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Happy Mud Season Central NH & VT

Eventing, Six Tough Goals for Brave Kids (One chicken required)

Who’s Taking Who For a Walk! Alternatively Speaking: A Holistic Approach to Vaccinations OBarkaCareIs mandatory health insurance for pets coming soon? What You Should Know About Feline Asthma



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Inside this issue of 4 Legs & a Tail

What’s Up This Spring

Cowboys and dog parks, New England’s largest equine and canine expo, and more!

Green Up Your Pets, M. Kathleen Shaw, DVM -

Great ideas for your pets and the environment

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear - Pay close attention or you may get more than you bargained for

battled Cushing’s disease

9 The Joys and Benefits of Backyard Living, Ira Richards - Some tips on getting started with animal husbandry 11 When Molly Met Sally, Erin Regan - How one family 14 How to Choose the Right Dog for You and Your Family, Paula Bergeron - Food for thought when considering an addition to your household

16 Alternatively Speaking: A Holistic Approach to Vaccinations, Anne Carroll, DVM 18 Ahh, Spring is in the Air, Scott Borthwick Don’t exchange snowbanks for wild critters! 19 The Bear and the Branch, Jackie Finethy Matching wits with a 300 lb bear. 21 What You Should Know About Feline Asthma, Elisa Speckert - Learn the signs and solutions 23 “Hey, it’s Just an Ear Infection, Right?” Not Exactly, Jennifer Lesser, DVM - Allergies can bring about a

variety of pet issues this time of year

25 The Miracle of Love, Sandy Johnson A tender story from the popular book, Miracle Dogs:

Adventures on Wheels.

These beautiful birds might be the perfect pet for you

28 Canaries, Susan Dyer, DVM

30 Pet Stress! (Autumn likes to pee on the couch), Catherine MacLean, DVM

A look at feline urination issues at home

32 Canine Point of View, Michelle Grimes

Keep your over-enthusiastic dog from jumping on visitors

the future?

last fall’s rescue operation that made headlines

How much sleep does your horse need?

future winner

How your happiness can have a positive impact, straight from the horse’s mouth

A reminder before your horse starts grazing

The F1 Bengal

How one sailor found a new first mate

One German Shepherd’s mud season adventure

A hassle-free approach to walking your dog

What one local vet’s cat has to say about office life

equal big dental issues

34 ObarkaCare - Is mandatory health insurance for your pet in 35 Lucy Mac Update on the 23 Arabians and Fostering Appeal, Gina McAllister - A progress report on 37 Paddock Partners, Heidi Jo Hauri-Gill

39 Eventing, Six Tough Goals for Brave Kids, Denny Emerson - Tips from one gold medal winner to a 41 Laughter Medicine, Kat Barrell

43 Your Horse and Spring Grass, Heather Hoyns, DVM 44 Rare Breeds Around Town, Cindy Sharkey 46 Changing Direction, Jan Bailey 47 A Stroll in the Mud

48 Who’s Taking Who for a Walk?, Debra Monroe 49 A Letter from the Clinic Cat, Leo

50 What Can Happen to an Infected Lower Molar in Small Dogs, Sandra Waugh, VMD, MS - Little dogs can

4 Legs & a Tail Volume L.115 P.O. Box 841 Lebanon, NH 03766 603-727-9214

Spring 2015

Publishers: Tim Goodwin, Tim Hoehn Senior Editor: Scott Palzer Accounting/Editor: Elisa Speckert Office Manager: Beth Hoehn Graphic Design: Monica Reinfeld, Kate Haas Sales: Karyn Swett, Scott Palzer, Barry deSousa

If you have a tale about a tail or a photo that will make us smile, we’d like to hear from you. 4 Legs & a Tail is published quarterly and distributed free of charge throughout Central VT & NH. 4 Legs & a Tail, Inc. is locally owned and operated and acts as a moderator without approving, disapproving or guaranteeing the validity or accuracy of any data or claim. Any reproduction in whole or part is prohibited. 1

What's Up This Spring? Equine Family Fun


illow Brook Farm in Plainfield, New Hampshire is excited to announce some upcoming events. First on the Calendar is a Spring Used Tack Sale. It will be held on the 22nd of March at 10AM. Tables are available, so come and sell your used tack and see what others have to offer. They will continue their fun series of Horseless Jumping on April 18th at 1:30pm. Come and show off your abilities and watch others compete in this fun event for the whole family. The premier horse event for the Spring in the Connecticut River Valley will be the Dan James Clinic on May 22nd - the 25th. Dan James was born in Queensland Australia on a small cattle farm. In 2008, James was recognized as a world class colt trainer when he won the “Way of the Horse” at Equitana Asia Pacific. In 2012, James wowed judges again with his incredible training techniques winning the Road to the Horse International Colt Starting World Champion title. James continues to push the limits of horsemanship and entertainment with eye-opening clinics and exhilarating performances. Helping horse enthusiasts to expand their knowledge and understanding for the Love of the Horse. Liz will be hosting a fun day and cook out on Memorial Day (May 25th). For more information about all the fun and educational events at Willow Brook Farm contact Liz Guaraldi at 603-510-0030 or at

PetSafe Shaker Field Dog Park Spring is the perfect time to start those outside construction projects and this spring the Upper Valley will band together to begin work on the Mascoma Valley Dog Park. The group comprised of over 80 members are residents of many area towns, making it a truly multi-community collaboration. After more than a year of organizing, fundraising, and working with the Enfield Board of Selectmen and Planning Boards, the construction of their first dog park on approximately two acres at the eastern end of the Shaker Recreation Field on Route 4A, will begin in spring of 2015. The dog park will feature separate fenced in areas for large and small dogs, as well as a separate area available to dog trainers and their clients, for agility and obedience training. The plans call for features such as climbing boulders and tunnels, which will make the park an exciting place for canines to play. Benches, a covered pavilion, and landscaping will enhance the experience for dog owners. The park will be open to all, but will be funded entirely through donations and memberships. Household memberships are $20.00 per year For more information, or to become a member, visit or visit our Facebook page at Email is See the latest site plan below.

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Spring 2015

So You Want to Become a Certified Therapy Dog Team?


By Bob Uerz, Executive Director at Therapy Dogs of Vermont

n its third decade of unleashing smiles, Therapy Dogs of Vermont has grown to over 300 well-supported certified therapy dog teams, making volunteer visits to folks residing at or served by 140 facilities across Vermont and beyond. We are a membership organization open to compassionate handlers and their well-mannered dogs residing in Vermont and beyond passing a three-step certification process. Therapy Dogs of Vermont has just added a new Growth Hub in the Upper Valley region spanning Vermont and New Hampshire. Therapy dogs come to the Upper Valley

We are pleased to announce that our 2015 training and testing calendar can now be found on our website ( along with details about the process. Presently, Therapy Dogs of Vermont offers tests across Vermont on select weekends in Williston, Randolph, Manchester, in the Northeast Kingdom, and now in Woodstock. Pre-Certification Clinics are also offered at a number of these Growth Hub locations during the year. Contact us today about how you can help Therapy Dogs of Vermont achieve our mission: “Touching Hearts, Bringing Joy, Offering Comfort, and Enriching Lives with Certified Therapy Dogs.�

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The Greatest Dog & Pony Show on Earth!


hether you call it spring or mud season, everyone calls it "four legs and a tail fun" as the 11th annual dog and pony show comes to Essex Jct., VT. As the area's premier equestrian event and last year’s addition of “man’s best friend,” this heavily attend event is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. Everything Equine & Canine will be Saturday, April 25th, from 8:30am5pm and Sunday, April 26th, from 8:30am-4:30pm at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Jct., VT. Billed as New England’s largest equine and canine show, the two day event stands apart from many regional shows as a family friendly event with scores of consumer vendors, as well as a full schedule of informative seminars, demonstrations, horse and dog breeds on display and entertainment for dog and horse enthusiasts. As event coordinators put it, “The addition of dogs last year really added a new dimension to the event. The crowd was larger and we noticed more kids than usual”. This year’s event is a must for equestrians, with renowned speaker and trainer, Dr. Andrew McLean of The Australian Equine Behaviour Centre. The AEBC system is evidence based and simple to understand for horse and rider. By understanding how the horse learns training becomes more effective and clear, improving horse welfare. Andrew McLean holds a PhD in equine cognition and learning, has been an accredited horse riding coach for over 30 years and has written 5 books (including an International Best Seller) and authored 35 peer-reviewed journal articles. A past winner of the Advanced section of the famous Gawler Three-Day-Event, Andrew has also represented Australia in Horse Trials, been short-listed for World Championships and competed at State and National events in FEI level dressage and eventing, has showjumped to Grand Prix level and held a Racehorse owner-trainer’s licenses and raced bareback in Australia and New Zealand in the 1970 and 80’s. Andrew will be presenting on both Saturday and Sunday. As the first day winds down, what could be more fun than “Horsin’ Around on Saturday Night,” a dog & pony show? This annual variety show provides “Edu-tainment” by showcasing many different breeds, disciplines and styles for new and longtime horse and dog lovers. In addition to the excellent Continued NEXT PAGE

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horse demonstrations, the show will incorporate dogs and trainers performing agility, obedience, a “canine weave pole challenge”, and even a fun light hearted challenge of “I can do what you can do” between dog and horse. The very popular Equine Extreme Trail Challenge on Sunday morning will feature New England’s top horse and rider teams competing for cash and prizes. On the canine side, dog lovers will have a wide variety of educational options on both days with over 50 indoor seminars and demonstrations . The very popular dog agility demonstration will be presented by Show Me the Biscuit of Williston, Vermont. “One of the staples of our weekend event has been the interactive manner in which attendees can learn and see firsthand,” says event director Jeremy Spaulding. “We’re particularly excited about this year’s show and the remarkable seminars. A must see during this weekend of events is the dog show, Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test and Meet the Breeds, organized by the Champlain Valley Kennel Club.” With more than 100 vendors on hand, Everything Equine & Canine is sure to be a hit for the entire family. Admission to Everything Equine & Canine is $10 and children under 5 are

Spring 2015

free. Advance discount tickets can be purchased at Guy’s Farm & Yard locations in Williston, Morrisville and Montpelier Vermont and at Adirondack Tack in Plattsburgh, NY. The general public is asked to leave their dogs and horses home. For more information and a complete schedule, visit www.cvexpo. org/EverythingEquine Sponsors include 4 Legs & a Tail, the University of Vermont Extension, Guy’s Farm & Yard, Horse Works, Show Me the Biscuit, Poulin Grain, Inc., Equine Journal, Vermont Horse Council, Equiscents/VT Equine Acupressure and the Champlain Valley Exposition. 5

Green Up Your Pets! The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association M. Kathleen Shaw, DVM


arth Day (April 22) and Vermont Green up Day (May 2) is the perfect time to consider some Earth friendly practices to help the environment, when it comes to our furry companions. Plastic is everywhere, and only 27% of plastic is recycled. Landfills can only hold so much and even then it takes 450 years for plastic to start to degrade. If we can use products for our pets made from recycled plastic or even better from renewable resources, it is better for our pets and the environment in the long run. Consider making homemade treats to avoid buying ones pre-packaged in plastic. While there are a million recipes online for homemade dog biscuits, double check the ingredient list with your veterinarian before making them to ensure they are safe for your pet. An even simpler way (if your pet eats canned food) is to take some of your pet’s canned food, cut it into small strips, and bake in the oven until it is brick consistency. Homemade diets are a great idea, but they can be tricky because you must ensure that the diet has the proper balance of ingredients, vitamins, and minerals. Animals can become very sick on some homemade diets if they are not balanced: check with your veterinarian first. Just because “Dr. Google” says it’s so, doesn’t mean that recipe is complete and balanced. There are at least five types of kitty litter that are not only biodegradable, Continued NEXT PAGE

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they can be used as mulch or compost (once you scoop out the waste)! These use renewable products such as corn, wheat, paper, or kiln-dried wood. Nearly every local pet or feed store has at least one such kitty litter. Stop using those plastic grocery store bags for your dog’s waste and use ones that break down quickly and naturally and don’t harm the environment. It is estimated that a million animals (mainly in the ocean) die each year from ingesting plastic, mistaking it for food. There are several companies that make biodegradable “doggie doo” bags that can be found locally. You know you can’t resist buying toys for your pets. Did you know there are many companies that make dog and cat toys and beds from recycled plastics, hemp, wool, or cotton? Check with your local pet supply stores, or as a last resort, check online. You can even make your own pet toys at home. Reuse scraps of fabric to make your own braided dog pull toy. Cat owners all know that most of the time the cats have more fun playing in bags or boxes than they do with toys from the store. You can even crumple up your old bills and have the satisfaction of seeing your cats bat them around the house. Cats find cords and stringy toys irresistible to play with, but they also like to try to eat them. This can cause serious illness, so put them away when you’re done playing. Avoid plastic food and water dishes and use ones made from metal or glass - or better yet, look for ones made from sustainable materials. There is at least one company that makes food and water dishes from bamboo, for example. So green up your pets! These are small things that you can do to help make the environment a safer and better place for wildlife and all of those future puppies and kittens. The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), founded in 1898, is a professional organization of 340 veterinarians dedicated to compassionate animal care and quality medicine. Spring 2015 7

Ollie enroute to his new home.

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear A

s a first time shopper for new kitchen cabinets, my wife and I tried to take on the experience like the novices we were. Fortunately, Rick was very patient with us. Even while I eyeballed and pawed over a dozen displays, he just smiled when I asked a question about the warranty. Turns out he had just explained in detail the entire warranty. “Sorry,” I said, with an embarrassed grin. “I guess I wasn’t listening.” He quickly brushed it off and shared this 4 Legs & a Tail tale. It seems Rick and his wife were looking to foster a couple of dogs. Or as he put it, “foster- short for potential dog ownership,” but he was certainly ok with adopting a new dog. When his wife approached him with the opportunity to rescue a great Pekingese pup, he was eager to make the new addition to his family. A new addition in a literal sense was more like it. As they got ready to pick up the pup one morning, Rick suggested they take the small car (better on gas). His wife suggested they take the Jeep since it had more room. “How much room do we need? A Great Pekingese is a small dog.” That’s when Rick shared the importance of being a good listener. He swore he heard his wife say great Pekingese, NOT Great Pyrenees. Now, with more than 100 pounds of new dog at home, I think spring is a great time for Rick to build an addition.

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Rick Major works at Belletetes in Andover, NH. Spring 2015

The Joys and Benefits of "Backyard Living” Ira Richards - West Lebanon, NH


rom the past to the future, the practice of “Backyard Living” is alive and well. In addition to raising fruits and vegetables for personal use, there has been a strong resurgence of backyard animal husbandry in recent years, particularly as consumer awareness grows, and folks become more concerned about what they are putting on the family table. It should come as no surprise, that in order to avoid the potential for foods to contain harmful chemicals and other unwanted substances, one must know exactly where that food came from and how it was produced. Relatively new concepts such as “urban agriculture” and “vertical farming” are now going beyond a few planters of peppers and tomatoes or fresh herbs on the windowsill; backyard enthusiasts are dabbling in everything from raising livestock to beekeeping, and everything in between. Although very few people would consider the twin state region of New Hampshire and Vermont to be an “urban” area, when it comes to growing and raising our own food, this is a very good thing. Our landscape allows us to spread out a bit further and worry less about maximizing every square inch of space as we grow our gardens and raise our animals. At West Lebanon Feed & Supply, we see an incredibly wide range of “Backyard Living” enthusiasts, from the basil-on-the-windowsill growers to full-time commercial farmers. We know that the Upper Valley area is brimming with people who share the common interest of raising and growing their own food for an equally-wide variety of reasons, including self-sustenance, health, education, nostalgia, and for the simple joy it brings to the entire family.

Getting Started with Your Own “Backyard Living”

As the area’s community feed store, we’ve long been a place that the locals visit not just for feed and supplies, but to share information and catch up with their neighbors. It’s one of the reasons we strive to keep our staff well-trained and up-to-date on the latest news and inforContinued NEXT PAGE

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mation regarding the products we carry, animal health and nutrition, the agriculture industry at large, and so much more. We’ve embraced our role in the community as an informational resource, and it’s why we’ve continued over the years to provide our “Backyard Living” Educational Series: to educate our patrons on various ag-based topics that can help to enrich our lives and improve our communities. We’re pleased to continue sharing from our own knowledge and years of experience, as well as from our vast network of industry experts, so that the customers we serve can learn new skills and stay informed. We encourage readers to look for the various training and seminar opportunities we offer on a variety of topics throughout the season. Gardening is certainly a great way to introduce homegrown food products into your family’s lifestyle. One of the most attractive benefits of starting with growing fruits and vegetables from seed is that gardening is very versatile and scalable, which means that almost anyone can grow and enjoy their own crop in some form or another. Many of our customers start out with a few pots of peppers or tomatoes, or they might build a raised bed or two in order to maximize space and grow a select assortment of fresh produce. This can lead to expansion quickly, and once those dabblers get a handle on how to successfully care for their crop, they often devote larger areas to their gardens and experiment with a wider variety of delicious fruits and vegetables. To begin with animal husbandry, a large majority of our customers start by raising chickens, most often for the eggs they produce. Raising poultry is a relatively easy activity that requires very little in the way of expense or expertise in order to get started. Not only is the experience of raising and keeping backyard birds rewarding and fun for the entire family, but few will argue against the noticeable taste difference between a farm-fresh and a store-bought egg; there’s simply no comparison. For those who wish to get started with their own flock, we highly recommend attending one of our “Backyard Living” Poultry-Raising Workshops in order to learn the fundamentals prior to purchasing your birds. Once the appropriate level of knowledge is achieved, simply call or stop by our store to place your spring poultry order through our Chick Day pre-order program. If you’re looking to go beyond poultry, we do offer a baby pig ordering program in the spring. In addition, we carry all the feed and supplies for a wide variety of large and small animals, and we’re always happy to share the knowledge and advice to help you get started with whatever animal husbandry adventure you undertake. Many of our customers are surprised to learn that, beyond what you’ll find in our retail showroom, we’ve got three warehouses that store everything from equine and livestock feed products, stock tanks and animal bedding, fencing supplies, lawn and garden needs, tools, and so much more. And new to our store this season, by popular demand, we are now carrying a full line of beekeeping supplies. If you’re interested in beginning your own “Backyard Living” journey, the best place to start is at West Lebanon Feed & Supply!

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To learn more, visit our store at 12 Railroad Avenue, West Lebanon, NH or online at Spring 2015

When Molly Met Sally Erin Regan - Bethel, VT


nly once in a lifetime do you meet that one dog that truly connects with you. For Sally Boyle, that dog was Molly. Sally found Molly in a small pet store, and it was love at first sight. Little did they know, that with as much love as they were going to share, they were going to have some very tough times ahead. Before Sally and Molly came to Country Animal Hospital, Molly developed an infection in her uterus called pyometra and she had to have emergency surgery. Sally had a bad accident, where she had a compound fracture of her right leg, and strangely enough, Molly broke the same leg the next year. Their breaks were pretty much identical, and they both had to have metal implants and bone grafts. When Sally and Molly decided to visit Dr. Martin at Country Animal Hospital, Molly had already had some bad experiences at hospitals, and wanted nothing to do with medical care. Dr. Martin initially saw Molly for a scratch on her eye, but she suspected that something else was going on because Molly was overweight, was always extremely hungry, and had lost most of her hair on her chest and belly. Dr. Martin and Sally decided to test to make sure her thyroid was working properly because that can cause weight gain and hair loss in dogs. They got the results back, and all of her blood work was perfectly normal. With those results and other clinical signs, Dr. Martin started to suspect Cushing’s disease. Cushing’s disease, unfortunately, can be expensive to test for and requires a complicated treatment. Dr. Martin decided to have Sally try and change her diet to see if that would help, before they pursued further tests. After a few months, Sally noticed that Molly started to drink a large amount of water, much more than normal, and she wasn’t acting herself. She came right in for an appointment and strangely, Molly wasn’t acting her normal grouchy self. We knew something wasn’t right. Dr. Martin recommended repeating the blood tests, and found out that Molly had diabetes. Sally was given detailed Continued NEXT PAGE

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Cushing's Disease There are two types of Cushing’s disease that are treated differently. The most common form of Cushing’s disease is caused by the overproduction of a hormone by the pituitary gland in the brain that in turn controls the amount of cortisol produced by the adrenal glands. This is called pituitary-dependent Cushing’s. A small percentage of dogs with Cushing’s disease have a tumor of one of the adrenal glands which is called adrenal-dependent Cushing’s. information on the requirements for managing a diabetic dog, and willingly proceeded with the treatment. They struggled for months trying to regulate Molly’s blood sugar, but were unable to succeed. Dr. Martin advised Sally that she should really make sure that she doesn’t have Cushing’s disease, as that can make regulating diabetes even harder. Sally was convinced it was time to test for Cushing’s disease, a condition that can take at least two diagnostic tests to confirm, and can be quite costly. Molly

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Molly celebrating the holidays.

was unfortunately diagnosed with Cushing’s disease on top of diabetes. Sally was crushed and heartbroken, she loved Molly so much and this blow was very hard, but she would never ever think of giving up on her. She decided to try and treat her Cushing’s disease, which added additional medications, monitoring and costs on top of what is

required for diabetes. Dr. Martin made every effort to keep the balancing of treating two hormonal diseases as easy and affordable as possible. Sally was very appreciative of her efforts. In the months to follow, Molly never acted like she didn’t feel well, she would still run around and hunt for mice and snakes and paw her way in to cuddle next to Sally when she had worn herself out. During the same time Molly was diagnosed with diabetes and Cushing’s disease, Sally was diagnosed with a very overactive thyroid gland, called hyperthyroid. It is a condition similar to Molly’s, both involving the endocrine system. Molly had been doing well with her twice daily insulin injections and injections at the hospital for Cushing’s disease, but one day Sally noticed that she started to have trouble going down the stairs. She had just turned 12 years old and had lost a tooth right in the middle of her front bottom teeth. Sally also started noticing that her eyes were turning white, and she knew that they were cataracts. She developed them very fast in about a period of 2 weeks. They can be an unfortunate side effect of diabetes. With almost a year of insulin injections, medications for Cushing’s, and frequent trips to the vet, Molly was starting to wear down. Molly didn’t start her care at Country Animal Hospital, but she was treated there at a time in her life that mattered most. Sally has been telling people that Dr. Martin was a miracle worker, but Dr. Martin will always say that Sally was the real miracle worker, because she did everything that was medically possible for Molly. Both Dr. Martin and Sally never gave up on Molly, no matter the cost. Molly isn’t with us anymore, but Sally feels that she received the best care and attention that she could ever have hoped for from a veterinarian. Sally has since acquired another dog who has a very special story too. Marley is her new dog, she is the spitting image of Molly and she was born on Sally’s birthday. She is also missing her middle front tooth, the same one that Molly lost, it never grew in. A technician once told Sally that Marley has some really big shoes to fill, and she sure does. Erin Regan is a Veterinary Technician who graduated Magna Cum Laude from Vermont Technical College. She has been working at Country Animal Hospital for 3 years, and has acquired a lamb and kitten who both needed bottle feeding. She is also a United States Army Veteran who served 8 years on active duty working in intelligence, and completed one combat tour in Iraq. Spring 2015

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Do you need help with your dog’s difficult behavior?

How to Choose the Right Dog For You and Your Family! Paula Bergeron - Grafton, NH



here are many things to consider when adding a dog to your family. Too often bringing home a dog centers on an emotional impulse that can lead to frustration, stress, and in some instances the difficult decision to give up that dog you thought you wanted so much. Whether you choose to purchase, adopt, or rescue a dog the first step is not looking at different dogs, it is looking at yourself and your family. Begin a discerning process by looking inward and deciding what level of commitment you are prepared to give to this new member of your family. We all want to think that we could handle any dog. We envision giving them the exercise they need, loving them into good behavior, and easily facilitating good dog

and human interactions without changing our basic daily routine. These visions are not only unrealistic but impossible in some cases. Dogs require more than love, they need instruction to learn good behavior, supervision to establish good social skills, and they always require some change in our daily routine. It is challenging to face reality. You might need to admit that you enjoy quiet weekends at home not active outdoor activity. You might realize that you have very limited time due to a busy career and or that having an active family means you spend most evenings and weekends at children’s activities. You may discover that the funds necessary to deal with vet care or emergencies are just not in your present budget. Although it can be difficult to face self evaluation it is a crucial step to ensure that not only will you be happy with your dog, but that your dog will be happy living with you. Here are a few of the many questions you should ask yourself before you look at a single furry face. What is your motivation for getting a dog? Do you want a running partner or someone who warms your feet while you read by the fire? Do you want to give your children the experience of a loving constant companion or do you want a dog who is more independent and can tolerate some time alone. How much time do you have to give to your dog? This is not about how much time can you spend with your dog, that is what your dog gives to you, I mean how much time do you have to focus on your dog whether it be in training, giving structured exercise, grooming, playing, or attending to what ever special needs your dog may have, or develop. How much money are you willing to put aside for the continuing care of your dog? Some breeds need more vet care than others, large breeds are more expensive to feed, rescue dogs often need intensive training. There are routine vet visits, grooming, dental care, dog walking services and the inevitable carpet cleaning. Think about what tools you will need to keep your dog safe such as fencing options, leashes, crates, collars, and good nutrition. What level of activity do you enjoy each day? Be honest with yourself here. If you enjoy a good walk each day and that is it, know that most dogs need two 20 to 40 minute walks a day. High energy dogs need more than two walks a day, they need jobs, tricks to learn, mountains to hike, and rain and snow to romp in. Refrain from thinking I will get a dog and get into shape… that can lead to resenting an active dog. Match your dog to your level of energy now. What level of experience do you have living with dogs? Is this your first Continued NEXT PAGE

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The gang at Good Dogma waiting for spring.

dog or have you had dogs all of your life? Have all of your dogs been relatively easy to train, or have you already been down the path of obedience or behavioral rehabilitation? If you have no experience with dogs but have a good amount of time to dedicated to your dog a puppy can be a great choice. If you choose to get a puppy from a breeder you can predict to some degree the level of your dogs energy, temperament, grooming needs and health care. You will spend a great deal of time shaping your puppy’s behavior and it can be an amazing experience. If you have a bit more experience you might try to get a puppy from a rescue organization. Always be aware that when you adopt a puppy from a rescue you may encounter additional health issues or behavioral needs as this puppy may have been abandoned, taken from his/ her mother too early, or encountered unhealthy environments before getting to the rescue. Don’t misunderstand, rescue puppies can be amazing but you as an owner need to be aware that taking on any rescue adoption almost always requires a higher level of commitment to care and behavior than purchasing a puppy where you know the breeder and have confidence in the good care of the mother, the father and the new litter. If you have no experience, and not enough time or energy for a puppy I recommend adopting an older dog. There are many senior dog rescue groups and often these dogs have been relinquished for reasons other than behavior. An older dog tends to be calmer, and more content to sit with you and go for the daily walk. It takes a strong constitution to adopt a senior pet because you are Spring 2015

truly giving these dogs a home for their golden years which means you will need to deal with end of life issues sooner rather than later. It is a wonderful service to give a senior dog a good home and is one of the rare situations where I categorize the adoption as a true rescue. If you have some experience with dogs or are willing to spend time and effort to learn about dog behavior then you may be in a good position to adopt a rescue dog. I distinguish the idea of a rescue dog from an adoption because I think of adoption as getting a dog who has had a stable life and for some reason is needing a new home, a rescue dog is taking on a dog who has behavioral issues, These dogs need a high level of commitment are not for everyone. True rescue dogs need rehabilitation which includes training, a great deal of structure, exercise, a basic understanding of dog behavior, and the dedication it takes to help them become good citizens of the canine and human world. Owning and living with a dog is a wonderful privilege, and not one to be taken lightly. If you are willing to realistically look at yourself and make a list of what you can give to a dog before you make the list of what kind of dog you want it will pave the way to finding the companion of a lifetime. Enjoy the journey! Paula Bergeron and the gang at Good Dogma embrace a holistic approach to bringing balance to your dog’s behavioral issues. Exercise, training, relaxation, grooming, play socialization and energy healing are incorporated into your dog’s routine. 15

Alternatively Speaking:

A Holistic Approach to Vaccination R

Anne M. Carroll, DVM - Chelsea, VT

eady or not, spring is here. There will be robins on the branch, crocuses emerging in the lawn, and of course, rabies clinics. These clinics serve a very important function in preventing the spread of rabies. My hospital hosts clinics for three surrounding towns, but they are not meant to be a substitute for healthcare. As a society we are cavalier about vaccination. With increasing pressure on our time and pocketbooks, more people may turn to a quick stop at a clinic for shots, just as we can walk into a pharmacy and receive multiple vaccinations without any input from our doctor. Without veterinary guidance, pets can receive more vaccinations than they may need, and when it comes to vaccination, more isn’t always better. First, let me state for the record, that holistic veterinarians are not necessarily “anti-vaccine.” I take the approach that a vaccine should be valued for its vital role in protecting against infectious disease, but also respected for

Homemade Pies & Cakes To Order!

what it is - a “biological drug” with potent effects on the immune system. Effects that in some cases can cause real health issues, and that possibility should not be ignored. The decision about which vaccines to give and how often to give them, can raise some heated debates. Vaccine manufacturers, professional organizations, and legislators want to influence this discussion. Luckily, most individual vaccination decisions are left to the veterinarians, who use guidelines based on the most up to date science. However, the pet owner should have the knowledge that one size does not necessarily fit all. At the center of holistic medicine is the understanding that to treat a patient is to understand them on all levels. This includes all of a patient’s past history, breed tendencies, diet, environmental exposures, etc. Vaccination is a medical decision that deserves a conversation equal to that of any medical treatment or surgical procedure. The result is an individually tailored vaccine protocol that is specific to your pet, providing maximum protection with the least chance of harm. How have we become concerned about excessive vaccination? Over the past several decades vaccination science has come a long way, our pets have benefited from more effective and safer vaccines. These advances have created more vaccines than ever before, and they can be combined in up to a nine-in-one shot. Convenient “combo” shots have a down side too, as they create the potential for pets to be immunized for diseases that they are not at risk for, either because they are not common where your pet lives or the types of activities they do or don’t do. But the main cause of overuse is that a few of the ingredients require annual boosters while the rest could go far longer than that, and giving all of them sooner is not needed. In general vaccines are safe and rarely cause issues, however certain breeds or individuals with genetic sensitivity are at risk for vaccine related illness. Though rare, these issues have become more noticeable as more pets are immunized routinely, with more shots than ever before. The most commonly recognized example is the potential for cancers in certain cats from any irritation of the skin, including those from vaccines. Researchers are also trying to correlate the suspected effects over-vaccination can pose on the immune, endoContinued NEXT PAGE

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crine and neurological systems. It does seem that the risks may be enhanced if your pet is already having any issue that involves the immune system or chronic inflammation. This is why vaccination should be taken into consideration with a whole health plan, including the use of individual or smaller combination vaccinations that do not exceed what your pet really needs. So how can veterinarians take a holistic approach to vaccination? As with any medical decision, we weigh the risks and benefits. Our vaccination discussion should involve an assessment of the pet first, evaluating their current and past health issues, possible future issues common to the breed, and past vaccine experiences. We can then determine what diseases they could be exposed to and if those could cause enough harm to warrant protection. If there is no real benefit to the patient then even the small risk of vaccinating is not worth taking. We can certainly take measures to reduce those risks by avoiding giving multiple vaccinations at once, postponing vaccines if the pet is not healthy, and giving vaccines no more often than modern veterinary guidelines suggest. According to these guidelines, many traditional veterinarians are already using fewer immunizations, less often. Immunity can last beyond what we once believed and we can measure that protection using a test

Spring 2015

called a “titer” to determine if a vaccine is truly needed, especially in high risk patients such as elderly pets, cancer patients, or those with chronic issues. Homeopathic remedies can also be used to minimize adverse effects in those that are at risk but need their shots. To maximize your pet’s health this spring, don’t just vaccinate. They may need a booster or they may not. The important thing is to get a good checkup, look for subtle signs of early disease that can go unnoticed at home, get updated on the latest recommendations for general health care, diets, parasite control and of course, vaccinations. Getting an annual checkup for your pet is like a person going to the doctor once every seven years, a lot

can happen in that time. This relationship with your veterinarian is what ultimately insures long-term health for your pet, not the medicines we hand out. After all, if they are not needed, whose pet will complain that they did NOT get a shot? Dr. Anne Carroll is owner of the Chelsea Animal Hospital where she practices both conventional medicine and surgery, as well as several alternative modalities including traditional Chinese acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Her associate Dr. Betty Jo Black brings classical homeopathy to the practice. For more information on alternative veterinary medicine visit their website at 17

Ahh, Spring is in the Air!

Scott Borthwick - Canaan, NH ake a deep breath and PU! What is that smell? Yes, springtime is the breeding season for skunks. Mr. Skunk is out roaming the neighborhood looking for love from late February to mid-March. If you are lucky enough to have an eligible female living nearby you can look forward to many suitors stopping by for a visit. Come July, you can witness Mrs. Skunk presenting 3 to 7 young skunks to society. Other creatures start to emerge this time of year from their winter slumber. From woodchucks or groundhogs predicting the weather, to bats, and of course bears. One spring day, a lady called to tell me how she had been working lots of overtime at her job, and using the extra money to buy dog food and grain to feed the local foxes and raccoons. Well, yesterday a bear showed up and she wanted to know what I could do about it. My first suggestion was to stop feeding the foxes and raccoons. No food, no bear; simple. But, she insisted that she had to keep feeding them. My next suggestion was electric fencing. Installed high enough to allow the foxes and raccoons to enter, but low enough to keep the bear out. She agreed, and that’s what we did. Three weeks later the same woman called back telling me that the bear had returned and brought a friend. When I asked about the electric fence, she told she had taken it down because it was unsightly. She wanted to know if I could move the bear and his friend somewhere else. I informed her that only the Fish and Game Dept. could do that, and only if it was a problem. Feeding the foxes and raccoons is what brought the bears in. She had created the problem. Again, I told her the best thing to do was to stop feeding the wildlife. But she refused. I was starting to get annoyed, so I suggested putting up a sign saying, “No Bears Allowed.” She thought about it for a moment, and then got mad and hung up. I never heard from her again. However, later that same year her neighbors called wanting me to trap some foxes and raccoons that had killed their chickens, and eaten all their grain. It seems the bear lady lost her overtime hours, and could no longer afford to feed the animals, so they went next door. The foxes and raccoons were easy to catch because they had lost all their fear of man. Every action has a re-action. When animals are fed on a regular basis by humans they become dependent and can lose their ability to fend for themselves. They become a problem as they start to feel this is an entitlement. Any of this sound familiar? Scott Borthwick owns Estate Wildlife Control. He lives in Canaan, NH with his wife Donna, two dogs, a couple of horses and one tough, old chicken named Henrietta.


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Bears are bowlegged to give them better grip and balance.

THE BEAR AND THE BRANCH! Jackie Finethy - Rindge, NH


nyone who lives in rural New England and has a bird feeder in their backyard, has probably witnessed a bear raiding their feeder from time to time. Living in Ridge, New Hampshire, with 18 acres of woods, a pond, apple trees, wild berries and bird feeders, I have been blessed with numerous animal sightings. I’d like to share with you one sighting in particular, of a bear- I named him “Tough Guy.” Tough Guy weighs in at about 300 pounds of stubborn determination. He’s healthy and strong, curious and cautious. His walk is a confident swagger. I can single Tough Guy out from other bears by the large, white patch on his chest. His singular motivation for all he does is survival. In order to keep my feeder out of the reach of bears and squirrels, I have learned to toss a plastic coated wire cord, with a weight on one end way up high over the thin branch of a tall thin tree. I then fix the bird feeder to that end and wrap the other end around the tree trunk; a pulley of sorts. With this feeder in place, up high enough so the bear can’t stand up and pull it down, I really thought I had it made. I mean, what bear is going to climb a tall, thin, tree and go out on a thin branch to get the feeder? Tough Guy, that’s who! Last May, about dusk, I spotted Tough Guy circling that tree, eyeing my bird feeder. After sniffing the air with his nose straight up, he climbed that tree in a matter of seconds! Then he perched Continued NEXT PAGE

Spring 2015 19

himself close to the trunk of the tree, on the branch with the bird feeder hanging from it. First, he tried to reach out and grab the cord, but it was too far out, so he began to shake the branch-- trying to shake the feeder loose, a trick that had worked for him in the past. When that didn’t work, he started to bend a smaller branch near the one with the feeder on it. He continued to pull the small branch up and down, over and over, until he could use it to whack at the feeder! I couldn’t believe my eyes, Tough Guy had just made himself a tool! He whacked that feeder with the small branch 6 or 7 times, all the while precariously perched on the small limb, and becoming more

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and more agitated. Next, Tough Guy decided to hold on with all fours and use his mouth to manipulate the thinner branch and hit the feeder, which didn’t work at all. Now, his impatience was getting the best of him, and he started making all kinds of noises - little grunts, snapping sounds and huffing; generally, just complaining. Finally, Tough Guy slid down the tree and wandered back into the woods. I was elated! I’d not only just watched a bear make and use a tool, but my feeder was still there. I won! After two years of Tough Guy outsmarting every attempt I’d made to keep my feeders from him, I had finally won! Now I could take my cof-

fee outside in the morning and watch the chickadees, and cardinals, and all would be well. I was wrong! I had forgotten that bears, foxes and other critters often make a second pass through their routes in the night. This is exactly what Tough Guy did! Less than an hour later, he was back, nose straight up in the air again ready for one more try. Up the tree he started, when he felt the cord wrapped around the trunk. Back down the tree with a little thump, Tough Guy simply unwrapped the cord, and down came the feeder, nearly hitting him on his big stubborn head! Wait a minute, he won? In spite of my ingenious pulley, he won? I was beside myself, I didn’t know exactly how to feel about Tough Guy’s victory. I’d seen a lot of bear behavior in this yard over the years. Everything from courtship in early June to cubs wrestling in midsummer, to all out nonstop feeder raiding in the fall. But never had I seen a bear make a tool to get what he wanted. Maybe, on second thought, Tough Guy wasn’t the only winner. How often do we get to witness something like this, and how blessed am I to watch these animals in nature, in real time, doing what they need to do for their survival? Yeah, I guess we both won, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next year. See you in the Spring, Tough Guy.

Spring 2015

What You Should Know About Feline Asthma Elisa Speckert, Norwich, VT


eline asthma or bronchitis is a relatively common condition in cats. This condition occurs when your cat is exposed to a certain irritating substance that causes an allergic response. This response results in a narrowing of the airways and difficulty breathing for your cat. Additionally, the body’s inflammatory response allows for the buildup of mucous in the airways that can cause additional problems. Adult cats between the ages of 2-8 are most commonly diagnosed with asthma. Siamese cats and overweight animals are also at an increased risk. Symptoms of feline asthma can include coughing, difficulty breathing, open-mouth breathing, sneezing, vomiting, mucous discharge and wheezing. There are a large variety of substances that can trigger your cat’s allergic response. These are often inhaled irritants including cat litter dust, cigarette smoke, hairsprays or perfumes, pollens or molds. Other less common causes of feline asthma can include viruses, bacteria and heartworms or lungworms.

In most cases, however, the exact cause is not able to be determined and our feline friends are managed medically. This includes limiting their exposure to some of the more common and easily avoided irritants (cigarette smoke, dusty cat litter, perfumes, etc). It also includes placing your pet on medication to manage their symptoms. Oral steroids are the most common treatment for feline asthma. Ideally owners will try to decrease this medication to the lowest effective dose. Inhaled medications such as albuterol or steroids used with a specialized feline mask and spacer are also very effective with fewer longterm side effects. Antibiotics are also used in some cases if a bacterial infection is suspected. Though most cats can be managed very well with just a few medications it is important to pay close attention to the way your pet is acting and feeling. If they suddenly begin having trouble breathing or their medication seems to stop working it is imperative that you contact your veterinarian immediately. In some cases your cat may require oxygen therapy and additional medications to recover from a particularly serious episode. Elisa Speckert a graduate of the University of Vermont with a degree in Animal Science and is currently a veterinary technician at River Road Veterinary Clinic in Norwich, VT. She currently lives in White River Jct. with her son, three dogs, cat and hedgehog.

Chronic lung changes in a cat with asthma.

Diagnosing feline asthma usually requires complete blood work and a radiograph (x-ray). The blood work is useful in determining whether a bacterial infection is present in your cat’s respiratory system as well as whether they are having an allergic response. A radiograph will allow the veterinarian to see if there have been any chronic changes to the lungs which are common in feline asthma. Additional testing including biopsy of the airway tissues with a scope can be done in an attempt to identify exactly what is causing the asthma. Spring 2015 21

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“Hey, it’s Just an Ear Infection, Right?” Not exactly. Jennifer Lesser, DVM - Norwich, VT


solated ear infections are uncommon in dogs. Sure, Cocoa may dive at Lake Sunapee for a week in July and develop an isolated ear infection that is readily treated. But what about dogs like Sadie with recurring or chronic ear infections? The vast majority of dogs who suffer from an ear infection that persists or recurs have an underlying cause for those infections. These underlying causes can be treated, more often than not.   OK, so what does your canine best friend look like when she has an ear infection? Even if she shows no symptoms, these HURT. Most dogs will become quiet when they hurt; they seldom vocalize, especially with ongoing chronic pain. We are their best friend and their advocate. The infection is sometimes hidden deep in the canal, which you cannot see without special equipment. At home, families should watch for these symptoms: • Shaking head • Rubbing ears on floor • Holding head to one side • Increased wax of varying color • Ear odor • Redness to ear canal or to ear flap • Thickened skin of ear flap

How do we eliminate the isolated ear infection? Often Cocoa’s veterinarian will provide a “triple approach,” giving her a topical medication that addresses all three: yeast, bacteria and inflammation. For uncomplicated ear infections, this is highly effective. If this describes your dog, consider her very fortunate. For patients that experience ear infections that will not go away or frequently return, read on! Chronic or recurring ear infections: Do you have to accept them as a pain that your loyal friend must endure? NO! We must identify and eliminate the Spring 2015

cause of the ear infection. For the vast majority of cases, this is the single most important aspect of care and often the most overlooked. What are the most common causes? Allergies, Allergies and yes you guessed it, Allergies. Food allergy, inhalant allergy and flea allergy underlie most ear infections in dogs. In a few instances, we may see a grass awn or foxtail lodged in the

ear. Very few dogs may be harboring ear mites, quite uncommon in comparison to other causes of ear infections. The tricky part:  Determining WHICH of the allergies is causing the ear infections.  Here are a few hints.   • You find fleas. Easy - eliminate the fleas, treat the ear infection and see how Sadie is feeling.

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• The ear infections happen regardless of season. Consider a food allergy and speak to your veterinarian about the best hypoallergenic diet to try. This is often misunderstood. Please speak to a well informed veterinarian or veterinary dermatologist to appropriately institute a hypoallergenic diet trial. An entire article could be devoted to this subject.   • You recently changed foods (meaning in the past few months) or have started feeding new treats (especially those loaded with artificial colors, flavorings, preservatives) and now Sadie has an ear infection. As much as possible, only feed your pup foods in which you can understand all of its ingredients. • The ear infections correspond to a move to a new house. Environmental inhalant allergens are a common culprit of ear infections. • Sadie is 3 years old and has begun having ear infections that tend to be seasonal - meaning they are concentrated most heavily in particular seasons. Whether it be Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter - different dogs are sensitive during different seasons. These are generally often due to inhalant allergens; allergies often develop as dogs mature in early adulthood. My medical approach to aid our patients suffering from persistent ear infections may include some or all of the following: • Ear cytology (ear is swabbed and debris

is evaluated under microscope) • Ear culture (ear is swabbed and a microbiology lab identifies the exact organisms) • Blood work (complete blood cell count and blood chemistry including thyroid) • Hypoallergenic food trial. With this approach, please speak to an informed veterinarian, as choosing a lamb, duck or even kangaroo diet from your favorite feed store is not a diet trial. Also, grain-free food has become trendy and is not “hypoallergenic”; in some cases they aggravate symptoms.

• Blood test evaluating for inhalant allergens. I do not recommend blood tests that

evaluate for food allergens as they are highly unreliable (as in, as reliable as a blindfolded monkey and a dart board).

• Evaluation for mites, there are several to consider. Ear infections, whether short-lived or persistent, are almost always treatable. However, they sometimes require some investigation, critical thinking, patience and commitment. Our pals deserve these in abundance.  

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Dr. Lesser’s professional life has been committed to pets and their families for fifteen years. Following her work at the National Institutes of Health on the Human Genome Project, she earned her veterinary doctoral degree in May 2000.  Norwich Regional Animal Hospital is owned by Dr.  Lesser.  Specialty services are provided by Dr. David Sobel, DVM, MRCVS and an exceptional network of referral veterinary specialists. Spring 2015

The Miracle of Love Sandy Johnson

“Any man with money to make the purchase may become a dog’s owner. But no man— spend he ever so much coin and food and tact in the effort—may become a dog’s Master without consent of the dog. Do you get the difference? And he whom a dog once unreservedly accepts as Master is forever that dog’s God.” -Albert Payson Terhune, Lad: A Dog


his is the story of two souls, one four-legged, the other two-legged, who were meant to meet and fulfill their shared destiny. First, Scooter’s story: A very cold day in February 2011. I was crouched on the side of the road, hiding from the people and noises coming from the street. Most of all, I was hiding from the man who shot me, my owner. I was a growing puppy, six months old and always hungry; they didn’t want me anymore because they couldn’t feed me, so they turned me out of the house and chased me away. Lost, alone, and hungry, I wandered for days. Finally, I gave up and went home, hoping they would take me back. But when I showed up at their door, the big man took down his rifle and shot me. I turned and ran, but he shot me two more times, once in each flank, and once in the back. I tried to keep on running, but I could move only as fast as my two front legs would carry me. When I couldn’t move anymore, I hid in the bushes. I don’t know how long I had been lying there when some people spotted me and stopped their car and tried to pick me up. I was frightened at first and tried to get away from them, but I had no strength left. They put me in a big blue plastic tub in the back of their car and talked about taking me someplace where I could be “put to sleep.” They drove to a building where many dogs were barking and lots of people were coming and going. A man came out and opened the back of the car and looked at me. Gently, he opened my mouth and looked at my teeth and ears, and then he scratched the top of my head and picked me up and carried me into the building. The smell of dogs and cats and critters of every sort filled the air. I heard the people who picked me up say, “We think he was hit by a car.... Better put him to sleep.... Poor doggie.... ” The nice man took me into a room and put me on a big steel table with a towel on it to keep me warm. He looked at my eyes, my ears, and my mouth again. Then he looked at my back legs. Carefully, he picked me up and put me on the floor and walked a short distance away and turned to me. Using my front legs, I scooted along the smooth floor, which was so much easier than rocks and Spring 2015

grass, and came to him. He turned and walked away again, and I followed him. He chuckled and said I was a real scooter. I liked the man; I liked the way he looked into my eyes and smiled as if we were old friends. I followed him around the table a few more times before he stopped and scratched me on the top of the head again and then under my neck. I just melted into him from that moment. He picked up the phone. His expression was discouraging; he wasn’t liking whatever it was he was hearing. When he put the phone down, he got up and spoke to the people who brought me in—“He’s got great character . . . gets around on his own . . . ”—and then they wandered off into another room. Before long, someone brought in big bowls of food and water, which I finished off three times, until I couldn’t eat anymore. I curled up on a blanket on the floor and fell asleep. Continued NEXT PAGE 25

Scooter on the go!

After a while, the man came back in with a towel that he wrapped around me. I didn’t know what was happening, but I remembered the conversation about being “put to sleep.” I tried to get away, but the more I wriggled, the tighter his grip got. Now I was scared. He had covered me up completely with the towel, including my eyes, and went through a couple of doors, and it got really cold. This must be the end, I thought. But then it got really warm. We were in the nice man’s car. He talked to me for a long time. I couldn’t understand all the words, but I could understand what he meant. We were friends; I had nothing to fear anymore. He drove for a while and then stopped at a bigger building. He grabbed that really big, warm blanket and some of the towels and took me inside. There were more dogs in there; they all came up and sniffed at me. Then I had my first bath. The other dogs wouldn’t leave me alone, I growled and snapped at them; it was all I could do, because I couldn’t run. But then the nice man, my friend, came back in and showed me that the other dogs were not going to hurt me. For a long time, he stayed right next to me. Finally, I got so tired that I just lay down and fell asleep. I know at some point he picked me up and carried me to another room and put me on a warm, comfy blanket. When I woke up, I looked around for my new friend, only to discover that he was right next to me, with his arm over my back. I licked his face for the longest time. Then he got up and brought me another bowl of food. After a couple of days lying around, he took me back to that place with that big steel table, but for some reason, now I wasn’t worried. I had learned his name was TJ and that we would be friends forever. TJ came out of another room with a big box in his hands and took out a bunch of strange-looking things and some tools and got busy. When he was finished, he picked me up and took me over to the thing with wheels that he had been putting together. After getting my back legs into the strange-looking contraption, TJ put me down on the floor and wrapped the thing around me and snapped it on. I just looked up at him, wondering what he wanted me to do. TJ grabbed onto my collar and pulled on me . . . and suddenly I could move! With ease! I could even run again, I was still really fast, I ran everywhere I could reach. I could hear people behind me laughing, but I didn’t care . . . I could run again! I ran and I ran, and I ran till I couldn’t run anymore. Finally, I got really tired and fell asleep underneath TJ’s desk while still in the contraption. I felt so good.    When I finally woke up, I made the biggest decision of my life: I decided to adopt my best friend, TJ.   TJ’s Story The dog, a six-month-old Border Collie, was brought in from the back of a beat-up hatchback inside a blue container. He was a sad sight—a heart-wrenching puppy, not even a teenager. His hind legs and hips were scraped from scooting on the ground. Unfortunately, I knew we couldn’t afford to take him for X-rays, not on our government budget. But when I looked him in the eyes, we connected. It was like a total alignment of all the planets in the universe, an almost audible ping. I knew right then that I was going to try—try anything. We brought him in and carried him to the treatment room, where the table was set up to euthanize him. I put him down on the table and looked at those pathetic, Continued NEXT PAGE

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withered legs, and my heart dropped. There were no signs of new or fresh injuries. I tousled his head, and he smiled back at me. I set him down and backed up, hoping for a miracle, a sign, anything. I hadn’t gotten two steps away before he screamed. It wasn’t a yelp of pain or a howl of sorrow. It was a sudden, soul-stopping scream that cried, Don’t leave me! The scream was unlike anything I’d ever heard before; it was enough to stop me in my tracks. He had pulled himself along, his useless legs dragging behind him as he scooted toward me. Ecstatic that I had stopped, he dragged himself over to me and sat at my feet. His head was cocked back, and his tongue was lolling. I looked into his eyes, and I knew that, no matter what, I had to find a way to help him. I started around the table, and he followed, screaming joyously and sliding along the floor. To think that he had been dragging himself like this through streets and woods and rocks made me cringe. We started to chase each other around the room like two little boys, me laughing and his tail wagging. I had to stop and call the vet. I needed to know the next step; I had to know if there were any other options available for him. When the vet listened to his story, she explained that even without an X-ray, it was clear that the dog was paralyzed, and probably had been so for a while. His scream was most likely his only defense when, stranded and alone, predators were near. The fear I felt for him at this past danger, together with the joy that he had survived, carved itself into my heart. This dog was meant to be saved. Regretfully, she suggested that it might be kinder to put him down. Impressed as she was with his survival, quality of life in the shelter would be poor, and finding someone to take care of him would be nearly impossible. I hung up the phone, my mood bleak. But I was not hopeless. I called the director. I always valued her opinion on such matters. She knew the budget issues, the risk involved, and the very small chance of his ever finding either a rescue or an adopter. She also realized that the fact of his survival so far was a miracle. Still, with apology ringing in her voice, she agreed with the vet’s suggestion. I was devastated. I couldn’t accept it. I didn’t know the scope of issues that Scooter (by then I had named him) brought with him, but I knew that I would go through hell before I gave up on him. I had to save him. At that moment, Scooter was mine. Or, rather, I was his. In my heart, I knew that losing him, even after knowing him for only an hour, would wound me more deeply than I could stand. At that moment I took him on, took him in, and opened my world to one of the greatest loves I will ever know. This pillow-stealing, wheelchair-breaking, run-you-down-and-make-you-glad, oversize dust mop has become one of my best friends. TJ Jordi, firefighter, certified master diver, service dog trainer, and recipient of the Humane Heroes Award, is now the director of Tennessee’s Cheatham County Animal. With the support of a small but dedicated staff and rescue network, they have not had to euthanize a single healthy, adoptable animal in three years. Scooter has become a celebrity. He was the grand marshal of the Cheatham County Special Olympics in 2012 and 2013, and won a bronze medal in 2012 and a gold medal in 2013. He is being trained as a therapy dog for people in wheelchairs, and he’s been to nearly all the schools in Cheatham County and has served as the lead dog in all Cheatham County Christmas Parades since his arrival. He is proof that handicapped pets can live full and productive lives. Together, TJ and Scooter are fulfilling the destiny that brought them together. Sandy Johnson attended the University of Pennsylvania, CIDOC in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and the New School for Social Research in New York City. She studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York and at the Actors Studio in Los Angeles. Learn more about Scooter and the other pets and people in this book. See color photos, more stories, and upload your own at Spring 2015 27


By Susan Dyer, DVM - Bradford, VT


anaries are beautiful, relatively clean and nondestructive birds that can make very nice “hands-off” pets. Male canaries are more vocal than females and will sing even more frequently in the spring. Spanish monks on the Canary Islands first began breeding canaries as early as 1402. Now there are many more color varieties available due to the many efforts of canary fanciers around the world. Housing for canaries should be at least 10x10x18 inches and provide many different small perches. Canaries prefer to be housed separately, unless they are provided with extra-large caging with sufficient perches and feeding stations to prevent territorial aggression. Nesting material should consist of moss, jute or cotton fibers, avoid synthetic fibrous nesting material or fine thread. Newspaper or butcher paper is appropriate for the bottom of the cage and should be changed daily. Canaries enjoy daily baths, but the bathing area must be far from feeding areas. Average life span of these active little birds is 5-9 years. This can be extended by

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providing a high quality canary specific pelleted diet instead of the traditional “seed” diet. Seed diets can lead to nutritional deficiencies like low calcium for bones, or vitamin A deficiency for feather health and color. The pelleted diet can be supplemented with finely chopped organic fruit and vegetables. This diet will reduce the chances of obesity, heart disease and other nutritional deficiencies. Grit is not needed for these birds since they are able to “shell” their seeds. However, a cuttlebone or oyster shells may provide added calcium to the diet. Lastly, ultraviolet light is an important aspect of care for all indoor birds. In the wild, birds would be exposed to sunlight all day long. In the confines of cages or houses, our pet birds are denied the benefits of ultraviolet light which allow them to make strong bones. A standard housing from a fish tank will work to place the bulb above the cage, however a special bulb (often in the reptile section of the pet store) with full spectrum activity is required. These bulbs should be replaced every 6 months and placed on a standard on/off daylight cycle for the bird. Canaries are beautiful birds who can make wonderful, active pets. Please contact your veterinarian if you have any further questions about these great birds! Dr. Susan Dyer sees dogs, cats, birds, and other exotic pets at Bradford Veterinary Clinic (formerly Stoneciff Animal Clinic of VT) in Bradford, VT. 802222-4903 and Spring 2015

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Pet Stress! (Autumn Likes to Pee on the Couch) Cathrine MacLean, DVM Grantham, NH


ave you ever felt stressed? Did you ever pig out on your favorite treat to help “cope” with the stress? What does your pet do when he or she is stressed? For a lot of pets their coping mechanism for stress is acting out. For dogs this may mean destructive behavior, and for cats it often means inappropriate urination. Pets can become stressed for many different reasons. For example, there are many dogs that become stressed from thunderstorms or fireworks because of the loud noise that they make. These dogs are often very anxious, will shake, and sometimes have destructive behavior. Cats tend to handle stressful situations by either hiding or urinating inappropriately. Cats also tend to be much more sensitive to subtle changes in their environment than dogs. Something as simple as having a guest stay at your house, can really upset some cats. So what do you do for your stressed pet? First, call your veterinarian. We are here to help. The course of action will depend on your specific situation. For example, if you have a dog with a thunderstorm phobia, I would discuss the Thunder Shirt with you (works for some pets and not for others), pheromones, herbal/nutraceutical remedies, and then if all else fails, we would discuss drug therapy. In the case of inappropriate urination in cats, it’s a bit more complex. First, your veterinarian will probably Continued NEXT PAGE

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check a urine sample to make sure it’s not a urinary tract infection. Assuming everything checks out okay, there will probably be a discussion about possible changes in your environment. In most cases the stressor, such as a new pet, can’t be removed from the situation. Next, a long discussion will probably occur about litter boxes. Cats can be very particular about what type of litter box they have, the location of them, the type of litter used, etc. Most cats tolerate their litter boxes despite what their human chooses; however, all it takes is one stressful event to send them over the edge. If everything checks out and/or environmental changes don’t improve things, then the next step may be a pheromone. I personally like to use Feliway diffusors which need to be refilled once a month. The cat pheromone is calming to many cats and helps relax them. A lot of my inappropriate urination patients respond to this step. For those particularly tough cases, drug therapy may need to be used. Take Autumn, our clinic cat for example. She came to us because she was stressed. I don’t know what exactly stressed her out in her previous home, but her coping mechanism was to urinate on her previous owner’s new couch and bed. Her previous owner couldn’t handle this anymore so we took Autumn in. In this case the previous owner just didn’t want to deal with Autumn urinating all over her furniture, which is understandable since cat pee stinks. We had never met Autumn prior to her being surrendered to us. The first

thing we did was get a urine and blood sample from her to make sure everything was okay. When that checked out normal, I decided to just wait and see what would happen. We have a futon and a couch at the clinic which she has access to. If she started urinating on one of those items, we would try Feliway. Autumn has lived with us for over six months. Since the day she moved into the clinic she has never urinated anywhere but her litter box (except the one night we accidently locked her in reception and she used the potted plant— oops!). Autum’s case is extreme in the sense that she was taken out of the environment that caused her stress, and the symptoms resolved. Most people are willing to try other steps before giving their pet away. If Autumn was urinating all over the clinic we would have tried

the other things mentioned above. For Autumn a new home worked out just fine. Our original plan was to adopt her out, but after a couple of months of her living at the clinic and making sure her issues didn’t show up again we all became attached. So now Autumn spends her days greeting clients, lounging in her bed on the reception counter, trying to help everyone type, and most importantly, using the litter box like a good girl. Dr.Cathrine MacLean is originally from upstate NY and knew she wanted to be a veterinarian at an early age. She attended Penn State and loves college football. She currently lives in Lebanon with her husband Matt, daughter Katrina and their fur children. www.

Supplements such as Cold Noses can be given as needed without drowsiness.

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Canine Point of ViewJump Up? Michelle Grimes

Dear Canine Point of View: My super friendly Lab Duke, likes to greet everyone by jumping on them. I’ve tried everything and nothing works! My friends encourage him; I can’t get to them fast enough to ask them to turn their back and ignore him. I’ve seen a nojump harness but I’m not sure it’s safe. Do you have any techniques that will work when I don’t have control over the people’s responses?

Thank you, Jamie, Quechee, Vt.

Dear Jamie, A majority of the wonderful Labs out there are super friendly and some may feel as though they have to jump up to properly greet everyone. Unfortunately, some friends encourage them (shudder). I know you’ve tried some things already, however I’m hoping I have some tips for you (new tips I hope). • Put a sign on your door. Posting “Dog in Training” before your guests even enter your home is a perfect way to set your dog up to be successful. • Using your new sign, state “Duke needs to be sitting before any attention is paid.” • No need for fancy contraptions (nojump harnesses). Use a simple flat buckle collar and a 6 ft leash. Hang Duke’s leash as close to the door as possible, and have it ready when guests arrive.   • Step on the leash. When Duke’s leash is attached to his collar, step on it so there is a “J”in the leash between you and Duke, having the handle of the leash in one hand. Open the door with your other hand. Duke should only be able to pop up an inch or so. This will not be very satisfying to him; he’s not getting what he wants. You will have control and you don’t have to rely on others to do the right thing.   • Use method above for greeting, when out on walks as well.   • Keep some high value treats in your pocket so you can “treat” Duke when he sits. In his eyes, ‘SIT’ will eventually begin to work better for him than jumping up did. • Duke must get NO attention for jumping or being pushed “off” someone, which could be conceived by him as play.  • Dogs will sometimes jump because they get access to our faces and attenContinued NEXT PAGE

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tion. Take away the access and attention, and jumping ceases to be rewarding. Reward a “sit” and that’s even better.   - You could also replace the jumping behavior with an alternative behavior such as running to get a toy to offer the guest, or giving a paw to shake. This way the dog can DO something, that is humanapproved and be rewarded by the attention he craves.  We have to remember the dog is always seeing things from their point of view, not ours. Just because we think it might not be rewarding (saying no, physically pushing them off of you, etc), to a social dog those things are very rewarding. Regardless of the behavior, training always requires repetition and consistency to ensure positive and desired outcomes. Michelle Grimes CPDT-KA, of K9 Insights is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer & Behavior Consultant specializing in Positive Reinforcement Training for all breeds. Michelle@k9insights. com or

