a product message image
{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade

Page 1

FR

EE

Local Vet Goes Ape in Africa!

Central NH & VT Mud Season 2020

The Scoop on Pet Insurance Top Tips for Feline Hygiene Remembering Dogs That Served America

Keeping Your Pet Safe This Winter Grain-Free. Is it Friend or Foe? Oh, If Your Cat Could Talk

Love to Spoil Your Dog? Forensic Science and Wildlife


Inside this issue of 4 Legs & a Tail

®

4. New Boarding, Grooming, Daycare Facility in Woodstock Virginia Dean

Pg. 14

Kedron Valley expands its operation

6. Police and their K9s - Ties that Bind A look into canine law enforcement

Karen Sturtevant

11. Lebanon Police Dog Getting Protective Vest

K9 Nitro of the Lebanon Police Department will soon have a protective vest donated by a Massachusetts company

12. Vermont Dog Trainer Competes for 'America's Top Dog' Title on National TV 14. Dairy Cow Receives Pardon As Yet Another New England Dairy Farm Shuts Their Doors

Tomten Farm and Sanctuary commit to keeping a special milk cow from going to slaughter and she finds herself living the life of Riley.

16. Reducing Anxiety During Eye Care: Meet Indy Tina Smrkovski OD How one local eye doctor is making patient visits a little easier

18. Dog in NH diagnosed with a Fungal Disease Common in Southwest Jennifer Crompton Experts say animals adopted from other regions can bring in new illnesses

20. Sullivan County Humane Society Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic Susan Tarczewski 22. Shelter Dog Beer Can Campaign Helps Reunite Missing Dog with Owner Pg. 20 23. The Saga of Tasha

Bill Blindow

24. An Animal Communicator Speaks to Us

A Florida brewery that recently began placing shelter dogs’ faces on beer cans helped reunite a Minnesota woman with her dog

Maura Jones

Loving Animals, Conversations with an Animal Communicator is a new book with stories from clients about their experiences with animal communication and how working with Jeannie impacted the relationship with their animals

26. Local Vet & Gorillas

Virginia Dean

Four years ago, local veterinarian Dr. Lynn Murrell found himself in one of the most unique situations of his professional life.

30. But I Read it Online!

Scott Borthwick

Some of the wacky web "solutions" dealing with pet issues

31. The Pileated Woodpecker - Feathered Engineer of the Forest Catherine Greenleaf 32. Endorsements of Therapeutic Riding

Sue Miller

Stories from parents, participants, and family of how riders have triumphed with the help of horses Spring 2020

Pg. 26 www.4LegsAndATail.com 1


Inside this issue of 4 Legs & a Tail

®

34. Surrendering; An Act of Desperation, Compassion or Avoidance? Dawna Pederzani

Pg. 38

Why people choose to move on from their pets

38. Putting the Dog Before the Cart

Cathy White

Meet a couple of Newfoundlands who are no strangers to hard work

40. The Scoop on Pet Insurance 42. Starting Over

Catherine MacLean, DVM

Ingrid Braulini

Tips for an easier transition for your new friend from the shelter

44. Do You Live with a Fraidy Cat… Uhh I Mean DOG? Paula Bergeron

What you can do to help your anxious dog

45. Service Animals and More!

Eileen M. Wolfe, DVM

The differences between service and therapy dogs

Pg. 46

46. Tips to Safeguard Yourself, Family, Pets, and Property from the Spring Tick Invasion 48. Alternatively Speaking: Grain-Free Diets Friend or Foe? Part II Dr. Anne Carroll DVM, CVA 50. Pet Vaccines: Schedules for Cats and Dogs

A complete guide to when and what you need to keep your pet healthy

52. Top Tips For Feline Hygiene Pg. 56

54. When Things Go Wrong, Sometimes They Go Really Wrong, Part 3 Sandra Waugh, VMD, MS 5 6. Memorial Day: Remembering All Who Have Served, Including Military Dogs Kate Kelly 58. Mutts Gone Nutts Comes to Randolph, VT

Check out this family fun event at the Chandler Center for the Arts this spring

59. The New Cat

Ashley Okola

What is the ideal situation for a two-cat household?

60. Have Some 4 Legs & a Tail Fun!

4 Legs & a Tail Volume L.120 P.O. Box 841 Lebanon, NH 03766 603-727-9214 TimH.4LT@gmail.com 2 4 Legs & a Tail

Publishers: Tim Goodwin, Tim Hoehn Senior Editor: Scott Palzer Graphic Design: Kristin Wolff Sales: Karyn Swett Scott Palzer

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.

Spring 2020


Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 3


New Boarding, Grooming, Daycare Facility in Woodstock Virginia Dean

W

oodstock – Mary Smith (not her real name) used to drop off her golden retriever at daycare in Windsor every day before heading to work in Woodstock. A long, round-trip venture but one that Smith was willing to do in order to keep her dog happily safe and socialized. Now, Smith’s drive has been cut by about 40 miles, thanks to the opening of Kedron Valley Vet’s new Boarding, Grooming and Daycare facility that is fast becoming this area’s go-to place in just a few short weeks since its official opening on January 3. Owners Dr. Blakeley Murrell-Liland and Dr. Philippa Richards of the new business and the current KVVC veteri-

4 4 Legs & a Tail

nary clinic located at 1205 W. Woodstock Road, indicated that they have been thinking of establishing such a facility for a long time. “We looked at various locations over the last several years but realized that this is where we should be,” said MurrellLiland of the new facility located at 560 W. Woodstock Rd. Murrell-Liland and Richards purchased the facility at a closed price of $345,000 with an original list price of $425,000. The listing agency was Williamson Group Sotheby’s International Realty of Woodstock. Former veterinarian Dr. Marie Casiere had abandoned the facility and business, known as Woodstock Animal

Inside one of their new kennels is Dr. Blakeley Murrell-Liland holding Nick and Dr Philippa Richards with Gabriel

Care, in the spring of 2018. The building was foreclosed by lender Live Oak Bank of Wilmington, North Carolina, known for its veterinary loans, who did not take care of it during the winter of 2018-2019, rendering the buildings and kennels into a state of disrepair. Casiere had installed radiant heat in the kennel area but, due to neglect on the part of Live Oak, all the pipes burst. Last September, Murrell-Liland and Richards found local contractor Greg Jenne and Springfield Fence to bring the structures back up to high standards. “All the rain, snow and ice had rotted out most of the kennel building from five feet down,” Murrell-Liland said. “The building had to be jacked up from the inside because the beams had also disintegrated.” Now, the 11 kennels have new fencing inside and out along with some new concrete slabs and pressurized wood wedges for stabilization. In addition, each kennel has a new weatherproof plastic door and flap, and a wooden piece on the inside for extra security at night. There are three-foot high aluminum sheets (pieces) in between each kennel outside to allow for privacy between the runs and prevent potential altercations between dogs. New copper piping, water boiler (heater), and three heaters have been installed inside the kennel area that has also been repainted. “We’re hoping that some of the Art Department students will come over and paint some murals, too,” said Murrell-Liland. Outside, there is a large play area and a smaller one to allow dogs of different temperaments and sizes to play with one another, Richards related. The old pine tree that stood in front of the two additional outside kennels on the right side of the kennel building Spring 2020


was cut down, Murrell-Liland related, because of the fear that its roots would continue to rot out and/or buckle the building and kennel slabs. Inside, Murrell-Liland and Richards re-purposed the kennels with some taller than others. “These are for the jumpers,” said Murrell-Liland. “We’ve got three tall ones for them.” Dogs are free to come and go from the inside to the outside. The plastic door is magnetized so will shut either way. The vets are still figuring out what kind of bedding will be used. “We have ordered in thick rubber mats to put down in the kennels that can be sprayed down to clean,” said Richards. “People are welcome to bring their own bedding if they’d like, although all pets will be closely watched to make sure none of the bedding is being chewed.” Grooming at the new facility will be located in the main house where cats and birds can be boarded or dropped off for daycare. Grooming was moved from the kennel building because Murrell-Liland and Richards wanted more space in a quieter area. A new washing tub (with a walk-up ramp) have been discussed by the vets to be put into the current x-ray room and the current equipment moved out. “We haven’t moved very far with the grooming because we still have some configuring to do,” said Murrell-Liland. “But we should be up and running soon.” The main office will remain intact, with new furniture and fresh coat of paint. Murrell-Liland and Richards have hired a General Manager who will be responsible for overseeing a staff of four, including someone who has ample experience in dog behavior who will oversee the staff members interacting with the boarding and daycare animals. Upstairs, in the former surgery room, there will be room for cat boarding. “We are currently set up to board cats, but we’re looking to get cat condos in a separate quiet area upstairs where there is lots of natural light from the skylights”, said Richards. Also upstairs is a large newly painted apartment (walls and floor) that is offered for rent. There is a kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms, with front stairs leading down to a common room and the main office. A new fire system has now been installed, and parts of the roof have been replaced. Adjacent to the main office is a room that Murrell-Liland said could potentially be for puppy socialization between the ages of 8 and 16 weeks. “This is a critical part of canine development particularly in the way they see the world,” said Murrell-Liland. “More Spring 2020

animals are euthanized with behavior issues than infectious diseases.” Hours of the new facility are MondayFriday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday by appointment. t “We are not allowing clients to pick up their dogs at will,” said Murrell-Liland. “We will always have an employee available to discharge the animals.” Murrell-Liland and Richards will be overseeing the facility but will remain actively involved in their veterinary practice down the road. “As such,” said Richards, “we can stand behind and make recommendations. We will know how it’s run and that the animals are being well taken care of. We want to have a hand in it and know what’s going on. It’s nice that we can just go over and tend to the animals if we are needed.” Richards related that she and MurrellLiland are happy to provide a need in the community, and Murrell-Liland indicated that finally there is a place where people’s dogs can have fun and be well taken care of. The Kedron Valley Veterinary boarding, grooming and daycare can be reached at 802 457-7498. Contact them for a full disclosure of boarding/ daycare fees.

www.4LegsAndATail.com 5


K9s Karen Sturtevant

Lt. Labrecque & Andre

M

6 4 Legs & a Tail

y sister and I are different beings. She’s outgoing, loves concerts and crowds and is hip and cool. Me? I prefer the company of animals over people, a good pair of earbuds and the clothes with blue tag discount markers from the thrift store. She’s a ‘cat person’ and has three; I’m a dog devotee and have one. A subject we both can agree upon: we’re crazy in love with our animals. I don’t ask much of my little dog, snuggling at bedtime and enjoying her goofy ways are enough for me. I don’t teach her weird tricks or to perfectly behave. She’s fine just the way she is. If she sits for a cookie, it’s a bonus. Our pets are our best pals, our confidants, always loyal and happy to see us. Every pet is unique, whether purebred or a wildly mixed blend, they’re special creatures. As much as we pet parents adore our animals (yes, cats included!), there is a different level of appreciation when we leap into the professional world of the canine. As a self-admitted canine junkie, police dogs fascinate me. From their intelligence and focus on the job to being able to switch roles to being amazing family members, these canines are extraordinary. For many of us, the words, Police Dog (K9) conjure images of muscled, physically fit canines exhibiting strength, courage, and bravery. Even cat people can’t help but admire these disciplined animals. K9s are trained specifically to assist their handlers in search and rescue, detect drugs and evidence, track suspects or missing persons, enforce order at gatherings and provide protection. I recently had the opportunity to learn about two special police dogs, Andre and Billy. My first lesson led me to conversation and coffee with Lieutenant (Lt.) Wade Labrecque of the Burlington Police Department (BPD). Lt. Labrecque is a wellSpring 2020


versed professional, an instructor in multiple law enforcement disciplines and a big softy when it comes to K9s. His law enforcement story began when a post-surgical complication ended the life of a close friend. Labrecque reevaluated his trajectory, changed course and in 2001 became a police officer with the Burlington Police Department, beginning at the rank and responsibilities of patrol officer. After seven years of fine-tuning his people, paperwork, and procedure skills, thenOfficer Labrecque was promoted to corporal and was soon given the chance to accomplish a goal of securing the sought-after distinction of K9 handler. Dogs were a familiar mainstay in the Labrecque household––from Jack Russell and rat terriers to a hound/ beagle mix and Maggie, a rescued pitbull, their home was always filled with canine energy and antics. He jokes that his daughter has a “strong sense of balance after being hip-checked and run over all the time a by a pack of dogs.” An opportunity presented itself when K9 Zeus was ready to retire. With the department in need of a replacement K9 team, Cpl. Labrecque applied. In order be considered for this coveted position, the applicant must have an exemplary record, have met the minimum required time period of being an active police officer, meet physical training standards and possess a sincere, realistic long-term commitment (often 6 to 10 years) to the dog and all that the responsibility entails. Police dogs work and live, and often retire, with their handlers. As training at the Vermont Police Academy began in 2007 with Garrett, a chosen canine recruit, Labrecque quickly found out this particular dog was not meant for police vocation and would be more content as a companion rather than a worker. After Garrett was adopted to a colleague, Cpl. Labrecque found himself at the Academy for K9 training without a canine. Not every dog has the right temperament or physical ability to be a police dog. Candidates must have a strong prey drive, be trainable and sociable. Many K9s when off duty, may be mistaken for ‘just another dog’ as they prefer to be in the company of people and are typically pleasant in manner. As fate would have it, Andre, a handsome German shepherd, was adopted and returned to a New York breeder due to his being ‘too much.’ The breeder then contacted the BPD, which would jumpstart Andre’s future. With a solid drive and intelligent mind, Andre tested well and was welcomed into the Burlington Police K9 program. Within days he and Cpl. Labrecque were enrolled at the Spring 2020

Academy. Andre was a natural. With pride in his voice and sincerity in his eyes, Labrecque commented, “He definitely had it all figured out after drug detection and patrol schools. It took me a while to catch up to him. He carried us as a team for the first couple of years.” The pair would continue to work with one another with Labrecque rising in rank to sergeant, for the next nine years passing recertification, winning awards, and receiving accolades. “It’s the best job in the world. Going to work, riding around every day with your partner. It was the greatest job, bar none.” The team accomplished several notable distinctions during their career including the seizure of over $750,000 in illegal drugs and currency. They are credited with leading the single largest heroin bust in Vermont history (9,000 bags), being awarded Vermont Police K9 Drug Team of the Year (four times) and Vermont Police K9 Team of the Year (twice). Both have been inducted into the Vermont Police K9 Hall of Fame. If those honors were not enough for a long span of public service, Andre, with his sharp nose and persistence, is credited with possibly saving the life, certainly injury, of Lt. Labrecque. Continued Next Page

www.4LegsAndATail.com 7


While searching a residence for a suspect, Lt. Labrecque and Andre were in full work mode. The pursuit led them to the basement. At first glance, the space appeared empty, but Andre’s alert led him to an interior door secured by a two by four board, acting as a lever. Rejecting the idea that the suspect was in that room, due to the makeshift lock mounted on the outside, Lt. Labrecque dismissed Andre’s finding. When casting him again for another pass, Andre returned to the exact same spot. At the Vermont Police Academy, a sign reads, The Dog is Right. Perhaps Lt. Labrecque had a split second of recall of those words as he put his trust in his partner. As Andre postured in full warning, Lt. Labrecque maneuvered the board down and opened the door. Andre was sent in. Behind the door, the suspect was holding a brick ready to inflict harm. Instead, when Andre entered, the suspect dropped the brick and grabbed Andre’s neck with both hands. To hear Labrecque share the next part of the story made me laugh and shake my head in quizzical disbelief. With the suspect’s hands around Andre’s neck, this determined and composed K9 peered up at Labrecque as if to say, “Are you kidding me?” It was at that moment, Labrecque gave the attack

8 4 Legs & a Tail

command. Without Andre’s tenacity, upon Labrecques’s entry in the room, the outcome may have been very different. Score one for the good guys. As remarkable as the records of professional accomplishments are, the emotions that resonated most with me were Lt. Labrecque’s all-embracing, unwavering love and admiration he had for Andre. “Some of the tracks we did, finding people, we were working, communicating, without talking. It’s like a whole different world. It’s an unbelievable relationship that develops.” Andre was more than a dog, more than a partner. To say they simply shared a bond does not acknowledge the enormity and profound depth of connection that existed between them. “Probably the worst part of being a K9 handler is when you have to make the decision to retire your partner.” Andre turned in his badge in 2016 living out the rest of his days being pampered by the Labrecque family. When Andre passed away, he left a legacy of not only a distinguished career but also an indelible imprint on the hearts and memories of those who loved, knew and worked with him. My next class in Police Dogs 101 took place in the company of Corporal Eugene Baccaglini of the Burlington Police Department and his K9, Billy. I, to the envy of my coworkers, was scheduled (and got previous permission from Lt. Labrecque to press the buttons for the lights and sirens!) to accompany them on a ride-along in Vermont’s largest city on a windy, cold winter evening. With a laptop in tow, I met the team in the BPD’s lobby. After perfunctory photographs and greetings, we were ready to roll––that is until we got to the SUV and Cpl. Baccaglini needed a few minutes to rearrange the contents to make room for his eager passenger. After devoting the previous two weeks at the Vermont Police Academy honing Billy’s tracking skills needed for certification, the front seat was full of training gear and supplies. Upon entering the decked-out vehicle my first remark was similar to something a toddler in the midst of sugar rush might say, “Hey, this looks like a spaceship!” (I wouldn’t be surprised, if, after my excited outburst, Cpl. Baccaglini seriously rethought his decision to allow this ride-along.) Screens, a keyboard, radio, and tech-savvy gadgets adorned our cockpit. Billy, unfazed by my enthusiasm, jumped up to settle into his special place in the back of the vehicle. I was forewarned, “When he wants the window down,” Cpl. Baccaglini told me, “he whines. He also whines when he hears the siren.” We were ready for whatever the night had in store. Spring 2020


Billy with Cpl. Baccaglini

At 65 pounds, Billy is on the smaller side for a German shepherd. However, if one were to argue that he lacks the physicality to complete his job, the counter would be he has extra rations of drive, smarts, and charm. Cpl. Baccaglini and Billy have been a K9 team since January 2019. Billy’s story is unique as his role has not always been a police dog. For his first two years, he was a family pet and then donated, as several K9s are, to the Burlington Police Department. Beginning formal training for a dog at this age would prove to be challenging as the prime teaching time typically starts during puppyhood. Not only would Billy need to unlearn his previous behaviors, but he would also need to bond and put his complete trust in Cpl. Baccaglini. As we piloted and conversed our way around the streets of the Queen City, Cpl. Baccaglini’s commitment to empowering Billy to succeed became apparent. I noticed a similar endearing tone in the way both Labrecque and Baccaglini spoke about their dogs. Lt. Labrecque recalled when he and Andre would enter an area of rowdy groups of people, Andre would bark to make himself known, the crowd would suddenly become orderly and well-behaved. The simple presence of a highly-disciplined canine can alter actions as if people fear the dog more so than the authority. Lt. Labrecque sees this same advanced level potential in the ‘next generation’ with Cpl. Baccaglini and Billy. 2019 was an active year as Billy was certificated in patrol, narcotics detection and tracking by the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council. Cpl. Baccaglini spoke with delight of Billy’s comprehension in learning to track, which proved to be especially demanding in the pouring rain the day of testing. As in any connection Spring 2020

(human or animal), reading each other’s body language is important. By recognizing the signals of Billy’s behavior, as when just after losing a scent, Cpl. Baccaglini can bring him back to the point where the focus was lost and redirect. Keen observation skills are critical, which Billy is sending and his handler is learning to accurately decipher. Billy gave me a demonstration of his fantastic sense of smell in a game of canine hide and seek. Back at the station, with Billy still in the SUV, Cpl. Baccaglini retrieved what looked like a compact suitcase. This was no ordinary carry-on. Inside were glass bottles filled with various narcotics seized and approved for K9 training purposes. Cpl. Baccaglini tucked the bagged contraband in drawers, under chairs, in a closet, and on top of a bookcase. When Billy entered the rooms he was allowed a few minutes to acclimate to the surroundings, then the command was given. The working dog within took over. This time was such a thrill for me: to observe this clever canine intently focused on his job to please his handler. Billy has been taught to alert passively, to sit, when his target is found. And, he did. He found every single one. Again, my inner child escaped, vocalized and clapped––not quite the mature adult reaction, but I make no apologies. This was an impressive show. Back on the road, throughout the duration of our trek, Billy waited, whined on occasion, and watched patiently in his custom-made area. Poking his face at the divider at times, I’d rub his muzzle and tell him he was Continued Next Page

www.4LegsAndATail.com 9


a good boy. As the night continued, we stopped at a park for leg stretching and bit of obedience work. As Billy bounded through the snow, I couldn’t help but feel the tenderness and pride (and occasional frustration) that Cpl. Baccaglini must have for him. The moon’s glow allowed us to witness snapshots in time of this beautiful boy moving through his learned paces. Rewarded with praise and his toy, Billy was one happy dog. Training a dog to the level in which Cpl. Baccaglini aspires for Billy poses a personal and professional ongoing test for the 13-year BPD veteran. Making headway in new skills is not easy. “It’s one thing to get your dog to sit. It’s another to teach him to successfully track a mile and a half or 45 minutes to try and find someone. The challenge was very intriguing.” Cpl. Baccaglini shared with me the perplexity he often has when working with Billy. “At times Billy will have a total understanding of what I’m asking of him followed by long droughts of looking at me sideways,” As Billy progresses in one area of focus, Cpl. Baccaglini sees those skills benefit other disciplines. Patrol abilities get stronger due to advances made in drug work. Tracking proficiencies grow from patrol drills. Each discipline’s success is intertwined showing cumulative results in the others.

10 4 Legs & a Tail

On this particular evening, I concluded that when the temperature is in the low 20’s, the bad guys tend to stay inside. This newly-ascertained fact was just fine with me. More time for stories. Cpl. Baccaglini told me that one of Billy’s favorite and most successful pursuits is ‘Find the Guy,’ and then has a conflict with the next step: ‘Bite the Guy.’ Having been raised as a companion and not a working dog, biting was discouraged. Teaching Billy when it’s appropriate to bite (either on a specially-designed sleeve, suit or actual person) was another behavior that needed to be relearned. Introducing Billy to different training scenarios and environments helps him to learn how to act and is part of his ongoing education. Cpl. Baccaglini describes this as, “Giving Billy another picture of what I’m asking him to do.” Training may take place in an office, on a busy street, in a parking lot, or wooded area. Problem solving and head scratching is often done with fellow K9 handlers to come up with a plan to redirect the dogs to desired outcomes. The more opportunities a police dog has to participate in replicated situations with varied factors and people, the greater his confidence will be when he’s asked to work in a real-world situation. Billy’s instruction continues with simulated drug searches, tracking exercises and physical conditioning––each activity helping him gain endurance and self-confidence. As committed as Lt. Labrecque was to Andre, the same devotion is evident in the relationship between Cpl. Baccaglini and Billy. Will Billy eventually become another Andre? Probably not and that’s okay. Billy will forge his own path gaining his own achievements under the guidance of his handler and helpers. As for me and my maiden police ridealong? The company and conversation were superb. The knowledge, more than I could have asked for. Billy? A mixture of playful puppy and determined professional. I never did get to push the buttons to activate the blue lights and siren–– maybe next time in the summer months when the bad guys are more active and Billy can show me what he’s learned since our last get-together. I have no doubt that Cpl. Eugene Baccaglini and Billy will continue to grow together into building a rewarding partnership (even during the frustrating stages) that would make even Lt. Labrecque and Andre proud. Lt. Wade Labrecque continues to serve and protect with the Burlington Police Department, is president of the Vermont Police Canine Association and instructs at the Vermont Police Academy. When I asked him if he would ever have another police dog, there was a pause. I already knew the answer…he didn’t need to say a word. Spring 2020


Lebanon Police Dog Getting Protective Vest K

9 Nitro of the Lebanon Police Department will soon have a protective vest donated by a Massachusetts company. A Massachusetts company is donating a protective vest for K9 Nitro of the Lebanon, NH Police Department. Nitro, a male German shepherd that joined the department in November 2018, is expected to have the new protective gear in eight to ten weeks, according to a release Monday from the Lebanon Police Department. The department is getting the custom-fit body armor through a charitable donation from Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., a non-profit organization in East Taunton, Mass., that has been providing protective vests for law enforcement dogs since 2009, according to the release. The vests weigh around 4-5 pounds and are designed to protect against stab and bullet wounds, the release said.

Spring 2020

Nitro’s vest will be embroidered with “Honoring those who served and sacrificed.�

www.4LegsAndATail.com 11


Jill Viggiani vies for Top Dog

Vermont Trainer, Dog Will Compete for ‘America’s Top Dog’ Title on National TV A

dog trainer from Vermont is joining her 6-year-old boxer to compete in a national competition for the title of “America’s Top Dog.” A new television series is pitting police K-9s and their handlers against civilian dogs and their trainers in a three-round obstacle course challenge. Ji l l Vig g i a n i, t he ow ne r of MotoDog training in Huntington, and her dog, Moto, will appear in the series’ fourth show Wednesday night. If she and Moto w in this week, they will receive $10,000 and an addition $5,000 to donate to an animal charity of their choice. Viggiani said she’s excited to be a part of the show and display Moto’s skills. “I am super excited and honored to appear with my boxer, Moto, on A&E Network’s ‘America’s Top Dog’ series,” Viggiani said. “Moto and I have trained very hard together and we can’t wait to show the world Moto’s abilities.”

12 4 Legs & a Tail

Spring 2020


Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 13


Riley at her new home in Haverhill, NH

Dairy Cow Receives Pardon As Yet Another New England Dairy Farm Shuts Their Doors. 

T

omten Farm and Sanctuary commits to keeping a special milk cow from going to slaughter and she finds herself living the life of Riley. Jersey cow, Ripley, has found her “Believe It or Not”. Haverhill, NH - It’s not often one sees an animal sanctuary and a dairy farm team up to save a life but that is just what happened when a struggling New Hampshire dairy farmer chose to gift one of his cows to Tomten Farm and Sanctuary instead of sending her for processing. As one local dairy farmer after another suffers financial losses due to milk prices plummeting below the cost of production, traditional family farms throughout New England continue to close at an alarming rate. Both farmers and cows find themselves in trouble as communities find their landscape and neighbors forever changed.  Ripley, a 9-year-old Jersey cow, who h a s produc e d over 10 0,0 0 0 pounds and almost 15,000 gallons of milk, was one of the thousands of 14 4 Legs & a Tail

dairy cows who are finding themselves at risk as barns close their doors once and for all. After years of remaining on the same farm, they are run through herd dispersal sales, shipped to auction or loaded onto trailers to go straight to the processor and be “beefed.” But, lucky for Ripley, she found her “believe it or not” moment thanks to the effort of one small farm, the caring farmer who ow ned her and the generous people who made it possible via their contributions to the 100 % donorfunded and 100% volunteer-staffed, Tomten Farm and Sanctuary. The c ol l ab orat ion b e t we e n Jenifer Vickery of Tomten Farm and Sanctuary and Hal Covert of Peaked Moon Farm presented an opportunity to not only save a special cow but to shed light on the plight of the less than 1500 dairy farms left in New England and the many animals and humans whose fate will be forever changed by their closing. “It doesn’t have to be ‘us against them’,” says Tomten founder Jenifer Spring 2020


Vickery when asked why she would consider teaming up a dairy farmer. “Everyone is on their own journey surviving the best they know-how and we respect that while hoping to do more, be more and give more to animals in need. Raising awareness and promoting compassion for humans and animals is an important part of our mission and directly impacts the future of the animals we love. Without it, there will be nothing left but Big Ag and it will be a significant loss for humans and animals.” In the case of the cow called Ripley on one ear tag and Riley on another, this act of generosity not only saved her but offered Covert the satisfaction of saving the life of at least one of the spent production cows in his herd who, for several years, has been part of his living as a New England dairy farmer.   Tomten founder Vickery says, “We have no doubt that Ripley will be an ambassador for the remaining dairy cows in New England and help to inspire compassion while creating a deeper awareness of small farms, the animals who reside on them and the direction agriculture is heading.”  She, her Board and all who support Tomten Farm and Sanctuary are hopeful that Ripley’s well-deserved pardon will stimulate thought and conversation in New Hampshire and beyond. Ripley resides in Haverhill, NH with 4 other rescued cows where she remains for the rest of her days feeling the sun on her back, the earth beneath her feet and is valued simply for her beautiful presence. Tomten Farm and Sanctuary is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to providing peace, protection, and possibility to animals in need. It is home to 50 + rescued animals, including horses, goats, sheep, donkeys, pigs, cats, rabbits, chickens, geese and ducks.

The Sanctuary opens its gates to the public during regularly scheduled RSVP Farm Tours. Their next public tour is June 21st where they welcome all to get up close and personal with the rescues, hear their stories and be touched by the magic and miracle of each life. For more i n for m at ion a nd t o r s v p, T F & S invites all to travel beside them virtually via their very active Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ tomtenfarmandsanctuary/. Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 15


Reducing Anxiety During Eye Care: Meet Indy Tina Smrkovski OD, Reed Optical

D

o you ever worry about going to an upcoming doctors appointment? Get nervous during your exam? If so, you’re not alone! A reported 1 of 5 people have measurable increases in anxiety during doctor’s visits, but many others likely experience a more mild case. Although there are many types and triggers, anxiety is an exaggerated “fight or flight” fear hormonal response. There are several ways to reduce the fear response, one being with the use

16 4 Legs & a Tail

of a therapy animal. Petting an animal has been scientifically proven to activate the calming hormonal response, also known as “rest and digest”. Most commonly dogs, any calm, mild mannered animal can be trained for therapeutic support. Indiana Jones, aka “Indy”, the Therapy Dog here at Reed Optical Sunapee, is here to ensure that you are comfortable and happy at your appointment. After greeting you at the door, he may snuggle with you on

the couch or even accompany you into the exam room. The act of petting him and receiving his “hugs” counteracts the anxiety response allowing a more comfortable and enjoyable eye exam. He may even sucker you into a belly rub, or several! In addition to Indy, the office is decorated in warm, comfortable colors, our wait times are minimal and we employ a friendly staff. This atmosphere eases discomfort and allows for an effortless and accurate eye exam. Optometrists, Drs Jeff and Tina, rescued him as a puppy from a shelter in Arkansas, and Indy joined our practice in April of 2018. Like any rescue, he is a mixed breed, mainly Husky and Black and Tan Hound. This leaves him with expressive eyebrows and a silky, soft coat - perfect for petting! Many months of training at home and in class under the guidance of Professional Trainer, Sarah, of Paws 4 Training, ensure that his behavior is appropriate and safe for patient care. As both of his breeds are considered working dogs, Indy was a quick learner despite his young age. We quickly learned that one of his (and our patients) favorite commands is “Hugs”! Due to his own history with anxiety, most likely stemming from his difficult background, Indy is very adept at recognizing when patients are in need of comfort. For example, a new widow came in for glasses; she heard a song, sending her down memory lane. Indy, from another room, heard her getting choked up, and ran to be by her side. After sitting quietly with him for about 20 minutes, she was ready to move forward with her visit. Later, she told her family that Indy was just what she needed at that time! He is so loved by patients, he has some who stop in when driving by - just to say “Hi”. Indy is in office most days until early afternoon, feel free to come by to meet him and the rest of our eye care team! For those who are unable to tolerate dogs due to allergy or other reasons, Reed Optical Claremont is kept animal free. Spring 2020


*We will not sell or give your information to a third party L120

Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 17


DOG IN NH DIAGNOSED WITH FUNGAL DISEASE COMMON IN SOUTHWEST

Experts say animals adopted from other regions can bring in new illnesses Jennifer Crompton   

A

dog in New Hampshire has been diagnosed with a fungal disease that’s commonly seen in the Southwest. The diagnosis of valley fever was made at the New Hampshire Diagnostic Veterinary Lab at the University of New Hampshire, which tests tens of thousands of specimens from across New England every year. The disease was found during a biopsy of a lump that had been removed from a dog. “At that point, I was thinking this doesn’t line up with the routine cases that I see every day,” said pathologist Dr. Colleen Monahan.

