Southern NH & VT Winter 2018
Tips for a PAWesome winter! Does this collar make me look fat? The Inspiration Behind the Iditarod Meet Marmaduke The Cat Who Lost His Ear
Inside this issue of 4 Legs & a Tail
2. Does This Collar Make Me look Fat? M. Kathleen Shaw, DVM
Helpful advice to keep the weight off this winter
4. Ten Thousand Eyes, Gary Lee
Using people and technology to help wayfaring pets find their way home
6. Frankie and Mr. Wiggles, Annie Guion 7. Tomorrow's Promise Animal Rescue, T.Harlow-Sillanpaa
A look at the newest rescue group in Fitzwilliam, NH
9. How to Train Your Dog to Fetch a Beer
Impress your friends at your Super Bowl party with this trick
10. Best of Breed Dog Biscuits
An award winning recipe from our friends at King Arthur Flour
11. 1925 Serum Run Participants, Betty Bailey
The true story of the life saving dogs that inspired the Iditarod
14. Tips for a PAWesome Winter Adventure, Cara Leone
What is safe to use on your driveway and sidewalk?
15. Strong Body, Strong Mind, Dorothy Crosby
Winter tips for equestrians
16. Wintering Horses, Sue Miller
Helpful advice to keep your equine friends happy, healthy and safe from the cold
18. Winter and Reptiles, Taylor Farris, DVM
Preparing your reptiles for winter
20. On the Job With Burke, Trooper Max Trenosky
Meet the newest member of the Brattleboro K-9 Unit
21. Cat Who Lost Both His Ears Is Winning Instagram Followers with His Huge Heart, Kelli Bender
Pg. 11 22. Once the Teeth Are Clean, Let’s Keep Them That Way-Cats, Sandra Waugh, VMD
Celebrate National Dental Month this February with your favorite feline.
24. Love Story: Extraordinary Girl + Amazing Cat
An autistic five year old finds her artistic freedom thanks to her therapy cat
25. Opiate Addiction and the Hound Healer, Dawna Pederzani
With the odds heavily stacked against them, a young man and a rescue dog find solace in each other
27. Marmaduke: The Story, Kate Kelly
For more than 60 years, the beloved Great Dane has tickled our funny bone
4 Legs & a Tail Volume K.417 P.O. Box 841 Lebanon, NH 03766 603-727-9214 TimH.4LT@gmail.com Winter 2018
Publishers: Tim Goodwin, Tim Hoehn Senior Editor: Scott Palzer Office Manager: Beth Hoehn Graphic Design: Kristin Wolff, Lacey Dardis, Kate Haas Sales: Karyn Swett
Pg. 24 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 Southern NH & VT. 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.
Does This Collar Make Me Look Fat? Obesity in Pets is a Serious Problem M. Kathleen Shaw, DVM - Vermont Veterinary Medical Association
he obesity epidemic in America is not only affecting people, it is affecting our pets as well. Many pets are overweight, but often owners don’t know it until they take their pet to the veterinarian for another reason. As veterinarians, it would be irresponsible of us to ignore your pet’s weight when we do a physical exam, just as it would be for a physician to ignore a human patient’s overweight condition. As your pet’s medical caretakers, we need to bring it to your attention because we are responsible for your pet’s health. So, Fido or Fluffy is a little pudgy. Does it matter? YES. Numerous studies have proven that pets who are overweight or obese are much
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more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, asthma, and many other diseases. How do you know if your pet is overweight? Since ideal weights vary by breed, a good way to judge your pet’s weight is to place your hands on either side of its rib cage and feel for the ribs. You should be able to easily feel the ribs (but not see them). When viewed from above, your pet should have a waist and when viewed from the side should have a slightly tucked abdomen. If you can’t feel the ribs and you can’t see a waist from above, your pet is overweight. Still aren’t sure? Ask your veterinarian. Now, let’s take a look at why our pets are becoming overweight and what we can do about it. Our pets gain weight for the same simple reason that people do: they eat more calories than they use. We are the ones buying and giving the food, so we need to look at how we contribute to this problem. Some pets are expert beggars or even act like they haven’t had breakfast, leading different members of the household to feed them more than once. Many of us substitute treats and extra food for affection. There is always that one person at home who sneaks the pet extra treats, and some of us are ‘guilt’ feeders. The animal begs, so we give just a few more kibbles. Unfortunately, those kibbles add up. Just a teaspoon - about 20 kibbles - extra per day for a cat adds up to a pound in a year. In a human, that’s like gaining ten pounds! People food is a huge source of extra calories. A little cube of cheese to a small dog is like a human eating a couple of Big Macs. A pizza crust is the same. It all adds up. Sometimes there is a medical reason for the weight gain. Sometimes it is related to a slower metabolism with age. So, what can we do about our overweight pets? The first step is to have your veterinarian do a thorough physical to assess your pet’s overall health and to help rule
out any medical reasons for the weight gain. Perhaps your dog has a low thyroid level and needs some medication or maybe your cat has arthritis, which makes it painful to be active and burn off calories. Did you know that by age ten, 90% of cats have some evidence of arthritis seen on x-rays? What we often interpret as “slowing down’ or “growing old” is often pain from arthritis. Who wants to exercise when it hurts? Your pet may even benefit from a prescription pet food specifically formulated to help your pet shed those extra pounds. Talk to your veterinarian about it when having your pet’s physical exam. Some things you can do at home to help control your pet’s weight are to first do a family survey of who is feeding the pet what (including treats and people food) and when. You must get everyone on board to help your pet lose weight. Measure out your pet’s food with a measuring cup. Avoid people food - it is extremely high in calories. If you must give treats, use vegetables (no raisins, plums, avocados, garlic, or onions), but remember that every food has calories, so unlimited amounts of any substance can cause weight gain. Substitute affection for interactive play time. Just because your pet has a fenced in yard or lots of toys does not mean they are going to actually exercise. Get a Frisbee or ball for the dog and play with them, and some fishing pole-type toys or a laser pointer for the cats. Even ten minutes a couple times a day will make a huge difference. Walking the dogs will help your health and theirs. Weight loss isn’t easy, but it can be done. It will help your pet to live a longer, healthier, and pain-free life. The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), founded in 1898, is a professional organization of 360 veterinarians dedicated to compassionate animal care and quality medicine.
Ten Thousand Eyes Using People and Technology to Help Wayfaring Pets Find Their Way Home Gary Lee
n a nutshell, Ten Thousand Eyes™ is the trade name of an Internet database system designed specifically for locating and reuniting pets and pet owners in the Monadnock Region. It was developed, at no cost, for use at Monadnock Humane Society by an area resident who himself has had five cats in 25 years vanish without a trace. TTE and MHS are working in partnership on a one-year pilot test starting by the time you read these words.
Thousand Eyes (TTE) uses this expression to represent all the people in the Monadnock Region who participate in the program by assisting owners of lost pets in retrieving them. They are “The Eyes.”
It’s Important to Act Fast. Many of us hold our pets in high esteem, on the level of a family member. So, losing one is often the cause of great pain and sadness. Your connection to your dog or cat is sometimes so close that you Why the Name “Ten Thousand Eyes”? sense when something is wrong. When was The ancient Chinese, especially the the last time you saw him? It might hapTaoists, used the number ten thousand to pen when peeling potatoes, you suddenly represent a very large, almost unlimited think of your little Calico - “Where is she? number rather than an exact quantity. In or out? It’s been a while…” Suddenly They would say “the ten thousand things” an intuitive flash makes you spin on your for instance, to represent everything heel to face the kitchen window. It’s too late that makes up the objective world. Ten for cats to be out. You reprimand yourself.
