburbanites they don’t drive everywhere they go. They walk to the grocery store. They walk to do errands. And they bring their dogs along.

So the idea is to get creative regardless of your living situation, as Ted discusses in his book.

Why are DVMs in the U.S. and Canada trained ONLY to spay or neuter, when alternative sterilization methods are "Quick, easy, and effective?"

I next asked Ted to talk about his interviews with veterinarians while he was doing research for Pukka’s Promise. Being a veterinarian, I’m certainly aware that the profession has some blind spots.

Ted thinks that this is a result of the way veterinarians are trained. There are about 30 veterinary schools in the U.S. and another four or so in Canada. These are old institutions and, like many institutions, they suffer from inertia. They do things the way they’ve always done them, until something really shakes things up.

Ted says one of the best examples of this concerns spaying and neutering. He and I have discussed the fact that tubal ligations and vasectomies are another means of achieving sterility in dogs. He didn’t entirely believe me at first, so he did his own research and found over a dozen citations, dating back to the mid-1970’s, that describe these less-invasive procedures as “Quick, easy, and effective. Complications, rare.”

So he called every vet school in the U.S. and asked if tubal ligations and vasectomies were taught there. Not one school said they were. So Ted naturally wants to know why there’s such a disconnect between what the veterinary literature says and what is being taught in veterinary schools. He says it’s obvious either they’re not reading their own peer-reviewed literature, or there is a mindset against teaching alternative sterilization procedures.

Ted thinks what has happened is the veterinary profession and the animal shelter community joined forces in the 1970s to try to solve what has been called the “pet overpopulation problem” in the U.S. And, at the time, the quickest, cheapest, most effective means they hit on was spaying and neutering, which have now become a mantra in this country – we need to spay or neuter every dog, even though there are alternative procedures that prevent pregnancy.

I absolutely agree with this, and these alternative methods of sterilization are also actually faster, less risky, and maybe less costly.

But to Ted’s point, they’re not being taught to veterinary students. And when he has asked fourth-year students about it, their response has been, “Oh, we can’t do that. We didn’t learn that.” When he talked with Dr. Robert McCarthy, a veterinary surgeon at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. McCarthy just laughed ruefully and said, “The reason they’re not being taught is habit. Spaying and neutering were taught a hundred years ago, and so we continue to do it that way today.”

Ted poses the question, “What will it take to make the veterinary profession change?” The answer is veterinary clients, and veterinary students. Dog owners need to speak up and say, “Hey, we’d like better dog food,” and “No, we don’t want a vaccination every year. I’ve read on Dr. Karen Becker’s website that we don’t need vaccinations every year. And you know, maybe my dog would be better off with a vasectomy so he can keep his testicles and the hormones they produce.”

Tainted tennis balls and other toxic toys.

According to Ted, another area where public pressure and consumer demand could change things for the better is with dog toys.

Ted includes an interesting little section in Pukka’s Promise about toxic dog toys. I asked him to share how he came to learn about the problem, because I honestly wasn’t expecting to see anything about it in his book.

Ted explained that when he brought Pukka home, everyone he knew sent him gifts. Tons of gifts. They all went in a huge wicker basket, and Ted would look over and see Pukka ripping apart the toys, chewing on the polyester and spitting it out. And he started to wonder, “Hmm … is that good for him to have in his mouth?”

Ted knew children’s toys had been vetted and we now have legislation that stipulates what cannot go into kids’ toys. Since children are about the size of dogs, he wondered if Pukka should be mouthing all that stuff – ripping and tearing at it. And Pukka, like many dogs, destroyed tennis balls. In a matter of minutes he would be gnawing on the guts of the ball. So Ted wondered also about whether tennis balls were safe.

And guess what? He couldn’t find anyone who could tell him about the safety of dog toys. Not a soul. The manufacturers, of course, wouldn’t tell him. They’d respond to Ted’s inquiries with, “Oh, that’s proprietary information. We can’t divulge that.”

So since Ted’s goal was to make his book rigorously researched and thorough, he began sending dog toys to an environmental testing laboratory that tests children’s toys. And he learned that lo and behold, the polyester in one of Pukka’s stuffed toys contained antimony, a suspected carcinogen, and the amount in the toys was 10,000 times the maximum level recommend for drinking water by the World Health Organization.

Pukka’s retriever dummies, as it turns out, contained a phthalate that is prohibited in children’s toys. And tennis balls have an accelerant in the rubber that is poisonous. Whether this toxin is bioavailable from the tennis ball no one could say – not even the best toxicology minds in the country could say.

As tennis ball manufacturers told Ted, “We don’t make tennis balls for dogs, but for people playing the game of tennis.” So for Ted there was an easy solution – no more tennis balls for Pukka. Instead, he got non-toxic balls that are designed for dogs. They’re made by Planet Dog, and Ted knows they’re non-toxic because he had them tested as well!

I’m pretty sure that Ted is one of the very few people who has sent dog toys to a lab for testing, and I love that he included the information in Pukka’s Promise. He was able to find only one other test of dog toys, done in Germany.

Ted’s pet peeve: treating dogs as "just dogs."

