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Dog Days of Summer 2019 Central NH & VT

Dogs vs Cats Equine Help for Human Chronic Illness Catching Those Critters! Need a Great Getaway for You and Your Dog? Veterinary Housecalls


Inside this issue of 4 Legs & a Tail

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3. Goober...Local Driving Local The way you get your pet food may be changing this summer 5. Name Changed at Windsor Veterinary & Dental Services And it’s more than just the name

6. The New Faces of the Happy Pet Caregivers Carol Fleming Meet

the new owners of one of the area’s most popular pet walking services

8. Why Your Pet May Appreciate a House Call Abigail Fisher, DVM 10. Woodstock Dog Club Mark your calendar for July 11-14 as the AKC dog show comes to Tunbridge, VT

12. August 15 is National Check the Chip Day Erin Forbes, DVM Is your pet’s microchip up to date?

13. How to Become a Superstar Show Cat! Sheila Walters If your cat has what it takes, consider entering a CCF Cat Show near you 14. Pilot Program Comes to High Horses Sue Miller

A new program in Sharon, VT offers relief to those suffering from chronic illness

16. Dog Bite Prevention Erin Forbes, DVM 18. When Bicycles Meet Horses Chuck Fergus Helpful tips when horses and cyclist share the road Pg. 12

20. Housetraining Your New Puppy Karen Sturtevant Avoid the common pitfalls when training your new family member

24. Nice to Meet You! How to Facilitate Successful Dog Introductions Paula Bergeron

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26. Is Your Dog Socializing Enough? Eliminate long-term behavior issue the fun and easy way 28. Are You Ready to be Your Pet's First Responder? Ingrid Braulini How to quickly deal with a choking dog 30. Corn...Is it as Bad as Everybody Says? 32. Summer Fun at the Dog Park! Larissa L. Pyer Be a good neighbor and understand proper etiquette at the dog park

36. Truckin’ With Charlie Marina Welch The latest to find his forever home in an 18 wheeler 38. Suitor or Diner? Gary Lee Meet a cat who’s not sure if she’s coming or going Summer 2019

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Inside this issue of 4 Legs & a Tail

®

41. The Purr-fect Companion Danielle DeVost Vanna

the cat could be the Visiting Nurse & Hospice for Vermont and New best care provider

42. The Paw House Inn A look at one of Vermont’s best vacation spots for dog lovers! 45. Fore! Legs and a Tail Ron McPherson How one veteran made it back on to the golf course thanks to a four-legged friend

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48. Cushing’s Disease Catherine MacLean, DVM The signs and treatment for this canine disease

50. Alternatively Speaking: A Holistic Approach To An Injury-Free Summer Dr. Anne Carroll DVM, CVA 54. You Want Me To Brush my Dog's...What? Sandra Waugh, VMD, MS Tips to help your pet practice good dental hygiene 56. All in a Day’s Work Scott Borthwick Do you ever wonder what it’s like to get rid of those pesky critters? 57. Loons and Lead Poisoning Catherine Greenleaf How lead is having a negative impact on our loon population

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59. The Mayor of Guffey, Monster the Cat Kate Kelly

Sometimes a dog and other times a cat, but one of them always rules this Colorado town

61. Dogs vs Cats So what is the difference between cat lovers and dog lovers? 64. Too Much of a Good Thing

Learn about the dangers and symptoms of Hyponatremia (aka water intoxication)

66. Prescription Food…Is It Medicine? What is true and untrue about prescription food?

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4 Legs & a Tail Volume L.219 P.O. Box 841 Lebanon, NH 03766 603-727-9214 TimH.4LT@gmail.com 2 4 Legs & a Tail

Publishers: Tim Goodwin, Tim Hoehn Graphic Design: Kristin Wolff Kate Kurtz 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.

Summer 2019


Goober...Local Driving Local I

n this day and age, our pets have never eaten so well. In the US alone, the pet food industry sells over $27 billion of pet food annually. With such a financially lucrative market, you would think that your local feed store would be jumping for joy. If so, you might be surprised. Over the past five years, online giants such as Chewy.com and Amazon have cut into the sales and margins of most local retailers. Chewy, which is owned by Petsmart, buys product in such large volume, it makes it challenging and frustrating for the family-owned retailer. Such would be the case unless you are Curt Jaques of West Lebanon Feed & Supply. With many retailers are counting down the days before they sell out and retire, Jaques has taken the challenge head-on with a new initiative called Goober. Starting this summer, West Lebanon Supply is rolling out three pods strategically located throughout the Upper Continued Next Page

Summer 2019

Artist rendition of the rental pickup pod

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WLS Owner, Curt Jaques inside the remote pod

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Valley. These retail pickup locations look like a 20’x8’ trailer and inside are 39 secured lockers. Now, you can place your pet food order (or other pet product) at GooberPick.com and using the touch of a keypad, pick it up at the retail pickup location closest to you. With deliveries made twice daily to each pod, the days of rushing to the feed store after work may be coming to an end. According to Jaques, “We did an extensive survey of 15,000 people and based on their feedback, we developed this model of domestic e-commerce.” In addition to the major convenience factor for pet owners, Jaques is also quick to point out his desire to assist other local businesses with co-marketing partnerships. One such example will be in the parking lot at the Enfield House of Pizza pick up location in Enfield, NH. “When you pick up your pet food, EHP can offer in-store specials that evening. It’s such a win-win for everyone!” The initial summer rollout of Goober will include locations at West Lebanon Supply for after hours pick up, a site on the Rt 120 corridor in Lebanon/Hanover and the Enfield locations. By the end of the year, they hope to have locations in high traffic locations in Sharon, Woodstock, Windsor, Grantham, and Norwich. Summer 2019


Name Changed at Windsor Veterinary & Dental Services F

or decades, Dr. Mike McIntire and Dr. Sandra Waugh have worked side by side at Windsor Veterinary & Dental Services. While Dr. Sandy handled Dentistry, Dr. Mike focused on small animal care. This spring, he decided to spend more time in the garden (he hopes) and sold his part of the practice. Dr. Mike has served the Windsor Community for over 35 years. Here is a letter he wrote:

To my clients, colleagues, and friends, I want to thank you for all your years of support and comradeship while I had the pleasure of providing medical care for your pets. I am now retired from private practice and will no longer be seeing patients. Dr. Susan Kissel has bought my part of the practice and will be providing excellent medical and surgical care for your pets. The new name of her practice will be Mount Ascutney Veterinary Services. My wife, Dr. Sandra Waugh, will continue her dental practice as Windsor Pet Dental, PLC. The phone number and location for both practices will remain the same. I look forward to seeing you again at the clinic as I will be helping Dr. Susan when asked or working with Dr. Sandy in her dental practice. Thank you once again for giving me such a memorable career, it has truly been delightful. -Dr. Mike

Summer 2019

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The New Faces of the Happy Pet Caregivers Carol Fleming

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ou may have noticed a couple of new smiling faces around town managing the Happy Pet Caregivers… Kristen Horrigan and I acquired the business as of January 1 and are happily charging forward! The business has an established history and wonderful rapport of over a decade within the Upper Valley and Lake Sunapee regions. We offer a wide variety of pet services; including training, walks, overnights/vacation coverage, transportation, and veterinary visits – including simple visit notes, text updates, and photos of your beloved pets. Like many small business owners, Kristen and I function together as a whole-hearted team – we are the coowners, managers, customer service reps, social media posters, marketing, advertising, and finance department, etc. Our excellent service record and reputation continue due to our trustworthy team of caregivers, as well as, our ever-increasing presence within the small business community of the area. We have been working hard to offer, maintain, upkeep, and expand our services and service area. Both Kristen and I are New England natives – Massachusetts and New Hampshire, respectively. We each have years of animal care experience and a strong passion for the industry. Besides our dedication to learning and progressing the industry, we are bringing our thorough and thoughtful minds, and hearts, to the foreground while considering all aspects of the business. In addition to our animal related

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Carol Fleming & Kristen Horrigan

compassion and expertise, we each have a career history that has lead us to pursue our passions within the pet care industry. We have served pets, people, homes, wildlife, and landscapes. Kristen holds a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from UNE in Maine, and Carol obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology & English from UNH. Among many things, we value community, communication, strong work ethics, dependability, and living active lifestyles. In the past few months, we have enjoyed participating in a few local events. In February, we were one of the sponsors for the Blue Mountain Sled Dog Race – an exciting local winter event including sled dog racing and skijoring. For the Easter Holiday, we donated certificates to the New London Adult Easter Egg Hunt. Being part of the local events is both fun and rewarding, and we look forward to many more. Since we are not a boarding facility or a kennel, we do not operate from a building. We can often be seen walking dogs – from Henniker to Hanover, and beyond. We care for your pet(s) in your home, or in ours. Working all around the region, we have established ourselves within a strong network of local business support. Some of us are from the same, or similar industry, and others are entirely different. Valuing the local business culture has resulted Summer 2019


in a massive feeling of support, as well as, established wonderful connections and a vast, ever-expanding network. We chatted with a few of our favorite local business owners about the camaraderie and local support within the small business community. Dr. Catherine MacLean of Sugar River Animal Hospital in Grantham, NH commented:

“The Happy Pet Caregivers are very attentive – you can tell they really care about their clients and pets. They work hard to foster clear communication between us, the caregivers, and the owners.” Penny Murano of UNLEASHED in New London, NH stated:

“I feel very lucky as the owner of a pet store which offers grooming, that I am able to work closely with other small business owners. Having the ability to refer my customers to such a great business, Happy Pet Caregivers, is a blessing. My business is not able to cover all the pet needs of my customers, so it is wonderful to be able to send them to a business I believe in. Carol and Kristen are not only supporters of my business, but they also take care of my house and my dogs when I travel. I can not recommend their pet services enough. Small businesses working together = priceless.” From pet supply shops and groomers to veterinarians and rescue organizations, to auto care and flower shops, to lawyers and attorneys, to doctors and nurses, to teachers and retirees – our referral network is strong and continuously growing. Kristen and I are truly grateful for the kindness and wonderful feedback we have received since becoming co-owners of this small business. We are humbled by the positivity from the community. We are thankful to all past clients who have transitioned with us and been happy with the results, and our new clients for joining our group. We look forward to meeting you and caring for your pets! Also, look for us in upcoming issues – we will be writing pet and owner spotlights and stories, and training features including puppy care and raising. To learn more about us, our caregivers, our services, etc., please visit our website: thehappypetcaregivers.com Summer 2019

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Why Your Pet May Appreciate a House Call Abigail Fisher, DVM - Hanover, NH

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ax is an 18 pound Maine Coon Cat. He was originally a feral cat but over the years has learned to trust his owner. Max’s owner has a hard time getting him a crate for his yearly physical exam and vaccines. When she is able to get him in the crate, he may vomit or

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even go to the bathroom on the drive to the vet. He becomes more and more fractious at office due to smells and noises unfamiliar to him. By the time he gets home, he is angry, dirty and runs and hides for days. Because of this, Max’s owner avoids

going to the vet. He does not get his annual exam or basic vaccines to prevent disease. Max’s owner had to make a tough choice and not going to the vet became easier than fighting with him to get veterinary care. This is a common issue among owners. Many owner’s dread the trip to the vet. Dogs and cats alike can have a similar situation. There now is an alternative.

Summer 2019


10 reasons a mobile veterinarian may be a good choice for you and your pet: 1. It is difficult for you to get your scared or fractious animal in the carrier. Mobile vets travel to where your pet is most comfortable and do the exam in their environment. 2. Your pet does not travel well and gets motion sick when you take them in the car. 3. You have to pull or drag your dog into the animal hospital because they are too nervous to walk in on their own. 4. You have small children and dread bringing them with you to the animal hospital. Home with the kids for school vacation? Book your appointment and let your kids play at home while we examine your pet to minimize the disruption to your day. 5. You are physically unable to get out of your home to take your pet to a hospital or lack transportation. 6. Your pet has a hard time physically getting in the car or is geriatric and slips on the animal hospital floors. Senior pets have a hard time jumping in and out of the car. 7. The weather is bad, snow, rain, heat. This is New England, let us come to you! 8. You and your pet get anxious at the animal hospital waiting room - lots of smells and often other anxious dogs feeling stressed or barking. 9. You are hoping for a simpler approach to your pets veterinary care that has more one on one time with your veterinarian. 10. It’s Convenient! We work with YOU to find time for us to come see your pet. If you take your pet to work with you, we can even come to see you at the office. It is hard for many pet owners to get to the veterinary clinic let the veterinary clinic come to you! If your pet requires extensive care, anesthesia or surgery, a free-standing hospital or emergency hospital that is staffed 24 hours a day may be more appropriate than a house call veterinarian. Dr. Abbie Fisher is the owner and veterinarian of No Place Like Home - Mobile Vet which serves the 25-mile area surrounding Hanover, NH. More information can be found at www.NPLHvet.com Summer 2019

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WOODSTOCK DOG CLUB DOG SHOW O

ur annual American Kennel Club (AKC) All Breed Dog Show will be July 11 & 12, 2019 at the spectacular Tunbridge Fairgrounds. Green Mountain Dog Club will be hosting shows on July 13 & 14. We expect 100 different breeds with 700 or more entries each day. Owners and professional handlers come from all over the US and Canada with many local dog fanciers as well. Our renowned judges come from all over the country and internationally to judge at our shows. A dog show is where dogs compete against each other and are judged based on the breed ‘standard’ which describes what the dog should look like. The dog that wins ‘Best of Breed’ will

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then compete in their respective Group (Hound, Toy, Sporting, etc.). Winners from each Group will then compete for Best in Show! Breed judging is usually completed by around 2 pm when the Group judging will begin followed by Best in Show. Over the 4 days, there will be 4 All Breed Conformation Dog Shows, 5 Obedience and 4 Rally Trials. There will also be a 4–6-month-old Puppy competition every day, and on Friday, a Best 6-12-month-old Puppy competition! Best Veteran competition will be Saturday. Thursday and Friday, during Group judging, there will be an Ice Cream Social and Saturday night an always popular BBQ, Beer tent and live music! Tickets for this event are available at the show.

What does all this mean? We invite you to attend any day with complimentary entrance fee every day!! Judging starts at 8:30 a.m. so come see your favorite breeds and meet new breeds! Talk to dog fanciers and learn about the sport of dog showing, obedience and rally trials. Lots of vendors will be there with everything for your dog and you, too. Food vendors will be on hand for when you get hungry. The Woodstock Dog Club has been a member of AKC since 1957. We hold monthly meetings with speakers and presentations. Most recently, we learned about CBD products for dogs and the benefits as well as a tracking presentation by Willie the Bloodhound! Very cool. Annually, we hold health testing clinics for all dogs. To learn more about our club, visit our website http://woodstockdogclub.org/ for more information.

HOPE TO SEE YOU AT THE SHOW!

Summer 2019


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August 15th is National Check the Chip Day Erin Forbes, DVM Vermont Veterinary Medical Association

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icrochips greatly increase the chances that pets will be reunited with their families if they are lost or stolen, and the majority of veterinarian offices can give one to your pet.

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A microchip is a tiny object, no bigger than a grain of rice that can be injected under the skin of your pet. The procedure is no different than a vaccination. Using a special scanner, the microchip can be detected and a number unique to your pet is shown, along with the company that made the chip. An animal control officer, shelter, or veterinarian can then call the company and track down the owner using that number. Statistics show that one in three pets will become lost at some point during their lives, and cats and dogs with registered microchips are much more likely to be returned to their family. Microchips only work if the information on the chip is kept up to date. If an owner does not know if their pet has a microchip, they should make an appointment to have their pet scanned by their veterinarian. If they do have a chip but are unsure of who it is registered to, owners can go to www. petmicrochiplookup.org and access the Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool provided by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). The tool allows users to enter the code from the microchip and will direct owners to participating microchip registries associated with that microchip’s number and manufacturer. Owners can then update the information associated with the chip as needed. In a recent study published by the Journal of the AVMA research showed that microchipping greatly increased

the chance a lost dog or cat would be reunited with their family. In dogs without a microchip there was a 22 percent chance of being returned to their family but with a microchip that rose to 52 percent. For cats, better results were obtained: about one in 50 cats are returned to the owners, but when microchipped, two of five cats were reunited with their family. Implanting a microchip is a simple procedure: the chip is embedded under the skin using a hypodermic needle, similar to those used for vaccinations. No surgery or anesthetic is needed and this procedure can be done during a routine visit. The chip will then be scanned, added to the medical record, and owner’s will be given information on how to register the chip. If your pet gets lost, an office or shelter can scan for a chip, and if found can contact the owner associated with the chip. The VVMA urges pet owners to talk with their veterinarians to learn more about proper identification for their pets, schedule an appointment to have their pets microchipped, and make sure their pets’ microchips have up-to-date information that will ensure a happy reunion if their pets ever become lost. The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), founded in 1898, is a professional organization of 360 veterinarians dedicated to compassionate animal care and quality medicine. Summer 2019


HOW TO BECOME A SUPERSTAR SHOW CAT LIKE ME! H

ello, my name is Ulysses Augustus (AK A Gus) and I am a SUPERSTAR! Everyone knows my name, well at least at cat shows and the Newport, NH Farmer’s Market they do. I am a two-year-old, Pedigreed Maine Coon Cat. I am a CFF Master Grand Champion and the Unofficial Mascot of the Newport, Farmer’s Market. There, I greet people and other 4-legged critters like dogs, bunnies, llamas and even pigs. The Farmer’s Market is easy; Momma puts on my harness and leash and I go there, sit on a picnic table and wait for the fans to come worship and adore me. I also walk around and check out all the goodies that they have to offer. The cat shows, on the other hand, are a bit different. First of all, Momma and I usually have to go away for the weekend. That part I enjoy...I get a lot of attention in the pet -friendly hotels. You should see peoples jaw drop when Momma opens the crate and takes me out. Did I mention that I weigh nearly 20 pounds...and I am only 2 years old??? OK, enough about me. I am here to talk about the CFF (CAT FANCIERS FEDERATION) Organization and their cat shows. CFF is celebrating their 100th year anniversary of putting on fabulous cat shows. Unlike other cat show organizations, CFF Shows are ALL in New England: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. We are a smaller, friendlier cat show organization. Momma says it is our second family. We try to have about 10 cat shows a year. The cost to enter one at is less than $100. And at every show, we go home with BEAUTIFUL RIBBONS (of which I have a ton). At the end of the season, the top 20 cats in each class win even BIGGER RIBBONS and our parents get to go to a fancy awards dinner in September. The top cats get big trophies and the adoration of all. Now, what do you need to do to become a SUPERSTAR SHOW CAT LIKE ME? It really is easy. You can be nearly any breed of pedigree cat (Persians, Siamese, Rag Dolls, Orientals, etc) with pedigree papers. You can compete as a kitten (at 4 months old) a whole cat (not neutered) that is called Championship, or like me an Alter ( I have no testicles!!!). Are you ready for this? Hold onto your seats, you can even be just an everyday mixed breed cat or a rescue kitty. Heck, you could be a superstar Summer 2019

with only 3 legs and 1 eye in the HHP (Household Pet Class)! Yep, your cuddly everyday kitty can compete as long as it is altered!!! HHP is one of the most competitive classes at our cat shows. Are any cats fit to show? Well, no. We do not accept declawed cats and do not suggest that you try to bring an aggressive cat. Our cats are NOT shown under pressure and are always handled with love. So how do I become a SUPERSTAR SHOW CAT LIKE GUS? First, your momma or daddy should check out a CFF Cat Show and see if they think there is a STAR in your future! To find out where to see a show go to cffinc.org and find the show page! Then you can contact our recorder Juanita Vorhees at cffinc@live.com or phone 937-787-9009. If you go to a cat show, find my momma, Sheila Walters and ask her for an autographed picture of me, GUS!

Ulysses Augustus

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connection. Riding can prove very beneficial in terms of treating cancer and other chronic illnesses, as it releases endorphins and serotonin, which are known to reduce stress and depression. The pilot program ran 4 weeks from April 9th through April 29th with a group of adults from 9:30-11:30 on Mondays. We will reassess the program and host another pilot for May 6th through June 10th with time off the Monday of Memorial day. We do hope to offer a pilot program for children and adolescents in the future. The participants will learn how horses communicate their thoughts and emotions through body language and how to halter, groom, and tack a horse with some riding experiences to enjoy as well. No prior riding experience is needed to participate. Other modalities like Yoga, music, aroma therapy, journaling, nutrition, etc‌ may Sue Miller - Sharon,VT also be incorporated. Not only does equine therapy assist ith generous funding from a local family High Horses is able to pursue a chronic illness, but it also benefits cannew program for our community. The SAGE (Sentient Animals Giving Equilibrium) cer survivors by increasing strength and program will be offered in hopes of reaching people dealing with chronic illness. fitness levels. We utilize the power of the Cancer being a major contributor to chronic illness, yet there are many other horse to heal, regaining strength and a maladies that go along with chronic illness and this is an opportunity to have an sense of peace. Working on dexterity by environment for combining equine therapy with other modalities for wellbeing. using grooming tools to brush the horse. We are open to any participant that has a chronic illness of any type. Increase stamina by leading the horse Our four-legged friends can help to improve social skills and impulse control, and creating a bond with the animal. The reduce anxiety, alleviate depression, lower blood pressure, and improve gross and fine importance of eating well is also discussed motor skills. Equine therapy has many additional applications, including decreasing with participants enjoying a healthy nutriisolation and promoting confidence, self-esteem, communication, trust, and spiritual tious snack at each gathering. The participants have enjoyed time at the farm in the quiet morning setting, with mindful meditations, journaling prompts and great food and of course time with the amazing horses. This program is offered to those dealing with chronic illness and their caregivers/ significant others. Class size is limited to 8 participants. Please contact us to register to be included or for further information and our next offering dates.

Pilot Program Comes to High Horses W

SHARING SMILES

Since 1993

Sue Miller is a PATH Registered Instructor & ESMHL, PATH Vermont State chair and Vice President of VHSA.

SAGE Program For Chronic Illness

It’s More Than Just A Ride! Inquire Today about getting on our next schedule Offering ~ Therapeutic Riding ~ Hippotherapy ~ Connections ~ Operation Unbridled Freedom (For Veterans) ~ Grey Horse

802-763-3280 138 Horse Farm Rd., Sharon, VT 05065 HighHorses.org 14 4 Legs & a Tail

High Horses Therapeutic Riding Program

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To prevent dog bites, a few important steps should be taken. These include socialization, education, responsible pet ownership, and learning to read a dog’s body language.

og bites post a serious health risk to people, communities and society as a whole. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 800,000 people receive medical care for dog bites and over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Further, over half of those bitten are children.  In Vermont, 550 children were treated at the hospital for dog bite wounds between 2012-2016.  That number doesn’t include children who were bitten for whom medical help was not sought or needed, or where actual contact didn’t occur, but unsafe interactions happened. Now that summer is here,  it is a great time to remind both pet owners and the public that most dog bites are preventable. The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association has a fun, interactive presentation geared to elementary school-aged children to teach them how to interact safely around dogs in order to avoid bites.  If you are interested in learning more about the program or about how to bring it to your local school, please contact the VVMA.  Through education, Vermont veterinarians hope to keep families and pets happy and safe…together! Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs. There are many things that can be done to help prevent dog bites.  Dogs bite for many reasons, generally as a reaction to something. Any dog can bite: whether they be small, large, young, old, male, or female. Even dogs that appear friendly and sweet can bite if they are provoked or startled. It is important to remember that any breed can bite as it is the dog’s history and behavior that determine whether it will bite or not. 16 4 Legs & a Tail

Socialization is a good way to help prevent your dog from biting and teach your dog normal play skills. Further, introducing your dog to people and other animals while it’s still a puppy, will help it feel more comfortable in different situations as it gets older. Responsible pet ownership builds a solid foundation for dog bite prevention. Basics of responsible dog ownership that can help reduce the risk of dog bites include carefully selecting the dog that’s right for your family, proper training, regular exercise, and neutering or spaying your pet. It’s also important to use a leash in public to make sure that you are able to control your dog.  Summer 2019


Educate yourself and your children about how – or whether – to approach a dog. This includes avoiding risky situations and understanding when you should certainly not interact with a dog, such as if it is not with its owner, if it is sleeping, or if it is growling or barking. Reading a dog’s body language also can be helpful. Just like people, dogs rely on body gestures, postures and vocalizations to express themselves. While we can’t always read a dog’s body language accurately, it can give us helpful clues as to whether a dog is feeling stressed, frightened, or threatened.   Never punish a dog for growling. This is the dog’s way of saying they feel threatened/are scared. If a dog is growling give it some space and step away from the situation. When dogs are punished for growling they may skip the growl next time and go straight for the bite.   More information on dog bite prevention, and the VVMA Dog Bite Prevention Program for elementary school-aged children, is available at www.vtvets.org.  

The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), founded in 1898, is a professional organization of 380 veterinarians dedicated to compassionate animal care and quality medicine. Summer 2019

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When

Bicycles Meet Horses Chuck Fergus

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orses are “flight animals� that evolved as prey. Even the calmest horse can react suddenly and powerfully to anything that takes it by surprise. In the Northeast Kingdom and in many other parts of Vermont, horseback riders are increasingly concerned about the number of cyclists who are using trails, woods roads, and rural roads, and who may not know that horses can be startled by bicycles and that very serious accidents can result. Cyclists are entitled to use public roads. They are also responsible for ensuring the safety of equestrians and their mounts by doing all they 18 4 Legs & a Tail

can to avoid startling a horse. A horse may startle or spook at the sight of a bicycle or at the sound. Because a horse has a blind spot directly behind it, the horse may not see a bicycle coming from behind until the bike is almost even with the horse. A horse may also be frightened by a bicycle coming at it from the front or the side. A startled horse may kick out or jump into the line of travel with its large, powerful body. (Many horses weigh over 1,000 pounds.) Cyclists should let horses and riders know of their presence as soon as they realize an encounter may take place. A good way to do that is to call Summer 2019


out, in a light and pleasant way, something like “Hello there, I’m on a bike here, and I thought you should know that I’m coming toward you and your horse.” It’s better to speak too many words than too few so that the horse can identify you as a human. Call out in this way whether you’re approaching the a horse from the back or the front. Keep up the conversation until you’re sure that the horse and rider know you’re there and are not alarmed. It’s extremely important for cyclists to slow way down. Better still, come to a complete stop and then wait until you’re sure the horse and rider know you are there and both are comfortable with having a bicycle near them. Once you’ve gotten their attention, you can say something like “Is it OK for me to go on by?” When you do pass, go slowly and give the horse and rider a wide berth. Safer still is to get off your bicycle and push it past the horse and rider before getting back on and resuming your ride. Cycle slowly and cautiously in areas where you may meet a horse, such as multi-use trails and rural roads (both Class 3 and Class 4) that equestrians may use. Keep in mind that a cyclist whose actions frighten a horse may be liable for injuries suffered by the horse or its rider. Liability may also extend to groups sponsoring bicycle rides or maintaining trail networks. (Hikers and dog walkers who don’t keep their dogs leashed may also be held liable for accidents, as may careless or discourteous drivers of vehicles including cars, trucks with trailers, and ATVs.) No one wants to see anyone – equestrian, horse, cyclist, or hiker – get hurt because of a needless accident. Please share this educational article with other cyclists so that we can all enjoy a pleasant and safe experience sharing the trails in our beautiful state. Chuch Fergus is a published author including two new books in 2019: “Make a Home for Wildlife” (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT), and “A Stranger Here Below” (Skyhorse Publishing, NYC), a mystery set in Pennsylvania in 1835. He lives the Northeast Kingdom. When not writing, he loves to ride horses and also sings in a hospice chorus and in an acappella American roots trio. Summer 2019

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Housetraining Karen Sturtevant

Y ou’ve visited a local rescue and adopted a puppy that you feel fits your fam-

ily’s lifestyle. Bravo! Off to the pet store for supplies, food and toys. You’ve read the latest on canine behavior and brain. You’re armed with dog know-how and ready for whatever Fido throws at you––how tough can it be to be a responsible dog owner? At home, everything is going well. Fido is adjusting to his new environment, canine ownership is sailing along, and the kids are thrilled, until… Fido has a messy accident on your new living room carpet. What was that about savvy dog know-how? As grown-up adults, we often think we know more than we do about a variety of subjects: canine rearing included. Not to worry, with a few tried-and-true techniques, we can be smarter than the average puppy when it comes to successful housetraining. In order to win the bathroom wars, we need to think like a dog.

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Your New Puppy Make his world small

A big mistake many new puppy parents make is allowing puppy to have full access of their house from day one. In puppy’s mind, everything (furniture, shoes, newly-laid area rugs) is fair game for conquering and chewing. For you, it’s a cute experience to watch him fumble and tumble around. For him, these new surroundings are overwhelming. To limit the stimulation, make his world small so it’s not too much too soon. Choose a room with a tile or linoleum floor as it lends itself for easy clean up. Keeping puppy in the kitchen, laundry room, or bathroom if he can be supervised is a good start. Baby gates become your friend. Start small and slowly expand his scope to other rooms.

Watch for signals

Body language can be louder than verbal sounds––especially with canines. Until the day comes when Fido learns to enunciate a human language, we need to be tuned in to his behavior for clues on when it’s bathroom time. Sniffing, pacing, waiting or scratching at the door, or whining are surefire behaviors that translates to, “Time to go outside.” As you get to know your puppy and his mannerisms, you will learn his unique language and signs. Continued Next Page

Where and when to ‘go’?

Puppies don’t have complete bladder and bowel control until approximately 16 weeks of age (Flowers 2018). Attempting to train earlier than this is bound to be frustrating. At around four-months (older for smaller and toy breeds), puppies should be taken outside after naps, play, feeding and then ideally every 30 minutes to each hour, preferably in the same area to do their ‘business.’ Scents from previous successes will help them in their objective. When victory happens, a doggie treat should be given immediately with positive reinforcement praise. If the rewards are withheld until you are both back inside, the dog won’t assimilate the connection of potty with treat. Timing is key! If he messes inside (and he will!), a stern ‘No!’ and/or loud hand clap will suffice along with immediately taking him outside to finish with a doggie cookie as his prize. Never ever hit, yell, or rub the dog’s nose in his waste. Not only will he be confused, he’ll begin to fear you. Most dogs are food motivated, which we can use to our advantage. Housetraining typically takes 4 – 6 months, but can take longer (Flowers, 2018). Be patient and consistent. Summer 2019

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To crate or not to crate?

Crates, demonized by some, revered by others, can be an excellent tool for housetraining. As a general rule, dogs don’t like to soil where they lay so size of the crate if critical. It needs to be large enough so the dog can lay, stand, and turn around, but not so large that he can soil in one corner and retreat to another. Crate size should increase along as puppy grows. Ideally a gradual introduction to the crate is best. The end game is to have the dog feel the space is a safe, fun zone. Have crate-only toys, a soft blanket and water always available. Leave the door open (or completely take it off) during introduction days and let him wander in and out without fear of being closed in. The goal is to have him associate the crate with familiarity and protection. Puppies, like inquisitive toddlers, need to be supervised. If eyes can’t be on him, use the crate. Slowly increase the time in the crate and always bring puppy outside for a bathroom break when leaving the crate. Another advantage of having a crate-trained dog is in the case of injury recovery. Post-surgical instructions often include limited mobility and quiet, both of which a crate environment provides. If he’s already accustomed to the crate then spending time in it during healing won’t be an additional stressor. Like any item, if not used for the correct intention, dog crates can be misused. We’ve all heard stories of dogs being forced to stay in their crates for most of the day and night. Crates should be seen as a reward, not as a penalty. If used correctly, dogs will think of the crate as a den of safety. If used inappropriately, the crate is perceived as punishment. Not only will you have an unhappy dog, he’ll also be destructive with his pent-up energy and frustration.

Realistic expectations The addition of a puppy changes the family dynamic in a major way: schedules need to be rearranged, finances need to be budgeted for routine health exams and possible emergency visits, obedience classes scheduled, day care found, a veterinarian chosen and pet insurance compared. If puppy starts exhibiting challenging behaviors (biting, resource or food guarding, growling, jumping, being aggressive to other animals or people), these tendencies can quickly turn serious when puppy becomes full grown. When behaviors require professional intervention, know who to contact. Ask your veterinarian to first rule out any medical issues and then ask friends for recommendations of trainers or behaviorists. The most ardent of owners still can be at a loss when it comes canine conduct. Puppies are messy, they don’t sleep through the night, they chew on things, and grow like spring dandelions. These are behaviors of a healthy and happy puppy. Potty training is just one factor in his upbringing. If properly socialized, given consistent training, healthy nutrition and medical care, raising a puppy can be an extremely rewarding and enjoyable experience, even during the challenging phase of housetraining! Work cited: Flowers, A., DVM., (2018) Tips for Housetraining Your Puppy. Retrieved from https://pets.webmd.cBy om/dogs/guide/house-training-your-puppy#2

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Nice to M ee t Yo u!

How to facilitate successfu l dog introductions. Paula Bergeron - Graf ton, NH

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ore and more our dogs are included in our summer gatherings, and vacation travel. You might be surprised , however, at how often an anticipated day of enjoyment turns sour when family or friends dogs not only don’t get along but actively fight. It can be unpleasant, and sometimes turn dangerous. What can we do to avoid such problems? Well, I am glad you asked. The following are guidelines that can help bring dogs together with less risk of outbursts.

1. Do not assume that because your dog is friendly that he/she will get along fine at a gathering where there will be other dogs.

2.

Communicate with the other dog owners BEFORE the gathering that an agreed upon plan should be followed to introduce your dogs. (if your friends or family are not agreeable to a plan, don’t bring your dog… it is not worth the potential problems and the hard feelings that can follow if your dogs do not get along)

3.

Wait until the humans greet one another before bringing your dog into the group. It is too much to expect your dog to be calm when no one else is.

4.

DO NOT BRING YOUR DOGS TO MEET NOSE TO NOSE. Let’s just say that having dogs meet nose to nose is about as comfortable for them as you meeting a human by having them put their nose in your butt. Nose to nose greetings can feel confrontational to your dog, anxious dogs can feel trapped, while more confident dogs may feel the need to guard their pack. Just don’t do it.

5. Leash your dogs up and start walk24 4 Legs & a Tail

ing. Walking parallel to one another is more comfortable for your dog than Summer 2019


a head-on meeting. Start out with humans walking in-between the dogs and plan for at least a mile walk… yup… that’s what I said… at least a mile. Allow your dogs to relax in the presence of each other before slowly moving them closer to one another until there are no humans in-between and the dogs are walking side by side

6. When the walk is over and if all has gone well, allow the dogs to have some freedom to sniff one another. Keep the leash on, and this is the hard part, keep slack in the leash. This may require some gymnastics on your part to allow the dogs some sniffing room yet keep your hand on the leash.

7.

If the loose leash sniffing has gone well then, if you have the ability to call your dog back to you, you can experiment with having the dogs around each other without the leash. Do this activity in an open space, and have the humans spread out, do not crowd the dogs in any way. If your dog does not have a good recall then wait until you have more walks before letting them be around one another without the leashes. Call your dog away if you feel any play is getting too excited, too tense, or too stiff. You should remain calm but attentive.

8.

DO NOT assume that if your dogs did well on day one they will be fine morning of day two. Care needs to be taken each day as the dogs meet to assure that they are comfortable.

9. Lastly, bring along your crate

just in case any step of the meet does not go well. If the dogs do not get along well, then you can take turns having them join the fun, while one rests in his or her crate. (my dog doesn’t use a crate you say? well here is reason number 998 for why it is good for your dog to be comfy in a crate…more on that at another time :) I hope you all have a wonderful summer and are able to have your dogs join in the fun. Please remember that when you include your dogs, you need to plan for your dog as well. Happy Training! Paula Bergeron and the gang at Good Dogma embrace a holistic approach to bringing balance to your dog’s behavioral issues. Exercise, training, relaxation, massage, grooming, play, socialization and energy healing are incorporated into your dog’s routine. www.Goodogma.com Summer 2019

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Is Your Dog Socializing Enough? S

ocializing your dog is the process of exposure and habituation to the environment around it. Socialization is important because in addition to genetics, it is the most important factor in determining the temperament of your dog. A dog’s temperament will determine how well behaved the animal is around other animals and people. A dog that is poorly socialized can be dangerous to others and itself. Socializing your dog should begin when it’s a puppy. Some dogs will already be prone to certain behavior given the genetics and attitude of it parents, but every puppy is impressionable. The period from 3-16 weeks of age is the most critical socialization period for a dog. Puppies that are well socialized develop into safer and more enjoyable dogs because they are more comfortable in a wider variety of situations. Socialized dogs are more peaceful and live happier lives than dogs that are constantly stressed out by their surrounding environment.  Proper socialization requires exposure to different types of people, animals, places, and experience so that your dog will be more comfortable

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with its surroundings later in life. Depending on your lifestyle, your dog will need to adjust to experiences such as the garbage trucks, sound of trains, crying infants, and other dogs. The more bases of socialization you cover while the dog is a puppy, the more likely the puppy will be able to handle these experiences with a good temperament when it becomes an adult.   When a dog becomes excessively shy, fearful, or aggressive, then it’s a sign that your dog isn’t socializing enough. Poorly socialized dogs are more likely to react with fear or aggression to unfamiliar experiences. For example, they will overreact when you bring friends over or when the doorbell rings. Be careful about where you take your dog to socialize and which professionals you trust to handle your dog.  Even a dog that is well socialized can develop behavioral problems after a negative experience. Try to keep your dog from experiencing negative socializations such as being teased by other dogs or children when out in public. During socialization, if you witness that your puppy is hiding, drooling, shaking, clawing, or yelping, then it’s a sign that your puppy is not having a positive experience with his environment which could lead to further behavioral problems when your dog becomes of age.  If this happens to you, either change your method of socialization or seek assistance from a professional trainer.  Keep in mind that socialization is more than just exposure. Socialization needs to be a positive association between your dog and its surroundings. Throwing your pet into situations around people and other animals could do more harm than good. If your dog continues to behave inappropriately then consult a professional trainer about behavior modification. Socialization is a lifelong process, as your dog will continue to learn, adapt, and grow. Be sure to socialize your dog so that it develops proper social skills and grows into a happy and confident adult. 

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Are You Ready to be Your Pets First Responder? Ingrid Braulini - Grantham, NH

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alphie’s black ears picked up on the sound of the crinkly plastic bag. His Mom was taking out a gorgeous rawhide bone. It was his…all his to chew and delight in while his Mom was at work. And, delight in it he did! That is, until the bone started to soften, and he was able to bite off a sizeable piece. Yum! But…maybe not so yum. The piece of rawhide slid down and lodged in Ralphie’s throat. He coughed, shook, spread his front paws wide and coughed some more. He tried swallowing, gagged and choked but the rawhide went nowhere. Ralphie felt himself start to lose breath and begin to wheeze. He couldn’t get enough air to his lungs and the more he tried, the dizzier and more frightened he became. The more fright-

ened he became, the more desperate and panic-stricken. The more he panicked, the harder it became to breathe. Suddenly, Ralphie went down. Just then, Ralphie’s pet sitter came to take him for his walk. She immediately realized what had happened when she saw him on the floor with the rest of the rawhide near him. The first thing she did, was open his mouth and check his throat…she couldn’t quite reach the stuck piece of rawhide, so she began to give Ralphie chest thrusts. Suddenly she heard a gasp, sputter and breath. The piece of rawhide was out and Ralphie was breathing. The pet sitter was Pet Tech first aid and CPR-trained, so she knew exactly what to do. She was set to give Ralphie rescue breaths if the thrusts hadn’t worked. While Ralphie was recuperating, the sitter called his caregiver, told her what happened, and then drove him to the vet to make sure that there was no residual damage. Learning basic pet First Aid and CPR is crucial not only for pet sitters but also for pet parents. Being able to step up and save a pet in an emergency, may make the difference between someone’s beloved pet going home with their family, or the family losing their pet. In the case of pets, it is NOT the traditional Heimlich maneuver that is used (as many internet sites may claim) but chest thrusts that can save your pet’s life. Chest thrusts are performed by placing your hands on either side of the pet’s chest and thrusting inward like a fireplace bellows. Please keep in mind that rawhide chews are the number one choking hazard for dogs and aluminum foil is number one for cats. Help save a pet by learning pet CPR and first aid. 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.

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CORN...is it as bad as everybody says? I

f there is an ingredient in pet food today that seems to get an immediate negative reaction- it has to be corn. Ever wonder why that is?  When I was growing up nobody ever said, “oh honey you better ask your Mom before you eat that” when I reached for an ear of corn on the cob! Let’s examine the truths and myths about corn and give you a clearer picture of when and if corn is acceptable for your pets. GMO’s/PESTICIDES Corn is the most genetically modified food there is.  To transform a plant into a GMO plant, the gene that produces a genetic trait of interest is identified and separated from the rest of the genetic material from a donor organism.  Corn has many variations of modification.  In the US we have “Roundup Ready Corn”, “Liberty Link Corn” and “BT Corn”.  All of these are approved in the US by the FDA, but many people avoid eating GMO crops.  If you feed you pet food produced in the United States and it is not certified GMO Free or Organic it is almost certain it contains Genetically Modified ingredients, and if it contains corn it is most certainly GMO corn. Crops in the US are commonly treated with Glyphosate as a pesticide.  This is a chemical that has been banned in many countries around the world.  The World Health Organization has stated it is “probably carcinogenic to humans”. If you do not feed a GMO free or Organic pet food, then choose one that does not contain corn (or other grains grown in the US).

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CORN AS A FILLER Corn is cheap. Many lower cost food producers will use corn as a primary ingredient as a lower cost alternative to high quality animal protein.  Corn is not a protein.  A balanced diet for a dog or cat (just like humans) means having a portion of your diet protein and carbs.  Dogs and cats need the primary ingredient in their diet to be high quality protein.  Protein with the highest biologic value (this is the scale that identifies the nutritional value of protein) will be protein derived from animal meat (chicken, fish etc.).  While there is some protein in corn or wheat it is not enough or the quality of protein you would look to as a primary source. Assuming you feed a GMO free or Organic pet food then you still want corn to be added to the food in a reasonable portion.  It should not be the first ingredient.  While all pet foods will disclose the percentage of protein the food contains, not all foods will disclose the percentage of that protein that is derived from animal protein (Husse does disclose this).  This is an excellent way to understand where the protein in the food is coming from.   CORN CAUSES ALLERGIES There is no real evidence that corn is more likely to provoke allergic reaction than other carbohydrates such as wheat, rice or potatoes.  All these carbs must be cooked to become digestible for animals.  Again, many people and animals report having allergic reactions to pesticides or GMO crops, so all these carbs need to be identified as certified GMO free or Organic. So, to answer “Is corn bad?”.  Simple answer is no…BUT unfortunately the quality of the corn in the U.S. is not the greatest. Maybe today I would get permission from my Mom before eating that corn on the cob!  Additionally, pet food companies have mis-used this ingredient because it is cheap.  If the corn is high quality and used in an appropriate portion it is an acceptable carbohydrate. Summer 2019

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Summer Fun at the Dog Park! Larissa L. Pyer Co-Founder, Mascoma Valley Dog Park

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ummer is here! The birds are chirping, grass is growing, and the dogs are barking, which can only mean one thing – it’s time to get outside and enjoy the outdoors! The Upper Valley is fortunate to have two fully fenced community dog parks, Shaker Field Dog park in Enfield, NH and Upper Valley Dog Park in Hartford, VT, plus a host of other dog-friendly recreation areas right in our backyards. Dog parks have grown in popularity over the last decade as a gathering spot for dog-lovers to meet and socialize with each other and exercise and play with their dogs. While dog parks can be great fun, there are a few things that owners can do to set their pups up for success at the dog park. 1. Know the rules. Every dog park has them, and it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with them before your first trip to the park. In addition to being posted prominently at the park, rules can usually also be found online, either on the dog park’s website or Facebook page. While most dog parks have similar sets of rules, they aren’t all identical. For example, some parks do not allow dogs over a certain age unless they have been spayed or neutered, and the age range of children allowed in the park may be different from park to park. Obey all posted rules, regardless of your personal feelings about them. 2. Know your dog. An important consideration of whether to go to a dog park is knowing if your dog is a good “dog park dog”. Dogs who are confident, social, and outgoing are good candidates for the park, while dogs who are fearful, reactive, or aggressive, are not. Dog parks Continued PAGE 34

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are off-leash areas, so you’ll need to be able to call your dog to you and have them come reliably. Therefore, dogs should be trained in basic obedience (come when called, sit, leave it/off), as these cues will be helpful when it’s time to leave, when new dogs arrive, or in case of a scuff le. Lastly, dogs visiting dog parks should be licensed, fully vaccinated, and free from pain and/or illness. 3. Be present. A crucial component of a fun visit to the dog park involves you, the owner. While at the dog park, you are an advocate for

your dog and should remain actively engaged at all times; this is not the time to bury your nose in your phone. Stay near your dog to observe their behavior and interactions, and be prepared to step-in, if needed, to interrupt inappropriate behavior, regardless of your dog’s role in the interaction. If your dog doesn’t seem to be enjoying themselves, be prepared to leave. Remember, just because you might be having fun doesn’t mean your dog is. Similarly, if another dog and/or person is not obeying the rules and unresponsive to reminders and/or otherwise making you uncomfortable, the best thing to do is remove yourself and your dog from the situation. It’s important to note that, while many dogs enjoy the company of other dogs and people, for some dogs it’s not a fun experience. Obviously, if your dog doesn’t like being around other dogs and/or people, the dog park probably isn’t the right place for outdoor fun. If you’re not sure how your dog will react, a safe way to test it out is to walk around the outside of the dog park fence with your dog on a leash. Allow the dog to observe what is happening in the park, and if they are calm and not over-stimulated, try bringing them in. For more resources on dog park etiquette, visit the Mascoma Valley Dog Park Supporters website (www.mascomavalleydogpark.com). We look forward to seeing you and your pups at the dog park or another dog-friendly recreation area soon!

Kerry & George Lazarus of Canaan found a nice ride for "Checkers"

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Truckin’ with Charlie Marina Welch - Lebanon, NH

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n the spring of 2018, a dog named Charlie came to the Upper Valley Humane Society. He was surrendered to UVHS because he had a habit of escaping—he liked to be on the move! At UVHS, each animal has a loving place to stay for however long it takes to find their home. For Charlie, that took over 7 months. Although all of the staff immediately fell in love with him, he was a large dog with a lot of energy. He also had to be the only animal in his new home. Charlie required someone special—someone who would understand his need to be on the move. While most dogs would be content with soft beds and fun toys, Charlie’s habit of escaping showed that he craved more—a life of adventure! And did he ever find it! Charlie was the first animal adopted in 2019 after waiting for over 7 months. He finally found his new person—Aaron, a truck driver in search of a travel companion. As they drove away, the staff at UVHS wished them well and asked to hear from them in a month. Not truly expecting a detailed follow up, everyone was surprised when Aaron sent an email filled with photos, a map of their route thus far, and a wonderful love note about Charlie. “So, Charlie and I have traveled around the country and continue to do so. Charlie is absolutely amazing. He is (outside of his issues with other dogs and small animals) just a perfect companion. He is very well behaved and I know someone loved him before and invested time in training him. I am a very lucky person to have him.” In just their first month together, the two traveled across the country and back! Charlie got to see the sites as they trucked through North Carolina, Montana, California, and Georgia! Buckled up on a comfy bed in the passenger seat, he seemed to be enjoying his new life of adventure! Everyone at UVHS was thrilled to hear how well Charlie was doing and told Aaron as much. The sense of excitement hadn’t truly waned yet when Aaron sent another email a month later! “I am thrilled that you are thrilled. I took far too many pictures this past month and I couldn’t decide on just three but also didn’t want to send the whole album.  February for Charlie and I started with a whimper as our truck had broken down in North Carolina. We spent the whole week in a hotel. We got back on the road for two weeks and broke down again in Ohio. This time for 4 days. But I got a brand new truck for our troubles and got back on the road. We went as far south as Jacksonville, FL with temperatures at 90 degrees and as far north as Lebanon, NH. We traveled as far west as Green River, Wyoming and even made it up to Eau Claire, Wisconsin!” All of the traveling that Charlie has experienced so far has certainly satisfied his need to be on the move! No 36 4 Legs & a Tail

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more escape attempts! Charlie and Aaron both got the perfect gift to start the New Year—a best bud and travel companion! Their story is a shining example of UVHS’ mission: to inspire compassion for all living creatures and strengthen the bond between animals and the people they love; to help build a community in which all pets are loved. Because each animal at UVHS has a place to stay for as long as it takes to be adopted, some are here for many months. But the long wait is worth it when they leave UVHS with their new, loving family.

Aaron with Charlie

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Suitor or Diner? Gary Lee Tuesday, March 26th 6:45 am The Birds et al. I am embedded in my morning ritual with a klatsch of morning friends: my cat Skunky, perched on her lookout platform (which doubles as a kitchen table) , Mr. Coffee, whom I hold in twohanded embrace for warmth —the air outside is a chilly 19 degrees and some of it has seeped through the walls during the night— plus a cast of tens of various feathered and rodent-like creatures. Through paned windows, hazy with the blue-grey dust of winter, I watch chickadees, nuthatches, titmice and a cardinal flit between bush and feeders. In the last five days they have put on their spring voices. These golden, seasonal melodies are, note for note, the same as when I was a child. I love the timeless feeling of these sounds. It gives me a sense of solid ground under my feet where all else is flux and shape shifting. It is the sound of grace. The Animal As dawn defeats dark, these creatures are revealed in increasing numbers. Skunky expresses some interest in the scurry of wildlife below the feeder — though I realize that her interest has diminished significantly over the past three years. She can take or leave the small red squirrels now which before were irresistible in their just-right size and jerky movements not unlike that of a fishing lure. Her muscles tighten momentarily and relax as a confused and squawky mix of creatures fight for dominion on a small area of lawn where sunflower seeds and corn kernels have fallen. Her predatory sense still smolders within and manifests in her occasional chattering and tail twitches. But they have gone deeper now. Fading impulses that used to whisper when to keep still and scream when to lunge, are now just whispers that transform into yawns. She relaxes and rests her head in slumber on the table. This is our morning 38 4 Legs & a Tail

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ritual. Skunky and me and Mr. Coffee. It’s a comfortable trio with which to spend this early hour and often my peak experience of the day. The Other Animal Skunky startles me by jumping to her feet. Her wide-eyed attention is on whatever is behind me outside. A faint gurgling growl rises in pitch almost to caterwaul. She is agitated. Whatever she sees, I know, isn’t one of the usual suspects come to check out the buffet menu at the feeder pole. I swivel my chair ever so slowly around for a peek. With the many shadows still on the lawn, I see only a penumbral outline of what appears to be a fat, squatting rabbit with ears pushed back. Despite my movement, this animal’s gaze seems to include only Skunky. It keeps its ground. As my eyes adjust slightly, the rabbit turns into a large cat. That of a neighbor I wonder? Seems pretty big for that! Squinting a bit, I see the short thick hair, tufted ears, spots, and facial markings I know to be that of a bobcat! This looked like the one I’d seen three days ago strolling casually along the crown of my own Old Spofford Road, muscles rippling in tiny waves along its sleek body and lapping over raised haunches. Its trim and graceful body mimicked the strut of an olympic gymnast approaching the mat. Just passing through in search of better hunting grounds I thought? Then it occurred to me that the brush piles I’ve established over the past 30 years have probably resulted in vast critter condominiums, its tenants an array of delectable fleshy snacks that no fox, coyote, or bobcat could pass on. Perhaps he had decided to take up residence in my back yard. I love the wildness of where I live and enjoy the variety of animals that visit, but am ambivalent about a bobcat sharing the same small domain as Skunky The Continued Next Page

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Elder. Several minutes pass. The rising sun now clarifies the situation. The feline cousins remain attached at the eyes. Skunky’s growl diminishes to guttural spurts and the uninvited breakfast guest’s crouch relaxes. Him, I think, or Her? It is spring after all and my cat is not unattractive albeit in an age group well beyond that of the youngster outside. The lust-driving vernal force of the animal world is powerful and unpredictable. Can it trump hunger and transcend age differences? Better a suitor than a diner I think, but still worry about letting my cat out to share the playground with this powerful predator lurking about. What’s more, any lustful gestures of his would be strongly rejected by my senior cat. How well do bobcats handle rejection? Apparently, I am not a participant in this staring contest so decide it a good opportunity to fetch my camera. I take several photos; one from my kitchen, two others from a window in the living room. Did “Mr. Bob” suddenly realize the hopelessness of the situation or has his stomach overpowered his amour? Apparently a sudden sound or motion to his right commands his attention and he quickly slinks away maintaining his low crouching posture, albeit in a more predatory presentation. I go outside with my camera to see

if I can get a few more photos without the dirty glass between the two of us. But the last remnant of snow is crunchy and loud. He’d have to be stone deaf not to hear me I think! Nevertheless, I get to the corner of the house and, with finger on the shutter button, jump into view of where I thought he might still be. Behold! Only three feet in front of me, standing still, straight and tall! … the lilac bush. Inside, Skunky paws the glass door to be let out. I pause, thinking again about the interloper’s intentions toward my precious pet … and open the door. Darting into the chilly air she melds into a raucous mix of birds and mammals in a whirlwind of spring rituals. I witness her demeanor changing as she awakens to her hunter spirit, dormant since early winter. She’s off at a trot and carries a serious to-do list. I watch her meanderings from the side window as she smells the ground and the corners of the outbuildings searching, it seems, for the owner of a peculiar and undocumented odor. More alive now, more cat, she looks younger. Meanwhile, I find a forsaken Mr. Coffee on the bathroom sink—he always wonders off when my back is turned— and stick him in the microwave. Now there is a flock of twelve mourning doves that dominate the pecking grounds. For no apparent reason, they panic and fly off in a scatter of a cappella wing whistles, vanishing into a copse of grey maples. The rodents scurry in spirals then straight away in the four directions, some up trees and others into black holes in the rock wall. Except for the swinging of the feeders, it is suddenly quiet and still as death at the feeder pole. I grab the hot cup from the oven and head outside, nervously reconnoitering the back yard for a Skunky presence. So ghostly hushed is it that I hear (or think I do) steam rising from my cup as I walk the perimeter of my property. Intuitively, I don’t like this feeling though I am comforted by the thought that she has been incarcerated since mid December and has business to tend. Certainly she will be back for lunch after she has had time to work off her winter sloth. And Mr. Bob? No worries about him. Cats are NOT cannibalistic! At least not that I’ve ever heard. Are they? Hmmm… maybe I should Google this one! Suitor or diner? Gary Lee works in partnership with Monadnock Humane Society and is creator of Ten Thousand Eyes, the petfinder website which uses technology AND people (micro-volunteers) in reuniting cats and dogs with their families.

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The Purr-fect Companion D

Danielle DeVost

arrell Lavoie has had a long struggle with diabetes, eventually losing his lower limbs, some of his vision, and some muscle control. He lives alone with his cat in Windsor, VT, with the help of Long-Term Care from Visiting Nurse & Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire (VNH). An important ingredient in Darrell’s ability to live independently is the company of his 2-year-old cat, Vanna. He adopted her from Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society. “She was the first cat that I looked at. I knew right away! After she came in, I said, ‘I don’t want another one—I want her.’” Vanna is a snuggly cat who loves attention, affection, and headbutts. “Vanna is my world,” says Darrell. She’s a small, smoothhaired gray cat, named after Vanna White. “She’s Daddy’s Girl. And she’s so smart!” Darrell has some great anecdotes about his clever young cat. For instance, she loves to drink running water out of the faucet and has learned how to turn the running water off on command by headbutting the lever. “I’ll say, ‘Are you done? Shut off the water,’ and then she turns it off with her head!” “She also taught herself how to turn on the Christmas lights in the window,” says Darrell proudly. “The box is set to a motion detector, and she taught herself how to turn it on by waving her paw in front of it until the lights come on.” Vanna is even a part of VNH’s daily home visits. “When you are sitting in the recliner, she will jump up in your lap, stand up with both feet on your chest, and expect you to pat her and headbutt you the whole time,” says Dawna, a VNH Personal Care Attendant who has been caring for Darrell for several years and has a personal relationship with both Darrell and Vanna. Vanna is young and very energetic. She keeps active by playing with toys and interacting with people. When Darrell first adopted Vanna, one of the VNH staff members brought a basket of toys that her cats didn’t use anymore to give to Darrell. The basket stays in the living room, and Vanna picks and chooses from it at her leisure. Her favorite toys are the plastic lattice balls with bells inside, that she can bat around or carry from room to room. “I would die without my cat,” says Darrell. She lights up the apartment with her energy and personality, running through rooms and sliding on the wood floors. Darrell knows how lucky he is to have such a great companion and gives Vanna a loving and affectionate home.

Darrell with Vanna

Danielle DeVost, Marketing Specialist at Visiting Nurse & Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire conducted the interview with Darrell Lavoie for the VNH Fall 2018 Newsletter. While visiting with him, she was so moved by his heartwarming relationship with Vanna that she wanted to share the story. To learn more about VNH’s Long Term Care services, go to www.vnhcare.org or call 1-888.300.8853.

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The Paw House Inn I

t all started back in 2001 when the frustration Jen and Mitch Frankenberg encountered in their travels, inspired them to create a travel destination that is designed entirely for dog lovers. The couple lef t their jobs in New York City, packed up their two goofy labs, disregarded everyone’s warnings, and created a dream come true - a “dogcentric” Vermont getaway with all of the comforts of home, including your dog. The Paw House Inn in West Rutland is all that and a whole lot more! The Historic 1786 Farmhouse The Paw House” was built in 1786 by Elijah Smith, the Grandson of Captain John Smith. Through the years the owners of this magnificent farmhouse have maintained much of t he or ig inal t reasures while adding beautiful and special touches of their own. 42 4 Legs & a Tail

Since 1786, many dogs have lived on the property. Many people claim that the ghosts of bygone spirits roam freely throughout the inn.  “We’ve seen them too!  Don’t be too concerned!” says innkeeper Stephanie Reed.   “As dog lovers ourselves, the spirits look out for us and add a beautiful dimension to the property.” The yard offers many treasures as well. Two-hundred-year-old lilac bushes surround an outdoor sitting area that overlooks the best darn sledding hill in all of New England. In the spr ing and summer, our backyard explodes with the color of wildf lowers. The tree-line, which represents the bound ar y of our property, explodes with color in September and October. A running river some 100 yards away can be heard on quiet nights. And, for the dogs,  Paw House Park is a fencedin agility course that is enjoyed in every season.

The Paw House Inn has dispelled a l l not ions t h at a dog-f r iend ly hotel should be second rate. Each of their immaculate, first class, dog-themed accommodations are lovingly designed for human and canine comfort.  Every private guest room features a king or queen bed, a private bathroom, comfortable seating, all the requisite amenities, custom built dog beds, air conditioning in the warmer months, and easy access to our beautiful grounds all year round. Most rooms have an electric fireplace stove for added warmth and ambiance in winter. Several rooms can sleep up to four humans. All rooms have access to a guest k itchene t te w it h a ref r igerator, dishes, utensils, wine glasses, a prep area, a microwave, and pretty much anything you might need to prepare a simple lunch, dinner, or snack for yourself or your dog(s). Summer 2019


Breakfast at the Paw House Inn

Depending upon travel dates and room choice, nightly rates for two humans and up to two dogs include use of their on-site, dogcare facility, unlimited access to our massive fenced in dog park with agility course, a full country breakfast for humans, and a great time for all.   It is with great excitement that The Paw House is now accepting reservations in their brand new digs - Brooklyn’s Bungalow and The Koko Kabana.  The goal is to provide the highest level of comfort and privacy within a dog-friendly cottage.   Both stand-alone cottages feature cathedral ceilings, oversized windows for an expansive view of Vermont’s landscape, king accommodations, a cozy sitting area, trundle dog beds to maximize both space and comfort, a kitchenette with cooking space, an electric fireplace, flat screen tv, and a well-apportioned bathroom. Continued Next Page

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Koko’s Kabana features a fabulous open floor plan for families while Brooklyn’s Bungalow is designed as a romantic couple’s retreat but can also accommodate families. Mario’s Playhouse Mario’s Playhouse is a custom built doggie facility that is available exclusively as a courtesy for overnight guests who wish to explore Vermont and leave their dogs in their care. In the Playhouse each family has a large indoor and climate controlled space that is large enough to comfortably accommodate three large dogs. Use of the Playhouse is available 24/7. From 10 am - 4 pm they are happy - no eager - to walk and play with your dog(s).  (It is their favorite part of the day.) . In the evenings Mario’s Playhouse is the pawfect place to provide your dogs with a safe and comfortable environment while you enjoy a night on the town.  Paw House Park  Situated in their beautiful backyard, The Paw House off-leash park has dimensions about half the size of a football field and is completely fenced-in. The park is home to dogcentric activities such as picnicking, dog agility, playtime, and general romping. The park is easily accessed from the inn and the Playhouse. Guests are welcome to utilize Paw House Park at any time, day or night. Breakfast Breakfast at The Paw House Inn is the favorite time of day.  Guests linger over fresh-brewed coffee and enjoy warm, out-of-the-oven muffins.  A healthy fruit salad accompanies the main course, which may include our savory, signature omelets or homemade “wooffles” drizzled with Vermont maple syrup.  Whenever possible, they use local fresh produce.  And with a little notice, they are happy to accommodate dietary restrictions such as gluten-free and vegan. All wellbehaved dogs are welcome too! Considering Vermont boasts the highest percentage of pet ownership in the country, it is no surprise to find a place like The Paw House Inn nestled here in the Green Mountain State.

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Fore!

Legs and a Tail M

Ron McPherson

y name is Ron McPherson I am a disabled veteran who has a Mobilit y ser v ice dog named is KRIEGER. I love playing golf however some years back I had to give it up because of my disability.

One day the recreational therapist at the VA hospital in White River Junction Vermont informed me about an Ad aptive Golf Clinic that was being offered for disabled veterans. I was reluctant to attend but curious. The golf Pro had ordered a special cart called a Solo Rider. It is a golf cart for one person with a seat that swivels and then raises up the golfer almost in a standing position allowing him to hit the golf ball. I attended the clinic to try out the Golf Cart and was astounded that I could  hit the golf ball WITHOUT falling. Granted it did not look pretty, but I hit the ball anyway!  After the initial clinic, the recreational therapist told us about New England Disabled Sports, a nonprofit organization that helps individuals with disabilities play sports. Each week in the summer they hold free golf clinics at Owl's Nest Resort & Golf Club in Thorton, NH. I would drive two hours up and two hours back just to get instruction on the golf course and driving range. If this sounds crazy, you are correct.

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People ask me what does Krieger do for fun? Does he get to run in the back yard or play catch? The answer is no because we can’t be separated.  I can’t run and I never was a good catcher! So we improvise. When you see Krieger you will note how well behaved he is, a perfect citizen at all times doing his job. But when we get home and remove his working gear he becomes SUPER PUPPY flying through the house like a mad man, grabbing a ball, giving it to me so I will throw it down the hall and he will return it again and again.   There is a saying that “a tired service dog is a happy service dog. One of those things that makes him tired is this; he loves to play golf. He misses the activities in the winter as much as I do. We had to train Krieger to ride in a golf cart safely, not to distract other golfers, not to chase after the ball, and not to hit it with his paw when it rolls by. (I’m trying to teach him how to pick the ball up with his teeth and drop it into the cup.)  IT hasn’t been easy to train him in golf etiquette. After all his job is to keep me vertical. When I would swing the club he would go ballistic

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thinking I was going to fall. The crucial part of this whole thing is when I take a full swing the dog can’t be anywhere near me for fear that I might hurt him. So my wife holds him back behind the golf cart so he can’t see me, however he does see me by looking underneath the cart and whines. When I am on the green putting Krieger is by my side. My wife captured a picture of us putting, both Krieger and I are following the ball with our eyes as it drops in for the win! Spring 2018 I gave up the Solo Rider to a 12 year old girl who needed it more than I did. I had developed the confidence through training and that is what allowed me to make that decision. Whe n I w a s he a lt hy I w ou ld play in two or three tournaments a year. Last year my dog and I played i n 7 t ou r n ame nt s s pon s or e d by New England Disabled Sports and Northeast Passage. This summer my goal along with Krieger is to walk the course. I am g rat e f u l t o G od, t he VA Hospit al, New England Disabled Sports and SUPER PUPPY for opening up my world again. Ron McPherson served with 502 Air Mobil 101st in Fort Campbell KY. First in 65. Three years Europe, Germany and France. Last duty station was Instructor Parachute Rigging in Fort Lee Virginia

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CUSHING’S DISEASE Catherine MacLean, DVM - Grantham, NH

C

ushing’s Disease, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, is a disease that occurs most commonly in dogs when their adrenal glands produce too much cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that is released under stressful events. Cortisol is needed for normal bodily function, but when too much cortisol is produced, it can have harmful consequences. Cushing’s Disease can be either pituitary dependent or non-pituitary dependent. About 80% of patients with Cushing’s Disease have pituitary

dependent Cushing’s. Pituitary dependent Cushing’s disease is caused by a benign tumor on the pituitary gland. This tumor causes the pituitary gland to tell the adren a l g l a n d to ove r p ro d u c e t h e cortisol hormone. The other 20% of Cushing’s Disease, is where dogs overproduce cortisol due to a tumor on the adrenal gland. The tumor on the adrenal gland is often malignant. How do you know if your dog has Cushing’s Disease? It can be hard to recognize the clinical signs at home since they are often non-specific. • Dogs with Cushing’s Disease will often drink more and urinate more • Increased appetite • Hair lose on their body and tail • Increased panting • Darkening of the skin • Recurrent urinary tract or skin infections • A potbellied appearance. Your veterinarian will need to do diagnostic tests to determine if your dog has Cushing’s Disease since it cannot be diagnosed only be clinical signs. General bloodwork will help rule in or out other illnesses and diseases that can also cause the above clinical signs. There can also be several abnormal values in general bloodwork that may make your veterinarian suspicious of Cushing’s Disease. There is another screening test that can be done called a urine cor tisol: creatinine ratio. This test cannot officially diagnose Cushing’s Disease, but if the ratio is elevated, then additional more specific testing would be required. If the cortisol: creatinine ratio comes back normal, then it is more unlikely t hat Cushing’s is a concer n. The two other more specific tests are a Low Dose Dexamethasone Suppression Test and the ACTH Stimulation Test. The Low Dose Dexamethasone Suppression Test can often distinguish between pituitary dependent and non-pituitary dependent Cushing’s.

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After your dog is diagnosed with Cushing’s, you will have to decide if you want to treat him or not. If a dog with Cushing’s Disease is having clinical signs, treatment is normally recommended. Without treatment, the clinical signs such as increased urination, skin issues, etc. will most likely get worse. Dogs with untreated Cushing’s may also have a hard time healing and recovering from infections. If your dog doesn’t have any clinical signs, treatment is not necessarily recommended since the medication will not prolong your pet’s life. In patients with clinical signs of Cushing’s, treatment is often recommended because it makes the patient feel better and usually helps control the clinical signs. Treatment usually involves medication, but when a tumor is present on the adrenal gland, surgery may be recommended. Unfortunately, Cushing’s is often an expensive disease to treat. The medication can be costly and there is a lot of monitoring with bloodwork that will be needed over the rest of your dog’s life. Dogs w ith Cushing’s Disease can develop other diseases or have concurrent diseases at the same time. These diseases can include diabetes, high blood pressure, and sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS) to name a few. Owners need to be prepared t h at i f t heir dog h as Cush ing’s Disease, they may need to treat other diseases as well. The r e i s no w ay t o p r e ve nt Cushing’s Disease ; but reg ular exams, annual bloodwork screening, and recog nizing potential clinical signs can lead to an early diagnosis. The advantage of an early diagnosis is the ability to manage clinical signs earlier and possibly diagnose other diseases associated with Cushing’s so that treatment can be started sooner and hopefully help your pet have a more comfortable life. 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. Summer 2019

Middle aged or dogs over the age of 10 are more prone to Cushing’s disease

Breeds more prone to Cushing’s disease Include: Poodles

Yorkshire Terriers

Boxers

Dachshunds

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Alternatively Speaking:

A Holistic Approach to an Injury-Free Summer A

Dr. Anne Carroll DVM, CVA

h, summer. It is a welcome return to warm long days and more outdoor fun for the whole family, including our dogs. Sometimes this means a leisurely stroll or supervising yard work, but often it is the time for chasing Frisbees, fetching balls, and going on long hikes and swims. Activity is terrific for moderating insulin stress and getting nutrient-rich blood into every corner of the body. But for dogs that don’t exercise regularly or are at risk for injuries, some care is warranted to avoid a fun outing ending in an injury that may put a damper on the rest of the season. In this article, we will discuss how to recognize potential problems in our dogs in advance and take action to reduce the chance of your dog being sidelined this summer. Eddie enjoying his new home in Vermont In order to avoid injuries, let’s first consider how they occur. When vet- usually from traumatic accidents. Most erinarians see dogs with pain it is not orthopedic issues start long before that first lameness visit, as chronic inflammation slowly weakens tissues until things degrade to the point of ligament failure, joint arthritis, or back pain. As four-legged animals, the dog’s anatomy has different demands than their upright family members. Both front and rear ends must coordinate with each other to allow for the exquisite twisting and swerving they can do at top speeds. This requires a flexible spine. While strong bones are important, it is the “soft” tissues, the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that orchestrate this coordination, tightening and stretching to keep the whole body in balance. Stretching stress is normal and helps the body know where it needs to strengthen. Just like a callus forms where the skin is being rubbed, ligaments and muscles will strengthen under use. However, if there is abnormal stress on a joint, or inflammation from dietary or circulatory issues, soft tissues weaken. Now they are prone to small strains, leading to more inflammation, scarring, and further decreases in strength and flexibility. With a restricted range of motion injury is even more likely even during regular activities, and inevitably a visible failure occurs. Ideally, we would take action before breakdowns happen by identifying areas needing protection. As young 50 4 Legs & a Tail

pups mature, we can look for physical and genetic factors that indicate orthopedic challenges. Take Eddie for example. He found his forever home in Vermont after leaving Puerto Rico with his littermates. It is hard to guess Eddie’s heritage, he is an adorable mix, but overall he is built long and a bit low like a Basset Hound, with curved front legs. His body type means Eddie’s joints and back will be at risk for stress, so we’d like a plan to protect them starting while he is young. Risk factors in other dogs may not be so dramatic but are no less important. For example, straight rear legs with little angle at the knees stretch knee ligaments like someone always going downhill, or high hips put excess load on front legs and upper back. Even with normal conformation, many purebreds are prone to knee, back or joint flaws that only become evident after months or years of use, so we need to physically protect developing bones and joints during growth. Toy breed pups can’t jump off a chair without risking fractures, while large breed adolescent dogs do not have adult muscles to support their joints so should avoid hard exercise. Regular play is fine, but jogging or an hour of daily fetch sets the stage for arthritis and ligament failure later on, especially if the pup is overweight or eats too many processed carbs. Dietary inflammation weakens ligaments and is a major factor in the Summer 2019


development of hip dysplasia (hip ligaments) and knee failures (cruciate ligaments) in susceptible breeds, especially if we have conformation stress as on those joints as well. Beyond puppyhood, we still watch for clues that issues are brewing. Any lameness complaint warrants investigation, but dogs don’t always advertise their aches and pains. Take Hackett for example, a 7-year-old Golden Retriever. He enjoyed romping outdoors with his older dog brother Buddy and did not have any lameness to speak of. But his owners did notice that after hard play he would favor his right rear leg for a short time before being normal again. They mentioned this at his annual exam and were starting joint supports and adjusting his diet but a few weeks later he came inside from playing on only 3 legs, and it did not get better. Despite the hobble, he could run just fine given the opportunity to chase a squirrel, so his owner was surprised when we diagnosed a torn right cruciate knee ligament. Hackett is not unique in the way he was injured or his response to pain. He did not do anything extreme, his knee simply gave out and the only clue of a smoldering issue was that occasional mild limp. Dogs largely ignore the pain and may not feel a thing when motivated to run, so just because they can do so joyfully is not a guarantee they are ok. If a symptom recurs, even if minor, damage is occurring and it is time to intervene. Small tears and strains may cause passing soreness your dog may not even show, but like a worn tire that hits one too many potholes, a tissue will ‘suddenly’ give out completely when the body stretches farther than it can bear. So now that we know how to keep an eye out for potential weaknesses, let’s talk about ways to minimize the chance of injury. Early on, the focus is mainly on nutrition. To avoid inflammation we strive to keep the diet low in processed carbs and keep a lean weight. If possible, it should include some fresh foods known to support orthopedic structures such as chicken necks, or bone broth. Fish oils or turmeric can improve joint circulation, and cooked veggies can provide essential minerals. Your dog’s diet should be discussed with your vet to meet their specific needs, especially if they are still growing like Eddie. He also had digestive concerns and needed a plain diet so we used whole-food supplements. These concentrates are also useful for more advanced issues like Hackett’s injury, to go beyond dietary support to address an active injury. The second focus is appropriate

Hackett & Buddy on a lazy summer day

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exercise. Physical activity is essential to good health, but not all exercise is created equal. In Eddie’s case, we need to limit or avoid activities that involve repeated high impact on his front end. He should not go jogging or play games that involve skidding or twisting stops, such as Frisbee or fetch. Instead, we should teach him to swim and fetch within the pond so he is not racing in and out of the water. Moderately flat and short hikes are also great, and dogs can do therapeutic exercises to help prevent or heal injuries just like we do. The need to modify exercise varies with the circumstances, but as a rule, dogs should avoid activities that stress their weakest

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points, or that make them visibly sore. If you know your dog’s favorite game causes stiffness, try to eliminate the most harmful part, go out individually to avoid roughhousing, or shorten play to avoid discomfort and substitute a new game like hide and seek. As a side note – never play fetch with a stick! Sticks become spears that can impale your dog’s mouth if caught end first, whether in the air or from the ground where they landed like a javelin. Always use toys designed to be fetch sticks for safe play. Of course, we can’t prevent all problems. For dogs with clear symptoms of pain, some degree of breakdown has occurred and then we add therapies to

promote circulation and reduce active inflammation to assist healing. In our office we use nutraceuticals, Chinese herbs, acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, and electromagnetic therapy; but physical therapy, massage, and Reiki are examples of the many other good options available. For Hackett’s knee, we started supports while waiting to see if he was going to be a candidate for surgery. Besides diet and rest, and he is taking a mix of nutritional and herbal supplements to strengthen ligament tissues and increase circulation to his knee, which is key to healing. Since anti-inflammatory drugs can interfere with healing, in the long run, he switched to electromagnetic therapy at home, and so far he is able to use his leg carefully. Injuries to bone, muscle or ligaments take months to heal and longer to regain their original strength. So in the short term Hackett should be only going out for short bathroom breaks on a leash, and for entertainment, he has chew toys or can learn new tricks. When activity is reintroduced, it will carefully avoid stressing those knee ligaments for months to come. Whether he has surgery or not, physical therapy can be helpful to strengthen his injured leg and retrain him to use it normally again so he does not continue to stress his back or other leg out of habit. Everybody has its potential orthopedic weaknesses. Being mindful of those issues and proactively addressing them is the ideal approach to allow our dogs to enjoy a physically active life for as long as possible. That does not mean keeping them in a bubble, they need to enjoy the physical world, running and jumping if only to express how happy they are to see us. But we can help minimize stress to their atrisk areas if we teach them to find joy in a belly rub as much as leaping up and down. So whether you are starting off with a young healthy dog, or helping one through orthopedic problems later in life, check in with your vet to discuss how to use alternative medicine to nourish, strengthen and to restore mobility so they can have the most active fun summer to suit their abilities, including some jumping, injury free! 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. Summer 2019


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You want ME to brush my dog's WHAT?

Do you know why you should brush your own teeth?

Daily brushing in combination with regular professional cleaning is the only way to prevent periodontal disease. Periodontal Disease is an infection of the tissues surrounding the tooth, progressing in severity from gum inflammation (gingivitis) to loss of the bone around the root of the tooth eventually leading to loss of the tooth. While it is progressive, it can vary from inert to very active and usually varies in severity from one tooth Sandra L Waugh VMD, MS to another in the same mouth. Periodontal disease is present in up to 80% of dogs 3 years old and up. It is the most prevalent disease in our small animal pets. Recent studies show that it does have serious consequences for our pets. Infectious bacteria can enter the blood stream through the inflamed gingiva and travel to the heart, liver, brain and kidneys, causing damage to these vital organs. It shortens the life span of our pets. It robs our pets of energy and enthusiasm, making them act “old” at too young an age. It leaves them in chronic pain, and it causes horribly stinky “doggy breath”. The good news is that none of this need happen. Periodontal disease is preventable.

At what age do I start brushing the teeth? From birth to seven months of age, the deciduous (baby) teeth are erupting and being shed as the permanent teeth erupt, leaving irritated and sore gums. Brushing is not advised. Use this time to train your dog to allow you to touch the lips and teeth. Put toothpaste on the teeth with your finger, avoiding any areas that look irritated or painful. When your dog is seven months of age, he or she can have the teeth cleaned while undergoing a spay/neuter operation. Then you will be able to start brushing the teeth in a clean mouth.

How to Brush Teeth? Brush your dog’s teeth as you brush your own. Hold the toothbrush at a 45º angle to the gum line and moving the brush in a slightly circular and slightly back and forth motion on the tooth. Your dog has 42 teeth, some of them far back in the mouth, so be sure you brush all of the teeth. Start by brushing just the outer surfaces.

Know a Little Training: When you first begin to brush your pet’s teeth, you are both learning a new skill. So, give yourself and your pet a break! Don’t expect perfection from either of you. Take your time and think of accomplishing small, easy steps,and praising yourself and your pet every day. The basic mantra is, “Ask for little steps, ask frequently, praise a lot”. In no time at all you will be brushing like a pro. Break the tasks into logical steps. Move to the next step only when you and your pet are comfortable with the current task. • Start by petting the cheeks, lifting the lips and lightly holding the muzzle while your dog remains calmly in a sitting or lying down position. • Then touch a tooth with your finger. The canine (fang) tooth is the easiest. Progressively touch more teeth until you can slide your finger around the entire outside of the mouth. Put a gauze or piece of cheesecloth on your finger, and soak it in bouillon, peanut butter or cream cheese. • Put some toothpaste on your finger, or on a piece of gauze. Move this around the outside surfaces of the teeth. • Put paste on a toothbrush and start brushing. Start with the canine tooth. Get comfortable with the motion in the front of the mouth before moving to the back. You may brush only one or two teeth the first day or the first week – this is OK!! • Give you and your pet 3 – 4 weeks to reach your goal of brushing the outside of all the teeth once a day smoothly and confidently. • Give your dog a hug, praise, and a little treat when you are done brushing. Eating will not “undo” the brushing, as we are not concerned about cavities. (Do not give candy to your dog!)

Supplies you will need: While a soft human toothbrush can be used, there are toothbrushes specially designed for use in dogs, which make the process easier. Do not use human toothpaste, fluoride and detergents in the paste can upset your dog’s stomach. Human toothpaste is meant to be spit out. Pet toothpaste comes in a variety of flavors designed to attract your pet and are safe to swallow. • Have a different brush for each pet. Use a different colored rubber band around the neck of the brush if the brushes are identical. • After each brushing, rinse the brush thoroughly and air dry. • Replace the brush when the bristles become splayed or at least every 2 months. 54 4 Legs & a Tail

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Once you are comfortable with brushing the outside, you can learn to brush the inside of the teeth. Ask your dog to open the jaws to access the inside of the mouth: • On the side of the face, behind the canine tooth, the cheek teeth are small enough to allow the tip of your thumb into the mouth. • Pressing your thumb into this space will prompt your dog to open the mouth. • Put your hand over the muzzle to brush the upper teeth, your hand under the lower jaw to brush the lower teeth. • For either jaw, once the mouth is open, insert the toothbrush into the mouth and start brushing the incisors (small teeth in the front using a back and forth motion while progressing from one side to the other. • The cheek teeth are brushed by sliding the brush back and forth along the gum line. The lower jaw cheek teeth are the most difficult to brush because the tongue will be in your way. Be patient, and keep practicing, eventually you will be brushing this area as well. In the meantime, these teeth benefit from the presence of the tongue and have the lowest amount of periodontal disease of any area in the mouth.

Electric toothbrushes: You can train your medium to large size dog to accept an electric toothbrush, and you will find it very easy to brush the teeth and see what you are doing at the same time. Train your dog to accept a regular toothbrush first, and then brush with the electric toothbrush for a few days, without turning it on. This will get your dog used to the shape of the brush. Next, place your dog in a corner of the room, facing away from the corner, so that moving backwards is impossible. Put the electric brush into the back of the mouth on the outside of the teeth, turn it on and brush the teeth. You might do only a portion of the mouth if your dog seems upset or nervous. It is better for you to voluntarily cease using the electric brush then for your dog to force you to stop. Summer 2019

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


All in a Day’s Work Scott Borthwick - Canaan, NH

A

s a Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator, I am asked all the time “ What do you do all day?”. Well, not every day is the same. All types of wildlife cause all sorts of problems. For example, recently we were called to remove a porcupine from someone’s basement. Spring breeding season for skunks brought in a ton of calls and we all know the problem they cause. Bats in houses, snakes in houses, weasels in houses, and squirrels in houses make up a lot of our calls.

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Animals in chimneys, beavers flooding roads and causing damage to trees, we also deal with predators killing livestock and/or pets. Installation of chimney caps, bat houses, and screening around decks and outbuildings to keep out pests. We certainly cover a broad range of problems in a day’s work but mostly we drive. Sometimes 200 miles a day checking traps. Cage type traps can be checked by the homeowner and then they call if something is in the trap. But other types of traps have to be checked daily and not every house we deal with has someone home all the time. Some are vacation homes, rentals, or businesses with no one there on the weekends. So we have to check daily. Today I drove to Newport, NH to check multiple beaver traps. Then off to another location in the same town checking a woodchuck trap. From there I headed to Sunapee to check another woodchuck trap then to New London for the same reason. After New London, I headed to Alexandria for more beaver problems. Catching the four beaver there so far. Back on the road this time to Lyme, NH for more woodchucks, Hanover next for multiple locations, catching one woodchuck and then Quechee, Vt. for five different woodchuck traps. One of the traps caught an opossum whose population is growing in the Upper Valley region. Finally back to Canaan to check a skunk trap and then head back to the office to respond to numerous calls for the upcoming week. A little over 200 miles for the day. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention today is Sunday. 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. Summer 2019


Loons and Lead Poisoning Catherine Greenleaf

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ver the years, I have received quite a number of injured loons at my center. Many of them are admitted with head trauma and bodily injuries from being struck by jet-skis and high-powered motor boats. Some of them come in hopelessly entangled in monofilament fishing line, resulting in deep lacerations and nerve damage. And some of them arrive with fishing hooks embedded inside their throats and stomachs, causing hemorrhaging and infection. But by far the most disturbing problem I see in loons is lead poisoning. For decades, sinkers and jigs have been made of lead. While popular with fishermen, lead, unfortunately, is a neurotoxin and is deadly, especially for loons. Swallowing Poison Just how do loons end up ingesting lead sinkers and jigs? A loon regularly digs in the sand at the bottom of a lake with its beak, looking for small stones, which it swallows in order to help digest its food. Unfortunately, they can inadvertently swallow lead sinkers. In addition, fish that break the line and get away from fishermen are often swallowed up later by loons – hook, line and sinker. Then there are loons who will follow lures and gobble up the fish as it lands on the hook. Instead of reeling in the loon and getting help, fishermen sometimes cut the line, sealing the fate of the bird. As the loon’s gizzard grinds down its food, the lead is also broken down and travels quickly through the bloodstream toward the brain. The neurotoxic effects of lead include blindness, lethargy, confusion, paralysis, tremors, seizures, convulsions, and, almost inevitably, death. Summer 2019

Scientific Study Findings: Lead Kills A loon that ingests even a tiny lead sinker or jig can suffer neurological impairment and death, according to Harry Vogel, executive director and a senior biologist at the Loon Preservation Committee. Reversing the effects of lead Continued Next Page

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poisoning is difficult if not impossible and usually results in a fatality. According to Vogel, lead poisoning is the leading cause of loon mortality in the state of New Hampshire. Research in the Journal of Wildlife Management showed the results of necropsies performed on 253 loons that died between 1989 and 2012. Close to 50 percent of the loons in the study died from lead poisoning. The study showed lead poisoning to be the single, biggest contributing factor in the decrease in the number of loons in the Granite State. There are only 300 breeding pairs of loons left in New Hampshire.

New Hope For Loons For many years the LPC worked tirelessly to pass legislation to ban the use and sale of lead sinkers and jigs of one ounce or less (the size most commonly used on lakes). That legislation was passed and turned into law in 2016. According to Attorney Sheridan Brown, a conservation lawyer who played an instrumental role in helping the LPC get the no-lead legislation passed, fishermen can now buy alternatives to lead, such as bismuth-tin, steel, and tungsten. “These metals perform just as well as lead,” said Brown, a resident of Grantham. “Tungsten has been said to perform better than lead because it is denser and harder than lead, which allows the angler to feel both the bait and biting fish more effectively.” But old habits die hard, and getting fishermen to part with their favorite tackle has not been easy. As a result, Vogel and Brown have teamed up once again, and along with the assistance of New Hampshire Fish and Game, have formed the new Lead Tackle Buy-Back Program. Get The Lead Out The Lead Tackle Buyback Program is the only one of its kind in the U.S. Here’s how it works: a fisherman brings in one ounce or more of lead tackle to a participating bait shop and receives a $10 certificate to purchase non-lead tackle or other fishing equipment of his choice. This added financial incentive seems to be doing the trick. See the twelve participating bait and tackle shops throughout the state at www.loonsafe.org. Lead Coming From Out Of State? Apparently, when it comes to loons and lead, having a large lakes region in the state is both a blessing and a curse. There aren’t many states that can boast a lakes region as extensive as the Winnipesaukee area, which is considered a fisherman’s paradise. The big, unanswered question: how many out-of-state fishermen are bringing lead tackle into New Hampshire? “The out-of-state availability of lead fishing tackle is having a negative impact on the loons,” said Brown. “But by partnering with New Hampshire Fish and Game and local tackle shops,we are greatly increasing the probability of our message reaching them.”

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Catherine Greenleaf is the director of St. Francis Wild Bird Center in Lyme, NH. If you find an injured bird, please call (603) 795-4850. Summer 2019


Lincoln, a 3-year-old goat, was elected this past spring as Fair Haven, Vermont’s, pet mayor with 13 votes. The goat narrowly beat out a dog named Sammie Viger, a Boston Terrier, who came in second with an impressive 11 votes. The pet election was set up by Town Manager Joe Gunter, who told The Rutland Herald that he got the idea while reading a newspaper article about a small town in Michigan doing the same thing. Fair Haven does not have a mayor, but Gunter viewed the exercise as a productive way to raise money for a new playground and teach kids about getting involved in local politics. The election reminded us of a story written several years ago by Kate Kelly. For those frustrated with the current political climate, this may become a trend in 21st century politics.

Mayor of Guffey, Monster the Cat Kate Kelly

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hen looking for amazing stories about dogs, I came upon Shanda, a golden retriever, who served as mayor of Guffey, Colorado from 1993-1998. A RePUPlican, sadly she died in office. As with most internet stories, a paragraph about Shanda cycles from site to site with some changes. This is a somewhat old story so thought I ought to touch bases with the people of Guffey so I had some new information to share.  This became problematic immediately. I could not locate Shanda’s owner who no longer seems to live near Guffey. I believe I found him in Florida but he did not return my call so I turned back to the townspeople. Guffey is a small mountain town and has its own website on which I found a telephone number that seemed to be for tourismtype calls.  My call to that number was answered promptly by Charlie Morreale, who identified himself as an employee at Guffey’s Garage.  (The website mentions that Guffey’s Garage is no longer a working auto garage; the site says “we can help you with propane, ice, and custom welding jobs. We also carry an assortment of new and used plumbing and electrical supplies.”)  The Garage people also seem to have collected “oddities.”  If you want to see the museum’s collection, “ask for the key at the Garage” and you can let yourself in.  Love it…. just like a New York museum! But back to Shanda, the dog mayor.  I asked Charlie about  Shanda, and his reply was a guffaw: “Boy are you out of touch!” “I know that Shanda’s term ended in 1998,” I replied. “I’m calling to find out who replaced Shanda.” Shanda Continued Next Page Summer 2019

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was unique in Guffey for being a canine mayor. The “DemoCATS” had dominated since 1988 when a cat named Paisley was elected mayor. Paisley died and was replaced by Smudge le Plume. Sadly, Smudge was murdered by a never-apprehended owl. A third cat, Whiffey le Gone, was then elected. Whiffey was forced to step down when her owners moved to a ranch. This left an opening for Shanda, whose owner was quoted as stating that Shanda was against any leash law, and “unlike other politicians, she really does listen to you.”

morning for breakfast and then he goes out and spends the day politickin’.” As nearly as I can tell from the website, Guffey relies on tourism to a great degree so the idea of having a cat or a dog as mayor is actually brilliant, but I was concerned about the fact that there were still issues like firefighting and trash removal that needed to be taken care of. I made several more phone calls and learned that Guffey is unincorporated and is part of Park County. Tom Locke at The Flume, a website that covers news from Guffey, informed me there are at least two local boards: a school board and a fire department board of directors. The Park County Sheriff’s Office provides law enforcement services, and trash removal is carried out by a private company, probably as part of a county contract. (I did not get responses from a good number of the people I contacted, but my timing was bad. Fairplay, a nearby community, was having their annual Burro Pack Race that weekend.) From the people I reached, it seems that Guffey’s services are well taken care of. Therefore, a mayoral figurehead that attracts publicity is probably a very wise move.

About the Current Mayor of Guffey After Shanda died, “Monster the Cat” became mayor and is now serving a second term. (Monster is owned by Bill Soux who also owns the Guffey Garage.) In our phone call, Charlie volunteered that schoolchildren are the primary voters for the mayoral election.  (Thank you, Charlie, I would have assumed it was the townspeople .)  Charlie also noted that Guffey’s population is about 20 people and that Guffey has a fire department, a public works office, a library, a community center, two bars, and three restaurants. When I asked Charlie to explain Monster’s mayoral responsibilities, he said, “You’re serious, aren’t you? More about the Mayor  “Well, Monster shows up here every While searching for a little more information about the sitting mayor, I came upon Monster’s MySpace page. The page gives Monster’s age as 22. (I hope the community is grooming a successor.) It notes that Monster serves “with disinterest and occasional violent outbursts against tourists and local animals.” Under music preferences, Monster specifies “No violins!” and notes that television “rots your brain, but I do like Judge Judy.” As to who Monster would like to meet: “Other independent elected officials. Preferably pussies. Dick Cheney.”  (Not clear whether Cheney is on a separate list or considered part of the former grouping.) Who is Monster’s hero? “The guy with the sardines.” Book preferences? “I can’t read, [expletive]. I’m a cat. And don’t get smart about how I created this page. I’m dictating.”  

This article first appeared on the website, www.americacomesalive.com America Comes Alive publishes more stories about American dogs and other animals. Visit the website and sign up for “American Dogs” to receive the stories in your In Box. Or email Kate Kelly at kate@americacomesalive.com 60 4 Legs & a Tail

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Kate Kelly

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re cat owners snobs? Do dog lovers have lower IQ’s? These questions may sound silly, but believe it or not, it’s what many people think about the owners of these lovable furballs. For centuries, people have debated over which pet is better: cats or dogs, creating stereotypes, both real and based in fact, about them and their owners along the way.  For instance, cats, with their independent nature, were seen as evil for many years- and so were many who chose to have one.  And dogs have often been seen as sweet and loyal, making their owners appear to be more compassionate and friendly. So, what’s true and what’s just rumor and conjecture? You’re about to find out, thanks to Hunch.com. They asked over seven hundred thousand of their users various survey questions that might be able to shed some light on the cat owners vs dog owners debate once and for all.

W EO M ge vs p a F t O ex O n W on

The Little Things That Separate and Unite Cat Owners vs Dog Owners

be coincidence, but since cats are more independent by nature, it makes sense they would be drawn to more carefree animals. – Dog ownership seems to be more strongly associated with people who have families and who live in the country. Since large dogs will need their space, this is a logical correlation. Many people get dogs in order to teach their kids about responsibility, so this also seems to logically follow. – Cat owners are more likely to be urban. This is logical since cats are easier to keep in apartments than dogs. – Dog owners seem to be more group-oriented in general and less individualistic than kitten owners. They are 12 percent more likely to be technological early adopters, for instance. They also have a demonstrable preference for popular music and television shows. Continued Next Page

Pet Ownership and Popularity It is often believed that dogs are more popular than cats. However, this data would seem to suggest otherwise. There are 86 million cats owned in the United States compared to 78 million dogs. This is probably at least partly a function of the fact that it is easier to own multiple cats than it is to own multiple dogs. However, it still suggests that the cat and dog owners competition is much more evenly matched than some people might think. Personality and Pet Ownership The popular stereotype is that cat owners are introverted while dog owners are extroverted. On the surface, this seems stereotypical and biased, but as the survey shows, in many instances it is true- but for a legitimate reason. Let’s take a look. While dog owners are more likely to be extroverts and Kitten owners are more likely to be introverts, it is a small correlation.  Cat owners are only 11 percent more likely to be introverts. – Since people have to walk their dogs in order to keep them healthy, it is not surprising that dog owners are 36 percent more likely to enjoy the outdoors. – Cat owners are more likely to be politically liberal than dog owners. They also seem to like many media choices that people associate with liberals. This may Summer 2019

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Conclusion – Do you agree? It would seem that some of the stereotypes about dog owners and catowners are not completely without merit. However, they also seem to be exaggerated somewhat in popular culture. These kinds of infographics can allow researchers to display and distribute information about these sorts of popular subjects more easily, and people can test their own beliefs against them.

Summer 2019

Cat owners compare to dog owners in interesting ways. However, it would seem that a lot of these differences are the result of practical considerations. The fact that dogs are large animals that need walks seems to shape the interests and personalities of dog owners. The fact that cats are small animals that more or less take care of themselves seems to shape the interests and personalities of those owning cats.

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Too Much Of A Good Thing W

ell it’s summer and the twolegged animals are out having fun with their four-legged family members. In various parts of the country this might mean cooling off by frolicking around the pool, the lake or even the ocean.  If you have played ball with your dog around water, you might know how this game can go on forever…right?  If you keep throwing they will keep diving in and retrieving? Well there are certain dangers with our pets that while are not common, when they do occur it is often deadly.  Hyponatremia is one of those conditions.  You have probably never heard of it, but it is essentially water intoxication.  We worry so much about keeping

ourselves and our pets hydrated in the hot summer months, but this is when you take in TOO MUCH water. The body of an animal (dog, cat or human) can only process a certain amount of fluid.  When there is more water going into the body than it can process the excessive fluid dilutes the other fluids in the body and this causes a dangerous imbalance.  Sodium is important and when sodium concentration in extracellular fluid drops, the cells start filling with water as the body attempts to balance the sodium levels inside the cells with falling levels outside the cells. This influx of water causes the cells – including those in the brain – to swell. If these activities are occurring at the beach ingesting too much salt water is also a very serious condition called hypernatremia, which is technically the opposite of hyponatremia and is salt poisoning.  You will see the same quick deterioration and symptoms that dictate getting your pet to the emergency vet, but you need to make the vet aware that they were ingesting salt water. Knowing how much your pup loves playing be very cautious of any change in behavior.  This condition materializes very quickly and is so dangerous. Watch for any of these signs: -loss of coordination -sudden lethargy -vomiting -glassy looking eyes -pale gums -excessive slobbering

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By the time you see difficulty breathing, collapse or seizure your pet is in serious trouble.  Get your pet to an emergency facility as soon as you see any signs and they can try treating this with (IV) electrolytes, diuretics, and medications to reduce brain swelling. With aggressive veterinary care, some dogs do recover, but tragically this condition often ends in death.  Prevention is key here.  Just like children; our pets should absolutely be supervised around water. Be very aware of Summer 2019


any activity that means your pet is opening their mouth when they are exposed to the water such as fetching a ball or even dogs that play and bite in the sprinklers. When dogs are jumping in water or water coming out of a sprinkler the water is pressurized and you may not realize the volume of water that they are ingesting.  So, enjoy summer fun but if you are partaking in any of these activities limit the time spent exposing them to water without periods of rest in between.  Their body has got to have time to process the water that is being ingested.

Robin Martin of Enfield caught the action shot of Keisha on Goose Pond in Canaan

Summer 2019

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Prescription Food… Is It Medicine? L

ast month you learned about how common Chronic Kidney Disease is in older dogs. The first recommendation you will get when you receive a diagnosis like this is to change your pet’s diet to a prescription food. Recent lawsuits against the major producer of prescription pet food bring some questions to light. Let’s break down some basic factual things that are true and untrue about prescription food. Prescription Pet Food IS: - Food formulated without the norm ratios of the major components of pet food such as fat, protein, carbohydrates and minerals. - Food that is formulated to accommodate a specific health condition that hinders their body function in some way. - Food that is not ideal for a normal healthy pet and should be recommended at the advice of a veterinarian.

- Food that is more expensive than other non-prescription pet food…even premium brands. - Food that is marketed with the “RX” symbol and often requires a prescription from your veterinarian to purchase. Prescription Pet Food IS NOT: - Food that contains a drug or ingredient that requires FDA approval or a prescription under federal or state law. - Food that is regulated or known to have any ingredients of higher quality than non-prescription food. The companies that produce prescription foods are limited so it is often something that puts a pet owner in a position with few options. Responsible pet owners may have done extensive research in choosing a pet food that uses high quality ingredients, avoiding by-products or ingredients grown with pesticides or other known carcinogenic chemicals.  The health of their pet depends on their adhering to a diet that is an odd mix and ratio of proteins or fats that they cannot find in the quality food they have been feeding.  When they look at the 2 options given by their vet, they will often find the ingredient list something they would not normally consider feeding their pet. Let’s take the Chronic Kidney example we talked about last month.  We outlined the key changes to diet include low protein, low phosphorus and low sodium coupled with being rich in omega fatty acids.  The ideal protein percentage being as low as 14%.  This is lower than you will find in any standard pet food option.  Kidney disease means that the organ of their body that would normally filter out waste products and toxins from the blood has lost functionality.  Yet the food that would be prescribed Continued ON Page 68

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is neither organic or GMO free. This seems crazy since pesticides and genetically modified foods are known to be more taxing for the organs to filter!  Another example might be a pet managing pancreatitis.  A prescriptive diet treating this condition is going to be an extremely low-fat recipe, like 4-5% with lower than normal fiber.  Again, this is something that will not normally be found in a traditional recipe even if it is a low-fat recipe.

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So what options do you have? - Feed the prescription food. If the life of your pet depends on this delicate balance of nutritional elements, then you might have to try and choose the lesser of evils of a prescription diets. - Modify your pet’s current healthy diet.  If you are feeding a healthy organic or GMO-free diet check and see if they have a recipe closer to what you are trying to achieve.  Then perhaps you can reduce the kibble intake and balance it with other healthy ingredients.  For instance, if you are trying to reduce the percentage of their diet that is fat then reduce the amount of low-fat kibble they are eating and feed other fat free foods that make up their total diet.  Or in the case of the low protein kidney example choose a lower protein recipe food reduce the amount and supplement with organic low phosphorus fruits, vegetables and rice for example.  The additional fatty acids could come from a salmon oil supplement (oil is fat… not protein). - Customize a home cooked diet to the specifications required for their condition.  Often you can find recipes for home cooked diets for specific conditions.  You must choose high quality ingredients, and this can be very time consuming.  Unfortunately, there is still risk that you will unintentionally throw something off with even a small error. The two latter options must be pursued with caution.  It is extremely difficult to achieve precise balance necessary for chronic health conditions which is why your vet will probably recommend a RX food. Summer 2019


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