Staring into the thickening dusk of a late fall afternoon your mood becomes as dark as your back yard. You realize that what you’re seeing is that crack between two worlds when the critters of the night begin to stir. The abyss into which our pets can get lured. The next two days are spent walking an ever increasing property perimeter, talking to neighbors, calling, whistling. Next day the “LOST” posters go up in the supermarkets, hardware stores, coffee shops and on both sides of every telephone pole in the community. It is a time of desperation. We know that time is not on our side. Reaching Out to The Community: The Traditional Model We call it the “traditional model” but it’s still current in most areas. It uses the once awesome lo-tech quartet of paper, pencil, three ring notebook and grey filing cabinet. The concept is simple: Call or visit the local animal shelter or animal control office, fill out a one page form. If someone happens to report a stray that matches your lost pet’s description, you will be notified. It works sometimes. But the paper form goes into the cardboard notebook and the cardboard notebook goes into the metal filing cabinet and the metal filing cabinet never leaves the wood and steel animal shelter. It’s a lonely place for information to hang out. Monadnock Humane Society is transitioning to the new model – using technology and social media. TTE vs Other Online Models Go online and you’ll find a plethora of other web-accessible public database systems dedicated to helping locate lost pets. Some are created “mom-and-pop” style by a concerned animal lover for local use, and some have bigger designs with a national focus. The challenge with the larger, national sites (some charge for their service) is that their effectiveness is a bit weakened because of the large geographic area they attempt to cover – “one size fits all.” The small, home-grown sites are helpful but not always well maintained or they are not operated in conjunction with other animal professionals and services available in the Continued Next Page
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community they serve. The latter is key. The TTE model focuses on a relatively small, predefined geographic area (towns in the Monadnock Region) where people who lose pets are not far from the people who will find them. The differentiating factors TTE employs include using all available human resources in the service area rather than replacing them. People power still rules. Specifically, the TTE initiative will:
A Call for Volunteers TTE is just getting underway. In fact this ELF article is some of the first publicity it has received. Though we have had a few TTE micro-volunteers from the community jump on board before the doors officially opened, we still need many more Eyes. We use the prefix “micro” because we want potential volunteers to know this job won’t consume a large chunk of your life. Here’s what is involved:
n Fill in all four blanks on the on-line questionnaire. (This gives us permission to send an email to you whenever some body reports a missing pet.) n When you receive an email from us, click on the link that takes you to the new post. n Look at the post. Take note of where the animal was lost. n Share this information on social media or in an email to get family, friends and n be administered by a reputable, trusted colleagues involved, too! local animal shelter (MHS) Thank you for helping lost animals find their way home! n focus on a relatively small area (44 towns in the MHS service area) Link to TTE at: monadnockhumanesociety.org/lost-and-found or click on the button in the top right corner of our homepage: monadnockhumanesociety.org. n reach out to local police and animal control officers in the service area towns n include a large, ever-expanding team of volunteers to monitor missing and stray pet information on a regular bases -TTE micro-volunteers The Technology Infrastructure: We Already Have It. The Pew Research Center (2017) states “nearly nine-in-ten Americans today are online, up from about half in the early 2000s.... Roughly three quarters of all Americans (77%) own a smartphone.” The TTE model is based on the brute force coming from thousands of users and volunteers. Providing easy 24/7 reporting and information access to all lost animal information in the region, is a central database created by the pet owners and stray spotters themselves. Using a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer, reporting your own lost pet (or the stray on your back porch), gets the word out to the entire Monadnock Region in 3-4 minutes, including your pet’s photograph and key descriptive information. People Are Still The Main Ingredient. We love to be needed, don’t we? To do something for someone else that nobody else can do. To be a hero of sorts, someone that makes everything better again for somebody - even a stranger. This is the fundamental assumption that makes the TTE initiative powerful and successful. The people “out there” are your friends and neighbors whether near or far, known or unknown. Give them the opportunity to help you find your pet and they will do so. Some will do it passively, relying on the chance sighting of your rollicking Irish Setter in the back yard, others will participate more proactively by keeping up to date with the missing pet postings and observing wandering animals more consciously while driving around town. Some might go as far as planning a walk in the area where your Calico cat was last reported seen. The bottom line, though, is one of increasing the consciousness of the lost pet situation. The technology part of the equation, though necessary, is more of an enabling tool that the people in the community need to do their work. Winter 2018
Frankie and Mr. Wiggles Annie Guion - Brattleboro, VT
eople think that a shelter is a sad place to be. Having worked at the Windham County Humane Society for 10 years, I can say that days filled with joy and laughter far outweigh the rough days. I had two especially wonderful experiences in the past month. I arrived at the shelter one morning to find a small,
scared dog in the overnight kennel. It’s not the nicest place to spend the night, but it’s far better than the woods or roaming the roads in the dark. The little dachshund was cowering in the back of the kennel, growling and threatening to bite. Keri, our Director of Operations, got the little fellow out and laughed at me – he didn’t have enough teeth to do any damage even if he had tried to bite! We gave him a quick exam, put him in a cozy room with a warm bed, food and water and put his photo up on Facebook and our Lost and Found blog and crossed our fingers. Of the 112 dogs that have come into the shelter this year as strays, 109 have been claimed by their owners. Only 3% have gone unclaimed, so odds were good that this little guy’s owner would come for him. Around 3 pm a woman arrived at the shelter. A friend had told her she had seen her dog on our Facebook page. I showed her into the room where Frankie was and got to witness the transformation of this sad little dog into the happiest fellow on the planet. His owner was shedding tears of joy as she shared the story. She had taken him for a walk at Dummer park and he had wandered off. She spent hours looking for him in the dark with help from kind strangers, and had cried herself to sleep that night, sure he had been eaten. She told me she had spent the whole day crying over the loss of her little Frankie who she had rescued from a shelter in New York City. She confessed that she had not gotten around to getting him an ID tag. We made sure to fix that problem before she and Frankie headed home. An ID tag with your phone number and address is the
quickest way to avoid your dog coming into the shelter - most kind strangers will bring your dog right home if they have an address or someone to call. Your local pet store or Humane Society can help you, or order them on line. They are cheaper (and less stressful!) than a night in the shelter, which comes with an impoundment fee for the town and a boarding fee which supports the shelter. A visit from Mr. Wiggles was a joyful reunion, tinged with sadness as the ravages of age were clear on this WCHS alum. He had come to us originally as a transport from Washington D.C. in 2009. He was a bully breed, a big chunky fellow who looked enough like a pitbull that the odds for his survival were not good in D.C. He earned his name, wiggling every inch when he saw you. But he did not do well in our kennel – super smart and social dogs struggle the most. We moved him into our office, but it took us 3 attempts to find the right home in January of 2010. There was no way we were giving up on this sweet fellow. Mr. Wiggles came back for a visit on Valentine’s Day. He brought with him a box of chocolates and a card that still hangs in my office. In it, we were informed of his new name: Mr. Rusty P. Wiggles. This past October a very skinny old dog came in to the shelter as a stray and when we scanned him and found a chip, we could not believe it was…Mr. Wiggles! It felt to us that he had come here on purpose to say goodbye, and while we were saddened to see him so aged, we were also so happy to see he still had his wiggle. When his owner came to take him home he told us, "I know he looks bad, but he still gets up with excitement at the word 'walk'." What a privilege it is to know a dog like Mr. Wiggles, to save his life, to work hard to keep him sane for 7 months and find him the most amazing home, and to see him again in his old age. It’s stories like these that make working at the shelter a joy. Annie Guion is the Executive Director, WCHS Treasure, Vermont Humane Federation.
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Tomorrow’s Promise Animal Rescue, Fitzwilliam NH T. Harlow-Sillanpaa
omorrow’s Promise was created to provide loving homes for companion animals in need. This non-profit organization was formed in July 2017 and functions purely through volunteer efforts. Donations, fund raising and adoption fees all contribute toward medical and everyday costs of caring for the animals.
This organization operates as a rescue with a small shelter holding a very limited number of dogs and cats at one time. The state no longer recognizes rescues but that is what this place does. Their adoption rate so far is impressive considering word is barely out about its existence. Not every pet comes through the shelter. Tomorrow’s Promise also helps find homes for other animals by working with the original owner. This enables the animal to go from one home directly to the new home, avoiding the shelter altogether. President and Executive Director Theresa Sillanpaa fostered and rescued animals for various organizations for 15+ years. Recognizing the urgent need to get more adoptable pets into this area, Sillanpaa received a great deal of encouragement from other individuals who work in this field. “The support has been amazing,” Sillanpaa stated. “I can’t stress enough that every animal is important. All rescues and shelters are an important presence in the community.” Animal rescue work is very precise and involves careful planning. Tomorrow’s Promise works with a fantastic team of dedicated individuals who start the chain of dog rescue in Georgia. They undergo health care Winter 2018
with appropriate shots or other treatment. Each is spayed or neutered and undergo temperament testing. Another precise piece of the puzzle is transport. You better be where you are supposed to be, when you are supposed to be there. When one animal moves forward for adoption another immediately takes its place. Anyone who has worked with rescue animals recognizes that they know when they have been saved. They show definite signs of being grateful. They are ready to give their new family permanent love and loyalty. In mid October a St. Bernard/Mastiff mix was rescued in Georgia. This big, sweet girl literally defied death by surviving Hurricane Irma on her own. It was obvious from her body condition that she had been abandoned many weeks before. Irma, appropriately named after the hurricane, emerged from wherever she had hidden herself and entered the yard
of a rescuer. Of all places she could have gone, she entered a place of love and protection. She was disheveled, starving and very scared. She was ready to die. Under proper care Irma recovered. She revealed what a happy, silly, affectionate dog she was all along. Irma was quickly adopted by a wonderful family who will show her how special she is for the rest of her life. That is what Tomorrow’s Promise wants for all of its dogs and cats. A favorite rescue was Biscuit, a mix of unknown origin. This intelligent, loving dog was fostered in the south while he was treated for heartworm disease. This is such a common malady in the south. It is also a reason some dogs become strays. The expensive treatment for this disease is more than most people can bear. This perfect dog recovered and was adopted by a couple who had a matching lifestyle for his energy level and youthful zest for life. It is hoped that Continued Next Page
every pet has such a happy ending. Tomorrow’s Promise makes a very special effort to save pregnant dogs or cats or mothers whose babies have already found homes. Preventing unwanted and unnecessary motherhood is an important mission for the rescue. There is a national explosion of dogs and cats and we will never be able to find homes for them all. Most people in the north recognize this fact but it still has to be learned in other parts of the country. A separate branch within the rescue is called All the Tiny Orphans. Mothers are sometimes lost due to accident or some other cause. Their puppies and kittens still need 24/7 care. This group is ready and waiting to help these little ones with specialized care until they are old enough for adoption. CALL day or night for help. Life in the Shelter can become frenetic at times. Dedicated volunteers are the backbone of this organization and they make a tangible difference in the lives of every animal they touch. Nationally, many thousands of wonderful pets are waiting for a family. Tomorrow’s Promise is working tirelessly to find homes for all that are fortunate enough to come under their care and protection. “We can never allow a companion animal to be alone, abused or unloved.”
Tomorrow’s Promise Animal R escue 296 Royalston Road Fitzwilliam, NH 03447
Visits to the Shelter are by appointment only. Find us on Facebook, Adopt-a-Pet, Petfinder, and many other animal adoption pages.
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and tell your dog to “fetch”. If your dog doesn’t understand, as you give the command pick up the beer and place it in the dog’s mouth. 2. Give your dog praise. Give the “drop” command so that she drops the can into your hand. Give praise and a treat. Repeat until your dog can pick up a beer can and put it on your hand using only verbal commands. 3. Move further away from the fridge and repeat. Keep moving a little further away until you’re sitting on your living room couch in front of the TV, or wherever you’ll often be when you command your dog to fetch the beer.
BASIC TRAINING How to Train Your Dog to Bring You a Beer!
t was Super bowl Sunday when most of us first saw this iconic Budweiser commercial. Dogs love to please us. And let’s face it, we love a cold beer during the biggest game of the year. So why not mix the two, and train your dog to bring you a beer! It will certainly impress your guests at this year’s Super bowl party. This WikiHow article shows us just how easy it is to teach your dog to fetch you a beer, or any other cold drink, from the fridge in just a few easy steps.
CLOSING THE FRIDGE: 1. Open the fridge door slightly. 2. Dangle a treat so that your dog gets up on his hind legs and leans with his front paws against the door. This will close the door. Say “Close it” when you’re doing this, and reward your dog when he puts his paws on the door. 3. Move further away, leaving the fridge open. Tell your dog to “Close it”. Reward your dog whenever he closes the fridge. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: 1. Stand close to the fridge. Ask your dog to “Get me a beer”. He should now be comfortable opening the fridge door. While the fridge door is open, tell the dog to “fetch”.
2. Have him put the beer in your hand and reward him. 3. Repeat the previous step, but this time say “Close it” after he grabs the can and reward him profusely after he’s brought you the beer. 4. Move a little further away and say “Get me a beer”. Your dog should open the fridge door but if he forgets to, just grab the beer or close the fridge, and remind him verbally. 5. Reward him when he brings you the beer (having done everything he was expected to do). Keep doing this and eventually most dogs will complete all of the tasks with a single command: “Get me a beer”. Larger dogs between 12 and 18 months of age will most easily learn this cool trick because of their size and willingness to learn, however, it is possible to teach old dogs new tricks, so give it a shot! Your friends will be amazed and impressed and you’ll have more couch time! Please remember, use cans, not glass bottles – you don’t want your dog biting too hard or dropping a bottle and breaking it, causing possible injury to the dog and, (god forbid) spilling your beer. Also remember that you’re teaching your dog how to open the fridge… while he might be trained to bring you a beer, you’ll also have a dog that knows how to gain access to all the best food in the house!
OPENING THE FRIDGE: 1. Tie a rope or a towel to the door of your fridge. If you have a tug toy that your dog likes, this would work as well. You can also wrap a treat inside the towel to make it more enticing. 2. With your dog next to you, say “Get me a beer” or whatever command you have chosen for this action. Encourage your dog to bite on the towel. Give praise and a treat every time your dog bites the towel on your command. 3. Say “Get me a beer” and encourage your dog to pull on the towel. Give praise and a treat every time your dog pulls the fridge open. GRABBING THE BEER: 1. Put the beer can on the lowest shelf of the fridge so that your dog can reach it. It helps to clear out any stuff around it. Empty a beer can and play fetch with it. If necessary, wrap something around the can so the dog can grab it more easily. Put something against the fridge door so that it stays open without you having to hold it. Near the fridge, point to the beer can Winter 2018
Best of Breed Dog Biscuits W
hether or not you have a vegetarian dog, these nonmeat biscuits will be snapped up — literally! The recipe comes courtesy of King Arthur friend Elaine Aukstikalnis, who works in a veterinary office; Elaine regularly bakes these biscuits (which have been “vetted by the vet”) to bring to work for “the patients.”
PREP 15 mins. to 25 mins. BAKE 45 mins. to 60 mins. TOTAL 60 mins. to 1 hrs 25 mins. YIELD about 42 larger (about 3 1/2”) biscuits, 60 smaller (round) biscuits
INGREDIENTS • 2 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour, Premium Whole Wheat Flour, or Organic Whole Wheat Flour • 1 cup rolled oats, regular or quick • 1 tablespoon dried parsley or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
TIPS UR BAKERS O M FRO ese are a Remember, th dog, not treat for your ily diet. part of the da enty! pl One biscuit is
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• 1/2 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 2 large eggs • 1 cup peanut butter, crunchy or plain • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon cold water, enough to make a cohesive dough
INSTRUCTIONS Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease a couple of baking sheets, or line them with parchment. Mix together the flour, oats, parsley, dried milk, and salt. Add the eggs and peanut butter, stirring to combine; the mixture will be crumbly. Add enough water to bring the dough together; depending on the season, you may need to add a bit more (winter), or a bit less (summer). To make biscuits using a dog-bone cutter, roll the dough about 1/4” thick, and cut with a 3 1/2” cutter (or the size of your choice). Gather and re-roll the scraps, and continue to cut biscuits until you’ve used all the dough. To make dog “cookies,” drop the dough in walnut-sized balls onto the prepared baking sheets. Flatten them to about 1/4”. Bake the biscuits for about 40 to 60 minutes, baking the smaller cookies for a shorter amount of time. When finished, the biscuits will be dark golden brown, and will be dry and crisp all the way through. Remove the biscuits from the oven, and cool right on the pans.
Seppala with Team (The Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum, Nome, Alaska)
1925 Serum Run Participants Betty Bailey
In one of the final great feats of dog sleds, twenty drivers and teams carried life-saving serum 674 miles (1,085 km) in 127 hours. Today, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race serves to commemorate the part the trail and its dog sleds played in the development of Alaska.
winter, was traveled only by dogsled. In December, shortly after the last ship had left for the year, a two-year-old Inuit child from a nearby village became ill. Nomeâ€™s doctor, Curtis Welsh, diagnosed it as tonsillitis, a disease that is not usually life threatening, but the child did not survive. Throughout the rest of December, an unusually high number of illnesses were diagnosed as tonsillitis and two more children died. It was late in January when a fourth child fell victim and, this time, the symptoms were obvious. Welsh discovered the true identity of the disease, diphtheria. Diphtheria is an extremely contagious and potentially deadly disease that affects the tonsils, nose, throat or skin. The most likely victims are children under the age of 10. Welsh knew the situation was serious. Six years before, a flu epidemic wiped out half of the native population of Nome and nearly one eighth of the native population of the Alaskan territory. Since diphtheria bacteria can live for several weeks outside the human body, this disease presented an even greater risk. There was an antitoxin available which was used to treat diphtheria. Without it, the disease was usually fatal. Welshâ€™s supply of antitoxin had expired and the new shipment he ordered had not arrived before the port closed. The town sent word, by radio, that the people of Nome needed 1 million units of the antitoxin to stop an epidemic and save the children of Nome and the surrounding areas. The closest antitoxin (300,000 doses) were 1,000 miles away and the options for transporting it were few. The only airplanes in Alaska were old WWI biplanes with open cockpits and water-cooled engines, which were not safe to fly in harsh weather. The best way to bring the much needed serum was by dogsled. The Board of Health decided to try a dogsled relay using two teams. One team would start in Nenana, which was as far as the serum could be sent by train. The other team would start in Nome. The two would meet in Nulato and the serum would be carried back to Nome. Twenty mushers and Continued NEXT PAGE
or more than 80 years, a statue of the famous husky, Balto, has stood proudly in New York's Central Park. The image is of a solitary sled dog, but the effort to rush a lifesaving serum to save the children of Nome from a deadly epidemic took the efforts of many. It was late in the year 1924 and residents of the small city of Nome, in the U.S. Territory of Alaska, had settled in for the winter. Most of the 20,000 people who had come to seek their fortune in the gold rush were long gone. Still, its nearly 1,000 European settlers and about 450 Inuit natives made Nome the largest city in the northern part of the territory. Nome was an outpost even in summer, but, by November, ships had to leave the harbor or risk becoming icebound on the frozen Baltic Sea until July. No roads have ever led to Nome and, back then, bush planes were still a thing of the future. The only way to get anything in or out of the city was through the mail route which, in Winter 2018
150 dogs would travel day and night across the frozen Alaskan mail route, following rivers, crossing plateaus and navigating through forests. Before the serum train arrived in Nenana, 20 more children were diagnosed with diphtheria and 50 more were at risk. On January 27, the first musher, “Wild Bill” Shannon, met the 9 pm train to pick up the 20-pound package carrying the canister of serum. He covered the canister with canvas and fur and quickly took off with his team of 9 dogs toward his stop at Tolovana. The temperature was -50 degrees (Fahrenheit) and dropping. Shannon ran next to the sled to keep warm. When he found part of the trail destroyed by horses, he was forced to travel on the colder ice of the river. By the time he reached his destination, at 11 am, Shannon had developed hypothermia and parts of his face were black with frostbite. Edgar Kallands was next in the relay. He warmed the serum in the Tolovana roadhouse before heading out into the forest. According to reports, when Kallands arrived at his destination, Manley Hot Springs, his hands were frozen in place on the sled’s handlebar. The roadhouse owner had to pour hot water over his hands to free them. A famous musher, Leonhard Seppala, of Norway, was chosen to cover the most dangerous leg of the run, from Nome to Nulato, to intercept the serum. Seppala was
a legend in the world of dogsled racing and had won the All-Alaska Sweepstakes three times. He had previously made the trip to Nulato in four days, breaking all records. When Shannon and his team were leaving the train station in Nenana, on January 27, Seppala and his team took off from Nome, heading into an oncoming storm. Unlike most mushers, Seppala used two lead dogs. One of them, Togo, was as wellknown as Seppala and praised for his intelligence, leadership and keen instincts. The other, Fritz, was Togo’s half brother and equally respected for his good trail sense. Newspaper headlines in the nation’s largest cities flashed updates on the crisis and the progress being made. People across the United States sat by their newly acquired radios, listening to the story unfold. They mourned as the disease claimed yet another life and cringed when gale force winds forced temperatures along the trail to -85 degrees (Fahrenheit). Seppala and his team encountered those extreme winds as they traveled across the frozen Norton Sound toward Shaktoolik. Visibility was so poor, Seppala did not realize how far he had gone and nearly missed musher Henry Ivanoff. Ivanoff's dogs had crossed paths with a reindeer and he was untangling his team when he saw Seppala getting ready to pass him. Ivanoff caught Seppala's attention and handed him the serum. Seppala and his team headed back across the treacherous open ice of the Norton Sound. The solid sheet they had crossed a day earlier had broken up and cakes of ice were threatening to come loose. The team ran close to the shore, where the ice was cracking and water spurted up through the holes. Togo navigated around the weak spots and several times rushed toward the shore to safety. They had traveled four and a half days and covered 260 miles with less than five hours of rest when they reached an altitude of 5,000 feet crossing Little McKinley mountain. Three hours later, at the roadhouse in Golovin, Seppala passed the serum to musher Charlie Olsen. It was 3 pm on February 1. The blizzard was growing stronger and Welch and the local health board put out an order to stop the relay until the storm passed, for fear of losing the serum. The lines of communication went dead, however, before the message could reach most of the mushers. Only the roadhouses at Solomon and Port Safety got word so the race to save the children continued. Olson’s leg of the trip was 25 miles long. When a gust of hurricane force wind blew his sled off the trail, he landed in a snow drift. Olson had to dig his way out and untangle his 7 dogs. He nearly lost his fingers to frostbite when Continued Next Page
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President Calvin Coolidge gave letters of commendation to the mushers, and the U.S. Senate officially recognized their efforts. They also received $25 each from the Alaskan Territory and letters filled with praise from children. The dogs, also, received their well-deserved honors. Several had perished in the run, from frostbite and exhaustion. A statue of Balto, by artist Frederick Roth, still stands in New York’s Central Park, after being unveiled in December of 1925. Antarctic explorer Roald Amundsen awarded Togo a gold medal. Today, diphtheria is rare. It is also preventable, due to the efforts of health officials who have been immunizing children against the deadly threat of diphtheria for decades. The mushers and their dogs were true heroes as were the many others who used the event as a springboard for a campaign to inoculate people all over the world. This story originally appeared on MyHero.com. MY HERO is a non-profit educational project that empowers people of all ages to realize their potential to effect positive change in the world.