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t looks like Washington is at it again, as legislators in our nation’s capital have begun conversations to amend the Affordable Healthcare Act. The cornerstone of the current administration, ObamaCare has been the most polarizing legislation in more than 50 years, and the current proposal has lawmakers fighting like a cat and dog over it, literally cats and dogs. Under the plan laid out by a Senate sub-committee, a single payer health care program will be required for all dogs and cats. Needless to say, the idea has drawn fire from several groups over the guidelines of the bill, including benefits. As one Georgia congressman put it, “That dog don’t hunt! Here in the Bible-belt, spay and neutering is a form of birth control and should not be funded by my taxpayers.” When pressed further, the congressman did say he would consider spaying if the mother’s life was in danger. One animal rights group applauds the effort. According to one spokesperson, “We’ve paid a lot of money to our lobbyists over the years. It’s about time Washington threw us a bone.” Even the veterinary industry has chimed in with a statement. “Dogs and cats are part of our families and should have FULL mandatory health benefits including vision coverage. Cats are prone to cataracts, (which is where the human optical term originated), and many dogs suffer from varying forms of blindness. Both would be well served with the prescription glasses covered under this proposal.” However, some have been highly critical as being too focused on just dogs and cats. The American Alpaca Society has called the proposal discriminatory. As one alpaca farmer put it, “Next time you complain about some scratchy acrylic sweater, you’ll wish for healthier alpacas.” A full vote is expected sometime this spring, and if all goes according to plan, OBarkaCare could go into effect as early as April 1, 2015. For more information visit www.4

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Sam is one of many that can look forward to spring this year.



here’s been more than a little bit of magic going on at the Green Mountain Horse Association’s (GMHA) Upwey Barn in South Woodstock, over the winter. That’s where Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society, with the help of GMHA, the Woodstock Police Department, local veterinarians, and a host of dedicated volunteers, transported 23 severely malnourished and abused Arabian horses last November 13th – most of them suffering acutely from starvation, thirst, and cold. Beginning on that day, a course of roundthe-clock care led and coordinated by Lucy Mac’s Executive Director, Heidi Edmunds and delivered tirelessly by animal lovers from Vermont and surrounding states, has slowly and steadily transformed what might have been a cruel destiny, into a continuously brightening future for these beautiful creatures. In the early weeks, local veterinarians prescribed feeding regimens that required small meals of hay and alfalfa cubes every two hours – even throughout the night. The horses were so thin that vets feared liver failure if adequate food were introduced too quickly, or in too much volume. Today, the horses are fed four times daily; many have graduated to grain. Midnight feedings are an event of the past.

With just a few exceptions, the past weeks have seen ribs disappearing, feet trimmed, and coats shining, as a result of daily grooming by doting volunteers. From sad, dull, listless eyes, volunteers are now welcomed by sparkling gazes and eager curiosity. Stalls are immaculate, the aisle is swept, and horses enjoy exercise and turnout frequently throughout each day. There’s lots more prancing and kicking up of heels. In fact, by the end of January, five horses had regained sufficient weight to allow them to go to loving foster homes in nearby towns. That number will increase in coming weeks. But, it’s taken thousands of dollars in material goods such as feed, hay, bedding, and medicine to pull this feat off to date. With gratitude to scores of generous donors – supporters who have responded with cash, blankets, hay, feed and other necessities since day one – Lucy Mac will continue to require support in terms of donations, goods, and volunteers. Full recovery, after all, is expected to take months longer. Heidi says that two areas of need are especially critical. “First, we are still in need of additional direct-care volunteers,” she says. “The ideal volunteer will have experience Continued NEXT PAGE

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in handling horses and in working in a horse barn, but we’re grateful for folks who are willing to learn along the way as well.” To date, Lucy Mac’s volunteers at Upwey have committed to approximately 4,600 service hours. The humane society, however, needs more volunteers to staff multiple shifts throughout the day. “The second critical area of need is to find foster homes for the remaining 18 horses by the end of March, since the Upwey Barn at GMHA will no longer be available,” says Heidi. “Folks interested in fostering should have a sound understanding of the demands involved with horse-ownership and be able to provide food, shelter, and water. If candidates for fostering don’t currently own at least one horse, they should be open to fostering two horses for companionship.” Friends of Lucy Mac who are interested in volunteering and/or providing a foster home should contact Jackie Stanley, Lucy Mackenzie’s Shelter Manager, for an application by email at or by telephone at 802-484-5829. “We’ve watched these amazing horses slowly but steadily improve since they’ve been in our care. They still have a long road ahead of them, but with the support of our donors and volunteers, we now have them on the right path,” says Heidi. “Their generosity has helped these beautiful Arabians to survive and begin to heal over these past critical weeks. But we will need continued support from the communities we serve in Vermont and New Hampshire and from friends across greater New England, to ensure their continued recovery for the remainder of the winter -- and perhaps for months after that.” Celebrating 100 years, Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society is one of the nation’s oldest continually operating humane societies.

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Spring 2015

Paddock Partners Heidi Jo Hauri-Gill

Dear Heidi, On a beautiful spring day, our horse will sometimes lay down and take a short nap. I heard that laying down could be harmful. How long is too long? Sally, Canaan NH Hello Sally! Thank you for your question! With just a thought of spring, I start daydreaming….  I find a lot of people surprised when they see horses lying down, especially when they are lying “flat out.” They certainly look a little disturbing that way. In all reality, a horse needs about 30 minutes of REM sleep per 24 hour period. They can occasionally make up for a lost night or two by sleeping longer on a consecutive day. My dad, a sleep disorders guy who had a horse crazy wife, actually did a small study on the actual REM requirements. There are a TON of myths about horses sleeping, and so much useless chatter about this on the web that I am happy to try to help clear it up a bit.   Continued NEXT PAGE

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First of all, horses do have a “stay apparatus,” the physical manner in which they can “sleep” while standing. They have ligaments in their shoulder and stifle which can actually lock their bones into place well enough that they can sleep quite deeply standing up. Horses in the wild are at severe risk when they lie down, that is why they use their stay apparatus to get the most of their rest. That being said, they need to get off of their feet, they need REM sleep, so even wild horses will lie down. Fortunately, a horse’s body is programmed to know when enough is enough. A healthy horse can lie flat out for quite a while without any troubles.   The time that you should worry about your horse lying down too much is if he/she has a preexistent condition that would make lying down a problem, typically that would mean something that could prevent him/her from getting up. This can happen with horses that have arthritis, laminitis, or other lameness issues. It can also happen in horses with neurological issues. Still, DON’T PANIC. Just watch your horse so that when he/ she tries to get up, you know what to do if help is needed. Have that discussion with your vet BEFORE a situation arises.   Another time you may have a problem, is if your horse is lying down and agitated. This could mean rolling and then lying still and rolling again, looking at its

sides when lying down, sweating while lying down, and kicking at its sides while lying down. These are all signs of colic and distress for your horse. Have a good plan for what to do in this situation. This horse will need immediate attention, and needs to get up. Usually we have to hand walk the horse while waiting for the vet. This agitated state can cause serious problems. One more time for serious concern, when a horse is lying down, is when it is “cast.” A cast horse is a stuck horse. This often happens in the stall, but can happen outside also, especially in the winter. In the stall, a horse can get cast while rolling, or if it chooses a poor place to lie down to rest. It usually means that it is unable to extend its legs to get up, if it is cast from rolling, it is usually stuck at an angle to the wall which prevents the legs from touching the ground. It is very important that a stuck horse get righted, HOWEVER, it is extremely dangerous to do it by yourself. Please, if you are alone, call someone, if you don’t know how to right the cast horse, for sure call someone who does. It is very easy to get tangled up in the legs of a worried horse and have serious injuries. Outside, a horse can get cast against a tree, building, or even pile of dirt. The more likely situation is in the winter, when there is fresh snow and the horse gets stuck from rolling. It is when a horse is cast and cannot get up, that it becomes dangerous. This is where the stories of the weight of a horse’s intestines creating problems, or breathing problems being an issue, come from.   The important thing is KNOW YOUR HORSE. At my farm the horses tend to take naps around 11 am, and in general they may lie down for up to an hour and a half. If I see a horse lying down around feeding time, or if one is flat out in the rain, I go to that horse and make sure that all is well. Horses do lie flat out in their stalls as well as in their pastures, it depends on the horse. Don’t wake up sleeping horses unless you have a reason to expect that there is a problem. I do have to say that I have a couple of old horses, and when they are lying flat out, I can’t help but walk up to them to see if their ears twitch, or to check that they are breathing. One of them is hard of hearing, so I actually have to get to her and check her for my own peace of mind, but I let her sleep, her legs are probably so happy to have her weight off of them.   Good luck and remember, a horse that can trust enough to lie flat out, is a relaxed and happy horse in general!  Heidi Heidi Jo Hauri-Gill is co-owner, along with her husband Bob, of First Choice Riding Academy in Enfield, NH. A graduate from Morven Park and a UNH “L” graduate with distinction, Heidi spends her days teaching and training at the farm.

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Eventing, Six Tough Goals for Brave Kids! Denny Emerson - Strafford, VT


knew that I was giving two talks at the USEA Eventing Hall of Fame dinner-the one the recipients give, and the talk about Kilkenny, that Jim Wofford asked me to do. As I researched Kilkenny’s extraordinary record, it made me more aware what had been lost with the demise of the classic three-day event. I decided I should slant my remarks toward you kids who are just coming up the ladder of eventing. Those who may feel shortchanged by what has happened to a sport which used to test speed and endurance, in addition to the various technical skills, but which no longer does so. Forty-some years ago Jim and I were in our early 20’s, we were facing an 18 to 19 mile long second day, with a 5:30 steeplechase, and roads and track at 240 meters a minute. We had to work “backwards” in our horse selections, our horse had to possess enormous stamina, endurance, soundness, speed, and generosity of spirit. Those were “musts”. Then we added in as much dressage and show jumping ability as we could afford. That sport, like the cavalry tradition that inspired its creation, has vanished. It may never exist again except in memory. Lots of today’s riders don’t miss it, Spring 2015

and many seem actually relieved that roads and tracks and steeplechase are gone. “Dachshund Eventing,” I call this new version. Short, slow, and German! If you are a young rider who loves a challenge and want to measure yourself against a historic standard of toughness, you can still do it. You will just have to find some of those challenges outside of eventing. So, here are six “challenges” or “goals,” whatever you wish to call them. I manContinued NEXT PAGE 39

aged to achieve five of them, but failed miserably with my first one. My very first goal, at age 10 or 11, was to chase a chicken on a bareback pony, lean down, catch it, and come back up onto the pony. It sounds pointless, I read that American Indian kids had to learn how to do it, so that some day they could rescue fallen comrades from the battlefield. If you try this, and get hurt, which you probably will, I warned you. When you get down low enough to reach the chicken, assuming you can even get near the blasted little thing, gravity takes over. You will fall under the pony and get kicked all over your body by all four of his feet. I only tried this a half a dozen times and got hurt every time, so I “chickened out” of my first major riding goal. Goal number two: Ride in timber or steeplechase races. Lots of event riders used to do this, but not many do these days. A good Thoroughbred can gallop about 1,100 meters a minute, and point to points are run somewhere around 800-850 meters per minute. Want to see if you have what it takes? Don’t wait until you’re in your 30s for this one; it’s too scary and too dangerous. Do it while you are still young and immortal. Goal number three: Jump six feet. I picked that magic number because it was a nice round number, and five feet was

too easy, seven feet was too hard. Once you’ve jumped six feet, 4’3” will never look so big again. Goal number four: Go clean in a CCI14* event. You are event riders, so you know what that goal entails. Goal number five: Horses don’t magically appear from under cabbage leaves, you should learn all the steps along the way. Choose a mare and choose a stallion, and breed a foal. Bring that foal through all the stages until you are riding your home grown horse in advanced three-day events. In many ways this is the hardest of the goals, it takes nine to ten years to achieve, and so much can go wrong along the way. Goal number six: If endurance is gone from eventing, go find the challenge elsewhere. The Tevis Cup 100-mile one-day race in California up and over Squaw Peak, is the oldest and toughest endurance race in the world. Win a Tevis Cup buckle by completing the race within 24 hours. There are six good, solid challenges. Achieve all of them, and you are a pretty darn good rider. You’ll also be a good horseman, the goals are so varied that you will have to learn hundreds of different pieces of the horsemanship equation. Unless you really expect to rescue a wounded buddy from the battlefield,

you can probably skip goal number one. But, if you do figure out how to catch the chicken, let me know so I can come watch. Achieving goals is probably less important than setting them in the first place, and then being brave enough to get up every day to go try. If you don’t like my six goals, set your own. The only person they must have meaning for is you. One of the 50 most influential horsemen of the Twentieth Century (The Chronicle of the Horse, 2000), Denny Emerson is the only rider to have ever won both a gold medal in eventing and a Tevis buckle in endurance. In 2006, Denny was inducted into the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Dartmouth College Athletic Hall of Fame and of the Vermont Academy Athletic Hall of Fame.