Ted explains that one of his pet peeves is how we treat dogs with less respect than they deserve, excusing our behavior by saying that they’re “just dogs.” He says that we’d never take this approach with people, and especially children. We’d never practice human medicine the way we practice veterinary medicine, with such little oversight and allowing M.D’s to dispense drugs (other than samples) out of a cabinet in a back office, as veterinarians do. Human patients have to go to a pharmacy to fill their prescriptions, so the doctor isn’t making money (presumably) off the sale of drugs.

But veterinarians are allowed to sell drugs for their animal patients out of their offices, which perhaps makes it more appealing to write too many prescriptions. Ted’s point is that there is far less rigor when it comes to the health care of our pets than we would tolerate in human health care.

Stay tuned next week for the final installment of my 3-part interview with Ted Kerasote. We’ll talk in-depth about what his research reveals about what has been called the "pet overpopulation problem" and the operation of animal shelters in the U.S. We’ll also talk more about Pukka, and what future surprises Ted has in store for us.


Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs, by Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote – Available in Bookstores This Week!

Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs

Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog

Pukka: The Pup After Merle

StemPets and StemEquine – Stem Cell Enhancers for Pets

If I Should Die Before My Dog…

February 14, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , | 16 Comments

Please Let Me Sleep… Too Cute!

It ought to be illegal to be this cute!


h/t Gary Patterson

Dogs/pets enhance our lives… keep them healthy and increase their life span

StemPet and StemEquine – Stem Cell Enhancers for Pets

February 12, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal and Pet Photos, animal behavior, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets | , , , , , | 1 Comment

If I Should Die Before My Dog…

"If I Should Die Before My Dog – "

We prepare for the what-if’s in our lives by establishing what would be needed in the event of our death or inability to care for our children. We buy insurance against the possibilities of loss to our cars, homes, valuables. We buy health and life insurance, even pet health insurance. But what about our pet’s needs if something happens to us? The book, "If I Should Die Before My Dog – " is an excellent tool in careful and complete considerations for your dog.

Now, I’m not very good when it comes to the subject of dying. In fact, I’m a wreck. I once took a "Death and Dying" course as part of my psychology major. I flunked the class because I stopped going to it; I just couldn’t handle all that talk about dying! But I’ve learned over the years that there are some issues we must face, make decisions about and prepare for, whether we’re comfortable or not.

I have four children, now all grown, and I’ve recently updated my estate planning documents. Should I pass away or become unable to handle my affairs, arrangements have been made. When the kids were small I had plans in place, and included contingencies for their care by trusted people who knew them well.

But my pets? Much less so. Even for the famous pets that have made the news because of huge sums of inheritance left in their humans’ wills for the pets themselves, the need for their emotional well-being still exists. Each dog is a unique individual, with needs, desires, even fears that only you may know about.

Having worked with cats that were either rescued or relinquished, I saw firsthand the sadness, confusion, even depression these precious animals experienced. Ask anyone who spends time with these pets, they’ll tell you the same. It’s not just humans who feel a great loss when they lose those they’ve had a close bond with. It breaks my heart to imagine that might be the scenario for my beloved pets one day.

As a foster mom, I know the importance of knowing the details of a pet’s preferences, needs, quirks, likes and dislikes, known vocabulary. I’ve seen how it has helped provide for the best fit for both pet and adoptive family, and afforded the most consistency for the pet in such a time of great upheaval in its life.

My copy of "If I Should Die Before My Dog – " is going to go right with the paperwork that entails my will and other legal documents that have been prepared in the event of my passing or inability to manage things. Having said that, I’m now going to go get the tissues my leaky eyes have sorely needed while reading through and filling out the book.

While no one will ever take the place of you in your pet’s life, at least whoever takes over for you will have the information needed to make daily life as comfortable as possible. This book really is an important part of being a pet parent and providing the best for your dog.

A Dog Lovers lasting guide…….A beautifully illustrated interactive book that one fills in all of the information about their dogs life in the event they can no longer care for them to help ensure your pets are taken care of.

A thought provoking check list for dog lovers, who unfortunately and with much sadness can no longer take care of their dog.

This book will assist those who want to prepare for their dogs future in an easy to use format that will guide them through the process of telling the "story" of their dogs life, for their pets "Next Guardian".

None of us can predict the future, but in the event situations arise such as death, health impairment or left with no other choice but to give them up, this book will be there to assist your beloved pet with the transition from one home to another. 

Author photo.jpg

About the Authors – Joe and Cathy Connolly

Joe and Cathy Connolly have spent a lifetime owning, training and caring for dogs. Cathy grew up with a Collie breeder, dog groomer and dog handler while attending many different dog shows and eventually went on to work with other breeders as she grew older. They live in beautiful Northern Michigan with their 3 furry four legged children, one large dog, one small dog and the entire family is supervised by one bossy calico cat.



Providing for Your Pet’s Future Without You

In Pets We Trust

Also see:  Every Dog’s Legal Guide

While providing  for your pets after you are gone, good nutrition and some supplements are equally important to care for them now and for their longevity: StemPet and StemEquine – Stem Cell Enhancers for Pets

January 28, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments