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Pet Food and Animal Crackers, Redux

Those who have felt the effects of the recalled pet food are now organizing into a class action settlement.  If you purchased, used, or obtained, or your pet consumed pet food and/or pet treats that were recalled between March 16, 2007 and the present, because they allegedly contained contaminated wheat gluten or rice protein concentrate you may be eligible to participate in a class action settlement and receive compensation.  For further information, visit the settlement website at www.petfoodsettlement.com or contact the Claims administrator, Heffler, Radetich &Saita LLP / PO Box 890, Philadelphia, PA 19105-0890 1-800-392-7785

Animal Crackers. Once upon a time Dr. George Leighow and I hosted a radio program called Animal Crackers.  We had guests both local and national and covered some very exciting topics.  Among our more famous local guests was of course, Dixon Cuff.  Nationally known guests included Ginny Thornburgh, Max Lang, Nicholas Dodman, Job Michael Evans, Herm David, Ken Marden, Alan Beck, and others.  So it is with considerable interest that I report that the newest reward/reinforcement/treat for those dog owners who use them to train and/or keep the attention of their dogs are ANIMAL CRACKERS–THE KIND WE EAT!  These come in a box, of course, and have the value of being small, crunchy, easy to eat, and safe.  Giant Market has big boxes of these crackers for a dollar each.  Try them.     

ED AND TONI EAMES have long been author/advocates for service dog teams.  In a recent article they report on the services available for these hard-working canines at no charge.  Participating companies include: Bayer Anima Health, Fort Dodge Animal Health, Nestle Purina Nutramax Laboratories, IAMs , Royal Canin USA and Hills Pet Products.  The program is administered by Nutramax; the veterinarian applies for a grant on behalf of his disabled client.  The Eames also report that there is a brisk sales of signs reading, “No petting or feeding”.

PET SERVICES.  The Columbia/Montour Area Agency on Aging offers rides for a minimal fee through a local taxi service.  If the senior is also a pet owner, crated  dogs and cats can also be transported to veterinary hospitals.  The cost is $9 each way but well worth it if that is the only way to make sure a pet gets the medical care he or she needs.  Also, Erie Insurance’s auto policy will insure pets hurt in an auto accident up to $500 per animal, $1000 per loss.  The added coverage will  automatically be applied at no additional charge in most states.  For more information, check with your ERIE agent. 

INTRODUCING — Wayne Pacelle, the head of the Humane Society of the United States, who is tall and handsome–not the usual suspect.  The 47-year-old vegan neither eats nor wears animal products.  He says he is too committed to his work to marry or raise children.  Divorced long ago, he lives in a condo in Washington with his girlfriend, Christine Gutleben, who runs the HSUS program that reaches out to religious leaders and congregations.  When Christine moved in with him she brought her cat, Libby.  Gutleben says he is “interesting with animals”–doesn’t want to invade their space–and so Libby has free run of the place, including the kitchen counters and Pacelle’s chest. 

WHAT ABOUT DOG FOOD?  We began this segment on recalled dog food but what if we could detect spoiled pet food at the check-out in the grocery store?  It would certainly prevent so many emotional as well as financial problems!  Craig Grimes, a professor of electrical engineering at Penn State University Park, has created a practical gadget that can detect bad milk, juice, or soup using a thin iron strip that vibrates in a magnetic field.  When a customer checks out at the grocery store, the scanner can detect when this strip vibrates differently, indicating a change in the consistency of liquid.  The technology has also been used to detect blood clotting characteristics, stressed roadways, and new bridges.  Now if it can just be adapted to pet food!                  