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Spring 2015

Laughter Medicine Kat Barrell, Call of the Wild Energy Therapy


t has been said that laughter is the best medicine. But did you know that the giggles also benefit your pets? This topic came to me from one of my clients, a handsome Morgan named Demi. What follows are Demi’s thoughts on the importance of laughter for animals. We so enjoy the sound of your laughter. What we pick up on is the vibrational frequency that is produced by the effort of laughing. We also absorb the pheromones that are spontaneously given off from laughter. These “particles of joy,” as we might call them, are hugely beneficial to us. What we want to impart is that the reverse is true too. When you do not have enough laughter built into your day, especially during time with your animals, we suffer the consequences. We pick up on the worry or fear you may be feeling, giving us cause to think that there is indeed something to worry about or fear. This may be why we will quickly come to your aid during those times of doubt or depression. We might stand near you, or get into your lap, in the case of cats and dogs. We willingly absorb those energies when we can. However, please know that we have our tolerance levels as well, so when we are too built up with the lower vibrational energies, we may go hide or choose to be by ourselves for a period of time. Here are Demi’s five tips to get happy: Trust that all is well in your world. We see it from where we stand but it is hard for humans to see. Know that the Universe has your back and that a solution is on its way to you. Know that no one is out to get you or make your life difficult. The truth is that people are doing the best that they can with what they know and where they are. When you start to approach your life this way, it takes a good dose of the drama out of your day. Know that we are your assistants. We are here to help humans through their challenges by offering unconditional love and support, especially at the times you need it most. If it seems like we are absent at times, we might just be taking care of our own energy in order to help you more. Everything is a choice. No matter what, every situation in your life is a choice. And this includes laughter. Think about looking at challenging, annoying situations slightly differently. Look for the gift in those times and know that those people and situations are coming to you perhaps for your own learning or to help others learn. You are the teacher and student, all in one. Continued NEXT PAGE Spring 2015

Demi speaks on behalf of the animal kingdom about the benefits of laughter and joy for humans and their beloved pets. 41

When in doubt, choose joy! How many times can you look back on your life and realize that everything worked out? The worry and the stress ended up being for naught. Remember those moments when you were in fear, doubt or worry. Instead, get present – come into the NOW moment, literally. All of us, as your animal partners, are only too willing to divert your attention to the now. We know when you are not present with us. All is well in the moment. There is always something to smile about and to be grateful for. When you get too far ahead of yourself or stuck in the past, you get into trouble. And there you have it – direct from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. As you bring more happiness and laughter into your daily routine, you’ll not only benefit your own well being, but that of your animal as well. I see this effect in my sessions with animals and humans. We are all deeply intertwined with one another, in the most beautiful and supportive of ways. Kat Barrell is the owner of Call of the Wild Energy Therapy based out of Newport, NH. Kat works with animals and humans to bring natural healing through hands-on energy work, dowsing and tools such as crystals, essential oils and flower essences. She also communicates with animals. To find out more, visit

Odd but True from our friends at Arabians have fewer ribs, lumbar bones, and tail vertebrae than other horses. Which means the high tail carriage may have less to do with “pride” and more to do with missing bones. Bones? Totally overrated. [Arabians Ltd.] In Florida, a horse was buried in a human cemetery—on purpose. Old Bob, born in 1877, pulled hearses to Lakeview Cemetery for TJ Miller’s Funeral Home for 28 years. It’s said that he could find his way to the cemetery without a driver. When he died at age 36, the faithful employee was buried in the shade of an old oak tree in the cemetery. He’s the only non-human interred there. [Weird Florida]

Horses can hear faint sounds as far away as 4,400 meters. (Probably.) They are also capable of hearing sound at much higher frequencies than humans. So it’s possible that when your horse “spooks at nothing,” it could be just nothing you can hear. I can hear your thoughts.

Horses can feel a fly land on a single hair. Horses can react to pressures that are too light for a human to feel. In fact, sensitivity on the sides of the horse where your leg sits is more sensitive than a human fingertip! Which means “dead sides” on a horse is just a nice way of saying “confusing cues.” Are you calling me FAT?! 42 4 Legs & a Tail

Spring 2015

Your Horse & Spring Grass Heather Hoyns, DVM Evergreen Equine of Vermont W. Windsor, VT


pring finally seems to be here. The snow is melted and the grass is becoming green. Your horse is standing by the gate, ready to go out & gorge himself on pasture. Before you let him… STOP! He has been eating hay all winter, and his digestive system is not used to all that lush grass. Fresh spring grass is high in sugars and starches which can cause colic and laminitis (founder). Colic is abdominal pain associated with any intestinal problem, ranging from mild upset to serious conditions requiring surgery. In the case of sugar & starch overload, he may get a very painful gas colic. The sugars ferment, causing a change in the gut “bugs” that aid in normal digestion. Overload can also lead to laminitis, especially in fat horses or those that are Insulin Resistant (IR), also known as Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS). Horses that have Cushing’s disease are also more prone to laminitis. Laminitis is a very painful condition caused by inflammation and necrosis of the laminae of the hoof. The laminae are the microstructures connecting the hoof wall to the pedal bone in the hoof, essentially holding the horse in his hooves. With laminitis, these break down, the pedal bone rotates downward, and may even come thru the bottom of the hoof. The best way to prevent any trouble is to slowly introduce your horse to spring grass. This can be done in several ways. If you have enough pasture, you can start putting your horse out on the pasture before the grass comes up, so he starts getting a little bit every day as the little bits of grass come up. But unless you have several pastures, this can destroy the field for the rest of the summer, as the horse tears up the muddy field with his hooves. A more common and safer way is to slowly introduce your horse to the grass. Start by putting your horse out on pasture for ½ hour - 1 hour once or twice a day, and gradually increase the time out by ½ hour per day, until he is out for as long as he will be on a daily basis. Special care needs to be taken with Spring 2015

On average, a horse will graze 70% of the time.

horses that are IR/EMS. These horses, like people with diabetes, need to limit their consumption of sugars and starches. They are at significantly higher risk of laminitis and should have their grass intake strictly limited. This can be accom-

plished by putting a “grazing muzzle” on the horse whenever he is out on pasture, or by limiting his pasture access to only a few hours a day in the early morning when the grass sugars and starches are Continued NEXT PAGE 43

lower. Some of these horses are so sugar sensitive that they can’t have any grass at all. Some horses with Cushing’s disease, which is actually a benign tumor of the pituitary gland, can have grass like a normal horse; others need to have it limited like a horse that is IR/EMS. Horses with these conditions should only be put on grass with guidance from your veterinarian. Don’t forget that the fat horse is also at higher risk and should have limited access to spring grass. Having said all of that, most horses can easily start to enjoy the spring greenery before them while you happily watch them graze. Dr. Heather Hoyns is the owner of Evergreen Equine of Vermont, located in West Windsor,VT. Her goal is to help you maximize your horse’s health and performance.

Rare Breeds Around Town The Plainfield, NH Bengal Cindy Sharkey

J ett (we call him Wickey ) is an F1 Bengal - 1/2 wild Asian Leopard (a small cat) & 1/2 domestic Bengal, and labeled as a dark leopard in color. The F1 is not recommended for households with small children unless the cat’s temperament is known before hand, remembering that they are half wild. They are highly affectionate, but usually choose and bond to one person. The kittens are taken from the parents ASAP so that the wild gene hopefully does not become dominant. We were looking for a new and special

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family member, because the house was way too quiet after the last child went off to college. A friend turned us on to the F1 and after doing some research, we found a breeder in San Diego, and got on their waiting list. The first generation male is born sterile so they are sold as pets only. When our new kitty arrived he was very beautiful, lots of spots and full of high energy! Our journey had begun... He is quite different from the other cats, very unique and mischievous, making noises that were on the wild side, a very interesting vocabulary. Nothing in the house is off limits, he really likes to open cupboards and explore inside for fun. He also walks up banisters just because he can, very agile, muscular and pretty smart. But, the coolest thing is water! Our Bengal uses the toilet. No, we did not teach him, he came that way. F1 Bengals love water, and in the wild, the leopards do their business in streams so they leave no scent behind. Jett likes to go outside, but only on a long leash, trees are fun and swimming in the pond is great. The cat is barely wet after a swim, his fur actually repels water. Pretty fascinating to observe. One day we had some corporate people visiting our house. We had been out to dinner and drinks and the conversation shifted to our cat, the company President made the statement that he was not afraid of any 25 pound pussy cat. Upon meeting Jett, who snarled and jumped from the floor to the top of a door, our guest beat a hasty retreat! Spring 2015

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Jan Bailey

he steady westerly breeze suddenly shifted to the south. Our forward momentum slowed and the sailboat rocked back and forth in the waves. “This tricky wind,” dad mumbled under his breath. He studied the pieces of string tied to the stays on the mast to check the wind’s new direction. We were out on a small northern lake where the winds often changed. The sails flapped noisily while he called out, “Stand by to come about, ready about.” As he pushed the tiller away from him, our Golden Retriever King, and I stayed low and moved to the other side of the boat. We were once again on the high side helping to keep it balanced. The bow pointed toward a dark patch of water ahead. Those crisp May days were the best. Most of the summer motor boat crowds hadn’t arrived yet. We shared the lake with a few other sailboats, and a fisherman or two. The hills on either side were ripe with the budding leaves of spring. Something had changed in the air; it seemed fresher somehow. Dad and I

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King getting ready for shore leave.

didn’t say much, we just enjoyed each other’s company and the feeling of freedom that sailing gave us. King stood with his front paws on the seat and turned his big blond head from side to side taking in all the smells. His silky ears flopped up and down as we moved through the waves. He enjoyed the ride too. My dad did not have a dog growing up, so he didn’t pay much attention to King at first. He was just a dog. I, on the other hand, was with him every minute that I could be. I begged my parents for years to get a dog. King and I were the best of friends. One day while making his breakfast, I heard dad say, “Good Morning King,” and watched him pat him on the head. King was wearing him down. Years later, I went off to college, and my older sisters had moved out. Mom was busy working, or pursuing other interests, so she didn’t have time to sail. Dad had a hard time finding someone to crew for him. It wasn’t a really big sailboat, but it was a handful for one person. One sunny day with a light breeze, he decided to take King with him to the lake for a sail. As they headed out from the dock, King climbed up and put his front paws on the seat next to dad. When the wind shifted again, I’m not sure if dad actually said, “Stand by to come about, ready about,” but King instinctively moved gracefully to the other side, and helped balance the boat. This went on for rest of the afternoon, with the dog and the skipper switching sides as they sailed up and down the lake. Dad had found his crew, and a new companion, after the children had left the nest. King was not just a dog anymore, he was family, something I had known all along. Jan Bailey lives in northern Vermont with her husband, 3 dogs, and a horse. She enjoys sharing the outdoors with her 2 legged, and 4 legged friends. Spring 2015

A Stroll in the Mud A

fter five decades of mud season there are few things that can rattle my cage. The exceptions are: 2am phone calls from my daughter, letters from the IRS marked URGENT and coming home to find a police car parked in my driveway. The latter was the case this last spring. Let me start with the fact that Bailey, our eight year old German Shepherd, is a little sweetie. She can bark like a Shepherd, but there is no bite to back it up. In fact, she’s such a baby, that most times she’ll camp by the door when left alone and pine until we return. I say most times, because the day the police came to visit was the day Bailey decided not to wait for her masters. If you know Shepherds you know the intelligence of the breed, they are certainly smart enough to open a French door handle. Once this simple task was achieved, there was only one logical way to celebrate her new found freedom…a casual stroll through the park and downtown Lebanon, NH. Naturally, the obvious issues arose: a self walking dog without a leash, and the fact that she is a large German Shepherd going solo. Although Bailey has not shared the details of her adventure (and maybe it’s better off that way), a story was shared with me by the local police officer who followed her home that day. He received a call about a German Shepherd wandering around the town. By the time he had caught up with her, Bailey was covered in mud, tired, and ready to call it a day. She walked the last hundred feet and into an open doorway. The fast thinking cop was worried and couldn’t be sure that this dog hadn’t just strayed into the first open door she came across. Arriving back at our house from a morning of shopping was when my heart skipped a beat. We found a Lebanon patrol car sitting in our driveway! Fortunately, officer Kapuscinski shared this tale as we went in to confront our wayward dog. She was lying sheepishly on our white bedspread covered in mud. If we hadn’t known the entire story, I’m sure we would have wondered until our final days, “How did that dog get so muddy IN the house?”

Spring 2015 47

Who’s Taking Who for a Walk? Debra Monroe - Charlestown, NH


pring will come, and the warm air and gentle breezes will invite you and your dog to go for a walk. In order for this to be an enjoyable occasion, dogs have to be taught to walk nicely on a leash. They must walk without pulling, lunging, or turning around and going behind you. To accomplish this you will need control. Now is the time to shop for a strong, four to six foot leash. I do not recommend a retractable leash for training. If your dog sees a cat or squirrel they may start running at a good speed. The sudden jerk on the leash could snap it, and you will feel the pressure in your shoulder. I suggest a “no pull” harness, the Easy Walk, the Martingale Collar (also called a limited slip collar) or the Head Halter/ head collar such as the Halti, also known as The Walk and Train Head Halter or Gentle Leader. Whatever you purchase, make sure it fits the dog comfortably and cannot slip over their nose.    When using a Head Halter, especially the first time you put it on, your dog will try and take it off with his paw. This is where you have to control your dog. Tell the dog in a stern voice to “Leave It.” When he does, praise him and give him a treat. Before going outside to walk your dog make sure you have treats in a small bag or put some in your pocket. As you exit the doorway, make it a habit to go out the door before your dog. If he tries to push through the door ahead of you, say “Wait,” then push him back gently with your leg. This shows your dog that you are Alpha not him. Once outside make sure your dog is on your left side unless you have a disability where you have to use your right side. When walking two dogs then you would put one on each side of you. To get your dog to start walking put a treat in your hand. If he does not start, try to lure the dog to walk by putting the treat straight out in front of him, and command him to “Come,” pulling gently on the leash. After he starts walking tell him to “Heel.” When he is walking at your heel then praise and treat him.   These first training sessions should be carried out in a less frightening environment. You do not want anything to distract him, and you do not want him upset. When your dog is comfortable at walking and heeling, then you can stop and tell him to sit by your side. When he sits, give him praise and treat him. Do this several times while walking, and he will learn to sit eventually, by himself, when you stop and talk to your friends.   Some dogs like to try and pull. Instead of stopping, teach the dog when he pulls, it’s a signal for you to turn and walk back the way you came. You also need to incorporate a verbal warning. Before your dog reaches the end of the leash, say “Easy.” If he slows down, call him to you, make him sit and give him a treat.   After several sessions you will notice the dog will have been trained to walk with you, instead of walking you. He will begin to look forward to these walks knowing he will get treats, and also that he is pleasing you. Your walk time will be more enjoyable for both you and your best friend and companion.  May all your paths be sun lit!

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Monroe’s K9 Academy is proud to offer Maintenance Care to all senior citizens, Veterans, and disabled clients on their canine friends. Spring 2015

A Letter from the Clinic Cat

Hangin' with Lou.

Dear Human, My name is Lou and I’m an adult, male, domestic short-haired cat who originally hails from the state of Vermont. I also respond to “Loubert,” “Loucifer,” and “Hey Cat.” I adopted Pleasant Lake Veterinary Hospital (PLVH) four years ago when my original human moved to Virginia cat-free. However, I have no hard feelings about the transition as I am now a vital part of this fabulous veterinary clinic. When I’m not overseeing clinic operations I enjoy pastimes such as napping, snacking, and sunning in my lanai. The lanai was built especially for me and is accessible from the front window via my own personal cat door. There are many places inside on which I can perch, nap, and sunbathe. Additionally, I have a perfect view of the parking lot. This allows me to monitor the comings and goings outside, and still peek in through the clinic window to keep tabs on what’s going on inside. When it starts to get chilly I move back indoors where I have a variety of fleecelined baskets in which to lounge. My preferred basket sits atop the front desk, but I have a basket in my office as well. These baskets serve several purposes. To start with, they are an excellent locale for the times when I am overworked and simply must have a lie-down. Secondly, the baskets are of such a size that I can lay comfortably in the bottom, obscured from view of any number of nosy dogs. I have found that a fun game is to jump up unannounced just as the visiting canines are approaching the basket. I receive much enjoyment from the ensuing yelping and jumping. But I wander; my main objective in writing this is to give you an idea about the day to day operations here at PLVH. Every morning the clinic staff come in and feed me breakfast. I suppose they feed all the other patients as well, but I am mainly concerned with my own meals. Recently, the staff has gotten the idea that I need to be on some kind of diet, and rations have become scarce. There have even been days where my bowl has been half empty! To make matters worse, they have started leaving my food on top of the x-ray table instead of on the floor where I prefer it. Something about encouraging exercise. As if! By the time I finish breakfast, clinic operations are up and running. I sit by Spring 2015

and supervise while our receptionist checks in all the surgery patients. Once blood work is processing and pre-anesthetic exams are underway, I find that I can relax and enjoy the procedures. We do everything from spays and neuters to emergency, life-saving surgeries like caesarian sections. Every pet also receives a complimentary manicure and pedicure, more commonly known as a “nail trim” (I’m still working on convincing the staff to start massaging paws and painting the nails as well). Once the surgeries are completed, daily appointments start and are soon in full swing. I assist by checking the rooms for dropped treats, teaching puppies that a cat is always to have the final say, and serving as a live demonstration for ear cleaning. I sometimes put on a show of disallowing the ear cleaning to exemplify the idea that not all pets are as wonderful and cooperative as I am. After appointments are finished I oversee dinner time and then things get quiet, although the day is far from over. I keep careful watch over the clinic after hours, as an emergency could call at any time. When the doctors come in for emergency calls I welcome them with purrs and allow them to rub my belly and scratch under my chin. I must admit that I get rather lonely without them here. I observe all emergency proceedings and keep both the doctor and the patients company. If I’m especially cute, the doctor will give me treats once the crisis has been averted. All in all, I run a pretty tight ship here at PLVH. If you enjoyed this letter and you’d like to learn more about myself or my role here, please visit my blog at www. Yours Truly, Lou Pleasant Lake Veterinary Hospital in Elkins, NH is a full service companion animal hospital. It is our commitment to provide quality veterinary care throughout the life of your pet. 49

What Can Happen to an Infected Lower Molar in Small Dogs Sandra L. Waugh, VMD, MS - Windsor Veterinary & Dental Services - Windsor, VT

I n the last two issues of 4 Legs & A Tail I wrote two articles about the prob-

lems that arise when the teeth are too big for the skull. This month shows a real case. I recently treated an 8.5 year old toy poodle mix who had a hole in the skin, on the underside of his lower jaw, that had been draining pus. When he was treated with antibiotics the drainage got better, but immediately got worse when the antibiotics were stopped. Looking at his teeth when he was awake, the teeth had tartar on them, and there was the odor typical of periodontal disease, but there was no strikingly obvious abnormality. The physical examination revealed that the underside of the lower right jaw was enlarged underneath the carnassial tooth, which is tooth 409. (see green arrow). Dental x-rays were taken.

Hole in the bottom of the mandible (lower jaw). Pus was draining from the infection around the root of 409 and exiting out through a hole in the skin.

New bone produced in response to the infection.

The darker area around the end of the root indicated that the tooth was no longer alive. The infection from this tooth was starting to make another hole in the bone.

Draining tracts: Have you ever had a splinter get under the skin of your finger or hand? Very annoying! And if you don’t get it out soon the skin gets redder and redder around the entry point, and it will eventually begin to drain fluid. The fluid would be clear at first but eventually would become white or yellow, indicating that an infection was present. This is called pus or a purulent discharge. If you left the splinter in place and took antibiotics you could get the draining fluid to clear up. But Continued Next Page

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Spring 2015

as soon as you stopped taking antibiotics the drainage would begin again. The splinter serves as a continual reservoir of bacteria, and the infection will clear up only after the splinter has been removed. When the body fights infection it does so with the help of the white cells in the blood stream. These cells are capable of leaving the blood stream and traveling to the site of infection. Very clever cells!! The cells along with the fluid that accumulates causes pressure on the surrounding tissue, and an avenue of drainage will be produced. In the case of the splinter, the fluid drains back out the entry hole, as this path is already there. In the case of teeth, the fluid may drain in a number of ways, depending upon which path has the least resistance. Often the drainage is inside the mouth and is not obvious to the owner. Sometimes the drainage will make a path through the bone and drain out through the skin, as has happened to the toy poodle mix. Drainage out of the bottom of the lower jaw is much more likely to occur in small dogs because the bottom of the root is much closer to the bottom of the jaw than in large dogs. In addition, there is the problem of the very large root in a relatively small and thin jaw. If this jaw is not treated by extracting the tooth, the hole in the jaw can become big enough that the jaw fractures through the hole. This jaw is more fragile than a normal jaw and it certainly is possible to fracture the jaw while extracting the tooth. Dental x-rays are very helpful in determining how much damage has been done to the jaw and how much care must be taken to avoid fracturing the jaw. The tooth was successfully extracted without fracturing the jaw. The draining tract in the skin disappeared in two days.



his winter we took a trip to see my sister in sunny California. While out driving with her, we saw a sign with a picture on it, with what that looked like a goat. “Is this a goat crossing?� I asked. My sister laughed, and told me it was a wild burro crossing. These Wild donkeys were practically in her back yard, in Reche Canyon, between Moreno Valley and Colton Ca., Southern California. They live close to peoples homes and travel in packs. Wild Burros are free roaming and free spirited. Introduced from Death Valley, the herds in California consist mostly of released Ranch and Spanish stock, from World War I. They are protected under the Horse and Burro act of 1971. It is illegal to capture or feed them. They run around loose, and can be a nuisance, making messes and ruining cars. Some kids were feeding them carrots as we drove by, so they can be tamed!


The moral of the story is, as usual, that dental conditions in dogs and cats can be hidden from view and need dental x-rays for diagnosis, that dental problems can cause damage and pain, and that with proper treatment many of these conditions can be successfully treated. Dr. Waugh is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. She also has a Masters Degree from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Spring 2015


eet Isis and Zeus, two Great Danes who are 7 1/2 years old! Isis was the runt of the litter and Zeus is like Marmaduke, a lover boy. Great Danes are fantastic companions, one of the largest dog breeds, they weigh in at about 150 pounds. They live about 7-10 years, but some can live longer. Great Danes are not high energy dogs. They can get arthritis, heart problems, hip problems and graying of the hair. These two belong to my sister and are her second set of Great Danes as her first loves, Cassy and Athena, lived only about 10 years. These gentle giants enjoy being around kids and are great with them (shown here with mine). In Germany they were used for hunting and as war dogs. Gloria Towne, along with her husband, owns and operates Towne Studios All Around Towne Photography, in W. Lebanon, NH. 51

4 LEGS & A TAIL FUN! What's Different?

Dog’s Leg Missing, Tip of Umbrella Missing, Buckle on boot missing, Umbrella handle now green, Reflextion missing in Water

TEACHER’S PET Previous Next

On the last day of kindergarten, all the children brought presents for their teacher. The florist’s son handed the teacher a gift. She held up the box and said, “I bet it’s some flowers!” “That’s right!” shouted the little boy. Then the candy store owner’s daughter handed the teacher a gift. She held up the box and said, “I bet it’s some chocolates!” “That’s right!” shouted the little girl. The next gift was from the liquor store owner’s son. The teacher held up the box and saw that it was leaking. She touched a drop with her finger and tasted it. “Is it wine?” she asked. “No,” the boy answered. The teacher touched another drop to her tongue. “Is it champagne?” she asked. “No,” the boy answered. “What is it?” she said. “A puppy!”


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Spring 2015




Happy Mud Season Central NH & VT

Eventing, Six Tough Goals for Brave Kids (One chicken required)

Who’s Taking Who For a Walk! Alternatively Speaking: A Holistic Approach to Vaccinations OBarkaCareIs mandatory health insurance for pets coming soon? What You Should Know About Feline Asthma

4 Legs and a Tail-Lebanon-Spring 2015  

A Magazine for Pet and Animal Lovers