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January/February 2012 Feature Articles 5

KC’s Pet Ambassador Gary Lezak loves his four-legged friends and works hard to help other pets find furever homes.


When Good Behavior is Physically Impossible When a pet suddenly changes its behavior, it may not be a training issue.

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Puppy Tails — Bringing Up Fido If you recently added a new family pet — Start with a Trainer!


What to Know before Acquiring a Rabbit Rabbits are very different than dogs — learn more about this species.


Leash Pulling Dogs Does your dog pull on the leash? What do you do? Here are some tips.


Online Pet Contest — Your Vote Counts! Place your vote for the MetroPet magazine Cutest Pet contest — on Facebook now!


Firefighter’s Project Breathe Pet oxygen masks were donated to the Liberty Fire Department.


Interested in a Vet Tech Career? There are three types of pet lovers — one makes a great Vet Tech!


The Adventures of Chip Read about the journey of a puppy called Chip.


Life After a Puppy Mill



National Train Your Dog Month Find a local trainer to help you start off this year!



Cold Weather Care Tips Cold weather is especially hard on pets — review these tips.

In Every Issue 4

Happy New Year! Make this your best year ever!


Chip’s Corner — Complete this pawzzle and learn bunny breeds!


This wonderful pet inspired his Mom to start a business!


Publisher’s Message

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2012 is starting with a feeling of optimism! People believe that this year will be better than last year — the economy will improve, the job market will be stronger and everything is going to be better. Here is hoping that 2012 will be all you want it to be — and more!

ONLINE PET CONTEST MetroPet launched a new online pet contest last month. And, MetroPet readers will pick the winner! Just go to for the link or to our Facebook page to vote. All the entries from the last 30 days will be shown. The winner will receive a prize package that includes a photo session, a photo in the March 2012 issue and a wall canvas of their pet. We need your help to pick the winner — go vote today!

ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE As always, we have some terrific articles in this issue. Since January is National Train Your Dog Month, we have included several training articles. The APDT offers many FREE resources, check it out at We also have informative articles about the vet tech profession, rabbits and life after the puppy mill. Enjoy the article about Gary Lezak and his commitment to the shelter animals in Kansas City. Join him during the KC Pet Telethon on Sunday, March 4, 2012, from 6:30 — 9:30 pm.

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As you make your New Year’s resolutions, consider volunteering time at a local shelter or with a local rescue group. Ask yourself, “What are my talents? Where can I make an impact?” Are you willing to foster a puppy. Walk dogs at a shelter? Help with a mobile adoption. Whatever your interests, there is a place for you. When you decide you are ready to commit, consider the different groups. Do a little research first. Then, select the group. Most volunteers say they receive much more in return, then they give. You might be amazed at the difference you can make. Enjoy the season! Remember, this is a double issue — you will see us again in March! Thank you for your support of MetroPet.

Staff & Contacts Publisher Barbara Riedel

Editor/Production Manager Dan O’Leary

Magazine Layout ROI Marketing 816.942.1600 •

Advertising Sales Ad Sales: 913.548.1433

Deals of the Week

Contributing Authors and Photographers Mike Deathe Pat Hennessy Patty Homer Pawlean Journe Gary Lezak Heddie Leger Marissa Poulson Joseph Peterson Rick Wheaton

Contact MetroPet PO Box 480065 Kansas City, MO 64148 Phone: 913.548.1433 Ad Sales: 913.548.1433 Fax: 913.387.4313


Publishing Policy: Articles printed in the MetroPet Magazine express the opinions of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the formal position of MetroPet Magazine. Acceptance of advertising does not necessarily constitute endorsement by MetroPet Magazine.

Barbara Riedel, Editor

Articles: Readers are invited to submit articles for consideration for publication to All materials are subject to editorial review.

P.S. Remember to continue to support our advertisers — they make this magazine possible. Tell them you saw their ad in MetroPet magazine.

© 2009 MetroPet Magazine. All rights reserved. Request reprint permissions at MetroPet Magazine is owned and published by ROI Marketing Services, all rights reserved.

Kansas City’s

Pet Ambassador M

any people think of Gary as the “most trusted weather man,” but he is also know in many circles as Kansas City’s unofficial “Pet Ambassador.” He’s an outgoing, friendly, charismatic, sensitive person that cares about the Kansas City community. And, he has a huge passion for pets, especially his two favorite four-legged family members — Breezy and Stormy.


Photo courtesy of Gary Lezak

EXPERIENCING LIFE WITH DOGS THROUGH PHOTOS Gary has a little side hobby of taking pictures of Breezy and Stormy in every weather situation. As you can see in these pictures the dogs know how to pose to help share the weather experience with Kansas City. Whether it’s a spring storm or a winter storm the dogs know when it’s time for that photo opportunity and Gary then shares the pictures on his fan page at and on NBC Action News.

ANNUAL PET TELETHON This year Gary will again host the annual Kansas City Pet Telethon for the HSGKC. He views his participation as an important opportunity to promote the plight of homeless pets. Gary’s enthusiasm for pets can’t be contained. His love for animals shines through during this event, and he feels especially excited when the money that is raised during this event helps the shelter care for and adopt out pets during the rest of the year. Stormy has been in each Pet Telethon from the first one in 2000 to her 12th appearance this March.


Photo courtesy of Gary Lezak

Join Gary and many other area pet lovers on Sunday, March 4, 2012, from 6:30 - 9:30 pm to pledge your support for the HSGKC. This year’s telethon will be telecast on Channel 38. The HSGKC will celebrate 100 years of helping pets during 2012. For complete details about their work and other events, please visit


Gary’s passion for helping homeless pets started with Windy, the weather dog. For almost 17 years, Windy went with him to the studio, assisted in weather presentations at schools, and went just about anywhere an animal was allowed. Gary had a special connection with Windy and it was through her that he learned what an amazing animal can come from an animal shelter. As Windy’s and Gary’s reputation as a team spread throughout the pet community, Gary was invited to get involved with and even emcee events for the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City (HSGKC), Wayside Waifs, other rescue groups and other pet events. Windy lived to a nice old age of almost 17 years old. Stormy now carries on Windy’s legacy at public appearances with Gary. And, while Breezy is more adept at being a “stay at home” dog, she occasionally makes an appearance as well. Stormy has taken the torch and run with it. She attends almost as many schools as Windy did as well as accompanies Gary to public appearances including those sponsored by cancer awareness and fund raising groups. Both Breezy and Stormy were adopted from HSGKC.



Good Behavior is Physically Impossible by Patty Homer


here are many causes of behavior change in our pets including environmental deficiencies, traumatic events, gradual increase of behavior that has been left unchecked, and physical and mental ailments. When you hire a trainer for a behavior consultation, the first thing that trainer should do is to take a complete history of your pet. Just like a veterinarian or doctor, before she/he can diagnose a problem and create a treatment plan, a trainer must first ask many questions and have a complete picture.

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Bailey, a 5 year old neutered male Labrador Retriever with no history of aggression living with a family of 4 — Dad, Mom and 2 children ages 5 and 8 has suddenly started growling and snapping at his family, friends of the family and strangers. This behavior started about 1 month ago. Bailey has not made contact with a bite yet, but the family fears that a bite is imminent and fears that they may have to give the dog up or euthanize him to keep their children safe. During our consultation Bailey is very friendly to me and to the family. The family says that Bailey is unpredictable and that a growl or snap can come out of nowhere. He loves to be petted and sidles up to me as I give him treats and pet him under his chin and on his side showing no signs of aggression at all.

There are many causes of behavior change in our pets including environmental deficiencies, traumatic events, gradual increase of behavior that has been left unchecked, and physical and mental ailments. As I explore each incident with the family a pattern becomes clear. Bailey only bites when being petted on the head or low on his back. Since this behavior is new and selective and taking the dog’s age, general temperament and history into consideration, the next step is very clear to me. A visit to the vet is in order and an X-ray is essential to check on the dog’s hips and a physical exam to check Bailey over from head to toe paying close attention to his eyes, ears and teeth.

The owners took Bailey to the vet and he had an ear infection and quite a bit of arthritis in his hips. Medication to clear up his ear infection, pain medication and Glucosamine supplements for his hips were prescribed and the aggression disappeared completely. No need for a dog trainer, just a veterinarian.

PHYSICAL AILMENTS Below are just a few of the physical ailments that can affect your pet’s behavior.

Ocular Eye sight changes don’t only happen when a pet is aging, there are many breeds that have hereditary ocular diseases including Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, Schnauzers, English Springer Spaniels and Collies of all types. When a pet’s eyesight is diminishing it can cause restlessness or lethargy during the day due to disturbances in their sleep/wake cycle, aggression, increased vocalization and anxiety.

Auditory When a pet starts to lose his hearing, it can cause many of the same symptoms that ocular issues cause. Of course, if the dog can’t hear, he will likely ignore your cues and not come when called and they can startle easily by people “sneaking” up on them which can cause the dog to react defensively. There are a few breeds prone to deafness such as Dalmatians, English Setters, Australian Cattle Dogs and many white dogs of breeds that are not normally white.

Ears An ear infection is a common reason for aggression when being petted around the head regardless of the age of the pet. Ear infections will also cause whining, rubbing their head on the ground and either increased clingy behavior or more independent behavior. Dogs with hang down ears are more prone to ear infections than other dogs. Recurrent ear infections are generally linked to allergies — most commonly food allergies. This can cause increased water consumption and increased urination. Any time a house trained dog or cat starts to have urinary accidents, it is important to have a urinalysis and possibly bloodwork done to rule out any bladder or urinary tract infections and diabetes.

Hip Dysplasia/Arthritis These can both be very painful causing aggression due to being touched in painful areas or general crankiness due to constant pain. The list of breeds that are prone to hip dysplasia is vast — just a few are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, Pugs, Bull Dogs, Beagles and Lhasa Apsos.


Diabetes and Urinary Illness


Hypo- and Hyperthyroidism — Typically dogs get Hypo (low) and cats get Hyper (high) thyroidism. Hyperthyroidism can cause cats to have irritability, increased water consumption/ increased urine sometimes inappropriately and lethargy. Hypothyroidism can cause dogs to have lethargy and disinterest or intolerance to exercise or affection, aggression and even seizures.

Cognitive Dysfunction With dogs becoming part of the family and having better veterinary care, our pets are living longer than they ever have which can lead to cognition problems. Cognitive issues can cause house soiling, aggression, confusion, not responding to his name, status changes between the house dogs which can increase friction and not wanting to interact with the family.


MetroPet Magazine • J ANUARY / F EBRUARY 2012

When your pet receives treatment for a physical ailment that has brought on behavior changes, the cure doesn’t always stop at the vet’s office. Many times, the new behavior will continue without


behavior modification being part of the treatment plan. Urinary problems can continue and the pet might need to be re-housetrained and the carpets cleaned with an odor eliminator. Aggression or, really any behavior that has been allowed to continue for any length of time can become habituated quickly which will require behavior modification. In a perfect world, since medical and behavior issues are so closely related, veterinarians and trainers would work very closely together — in fact there would be a trainer/behavior consultant on staff at every veterinary hospital. Unfortunately, the opposite is true much of the time. Veterinarians often just address the physical symptoms and trainers often address only the behavior symptoms because neither professional is extremely knowledgeable about the other profession. However, more and more, veterinarians are realizing the importance of working with a qualified science based positive reinforcement trainer and more trainers are realizing the importance of working with veterinarian who is well versed in behavior modification.

ARM YOURSELF WITH INFORMATION Arming yourself with as much information as you can and being watchful and aware of your pet’s normal behavior as well as any slight behavior change can allow you to catch illnesses, injuries and behavior problems early making the treatment easier, less extensive and less expensive. So, although I make my living as a dog trainer, my advice to you is when there is any sudden change in your pet’s behavior, a trip to the veterinarian is your first priority. The money spent with the vet will not be wasted because if you still need to hire a trainer, you will have already have ruled out any underlying medical causes for the behavior change.


Patty Homer has worked as a vet tech for 10 years and has been training pets for over 20 years. She offers in home training, behavior consulting and private obedience classes for dogs and cats as well as Pet First Aid and CPR classes. Patty is certified through the Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT-KA) and is the founder and president of HEARTland Positive Dog Training Alliance. Her experience in the veterinary field as well as training gives her a unique approach to dog training, considering the mind, body and spirit of each pet she works with. You can find her at,, 816.699.2260 and follow her on facebook.


Puppy Tales

Bringing up Fido M

by Pat Hennessy

aybe you got a puppy over the holidays or you are looking to bring a puppy, or new young dog, into your life now. Well — Congratulations! You will have many years of entertainment and affection ahead. However, there are some things you might want to consider to make your life (and Fido’s transition) easier!

MetroPet Magazine • J ANUARY / F EBRUARY 2012



You want to start your training program early. A pup is never too young to start reinforcing good behavior. You should always use positive reinforcement techniques, because your puppy will be more motivated and interested in participating and you will not risk poisoning the relationship with something that causes fear or pain. You have the opportunity while Fido is a puppy to build a solid foundation and a relationship based on knowledge and trust. Your dog will do better if he “learns” a behavior vs. responding in fear. No one (be it us or our canine companions) learns well while in fear or pain, we just react to our environment but do not learn. You need to remember that your young dog has a short attention span (like a child), so the more you can repeat and reward the faster your pup will learn. You also want to reserve some special treats to use for training only (like freeze-dried liver, canned chicken or hot dogs), which will up the ante and increase motivation.

Have a new puppy in your household? Congratulations! Now is when you want to start training.

Set aside a few minutes a day to practice, and don’t miss out on natural opportunities to reward (when Fido offers the appropriate behavior). You don’t always have to use food, as praise (aka attention) is a wonderful secondary reinforcement. Once your pup has learned the behavior, then you phase out food/treats but never phase out the praise.

There are several common sense solutions to things that puppies do, but we have the tendency to forget about them…….until it’s too late.



Even though puppies get their permanent teeth at around 4-6 months, they will find things to chew on up through 2 years old (and longer for some breeds). To avoid disasters with your new puppy: ✓ Stow away trash bins (out of reach, preferably in secure closets, pantries, or the garage), instead of out of sight out of mind, it is more like out of reach out of mouth ✓ Puppy-proof your home by picking up shoes, trinkets, anything small, anything of value, and secure power cords, etc., then keep it put up or out of reach until your pup is past the chewing stage (he will put everything in his mouth, like a baby growing up through the toddler stage, but is more likely to swallow it because they have teeth that can chew it up) ✓ If you have an item that can’t be removed, such as a large area rug where Fido keeps going after the corners of the rug — then place something heavy on each corner (i.e. a brick). For Fido,


There must ALWAYS be supervision with Fido around children, even when you learn that he is friendly and playful.

it is probably just convenient to chew it because it is there, but he probably won’t go out of his way to move the brick. ✓ Offer appropriate items for them to chew or to entertain them, such as Kongs® with treats or stuffing, bully sticks, Nylabones®, etc.

SUPERVISE, SUPERVISE, SUPERVISE Supervise, supervise, supervise — that is the mantra for avoiding many issues. ✓ Potty training is pretty simple put your puppy on a feeding and potty schedule and then manage him at ALL other times by supervision or containment (crate or appropriate small space like a utility room, or tether him to you or within your sight), because the key to fast potty training is to reward him for the right thing and redirect him outside immediately upon witnessing him potty inappropriately — using the “outside” cue/command and as soon as he potties in the correct area reward it (with treats or praise). You must be observant, however. As he learns to go outside he will start to give you hints and you 12

must be on the lookout for them, as they may be subtle. If he goes to the door and stands, but doesn’t bark or whine, then you may miss the opportunity to let him out. If he has an accident it is not his fault as he gave his signal — thus why supervision and observation are important parts of your tasks in the potty training effort. ✓ There must ALWAYS be supervision with Fido around children, even when you learn that he is friendly and playful. You never know when something, like a squeal or fast movement, might spook him and he has the right to react to someone stepping on him or pulling his tail. It is the adult’s responsibility to make sure everyone plays safe.

SOCIALIZATION Socialization is the key to having a well-mannered and well-rounded pup. ✓ Lack of socialization (or exposure) to other dogs, people, or other types of animals is what makes dogs fearful or reactive, and it is because they just don’t know what to expect or how to act. Again, because puppies have a short attention span, it is important to give them “controlled”, frequent small doses to the world around them. Take your pup to safe places and use a harness (which provides more influence over directing him when needed). It is a good idea to take your puppy to a puppy class, where he can not only learn social interaction but manners training at the same time. Many of these tips are just as good for the young dog that you have adopted, as you don’t know what he has already learned that he may need to be reminded of, refined for your home environment, or redirected into a new behavior. There are very few behaviors that cannot be modified with just a little time, consistency, “repetition and reward.”

Congratulations on your new canine companion! If you keep life positive and fun you will have few frustrations, many days of joy, and a lot of love. Pat Hennessy is the founder of N2paws, LLC, an organization that provides a holistic approach to companion animal care through behavior education, energy work, and positive training methods. Pat is a Level 2 TTouch® practitioner, CPDT and member of the IAABC, IAATH and AWA. You may contact N2Paws via email, phone 816-522-7005, or visit the website




What to know before acquiring a

Rabbit RABBIT LANGUAGE Think twice before purchasing a rabbit as a pet. Often times, people expect rabbits to be like dogs. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The most important difference in the relationships they form with humans is that while dogs may give unconditional love and trust, rabbits don’t. It is very important to know how they think and what they want! What all rabbits require and need more than anything is respect and affection.

MetroPet Magazine • J ANUARY / F EBRUARY 2012



Language barrier existing between species is nothing new. It is frustrating when we’re unable to understand or be understood by others. When it comes to understanding rabbits or Lagomorphs, the access to information regarding their body language is few and far between. Very few people who share their lives with a rabbit know what their rabbit is trying to tell them, or how to express themselves in terms their rabbit will understand. Although rabbits appear to be cute and cuddly, the fact of the matter is they are far from cuddly and only certain breeds truly enjoy being held and hugged, if any. Before thinking about getting a rabbit for a pet, it is important to study up and be able to speak and understand Rabbit. This requires that you learn to think a bit like a rabbit.

Rabbits signal a great deal with their ears. The challenge becomes in that not all domestic rabbit breeds have upright ears. Lop-eared rabbits will move their ears in a manner consistent with what upright eared rabbits, but the message is usually much less obvious. Different lop eared rabbits will vary in how they are able to move their ears, therefore they may be able to use only certain ear signals, but not all ear signals. If you pay close attention you may be able to draw almost as much information from the behavior of lop eared rabbits, as an upright eared rabbits. Some signals’ descriptions might be superficially similar and yet have very different meanings. An angry rabbit, one that’s scared, and one asking to be groomed will all have their ears back. Accompanying signals will almost always indicate the real meaning.

Is Your Pet the


SPECIAL POSTURES Rabbits use a lot of special postures to signal communication, but just because some particular action or pose is a signal in one context doesn’t mean that every time a rabbit does it a meaningful signal is intentionally being given. Humans are not as good at nonverbal communication as most animals, including context and accompanying signals. Although, we do it all the time with each other, and it comes quite naturally. Due to our use of verbal communication we sometimes loose our ability to observe body language signals to a high degree. Rabbits should always be neutered, if showing and ultimate breeding and is not taking place. Unneutered rabbits are often significantly more aggressive, and may be less interested in conversing with you about anything but hierarchy and territory. We are not going to talk about training your rabbit in this issue, but are providing some basic tips on communication with these delightful animals. Learning to speak rabbit, will help with every other aspect of living with a rabbit and it is also tons of fun. Sites to learn about rabbit communication include: • • h t t p : / / w w w. f u n k y r a n g e r. c o m / w e b pages/rabbitlanguage.htm • read-bunny-body-language.html

Sailor Sailor helping rake leaves! Submitted by Marcia M.


My pet has always given me joy and laughter. He cheers me up when I feel sad. I got him when I was only 7 years old. I have always loved him and I always will. I feel like he is a brother. I love him very much. Submitted by Evan L.

Won four tickets to a show at Submit your photo at




MetroPet Magazine • J ANUARY / F EBRUARY 2012

Chip’s Corner

Pawzzle by Pawlean Journe












Leash Pulling Dogs... So What Do I Do Now??? S

MetroPet Magazine • J ANUARY / F EBRUARY 2012

everal months ago (or maybe longer :) I wrote an article on Why Dogs Pull on the Leash. And while it was well received, I left those who were already having issues with dogs that pulled on their leash to wait for the next article for help. Well, after several reminders via email (thank you to the readers!) I have finally gotten around to writing it. So let’s get started! OK, we know your dog pulls, but let’s delve a little deeper. What is the reward for your dog when he pulls? Honestly, he figures that the fastest way to get from point A to point B is…well to drag you along. There is no dominance, thinking your dog is trying to take over the world or any other is just plain silly. It is just the fact that Fido (and you) are here and he wants to go there. So guess what, you are going along for a ride (or drag!) After all, you are connected by this goofy rope thing aren’t you? Put simply, your dog has never been taught to pay more attention to you than to his environment; and at this point there is a lot of cool stuff in the world Fido wants to see, so get ready for the ride.


WHAT REWARD DOES FIDO RECEIVE? First, ask yourself one very important question, “What reward does Fido get from being on a walk?” Think hard, because the answer is irritatingly simple. It is the walk itself. The reward your dog gets from going on the walk is actually the walk. Now the next question with another irritating answer. (I promise there is a point to all of this.) “If Fido is inappropriate on a walk, what action do we take?” We already know dogs only do what is rewarding right? If the walk is the reward and the unwanted behavior is pulling, what is it that we must do before anything else? That’s right, we must stop walking! If Fido is not walking correctly then the walk must stop. This is the easi-

by Mike Deathe

What is the reward for your dog when he pulls? Honestly, he figures that the fastest way to get from point A to point B, is…well to drag you along... est technique to use to stop a dog from pulling, but we can’t forget the other side of this equation…if we don’t want him pulling and we stop every time he does pull, do we have any idea just what it is we want Fido to do???? Without this answer, it’s going to be pretty darn hard to get any level of reliability when walking without pulling.

PAY ATTENTION TO US! My suggestion is simple. We want Fido to pay attention to us on the walks instead of all the other crap he has been paying attention to

THE WATCH ME COMMAND First off, let’s start with the command Watch Me. It may be easier to accomplish these steps in the comfort of your living room, where there are less distractions. This command is simple when you point to your nose. Fido looks you in the eye and is rewarded for that contact (details in the KISS blog of Watch Me). Once you have a good Watch Me, throw Fido a curve ball, turn your back on him and wait. In a matter of moments Fido will come around and look at you with out you having to ask! Jackpot time. Give him a nice big reward and turn around again. Before too long this becomes a game and you are on your way to having a dog that is paying attention to you. Oh, and by the way, at this point in the game we may not even need to have Fido on leash. As Fido gets better at this, the game will become boring and once again it’s time for the curveball. Now, instead of just turning your back, take one giant step away from Fido and wait. Yep, he will still come around front and look at you, but this time looking at you is not good enough. Patience… just keep waiting. If you have taught your dog that all the good stuff in life come after he/she sits (say please), then before you know it Fido is going to sit in front of you!

SIT PLEASE The important part is not asking for the sit but waiting till you get it — as long as you have taught Fido to sit! We are teaching Fido that whenever we stop he must come around in front of us and sit and wait for further instructions. Now I am sure you have figured out that the next step is simply more starts and stops until the behavior of front and sit are reliable at least 85% of the time! (Come on no one is 100% at anything.) So start moving in all directions and with different numbers of steps, until every time you stop, no matter where you are, you are getting a front facing sit. Once that accomplished, it is time to back-track to the Watch Me game. Only this time with a leash and while increasing number of steps and varying directions, while still getting the front facing sit.

TAKE IT ON THE ROAD Are you ready to take this act on the road? You’ve been in the low distraction environment of your living room up to now. So what is the


previously. I know this may sound simple (solutions usually are!) but a dog that is paying attention to his/her owner is not pulling on the leash. It is basic physics. We need to let Fido know you don’t like his pulling on the leash, by stopping the walk. We know what we want Fido to do on the walk — pay attention to us. But just how do we accomplish that?


secret to successfully loose leash walk with your dog? Guess what? It’s simply paying attention. Too many people check out while walking their dogs, they get bored and then the pulling begins. So begin immediately where every 50 to 75 feet you stop and practice the front facing sit! If you want to get really crazy, start practicing all your commands on your walk. 50 feet sit, 75 feet down, 50 feet front facing sit, and so on. One last thing. I want you rewarding the dog for correct decisions and paying attention, so take treats on the walk. After all, you are expecting Fido to consider you more rewarding than the sights, sounds and smells of the walk, so give him a reason to pay attention to you!

MetroPet Magazine • J ANUARY / F EBRUARY 2012

Mike Deathe is a stay-at-home dad who found his passion as a dog trainer in 2008. The author of the Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S.) Pet Blog. Mike has had dogs since he was four years old! In 2009, he and his wife Kate founded Muttz “R” Us, a t-shirt and pet product company with a philanthropic motto of “Adopt a Pet, Save a Life.” In 2011 Muttz “R” Us also launched KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID DOG TRAINING. He is a charter member of Heartland Positive Dog Training Alliance and just earned his CPDT-KA credential! Visit him at facebook or twitter or follow the blog @ or check out the website for details about shirts.


Online Pet Contest

Your Vote Counts 1 2 3 Starting Friday, January 6, 2012, photos entered will be shown in a gallery on the MetroPet magazine Facebook page.

Who will be the Winner?

Once you “LIKE” MetroPet magazine, then you can vote or “LIKE” the photo. The Facebook fans will pick a winner. The winner will receive a photo session for the pet, one photo as a wall canvas, and the photo with an article in the March issue of MetroPet magazine!


To enter in the next contest — Snap a photo of your pet and submit it at



Project Breathe by Joseph Peterson


tarting in 2012, firefighters of Liberty Fire Department, Liberty MO, will become one of the bestequipped in the nation to save a pet’s life. That’s because Heart of America Invisible Fence donated three pet oxygen mask kits to the fire department.

MetroPet Magazine • J ANUARY / F EBRUARY 2012



This donation is just a small part of Invisible Fence® Brand’s Project Breathe™, which was established with the goal of equipping every fire station in America and Canada with pet oxygen masks. These masks allow firefighters to give oxygen to pets who are suffering from smoke inhalation when they are rescued from fires. The masks often save pets’ lives. This program has donated a total of more than 10,000 pet oxygen masks to fire stations all over the U.S. and Canada throughout the life of the program. A reported 50+ pets have been saved by the donated masks so far, including two pets saved on April 1, 2011, in Willoughby, Ohio. “When a family suffers the tragedy of a fire, lives are turned upside down,” said Joseph Peterson, Heart of America Invisible Fence. “Pets are valued family members, so we want families to know that their pet can be cared for if tragedy strikes.” “We realize that humans are the first-priority, but in many cases, pets can be saved if firefighters have the right equipment,” said Peterson. “Project Breathe is simply a way of giving firefighters the tools necessary to save pets’ lives.”

AROUND THE COUNTRY Liberty is now joining the ranks of cities like Chicago, Cleveland and Memphis, who have all received donated pet oxygen masks from Project Breathe™. “Thank God they had the masks. They (the dogs) are just like family. I don’t know what I’d do without them. Things can be replaced. Lives can’t, whether they’re animals or people.” Said a pet owner whose dogs were recently rescued using donated masks. Although the number of pets that die in fires in not an official statistic kept by the U.S. Fire Administration, industry web sites and sources have cited an estimated 40,000 to 150,000 pets die in fires each year, most succumbing to smoke inhalation. In most states, emergency responders are unequipped to

deal with the crisis. The loss is terrible for the family, heart wrenching for firefighters. “These masks truly are blessings for Liberty” said Division Chief Larry Radley. “We’ve seen residents run back into burning homes to save a pet. It’s understandable, but extremely dangerous. These masks will give residents comfort in knowing that we can save their pets if they are suffering from smoke inhalation.” The company has set up a website,, where people or companies can support the effort. Joseph Peterson is the Marketing Director for Heart of America Invisible Fence. A lifelong pet lover, he has consulted with hundreds of pet lovers in the past several years about the benefits of the Invisible Fence Brand system. He recently completed his Masters Degree in Human Resources. He can be reached by calling 816-9417700 or emailing

Pet of the Week

Tiger — This cat is a fun loving, goofy, and unbelievably cute pet. Tiger loves to cuddle and play wrestle with the other cats in the house. He loves his food but loves people even more! He is a friendly cat with that likes to show off his deep green eyes. Submitted by Sarah G

Won a bag of pet food from




Interested in a

Vet Tech Career? by: Marissa Poulson


like to think that there are three kinds of animal lovers.

PRACTICAL ANIMAL LOVER The first kind of animal lover is the practical animal lover. They like animals in general. They may have a pet dog or a cat or maybe even a fish. They take care of their pets and smile when a puppy chow commercial comes on the TV. When they were a kid, they liked to go to the zoo and the circus to see the animals. They might be grossed out by slobber or other animal tendencies, but it doesn’t stop them from liking animals in general and having pets.

MetroPet Magazine • J ANUARY / F EBRUARY 2012



My second category of animal lovers is the impractical animal lover. The impractical animal lover cannot stand the thought of any animal being in any kind of pain or discomfort. They don’t like sad animal movies, but if they do watch one, be prepared to have them bawl their eyes out. They bend over backwards for their pets and spoil them beyond belief. If they accidentally hit an animal while driving, be prepared for hours of remorse and grief. A couple of tears wouldn’t be completely uncalled for either. They might also talk to animals in funny voices (We can’t help it! I mean…er…they can’t help it). Ahem, moving right along.

A veterinary technologist for example, would be considered a tactical animal lover in my book. TACTICAL ANIMAL LOVER The third kind of animal lover in my opinion is the tactical animal lover. I use this title for a couple of reasons. One, it rhymes with the other two. Two, tactical can

mean skillful. In other words, a tactical animal lover has a skill set that allows them to work with animals. They probably have a lot of the same characteristics of a practical animal lover, and might even share a couple of characteristics with the impractical animal lover (only a couple, mind you), but they take their love for animals a step further by turning it into a career. A veterinary technologist for example, would be considered a tactical animal lover in my book. They probably don’t like seeing an animal in pain, but instead of being overwhelmed by emotion and not being able to do anything, they would rather work to try and help fix and calm the animal as much as possible.

VETERINARY TECHNOLOGISTS According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), veterinary technologists and technicians carry out a variety of clinical tasks, such as performing medical tests, or diagnosing and treating medical conditions and diseases in animals. Having good communication skills is also important for veterinary technologists because they must interact with the animals’ owners, the veterinarian, and the rest of their team. Veterinary technicians also need be organized and have a strong attention to detail. Vet tech students are trained in labs that are designed to look like a veterinarian office. They also participate in an externship after they finish the rest of their coursework. The externship allows them to practice their skills, gain valuable professional experience, and be better prepared to compete for positions in their field after they graduate.

The BLS indicates that the job outlook for veterinary technologists across the country is excellent because more qualified veterinary technologists are needed to meet current and future demands. In the Kansas City area specifically, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center expects the veterinary technologist occupation to grow by almost 28% by 2018. As the American Veterinary Medical Association puts it, “If you care about animals, enjoy working with your hands, are good a basic math and decision-making, and like working with people and handling a variety of responsibilities,” then becoming a vet tech could be a great career option for you. Anthem College-Kansas City offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology that provides hands-on training for students who are interested in pursuing a career in veterinary technology. Call Anthem College-Kansas City today at 816.444.4300 or visit the website at to learn more about our exciting veterinary technology training program! You could go from learning to earning in less time than you might think!




The Adventures of

Chip by Heddie Leger

MetroPet Magazine • J ANUARY / F EBRUARY 2012



We are pleased to announce the launch of a special BowWow-WIN Series in which readers can share with children and help them learn basic tenets of the values of responsible ownership of pets. The series includes a word of the month that readers can explore along and a discussion guide. In this series, a puppy named Chip, the MetroPet Magazine mascot, is the main character and will bring a learning experience regarding Character Traits each month through this year. We selected January to introduce this series and invite you to join us each month to experience the Adventures of Chip as he learns how to live in the world of humans. It is a Win-Win for children that learn how to have fun reading and experience the valuable skill that will help them navigate life and increase their ability to succeed at school, their chosen extra-curricular activities and eventual careers. Enjoy BowWow-WIN for books with the Adventures of Chip as you meet his friends and people who help him along the way. (Although these stories are geared towards children, they are beneficial for adults as well.) Look for what happens to Chip in the next issue of MetroPet Magazine.

CHAPTER 1 He sat wet and shivering in the dark box not knowing here he was. His MawMaw had taught him not to bark as it made most humans mad. He always listened to his MawMaw as the others in the barn called her the “wise one.” Who was he to doubt the “wise one?” They never really had lived in a home, but did have a nice barn that was warm and smelled sweet from hay. He loved the smell of the horses and cows, but now all he could smell was things he did not even know how to describe. “Where am I,” Chip said to himself, curling up in a little ball to keep warm. “Where is my MawMaw” and why didn’t she come back,” he wondered to himself. He did not like being all alone in the dark with nothing to eat or drink and no one to keep him warm and dry. He missed his brothers and sisters. He was hungry and thirsty, but the little bit of food and water that had been left in the box was all gone. His MawMaw had taught him that if he remained calm and did not panic, even when he was scared that eventually something good would happen. He did not doubt that her words were true. He could hear her voice in the darkness that surrounded him and it made him feel safe inside, “Don’t be discouraged. It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock. When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.” MawMaw had told him this the time he fell down into a big ditch and could not get out. He eventually did get out, but not after many hours of trying over and over again. He never gave up hope and persevered in his effort to get out of that ditch.

Perseverance — Continuing to give your best effort, even when faced with obstacles or rejection.

Life After the Puppymill Boomer’s story, as written by Barbara McPherson and Katy Konovalske


n a hot summer day in June, 2009, I found myself riding in a car in a kennel. I had been in a puppymill for 4 years and on this day, I met the person who would give me a forever home. I had been in this foster home for 10 days. The people were very nice to me helping me adjust to being an inside dog so I wasn’t really sure of what to expect. I had been in a kennel on concrete floors; was fed once a day; and am terribly afraid of thunder and other loud noises. I’m very timid and shy. My future was unknown.

MetroPet Magazine • J ANUARY / F EBRUARY 2012



So the back door of the car opened and these two women were talking about me like I wasn’t even there. Foster Mom: “He’s shy but very sweet.” Woman: “What’s his name?’ Foster Mom: “Boomer” Woman: “Is he potty trained?” Foster Mom: “UH, no.” Potty trained? What does that mean? I was cautious but kind of excited because my life was changing right before my very eyes. My foster mom handed her my food and said: “We’re not sure how often or how much he eats. We’ll call you in a week to see if you want to keep him.”

A NEW LIFE The foster mom picked up my kennel and put me into the woman’s car. I had a leash and a harness. I had no idea what these items were or how they were used! But the woman’s name was Barb — and she took me home.

Once home, Barb took me out of the kennel and brought me inside. I went from kennels and concrete to sofas and rugs! There was so much to see and explore but since I was shy it took me a while. I didn’t know what stairs were or how they worked. After a brief exploration Barb brought me outside to potty. We were on her deck and I was sniffing around when the deck ran out and I ended up in this green stuff. It was soft and wet in between my toes. I was so excited that I wriggled out of my harness. AHHHH! Free at last! All I could think of to do was to run around the yard. Some (neighbors) people came over and helped Barb get my harness back on me.

LEARNING NEW THINGS! During the next several weeks, Barb was walking me about 4 times a day around the block. She wanted to make sure that I had plenty of opportunities to potty outside. I was beginning to feel like this was a life I could get used to. Eat, walk, sleep. This was absolutely heaven! My foster mom had called Barb to see if I was staying. Barb said, “He’s so sweet. I’ll keep him.” The, I went to school where I learned to sit! They gave me “treats” for doing what I was supposed to do. I also went to a “groomer.” She gave me a bath and cut my hair. I smelled good when I left but it sure was scary.

Barb kept taking me out for walks around the block. I went to the bathroom when we went out but there were times when I couldn’t wait. Barb never scolded me when I couldn’t wait but I tried harder each day. Sometimes, when she left, she wrapped a cloth around me so if I couldn’t wait, there wouldn’t be a mess when she got home. Eventually, by December, I didn’t need the cloth anymore. Mostly in the first few months, I slept on the floor. Barb had put this soft thing out but I wasn’t sure what it was for. One day, I decided to take a nap in it. WOW! It was soooo soft. I slept in it from that day on.


B a r b a r a McPherson has lived in Shawnee for 16 years. She has two cats, Willie and Oly. She is a retired elementary school principal. Inspired by her adopted dog, Boomer, she created BOOMEROOS. BOOMEROOS offers a full line of collegiate products for pets. Barbara can be contacted on her website at or by phone at 913-526-4384. Katy Konovalske has lived in Shawnee for most of the last 31 years. She is married with two grown children and works as a librarian at an elementary school as well as a city library. She is the proud owner of Boomer’s friend, Annabelle.


It has been almost two years since I came to Barb’s house. So much has happened to me. I have some fabulous friends in the neighborhood named Annabelle, Bristol, Izzy, Lexi, and Addie. My vocabulary has become bigger including the words car, steps, grass, deck, couch and chair. I also now have a wardrobe — a fleece KSU Powercat sweater, an all-weather coat, a jersey and more. I even have a special water bowl, that has Barb’s favorite school mascot, the KSU Powercat! After Barb made the first few outfits, all the neighbors loved them. They wanted one for their dogs, too! So Barb decided to start her own business and she named it Boomeroos — after me. I think that is WAAAY COOOOOL! LIFE CONTINUES TO BE WONDERFUL AFTER THE PUPPYMILL!!!! I’m so happy Barb found me and I have my forever home!


National Train Your Dog Month by Heddie Leger with information provided the APDT


ational Train Your Dog Month is an Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) annual campaign, and 2012’s event will be better than ever! Join us for FREE educational webinars and live chats with professionals!

MetroPet Magazine • J ANUARY / F EBRUARY 2012



APDT Celebrates The Association of Pet Dog Trainers National Train (APDT) promotes the Your Dog Month! caring bond and relaFor more information about tionships between National Train Your Dog Month people and their dogs. or the Association of Pet Dog The organization Trainers visit works to increase public awareness of dog-friendly training techniques. Unfortunately, there are many thousands of dogs that are relinquished to animal shelters due to lack of training or due to owners not knowing how to deal with behavior issues. Often owners are at a loss as to finding a reliable resource to help them. The APDT has designated the month of January as National Train Your Dog Month to bring awareness to the importance of socialization and training. More important than all, the goal is to inform the public that training your dog can be simple and enjoyable!

NEW PUPPY AT YOUR HOME? January was selected as National Train Your Dog Month due to the fact that so many dogs and puppies are adopted and brought home during the winter holidays. Within a few weeks, the adorable new addition to the family becomes a challenge to live with and the shelters begin to fill. Hundreds of thousands of pets are turned into animal shelters because their owners couldn’t find a reliable resource to help them with their pets’ behavior problems.

The goal of National Train Your Dog Month is to help these new pet parents start off the new year with their newest family member in the best way possible.

Sadly, the end result is often euthanasia at the shelter rather than rehoming the pet. The goal of National Your Dog Month is to help these new pet parents start off the new year with their newest family member in the best way possible.

WEBINARS AND FACEBOOK CHATS To help the pet-loving public, as well as professionals in the animal shelter and others in the pet care industry, we have recorded free educational webinars featuring many wellknown pet training and behavior professionals and experts. These FREE webinars will be available starting in January through the Train Your Dog Month event website. APDT has also filled the month of January with a variety of “live” Facebook “chats” where anyone can “talk” in real time with professional training and behavior consultants, on a variety of topics pertaining to the training and care of dogs, cats and even rabbits! Anyone with any behavior and training questions can join the chats to learn more about their chosen pet. Visit the event website,, for full schedule information, professional bios, as well as fun downloadable resources on training and behavior. The APDT believes that a better understanding of our pets’ behavior can lead to happier, healthier and harmonious households for humans and companion animals. Since 1993, the APDT has promoted education for dog trainers and others in the pet industry. With over 6,000 members who are willing and able to assist pet owners, the APDT is the largest professional organization for pet dog trainers in the world. We encourage anyone interested in learning more about their dogs and other pets to visit our web sites and for more information and resources.

FIND A LOCAL TRAINER Did the holidays find you with a new pet? The ensure a long-term successful relationship, Start with a Trainer. The time and energy you take up-front to train your pet, will make a huge impact on you and your pet’s relationship.

Please support these MetroPet advertisers. • Dog and Master Behavior and Obedience Training — deal with excessive barking, separation anxiety, and specializing in aggressive dogs 816-631-6640 • Good Pup — certified and experienced positive reinforcement trainer with 20 years experience 816-6992260 • KISS Dog Training — Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) dog training courses gives you 20 weeks to get it right! 913269-7595 • N2Paws — behavior and wellness support from a certified TTouch practitioner and CPDT 816-522-7005 • The Dog Spot — the community spot for dogs and the people who love them! 816-438-7788 • The Paw Zone — pet care and canine coaching. She offers private and group classes for pet owners. 816820-5829

Please join the APDT in celebrating National Train Your Dog Month! The APDT invites every dog owner, shelter staff, and other professionals in the pet care community to visit the event website ( to learn more about how easy and fun training can be. “It is the APDT’s belief that a better understanding of dog behavior can lead to happier, healthier and harmonious households for humans and canines.” For more information, visit Heddie is a Certified Humane Educator and member of APDT, APLB, APHE and NHES sharing a lifelong passion of helping children and the elderly learn manners reinforcement with their pets through the PawZone In-Home PetSitting and The DogSpot Training Center. The APDT, located in Greenville, SC, is a professional educational organization of trainers who are committed to becoming better trainers through using positive, dog friendly methods based on sound scientific principles. With over 6,000 members worldwide, the APDT strives to provide professional dog trainers with a respected and concerted voice. The APDT promotes caring relationships between dogs and people and works to increase public awareness of dog-friendly training techniques.




Cold Winter Care Tips

MetroPet Magazine • J ANUARY / F EBRUARY 2012

Brrrr—it’s cold outside! The following guidelines will help you protect your companion animals when the mercury dips. 1. Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from other cats, dogs and wildlife. 2. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape. 3. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm,


dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags. 4. Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice. 5. Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a shorthaired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.

More pet care information can be found on the ASPCA website at

Pet of the Week


Tank & Jackson — “Son, get thee some mouthwash!” Tank meets his son Jackson for the first time. Jackson is 3 months old and Tank is 3 years old in this picture like father, like son!!! Submitted by Amy C

Won a pet consult from


6. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death. 7. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself. 8. Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him, and his fur, in tip-top shape. 9. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center more information. 10. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.




Isn’t it funny how a dog loves honey? Nutty, all natural, mixed flavors for your nutty, all-natural, mixed breed (or pedigree)! Directions:

MetroPet Magazine • J ANUARY / F EBRUARY 2012

• Preheat oven to 325°. • Heat honey, oil and vanilla in a saucepan. • Pour over all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix thoroughly and spread on two greased baking sheets. • Bake for 15 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Stir occasionally during baking to prevent overbrowning. • Cool and store in a sealed container.


Recipe credit:

Three Dog Bakery Cookbook by Dan Dye & Mark Beckloff Over 50 wholesome, healthy, simple-to-cook recipes for your pooch, from Hearty Hound Loaf and Banana Mutt Cookies to Hungry Mongrel Turkey Burgers and Fiesta Bones.

3/4 cup honey 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 1/2 cups rolled oats 1 cup wheat germ 1 cup chopped roasted soybeans

1/2 cup vegetable oil 2 cups cracked wheat 2 cups bran flakes 1 cup sunflower seeds

Metropet Magazine January/February Issue  

Metropet Magazine January/February Issue