Jul 23, 2008 | Comments are off | Alan Beck, Craig Grimes, Dixon Cuff, Dr. George Leighow, Ed and Toni Eames, Erie Insurance, Ginny Thornburgh, Herm David, Humane Society of the United States, Job Michael Evans, Ken Marden, Max Lang, Nicholas Dodman, Penn State, Wayne Pacelle, animal crackers, radio program, recalled pet food, service dog teams, spoiled food detector

New and further thoughts on good dog training and nutrition

Weis Markets is now carrying Springer Mountain Farms chicken–nothing to do with English Springer Spaniels, although they do love leftover chicken and, of course, hard- boiled eggs. As a result, I have been reading about poultry that meets the American Humane Association (AHA) standards for farm animals. AHA requires Athat animals be raised in ways which reduce stress, and with adequate shelter, comfortable resting areas, sufficient space, proper facilities and the ability to express normal behavior@. There is a seal on this new chicken at Weis that reads AAmerican Humane Association (AHA) free farmed certified@. To earn this approval the grower has to be inspected and approved by AHA–not a government agency or consumer group. The package also reads: no chemical medicines administered, no antibiotics ever administered, no animal or poultry products in feed and no growth stimulants or hormones, fed an all vegetable diet. I bought a package of thighs and used a coupon. It is found next to the other brands. The cost was slightly more for a similar amount but I count the additional cost as my contribution to a better life for all. Like so many others, there is less and less disposable income in my budget, and encouraging humane care is important. By the way, AHA–which dates to 1877–was the pioneer partner with the American Red Cross in setting standards for pet disaster care, issuing the first published guidelines. A review of these guidelines reveals advocacy of mass euthanasia of stray and abandoned pets and body burning. This was at a time before the human-animal bond was recognized as an important link in being human. The AHA also gives equal attention to humane care and the education of children–the only national organization to do this. Since this is my first Springer Mountain Farms purchase I think it only fitting to make chicken soup–chicken soup with a soul!

On to dog trainers–there are too many bad dog trainers and they do such harm. I fear more people will decide to become dog trainers to help supplement their income. We will all suffer–especially our dogs. You never really get to know the man or woman who teaches a dog training class, yet they will influence your friendship with your dog and perhaps your life together. Because we own a dog, we are never unloved or unwanted. It might be a little easier to follow training instructions and reinforcement schedules if we knew something about the person teaching us how to handle this wonderfully important relationship. If I personally don=t want a person for a friend and a guest in my home, then I feel I don=t want him or her helping me to train my dog.

There is a book by Job Michael Evans titled ATraining and Explaining, How to be the Dog Trainer You Want to Be@. The book contains some wisdom from another favorite author, Carol Lea Benjamin–If you don=t have a sense of humor you probably should not have a dog@. And from Job, Awear practical, but beautiful clothing–people must look at you for the whole evening so make it a treat, not a torture!@ His advice to trainers and dog owners is to Akeep a journal to record your observations and hopes@. Job=s first book was AHow To Be Your Dog=s Best Friend@. He later said he felt this was a bad title. He believed that too many people tried to make the dog a friend when they should recognize a dog for himself and say ALet=s Be Friends Together@. Job was always concerned about ethics and honesty. He wrote, ATake time to love. Everything you do with dogs, including falling in love with some of them will flow out of that developed love.@

I have a wonderful videotape of Job teaching pre-schoolers how to interact with dogs. There is such gentleness and kindness in his instruction. Perhaps we should teach this before anger and aggression take root in our young people. We have always felt dogs were like children in so many ways. Thus, it is perhaps important to note that ASeeds of Compassion@, the meeting with the Dalai Lama on teaching compassion that recently took place in Washington State occurred at the location where the human-animal bond was born. Leo Bustad, a veterinarian as well known for his horrible sports jackets as the Dalai Lama is for his saffron robes, authored the book, ACompassion, Our Last Great Hope@. If dogs are allowed in the Dalai Lama=s heaven, then I am sure he will meet this wonderful veterinarian.

Apr 20, 2008 | Comments are off | American Humane Association, Job Michael Evans, Leo Bustad, Springer Mountain Farms, Uncategorized, human-animal bond