18 4 Legs & a Tail

Monahan said she diagnosed valley fever, a fungal disease that’s endemic to the Southwest but rarely seen in New England. “It was very abnormal, because this is a disease that I have learned about and seen several examples of it in my training but had never seen it myself,” Monahan said. Monahan said the veterinarian who submitted the lump was surprised. “It turns out that this dog had been adopted from Arizona two years before,” she said. Among the diagnoses made at the lab, valley fever is not among the most severe, Monahan said. It’s not transmissible between animals or between animals and humans, and it can be treated, especially if caught early. Monahan said the diagnosis underscores that the rise in dog adoptions from Southern states means an increase in diseases that aren’t prevalent in New England. “It’s really important to talk to your vet about the history of if your pet traveled to the area, even just for vacation, or if you adopted it from that area,” Monahan said. She said it’s also a reminder to adopt from a reputable source. “You would want to adopt a dog that has a health certificate that was issued by a veterinarian that they were healthy at the time of travel,” she said.

Spring 2020


Blastomycosis in Dogs

Blastomycosis is a systematic yeast-like fungal infection caused by the organism Blastomyces dermatitidis, which is commonly found in decaying wood and soil. Blastomycosis occurs most frequently in male dogs, but female dogs are also susceptible. Dogs that are frequently exposed to environments where Blastomyces dermatitidis exists are at increased risk. This is particularly so with largebreed dogs weighing at least 55 lbs (25 kg), and especially sporting breeds. The Blastomyces fungus thrives in wet environments, such as riverbanks, lakes and swamps, where damp soil lacking direct sunlight fosters growth of the fungus. It is also present in areas that are rich in decaying matter, such as wooded areas, forests, and farms. It is a naturally occurring North American fungus, with the highest prevalence of infection taking place in geographic areas located near water -- such as the Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, and Tennessee River basins. Studies have concluded that most affected dogs live within at least 400 meters of a body of water. The condition or disease described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.  

Symptoms and Types

p Fever

p Weight Loss

p Loss of Appetite (anorexia)

p Eye Inflammation (specifically the iris)

p Difficulty Breathing (e.g., coughing, wheezing and other unusual breathing sounds)

p Eye Discharge

p Skin Lesions, which are frequently filled with pus

Causes

Blastomycosis typically occurs when the dog inhales the airborne fungal spores of the genus Blastomyces dermatitidis after the contaminated soil has been disturbed. This can be from an activity as benign as digging in the dirt or following a scent trail. The spores can also enter through the skin. Exposure to areas with water, decaying matter, or recently excavated areas increase the risk of exposure to the fungus and consequent development of  the disease.

Diagnosis

Care must be taken to test properly for this condition, since it is commonly misdiagnosed, which can lead to permanent or fatal damage. It may be mistaken for cancer and mistreated, or it may be mistaken for a lung infection of bacterial origin and treated with antibiotics, which puts your pet at greater risk. If your pet has been in an environment where the Blastomyces fungus may have been present, at any time in the six weeks previous to the onset of symptoms, you will want to ask your veterinarian to test for fungal infection. The best methods for diagnosing blastomycosis is an examination of the cells in the lymph nodes, an analysis of fluid drained from skin lesions, a tracheal wash for collecting trachea (windpipe) fluids, and an examination of lung tissues. Tissue samples may also be taken to check for the presence of fungal organisms, especially if there is no productive cough (productive, meaning that fluids are produced). Other tests that may help diagnose blastomycosis include a urine analysis, and an X-ray of the dog’s lungs. Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 19


SULLIVAN COUNT Y HUMANE SOCIET Y Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic Susan Tarczewski

J

20 4 Legs & a Tail

ust a week before Thanksgiving, the Sullivan County Humane Society of Claremont, NH, had a great deal to be thankful for. On November 21, 2019, the SCHS Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic “fixed” its 5,000th cat! A core group of dedicated volunteers assist Dr. Sara White and her Veterinary Technician, April Reinartz. Dr. White is the founder of Spay ASAP, a non-profit mobile MASH-style spay/neuter clinic and highly experienced with these surgeries. Each month, a large group of cats and the occasional rabbit are taken out of the reproductive business at the SCHS clinic, held in Claremont. The process begins, as so many things do, with paperwork. Volunteers and shelter staff take calls from the public to reserve spots for their pets to be spayed or neutered. The workers fill out a form including contact information for the owner and basic health information for the pet. There are usually about 50 cats spayed or neutered in one day, but occasionally there are even more! A few days before the clinic, instructions and a permission slip are mailed to owners. A confirmation call early in the week is made to be sure owners remember and to answer any last-minute questions. In addition to cats belonging to the public, shelter cats are frequently spayed or neutered at the clinic. SCHS also has an active Trap-Neuter-Return program to fix feral cats who cannot be handled by humans. This is part of the Humane Society’s overarching efforts to reduce pet overpopulation and homelessness. By stopping feral cats from reproducing, feral colonies become smaller over time. On the day of the clinic, always Spring 2020


a Thursday, SCHS volunteers are up bright and early to set up. Clinics are held in a large upstairs room at the American Legion, and there is much to do so that the day runs smoothly. Hypertherm, a local employer, offers paid community service days to employees. There are often several of these hard-working folks on hand to assist in what has proven to be a winning partnership. Volunteers set up tables, carry in Dr. White’s equipment and supplies, and help with check-in when owners begin to arrive with their cats at 7:30. In addition to spay and neuter, services available at the clinic include nail trimming, ear cleaning, rabies, and distemper vaccinations, and flea and mite treatment if needed. A volunteer confirms what services are requested for each animal, and the owners leave for the day. Leaving their beloved pets is often the hardest part for people, but putting a cat in a crate for travel is also quite challenging for some. It can be a stressful day for the cats with being crated and going for a ride in a car and being in new surroundings with unknown humans and several other cats. Any cat who is having a hard time may have a towel draped over their crate, which helps them stay calm. Other cats are quite relaxed, and giving them attention is a highlight of the day for many volunteers. Dr. White examines each animal, listening to their hearts and lungs, checking their teeth and weight. For many of the cats, this is the first time they have been to a vet. Occasionally, Dr. White identifies a health problem that may need further care, and owners are informed of any issues found during the examination. Once all the cats have been checked, smaller groups are given anesthetic and prepped for surgery. We will spare the reader details of the surgery, which is done efficiently and quickly. After surgery, cats are brought to a recovery table, where they will receive any other needed services like vaccinations before they wake up. They are closely observed for any signs of distress as they recover from anesthesia. It’s a busy day but it flies by for all the workers! At the end of the day, pets and owners are reunited. The last of the day’s paperwork is completed, and owners pay for the services provided. Trained volunteers review aftercare instructions as well as any particular issues noted during the exam or surgery. The dedicated volunteers are not done yet – they still need to clean the room, help load up the vet’s equipment, and assist with carrying crated cats. A long and rewarding day is finally done. Spring 2020

By the most conservative of estimates, the Sullivan County Humane Society’s low-cost spay and neuter clinics have prevented the births of over 100,000 cats, many of whom would have ended up in a shelter or far worse. To date, SCHS has spayed or neutered over 5,000 cats and 19 bunnies at monthly clinics. In addition, the Humane Society runs several similar spay/neuter clinics for dogs each year and has spayed or neutered 102 dogs. Estimates vary, but according to the ASPCA, approximately 3.2 million cats enter animal shelters each year in the US. Roughly 860,000 of those cats, many of whom are healthy and adoptable, are euthanized. These numbers have dropped significantly since records have been kept, and they continue to drop. Spay/neuter programs like the one at SCHS are a critical part of that effort. Providing this necessary service to the public at an affordable price is an important piece of the complex issue of pet overpopulation. SCHS is a no-kill shelter and provides many other services to Sullivan County. For more information about SCHS, please visit their website at https://sullivancountyhumanesociety.org/, or their Facebook page.

www.4LegsAndATail.com 21


Shelter Dog Beer Can Campaign Helps Reunite Missing Dog With Owner Associated Press

A

Hazel makes the "cover" of Motorworks Beer

22 4 Legs & a Tail

Florida brewery that recently began placing shelter dogs’ faces on beer cans helped reunite a Minnesota woman with her dog, Hazel, who went missing three years ago. Earlier this month, Motorworks Brewing in Bradenton teamed up with the Manatee County Animal Shelter to turn beer cans into adoption flyers for shelter dogs. Monica Mathis of St. Paul, Minnesota, told KSTP that she couldn’t believe it when she spotted Hazel’s face on a beer can that had been photographed and posted on social media. Hazel, a terrier mix, was among the dogs featured on beer cans called “The Four Packs.”

Mathis saw the post and something about one dog’s eyes caught her attention. “Oh my gosh that looks like my dog, I think that’s my dog,’” Mathis said. But the featured dog’s name was Day Day. Mathis contacted the shelter, which needed proof that Day Day was in fact Hazel. “I sent everything I could find — all the pictures so I could stop an adoption process from happening because I could’ve lost her again,” Mathis said. Mathis said she was living in Iowa when Hazel disappeared in 2017. “She was on a leash outside and I went to get her and she was gone from our yard,” Mathis said. She searched, called shelters, but never found the dog. She said she has no idea how the dog got to Florida. Then, a new job took her to Minnesota. Several years went by until she saw the beer can campaign on Jan. 24. The shelter confirmed that Day Day is Hazel. “I was amazed, I was crying. An emotional wreck,” Mathis said. Mathis said animal services couldn’t immediately find her because the contact information on Hazel’s microchip was out of date. “Keep track of exactly what company you use, make sure your stuff gets updated, especially if your pet goes missing and don’t ever give up,” Mathis said. Hans Wohlgefahrt of Manatee County Animal Services, said they saw the photos and vet records, which provided proof Hazel belonged to Mathis. “This dog was such an important part of her family that she had everything to prove she was her owner,” Wohlgefahrt said. “There was really no way we could trace her back to that particular owner. It’s a great reminder to people when they do these things to go into their profile and make sure all their contact information is up to date.”


THE SAGA oF TASHA W

Bill Blindow - Newport, VT

atching a dog swim across the canal toward our house was unusual. While it was shaking the water from its coat I went out and saw that it did not have a collar and was tired. My wife and I invited her to come onto the lanai. A female, she quietly followed us and immediately laid down. We gave her water and something to eat and she went to sleep. We assumed that she was lost but after about 2 hours of sleep she got up and went to the door. I let her out and she started up the street toward U.S. 1. We were living on Cudjoe Key at the 21 Mile Marker. The Florida Keys run from Key Largo to Key West and U.S. 1 is heavily traveled. We got in our car and followed her and she headed for U.S. 1 and started going south toward Key West. We kept pulling off the shoulder of the road to allow traffic to pass until we reached Sugar Loaf Key at the 17 Mile Marker. Then she left the road and went into a wooded area and we lost sight of her. After cruising back and forth for a short period of time we gave up and went home. The next day I went to Sugar Loaf Middle School where I was a teacher. The school is located at the 19 Mile Marker on Sugar Loaf Original Key. During my break, I went out on the missing pet playground to watch the kids. Looking across newspaper ad the field I saw the dog sitting and watching. I started across the field but she saw me and took off toward the highway. Having failed to make contact with her I went into the teacher’s room and related the story to some of the faculty. A teacher said to me, “I saw a picture of a lost dog in the paper today but it’s from Marathon about 35 miles North of here”. I found the picture of the dog and was positive it was the same dog. The article said Reward-Tasha missing-small tan shepherdlooks like a puppy but is 10 years old. If found please call and the phone number. After school that day I picked up my wife and we started driving all over Sugarloaf Key. After a couple of hours, we were ready to call it a day when we passed a construction site and there was the dog. I asked the men if the dog belonged to them and one of the men said: “No, I found her along the highway so I picked her up yesterday”. I asked him he was going to be working there tomorrow and he said, “yes”. As soon as we got home I called the number in Marathon. When I told the man that I was quite sure that I knew where his dog was he was skeptical. He said, “you’re about 35 miles south of us and the dog would have had to travel over the 7-mile bridge, quite an undertaking”. I told him to come down to my house at 9 am tomorrow morning and I would take him to where the dog was located. Nine am he was there and I took him to the construction site. Up on the second floor of the building was the dog. The man got out of the car and looked up at the dog and hollered “Tasha”. She immediately started shaking all over she was so excited. Our reward I told him, was when we brought him back together with Tasha. Bill Blindow is a US Navy WWII veteran and served in the South Pacific. He lived in Florida for 20 years and now shares a home in Vermont with his Golden Retriever, Kodi.

Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 23


An Animal Communicator Speaks to Us B

Maura Jones

eing an animal communicator touches Jeannie Lindheim’s heart. She loves helping people with their animals. Here are some musings from her new book which will be published in 2020; Loving Animals, Conversations with an Animal Communicator. All proceeds from the book will be donated to animal rescue organizations. Her book is in a Question and Answer format. Jeannie emailed many clients and asked them, “If you were to read a book on animal communication, what would you want to know?” Her book also includes stories from clients about their experiences with animal communication and how working with Jeannie impacted the relationship with their animals. Here are some excerpts from the book. “I use telepathy, which means “feeling another soul and spirit over a distance.” I am able to hear the animal without being together. I do telephone consults and prepare by centering to become a channel; which allows me to listen to the animal.

