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Archive for the 'Pet Controversial Issues' Category
This article is paraphrased from an article we wrote on our American Dog Blog. It was a good article and worth repeating. Pets are great, but they may not be the best Christmas gifts. Here is why and what you can do instead of giving a puppy or kitten instead:
Picking out a Pet is a Family Event
If you are considering giving your child or loved one a puppy or kitten for Christmas, consider giving a gift certificate or a promise note instead. This way the entire family can get together and decide which pet is perfect for everyone. If done after Christmas, this will also help all the pets which have ended up in the shelter because they were given as gifts and not wanted. This happens more often than you think so waiting until the entire family is ready and can decide together helps both your family and the pets that found themselves homeless.
Picking out a Pet is a Personal Experience
You wouldn’t go pick out someone else’s wedding dress, would you? The puppy or kitten you think is perfect may not be the ideal pet for the person you are picking it out for. Even if that person described every detail about what they want in a pet, it’s like finding the perfect wedding dress – the right pet is chosen based not just on a description but also on emotion. Also, that person may not really be ready for a pet. By giving a promise note instead, they can choose when the time is most right for them. The holidays are already overwhelming. It might be best not to overwhelm things more with a little fur-ball of mischief.
Give a Stuffed Animal with a Promise Note Instead
If you know for a fact that a certain person really wants a puppy or kitten for Christmas, giving a stuffed one along with a promise note instead is a very creative idea. This allows them to pick out a real live pet themselves and you have still given a gift on that very special day.
Give a Donation in Someone’s Name
Now that you know how many pets are abandoned after the holidays because people weren’t really ready for them, you can give homeless pets and a person you care about a gift by donating in their name to a shelter or rescue group. If someone you know lost a pet recently, giving the gift in their pet’s name is an even better idea.
Promise to Volunteer
If a good friend or family member wants a pet but you are concerned a pet may be too much for them to handle, give the gift of agreeing to volunteer at an animal shelter together. This way, the person can see how much work is involved in caring for a pet. They might discover they don’t really want a puppy or kitten after all, or they might find out they are allergic to animals. Also, if the person doesn’t have time to get together with you, this might be a sign that they wouldn’t have time for a puppy or kitten either.
Please don’t buy a pet for Christmas this year. Consider the above alternatives instead and save one of the animals who were given up because someone wasn’t ready.
I’ve had a lot of people tell me it is silly to make a dog wear a seat belt in the car. This has been an especially hot topic lately since New Jersey passed the new law. Many people, including political officials, are calling it stupid. “Absolutely ridiculous…..like NJ doesn’t have other issues to deal with that are more important than SEAT BELTS FOR PETS!” or “Seriously? Do dogs really cause car accidents?” or “For a free country, we sure are losing a lot of freedoms of choice” or “Next thing you know they will make laws requiring us to strap in Kleenex boxes”.
Most people seem to be upset that New Jersey is wasting tax dollars to make such a law. Maybe New Jersey is doing it for a good reason, or maybe it is just a way to make extra revenue. I won’t get into that debate. But I will say that many laws are made because people aren’t using common sense. Remember when states started making seat belt laws for people? There were nearly the same arguments for freedom of choice and a waste of tax dollars. But let’s consider some common sense reasons and real life examples of why dogs should wear seat belts in the car (or at least be in a pet travel crate).
1. Do unrestrained dogs in cars really kill people? The answer is yes. On September 15th of this year in East Brunswick, New Jersey, it is suspected that a dog in the vehicle was a distraction which caused the driver to lose control, crash, kill two pedestrians, and injure three others. TWO people are dead. Read the article HERE.
2. Do car accidents kill dogs? Again, yes. While the answer to this question might seem obvious, consider this relatively minor accident in Lakewood, Washington where the two occupants suffered only minor injuries but the dog died. The Pomeranian was killed when it hit the windshield. This dog could have survived if he had been restrained in a pet car harness or pet carrier. Read the article HERE.
3. What happens to a dog after an accident? Consider the terror a dog feels after the car that it is in goes out of control. The instinct of a dog in a traumatic experience is to run. And if given half they chance, dogs WILL try to run away from the accident – even if it is just a fender-bender. Consider Bella in Clinton, Montana on August 5th of this year. She and her family were in a terrible accident, a fatal accident. Bella survived. But when someone opened the car door, Bella bolted. She was so scared that no amount of calling for her or looking for her would bring her out. She ran and hid for several days, only coming out at dusk or dawn. It took a community coming together and a live trap to capture Bella. She was finally caught on August 31st… 25 days later. Imagine her fate if the community hadn’t helped. Read her story HERE.
All these stories happened within the past couple of months. And these are just a few of the stories we have come across. Multiply these three by at least 10 more recent stories we’ve found. Then multiply that by how many stories we didn’t find and how many stories never made it to the web. I bet the number goes into the hundreds. Then multiply that again by several months and I bet you have well over a thousand per year. Since there is no formal reporting system for dogs in car accidents, this is just a guess.
We all think it will never happen to us. But if it does, let’s be prepared. Consider the many well-tested dog seat belt brands. If you don’t think your dog will tolerate a seat belt, consider training him to get used to it or consider a secured pet travel crate or pet vehicle barrier. Your pet is family. Treat him/her like family.
Use positive reinforcement to train your dog instead of harsh dominance methods, shock collars, pinch collars, etc. There are more benefits to humane training than there are to the other methods. Check out today’s blog post on our American Dog Blog about the cons of shock collars by clicking HERE.
For other positive training methods, check out these articles as well:
Learn more about Train Humane Day by clicking HERE.
Persephone (Sephi) 2001-?
Lately have been posting on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Well, today is Tuesday but I just don’t have it in my heart to write a pet safety article, product review, or pet travel destination article. Today I am going to be selfish and write about my dog Sephi.
Sephi, short for Persephone, is a ten-year-old Chow/Shepherd/Labrador/Border Collie mix. And she is not doing very well right now. I took her to the vet yesterday because she was suddenly not eating and too weak and dizzy to move around. The vet suspected vestibular disease which has a variety of causes including an ear infection, cancer in the inner ear, or just some neurological problem that some older dogs tend to get for no medically known reason.
But after some blood tests, the vet found even more trouble. Her red blood cell count was extremely low. He recommended that I take her to an emergency clinic right away. I took Sephi to the closest clinic about 45 miles away. They ran more tests and provided some treatment which may help Sephi feel comfortable for a short time. The vet said that there could only be three reasons why Sephi’s red blood count was so low – bone marrow disease, cancer, or an auto-immune disease. None of these have simple treatments and none of them guarantee success. At Sephi’s age, her chances at any one of them is pretty low.
So I am faced with a very difficult decision. I have three choices. I can spend thousands of dollars running tests and hoping treatments work, I can put Sephi to sleep now, or I can try to make her as comfortable as possible until it is obvious that putting her to sleep is the right decision. Some people say you should do whatever it takes, spend whatever it takes, and do everything you can to help your dog get better. Other people don’t think it is a good idea to put themselves into serious debt for something that may or may not help. This is a difficult decision to make and I won’t begrudge anyone who chooses one way or the other.
I want to spend whatever it takes but the reality is that I don’t have whatever it takes. And there is the very real possibility that treatments won’t work or at best will only extend Sephi’s life for a couple of months. If I hope for the best and do whatever it takes to give Sephi a couple more month, am I really doing it for Sephi’s benefit or my own?
The first thing I would need to do is subject Sephi to a bunch of tests which will cost hundreds of dollars and she would have to spend most of her time in a strange place around strange people. Sephi is not at all comfortable in strange places and prefers to stay at home. It is likely that making her go through all this will stress Sephi out and make her illness progress faster.
If I do the tests and find that Sephi has bone marrow disease, then the only chance for possible success is to get a blood transfusion every few days or possibly weeks. It really depends on how fast her red blood cells are being depleted. This process is almost a thousand dollars each time. If Sephi has cancer, she will have to be subject to cancer treatment which probably won’t make her feel very good. And again, the chance for success is very small depending on the extent of the cancer. If Sephi has an auto-immune disease, then she will need to be put on steroid treatment which will suppress her immune system. This will make her very susceptible to any other kind of sickness. Even something as small as a skin infection can get out of control and turn deadly. Even then, the steroid treatment is not guaranteed to work for long.
Considering the extent of Sephi’s symptoms and behavior, the chance of her being recovered from any of these three things is extremely low. And treatment for any of these three carry risks and side affects which will likely make Sephi very uncomfortable. And all this is on top of the vestibular disease problem which may or may not correct itself. Do I try anyway and hope for the best? Or do I let her go to keep her from suffering? I wish she could tell me what she wants. And I wish I could explain her options to her so could understand what is happening to her.
When we were at the veterinary hospital last night, Sephi sort of helped me make the decision. She showed interest in the things going on around her and and perked up her ears when I said the words “cookie” or “outside”. So I have done one test and some treatment which seemed to help a little bit. She has some medications which will hopefully make her more comfortable. And in order to avoid the stress of being in a strange place, I took her home last night. Depending on how she does, I can take her in form more tests and more treatments later and only a little bit at a time so that she doesn’t have to spend days in strange company.
I will keep you posted on how things go. Please pray for my girl and hope that her last days are good ones.
Once during a long road trip, we stopped at a hotel for the night so that we could take a rest before the next big driving day. We were a long way from any big cities which provide a number of hotels to choose from so we didn’t have much of a choice when we finally found a place to stop for the night. But when we went to this hotel with our dogs, we were appalled! They turned us away because our dogs were too big.
So back on the road we go. We drove for at least a half hour before we found another hotel. And can you believe it, but the same thing happened again. It was almost midnight and we were tired. What a dangerous thing to be driving when you are tired. But what could we do? When faced with the decision to either sleep in the car or keep going, we chose to keep going.
Thankfully, we found another hotel within about 5 minutes. And not only did they welcome our dogs, they gave our dogs treats and directed us to a designated doggy-potty-area.
So what is the big deal with a big dog in a hotel? Our dogs are well-behaved and non-destructive. I suppose a bigger dog can make a bigger mess, but in my experience, little dogs are more likely to make messes. And I suppose that a bigger dog can have a bigger bite, but did you know that most dog bite cases are from small dogs?
Don’t worry, I am not trying to discriminate against little dogs. I’m just saying that to discriminate against big dogs is unfair.
Visit GiveBigDogsABreak.com to sign a petition protesting the hotels who discriminate against big dogs. Stand up for your big dog so that he gets treated the same as a little dog.
Watching Good Morning America this morning, I just learned about this awesome group of biker men who not only rescue abused and neglected animals, but they also confront the offenders. They have a show which is going to premier on the National Geographic Channel on Friday, September 25, 10pm EP. I checked out their Success Stories page and it brought tears to my eyes – tears of sadness that there are people in this world who actually treat animals this way – and tears of happiness that there are people in this world who really care and want to do something about it.
Check out this link on the success stories: http://www.rescueink.org/success.html.
We are always talking about the benefits of adopting a dog versus buying a dog, although we are not against buying a dog IF you buy the dog from a reputable breeder. However, there are far too many breeders out there who are only in it for the money and not for the love of the breed. Check out this wonderful book on a dog who lived a horrible life at a puppy mill but was luckily rescued and given a second chance at life in a wonderful home:
“A Rare Breed of Love”
The most obvious reason you should care for your pet is so that your pet lives a long and happy life and gives you happiness in return. But now there is another reason. Cities all over the US are cracking down on people who abuse or neglect their pets. Neglect includes leaving a dog chained in the yard day-in and day-out or letting a dog roam the neighborhood. Just because someone regularly feeds a dog, a dog constantly chained up or allowed to roam can eventually lead to a dangerous dog which is more inclined to attack or bite people than a dog who is properly cared for. Check out this fantastic article written by someone in a city who is issuing citations for dog owners who do not properly are for or restrain their dogs:
The shelters are full all over the United States due to people giving up their pets. This economy is making it more difficult for people to pay their bills. But before you give up your pets, consider all the quality benefits you will be losing. Studies have shown that pets help us with our health and stress. The comfort of a pet can help with various health issues including high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. See our blog post on health provided by animals. If you are stuggling in this economy, don’t you think it would be easier to deal with stress by keeping your best friend around?
Besides, caring for your pets are not really all that expensive. You can get inexpensive dog food which may not have all the specialties of the name brand dog foods but it is still adequately nutritious. You can also purchase pet medications and their shots online from sites which provide vast discounts as compared to the costs of veterinarians. Be sure to research any such sites to make sure they are a legitimate company selling legitimate products. You can get recommendations from humane societies and check to see if the site is owned by a company who is a member of the Better Business Bureau. Other than food and shots, there is really no other expense associated with keeping your pet. Check out this heart-warming article on a woman who lived in her car with her dogs. She may have lost her home, but she has not lost her beloved pets. There’s no doubt that they will help her get through these hard times.
So you want a specific breed of dog and you can’t find it in a shelter or with a breed rescue group. What is your alternative? You can buy a dog from a pet store or breeder. However, there is great danger in doing this. The dog you are buying may have come from a puppy mill. Puppy mill breeders are known to unscrupulously breed dogs without any thought to the health and temperament to the dogs themselves. And don’t be fooled just because the purebred dog you are buying has papers. All that papers mean is that the dog is a purebred. It doesn’t mean that there has been multiple inbreeding of the dogs which deteriorates the quality of the breed. And it doesn’t mean that the dog won’t come with severe health or temperament issues associated with unscrupulous breeding.
My parents bought a dog once who was purebred German Shepherd. We named him Rocky and he had papers. But by the time he grew up, he looked nothing like a real German Shepherd. They bought another dog who was also a purebred German Shepherd with papers. Her name was Tanya and she looked like a standard German Shepherd. However, she had to be put to sleep after only two years of age because of severe hip dysplasia problems. The breeder had enticed my parents with a guarantee that the dog would not get hip dysplasia. But the catch which my parents were unaware of was that the guarantee was only for one year and these dogs generally do not show signs of hip dysplasia until after they are a year old. My parents tried to report the deficiency of the breed to AKC but AKC said that they played no part whatsoever in regulating such a thing. Their only interest was in documenting that the dog was a purebred German Shepherd.
So, let it be known that a dog with papers does not mean you are getting a quality breed. For both you and your new dog’s benefit, you must research before buying a dog. Read the following article for more great information on papers: