2017 Winter Wonderland Central NH & VT
Tips To Keep Your Cat Young At Heart Dog Sledding In Vermont
Tracing The Roots Of An Award Winning Morgan Can Hemp Be The Right Choice For Your Pet? The Best Diet For Your Pet
Inside this issue of 4 Legs & a Tail
3. The Aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, John Peaveler
7. Everybody Ready? Letâ€™s Go!, Tim Hoehn
In the wake of devistation to Haiti, how one international disaster responder and Upper Valley resident made a difference.
Put dog sledding at the top of your winter fun list.
9. Siberians, Kathy Bennett
A look at these incredible dogs
11. Gunner, The Skijoring GreyHound, Diana Hanks
A great way to get around this winter
12. Alternatively Speaking: When It Comes To Food, Fresh Is Best, Dr. Anne Carroll, DVM, CVA
14. Choosing the Right Dog, Nancy Holmes
16. Got a puppy? Helia Zamprogno, DVM, MS, PhD
19. Diets for the Pet Ferret, Susan Tullar, DVM
20. Enjoying the Holidays with Squirrels, Scott Borthwick
Some points to consider when you want to expand your family How to check if your puppy might be predisposed to hip dysplasia
It starts by not inviting them into your home
21. The Different Roles of Therapy Dogs and Assistance Dogs, Katie Ziegler
22. Keeping Your Bird Healthy for the Holidays, Dr. Michael Dutton
24. Cognitive Dysfunction, Catherine MacLean,DVM
26. Big Love, Cathy White
29. In the Spirit of Autumn's Cloud, Darlene Gray
32. Music and Therapeutic Riding, Sue Miller
36. The Drumming of Hooves, Tanya Sousa
38. On The Bit, John Killacky
The signs of an aging dog
Life with five Newfoundlands!
Solving problems with the magic of song and a saddle The champion line of an award winning Morgan A Shetland moment in Vermont
Inside this issue of 4 Legs & a Tail
39. Your Pet May be in Pain, M. Kathleen Shaw, DVM
How to recognize the signs
41. Hemp: A New Way to Better Your Pet’s Health, Holly McClelland and Benjamin Burroughs
43. What is a Tono-Pen?, Annie Whitford, DVM
44. Snow Blindness in Your Dog
46. Nine Steps for Solid Recall Training, Paula Bergeron
48. Helping Your Cat Stay Spry
49. When Your Cat is an Early Riser (and you’re not)
51. De-Stress Your Pet This Season, Pat Jauch
How your veterinarian detects issues with your pets eyes
A must skill for every responsible dog owner Helpful tips to keep your kitty sharp
What to do when you want to sleep in on Sunday morning and your cat doesn’t
52. Make a New Year’s Resolution: Get Those Teeth Cleaned and Keep ‘Em Clean, Dr. Sandra Waugh, VMD, MS
54. The Golden Snitch, Mark Carlson
56. One Third for the Birds, Catherine Greenleaf
58. Owney the Post Office Dog, Kate Kelly
4 Legs & a Tail Volume L.416 P.O. Box 841 Lebanon, NH 03766 603-727-9214 TimH.4LT@gmail.com 2 4 Legs & a Tail
When you can’t even trust your own dog Increasing Wildlife Habitat In Your Backyard The amazing adventures of a world traveler
Publishers: Tim Goodwin, Tim Hoehn Senior Editor: Scott Palzer Graphic Design: Kristin Wolff, Lacey Dardis Kerry Rowland Sales: Karyn Swett, Scott Palzer, Barry deSousa
If you have a tale about a tail or a photo that will make us smile, we’d like to hear from you. 4 Legs & a Tail is published quarterly and distributed free of charge throughout Central VT & NH. 4 Legs & a Tail, Inc. is locally owned and operated and acts as a moderator without approving, disapproving or guaranteeing the validity or accuracy of any data or claim. Any reproduction in whole or part is prohibited.
of Hurricane Matthew John Peaveler - W. Fairlee, VT
’m climbing slowly up and up, above what was once the tree line and onward into the clear blue sky. I’m especially cautious as I make my ascent, carefully placing right foot and right hand, then left foot and left hand in a steady sequence. The ladder continues for about 100 feet, but I choose a spot about halfway up with several horizontal supports, again set my hands and feet with diligence, take a deep breath, and look around. The scene on the ground below is as terrible as I expected it to be, but that doesn’t make it any easier to see. My breath catches in my throat as I look around. I can see 360 degrees, moving slowly on the steel supports. The visibility is about 10 miles. I look down and see the heavy steel door that in normal times secures this tower. It’s been ripped off and twisted. Across the street, a large complex of blue-roofed buildings belonging to a Taiwanese development organization has been heavily damaged. Forty-foot shipping containers have been thrown into buildings, destroying everything in their path. Trees around me now exist in three configurations: snapped in half, blown over, and a select few are merely leafless. Worse yet are the houses. Some are decimated, many are roofless, and all have been damaged. It looks near apocalyptic from this birds-eye height. The destruction is pervasive. It’s all encompassing. It’s heartbreaking. I look into the distance and see shattered lives everywhere, as far as the eye can see. The hundred or so animals I can see from this height appear listless and bedraggled. I snap a few photos, take a deep breath, and slowly make my way back down into the debris field left by Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, southern Haiti. My job, as simply as I can describe it, is to help animals. That means a lot of different things in a lot of different places, but when it comes to my mission as an international disaster responder, I’m driven to do good in a place where something very bad has happened. That challenge comes with much uncertainty in the midst the
HSI Disaster Responder John Peaveler gives food to an extremely hungry street dog in Robin, Haiti following the destruction of Hurricane Matthew. Notice the sharp lines of the dogs’ ribs. He is one of many that need help today. It’s estimated that thousands of animals died during the storm. Those who survived often do not have clear evidence of physical trauma, but without a doubt the extreme stress of 145mph winds and up to 40 inches of rain over two days has weakened many and put them in an even more precarious position than before. HSI is on the scene to get them the care they need.
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chaotic and changing circumstances that follow natural disasters. I went there in early October to provide rescue and veterinary relief to animals affected by the storm, on behalf of Humane Society International (HSI), a non-profit organization with a global mission of improving the lives of all animals. With programs on six continents, HSI is always ready to provide leadership, experience, and support to help a wide-range of animals in need. As a responder, my role in many disasters is to assess the situation to see how animals have been effected, to identify resources both available and necessary, support local animal welfare organizations, provide assistance however possible, and to help formulate a medium to long term recovery plan. That is why I was climbing up a communications tower in Haiti. I needed to see what had happened firsthand. Haiti is a very special place to me. It is stunningly rich culturally and filled with natural beauty, but it is still one of the poorest nations on earth. Much of the countryâ€™s 10 million people live on less than $2 per day. When anything goes wrong, such as sickness, loss of transport, or loss of an animal, it creates a desperate situation. Therefore, when a major disaster strikes, the effects are instantaneous, wide reaching, and life threatening. I saw that first hand in 2010 after the devastating earthquake. People with very little cannot afford to lose anything. They canâ€™t afford damage to property, and they canâ€™t afford to lose the animals that they absolutely rely upon for survival. It is difficult for anyone who has never seen or lived in such poverty to understand what that life must be like. For instance, when you walk Continued Next Page
4 4 Legs & a Tail
This is the inside of a Taiwan based aid agency. Winds were so strong they threw 40â€™ shipping containers that were welded into place as the walls and foundations of warehouse space.
through a poor Haitian neighborhood, youâ€™ll notice there are no cars and few bikes or motorbikes. There are no toys, fences, or decorations. Most houses are not painted and do not have windows or doorknobs. There is no landscaping, no grass, no playgrounds. Many places donâ€™t have electricity. Animals either roam or are tethered nearly everywhere. Food prices are high, and in many markets you can find Mud Cookies, a food item made from salt, vegetable shortening, and edible clay. It is among the least nutritive foods on earth. A person near starvation can eat it as a source of salt, calcium, and fulfillment. It is literally cheaper than dirt is in the United States. This is a snapshot of life in Haiti. Leaving the communications tower behind, I worked to assess the disaster area and find out what the people and animals had been through. I asked several people what the storm had been like. Without exception, they all described terror. Several told me how they had clung to trees and prayed that floodwater would not cover them. Others who been able to weather the storm in their homes spoke of the overwhelming roar of sound as 140mph winds roared over their tin roofs. They struggled for words to describe the feeling that the world was ending. I could still see the trauma in their eyes. I could see the trauma in the eyes of the animals there too. It does not require much to imagine what it must have been like for animals tethered or loose outside. Put simply, Hurricane Matthew was absolutely horrifying for every being that lived through it without adequate shelter. Continued Next Page
I am an international disaster responder for animals. Animals are my passion in life and my area of professional expertise. Still, as an individual, my biggest challenge in a place like Haiti is wanting to help everyone and turning that raw emotion into a plan to do something meaningful. What plan then could I as an animal welfare professional possibly enact? How, in the face of such a tragedy, could I act on behalf of HSI to work in a way that helped animals without ignoring the obvious needs of desperate people? Those questions weighed on me, but the answer slowly became obvious: do anything that improved the situation in any way. And helping animals is critically important – for Haitians, they are a source of livelihood and survival. I also needed to tell the world what had happened in Haiti, now for a second time, so that the needs there could be met through responsible organizations. So I assembled the available resources and set to work. On my third day in Haiti, a veterinarian and a veterinary technician from the Dominican Republic joined me on behalf of HSI. Together we worked with a local NGO called 4Patte (Four Feet) to conduct two open clinics and pave the way for
a follow-on team a week later. The clinics treated goats, sheep, cows, pigs, cats, and dogs, nearly 300 of them in two days. But I was painfully aware of how little our impact seemed in the midst of so much need. I also wondered how people would respond to our presence there and the work we would do. Their reactions were unbelievable. Smiles on faces that hadn’t smiled in days (especially when I received a rope burn, courtesy of a 1000lb cow). Gratitude from people who hadn’t received any aid after more than a week. Children watching, observing compassion and kindness toward animals, perhaps for the first time in their lives. The simple, harsh, and beautiful reality is that the people were happy we had come to help. The animals received vaccines, wound treatments, wormers and other care they never would have received otherwise. In some ways our work there was merely a drop in a bucket, but that drop left a ripple. I went home with the knowledge that we had all done what we could to make a difference, with a promise to tell this story, and with hope for the important work that HSI would continue on behalf of animals in Haiti. You can learn more about the important work of HSI by visiting www.hsi.org or by following their Facebook page: @hsiglobal John Peaveler is an Animal Welfare Consultant with over ten years experience working with all types of animals on three continents. He lives with his wife and two children in West Fairlee, Vermont and continues to work and write at home and abroad.
6 4 Legs & a Tail
Kathy Bennett and Alex MacLennan lead the team
“Everybody Ready?… Let’s Go!”
H ere’s something you may not know about dog sledding in Vermont. Over the decades snowmobilers and dogsleds have shared snowmobile trails from time to time. In fact, it was on one sunny winter's day when a group of riders saw a team
of Siberian huskies and a dogsled approach. They decided to pull over and let the dogs pass when one of the snowmobilers decided it was a nice break to grab a sandwich until the dogs passed. As he saw the graceful dogs approach in perfect formation, he quickly realized that this was not something he had encountered before and reached for his smart phone for a video to share. With camera in one hand and his sandwich in the other, he caught the perfect angle as the team of 12 glided by. Apparently, he was not the only one with lunch on the mind as one of the Siberians snatched the sandwich from his hand like a marathon runner grabbing a water from a spectator during a race. There are many “Snowbirds” in New England who may miss this issue of 4 Legs & a Tail. As old man winter begins his grip on those of us who remain, it is time to dig out the skis and snowshoes. Let the winter fun begin! Over the past thirty years, I have embraced most of the winter adventures New England has to offer with the exception of one, dog sledding. So in preparation to finalize my winter bucket list, I recently caught up with Kathy Bennett and Alex MacLennan of Braeburn Siberians at their Windsor, VT farm. There was no need to ring the bell as their family of 36 Siberian huskies were quick to greet me and let the couple know that they had a visitor. As Kathy and Alex shared some of their favorite tales from the trail, I was surprised to discover many things (such as the sharing of the snowmobile trails.) Most notable is the size of the dogs, averaging 50 pounds and the friendly disposition of every one of them. In fact, Juno gave me so many kisses at our first encounter that I believe we are now engaged. According to Kathy, who’s been a professional musher for more than a decade, “We have a working partnership and have developed an emotional bond. A two way trust that goes well beyond that of pet and master.” It’s not that these dogs aren’t great pets, but that they have been bred for centuries to be working dogs, specifically pulling mid-weight loads over very long distances. When in good condition over the winter, Siberians can pull about three times their own weight. They are known as endurance dogs, capable of traveling up to 150 miles or more a day at an average trotting speed of 7-8 miles per hour, with a loping speed of up to 20 miles per hour. With teams of 10-14 dogs, every dog sledding adventure with Braeburn Siberians is different. Whether it’s a cold snowy day in February or a moonlit night or a warm day in March, a ride with man’s best friend makes for great winter fun. “It’s amazing how these dogs communicate with us, but also with each other”, say Alex. “I’m always amazed at their instincts on the trail. A few years ago we where wrapping up a three hour tour returning to the truck that we had parked at the roadside. As we approached Continued Next Page
a split in the trail, the dogs wanted to go down the right fork, but I gave the command to go left. They resisted at first, but finally followed my command. Needless to say, when we got to the roadside, there was no truck in sight. Now I know to listen to them even when I think I know best!”” THE FAMILY BUSINESS “This has been a labor of love”, says Kathy who has been married to Alex for 18 years. When their daughter Elizabeth was 9 years old, she expressed an interest in dog sledding. The writing was on the wall and the family has been dog sledding ever since. The family aspect of the business goes well beyond those with only two legs. Two thirds of the dogs were bred by Kathy and Alex creating multiple generations. Taka, now 13, lives, works and plays alongside her three children Ari, Phoebe and Deimos. 15 year old Alexandra led the way for her now 11 year old children Asia, Ace, Blaze and Jasper. They have in turn led the way for the next generation (Asia’s 5 children), who in turn are leading the way for the fourth generation of 5 year olds.
Anakin and his blind granddaughter, Hope are ready to work the sled
10 year old Anakin, a main leader, taught his three granddaughters to be leaders, and is now most often seen pulling alongside his granddaughter Hope; she needs his guidance the most because she is blind, but age and eyesight are not a deterrent to what they love to do the most. Just like any family, each dog has its own unique personality. As Alex recalls, “We had two teams going at once on one adventure. Most of the time we run teams in a straight line. On this particular day there was an opportunity for me to pull up side by side with the other sled. As we were going along, the little girl in the sled next to me was fascinated with one of the dogs, Ari, in my team. Apparently the feeling was mutual as she leapt onto her lap. Some dogs just like to have fun!” Indeed, we all have a purpose and for Siberians that means pulling a sled. It takes about two hours to prep a dog sled team to head out onto the trail. As preparations are made at the trailhead for the adventure, the dogs are as loud and excited as kids on Christmas morning, but when the words come down, “Everybody ready? … Let’s Go!”, the sleds accelerate down the trail and silence descends as the dogs lean into their passion. For more information, visit www.BraeburnSiberians.com or call 802-738-8337 8 4 Legs & a Tail
ABOUT SIBERIAN HUSKIES A
Kathy Bennett - Windsor, VT
s Jon Katz says in his book A Good Dog, these “dogs live in their own sphere, by their own lights”. Siberian Huskies are true unto themselves and as such, their respect must be earned. Once earned however, their love and loyalty know no bounds, but still, they are never blindly obedient. This makes the Siberian more high maintenance than some other breeds. Each individual dog has its own personality and characteristics, but there are certain common traits for the breed as a whole that must be understood and accepted for successful ownership. Siberians should not be blamed for being a Siberian! The Siberian Husky was originally developed by the Chukchi people of northeastern Siberia as an endurance sled dog and to herd reindeer. During the short summers, they roamed free on the tundra fending for themselves before returning to the villages. These two historical activities put predatory drive and a desire to run into the Siberian Husky’s genetic code. No matter how bonded we are with any of our dogs, they cannot be allowed to run free – ever. This was a huge adjustment after having owned Golden Retrievers for 30 years, dogs who could go in and out of the house at will. When a Siberian Husky catches a whiff of an enticing smell or when their prey drive is triggered (typically by a fast moving small animal such as a squirrel, flying duck or cat), all bets are off. Since they love to run, they can cover many miles in a short time – and you are left with more gray hairs while you worry and possibly heart break. Therefore, proper care of a Siberian Husky includes regular and vigorous exercise (hiking, jogging, bike or ski-joring, dog-sledding) and proper containment (leashing, decent sized kennel). Siberian Huskies love to dig to China – and beyond! We have holes in our play area that cause an adult dog to disappear from view. However, they will dig for entertainment or to follow a scent Continued Next Page
when on leash or hanging out in your neighbor’s yard as well. Since they do not appreciate gardens or lawns, it’s best not to let a Siberian hang out where holes are not wanted. Therefore, proper care of a Siberian includes giving them an area where they can indulge their preferences. While roaming the tundra in the summers, Siberians developed highly socialized pack behavior. During the long Siberian winters, the dogs provided warmth to the Chukchi people by living in the houses, the children were encouraged to play with them and the best dogs were bred. These historical activities put a strong need for a pack, either canine or human, into the Siberian Husky’s genetic code. They are very friendly and sociable. They do not do well living alone. Left alone for more than an hour or two, even with entertainment such as a bone to chew, they will howl mournfully and become bored – and the results of a bored, but still very intelligent, Siberian will most likely make you very unhappy – shredded cushions, opened cabinets, chewed shoes, any on-the-counter food eaten or spread about, emptied trash cans, etc. Therefore, proper care of a Siberian Husky includes providing other canine companions and/or spending the majority of your time with them. Like many breeds, Siberian Huskies are very intelligent. However, their intelligence comes not only with keen powers of smell, hearing and sight (in that order of acuity), but with terrific problem-solving abilities combined with an ability to stick with a challenge. Unless they recognize that something is impossible (such as digging through cement), they will figure out just about any problem and work at it until they achieve success. Unlatching doors, prying open chain link, finding entertainment, climbing over or digging under fences, reaching the top of the refrigerator for the treats, locating and snitching stuffed animals and food, etc. are 101 level courses for them. Therefore, proper care of a Siberian Husky includes providing not only a safe environment as for any dog, but a highly secure and “child proofed” environment. Siberians are very sensitive and “tuned into” emotions. They take care of one another and us. If we are feeling sad, if we injure ourselves, if we are scared, if we are buoyant, they will respond with compassion or excitement. We never show the dogs the moments we are frustrated or even angry. If a dog is injured or frightened, that dog’s closest friends, along with others, will immediately offer comfort through licking the wound, “kissing” and staying close at hand. They do the same for us. Due to this sensitivity, Siberians respond best to training that is based on positive, consistent, positive, calm, positive and firm reinforcement (yes, repeat is intentional!) 10 4 Legs & a Tail
GUNNER, THE SKIJORING GREYHOUND Diana Hanks
inter was coming and I like to cross-country ski. Having a Greyhound wasn’t going to stop me from doing this. How do you ski regularly without leaving your poor dog home all the time? You train him for skijoring! Short skate skis make me very maneuverable. If my Greyhound, “Gunner” does something suddenly, I can turn or stop quickly. Without poles, my hands are free for handling the dog. A shortened retractable leash attaches to Gunner’s harness. If I fall or he bolts, the force goes through the harness, not his collar. A longer retractable leash gets hitched to his collar for control if I need it. I’m able to swing that arm as I skate, without touching his neck. When I want to communicate with Gunner through the collar, I squeeze the break button on that lead. With the slightest touch, he neck reigns, like a Western horse. Gunner also knows the voice commands “Gee”, “Haw”, “Whoa”, and “On By”, as well as his gaits, walk, trot, and canter.
Diana & Gunner on a winter "stroll". Photo by Peter Wadsworth
Being bred as a running dog and not a pulling dog, I help him by skating on my skis. Speed skating is another passion of mine, so I enjoy this very much. Gunner aides me in going faster than I could on my own for short spurts, which is really fun for both of us! Greyhounds are sprinters. Although he is faster than I could ever hope to be, I have much more endurance than he does. This has to be kept in mind at all times. It’s just nice being able to go out and spend time on skis while exercising my dog. He runs, and I skate. We both have fun and we get outside together. If he wants to stop, we stop. This would be considered horrible training amongst sled dog folks, but Greyhounds are not designed to run long distance. We stop and I let him sniff, mark, and be a regular dog. When he gets his energy back we pick up the pace for a while. The whole outing is a balance between both of our needs. What we both have in common is a desire for speed. In his case it’s a series of short bursts. Diana Hanks got involved with Northern Greyhound Adoptions in 2007, when she saw Donald Westover of N.G.A with 2 Greyhounds at a home show. These dogs and their mild manners drew her in. She went from not having any interest in dogs to volunteering as a dog walker at the kennel, and eventually adopting Gunner. Gunner and Diana are seen at many of the home shows, representing this gentle breed, and Northern Greyhound Adoptions. Winter 2016
Alternatively Speaking: When It Comes To Food, Fresh Is Best Dr. Anne Carroll, DVM, CVA
have probably written more about nutrition than any other single topic, and with good reason. Food can be an essential part of treating illnesses, especially chronic conditions. But the most powerful way to use food is for prevention. A well-nourished body has the tools to protect itself from disease, and maintain its tissues to avoid wear and tear. I have long been a proponent of the value of fresh foods to provide the most useful, absorbable and vital nutrition for pets. I have had that passion rekindled this September at the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association conference where the topic of creating truly balanced homemade foods was given a lot of attention. No one debates the value of fresh feeding, however it is the seemingly overwhelming task of doing it right that drives most of us to the convenience of processed foods. It is my hope that we can make homemade food an attainable goal and part of our pet’s meal plan.
Most of us would love to be able to cook fresh for our pets just like the rest of our family. But it’s the uncertainty of what is OK versus harmful that makes us hesitant. Bodies have a lot to do every day. They generate energy, regulate normal organ function, maintain defenses from disease, and repair or turnover old tissues. All of this requires very specific nutrients for cells and enzymes to perform these fundamental tasks. It is not OK to just throw together a beautiful array of wholesome foods and assume they will provide all the nutrients in the correct amounts. What pet owners need is an informed recipe. When asked for guidance in this area, many veterinarians shy away from recommending fresh feeding because they equally don’t want to cause harm. Unless you pursue board certification in nutrition, most veterinary education does not include how to formulate a balanced diet or evaluate the many frozen diets appearing on the market to tell if they are complete. It was assumed, back when I was in school, that pets would be eating bagged and canned foods which would be evaluated and cleared by authorities that regulate the pet food industry. Luckily, today there are increasing resources for vets and pet owners to help navigate a safe and complete diet formulation. With all these valid cautions and concerns, one may ask, “Why would we bother to make fresh pet food and not just buy the bag off the shelf?” The reasons are many, but basically it comes down to control. When buying commercial food we can’t see the ingredients used to judge their quality, we can’t tailor the diet to our pet’s individual needs, and we have to accept synthetic supplements for vitamins and minerals in amounts and quality that are arguably not ideal for many pets. We also have to accept a higher starch and glycemic index than what is ideal for a dog or cat to eat. If you look at the ancestral diet of a dog or cat and do a nutrient analysis of the contents, it is often a far cry from what we purchase at the store. In comparison, when we make fresh food, the nutrients are not degraded by processing and are more bioavailable. The diet can have ideal amounts of protein and fats from sources that better match the animal’s natural diet, which means it is less likely to promote inflammation and obesity without all the Continued Next Page
12 4 Legs & a Tail
Pumpkin and Klinger enjoying a healthy diet
is effortless in the wild and there aren’t nutritionists hovering over the wolf reminding him to eat more magnesium. They say that we should just be able to give a variety of meats and some organs and be good to go, right? But we have to remember that most prey is consumed whole in the wild, including the fur, glands, organs, muscles, and each part is rich in some vital nutrient. As with anything in life, things that are worthwhile do take a bit of effort. It is easier to throw up your hands in despair and just keep doing what you are doing even if you don’t feel good about it. However, after a small learning curve, fresh feeding can be an easy addition to your pet’s meals. Your efforts will be rewarded in the satisfaction of seeing your pet enjoy the yummy taste and aromas wafting from the real food in their dishes, made even better by the knowledge that they will be healthier for it. And for those of us out there that find boiling water a challenge, no worries. The raw food industry is getting better and better with balancing diets and most of the dehydrated varieties are sterilized for those with concerns about bacteria. So whether fresh from the crock pot or freezer, everyone can treat their pet to a wholesome fresh diet.
