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Sherry’s Corner » 2012» June

Archives for June, 2012

Go Petition

      I was a small breeder–one or perhaps two litters a year.  It was hard work.  The puppy whelping box occupied a guest bedroom and a family member usually spent the first ten days sleeping close to the puppies.  And so selling that furry youngster and parting with him is one of the hardest things a breeder has to do.  I have known breeders to deny there is a litter at home if they don’t know the could-be owner and refuse even to sell to another breeder.  However, I am sure many of you have purchased your wonderful dog from a small breeder.  You may know the person as a friend or have personal knowledge of and respect for their dedication to the breed, concern for the well-being of their dogs, or the bloodlines and pedigree may be the attraction–probably this fits most of us!  The late handler “Laddie” Carswell chose my Cooper.  He convinced the breeder my home would fit Cooper and so the puppy was flown from Wisconsin to Long Island and then was driven to me.  We became soulmates until the day he passed over the Rainbow Bridge. Howard Huber picked Cagney for me and I remember the first time I saw her I was shocked.  This was definitely not a puppy I would have picked.  But, her bright eyes and indomitable will marked my life for 14 years and her ashes reside in my livingroom.  I wouldn’t have missed living with her for anything in the world.  I relate these stories because the AKC needs you to sign a petition to protect small breeders. 

      Yes, small breeders are endangered.  You can do your part by going to www.akc.org/petition and following the simple directions there.

      We need to protect the breeder who does not sell to pet stores, whose puppies do not become residents of shelters or strays.  Although many of you turn to a shelter to find your next companion you can prevent overcrowded shelters by encouraging the small breeder and not giving a market to commercial breeders.  And, although many may believe the AKC favors large breeders for economic reasons this AKC drive to protect the small breeder is evidence of its concern for the welfare of all dogs and all who love dogs.  Sign the petition and make a difference.       

911 SAVES PETS, TOO. I recently met an ambulance driver whose Irish Setter, Murphy, accompanies him to fires and accidents.  Both dog and owner would have shared a “high five” over the news that now in Columbia and Montour counties if an accident/fire scene involves a pet in distress or temporarily without an owner, a call to 911 will bring pet help.  But Murphy and master will have to forget the high fives until after Murphy’s paw heals.  He hurt it climbing trees! And, may I emphasize strongly the paw injury was an accident–it doesn’t count as a 911 incident.

       The 911 dispatcher needs to call CART which then answers the call with a pet-trained volunteer who can render first aid and can transport the pet to the nearest veterinarian, emergency center or family member. Since this year over 5,000 dogs will enter AKC dog shows on the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds this is a another layer of protection for visitors and guest dogs –not to count the numerous tourists and resident pets, both dogs, cats and other small companions. And remember the Columbia/Montour Tourist Promotion Agency has a brochure for pet owners traveling in the area. 

      And if you are taking advantage of one of the walking trails for you and your best friend the walk may be good for you, but it doesn’t benefit your dog.  The latest study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association on weight loss and walking shows increasing the amount a dog walks does NOT lead to a corresponding weight loss.  The study was monitored via a pedometer.      

Jun 24, 2012 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

Snacking Science

      This was the title of an Associated Press article on how the world has different ideas about flavor.  At first I thought that perhaps it connected flavors of pet snacks with breeds–logical but not so!  Although lemon pepper Tang is a favorite in Afghanistan, the authors did not link this preference also to Afghan Hounds nor Green Tea-flavored Oreos, a favorite in China, to the Pekingese. Yet, it is not unreasonable to assume that dog owners in other countries share their snacks with their pets.  But, as the article points out, a panel of consumers determines which flavors make it to market.  This, of course, is not the case when it comes to our pets.  Consumers have little to say. 

      A Cornell nutritionist once explained the pet snack choice process to me.  A jury of experts composed of veterinary nutritionists gather when they are not monitoring the weight of calories consumed in the Iditrod– gather to give advice on new pet snacks. They judge on the basis of the name of the snack–will it appeal to pet owners and is the shape appealing–i.e., small steaks, snacks that look like bacon, etc.  Smell plays a minor role.  Yet, of course, smell is probably the most important pet sense involved in choice of a pet snack.  (My nutritionist friend pointed out that once a snack smelled so bad to all the judges that it was immediately rejected. However, when put to a live dog test it was the favorite but never made it to market because they felt the pet owners would reject it.)  It is useful to perform your own taste test by placing three or four different kinds of snacks in a bowl and watching to see which one is eaten first by your dog.  I like to do this at bedtime and call it their “bedtime snack time”.  Ginger-flavored snacks rule in my house, with peanut butter a close second. (There is evidence that Labrador Retrievers will eat anything!)  

      Of late pet foods have come up with “toppers” to help entice finicky eaters, older pets and recovering pets to eat their regular ration.  I have found a spoonful from a can of Mighty Dog does the trick for my dogs.  And, a friend told me her husband gives their dogs a dollop of oatmeal on top of their dog’s breakfast as a treat. 

      Since I agree that no matter what the pet food label says if it is processed dogs may not be getting much value from the protein, fat, etc., I supplement with the real thing.  Come for breakfast at my house and you will probably see liver chunks and yogurt along with the regular food; dinner always has a hard boiled egg, green beans and carrots. I keep a huge jar of animal crackers as snacks.  They are low calorie and the Springers love them.

TWITTER, SOCIAL NETWORK AND THE PET POPULATION. The need to share and to be in a warm, bonded relationship with others has been one of the strongest reasons to have a dog as a best friend.  One has to wonder what effect the growth of social networks will have on pet adoption as well as the dog and cat population!  This trend is a research study worthy of funding by the American Kennel Club and the large humane societies.

       We know pets give unconditional, unjudgmental love.  Pets also do not reveal our secret desires and dreams.  A dog, a cat is truly a soul-mate.  How many soul mates can you have on Facebook and are they all your best friends?  Will anyone in a social network be able to take the place of a dog?  My choice.  A dog on my lap–not a Dell!

 

Jun 10, 2012 | Comments are off | Uncategorized