Most of you are aware of the fire that killed 22 Beagles. But, are you aware that the proposed dog law would mandate smoke alarms and fire extinguishers as well as exit doors in all kennels? Of course we don’t know if this would have saved one life or made a difference but the important point is that this tragedy happens all too often. The second important point is that the suggestion to add smoke alarms in kennels was made by Anne Irwin, who runs a Pennsylvania shelter. But, you won’t see her taking credit for this suggestion or asking for donations. This is the difference between animal welfare groups and animal rights organizations.
The Morris Animal Foundation has announced a canine cancer website exclusive for dog owners and lovers featuring Colorado State and Cornell Veterinary Cancer experts. The website is www.MorrisAnimalFoundation.org/ccexclusive One in 4 dogs die of cancer. Cancer is the number one cause of death in dogs over 2 years of age.
According to librarian-reviewed commentary in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA), the number one website for animal health is the American Veterinary Medical Association’s page that includes Animal Health Brochures, which are available at www.avma.org/communications/brochures/animal_health.asp. The site offers online brochures for common pet health concerns as well as public health brochures and a children’s area. A close second is Petplace.com, available at www.petplace.com. This site includes consumer-friendly information and a high-quality veterinarian-created forum for pet owners.
I am often asked about books. I can’t say I agreed with any of the choices. Their number one choice in dog books was the Angell Memorial Animal Hospital Book of Wellness and Preventative Care for Dogs by Darlene Arden. Arden is not one of my favorite authors so I may be biased. Their second choice was the ASPCA Complete Dog Care Manual by Bruce Fogle. Again, I am not too delighted with Fogle. Amy Shojai has a book on the care of an aging dog that is good to look at. Also, if you can obtain an inexpensive copy, look at Essential Dog published by Readers Digest 2006. As always, check Amazon for good prices on new and used copies.
A FRIEND FOR EXERCISE
David Frei, the dog guru of Westminster fame, picked six breeds he felt would be the most suitable companions for dog owners who are into fitness. His first choice was the German Shorthaired Pointer –a breed he calls “the ultimate SUDS–sports utility dogs.” He picked the Whippet for interval training companionship for their intensity and focus. For marathons and as a year-round athlete Frei picked the Siberian Husky. He stressed their dense coat, which keeps them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. For overall speed, endurance, and energy, the Smooth Fox Terrier was one of Frei’s choices. For the best companionship in a jog the surprise choice was the Poodle and for a breed that will run circles around his human athletic owner–the Border Collie! Someone needs to get Frei’s choices of breeds that are the best exercise companions for senior citizens with and without walkers and canes!
Jun 16, 2008 | | David Frei, Morris Animal Foundation, Uncategorized, animal health, animal safety, smoke alarms
Long ago, the symbol of the Pennsylvania SPCA was a woe-be-gone dog named Tramp. Tramp carried his possessions in a bag attached to a stick balanced against his shoulder. He was the symbol of the homeless, the stray dog. As the SPCA grew, Tramp began to wear clothes. During World War II he dressed up as Uncle Sam and once he even donned a cap and gown and graduated from school–presumably obedience school. I wonder if Tramp is still alive, still the symbol of the homeless, and what he looks like! Most importantCI wonder if Tramp ever found the Aguaranteed good home@. As one who has whelped litters of puppies I am thrilled that the PSPCA can guarantee that its dogs and cats can be placed in Aloving forever homes@ (Director of Branch Adoptions, Chad Weaver). Finding loving forever homes is the most difficult part of raising puppies. I hope the executive board shares this priceless information with all dog lovers. Does Tramp have a Pennsylvania covered bridge for sale, too?
The Morris Animal Foundation has announced an essay contest honoring veterinarians. The contest is sponsored by Hill=s Pet Nutrition, Veterinary Practice News Magazine, Dog Fancy, and Cat Fancy. The contest runs from June 1 to August 31 and in 300 words should address: 1. The veterinarian=s outstanding clients, 2. commitment to the human-animal bond, 3. service to community, and 4. service to the veterinary profession. For rules and to enter online, go to www.ThankYourVet@MorrisAnimalFoundation.org. Entries can also be mailed to the Morris Animal Foundation, Thank Your Vet Contest, 10200 E. Girard Ave., Ste. 8430, Denver , Colorado 80206. For a printed copy of the rules call 800.243.2345. The Morris Animal Foundation funds over 1,400 humane animal health studies to protect, treat, and cure companion animals. Hills Pet Nutrition paired with the Morris Animal Foundation in the 1940s when Mark Morris, DVM, created a special food for a seeing eye dog, Buddy, who had kidney disease. This began the prescription diets now sold through veterinarians and include r/d (weight loss), j/d for dogs with arthritis, t/d a food for tartar control, and the famed b/d for older dogs who are in the beginnings of senility.
One of my very favorite books and videotapes is titled ACalming Signals@.
They say there was no warning–but there always is. For example, in the ATurning of the head@, the signal can be a swift movement, turning his head to the side and back, or the head can be held to the side for some time. It can be just a tiny movement or the whole head clearly to one side. Your dog may use head turning when another dog is approaching him to tell the other dog to calm down. Maybe your dog was approached too fast, or directly head on instead of in a curve. His head may turn if you stoop over him. Maybe he turns his head but stands still, which tells you about his discomfort. You can use head turning yourself when a dog starts to get worried or frightened when you approach him. When a scared dog starts to bark or growl at you, turn your head.@ Once when Dixon was sitting in my livingroom he picked up this book and, while reading it, fell asleep!
May 31, 2008 | | "Tramp", Hills Pet Nutrition, Morris Animal Foundation, Pennsylvania SPCA, Uncategorized, calming signals
PA STATE DOG LAW. As many of you know, a group met with Special Deputy Secretary of Dog Law Enforcement Jesse Smith and a delegation from Harrisburg to discuss and gather information on the overhaul of the state dog law. The present bill is one I believe we can all agree upon. It targets only commercial kennels (60 dogs and over) and is aimed at the breeding stock. It excludes puppies born in these facilities until they are 8 weeks of age. Then, they are considered to be protected by all welfare standards built into the overhaul. I have a strong feeling we will see more dog-targeted legislation in the near future. This is a start toward helping the most helpless and their Acash source of dogs and bitches@. It is thus the most important. A tethering bill is under revision and it appears to be headed toward a balance we can all live with. (It is interesting to note that no one could remember who Tammy Grimes was–thus, her 15 minutes as a celebrity are over. At least let=s hope so .) Carly, the de-barked Pomeranian, seems to be the new canine celebrity. My vote, however, goes to the Shih-tzu who watches his owner wash the car while tied in the shade. This little companion belongs to the head of the Sportsmen=s Alliance. One has to wonder what he hunts?
Probably the most interesting developments are a series of seminars on how to live with the better standards imposed by the new bill. They will be offered free of charge through the Lancaster District Attorney=s office with a great faculty from the Department of Dog Law. Wish we could do that locally. By the way, Jesse Smith brought pictures of her Chow Chow puppy, who is in puppy kindergarten, to the Bloomsburg meeting. Too many of those who talk a lot don=t own dogs. Clearly, that is neither the case with our Special Deputy nor our Governor.
MILEY, DORIS, AND LIZA. While everyone was reading the Miley Cyrus story in Vanity Fair, I read about Doris Day. As some of you know she is the ex-movie star who is probably as famous for APillow Talk@ and Rock Hudson as she is for her advocacy of spay/neuter. Spay/Day USA became HER day each February until the AVMA decided it could not support the Doris Day Animal League. Thus, with this cause as her main reason for animal welfare fame it is ironic that on her 86th birthday in 2007 the famous Liza Minelli paid her a birthday tribute on a radio program by announcing that her Miniature Schnauzer was in labor! The spay/neuter cause rivals gun control as one of the most emotional debates in America with plenty of irrationality as well as reason on both issues.
CUSTOM POETRY. A new web site by Arlene Kline is worth a look. Kline is another celebrity who counts among her close friends Betty White. On the web site, http://www.designingpoet.com, Arlene announces that she will write poems for you and your pet. Arlene is a trustee and board membe rof the Morris Animal Foundation. She is the proud owner of Scout, a champion Yorkshire Terrier. She knows just about every AKC judge present and past and stars in the Latham Foundation videotape on the Canine Good Citizen. For Yorkie lovers there is a videotape, @A Day In the Life of a Dog@, and a wonderful book of poetry titled I Never Wanted To Say Good-bye. Visit her.
There is encouraging news on the CANINE INFLUENZA RESEARCH front. The Florida immunologist, Dr. Cynda Crawford, who first identified canine flu in Greyhound kennels and later in shelters, has identified a respiratory coronavirus as partly responsible for respiratory infections in dogs. The coronavirus and parainfluenza virus appear to thrive in shelters where there are inadequate isolation procedures for both dogs and staff biosecurity. Many dog owners probably remember coronavirus from the time when the big mystery was parvovirus, a disease that can be not only contagious but fatal. Canine flu, on the other hand, has a low mortality rate.
GATES GIFTS INCLUDE ALL LIFE. Bill and Melinda Gates have gifted Washington State University with funding for a SCHOOL FOR GLOBAL ANIMAL HEALTH. As part of the school=s focus–vaccine development, disease detection and control from animals to humans. AThe school=s mission meshes with the one-health concept which integrates animal, human and environmental health for the benefit of all.@
LIGHTING UP CAGNEY. I have found a new use for those blinking collar lights. Cagney now wears one beside her therapy dog tag so she and I don=t have night-time collisions. I turn off the light and then turn on Cagney!
May 17, 2008 | | Arlene Kline, Gates Foundation, Morris Animal Foundation, Pennsylvania dog law, Uncategorized, blinking collar lights, canine influenza