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FourP ws November 2011

south florida’s animal rescue magazine

& FourP ws

Spay Neuter: Very Necessary

Rescue Heroes:

Maria Elena Padron

south florida’s animal rescue magazine

FourP ws

Pet & Rescue

Holiday Gift Guide south florida’s animal rescue magazine

The Newcastle Vaccine: Distemper’s Miracle Cure?

How it All Started with a Dog Named Wabi-Sabi By Cheryl Simone-Miller

MAGAZINE! After months of planning, preparing, making changes WELCOME TO THE FIRST ISSUE OF FOUR PAWS – SOUTH FLORIDA’S ANIMAL RESCUE s offering unique and beneficial goods and services. Our goal advertiser and working hard, we are proud to present some interesting stories and quality page 40). Our goal is to get important information out to (see is not to make a pile of money. Our goal is to raise money for our partner pet rescues money, time and love to homeless pets. Our goal is to their of all animal lovers of all kinds. Our goal is to tell the tales of the unsung heroes who give important to pet lovers nationwide. We hope you products and n support pet care and breed education. We focus on South Florida, but share informatio continue to join us in reaching those goals. of my family for most of my life. In 2006, we adopted a pit bull How did this start for me? I have always been a dog lover and have had them as part on him in a future issue. My husband, son and I always talked about terrier puppy from friends. His name is Omega, and he is the stuff of legend. More rescuing a shelter dog. We knew the time would come when we saw the right one. de Animal Services (MDAS). The picture was In March of this year, we saw a picture of a bull terrier mix named Lacey at Miami-Da of Maria on page 28). shared on facebook by my animal rescue hero, Maria Elena Padron (see our profile so she wasn’t getting mange, Something clicked and we went down to adopt her. She had some a lot of attention. She was beautiful to us. she was. We brought her home and renamed her Wabi-Sabi, for the perfection in imperfection brought I off. wore surgery spay her from painkillers the We went through a very rough night when bed… our in night all her with stayed I and Brad, her water in a porcelain cup and my husband, was coughing dozing off now and then in the spots she didn’t want. In the days that followed, she She played come. to dog gorgeous the see and reverse sneezing. But we were hopeful and could ked dog food. home-coo enjoyed and with Omega (check them out here the antibiotics her fed and vet the to her She played with toys and took over my chair outside. We took three vet days, Ten be. to not was that were supposed to clear up her kennel cough. Unfortunately, that gettrouble having was she day, visits, added and changed medication…but Wabi got worse. On the 9th arms my in died she day, 10th ting comfortable and I called the vet to make another appointment. On the outbreak at MDAS that in the wee hours…blood rushing from her nose. This was right before the disease Discussions made the news. We were so distraught, we had her cremated and did not have a necropsy. zoo, a strep of with MDAS officials and experts at the University of Florida lead us to believe she died

horrible ailment that causes the lungs to hemorrhage. we forged ahead. Then the outbreak was announced and instead of being frozen by our horrible loss, Mia and we called they mix terrier a We went down to MDAS in the middle of the mess and adopted well). More than as issue future a in her named Boudica for the Irish warrior princess in history (more on and conditions situation the see to anything, the facebook pictures of dogs needing a home and getting at MDAS inspired me to find a way to make a difference. have the means We don’t own a bunch of property, so we couldn’t adopt a ton of dogs. We don’t do and do to how know I what take could I how to start a rescue. I thought long and hard about good for somebe to had media in years 20 Nearly something good for dogs and cats in need of rescue. thing. So, I decided to start Four Paws. I talked about the idea to prior. She was on board Dani Dorsey, a very talented art director, graphic artist and cat lover I worked with right away. We are partners in bringing this publication to you. at Wellness Pet Food for We’ll also try to have a cool giveaway in each issue. This time, we thank our good friends e ingredients wholesom using offering Wellness WellBars as our prize. WellBars are oven-baked to crunchy perfection cked with power-pa are nuggets like Whitefish, Oatmeal and Sweet Potatoes. Not just empty calories, these bite-size . Email this like looks that vitamins E, C and Beta-Carotene. To win our giveaway, search this issue for a bone be will answers the correct me at with the page and location of the bone. All of We love Wellness! directly. you to mailed be will which treats, yummy the for drawing entered into a random to me at Please be sure to send questions, comments, suggestions, complaints and kudos …so send those to otherwise or cue pets…res We also want to see pics of your the same email address. Some might even be included in a future issue! Enjoy…and again, thanks for joining us!

Cheryl 4




4 8 10 12 14 18 24 26 28


How It All Started With a Dog Named Wabi-Sabi Canine Health: Getting to the Heart of It Spaying/Neutering Your Pets All Kinds of Shelter Pets A Family in Bloom Holiday Gift Ideas


Shelter Stories: My Name Was A1368794 Four Paws Asks… Portraits In Rescue: A Conversation With Maria Elena Padron

32 The Pet Killer Lurking on the Lawn 34 No Kill Nation 36 The Story of Jake 38 Fighting Distemper with the Newcastle Vaccine 40 Rescue Partners 42 Surrendering Your Pet 46 Furry Facts


Cover Photo Credit: Ginger Price Monteleone


WRITERS Lois Crockett Hannah Sentenac Evelyn Tipacti Maria Elena Padron Bonnie Mandel Plafke Lauren Granado Pastrana ...and our facebook family.


PO Box 8200 Coral Springs, FL 33075 954.882.5456 Four Paws Magazine will not be hold responsible for any errors found in the magazine. The publisher accepts no liability for the accuracy of statements made by the advertisers. And in this magazine are not intended as an offer where prohibited by state laws.

Canine Health: Getting To the Heart of It

“The heart is an organ that benefits greatly from lean body mass. Excess fat around the heart can create resistance, which makes the heart work harder for each beat.” ACCORDING TO THE ASSOCIATION FOR PET OBESITY PREVENTION, 43 million dogs are estimated to be overweight or obese, and a primary risk of excess weight, in pets, is heart disease. And, just as humans often adopt a natural diet to help support cardiac health, feeding natural foods can also benefit their canine companions. When it comes to canine heart health, there are two key things for pet parents to consider: feed a balanced diet that is rich in high-quality, natural foods and encourage regular exercise to help maintain lean body condition. “The heart is an organ that benefits greatly from lean body mass,” said Dr. Al Townshend, staff veterinarian, Wellness Natural Pet Food. “Excess fat around the heart can create resistance, which makes the heart work harder for each beat.” To help dogs maintain a healthy heart, Dr. Townshend suggests a feeding regimen that includes high quality protein, fat and carbohydrates, along with essential vitamins 8


and minerals. Wellness natural food and snacks, including the Super5Mix dry dog recipes, are made with carefully chosen, authentic ingredients, each of which has a purpose. These natural recipes include key nutrients that can help with canine heart health, such as: • Antioxidants, like beta carotene and vitamin E. • Taurine, an amino acid that is essential for the proper functioning of the heart, regulating heartbeat and protecting the heart from calcium excess. • Omega 3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties to support healthy blood pressure and help reduce the risk of blood clots. Along with proper nutrition, pet parents should strive to provide their dogs with regular exercise in the form of walks, hikes and active play. Yearly veterinary examinations also can help maintain a pet’s heart health, as well as his or her overall well-being. For more information, visit www.



Spaying/Neutering Your Pets by Lois Crockett THERE IS NO QUESTION that as soon as we take an animal into our homes; dog or cat; male or female; rescue, foster or adopt, it should be taken to the vet as soon as possible – even before you bring the “new baby” home, especially in multi-animal environments. It is critical to know if it has been spayed or neutered (easy enough for a vet to tell you in the office, there’s usually a little scar in females and the absence of testes in males). How many times have we heard a story about a “house dog” that somehow got out and came home pregnant? Spaying/neutering your pet/ rescue/foster is one of the kindest and most responsible acts you can do for the animal and for the animal population. The ASPCA cites only 10% of shelter animals are altered (another word for neutering), versus 75% of homeowned pets. Females are spayed. Spaying is an ovariohysterectomy performed at two to six-months of age and the earlier, the better, preferably before the animals’ first heat period. Males are neutered (although the term “neutering” is sometimes used for both sexes, as in’s Spay-Neuter-Trap program). Neutering males, aka castration or, in the case of horses, gelding, should also be performed two to six-months of age and, again, the earlier the better. Neutered animals will not add to the serious overpopulation problem of dogs and cats. Did you know four million cats and dogs are put down each year, about one every eight seconds, according to the American Humane Society? There simply aren’t enough homes for the animals and rescue/foster homes are maxed. According to the ASPCA, five out of ten dogs and seven out of ten cats are destroyed in shelters because there just isn’t enough room to house them all. When a massive rescue

effort…such as the one earlier this year to save animals from the Miami Dade Animal Services (MDAS) disease outbreak…results in further stretching of already thin private resources, one must take pause (paws?) to seriously consider the implications of not neutering pets. Of course, surgery is always a serious consideration, especially on very young animals. There are risks associated with the operations but they are minimal.

Consider other scenarios you might be forced to deal with in an unneutered animal: for females, heat is a mess. For those not in the know, “heat” means the animals’ menstrual cycle – no tampons, sanitary napkins or other such devices exist except for maybe the doggy diaper. The animal can get very vocal during this cycle, something like primal screaming in public during a human female’s bout with PMS. Of course, the female emits pheromones, which will attract every loose tom or dog in the county to your door, usually in the middle of the night. For unneutered males, they spray. All over. Spraying is their way of marking ter-


ritory and when testosterone runs high, territoriality is priority one in the male world. Male dogs latch on to pretty much anything, including your leg, and have at it. This is not easy behavior to stop and many people do not consider it endearing when Fido starts “dancing” with them in a most unpleasant manner. Further, male dogs can be in a public situation, such as a pet store or park, and go after (and sometimes get) any available female. Again, this is not easy behavior to control or curb. This is the original “men are dogs” scenario. There are an estimated 70 million feral cats in the U.S. and, according to the ASPCA, it is impossible to determine how many free-range feral dogs roam the country. Dogs and cats birth anywhere from one to 12 or more puppies or kittens per litter, with dogs capable of one and cats, two, litters per year. Unwelcome puppies and kittens, the result of untoward mating, add to the overpopulation of the feral community through abandonment or may be treated inhumanely by being disposed of in horrific ways, such as heart-sticking kittens in shelters for quick, painful dispatch of these little lives like they did at MDAS this past summer or drowning kittens in a bag with a brick, a private “remedy” that is seldom reported but frequently resorted to, even in these “enlightened” times. Even purebreds are worthy of this consideration. Unless you are a breeder or own a show dog that must remain unaltered, unneutered purebreds are subject to the same behavioral considerations as the mutt or alley cat. Sex is sex – the primal instinct to reproduce – and purebred animals, no matter how refined they are, are not exempt from these urges or the ramifications thereof.

As for cost, there are programs available to help defray the expense. Friends of Animals sells discounted certificates you can order by mail by calling 1-800321-PETS (1-800-321-7387) and request an application, or online at http://www. As of October 2011, it costs $65 to spay a female cat, $90 for a female dog; $51 to neuter a male cat, $64 for a male dog. Friends of Animals will also refer you to a local vet who accepts the certificates. According to the ASPCA, the cost of spaying or neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising puppies or kittens for a year. When you take your animal for spay/ neuter surgery, as with any hospital patient, you will want to be soft and gentle with him or her, especially at homecoming. Neutering requires anesthesia and occasionally requires an overnight stay at the vet. If possible, take off work and stay

home with your pet after picking them up from the animal hospital. Kittens and puppies, just like children, fear abandonment after a scary hospital stay, so you want to give them lots of TLC after the operation. They’re usually a little groggy and out of it when they come home. They might hide a bit; but, keep a watchful eye on them to make sure they don’t excessively lick themselves and split their stiches. The vet will give you careful instructions to follow at home and follow these instructions to the letter. Don’t worry if they are off their feed for a day or two; but keep a weather eye out for lethargy or illness as it might mean infection may have set in, requiring immediate treatment by the vet. Neutering an animal will not alter its personality. It doesn’t “rob” them of their natural male or female traits. Although males may lose some aggressive tendencies and females seem to become softer

and calmer, the pet’s basic, playful, and loving personality remains intact for a wonderful relationship for you both for the many years to come. As your pet ages, you will want to keep in mind that neutering/spaying may effect older pets. Then again, many dogs and cats live long, healthy lives into senior status with fewer problems than if they were not neutered. Being aware means you can, of course, seek regular attention from the vet and implement preventive care, extending your pet’s life. Again, your vet is a valuable resource to safeguard your pet’s health with regular checkups, immunizations and preventive care.

To find out more: • • •



All Kinds of Shelter Pets By Cheryl Simone-Miller

WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT VISITING A COUNTY SHELTER OR ANIMAL CONTROL CENTER to adopt a pet, chance are you picture a cat or dog. Yet, animals of all kinds end up looking for new homes for all kinds of reasons. That includes rabbits; pocket pets like hamsters, guinea pigs and rats; ferrets and reptiles such as iguanas. Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control (PBCACC) Community Outreach Coordinator Elizabeth Harfman says, “On occasion, we also adopt out birds… parakeets, cockatiels, and more exotic birds such as parrots. We also have a large livestock area and six-stall barn located at the back of our 14-acre property to house horses, cows, pigs, chickens and other types of livestock.  We don’t typically receive horses on a regular basis; however we do rescue quite a few of them throughout the year.” Harfman says the strangest animal they’ve ever placed up for adoption was a small family of Sugar Gliders they received in 2010. The adoption procedure is the same for livestock and other pets as it is for dogs and cats at PBCACC. You may want to check with your local shelter to see if it is the same at their location. “All potential adopters are asked to complete an adoption application, we screen them to assure they are choosing the best match for their family and lifestyle, we verify their address, and make sure 12 FOUR PAWS MAGAZINE •

any current pets they own are current on rabies shots and county license tags,” says Harfman, “In some cases, we do require home-visits and backgrounds checks before an animal is released to their new family.” Adoption fees range from $10 to the market price of the animal, usually for exotics. A complete listing of all of the adoptable animals at PBCACC is available at If you don’t see what you are looking for, call your local shelter and let them know the type of animal you would like to adopt. Whatever kind of pet love you want…don’t buy it, adopt it!

Open TO THe public 3rd Annual lighthouse point Yacht & Racquet club


Saturday, november 19, 2011 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Dog Fair

12:15 p.m. – 12:40 p.m.

parents & pup Fashion Show Adult Fashion by Body & Soul Boutique

Denim Lily Boutique Pink Slip Threads Boutique

12:30 p.m.

buffet lunch 1:30 p.m.

Dog contests

{Smallest Dog, Largest Dog, Best Dog Trick, Best Look Alike – Owner & Pet, Best Dressed} Certain restrictions apply.

Admission : $20 adults & $10 Kids

(10 and under)

Dog Fair participants : • • • • • •

Dee’s Dogs - Professional Dog Sitter and Dog Walking Deana Cappucci - Comfortable Companion Pet Massage Therapy The Hydrant - Puppy Emporium Lighthouse Point Animal Hospital - Full Service Veterinarian Salon Bark - Premier Luxury Mobile Pet Spa in South Florida Stella & Dot A portion of the proceeds of this event will benefit

The Florida Humane Society

The Florida Humane Society is dedicated to saving the lives of unwanted companion pets through adoption, as well as aggressively striving to reduce the pet population through spay and neuter programs.

For more information & reservations call 954-942-7244 Sponsored by • (954) 727-9977

A Family in Bloom By Lauren Granado Pastrana SPRING IS THE SEASON FOR NEW BEGINNINGS. It’s the time for freshly cleaned homes and the return of flip- flops and bathing suits. New flowers and new friendships bloom. And for our very small family, it was time to grow. Only we didn’t know it at the time. There was no big discussion to start the search for a dog. No drawn out debate over which breed would suit my husband and I best. In fact, since my current job has us living on separate coasts during the week, we had only ever discussed waiting to get a pooch until we were once again sharing the same home. Plus, our downtown Miami apartment didn’t allow pets of any kind, much less a large American Bulldog mix. Then a picture on Facebook changed everything. I’ve never been fond of the phrase “love at first sight”, but there’s no doubt the cliché applies to how my husband and I felt about the white dog with sad brown eyes who stared into my soul through the barrier of my computer screen. I first saw my girl,

I’ve never been fond of the phrase “love at first sight” who was named Snowie at the time, via a Facebook post shared by a friend in South Florida at the end of February. I clicked on the image purely out of curiosity. Her eyes were piercing and her pink bandana was adorable. Assuming she was in Miami, a safe distance away for her cute-ness to have any sort of permanent effect on me in Fort Myers, I sent the picture via text to my husband with a caption that read something like “Look at this dog. Isn’t she gorgeous?” He responded immediately with an emphatic “Yes! Where is she? Is she up for adoption?” So I read on. I found out she had been rescued from Miami Dade Animal Services by the group Big Hearts for Big Dogs. The first “rescue” that saved her had shut down, and before that, she was the victim of dog aggression and neglect. But the most shocking detail of all…she would be in Fort Myers that weekend! Big Hearts for Big 14 FOUR PAWS MAGAZINE •

Dogs is a bi-coastal rescue that takes larger breeds from shelters and transports them to foster and forever homes all over South Florida, from Miami Beach to Marco Island. Armed with my new information about her soon-to-be location, I told my husband her story. He was hooked as quickly as I was. We only had to work out a few kinks…like meeting her in person for the first time and dealing with the fact our Miami apartment building didn’t allow dogs! I met her the following week and knew right away she would be the perfect addition to our family. Watching her run with her foster brothers and then come right up to me, sit, and tilt her head to one side, as if to ask “So, what’s it gonna be?”, I immediately decided I had to make her ours. With one call to my husband, who was basing his decision solely on my opinion, we started making alternative living arrangements in Miami and I sent in the adoption application. Within weeks we had moved to a dog-friendly building on Miami Beach (thankfully, my apartment in Fort Myers allows pets, even larger ones!), and I waited for our girl to come to her new home.

We learned she was heart worm positive, but that didn’t deter us. We were ready to support her through the treatment and thanks to Big Hearts for Big Dogs, the expenses were taken care of. By March, we were adjusting to life as dog owners. Though, my husband and I will tell anyone, our dog owns us. We tried out the name Snowie for a while, but it just wasn’t working for us. It wasn’t really working for her either. She never really answered to it. Staying true to form, the name discussion didn’t take long either. We had one idea, and it stuck. We settled on Daisy, an ode to the fact we always thought we’d one day have a bulldog named Duke. Having Daisy, who we affectionately call Crazy Daisy when she has one of her sudden bursts of unbridled energy, has been a pure joy. Because she wasn’t a puppy when we got her, we didn’t have to worry too much about accidents (though she had a couple early on) or any destructive behavior (she doesn’t chew our furniture or shoes, but her toys don’t stand a chance). Her first weekend with us included a trip to an outdoor festival in Coral Gables. It was warm and crowded and there were other dogs sniffing around, yet she didn’t even bark! She would just strut her stuff like the awesome dog she is. To this day, it’s rare to get a bark out of her. She prefers to whimper, which endears her to us even more. A fact we are sure she is well aware of. Our love for our girl grows every day, but we know we have more to give. There are eventual plans to add another fourlegged child into the mix, as well as a few human ones. For now, we are a family in bloom, centered on our very own Daisy.



Cat Killer

Feline Panleukopenia Three of the very adoptable cats at Abandoned Pet Rescue in Fort Lauderdale.

By Cheryl Simone-Miller

IN OCTOBER, a disease outbreak hit the cat population at Miami-Dade Animal Services. The potential killer was feline Panleukopenia (FLP), also known as feline distemper. Shelter officials had to scramble to isolate infected cats, keep incoming cats from getting infected and revaccinate then all. 14 cats were confirmed to have FPL and veterinary infectious disease specialists from the University of Florida were called in to get things under control. What is feline Panleukopenia? It is a serious disease and part of the highly contagious parvovirus group. There is no cure for FLP. Most cats are vaccinated against the disease, but feral cats, kittens and cats with weakened immune systems can fall victim to this killer. Dr. Sandra Brooks with says, “The feline distemper virus amounts to a single strand of DNA surrounded by a protein coating. It is extremely stable in the environment, which leads to its characterization as ubiquitous…or everywhere. It can last a year indoors at room temperature and survives freezing. It also survives treatment with

such common disinfectants as alcohol and iodine. Fortunately, a 10-minute soak in bleach…diluted one part bleach in 32 parts water…exposure will kill it.” The virus enters through the nose or mouth. Symptoms include: • A hunched appearance due to abdominal pain • Diarrhea • Vomiting • Loss of interest in food or water • Depression • Lack of grooming • Appearance of what looks like a “third eyelid” in the corner of the eyes While other ailment might mimic these symptoms, a blood test showing almost no white blood cells can pretty much confirm FLP, since there are few other causes of such a drastic dip in white cell count. Let it suffice to say, if your cat is displaying any of the above symptoms, get to the vet immediately. There is no time to wait and see. The virus progresses rapidly. Death can come in as little as two days.


Dr. Brooks says, “An infected cat can recover if the cat can be kept alive until the immune system recovers from the panleukopenia and can throw off the infection. This means that the invading intestinal bacteria must be kept at bay with antibiotics, and aggressive fluid therapy must control dehydration. This is essentially the same therapy as for canine parvovirus infection, though the feline experience seems to be more lethal. There is little chance of survival without hospitalization.” Get through the ordeal and your cat will suffer no permanent damage. The cat will be immune for the rest of his or her life. Bear in mind, the virus is still shed for as long as six-weeks after recovery. Clean up excrement right away. Keep your cat away from other cats. Do that 10-minute soak with bleach solution. Your best defense against FLP is vaccination for all new cats. Newborn kittens have natural immunity from their mother’s milk, but should be vaccinated at 12-weeks of age. As for Miami-Dade’s outbreak, the infected cats were moved to an outside facility. They were treated and most were adopted.


IT’S THAT TIME of year again. Time to give your loved one the ultimate gift. Fresh out of ideas? Well, we’re not. Check out these great choices for your favorite pet.

RECYCLED DOG COLLARS Made with reclaimed bike inner tubes, Cycle Dog’s Latch-Lock™ Collar is made in the USA from reclaimed bike tubes. They dry quickly, reduce odor buildup and are super durable.


THE FREEDOM LEASH by The Paws Republic was designed specifically for the active pet owner with two dogs. Featuring a dual retractable leash and tangle-free cord system, your dogs can walk freely while leaving your other hand to do other things - like carry a coffee mug! It gives you the freedom you desire, while keeping two pets safely controlled. Stop the awkward “leash dance” now! Paws Republic



ORGANIC, ALL-NATURAL, ECO-FRIENDLY SHAMPOO and conditioner for your dog. The Organic Oscar product line includes: Organic Oatmeal Shampoo, Organic Aloe Vera Shampoo and Organic Aloe Vera Conditioner. These products do not contain soaps, parabens, sulfates, petroleum based ingredients, artificial fragrances or dyes. Great for dogs with sensitive skin!



THE ULTIMATE TRAVEL & ORGANIZER BAG for all your pet’s belongings. Our signature pleated pockets allow for easy access to the necessities like water, treats, collars, leashes, and clean up bags. The spacious interior holds food, dishes, grooming supplies, bedding, clothes and more. Available in 3 convenient sizes. The perfect gift for every pet owner on your list.


SMARTDOG JERKY uses human grade, USDA certified premium meats that are sourced and made in the USA. Their naturally wheat and grain free line of jerky includes chicken breast, beef, venison, rabbit and lamb. They proudly support rescue by way of donating a portion of their jerky to rescue organizations and pro-humane shelters!


“SHELBY THE HEMP MOUSE AND CATNIP ESSENTIAL OIL SPRAY” “Biodegradable, all natural, safe, strong, filled with organic catnip, Shelby the hemp mouse is a sure success with even the most finicky cats. The mouse face is stamped with natural food colorant. She can be rejuvenated by our potent catnip essential oil spray. Our spray can also be used as a training tool to attract your cat to his scratch post or new fluffy bed. All Made in USA!”


SCOUT & ZOE’S NATURAL ANTLER DOG CHEWS are allergy-free and a green, organic, renewable resource created from 100% naturally shed, grade A premium USA elk antlers. Containing calcium and phosphorous, the chews are not only good for your pup but also help keep those pretty teeth clean and healthy. Great for the exceptional chewer in your pack as well as dogs with allergies.


Holiday Gift Ideas continued on page 20 NOVEMBER 2011


Holiday Gift Ideas continued from page 19

ORGANIC COTTON HOT WATER BOTTLE COZY BUDDIES The perfect cozy for hot water bottles. We created the hot water bottle cozy when our kitty cat was diagnosed with cancer, and needed a safe way to stay warm. Perfectly fitted to house a standard size hot water bottle, this Cozy Buddy will be your pet's cozy pal on those cold chilly nights. Or when you're away, insert a t-shirt or PJ's with your scent inside the pouch so your pet will think you're close by! Either way, this Cozy Buddy is the perfect companion for a new puppy (or kitten), new litter of puppies, at the boarding kennel, visit to the vet, or any time your pet needs warmth and comforting. Knitted with 100% organic cotton. Available in: Benny the Bear and Geraldine the Giraffe Cozy Buddy.


COCOTHERAPY® VIRGIN COCONUT OIL AND COCONUT CHIPS are certified USDA Organic, and are 100% natural, and human-grade. Coconut oil is comprised primarily of a medium chain fatty acid (MCFA) called Lauric acid, which is also found in breast milk. MCFAs builds a healthy immune system, keeps animals from getting viral, bacterial, or protozoal infections, promotes healthy skin and coat, promotes normal thyroid function, and helps reduce weight. In addition, CocoTherapy Coconut Chips provide beneficial fiber to promote a healthy digestive system and alleviate fiber-responsive diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, diarrhea, and constipation. COCOTHERAPY PHONE: 630-578-6752 WWW.COCOTHERAPY.COM



The new dog collar that's also a leash! The built-in retractable leash allows you to gain immediate control. Designed to be worn at all times, the quick release safety turnlock secures the handle when not in use. Sized for dogs 10-90 pounds and neck sizes 10-22 inches.

Give your cats amazing toys they’ll love this holiday season! Amazing Treat Machine Rollers toys are exciting interactive cardboard cat toys that hold catnip and dispense treats. Paws up entertainment you and your cats will love! Each box contains 4 toys and organic catnip – Only $7.95!



Holiday Gift Ideas continued on page 22 20 FOUR PAWS MAGAZINE •

Custom Made Collars, Harnesses & leashes • Custom apparel • nutrition weight pull harnesses • decals • gifts & more!

