JustOneMorePet

Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

Good Dog: Small Dog, Big Heart

Illustration by John Cuneo

by Wells Tower – June/July 2014  –  Garden &  Gun  –  Cross-Posted at Just One More Pet

The nervous work of owning—and finally loving—a Chihuahua

For many years, I thought that owners of small dogs harbored stunted souls. Parents of infant beauty queens. Weird bachelors with pet stairs by their beds. Adult hoarders of dolls and teddy bears. People deranged by an obsession with the adorable.

Then, in my late twenties, when I was living in  New Orleans, a good friend of mine found a bedraggled Chihuahua in a ditch and brought her home. It was a comical, toothless animal with a bullfrog’s tongue that would slap her in the eye on the recoil. That dog had a lot of ditch trauma to work through. She needed to sit on somebody at all times or she got the shakes. I was home most days, so I let the dog make use of my lap during business hours. When I moved back to North Carolina, I was surprised to discover a Chihuahua-size hole in my life.

So I started looking for a dog. I knew I wanted a pound animal, though not for any lofty moral reasons. I wanted a desperate dog, one without high expectations of whoever took it in. My family had dogs when I Deformed Chiwas a kid. The bunch of us should be arrested for how we let those animals down. They were outdoor dogs too disgusting to pet. We let ticks get on them and grow as big as minié balls. When the family went out of town, we’d leave the dog on the porch with a bag of cheap food. Eventually, they’d get sick of us and wander off. So my track record with dogs wasn’t the greatest, but I figured one otherwise bound for the gas chamber couldn’t really gripe about winding up in my care.

I spent long hours at the keyboard, browsing head shots at an online clearinghouse for discarded dogs. A Chihuahua was what I was after, but I didn’t want it to be too grotesque: too bug-eyed or hog-snouted or bat-eared or obviously rodentlike. Looking for an ungrotesque Chihuahua is like trying to find a dignified clown. It took a good bit of time.

At last, I found a candidate. The head shot showed a creature with a long, aristocratic nose and smart, Dobermanly ears. Her eyes were large but not hyperthyroidal. They seemed to reflect intelligence but also the right measure of desperation. She was waiting on death row at the dog pound in Winston-Salem, ninety minutes from my home. I gave them a call to see if the dog had yet been gassed. “Nope, she’s still here!” an exhaustingly jolly Southern voice exclaimed.

“Oh, you will just love this crazy little creature. We call her Tinsy, but you could call her Teensy-Meensy-Weensy-Eensy! She is that small! She’s one of them little reindeer dogs, you know. She’s just always bouncing all around on them little teensy reindeer legs. She is kinda licky and kinda barky but she’s a funny little ball of fun.”

Annabelle May 09Funny Chi

I was in the market for a lap sleeper, a hot-water bottle in canine form. From the sound of it, this reindeer dog embodied much that is dislikable in the miniature breeds. But I had committed to paying the dog a visit, and I make it a point never to betray a promise to the incarcerated. I went and had a look. The lady I talked to on the phone dragged Tinsy out from where she’d been hiding behind a file cabinet. Tinsy, who was maybe a year old, had been found walking the streets of Winston-Salem naked. Like most women found in this condition, she was not in the greatest shape. She resembled a dog the way those caiman-head back scratchers resemble an alligator. Her face was okay, but the rest of her body was a bony rod upholstered in bald gray skin. I had seen rats with prettier tails. Hers was without a whisker and looked as though it had been set afire and extinguished under the needle of a sewing machine.

“You wanna hold her?” the shelter lady asked me, wagging Tinsy at me like a dishrag. I did not want to hold Tinsy. I wanted to leave the room. But Tinsy was thrust into my arms. This dog had long, scraggly talons, and she clung to my sweater like a bat to a screen door. I grimaced. The dog grimaced. “That’s a wrap!” cried the shelter lady. “That is your dog. She is absolutely your dog.”

I wanted to tell this woman that I wanted Tinsy like I wanted a case of shingles, but courage failed me. I wrote a check for the adoption fee. Then I carried the dog to my car and began calling every softhearted person I knew to see if they would take this creature off my hands.

At home, I took to my couch and fretted. What business did I have with a dog? I traveled for work eight months out of the year. And this dog? I didn’t want to look at her much less look after her for the twenty years Chihuahuas can expect to live. (The oldest living Chihuahua is 32+). Then the dog, who had been busy peeing on my bedroom floor, wandered over. She tilted her head at a sympathetic angle, then she jumped onto the sofa and clambered onto my shoulder, where she pulled herself into a sphere and went snortingly to sleep.

How easily we are gentled. The plan to ditch her got ditched. I started calling her Edie, whose vowel sounds she hearkened to as she had her prison name. I loaded her up on ludicrously expensive foods: Alaskan salmon, mutton jerky from New Zealand. She doubled her weight, from two pounds to four. I put her through expensive mange treatments, fed her fish oil, greased her in vitamin E to regrow her hair. After a couple of seasons, she fluffed out and the knobs of her spine receded. She began to look less like a back scratcher and more, as a friend described her, “like a cross between a wolf and a flea.”

“No man should have a dog like that,” my cousin once said to me. “We’re not careful enough. You could drop the Sunday paper on her and break her back. It’s like getting a crystal set. No guy should have a thing that fragile in the house.”

And it’s true. Owning Edie is nervous work. A few years back, I nearly lost her. Summoned from the house by the sound of raving crows, I went out to check on Edie in the yard. She was absent from her usual sunbathing spot. In the lower corner of the lawn, I saw a barred owl, spreading its wings over a small, still gray form. Edie was too heavy a piece of live cargo for the owl, so the bird was patiently trying to murder her. I nearly had to kick the bird off of her. A talon had made three bloody divots in Edie’s head, but no lasting damage was done.

At nearly twelve, Edie is deep in middle age and, repairwise, is not much less expensive than a ’55 Studebaker. I’ve put far more money into her mouth than I’ve put into my own. Before I got Edie, I’d have said that a fair definition of an insane person is somebody who takes out a thirty-three-hundred-dollar cash advance to pay for exploratory liver surgery for a dog. I did that three years ago. But when you get accustomed, every night, to a warm gentle presence stretching herself across your clavicle and easing you into sleep, it becomes as dire a habit as barbiturate abuse. Addicts do crazy things to keep withdrawal at bay.

It’s weird. One day, you’re a twenty-eight-year-old man of traditional tastes and accoutrements and the next, you’re a forty-year-old bachelor with a four-pound, big-eyed, molting pussy willow of a dog.

Still, I do what I can to keep the grotesquerie contained. When people ask what kind of dog I have, I tell them, “I don’t know, I got her from the pound.” I do not carry Edie around in a Snugli. I have never bought the dog shoes or a hat. I would like to tell you that my home contains no doggie sweaters, and that there are not dog stairs by my bed, but this would not be true.

For those of us who love small dogs… Chihuahuas, Chihuahua Mixes, and miniatures of any type, we know that they are great pets and are always happy when just one more person discovers how special they are or another person or family adopts must one more small dog… just one more pet of any kind.  Every pet deserves a good home! (JOMP)

The Fam thumb in Frame

“For the Love of a Pet”

Our gang of Chihuahuas and Chiweenies (JOMP)

Photo by The UCLA Shutterbug

February 27, 2015 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Chihuahua, Chiweenie, Dogs, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

At the Dog Park: Red Alert Behavior Series: Tail Tucked Plus Risks to Small Dogs

Video: At the Dog Park: Red Alert Behavior Series: Tail Tucked Plus Risks to Small Dogs

NoDogAboutIt:

Over the holiday weekend, my dogs enjoyed daily visits to the dog park. They loved getting to walk in the woods every day and to meet up with some of their old friends and hang out. Daisy is more comfortable exploring when she knows her friends. She knows what to expect from them and she knows they will respect her space.

Going to the dog park can be quite an eye opener for the new dog owner. Not all dogs have doggie social skills or a respect for other dogs’ space. You have to know what to watch for and have an understanding of what is really going on.

I have been known to intervene in situations where I feel a dog is in danger, afraid or in need of a little assistance. I am used to hearing people say “Dogs can work it out themselves.” or “Let them be. They’ll work it out,” but that is not always the case. We as dog owners have a responsibility to protect our dogs and to prevent them from harm. In some cases, that means not going to a dog park at all. In others, it means you need to be aware and know what to watch for in case trouble starts.

The video below was taken at a dog park and demonstrates some of the dog behaviors that every dog owner should not only be aware of, but also be ready to intervene in, if they see it. It’s worth watching if you do not understand dog body language. The commentator does a good job of describing what is going on. I have already shared it with my dog park friends, please feel free to share it with yours.

December 3, 2013 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet and Animal Training, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Story at-a-glance
  • When it comes to species of mammals, generally speaking, bigger animals live longer than smaller ones. But within species, this isn’t always true – for example, in the case of mice, horses, and especially dogs — the bigger the body, the shorter the lifespan.
  • According to a new study, big dogs die younger than smaller breeds mainly because they age quickly. The average lifespan of a Great Dane is about 7 years; a Yorkshire Terrier, from 13 to 16 years.
  • The study concludes that large breeds seem to age at faster rates than smaller breeds, and the speed at which the risk of death increases with age is also greater with big dogs. Bigger dogs more often get cancer, which makes sense since cancer is the result of abnormal cell growth.
  • There are many things breeders and owners of big dogs can do to help these pets live better and longer — including proper nutrition; regular maintenance of the musculoskeletal system and organs; fostering a strong, balanced immune system; and following responsible, health-focused breeding practices.
dog-life

By Dr. Becker:

When you evaluate species of mammals, it quickly becomes obvious that as a general rule, the bigger the creature, the longer it lives. Elephants in the wild can live well into their 60’s, whereas squirrels only live about six years.

But when you look closer at individual species, this general rule doesn’t always hold true, and dogs are a good example. As any canine enthusiast knows, big dogs have much shorter lifespans than small dogs. The same holds true for mice, horses, and possibly even humans.

Large Breeds Age Quickly and Die Younger

According to a study published in the April issue of the journal American Naturalist1, big dogs die younger primarily because they age quickly. Study authors believe these new findings can help scientists understand the biological links between growth and mortality.

Dogs seem to be a perfect subject for the study, because humans have bred them throughout history to be wildly variable in size. According to LiveScience, the heaviest dog on record was probably an English Mastiff that weighed 343 pounds, while the smallest was a terrier weighing in at under a quarter-pound. There is no other species of mammal with such tremendous size disparity.

Giant breeds live the most abbreviated lives of all dogs. For example the Great Dane has an average life span of about seven years, while a Yorkie can be expected to live 13 to 16 years.

A Big Dog’s Life ‘Unwinds in Fast Motion’

The American Naturalist study took a look at ages of death in 74 breeds and over 56,000 dogs that visited veterinary teaching hospitals.

Researchers learned that large breeds seem to age at faster rates than smaller breeds, and the speed at which the risk of death increases with age is also greater with big dogs. According to study authors, “… large dogs age at an accelerated pace, suggesting that their adult life unwinds in fast motion.” For a dog, every 4.4 pounds of body mass takes about a month off his life.

The researchers next want to look at the growth and health histories of dogs to narrow down the leading causes of death for large breeds. For example, bigger dogs more often acquire cancer, which makes sense when you consider they grow more than small dogs, and cancer is the result of abnormal cell growth. It’s possible that humans have inadvertently selected for characteristics – like rapid growth – that predispose large dogs to cancer.

Other large animals like elephants that have many more cells than smaller creatures, and should therefore also be at greater risk for cancer, have undoubtedly evolved special defense mechanisms against disease. These mechanisms probably developed through natural selection over a very long period of time, whereas most dog breeds have evolved through selection by humans, and over a much shorter period of time.

Evolutionarily speaking, dogs have evolved in the blink of an eye, and protective mechanisms against cancer and other diseases haven’t had time to catch up.

Extending the Lives of Large and Giant Breed Dogs

If you own a large or giant breed dog or are thinking about getting one of the big guys, I hope you’ll watch my interview with Dr. Jeff Bergin.

Dr. Bergin and his partner, Christine, raise and breed Newfoundlands, and in my opinion, they do things the right way. In fact, it’s not unusual for their giant breed dogs to live into their late teens. In the world of Newfies, a 17-year lifespan is almost unheard of.

Some of the wonderful practices Dr. Bergin follows with his Newfies include:

  • Feeding exclusively raw diets.
  • Breeding for health, first and foremost. Dr. Bergin breeds his dogs only once or twice during the course of their lives, with at least six years between litters. He does not breed dogs with congenital defects, and so far only one of his dogs has had a genetic health issue, a heart problem. (Heart problems, osteosarcoma and hip dysplasia are the most common health challenges for this breed.)
  • Performing regular chiropractic adjustments. With large and giant breed dogs, it’s very important to take care of the frame. Dr. Bergin happens to be both a licensed animal chiropractor as well as a human chiropractor. He performs regular manual orthopedic manipulation on all his dogs, from the moment they first stand on their own through the remainder of their lives. This practice is one of the keys to keeping a big dog’s musculoskeletal system from degenerating with age. Dr. Bergin’s dogs are typically fully mobile even at the end of their lives.
  • Limiting vaccines and other assaults on the immune system. Dr. Bergin only vaccinates his dogs against rabies, because the law requires it. By strictly limiting the number of vaccines they receive, he helps keep his dogs’ immune systems strong and resilient.
  • Insuring Newfie litters go to the right families. Dr. Bergin and Christine perform a mandatory home visit to families interested in their dogs. They won’t release a dog without seeing the new home. They conduct in-depth interviews with prospective owners to insure the puppy will be well taken care of. They also insist on a commitment from prospective owners to feed raw.

For most pet owners, it’s the quality of their dog’s life that is most important. You may have your precious pup with you for eight years or twice that long. By focusing on the three pillars of health – nutrition, maintenance of the frame, and a strong, resilient immune system — you can insure you’re providing her with everything she needs for an excellent quality of life, however long her life may be.

Calculation of Pet Age

Most people think that calculating the age of dogs and cats in "human years" is quite simple: multiply their age by seven. For example, a 4-year-old dog or cat would actually be 28 years old in human years. But when you really begin weighing out the arithmetic, this method doesn’t add up. Say a 1-year-old dog is the equivalent of a 7-year-old human — get out of here! How many 7-year-old humans are sexually active and capable of reproducing? Dogs and cats are much more likely to have babies at 1 year old or even at 10 years old, than any person who is 7 or 70.

Many veterinarians now agree that a pretty good guess on the age of pets can be made using the following formulas for dogs and cats.

DOGS
Aging is much faster during a dog’s first two years but varies among breeds. Large breeds, while they mature quicker, tend to live shorter lives. By the time they reach 5 they are considered "senior" dogs. Medium-sized breeds take around seven years to reach the senior stage, while small and toy breeds do not become seniors until around 10 or older.

But with all the vitamins, probiotics, stomach enzymes, better food (raw or home-cooked) or at least natural and organic pet foods that pets are now eating plus the fact that many live inside out of the elements and are pampered, pet age is increasing. So while many veterinarians agree that a pretty good guess on the age of pets can be made using the following formulas for dogs (and cats), the average is changing daily.

So, A Dog’s Life Can be Longer Than You Think…

Although still simple, it is much more accurate than the seven-year method. (Use these as a guestimate and guide. More and more pampered dogs are living an additional 3 to 5 years over the top averages, or even longer)

Assume that a 1-year-old dog is equal to a 12-year-old human and a 2-year-old dog is equal to a 24-year old human. Then add four years for every year after that. (Example: A 4-year-old dog would be 32 in human years.) Since this method takes into consideration the maturity rate at the beginning of a dog’s life and also the slowing of the aging process in his later years, Martha Smith, director of veterinary services at Boston’s Animal Rescue League, feels that this is the more accurate calculation formula.

Here is a chart, for easy reference:

clip_image002

A dog’s ‘average’ lifespan, factoring in all breeds and sizes, is around 12 or 13 years, but again, this varies widely by breed. The larger your dog is, the less time it will live. Female dogs tend to live a little longer. (Great Danes only live between 7 and 12 years.)

Wikipedia: List of Oldest (Known) Dogs  -  The oldest dogs on record were in their upper 20’s with Max, a terrier, (still) living at 29 years and 245 days old and a Labrador mix at 29 years and 193 days at the top of the (known) list.

CATS
Now let’s take a glimpse at a simple formula for calculating feline age in human years. Assume that a 1-year-old cat is equal to a 15-year-old human and a 2-year-old cat is equal to a 24-year-old human. Then add four years for every year after that. (Example: A 4-year-old cat would be 32 in human years.)

The following chart shows this formula of calculation:

clip_image004

Check out this and more great stuff from PetsAdviser.com and WebVet.com

Related:

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!

If I Should Die Before My Dog…

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

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

Do Vaccinations Affect the Health of our Pets? 

