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Remembering Dogs That Served America Top Tips For Feline Hygiene Tips For Your New Dog Dairy Cow Receives Pardon

Northern VT & NH Mud Season 2020

Inside this issue of 4 Legs & a Tail


2. Bark For Life: Unites Canine Companions to Help Save Lives from Cancer 4. Police and their K9s - Ties that Bind Karen Sturtevant

Pg. 2

A look into canine law enforcement

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

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

9. Bringing Home a New Friend Maria Karunungan Tips to acclimate your new pet to their new home

8. Shelter Dog Beer Can Campaign Helps Reunite Missing Dog with Owner

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

10. An Animal Communicator Speaks to Us

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Maura Jones

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

13. The Pileated Woodpecker - Feathered Engineer of the Forest Catherine Greenleaf 14. Endorsements of Therapeutic Riding Sue Miller Stories from parents, participants, and family of how riders have triumphed with the help of horses

16. Surrendering; An Act of Desperation, Compassion or Avoidance? Dawna Pederzani Why people choose to move on from their pets

18. Service Animals and More!

Eileen M. Wolfe, DVM

The differences between service and therapy dogs

19. Training With Love Pat Rauch 20. Alternatively Speaking: Grain-Free Diets Friend or Foe? Part II Dr. Anne Carroll DVM, CVA 22. Top Tips For Feline Hygiene 24. When Things Go Wrong, Sometimes They Go Really Wrong, Part 3 Sandra Waugh, VMD, MS 26. Memorial Day: Remembering All Who Have Served, Including Military Dogs Kate Kelly 28. The Saga of Tasha Bill Blindow 4 Legs & a Tail Volume N.120 P.O. Box 841 Lebanon, NH 03766

Publishers: Tim Goodwin, Tim Hoehn Office Manager: Beth Hoehn


Graphic Design: Kristin Wolff


Sales: Scott Palzer

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Pg. 22 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 Northern 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.

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Bark For Life Unites Canine Companions to Help Save Lives from Cancer C

ommunity members come together to honor and celebrate the lifelong contributions of canine caregivers to cancer patients at American Cancer Society Bark For Life events across Vermont. This year Chittenden County will host its roaring 20’s themed event on Saturday, May 9th at its new location of Technology Park in South Burlington, VT. Franklin County has moved their event to Sunday, May 31st to accommodate the addition of an optional 5K fun run/walk with a Mardi Gras theme. They will also be hosting a dog-friendly after party downtown St. Albans on the patio of The Old Foundry at One Federal. These events are part of the American Cancer Society Relay For Life movement which is the world’s largest peer-to-peer fundraising event to save lives from cancer. Participants will celebrate people who have been touched by cancer, remember loved ones lost, and take action for lifesaving change. Funds

raised help the American Cancer Society attack cancer in dozens of ways, each of them critical to achieving a world without cancer – from developing breakthrough therapies to building supportive communities, from providing empowering resources to deploying activists to raise awareness.

The success of the American Cancer Society’s Bark For Life depends on individuals, teams, and, of course, the generous support of our sponsors. Our lifesaving work in the fight against cancer would not be possible without the generosity of sponsoring businesses and community organizations.

Saturday, May 9th

BARK FOR LIFE OF CHITTENDEN COUNTY The American Cancer Society’s Bark For Life of Chittenden County invites the community to attend a walk and field day event on Saturday, May 9th from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at Technology Park (home of the Whales Tails) to honor and celebrate the lifelong contributions of canine caregivers to cancer patients. This event empowers the community and their canine caregivers to take a stand against cancer. Activities will include: live demos, dog-friendly games, raffles, dogfriendly vendors, music & food. Register for Bark For Life of Chittenden County at RelayForLife.org/BarkChittendenVT. Learn more about Relay For Life and other ways to get involved with the event at Technology Park by visiting RelayForLife.org/ChittendenVT

Sunday, May 31st

BARK FOR LIFE OF FRANKLIN COUNTY We know that dogs demonstrate unconditional love, joy, compassion, and no judgments of cancer survivors’ abilities or appearances. Let’s celebrate the unique care-giving qualities of our beloved four-legged friends on Sunday, May 31st at Collins Perley Sports Complex in St. Albans, VT from 8:00 am - 12:00 pm. There will be a theme of PAWdi Gras so wear your best purple-gold-green for the 5K fun run/walk starting at 9:00 am. There will be games, raffles, vendors, music, refreshments and demos by 802 Disc Dogs. Following this event at 1:00 pm meet us on the back patio of The Old Foundry at One Federal for an After PAWty. Together, we can beat our biggest rival! Join the Bark For Life of Franklin County and help us attack cancer from every angle. To Register for Bark For Life of Franklin County visit RelayForLife.org/BarkFranklinVT and follow facebook.com/BarkFranklinVT/ for announcements. Learn more about the Relay For Life of Franklin County on Saturday, June 20th whose theme this year is board games at RelayForLife.org/FranklinVT 2 4 Legs & a Tail

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Lt. Labrecque & Andre

K9s Karen Sturtevant


y sister and I are different beings. She’s outgoing, loves concerts and crowds and is hip and cool. Me? I prefer the company of animals over people, a good pair of earbuds and the clothes with blue tag discount markers from the thrift store. She’s a ‘cat person’ and has three; I’m a dog devotee and have one. A subject we both can agree upon: we’re crazy in love with our animals. I don’t ask much of my little dog, snuggling at bedtime and enjoying her goofy ways are enough for me. I don’t teach her weird tricks or to perfectly behave. She’s fine just the way she is. If she sits for a cookie, it’s a bonus. Our pets are our best pals, our confidants, always loyal and happy to see us. Every pet is unique, whether purebred or a wildly mixed blend, they’re special creatures. As much as we pet parents adore our animals (yes, cats included!), there is a different level of appreciation when we leap into the professional world of the canine. As a self-admitted canine junkie, police dogs fascinate me. From their intelligence 4 4 Legs & a Tail

and focus on the job to being able to switch roles to being amazing family members, these canines are extraordinary. For many of us, the words, Police Dog (K9) conjure images of muscled, physically fit canines exhibiting strength, courage, and bravery. Even cat people can’t help but admire these disciplined animals. K9s are trained specifically to assist their handlers in search and rescue, detect drugs and evidence, track suspects or missing persons, enforce order at gatherings and provide protection. I recently had the opportunity to learn about two special police dogs, Andre and Billy. My first lesson led me to conversation and coffee with Lieutenant (Lt.) Wade Labrecque of the Burlington Police Department (BPD). Lt. Labrecque is a well-versed professional, an instructor in multiple law enforcement disciplines and a big softy when it comes to K9s. His law enforcement story began when a post-surgical complication ended the life of a close friend. Labrecque reevaluated his trajectory, changed course and in 2001 became a police officer with the Burlington Police Department, beginning at the rank and responsibilities of patrol officer. After seven years of fine-tuning his people, paperwork, and procedure skills, then-Officer Labrecque was promoted to corporal and was soon given the chance to accomplish a goal of securing the soughtafter distinction of K9 handler. Dogs were a familiar mainstay in the Labrecque household––from Jack Russell and rat terriers to a hound/beagle mix and Maggie, a rescued pitbull, their home was always filled with canine energy and antics. He jokes that his daughter has a “strong sense of balance after being hipchecked and run over all the time a by a pack of dogs.” An opportunity presented itself when K9 Zeus was ready to retire. With the department in need of a replacement K9 team, Cpl. Labrecque applied. In order be considered for this coveted position, the applicant must have an exemplary record, have met the minimum required time period of being an active police officer, meet physical training standards and possess a sincere, realistic long-term commitment (often 6 to 10 years) to the dog and all that the responsibility entails. Police dogs work and live, and often retire, with their handlers. As training at the Vermont Police Academy began in 2007 with Garrett, a chosen canine recruit, Labrecque quickly found out this particular dog was not meant for police vocation and would be more content as a companion rather than a worker. After Garrett was adopted to a colleague, Cpl. Labrecque found himself at the Academy for K9 training without a canine.

Not every dog has the right temperament or physical ability to be a police dog. Candidates must have a strong prey drive, be trainable and sociable. Many K9s when off duty, may be mistaken for ‘just another dog’ as they prefer to be in the company of people and are typically pleasant in manner. As fate would have it, Andre, a handsome German shepherd, was adopted and returned to a New York breeder due to his being ‘too much.’ The breeder then contacted the BPD, which would jumpstart Andre’s future. With a solid drive and intelligent mind, Andre tested well and was welcomed into the Burlington Police K9 program. Within days he and Cpl. Labrecque were enrolled at the Academy. Andre was a natural. With pride in his voice and sincerity in his eyes, Labrecque commented, “He definitely had it all figured out after drug detection and patrol schools. It took me a while to catch up to him. He carried us as a team for the first couple of years.” The pair would continue to work with one another with Labrecque rising in rank to sergeant, for the next nine years passing recertification, winning awards, and receiving accolades. “It’s the best job in the world. Going to work, riding around every day with your partner. It was the greatest job, bar none.” The team accomplished several notable distinctions during their career including the seizure of over $750,000 in illegal drugs and currency. They are credited with leading the single largest heroin bust in Vermont history (9,000 bags), being awarded Vermont Police K9 Drug Team of the Year (four times) and Vermont Police K9 Team of the Year (twice). Both have been inducted into the Vermont Police K9 Hall of Fame. If those honors were not enough for a long span of public service, Andre, with his sharp nose and persistence, is credited with possibly saving the life, certainly injury, of Lt. Labrecque. While searching a residence for a suspect, Lt. Labrecque and Andre were in full work mode. The pursuit led them to the basement. At first glance, the space appeared empty, but Andre’s alert led him to an interior door secured by a two by four board, acting as a lever. Rejecting the idea that the suspect was in that room, due to the makeshift lock mounted on the outside, Lt. Labrecque dismissed Andre’s finding. When casting him again for another pass, Andre returned to the exact same spot. At the Vermont Police Academy, a sign reads, The Dog is Right. Perhaps Lt. Labrecque had a split second of recall of those words as he put his trust in his partner. As Andre postured in full warning, Lt. Labrecque maneuvered the board down and opened the door. Andre was sent in. Behind the door, the suspect was holding a brick ready to inflict harm. Spring 2020

Instead, when Andre entered, the suspect dropped the brick and grabbed Andre’s neck with both hands. To hear Labrecque share the next part of the story made me laugh and shake my head in quizzical disbelief. With the suspect’s hands around Andre’s neck, this determined and composed K9 peered up at Labrecque as if to say, “Are you kidding me?” It was at that moment, Labrecque gave the attack command. Without Andre’s tenacity, upon Labrecques’s entry in the room, the outcome may have been very different. Score one for the good guys. As remarkable as the records of professional accomplishments are, the emotions that resonated most with me were Lt. Labrecque’s all-embracing, unwavering love and admiration he had for Andre. “Some of the tracks we did, finding people, we were working, communicating, without talking. It’s like a whole different world. It’s an unbelievable relationship that develops.” Andre was more than a dog, more than a partner. To say they simply shared a bond does not acknowledge the enormity and profound depth of connection that existed between them. “Probably the worst part of being a K9 handler is when you have to make the decision to retire your partner.” Andre turned in his badge in 2016 living out the rest of his days being pampered by the Labrecque family. When Andre passed away, he left a

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legacy of not only a distinguished career but also an indelible imprint on the hearts and memories of those who loved, knew and worked with him. My next class in Police Dogs 101 took place in the company of Corporal Eugene Baccaglini of the Burlington Police Department and his K9, Billy. I, to the envy of my coworkers, was scheduled (and got previous permission from Lt. Labrecque to press the buttons for the lights and sirens!) to accompany them on a ride-along in Vermont’s largest city on a windy, cold winter evening. With a laptop in tow, I met the team in the BPD’s lobby. After perfunctory photographs and greetings, we were ready to roll––that is until we got to the SUV and Cpl. Baccaglini needed a few minutes to rearrange the contents to make room for his eager passenger. After devoting the previous two weeks at the Vermont Police Academy honing Billy’s tracking skills needed for certification, the front seat was full of training gear and supplies. Upon entering the decked-out vehicle my first remark was similar to something a toddler in the midst of sugar rush might say, “Hey, this looks like a spaceship!” (I wouldn’t be surprised, if, after my excited outburst, Cpl. Baccaglini seriously rethought his decision to allow this ridealong.) Screens, a keyboard, radio, and tech-savvy gadgets adorned our cockpit. Billy, unfazed by my enthusiasm, jumped

Billy with Cpl. Baccaglini

up to settle into his special place in the back of the vehicle. I was forewarned, “When he wants the window down,” Cpl. Baccaglini told me, “he whines. He also whines when he hears the siren.” We were ready for whatever the night had in store. At 65 pounds, Billy is on the smaller side for a German shepherd. However, if one were to argue that he lacks the physicality to complete his job, the counter would be he has extra rations of drive, smarts, and charm. Cpl. Baccaglini and Billy have been a K9 team since January 2019. Billy’s story is unique as his role Continued Next Page

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has not always been a police dog. For his first two years, he was a family pet and then donated, as several K9s are, to the Burlington Police Department. Beginning formal training for a dog at this age would prove to be challenging as the prime teaching time typically starts during puppyhood. Not only would Billy need to unlearn his previous behaviors, but he would also need to bond and put his complete trust in Cpl. Baccaglini. As we piloted and conversed our way around the streets of the Queen City, Cpl. Baccaglini’s commitment to empowering Billy to succeed became apparent. I noticed a similar endearing tone in the way both Labrecque and Baccaglini spoke about their dogs. Lt. Labrecque recalled when he and Andre would enter an area of rowdy groups of people, Andre would bark to make himself known, the crowd would suddenly become orderly and well-behaved. The simple presence of a highly-disciplined canine can alter actions as if people fear the dog more so than the authority. Lt. Labrecque sees this same advanced level potential in the ‘next generation’ with Cpl. Baccaglini and Billy. 2019 was an active year as Billy was certificated in patrol, narcotics detection and tracking by the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council. Cpl. Baccaglini spoke with delight of Billy’s comprehension in learning to track, which proved to be especially demanding in the pouring rain the day of testing. As in any connection (human or animal), reading each other’s body language is important. By recognizing the signals of Billy’s behavior, as when just after losing a scent, Cpl. Baccaglini can bring him back to the point where the focus was lost and redirect. Keen observation skills are critical, which Billy is sending and his handler is learning to accurately decipher. Billy gave me a demonstration of his fantastic sense of smell in a game of canine hide and seek. Back at the station, with Billy still in the SUV, Cpl. Baccaglini retrieved what looked like a compact suitcase. This was no ordinary carry-on. Inside were glass bottles filled with various nar-

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cotics seized and approved for K9 training purposes. Cpl. Baccaglini tucked the bagged contraband in drawers, under chairs, in a closet, and on top of a bookcase. When Billy entered the rooms he was allowed a few minutes to acclimate to the surroundings, then the command was given. The working dog within took over. This time was such a thrill for me: to observe this clever canine intently focused on his job to please his handler. Billy has been taught to alert passively, to sit, when his target is found. And, he did. He found every single one. Again, my inner child escaped, vocalized and clapped––not quite the mature adult reaction, but I make no apologies. This was an impressive show. Back on the road, throughout the duration of our trek, Billy waited, whined on occasion, and watched patiently in his custom-made area. Poking his face at the divider at times, I’d rub his muzzle and tell him he was a good boy. As the night continued, we stopped at a park for leg stretching and bit of obedience work. As Billy bounded through the snow, I couldn’t help but feel the tenderness and pride (and occasional frustration) that Cpl. Baccaglini must have for him. The moon’s glow allowed us to witness snapshots in time of this beautiful boy moving through his learned paces. Rewarded with praise and his toy, Billy was one happy dog. Training a dog to the level in which Cpl. Baccaglini aspires for Billy poses a personal and professional ongoing test for the 13-year BPD veteran. Making headway in new skills is not easy. “It’s one thing to get your dog to sit. It’s another to teach him to successfully track a mile and a half or 45 minutes to try and find someone. The challenge was very intriguing.” Cpl. Baccaglini shared with me the perplexity he often has when working with Billy. “At times Billy will have a total understanding of what I’m asking of him followed by long droughts of looking at me sideways,” As Billy progresses in one area of focus, Cpl. Baccaglini sees those skills benefit other disciplines. Patrol abilities get stronger due to advances made in drug work. Tracking proficiencies grow from patrol drills. Each

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

Dairy Cow Receives Pardon As Yet Another New England Dairy Farm Shuts Their Doors.  Riley at her new home in Haverhill, NH


omten Farm and Sanctuary commits to keeping a special milk cow from going to slaughter and she finds herself living the life of Riley. Jersey cow, Ripley, has found her “Believe It or Not”. Haverhill, NH - It’s not often one sees an animal sanctuary and a dairy farm team up to save a life but that is just what happened when a struggling New Hampshire dairy farmer chose to gift one of his cows to Tomten Farm and Sanctuary instead of sending her for processing. As one local dairy farmer after another suffers financial losses due to milk prices plummeting below the cost of production, traditional family farms throughout New England continue to close at an alarming rate. Both farmers and cows find themselves in trouble as communities find their landscape and neighbors forever changed.  Ripley, a 9-year-old Jersey cow, who has produced over 100,000 pounds and almost 15,000 gallons of milk, was one of the thousands of dairy cows who are finding themselves at risk as barns close their doors once and for all. After years of remaining on the same farm, they are run through herd dispersal sales, shipped to auction or loaded onto trailers to go straight to the processor and be “beefed.” But, lucky for Ripley, she found her “believe it or not” moment thanks to the effort of one small farm, the caring farmer who owned her and the generous people who made it possible via their contributions to the 100% donor-funded and 100% volunteerstaffed, Tomten Farm and Sanctuary. The collaboration between Jenifer Vickery of Tomten Farm and Sanctuary and Hal Covert of Peaked Moon Farm presented an opportunity to not only save a special cow but to shed light on the plight of the less than 1500 dairy farms left in New England and the many animals and humans whose fate will be forever changed by their closing. “It doesn’t have to be ‘us against them’,” Spring 2020