Togo was 12 years old at the time of the run.
he exposed his hands in order to put blankets on his team. At 7 pm he arrived at the roadhouse in Bluff. With the snow swirling violently outside, Olson urged musher Gunnar Kaasen to hold off until the weather subsided. The snow and winds did not cooperate. Kaasen feared, if he waited too long, drifts would make the trail impassible and, at 10 pm, he headed out to face the blizzard. Kaasen was a colleague of Seppala’s from the racing days. His lead dog, Balto, was not as experienced as most, but Kaasen had strong faith in him. A dog’s sense of smell is more than 600 times as strong as a human’s and Balto kept his nose to the ground, following the scent of the trail. He led the team through a storm so blinding that Kaasen often had to guess at their location. At times, he could not even see the dogs closest to his sled. He was two miles past Solomon before he realized he’d missed his stop. Soon after, a sudden gust of wind flipped the sled, burying Kaasen in a snow drift. While setting the sled upright, he realized the serum canister had been thrown from it. He crawled around in the dark, using his bare hands to search for the canister. Despite frostbite on his hands, he found the lifesaving serum. The roadhouse at Port Safety was dark when Kaasen arrived at 3 am. Musher Ed Rohn had gotten word the race was halted and was asleep. Kaasen didn’t go inside. He knew it would take precious time to get another team of dogs ready and he was confident his team would make good time on the last 20 miles to Nome. At 5:30 in the morning, on February 2, Kassen and his team pulled onto Nome's Front Street with the serum. Not a single vial was broken. A few hours later it was thawed and ready for use. The children of Nome were saved. A second serum relay (with the remaining serum), using some of the same mushers, arrived two weeks later. Winter 2018
Tips for a PAWesome Winter Adventure A
t some point each winter, my parents will go on vacation, somewhere sunny and warm. Inevitably, I will end up dog-sitting Dakota, the mopey basset hound. I have clear memories of last winter as my husky, Kona, gracefully bounded deer-like through the fresh fields of snow. He raced playfully back and forth, ears perked, tail up. Dakota tried to follow, however, his attempt to clear the snowbank in a single bound ended with him sinking straight to the bottom. When your ground clearance is less than the depth of the snow it gets real cold, real fast. He spent most of the walk whining (more than usual) and after returning to the house, bee-lined for the woodstove where he could curl up and snooze. Whether you need to find a way to keep up with a dog like Kona or make a dog like Dakota keep up, there are some ways to make your cold weather adventures more enjoyable. Remember the acronym CAP: conditions, animal, practice. Know the conditions, know your animal and be realistic about your level of practice.
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Know the Conditions: Wind chill factor - your pet is just as susceptible to hypothermia as you are Daylight - Wear reflective materials and bring extra lighting. Ice conditions - Slippery conditions can cause a pulled muscle or snapped tendon and if the ice won’t support your dog, it won’t support your rescue attempt. Water - Snow alone will not provide enough hydration. Know your Animal: Warmth - Dogs with short coats may need a coat or jacket. Stick to synthetics or high quality natural fibers such as wool and don’t use cotton as it will hold moisture and rob the body of valuable heat. Paws - If your walks are constantly interrupted as you dig out snow and ice from chilly paws, consider getting a set of high quality dog booties. If you are not using booties, use a warm, wet washcloth after coming back in. That will not only reduce the mud inside but help get excess salt off of sensitive pads. Just like a good pair of leather
boots, remember those paws also need an occasional conditioning to help reduce over drying and cracking! Level of Practice: If you have never taken your pup snowshoeing, you don’t know how they’ll react. Consider bringing a longer leash or a leash with a waist belt if you like to use poles. Are the trails you’re considering favored by snowmobilers, mushers or cross country skiers? Research before you go and try to avoid these situations, if possible, since you cannot predict how your dog might behave. For some activities like cross country skiing, letting a dog run across these tracks can ruin them for others. As a courtesy to all that share the trails: keep your dog leashed and under control, stay to the right and don’t forget to pack out all your waste (human and doggy)! Looking for new dog friendly trails this winter? Try Boston Lot Lake in Lebanon, NH, or Mink Brook Trail in Hanover, NH. Make sure to check online for any trail updates before you go and always let someone know where you are going. The winter is a great time for outdoor adventures with our 4-legged family and friends. Just be sure to remember CAP. Hopefully Kona and I will see you out there! Cara Leone is the L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery School Program Coordinator at the Powerhouse Mall in West Lebanon, NH. For event schedule visit llbean.com/westlebanon. She spends her free time finding outdoor activities that can be enjoyed by both a 7 year old husky and a 3 year old toddler. Winter 2018
ecently the topic of rider fitness has been cropping up in a variety of places. Several of my students have concerns about it as not just a physical issue, but a mental/ confidence issue as well. Our bodies were designed for balance and instinctively know to keep us safe. However, when we deviate from those safe postures or perceive ourselves to be at risk, we set ourselves up for physical injury, emotional stress, or lack of confidence. “Lack of confidence?” you ask. Yes; when our brains perceive us to be at risk, even if we have the skill needed, we feel insecure and unsure. We are incapable of fully performing that skill because we are not strong enough or practiced enough or fit enough. Some of us over analyze the problem, actually making it worse as tension exhibited throughout our bodies restricts us. Some of us try harder, but muscling our way through can block the flexibility we need to move or respond. Some of us literally “go along for the ride” content to face whatever happens and enjoy themselves anyway. Regardless of your position (no pun intended), you can be better prepared to physically and emotionally enjoy your ride and get results from your equine partner with less effort, too. Having a supple, relaxed, and flexible horse also applies here. Winter is a great time to groom, work in-hand and fine-tune the partnership, improving communication and ensuring all fitness is not lost. Exercises to strengthen and make the horse supple can be done with only a small space; good footing is necessary of course. Those workouts along with an occasional ride should help maintain fitness, as well as ensure that a ride is not going to strain the horse, especially with snowy conditions. Some folks just put away the tack in the fall; I hope they find many ways to keep their horses moving even if they are not mounted! As for us, we can take advantage of heated rooms, adding some simple stretches. Using our core, or center, is paramount to an effective ride, but it’s also important that we perceive stability. One student, Winter 2018
Strong Body, Strong Mind Dorothy Crosby
a competent and lovely rider, has some confidence issues, even fear, from time to time because of some past experiences. That’s valid. But even new situations create fear. We finally discovered it’s partly due to her not being comfortable with her own body; its movement, flexibility, balance, and skill level. She is sometimes afraid to stretch herself, literally and emotionally, because she isn’t convinced she can! We have developed some simple exercises to help her stretch and strengthen a few key muscle groups, and have been practicing those skills that stress her out by breaking them down into do-able pieces and then putting it into one graceful motion. Amazing how much simpler even mounting can be when one is comfortable….and not so scary if the mounting block or rock or stump in the woods isn’t in an “ideal” position! So far, even in a short time, the results have been striking; when she’s outside her comfort zone, but recognizes her own ability, the horse she couldn’t convince is way more responsive and the ride goes much more smoothly, even for simple tasks. Of course, “clear intent” as per Sally Swift, goes a long way. But we not only have to be clear, we have to be
convinced ourselves that we want to – and can - do it! So what can you do? You can strengthen and make supple some riding muscles that will help you be stronger and more effective – actually lighter with less effort – so that when spring resumes or you have those winter rides you and your horse can feel the difference. Start with your core – your glutes and abdominals. Whether sitting or standing, gently contract those muscles (pull in, or tuck, your seat slightly as you pull back your belly-button) and hold for a few seconds. Repeat a few times. In several sessions, gradually increase the time until you can hold for 8 seconds. Remember to breathe while you do this; notice that the muscles are more relaxed if contracted on the exhale than on the inhale. Next, you can work on your adductors (the inside of your thigh) and your abductors (the outside of your thigh) – the squeeze and release muscles. Sitting down, hold a volleyball (or ball of similar size) between your legs just above your knees and squeeze….a few seconds, and increase gradually. Abductors are important, too. Standing with feet shoulder width apart, don’t move your feet, but use your outside thigh muscles to move your legs slightly apart – perhaps 1/8 of an inch, increasing to ¼ inch over time. Release and repeat, holding for a few seconds. Without overstressing, just a few minutes of effort can bring tremendous payoff… you and your horse will love the difference! Certified as both a Level lll Centered Riding® Clinician/Instructor and CHA Instructor, Dorothy Crosby manages a farm and lesson program for adults and children based in Stoddard NH. She teaches a number of disciplines, emphasizing safety and fun while learning. Dorothy offers clinics, lessons, and workshops both on and off the farm. She loves teaching riders and horses of all ages and levels of experience. www.4LegsAndATail.com 15
WINTERING HORSES Sue Miller Program Director at High Horses Therapeutic Riding Program PATH International Registered Level Instructor/ESMHL Vermont State Chair
ith the onset of winter, plummeting mercury, and thoughts of staying indoors you should think about how to help your horse deal with the falling temperatures. We tend to think that if we are cold, our horses must be cold, this is not necessarily so. Preconditioning horses before the onset of cold temperatures helps to reduce the effect of cold weather on the horse and will reduce his nutritional needs to maintain weight. Consider the horses age, weight, and prior living conditions for how well your horse will deal with the weather. Understanding heat exchange, and how your horse acts and reacts to it, as well as checking your horse often for coat growth, body mass, and water intake are important to keeping your horse healthy during the frigid months. Heat exchange is key to keeping your horse warm and toasty during the cold and snowy months. Heat or energy balance is the difference between heat loss and heat gain over time. If heat gain exceeds heat loss over time, your horse will gain weight. If heat loss exceeds heat gain, your
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horse will lose weight. The colder the air around the horse, the greater the heat loss will be. Energy obtained from calories in feed convert to heat, this is the main source of heat gain. Other minor sources of heat are muscular activity, the sun, and mechanical heat in barns. Horses respond to cold in two ways, acutely (immediately) and chronically (adaptive or acclimatization). The immediate response of the horse to a sudden change in temperature is to change its behavior. Horses will seek shelter from the cold and wind, or huddle together, typically standing together with their tails to the wind to decrease heat loss. It is important to assess your horses body condition often during the winter months. The best way to do this is a hands-on approach. Feel your horse’s ribs, and visually inspect your horses’ overall appearance. Run your fingers over the rib cage applying slight pressure. You should be able to feel them without being able to see them. A thick hair coat can easily hide weight loss. A horse that is shivering is trying to produce
more body heat. If your horse is shivering, he is not warm enough. Without shelter he can quickly become chilled. The effects of cold and wet conditions will put enormous requirements on the horses’ body for heat production. The combination of a cold wind and rain or sleet is the worst-case scenario for a horse. Under those conditions, without shelter, the horse can quickly become chilled. Older horses, in particular, tend to have difficulty maintaining internal temperatures in such circumstances. The effect of falling temperatures, wind, and wet conditions will put an enormous Continued ON Page 18