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

DNA Study Unlocks Mystery To Diverse Traits In Dogs

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets | , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Is Your Short-Muzzled Dog Having Breathing Problems?

Story at-a-glance
  • A recent study conducted in the UK revealed owners of brachycephalic breeds (dogs with short muzzles) often don’t realize their pet is struggling to breathe.
  • A problem common in these dogs is brachycephalic airway syndrome, which includes a number of upper respiratory problems affecting the nose, mouth and/or throat of pets with “pushed in” faces.
  • “Brachys” have constricted upper jaws, which causes the soft tissue to be crammed within the skull. Symptoms of brachycephalic airway syndrome include noisy or labored breathing, gagging, choking, problems breathing during physical exertion, and overheating.
  • Breathing problems can prevent your dog from enjoying the simplest things in life, like eating, sleeping, play and exercise. In dogs with severe airway obstruction, the struggle to breathe can be continuous. Left untreated, the situation gets progressively worse, as do the symptoms.
  • It’s important for owners of brachycephalic breeds to understand the difference between normal and abnormal breathing sounds in their dog, and to see the vet if they notice any unusual breathing or other signs of respiratory distress.

By Dr. Becker

A recent study points to the possibility that owners of brachycephalic breeds (dogs with “pushed in” faces) mistake significant breathing difficulties in their pets for normal respiratory sounds.

The Royal Veterinary College at the University of London conducted a survey of the owners of 285 dogs who brought their pets to the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals for various reasons during a five-month period.

Thirty-one of the 285 dogs, including Boston terriers, bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, French bulldogs, Pekingese and pugs, had been diagnosed with brachycephalic airway syndrome.

Brachycephalic airway syndrome describes a number of upper respiratory problems affecting the nose, mouth and throat of dogs (and some cats) as a result of abnormal skull structure.

What surprised the Royal Veterinary College researchers was the fact that despite the dogs’ owners reporting significant respiratory symptoms, they did not believe their pets had breathing problems.

Breathing Difficulties Assumed to Be Normal

Short-muzzled dogs, or “brachys,” have constricted upper jaws, which causes the soft tissue to be compressed within the skull. Many of these dogs develop brachycephalic airway syndrome. Signs of the condition include noisy or labored breathing, gagging, choking, problems breathing with even minor physical exertion, and a tendency to overheat.

Every owner of a brachy said their dog snored – some even while awake – compared with fewer than two percent of non-brachycephalic dogs. But well over half the owners did not believe their pet had breathing difficulties, even though the majority of dogs had problems during exercise.

According to researchers, this indicates many owners of pets with brachycephalic airway syndrome don’t realize a problem exists and don’t seek help from a veterinarian. According to Rowena Packer of the Royal Veterinary College and one of the study researchers:

"Our study clearly shows that owners of brachycephalic dogs often dismiss the signs of this potentially severe breathing disorder as normal and are prepared to tolerate a high degree of respiratory compromise in their pets before seeking help. It may require a particularly acute attack, such as the dog losing consciousness, for owners to perceive a problem."

Many owners who were surveyed seemed to believe breathing difficulties aren’t really a problem if the dog is short-muzzled. One owner’s comment: “No to breathing problem – other than being a Bulldog.”

Dr. Charlotte Burn, lead researcher, warns that while short muzzles may be appealing-looking, owners of brachy breeds need to be aware the cute appearance often comes at a serious price to the dog. “Just because a problem is common, that doesn’t make it less of a problem for the individuals who suffer it,” says Burn.

Helping Your Brachy Breathe Better

Breathing difficulties can prevent your pet from being able to enjoy the very simplest things dogs naturally love to do, like eating, sleeping, play and exercise.

Dogs with severe brachycephalic airway syndrome can have almost continuous difficulty getting enough air. It’s not unusual for these dogs to collapse from lack of oxygen.

Left untreated, the problems tend to progress over time, with worsening symptoms.

The Royal Veterinary College researchers encourage parents of brachycephalic breeds to learn the difference between normal and abnormal breathing sounds in their dogs, and to make an appointment with a vet if they notice any unusual breathing or other signs of respiratory distress.

Unfortunately, surgery is often the only option to resolve significant breathing difficulties resulting from brachycephalic airway syndrome. The treatment goal is to surgically remove the tissues or structures causing airway obstruction.

Things you can do as the owner of a brachy include keeping your dog fit and trim. Overweight and obese dogs have much more serious respiratory difficulties than pets who are kept at an ideal weight.

Keeping your dog out of hot, humid environments is also important to support normal respiration and prevent overheating.

And since stress exacerbates virtually every health problem, especially breathing difficulties, keeping your dog’s life as stress-free as possible is also recommended to support your pet’s health and quality of life.

Related:

Reverse Sneezing, Chihuahua Honks or Mechanosensitive Aspiration Reflex

Collar to Keep Track of Dogs’ Temperature is in the Works

K-9 dies after being left in hot patrol car

See: Temperatures Are Rising: Be a Dog Defender: Help Save Animals This Summer! Cool Ideas for Hot Dogs – Please be proactive and vocal… you could be saving a life and definitely saving animals of a lot of suffering!!

August 24, 2012 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Chiweenie, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Out of Style and Up For Adoption – Hundreds Of Miniature ‘Handbag Dogs’ Abandoned by Owners

(Beth Hale, Daily Mail) — Padding along the path, Sammy the long-haired dachshund took a few steps before stopping abruptly and plonking himself down on his silky rump. Refusing to move, he looked up with a doleful pair of brown eyes, pleading to be carried.

Shelby, 2-year-old chihuahua

It was clear from the moment Sammy arrived at a rehoming center early last year that he was a dog with problems. In fact, the poor thing didn’t really know how to be a dog at all. For the best part of two years, he had been carried around under his owner’s arm or in a handbag.

