Vol. 4 #2 | April 2021
ELISABETH ROHM ACTRESS, DIRECTOR, DOG LOVER HEALTHY PETS
CBD’s C al mi ng + Heal i ng Ways
SUN SAFET Y
P rot e c t A ga in s t H a rm f u l E le m e n t s
SUMMER FUN Fo r Yo u + F i do
CAT FOSTERING Yo u C a n M a ke T he D i f f e r e nc e
S a v v y Gadget s + Gear
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Cover Feature: Elisabeth Rohm, Powered by Love Alysia Joy Powell, Actress and Animal Whisperer Thorsten Kaye, The Bold and The Beautiful Star Jenna Andrews, Singer/Songwriter Vlad and Niki, Young You Tube Sensations W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose Author Drag Queen Laganja and her dog, Lil Dabbers
PET FASHION 18 Spring Into Action: Adventuring With Our Pet 20 Eco-Friendly Choices for Our Pets
PET LIFESTYLES 22 Paddle Through Florida Springs 24 Basics For Betta Fishkeeping 26 Chicks in the City - And Country
PET TECH 29 Wag Worthy New Tech
PET RESCUE 32 Tails of Kitty Fostering 34 Protecting The Pigs
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New Season, New Concerns for Your Pet Caring For Pets The Natural Way CBD and Our Pets Canine Fun In The Sun
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
April is the cruelest month...mixing Memory and desire.
Vol. 4 #2 | April 2021
TS Elliott, The Wasteland With Spring rains and Summer showers the memory of this past year will hopefully be washed away. Let desire for a return to life as it used to be prevail for pets and us, their guardians. Let grief be gone and in its place come a renewal of hope and joy: Pets finding forever homes and those that care for them, finding new strength in their company. This issue celebrates the basics: Initial steps in keeping the oh-so-popular and pretty Betta Fish and chicken keeping too - the new rage among Royals. We share the story of a pig sanctuary that helps these often disparaged farm animals get back on their feet, and with an eye toward our progressively green lifestyles, we’re informing you about the best in sustainables, and the eco-friendly ways to keep pests away from your pet. The author of A DOG’S PURPOSE steps in to humorously share his thoughts on, what else? Dogs and Books, with a clever wit that surely entertains us all. And speaking of entertaining, we have Laganja, a winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, sharing love for her pup. But the celeb-fest doesn’t stop there, flip through for cat-loving revelations from Alisia Joy Powell who plays a pivotal role in the Oscar-nominated, “Judas and The Black Messiah.” Desire then all we share in this issue and together with our pets, let’s create new memories as the seasons change. Be well. Be happy.
President / Publisher BILL MASON Editor in Chief Lori Zelenko
Marketing Coordinator Judith Moskowitz Photography Geoff Tischman
Senior Editor Melanie Carden Michael La Chance Samuel Hinke Monie Schulling
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Editors at Large Beth Stern Steve Whitney
Features April Anderson Sue Baldani Crystal C. Chan Melissa Billie Clark Trisha Giaramma Samantha Smith Lana Van De Mark Debbie Zmorenski
Veterinary Editors Dr. Lynn Bahr, DVM Dr. Eric Dougherty, DVM Dr. Ann Hohenaus DMV, DACVIM Dr. Brett Shorenstein, VMD
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Editor in Chief Lori Zelenko with her dogs Bikini and Annabelle. ©Geoff Tischman www.tischmanpets.com Photo by Jennifer Graylock-Graylock.com
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ELISABETH ROHM POWERED BY LOVE
By Lori Zelenko | Photography by Jennifer Graylock-Graylock.com
ertainly, we all got to know Elisabeth Rohm as her character Assistant District Attorney Serena Southerlyn in Law & Order, a straight shooter, independent and determined, like the actress herself who prides herself on being a New York City girl and all that implies. She may be blonde and beautiful, but she’s got style and stamina, after all she was a champion equestrian for many years. Since then her steadfastness and transformative talent have carried her through two films directed by David O. Russell, co-starring Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle and Joy, not to mention her role as Fox News host Martha MacCallum in the Roger Ailes biopic Fair and Balanced, and now her directorial debut with the new Lifetime movie Girl in the Basement which is, she says “a call to action about abuse on a very significant level.” Next up, she is looking forward to directing her second film, Switched at Birth which, she says, “chronicles the journey of infertility, which is a personal story to me.”
PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 5
AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN
Always one to be progressive and independent, to have a voice and value freedom and be an original, Elisabeth Rohm grew up in New York City, the daughter of a Southern girl (from Memphis, Tennessee) and a German immigrant father. She sees herself as a hybrid, “a pleasure seeking and old fashioned southerner who enjoys a good drink, a foreigner who always feels like an outsider looking in and a straightforward New Yorker thriving on cultural stimulation, art, energy commerce and the combustion of people and experiences.” It was the move to Westchester County in her youth however that gave her the chance to fall in love with nature, horses, and dogs. And that love of dogs is still with her as she welcomes Benji, a young red-and-rust-colored Doberman Pinscher into the life she shares
6 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
with 12 year old daughter Easton. She confides,” he’s currently 10 months old, but he already takes up half of my bed! Surprisingly, he was the runt of the litter and he couldn’t get a word in with his mother. I think my daughter empathized with him. We knew he was meant to be ours immediately.”
FOR THE LOVE OF DOGS
Dogs, big ones in particular, have always been Elisabeth Rohm’s trusted companions – “a golden retriever, a husky, and now my Doberman. I can’t imagine my life without having a dog in it. It’s too sad of a thought.” There’s no sadness where Benji is concerned, though, she says “he is such a lover and cuddler. We got him at a very young age, so he is quite attached to me. We do everything together – go on beautiful hikes around Los Angeles, walk three miles to the beach, and even run errands together. He’s also a service dog, so he’s a real travel pal.”
But even Benji needs a little education, he is currently in training with the Royal Dog Academy located just outside of LA in Northridge, and known for working absolute wonders with dogs. Once Benji’s schooling is done, this rambunctious pup will be able to go to work with Elisabeth, wherever that may be. He has not been on set yet but that day is coming soon. One the whole family will look forward to. Education is vital to this actress and mom, as she is known to say, “You never stop learning. If you have a teacher, you never stop being a student.” It is she feels, important to teach the younger generation what it means to be a strong person, to not be afraid to use your voice and most importantly, to grasp the value of self-respect and respecting others. She’d like us to understand that all creatures, “especially animals who don’t have a voice of their own, need our compassion and protection.”
PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 7
COURAGE IS HER MANTRA
Strength is integral to her persona. Not only has she played women of substance but as a director now she explains, “I feel like it’s important to discuss things that we’re afraid to talk about.” And to that end, she has chosen tough subjects to bring to the TV screen. Yet darkness does not prevail. Influenced by Eastern philosophy, her parents were meditators and yogis who embraced transcendental meditation. Her mother whom she joyfully recalls as a “hippie,” especially instilled in her a determination to fight against injustice. So maybe it’s not a coincidence that character we all know and loved her for, Serena Southerlyn, was something of an idealist, as she describes her, “the eager beaver who had hope in the justice system and the one who gets disappointed just like the audience.” Steadfast no matter what life throws at her, from the rewards of acting which is genuinely her life to the tough times of striving to excel in an industry she calls an “obstacle course,” she sees each challenge as a chance to grow and looks forward to a time when things get easy again. What do the ups and downs of life teach her? Contemplatively she says, “we must hold onto the knowledge that steered us through. It’s vital to continue moving forward with our expanded perspective.”
LOVE, PEACE AND HAPPINESS
When she looks for inspiration and guidance, she turns to Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, and the Dalia Lama. For her they are true representations of the peaceful warrior, a reflection of the values she’s held since childhood. Contemplating her stance as a gutsy realist and yes, not only a loving guardian to a big dog but to a growing child, she observes, “I just think that assuming the responsibility of another’s life and providing for them takes courage because you don’t know what life is going to throw at you. But it’s also a privilege and an honor to take care of another living being because they count on you for everything.” Love powers Elisabeth Rohm’s life. Love for her dog Benji, her daughter Easton and her career as an actress and now a director. She sees love essentially through the words of German poet and philosopher, Rainer Maria Rilke, as if it were stored up for us like an inheritance. Understanding that, as this lyrical poet reveals, with faith, love will give us strength and be a blessing carrying us as we travel through life, surrounding and supporting us always. Blessed with Benji and Easton, Elisabeth Rohm takes responsibility for the life they lead together. Creating her own karma, she continually moves forward, exploring and anticipating only good things to come letting light and generosity lead the way. • 8 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
Special Olympics Bowling Competitor and Inclusion Advocate
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© 2021 Special Olympics. Photograph by John Huet.
ALYSIA JOY POWELL
ACCLAIMED ACTRESS AND ANIMAL WHISPER By Melissa Billie Clark
s Mrs. Winters, the mother of Black Panther party member Jake Winters, in the Oscar-nominated film, “Judas and The Black Messiah”, Alysia Joy Powell is earning critical acclaim. But after two decades of notable film and TV roles on Bull, Billions, Everybody Hates Chris, Ma’ Rainey’s Black Bottom, Pose, and Mysteries of Laura, to mention only a handful, surely you’ve seen her work and been impressed. Though she has successfully made her way through Hollywood on her own outstanding talent, she credits the animals in her life for walking her through her journey. Alysia Joy Powell feels animal energies, in fact, one could dub this acclaimed actress, writer/director “the animal whisperer.” When her cat Garth crossed the rainbow bridge as we say when animals pass away, she felt his energy for months after.
FOR THE LOVE OF ANIMALS
Growing up, Powell love for animals was always present. And her skill for communicating with them she reveals, helped them lead long, healthy lives, “I never over analyze my communication with animals but they understand me and I understand them.” Her first dog named, Tomeko was a Japanese Akita who was with her for nineteen years, a phenomenally long time for a dog. Her Siamese cat Garth, a gift from her mother, lived for twenty two years. It has been four years since Powell’s beloved Garth passed away but her relationship with him was like no other Powell recalls, “When Garth was in my life and would meet new people, I could tell someone’s energy by the way he responded to them. If a person did not have good energy, he would go straight to the bedroom and not come out. On some occasions he would sit on people’s laps and I knew they were good. It was interesting to watch.” Sadly, cancer ended Garth’s life, Powell recalls, “On the way to the vet I was crying the whole way there. He was wiping my tears with his paws, kissing me, and playing with my earrings. I stayed in the room at the vet until he wasn’t here anymore and whispered in his ear all the way to heaven.” Powell remembers how a few weeks later she was on the phone with a friend who swore there was a cat meowing in the background. Powell believes that was Garth reaching out to help her through her grief.