requirement on the horse’s body for heat production. How much body mass a horse loses depends on the severity and duration of the cold season and the amount of energy the horse receives from feed. Extra calories are particularly important for older horses in winter. A little extra fat before winter can help provide energy reserves during stressful times when the temperatures descend. When the temperature drops, the best heat source for your horse is hay. Every horse should be fed as an individual. You will need to know your horse’s weight to determine his feeding needs. The total weight of feed per day should be between 1.5% and 3.0% of your horse’s body weight. The horse’s own natural coat is its first defense from the cold. Allowed to grow, a horse’s natural hair coat acts as an effective thermal blanket. The hair coat will increase both in length and density as the temperature drops. A heavy winter hair coat is a tremendous insulator and provides as much warmth as the best winter blankets. Horses that are maintained outside should be able to grow a long hair coat along with hair in the ears and along the fetlocks. This hair should not be trimmed, in order to insulate the horse naturally. Horses have the ability to fluff out their coats, called piloerection. This provides them with an insulating layer, and effectively increases the hair coat depth. Provide adequate, heated water if possible. Water helps maintain appetite and digestive function. Snow is not a suitable substitute. A horse’s water intake will decrease as the temperatures fall if he does not have access to fresh warm water. Beware of impactions in feeding more hay. Be sure that your horse always has water to drink. A horse’s water intake will increase dramatically if he has access to fresh warm water. Don’t forget to continue with hoof care and worming schedules through the winter months. Some horses may need booster shots to keep their immune systems in good working order, especially if there are new horses moving into the barn, or your horse will be traveling. Maintaining your horses weight through the winter will help keep him in better condition for riding in the spring. Check your horse's winter coat and condition with your hand feeling for ribs. Feed lots of hay. Supplement with grain if needed. Remember to check your horse's water often and to keep the bucket clean. If the temperature drops below zero and your horse doesn’t have adequate shelter, put a waterproof blanket on him. Seamless, waterproof blankets are the best. If the temperatures are too frigid for riding, make sure your horse has time outside to self-exercise. Even lunging for short periods of time is beneficial to the horses’ health. If you do get to ride and your horse sweats, remember to dry your horses thoroughly, keeping his muscles warm until fully dry. Try to make the best of the cold weather and make sure you dress warmly and in layers yourself. Spring will be back soon and your vigilance in horse care will pay off with a healthy horse that’s ready to ride. Sue Miller is Program Director at High Horses Therapeutic Riding Program, A PATH International Registered Level Instructor/ESMHL & PATH Vermont State Chair
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Reptiles Taylor Farris, DVM Brattleboro, VT.
here are many things about winter in New England that make it a wonderful time of year, but for our pet reptiles it can be a dangerous time of year. With our warm apple cider and thick winter coats we can enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer. If you are the lucky owner of a reptile then this article will hopefully serve to inform you of the importance of heating and lighting. I will also provide some wonderful resources at the end where you can find more information. We all remember from grade school that reptiles need an external source of heat to live and thrive. While it’s a little more complicated than “cold-blooded” and “warm-blooded” reptiles do require an external source of heat. The first question to ask is what are the temperature requirements for my species? Each species has its own preferred optimal temperature zone (POTZ). Reptiles need the option to move between different temperatures throughout the day and night. They are like Goldilocks in that they constantly need to find their “justright” temperature. Let’s say your reptile has a POTZ of 85-74˚F, this does not mean you should offer them a constant 80˚F all day and night. Try very hard to set up their enclosure to offer a range with a warm side around 85˚and a cool side around 74˚ and do not forget that some species need a basking spot which can mean the need for even higher temperatures. This type of dynamic environment allows your pet to regulate their temperature. Options for heating include infrared, basking lamps, ceramic heat emitters, under tank heaters, amongst others. I always recommend staying away from rock heaters as the risk for a serious burn is always present. It is best to use thermometers and thermostats to accurately control the temperature and to prevent Winter 2018
any dangerously hot spots where your reptile might lie and get thermal burns. Another thing to remember is that as you work to increase the temperature inside the enclosure you are often bringing the humidity down. This makes the need for instruments like a hygrometer really important. Just as each species has its own POTZ, they also have a preferred humidity. Low humidity during a shed will increase the chance for retained shed, or dysecdysis. Even species like leopard geckos benefit from having access to a humid hide. After you have your reptile in their POTZ it’s time to tackle the lighting. Reptiles prefer a photoperiod with day and night cycles just like we do. While the sun is the best source of light for your reptile it is often not up enough during winter to make your reptile happy. It is also important to remember that windows, glass, acrylic, or plastic, and even a fine wire screen will filter out most to all the UV light your reptile needs. UVB light is extremely important for most reptile species calcium balance. Without proper UVB lighting many reptiles will begin to show signs of metabolic bone disease. The wave-length of UVB you should be looking for is 290-320 nm. UVB bulbs should be replaced as per the manufacturer’s recommendation but most of the reptile specific bulbs should be replaced at least every year. When in doubt change it out. Just like you and me, reptiles can get sunburn. So make sure that the UV light is not too strong, or emits any UVC light. Increasing the distance between the bulb and where the pet lies in the enclosure can help prevent the negative effects of too much UV light. Some UVB bulb manufactures actually display the strength of UV light at various depths so that you can Winter 2018
best hang the light at the appropriate level. This is another reason combination heating and lighting bulbs can be problematic. With all this talk about the importance of heating and lighting please remember to develop a plan in case your power goes out. A lot of the reptile species commonly kept cannot tolerate a typical New England January day without any power. Being prepared will keep your reptile alive. Finally, there are lots of resources available to help you with your reptile. Websites like anapsid.org are a great place to start learning more about your species. Find a herpetological society in your area. These groups are often made up of experienced and knowledgeable reptile and amphibian care-takers and biologists. Lastly, find a veterinarian who treats reptiles. The website arav.org has an easy to use “find a vet” search feature for reptile veterinarians in your area. Dr. Taylor Farris is a veterinarian at VCA Windham Animal Hospital in Brattleboro, VT. He sees dogs, cats, birds, non-venomous reptiles, and small mammals. He is the happy owner of a rescued Crested Gecko named Gary. Dr. Farris studied at Oklahoma State University where he received a B.S. in Zoology as well as his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.
On the Job With Burke Trooper Max Trenosky- Brattleboro barracks
ach morning I wake up to the sound of toenails pounding on the wooden floors beside my bed, a distinguishable pacing noise coming from Burke, my Belgian Malinois and working K9 for the Vermont State Police. Burke hears the alarm go off and he knows it is time to begin the day, thus beginning his morning march along the hardwood floors until I get out of bed and let him out to go to the bathroom. I put on my uniform and he knows it is time to go to work. From the moment we met when he was 1 year old, Burke has been known for his stubbornness, intelligence and his strong desire to please me when he is at home or at work. Burke looks like any other dog but he has some added tricks up his sleeve that makes him different in so many ways. Burke and I were partnered five years ago and I could not imagine working with any other canine. Burke comes from a very talented family of Belgian Malinois and to say Burke was born to be a police dog would be a fact. His father, Argus, is a Vermont State Police canine and his talents extend beyond police work. Argus had a minor role on screen in the Kevin Bacon
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television series, The Following. Burke’s brother is a State Police K9 in Maine. Burke’s name comes from the town of Burke, Vermont. We worked well as a team right away. Burke is certified in narcotics detection and patrol work to include aggression work, obedience and tracking. It is not easy work or something that comes naturally to all dogs. Burke has an inherent desire to perform well and wants to do his best for me. We do training drills everyday and I make sure he has daily exercise to stay in shape. We have training days twice a month at the K9 School in Pittsford, Vermont and Burke must pass a test twice a year to remain K9 certified. The hard work that both of us have put into our training paid off in 2014 when Burke was awarded top drug canine in Vermont by the Vermont Canine Association. All dogs have millions of sensory receptors in their noses and Burke uses his strong sense of smell to detect a specific object or substance when commanded. An example of his skill to find narcotics can be best described in an incident in the summer of 2017. During a motor vehicle stop, I had reasonable suspicion that there
may have been drugs in the car or on an occupant. When Burke detects that there is a trace (sometimes the smallest trace) of drugs on a person or within the person’s vehicle, Burke can alert me to this. There are certain signs that he gives me like nasal intakes, scratching or body adjustments that help me read what Burke is trying to say. In this particular incident, a passenger of the vehicle discarded a cigarette onto the ground. The passenger was asked to retrieve the cigarette which was accomplished by placing his hands on the ground. This action occurred just before Burke was deployed around the exterior of the vehicle. As Burke started the sniff around the exterior he first directed me to where the passenger had placed his hands on the ground. Burke continued to sniff and further investigation revealed that there was several thousand dollars worth of narcotics hidden in his under garments. Burkes ability to smell the smallest amount of narcotic odors have proven to result in discovery of larger amounts of drugs hidden in vehicles, within other objects like bags, boxes or within/on a person’s body. My vehicle is outfitted with many devices and equipment specialized for those who drive with a State Police K9. Some of its modified features include the backseat, which was removed to have a cage installed with a slider door so Burke can have the option to move within the vehicle. There is a special air conditioning unit called the Hot Dog System, where the alarm goes off and windows go down if for any reason the interior of the car rises above 80 degrees. There is a door opening system, similar to a garage door opener, where I can push a button on my utility belt and it will open the door for Burke to assist me if needed. The Ford Explorer has decals and reflective lettering to indicate that there is a K9 in the vehicle. It is typical that K9’s in the Vermont State Police live at home with their handler. Burke is very protective of his home and he is kind with children. He loves all seasons in Vermont but he loves winter the most, especially leaping through the piles of snow after a walloping snow storm. Burke’s loves to have his forehead scratched and enjoys destroying Kong balls. Burke is my teammate and defines the phrase “partner in crime.” He is hardworking and has a tenacity for his work as a State Police K9. He is fiercely competitive and highly devoted. My wife describes to me that on the many occasions when I have to leave to go to the grocery store or take the children to school, that Burke will sit at the window and wait until I return. I think this is typical behavior for most dogs but in Burke’s case, he is eager for me to return home so we can put on the green and gold, head out to work and be with me. Winter 2018
Cat Who Lost Both His Ears Is Winning Instagram Followers with His Huge Heart
The special needs cat, who has lost some of his hearing because of the surgery, has exceeded her expectations. “He has been nothing but amazing. He immediately adjusted to his new home with me and he truly saved me from my own anxiety. He loves to play and snuggle, and nothing is better than coming home to him and experiencing true unconditional animal love. I didn’t rescue him, he rescued me,” Lichtenwalner added. Hoping to inspire others to give homes to traditionally less adoptable animals, Lichtenwalner started an Instagram for Otitis where he can show off his sweetness and unique look. The @ adventuresofotitis account now has over 16,000 followers, who all adore watching Kelli Bender @kbenderNYC the feline snuggle, snooze and offer up the occasional sassy remark. But Otitis and Lichtenwalner’s mission eet Otitis! to raise awareness about special needs As you may have noticed, he is missanimal adoptions doesn’t end here. The pair ing a common cat part: a set of pointy, recently celebrated a successful Kickstarter triangle ears. Unfortunately, Otitis had campaign. With the funds, Lichtenwalner to have his ears removed after developand her roommate, who are both speech ing Otitis externa, a condition that caused therapists, are creating a children’s the feline to develop large cysts on his ears book about Otitis, his journey and how and also gave Otitis his name. his differences make him unique and beloved. Through his story, Lichtenwalner hopes others will learn to embrace their differences as some of the most beautiful parts of who they are.
His previous owners did not treat the issue and, unable to afford the surgery to remove Otitis ears when it became untreatable, ultimately surrendered the pet. Feline Rescue Association of Baltimore stepped in to cover the sweet kitty’s surgery and work on finding him a forever home. This is where Molly Lichtenwalner becomes part of the story. Over a year ago, the Baltimore native endured a serious car accident, which left her with severe anxiety. In March 2016, she went on Petfinder.com to look for a comforting companion to help her through these hard times, and in a few clicks found Otitis. She instantly new he was her destiny. “I grew up on a farm and always had animals around me that gave me so much happiness. I helped train my parents’ deaf Old English Sheepdog, and when I came across Otitis, I just knew he was meant for me. I always wanted to adopt an animal that was older and had some special needs; the ones the least likely to find a home (unlike kittens),” Lichtenwalner told PEOPLE Pets. Winter 2018
Once The Teeth Are Clean Lets Keep Them That Way - Cats
Y ou just had you cat’s teeth X-rayed, treated with extractions or other procedures,
and fully cleaned. Now you would like a way to keep that mouth as healthy as possible. Remember that plaque is the enemy. Plaque is formed every second of every day, is sticky, and will change from a soft coating on the teeth to a hard, brown calcified barrier (tartar or calculus) in a matter of days. Yikes! Don’t despair, there are effective ways to deal with Sandra L Waugh VMD, MS the problem. First of all, not every animal product with dental claims are created equal. Unfortunately, unless there is a medical claim (“prevents gingivitis,” “cures periodontal disease”) regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there is little to no oversight of statements regarding dental value. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) was created to address this problem. The VOHC awards its VOHC Accepted Seal only to products that decrease accumulation of plaque and/or calculus by at least 20% through a data review system. Unfortunately there are only 11 products for cats that have the VOHC seal so inevitably some of the products recommended here will not have the seal. The most effective way to remove plaque is with a tooth brush. Brushing is a mechanical action that removes plaque. Brushing is the most effective means of removing plaque and remains the “gold standard”. However, unless trained as a kitten, many cats will not accept toothbrushing. Having your cat chew on something that will create a mechanical action can be an effective means of removing plaque from the chewing teeth. (Remember I started with a healthy mouth. If the mouth is painful and your cat avoids chewing with certain teeth then these products will not work well on those teeth.) I use and recommend the following products.
Products with a mechanical action that removes plaque Dental Care Diets. Regular dry food shatters as it is chewed. Hill’s t/d™ has a fiber matrix within the kibble t hat hold s t he kibble together to scrub the teeth (VOHC seal for plaque and tartar)
Regular cat kibble
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1. With every bite,the fiber matrix scrubs the tooth surface to clean teeth and freshen breath.
2. Unique fiberalignment helps kibble stay in contact with the tooth surface right to the gumline.
The t/d™ kibble is considerable larger than regular kibble. The kibbles are larger but not so dense as to prevent the tooth from entering the kibble. Cats like the t/d diet. It can be fed independently or in combinat ion w it h canned food. While many dogs seem to barely chew their food before swallowing, cats are inclined to carefully chew each individual kibble and get an excellent result from eating t/d™.
3. Kibble gently scrubs away plaque and tartar to clean teeth and promote healthy gums.
Feline Greenies (VOHC seal for tartar). My cats go crazy for Greenies. There are a variety of flavors available. These include Oven Roasted Chicken, Ocean Fish, Tempting Tuna, and Catnip Flavor to name a few. Each piece is only 1.39 calories and is “nutritionally complete and balanced for adult cats”. The suggested amount to be fed is on the back of the package. Feline t/d™
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Products that control plaque in a non-mechanical way Water additives - Healthy Mouth™ is the only water additive to carry the VOHC seal. (VOHC seal for plaque). This is an all natural product including chlorophyll, so it turns the water green! It is extremely efficient at removing plaque and is best started directly after the teeth have been cleaned. Sanos®: See my article in the Fall 2015 issue of 4 Legs & a Tail. The polymers in this product form a film in the space between the gum and the tooth, hindering plaque attachment in the area where periodontal disease starts. Applied by the veterinarian after cleaning the teeth. Must be reapplied every 6 months for full efficacy. I really like this product in cats and small dogs and use it on my own pets.
Some products combine mechanical action with a plaque control product Dental Wipes: These are small pads that are wiped over the teeth and gums to remove plaque and to deposit plaque control products onto the teeth. When working with cats the least amount of restraint you need will result in more cooperation from your pet. Here I am using my left had to support Reenie’s head but I am not gripping her head tightly. Cats do not respond well to force!
In the last issue of 4 Legs & A Tail I talked about products for keeping your dog’s teeth clean and healthy. Some of the products, such as the water additive and the dental wipes, can be used on both dogs and cats. Other products are cat or dog specific. Winter 2018
Of course you can and really should use more than one product to keep the teeth clean and the mouth healthy. With all these great products available it is easier than ever to keep your cat’s teeth as clean as when s/he was a kitten. It still will be necessary to have professional dental cleanings done by your veterinarian. If you keep the teeth clean it will take less time under anesthesia for your veterinarian to clean the teeth. This also means less extractions will need to be done and it may mean greater intervals between cleanings.
Dr. Waugh is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She also holds a Masters Degree from Washington State University of Veterinary Medicine and is owner of Windsor Veterinary & Dental Services. www.4LegsAndATail.com 23
Love Story: Extraordinary Girl + Amazing Cat T
his story is about a very unique friendship and loving bond between an extraordinary young girl and her therapy cat. Before we delve into this heartwarming tale, stop for a moment and look at the painting below called ‘raining cats’. You might initially think it could be one of Monet’s works because of its soft impressionistic style.
Would you be surprised to find out that it was drawn by a 5-year old girl? We certainly were! What an incredible talent! The artist is Iris Grace Halmshaw, a 5-year-old British girl who is diagnosed with autism. Her muse is a gentle and loving Maine Coon cat named Thula. The two best friends are now inseparable. As a result of her condition, Iris doesn’t speak much but through the love and encouragement of her parents, she has learned to express her emotions through painting instead. Her parents say that she draws much of her inspiration from the long hours she spends sitting outdoors, gazing at the beauty of nature. Iris’ breathtaking paintings are sold to private art collectors around the world, and her family uses the money to pay for her therapy treatments, art supplies, and to raise awareness about autism. Iris is home-educated and has been painting her astonishing Monet-style landscapes since she was three, when her mom (Arabella Carter-Johnson) devised art sessions to help her daughter’s concentration and speech. Iris, like many with autism, experienced daily anxiety and was highly uncomfortable in social situations. Mornings were particularly difficult for Iris, so her mother thought that a nurturing animal companion might be helpful and calming. Arabella said that she wasn’t advised to get a therapy animal, but when she researched autism, she found numerous stories about the wonderful effects that animals can have on autistic chil24 4 Legs & a Tail
dren. Arabella said, “We took Iris to equine therapy but she didn’t seem very interested in horses at that time. Then I began to think about a therapy dog.” “Iris and the dog didn’t get along – Iris hated being licked and the tail wagging, the hyperactivity of the dog would upset her. So, for a while I gave up on the idea.” It was her fans online – mainly in America – who encouraged Arabella to look into getting a Maine Coon cat to keep Iris company and help her to open up further. Iris’s parents bought Thula (a Maine Coon cat) for their daughter two years ago, and she has since started to speak – something doctors warned might never happen. When Iris met Thula, it was love at first meow. =^..^= Arabella said, “Thula has lowered Iris’ daily anxieties and keeps her calm, but equally has the effect of encouraging her to be more social.” “She has been at Iris’s side since she arrived and slept in her arms during her first night here. Thula’s constant presence and gentle nature is having a remarkable effect upon Iris.” Thula will regularly sit beside Iris and mimic her movements. Gifted girl and her therapy cat share an incredible bond! Unlike most children of Iris’ age, she doesn’t chase, stroke or pick up the kitten constantly. Their relationship is based upon companionship. Thula is not trained to be a service/therapy cat, but since the family took her in at such a young age she has gotten used to many things ordinary cats might have a literal hissy-fit about. For example, Thula regularly wears a harness, rides in the car, boat rides and even bike rides. Maine Coons are not only very intelligent, but also one of the gentlest cat breeds. Iris went through a stage over the last year of hating baths and having her hair washed. Thula is so supportive of Iris that she will even make the ultimate sacrifice a cat can make — she’ll take a bath, allowing herself to get all wet, just to encourage Iris, who has a strong aversion to the bathtub, to do the same. Iris loves being outside and one can see so much of nature in her paintings. She will watch water, trees, wind, leaves, flowers, birds, clouds and is so interested in movement and how it changes things. Thula and Iris do everything together,
Iris & Thula
whether painting, just being in the garden, looking at books or joining the family on canal boat trips, bike rides and walks on a leash. According to Arabella, “When Iris was looking at her books; she would delicately feel Thula’s ears and her long whiskers, or hold her tail at the tip, casually twiddling with the fur as if it were her own.” If Iris woke up at night, Thula was there to settle her. It was as though she instinctively knew what to do. She would bring Iris a small toy in her mouth and drop it beside her. Thula would then snuggle up beside her and purr, while Iris gently settled and fell back to sleep. Are you curious to know where the name ‘Thula’ came from? We were too. Turns out, it’s from one of Iris’ favorite songs – a traditional Zulu lullaby called Thula Baba. Iris is not only a gifted painter, but is also very musical and has shown an affinity for music since she was a baby. Arabella was quoted saying, “Music was the one thing that always calmed her. Iris is particularly into classical music at the moment and knows all of the orchestra instruments. She adores the violin.” Thula continues to be a big influence in Iris’s acclaimed artwork which can fetch several thousand dollars per painting. Celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher have shared Iris’s work on social media, Iris’s astonishing tale of talent and her special relationship with Thula is lovingly told by her mother in a book called ‘Iris Grace’ published by Penguin. For information, here’s the link: http://hyperurl. co/IrisGrace This is one remarkable friendship! Our thanks to Arabella for providing images and allowing us to share her beautiful and talented daughter’s amazing story. OK, we admit it, we’re big are fans of Iris and Thula! We’d love to hear your stories of any remarkable therapy cats. For anyone interested in autism and cats, please read the post we did last year called “The Power of Cats with Autistic Children” at www.ThePurringtonPost.com Winter 2018
Opiate Addiction and the Hound Healer I
take the adoption process very seriously, some might say too much so. We have an on line application with questions that some have said are probing and frankly none of our concern. On many fronts, I differ with that thinking as my decision for an adoption to move forward or not is based on the answers to those questions. Coupled with personal and veterinary references, a decision is made which sets in motion a journey for a dog who has already endured too much, and has no say. I have to be as certain as is possible that the next home is happy, healthy and committed, not just in the moment but forever. The quality and remainder of that dogs life depends on it. Vinny had been with us for months, too many months. He was our first big hound, and most likely our last. Vinny was dumped at a high kill shelter in SC where the dogs do not ever see the light of day. They leave with a rescue or they don’t leave alive. There are no public adoptions. Vinny is a stunning dog, handsome and quite regal. The trainer with whom we work, upon meeting Vinny gave him a solid and full handed pat on the side, smiled and said, “Now this is a dog!” I am certain that my return gaze was incredulous at the least and frankly baffled at best. Are we experiencing the same dog? At 70+ pounds Vinny is striking. His snow white coat topped with hot fudge and butterscotch spots is short and sleek and a hand slides easily over it’s softness. Add to that soulful eyes and droopy ears and you have the perfect disguise behind which to hide the barking, kennel climbing, prey driven bundle that we felt we had failed. We reached out to breed specific rescues and humane societies and networked the network out of this boy. I suspect that everyone we called, wrote, or prayed to had owned or rescued a hound and they were suddenly full to capacity and would get back to us. The return calls never came. And so, when an application landed in my email box for Vinny, it had my rapt attention and then some. My elation was quickly tempered. The applicant was Justin. He was young, unemployed, lived with his mother was recovering from 4 traumatic brain injuries sustained in a near fatal car crash, and had no hound experience. To say that this did not look promising is akin to saying that Vinny would make a great pet for an elderly person. My hope sank. Winter 2018
However over the course of hours and frank conversations with the powers that be about how hard we work and what a good dog Vinny really is under the layers of.... houndness, I felt prompted to call this boy. Call it wishful thinking. Call it desperation. Call it what you will but I could not shake the feeling that I had to speak with Justin. And so I did. I thought that this call would put a fast period on the sentence that began and ended with, "no way". Rather, it began a quite amazing journey with Justin and later his mother Kelly, of trust and love and flat out, laid open frankness about a day that changed their lives forever. It also answered the question of why Vinny? How did they envision this broken dog cementing them all back together, and was it fair to ask that of him? I like depth and challenge and frankly any situation where someone is fully engaged with me toward an end goal. These folks were not skirting anything. In fact their commitment to making this horrible tragedy into something positive and honest and evolutionary was evident from my first question. As I read them the laundry list of behaviors regarding Vinny that I felt would surely send them running, what I heard was, “ok, ok, ok, anything else?” Anything else? How much do you need to scare you? They were undaunted. In many ways Justin was typical teen living day to day, testing the boundaries of parents and life and believing like most that his future was endless and guaranteed. Through a circle of friends he began to dabble in drugs, first opiates, Oxycontin and the like and then crossing the line into Heroin, a line that is nearly impossible to see again let alone cross back over. It is the goalpost into hell and the road out would nearly take his life. Justin came from addiction which is oddly what set this day in motion. His dad, an alcoholic for most of his life was in the hospital ICU with his options being to lose a leg or his life. He had undergone several failed knee replacements and then taken a fall. A forth knee replacement was not in the cards. His kidneys were failing and the decisions were limited and harsh. Kelly was with him when Justin walked in. All he heard was amputation or death. With that he stormed out of the hospital to find relief in the only way he knew, through drugs. The day was September 7, 2015, Memorial Day weekend. Kelly was lying on her deck soaking in the day which was
sunny and warm. She had left the hospital and the impending decisions regarding her husbands treatment behind for a brief respite, or so she thought. Suddenly she heard a siren, then quickly in succession another then many. At first she said that she thought about the possibilities, a failed surgery, an elder fall, a broken bone. She took a moment to wish well for the family that would be impacted by this moment in time and hope that the pain was minimal and fleeting. Justin had gotten into his work vehicle. He was a cable installer for a big company. Since he does not remember much of the day, what was taken and when is unclear. Heroin was found in the van. Justin apparently fell asleep or passed out at the wheel, exited the highway in the wrong lane and plowed at an estimated 40 MPH into a tree. He had no seat belt on and as such was thrown like a parcel around the cavernous interior of the van. His head penetrated the windshield. It took the Jaws of Life to extract him barely alive. Justin was taken to the hospital and not expected to live. His identity was unknown as he carried no id and every bone in his face was broken. His chin was gone and he was unconscious. The sound of the sirens came and went through Kelly’s mind as the day went on. She had not heard from Justin since he left the hospital the night before. Then she began to try and find him. It seemed that he had vanished, which in a very real way, he had. Justin was in a coma where he would remain for months. By evening Kelly was distraught. She called the local fire station to speak with the paramedics about the accident. They knew Justin. Surely if it were him, they would know. They said that the man was a 33 year old male. Justin was 23 and surely they would have recognized him? After half the night and worried sick, Kelly went to the hospital with id and information that could help identify her son. It was then that she realized that this bloated, broken and unconscious body on life support was in fact her son. She was told that if he survived, and that was Continued Next Page
a very faint “if”, she would not take home the same son that she knew the day prior. Justin had been in rehab facilities at least 10 times over the years. He had attempted suicide 8 times. He would stay clean then slip and the dance continued with the only constant being the love and devotion of his family. And so how and why did this young man, a boy really, come to Vermont to find this dog? Justin’s Neuropsychologist said that he needed something for which to be responsible. He needed a purpose to get up every day and a reason to exercise and live. Something had to pull this boy out of the abyss and make him want to function. Justin needed 38 plates to rebuild his face and ongoing physical therapy to learn everything; talking, walking, eating, writing and thinking. He had become a blank canvas upon which to write a new life. The question was, would anything make him want that life? Justin’s brain sustained 4 Traumatic Brain Injuries in the collision. It simply did not perform on his command, or sometimes at all. In fact even the commands themselves were garbled. His doctor told him that a dog would be perfect therapy. The caveat was that Justin was not allowed to have any help in finding the dog or navigating the process. And so, there we are back at my desk and on the phone with Justin. He saw Vinny on line and told his mother, “That’s my dog.” By this time they had met several dogs with whom there just was not a connection. Justin filled out the application, endured my interview, (as did Kelly). I told them, “Vinny jumps on everyone, he pulls on the leash, if he gets lose he won’t come back, he can climb a house, he barks.....did I leave anything out? Kelly assured me that a trainer near their home had offered to work with any dog that Justin adopted for free. Now I must also add that Vinny had been accepted into the ProNature adoption program through Pet Food Warehouse. In this program, the adoption fee is set at $400.00. If the rescue agrees to the reduced fee, ProNature pays the fee and supplies six months of food, and Pet Food Warehouse adds gift certificates an id tag and other adoption goodies. When I shared this with Kelly she burst into tears. Through her sobs she said, “This was just meant to happen, I am certain of it.” A date was set for mom and son to travel the 4 hours to Vermont. It was a beautiful, sunny day close to the anniversary of the accident. Vinny was in the backyard loose so that we could gauge his reaction to Justin. The normal reaction would have been for him to run, fearing being caught. As Justin approached Vinny, that dog dropped onto his back and just lay there. This is where the Kleenex started flowing. Vinny on his back! Justin looked up at his mom and said “I love him.” There were no words. None were needed. Palpable certainty is tough to argue with. We had 30 minutes to get all the paperwork in order, drive to Pet Food Warehouse, get all the food and supplies and get them on the road. It was a marathon shopping trip. As always, Pet Food Warehouse