her back, the earth beneath her feet and is valued simply for her beautiful presence. Tomten Farm and Sanctuary is a 501(c) (3) dedicated to providing peace, protection, and possibility to animals in need. It is home to 50 + rescued animals, including horses, goats, sheep, donkeys, pigs, cats, rabbits, chickens, geese and ducks. The Sanctuary opens its gates to the public during regularly scheduled RSVP Farm Tours. Their next public tour is June 21st where they welcome all to get up close and personal with the rescues, hear their stories and be touched by the magic and miracle of each life. For more information and to rsvp, TF&S invites all to travel beside them virtually via their very active says Tomten founder Jenifer Vickery when Facebook page at https://www.facebook. asked why she would consider teaming up com/tomtenfarmandsanctuary/. a dairy farmer. “Everyone is on their own journey surviving the best they know-how and we respect that while hoping to do more, be more and give more to animals in need. Raising awareness and promoting compassion for humans and animals is an important part of our mission and directly impacts the future of the animals we love. Without it, there will be nothing left but Big Ag and it will be a significant loss for humans and animals.” In the case of the cow called Ripley on one ear tag and Riley on another, this act of generosity not only saved her but offered Covert the satisfaction of saving the life of at least one of the spent production cows in his herd who, for several years, has been part of his living as a New England dairy farmer.   Tomten founder Vickery says, “We have no doubt that Ripley will be an ambassador for the remaining dairy cows in New England and help to inspire compassion while creating a deeper awareness of small farms, the animals who reside on them and the direction agriculture is heading.”  She, her Board and all who support Tomten Farm and Sanctuary are hopeful that Ripley’s well-deserved pardon will stimulate thought and conversation in New Hampshire and beyond. Ripley resides in Haverhill, NH with 4 other rescued cows where she remains for the rest of her days feeling the sun on www.4LegsAndATail.com 7

Shelter Dog Beer Can Campaign Helps Reunite Missing Dog With Owner


Associated Press

Florida brewery that recently began placing shelter dogs’ faces on beer cans helped reunite a Minnesota woman with her dog, Hazel, who went missing three years ago. Earlier this month, Motorworks Brewing in Bradenton teamed up with the Manatee County Animal Shelter to turn beer cans into adoption flyers for shelter dogs. Monica Mathis of St. Paul, Minnesota, told KSTP that she couldn’t believe it when she spotted Hazel’s face on a beer can that had been photographed and posted on social media. Hazel, a terrier mix, was among the dogs featured on beer cans called “The Four Packs.” Mathis saw the post and something about one dog’s eyes caught her attention. “Oh my gosh that looks like my dog, I think that’s my dog,’” Mathis said. But the featured dog’s name was Day Day. Mathis contacted the shelter, which needed proof that Day Day was in fact Hazel. “I sent everything I could find — all the pictures so I could stop an adoption process from happening because I could’ve lost her again,” Mathis said. Mathis said she was living in Iowa when Hazel disappeared in 2017. “She was on a leash outside and I went to get her and she was gone from our yard,” Mathis said. She searched, called shelters, but never found the dog. She said she has no idea how the dog got to Florida.

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Then, a new job took her to Minnesota. Several years went by until she saw the beer can campaign on Jan. 24. The shelter confirmed that Day Day is Hazel. “I was amazed and I was crying. An emotional wreck,” Mathis said. Mathis said animal services couldn’t immediately find her because the contact informaHazel makes the "cover" of Motorworks Beer tion on Hazel’s microchip was out of date. “Keep track of exactly what company you use, make sure your stuff gets updated, especially if your pet goes missing and don’t ever give up,” Mathis said. Hans Wohlgefahrt of Manatee County Animal Services, said they saw the photos and vet records, which provided proof Hazel belonged to Mathis. “This dog was such an important part of her family that she had everything to prove she was her owner,” Wohlgefahrt said. “There was really no way we could trace her back to that particular owner. It’s a great reminder to people when they do these things to go into their profile and make sure all their contact information is up to date.”


Maria Karunungan - Burlington, VT

welve years ago, I fell in love with a quiet, meek yellow fraidy-dog who had, ironically, been named by his previous owner, “Argonaut” after the bold sailor Jason. I was a volunteer groomer at an animal shelter, and every week when I saw his name was on the bath list, I eagerly sought him out. At first, he had to be carried into the room, because he was too scared to walk. He would crouch down on the bottom of the tub, which I had lined with a soaking towel for comfort, and allow me to gently sponge him with warm lather. It was during the drying and brushing phase that I learned how much he secretly liked petting. He would lean into my hand provided I didn’t suddenly move, and his eyes would soften. He was adorable and I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I realized I was in trouble when I started to actually worry that he would get adopted. It was then I knew I had to put my name in the hat. As it turned out, there weren’t too many takers. Argie was very fearful, and as soon as someone tried to meet him, he would completely lose his bowels. It wasn’t an attractive quality. I was sure, though, that we could figure it out. And I was motivated, because I had fallen in love. As a dog trainer, I am not one of those people who believes in lining everything up perfectly and making sure every groove exactly fits when it comes to matchmaking between dogs and their prospective human guardians. I really do believe that, sometimes you just fall in love and sometimes you make it work. So, here are some tips towards making a new match work for you: • If you’re able to set it up, arrange to stay home for at least a few days, if not a week or two. Working from home, if possible, is a nice way to help your dog transition into your environment and give you time to really get to know your dog and figure out what he or she needs to successfully become a member of your family. Spring 2020

• For your sake, primarily, it’s a good idea to show your dog where the bathroom is outside, before you even enter the house with your dog. Don’t assume your new dog understands where to go. Some dogs pee when they are excited, and some dogs just don’t know what to do in a new place. If a shelter or rescue marked the dog as housetrained, it’s possible the observations were accurate in only one situation. The dog might not be foolproof in another environment or when change is afoot. Always assume your new friend doesn’t know where the bathroom is and show them a good spot. The nice thing about this strategy is if you have a preference (e.g., you’d rather they didn’t pee where you plan to grow your vegetables next spring), you can literally cultivate where their normal toileting spot should be from the very first day. This can be accomplished by taking your dog there and hanging out with him while he does his business, then cheering and giving him a cookie for a job well done in the right place. • Don’t be surprised if, when you bring your dog home, he or she sleeps a lot for the first few days. Dogs who have been in a temporary situation of any kind, however nice that situation might be, are often stressed by change. Sleeping is a sign that they are comfortable. It’s like when you come home from traveling on a business trip and sink into a familiar bed. In your case, the dog’s bed is likely new, or maybe was used by another dog, but it still has that whiff of…. Dare he hope?... home. • Plan to keep your dog on leash at all times when outside or at least safely enclosed with a high wooden fence. Other types of fences may be adequate, but if you plan to let your dog out at some point unsupervised, you should go outside with him every time for the first few weeks. Some dogs climb fences, other dogs look for holes along the bottom, and yet others simply have springs for legs. It may take awhile for your dog to learn the normal sounds and activities in his new neighborhood,