FINDING FAITH IN FURRY FRIENDS
Even though Powell believed that no other animal could replace Garth, it would be a visit to a friend’s house that changed her mind. Invited to brunch almost a year later after Garth’s passing, Powell’s friend showed her a litter of five kittens, asking Powell if she’d like one of them. Powell noticed that two of the cats wouldn’t leave each other’s side. She didn’t want to separate them so she took them both home at nine weeks old. Ruby and Ossie (named after Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, the famed couple revered not only for their acting careers but for their lifelong commitment to civil rights, family values, and the black community) became part of the Powell family and the rest is history. Today, they are three-years-old and each has endearing quirks making them wonderfully unique. Ruby loves when her guardian Powell cleans, especially with bleach, “she loves the smell” Powell admits, whereas Ossie is all male and mischievous. Although they are, like some cats naturally aloof, meaning they do not like to get picked up or cuddled, they do have their own way by showing Powell love, greeting her most affectionately when she arrives home, finished with a day’s work on the set. For this “animal whisperer,” the message is clear, love the ones you’re with, the connection will be with you forever. • 10 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
FROM SHAKESPEARE TO SOAPS THORSTEN KAYE SAYS ADOPT DON’T SHOP By April Anderson
aytime television star, yes! Dog lover, yes! The actor, Thorsten Kaye - also known as, Ridge Forrester on The Bold and the Beautiful, trained in Classical Theater before becoming a soap star in 1995. He studied at the National Theatre in London. His roles were Shakespearean at the Hilberry Repertory Company in Detroit, where he started out, but the experience was simply a steppingstone for bigger opportunities in television. Lucy rescued by Thorsten Kaye’s daughter McKenna.
FAVORITE FUR BUDDIES I spoke with Thorsten from his home in Connecticut, where he described his life as a TV actor, but also as a happy father and husband, who is a great supporter of dog adoption over buying from a breeder. Passionate about his acting career, Thorsten first offers advice to actors on how to approach their work, “actors have to find a way to make the role believable. We have to make the audience feel it”. He also says actors have to make each project they work on feel right for them. By ‘right’ he means, work with what you have and avoid the pitfalls of complaining when you don’t agree with the script. Thorsten’s words are a great reminder to actors that there’s a time to listen and a time to talk - A bit of sound advice coming from someone who’s made a successful career in daytime television. Though he is one of daytime TV’s most popular actors, the adoration of fans though appreciated is not a distraction from his cherished off-camera time with his wife Susan Haskell, and daughters, Marlowe, and McKenna. And his two rescued dogs, Lucy, and Otis. He shares, “I’ve never bought a dog. I’ve always adopted”. And Thorsten’s daughters are just as committed to rescuing animals in need.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTERS His values about adoption have rubbed off on his daughters when on each of their 10th birthdays they adopted dogs of their own. First, his eldest daughter, McKenna adopted Lucy, now 8. And then his youngest daughter adopted Otis, now 4. Both dogs came from rescue shelters, and are “big, lazy, happy dogs” according to, Thorsten. From this experience, he says, “the greatest pleasure, the most amazing gift is being a parent to kids - and to dogs”. He hopes his words serve to inspire others to adopt a pet. And his explanation for rescuing is simple, “a dog with a price tag from a breeder will always find a home”. Words he lives by.
Thorsten Kaye with Otis rescued by his youngest daughter, Marlowe.
Through determination and hard work, Kaye has struck a balance in his personal and professional worlds. Acting and his rescued dogs help tie his family together in a way that is well-adjusted and kind. He hopes his family and his mantra - basically adopt don’t shop can be an inspiration for others looking for a dog or cat in need of a forever home. What would Thorsten Kaye like to see us do? Give the money you might pay to a breeder to a shelter and help restore health and happiness to our four-legged best friends. •
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SINGER SONGWRITER JENNA ANDREWS AND HER DOGS EASING CELEBRITY STRESS WITH CUDDLY CANINE COMPANIONS By Samuel Hinke
ogs do a lot for us. They provide companionship, unrivaled affection, endless entertainment. They sense when we’re sad, sick, or trapped in a well. We have seen them run marathons, guide the disabled, and pull people from burning buildings. They’ve even learned how to skateboard. Pretty soon they’ll be getting their PhDs. As far as humans go, we have celebrities. Celebrities that like to fill their titles with excessive backslashes, for example; singer/songwriter/producer/etc. Well, singer/ songwriter/producer/artist/etc. Jenna Andrews has earned every one of hers. Jenna has had no small impact on the entertainment world, from her initial work with Island Def Jam in 2008 to her vocal producing BTS hit song “Dynamite” last year (which earned her a Grammy nomination). All that time in the limelight comes with its share of complications; namely stress and anxiety. It is not always easy to deal with these feelings and they can be overwhelming at times. Fortunately for us all there is a place where these two worlds meet: I am talking about therapy dogs, proud pups that have been certified to act as warm, loving companions to aid people in a healing and therapeutic manner. The celebrities are offered a friend that provides them with emotional support to help deal with their problems, and we get to see our favorite stars playing with adorable canines. It’s a win-win. Who wouldn’t feel at least a little better with a soft, furry puppy snuggling up next to them when they are feeling blue? Animals have a tremendous capacity for affection, and by connecting them with people in need, a remarkable transformation can be seen in both. All it takes is a warm smile to make anyone feel better, and a good belly rub to make a dog wriggle with joy. Jenna saw the need for just such animals in her industry, and today she has two adorable pups who provide just such a service. Singer/SongwriterJenna Andrews can hardly curb her enthusiasm for her therapy dogs, Ms. Larry David and Ms.George Costanza.
Dog lover Miley Cyrus enjoys a cuddle backstage with one of Jenna Andrews’ pups.
It must have been hard for Jenna to curb her own enthusiasm when she adopted Ms. Larry David from a rescue in L.A. Her sister pup was adopted by a different family, but the two owners agreed to stay in touch down the road. Wouldn’t you know it, just four years down the road Ms. Larry David’s sister had a litter of puppies, and Jenna was asked if she’d like one of the puppies. Thus, Ms. George Costanza was welcomed with open arms. As for the names, Ms. Andrews is completely star-struck by Larry David calling him “absolutely hilarious” and feeling lucky to have met him. When a second family member was added it seemed only logical to keep with the same theme. Ms. Larry David and Ms. George Costanza have cozied up to stars like Miley and Noah Cyrus, lil Xan, Benee, Cyndi Lauper, Diplo, Lil Nas X, and a bevy of others. Given the chance, I’d switch places with these dogs. If anything you have read so far has piqued your interest you should check out The Green Room, a web series hosted by Jenna. The show delves into the more serious side of the music industry. Issues such as mental health and anxiety are explored and discussed in depth with various artists and celebrities. In an upcoming episode Jenna and singer Salem Ilese will discuss the positive influence emotional support dogs can and have had on their lives. I got a sneak peak of this episode, and you do not want to miss it. In fact, it is premiering April 1, so head on over to Jenna Andrews Instagram and find out how an adorable pup could make your life even better than you thought. •
YOUNG YOU TUBE SENSATIONS VLAD AND NIKI NOW PLUS DARWIN THE CAT By Crystal C. Long
rothers Vlad and Niki Vashketov might look like your average eight and five-year-olds: Vlad is the adventurous and active older brother who loves playing sports like soccer, kickboxing, and water sports, while Niki is the younger brother who loves anything creative, namely arts and crafts, and cooking & baking – but at eight and five, these young brothers are already huge stars in the YouTube community, starring in their very own, award-winning, YouTube channel: “Vlad & Niki”. The live-action series features the hilarious everyday antics of the two brothers – and this is all before they even turn 10. With the help of their mom Victoria, the boys produce content jam-packed with non-stop fun and adventures to entertain their young audience with topics such as family, discovery play, home adventures, indoor and outdoor games, singing and dancing. The inspiration for creating videos came when Vlad became deeply interested in other video content greats and wanted to try his hand at creating his own – what started out as a side weekend project quickly turned into a full-fledged video channel with millions of subscribers worldwide. “Vlad & Niki” is also a family affair, with the boy’s dad Sergey Vashketov (and of course the help of his wife) being responsible for the production side of things: the creation, writing, and ultimately, production. The boys’ one-yearold brother Christian also frequently guest-stars in the videos. Other than performing in front of the camera or playing sports, eight-year-old Vlad is also obsessed with animals, and he just adores the newest addition to their family. Meet Darwin, the Vashketovs’ five-month-old kitten. Darwin, an adorable Persian kitten, was adopted a few months ago, and needless to say, has become a well-loved member of the family. Darwin returns the love, as mom Victoria tells us, “Darwin is very playful. He has a very cute purr and enjoys cuddling on everyone’s lap.”
Victoria also sees this as a good opportunity to teach her young boys about core values. “Vlad really wanted to get a pet and of course, once Vlad wanted a cat, so did his little brother Niki. They love animals and always wanted their own pet. As parents, we thought it would teach them about responsibility. He (Darwin) makes us all happy and during current times, having something new to love makes life even better.” Darwin has also instantly become an integral part of the family business. He’s been featured in a few “Vlad & Niki” videos. A welcome feline addition to YouTube, Victoria emphasizes it’s incredibly important they all create content together as a family. “Darwin likes performing for the camera and helps us create funny stories to tell, like eating all the fish I was making.” One thing is for sure, Darwin is one well-loved kitty. Along with his own purr-fect comfy bed, he’s also poised to be the purr-fect companion for the active boys. “He likes following all the boys around the house. Darwin likes to hide in their toys and the boys run around trying to find him,” Victoria reveals. If there was one word to describe Vlad and Niki’s videos, it would be fun. The mix of bright colors, animation, live action, and now, Darwin, makes the Vashketovs’ comedic videos a joy to watch for their 152+ million subscribers worldwide. See the boys in action on their YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/c/vladandniki. • APRIL 2021
PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 13
A DOG’S PURPOSE AUTHOR W. BRUCE CAMERON ON DOGS AND BOOKS ABOUT DOGS By Michael La Chance
e’s a humorist—something that’s genuinely evident when W. Bruce Cameron is giving an interview, especially when he tells PET LIFESTYLES how he got started well before he was known as the writer of beloved books about dogs - and their meaning in our lives. “A long time ago, literally before the invention of the World Wide Web,” he starts, as humorously as expected, going on to explain, “I decided to start writing what I called The Cameron Column as an email humor column. The idea I had was that I would garner so many subscribers that eventually I would be able to convince a publisher to print one of my books.” It may have been a “stupid idea” at the time, but he credits this to being the very reason it worked. After acquiring more than 50,000 subscribers, he landed a job writing humor columns for the Rocky Mountain News. “Even though my columns were so bad the newspaper folded,” he jokes, “I was able to secure a publisher for a book-length version of my most popular essay: 8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter. That started my career writing humor books.” If that sounds familiar, 8 Simple Rules was later made into the popular ABC sitcom by the same name, starring Katey Sagal and the late John Ritter. The series also landed Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco for her breakthrough role. So, how did it all lead to A Dog’s Purpose? From 8 Simple Rules, which he wrote because he noticed that fathers and teenage daughters don’t always get along, to How to Remodel a Man—modeled on his perception of women wanting to change male behavior, Cameron has made a career out of “doing the obvious.” He wrote A Dog’s Purpose, because, quite simply, “people like dogs.” Jokingly he adds, “Future titles from me will include things such as, Water is Wet and Oxygen is a Good Idea.” 14 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
A DOG’S LIFE AT HOME
While Cameron has cohabitated with different kinds of animals in the past, he currently lives with Tucker, a dog rescued at around eight weeks old who he describes as “24 pounds of scruff.” Tucker is, we hear, indeed unique—he’s the only dog Cameron’s met who doesn’t like walks! As Cameron explains it, “he’s fine with me going for a walk, but when I get out that leash, he regards me with utter disdain. He gives me a look like, ‘You go pee on a few bushes and come back and tell me how it went.’” When he was adopted, Cameron says they lived in a high-rise apartment. “Housebreaking a dog under such circumstances requires a keen sense of anticipation. You have to know he needs to go before he does. Very often, if I left it a little too late, I would wind up with a soaked T-shirt and a dog with a smugly amused expression on his face,” he tells us of the early years.
DOING IT FOR THE DOGS
“A dog’s destiny is determined by humans. We decide when and what they will eat, where they will live, whether or not they are allowed to sleep on the couch (although my dog Tucker thinks this last factor is still open for negotiation). Dogs cannot fend for themselves in the wild – can you picture a pack of dachshunds taking down an elk?” Cameron says. He believes we owe them our support. He takes the obligation seriously, doing anything he can to support animal rescue. From the Life is Better Rescue in Denver, where he is a board member, to his preferred national organization, Best Friends Animal Society, he devotes time and effort to making sure animals are treated better. He also brings an important issue to light, telling PET LIFESTYLES that we need to focus more on dog homelessness. It’s something “we can actually fix.” And by fix, he does actually mean ‘fix’—spaying and neutering. “All the money we spend maintaining a huge operation to remove dogs from the street, to rehabilitate them, and adopt them out— these efforts could be saved if everyone made sure their pets won’t reproduce. I’m not talking about AKC breeders who are keeping breeding bloodlines alive, but I am speaking of people who just want to have a pet that they can love. Your dog will live healthier and longer with spaying and neutering. It is the humane thing to do,” he emphasizes.
While sheltering in-place with pets has been one of the small highs of the COVID-19 pandemic for pets and people across the country, Cameron believes dogs across the country are in for a rude awakening when people begin commuting again. “For more than a year, Tucker has regarded us as his house servants. He is so accustomed to this new normal that I can’t empty the trash without him freaking out, concerned that I will so enjoy tossing a bag into a dumpster that I’ll never return home. We should probably set up a 1-800 Crisis Support line for dogs to call when their owners finally go back to normal,” he tells PET LIFESTYLES., half joking as this “back to normal” routine is sure to cause heartbreak with our four-legged best friends. Since Tucker is less willing to share his home or parents with other animals, Cameron doesn’t foresee bringing any additional pets into his home soon. “I suppose if we had a squirrel in the living room, he’d be more than okay with that, but other dogs are only allowed to visit as long as they don’t expect to spend the night.” He does see himself adopting in the future, although he’s leaning towards a senior dog rather than a puppy, not only because they have a slightly tougher time getting adopted out of shelters and rescues, but more because “with an older dog, you know what you’re getting. I might pick one who likes to go for walks, as an example.”
Cameron has a lot lined up for this year…and for some time after. Since his focus now is helping children to fall in love with books and dogs, it’s no surprise he’s enthused about his chapter book series (Lily to the Rescue) for children just beginning to advance beyond picture books. “I also have what we call the ‘Puppy Tales,’ which is a series of younger reader novels (although adults like them as well).” Each of the eight Puppy Tales currently published, gives readers the perspective of “a unique dog with a unique life,” he adds. For readers who want more of the popular 2017 novel, A Dog’s Way Home, the sequel, A Dog’s Courage, will be available in bookstores this May. Fans of the film adaptation of A Dog’s Way home may recognize the dog on the cover—Shelby—the star of the film, and also one of the dogs with her own Puppy Tales Book, called Shelby’s Story. If you’re a dog lover, there’s a lot coming from Cameron in the future that you’re going to want to watch out for! • APRIL 2021
PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 15
THE LITTLE DOG AND THE DRAG QUEEN By Sue Baldani
rag queen Langanja Estranja (real name Jay Jackson) has a very busy life. When she’s not strutting her stuff on RuPaul’s Drag Race, working on a movie, meeting her fans at DragCon, or being an activist for the LGBTQ and cannabis lifestyles, she’s starring in what she considers to be her best role, being MawMa to Lil Dabbers. “So many people told me I was just too busy for a dog,” says Langanja. “I’d been wanting a dog. I grew up with a pet, so I’ve always had an affinity for dogs.” Five years ago, while performing in Hawaii, her roommate texted her a picture of a little Terrier Chihuahua puppy that a coworker was looking to rehome. Was she interested? “When I got the picture of my now beautiful baby, I was like ‘absolutely!’”
TRAVELING THE WORLD TOGETHER
Since then, Lil Dabbers has gone everywhere with Laganja. “She’s an emotional support dog because I need her with me at all times,” she says. “I’m very lucky that she gets to travel the world with me. She went to Italy when I worked with Google at the Cannes festival. I took her to DragCon, which is a huge event where all of us drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race get together and meet our followers. At 6 weeks old, Lil Dabbers was introduced to the life she was going to live and she loves it.” Lil Dabbers was on set with Langanja while she was filming God Save the Queens, which recently wrapped and will be released for Sundance either later this year or next. “The film is told in three different vignettes, and in my vignette, I’m acting alongside Alaska, who is a famous queen from Rupaul’s Drag Race. We sing live in the film, so I’m excited for people to hear my vocal abilities. “I’m also really excited for people to see an authentic story about drag queens. Recently, we’ve seen some authentic stories coming out about queer people, but not really about drag queens. This is going to touch on a lot of the trials and tribulations we go through as performers and as people who don’t necessarily fit into the gender black and white scale of male and female.” During the making of the movie, Lil Dabbers turned 5, so her celebration was a bit delayed. But MawMa made up for it when they got back home. “She got to go to the beach not once, but twice. She loves the beach. She doesn’t like the water, but she loves the sand. She’s a digger.” Langanja and Lil Dabbers reside in Hollywood, where Laganja has lived for over 15 years. “ I have a view of the Hollywood sign, so I’m lucky, and I work very hard to have this. I’m very grateful to have developed a life here with friends and family members. I just can’t believe a little boy from Texas is now a full-time female impersonator!”
DRESSING THE PART
Of course, as a drag queen, Langanja has an affinity for costumes and getting dressed up. So, she likes Lil Dabbers to have her own 16 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
outfits as well. “I love the aesthetics of being able to have matching outfits with my dog. My designer who custom makes all my clothing will usually take the leftovers and make her an outfit, so she can have an accessory, a neck piece or a backpack - something she is comfortable wearing but still matches me.” Lil Dabbers’ fashion statements are appreciated by her almost 7,100 Instagram followers. When Laganja became her MawMa years ago, she made several YouTube episodes that featured her little dog. There was Ganja Walks, which were episodes of her walking Dabbers in different parks and places, and Dabbers Day Out, which showed the Terrier Chihuahua enjoying a bunch of doggie adventures. Now, plans are being made to start up Dabbers Day Out once again. “We’re partnering with Dogue, (rhymes with Vogue) which is an incredible spa for dogs out here. The owner, Josh White, is also LGBTQ and was recently featured on the show The Pack, with his dog Snow. I became a huge fan of the show because I love dogs. I ended up meeting him here in Hollywood and being able to perform at his surprise 30th birthday. So in exchange, he is going to give Dabbers a beautiful makeover. I’m excited to get her back on the web, and am also very excited to partner with Josh and continue to amplify the LGBTQ voice.”
LIL DABBERS TO THE RESCUE
Having Lil Dabbers in her life is a lot of fun for Laganja, but it goes much deeper than that. “Dabbers has saved my life on numerous accounts,” says Laganja. “As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, Dabbers has really been able to provide something that no human can provide, which is a closeness that even my best friends and I don’t have. To be able to have that support is very hard to put into words.” She encourages everyone to get a dog, even if they lead busy lives. “Look at me - I made it work. You too can make it work and it will improve your life. When I have a hard day, to come home to her happiness and her warmth is a true blessing. When she sees me, there’s always that love and joy and I’m very, very lucky to have that positive energy in my life.” To see more of Lil Dabbers, check out her Instagram page, and stay tuned for the all new Dabbers Day Out series, which will showcase the incredible life she lives. “She has traveled the world and met many people, and I feel like she is a very brave dog,” says Laganja. “Her bravery really inspires me to be the same way.” Follow Langanja Estranja on Instagram and Tik Tok and various other social media platforms, or on her website at laganjaestranja.com. Become one of her “buds”, as she calls her followers. •
“... definitely mellows out my dog without making her groggy.” - Jake & Shelly
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CALM & QUIET
woman-owned small business, est. 2014 whole plant hemp grown in U.S. Sunshine fully traceable, third-party tested
TEA LIKE A SOOTHING CUP OF FOR YOUR PET
DISCOVER A HEALTHIER, HAPPIER, AND CALMER PET
SPRING INTO ACTION ADVENTURE GEAR FOR YOU & YOUR DOG By Melanie Carden
pring is here—and we’re all more-than-ready for outdoor adventures with our best buddies. Whether you and your dog enjoy long walks in the park, running, hiking—or even off-road SUV fun—you’ll need the right supplies. I’ve curated this buddy-style list to be sure you and your furry friend have what you need for all kinds of warm weather adventures. SAFETY GLOW SAFETY GLOW BEST FOOT FORWARD Any adventure after sundown is better with safety lighting. Whether you’re walking, jogging, or hanging out on a patio—be sure that your dog is wearing a safety light. Nox Gear offers this next-level Light Hound option with several light choices—from solid to disco-party-flash. Info: Nox Gear.
Doubling-up on after-dark safety is a top priority when out on an evening adventure with your best fur-friend. It prompts drivers to be more aware—and provides peace of mind. Nox Gear’s Tracer 360 offers 360º visibility up to 1/4 mile. Info: Nox Gear.
These lightweight dog shoes are essential for those long hikes and adventures on the running trail. But don’t forget about protecting those paws from hot gravel in the summer—Kurgo offers these super-versatile booties. Bonus: the soles of shoe also have LED lights, so they light up for visibility at night. Info: Petco.
EYE ON ADVENTURE
EYE ON ADVENTURE
BEST FOOT FORWARD
It’s all fun and games until the sun glare darn-near blinds you. It’s especially important when you’re also watching over your adventurous dog as well. Costa’s polarized sunglasses are made for tackling adventure—durable, stay-put designs mean you can focus on fun with fido. Beach walks, boating, hiking...even sipping coffee at a café. Info: Costa Sunglasses.
The sun is shining, and you’re ready to make the most of it with your athletic pup. Whether you’re hiking, playing chasethe-squirrel, or chillin’ on your SUP, Rex Specs dog goggles are an adventure go-to essential. Protect your buddy’s peepers. Don’t let a stick, thorn, sand, rock, bug or UV rays ruin your outing. PC: Molly Dombroski Info: Rex Specs.
Be sure-footed when out on a run with your four-legged training partner. Under Armour’s HOVR Infinite 2 Running Shoes are the perfect mix of cushion, bounce, durability, and efficiency. Bonus points for compatibility with the Map My Run app. With your dog’s enthusiasm and these new kicks—you’re sure to conquer your goals. Info: Under Armour.
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Whether you own or rent an SUV, a bumpy trail in the woods is a great way to celebrate spring. Maybe the road to that cozy little cabin you rented is on a washed-out dirt road. This Kurgo Auto Zip Line is a great way to include your pooch. It offers full back-and-forth motion while keeping your co-pilot safely in the back. Info: Petco.
Designed to protect your backseat from the dirtiest dogs, Orvis offers this hoseoff backseat protector. It’s perfect for the active dog who doesn’t shake off all the mud before they hop in the backseat. This messy-venture must-have traps dog hair, dirt, mud, and moisture and keeps it away from your seats. Info: Orvis.
CHILL TIME Even the fiercest little adventurer needs some chill time after a day of tag football, trail tackling, or camping fun. BARK’s Subzero Camping Hero is the perfect toy for dogs that enjoy the GRrreat outdoors. Get a bonfire going, crack open a brew—and let your buddy (safely) join in the fun too. Info: Petco.
DAY PACK QUEST
DAY PACK QUEST
Adventure requires stuff—and it needs to be easy to carry. Outdoorsy dogparents need a pack that’s adaptable—for everything from trails, to disc dog sessions, and weekend road trips. Gregory’s got your back (pack). The Juno 24 is a legit day pack with real-life versatility. Bonus: check out their dog-approved, Kevlar duffel. Info: Gregory Mountain Products.
Your dog is an adventure hound—ready at a moment’s notice. He needs his adventure necessities—water, treats, poo bags, bug spray, and a small dry towel. Outward Hound’s water resistant DayPak is loaded with quest-worthy features: four versatile pockets, D-ring for leash, reflective accents, and high-visibility color options. Info: Chewy.
Bringing fido on expeditions—large and small—means traveling with your own food (and hard cider!) but also your buddy’s medications, and raw food diet too. You’ll need a big, reliable cooler. Orca coolers will keep your essentials chill for up to 10 days and its practically indestructible. Info: Orca.
Challenging expeditions demand a serious coat—that’s where Carhartt comes in. Made from firm-hand duck canvas and a water-repellent coating, it protects your pup in wet, windy weather. If you’re going to be hiking or camping—bring the coat that protects your adventurous pup from the elements. Info: Carhartt.
You’ve loaded your daypack and fido’s pack too—but don’t forget to plan for your meals. MSR’s Pocket Rocket camp stove is super lightweight and makes for quick and easy adventure vittles. Perfect for meals for two. Settle in after a day of outdoor fun—happy dog at your feet and a warm meal at-the-ready. Info: MSR Gear.
Get ready for outings at the beach, your favorite stream, or campsite with this comfortable, easy-care travel dog bed from Orvis that’s sized to fit all standard cargo areas. If you’re an active dog-parent, you know that camping— and any kind of travel—is more enjoyable when your pooch has easy-to-clean essentials. Cue the camp cuddles! Info: Orvis. •
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ECO-FRIENDLY CHOICES FOR OUR PETS SMALL DECISIONS WITH A BIG IMPACT By Melanie Carden
onsumer demand for sustainability is on the rise—and the pet industry is no exception. Pet owners want what’s best for their lovable fur-babies—and the planet. There are endless ways for companies to work toward these goals—everything from the ingredients and materials to the packaging. As the industry grows and gravitates toward green—we’ve spent some quality time with some of the brands making major headway. Our curated sustainability guide is packed full of “green goods” for the floofmeisters in your life. You don’t need to choose between the planet and your best buddy’s favorites—this list addresses both with TLC. COAST GUARD APPROVED A WIN FOR SKIN BOTTLED-UP BEAUTY Up Country’s eco-friendly Green Market collars are made with bamboo, one of the world’s most renewable resources! Soft yet strong, all collar hardware is cast brass, not welded, for extra strength. The buckles are Coast Guard approved for high weight. Green, strong, and beautiful! Info: Up Country.
100% organic, clean, toxin-free ingredients to heal flaking, dry dog noses, cracked paws, and skin irritations. NY-based Pup Wax products are free from petroleum derived ingredients which accumulate in a dog’s body over time, and its eco-friendly and recyclable glass packaging is gift-worthy gorgeous. It’s your go-to balm all year long. Info: Pup Wax.
Petco believes in second chances. That’s why they collect and process plastic bottles into fiber pellets that make up the fabrics of the products in the Started as a Bottle collection. Your pretty pup can make a difference and a fashion statement. Info: Petco.
RECYCLE IN STYLE
Artisanal goods for the bestest little pets on the planet. Made Terra is an eco-friendly, sustainable company. In addition to their Vietnamese-hand crafted home goods, they offer pet products made with natural materials—leaving little to no carbon footprint. This Sea Grass House is perfect for cats, rabbits, chinchilla, hedgehog, and hamsters—and it’s made from natural nibble-safe materials. Info: MadeTerra.
This rainbow-themed dog leash from 2 Hounds Design’s Earth Style collection combines colorful upbeat designs with earth-friendly webbing made using recycled plastic bottles. Their Freedom No-Pull Harness is an editor-favorite. Give your handsome wagger a little swagger. Got a challenging chewer? No worries, upgrade to their chewing-replacement warranty. Info: 2 Hounds Design.
Pagerie’s vegetable-tanned leather is both durable and sustainable. Unlike faux leather made from synthetic plastic, their vegetable tanning process is biodegradable and reduces toxic chemicals. They use 100% recyclable stainless steel for its aesthetics and longevity. Even their packaging is environmentally friendly and can be used as a keepsake! Info: Pagerie.
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LESS SHED MORE SNUGGLES
Minimum shedding with maximum bonding— these grooming gloves offer massage nodules for gentle bathing, grooming, and massage. Latex Free HandsOn uses top grade materials that include surgical grade nitrile which make the gloves hypoallergenic, chemical and mildew resistant so they will not irritate you or your pets. Works wet or dry—even the most skittish pet will want to give it a try. Info: HandsOn Gloves.
Kizzou is serving up major puppy fashion and eco-awareness. Their mission is to create beautiful and functional designs for dogs while doing no harm to the people and the planet. Their runwayworthy dog apparel is crafted in small batches using sustainable materials in collaboration with local businesses. Info: Kizzou.
Alas—modern luxury for the ecoconscious pet! The environment-savvy folks at Whom use sustainable hardwood and materials made from recycled polystyrene pulled from the oceans, and non-toxic paints and finishes. Whom offers a selection of more than 50 easyto-clean fabrics, which also have a lighter carbon footprint. Info: Whom.
ROOTING FOR YOU
FROM BOTTLES TO BEDS
Even your dog’s toys can make an ecofriendly statement. This cute stuffie says “Hey planet, I’m rooting for you!” Reclaimed plastic bottles are reinvented into plush fibers for this veggie-themed hide-and-seek toy. Squeaker and crinkle inspire active play for your favorite planetconscious dog. Info: Petco.
For the kitty that loves tuna—but also strives for an ocean-friendly lifestyle. Supakit—a London-based company— offers PETA approved Vegan Harnesses, made from 100% natural cork harvested in Spain. And their textile collars are made using recycled sea plastics. Meow, MeWOW. Info: Supakit.
Orvis knows dogs. And they know you want to be a part of the global climate solution. They make it easy with their ComfortFillEco bolster-style dog bed. Each bed upcycles approximately 258 plastic water bottles in its stuffing—which won’t flatten or clump, no matter how much your dog burrows or nests. Available at Orvis.
BU-BYE BIO FILM
SodaPup is a leader in durable natural rubber dog toys. Natural rubber is a sustainable material that comes from rubber trees which produce latex for 40-45 years. They have an extraordinary selection of shapes, treat dispensers, and power chewing solutions. SodaPup is a treasure trove of tough-tested toys. Info: SodaPup.
Copper naturally inhibits the growth of bacteria, which makes it perfect for pets’ water bowls. Copper slows the growth of biofilm—that icky film that is a byproduct of your pet’s saliva mixing with water. It can contain disease-causing viruses and bacteria. Say bu-bye to biofilm and upgrade to this lux copper option. Info: Copper H2O.
When we think of green initiatives, we shouldn’t overlook our grooming choices. Earthbath is a great choice for pet-parents who want eco-friendly options. Its naturally derived, hypoallergenic ingredients are paraben-free, soap-free, and dye-free. Choose from Oatmeal & Aloe or their hotspot treatment shampoo with Tea Tree Oil & Aloe Vera. Info: Petco. •
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©Get Up And Go Kayaking
PADDLE THROUGH FLORIDA SPRINGS CLEAR KAYAKING FOR YOU AND YOUR DOG By Sarah Sekula
he cicadas are humming. Frogs are croaking. And Justin Buzzi and Tia Lumpkin both have grins on their faces. As their paddles slice gently through the cool, clear waters of Rock Springs Run State Reserve near Orlando, nature therapy is in full effect. The only other sound is the sing-song melody of native birds and the swiftly moving 70-degree water, which, in some spots, appears Caribbean turquoise. Oh, and the occasional woof, woof. They have their sidekick, Maverick, along. Which, of course, is making the whole outing that much more enjoyable (not to mention, highly Instagrammable). The golden retriever is a looker. But so is the kayak. Made out of the same material that airplane windshields are made from, the transparent kayaks make it easy for you and your pup to spot fish, turtles, and otters below. As the brains behind Florida-based Get Up And Go Kayaking, the couple gets to paddle these scenic waterways, here and all around the Sunshine State, more often than the average human. Their company provides guided kayaking tours all over, from mangrove tunnels in Naples to open ocean in Key West. Buzzi says time spent at Rock Springs is a surefire way to put them (and their dog) in a good mood. So, after bringing the pup along one day, he thought why not let customers do the same? Getting your dogs out here gives them the chance to do more than just play a game of fetch or walk around the neighborhood. Plus, having a pet along just makes any excursion that much more enjoyable for the pet parent.
©Get Up And Go Kayaking
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Fast forward a few yeas and the couple now has two golden retrievers, and they are usually pretty stoked to join them on any adventure, especially if it involves water. “I think getting your dog out of the daily routine is always a good thing,” he says. “They get to use all their senses and burn lots of calories.”
ALMOST LIKE MEDITATION
The humans do, too. The first hour of paddling is upstream, so it’s a good workout. But not to worry, there are stops along the way. Jacob’s Island is a great place to let your dog hop overboard for a swim in the shallow water (which stays 70 degrees all year long) and snap some photos. At Bonsai Bend—also known as Jurassic Park, for its wild, jungle-like appearance—you’ll want to take more photos. The gnarly branches of a massive, hundred-year-old oak tree hang just 20 feet or so above the water; it’s scenic to the nth degree. “I always feel rejuvenated after kayaking out here,” he says. “Getting outdoors is extraordinarily powerful. It puts me into a super relaxed, almost meditative mode instantly. There are studies showing that people who spent two hours a week in natural settings were much more likely to report good health, and I believe it.” If it’s that impactful for us humans, it must have a similar effect on our four-legged friends. “I want to make sure our dogs are living their best, most adventurous, lives,” he says. “It’s a sign of a very good day when the dogs sleep the whole way home.” •
IF YOU GO: What to know: There is no weight limit for your dog. But, keep in mind, the combined weight limit for everyone in the kayak is 425 pounds. If you bring your canine, be sure to bring a towel or blanket to put under them so they don’t scratch the inside of the kayak. When to go: Rock Springs is less busy on weekday mornings. It’s quieter and less crowded before 10:30 a.m. The waterway is definitely busier on weekends. Where to show up: If you go on the guided tour with Get Up and Go Kayaking, the launch point is at King’s Landing (5722 Baptist Camp Road, Apopka). Tours run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost: The tour is $59 per person, and is limited to 10 people at a time. It averages between two and two-and-a-half hours and is suitable for beginner to intermediate levels. Other locations: The company also offers tours of Rainbow Springs, Winter Park, Crystal River, Jupiter and Tampa Bay. Guests choose their own adventures, from dolphin sightings in Key West to mangrove tunnels in Naples to a rare bioluminescence phenomenon in Merritt Island (pictured on the left).
For more information, visit getupandgokayaking.com or call 407-212-7306.
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THE BASICS FOR BETTA FISHKEEPING By Lana Van De Mark
s I recall it was ten years ago when I walked into my local PetSmart and bought my very first betta fish. I was an amateur who knew very little about raising fish and had already failed on several attempts to properly maintain an aquarium full of Tetras and Mollies. I wanted to give up on the aquatic pet hobby the day I found my last Tetra wrapped around the filter. It was too heartbreaking to see these splendid creatures continue to die off one after another and frustrating to see more of my money go down the tubes. When I walked down that betta aisle though, I was mesmerized by their beauty and eager to buy one. I realized then that if I was going to make this investment and wanted to keep them around a long time then I needed to educate myself about the basics of properly caring for a betta. Over the past ten years I have raised nearly two dozen bettas and found my niche in the betta marketplace. For all of you fish lovers out there who are seeking to adopt a betta for the very first time and want to be able to give it the best care possible, here is some helpful information to consider before you make that trip to the pet store. THE BETTA’S NATIVE HABITAT Southeast Asia has been the native home to the Betta Fish for over 150 years. They are tropical freshwater fish located in the shallow ponds, streams, ditches and rice paddies of Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Vietnam. Bettas are very territorial and known for their vibrant colors and aggressive behavior. In addition to their gills, bettas have lungs known as a labyrinth organ which gives them the ability to breathe air at the surface of the water. This unique organ is what sets them apart from other fish. The average life span of a betta is 2-4 years, but they can live even longer if they are properly taken care of. While named after an ancient Asian warrior tribe known as the Betta Tribe, they are also referred to as Siamese Fighting Fish in their native homeland of Siam (Thailand).
Male Crowntail Betta
For centuries, bettas have been bred and caught to fight each other in betta matches in their native homeland. This act is still performed in parts of Southeast Asia, which continues to spark concern among animal rights activists and is banned in the United States. Today bettas are now exported worldwide by Southeast Asian and U.S breeders primarily for their exotic beauty and as aquatic pets.
VARIOUS TYPES OF BETTA TAILS AND BETTA GENDER There are over 70 types of betta species out there that exist in the world, but these are the most common tail types you will find in pet stores. These fish typically grow to be about 3 inches. To learn more info and where to purchase visit tankarium.com. As a new Betta Keeper, it is important to be able to identify the differences between a male and female betta before purchasing one. Males have larger bodies, longer fins and more vibrant colors, where females have smaller bodies, shorter fins and a much duller appearance. To learn more visit aquariadise.com. Before you make your final decision on what type of betta you want, take a few moments to observe their behavior, appearance and water condition. Signs of a healthy betta include: • • • •
Swimming upright and in a full circle around their habitat Full finnage Normal colored body, scales intact Blackish/brown eyes
Signs of a sick betta include: • • • • • •
Lagging at the bottom of the tank Swimming sideways or upside down Torn fins Bulging eyes and stomach Stringy, white substance hanging off their tail White or red spots on the body and scales Common Betta Tail Types
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The quality of their water should also appear clean with no traces of food or debris floating around. Any debris or discoloration in their water raises the betta’s chances of getting sick, especially if they have been sitting on the store shelf in a tiny container for quite some time.
TIPS FOR PROPERLY MAINTAINING A BETTA AQUARIUM If you want to maintain a proper living environment for your betta, the following tips are highly recommended: • Avoid bowls or aquariums smaller than 2.5 gallons. Small living spaces don’t allow bettas with larger bodies and fins to extend their body out as naturally as they should when they swim and that can cause long-term stress and damage to their tails and body. • Use filtered water. Raw water contains chloramine which can be harmful to any fish. If you use tap you need to make sure you treat it first with anti-bacteria supplements and water conditioner.
Betta Gender Differences
• Maintain water temperatures between 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit. These temps are similar to the water conditions in their native habitat and what they need to thrive. Submersible heaters and thermometers are highly recommended for maintaining these temperatures. • Test water conditions daily. Maintain PH levels between 6.8-7.5 and check water conditions using aquarium testing strips. PH levels can be adjusted by treating your aquarium with PH regulators and digital monitors. • Keep your bettas separated. Males especially are more aggressive and territorial. Female bettas can be kept together if the aquarium is large enough, but it’s not 100% guaranteed. Aquarium dividers or betta aquariums are recommended. • Avoid aquarium décor that is sharp and toxic. Male bettas can easily get their fins caught up on sharp plants if there is very little space for them to swim in. Some rocks and driftwood contain metal toxins and can increase PH levels that are fatal to your fish. Check with an aquatic specialist online or in store beforehand if you’re uncertain. • Perform partial water changes weekly. For smaller aquariums perform a 50% water change, and for larger aquariums perform a 20%-30% water change weekly. For smaller aquariums that are not required to have a filter, perform a partial water change every few days. Be sure to let the new water warm up for at least an hour before placing your betta back in. • Keep your bettas housed with only compatible tankmates. These include Cory Catfish, Feeder Guppies, Zebra Snails, Neon/Ember Tetras, Kuhli Loaches, Ghost Shrimp and African Dwarf Frogs. Multiple fish should be housed in at least a 10-gallon aquarium. To learn more info and where to purchase visit tankarium.com.
Betta Tank Divider
Bettas are carnivores and require a well-balanced, high protein diet. Their diet should include high protein betta pellets, betta flakes, freeze-dried worms and brine shrimp. Before you buy your food, make sure you read the labels to make sure they are betta specific and contain at least 40 % protein. Protein should be listed as the first ingredient. Omega One is a popular brand for bettas as it contains the required amount of protein they need to maintain a healthy diet. To learn more info and where to purchase visit tankarium.com. • APRIL 2021
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CHICKS IN THE CITY - AND COUNTRY THE JOYS OF CHICKEN-KEEPING By Melanie Carden
hicken-keeping has long been on the rise—especially since the pandemic. With benefits as wide-ranging as food resiliency to companionship, folks in the suburbs and cities alike have taken a shine to keeping a flock. But what if you live in New York City or other densely populated hubs? New Yorkers rejoice—because chickens have always been legal to keep as pets. If you live elsewhere, check with your local Board of Health for rules, restrictions, and potential permit requirements. The Renegade Royals, Harry and Meghan, showed Oprah their California chicken coop, Archie’s Chick Inn, and surely jump-started interest in nurturing hens. Urban food creation has always been a part of the landscape—from the Victory Gardens of World War II to our modern-day community gardens and potted balcony tomatoes. If you give a cluck about good health and enjoy caring for animals, chicken-keeping is a viable option. In New York, it’s legal to keep hens as pets (but not for resale), according to NYC Health Code, Article 161.19. You do not need a permit. You cannot keep roosters, however (male chickens), or other fowl such as turkeys or geese. The good news is that hens (female chickens) don’t need a rooster to create and lay eggs (girl power!). So, if you have the time and inclination, fresh eggs could be as close as your back door. Before you run out and buy a flock of hens, be sure you’re prepared. You’ll need to learn how to care for and maintain your flock, invest in a coop and predator protection, and have an awareness of the caveats. If you live in a private neighborhood, you’ll need to check for special rules that may ban keeping-chickens. In other public neighborhoods, your neighbors will play a role in your relative success. In NYC and many other cities that allow chickens, there is a “nuisance” rule to be aware of. If your hens are too loud or crossing onto other people’s property (or the street)—or if your coop is not well-maintained and causing odor issues—neighbor complaints are taken very seriously by the city. Chat with your neighbors in advance, clean your coop properly, and be sure you have inexpensive containment fencing. Giving them some freebie eggs now and again goes a long way as well. Though the city takes neighbor complaints quite seriously, overall NYC is very chicken-friendly. In fact the city offers chicken-keeping classes on occasion—to help get you started. These are living creatures with specific dietary, shelter, and medical needs—don’t enter animal husbandry blind. A simple course will save you a lot of time, money, and anguish. Just as important is finding a veterinarian that can treat your hens—when the need arises. It is crucial to find a local vet that accepts hens as patients before you invest in a flock, coop, and supplies. Your learning curve will involve understanding the importance of maintaining a safe and healthy coop for your flock. Predators are a major challenge for those who keep chickens—in the suburbs and cities alike. Raccoons, opossum, and hawks are notorious for preying on our backyard feathered friends. You’ll need a coop that is fully contained, and has a secure door. Each night, you need to close-up the coop to protect the hens—and, again, open in the morning. Learning how and when to clean the coop, what type of food your hens need (hint: they need more than just fruit and veggie scraps), and how to ensure they have access to fresh water—even in winter—are essential. Understanding the hens’ dietary needs is not just good animal husbandry but also directly impact their egg production as well.
BUYING HENS You can’t go wrong with a recommendation from the queen herself. Martha Stewart often shares suggestions on sourcing hens from My Pet Chicken. You can also check with your local vet for sources or join a local chicken-keeping meet-up group. Info: My Pet Chicken.
Once you tackle the learning curve—which is easy, really—it’s time to get up to speed on the types of hens available—some produce more or less eggs, different colored eggs, and have behavior characteristics you’ll want to consider. This is usually covered in any beginner’s book or class, and Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds can also help. You’re Schooled & Prepared—Time To Buy Chickens And A Coop! Okay, you’ve read the books, taken a course, found a vet, selected the breed of hen you’d like. Now what? In your preparation, you’ve likely received recommendations for resources but here are a few tried and true to help round out your options. 26 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
CITY COOP Omlet is a hilarious name for a chicken coop company but their products are top-of-the-line. The best part is that they make it so darn easy. Their kits are perfect for city dwellers, include everything you need, and are very easy to set up. Their Eglu Cube is well-insulated, predator-resistant, and a breeze to clean. The wheeled design is a great way to move the coop, as needed. They offer upgrades such as hen swings and toys and larger enclosures. But their crowning gem is the automatic coop door, which closes and opens the coop door without you lifting a finger (a total bonus!). Info: Omlet.
COMMUNITY In addition to finding a local chicken-keeping meet-up group or club, you may also want to access ongoing and well-trusted resources such as Mother Earth News. Here you’ll find a treasure trove of articles and resources for living in tandem with Mother Nature. A great resource for chicken-keeping and gardening. Info: Mother Earth News.
CITY CHICKS A quick trip to the library or search on Amazon will yield plenty of book suggestions to help you in your chicken journey. This one is too good not to share, though. City Chicks (by Patricia L. Foreman) is written to help you really maximize the benefits of chickenkeeping “as garden helpers, compost creators, bio-recyclers, and local food suppliers.” Info: Amazon. •
WAG WORTHY NEW TECH FOR YOUR FURRY FRIEND By Emily Bissel
hough the pandemic has kept us humans masked-up and socially distanced from our friends and family, our pets are being spoiled living the life in Pawllywood! All this time at home means more bellyrubs for Fido, endless games of fetch in TOADFISH OUTFITTERS NON-TIPPING the backyard, and longer walks around the neighborhood - again and again. DOG BOWL - NO MORE CAT-ASTROPHES! “Bon-A-Pet-Treat” got Fido a little too excited? Mistakes happen, no need to terrier self up about it - Toadfish Outfitters new dog bowl features non-tipping technology in order to prevent that doggy mess! Simply suction it to any smooth surface and let Fido at it. These dog bowls are made from hygienic stainless steel and come with a lid for easy packing - even featuring double-walled Us humans being at home for months has been pawsibly the best for our construction to keep Fido’s food fresh. Howl you ever live purrfect pets - so you have to continue the puppy pampering and get your without this bowl! Info: toadfishoutfitters.com. hands (or paws) on new tech for your pet! Another day of quarantine has you bored, searching the internet for new things to keep yourself and your furry friends occupied. Your puppy has eaten through all its bones, broke the squeakers in all its toys, and left all its tennis balls looking like they have the worst bed-head you’ve ever seen. Fido is practically begging you for new things to have the oppawtunity to get its muddy little paws into.
Fido says forget those trips to the pet store for new squeaky toys and bones this list of high tech products will leave your pet saying “You’re rebarkable!”. Best of all, you don’t even have to leave your couch or take off those same pair of sweatpants you’ve worn every day for months to be the cats meow. From aesthetic doggy doors that give your pup the freedom to potty on demand, to health monitors to keep your pooch in ultimate shape, to nontipping bowls for your pup that gets too excited when you say “Bon-a-pettreat!”, this list of new pet tech is wag worthy!
AQUA LEASH - WATER FOR CUBOWL COPPER PET BOWLS LONG WALKS IN THE BARK! WHINING AND DINING WITH NO MESS! You need a new leash on life - and Aqua Leash is the perfect one for you. Don’t forget your Aqua Leash on your next walk with Fido; featuring a conveniently stored water bottle, waste bag hook, collapsible water bowl, discrete waste bag dispenser, and highly durable construction. Be-leash me I know, no one likes the bulky mess of carrying a bowl, water bottle, and leash on your walk, but with this leash Fido will be the most pup-ular dog in the park! Info: aqualeash.com.
Pardon my French, but the slime left in the doggy bowl is a-paw-lling. Don’t worry, CuBowl will have the corgkey to your heart with this unlacquered, thick copper bowl that takes your pets water from slimy to pristine. Bacteria, fungi, and viruses are destroyed leaving the water crystal clear which will have Fido saying fur-get about my old bowls! Got a messy pup? They have nonslip styles to ensure Fido isn’t sliding its food around the kitchen. Info: CuBowl.com.
MYQ PET PORTAL - PAWSITIVELY THE BEST DOGGY DOOR! Fido feeling down when you’re away? MyQ’s Pet Portal ensures that your pet feels less anxious and more fulfilled while you’re out. No more pet parent guilt, this dog door offers convenience, security, and safety all-in-one. Your furry family member can have the freedom to go pawty on its own and you can get daily reports on Fido’s comings and goings with customized alerts and personalized preferences. No more ruff days for you and your fur baby, Pet Portal will have you saying thanks fur everything! Info: myq.com.
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MOFLIN PET ROBOT - YOUR POOCH’S PAWDYGUARD!
WHISTLE GO EXPLORE - GET FIDO READY FOR THE PAWLYMPICS!
Fido been going through a rough pooch lately? Moflin Pet Robot will be Fido’s new best fur-end. An AI pet that possesses emotional capabilities that evolve like living pets; it’s warm soft fur, adorable sounds, and realistic movements will make you and your pup love it fur-ever. This cute pet is for when you need some love from a furry friend. You and Fido will become attached to Moflin like you would a living pet. You will be feeling so fur-tunate to have it in your life. Info: Kickstarter.com.
You closely monitor your health, why not Fido’s too? Whether Fido sneakily escaped or is lost, you can get notified of Fido’s exact whereabouts by email, text, or app. Whistle Go Explore features: real-time tracking, health monitoring, 24-hour timeline, fitness features, tele-vet, and a food-portion calculator. Now that’s furbulous! Catch health issues before they become problems, get breakdowns of how they spend their time, set fitness goals, and consult a veterinarian all-in-one. You’ll fall in love with Whistle Go Explore, fur real. Info: whistle.com.
PETNET SMART FEEDER - BON-A-PET-TREAT!
VARRAM PET FITNESS ROBOT - HAVE YOUR PET FELINE FIT!
Here’s your perfect op-paw-tunity to ensure your pet is properly nourished, the best nutrition is personalized! Petnet pawsitively gots your fur baby’s back and makes intelligent decisions when it comes to its food based on Fido’s data; managing feeding times, ensuring proper ingredients, controlling portion sizes, and delivering to your home. Let’s raise the woof to that! Away from home? No problem. With the PetNet app you can ensure Fido is fed, no matter where you are. Get peace of mind knowing your pet is eating exactly what it needs! Info: petnet.io.
Don’t have Fido feeling lonely when you’re gone - with Varram Fido will be having fun with a new best fur-end. Designed with vets and trainers, Varram’s Pet Fitness Robot features: treat reward, scheduling system, AI automatic driving, activity and health tracking, customized pet profile, and mental and health care. Fido will be saying I ruff you mom for getting Varram - get peace of mind that your pet is healthy and happy. It’s pawsitively too good to pass up! Info: varram.com.
THE LITTER ROBOT 3 - PURRFECT FOR THE BUSY CAT MOM!
CHEERBLE BOARD GAME - WHISKER AWAY WITH THIS GAME!
Breaking mews! This purrfect self-cleaning litter box allows you to remotely control it giving your cat the ideal litter box experience. The app gives you customized alerts on when the waste drawer needs your attention. It also features benefits such as, efficiency, reduced odor, safe sensor technology, an automatic night light, and sleep mode. You will have your cat feline fine! It also comes with a ramp, fence, waste drawer liners, and carbon filters. Purr-obably the best purchase you can make for your cat. Info: litter-robot.com.
No more coming home to scratched furniture! With Cheerble’s interactive board game for cats, your cat will have a place to use its natural instincts and work off its stress creating happy pawrents. It features a smart ball, scratch pad, and playboard - keeping your cat feline fit and engaged! This one doesn’t need any purr-suasion, your cat will keep its claw in shape, satisfy its instincts, and have the purrfect balance between exercise and nap. Your cat will love it fur-ever. Info: cheerble.com. •
EMBRACE yo ur WAVE AT THE BOARDING HOUSE IN CAPE MAY, NJ
Rustic and relaxed — yet decidedly modern — the Boarding House seamlessly weaves laidback vibes with luxury and comfort. Nestled in the heart of historic Cape May, NJ, with dog-friendly accommodations and eco-friendly amenities, the Boarding House is the perfect choice for your next warm-weather vacation. Breezy and fresh... Sun-drenched and seaside... Relaxed coastal living by the salt and sand... That’s the Cape May lifestyle.
That’s the Boarding House.
810 Lafayette Street, Cape May 609.884.4884 • boardinghousecapemay.com
TAILS OF KITTY FOSTERING VOLUNTEER TO SAVE LIVES By Monie Schulling
ostering animals is so rewarding, I have now been a kitten and cat foster for 10 years for many rescues and shelters! Yes, it’s hard to let them go after I have lovingly cared for them, and gotten them ready for adoption; but when I see them purrfectly content with their new family; I know letting them go to a great home was the right move for the kitty. I also keep in touch with many of my adopters and it brings a tear to my eye and a beat to my heart to see the kitty pawsitively purring in their new home. Fostering fits your lifestyle; as you accept new foster assignments when you have the room and time to devote to the animal. It’s a great way to see if making a long-term commitment to become a pet guardian works for you by fostering to adopt. Many fosters are students or military families that foster when they can without having to make a permanent commitment to being a cat guardian. 32 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
HOW LONG IS A FOSTER ASSIGNMENT?
Kittens are fostered until they are 8-10 weeks old and vetted for adoption. Adult cats take a little longer to find the perfect home. A rescue that has an adoption center, does events and social media will find purrfect homes for their kitties sooner; which then allows them to rescue more cats. Important to ask how the rescue is ensuring fast adoptions, if you are expected to attend events, how long you would be expected to foster an adult cat, and what happens if the cat doesn’t get adopted.
PANDEMIC OVERFLOW! FOSTERS NEEDED!
People are still not spaying or neutering their pets even with many free or low cost spay and neuter clinics. During the pandemic, shelters have been closed or limiting intakes. Rescues are full with shelter and rescued cats. Individuals have been surrendering or releasing their animals outside because a family member dies without a plan for their pet, vet care they cannot afford, or a change in their living situation. Rescues can only step up to help these animals by having fosters to care for them. Adoption fees rarely cover what the vetting costs to get an animal ready for adoption; especially if there are medical needs. Donations always needed. There are a million adoptable cats euthanized in U.S. shelters every year because of space or a treatable kitty cold. By fostering, you ARE saving lives.
WHAT DO I PROVIDE?
Love, hugs, shelter inside, transportation, security, socializing, food, water, litter, beds, toys, and a safe home free of toxic plants and toxic essential oils. Many rescues cover all supplies. It’s important you clarify what you are expected to provide. You will need a bathroom or an isolation room for the first two weeks to help them feel secure. Be sure your current kitties are up to date on vaccinations before fostering. You will be asked to take the cats for vet appointments. Find out where the rescue approved vet is and what the expectations are on timing. Kittens go to the vet every 3 weeks for vaccinations and then for a spay/neuter. It’s also important to ask for a list of contacts in case the kitty appears ill that you can call for advice and vet approval. What if a cat gets sick in the middle of the night? If you can’t reach someone, do you have approval to make medical and financial decisions for the kitty? Be clear about who pays for the vet care up front; you don’t want to get in a situation where the rescue doesn’t pay you back quickly or at all. A solid rescue will have approved vets with billing going directly to them. Look for a rescue or shelter that has a highly organized foster program; it will make your life easier and ensure the kitties get adopted fast. A respectable rescue or shelter will have a foster application, a virtual home check, a foster manual, and a foster agreement that outlines who provides supplies and medical approvals or expectations for vet care. All of this protects you and ensures you understand the expectations and agree.
WHERE DO I APPLY?
Check petfinder.com for a list of rescues in your zip code. Contact your local ASPCA, Best Friends, Humane Society or County shelter about fostering opportunities. Check out the rescue’s web site to apply. If you have an interest in saving the lives of cats and kittens, I hope that you will explore fostering this year; it’s the perfect time to get started! It’s an amazing experience to foster kittens and find them purrfect homes to call their own. • APRIL 2021
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PROTECTING THE PIGS
IRONWOOD PIG SANCTUARY MAKES A DIFFERENCE By Michael LaChance
here’s pot-bellied pigs a-plenty at this sanctuary in Arizona that’s dedicated to helping the little grunters live a safe, happy, and healthy life. On the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona, a sprawling stretch of land is home to a bevy of pigs, and the people who are helping them to live their best lives. The Ironwood Pig Sanctuary is located in Marana, and with over 600 pot-bellied pigs, they’re one of the largest pot-bellied pig sanctuaries in the U.S.
THE PLIGHT OF THE POT-BELLIED PIG
There’s nothing out of the ordinary about animal sanctuaries, but why did cofounders Mary Schanz and Ben Watkins decide to open this particular space? In the late ’90s, Mary saw an article in the local Tucson newspaper about a woman with a growing number of rescued pigs, in desperate need of help to care for them. Since she was active in the animal rights movement at the time and growing angrier about the way animals were being treated, it wasn’t long before she sprang into action. She tells PET LIFESTYLES, “My husband Ben and I decided we would try to help her. I felt this was an area I could actually make a difference. Ben was a retired engineer and I am a retired Medical Technologist with a love of animals. We got hooked on the pigs. We could see she was being overwhelmed and did not have the means to care for all of them, so in the fall of 2000, we purchased land to begin to build our own pot- belly pig sanctuary.” Things took off pretty quickly from there. Ben designed the facility and by June of 2001, they were beginning to welcome their first pigs. “In the beginning, we invested our own money to get the shelter up and running. Today we are totally funded by donations from our newsletter and sponsor program, a few grants, and a few bequests,” Mary says. 2,000 pigs have been saved at Ironwood over the years, currently there are about 625 pigs in the sanctuary, and several scattered across different foster homes. That’s a lot of pigs! Luckily, the sanctuary is on 27 acres of land, and they own another 100 acres as a buffer. 34 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
Kunekune Pigs Thumper and Faline
If you’re curious about why Ironwood Pig Sanctuary focuses on the pot-bellied pig, here’s a little information from Mary that may help you out. She explains that not only is the situation for these pigs pretty dire in the United States at the moment, it’s mostly the fault of a popular late ’90s fad: the teacup pig. It’s tempting to fall into the teacup pig trap — who doesn’t want a pocket-sized piglet running around the room? Since most pigs grow to be too big to keep indoors, the teacup trend was perfect for anyone who wanted a piglet but didn’t have the room to keep a full-sized pig. Unfortunately, as Mary explains, this ‘mini pig’ promise, which several breeders continue to propagate today, has always been a lie.
Ewok and Bambi
“There are probably hundreds of thousands if not millions of homeless pigs now because of overbreeding — and they have no safety net. Most animal control facilities and Humane Societies don’t take them, or pass them on to overcrowded rescues,” Mary tells PET LIFESTYLES. She also adds that pigs are prey animals, and breed at a very young age — males can be fertile as young as 60 days and females at 12 to 16 weeks. They need care, but there are few vets equipped or willing to take this on. And, since they’re ‘exotic’ pets, if you do find a vet willing to care for your pig, it’s most likely going to be too expensive for you to afford. Pigs aren’t always seen as domestic animals, and they may not be allowed to live everywhere. So, all those thousands of dollars you’re spending will be for naught if zoning laws don’t even allow you to keep them. “Ben and I have picked up hundreds of pigs over the years and 90% or so live in awful situations. The once adorable and loved pig, is now outside confined to some tiny pen with no enrichment and truly little or no attention. They are herd animals and really need the company of each other and most people only want one,” Mary adds. It doesn’t help that people don’t know what they’re getting into when they buy them, leading to too many abandoned pigs. If you must have a pig, Mary says instead of buying, “Adopt and do your homework, don’t buy them from breeder web sites.” At Ironwood Pig Sanctuary, not only are these poor pigs given a home, care, and any medical attention they need, you also have the option to visit and volunteer if you love pigs enough to want to spend time around them. You can also make a tax-free donation, sponsor a pig or add the sanctuary to your will to help them out financially. •
RESCUE STORIES Mary shares some rescue stories to lift our spirits and explain in detail how the sanctuary helps rescue pigs in need. Marsha & Mallow In February this year, the folks at Ironwood rushed to Coolidge, AZ to pick up a mom and her baby girl who were strays and had wandered onto a lady’s pasture. “The mom was attacked by a horse living there who was kicking and biting her. They were picked up and taken directly to the vet clinic where the mom was treated, she is thin, neglected, pregnant and now suffering from her wounds. But she and her baby are together in a warm shelter with plenty of pain meds for Mom and good food to eat every day. Baby Face “Baby Face arrived with her foster parents in Maricopa, AZ in a pretty dramatic way,” Mary tells PET LIFESTYLES. Her foster parent Grace got a call about a stray pig running loose at a construction site. “It happened to be on a scorching 112-degree day. In an unfinished house with no walls, it took putting plywood around one room to secure her. Thankfully, the water was on and we were able to cool her off and eventually load into a truck to take her to safety.”
Marsha & Mallow Baby Face
Baby Face made herself right at home in a pen next to pigs Oprah and Bojangles, but her struggle was not over yet. Six months later, she started to itch, allergies or environmental toxins were suspected. When medications did not work, they brought her to Ironwood. What made the difference? A lucky guess: Taking her off corn and wheat. That was not an easy task for a pig, since all pig food contains corn. Potatoes, cooked lentils, quinoa, beans, fruits, veggies, and eggs became her diet and now she’s greatly improved. In nearly 20 years of running the sanctuary, this is the first time pig food allergies have presented themselves. Thankfully, Ironwood’s team found a solution. To find out more, volunteer or donate to Ironwood Pig Sanctuary, visit ironwoodpigs.org.
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NEW SEASON, NEW CONCERNS FOR YOUR PET KEEP YOUR PET SAFE AND HEALTHY THIS SPRING AND SUMMER By Steve Whitney
pring is here! Time to get outside, clean up the yard, plant your garden, organize your garage, and most of all relax and enjoy the warmer weather. Just remember that as you and your pets spend more and more time outside, be aware of the environmental hazards that come with the change of season. CLEANING AND HOUSEHOLD DANGERS
Spring cleaning is not always easy—especially if you have pets. But did you know that some commonly used chemical cleaning agents are toxic to dogs and cats? In fact, cleansers that contain bleach, formaldehyde, isopropyl alcohol, and phenols are especially dangerous if ingested by animals. Fortunately, there are pet-safe alternatives for nearly every home cleaning use—from laundry detergents and stain removers to carpet and surface cleaners.
FLOWERS AND PLANTS
Nothing says spring like flowers, whether alive or cut these beautiful blooms can prove fatal to your furry friends. Lilies are extremely toxic to all pets and can be deadly when consumed by cats. All parts of the plant, including the pollen, flower, and leaves, are poisonous. If you must have lilies in the house, keep them well out of reach. The foxtail plant’s barbs embed and burrow themselves into your pet’s skin, they migrate to the lungs or other internal organs. Your pet may have to endure extensive surgery to survive. Avoid foxtails by keeping out of long grass. Keep your dog on a short leash while walking or hiking. Examine your pet’s fur, ears, feet, armpits, and groin daily after they have spent time outside (this goes for cats as well) to ensure that no loose foxtails have attached themselves.
Lilies are toxic to all pets and deadly to cats. Keep your pets away from these flowers at home, in your garden or on a hike. Don’t stop to pick them in the wild and carry home a bouquet, don’t forget their looks can kill.
Foxtails are a dangeous weed, their barbs burrow into your pet’s skin and can cause severe internal damage. Avoid these weeds by staying out of tall grass. Carefully comb your dog’s fur after a hike to be sure no foxtails remain.
Spring’s warmer weather and longer days signal the beginning of flea and tick season, time to start taking preventive measures. Fleas: The female flea will lay 30 - 50 eggs a day. These eggs can stay dormant for up to a year, waiting for the prime time to hatch. Fleas cause skin irritation and infection. They also potentially host tapeworms. Ticks: Host many diseases including potentially fatal Lyme disease. Look for them and remove them immediately after walks in wooded or grassy areas. Mosquitoes: Carry heartworm disease. While it’s important to keep your pets on pet prescription heartworm medicine and holistic flea and tick meds year round, it’s essential during the warmer months. Natural flea and tick spray from Sit Stay Forever may smell pleasant to us but it’s disruptive to pests. Your pet stays bug-free without toxic flea collars or chemical tick repellant. Don’t assume ticks are just found in the country, your dog can get a tick from a city park too.
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Luckily, you can keep your pet protected year-round with external pet safe parasite prevention products like Sit Stay Forever’s which is made with a unique blend of essential oils. Their scent may smell pleasant to us but it is highly disruptive to pests’ extremely sensitive scent receptors.
WILD ANIMALS AND RODENTS
As the weather warms hawks, foxes, rodents, and snakes come out of their winter hiding spots. Small cats and dogs should not be left outside alone unmonitored, even in urban areas, as you never know who’s in the sky or on the other side of the fence. Dogs carried off by hawks or coyotes is not unusual even in suburbs. Rodents breed all year long, their busiest reproductive cycle is in the spring and fall. Rodents spread parasites, salmonella as well as hantavirus (a serious lung virus that you or your pet can catch from exposure to rodent droppings, dust, and saliva). Rodenticides can eliminate these pests however unless you are using a pet safe choice, these poisons can be lethal to your dogs and cats. There are plenty of pet safe options available today, EarthKind has Stay Away options that will not harm your dog or cat.
Snake habitat creeps further north as the earth’s climate warms. Nearly every state hosts at least one species of venomous snake which can cause pain and serious harm to our pets if not immediately treated. Even if you don’t see the normal hiking trail as a native rattlesnake habitat, keep dogs on a short leash and by your side. Stay aware of your surroundings. Watch your step to avoid an accidental run in with a rattlesnake. They are more prevalent than you think.
Rattlesnake bites are painful and most likely fatal to you and your pet. These snakes can blend with the landscape and seemingly appear out of nowhere. Tread carefully and keep your dog by your side when hiking. Nature has an answer for everything, and that answer isn’t bringing harmful chemicals into our homes. EarthKind’s plant-based repellents including Stay Away® Rodent are made with a mix of essential oils and other powerful botanic ingredients providing a no-kill alternative repellent solution that helps preserve the ecosystem.
Be aware of how much time your pet is spending in the sun. Bring along sunscreen - and fresh water - for your dog. Realize prolonged sun exposure can be dangerous for Fido. If it’s hot for you, it’s even hotter for your pup.
DEHYDRATION AND UV OVER EXPOSURE
Sun, heat and exercise can bring about dehydration very quickly. Monitor your pet’s activity, always keep water and shade within close range. If your pet’s urine turns red or brown on a hot sunny day contact your vet immediately. Keep an eye out to make sure your pet has clean drinking water. Stagnant water sources like puddles, streams, and lakes may host viruses and bacteria that can lead to gastrointestinal upset or other serious health concerns. As the days get longer and the sun’s intensity increases so does the risk of overexposure to UV rays. Animals with white coats and pale skin around their noses and eyes are traditionally more susceptible to skin cancers. Invest in your pet’s health, bring pet safe sun protection along. Consult with your veterinarian before starting any pest control regime. Pet Poison Helpline is an animal poison control center available 24/7 to pet owners by calling (800) 213-6680. Petralyte delivers necessary nutrients and maximizes hydration for your dog. Packaged in a portable, easy-to-empty package, you’ll be able to stop and hydrate anywhere with a water bowl. Every purchase equals a serving for a pup in need.
Author’s note: Steve Whitney is a degreed environmentalist, a lifelong owner and trainer of horses, dogs, and cats, and the founder/owner of Sit. Stay. Forever. Safety First Pet Products. • APRIL 2021
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CARING FOR PETS THE NATURAL WAY MEET DR. JILL ELLIOT NYC’S HOLISTIC VET By Trisha Giramma
bout three years into her career as a veterinarian, Jill Elliot, DVM, (Dr. Jill) made a troubling observation. Clients were returning to her month after month with the same complaints. “For instance, a patient would come in with a urinary tract infection. I’d prescribe antibiotics, and it would clear up. Then a month later, it would be back again,” said Dr. Jill. “It was frustrating, so I started looking around to see what else I could do.” Dr. Jill had previously met Michele Yasson, DVM, who was a holistic vet practicing in New York City. She asked to volunteer in Dr. Yasson’s clinic one day a week and ended up staying for a year.
Dr. Jill began taking courses with Richard Pitcairn, DVM, PhD, a pioneer in homeopathic medicine for animals, and continued her studies at the Orion School of Homeopathy, in London, traveling there one weekend a month for five months.
“I became very interested in homeopathy because I saw many ailments get cured, and clients not coming back every month with the same problem,” she recalled. Seeing how homeopathy helped her own dog was the deciding factor.
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“He was having respiratory issues and terrible fears of thunderstorms,” said Dr. Jill. “And while on the homeopathic remedy for respiratory issues, he totally got over his fear of thunderstorms. So that piqued my interest. I said, ‘You’ve got to learn this.’”
She then enrolled at the Teleosis School of Homeopathy, in New York City, and completed a three-year course of study in homeopathy for people.
In her West Village practice, Dr. Jill uses both conventional and holistic medicine when treating her patients – sometimes separately and sometimes together. “Because sometimes you need both,” she said. “I’m very eclectic. I will use whatever works.” Some of the modalities she employs include Veterinary Osteopathic Manipulation (VOM), Low Level (Cold) Laser (LLLT), and homeopathic remedies. VOM is a healing technique that helps repair and reestablish healthy nervous systems for animals. It uses a handheld device, called an “Activator,” that corrects misalignments of discs and joints. The procedure is noninvasive and exerts only mild pressure that most animals seem to enjoy. The treatment is not just reserved for pets experiencing a debilitating condition but can enhance wellness and correct minor issues before they turn into major ones. “I recommend that people bring their pets in every year for VOM, beginning when they are kittens or puppies,” Dr. Jill said. “Often the birth process can be traumatic, and as the puppy squeezes through the birth canal its spine or joints can become misaligned.” LLLT is another non-invasive, pain-free technique that uses low-intensity laser therapy to treat a wide variety of conditions ranging from ear infections and open wounds to tendon injuries and degenerative disc disease. It uses deep-penetrating light to create a chemical reaction (photostimulation) that releases endorphins and stimulates healing in cells. It is referred to as a “cold” laser because the low levels of light do not heat the body’s tissues. “A lot of times, problems originate in the spinal column or the joints and can be treated with either cold laser or chiropractic,” said Dr. Jill. “I’ve had animals come in with spinal issues, and the owners could not afford the surgery recommended to fix it. I have clients come in and tell me they will have to put their dog down if I can’t help them, and I said, ‘I think I can help you,’ and in many cases, I did.” Homeopathic remedies utilize minuscule amounts of natural substances from plants, minerals, and animals to stimulate the healing process. The substances are diluted by water or alcohol and ingested via sugar pellets, liquid drops, and tablets. Homeopathic treatment with creams and gels are used topically. The philosophy behind homeopathy is “like cures like” — a substance that causes symptoms in a healthy person can be used in tiny doses to treat an ailment with similar symptoms. It was developed in the late 1700s in Germany. “Homeopathy the second most-used medical treatment in the world, except the U.S.,” said Dr. Jill. “Conventional medicine and holistic medicine are just different ways of looking at a problem.” She provided this example: A urinary tract infection is not just a condition; it is a symptom of a weakness in the urinary tract system that needs to be addressed. “Holistic medicine tries to address the weakness in the system rather than the symptoms it causes,” she said. “The approach not only improves chronic conditions, it improves lifelong wellness.”
HELPING YOUR PET HAVE A GOOD LIFE Dr. Jill said there are several things you can do to help your pet live its healthiest life. • Buy the best food you can afford. • Give them plenty of exercise. • Keep them at a healthy weight. • Be aware any changes in their behaviors and address them quickly. This could include changes to eating, drinking, peeing and pooping, interest in exercise and play, how they engage with you and others, unusual restlessness, panting. • Invest in pet insurance. • Don’t over-vaccinate. Dr. Jill can be contacted at nyholisticvet.com. • APRIL 2021
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CBD AND OUR PETS
RELEVANT QUESTIONS, HELPFUL ANSWERS By Samantha Smith
BD for Pets is booming! But with so many brands, come so many questions. What brands are safe to give our furry friends? What kind of products are offered? What are these products made of and how can they help my pet? Who are the people behind these brands? And what do they stand for? In this CBD product roundup, we take a look at CBD products based on outstanding research, proven to all contribute effectively to the health and wellness of our four-legged best friends. MARTHA STEWART Martha Stewart has been a pet owner for decades - dogs, certainly, but a host of other animals too. The experience taught her exactly what pets need to live long, healthy, and happy lives, which is why she teamed up with Dr. Bob Menardi, DVM, Director of Veterinary Technical and Educational Services at Canopy Animal Health, to create CBD products that are well-researched and proven effective for pets including Pet Soft-Baked Chews for calm in a delicious chicken and cranberry flavor; mobility in chicken and blueberry; and wellness in chicken, blueberry, and anise as well as chicken-flavored Pet Wellness Drops. Trust Martha to create CBD for our pets that looks great and tastes delicious. Info: marthastewart.com.
PAW-ABLE With help from a holistic doctor out of Chicago, Michigan natives, Jeremey Dybdal, CEO of BC Hemp Co, and Joel Mbungl, founder of their Paw-able product line, created meat-free CBD pet treats to help with digestive health and mobility as well as tinctures to alleviate anxiety, and pet balm to assist with dry, cracked, and inflamed paws. Paw-able’s holistic ingredients include organic pumpkin, anti-oxidantrich blueberries, hemp hearts, olive oil, and grain-free brown rice meal, all of which is locally sourced. Relief packages can be customized for each pup to pinpoint their ailment and create an effective CBD-based treatment to help. Info: paw-able.com.
ELLEVET SCIENCES Packed with CBD, CBDA, and CBDG, Ellevet’s schews, soft gels, and oils have been scientifically proven to help with stress, mobility, osteoarthritis, and skin irritation. Founder Amanda Howland explains that Ellevet’s full-spectrum hemp products that have been proven effective in clinical trials, additional care is taken to assure that the recommended dosage is keyed to the metabolic rate of the animal. Ellevet is currently conducting studies with the goal of developing products for parrots, monkeys, and horses. Info: ellevetsciences.com. 40 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
RASCALS BETTER BUDDY Crappy’s Feel Better Hemp Co. has launched their own pet product line, Rascal’s Better Buddy, with the release of its Easy Buddy (calming) and Run Around, (mobility) tablets. According to CEO and Founder, Chris Denicola, Rascal’s Better Buddy mobility tablets are a mix of CBD and CBN to help with pain and joint function without making a dog or cat tired, while their calming tablets, a mix of CBD & CBG, ease the mind without tranquilizing. Going forward, the company hopes to raise funds to work with Colorado State University to create a new tablet that would assist in treating seizures. Info: crappysfeelbetter.com.
HEIRLOOM PETS With their water-soluble one-of-a-kind, calming road sticks, everyday maintenance food toppers, and bone broth that helps with arthritis and blood flow; science, innovation, bioavailability, onset time, and ease of distribution of their products are what Heirloom Pets, as a company, holds dear. President of Heirloom Pets, Jason Lysak, and his business partner, Brandi DeLancy, explain, “with our water-soluble product you get over 90% of the ingested dose in 7 to 8 minutes.” Heirloom’s bone broth currently contains water, hemp, beef, and sweet potato. Moving forward, all Heirloom products will exclusively contain meat and hemp. Plans to create road trip sticks for dogs under 25 pounds and new bone broth recipes are in the works. Info: heirloompets.com.
AUSTIN AND KAT Austin and Kat: All-Natural CBD Remedies, created in partnership with Treehouse Biotech, assists with general wellness as well as specific needs. The company produces low-dose tinctures for everyday health, made of hemp seed oil, blended with Alaskan salmon oil and Co Q-10, to boost heart health, and black pepper extract which allows for better absorption of CBD. According to company founder and CEO, Kat Donatello, this particular blend allows pet parents to administer less medicine with a longer effect. The extra strength oils also contain organic MCT oil from coconut to aid neurological conditions, promote energy, and help fight infection. Additionally, Austin and Kat makes a hip and joint tincture, anxiety and agility tinctures, and biscuits made from valerian root, lavender, and chamomile, in addition to CBD. Bursting with antioxidants their soft chews contain curcumin, a spice that assists with inflammation. Chief Science Officer, Matthew Heck joined Austin and Kat from The Mayo Clinic, to dedicate himself to applying his research to the healthy lifespans of pets. Info: austinandkat.com.
PET RELEAF Pet Releaf is the first pet company to ever have the USDA, NASC, and the US Hemp Authority seal on their pet treats, topicals, oils, and capsules. Targeting many different ailments for pets, their CBD supplements are USDA certified and feature organic ingredients such as honey, bananas, pea flour, and vitamin E oil. Never filled with gelatin or any preservatives, Pet Releaf supplements are meant to change what healthy means for pets. A team of exceptional veterinarians, specializing in different areas including microbial physiology, infectious diseases, integrative science, holistic therapies, chiropractic, and ozone therapy help Pet Releaf bridge the gap between traditional medicine and alternative medicine as together they help educate the world on the benefits of CBD promoting good health through all the years of our pet’s lives. Info: petreleaf.com. • APRIL 2021
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CANINE FUN IN THE SUN TIPS FOR A PET-SAFE SUMMER By Dr. Brett Shorenstein, DVM
ummer is made for dogs… and for the people who love them. Whether you’re off on a daytrip to a Dog Beach or just a stroll through the city to get a Pooch-ini at Shake Shack, here are a few tips to help keep your pet protected: • During the hottest days, you’ll want to exercise your pet when it’s cooler in the morning or evening. You should also know the warning signs of heat exhaustion: excessive panting or drooling, anxious behavior, unsteadiness, and abnormal gum and tongue color. This can quickly advance to heat stroke with vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and collapse. If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, you’ll need to call a vet right away.
Don’t underestimate the sun on an afternoon hike. It can affect your dog more than you might realize.
• Asphalt can be harsh on your pet’s paws, and it doesn’t take extreme temperatures to turn sidewalks and streets into frying pans. An easy way to check is to put your palm where you plan to walk. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your pet. Not every dog can handle warmer weather. And flat-faced dogs like pugs and bulldogs have an especally hard time. Watch your pup carefully when spending time outdoors.
• You may have heard that sunscreen is a good idea for light-colored or shorthaired pets, and for protecting ears and noses. Well, yes and…noses. Sunscreens offer some protection, but watch for zinc oxide and salicylates that your pet can ingest when they lick themselves. Better to limit their time in the direct sun by finding shady spots at the dog run or toting your own shade with a large umbrella. • Escaping the concrete jungle for a hike at Inwood Hill or in the Hudson Valley? Even if your pet is on a flea and tick preventative, you’ll want to check for these little dudes after being outdoors. Our region of the country is high risk for tickborne illness, including Lyme disease— and ticks can easily jump from pets to people.
• Not to be a buzzkill if your dog loves to play in the water, but later in the summer, blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) is a danger, as it can kill pets. Never let your pet drink from a lake, pond, or river, and make sure you can identify an algae bloom: foamy, scummy, thick-looking water with greenish or brownish-red cells suspended in the water.
The beach is great for a fun romp with your faithful companion. But stick to early or late hours, stay out of the midday sun. Hot sand can burn tender paws.
Your favorite vet is a great resource for info about keeping your pet safe in summer, so don’t hesitate to give him or her a call if you have questions. Then go leash up, head out, and have some fun! To learn more about sun protection for your pet, reach out to Dr. Shorenstein at Abington Square Veterinary Clinic, abingdonsquarevet.com. • 42 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
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