24 4 Legs & a Tail

My body feels the sensations that your animal is feeling through images, words, taste, sensations, and feelings. Sometimes it’s just a ‘knowing.’ Animal communication is a heart-to-heart connection. My training was with Penelope Smith, the pioneer in animal communication. She taught me to have no preconceptions of what an animal might say. People’s concerns range from behavioral or physical problems, making end-of-life decisions, questions about rescued or adopted animals, the dynamics of having several animals in a household, wanting a closer relationship with our pets, caring for older animals and any issues the client is concerned about. When I speak to the person about their animal, I get a sense of what the animal is like and how the animal’s energy feels in my body. I identify in our phone conversation that it is your animal- qualities that your animal has. We are really having a three-way conversation. The client is talking to me. I listen. The animal also listens and gives me images, feelings and thoughts as she hears the words her person is saying, then I relay information to the client about what the animal feels and wants. I try to put what your animal tells me into easy words so you can understand what he wants. I will often tell you the images he’s showing me which makes perfect sense to the person. I can tell you what your animal feels and thinks about any situation you’re concerned about. Sometimes feelings come through before I telephone the client. One time, I felt like I had had ten cups of caffeinated coffee before the call, and I don’t drink coffee. The dog was extremely hyper, and the client had challenges on how to handle her dog. The dog showed me that he needed to be off-leash, running freely many times during the day. When I checked in with the client a month later, the dog wasn’t difficult anymore, because his person let him run off-leash more. I feel that no one owns an animal, so I use the word “person”. Sometimes the animal gets so excited to be asked what they want, that the animal talks so fast, that I hardly have time to tell the client everything the animal is saying, and I try to slow the animal down. I start laughing and say to the client “Hold on, your dog is just talking so fast. Let me tell you what he’s saying.” Spring 2020


Other times, I might say, “your cat’s hind legs feel weak” and the client may say, “yes, they are weak”. Whatever I receive, I tell the client. Sometimes dogs tell me that they want to be a therapy dog. I tell the client this and often the client may say, “You know, I’ve been thinking of that myself.” When an animal is ill, they let me know. They may be quiet but still communicate to me in terms of images. Animals experience illness very differently from the way humans do. Animals are much less afraid of death than humans. They live in the moment. They often want you to see them as well; to see the essence of who they really are as whole and healthy, not as sick. Note: Animal communication is not a substitute for seeing a veterinarian. Jeannie’s advice to change problem behavior is to tell your animal what you want him to do and WHY you want him to do it. Always say it in POSITIVE terms. Say what you WANT, not what you don’t want. Use simple language. If you say, “Don’t do that,” the animal will continue to do what you don’t want him to do. This is a manifestation technique and it’s worked with so many of my clients and my own animals, too. Jeannie’s advice to strengthen your relationship bond is to trust any messages we get from our animals. Don’t try to analyze it. Just feel it. Trust your intuition and senses. You can receive a communication in many ways—images, thoughts, words, feelings, or just a “knowing. To learn more about Jeannie’s work, to obtain her book or to contact her use her website at http://youranimalspeaks.com/jeannie.htm

Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 25


t e V l a c o L & G o r i lla s Virginia Dean

Q

uechee – Four years ago, local veterinarian Dr. Lynn Murrell found himself in one of the most unique situations of his professional life. The pl ac e w a s t he B w i nd i Impenetrable National Park in southwestern Uganda. The bamboo and thick ground cover of ferns, vines and other plant growth interspersed among larger forest hardwoods made the forest extremely difficult to access by foot. The forest is also known as the “Place of Darkness” and is one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet, a region where half the world’s population of the highly endangered mountain gorillas live in its jungles. Murrell, who founded the Kedron Valley Veterinarian Clinic in 1978 in South Woodstock, had traveled there

with his wife, physician Dr. Judith Hills, as he had done every year since 2007 but, this time, under unusual circumstances. He and the members of his group had received a call that a silverback gorilla had been struck and killed by lightning and had been discovered by rangers the following morning when they noticed that he was missing from his group. So, along with members of his group called Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), Gorilla Doctors and other veterinarian technicians, Murrell hiked into the impenetrable forest at sunset to observe and assist in the post-mortem. “Everyone was attired in full hazmat suits since no one knows what viruses these animals carry and no one wants to be the first case of the next HIV disease,” said Murrell. Guards were posted in the dark around Murrell and the other groups because a younger silverback was detected, trying to approach. Male gorillas become silverbacks around the age of 13 when the hair across their shoulders and down their back becomes grayish or white in color. Silverbacks can be dangerous as the dominant males who control several females and youngsters and fend off other males. “We were able to scare away the young silverback with much arm waving and shouting,” said Murrell. When the post-mortem was completed, the body was buried in a deep grave which had been dug during the surgery.

Kanyonyi, Silverback

26 4 Legs & a Tail

Spring 2020


At the equator in Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda with driver, Dr. Gladys Kalema- Zikusoka, Dr. Lynn Murrell, and a field staff member - Stephen Rubanga

“I never heard what was learned from the examination of the samples taken from the dead gorilla, but found that they had been sent to labs in Europe and the United States to take advantage of this rare chance to study the parasites, bacteria and viruses of this species,” said Murrell. As he and the others hiked out of the jungle in the dark to the ranger station, Murrell was fascinated by the calls of the nearby chimpanzees and other jungle creatures. “Gentle giants” is how Murrell describes the predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Sub-Saharan Africa. The DNA of the primates is highly similar to that of humans, from 95-99 percent, and are the next closest living relatives to humans after chimpanzees and bonobos. Murrell had joined his wife who is the president of Friends of Hospice Africa, USA and had arranged to go to Uganda twelve years ago to work there. “I went along to see if there was something I could do, utilizing my veterinary medicine experience,” said Murrell. Not long after, Murrell was introduced to Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka a Ugandan veterinarian who, after receiving her veterinary training at the Royal Veterinary College in London, had become the first veterinarian with the Uganda Wildlife Authority. After becoming aware of the plight of the endangered mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, she founded CTPH with a mission of improving public health in the villages surrounding the Bwindi National Park to reduce the risk of human disease transmission to Spring 2020

the gorillas and to monitor the health of these creatures to reduce the chance of disease transmission to humans. “The villages share in the ecotourism income from people who track and observe the gorillas and thereby have learned to respect the value of them in improving the quality of their life,” said Murrell. “This has reduced poaching to essentially zero and has resulted in a steady rise in the gorilla population.” As of 2019, there are less than 1,000 mountain gorillas remaining on the continent, according to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. This is up from 480 in 2010. When Murrell arrived in Bwindi in 2007, he traveled with Kalema-Zikusoka and her field staff to observe and participate in the gorilla health monitoring work she was doing, although it would be four years later that he made his first gorilla trek. “It was a grueling 12-hour drive in a Toyota Land Cruiser over poorly maintained roads,” said Murrell. The most important process KalemaZikusoka and her staff continue to use is examination of stool samples brought into their lab by rangers who observed gorillas daily. Kalema-Zikusoka has also intervened directly when a medical problem has been reported by rangers, thus resulting in surgery in the forest on occasion. “When an injury occurs, the preferred approach is to allow natural healing unless life threatening infection or other complications occur,” said Continued Next Page

www.4LegsAndATail.com 27


Murrell. “These are wild animals and veterinary intervention is reserved for extreme circumstances. Medical therapy is rarely employed if nature can deal with it.” An exception to this rule was an outbreak of scabies in one of the gorilla groups that Kalema-Zikusoka traced to gorillas wandering out of the forest and coming into contact with human clothing infested with the scabies mites. A baby gorilla died of a severe infestation but the others in the group were treated with Ivermectin administered by a dart gun that stopped the outbreak. “I soon realized that we weren’t going to be going into the forest daily with our vet bags to hold gorilla health clinics,” said Murrell. “The approach was instead largely ‘herd health’”. Murrell continues to return to Uganda every year (usually in January or February) as one of the few U.S. veterinarians to help the gorillas. Next year, he will travel in January. He officially retired from the Kedron Valley Veterinary Clinic in 2012. The Clinic was taken over by his daughter, Dr. Blakeley Murrell-Liland of Quechee and

Mother mountain gorilla in Bwindi National Park, Uganda - Lynn Murrell

Dr. Philippa Richards of South Pomfret. “I think what my Dad is doing is so cool in so many ways,” said MurrellLiland. “At an older age, he’s traveling to the depths of Africa to improve the life of the mountain gorillas and the people who live in the villages surrounding them. He’s an inspiration to anyone with advanced academic training or skills who continues to use them long after retirement.” When he first encountered these “gentle giants”, prior to applying his veterinary procedures later on, Murrell and his wife observed a group from a distance of no less than 20 feet for an hour. “The mothers were relaxing and chewing on vegetation while their juveniles were busy playing just like human kids,” said Murrell. “One youngster would start up a vine and another would grab him and pull him down. Occasionally, a juvenile male would stand up on his hind legs and pound his chest, no doubt to assert his superiority. The silverback sat at a distance and observed the serenity of his family.” By and large, the gorillas ignored Murrell and his group. “But we all had a great laugh when one juvenile somehow got behind us and then went roaring between the legs of one of our group to join his buddies,” said Murrell. “When our hour was up, we packed up our cameras and hiked out to the ranger station with our guide, having had the privilege of observing these gentle giants, undisturbed, in their natural habitat.” Murrell received his DVM from Michigan State University and is a member of the American Medical Veterinary Association and Vermont Medical Veterinary Association.

28 4 Legs & a Tail

For more info and to support gorilla conservation, go to www.CTPH.org Spring 2020


Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 29


But I Read it Online! M

Scott Borthwick - Canaan, NH

odern technology can be a wonderful thing. Information from all over the world is at your fingertips. However with all that information available, are you sitting down, not all of it is true. In my business, I run into this all the time. Many people first try to solve problems on their own before calling a professional. This is not a bad thing. Self-reliance is part of what makes America great. In the old days, natural remedies were called old wives tales or folklore or even witchcraft. Today it’s all online and here are a few I have dealt with. Cayenne Pepper and Irish Spring soap: These two items are considered deterrents for garden pests. Particularly woodchucks or groundhogs. Sometimes these homemade cures are together and sometimes separately. One call I received the customer used both. Over the next three years of trapping them there, I caught over 15 woodchucks. Now they may have been running into the cage traps in hopes of me taking them away from the smell but I don’t think so. I do know that I sneezed every time I went there to check traps.

others. It has to be used generously on a regular basis to have any effect. Some people swear by it but in all my years in this business, I have not known it to work well. A lady told me once that she saw online that if you pee around the base of your trees beavers won’t chew them down. I doubt this works. But if it does I would have to drink massive quantities of beer to protect my 11 acres of trees on a brook. Hmm, this one might be worth a try.

Peppermint oil: Supposedly this works to deter mice and other rodents. Urine either Human or Coyote: If you like the smell of peppermint this Coyote urine may work occasionally might be worth a try. Unfortunately, I to deter some plant-eaters but it attracts was told the other day from a friend that in their combat against mice in an old building one person used peppermint oil and one used the snap traps. Most of the mice caught were in traps next to where the peppermint oil was applied. Mothballs: These work great for moths. A lot of the squirrel calls we get are after the homeowners have applied a generous amount of them. In some places the smell is unbearable. We were working on the roof near the chimney one time and the mothball smell was so strong in the house that it was coming out of the chimney. My company would never recommend them for two reasons. One is they only work for what they are intended. They are called mothballs, not squirrelballs or skunkballs. Secondly, they are toxic. If we recommend their use and someone’s child or pet eats them and gets sick we are liable. There are many others online to choose from and most don’t work consistently. If you want your wildlife problem solved quickly and without affecting the smell of your house you should call a Nuisance Wildlife Professional first.

30 4 Legs & a Tail

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. Spring 2020


The

Pileated

Woodpecker Feathered Engineer of the Forest Catherine Greenleaf - Lyme, NH

I

gravitated to the other dead trees on the property – the ones used to build their house. If you don’t want woodpeckers drilling the wood on your house, then leave as many dead trees up as possible, provided they are in a safe area. A KEYSTONE SPECIES Pileateds are a keystone species in the forest, as their nest cavities provide shelter for other wildlife, including bats, swifts, bluebirds, Wood ducks, Great-Crested flycatchers and several other woodpecker species. Their specialized engineering work is also vital to the nutrient cycle of the forest, since their drilling helps to quickly break down dead and decaying trees, leading to regeneration of the soil. Pileateds have a sweet tooth, as they enjoy drinking the sap of pine trees. The sap contains mostly water but also sugar and minerals that give the bird the extra energy it needs to get through the day – much in the way a hummingbird will drink at a nectar feeder. In turn, after a Pileated has drilled for sap in a pine tree, the sap that is released will go on to feed numerous other birds and wildlife. Pileateds also have a fondness for pine resin, which is most likely due to its potent antibiotic properties.

see a great many orphaned Pileated woodpeckers come into St. Francis Wild Bird Center in Lyme, NH every year. Pileateds are cavity nesters, so when trees are cut down by loggers, the youngsters inside the nests are often killed. The ones that do survive are brought to my center for treatment and are raised until they reach juvenile status, at which point they are released back into the wild. The Pileated, with its 28-inch wingspan, is considered the second largest woodpecker in the continental United States, and is very close in size to an adult TERRITORIAL BIRDS crow. The bird is second in size only to the The sound of the Pileated’s drilling can Ivory-Billed woodpecker, a bird consid- sometimes be heard for miles, and is often ered long extinct, despite the occasional claim their call is being heard deep in the Louisiana swamps. The Pileated is a shy and reclusive bird, and prefers deep woodlands, especially mature mixed coniferous and deciduous forests. However, due to the extreme habitat loss taking place in the U.S., they are being forced more and more into suburban areas, and as a result, sightings of the bird by the public have risen in recent years. WHY IS THAT WOODPECKER PECKING ON MY HOUSE? The Pileated prefers dead trees. Most people are not aware that dead trees are loaded with yummy, juicy insects – far more than any live tree. The Pileated’s diet consists of 90% insects, and their favorite food is termites and carpenter ants, along with wood-boring beetles, cockroaches, grasshoppers, caterpillars and insect larvae. Their long, sticky, multi-pronged tongue can reach deep inside holes in trees to capture larvae. When retracted, the tongue wraps around the inside of the head between and skull and the skin. The remaining 10% of their diet consists of fruits from natives like sumacs and dogwoods, as well as nuts. Don’t be too fastidious a gardener! Leave dead trees and fallen logs on your property whenever possible. Some homeowners remove every dead tree in their yard only to find the Pileated has Spring 2020

territorial, warning other male Pileateds to stay clear of their breeding grounds. The woodpecker’s skull is reinforced with spongey bone that can absorb the force of a hammering beak without resulting in headaches or brain damage. However, Pileateds are just as prone to head injuries from window strikes as any other species of bird. It’s important to keep bird feeders at least 50 feet away from all windows and sliding glass doors to avoid injuries to birds. The Pileated has zygodactyl feet, meaning it has two toes located at the front of the foot and two toes located at the back. This gives them the excellent grip they need to climb vertically up and down trees. A Pileated typically lived 20-30 years, but due to increasing habitat loss their lifespan has been greatly reduced. Consider joining the nationwide environmental movement called, “One Third For The Birds.” Leave the back third of your property to the wildlife, allowing for a quiet space filled with native trees, shrubs and perennials. This will create safe habitat for birds, like the Pileateds, to raise their families. You will be rewarded with untold hours of bird watching enjoyment. Catherine Greenleaf is the director of St. Francis Wild Bird Center in Lyme, N.H. If you find an injured bird, please call (603) 795-4850.

www.4LegsAndATail.com 31


Endorsements of Therapeutic Riding Sue Miller

I

Miranda LeBrun

thought I’d share some reference for how much therapeutic riding helps its participants. Below are stories written by parents, participants, and family of how our riders have participated and triumphed with the help of horses. I want readers to know that not all of High Horses clients are only capable of riding at a therapy program. Many of our students move onto riding in outside programs and enjoy the sport of horses away from the world of equine therapy. Just a few years ago I was riding my horse in a dressage class at a recognized show when I recognized one of my former therapy students in the warmup ring. We ended up riding the same dressage test! The first story was in response to an article I submitted a year ago as our rider moved and has flourished since her time at High Horses.

32 4 Legs & a Tail

Miranda started riding at High Horses and rode until June of 2018, as a therapy for anxiety, she was only 10 years old. Miranda then moved to Castleton Vt, with her mother, where she started riding and taking lessons at Horse Amour in Castleton Vt. Her passion for horses grew There her lessons focused on command equitation, dressage, and some jumping. She took to these lessons and never looked back! In the Spring of 2019, she got involved with 4H. Miranda rode in her first horse show, the 2019 Addison County Fair, Miranda was the only rider that DIDN’T own her own horse, she had to rent one. There she won several ribbons for equitation and jumping for her age level. Miranda also competed in the 2019 Rutland State Fair with 4H, she placed with ribbons in 14 out of 15 events, including 5 First place ribbons and being voted reserve champion for her level. The Fall of 2019 brought a new challenge for Miranda, being selected for IEA (Interscholastic Equestrian Association) Zone 1, and the Hunt Seat team which travels to show throughout New England and New York. Riding at the Middle School level, 6th through 8th graders and ranging from 12-16 competitors at each show. Miranda placed with ribbons in 5 of 6 events, which included cross rail jumping and equitation flats Her last show in Connecticut she even won 2nd place in her jumping event. Miranda continues to ride and take lessons at Horse Amour in Castleton VT and has 2 IEA shows left to compete in this winter. - Shared by David LeBrun Next are the words of a current participant and her family: I am a 72-year-old female Vietnam veteran, army nurse corps, with several serious health issues. I was a former enthusiastic horseback rider and owner of horses for 37 years. I enjoyed every bit of it, except for knocking ice out of the water buckets on cold winter mornings before we all went to work. About 10 or 15 years ago I stopped riding because of bilateral hip issues. After 2 total hip replacements, a shoulder rotator cuff repair, a diagnosis of Addison’s disease, back surgery with residual weakness in my right leg and a pulmonary embolism, I decided that my riding career was long over. I never thought riding ever again was in the cards for me. A few months ago, I decided that maybe I could try to ride again but only as a source of physical therapy and with a lot of much needed close supervision. That is when I was introduced to Molly, my instructor, and Mac, the most understanding and well-trained horse I have ever been on. Because of their efforts and kindness, I have made a lot of, take that back, a ton of physical and emotional progress. Next week I am going to surprise Molly and ask her if I can try to mount Mac using Spring 2020


the steps rather than the ramp and hope that my right leg will withstand the full weightbearing. I know if it doesn’t hold up, my guardian volunteer angels will support me. My family has noticed a change in me as well. - Shared by Gayle Smith. Below are some of the families comments: As the aforementioned husband, I add my enthusiastic voice to this chorus of amazement and delight regarding the benefits of therapeutic riding. Because of all these illnesses and necessary surgeries, my superbly athletic wife became extremely impaired with regard to mobility and muscle strength during the last few years when one medical/surgical problem piled on top of another and, at one point, had her totally incapacitated. From my perspective, even more than its physical benefits, therapeutic riding has been a major ingredient in the restoration of confidence and hope. And without hope (which has been in short supply during the past few years) there is little motivation for physical, emotional and spiritual recovery. So, I’m a believer in the unique benefits of this program. - Submitted by Matthew Friedman. My Mother’s passion, enthusiasm, devotion and love for horses and riding, her involvement with equestrian events, as well as encouraging and fostering these aspects in my Sister and I have been an ever-present aspect of our lives for as long as I can remember. She’s LOVED horses and riding since she was a child. One of her favorite coffee mugs says, “God forbid that I should go to a Heaven in which there are no horses”. Having to witness her slow and painful decision to stop riding (and later on, stop keeping horses), by accepting the limitations of her Addison’s Disease was one of the most emotionally painful transformational acceptance experiences I’ve ever had to witness. I’d suggested High Horses a couple of times, but she wasn’t physically able to participate until she’d had the abovementioned physical repairs to her body (hips, back, shoulder). I made the High Horses pitch again this year, with success! When she came home after her first session, there was a bright, energetic, vibrant spark of happiness and hope that I hadn’t seen in her for years, and frankly, I had never expected to see that particular spark ever again. More than that, she was filled with hope, vitality, and happiness - I was watching a piece of her heart and soul that I never expected to see again being brought back to life! My Father and I are witnessing something rare and beautiful - we were (and still are) privileged to see my Mother’s transforming into the woman we remember her being: energetic, happy, enthusiastic, hopeful, and whole again. She got back a piece of herself that she believed wouldn’t exist again, these horses and program are mending the piece of her spirit that’s labeled “Horses”. High Horses is making my Mother whole again, and making us all, as a family, happier and hopeful for our future. - By Rebecca Friedman Sue Miller is a PATH Registered Instructor & ESMHL, PATH Vermont State Chair and President of the Vermont Horse Council. Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 33


SURRENDERING; An act of desperation, compassion or avoidance? Dawna Pederzani Vermont English Bulldog Rescue Bulldogs and Buddies

W

hat to do when you can no longer keep a pet, in this case, a dog? What are the options, the ramifications and the assumptions made by others toward folks who make this choice? Is there a valid reason and a not so or is that simply semantics or judgment? As one who has run a non-profit dog rescue since 1998, I have seen many sides to surrender. Once designed to assist folks who could no longer keep their dog for one reason or another, surrender has continued

34 4 Legs & a Tail

to fill that need which is necessary and valid. However, it has also morphed into a seemingly easy way to rid oneself of a problematic dog on an unsuspecting rescue who is simply trying to be of assistance to the owner and prevent the dog from going to a shelter or worse. When I post our available dogs and in said post, mention that it is an ownersurrender, the response is nearly always the same, “How could they? Why would they?” “What kind of a person would? The

reasons for surrendering a pet are varied, personal and often unselfish. Amy was dying of Cancer and had complicating factors. She was single, a senior and lived alone. Amy knew that her time was waning and with her death, she would leave more than personal belongings and an empty apartment. Amy had an English Bulldog named Bella who was five years old and whom Amy adored. As Amy’s health failed and her income diminished, so had the quality of her life and subsequently Bella’s. She could no longer afford Bella’s vaccines, exams, medications, and diet. Bella had become a mess with infected eyes from untreated Entropion, infected skin from flea dermatitis, food allergies from inexpensive grain-based foods and near deafness from chronic and untreated ear infections. Amy had no relatives or friends that were willing to take in poor Bella. Out of panic and desperation, Amy listed Bella on the Internet for sale. Bella was still intact and as mentioned earlier would have most likely been bred until she died to pave the pockets of some backyard breeder. I saw the ad and immediately contacted Amy. I supplied vet and personal references, a link to our website and Facebook page and honestly begged for her to not sell Bella to the highest bidder.  Although I understand the thinking that this Internet option is a better one, it is sadly based more on drama and unreliable information than in fact. Many shelters, (depending on location and budget constraints have very good placement rates. A good shelter will tell you what they will and won’t do for your dog and what the chances are of a solid adoption.) I see the Internet as the most irresponsible and risky route to rehome a dog. Most folks cannot carry out background checks, home visits, review vet records or access transport options if necessary. These interactions are often fronts for dog flippers looking to take your dog and quickly sell it for a profit. Worse yet they could be a front for people contracted to find bait dogs for use in dogfighting. People often believe that dogfighting happens somewhere else other than in their town. I can tell you that dogfighting is everywhere and the need for victims is high. Amy checked our vet and personal references making as sure as she could that we were a responsible rescue and that what we promised for Bella was what we would deliver. We flew Bella from the far reaches of NY state. Bella underwent surgery, food changes, medicated baths and treatments of all sorts. She was going to be a work in progress for many months. Bella was adopted into a loving home where she remains today. She is fully rehabilitated and healthy but at the cost of thousands of dollars and untold hours of Spring 2020


work. After Amy’s passing, her daughter let me know that having Bella come to us and watching her transformation back to health and a life filled with love and care, allowed Amy to focus on herself and pass away peacefully. Sam was a purebred English bulldog purchased from a “breeder” as a puppy. I put quotations around breeder as in this day and age the word breeder is more synonymous with puppy mill hell than a person dedicated to the betterment, responsible reproduction, and sale of a particular breed. Why is that distinction important? Puppy mills do nothing that is for betterment. The sole driving force and goal is money. There is no thought or planning to genetics, conformation, temperament or the breed as a whole. If dad breeds daughter, son breeds mom and puppies are the result, mission accomplished, money in the bank. What happens with those puppies or the families that love and lose them is immaterial. As with dogfighting, most people think that puppy mills happen in the south or midwest, somewhere far from their town. This could not be more wrong. We here in Vermont have Amish puppy mills just across the lake in New York. These indiscriminately bred puppies are advertised in our local paper complete with cute pictures and flowery descriptions. In New Hampshire, several English Bulldog breeders are just small scale puppy mills. The sad truth is that anyone can design a great looking website. If you can’t go visit, see parents, get vet references and have a solid chain of documented medical protocol from a vet clinic, you are dealing with someone who is doing this for the money. Walk away. Back to Sam. He had displayed aggressive behavior since he was a puppy. He would, unprovoked charge, growl, snap and bite whoever was the object of his focus at the moment that his rage took over. After the assault was finished and said humans had barricaded themselves in a secure room, Sam would revert to his former loving self. When the object of his rage would steal the courage to exit their secure space, Sam would sit and gaze lovingly at them, the person on whom he had just waged war. He seemed genuinely unaware or affected by what had just transpired. Sam had been on medication, seen trainers, been separated from the family within the home and the behaviors had only escalated. Sam had bitten and the reports that would eventually come out about him were frightening. His owners turned to rescue. The picture of Sam’s history was not fully disclosed or perhaps not enough probing was done. Words were carefully chosen to avoid aggression or bite. Instead, he was described as bossy, stubborn and sometimes nippy. Sam came into rescue and in nearly all instances Spring 2020

appeared social, sweet and pretty textbook English Bulldog. We noted small things but no real red flags. Sam was adopted the first time with full disclosure of what was known at the time and a restriction that he not be in a home with small children or allowed around them unsupervised ever. He would be in a home with two adults who had English Bulldog experience, patience and calm. They heard the history and were committed to taking it on. The first pictures of Sam under the Christmas tree were heartwarming and hopeful. Could Sam have simply been misread or mishandled in his origiContinued Next Page

www.4LegsAndATail.com 35


nal home? Perhaps. However, the frantic phone calls and texts that poured in over the next few days were an indication of something much deeper and darker. Sam was returned and the process of unraveling his mystery began. There would be blood panels and EEG’s and medications and time. Lots of time. Sam seemed to stabilize. In the kennel setting, he was calm and consistent. The decision was made, (armed with the new bible of information) that Sam could go to a very experienced home with fuller than full disclosure, a trainer on speed dial who had been fully appraised of Sam’s behaviors. This adopter was also very experienced and had owned a difficult English Bulldog in the past. The

36 4 Legs & a Tail

first nights’ report was that there was a bit of conflict but small and resolved. Fingers crossed. This placement would last only a night before the charging, snapping and attempts at biting ensued. Sam was returned again, he was simply unsafe to rehome. He was a danger to those around him and it would only be a matter of time before he would seriously harm someone, potentially a child who would be at face level with him. The responsible and terribly difficult decision was made. Had the rescue been given a fuller picture of Sam’s behavior that included his bite history, we most likely would have declined to take him. In the end, we made the decision that should have been made previously and had been recommended by folks who had known this dog and the depth of his issues. I reached back out to the previous owner with an update about Sam and the decision hoping that they would come to get him and do this the right way. They did not. We, who had known this sweet boy for a couple of months had to be the ones to go through this end of life moment with him. Why do folks who surrender feel that this decision and the carrying out of it are any easier for us rescues? It isn’t. Sarah and Jon had waited until their life was in an order that they felt was acceptable to add a dog. John did not grow up with dogs or feel a strong pull to have one.

However, he realized that having a dog for his wife was completing her circle of joy and he was 100% in for that reason. On a freezing cold winter Vermont day, they traveled over two hours to meet dogs. They were open to any that seemed a good match. However one look at little Charlie and it was all over. Charlie had only been with us for a short time and was a young pup. As such we had only the information garnered from his foster and boarding facility. Nothing out of the ordinary or concern. After a sufficient visit and consultation between them, Sarah and John decided that Charlie would be the one. I did not hear anything until a surrender form came into my email box nearly three months later. It was for Charlie. Not only did he have significant separation anxiety necessitating daily doggie daycare but in off-hours, a home pet sitter and more walks in the course of a day to wear out anyone..... that is except for Charlie. Medication had not helped, nor did behavior modification training. Love could not fix the lack of sleep that was jeopardizing jobs and relationships. We have an absolute return policy and as such Charlie came back. These folks felt as if they had failed. They thought that I would surely “blacklist” them from ever adopting a living being again. Neither had entered my thought train. In fact, I felt empathy for their plight, sad for their loss and grateful that they did the absolute best thing for his well-being and safety. Sarah and Jon will adopt again and we now know the deal breakers and how to avoid them. Older dog, known factors. And so, is “surrender” the blacklisted, failure ridden, shameful action that some would have us believe? Is it simply caving under pressure bailing on a dog that is breaking us emotionally? Is it pushing a potentially dangerous dog off on an unknowing rescue so that we do not have to make that most permanent and heartbreaking decision? Our dog outwardly is young, beautiful, healthy and most of the time normal....until he is not. In those moments when fearing for life and limb, a rescue looks like a better option but is that fair? I will say for me that I as a rescue person, I must dig deeper, ask tougher questions, call vets and look at records. I will no longer accept an owner’s version because doing so can put myself, my volunteers and my family at risk. Some rescues can take the behaviorally challenged dogs and those deemed aggressive. I take my hat off to them. We all have to know our capabilities. When we do and we stand firm in them, surrender becomes what we allow it to be. It should always be a path to a better future for a dog, whatever the reason. It should never be a place to avoid a tough decision that rests on each of us the moment we own a dog. That is inherent with the bond. Spring 2020


Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 37


Putting the Dog Before the Cart Cathy White - Walpole, NH

Y ou’ve been through the fields at Bishop Farm in Springfield, VT and

chosen that special Christmas tree. You can’t wait to get it home to decorate. Typically, you’d hear the thrum of an ATV or the grinding of tractor gears announcing your tree’s arrival at check out; but on one special Saturday in December, you’ll hear a very different sound. A melodic sleigh bell rings as it nears, and there it is, conifer perfection coming to you in a sled pulled by a huge… black bear? Rest assured, it’s not a bear. It’s a Newfoundland dog (though Newf owners regularly hear the “bear” comparison.). Today it’s Cash, a beautiful 5-year old, 150-pound boy delivering your tree with bells on. (Whether by bright red sled or wagon is Mother Nature’s choice.) Each December, the Newfoundland Club of New England and Bishop Farm

38 4 Legs & a Tail

partner to host a tree pull that draws Newfs from all over the region. This special event is a great chance to get your tree delivered by a festively attired, jingly Newfie (any proceeds go the rescue division of NCNE). These big loves are ready for meet-and-greets, photo ops, and chats with their equally friendly owners. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to sample everything else the farm offers during the holidays. Cash belongs to Barry and Linda Jones of Springfield. They’re regulars every December, but you can bet that Cash isn’t spending the other 364 days of the year just lolling about. Tree-pulling is an off-shoot (pun intended) of the dog sport “drafting” (or “carting”). Many breeds, from Bernese Mountain Dogs to Rottweilers, excel at this discipline, but the Newfoundland is about the largest of the bunch. Cash and Barry, who handles him, love drafting; though it should be noted that Cash is no one-trick-pony. He’s also active in water rescue, conformation showing, rally and competitive obedience. Cash, Barry and Linda were kind enough to demonstrate for me the intricacies of carting, and it was fascinating. Linda says: “He loves to draft. He is so happy when that cart comes out.” And you can see that Cash was clearly eager to show off his skills as he saw his equipment being unloaded. Once set up, the team gets to work. First up: the harness. There are three types: competition, freight and parade, and each does what its name suggests. Each harness is fitted very specifically to the dog. Inquiring whether it takes a long time to properly fit the harness, Barry responds with an emphatic “Yes!”. Next up, Cash’s wagon, which involves shafts, traces, brakes, and weights inside the car t itself. It’s bright red and small, with enormous wheels (picture the “sulky” that harness racing horses pull). Tacked and ready to go, the team moves forward. And backward. In a circle. In a straight line. Parameters are predetermined by the level of

Spring 2020


competition in the sport. This includes Beginner, Draft, and Advanced. Members of the latter group, (Cash) exhibit their talents completely off-leash. They must - amongst other requirements - complete an 18” circle without the wheels of their cart touching the circle itself. (Picture a 150- pound dog pulling a cart around an extra-large pizza.) Compare that with Beginner level drafting, where dogs are on-leash and have a 36” circle to navigate. Narrow straight-aways and acute right angles are also requirements for competitive drafting. Wheels cannot touch or rub the borders of the set-up. Cash negotiates each with amazing precision, Barry at his side handling him with his voice alone. The palpable bond between the two is both beautiful and intense. Barry points out that the structure of the harness and the cart result in Cash actually “pushing into the pull”, rather than merely dragging weight behind him. This is an interesting concept that is somewhat difficult to imagine unless you see it - then it makes perfect sense. So, no real strain on Cash at all, and you can see that in his ebullient demeanor. He truly loves this work. The Joneses haven’t always had Newfies, so how did this partnership come about? The couple had previous experience with Labs, Rotties and Mastiffs, so they were no strangers to large breeds. Fifteen years ago, though, Barry decided that he wanted a pinto pony for his 60th birthday. Though the Joneses are both experienced riders, that seemed like a bit much - so Barry’s request was downsized to a Newfoundland (practically pony-sized). He wanted, in particular, a Landseer (black and white, not unlike a pinto). Linda vetoed the color, but she was completely on board with the breed and the Joneses have been owned by shaggy black Newfs ever since. In addition to Cash, they have a younger pup named Gulliver - “Gully” for short, who is right on track to follow in his big brother’s footsteps. A key motivator behind Barry’s desire to draft with his Newfs was when he “realized how many things you can do with these dogs”. And he’s right. Newfoundlands are incredibly versatile gentle giants. Who knows, maybe we’ll keep up with the Joneses in the future, and discover how the breed goes from drafting to water rescue. Cathy White lives in Walpole with her husband Jeff and Labradors Pippa and Nigel. Cathy is a Boston University alum, with a degree in Journalism.

Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 39


The Scoop on Pet Insurance Catherine MacLean, DVM - Grantham, NH

Disclaimer: I do not work for, receive incentives from, or get any kickbacks from pet insurance companies. Before selecting any pet insurance, do your research and ask lots of questions.

40 4 Legs & a Tail

O

ne of the most common questions that I get asked from new pet owners is “Should I get pet insurance?” and my answer is always yes. Pets for many people have evolved from just a dog or cat to a beloved family member. Because of this cultural shift, animals are living longer because their owners are willing to do more for them. When a pet has a longer life span, the cost incurred both on the veterinary and non-veterinary side increases. So what’s the deal with pet insurance? For starters, it’s different than human health insurance. There are no network veterinarians vs. non-network veterinarians. You can get your pet treated at the veterinarian of your choice. Although there are many different pet insurances out there, their payment structure is usually more or less the same. The pet owner chooses the plan and the deductible. Just like car insurance or any other insurance, the higher your deductible the lower the monthly premium typically is. After your deductible is met, then a certain percentage of the medical expenses incurred are covered. For most insurances, they cover 90% after the deductible, and then the other 10% of the cost is up to the pet owner to pay for. For instance, say your pet has an emergency that costs $1100 and you have a $100 deductible. After your deductible, there is $1000 left of the bill. The pet insurance would pay $900 and you would pay an additional $100. So out of $1100, the pet owner pays $200 and the insurance company pays $900. Where pet insurances start to differ is how the deductible works. For some of the pet insurance companies, the deductible is per year, and for others, it’s per condition. So what does that mean? In the per year scenario, your pet could have ten different things go wrong, but you only pay your deductible once for that year. That sounds great in theory, but could be more costly if your pet develops a chronic condition like allergies which means you’re paying the deductible every year. The per condition deductible is nice for chronic conditions such as allergies or arthritis. It’s not so great if your pet is a magnet for issues. For example, say you have a Labrador and in one year she has a foreign body surgery, diarrhea and needs knee surgery. That means you’re paying a deductible three times that year. There are pros and cons to each system. The bottom line is to make sure you know which one you’re getting when you buy it. The other main way that pet insurances differ is in what they cover. Some insurances have breed exclusions. This means that diseases that are common for a certain breed may be excluded from coverage. This is something you need Spring 2020


to ask before selecting insurance. Some insurances cover routine wellness care (i.e. vaccines, annual exams, etc.), while others do not. Some insurances have lifetime cost caps. What this means is that they will only pay a certain amount for a condition during the lifetime of your pet. It is also worth noting that if your pet has a pre-existing condition, it will be excluded from coverage by most, if not all pet insurance companies. The other thing to keep in mind is that pet insurance, for the most part, works as reimbursement. This means you pay out of pocket and then submit the claim to the pet insurance company to get reimbursed. There is one pet insurance company on the market that has an express claims program with veterinarians that wish to participate. With that program, the participating veterinarian submits the claim directly to the insurance company and in about 10 minutes the vet clinic finds out how much will be paid directly to them and what the client has to pay out of pocket. So in our above scenario with the $1100 bill, the insurance company that has this program pays the participating veterinarian the $900 and the pet owner only pays $200. With other insurances, the owner pays the veterinarian the whole $1100 bill and then waits for the insurance company to send them the $900 after the pet owner submits the paperwork to the insurance company. In summary, you should consider the following things when choosing pet insurance: 1. Is it a reputable company and does it have a strong underwriter (that’s who pays out the claims)? 2. What medical coverage does it provide? 3. Do you really need wellness coverage? In my opinion, the cost for the wellness coverage is often more than it’s worth to pay for wellness coverage out of pocket. Accident and illness insurance are more valuable in my opinion. 4. What is the maximum payout amount (i.e. are there lifetime caps)? 5. What am I getting for my premium? 6. Does it have unreasonable exclusions? 7. How quickly does the insurance company payout? 8. Does it cover your pet in states that you travel to the most? Not all pet insurances have coverage in all states. 9. What would cause the premium to increase? Spring 2020

The bottom line is doing your research Ember & and even ask your veterinarian if they have Quiver an opinion, since we often see the good, the bad and the ugly. In today’s world where the cost of everything is going up, I would recommend looking at and consider getting pet insurance. The biggest mistakes I see are people getting pet insurance and then dropping it because they haven’t been using it; dropping it because their pet is getting old (pets get more expensive as they age), or wanting to get pet insurance when their pet develops an issue (it won’t be covered then because it’s pre-existing). Nothing is worse than having to make tough decisions because of cost. I can give you many stories of pets that were saved because of pet insurance. I had one patient who needed two foreign body surgeries six weeks apart. Pet insurance paid for the bulk of it. We just had a patient that tore the ligament in her knee. Pet insurance paid for most of her orthopedic surgery. I had another patient that ran up a bill of over $20,000 at a specialty hospital. Pet insurance paid most of it. So if you have a pet and you also don’t want to have to make tough decisions because of finances, then I would encourage you to take a look at and consider pet insurance. 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. MacLean’s family consists of her husband Matt, her daughter Katarina, son Alexander and their three pets: Jack and Misty, two cats, and Arrow, a dog.

www.4LegsAndATail.com 41


Starting Over... tips for an easier transition for your new friend from the shelter Ingrid Braulini - Grantham, NH

W

hen we adopted Homer, our first shelter dog, we had no idea of the challenges we would have to meet. We thought “knowing about dogs” and the internet was all we needed. They were a great start but did not prepare us for the “jungle” of sometimes strange and unwanted behavior that was about to face us.

Homer was a beautiful 70+ pound retriever/hound mix, very reserved, quiet in the shelter and lovable. After the first couple of days at our house, he began to show signs of anxiety, fear, tension and a tiny bit of aggression towards strangers, other dogs, and total fear of children (we have none at home). All this and separation anxiety to boot. Well, at least he was still lovable. YIKES!!! What happened? What happened is that Homer was transitioning into our home and was shedding his marvelous “take-me-aren’tI-perfect” act and what he thought was acceptable behavior. Experts say it takes three-six months for a dog to forget the “shelter and abandonment” trauma, adjust, and feel completely at home in a new environment. Hmmm, how to cope? We need to look at dogs as animals dependent on humans to feed, shelter and amuse them. They need to feel cared for, even if by a brute. Dogs will put up with pretty much

any situation if they feel “they belong”. Enter abandonment. Suddenly they are torn from their person and home and shoved into an environment with strange and often unfriendly dogs. They are put into cages, stalls or concrete-floored rooms. They see other dogs and animals coming and going, they smell fear, anxiety, and death (don’t think they don’t, they do). They are generally terrified. Now it’s showtime! They are forced to pretty much forget their manners and start doing weird things to attract attention such as barking hysterically (let’s not forget they ARE dogs), jumping up and down and making look-at-me actions, and some will start submissive peeing when people come to see them. What does the dog imagine these people are looking for? Whatever the dog perceives is what the dog will present. So, you make a choice and pick your new companion. Now to the home phase. This is where it becomes imperative that we become psychic, “feel” what works and adjust to the dog as much as the dog does to us. In some cases, maybe more so. One of Homer’s strange behaviors was not wanting to walk on our wood floors. That’s all we have in the house…wood floors. We realized that putting down stable throw rugs was much more humane than giving Homer, whom we already loved, back up for adoption. His separation anxiety, barking the minute we left the house, was a bit more

Ruby Jane lives in South Barre with her mom Lauren Mitchell. She is full of butt wiggles and licky snaps (she likes to get a little mouthy with her kisses).

42 4 Legs & a Tail

Spring 2020


demanding as chewing everything in sight would have been. We were crate training him. We did that with treats, at first leaving the door open then bit by bit closing it for longer times. At last, putting him in the crate became easy. We started leaving him in the crate when we left the house in increments of 5-10 minutes and then for longer periods. When he came up for air and stopped barking, even for a second, we would quickly open the house door and give him a treat. The trick here is NOT to reward the barking but the intermittent silence (good luck with that, you may have to be quicker than you think). Finally, I will talk about his aggressive behavior. In the beginning, Homer was sincerely grumpy about meeting new people who stood too close to us, other dogs who were cute (two adorable black lab puppies come to mind), and people who came across too interested in him (petting and cuddling him). I have a theory, It goes like this: “I just found my hopefully forever home and you better not be coming here to screw things up by a) getting me sent back to the shelter because I’m not doing my job (guarding my family), b) being so cute they exchange you for me, or c) you’ve come to take me away and I’ll have to start this all over again, but now with you.”

Now we all know this isn’t strictly true, but…it is. Try not to over-expose your new family dog to new people, other dogs or children, esp. not all at once. Do it slowly, maybe one or two people at a time, and show plenty of restraint as to the distance between your dog and the person, or other dogs. Sniffing is a way to make certain everyone is okay… give him that chance. Don’t crowd the dog. You don’t want to be pounced upon and mauled at a cocktail party either. Do you? Take it slowly. Homer never actually became the life of the party, but he did settle down and accept people and other dogs. He then specialized in stealing people’s socks and panties if they stayed overnight. Please remember, you don’t know what trauma or drama a dog has suffered through in the past. Animals can have PTSD too. All these steps take love, time, and showing your commitment to your wonderful new family member who wants so badly to not just be a house guest, but your companion forever. You can do this…just breathe. Make sure you reach out to our amazing local trainers like Dee Ganley and Paula Bergeron who know dogs and can help. Also, talk to your professional pet sitter. They are full of great ideas and

tips in helping adjust to your new family member. A professional pet sitter is one who is insured and bonded, is certified in pet CPR and First Aid, and usually is certified by a reputable organization such as NAPPS or PSI. Next time: what happens when Homer is reactive, throws you off your feet at the door, and other tidbits. Ingrid Braulini is the owner of Pet First Aid & Wellness. She is a Certified Pet Tech and Wellness Instructor, a NAPPS Board Member and NAPPS Certified. For more information, visit www. PetAidClasses.com.

A dog from upstate New York appears to have shattered a world record by holding six tennis balls in his mouth at one time.

Andrew French of Proctorsville, VT caught his pets doing what they do best.

Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 43


Do you live with a fraidy cat… uhh, I mean DOG? What you can do to help your anxious dog.

Paula Bergeron - Grafton, NH

A

nxiety is the most common problem owners, trainers and veterinarians encounter when addressing behavioral issues in our family dogs. There are many types of anxiety and any number of reasons for its existence so my main objective in this article is to give you a few protocols that can help most dogs with generalized anxiety. The first thing that should be done is to have a general examination with your veterinarian to rule out pain or illness as the source of anxious or fearful behaviors. Your vet may talk to you about different medications that could lower anxiety in your dog. Every professional and non-professional alike have their own opinion about using medication for anxiety in animals. Some feel it should be the first line of defense, others the last resort, while many feel it is a case by case decision. I encourage you to read up on what medications are used, their effects, and results. Get information from more than one source, and then make your own informed decision on when or if you decide to use medication in your plan to help your dog. Whether or not you decide to use pharmaceuticals for your anxious dog adding any one or all of the following behavioral and training exercises can help. 1. Directed Exercise - this is an exercise that engages the brain and doesn’t wind our dogs up the way running in the yard or play with other dogs can. (these are fine actives but should not be the only way your dog gets exercise). Leashed walks with your dog in the heel position, a routine of obedience exercises, or walking on a treadmill are other avenues for exercise that can focus the brain and bring your dog into a more stable state of mind. 2. Environmental Structure - this is using physical boundaries to help settle your dog. Having too many options available can cause a restless state or wandering and pacing. Here is where a crate can be very helpful by providing your dog with a safe environment he or she can trust. Some dogs love lots of blankets to go under or a burrower dog bed that has an opening for them to go inside. These options provide support for your dog both physically and mentally so they can relax. 3. Routine - most dogs love routine but those suffering from anxiety adore it. Routine gives dogs relief from the worry or projection of what is going to happen next. As best you can, set up rituals and routines in your day that your dog can count on, and keep them consistent! 4. Leadership - Dogs are pack animals. If there isn’t a leader any dog will feel pressure to fill the void. An insecure dog trying to be pack leader causes all kinds of unwanted behavior such as growling, lunging, and biting. Our role as loving owners is to be someone they can trust by providing boundaries and following through with consistent discipline. Do you have a dog who exhibits anxiety? Why not try adding some directed exercises, physical structure, a consistent routine, and commit yourself to the discipline of being the leader of your pack and see just how far it can go in transforming your dog. Believe me, it is worth every ounce of effort! Happy Training…. Paula 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.Goodogma.com

44 4 Legs & a Tail

Spring 2020


Service Animals and More! I

Eileen M. Wolfe, DVM - Vermont Veterinary Medical Association

f you’ve wondered what’s going on with peacocks on airplanes and dogs at the salad bar in the grocery store, you’re not alone. Veterinarians are concerned about the unfortunate trend of pets being mistakenly, and sometimes fraudulently, presented as either service animals or emotional support animals. It’s a complex topic, and the more we all know about it, the better everyone’s rights are protected, particularly those who genuinely depend on their service animals and emotional support animals. Service animals and emotional support animals each work with their handler for the benefit of that handler, and each has some federal rights of access – but there are important differences between them! What defines these groups and what are the differences in their rights of access? Service Animals • Are defined by the Americans with Disabilities Acts • Are trained to perform one or more specific tasks that help with the disability of the owner/handler • Are nearly always dogs • Can go anywhere the public is allowed to go • Have no certification or standardized form of proof, as this is seen by the ADA as a potential barrier for those who need service animals.

mand, or it might be alerting a veteran suffering from PTSD that they are in a stressful situation and should remove themselves. It is also worth noting that occasionally miniature horses are service animals due to their longer life span: training a service animal can be very costly and the loss of one can also be emotionally distressing to their handler. There is a final class of assistance animals that have no federal rights of access: the animals used in animal-assisted intervention. These animals are differentiated from service animals and emotional support animals by the fact that they work with their handlers for the benefit of other people. They include animals used in animal-assisted education (reading dogs), animal-assisted therapy (therapy dogs), and animals used in other animal-assisted activities (such as the visitation dogs in nursing homes and hospitals). Although the term “therapy dog/therapy animal” is frequently used, it has a very specific meaning: it is a dog or other animal used as part of a goal-directed therapeutic intervention by a licensed therapist. The federal rights of access granted to service animals and emotional sup-

port animals are important for those who depend on these animals and should not be abused by others. Businesses have certain rights with regard to these animals as well. And any business or facility may choose to grant access to any pet or animal. More information on all types of assistance animals, including printable infographics for businesses and others, is available at www.vtvets.org under the One Health link. The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), founded in 1898, is a professional organization of 380 veterinarians dedicated to compassionate animal care and quality medicine.