Dog Massage and Wellness By Hope Holistic hands-on care for your dog Providing personalized Dog Massage catered to your dogs needs in the comfort of your own home. Services include: Wellness Massage, acupressure therapy, sports massage, water therapy, pre and post surgical massage, geriatric massage, exercises for weight loss and muscle building

• Customized massage for dogs and their owners. • Acupressure point treatment to clear meridians, relieve pain and promote health. • Essential oils to alleviate both physical and emotional pain.

• Canine athletic massage to assist your athlete with performance. • Canine exercise for just your canine friend or for both of you.

954-253-7800 Owner Hope LaMonica, Licensed Massage Therapist since 2002

Mention this add to receive $10 off your first dog massage. Ask about specials for both human and dog massage



Holiday Gift Ideas continued from page 20

BETTER BUDDIES’ DONUT BEDS are constructed with an eye for well-crafted design alongside an eco- and socially conscious heart. With durable, yet soft, Organic Hemp/Cotton fabric, inserts filled with recycled plastic bottles, and 10% of profit donated to the Best Friends Animal Society, these beds make a lasting difference!


LITTLE EATZ, PET AND PEOPLE TREATS You share your home, your car, even your bed with your pup...why not share your food too? With Little Eatz you can share your food, AND feel good about it! Little Eatz are all-natural cookies that are safe and healthy for both people and pets. DARE TO SHARE!



THE AMAZING TREAT DIET FOR DOGS: HOW I SAVED MY DOG FROM OBESITY BY KATIE NEWMAN The inspiring true story of how Katie Newman saved her lab, Hustler, from obesity with a healthy, economical and easy to follow diet. It is a charming and heartening tale, cleverly intertwined with diet principles and guidelines, including meal servings, treat servings, and information on how weight affects the health of your dog and what you can do about it.

two compartments, one for personal items and dispensing bags, and another for used dog waste bags. The latter has a charcoal filter designed to absorb odors. PoopPacs wrist strap, shoulder strap and belt clip, sturdy construction and practical all-in-one design make this a must have for dog owners. Enjoy your walk!




SCRATCH N SHAPES are an affordable and eco-friendly solution to destructive cat scratching. Not just for scratching, these fun, and functional scratchers are great for lounging and playing on, too! A variety of sizes and styles are available to complement any home décor. As an added bonus, each scratcher comes with a bag of Imperial Cat’s certified organic catnip, that is ultra pure and powerfully potent! Made in the USA from 100% post consumer recycled cardboard.


WATCH YOUR PET CURL UP IN HEAVENLY COMFORT on our premium mattress. Available in three sizes or made to order. Easy zip pillow top with available waterproof liners or covers, combine convenience for you and comfort for your companion. Each mattress handcrafted in the USA. One person's desire to give her dog the very best, now shared with your pet.




Shelter Stories…

My Name Was

A1368794 ”I Had a Wonderful Life!!!“ By Maria Elena Padron

I WAS BORN ON NOVEMBER 21, 2003. I was a cute little fluffy Maltese. My owner bought me as an anniversary present for his wife who soon became my best friend. I had a wonderful life! My day would be something like this: My owner Marc would leave to work early in the morning, the children Patrick and Anne would leave to school. I would spend the rest of the morning following my loving Angelica around the house while she did her chores. After lunch, we would sit on the couch and watch the soaps while she caressed me. When the children came home, I would spend a few hours in the yard playing with them and running after lizards or anything that caught my attention. When Marc would get home from work, I would run to the door where I always greeted him with so much love. He did not acknowledge me much. He said I was too needy. For the next seven years, I continued to go to the door hoping that one day he would be happy to see me. He never did. After dinner, we would all sit in the family room and watch television. I would always be at the foot of the coach while they talked and laughed. On weekends, I would sometimes visit my grandparents or go for car rides with my family. I had a wonderful life! Seven years later, my mom Angelica became very ill and passed away. For the next few days everyone was very quiet and Marc seemed to be angry at me. One 24 FOUR PAWS MAGAZINE •

afternoon, I heard Marc come in from work and I did what I always did, I ran to the door to greet him. Soon he carried me and put me in the car. It was the first time Marc and I had gone out alone. I was excited. He drove for a while until we reached a grey building. He then carried me out and went through a few doors. He spoke with a lady and took some papers and wrote on them. He handed me over to the woman and I saw him walk away. I was tied and placed on the floor for a while. I began to tremble. I saw a big light hit my eyes. I was very confused I did not know what was happening. There were other people with other dogs doing the same thing. I could hear the barks of other dogs and smelled a very unfamiliar smell which terrified me. I went from person to person for a while until I was placed in a cage with newspaper and a plate of food. I went to the very back of the cage and sat there until there was no sunlight and people were no longer there. I heard some dogs bark and others cry. I could not sleep. I knew Marc would come for me. The next morning people began to pass by my cage again. Some stopped and looked at me but very briefly, others totally ignored me. I always went to the front of the cage thinking it was my owner. Eventually I realized he was not coming. I spent the next 6 days lying in my own urine most of the time and patiently waiting. On the sixth day, the lady who had fed me and cleaned my cage came for me. She carried me out of the cage and placed a leash on me. I walked down a long corridor wagging my tail. I was so happy Marc had come for me. We entered a cold room where a man was standing and did not even look at me. She carried me and caressed me while I sat on a cold table waiting for something. I was so scared. The man came towards me and injected me with something. My name was Julie. No one ever said my name...



Four Paws Asks… Every month, we pose a question to our friends and rescue partners via social media. This month, we asked… “The holidays will be here before you know it...and many people are considering a dog, cat or other pet for someone in their lives. What advice do you have for them?”

Suzi Luvspitsndals Macy says, “Do their homework as to the breed they are considering adopting. Of course, I l ike it when folks adopt and don't shop! Also the new pet needs to have a two-week shutdown…that is, the pet should not be thrown into the whirlwind of the home; it is just too much for them. They need some quiet time, to get used to the new surroundings, remember it’s a lot for a dog to take in all at once.

Camille Recanati Loge says, “Unless the person receiving the pet knows what it takes to care for it properly, it can be a burden. In this economy, vetting, [medications like] Frontline and Heartguard & good food is expensive. Many shelters fill up right after the holidays because people decide they want to return their "gift."”

Denise DeGeorgio Cooney says, “The advice I would give would be to think BEYOND December 25th!! Despite the joy and excitement you may bring to your child for that moment, keep in mind that owning a dog is a 10-year minimum commitment, and they should be prepared for this. There will be training, vet visits, and lots of attention needed. If they are still set on getting a puppy, I would suggest a good breed match for the family.

Suzi Luvspitsndals Macy answers, “Yup, my thoughts matter what time of year, do your homework on the breed of dog. Make sure you can give this animal a live with you forever.

Annette Gongora's Rescue Page says, “I agree with what Denise said and would only add, based on a recent rescue experience, to make sure that they realize that the whole family has to be agreeable to getting a dog. They may think their child is "old enough" to care for an animal. If the child becomes overwhelmed or bored with the cleaning, feeding, walking etc. someone else (usually a parent) will need to step in and care for the pet. Pets, especially dogs, need a human to care for them. Also keep in mind the expense of caring for a pet in society's current economic situation. What are their plans if the dog gets sick or injured?? Will they be able to afford to get it expensive emergency vet care if needed? Have they planned ahead to make sure they have insurance on the pet? Pets should be treated just like their children and everyone needs to have plans in place in case of an emergency. Getting "rid" of the pet should never be an option, after all, you wouldn’t get rid if your child because you can’t afford to provide proper care.

Sandra Brookman says, “ONLY if it is a 100% family effort! Parents should NEVER get their kids a pet unless they are ready to enforce their care and responsibility, OR they are RESPONSIBLE for their care themselves WITHOUT complaint!”

Jacqueline Ross says, “Make sure the family is REALLY willing to commit. The companions are cute at first, and then the newness wears off!!!

 ake it Illegal to sell Dogs/Puppies M in Pet Stores says, “Save a life and adopt....many purebred puppies/kittens in shelters don't cost a fortune, have been micro-chipped, have all of their shots and are usually housebroken. Just don't buy from a pet store, as over 90% of puppies in pet stores are from puppy mills.

Terry St Angelo says, “It depends on their lifestyle - if they have no children, Xmas is fine to adopt. Adopt a dog that will suit your age and health.”

Gena Wszeborowski says,


“Do not adopt around the holidays. Emotions run high and it’s not a good time to make a good decision. Investigate and research the breed. Take your time, choose carefully and always remember; it’s a life that will depend on you for many years to come. Be sure you are willing to commit to caring for your new dog for the rest of his/her life. :) And remember...Adopt, don’t Shop!