The cute bundle of fur had become a prima donna on four miniature legs, with no understanding of simple things such as going for a walk or how to behave around other dogs. ‘I’ve never fallen so much in love with a dog,’ says Dogs Trust education officer Charlotte Peters.

‘He was absolutely gorgeous, he would give you those eyes that would make you melt but, oh, he was so badly behaved. His female owner had carried him around everywhere. She spoiled him rotten, treated him like a baby, so left him with a lot of problems — he’d snarl if you patted another dog in front of him.

‘He had to be the centre of attention. And if you tried to take him for a walk he would trot along for a couple of minutes, then stop, sit down and expect to be picked up.’

A sorry tale and, unfortunately, one that is increasingly being played out at animal rescue centres around the country. This week, the Dogs Trust — the country’s largest dog welfare charity — revealed the last year had seen more than 400 so-called handbag dogs being dumped at their  doors, a 44 per cent increase.

Why? Largely because the dogs’ owners became bored with them, much as a child gets bored with a new toy.

Inspired by stars who treat these tiny pets as just another fashion accessory, celebrity-obsessed members of the public have been buying the dogs on a whim, only to find they can’t cope with them or afford them. The dogs can cost upwards of $1,500, and that’s before any food, grooming or vet bills are taken into account.

The Dogs Trust is so concerned about the trend for teenagers to acquire handbag dogs simply to be ‘cool’ that it’s launching a dog-care education programme for schools.

For many, it is already too late. This is why hundreds of pint-sized pooches ranging from chihuahuas and dachshunds to shih tzus and pomeranians, once spoilt rotten as they peered out from their owners’ designer handbags,  are having to adjust to life in the less than salubrious surroundings of rehoming centres.

The trend for these pampered pooches was fuelled by the likes of Paris Hilton, who is constantly seen tottering with her chihuahua Tinkerbelle under her arm — the poor pup usually dressed in outfits colour co-ordinated to match her own.

But she’s by no means the only culprit. The list of celebrities with handbag-sized dogs includes Madonna and Britney Spears, who have chihuahuas, Eva Longoria with her pug, and Coleen Rooney with Daisy the bichon frise.

But despite their diminutive size, little dogs can be very demanding. And it seems that in the real world, many owners can’t cope.

In 2009, 285 toy dogs were handed in to the Dog Trust’s 17 rehoming centres; last year, 409 were given up. The vast majority of the animals were less than two years old.

‘People like to mimic the stars,’ says Clarissa Baldwin, chief executive of the Dogs Trust. ‘The problem is that when the new dog owner gets their pet home they realise that actually it’s not what they want after all.

‘Perhaps they get bored, perhaps they don’t see photographs of the celebrity they admired with their dog any more and, eventually, they end up getting rid of it.’

Her point could not be more sharply illustrated than in the case of Sammy the dachshund, who found himself at the Dogs Trust in Harefield, West London, after narrowly avoiding being put down.

Mollycoddled and spoilt, Sammy became so unmanageable that his young female owner made the extraordinary decision to take him to the vet and put him to sleep. ‘Fortunately, the vet called us and we were able to help,’ says Charlotte Peters. ‘But even though he had a close call, Sammy went to four homes before he found the right one.

‘Finally, in July, he went to a married couple in their 40s with two other dogs, who have worked with him to train him out of his bad manners.’

Earlier this year, the Blue Cross animal adoption centre in Southampton saw another extreme result of the handbag dog phenomenon when it took in two 20-month-old Pomeranians named — wait for it —Britney and Diesel.

‘Britney was so used to being carried that she refused to walk and was terrified of the lead,’ says centre manager Lara Alford.

‘We found out she had never been out on walks and was just used to being cuddled and fussed over. We tried everything we could to make her walk on the lead, but as soon as we brought it out she lay on the floor and played dead. Eventually, we found her a new owner, who had  to carry her home.’

Then there was Poppy, a four-month-old pomeranian puppy handed in to the Dogs Trust in Shoreham, West Sussex. Poppy was bought on a whim by a 17-year-old boy on Christmas Eve as the perfect accessory for his ‘man bag’. Perhaps he’d been inspired by Robbie Williams, who is sometimes seen carrying his pekingese in a bag.

Within a week, the teenager was bored of carrying the tiny pup around and gave the dog to his mother, who handed it to the centre a few weeks later.

Julie Bedford, head of behaviour for the Blue Cross, has seen such outcomes too many times. ‘People seem to think small dogs are easy,’ she says. ‘But they aren’t. In fact, some of the terrier breeds are very active because they have been bred to chase rabbits down holes.’

Dachshunds, for instance, were bred to go after badgers, which are ferocious opponents, so when they get scared they can be snappy.

And it’s not just behavioural difficulties that owners can find themselves dealing with. Many toy dogs are prone to conditions such as luxating patellas, in which the kneecaps on the rear legs slip out of place, causing pain, stiffness and difficulties walking.

If the dog does not get enough exercise because it spends most of its time being carried, it can put on weight, which puts more strain on the joints.

Other breeds, such as the pug, can face difficulties as a result of the very features that make them so popular. Their squashed faces can mean they are prone to breathing difficulties and eye problems, their curly tails can be associated with spinal difficulties and even the folds of their skin need careful attention to ensure they don’t gather dirt.

Yet that hasn’t stopped them becoming a celebrity favorite — with the likes of Kelly Brook, Mickey Rourke and Kelly Osbourne owning one, helping to make the breed enter the list of the nation’s top ten best-loved dogs for the first time.

Such trends alarm welfare experts, who fear they encourage unscrupulous breeders, who raise litters of puppies in appalling conditions.

In Britain the law says a bitch over eight years old can produce no more than one litter a year. But such laws do not apply everywhere, which has led to a black-market puppy trade with unscrupulous breeders selling fashionable puppies to dealers for a fraction of the market price.