starches. Organic or non-GMO ingredients can be used and we can include the range of vitamins and minerals that match their natural diet. After all, why would a dog need less of these nutrients as a domesticated pet than they would in nature? And if your pet has certain medical issues, your veterinarian can increase or decrease nutrients in the diet to assist their condition. In the end, even if home cooking is intermittent or a low percentage of your pet’s overall diet, it is still really easy to see the health benefits. So let’s talk about some of the common advice I give when building a homemade diet plan. Remember, these are generalizations and all specific diet changes are best discussed with your holistic veterinarian to make sure they are a good match for Dr. Anne Carroll is owner of the your individual pet. First, unless you have Chelsea Animal Hospital where she a really stubborn pet that won’t eat commercial food once enjoying homemade, practices both conventional medicine (and who can blame them really), you and surgery as well as several alternative modalities including traditional can you mix homemade or raw diets with Chinese acupuncture and Chinese dry or canned foods. Feeding is not an ‘all or none’ proposition for most animals. It herbal medicine. Her associate Dr. Betty is fine to feed a small topping of home- Jo Black brings classical homeopathy to the practice. For more information made or a fresh meal once a week, as fits your budget and lifestyle. Rotating foods on alternative veterinary medicine visit their website at is considered ideal to provide a variety of www.chelseaanimalhospital.com different nutrients, but some individuals with allergies or digestive issues can’t tolerate change. If this is the case, then respect their digestive needs and adjust to what works for them. Second, you do need to follow a balanced recipe. In a pinch or when your pet is not feeling well it is ok to just use some meat and rice to get by, but more than a week or two of a diet deficient in nutrients is not ideal. Over time deficiencies will be occurring that are very slow to show outwardly unless you are young and growing. Then these effects can be devastating rapidly, especially in large breed puppies. There are many people that do not agree with ‘balanced recipes’ or using supplements for dog food. They argue that eating Winter 2016
Choosing the Right Dog Y
ou’ve decided to get a dog. You have the time, space, money and love. The big question is how do you find the right one? Are you looking for a cuddly couch potato, a hunting companion, a protector, an incentive to exercise, or a playmate for the kids? Do you plan to spend time brushing, send a dog to the groomers regularly or do you want a lower maintenance dog? Are you picturing a purebred or a one of a kind mix? Breeds of dogs were developed for a purpose. Looking at that purpose can help you decide what dog is right for you. The same goes for mix or cross breeds if you can figure out what the ancestors were! A Hound that wanders off following its nose, a Terrier that digs holes in the lawn, a Guard or Herding Breed that barks at strangers should be no surprise as they are doing what they were designed to do. Now you have an idea of what you are looking for, where to look? Many people get a dog when a friend, co-worker or relative realizes the pet they have isn’t right for them. This sort of source usually can give you a good idea
of the pet’s personality and prior veterinary care as well as the dog’s good and bad points. You may also find an owner placing a pet via classified ads. There are as many reasons as there are pets for why one must change homes. When possible visit the dog in its old home. Ask if it’s a good watch dog as that may get you information on how aggressive the dog is. Ask if you can offer a treat and see how the dog acts about food and if it will sit on command. Ask about medical care including heartworm prevention, flea and tick prevention, shots and who the dog’s veterinarian is. Bring a list of questions to ask and observe and handle the dog while you ask them. A rescue or shelter may have adult dogs, young adults or even pups available. Your interest may be sparked by an online ad but visit the dog in person before making any decisions on becoming its new home. While looks are important, a personality fit can’t be seen in an image. Make sure the group is licensed, and following the laws on quarantine, shots and health certificates for the best chance to get a healthy pet with its vet work done. Speak to the caretakers, whether a foster or a shelter worker, to get their opinion on temperament and behavior. Some people want only a special type of pup and seek out breeders. Online ads, dog club referral lists, and word of mouth might help you find a breeder. Make sure breeders follow the laws on the age of puppy placement, health certificates, shots etc. Again don’t buy based on a picture. Meet at least one parent. Puppies, particularly purebreds, tend to be like their parents. Ask questions, handle and play with pups. No matter how cute the pups are if you don’t like the parents find a different puppy. Because of the need to see parents to help you decide, I do not recommend a pet store pup. A breed rescue is where you can find the special breed you might want and get it from people knowledgeable in the particular breed’s traits. Most dog breed clubs have a local or national rescue they work with to help rehome dogs of their breed. Of course some purebreds do end up in a more general rescues and can be found there. Good breeders, rescues and shelters help you choose the right dog for your home instead of trying to get you to buy any dog they have available. Good former owners will too. Always ask what your options are if the dog does not work out as expected. When choosing a lifetime Continued Next Page
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Puppy Buyers If you require a puppy that Isn’t noisy and doesn’t chew, Won’t pee on the carpet, Or one who Will never fight, Or make a mess, Will never bite Under severe duress, There is only one breed That will bring you Joy It’s the All-American, Plush Stuffed Toy! NEH ‘88
companion what is most important is not looks, size or even health but how well temperament and personality suits you. Young adult and adult dogs can be a great option for people who do not have the time to housebreak or spend hours teaching a pup all the basics. An older dog that is already or easily housebroken, where you can see the size, fur, personality, energy, health, training etc. can be a real advantage for a new owner. Some of what your new pet will become depends on its parents. The rest depends upon your care and effort to make this dog the best one in the world. Whether you get a puppy or an adult dog, plan and budget to train. Training improves the dog human bond and gives you a set of signals you both understand, making living together much easier. Choosing carefully in the beginning, then following up with appropriate care and training, is the best way to make a happy future for you and your new dog. Dog Owners of the Granite State (DOGS), founded in 1991, monitors legislation in New Hampshire to protect the interests of pets and their owners. For more information visit www.nhdogs.org or www.facebook.com/nhdogs/ Winter 2016
GOT A PUPPY? Helia Zamprogno, DVM, MS, PhD
re you worried that your puppy might be predisposed to hip dysplasia? At Burlington Emergency Veterinary Specialists, they offer the PennHIP screening for hip laxity. A test that can be performed as early as 16 weeks of age and will allow us to predict the chances and development of future hip dysplasia. PennHIP evaluation is the best test for early detection of hip laxity, which is the key factor in the development of canine hip dysplasia. The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint, with the ball of the femur (femoral head) fitting into the hip socket (acetabulum). Hip laxity refers to the degree of “looseness” of the ball in the hip socket. It has been proven that dogs with loser hips are at higher risk of developing hip dysplasia than dogs with tight hips. PennHIP evaluation allows them to identify hip laxity as early as 16 weeks of age, helping breeders make decisions on breeding strategies and allowing us to advise dog owners on life style adjustments and preventive approaches to minimize pain and progression of the disease. PennHIP screening includes three separate radiographs (x-rays): 1. extended view, 2. compression view and 3. distraction view. For the distraction view, a custom distraction device is applied to reveal the maximum amount of hip laxity. To achieve this, the dog’s muscles are completely relaxed by administering sedation or general anesthesia. The next page displays examples of the three PennHIP radiographs of a 4 year old Labrador Retriever. Traditional hip screening methods rely solely on the hip-extended view (picture 1) to evaluate both the presence of hip arthritis and joint laxity (subluxation). Using traditional systems many dogs hips would be considered normal because the hipContinued Next Page
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Distraction View - Photo 3
Extended View - Photo 1
extended view might not show evidence of arthritis or subluxation (laxity). While the hip-extended view can detect existing arthritic changes, it often conceals hip laxity thereby giving a false impression of joint tightness. So, in the absence of arthritic changes, the hip-extended view does not reliably distinguish between dogs that are disease susceptible and those that are not. For the compression view, the dog’s hind legs are positioned in a neutral, weight bearing orientation and the femoral heads (balls of the femur) are gently seated into the acetabulum (hip sockets). This view can identify critical anatomic landmarks of the hip and determine how well the femoral head fits into the acetabulum. For the distraction view (photo 3) the dog’s hind legs are positioned in the same neutral position as the compression radiograph and a distraction device is used to reveal the dog’s inherent joint laxity. This exclusive feature of the PennHIP procedure permits accurate measurement of maximal hip laxity. When comparing this dog’s hip-extended view (photo 1) to the distraction view (photo 3), the distraction view reveals much greater joint laxity, if present. The PennHIP method uses the amount of joint laxity revealed in the distraction view (photo 3) to tell us if a dog is actually susceptible to developing hip dysplasia and hip arthritis later in life. The report also includes a full description of arthritic changes and a breed laxity profile ranking. Based on the DI, dogs are ranked within their breed. For the dog breeder this ranking helps in the selection of breeding candidates—dogs in the tighter half of the population are recommended for breeding. By selecting breeding dogs with tight hips (lower DI), Continued Next Page
meaningful progress toward better hips can be made within a few generations. For breeders: Information compiled in PennHIP’s international database permits informed selection of breeding stock based on hip tightness relative to other members of the same breed. Breeders can reduce the incidence and severity of Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) in future generations of dogs by applying selection pressure towards tighter hips. Among current hip screening methods, PennHIP has the highest heritability value to bring about these genetic changes. For service and working dog organizations: Service and working dog organizations were the first to adopt PennHIP as their main method for hip screening. The investment in training service/working dogs is enormous. The ability to prescreen the dog’s genetic predisposition to CHD is an invaluable tool when evaluating a future service/working dog’s hip integrity. For companion dog owners: If your dog is identified to be at risk for CHD, your veterinarian can recommend, at an early age, appropriate strategies (diet, medication, and/or activities) to delay or diminish the ultimate course of the disease Prior to her arrival at BEVS, Dr. Zamprogno completed a small animal surgical residency at the University of Illinois. Her greatest interest is in the orthopedic field, including joint replacements, stem cell therapy, and minimally invasive fracture repair techniques. Dr. Zamprogno managed her own mobile practice in Brazil, prior to moving to the US to pursue further surgery specialization.
Millie takes a moment to watch her girl Ella Bankert play soccer
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Diets for the Pet Ferret
Susan Tullar, DVM
errets are obligate or strict carnivores who are made to eat whole small prey animals. Diets high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates and fiber are ideal. Ferret gastrointestinal tracts are very short with limited absorption capacity, which makes carbohydrates and fiber very difficult to digest. Many ferrets are used to eating a pelleted diet, however these diets are not ideal in that they are high in carbohydrates in order to give the food its form. The most appropriate diet for ferrets is whole prey: frozen thawed mice from your local pet store or ordered online. Many ferrets have a difficult time adjusting to new diets, so converting your ferret from a pelleted diet to whole prey may take over a month. The improvement you’ll find with the odor and consistency of the stool will make it more than worth while to convert your ferret to a more “natural” diet. There are also benefits to the pancreas in feeding a diet lower in carbohydrates which may decrease the incidence of insulinoma (a tumor on the pancreas that affects blood glucose) in older ferrets. Offering your ferret at least one mouse, thawed to room temperature or even warmed in a cup of warm water, per day
will allow them to get used to the odor and texture of the mouse. Ferrets are remarkably clean in the way they eat their prey, so any concerns of mess should be minimized. If cost becomes an issue, even offering 1-2 mice daily while maintaining with dry kibble always available can help to mitigate some of the problems with the amount of carbohydrates in the diet. An average ferret should consume If a whole prey diet just cannot be done, focus on a variety of commercial diets labeled specifically for ferrets; do not feed only one brand of diet. If a manufacturer were to make a change in formula, many ferrets will boycott that diet which can lead to other problems. Discuss with your veterinarian what diet is best for your lifestyle and your pet and how to make changes Dr. Susan Tullar (formerly Dr. Dyer) DVM, sees ferrets, rabbits, dogs, cats, birds, and other exotic pets at Bradford Veterinary Clinic in Bradford, VT, 802-222-4903 www.bradfordvet.com
Enjoying the Holidays with Squirrels Scott Borthwick - Canaan, NH
ne of the biggest drawbacks to being a Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator (the actual term for trapper), is that wildlife don’t care if it’s the weekend, after hours, or a holiday. I have spent many a holiday dealing with them. Here are a few examples of this. A family from out of state who own a vacation home in Vermont was dealing with what they thought were mice. They hired a pest control company who put out bait stations and after their inspection informed the homeowners that there were a lot of mouse droppings in their attic insulation. Believing that the bait stations would solve the mouse problem, the homeowners contacted an insulation company. The insulation company recommended removing the feces infested fiberglass insulation and replacing it with 8 inches of foam insulation. Foam insulation is similar to the spray foam in a can in that it dries hard. Problem solved, right? Well that is what they thought. So they packed up the kids and headed to Vermont to celebrate Thanksgiving. The first night there the horror started. Seems that whatever was in the attic was not affected by the bait stations and now had a hard foam surface to run on, to their heart’s content. The owners were not amused and after a few frantic phone calls finally got ahold of me. It turns out their problem was not mice but flying squirrels, who also like to run, especially on a hard foam surface. So I spent the entire Thanksgiving week trapping flying squirrels and plugging entrance points. 28 flying squirrels were removed and numerous entrance points plugged. The family described the noise in the attic prior to my arrival as similar to a World War. They actually spent Thanksgiving at home because of the noise. It seems that the hard foam acts as an amplifier. After I was finished the family was able to enjoy a peaceful Christmas anyway, unlike myself. which leads to the next story.... During Christmas vacation week I received a phone call from an older couple. Their adult children had returned home for the holidays and were occupying the upstairs bedrooms. At first I was surprised to hear that adult children had actually left their parent’s house in the first place, but that is a different topic. Anyway, now that the kids were up there they were hearing scratching and scurrying noises. Turns out a family of grey squirrels had taken up residence in the attic. So Christmas was spent removing grey squirrels and plugging entrance points. This is becoming a common thing. Older parents sleeping down stairs have no clue what is going on up in the attic, until family or guests occupy the upper floors. If you live in a large home but rarely spend time on the upper floors you should check the attic occasionally or have someone do it for you. Better yet, call a professional like me. I work nights, weekends and holidays! Scott Borthwick owns Estate Wildlife Control. He lives in Canaan, NH with his wife Donna, two dogs, a couple of horses and one tough old chicken named Henrietta.
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The Different Roles of Therapy Dogs and Assistance Dogs A
ssistance dogs and Therapy dogs are two forms of highly trained dogs that work to improve the lives of people. Although both types of these working dogs have an amazing impact on the lives of their humans, their roles are very different. The term assistance dogs, is used to describe a variety of working dogs that assist their handlers with everyday activities, while also enhancing their quality of life and providing the means necessary for a sense of independence and freedom. There are three main subtypes of assistance dogs. The most well-known and original role of the assistance dog is the guide dog. This type of assistance dog has been formally trained by organizations and placed with individuals for over 70 years. Guide dogs are trained to help their blind or visually impaired handlers navigate the world around them. The second form of assistance dogs are hearing dogs. These dogs can alert their deaf or hard of hearing owners to dangers, alarms, important noises, and perform many other vital tasks. The third form of the assistance dog is known as a service dog. Service dogs are specifically trained for individuals with a variety of other physical or mental disabilities. Service dogs can range from mobility dogs that assist individuals in wheelchairs, to autism service dogs and dogs that help those suffering from PTSD. Assistance dogs are guaranteed legal access to all public places that their owners go. Therapy dogs have been providing comfort, support, and love to patients in hospitals, nursing home residents, school children, and many other people in need, for over one hundred years. Today the use of therapy dogs is also known as Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) and Animal Assisted Activities (AAA). AAT is a “goal directed intervention” where animals are used to assist in a specific treatment program of a patient. These animals are highly trained and work with professionals within their profession, such as in conjunction with therapists or doctors. In contrast, animals involved in AAA programs are pets of volunteers that visit with patients. These animals must also be highly trained to act appropriately and behave in these working conditions. Unlike AAT animals, they do not take part in a specific treatment program. All therapy animals however provide support, comfort, social experiences, and love. These therapy dogs can visit different facilities that allow scheduled visits. Unlike Assistance dogs, they are not guaranteed legal access to all public places and their visits must be approved.
Keeping Your Bird Healthy for the Holidays Dr. Michael Dutton, DVM, MS, DABVP and Heidi Emond, CVT - Weare, NH
or most of us, getting ready for the Holidays means cooking, cleaning, decorating, and getting together with friends and family. Changes in our households during the Holidays can affect our birds. There are several things to keep in mind during the holiday season to ensure your pet bird stays healthy and happy. Birds have very sensitive respiratory systems. Most bird owners know that using of Teflon pans produces a gas that is toxic to birds. Simmering that pot of fragrances on the stove makes your home smell wonderful, but it can overwhelm your bird. Candles, fire places, tobacco smoke, cleaners and paint fumes can also be harmful. It is recommended never to use Teflon pans, keep your bird in a well ventilated room - out of the kitchen, and minimize use of products with strong odors. Decorating is one of the fun parts of the Holidays. It is nice to display all the lights, baubles, and special items that bring back memories of years past. Curious birds like to explore all these fun new things they have to play with. Any bird may think itâ€™s the best thing in the world to have an indoor tree - especially one with cords of lights and dangly â€œtoys.â€? Chewing on electrical cords can cause electrocution and/or burns to your bird. Decorative items hold the potential for foreign body obstruction. Some older family heirlooms may have been produced using paints, glazes, and metal finishes which could contain lead or zinc that is harmful to your bird, if chewed and ingested. Be sure to check the toys and cages you purchase for your bird to make sure they do not contain these metals. Continued Next Page
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One thing you might not think of as potentially dangerous, is a mirror. Your bird may have a small mirror in its cage, larger ones that humans use are not perceived as solid surfaces, and they may fly into them. Birds can also take advantage of open windows and doors to escape. So, when the delivery person comes with your package or the window’s cracked open to cool down the kitchen from marathon cooking, or friends come over with goodies, or carolers stop by; remember, it only takes a second for your bird to escape. Make sure your bird stays safe and sound. Speaking of carolers and cooking, noise can also disrupt your happy bird. Does your bird “sing” along when you vacuum or use the blender? Loud noises, such as, music, TV, people, appliances, and general commotion can be stressful to your bird. If you are planning on having a gathering, put your bird in a quiet room away from the festivities, your bird will thank you for it. Are you and your bird night owls? Does the change of light affect you this time of year? It affects your bird too. One of the lesser known stressors to birds is the amount of light (or the photoperiod) to which they are exposed. Just like most animals, a bird’s natural body rhythm is affected by the changing of seasons. If you stay up late watching TV or working at your computer, and your bird is in the same room, that extra light can affect your bird’s hormones. Exposure to light all day and a good portion of the night, may seem like summer time to your bird. Summer means mating, stocking up on food for the upcoming winter, and possible migration. It can be difficult to mimic the change of seasons in your house, but if your bird has a room or closet of its own, that can help. Help keep your bird’s hormones on a regular schedule, cover your bird at night, and allow it to have a dark quiet space. With all of these potential hazards, you may be thinking, “Is there anything safe I can do with/give my bird during the Holidays?”
Using these tips can help keep your bird healthy and happy throughout the year. Wishing you a joyous Holiday season and a Happy New Year! Mike Dutton, DVM, MS, DABVP (Canine & Feline), DABVP (Avian), DABVP (Exotic Companion Mammal), CVPP. Mike is one of the few veterinarians in the world that is Board Certified in three specialties. Additionally he is also a Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner with the International Veterinary Association of Pain Management. Heidi Emond began her career at the Weare Animal Hospital started in the spring of 2011 as an intern while in the midst of earning an Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology. She was hired later that summer as the hospital Kennel Manager. You can check out their services at www.WeareAnimalHospital.com
Here are some great gift ideas for your feathered friend to keep you both happy: - Puzzle toys – Keep your bird busy trying to figure out how to move pieces around to get to the reward. Have a few on hand and change them out every couple of weeks to keep things interesting. It’s no fun solving a puzzle you’ve already mastered. - Foraging board – Make a foraging board with a variety of cups and obstacles. Make your bird work for its food and keep it entertained. Have extra wrapping paper tubes lying around? Use those too, get creative! - Chewing toys – Help keep their beak trim and healthy with toys appropriate for their size and strength. - Redecorate - Moving perches, rotating toys and changing their view will help keep your bird interested and engaged. Winter 2016
Cognitive Dysfunction I
f you have ever had a senior pet, you may have noticed that as they age their behavior can change. Just like people, cats and dogs can get behavioral changes that can look a lot like changes we see in elderly people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Cognitive dysfunction usually presents itself later in a pet’s life. It usually has a slow and gradual onset. Just like the rest of the body, the brain begins to deteriorate as our pets age. In some cases, the deterioration causes changes in the physical and chemical makeup of the brain resulting in a decrease in your pet’s cognitive function. All senior pets are at risk. One study that was done on 180 dogs between 11-16 years of age showed that 28% of 11 to 12-year-old dogs and 68% of 15 to 16-year-old dogs had at least one sign of cognitive dysfunction. Clinical signs of cognitive dysfunction that may be seen include loss of interest in food, altered sleep/wake patterns, difficulty being able to move around, disorientation, staring into space, yowling or barking at nothing, reduced hearing and eyesight, anxiety, restlessness, loss of housebreaking skills, and obsessive behaviors (i.e. excessive barking, licking, etc.). There is no specific diagnostic test for cognitive dysfunction. If you notice any of the clinical signs mentioned above, you should speak with your veterinarian. A good physical exam and neurological exam may be needed to rule out other possible underlying issues. Blood work may also be recommended to rule out other potential causes for some of the behaviors listed above. Once a diagnosis of cognitive dysfunction has been made, a plan should be formulated on how to best manage the signs that you are seeing. There is no way to prevent cognitive dysfunction and there is no cure for it. There are treatments to help with some of the behaviors that may be seen, and there are supplements available that may help slow the progression of the disorder and support brain function, but there is still no cure. A diet by Purina was developed for dogs a couple of years ago called Bright Minds. The diet is rich in brain boosting supplements that helps the brain get more glucose which in turn helps with memory function. Purina did studies with the Bright Mind diet and they showed that the diet did help improve cognitive function. There are supplements which may help brain health such as L-deprenyl and SAMe. There are very few studies on these two supplements, but the studies that did take place were promising. For animals that develop sleep disturbances, supplements such as melatonin can help normalize an animal’s sleep pattern. Before using any supplement, make sure that you consult your veterinarian for the proper dose and to make sure that the supplement will not interfere with medication your pet is already on. Remember, cats and dogs are not small humans, and they metabolize medicine and supplements differently than people do. Environmental enrichment can also really help keep an older pet’s brain sharp. Teach them new tricks, find problem solving toys and games to play. Keep their Continued Next Page
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minds engaged! One of my favorite things are puzzle balls which makes the pet work for their treats or meal. It gives them exercise and helps keep their mind engaged. Watching your pet get old can be frustrating and heartbreaking. I watched my Labrador Lily pace through the house at night when she was still alive. Sometimes she would get stuck in a corner and couldnâ€™t figure out how to get out of it. You would have to go over to her and turn her around. Now I have a cat that will randomly walk through the house at night yowling. Animals with cognitive dysfunction can still have great lives. Hopefully as research progresses on the human side, we will see new treatments become available for our pets. Dr. MacLean completed her Bachelor of Science from Penn State University, her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Atlantic Veterinary College, and her pet acupuncture certification from Chi Institute. Her areas of special interest include general practice and acupuncture. She opened Sugar River Animal Hospital in 2013, and she has been practicing veterinary medicine since 2010. Dr. MacLeanâ€™s family consists of her husband Matt, her daughter Katarina, and their three pets: Jack and Misty, two cats, and Arrow, a dog.
We are so excited to welcome Dr. Andrea Brown to our team here at Sugar River Animal Hospital. Andrea has over 20 years of local experience. She has a BS in Biology from Samford University in Alabama. She has a MSc One health Infectious Diseases from both Royal Veterinary College and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She studied Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University. Andrea lives locally with her family and many assorted pets.
BIG LOVE Cathy White - Walpole, NH
magine that your beloved dog weighs a whopping 150 pounds, devours two pounds of raw food daily, sheds his thick black coat yearlong, and has some issues with drool. Now imagine that you live with five of him! That’s life for Rob and Deb, childhood sweethearts who went their separate ways, but reconnected and married in 2003. They live in a sleepy rural town near Keene and share their modest cape-style home with five enormous Newfoundlands. “Newfies” to aficionados of the
breed, (who are many - they rank 38th in AKC registrations) are massive dogs. Living with one can present challenges. Living with a pack of five is an adventure! Let’s meet this weighty bunch: Cassie and Rosie, 10, are littermates. Poppy, 8, is next in the hierarchy, and then come “the boys”, Seamus, 7, and the baby of the group, Boom, 3. That’s approximately six hundred pounds of Newfoundland. How did they end up with these five behemoths? The couple isn’t quite certain themselves. Obviously, they adore the breed; well-known for its friendliness, devotion and huge heart as well as its huge physique. (Seamus is even a registered Therapy Dog and Boom is about to become one.) They were friends with the various breeders of their dogs, and started out by helping to care for each litter... and walking away with a puppy every time. (Two, in the case of littermates Cassie and Rosie.) Deb felt that three was “enough.” But when Seamus and Rob met, an unbreakable bond was forged; and who could say no to Boom? Deb’s love of Newfies began with her uncle’s dog, Sam, who stole her heart when she was only eight. Twenty seven years later, she finally had her own Newfoundland. Named Arlo, he was the first in a total of twelve thus far. Rob, interestingly enough, brought two Cockapoos to the relationship; but he’s been sold on Newfies since Rosie and Cassie came into the couple’s lives in 2006. What’s daily life like with a houseful of giants? There’s no apparent pecking order. All the dogs get along and have a comfortable dynamic. “Wrestling” play may start indoors, but is soon encouraged to continue outside, where Continued Next Page
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Cassie, Poppy and Seamus lead the good life as therapy dogs
the dogs have two appropriately large, enclosed play areas. Anywhere near the woodstove is a coveted spot in cold weather; while central AC keeps these heavy-coated dogs cool in the summer. All have indoor/outdoor access through what must be the world’s largest dog door. When asked where they all sleep, Deb’s answer comes swiftly, “Wherever they want!” The dogs consume a LOT of food. But due to its raw nature, it’s very efficiently used, resulting in surprisingly little waste. There are no mealtime squabbles, as the dogs are all fed in separate crates. Feeding time finds them filing into their individual spaces in an orderly manner; a sight perhaps reminiscent of dairy cows coming into the milking barn. Life with Newfies is not for the neat freak. Drooling, and shedding what appear to be smaller versions of themselves are typical. How do you keep the house clean? “I don’t!”, Deb laughs, adding that she’d have to vacuum twice a day to keep their home fur-free. When the upright does makes an appearance, the dogs choose to remove themselves from the room; though Rosie very much enjoys a good grooming with the shop-vac. Newfies don’t drool constantly, so it’s really only with food and when it’s hot outside. None-the-less, walls will periodically require a wipe down, and sofa and chair arms are often covered with toweling. This is more for any potentially squeamish visitors than for the couple themselves. And of course, there are Newfie-sized bibs. Winter 2016
Having five New foundlands randomly splayed about the house requires some agility on the couple’s par t; especially dur ing meal preparation. “I have to high step over dogs every time I work in the kitchen”, says Deb, adding “They are my cardio-
vascular workout.” There’s always a party at the door when either returns from work (he’s a nurse, she’s a data analyst), with a canine crowd busy vying for attention. All dogs have some health issues and the Newfoundland is no exception. Continued Next Page
As with all large breeds, bloat and orthopedic issues can be concerns. But there’s a specific condition common in this breed that Deb wants people to be aware of; especially if they are considering ownership. Newfies can suffer from a congenital heart defect called subaortic stenosis (SAS). This life threatening problem cannot be detected in puppies younger than ten weeks; thus it is vital that puppies be tested, checked and cleared no earlier than that before being placed in a home. Logistics aside, it’s evident that this couple wouldn’t have things any other way. Deb states that what she loves most about this breed are “Their hearts.” They are “devoted, loving, sweet animals.” Would they add any more of these plussize sweeties to their family? Maybe. While they know Newfie owners who have “downsized” to smaller breeds, Rob and Deb don’t know what they’d do without these wonderful giants in their lives. Cathy White lives in Walpole with her husband, Jeff. They have been owned by Labradors of every color for almost 30 years. Cathy is a Boston University alum, with a degree in print communications.
Tucker with some driving tips for Paige
Slider and Kathy Fretz
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In the Spirit of Autumn's Cloud Darlene Gray - Landaff, NH
s the trees shed their magical shades of crimsons, oranges, yellows and reds this year, I was gently reminded of a gift given to me on Christmas of 2001. Last of four Schnauzers, she was definitely the smartest, and the previous three were pretty darn smart. This was the only gift I had ever specifically asked for, other than faith, hope, love and lots of patience; those of a spiritual nature. During her first week with us she still had no name, except for those our daughter called to her on their journey home for the holidays. We needed a name for the Continental Kennel Club registration. The puppy played outside, jumping, trying to catch snowflakes, following them into the leaves the base of our big oak tree. We watched as her head, front legs and half of her body disappeared. Only her wagging tail and back-side stuck out from under the leaf pile. We laughed even harder as the pup wiggled inside it, determined to find the already melted flakes. “She loves playing in the Autumn leaves.” “That’s it!” “How about Autumn?” I exclaimed. Finally, after a week of failed suggestions, we had found a unique and suitable name, “Autumn Sweetie.” Autumn learned to trust her sense of smell, a tall order to fill based on past and present bouts of cancer for her “master.” She would climb up onto my arm, perch on my shoulder; sometimes, falling asleep snuggling into my neck. She was not bothered by the smells surrounding the latest treatment area. Little did this pup, or I, know we were being trained for a very special kind of friendship and bonding. More negative diagnoses and situations followed: nose cancer surgeries with radiation treatments (2001-2004); breast cancer, surgeries, chemotherapy (2003-2004); problematic skin graft; physical therapies for post breast surgery complications; and PTSD following separation and divorce (2006). Autumn remained constantly vigilant and gently committed throughout it all. In Hershey, Pennsylvania, walking around chocolate town, unleashed pets came after us fifteen separate times. At least two injured my sweet “Autie.” Even then, we were inseparable. Our therapy roles were reversed upon moving back to family in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire. While looking for a new place, Autumn was badly hurt twice by a family dog. The last injury left a gaping hole in her right side, but, with constant mommy care it too healed quite well. Once more, she became her sweet girl self. I relaxed knowing she could roam safely on our new, three-acre home. In 2011, she began to show signs of wear and tear, never wavering from keeping my spirits up. She was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Little tumors showed up, the one on her previously injured side grew larger, affecting her gait and using the front steps. It was difficult to carry her up the stairs, I had to come to grips with how to say goodbye to this beautiful, dedicated puppy. The hardest decision I ever had to make. On July 11th of 2012 our therapy team journey came to its conclusion. At the ice cream shop she made us laugh so hard when the fringes of her beard stuck together from eating the free serving of ‘creamy.’ The good-bye was gut-wrenching and took the sails out of my soul. The vet’s beautifully prepared room made the process gentle, with down pillow and lots of understanding and love for the both of us. Thank You Ryegate, Vermont Vets! Continued Next Page
Once home, I waited for her daddy’s return from work and wondered how to tell him. “I had to bring Autie to the vet today,” I said. He already knew the rest, could see how devastated I was. We sat soaking in the revelation of not ever seeing our Autumn again. While stretching out strained neck muscles, directly above I saw a 3-D cloud formation. There, in broad daylight, for anyone to see, was a younger and very detailed version of my Autumn. Her head slightly tilted in fond recognition, tiny hairs of fringe intact, she was looking down at us on the deck. The right leg, previously unable to be lifted, was held up as if to say, “See mommy,
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I’m okay now.” Her daddy looked up and saw Autumn’s cloud. This reinforced my spiritual resolve when saying goodbye to my father in 2013 and then my mother’s passing in August of 2016. From this blessed moment, I knew that not only Autumn, but my parents were okay, too. In this season of giving, I pray that you and yours, and your pets’ are nourished with and provided for in gifts of faith, hope, and much love; that angels of comfort , some strangers, will bring us to the realization of spiritual fulfillment in the gift of life freely given to us and meant to be shared with all of God’s earth. Thank God, for our pets and their very special relationships with us, and I personally thank God for the spirit in the gift given, known as Autumn Sweetie. Darlene A. Gray resides in Landaff, (and Bath) New Hampshire with Calico cat, Cameo and Lab-Mastiff mix, Hunter, both rescues, and life-partner, Stephen. She is a twice-published poet; past columnist for a small, northern California town newspaper; and has authored a maternal health brochure, covering Post Partum Blues Syndrome, PPBS (Blues, Depression and Psychosis) for the Pennsylvania State House in 2005, and co-authored that same year, "Traveling to Guatemala and Back Again", a new mother's medical care success story as requested by Postpartum Support International, PSI and published for both PSI and The Peruvian Psychiatric List-Serve, 2005-2006. Darlene hopes to finalize and publish her spiritual journey story sometime in 2017-2018.
Therapeutic Riding Sue Miller
hat happens when you combine therapeutic horseback riding and music? Magic! The sound of the horse’s footfalls, cattle lowing, and long hours in the saddle are the metronome that the old cowboy songs were written to, moving in tune with the sound of the travelling animals. It’s a natural evolution to use music when riding not only to sooth the animals, but keep everyone in a natural cadence and flow. Live music is so vibrant and interesting and we are lucky enough to have a volunteer that plays the fiddle. Mike Gareau volunteers at High Horses on Tuesday’s, and always brings his fiddle along. We’ve been fortunate to have Mike provide music at our annual horse show for several years as well as at other events. The live music is always well received, as the riders can see & hear the music being played. Music can be used to enhance the therapeutic riding experience, as it does in so many other areas. What is unique about using music with therapeutic horseback riding is the fact that BOTH the horses and humans respond positively to music. Horses have a natural tempo when they move at a walk, trot, cantor or gallop. Interestingly enough, the horses will often match their traveling movement to the beat of music heard in their environment. Music with horses can be used for relaxation or motivation. So, pairing the two with music provides an exciting relationship and experience.
Mike Gareau entertaining Heidi (photo by Betsy Medinger)
Continued Next Page
For individuals with difficulty processing the spoken word, music can be a key to understanding. Because music is processed in a different part of the brain than speech, messages that are given through song can be processed when the spoken word cannot. When students ride with music, especially when it’s used therapeutically for a specific intervention, almost anything perceived as challenging or even scary, becomes fun and enjoyable and cerContinued Next Page
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Wanda, riding Louie, nodding her head to the beat on a trail ride with Volunteer Amanda Howe and accompanied by guitar played by Luz Elena Morey. (photo by Mary Gerakaris)
tainly something to look forward to. High Horses was fortunate to have a grant a few years ago, to work with a music therapist. Luz Elena Morey worked with High Horses for a week using different instruments in lessons and helped the instructors link the instruments to the rhythms and lessons. Luz was able to donate a few musical instruments to the program. These instruments get used in lessons to help riders make connections to the natural rhythm of the horse or to help learn a cue in a next step to a pattern. Sometimes it’s just great fun to make a joyful noise with a drum, or bells when the rider is given the instrument to try. With today’s technology, some of High Horses instructors have download music to their phones. Riders can make choices about what to listen to while they ride. The music choices can be fast to inspire a rider to do some mounted calisthenics or twists, or slow for a more methodical calm stretch timed with breathing. Rider Eli Weintraub exclaimed, “I’m feeling jazzy today and the music is helping me get out of the saddle for posting!” Laura Mitchell, one of High Horses riders & volunteers, was enjoying riding to music in her lesson; with another Continued Next Page
2010 High Horses Annual Horse Show. Rider Erin Norton enjoying the music provided by Liz Elena Morey. (Photo by Mary Gerakaris)
rider. The two were learning to ride a pattern in sync with each other and the music. Laura was inspired by the music and found a grant called “Music Drives Us.” Music Drives Us is a New England nonprofit organization supplying grants to music programs designed to effect positive change for people of all ages. MDU seeks out organizations and individuals interested in using music as a tool to better the lives of people in all segments of society. Along with our summer intern, Payton Sterns, High Horses was able to put together a video that showcased how we have been using music to enhance our therapy riding experience. We learned that we have been awarded the Music Drives Us grant for this year. We are very excited to be able to purchase a sound system that will be used to provide better quality sound to the music. High Horses is so fortunate to have such dedicated volunteers and riders that help us continue to expand our physical limits as well as expand our musical repertoire. If you would like to learn more about volunteering or coming to share your musical talents, please give us a call at 802-356-3386 or 802-763-3280. You can be sure that the hoofbeats will go on here at High Horses. 34 4 Legs & a Tail
The Drumming of Hooves and History I
Ethan Allen 50 - photo courtesy of the American Morgan Horse Association
Tanya Sousa - Derby, Vermont
shudder to think that it was 34 years ago when I stood at the Orleans County Fair with my two-year-old Morgan horse, Drummer. I’d stabled him at a friend’s house the night before and then walked him to the fairgrounds when the sun was just rising. There wasn’t any action to speak of yet, but the horse ring and barns would soon be full of activity. The morning sun made his chestnut coat gleam. His white socks were bright as I could get them, and he willingly moved wherever I wanted or needed him to go. I wasn’t skilled or experienced with horse shows, but I thought I’d give at least the two-year-old confirmation class a whirl. I walked my horse and friend to the tracks where I could already imagine the sound and feel of pounding hooves in my ears and through my body. The trotters were a long-standing part of this fair. Drummer’s ears pricked up and he nickered. I remember wondering if he longed to do what some of his ancestors had done – pace the track and set records.
Tanya and Still Hill Drummer at the Orleans County Fair Grounds when she was 12 - the same day described in the essay, and before it was time to go into the show ring. The wind was whipping that day!
I didn’t learn until recently that my beloved and beautiful Morgan probably has the blood of a great champion running through his veins. It was a horse I’d never heard of before, but yet not a far off descendent of Justin Morgan. The famous horse that we have managed to forget was named “Ethan Allen 50”, but was often referred to as simply, “Ethan Allen”. Though this horse was sired in 1849 in New York State, his mother was originally a Vermont mare, later sold and bred, eventually producing the last and greatest foal in her life – Ethan Allen. Continued Next Page
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In an old article from around 1950, author Mable Owen wrote, “His appearance on any track in America was cause for the wildest demonstrations. His long, thick, slightly waved main and tail, his wonderful speed, his well rounded Morgan appearance even in racing trim, and above all his absolutely perfect disposition made him the universal favorite.” Ethan Allen was a trotting champion up to the age of eighteen years and was Champion of the World at age four. How famous was this horse whose blood “survives in the bloodline of every Morgan Horse” according to Owen? Not only did he cause a stir at the tracks and was he immortalized in Currier and Ives artwork where his fine form and trotting action is shown “without exaggeration,” Owen wrote, but he was also the inspiration for the trotting horse weather vanes now so common. How famous was he? When he was sold to a farm in Kansas where he eventually passed away at twenty-eight, they buried him in the trotting park there with a monument – this horse of Vermont origins. Later, they retrieved his skeleton and mounted it in the Natural History Museum in Lawrence, Kansas. My Drummer, “Still Hill Drummer” on record, was never a champion of any horse show or race track, but he was certainly a champion of my heart even after his untimely death in a lightning storm. Instead of winning money and pulling drivers behind him, he pulled me, laughing wildly, behind him as he swam across the pond. He happily spent hours with me as I read books, sometimes lying over his back while I did. He shared his beautiful temperament and fine eyes with me – the ones that were perhaps passed down by this famous Morgan that somehow we’ve forgotten. The next time I go to the fair and feel the thunder of the hooves as the harness racers speed by, manes and tails flying, I’ll think of Ethan Allen 50 and thank him for helping to make history – and for bringing me such a beautiful creature as Drummer almost 150 years after his own birth. Tanya Sousa is a published author of many magazine articles and several children’s picture books. Most recently, her environmental novel, The Starling God, made the short-list for the national “Green Earth Book Awards,” in the Young Adult Fiction category. www.RadiantHen.com www.forestrypress.com
On The Bit John R. Killacky
ith me holding the reins long and soft, my Shetland pony pulls me along in a cart. We work on cadence, trot, and turns. The arc of her neck and impulsion from her hindquarters are my focus. Her relaxed mouth accepting the bit, results in a sublime interplay between us. We fly through space and then help each other slow down and come to a stop. She teaches me to see differently. Equines have eyes on the sides The Shetland is the of their heads, emphasizing peripheral vision. Imagine the world smallest horse breed opening up in startling ways. Space and light are transformed. No place is more important than another; the image behind is equal to that in front. As I drive her in the ring, I try to look beyond the animal before me and perceive the world as she does. A bridle with blinders lessens her visual stimulation and helps focus her on tasks ahead. Training intently every day – I seek to learn the animal, not master her. As with humans, equines have a dominant side. Circling and turning to her right is easy, to the left requires ongoing calibration. Attention and refinements are important, equal to patience and consistency. Unexpected challenges arise. One day, she started refusing to go back into her stall. This went on for weeks, until one barn mate suggested spending more time post-workout before putting her away. So we now spend slow time together, with her cross-tied in the open passageway, as I take off tack and brush her down. She stands quietly, contentedly watching the other horses being groomed as cool summer breezes wash over us. Ten minutes of hands-on time and she goes back in with no hesitation. Another dilemma was loading her into a trailer in preparation for an off-site workshop. We graze by the open door, gently nudge her toward the ramp, and bribe her with grain to enter the dark, scary chamber. It takes more than a few attempts to normalize this transition. Easy trailer entry and exit is vital when traveling to clinics. A calm focused animal is crucial. You don’t want to lose the lesson in transport. Learning in a new context from another expert allows me to better receive information. It’s been a year since we worked with this coach. Both the pony and I are more assured. My hands on the reins are in sync with her mouth. She relaxes, and then bends her head slightly forward and down, redistributing the weight, and freeing her trot. All our time and hard work together pays off. I am driving, she is pulling – we are one. John R. Killacky is executive director of Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, VT. Originally published as a commentary for Vermont Public Radio.
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Your Pet May be in Pain M. Kathleen Shaw, DVM
Animals suffer from pain, just like we do. Some forms of pain are obvious such as surgical pain or an acute injury. Because most of us have had surgery at some time in our lives (or know someone who has), we have an idea of the pain animals must feel after having an operation. The same holds true for an acute injury such as falling down the stairs or having an ear infection. Unfortunately, the majority of pain in animals is chronic and harder for most pet owners to detect. Arthritis is often misinterpreted as the pet “getting old” or “slowing down”. It is important to remember that age is not a disease, but pain is! Continued Next Page
Cancer and dental disease are chronic pains from which animals suffer in silence. A common misconception is that animals will whine or cry out when they are in pain. In fact, it is very uncommon for this to occur. Signs of pain in dogs can vary between dog breeds and individual dogs. The majority have one or more of the following signs: decreased interaction with owners, decreased activity or appetite, reluctance to move, growling, guarding, aggression towards people or other pets, or even chewing or licking themselves where it hurts. For example, a dog may not want to be petted around the head if its ears or mouth hurt. An older dog with arthritis may growl or snap at kids or other dogs, trying to protect itself from being hurt. Cats are very good at hiding when they don’t feel well. This is because in the wild, if they show they are sick, they can quickly go from predator to prey. It is rare that a cat with chronic pain will cry out. Instead, it may stop grooming and have matted fur, be stiff, lose weight, hide, be less active, eat less, or groom excessively at an affected area. A cat who “doesn’t like to be petted there” is usually painful at that location. Dental pain is rarely obvious to most pet owners. The assumption by many is if the animal is eating, there is no mouth pain. Since the alternative is to stop eating altogether and starve to death, even pets with very painful teeth will still eat. They just may not eat as much, may lose weight and may not chew their food well. They may chew only on one side of their mouth. A thorough annual wellness exam by your veterinarian will help to determine if your pet is in pain. If you suspect your pet is painful, call your veterinarian right away. There are many options available to treat pain in our pets: prescription medications, physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, laser therapy and therapeutic massage. Remember, do not ever give human pain relievers to your pet: the majority of them are toxic to our pets. Even a little bit of certain human pain medications can cause kidney failure and death in our pets. It is our moral responsibility as pet owners to provide for all aspects of our pets’ needs. They give us unconditional love and depend on us for their care and comfort. Besides giving them food, love, and shelter we must realize that they may get sick and will definitely get old. Along the way there are times they will be in pain, for which there is help. For more information about pain control and how to tell if your pet is in pain, talk to your veterinarian and go to www.ivapm.org, the website of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management.
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The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA) is a professional organization of 350 veterinarians dedicated to compassionate animal care and quality medicine. For more information, visit www.vtvets.org or call (802) 878-6888.
HEMP: A New Way to Better Your Pet’s Health Holly McClelland & Benjamin Burroughs
A ll loving pet parents would agree that they want their furry friends to experience opti-
mal physical, mental, and emotional health. If given the chance, do you think these pet parents would jump on the opportunity to give their dogs and cats one ingredient that could improve calming, cognitive functioning, joint mobility, digestive health, and inflammation … along with many more conditions? This idea might sound like an impossible endeavor, but the solution could be as simple as one short phrase: hemp with CBD. CBD, known as cannabidiol, might sound like a fancy term. In reality though, CBD is simply one of the 80 active ingredients found in hemp that is purported to have a wide range of medicinal benefits. When people think of hemp and cannabis, their minds naturally gravitate toward the compound THC, which has psychoactive properties. Anyone who has experienced marijuana can likely claim that THC has affected their mental state in some way, shape, or form. CBD, on the other hand, may provide many medicinal benefits without affecting psychological functioning. This means that ingesting a strain of hemp with CBD might improve overall health without producing a “high” effect. In recent years, pet food manufacturers have invested significant time and money toward concocting the perfect ingredient mix of superfoods into their products — ranging from blueberries, quinoa, kale, chia seed, pumpkin, goats Continued Next Page
milk … the list could keep going on and on. But, wouldn’t it be great if it was possible to obtain the same level of superfood health benefits from hemp and CBD alone? While the advantages of hemp are still undergoing research, there has been a recent surge in specialty pet supplements and foods that contain this ingredient. Manufacturers are enthusiastic about promoting products with one flagship ingredient — hemp/ CBD versus having to cite a laundry list of items. This doesn’t necessarily mean that these companies are only including one active ingredient in their products. They just recognize that hemp/CBD is a powerful superfood that is instrumental in supporting overall health and wellbeing. Notable companies that are dedicated to their hemp/ CBD-based products include Cani Bits, Canna Pet, Pet Releaf, Steve’s Real Food, Therabis, True Leaf, Grandma Lucy’s, and Vermont-based Reilly’s Hempvet. Bill Reilly, co-founder & head of manufacturing for Reilly’s Hempvet, recently met with us at a local coffee shop in Burlington, VT to share his opinions about the benefits of nonpsychoactive hemp in supporting pet health and wellness. Reilly’s Hempvet is a team of animal nutritionists and pet professionals that developed a line of
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products with a proprietary superfood blend of organic hemp/CBD supplements. According to Mr. Reilly, “Hemp is nutritionally important because it contains the highest levels of phytocannabinoids of any plant. Studies have shown that phytocannabinoids are essential for stimulating the endocannabinoid system – a key system that supports overall health and wellness.” In order to substantiate claims, Reilly’s Hempvet researchers relied on cannabis studies originating overseas in Britain and Israel. However, the recent reduction of U.S. federal barriers on hemp research means that domestic studies will soon be available. This will lead to an even deeper understanding about the medical benefits of hemp. In terms of specific health advantages, Mr. Reilly noted that there are differences in the quality and efficacy of hemp-based products. Some are functional treats and use basic hempseed oil as the active ingredient. While high in omegas, hempseed oil contains low levels of CBD, and has little, if any, effect on the endocannabinoid system. Reilly’s Hempvet products are true nutritional supplements and contain a proprietary, full-spectrum, organic hemp blend, in combination with other scientifically proven beneficial ingredients. The products are engineered to support joint/mobility, calming, immune, and neurocognitive systems. Since many pet parents may not recognize hemp as a standalone supplement with anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-seizure properties, Reilly’s Hempvet combines hemp with other well-known ingredients, such as glucosamine and MSM, which are used in the “Rewards+ JointSupport” and «Hempjoints high potency supplements.” Reilly’s best-selling calming supplements, “Rewards+CalmSupport” and “HempCalm” are fast-acting and combine hemp with a proprietary colostrum peptide. Calming supplements reduce pet anxiety triggered by vet visits, thunderphobia, and separation anxiety. The goal is for pets to be calmed, relaxed, and alert. Now that we recognize the health benefits of hemp for our furry friends and the need for ongoing research, the next question is: where should we turn to for hemp sourcing? Most manufacturers are obtaining hemp from Europe, but there has been an increasing interest among U.S. farmers to grow hemp in America. If we grow more and more hemp in the U.S. and scientific studies continue to demonstrate efficacy, how many hemp products will we see on the market by 2020? Winter 2016
What is a Tono-Pen?
T here is fluid produced in the front of the eye. Normally it leaves the
front of the eye at the same rate that it is produced. This is what creates normal ocular pressure. If the rate of fluid production is faster than the rate of fluid leaving then the pressure is increased. If the rate of fluid leaving is faster than the rate of fluid production then the pressure is decreased. Normal IOP (intraocular pressure) in dogs and cats ranges from 10-25. Each dog or cat will have a slightly different normal value within this range so it is a good idea to measure IOP during a regular exam. Then, if a problem occurs in that animal’s eye the pressure can be checked and compared to the normal value in that animal. It can be measured in other animals as well; guinea pigs and other small mammals have a normal range of 15-25 with 15-20 being ideal. The main reason for increased IOP is glaucoma. By definition glaucoma is an increase in pressure due to changes in the rate of production and/or the rate of fluid leaving the eye. It can be caused by other diseases or illnesses such as high blood pressure or it can be an isolated problem. No matter the initial problem, it will cause changes in the eye that will eventually lead to other problems including pain and blindness. Some clinical signs that can indicate an animal may be dealing with glaucoma are painful eyes, bulging eyes, redness around the edge of the eyes, dilated pupils, and a decrease or loss in vision. The main reason for decreased IOP is uveitis. Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea which is the middle part of the eye. When this area is inflamed or swollen it does not produce as much fluid for the front of the eye. Clinical signs include painful eyes, sensitivity to light and squinting.
Annie Whitford, DVM
There are other eye problems that can have similar clinical signs of painful eyes, redness, squinting and sensitivity. Some of these include conjunctivitis (pink eye), KCS (dry eye) and corneal ulcers. As your animal’s veterinarian we can take a closer look at their eyes and look for changes deeper in the eye that help us determine what your animal is dealing with. One of the ways we can further asses your animal’s eyes is by measuring IOP with the Tono-Pen. The Tono-Pen reads the IOP by tapping the pen on an eye. The resistance from the eye is read and a pressure is calculated. It is done multiple times and an average reading is obtained. If you have any concerns about your pet’s eyes don’t hesitate to make an appointment for us to examine them. Many eye problems can be addressed and fixed if caught early enough. Dr. Whitford received her DVM from Louisiana State University where she was involved with the Louisiana Wildlife Hospital and helped take care of birds of prey and orphaned wildlife. She obtained a B. S. in Animal Biotechnology and Conservation at Delaware Valley College (recently University) in Pennsylvania where she gained experiences working with all sorts of animals from rabbits and reptiles in the small animal labs to sheep and cows on the farms. She can be reached at River Road Veterinary Clinic in Norwich, VT. www.RiverRoadVeterinary.com
Snow Blindness in Dogs W e are in the heart of winter! It is time to go skiing up on your favorite mountain. Don’t forget how much fun snow
shoeing or hiking with your dog is as well! When people go outside to play in the snow, we are acutely aware of how bright the snow can be on our eyes. So we wear eye protection, like goggles or sun glasses. However, the snow can be just as bright to your dog’s eye, only he can’t ask you for glasses. Snow blindness is a painful and serious condition and your dog can get it just as easily as you can.
SYMPTOMS OF SNOW BLINDNESS 4 Tearing and watering of the eyes 4 Eyelid twitching 4 Bloodshot eyes 4 Swelling of the eyes 4 Painful eyes
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TREATMENT 4 4 4 4 4
There is not much that can be done to treat snow blindness. Remove your dog from the bright light Put a cold compress over their eyes Put eye patches on to help block all light Prescription eye drops to alleviate the pain and help with the corneal inflammation
You can get goggles that are designed for dogs, these can help cut glare and reduce the likelihood of snow blindness. Also, take your dog out when the sun is not as high in the sky, so it is not as bright on the snow. If it is really bright to your eyes, then it is really bright to their eyes too. Resting the eyes is the best thing you can do. If your dog gets snow blindness, bring them to the vet for evaluation. The vet may prescribe eye drops to help with the pain and treat the inflammation.
Nine Steps for Solid Recall Training Paula Bergeron - Grafton,NH
ecall is undoubtedly one of the most important skills to teach your dog. It is what I consider to be a must have skill if you are to ever responsibly have your dog off leash. The following are steps you may want to try whether you are teaching recall to your dog for the first time,or doing a refresher course.
1. Be realistic about your dog’s current recall ability. If your dog only comes when he is not distracted that is not recall, it is an “I will come when I feel like it” skill. In terms of providing safety for you dog it just doesn’t cut it. 2. Understand the goal of recall. True recall is when your dog turns on a dime,
comes directly to you, and stays with you until you release him. Too many dogs run past their owners or stare until you repeat the recall over and over again. Teach them to come right away, and to stay put.
3. Pick and Stick with the same recall command. Have everyone in the
family use the same recall command words. You will be surprised at how quickly your dog will pick up on the command when it sounds exactly the same every time.
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4. Only use your recall command
when you can ensure success. Whether training takes 2 weeks or 2 years, only use the command when you can go get the dog if they do not come right away. Use alternative phrases when it does not matter if the dog comes right away and save your recall command for when they must come, right now, right back to you.
5. Have the tools you need for suc-
cessful training. Make sure you have a leash or a rope to use for short, medium and long distance recall. Save the most exciting rewards for your recall training wether it be a favorite toy, wonderful smelling, soft, tasty treats, or your most enthusiastic praise and rub down.
6. Consistently follow a routine for training. Have your dog on a leash. Ask your dog to sit and stay (if you dog is not ready to sit and stay then have a training buddy stand behind your dog holding a second leash). Walk to the end of the leash. Use your recall command and immediately give a slight tug and release on the leash letting your dog know to respond immediately. If they do not come have your training buddy walk them straight to you, or reel them in using the leash. Have them sit,reach down with the reward in one hand and gently take hold of the collar in the other while giving enthusiastic praise. Repeat… Repeat…Repeat!
7. Slowly increase the difficulty by adding distance, and then distractions to your recall. If you dog gets stuck at one stage go back to a successful step for a while and try increasing the difficulty in a few days.
8. Practice your recall training for
two sessions every day, with at least five recalls in each session. Remember to always end with success.
9. Once your dog is proficient with recall don’t wait for an emergency to use it, practice it every day to keep it solid. Now go out and enjoy some time outdoors off leash. Happy Training... Paula Bergeron and the gang at Good Dogma embrace a holistic approach to bringing balance to your dog’s behavioral issues. Exercise, training, relaxation, massage, grooming, play, socialization and energy healing are incorporated into your dog’s routine. www.GoodDogma.com Winter 2016
Helping Your Cat
Stay Mentally Spry Amy Shojai
1. Train the Brain Early. To slow the progression of aging in the brain, make sure your cat is physically active and mentally engaged throughout her life — starting when she’s a kitten.
2. Play Daily. Cats thrive on routine, and building play into everyday life
increases the chances that she’ll stay active in later years. Homemade cat toys like wads of paper, socks stuffed with catnip and ribbons that you can drag on the floor cost little but bring huge rewards.
3. Keep Her Physique in Check. Overweight cats avoid physical exertion and
prefer sleep and lap time to brainteasers. To encourage exercise and problem solving, place food bowls at the top of stairs or cat trees.
4. Create Some Kitty TV. Place bird feeders and birdbaths outside windows for your cat’s viewing pleasure and brain-stimulating enrichment.
5. Build Obstacle Courses. Set up cat trees, empty boxes, paper bags and other hiding spots, so your feline can lounge, climb and explore.
6. Adopt a Younger Pet. A playful cat or dog, when introduced safely and correctly, can turn back the clock and inspire an old-timer to move her tail — and jump-start her sluggish brain. 7. Offer a New Leash on Life. Teach your cat to walk on a leash, so she can
safely explore the yard — or simply use her brain to troubleshoot how to get out of the darn thing.
8. Teach With Treats. Call out “Fluffy, come!” Then turn on the can opener, and when the cat runs to you, reward her with a snack.
9. Pick Up a Puzzle. Toys that dispense treats mimic feline hunting behaviors, keeping cats entertained and mentally sharp.
10. Make Treasure Hunts Out of Meals. Hide saucers full of small amounts of food all over the house — and place them at different levels, so your cat must seek out the morsels. Once cats reach their senior years, their companionship becomes even more precious. If you pay attention to your kitty’s mental health, you’ll keep her connected with life — and you — as long as possible. Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant and the award-winning author of 23 pet care books, including Complete Care for Your Aging Cat. Shojai also appears on Animal Planet’s “Cats 101" and "Dogs 101", as well as writes for puppies.About.com and cats.About.com. She lives in Texas with a senior citizen Siamese and a smart-aleck German Shepherd. 48 4 Legs & a Tail
When Your Cat is an Early Riser and You’re Not Mikkel Becker - Vetstreet.com
ur cat wakes us early every morning by meowing and yowling outside of our closed bedroom door until we get up and serve her wet food for breakfast. We leave a bowl of dry food out for her, but it doesn’t seem to tide her over. We’ve tried ignoring her but she just doesn’t stop! Is it possible to change her morning routine so we can get some sleep? Your kitty’s clock is clearly not synchronized with yours. She may be waking early in response to internal cues, like hunger, or external cues, like sunlight. But it is also possible that your cat’s tactics are a learned behavior driven by desire for a tasty meal, companionship and attention. Whatever the cause, the behavior has become a habit and is unlikely to stop unless you implement some changes. Your first step should be to talk with your veterinarian. Your cat’s behavior may be caused by an underlying medical issue. Some conditions, like thyroid disease, can cause excessive vocalizations, restless behavior and changes in sleep and eating patterns. It’s important to rule those out before making any other alterations to her routine. Once your cat has a clean bill of health, though, there are several ways to address her early rising. BREAKFAST IS SERVED — But Not By You It sounds as though your cat is willing to eat dry food but is waking you because she’s finished what you’ve left out and is ready for more. In that case, a good place to start would be by giving her a last meal of wet food before everyone goes to bed at night. You should also check to be sure she’s getting enough to eat during the day — if she’s eating the dry food you leave out at night and waking you early for another meal, she may simply need more to eat. Winter 2016
Since it sounds like your cat is willing to eat dry food, another good option may be an automatic feeder. This would enable her to wake early and have her breakfast but not rouse you. Start by familiarizing your cat with the device by feeding her normal meals from the dish. Once she’s comfortable eating from the dish, set the automatic timer and give her a chance to get used to the tone or sounds. She will quickly come to associate the feeder’s noise with mealtime. Once she is used to the automatic feeder, set it to go off in the morning just before the time she normally starts crying at your door. If you would like to have her wake later, you can try to reset her internal clock by moving the feeder’s timer back a few minutes each day until you reach a more ideal feeding time. Another option is to leave one or two food puzzles filled with dry food or treats for her at night. Both strategies offer the possibility of meals being delivered independently, which should mean that everyone gets a little more sleep.
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De-Stress Your Pet This Season Pat Jauch - Caledonia Animal Rescue, Inc.
ith Thanksgiving behind us and the December holidays rapidly approaching, schedules become busy and stress levels escalate. This can also be a stressful time for your pet or pets. Guests are coming and going, some staying for days or perhaps weeks. Decorations are being hung. Special foods are being prepared for festive meals. In the flurry of activity, people often forget that their companion animals still need love and affection. In the midst of holiday preparations, Fluffy and Fido are trying to cope. However, with free time at a premium, the attention devoted to the four-footed furry family members can be drastically reduced. Less attention can trigger behavior problems when pets do not understand why they are missing their cherished time with loved ones. As the season progresses, try to remember that a long walk with Fido can be as much of a stress reducer for you as it is for him. Those few extra minutes will reassure him that he is not being forgotten and the exercise can be an added benefit for both of you. When company comes, and the house fills with friends and loved ones, make sure that there is a quiet place for your feline to find comfort and some solitude. While preparing the festive meal, remember to avoid sharing dangerous foods such as onions, grapes, rich gravies, and certain bones with your canine. Decorations such as tinsel and aluminum icicles, as well as many plants, can be fatal if eaten by your pet. When celebrating your special holidays remember to consider your pets and make the days as enjoyable for them as you do for your human companions. Caring for pets will make a happier holiday season for all.
Finley from Barre Electric really gets into Holiday Lighting
Make a New Year’s Resolution:
Get Those Teeth Cleaned and Keep ‘Em Clean Sandra L Waugh VMD, MS - Windsor, VT
ebruary is Pet Dental Health Month, so after you make your resolution, you can get your pet’s teeth cleaned by your Let’s look at some teeth: veterinarian and then keep them clean for the rest of the year. Keeping the teeth clean is the path to keeping periodontal disease at bay. And why should you do this? Because periodontal disease is the most common disease found in dogs and cats, and it has been shown that periodontal disease can shorten a pet’s life span. Even though dogs and cats do not complain about dental pain, they certainly are affected by dental pain. Periodontal disease is caused by plaque, that sticky substance that is on your teeth when you wake up in the morning. It is a normal substance that forms within the mouth every second of every day, as it is made up of a component of saliva (mucoproteins), bacteria, dead cells from the mouth and debris. It is not caused by food. If it is not removed routinely placque will accumulate in the space between the tooth and the gum. Here the bad guy bacteria can flourish, as they like an environment that has no oxygen. These bacteria produce toxins which cause 14 year old Yorkshire Terrier. This dog’s teeth are the body to remove the ligaments and bone that support the completely covered with tartar. It takes years for teeth. Eventually the teeth become loose. Loose teeth do not teeth to get this bad. readily fall out on their own, but seem to be quite tenacious at hanging on. While teeth without visible tartar can have severe periodontal disease, usually severely affected teeth will have quite a bit of tartar. There is also a distinctive “rotten egg” or “swamp gas” smell to periodontal disease and the owners often note that the pet no longer eats dry food or hard treats. Continued Next Page
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Complete loss of bone around one root of this double rooted tooth (yellow arrow).
A common misconception is that teeth will quickly and easily fall out if they are loose. These three teeth have very little to no bone holding them in (red arrow). Yet it might take years for them to fall out on their own.
Even though the owners may not be aware of any problem, they routinely comment on how much better the pet feels after all the bad teeth are removed. The kisses are a lot sweeter too! Dr. Waugh is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She also holds a Masters Degree from Washington State University of Veterinary Medicine and is owner of Windsor Veterinary & Dental Services.
The proof of the amount of bone loss requires dental x-rays. The red arrow points to a tooth with three roots. There is no bone on at least half of the length of the roots.
Cats also get periodontal disease. The bone loss from periodontal disease has created large holes in the skull (red arrows). Note how much worse the bone loss is in the xray than is apparent in the photograph Winter 2016
My Golden Snitch © 2013 by Mark Carlson All Rights Reserved First printed in San Diego Pets Magazine, 2013
ll you Harry Potter fans out there know what a Golden Snitch is. Well I have one. Her name is Saffron. She’s a 2-year old Yellow Labrador. And like the seeker’s target in a game of Quidditch, she’s just as fast, just as elusive and when I catch her, the game is over. But it’s not that easy. For one thing, I don’t have a Firebolt. And my eyesight is lousy. But I still have to catch my little Golden Snitch. Saffron is a playful and energetic dog. When my older Guide Dog Musket retired, I went back to Guide Dogs for a new one. And I was given Saffron. Here’s the deal. I’ve been working with Musket for so long, I was used to his easygoing, slow pace. It was like driving a 40-year old VW Microbus and then getting a Formula One Ferrari. What a change. She’s a great Guide Dog, but that’s not the topic of this story. Saffy loves to run, and play and fetch. When I played fetch with Musket I’d throw the (ball, Frisbee, Kong, etc) down the lawn and he’d run for it. After about three throws it dawned on him that he was doing all the work. On the fourth throw, he’d say “Ah, you go and get it this time. I’m tired.” So the blind guy had to go and find the (ball, Frisbee, Kong, etc). And often I never found it. They love me at Petco. “Ah, Mark. Another Frisbee, right?” But Saffy is very different in temperament from Musket. She LOVES to run! I can’t keep up with her. She’s like a superball in a paint mixer. Jane calls her a ‘Gazelle on crack.’ Her favorite toy to fetch is a thick short rope knotted at both ends. I just throw it once and then I can sit down and have a beer. She’s off and running. And running back. And running off again. Back and forth. I’m no longer involved. She has more energy than a nuclear chain reaction. No, that’s not right. A runaway reactor eventually dies down. Saffron could provide power to the entire U.S. if I could just connect her to a grid. But I’d have to catch her first. There must be some hunting instinct in her because she doesn’t just get the rope and run. She has to ‘kill’ it. With one end in her mouth she snaps her head from side to side as if trying to break her prey’s neck. I don’t know how she keeps from beating herself unconscious. That heavy knot bashes her on both ears like a nunchuck. Finally I am tired from drinking a beer and say “Okay, Saffy, that’s enough. Let’s go inside.” Then I snap my fingers and she obediently comes to me. If she’s ready. If not, I have to go get her. “Sigh, where’s my Firebolt?” There’s another reason she is a Golden Snitch. I’m not only blind I’m a guy. So sometimes I break things. It happens. In the morning after I feed the dogs I make tea for Jane and bring it up to her. Saffy always watches me until I bring the tea upstairs and then sits on Jane’s lap. One morning I was at the counter and opened the upper cupboard and heard a ‘clink!’ noise on the granite counter. I was sure something was broken. But I Continued Next Page
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couldn’t find it on the counter or floor. I began to panic. I knew there had to be something broken (and probably valuable) on the floor. I had to find and dispose of it before Jane came down. I was on my hands and knees, feeling my way around the floor. Cold sweat broke out on the back of my neck as time ran out. Then I heard Jane call from upstairs, “Honey did you break something?” Damn her Vulcan hearing. “Uh, I don’t think so. Why?” “Because Saffy just brought me a piece of broken tea bag plate.” Busted! So my loyal little Guide Dog Saffron saw the broken plate and grabbed it, took it up to Mommy and dropped it in front of her. “Daddy broke something! What are you going to do to him?” That’s why Saffron is my little Golden Snitch. When not visiting his in-laws in South Royalton, Mark Carlson spends much of his time in North County, CA with his wife, Jane and his Labrador Retriever, Saffron. He is an award writer and an aviation historian, with numerous articles and books including his latest, Confessions of a Guide Dog. Legally blind, he travels and works with Saffron, and is a member of several aviation, maritime, and veteran organizations. www.musketmania.com
One Third For The Birds :
Increasing Wildlife Habitat In Your Backyard Catherine Greenleaf
H abitat for wildlife is
shrinking at an alarming rate in the United States. As the human population steadily increases, more and more pristine wild land is being bulldozed and paved over to create houses, condos and shopping malls. With every forest, field and wetland that is destroyed, wildlife is being pushed further and further into crowded urban areas to compete for scarce food offerings, often with fatal consequences, according to wildlife organizations like the National Audubon Society. But there is a way to minimize some of the habitat destruction. Wildlife experts have launched an initiative called “One Third For The Birds.” This program is asking Americans to devote one third of their backyard to help wildlife thrive. By reducing the percentage of yard that is mowed, pruned, dug up, and sprayed with pesticides, Americans can increase habitat that birds and other wild creatures depend upon for their survival. There are several ways to achieve “One Third For The Birds” on your property: Allow the very back of your 56 4 Legs & a Tail
yard to go wild. Create a quiet, overgrown spot where birds can hide from predators and safely raise their young without becoming frightened by loud noises from lawnmowers, leaf blowers and the presence of humans, dogs and cats. Leave tree branches and leaves in this area to create hiding places. Plant native trees, shrubs, and perennials, so that birds have adequate food like insects, seeds and berries. Provide a water source like a bird bath or create your wild space near an existing pond, stream or seasonal swale. Those of us who love gardening can spend a lot of time staring wideeyed at the colorful seed and flower catalogs that start pouring in through the mail slot around this time each year. Start looking in those catalogs for the native varieties. There are also some wonderful web sites with information about natives for your region, including www.plantnative.org and
www.findnativeplants.com. Not sure what you want for Christmas? Ask for the resourceful book, The Green Garden: A New England Guide to Planting and Maintaining the Eco-Friendly Habitat Garden by Ellen Sousa. Or request Douglas W. Tallamy’s masterpiece, Bringing Nature Home. Create a “wildlife corridor.” This is achieved by linking the wild part of your yard with a neighbor’s -- an ideal way to maximize habitat. It doesn’t matter if there is a fence or wall separating your properties. The wildlife will use this long stretch of habitat to safely migrate, hunt for food and raise their young. A wildlife corridor prevents birds and mammals from being hit by cars, since t h e y d o n’ t have to cross Continued Next Page
as many roads to find shelter and food. Instead of a sterile lawn that has very little to offer birds and other wild creatures like pollinators, start planting organic clover, borage, and dandelions. Not ready to give up your lawn? Then build gardens around all four sides of the lawn and fill those areas with natives. If your lawn already has a plant border, then widen it by digging several feet into your lawn on all four sides and fill that area with natives. The benefits? Less mowing, raking, fertilizing and fewer lawn treatments, and a lot more time to enjoy your yard. Create a rain garden. A rain garden is nothing more than a mini-wetlands system. Search your property during a heavy rainstorm to find areas where water is pouring into the street and ponding on the lawn. A rain garden will catch and hold this out-of-control water, allowing it to percolate back down into the watershed. An excellent book that explains the easy steps to creating a rain garden is, Rain Gardens: Sustainable Landscaping For A Beautiful Yard And A Healthy World by Lynn M. Steiner and Robert W. Domm. Your rain garden will attract rare butterf lies and birds not to mention you will no longer Winter 2016
be losing precious topsoil with every rain event. Don’t forget about your bat friends! Just one bat can grab and eat thousands of mosquitoes each night. Buy a bat house (white pine is best; cedar bat houses exude oils that can irritate the respiratory systems of bats, especially pups) and hang 10-20 feet above ground. Be sure the house is clear of obstructions like tree branches for 25 feet around. Eastern or southeastern exposure is best to provide enough warmth. Do not paint or stain your bat house as this can poison bats. By joining other Americans in the “One Third For The Birds” movement, you will be rebuilding the bio-diversity so critical to keeping birds and other wildlife from going extinct. Catherine Greenleaf is the director of St. Francis Wild Bird Hospital in Lyme, N.H. If you have an injured bird, please call (603) 795-4850.
POST OFFICE DOG Kate Kelly
he time was winter 1886, and the place was the post office in Albany, New York, where a cold, bedraggled fox terrier made his way inside looking for shelter. The postal clerks took him in, fed him, and provided the dog with a warm place to sleep. Owney, as they called him, felt right at home and decided it was his job to follow the mail wagons from the post office to the rail station and back again.
Mail Carrier and Owney
One day he slipped on to a rail car, and several days later he caught another train back to Albany. Owney began to travel regularly, probably encouraged by some humans, but he always returned to the home office. The clerks in Albany were fond of him and were worried about losing him, so they gave him a collar with the inscription, “Owney, Albany P.O., N.Y.” For eleven years, Owney traveled the U.S. from New York to California. He had the tags to prove it. Other 58 4 Legs & a Tail
post offices began providing him with “postmarks” that specified where he had visited. Miners in the West inscribed some molded silver as a label of his visit to a mining community; others labeled him with tags of leather or scraps of cloth. Owney started each trip fresh, because in Albany his friends removed and preserved the tags from his previous trip. Occasionally a “travel” book was sent along with him to further document his trips. In July of 1894, a report in The New Orleans Times-Democrat noted that Owney was back in New Orleans again. His last visit to the city had been in the winter of 1892. The article notes: “He never travels in any but mail cars, and when he reaches a town that he forms a good opinion of from the car door, he follows the mail wagon to the Post Office, and when he is ready to travel again, he follows the wagon to some train and is off for parts unknown. “Since he was here, Owney has taken in the World’s Fair and a part of the widespread labor troubles… [traveling] to Seattle, Washington, Kansas City, Mo.; Memphis, Fort Worth, Taylor, Texas; Waco, San Antonio and Houston.” Eventually Ow ney traveled internationally. One of his medals documented an audience with the prime minster of Japan. Owney had become quite a celebrity. Today Owney’s body has been stuffed and preserved and stands guard in a glass case in Washington, D.C., serving as a reminder of the importance of goodness and loyalty. (New York Times, 3-20-1910) Continued Next Page
In 2011, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp in honor of Owney. This article first appeared on the website, www.americacomesalive.com America Comes Alive publishes more stories about American dogs and other animals. Visit the website and sign up for “American Dogs” to receive the stores in your In Box. Or email Kate Kelly at email@example.com Winter 2016
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