Emotional Support Animals • Are defined by the Aircraft Carrier Access Act (ACA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA) • Provide emotional support to those with psychological/psychiatric disorders or disabilities simply by their physical presence. They do not perform specific tasks. • Are not limited as to species, though airlines may decline to accommodate emotional support animals that could be dangerous to other passengers • Have federal rights of access only on airplanes and in housing situations • Do require documentation from a licensed mental health professional who is currently treating the owner/ handler stating the necessity of the emotional support animal The very important distinction to remember is the task(s) that service animals perform, which could be performed on command or on cue. There are psychiatric service animals, which are different from emotional support animals because they do perform such a task. It might be fetching medicine for a person on comSpring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 45


TIPS

to Safe-Guard Yourself, Family, Pets, and Property from Tick Invasion T

icks can be present all year Before you go to enjoy the outdoors: round (see the article on Ticks in the • Treat your clothing and gear Fall 2019 issue of 4 Legs & A Tail). with products containing 0.5% Unless there are below zero temperapermethrin tures for several days and/or there is a • Use EPA registered insect repellents little snow cover, ticks can survive and containing materials such as DEET, be present come spring. picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus Places ticks love to inhabit: • The woods • Damp places such as stone walls, muddy areas, leaf litter, woodpiles • Tall grasses and brush around homes and the edges of lawns Landscape Modification TIPS from the Center for Disease Control: • Remove leaf litter, tall grasses and brush around your home at the edge of your lawn area • If you have a wooded area behind the house, install a 3’ - 4’ barrier of wood chips or gravel between the lawns and wooded area to restrict tick migration into recreational areas • Mow the lawn frequently • Stack firewood or any other wood you are collecting, neatly and in a dry area • Keep any playground equipment, patios, or outside play areas away from yard edges and trees

Know where to expect ticks: • Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter • Walk in the center of trails Ticks do not fly, but can easily attach themselves to your clothing, your skin, a pet’s fur when you brush up against a bush or tree when you are out walking in the woods or even a wooded path After you come indoors: • Check clothing for ticks • Examine gear, children, and pets • Shower soon after being outdoors Check the body for ticks* after being outdoors – if any found, remove immediately • If you or your child present symptoms of Lyme Disease, visit your physician as soon as possible Check pets for ticks* daily, especially once outside. • Remove a tick immediately • Visit the veterinarian if the pet presents symptoms of Lyme Disease * See the Center for Disease Control’s website (www.cdc.gov/ticks) for diagrams of where to check on humans and pets for ticks

CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL FOR ASSISTANCE WITH ELIMINATING THE TICK HABITAT IN YOUR YARD 46 4 Legs & a Tail

Spring 2020


Here are some TIPS for hiring a professional for assistance with tick elimination:

ORGANICS only REPEL We all want to do our best for the environment and ourselves, and organics can go a long distance in doing so. Do your due diligence when you research However, remember that if you choose for potential professionals. organic products for dealing with ticks, please be sure to read the label on any • Ask if the individual has liability product that advises it is organic. The insurance* label will only advise the product “repels” - If so and you hire the individthe tick. It will not advise it kills the tick. ual, do not commence work on Only pesticides will kill the ticks. your property until you have received a copy of the individual’s For further information or assistance Certificate of Insurance directly with reducing tick invasion on your from his/her insurance company property, call 603-363-9347 and speak *This tip is meant for any indito the insured and state-licensed vidual you are hiring to work on professionals at Surf & Turf Landscape your property inside or outside; Specialist, LLC and to schedule, an you need to protect yourself against on-site complimentary consultation, any liability should injury to the Licensed in NH, VT, and MA. individual or your property occur • Ask if the individual is licensed in the state in which the property is located - All states require anyone hired to go on another's property to apply any pesticide or organic material to be not only licensed under the state's laws but also be current. - If the individual advises s/he is licensed, ask to see the credentials provided by the state upon the license’s renewal and take a picture of the card for later reference if necessary Questions to ask the insured and statelicensed professional: • What is the procedure?* • How long will the application be viable?* • Are there numerous applications?* • What products will be used?* • Does the professional have a business card and/or any informational materials to offer? *The answers should all be offered to you in writing accompanying a proposed cost.

Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 47


Alternatively Speaking:

Grain Free Diets – Friend or Foe? Part II Dr. Anne Carroll DVM, CVA

W

elcome back to our exploration of today’s pet market. In the last edition we looked at the use of starches and beans in dog and cat foods, and how to read labels to know what to look for and avoid. We realize that due to convenience dry foods are here to stay. So in this article, we will look at how to balance dry foods with fresh feeding to minimize the effects of processed foods, and how to tell if what you are feeding is the ‘best’ for your dog. You may ask why do we care if our pets eat all dry food? After all, it is convenient, economical, and many pets like it. But holistic veterinarians have concerns with dry foods. Are the ingredients appropriate replacements for what dogs and cats would naturally eat, are synthetic vitamins and minerals equal to those in fresh foods, is it ok to leave out all the

48 4 Legs & a Tail

‘unessential’ nutrients not easily included in dry diets, and whether our historical carnivore companions can eat so much starch without affecting their health. (Since digested starches end up as sugars and cause inflammation, the answer is no, but that is another discussion). Those issues aside, it is hard to accept the validity of eating food that lasts for years in a bag. Nutrients lose vitality over time or spoil, and if they don’t then it is suspect they won’t digest like fresh foods either. On the flip side, feeding properly prepared, appropriate fresh foods can provide protein and nutrients in a readily digestible form, often with little starch. Trying to slim down? Giving less kibble often leaves your pet hungry and may even limit nutrients, while the starch content still makes weight loss hard. In contrast, replacing calorie-dense dry food with fresh ‘Atkins’ diet ingredients not only reduces the impact of the dry food, but our pets lose weight, feel and look better, are healthier, and best of all they love it! Certainly, before trying new food, check in with your veterinarian to make sure your pet’s digestion or medical issues are not aggravated. For sensitive stomachs, starting with a single cooked ingredient with probiotics and digestive supports can help with the transition. So can picking specific foods that best fit your pet’s constitution, as we do in Chinese medicine where diet therapy augments herbs and acupuncture. Generally, fresh foods help by being anti-inflammatory compared to dry-processed starch, and then specific nutrients can help the body manage imbalances and lessen or prevent symptoms. Whatever your goal, there are many choices for fresh feeding. By ‘fresh’, we mean foods that are still hydrated. This includes raw, home-cooked, dehydrated (water is reabsorbed when reconstituted), and canned foods. Canned food can range quite a bit in quality, processing, and ingredients, and can include some grains so read labels to make sure you are getting mostly meats and organ meats. Regardless, the water content and generally lower starch content makes canned more ideal than dry food, especially for cats. No matter which

fresh you pick, ideally use a complete diet when replacing dry food to ensure proper vitamins, minerals, proteins, etc. are provided. If you want to make cooked or raw foods yourself, this can require a recipe depending on how much of your dog’s diet it will be. If eating commercial foods then up to 20% of the diet can be fresh meat, organ meats, or veggies. It is not necessary in most cases to have those additions meet a balanced recipe. Exceptions are puppies, or pets at risk for medical conditions, where attention to detail is more important. This goes double for cats. Their needs are very specific and if you want to learn more about feeding them, visit catinfo.org for guidance. If you are feeding more than 20% homemade diets, then you should consult with your veterinarian on proper balance and content of nutrients – it usually takes just a few supplements and is not too complicated, but meat alone is not a healthy diet for a dog or cat! Let’s use Pumpkin’s diet as an example of what this may look like. She gets a cup of dry food which is 2/3 the recommended serving for her size, and ¼ lb of a balanced commercial raw food, which is 1/3 the recommended serving. So between these two, she should be getting the essentials she needs. If our family’s meal has petfriendly ingredients and seasonings, she gets some of that. This week was split pea soup with carrots, celery, cauliflower and a bit of ham, and she thought that made an excellent gravy over her meal! Otherwise, we set her aside some of the cooked veggies, grain or meat before they are seasoned. When time allows, we make her a crockpot or meatloaf meal that does follow a more balanced recipe, and she gets that as part of the rotation. Either way, a few times a week we try to incorporate organ meat and Omega fatty acids such as a poached egg, sardine, flax or fish oil, since these nutrients are underprovided in processed diets and are perishable, so getting extra in fresh food is always nice. It is not a rigid menu, and since variation doesn’t upset her system, it allows us to augment her meals with fresh foods without much extra planning. Spring 2020


Eating a mix of food sources like Pumpkin does is helpful for a few reasons. Not all fresh diets are the same. Some have organ meats and ground ligament/bone, some use more supplements than others, and some are not complete on their own. Vegetables in raw or dehydrated diets are raw, and if the pieces are not small enough they may not digest. So to get the best that different options offer, rotate brands or feed a mix. As long as it agrees with your dog’s tummy, they are more likely to get the rainbow of nutrients different foods an offer similar to their prey diet.

Pumpkin

of homemade recipes like you see on commercial packaging so you can be assured your dog is getting everything they need, in a form they can digest. We know we can’t exactly mimic the diet Mother Nature intended for our pets. Even if we could, there would still never be one perfect diet given the differences in metabolism and digestion between breeds or individuals. But we can certainly stack the deck in our pet’s favor by staying as true to the fuel they are designed to process, keeping corn, wheat, and nowadays so many beans to a minimum and letting them eat real foods as much as we can. Pumpkin will attest to how wonderful fresh food can be, and her Mom enjoys a slim Golden Retriever who no longer has ear and skin issues. Having fresh food routinely can go a long way in helping maintain heath, and then when life is just too busy and only dry food will work, that is perfectly ok! Dr. Anne Carroll is the owner of the Chelsea Animal Hospital where she and her associates practice conventional medicine and surgery as well as several alternative modalities including traditional Chinese acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. For more information on alternative veterinary medicine visit their website at www.chelseaanimalhospital.com .

How do you know if you have it right? First, your dog should enjoy their meals. Some dogs are not excited about food and would rather play than get a treat. But many ‘picky’ dogs actually don’t feel well after eating, just like the lactose intolerant person after some ice cream. Signs of this include grass eating, or wanting something new every few days as they realize their food is ‘bad’. For dogs that eat great no matter what is in the dish, we need to watch their weight, how nice their coat and nose/pads look and feel, how much energy they have and whether they have gas or eat a lot of grass. Vomiting or any degree of soft stools is an obvious sign of digestive upset, but subtle signs are more common. Odors, discharges, or dandruff are examples of dietary stress. You can consult with a holistic vet to pick food types that should match up well with your dog’s Chinese pattern, and let them assess your feeding plan to make sure there are no glaring deficiencies. In our practice, we use a program to give an AAFCO analysis Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 49


TION A N I VACC DULE SCHE : Core GS O D R FO Core n o a n d N in e s Vacc

PET VACCINES: Schedules for Cats and Dogs L

ike people, pets need vaccines. And pet vaccinations, like those for humans, may sometimes require a booster to keep them effective. The best way to stay on schedule with vaccinations for your dog or cat is to follow the recommendations of a veterinarian you trust. Chances are your vet’s suggestions will break down into two categories: core pet vaccines and non-core vaccines. Core pet vaccinations are those recommended for every pet, while non-core vaccines may be advised based on your pet’s lifestyle. For example, your vet may suggest certain non-core vaccinations if your cat or dog is outdoors only or boarded often. Many vaccines can be given to pets as young as 6 weeks old, so talk to your vet about setting up the best vaccination schedule for your cat or dog, kitten or puppy. 50 4 Legs & a Tail

Spring 2020


Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 51


TOP TIPS for FELINE HYGIENE • Hairballs are a common issue for cat owners and brushing or grooming your cat is the best way to reduce the hair they will ingest doing their own grooming and will greatly reduce hair balls.

to take on grooming your cat yourself make it as easy on yourself as possible.

The right tools. Like any important job, there are tools that can make the • Detecting injury or illness.  Grooming job easier. is a good chance to pay close attention to any boo-boo’s or other concerns around you cat’s health. • Accustoming a cat to regular handling and providing valuable interaction between cat and owner.  If your cat ever does have an injury it will be easier for ats are usually totally into hygiene you to assess if your cat is accustomed all by themselves; constantly self-groom- to being touched everywhere by you. ing. In fact, cats spend up to fifty percent • Long haired cats or cats that spend of their waking hours grooming themtime outdoors do get dirt that is more selves. Cats start grooming their kittens difficult to clean away. right away and it is an instant bond between Mom and kitten. This can be For many cat owners the thought of the case between owner and cat as well. grooming their cat sounds like someThere are definite reasons that groom- thing they would put on their wish list right after root canal! If you are going ing your cat is a good idea.

C

52 4 Legs & a Tail

The Basics: Brushes - Slicker brushes are curved or slanted brushes with very thin teeth. They are ideal for medium- to long-coated cats. The Pin Brush helps to remove knots and tangles in fur to prevent matting. The pins easily go through long fur to carefully comb and neaten the coat. And cats with short, sleek hair can often be groomed with a bristle brush. Combs - A Fine toothed comb (sometimes also called a flea comb) can be run through your cat’s coat from head to tail, being sure to always brush in the direction of the fur to avoid any discomfort. Concentrate on one section at a time to remove any dead hair, dirt, and debris, and take extra caution when brushing around the face and belly as the skin is particularly delicate. Steel Toothed combs (sometimes two sided) are popular to reach below your cat’s topcoat to gently remove loose hairs and reduce shedding. They can also be great to remove mats. Mats can occur anywhere, but main problem areas for long haired cats include behind the ears, on and around the legs, under arms, tail and around the anus. These areas are also among the most sensitive areas on the body. Exercise great care in brushing and combing through them. Spring 2020


Toothbrush and Paste - I know this is a lot to ask but…you should try to brush your cat’s teeth daily. At minimum 3 times a week. If you are very regular about brushing it will be less stressful for your cat. Plaque begins to harden in less than one day, so it is most effectively removed before it turns to tartar.  Poor dental hygiene can lead to many health risks for felines.