‘Anyone can fall for a cute dog without thinking it through,’ says Clarissa Baldwin. ‘Small dogs are always popular, but we just want people to think about the dog’s needs and remember it is a dog and was given four feet for a reason.’

‘One of our staff members saw a lady in a pet shop choosing between two puppies, a husky and a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. She was making her choice by holding them up next to her in the mirror to see which dog suited her best. That’s not the way to choose a dog.’

h/t to Emily Moore at WIDK  -  Cross-Posted at AskMarion

This is happening in America as well as in Britain/Europe. This epidemic of returning pets to shelters or worse just abandoning them is happening in part due to the failing economy (worldwide), but it is happening primarily because of a lack of loyalty and responsibility (or any advance thought and planning) in our spoiled youth and also because of their self-love over love for a pet, grandparents, family, friends and often even their own offspring. It is a symptom of the self-absorbed ‘me’ generation. A pet is your responsibility, part of your family and should be something you love… not a toy or a possession that you discard! It is a frightening portrait of the inner thoughts of (primarily) the youth of today. (And I know it isn’t everyone… but it is far too many!) JOMP~

If you can adopt or foster just one more pet, you could be saving a life, while adding joy to your own!

October 2, 2011 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, animal abuse, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, animals, Chihuahua, Chiweenie, Dogs, Fostering and Rescue, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Outreach for Pets, Pet Abuse, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Reverse Sneezing, Chihuahua Honks or Mechanosensitive Aspiration Reflex

Reverse sneezing:  Mechanosensitive Aspiration Reflex or Paroxysmal Respiration isn’t a sneeze at all and isn’t an illness, but it is a condition that small dog owners should be aware of.

b-and-w-chiIf you have ever been startled by your dog or cat exhibiting snorting, honking and gasping noises you have probably experienced reverse sneezing.  It makes you feel helpless while you watch your canine or feline friend appear to be struggling to breathe, but although alarming, especially to a first time pet owner, it appears and sounds much worse than it is.

There is no reason to panic. Reverse sneezing is not a serious condition andgenerally poses no threat to a dog or cat”s health or longevity. They are not having a seizure, and it also actually has nothing to do with sneezing, but is a spasm caused by an irritation of the soft palate. The soft palate is a soft, fleshy tissue extension off the hard palate, or roof of the mouth. Small dogs in particular can exhibit this behavior and certain breeds may be predisposed to it. It has sent many a distraught owner to the vet in panic.

Reverse Sneeze Videos: 

Reverse Sneeze

Maggie reverse sneezes 

Puggle Preston Reverse Sneezing

Some animals can have this condition for their entire lives, or it may develop as the dog ages. During the spasm, the pet will usually turn their elbows outward and extend their neck while gasping inwards with a distinctive snorting sound. Gently massaging the throat area or pinching their nostrils shut so they must breath through their mouth can help shorten the episode. Sometimes taking the pet outside in the fresh air stops the spasm. Once the attack ceases, all goes back to normal.

(Another technique sometimes used to stop a bout of canine reverse sneezing by behavior specialist Sarah Wilson is to try to get the dog to swallow, touching the back of the tongue if that is safe.  Sounds like it would work with a cat as well.)

It is thought that the pharyngeal spasm can be caused by a number of irritants, including dust and pollen, or household chemicals. Moreover, some dogs can launch an episode after eating, drinking or running around, becoming anxious or excited or while pulling on the leash.

If your pet (more dogs than cats suffer from it) experiences this behavior fairly frequently and the episodes are severe, a trip to the vet is in order to determine other possible causes, which can include viral infections, polyps, excessive soft palate tissue, and nasal mites. However, many cases of reverse sneezing appear to have no identifiable cause.

A small Chihuahua Beagle mix, Cela, was extremely prone to severe middle-of-the-night reverse sneezing episodes when she first came to her terrified then-foster mom (now adoptive mom) sending them both to the vet in alarm. The vet anesthetized Cela and explored the little dog’s sinus cavities as best she could to see if anything was embedded in her sinus passages. Nothing was found, and after a short course of anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics, Cela recovered completely.

In hindsight, it seems quite likely that the time of year, autumn, with its accompanying proliferation of allergens, combined with the stress of being in a new household, may have contributed to Cela’s pronounced reverse sneezing. Since the initial episodes subsided, the little dog has had only one or two minor incidences.

Reverse sneezing appears a lot worse than it is, generally posing no health threats whatsoever. Typically, an episode of reverse sneezing will end soon on its own. Nevertheless, understanding and recognizing the syndrome can go a long way toward helping pet owners and their dogs or cats cope with it. Reverse sneezing should not be confused with Collapsed Trachea, a congenital condition characterized by a frequent cough, a honking rather than a snorting sound, and shortness of breath.

Tracheal collapse is a progressive, chronic, debilitating disease occurring primarily in middle-aged toy-breed dogs.  Pomeranians, Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, and Chihuahuas are most commonly affected.  The clinical signs of tracheal collapse are a chronic nonproductive cough, exercise intolerance, and varying degrees of dyspnea.  The cough often resembles a “honking-sound.”  Clinical signs are exacerbated by excitement or anxiety and may proceed to collapse and syncope. The dorsal membrane and cartilage rings are both involved in the degenerative process.  The rings become hypoplastic or fibrodystrophic and cannot maintain the normal C-shaped configuration. 

Dogs or cats suffering from a reverse sneeze may stand up, extend their neck, make snorting or honking noises, open their mouth, and appear distressed and frightened. Reverse sneezing is triggered by an irritant or activity that initiates the reflex. For some pets this can occur when they are excited, exercising or eating and drinking too fast. The pressure of a collar on the trachea during leash walking also can set off spasms. And reverse sneezing can be associated with allergies, viruses, pollen, foreign bodies, postnasal drip, perfumes, chemical odors, tumors or infections.