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folks were beyond helpful. Shopping done and Vinny leaving imminent, Justin reached out to hug me. It was a true and solid hug as honest and real as every step of this journey had been thus far. Justin said, “You gave me the best day in my life since my accident.” I could not speak choking back the emotion of this moment, this afternoon and beyond. Had I been able, I would have said to Justin and Kelly, Thank you for Vinny and Justin trusting us and sharing such a private and heart wrenching tragedy in your lives. Thank you for showing us hope for Vinny when we had nearly given up. Thank you for reminding us that there is a person for every dog, you just have to wait, and it could be a long wait. Thank you for breaking every criteria by which I look at an adoption application. We are all broken, most breaks are not visible to others, but breaks exist none the less. You took yours out for me to see and I am honored. Most importantly in this current crisis of addiction all over our country, thank you for shining a light on your journey through and beyond it. Kelly reports that Justin is totally devoted to Vinny, he walks, feeds and grooms him. Vinny is now Buddy because Justin says that he is his best buddy for life. He spends every waking hour with Justin and sleeps with him. I advised, the day of adoption that Justin crate Vinny when unsupervised. In the moment he agreed, in fact promised. However, taken in by those soulful eyes that promise nothing but perfection, Justin decided that Buddy did not need to be crated when he was away from the house, and so left him out. Suffice it to say that Buddy put his own spin on home decoration including no curtains in the windows, shredded pillows and why recycle when you have him? The crate is back. Kelly also reports that although Justin is an addict, and always at risk, that he has not used since adopting Buddy. This dog saved the boy as surely as the boy saved the dog. So often in rescue we hear about how we save animals. This is a fuller story of how the they have the capacity save us and then some. We often have perceptions of how a dog “should be”. Truth is that they can save us just as they are. Justin’s struggles are for life, not only with addiction and depression, but with the capacity to function. His job is gone, his license is gone and his vision of his future being endless and guaranteed is gone. Kelly is clearly his rock. On that day of hearing the sirens and her wish for the pain of those involved to be minimal and fleeting, she had no idea that the wish was for her own son. Rather that day brought with it a life sentence of uncertainty of which she is acutely aware. Kelly sees the good that was always there in Justin. She sees the tempered youthfulness as good. She knows the statistics and chooses to take one day at a time, sometimes one hour. She also sees the joy in her sons eyes which had gone dark, when he interacts with Vinny. “Vinny has brought him back to life and we thank you.” That for me is like being given a bag of gold then being thanked for taking it. Dawna Pederzani is the Founder of Vermont English Bulldog Rescue and Bulldogs and Buddies. Winter 2018
Marmaduke: The Story Kate Kelly © 2017 UFS/Dist. by Andrews McMeel Syndication for UFS
Brad entered Syracuse University under the GI bill. The focus of his studies was marketing, but his love continued to be cartooning. Brad kept thinking, drawing, and sending out cartoons. During this time, he made several sales to two of the bigger markets—Collier’s Magazine and the Saturday Evening Post. After receiving his diploma, Brad Anderson knew he’d better take a “real job” until he was certain he could make it full time as a cartoonist. He worked in public relations and advertising for a Marmaduke Makes Readers Laugh time, but freelance sales continued. He Whether it’s Marmaduke trying to order and Barb decided that he could undertake from the ice cream truck or Marmaduke cartooning full-time. Grandpa’s Boy was taking up all the space on the family bed, his first strip, though he continued to sell the Andersons have maintained an unfail- single panels. offerings. Marmaduke is a very popular ing commitment to making the world a part of their Comics section. little brighter and more fun every day. Marmaduke’s Real Family While Marmaduke is notable for many Barb and Brad Anderson began famreasons, one aspect of the cartoon that ily life in upstate New York, living near separates Marmaduke from other animal Niagara Falls. They were eventually to have comics is that Marmaduke is truly a dog. three sons and a daughter. In the early This lovable Great Dane needs no word 1960s, the Andersons moved to southern balloons. The Andersons—both father and California and settled in Escondido. son–have perfected the art of dog facial In a phone interview with Paul expressions and expressive bodily poses. Anderson, he says that while they were One glance at the day’s panel, and any growing up, Marmaduke was just a part reader knows exactly what Marmaduke of the fabric of family life. He said what is thinking about. It’s sure to elicit a grin was different in those days was having a or even a laugh. dad at home. How Marmaduke Came About Brad was always happy with his work Brad Anderson (1924-2015) grew up arrangement, and it was truly a family in Portland, New York. His father was an affair. Wife Barb took care of the business inventor and sold farm machinery. Brad end of things. She also helped with a part Creates Dog Character had exposure to what had been his father of the shading process that at that time and grandfather’s business, but his earliest When Anderson decided to create a dog had to be done by hand. cartoon, his first creation was a shaggy dog interest was in drawing. From a very young Brad Anderson traveled everywhere age, he had a pencil in his hand and was in cartoons he sold to a farm magazine. with a pen and notepad. Occasionally, the From this experience, he learned someoften sketching out ideas for cartoons. family would be in another car on their In high school, he contributed comics thing about animal-drawing. A short-haired Continued Next Page dog could be more expressive. He knew to the school paper, but he was also sending out cartoons to consumer magazines. any dogs in his future would not have long In 1939, when Brad was only 15, he sold hair. his first cartoon. The sale was to Flying The next dog was modeled after a goofy boxer his parents owned. “My father would Aces magazine. As World War II loomed, Brad Anderson, sometimes put him in a necktie or put a like other young men his age, enlisted scarf on him. He didn’t seem to mind” in the military. He joined the Navy. He Brad Anderson told the Dallas Morning started as a machinist, but at only 19, he News in 1999. was assigned to be Acting Chief in charge But as Anderson further developed his of the engine room. His ship was in the character, he wanted an even bigger, goofier Pacific Theater where his unit saw a lot pet. He selected the Great Dane. When he first sold a Marmaduke panel of action. in 1954, only eight newspapers carried it, but the character grew in popularity. Today After the War When he finished in the military, he there is no diminishing of interest. While returned and married his high school some newspapers have shed their comic sweetheart, Barbara. Together the two pages, Andrews McMeel Syndication, runs moved to Syracuse, New York, where an active and popular website with many Winter 2018 www.4LegsAndATail.com 27 armaduke made his first appearance in the newspaper comic pages in 1954. Since that time, Brad Anderson, who created the strip, and Paul Anderson, his son who joined the business in 2004, have never repeated a single panel. Despite a library of 63 years’ worth of daily panels and Sunday strips, readers are given brand new Marmaduke stories daily. Marmaduke lives with the Winslow family, and all his dog capers involve his family, their neighbors, and anyone who happens into Marmaduke’s orbit.
way home. They would pass him pulled off to the side of the road…head down. “We stopped a few times, but then we learned that he simply pulled out of traffic to capture something before the idea was lost,” says Paul. One of his father’s friends once asked Brad, ‘Why don’t you say much?’” Paul says his father’s reply was “If I’m talking, then I’m not watching and listening.” Follow Your Dreams As the children grew up, Paul Anderson says, “My father always believed we should each follow our own dreams. He was supportive of whatever we decided to do.” Paul’s dream was to serve in the Air Force. He graduated from college and then joined the Air Force. He served for twenty years, leaving the service as a Lieutenant Colonel. The Anderson Dogs So what dogs provided inspiration over the last 63 years? Paul Anderson said that his family has always owned many pets, including cats and fish and chickens. When it came to dogs, they brought home dogs of all types— all of whom “helped” with the strip. It wasn’t until everyone was grown that sister Christine decided it was time to add Great Danes. She owned several, but one named Marmaladee she gave to her parents. Reportedly, Marmaladee did a good job of
being a Marmaduke kind of dog. Paul has always kept dogs and now has a standard poodle who often provides material for him to work from. Marmaduke and the Future In 1994 Brad and Barb moved to Texas to be closer to where their children and grandchildren lived. And Paul, too, came to Texas to be near family. With four siblings, how did Paul Anderson become the one who joined the business to carry on the Marmaduke legacy? “Dad loved the work. He never talked about retirement. Every morning he got up and went to his studio,” says Paul. “He was certainly not worrying about a succession plan.” “The four of us talked, and one of my brothers said, ‘Paul, you’re the one of us who can do it.’” Paul had the right combination of artistic talent combined with an accommodating personality where he could ease in without causing upset. Discussing Marmaduke’s Future Paul continues: “I brought up the idea of my joining him and why. My dad’s first reaction was ‘Hmmm.’ He clearly hadn’t given it any thought. “But after a bit, he decided, ‘why not?” From there, Paul began his “apprenticeship” under his father. “I began with gag-writing, and moved more slowly into
the art of the illustrations.” “One day we were going back through some of the old files, and I saw some of my first illustrations,” Paul continues. “I was horrified, and asked how he let them go through?” His father very patiently answered, “Why you were just developing. I knew there was no need to stop you.” “Throughout, he was the most wonderful, patient mentor,” said Paul. Marmaduke Today Most cartoonists work several months ahead. Because Brad Anderson so loved his work, he kept creating, regardless of the date or what was due. Though Brad died over two years ago, Paul is still working off the new original comic strip panels that Brad outlined for the Sunday color strip before he died. Paul creates all the daily panels from scratch. He uses a digital drawing tablet. This permits him to still draw freehand, but some of the layering and shading can be done more quickly. And of course, delivery to the editor is eased by working digitally. For both Brad and Paul, one of the true joys of Marmaduke’s fame is getting letters from readers. Most letters are from readers sharing stories of their own beloved pets. “It’s always fun to receive them.” But particularly during the days when children opened up the newspaper and spread out the comic pages on the floor, teachers would write saying that some of their students used Marmaduke to learn to read. Many Awards and a Marmaduke Library Over the course of Marmaduke’s 63 years, the Andersons have received many awards. Brad was presented the National Cartoonists Society’s 1978 Newspaper Panel Cartoon Award, and in 2013, he received the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award. There have been many other recognitions as well. Brad Anderson’s family wanted the Marmaduke collection to be housed in a place where it would be accessible to cartoonists and researchers. They selected the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State University. The Joy of Marmaduke Paul said that his father used to tell people, “I am so fortunate I can do what I love and make a living at it.” From the joy in Paul’s voice as we talked about Marmaduke, I would say he feels the same way.
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This article first appeared on the website, www.americacomesalive.com America Comes Alive publishes more stories about American dogs and other animals. Visit the website and sign up for “American Dogs” to receive the stores in your In Box. Or email Kate Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org Winter 2018
Southern NH & VT Winter 2018
Tips for a PAWesome winter! Does this collar make me look fat? The Inspiration Behind the Iditarod Meet Marmaduke The Cat Who Lost His Ear
Published on Dec 13, 2017