and until he does, it’s possible something he’s not familiar with will spook him and cause him to bolt; or you may discover he is an intrepid adventurer and might be prone to wandering off if you aren’t actively watching. Assume that your dog doesn’t yet know exactly how to be the best member of the family and will need some crafty set-ups to ensure bad habits don’t set in. Hindsight’s always 20-20 and you may learn that your new pal has a proclivity for shoes. Erring on the side of proactive management from the get-go will help your dog “win” from the beginning. Set up a nice cozy “den”, such as a crate, and check to see if your dog may be comfortable there – toss a treat in, then out, then in, then out – so he doesn’t think you’re going to trick him into staying there. Have a wonderful chewy available for him to enjoy when he goes in – such as a scrumptious stuffed Kong – and let it be a blissful prize for spending some quiet time alone. Sometimes bringing a new dog home is done on impulse, but acting impulsively doesn’t mean you can’t still be smart about easing your dog into their new life with you. Put a little bit of thought into the first few days. Adjusting how your home is set up, as well as how you’ll incorporate your dog’s needs into your daily schedule (some of those needs will fill your needs, too, I wager!), will go a long way to ensuring a lifetime of success. If you get stuck, hire a positive reinforcement trainer to help you or consider taking some group classes for the fun and camaraderie, and for the little bits of practical wisdom you may pick up along the way! Maria Karunungan is an honors graduate of The Academy for Dog Trainers, where she earned her Certificate in Training and Counseling. Maria also holds a Ph.D. in Educational Studies. She has trained service dogs, therapy dogs, shelter dogs, and pet dogs for over 15 years and currently works with Fetch the Leash in downtown Burlington.

www.4LegsAndATail.com 9

An Animal Communicator Speaks to Us B

Maura Jones

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

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

Other times, I might say, “your cat’s hind legs feel weak” and the client may say, “yes, they are weak”. Whatever I receive, I tell the client. Sometimes dogs tell me that they want to be a therapy dog. I tell the client this and often the client may say, “You know, I’ve been thinking of that myself.” When an animal is ill, they let me know. They may be quiet but still communicate to me in terms of images. Animals experience illness very differently from the way humans do. Animals are much less afraid of death than humans. They live in the moment. They often want you to see them as well; to see the essence of who they really are as whole and healthy, not as sick. Note: Animal communication is not a substitute for seeing a veterinarian. Jeannie’s advice to change problem behavior is to tell your animal what you want him to do and WHY you want him to do it. Always say it in POSITIVE terms. Say what you WANT, not what you don’t want. Use simple language. If you say, “Don’t do that,” the animal will continue to do what you don’t want him to do. This is a manifestation technique and it’s worked with so many of my clients and my own animals, too. Jeannie’s advice to strengthen your relationship bond is to trust any messages we get from our animals. Don’t try to analyze it. Just feel it. Trust your intuition and senses. You can receive a communication in many ways—images, thoughts, words, feelings, or just a “knowing. To learn more about Jeannie’s work, to obtain her book or to contact her use her website at http://youranimalspeaks.com/jeannie.htm Spring 2020

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*We will not sell or give your information to a third party N120

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Spring 2020



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


see a great many orphaned Pileated woodpeckers come into St. Francis Wild Bird Center in Lyme, NH every year. Pileateds are cavity nesters, so when trees are cut down by loggers, the youngsters inside the nests are often killed. The ones that do survive are brought to my center for treatment and are raised until they reach juvenile status, at which point they are released back into the wild. The Pileated, with its 28-inch wingspan, is considered the second largest woodpecker in the continental United States, and is very close in size to an adult crow. The bird is second in size only to the Ivory-Billed woodpecker, a bird considered long extinct, despite the occasional claim their call is being heard deep in the Louisiana swamps. The Pileated is a shy and reclusive bird, and prefers deep woodlands, especially mature mixed coniferous and deciduous forests. However, due to the extreme habitat loss taking place in the U.S., they are being forced more and more into suburban areas, and as a result, sightings of the bird by the public have risen in recent years. WHY IS THAT WOODPECKER PECKING ON MY HOUSE? The Pileated prefers dead trees. Most people are not aware that dead trees are loaded with yummy, juicy insects – far

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

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more than any live tree. The Pileated’s diet consists of 90% insects, and their favorite food is termites and carpenter ants, along with wood-boring beetles, cockroaches, grasshoppers, caterpillars and insect larvae. Their long, sticky, multi-pronged tongue can reach deep inside holes in trees to capture larvae. When retracted, the tongue wraps around the inside of the head between and skull and the skin. The remaining 10% of their diet consists of fruits from natives like sumacs and dogwoods, as well as nuts. Don’t be too fastidious a gardener! Leave dead trees and fallen logs on your property whenever possible. Some homeowners remove every dead tree in their yard only to find the Pileated has gravitated to the other dead trees on the property – the ones used to build their house. If you don’t want woodpeckers drilling the wood on your house, then leave as many dead trees up as possible, provided they are in a safe area. A KEYSTONE SPECIES Pileateds are a keystone species in the forest, as their nest cavities provide shelter for other wildlife, including bats, swifts, bluebirds, Wood ducks, Great-Crested flycatchers and several other woodpecker species. Their specialized engineering work is also vital to the nutrient cycle of the forest, since their drilling helps to quickly break down dead and decaying trees, leading to regeneration of the soil. Pileateds have a sweet tooth, as they enjoy drinking the sap of pine trees. The sap contains mostly water but also sugar and minerals that give the bird the extra energy it needs to get through the day – much in the way a hummingbird will drink at a nectar feeder. In turn, after a Pileated has drilled for sap in a pine tree, the sap that is released will go on to feed numerous other birds and wildlife. Pileateds also have a fondness for pine resin, which is most likely due to its potent antibiotic properties. TERRITORIAL BIRDS The sound of the Pileated’s drilling can sometimes be heard for miles, and is often territorial, warning other male Pileateds to stay clear of their breeding grounds. The woodpecker’s skull is reinforced with spongy bone that can absorb the force of a hammering beak without resulting in headaches or brain damage. However, Pileateds are just as prone to head injuries from window strikes as any other species of bird. It’s important to keep bird feeders at least 50 feet away from all windows and sliding glass doors to avoid injuries to birds. The Pileated has zygodactyl feet, meaning it has two toes located at the front of the foot and two toes located at the back. This gives them the excellent grip they need to climb vertically up and down trees.

A Pileated typically lived 20-30 years, but due to increasing habitat loss their lifespan has been greatly reduced. Consider joining the nationwide environmental movement called, “One Third For The Birds.” Leave the back third of your property to the wildlife, allowing for a quiet space filled with native trees, shrubs and perennials. This will create safe habitat for birds, like the Pileateds, to raise their families. You will be rewarded with untold hours of bird watching enjoyment. Catherine Greenleaf is the director of St. Francis Wild Bird Center in Lyme, N.H. If you find an injured bird, please call (603) 795-4850.

www.4LegsAndATail.com 13

Endorsements of Therapeutic Riding Sue Miller


Miranda LeBrun

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

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

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

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


hat to do when you can no longer keep a pet, in this case, a dog? What are the options, the ramifications and the assumptions made by others toward folks who make this choice? Is there a valid reason and a not so or is that simply semantics or judgment? As one who has run a non-profit dog rescue since 1998, I have seen many sides to surrender. Once designed to assist folks who could no longer keep their dog for one reason or another, surrender has continued to fill that need which is necessary and valid. However, it has also morphed into a seemingly easy way to rid oneself of a problematic dog on an unsuspecting rescue who is simply trying to be of assistance to the owner and prevent the dog from going to a shelter or worse. When I post our available dogs and in said post, mention that it is an ownersurrender, the response is nearly always the same, “How could they? Why would they?” “What kind of a person would? The reasons for surrendering a pet are varied, personal and often unselfish. Amy was dying of Cancer and had complicating factors. She was single, a senior and lived alone. Amy knew that her time was waning and with her death, she would leave more than personal belongings and an empty apartment. Amy had an English Bulldog named Bella who was five years old and whom Amy adored. As Amy’s health failed and her income diminished, so had the quality of her life and subsequently Bella’s. She could no longer afford Bella’s vaccines, exams, medications, and diet. Bella had become a mess with infected eyes from untreated Entropion, infected skin from flea dermatitis, food allergies from inexpensive grain-based foods and near deafness from chronic and untreated ear infections. Amy had no relatives or friends that were willing to take in poor Bella. Out of 16 4 Legs & a Tail

panic and desperation, Amy listed Bella on the Internet for sale. Bella was still intact and as mentioned earlier would have most likely been bred until she died to pave the pockets of some backyard breeder. I saw the ad and immediately contacted Amy. I supplied vet and personal references, a link to our website and Facebook page and honestly begged for her to not sell Bella to the highest bidder. Although I understand the thinking that this Internet option is a better one, it is sadly based more on drama and unreliable information than in fact. Many shelters, (depending on location and budget constraints have very good placement rates. A good shelter will tell you what they will and won’t do for your dog and what the chances are of a solid adoption.) I see the Internet as the most irresponsible and risky route to rehome a dog. Most folks cannot carry out background checks, home visits, review vet records or access transport options if necessary. These interactions are often fronts for dog flippers looking to take your dog and quickly sell it for a profit. Worse yet they could be a front for people contracted to find bait dogs for use in dogfighting. People often believe that dogfighting happens somewhere else other than in their town. I can tell you that dogfighting is everywhere and the need for victims is high. Amy checked our vet and personal references making as sure as she could that we were a responsible rescue and that what we promised for Bella was what we would deliver. We flew Bella from the far reaches of NY state. Bella underwent surgery, food changes, medicated baths and treatments of all sorts. She was going to be a work in progress for many months. Bella was adopted into a loving home where she remains today. She is fully rehabilitated and healthy but at the cost of thousands of dollars and untold hours of

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

appeared social, sweet and pretty textbook English Bulldog. We noted small things but no real red flags. Sam was adopted the first time with full disclosure of what was known at the time and a restriction that he not be in a home with small children or allowed around them unsupervised ever. He would be in a home with two adults who had English Bulldog experience, patience and calm. They heard the history and were committed to taking it on. The first pictures of Sam under the Christmas tree were heartwarming and hopeful. Could Sam have simply been misread or mishandled in his original home? Perhaps. However, the frantic phone calls and texts that poured in over the next few days were an indication of something much deeper and darker. Sam was returned and the process of unraveling his mystery began. There would be blood panels and EEG’s and medications and time. Lots of time. Sam seemed to stabilize. In the kennel setting, he was calm and consistent. The decision was made, (armed with the new bible of information) that Sam could go to a very experienced home with fuller than full disclosure, a trainer on speed dial who had been fully appraised of Sam’s behaviors. This adopter was also very experienced and had owned a difficult English Bulldog in the past. The first nights’ report was that there was a bit of conflict but small and resolved. Fingers crossed. This placement would last only a night before the charging, snapping and attempts at biting ensued. Sam was returned again, he was simply unsafe to rehome. He was a danger to those around him and it would only be a matter of time before he would seriously harm someone, potentially a child who would be at face level with him. The responsible and terribly difficult decision was made. Had the rescue been given a fuller picture of Sam’s behavior that included his bite history, we most likely would have declined to take him. In the end, we made the decision that should have been made previously and had been recommended by folks who had known this dog and the depth of his issues. I reached back out to the previous owner with an update about Sam and the decision hoping that they would come to get him and do this the right way. They did not. We, who had known this sweet boy for a couple of months had to be the ones to go through this end of life moment with him. Why do folks who surrender feel that this decision and the carrying out of it are any easier for us rescues? It isn’t. Sarah and Jon had waited until their life was in an order that they felt was acceptable to add a dog. John did not grow up with dogs or feel a strong pull to have one. However, he realized that having a dog for his wife was completing her circle of Spring 2020

joy and he was 100% in for that reason. On a freezing cold winter Vermont day, they traveled over two hours to meet dogs. They were open to any that seemed a good match. However one look at little Charlie and it was all over. Charlie had only been with us for a short time and was a young pup. As such we had only the information garnered from his foster and boarding facility. Nothing out of the ordinary or concern. After a sufficient visit and consultation between them, Sarah and John decided that Charlie would be the one. I did not hear anything until a surrender form came into my email box nearly three months later. It was for Charlie. Not only did he have significant separation anxiety necessitating daily doggie daycare but in off-hours, a home pet sitter and more walks in the course of a day to wear out anyone..... that is except for Charlie. Medication had not helped, nor did behavior modification training. Love could not fix the lack of sleep that was jeopardizing jobs and relationships. We have an absolute return policy and as such Charlie came back. These folks felt as if they had failed. They thought that I would surely “blacklist” them from ever adopting a living being again. Neither had entered my thought train. In fact, I felt empathy for their plight, sad for their loss and grateful that they did the absolute best thing for his well-being and

safety. Sarah and Jon will adopt again and we now know the deal breakers and how to avoid them. Older dog, known factors. And so, is “surrender” the blacklisted, failure ridden, shameful action that some would have us believe? Is it simply caving under pressure bailing on a dog that is breaking us emotionally? Is it pushing a potentially dangerous dog off on an unknowing rescue so that we do not have to make that most permanent and heartbreaking decision? Our dog outwardly is young, beautiful, healthy and most of the time normal....until he is not. In those moments when fearing for life and limb, a rescue looks like a better option but is that fair? I will say for me that I as a rescue person, I must dig deeper, ask tougher questions, call vets and look at records. I will no longer accept an owner’s version because doing so can put myself, my volunteers and my family at risk. Some rescues can take the behaviorally challenged dogs and those deemed aggressive. I take my hat off to them. We all have to know our capabilities. When we do and we stand firm in them, surrender becomes what we allow it to be. It should always be a path to a better future for a dog, whatever the reason. It should never be a place to avoid a tough decision that rests on each of us the moment we own a dog. That is inherent with the bond.

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Service Animals and More! Eileen M. Wolfe, DVM - Vermont Veterinary Medical Association


f you’ve wondered what’s going on with peacocks on airplanes and dogs at the salad bar in the grocery store, you’re not alone. Veterinarians are concerned about the unfortunate trend of pets being mistakenly, and sometimes fraudulently, presented as either service animals or emotional support animals. It’s a complex topic, and the more we all know about it, the better everyone’s rights are protected, particularly those who genuinely depend on their service animals and emotional support animals. Service animals and emotional support animals each work with their handler for the benefit of that handler, and each has some federal rights of access – but there are important differences between them! What defines these groups and what are the differences in their rights of access?

Service Animals

Emotional Support Animals

• Are defined by the Americans with Disabilities Acts

• Are defined by the Aircraft Carrier Access Act (ACA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA)

• Are trained to perform one or more specific tasks that help with the disability of the owner/handler • Are nearly always dogs • Can go anywhere the public is allowed to go • Have no certification or standardized form of proof, as this is seen by the ADA as a potential barrier for those who need service animals.

• Provide emotional support to those with psychological/psychiatric disorders or disabilities simply by their physical presence. They do not perform specific tasks. • Are not limited as to species, though airlines may decline to accommodate emotional support animals that could be dangerous to other passengers • Have federal rights of access only on airplanes and in housing situations

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the benefit of other people. They include animals used in animal-assisted education (reading dogs), animal-assisted therapy (therapy dogs), and animals used in other animal-assisted activities (such as the visitation dogs in nursing homes and hospitals). Although the term “therapy dog/therapy animal” is frequently used, it has a very specific meaning: it is a dog or other animal used as part of a goal-directed therapeutic intervention by a licensed therapist. The federal rights of access granted to service animals and emotional support animals are important for those who depend on these animals and should not be abused by others. Businesses have certain rights with regard to these animals as well. And any business or facility may choose to grant access to any pet or animal. More information on all types of assistance animals, including printable infographics for businesses and others, is available at www.vtvets.org under the One Health link.

• Do require documentation from a licensed mental health professional who is currently treating the owner/handler stating the necessity of the emotional support animal

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

The very important distinction to remember is the task(s) that service animals perform, which could be performed on command or on cue. There are psychiatric service animals, which are different from emotional support animals because they do perform such a task. It might be fetching medicine for a person on command, or it might be alerting a veteran suffering from PTSD that they are in a stressful situation and should remove themselves. It is also worth noting that occasionally miniature horses are service animals due to their longer life span: training a service animal can be very costly and the loss of one can also be emotionally distressing to their handler. There is a final class of assistance animals that have no federal rights of access: the animals used in animalassisted intervention. These animals are differentiated from service animals and emotional support animals by the fact that they work with their handlers for

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

Spring 2020

Training with Love Pat Jauch - Caledonia Animal Rescue, Inc.


n order to have an obedient pet, you must be willing to spend the time to train it. This is an exercise in patience on your part and requires attention from your pet. If you have a very active, aggressive or willful pet, the effort spent in training may be greater on your part but will have its rewards in the long term. Likewise, it may be easier to work with an older pet or one that is eager to please. The important thing to remember is to gain the trust of your pet and to be consistent. Dogs have hearing acuity that is much sharper than that of humans. For this reason you should be calm. Shouting will only confuse the animal and may even create fear. A fearful pet is not going to respond positively. Hitting should never be employed in the training process (or ever) with your pet. This can either cause fear or lead to aggression, neither of which is appropriate in a teaching situation. By hitting the animal, it will become afraid of you and not want to participate in training. Instead of hitting, use your hands in a loving manner by stroking the dog or offering treats as a reward for positive responses to your commands. When a behavior is good, reward your pet. Repeating the command and proffering a reward will reinforce the good behavior and the animal will gradually learn that a proper response will lead to praise. Most dogs thrive on praise and liberal doses of it will create a happy bond between the two of you.

When you communicate with your dog in a positive manner, i.e., speaking calmly, petting, praising, and offering treats, you will be rewarded with positive behavior. Show that you care and, in return, your dog will try to please you by obeying your commands.

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

Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 19

Alternatively Speaking:

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


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

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

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


Eating a mix of food sources like Pumpkin does is helpful for a few reasons. Not all fresh diets are the same. Some have organ meats and ground ligament/bone, some use more supplements than others, and some are not complete on their own. Vegetables in raw or dehydrated diets are raw, and if the pieces are not small enough they may not digest. So to get the best that different options offer, rotate brands or feed a mix. As long as it agrees with your dog’s tummy, they are more likely to get the rainbow of nutrients different foods an offer similar to their prey diet. How do you know if you have it right? First, your dog should enjoy their meals. Some dogs are not excited about food and would rather play than get a treat. But many ‘picky’ dogs actually don’t feel well after eating, just like the lactose intolerant person after some ice cream. Signs of this include grass eating, or wanting something new every few days as they realize their food is ‘bad’. For dogs that eat great no matter what is in the dish, we need to watch their weight, how nice their coat and nose/pads look and feel, how much energy they have and whether they have gas or eat a lot of grass. Vomiting or any degree of soft stools is an obvious sign of digestive upset, but subtle signs are more common. Odors, discharges, or dandruff are examples of dietary stress. You can consult with a holistic vet to pick food types that should match up well with your dog’s Chinese pattern, and let them assess your feeding plan to make sure there are no glaring deficiencies. In our practice, we use a program to give an AAFCO analysis of homemade recipes like you see on commercial packaging so you can be assured Spring 2020

your dog is getting everything they need, in a form they can digest. We know we can’t exactly mimic the diet Mother Nature intended for our pets. Even if we could, there would still never be one perfect diet given the differences in metabolism and digestion between breeds or individuals. But we can certainly stack the deck in our pet’s favor by staying as true to the fuel they are designed to process, keeping corn, wheat, and nowadays so many beans to a minimum and letting them eat real foods as much as we can. Pumpkin will attest to how wonderful fresh food can be, and her Mom enjoys a slim Golden Retriever who no longer has

ear and skin issues. Having fresh food routinely can go a long way in helping maintain heath, and then when life is just too busy and only dry food will work, that is perfectly ok! Dr. Anne Carroll is the owner of the Chelsea Animal Hospital where she and her associates practice conventional medicine and surgery as well as several alternative modalities including traditional Chinese acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. For more information on alternative veterinary medicine visit their website at www.chelseaanimalhospital.com .

www.4LegsAndATail.com 21

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

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

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


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

Cat Wipes - These are a must have to quickly and frequently wipe away dander, dirt, and saliva residue. Make sure to choose a product that is unscented and free from parabens, chlorine, and other harmful ingredients. Grooming Glove - These are an awesome option especially for cats who distrust traditional brushes and grooming tools. You just slide the glove onto your hand and stroke your cat like you would normally do petting them. The velcro-like surfaces will feel like a cat’s tongue to them; like a massage similar to grooming they got as a kitten. Toothbrush and Paste - I know this is a lot to ask but…you should try to brush your cat’s teeth daily. At minimum 3 times a week. If you are very regular about brushing it will be less stressful for your cat. Plaque begins to harden in less than one day, so it is most effectively removed before it turns to tartar.  Poor dental hygiene can lead to many health risks for felines. More Advanced: Professional Pet Nail Clippers - The main reason cats’ claw at things is to keep their nails in good shape. You may want to choose a pair with a safety guard to keep you from cutting too much or too close to the nerve.  You should also

Spring 2020

keep a nail file to smooth out the rough edges right after a cut. Grooming Clippers - A popular option is a “silent” trimmer to safely remove fur without the buzzing and vibration of conventional clippers. This will be less stressful alternative for sensitive cats. If the mats are to tight be very careful not to cut the cat with the clippers also. It takes just one fast movement of the cat to do this, especially the loose areas.  The mats can be tight and pull on the skin and make it very uncomfortable to the cat. Make sure to get the correct size blades.

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

When grooming matted fur do not use scissors because it is very easy to cut the cat. In closing…remember to always have lots of your cats’ favorite treats around with all the above to make grooming a fun rewarding activity if you can. Also; there are some cats who just do not tolerate being groomed. If your cat fights the grooming process, and there is some potential that injury could occur to your cat or yourself it is safer for everybody to make an appointment with a professional groomer or a veterinarian to have your cat groomed.

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


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

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

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

The blue arrow points to the upper right canine, yellow arrow to lower right canine, green arrow to upper left canine, and the white arrow to the lower left canine. 24 4 Legs & a Tail

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

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

Dr. Waugh is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She also holds a Masters Degree from Washington State University of Veterinary Medicine and is owner of Windsor Pet Dental, PLC. www.4LegsAndATail.com 25

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


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

Time Heals Some Wounds

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

A Military Guard Dog in Kosovo

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

Dogs in the Military

While dogs have almost certainly followed along with military units knowing they might find men who would pet them and slip them a bite to eat now and then, there was no official program to train and use dogs in the military until World War II. William W. Putney, a Marine Corps officer, who had just earned a degree in veterinary science when he went into officers’ training school at Quantico, Virginia, was instrumental to beginning such a program for the marines. Putney was asked to organize a newly established war dog training program that was to be based at what is now Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. 26 4 Legs & a Tail

Putney and Training the Dogs

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

No Honor Awaited

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

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

Always Faithful

In his book, Always Faithful, Putney noted that because the canine corps was not maintained in the years immediately following World War II, some of the lessons they had learned about working with the animals had to be relearned by those working with the next generation of animals. Unfortunately, one of the lessons — that the dogs could be desensitized — was never passed on, and from 1949-2000, euthanasia for former military animals was the law of the land. Though Captain Putney returned to civilian life and had become a veterinarian in Los Angeles, he continued to advocate for change to the system, and three years before he died — sixty years since he had trained the dogs in the first canine unit, the Senate pass as house bill that permits handlers to detrain and adopt their dogs when their military usefulness has ended (October 24, 2000). Today all branches of our Armed Forces use trained military dogs to patrol air bases, military compounds, ammunition depots and military checkpoints. There are approximately 600-700 of these canines in the Middle East in such places as Kuwait, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. They continue to guard and protect our military personnel as they were trained to do, with courage, loyalty and honor. While our hearts go out to the families of the men and women of the military who have lost their lives in service to our country, we should also include gratitude for the men and women who have trained the canine team members — and the dogs themselves — whose efforts have helped reduce the toll on human life in the many conflicts where these animals have served. Spring 2020

www.4LegsAndATail.com 27

THE SAGA oF TASHA Bill Blindow - Newport, VT


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

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Spring 2020



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