Another common cause of reverse sneezing in dogs is the nasal mite Pneumonyssoides caninum. These small mites live in the nasopharynx of dogs and are a source of constant irritation. The mites are extremely small and difficult to visualize, but easy to treat with routine anti-parasitic dewormers.

Brachycephalic animals, those with short noses, are more prone to reverse sneezing. Reverse sneezing closely resembles asthma, a common cause of respiratory distress in cats. Asthma can be life-threatening and should be ruled out in cats with respiratory signs.

For many dogs and cats reverse sneezing is a one-time or occasional episode that does not require any treatment.  But if the problem repeats itself and becomes a ‘chronic condition’, treatment may be necessary. The first step to treating the spasms is to identify the underlying cause. Antihistamines work well for allergic reactions, while the removal of offensive odors and chemicals will help those animals with sensitivities. If the pet has a nasal discharge or airflow through the nostrils is reduced, then other measures will need to be taken.

Rhinoscopy is the diagnostic tool of choice when examining the nasopharynx. Foreign bodies, nasal tumors or fungal infections can be diagnosed with plain film X-rays of the head.  For severe cases surgery is available.

Related Articles:

May 4, 2009 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Doomed Dogs Get On The Rescue Wagon to Other Shelters

Shelter-animal relocations, known as “transfers,” have been quietly going on for years on a fairly small scale. But the numbers are escalating as growing legions of devoted rescuers organize ever-larger convoys; high-kill shelters initiate partnerships with faraway shelters that have space to accept out-of-luck animals; and large pet-advocacy groups develop strategies to increase the number of pets that are moved and saved every month.

“It’s a growing and increasingly important area in the animal protection field,” says Cory Smith of the Humane Society of the United States, which has developed guidelines to help transporters.

Road to a second chance

PetSmart Charities’ Rescue Waggin’ is the volume leader in moving pets from shelters where there’s no chance they’ll be adopted to shelters where they’re almost certain to get new homes quickly.

Its four transport trucks carry dogs and puppies from shelters mostly in the Midwest and South (92,000 animals are euthanized annually in Louisiana shelters alone, Smith says) to shelters primarily in the North and Northeast, where pet owners have long sterilized their pets and overpopulation has largely been brought under control.

In four years, Rescue Waggin’ has transported more than 25,000 dogs for placement in new homes; officials expect to cover 400,000 miles this year and move 8,000 to 10,000 dogs and puppies. “They’re generally adopted within three days of reaching the receiving shelter,” says Kimberly Noetzel of PetSmart Charities.

In Los Angeles, Pup My Ride has, in less than two years, saved more than 1,000 small dogs that were “red-tagged,” or scheduled to be put down. Animal lovers looked across state lines and took advantage of a supply-and-demand reality.

“There is a big surplus of small dogs in L.A.,” says Elizabeth Oreck of Best Friends Animal Society, which runs the volunteer transport program. “They’re killing them by the thousands. But not very far away, there are communities where shelters have waiting lists for small dogs of every age, color, breed and mix.”

So every 10 to 14 days, 20 to 40 lucky dogs that weigh 30 pounds or less are driven to shelters in Arizona or Utah that have a demand for small dogs. “They are adopted in a matter of days,” Oreck says.

On the opposite coast, Mitchell County Animal Rescue in North Carolina and the Potter League for Animals in Middletown, R.I., formed a partnership in 2004 similar to many that are now cropping up.

The Rhode Island shelter, which often has a waiting list of up to 75 for puppies and small dogs, has received 502 dogs and puppies from the overcrowded shelter nearly 900 miles away. Because of the program, says Potter League’s Christie Smith, the community can “get great puppies here” rather than “fueling puppy mills” by buying them at pet stores.

Still, though transfers are saving some of the estimated 4 million animals euthanized in shelters every year, they’re not without controversy. Some people worry that high-kill communities have less motivation to consider spay/neuter programs if pets are exported and the specter of an 85% kill rate no longer hovers. They also worry that the receiving shelters, in their zeal to help, may lessen adoption chances for pets from their own communities.

Strict parameters necessary

“Transfers aren’t a be-all-end-all,” Smith acknowledges. They’re a reasonable adjunct to other programs such as sterilization, she says, adding that many experts believe such initiatives aren’t undermined by exporting unwanted pets if the “messaging to the community” is done properly. Also, she says, officials at both ends must establish strict parameters.

Transfer proponents say it’s unfair to make animals suffer simply because some areas haven’t fully addressed overpopulation. “If someone is drowning, you don’t just stand there and criticize their inability to swim,” says JoAnne Yohannan of North Shore Animal League America in Port Washington, N.Y., a pet-transfer pioneer that began receiving animals in the 1990s through partnerships with high-kill groups, most of them in the South. “There are animals that are dying, and there are families here who want them.”

North Shore will receive about 7,500 dogs and puppies this year from other states.

By Sharon L. Peters, Special for USA TODAY

rescue-mobileThe North Shore Animal League America van sits at the Indianapolis Animal Care & Control during a Tour For Life (TFL) adoption event.

North Shore, the no-kill shelter in Port Washington, N.Y., helps hundreds of pets get new homes every spring with its one-month TFL.

Two mobile units have visited 23 cities from Redding, Calif., to Parma, Ohio, in the past four weeks during a 25-stop, long-haul tour that wraps up Saturday.

No animals are transported from one state to another. Instead, huge, festive local pet adoption events are organized around the arrival of the hard-to-miss units that “carry the message of adoption,” says North Shore’s Joanne Yohannan.