Portraits in Rescue… A Conversation With Maria Elena Padron By Cheryl Simone-Miller

TALK TO ANYONE IN THE SOUTH FLORIDA PET RESCUE COMMUNITY and, chances are, you will find they know or know of Maria Elena Padron. Visit her facebook page and you will find people calling her a “saint” and an “angel.” You will see a string of photos of canine faces she has saved from certain death at Miami-Dade Animal Services, nursed back to health and found homes for. You will find her tagged on photos of countless dogs in need of rescue in all parts of the nation. You will see on her list of friends rescue groups of all kinds from every corner of the world. Meet her in person, and you will feel the radiating kindness and serenity in the storm that comes from knowing one’s personal mission. Four Paws had a chance to ask Maria some questions to find out the history and philosophy of this pet saving phenomenon. 28 FOUR PAWS MAGAZINE •

Four Paws: Tell me a little bit about where you are from and where you grew up. Maria Elena Padron: I am originally from Cuba. I came to the US when I was 5-years-old with my grandparents and brother. I lived my formative years in New Jersey and then came to live in Miami in 1974. FP: Did you have pets as a child? MEP: When I was 7-years-old, I was playing with my friends and a girl had a box of puppies. I took one and showed up at my home with it. She lived with us for the next eight years. FP: How did you get started in pet rescue? MEP: I have always been picking up strays and bringing them home from the streets. I went to the shelter (Miami-Dade Animal Services) for the first time in 2008 when I lost my pit bull, PeeBee to kidney failure at the age of nine, and adopted two dogs. I saw the situation and started transporting for Big Dog Ranch and Miami Pets Alive. Then I started volunteering at the shelter. There I witnessed the problem of pet overpopulation at the shelter and the reality of how many innocent dogs and cats were put to sleep. I had a better perspective from both the shelter and the rescue community. I knew right then and there I had to do more. I would take my camera and go to B&C

wards and those areas that were restricted where the dogs had absolutely no exposure and would take photos of both the dogs and the kennel cards. I then started to post the photos on Facebook and began gathering animal lovers on facebook and requesting them to be my friends. I soon had over 5000. This made a lot of impact because people began to volunteer to foster and transport. It motivated a lot of independents to want to start rescuing these animals. I also started fostering dogs from MDAS. Since then, approximately 80 dogs have come to stay at our home. I rescue in all capacities. I take the pics, follow them on facebook, place the holds, fundraise, foster, transport. I will drive dogs anywhere they have to go within the state. FP: What is the hardest part of rescue? MEP: One of the hardest parts is not being able to rescue many of them…seeing them one day and finding out they were killed the next, or even a few hours after I leave the shelter. The other is getting the dog out of the shelter and then having it die from shelter-related disease. I have had many that have not made it and have died in my arms. I will spend days on end locked in a bedroom with them until they either get better and survive or do not make it. FP: If you had the power to change one thing about the state of shelters, what would it be? MEP: For starters, I believe the shelter directors and staff should make an extra effort to educate the community. This is my future goal. Most people are not aware of the reality of what happens to their animals when they are dropped off. They believe the dog will be saved and adopted out. This is not the case. Fiscal year 2009 – 2010, 36,000 animals came in and 20,100 were euthanized. This is Miami-Dade Animal Services alone! Shelters have to become people friendly, more compassionate and make more of an effort to educate, get more dogs adopted and also go the extra mile to get dogs returned to owners. The number of “return to owners” is extremely low and has remained that way for years. There is much that needs to change, but I believe this is a critical effort which cannot delay. FP: If you could get one message about animal rescue out to the public...what would it be?

MEP: Aside from rescue, bringing awareness to the community is my passion. I know that people do not have the slightest clue of the sad reality that awaits animals at the shelter. I would stress the importance of identifying your pet...most dogs that arrive at the shelter come in with collars (some very expensive) but no ID. If the person, for whatever reason, does not want to put the rabies tag on the dog they should go to a local pet store and purchase an ID tag with the name of the animal and a contact phone number. Also, a shelter is not a hotel. Animals get there and become very depressed, nervous and confused. Their immune systems are compromised and they become ill with various diseases…some fatal. They also are given 24-hours if they are owner surrendered. Puppies under 6-months are also given 24-hours. It is up to the discretion of the shelter to extend the stay or not depending on the number of dogs which are there at any given time. During the summer dogs/cats are surrendered at a staggering rate. Sometimes the daily intake is 100+. Only one cat out of 10 gets out…the rest are put down. Big dogs don't stand a chance, neither do black dogs. There is a phenomenon known as “Black Dog Syndrome,” which is basically black dogs are not adopted out. They are doomed at any shelter and are the first to be put down. The community can make a difference. Something as simple as lending your home to a foster animal can save a life. At the shelter there are too many animals and people go and become overwhelmed. There is not enough staff to attend to potential adopters individually and people walk out empty handed. It has been my experience that once a dog/cat leaves the shelter it is easily adopted out. We are desperately in need of fosters, both short term for quarantine and long term, until the animal gets adopted out. If you are interested in fostering, please contact me at Portraits in Rescue continued on page 30 NOVEMBER 2011


Portraits in Rescue continued from page 29 FP: You have rescued so there one experience and story that stands out to you that you remember the most? MEP: I have many stories…some with very happy endings and some that make me very sad, but at the same time motivate me to carry on. I think the crisis at MDAS with the distemper outbreak in March of 2011 is the most significant since the community was so instrumental in allowing all 350+ dogs to evacuate the shelter with a three-day period. Because there was so much attention brought about by the media, people turned out in droves to adopt and save these animals. I was touched and very happy that not one dog had to be sacrificed and this showed me how we the community have the power to make a change in the lives of these animals. A $65 adoption fee… which includes spay/neuter surgery, rabies tag, microchip and the basic inoculation…is so little compared to the amount of love these animals give us in return. During the crisis, on the very last day as I was leaving, there were two ladies who were returning a dog in a small box. I was walking outside and asked to see the dog. Out came a five-pound terrier who was completely emaciated, his skin was raw around his eyes and he looked almost transparent. I knew if I left him there he would be put down, so I did what I have done on many occasions. I brought him home with me. I hand-fed him with a syringe for five days and on the fifth day he began to eat on his own. I stayed in my office with him until he fully recuperated and he has been with me since. He was named Very Lucky for obvious reasons. I look at the dogs and my heart fills with love and joy. I could not see myself doing anything else in my life. This is definitely my calling. FP: Is there a resource for pet parents you think everyone should know about? A website or book? MEP: We have been gathering tips and FAQS about pet ownership and fostering. Facebook has been instrumental in the amount of information and resources available. The rescue community is at work 24/7 and is always willing to help answer any questions. We also recycle crates, dog beds and help in providing resources for vet care for foster parents in the event the pet becomes ill. We also encourage anyone who has the time to visit Miami-Dade Animal Services at least once to get a clear view on exactly what goes on. MDAS is always looking for volunteers to help with the animals. They work with the person's schedule and the only thing that is required to become a volunteer is a twohour class, which they offer both Thursdays and Saturday. You can always call and get more info at 305.884.1101.


FP: If someone wanted to contact you about fostering or adopting a dog, how should they do that? MEP: If you can volunteer for transport, fostering, or any other capacity…or if you simply have any questions, you can contact me, Maria Elena Padron, either on Facebook, email us at or call 786.356.9011 or 305.774.1184. Maria is also the author of a series of short stories called “Shelter Stories.” They are fictional tales based on real-life scenarios and told from the view of the dog. We will feature them in Four Paws and you can check out our first one on page 24.

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THE PET KILLER LURKING ON THE LAWN By Evelyn Tipacti HAVING A PET AND BEING A PROUD PARbodies so quickly. And Plato, whom I adopted ENT TO FIDO OR WHISKERS is an enjoywhen he was 6, had been a homeless dog, so able and integral part of an animal lover’s he was used to eating off the street to survive.” life. Although we all have to go through the According to published reports, many of inevitable, losing a pet is the type of pain the town’s citizens contacted city officials to only a pet owner can describe. see if there’s a way to ascertain what caused But when your beloved pet is taken the Plato’s death, as several other pet owners away because of someone else’s carelesshave indicated the same thing happening to ness, it’s an even more heartbreaking situatheir pet. tion. This is exactly what is believed to have “When I went to pick up Plato’s ashes, his Plato happened to a woman from Bayonne, N.J. vet told me that it was the third case he’d had Maria Perez walked Plato, her adorable that week alone,” said Perez. “In one instance, 8-year-old Bichon Frise, regularly around her 49th Street neighthe dog was a large breed, so he was able to be saved. Sadly, the borhood, never suspecting those walks would eventually cause second case was of a cat that didn’t make it.” his death. “I don’t think people realize the consequences of what they’re In early June, Perez received a call from Plato’s doggie daydoing,” added Perez. “I’d like to give them the benefit of the care telling her Plato had an injury to his mouth that would not doubt that they’re just trying to scare off the feral cats and other stop bleeding. Perez took Plato to his veterinarian, who said animals, but it’s a big public health hazard. Innocent animals are Plato was suffering from a dog bite. The vet performed surgery getting hurt – not to mention the danger to children, who will and sent Plato home. However, surveillance video from the touch pretty much anything.” daycare showed that the injury did not come from another dog. A few months after Plato’s passing, Perez attended a City “It was a very confusing time, because everything pointed to Council meeting, at which the issue was addressed. While many a dog bite,” said Perez. “But as time passed, it became more and on the council agreed that it was an issue that concerned them, more apparent that Plato was not bitten. But we still had no idea the consensus was that nothing could be done about it – a statewhat was causing the bleeding.” ment with which Perez disagrees. The vet did what he could to try and stop the bleeding, and Plato’s condition seemed to improve. However, throughout his first “I don’t think people realize the consequences of what they’re doing. night back home, Plato continued I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt that they’re just trying to bleed from his mouth. When the to scare off the feral cats and other animals, but it’s a big public bleeding would not stop, Perez returned to the vet, who told her Plato health hazard. Innocent animals are getting hurt – not to mention would need another surgery bethe danger to children, who will touch pretty much anything.” cause the damage was worse than initially thought. Not only had the wound become larger, but a new lesion had appeared on his “I know they can’t control individual homeowners,” she said, nose. Unable to control the bleeding, the vet told Perez that “but they certainly are in a position to educate people to their Plato would not make it. By the next day, Plato had died. responsibilities as citizens and to the consequences of their The veterinarian concluded that Plato’s death was actually actions – and to make other pet owners aware of the possibility caused by rat poison, which thins the blood and makes the body this could be happening in their neighborhood.” unable to produce clots –eventually causing an animal to bleed The use of rat poison is governed by state law, and when used from the nose or mouth. Rat poison does not have to be ingested for reasons other than those intended, it is illegal. If you or someto cause the damage – a dog can walk on the poison and then lick one you know has experienced a similar situation, please contact their paws, enough contact to cause death. your local city officials and animal welfare agencies. Perez believes Plato ingested the rat poison placed on front “It’s so important that you notify the appropriate agencies,” lawns and curbs by homeowners trying to keep animals off of said Perez. “They can only address the issue if they know about their property. it. I also suggest getting the word out via social media. Had I “Bayonne has a big issue with the large population of feral not posted the notice on Facebook, which was then re-posted cats in town, and some homeowners are putting out rat poison by friends and their friends, this issue might not have been to control the cat population. However, dogs are also in danger addressed. Although this was a very sad situation, I hope that if they come into contact with the poison. Small dogs, like Plato, bringing the danger to light might help save another animal from don’t stand a chance. The poison works its way through their little the same fate.” 32 FOUR PAWS MAGAZINE •

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By Hannah Sentenac

IN THE WORLD OF ANIMAL RESCUE, it can often feel like we’re fighting a losing battle. Every day, thousands of innocent pets die in our nation’s animal shelters and it often seems impossible to save them all. The good news is it’s NOT impossible. No Kill is an achievable goal, and it’s been accomplished in more than 20 communities across the US. That number is on the rise. Pet overpopulation is a myth. According to a nationwide study, 17 million American families are looking for new pets each year and could be convinced to adopt from a shelter. Only a small percentage of these people need to adopt in order to save the lives of the three to four million animals killed annually. While there will always be an element of cruel, irresponsible people who abandon or abuse their pets, they represent an extremely small percentage compared to the majority of Americans who love and respect pets. In the end, it’s up to the shelters to take responsibility. They’re the ones who perpetrate the killing, and the killing must stop with them. It can be done. It has been done. The No Kill movement has its own proven lifesaving program called the No Kill Equation (NKE) – a set of 11 proven, costeffective steps for shelter leadership to implement. It is the only formula that has been effective in creating No Kill conditions at open-admission municipal animal shelters. Communities as diverse as Reno, Nevada; Ithaca, NY; Charlottesville, VA; Shelby County, KY and Austin, TX have all achieved at least 90% save rates for their animals. Compare that to the alternative: the national average is a 50% kill rate. In Miami-Dade County specifically, 61% of impounded animals were killed in 2010. Often, the No Kill Equation can be implemented at, or even below, a community’s current budget. When a shelter director makes the choice to adopt the No Kill philosophy, public support 34 FOUR PAWS MAGAZINE •

is consistently overwhelming, and many of the costs are often transferred to the public – versus government funding. THE STEPS OF THE NO KILL EQUATION ARE AS FOLLOWS: I. Feral Cat TNR Program Trap Neuter Release (TNR) programs are the only proven effective methods of reducing a feral cat population and No Kill communities across the country have embraced these tactics as a method of drastically reducing shelter intake and saving lives. II. High Volume, Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Low or no-cost, high volume spay/neuter programs are a key component to reducing shelter intake and become especially effective over time. III. Rescue Groups Rescue groups are an invaluable element of the NKE. Any transfer of an animal to a rescue group reduces taxpayer cost for vet care and boarding (or euthanasia), in addition to freeing up a kennel for another animal. IV. Foster Care Foster care is an irreplaceable way to drastically expand shelter capacity. Volunteer foster parents provide boarding, food and care for animals. They serve as key advocates for the shelter’s mission. These programs also save the lives of neonatal kittens and other animals who cannot survive in a shelter. V. Comprehensive Pet Adoptions You CAN adopt your way out of killing, but it takes hard work and innovation. There are more than enough homes for our nation's homeless pets, but shelters

must compete with outside sources of animals. They must offer promotions, multiple off-site adoption options, and creative adoption ideas. They must implement effective marketing programs to get pets out the door. VI. Pet Retention Many of the reasons people surrender their animals are preventable. Shelters must work with the public to help them retain their animals. On-site counseling services for those who must surrender their pets for a variety of reasons can reduce intake and keep families together. VII. Medical and Behavior Rehabilitation A key part of any shelter's responsibility is to insure the health and well-being of its inhabitants. Animals must be treated for medical conditions and rehabilitated for behavioral issues. This step includes the implementation of proper cleaning and hygiene protocols, vaccination, behavior evaluation and other guidelines. VIII. Public Relations/ Community Involvement Community support is a key part of No Kill success. By increasing public exposure and devising a powerful public relations program for the shelter, the community will become involved. This means more volunteers, more adoptions, more donations, and more lifesaving success. IX. Volunteers No Kill efforts succeed with expansive volunteer programs. The use of volunteers expands the shelter’s operational efforts without additional expense. X. Proactive Redemptions In Washoe County, Nevada, almost 65% of the animals taken into the shelter are returned to their owners. Active efforts to return lost pets to their owners can drastically reduce shelter intake and kill rates. A crucial factor in reaching a No Kill community is effective leadership. Unless a shelter director is progressive, compassionate and hard-working, efforts towards No Kill are likely to fail. The leader dictates the policies and procedures of the organization. If a leader makes a decision to stop the killing - it will stop. If the director chooses not to do so, No Kill Nation philosophy dictates they must be replaced. Through tireless dedication to lifesaving and a collaborative effort between our shelters and communities, we can achieve No Kill success. For more information, visit: or NOVEMBER 2011



The Story of

Cheryl’s Note: The following is a tale of how a local rescuer added a sweet dog to her family in the process of saving so many other pets left at the Miami-Dade shelter. It is also a tale of the brutality many of these animals suffer at the hands of human beings. It is amazing to see how Jake…and many like him…learn to forgive.

By Bonnie Mandel Plafke was visibly nervous with women too, but nothing like when a man walked over. He is so gorgeous, everyone kept coming over to see him and each time, he got worse and worse. We lifted him up onto the counter where I stroked him and made him feel comfortable. Suddenly, he yawned and I saw a sight that I will never forget. This 4-YEAR-OLD had many missing teeth, rotted teeth and teeth handing by a thread... even some of the beautiful white teeth were loose. I thought the shelter made a terrible error in his age...he must be 14 NOT 4. They insisted he was around 4. I took him right to my vet where we scheduled dental surgery the following week because he needed massive antibiotics to clear up the infection in his mouth before surgery. We were determined to do everything we could to make sure he was in great condition... both physically and mentally before placing him into a loving home.

I met this boy at the local kill shelter. I was there to photograph the dogs two or three days in a row and noticed this boy never moved, didn't eat and would not take the treats that all the other dogs went mad for. I decided to check and see what the deal was with this boy. I went up to the desk and they said he had two holds placed on him. I was about to walk away, figuring he would be adopted, but something

was telling me not to. So, I placed a third hold on the pup, hoping I would never be called and he would find a loving home with one of the other holds. Well, the holds never showed and I rescued Jake. There was something very wrong right from when they brought him out to me. He was not only cowering but when any man approached; he went out like a bear rug, down to the floor and shook uncontrollably. He


Long, long story short: The shelter did NOT make a mistake. Jake is only 4-years-old. He was severely abused. The teeth were knocked out of his mouth by a monster, his vocal chords were injured badly (he was not de-barked, he was beaten) and he has burn scars on his body which we discovered at the groomer during those first few days. For days he slept standing up. He was actually afraid to lay down. He must have been beaten when he tried to sleep. He

still stands in a show position, even today. Legs back, head high and tail pointed…but sleeps beautifully now. He must have been beaten when he barked. He did not bark for over a month, but he does now!!! He never would kiss your face. He must have been beaten when he tried to kiss, but last month for the first time, he kissed my face. A few weeks ago, he licked both my husband’s and my hands. He took to me immediately and it didn't take that long for him to become comfortable with Robert. It was so sad in the beginning to see him cower when Rob stood over him or came up to him. At least he wasn't going down on all fours, spread out like a bear rug. Our three other dogs have brought him into the pack and my little Inali (our youngest dog) refused to let Jake sit on the sidelines. She made sure he knew he was part of this family, and Simcha and Maximus joined in as well. Even our cat Spree took a liking to Jake. Jake found his loving home...indeed! He still has issues...absolutely detests strangers, especially men, but we are working on that. He will warm up to you, but it takes time...a lot of time. He is a great watchdog and barks at the slightest sound now (his bark has a strange sound because of his injuries). He has gained a lot of weight and can finally eat without pain, can finally kiss without pain, can finally play without pain, can finally sleep without pain, can finally live without pain and most of all, can finally love without pain. This is the happy beginning of The Story of Jake...

On March 16th, 2011 a Newark city employee found a garbage bag thrown down a trash chute containing the body of an emaciated, almost dead, barely breathing dog. The veterinarian on staff at the local shelter made the courageous decision to save the dog’s life. This book illustrates the one hour the author spent with Patrick. Jeff Coltenback was enrolled to evaluate him and give him a thorough temperament test for a custody battle. The book illustrates the events leading up to the evaluation, the evaluation itself as well as personal experiences of the author with other abused pit bulls. If this book doesn’t motivate you to want to help animals in need, then nothing will.

“One Hour with Patrick” is available online at Amazon and CreateSpace, a subsidiary of Purchase now at: KINDLE NOVEMBER 2011


Fighting Distemper with the Newcastle Vaccine by Lois Crockett

DISTEMPER. It is a word that stops us dead in our tracks and a disease that strikes fear into the hearts of pet owners, rescue groups and shelters. It is the disease at the center of the March 2011 crisis at Miami-Dade Animal Services that led to a mad scramble to empty the building of dogs. A diagnosis of distemper leaves us praying for the survival of our beloved pets.  It has long been thought to be a death sentence, but there is hope in the form of the Newcastle serum and vaccine.

Distemper 101

Newcastle Vaccine

Diane Jarvis, who has been involved in animal rescue since 1995 in California and Arizona and who helped establish Paw Placement in Flagstaff (www.pawplacement. org), says, “The distemper virus is transmitted from dog to dog via urine, blood or saliva. The most common transmission is through sneezing, coughing or sharing food and water bowls. It may take anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks for your dog to show the symptoms, and the first signs may resemble a bad cold; thick mucus discharge from the nose or eyes, coughing and sneezing. The dog may also suffer from fever, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea. Distemper causes a puppy to be very weak and barely able to stand. The virus can travel to the dog’s brain, causing seizures or disorders of the nervous system such as shaking and trembling. There may even be some paralysis. Distemper weakens the immune system and the dog cannot fight off secondary infections like pneumonia or bronchitis.” Jarvis continues with, “Distemper is a horrific, debilitating disease with a survival rate of approximately 20 percent. Since distemper may start with such mild symptoms it may not be recognized or diagnosed immediately, allowing it to progress. Once diagnosed, treatment is mostly supportive care such as intravenous fluids and antibiotics to prevent secondary infections. Dogs that recover may suffer permanent brain, nerve or retinal damage, or hardening of the skin of the nose or footpads. Once a dog has had distemper, he cannot ever receive the distemper vaccine.” In a multi-puppy household, as many foster and rescue omes are, this can be a recipe for disaster and will definitely delay the adoption process until the disease is addressed, rooted out, and conquered.

The basis of the treatment is the Newcastle virus vaccine, which was developed for chickens. Dr. Alson Sears, an independent vet in Lancaster, California, discovered NDV serum accidentally in the 1960s. A mistake during an experiment created the serum and suddenly dogs with distemper were getting better. To this day, nobody knows exactly why. In a grassroots effort, word is spreading about "the NDV cure" and dogs have been treated successfully in Florida, Texas, Southern California, Alberta Canada, India, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Romania, Hungary, Turkey, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.  The NDV serum is manufactured by independent vets adhering to strictly defined protocols for creating the vaccine. By vaccinating a healthy donor dog with live Newcastle Disease, the NDV serum can be created with the donor dog's blood by a veterinarian.  Timing is critical in drawing the donor dog's blood for the serum and a licensed veterinarian should only create this serum.  The trick is to treat the dog before seizures occur, usually within the first six days of exposure and infection.  If the dog is in the early stages of distemper, an NDV serum vaccination is all it may need to get better. Ed Bond, project director on canine distemper for the non-profit Kind Hearts in Action (http://www.kindheartsinaction. com), says, “I believe in this treatment because my dog, Galen, came down with canine distemper in 1997. Dr. Sears treated him before the seizures hit, and Galen was completely cured. He lived a full life for nine years until he died of liver disease in October 2006.” Bond says he has heard from pet owners around the world whose dogs have been saved by Dr. Sears’ serum. “So many more dogs


could have been saved if only their owners would have heard of the treatment in time,” he adds. If the dog is in the neurological stage of the disease, the Newcastle vaccine can be injected directly into the dog's spinal canal. Survival rate is 50-percent, but as Bond says, “…this is better than doing nothing.” Rescuer Maria Elena Padron says, "I have used it twice. The first time it was done right away and the dog recovered and is very well. Second time around, we waited too long and the dog was already neuro and it did not work." However, NDV serum is not yet widely accepted by the veterinary community and reactions may be mixed from being touted as the “new miracle cure” to what Bonnie Mandel Plafke with our partner rescue Pawsitive4Life says, "I've never used it, but know many people who have. Hit and miss...mostly.” If you are dealing with distemper, failing to act quickly could lead to death.

Your holiday gifts can help pit bull rescue with beautiful, unique jewelry created by The Ringleader!

For more information: You may write directly to Dr. Sears at He is retired and may be hard to reach. You can also write to Ed Bond with Kind Hearts in Action at for more information and a referral to vets in your area who may be able to help. Include your dog’s age, what symptoms you are seeing and where you live. Visit Kind Hearts in Action’s website for a wealth of information at

Your holiday gifts can

Join the facebook group Save Dogs from Distemper at https://

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help. $5 from each sale and $2 from every pair of featured earrings is donated directly to Villalobos Rescue Center, the largest pit bull rescue in the world. The artist's purpose for making these pieces is to help raise awareness and give these fantastic dogs the chance they deserve. This unique jewelry is the perfect conversation starter to spread the word about this fantastic breed!

Find these gorgeous pieces and others inspired by tattoo art at NOVEMBER 2011


rescue partners Our goal at Pawsitive4Life is to help promote and support efforts to secure the safe haven and well-being of dogs and cats needing homes in Florida. We aim to help save as many lives as possible from high kill shelters, as well as other animals that are in jeopardy. The focus is to raise the funds needed to achieve this goal by working with other organizations, independent rescuers and the community at large. Our reward is that we have helped save more than 275 dogs just this year alone by working with numerous rescues and independent rescuers.

Warm Hearts Pet Rescue, Inc. is a Florida Not-for-Profit corporation dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of South Florida's high-kill shelter dogs. We are a non-kill facility. We are located in Boynton Beach at our brand new facility. If you would like to volunteer at the rescue or any upcoming events, or foster/adopt a dog or cat, please contact the rescue at 561-588-0083. We are located at 550 Industrial Way, Suite D, Boynton Beach, FL 33426. Please call in advance to schedule an appointment to see our adoptable pets.  Volunteers are needed throughout the day.

For more information, email

November 19th and 20th, visit with us and meet the dogs at the Charity Fest being held at the South Florida Expo Center, 9067 Southern Boulevard in West Palm Beach.

h t t p s : / / w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m / p a g e s / P a w s i t i v e - 4 LIFE/116147841823470?sk=info

On November 20th, we will also be at the Boynton Open Market from 11AM until 6PM.

APR’s primary goal is to assemble a no-kill community. This is quite a daunting task; nonetheless, APR is making a valuable contribution to the animal community and will continue to do so as long as support is provided from generous donors. APR is dedicated to matching the right pet with the right home for the enduring happiness of both pet and owner. Our pets are with us as long as they need to be & to be healthy and well adjusted. Often they need medical care, love and time to feel secure before they can be placed up for adoption. Our lives are dedicated to finding forever homes for each of our pets. It is our passion, it is our responsibility. If you would like to make a donation to support APR, click on the PayPal donation button to the right!

Big Hearts for Big Dogs started as a small group of individuals who saw a desperate need for advocates of larger breed dogs. Smaller dogs are adopted faster and rescued more often. And just like that a new hope is born. A new hope and beginning for big dogs all over South Florida. Our hope is that this rescue brings big hearts together to save more animals. We are having an adoption event, Saturday Nov 12th at the Pet Supermarket in Kendall, 11561 North Kendall Drive, 12-3pm

Animal Aid Inc. is a non-profit, no-kill animal rescue shelter and adoption center. Our shelter takes in emergency, abuse and neglect cases as well as dogs and cats from various animal control agencies in Palm Beach, Dade and Broward Counties in South Florida. We offer cats and dogs for adoption 7 days a week. We rely solely on donations. One of our goals is to address the overpopulation problem of stray and feral cats by offering the public a humane trap/spay/ return service. Our program includes vaccinations, AIDS and leukemia testing, recovery & release, foster homes, medical care and an adoption program


November 10th from 7 – 10pm, join us for a silent auction, raffle and other fun at Christopher’s Night Club at 2857 East Oakland Park Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. Susan Ashley will be performing, hosted by Jen Giangrisostomi. $10 at the door includes appetizers, 2nd drink free and $5 raffle tickets. Sunday, November 20th, starting with registration at 6:30pm… check out the Saving Stray Animals One Frame at a Time bowling fundraiser. Find it at Strikes in Boca Raton at 21046 Commercial Train, 561-368-2177. $15 per person includes 3 games, shoes, popcorn & soda.

The Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation (MCABSL) was founded to fight Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) anywhere it rears its ugly head, starting with Miami-Dade County. BSL consists of laws that regulate and prohibit certain breeds of dogs from entire cities, towns and counties. They are laws that have torn apart families. They are laws that are full of prejudice. We promote education and awareness as our ethical and prominent tools in order to advocate the change so desperately needed. We are a non-profit organization in the State of Florida. We hope you will visit our web site,, for extensive information on our mission and how you can help. Our members from all over the world share the love for Bully Breeds and the struggle for their birth right of freedom. Please join us!

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SmartBones are available in stores nationwide. Find additional information at or by calling 877.336.DOGS (3647). NOVEMBER 2011


Surrendering Your Pet Perhaps you have decided, for whatever reason, you cannot keep your pet any longer. What happens when you drop him or her off at a kill shelter, such as Miami Dade Animal Services? You might want to think your pet will be taken care of and adopted by another family. But the volume of dogs coming into a county shelter is often much higher than those coming in to adopt. If you dog is older, black, injured or suffering from any kind of injury or skin ailment…chances get even lower. Think about the joy your dog or cat showed when you came home after being away…or the wagging tails and purrs that came when you played with them. Take that emotion to the other end of the spectrum. Imagine your pet’s confusion when you drop them off in a strange place and walk away. The following was written by an unnamed shelter manager and has been making the rounds via rescue groups and other online communities. I THINK OUR SOCIETY NEEDS A HUGE WAKE-UP CALL. As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all...a view from the inside, if you will. First off, all of you people who have ever surrendered a pet to a shelter or humane society should be made to work in the "back" of an animal shelter for just one day. Maybe if you saw the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, you would stop flagging the ads on craigslist and help these animals find homes. That puppy you just bought will most likely end up in my shelter when it's not a cute little puppy anymore. Just so you know, there's a 90% chance that dog will never walk out of the shelter it’s dumped at. Purebred or not! About 25% of all of the dogs that are "owner surrenders" or "strays" that come into a shelter are purebred dogs. The most common excuses: "We are moving and we can't take our dog (or cat)." Really? Where are you moving that doesn't allow pets? Or they say "The dog got bigger than we thought it would." How big

did you think a German Shepherd would get? "We don't have time for her." Really? I work a 10-12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs! "She's tearing up our yard". How about making her a part of your family? They always tell me "We just don't want to have to stress about finding a place for her…we know she'll get adopted, she's a good dog". Odds are your pet won't get adopted. How stressful do you think being in a shelter is? Well, let me tell you, your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn't full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If it sniffles, it dies. Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it. If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers in that day to take him/her for a walk. If


I don't, your pet won't get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose. If your dog is big, black or any of the "Bully" breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff ) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door. Those dogs just don't get adopted. It doesn't matter how “sweet” or “well behaved” they are. If your dog doesn't get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed. If the shelter isn't full and your dog is of a desirable enough breed, it may get a stay of execution, but not for long. Most dogs get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment. If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because the shelter gets paid a fee to Surrendering Your Pet continued on page 44

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Suurendering Your Pet continued from page 42 euthanize each animal and making money is better than spending money to take this animal to the vet. Here's a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being "put-down". First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like they think they are going for a walk happy, wagging their tails. Until they get to "The Room." Every one of them freaks out and puts on the brakes when we get to the door. It must smell like death or they can feel the sad

resulting blood and been deafened by the yelps and screams. They all don't just "go to sleep", sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for air and defecate on themselves. You see shelters are trying to make money to pay employee pay checks and don’t forget the board of directors needs to be paid too, so we don’t spend our funds to tranquilize the animal before injecting them with the lethal drug, we just put the burning lethal drug in the vein and let them suffer until dead. If it were not a “making money issue” and we had to have a licensed vet do this procedure,

souls that are left in there. It's strange, but it happens with every one of them. Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 shelter workers depending on the size and how freaked out they are. Then a shelter worker, who we call a euthanasia tech (not a vet), finds a vein in the front leg and inject a lethal dose of the "pink stuff." Hopefully your pet doesn't panic from being restrained and jerk. I've seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the

the animal would be sedated or tranquilized and then euthanized, but to do this procedure correctly would cost more money, so we do not follow what is right for the animal, we just follow the fastest way we can make a dollar. Shelters do not have to have a vet perform euthanasia, so even if it takes our employee 50 pokes with a needle and three hours to get the vein that is what we do. Making money is the issue here not losing money.


When it all ends, your pet’s corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer in the back with all of the other animals that were killed waiting to be picked up like garbage. What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? Or used for the schools to dissect and experiment on? You'll never know and it probably won't even cross your mind. It was just an animal and you can always buy another one, right? I hope that those of you who still have a beating heart and have read this are bawling your eyes out and can't get the pictures out of your head. I deal with this every day. I hate my job, I hate that it exists & I hate that it will always be there unless you people make some changes and start educating the public. Do research, do your homework, and know exactly what you are getting into before getting a pet. These shelters and humane societies exist because people just do not care about animals anymore. Animals were not intended to be disposable but somehow that is what they are these days. Animal shelters are an easy way out when you get tired of your dog (or cat), and breeders are the ones blamed for this. Animal shelters and rescue organizations are making a hefty profit by keeping this misconception going. Between nine and 11 MILLION animals die every year in shelters and only you can stop it. I just hope I changed one person’s mind about taking their dog to a shelter, a humane society, or buying a dog. For those of you who care - please repost this to at least one other craigslist in another city/ state. Let's see if we can get this all around the US and have an impact. So, what are your options? First off, try to overcome the issue prompting you to give up your pet. Training can keep animals away from new carpet or furniture. There are plenty of real estate agents who specialize in finding pet-friendly property. Otherwise, try to find a home for your pet on your own. Speak to friends, co-workers, schoolmates...anyone you know! You never know who is looking for a new pet. If your pet is a specific breed, search for breed specific rescues in your area. Look for no-kill shelters. Or contact one of our rescues for suggestions and help.





WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT…DALMATIONS? Dalmatians were used as guard dogs during wars…leading to their title of “dogs of war.” They were also used as fire-apparatus followers, following and coaching horse drawn fire engines. That’s why they became the firehouse mascot in the U.S. Dalmatians also served as hunting dogs. There is little definitive information about their origin. Some believe they originated in Dalmatia, which used to be a province of Austria, but is now in Italy.

YOUR DOG’S TEETH Though most vets and pet experts will tell you it’s important to brush your dog’s teeth, sometimes getting them to sit still is nearly impossible. Where there are plenty of chew treats on the market aimed at whitening your pup’s smile, there’s also a more economical option. Give your dog raw carrots! Their texture will brush away plaque and tartar while your dog eats them. Small dogs can have one or two baby carrots. Medium and larger breeds can eat more or even handle a regular carrot. Don’t use them as a treat much more than twice a week, because that’s a lot of fiber!

KITTY IN THE HOUSEPLANTS? Cats are naturally inquisitive, so you may have noticed yours investigating your houseplants with lots of interest. Plenty of plants can be dangerous if your cat eats the leaves, plus it’s far too easy to knock the plants down and make a mess. There’s an easy way to keep them out.

Our hero, Jughead, who came in second in the Pooch Park Doggy Day Care ‘My Pooch Photo Contest’. 46 FOUR PAWS MAGAZINE •

Most health food stores sell a pot of growing wheatgrass, which is often used in juicers. Purchase one and place it in a spot that is easily accessible for your cat. Most cats love the taste of this safe-to-eat grass, so they will generally leave the other plants alone. There’s an added bonus too! Wheatgrass will naturally freshen your cat’s breath.

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We’re the New Kids on the Block…

…and We Want You to Join Us to Help the South Florida Animal Rescue Community Take a look at the special offers we have for you. ✺ Take a ad in our online publication for an amazingly low rate.

You’ll receive a free website ad on, invitations to write articles, plus promotion at events and via social media. With top notch editorial and a beautiful, sophisticated style, Four Paws will inform the public about adopting shelter animals, fostering and much more plus put the spotlight on so many unsung heroes. Remember, a percentage of receipts from every issue goes back to the animal rescue community of South Florida.

This is for animal rescue! There are stories to be told and information to get out there! We cannot make this labor of love work without YOU!!

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Four Paws Magazine November 2011  

The mission of Four Paws – South Florida’s Animal Rescue Magazine is to promote and support the South Florida animal rescue community, anima...

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