Cat Wipes - These are a must have to quickly and frequently wipe away dander, dirt, and saliva residue. Make sure to choose a product that is unscented and free from parabens, chlorine, and other harmful ingredients. Grooming Glove - These are an awesome option especially for cats who distrust traditional brushes and grooming tools. You just slide the glove onto your hand and stroke your cat like you would normally do petting them. The velcro-like surfaces will feel like a cat’s tongue to them; like a massage similar to grooming they got as a kitten.

When grooming matted fur do not use scissors because it is very easy to cut the cat.

In closing…remember to always have lots of your cats’ favorite treats around with all the above to make grooming a fun rewarding activity if you can. Also; there are some cats who just do not tolerate being groomed. If your cat fights the grooming process, and there is some potential that injury could occur to your More Advanced: cat or yourself it is safer for everybody Professional Pet Nail Clippers - The to make an appointment with a profesmain reason cats’ claw at things is to sional groomer or a veterinarian to have keep their nails in good shape. You may your cat groomed. want to choose a pair with a safety guard to keep you from cutting too much or too close to the nerve.  You should also keep a nail file to smooth out the rough edges right after a cut. Grooming Clippers - A popular option is a “silent” trimmer to safely remove fur without the buzzing and vibration of conventional clippers. This will be less stressful alternative for sensitive cats.  If the mats are to tight be very careful not to cut the cat with the clippers also. It takes just one fast movement of the cat to do this, especially the loose areas.  The mats can be tight and pull on the skin and make it very uncomfortable to the cat. Make sure to get the correct size blades.

FEEDING TIP If you free-feed your cat their favorite kibble, you have probably encountered the pile of undigested food your cat has “returned” to your home. While the convenience of freefeeding is undeniable, cats can over-eat at times in addition to eating too quickly. To slow down you cats’ eating habits and increase digestion time, try adding some medium size marbles to your cats dish. They won’t eat the marbles, but they will eat slower and keep that kibble in the cat and not the floor!

Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 53


When Things Go Wrong, Sometimes They Really Go Wrong, Part 3 (and by attending to this early enough it can end up right) Sandra L Waugh VMD, MS

L

ast seen at 31 weeks old, the Portuguese Water Dog still had some growing to do and teeth to fully erupt. Here is where we ended in the last issue:

31 weeks and 6 days old. The blue arrow points to the upper right canine, yellow arrow to lower right canine, green arrow to upper left canine, and the lower left canine was hidden by the upper incisors in the middle and far right photographs. The lower canine teeth were finally erupting but some upper teeth were in the way. After all that work to get the incisors to be visible, two had to be extracted! The photographs below were taken at 7 months and 15 days old, which was 13 days after the extractions of the upper incisors. The lower canine teeth were now easily seen and positioned nicely. At last the lower canine teeth had an unobstructed path in which to fully erupt.

The blue arrow points to the upper right canine, yellow arrow to lower right canine, green arrow to upper left canine, and the white arrow to the lower left canine. At 10 months and 21 days old, a little more than three months after the previous photographs, the mouth was at or near its final appearance. The upper and lower incisors were not perfectly lined up, but functional. In veterinary dentistry the comfort of the pet is the goal, not to attain a “perfect smile�. The series of photographs also demonstrates how wide the base of the canine tooth is, and why a good sized gap is necessary for all four canine teeth.

The blue arrow points to the upper right canine, yellow arrow to lower right canine, green arrow to upper left canine, and the white arrow to the lower left canine. 54 4 Legs & a Tail

Spring 2020


The premolars and molars had also erupted very nicely by this time. The orange arrows point to the lower right carnassial tooth on the left and the upper left carnassial tooth on the right. These are the big teeth seen at the corners of the lips. Hopefully these three articles will convince you that changes happen in the mouth at a rapid pace during the change from puppy to young adult in the dog. When the development is not following the normal path, intervention is best done sooner rather than later. At some point the rapid changes that occur during the growth phase will stop, and it becomes much more difficult, if not impossible, to get the teeth into a normal (or close to normal) position. The corrections in this dog were started at 5 months of age, which usually would be too late. Fortunately the teeth were less developed than would be usual at that age, and that allowed all of the changes to occur.

If you feel that something is wrong, DO NOT WAIT AND SEE. All you will see is things either not changing or going from bad to worse! If you have a puppy, ask your veterinarian to check the development of the teeth at each vaccination appointment. Intervention can be done as early as 8 weeks of age, or at any time if development goes awry. You can also teach your puppy to let you look at the teeth so you can do your own examinations. This will also make it easier to introduce teeth brushing at 7 months of age, or whenever all of the adult teeth are fully erupted. Start to Finish in 5 months. Remarkable what the body can accomplish with a little help! Spring 2020

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 Pet Dental, PLC. www.4LegsAndATail.com 55


Memorial Day: Remembering All Who Have Served, Including Military Dogs

Dogs in the Military

A Military Guard Dog in Kosovo

M

emorial Day, initially known as Decoration Day, began shortly after the Civil War in the way that one might expect a day of remembrance to begin — mourners started placing flags or flowers on the grave sites of those from their communities who died in the war. In 1868, General John Logan, commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Northern Civil War veterans, proclaimed that May 30 each year should be known as Decoration Day. The South was not comfortable accepting Logan’s proclamation of a date, and they set their own timetable for honoring their departed loved ones; some states picked June 3, which the birth date of Jefferson Davis, who had served as president of the Confederacy.

Time Heals Some Wounds

As World War I veterans returned, Memorial Day (as it had been renamed

in 1882) grew to be a day to remember all of our military, no matter what war they served in. While there have been other changes in the holiday over time (including the fact that the holiday is now celebrated on the last Monday of May regardless of the date), the successful raid on Osama Bin Laden also brought a detail to public attention of something else that has changed. Today military honor — in survival and in death — now includes canine members of the military. Several years ago at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met with the units that carried out the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, it was noted by the press that Cairo, the military dog who participated in the raid, was also present. Dogs have not always come home and been so honored.

While dogs have almost certainly followed along with military units knowing they might find men who would pet them and slip them a bite to eat now and then, there was no official program to train and use dogs in the military until World War II. William W. Putney, a Marine Corps officer, who had just earned a degree in veterinary science when he went into officers’ training school at Quantico, Virginia, was instrumental to beginning such a program for the marines. Putney was asked to organize a newly established war dog training program that was to be based at what is now Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Putney and Training the Dogs

Today’s dogs are raised to be in the military, but when Putney began the program, dogs were pets recruited from families. The dogs then had to be conditioned not to react to gunfire and other loud noises; they needed to learn to signal danger to their handlers via body stance or ear movement, not barking. They were also trained to sniff out land mines and trip wires and carry messages. After the invasion of Guam, Putney and a unit of men with their dogs were sent to the South Pacific where the use of the animals was credited with saving many lives, including Putney’s. Captain Putney was leading a patrol of men with three of the dogs to flush out Japanese soldiers hiding in caves on one of the surrounding islands. A Doberman named Cappy was out in front of the unit when a shot rang out; Cappy was killed, but the men were alerted to the danger. Had Cappy not been in the lead, Putney would have been ahead of his men, and he likely would have been shot instead.

No Honor Awaited

56 4 Legs & a Tail

As the war ended and the men and dogs started being sent home, Putney came home to learn that as the dogs came back, the plan was to euthanize them; those in the States assumed that dogs who had been trained to fight and protect could not be returned to lives with families. Putney felt otherwise, and Putney convinced the officers at Camp LeJeune, to permit him to start a program to desensitize the dogs — a multi-step process. The dogs had been trained to answer to a single person, so they had to become Spring 2020


accustomed to several handlers (male and female). They had to acclimate to normal street sounds and movement, and many other aspects of daily life. An ultimate test was whether a dog could be taken for a walk in the community; would the dog be all right if someone walked past quickly, or if a person approached to pet him or her? Each of these milestones had to be reached very gradually. Of the 559 dogs who were in the Marine Corps at the end of World War II, 540 were discharged to civilian life. Of the 19 who had to be euthanized, 15 were because of health reasons. Only four could not adapt to civilian life.

continue to guard and protect our military personnel as they were trained to do, with courage, loyalty and honor. While our hearts go out to the families of the men and women of the military who have lost their lives in service to our country, we should also include gratitude for the men and women who have trained the canine team members — and the dogs themselves — whose efforts have helped reduce the toll on human life in the many conflicts where these animals have served.

Always Faithful

In his book, Always Faithful, Putney noted that because the canine corps was not maintained in the years immediately following World War II, some of the lessons they had learned about working with the animals had to be re-learned by those working with the next generation of animals. Unfortunately, one of the lessons — that the dogs could be desensitized — was never passed on, and from 1949-2000, euthanasia for former military animals was the law of the land. Though Captain Putney returned to civilian life and had become a veterinarian in Los Angeles, he continued to advocate for change to the system, and three years before he died — sixty years since he had trained the dogs in the first canine unit, the Senate pass as house bill that permits handlers to detrain and adopt their dogs when their military usefulness has ended (October 24, 2000). Today all branches of our Armed Forces use trained military dogs to patrol air bases, military compounds, ammunition depots and military checkpoints. There are approximately 600-700 of these canines in the Middle East in such places as Kuwait, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. They Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 57


Mutts Gone Nutts Comes to Randolph, VT Matthew Palm

M

y dog Nugget knew a trick: Whenever she heard the sound of the can opener, she would rapidly spin in tight circles, faster and faster, tail wagging and fur flying. OK , t h at’s le s s of a t r ick and more of a conditioned response coupled with the overwhelming joy of approaching suppertime. But like every dog owner, I was inordinately proud of her ability to obey even the simplest of commands. The dogs of “Mutts Gone Nuts,” which will take to the state at the Ch and ler Center for t he A r t s in Randolph, VT, have advanced quite a ways beyond “Sit” and “Stay.” Billed as a canine cabaret, it’s part demonstration of doggy derring-do and part comic shtick that wouldn’t be out of place in a 1960s Catskills resort. The balance of human yuks to canine capers tilts a bit too far to the two-legged creatures. But really, how could anyone or anything compete with the likes of rescue dogs as they dance, leap, balance on barrels, jump rope, walk a high wire and even say their prayers.

58 4 Legs & a Tail

When the dogs take a break, comedian-contortionist Jonathan Burns demonstrates a goofy, nerdy persona that’s elevated by his ability to fold his body in ways that would send most of us to the chiropractor — or emergency room. I don’t usually countenance talking in the audience, but as Burns unpacked himself from a standard dog crate, lanky limb by lanky limb, a man seated behind me exclaimed, “Holy mackerel.” I nodded in silent agreement. Scott Houghton is a good-natured, old-fashioned sort of emcee always ready with a corny quip: “I got Rusty about eight years ago for my son… That was a good trade.” His w ife, Joan, is an able assistant. The entire presentation comes across as a real mom-and-pop affair. But that doesn’t detract from the show; in fact it feels just about right. When Scott Houghton calls a dog his buddy, it sounds genuine — not scripted for some slickly produced circus. The enter tainingly homespun atmosphere is appropriate: For dog lovers, the family pet is key to making the house a home.

Spring 2020


Ashley Okola

P eople who love cats, typically own more than one. In the perfect setting,

all their cats would immediately get along with one another, living contentedly and sharing space with ease. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but this is not the reality for most cat introductions. People bringing in a new friend for their feline should be prepared for initial management between resident cat(s) and the newbie. First things first. While this is probably not something a person should say whose job is to find new homes for the felines in Monadnock Humane Society’s care, your cat likely doesn’t want a new friend. Cats are loners when it comes to their species. Outside of their familial relationships, cats are territorial and don’t like to share. So we all need to admit to ourselves bringing in a new feline is really for us and to feed our love for cats. Now that that is out of the way, our focus can shift on what is important. In the ideal world, two cats would be the best of friends, hanging out when their people are gone, cuddling on the couch or grooming one another in the adorable cat bed for two. Instead, be realistic with expectations. The goal is to help them coexist with one another, decrease stress between both cats, and provide an environment that can accommodate both of their needs. Right off the bat, believe us when we tell you to keep your cats separated from the new arrival. This is for at least one to two weeks of complete separation, with no visual contact between cats. When a new cat is plopped down in the middle of a new place, with resident animals present, a couple of things happen. From the resident cat’s perspective, there is a foreign intruder on his/her territory that poses a threat to all the resources—a feeling that is ingrained in a cat’s nature. From the new cat’s perspective, everything he/she has come to know as familiar has changed. From being introduced to new people, put in a carrier, driven in a car, then brought into this unfamiliar Spring 2020

place with other animals, brings with it all kinds of stressors. New smells, new sounds, and new sights can completely overwhelm even a well-adjusted cat. Setting the new cat up in their space will allow them to decompress from all the changes that are happening, and give the resident cat the peace of mind that their territory isn’t being completely overrun by the newcomer. With a week or two of adjustment, cats have time to overcome the newness of the arrival. Everyone’s smell has permeated each other’s space, and the new sounds are no longer foreign or scary. The next step will be setting up a physical barrier between spaces where the cats can see one another but unable to physically interact. This may mean setting up baby gates or screen doors to create this barrier. These controlled interactions will start as short, positive moments between cats. This may include parallel play with the cats or using treats as a positive reinforcement when interactions are neutral. These meetings shouldn’t be rushed for the sake of time. Successful introductions are those that consider the needs of the cats first and foremost. If there are reactions from either of the cats, then things are moving too fast. Over the course of a couple of weeks, extend supervised meetings to longer and longer shifts. This will help your cats become more comfortable with one another while still feeling safe and secure in their spaces. When controlled interactions are showing consistently positive reactions between cats and interactions are going on for longer periods, it is time to move onto supervised interactions. These occur when the physical barriers are removed and cats can investigate each other’s space. Again, it is important to build on these meetings, starting with short interactions and slowing building over the course of a few weeks. Reinforcing the good behavior of both cats through treats will help drive these positive meetings home.

Supervised interactions may have to go on for even a couple of months until the owners are positive that the cats involved can cohabitate peacefully together. Sometimes this may never be feasible and cats will need to be separated when owners are not present to monitor. While I wish it was easier to get cats to accept one another under one roof, the reality is that it isn’t. If we are determined to welcome multiple cats into our home, the wellbeing and nature of our cats need to take top priority. Skipping or rushing through the introductions will only result in stressed cats and a lot more work on the owner’s end to rectify the alreadydamaged relationship. Ashley Okola has been with Monadnock Humane Society for over 6 years. She worked as the feline coordinator and then moved to the assistant shelter manager position during this time. Ashley’s background is in both creative writing and animal welfare, graduating with an MS in Animals and Public Policy from Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. She lives with her husband and daughter, as well as their many animals, in Jaffrey, NH.

www.4LegsAndATail.com 59


60 4 Legs & a Tail

Spring 2020


FR

EE

Local Vet Goes Ape in Africa!

Central NH & VT Mud Season 2020

The Scoop on Pet Insurance Top Tips for Feline Hygiene Remembering Dogs That Served America

Keeping Your Pet Safe This Winter Grain-Free. Is it Friend or Foe? Oh, If Your Cat Could Talk

Love to Spoil Your Dog? Forensic Science and Wildlife

Profile for 4 Legs & a Tail

4 Legs & a Tail Lebanon Spring 2020  

4 Legs & a Tail Lebanon Spring 2020  

Advertisement