The TFL program was launched in 2001 with four shelters and 50 adoptions. It has evolved to two vehicles that ply two different routes during March and April, attracting thousands at some stops.

In San Antonio this month, 21 rescue groups converged for TFL day and 70 pets were adopted, most of them with special needs, Yohannan says. In Nashville, six groups found homes for 145 animals, and organizers there so cherish TFL’s annual visits that they presented the unit driver a guitar autographed by country star George Strait.

When the two $200,000 units that allow pets to be showcased in a walk-though environment return to New York, they will have covered more than 11,000 miles and incurred more than $16,000 in expenses (covered by sponsor Purina). About 800 shelter pets will have gone to new homes.

Related Articles:  Where there is a will…

Shelters all over the country, but especially in states with high foreclosures and high unemployment, are bursting at the seams.  So if you have the room in your home and the love in your heart… adopt just one more pet and save a life.

Do I Go Home Today?
by Sandi Thompson

My family brought me home
cradled in their arms.
They cuddled me and smiled at me,
and said I was full of charm.

They played with me and laughed with me.
They showered me with toys.
I sure do love my family,
especially the girls and boys.

The children loved to feed me,
they gave me special treats.
They even let me sleep with them — 
all snuggled in the sheets.

I used to go for walks,
often several times a day.
They even fought to hold the leash, 
I’m very proud to say.

They used to laugh and praise me,
when I played with that old shoe.
But I didn’t know the difference
between the old ones and the new.

The kids and I would grab a rag,
for hours we would tug.
So I thought I did the right thing
when I chewed the bedroom rug.

They said that I was out of control,
and would have to live outside.
This I did not understand,
although I tried and tried.

The walks stopped, one by one;
they said they hadn’t time.
I wish that I could change things,
I wish I knew my crime.

My life became so lonely,
in the backyard on a chain.
I barked and barked all day long,
to keep from going insane.

So they brought me to the shelter,
but were embarrassed to say why.
They said I caused an allergy,
and then kissed me goodbye.

If I’d only had some classes,
as a little pup.
I wouldn’t have been so hard to handle
when I was all grown up.

“You only have one day left,”
I heard the worker say.
Does this mean a second chance?
Do I go home today?

April 24, 2009 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, Success Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

285 Dogs Are Out and Never Looking Back

This is why we always encourage you guys to report, report, report animal cruelty! Thanks to the complaints of folks looking to purchase dogs, a puppy mill was busted today in White County, Tennessee, where the ASPCA seized 285 dogs this morning from miserable conditions.  From Their Press Release:

“The dogs are small breeds under 20 pounds and include Boston and Jack Russell terriers, Pomeranians, shih Tzus, Chihuahuas, poodles, miniature pinschers and schnauzers. According to Dr. Melinda Merck, the ASPCA’s Senior Director of Veterinary Forensics, the dogs are suffering from a general lack of husbandry, such as little to no food or water, lack of proper ventilation in enclosed areas, and feces encrusted pens. Conditions such as matting, sores, mange, poor teeth, abscesses, and a host of other medical conditions are prevalent.”

We’re thrilled that the dogs are now getting the TLC and medical care they deserved all along. Special shoutout to the White County Sheriff’s Department of Tennessee, who requested our assistance and gave us the authority to investigate. So that’s great for the dogs, but what about the puppy mill? The ASPCA is evaluating the dogs found at the site and collecting evidence for the prosecution of the criminal case. 

 

Puppy Mill

Puppy Mill
Puppy Mill
Puppy Mill
Puppy Mill
The ASPCA’s best and brightest are currently on the ground in White County, TN, managing operations of a puppy mill raid that began Wednesday morning, February 11. Our forensic cruelty investigation team, led by Dr. Melinda Merck, ASPCA Senior Director of Veterinary Forensics, is evaluating dogs and collecting evidence for the future criminal prosecution of the puppy mill’s owners. Members of the ASPCA Disaster Response team and several of our legislative professionals are also assisting at the site. More than 285 small-breed dogs—including Boston and Jack Russell terriers, Pomeranians, shih tzus, Chihuahuas, poodles, miniature pinschers and schnauzers—were recovered from multiple buildings on the raided property. According to Dr. Merck, the dogs are suffering from a general lack of basic care, such as little to no food or water, feces-encrusted pens and lack of proper ventilation in enclosed areas. Conditions such as matting, sores, mange, poor teeth and abscesses are widespread.  Dogs in critical condition were examined immediately on the scene and in the Mobile Animal CSI Unit, and those needing emergency care were transferred to local veterinarians who have volunteered their services.

Puppy Mill

Local officials became concerned about this particular puppy mill last September after a visitor to the property—someone who had intended to purchase a dog—alerted the White County Humane Society to the poor conditions of the animals. The White County Sheriff’s Department began a formal investigation, ultimately enlisting the ASPCA’s support for this week’s raid. Other parties assisting in the rescue include American Humane Association, Nashville Humane Association, several local veterinarians and PetSmart Charities, which provided the majority of sheltering supplies and an emergency relief vehicle.
Back in June, the ASPCA assisted in the raid of a puppy mill in Lyles, TN—the state’s largest raid to date. Thankfully, the Tennessee General Assembly is taking action to address the state’s puppy mill problem—last week, a consumer protection bill addressing large-scale commercial breeders was introduced in the Senate; introduction of a House companion bill is expected soon. How can you help to ensure a safe future for dogs like these? When you donate today, you will help us in all of our life-saving efforts, including ones like the puppy mill raid in Tennessee. To learn more about the White County raid, please visit our blog to see pictures of the puppies we rescued.   
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Fight Back Animal Cruelty
Before your report cruelty, be sure to gather as much information as you can to help the authorities investigate. If you have evidence—photos, videos, etc.—even better!

February 14, 2009 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Success Stories, Uncategorized, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments