Vol. 4 #1 | January 2021
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5 PET SPOTLIGHT 5 10 11 12 14 15 16
Jackson Galaxy: The Ultimate Cat Daddy A Skateboarder and Her Collie Top Olympic Athlete and Her Dog An Advocate for Human and Animal Equality A Beauty Heavyweight and His Mastiff A TikTok Star And Her Gem of A Dog Hallmark Channel Favorite’s Family Protector
PET FASHION 18 Valentine Gifts That Share The Love 20 Cat Beds: Magnificent and Minimalist 22 Dog Beds: The Best for Any Age
PET LIFESTYLES 24 26 28 30
Dog Sledding on Mirror Lake Celebirdies Chris and Cass Tie The Knot Monthly Love for Our Feline Friends Keeping Your Cat Healthy and Fit
PET RESCUE 34 The Fight to Protect Greyhounds 36 How Humans Put Owls at Risk
PET WELLNESS 38 Winter’s Environmental Hazards and Your Pet 40 Animals Helping Kids With Autism 42 Caring for Your Dog In Cold and Flu Season
THE NAME YOU TRUST FOR YOUR CAT JACKSONGALAXY.COM TOYS TREATS LITTER CLEANERS ADVICE CONSULTATIONS
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Welcome all to our Winter 2021 issue, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” Charles Dickens shared this perception of life sometime ago but it seems ironically apropos now. The best of times brought emptied shelters and a skyrocketing demand for pet adoptions in 2020. But this past year was the worst of times as we lost so many lives and so many pets lost their beloved guardians. FELINE FRIEND We wanted this issue to speak then to how one voice can make a difference for many, how one person advocating for animals can bring others along and create change, find hope, and build a better future for our four-legged friends. So we chose Jackson Galaxy, the Cat Daddy like no other, for our cover. It is not just his advocacy for felines that’s admired but when it comes to cat behavior and wellness, he’s top dog. Though he’s gone virtual now with Cat Camp and his other programs offering more help to feline communities than one could ever imagine, he’s with us on TV, counseling parents on Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell. Remote though he may be, Jackson’s kindness and knowledge are even more accessible. FUR BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE With winter upon us, indeed bomb cyclones and nearblizzards have already arrived, it’s time to consider how we care for our furry friends when conditions are not optimal. Our most trusted vet, Dr. Brett Shorenstein, and our contributing environmentalist, Steve Whitney, share their advice on keeping Fido and Fifi warm and healthy. PUPPY LOVE There’s no doubt about it, pets do want to have fun! So we’re revealing treats and treasures they’ll cherish for Valentine’s Day. And since pet parents want to have fun too, we’re sharing A Musher’s Love, the story of a sledder and his dogs. STARSTRUCK Speaking of love, we sat down with stars we adore and got the scoop on their furry friends. In this issue, you’ll hear from Orange is The New Black’s Selenis Leyva an advocate for human and animal. Here’s to 2021…may the best of times prevail for all the animals on our planet.
Vol. 4 #1 | January 2021 President / Publisher BILL MASON Editor in Chief Lori Zelenko
Marketing Coordinator Judith Moskowitz
Senior Editor Melanie Carden Michael La Chance Samuel Hinke Monie Schulling
Photography Geoff Tischman
Editors at Large Alison Minton Beth Stern Steve Whitney 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 Cover Photo by Dan Komoda
4 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
CATCHING UP WITH THE CAT DADDY By Monie Schulling
s a cat guardian since childhood, a cat rescuer and foster; I have followed and been educated by Jackson Galaxy since I started watching him host his long running hit show “My Cat From Hell” on Animal Planet TV. When PET LIFESTYLES asked me catch up with the ultimate Cat Daddy to find out what he’s been up to lately and what will be new for the coming year, I couldn’t stop purring, no meows of discontent here. As a longtime admirer of his work in animal welfare, I welcomed the opportunity to interview him and discover that there is so much more to the efforts Jackson Galaxy does in aiding cats and their owners than anyone knows! One person can make a difference; and Jackson Galaxy clearly has! I am proud to be in his orbit. Affectionately known as the “Cat Daddy,” Jackson Galaxy is a celebrity in the cat world. He is known and loved by a devoted universe of cat guardians who admire his advocacy for felines and depend on his guidance when it comes to cat behavior and wellness. Fans mob him at book signings and live events where he shares his perspective on raising felines are mobbed. His TV show has phenomenal ratings. So it’s no wonder that reading, watching, and listening to him for some time now - long before we got up close and personal with this interview - has increased not only my awareness of cat behavior and my role in it; but benefited thousands of other kitty guardians. I often refer my new cat adopters to his website to learn about introducing a new kitty to the household and understanding cat behavior. His memoir, “Cat Daddy,” is a loving story about his life-changing relationship with a cat named Benny. He also co-wrote with Kate Benjamin from Hauspanther.com, two New York Times bestselling books on cat behavior; “Catify to Satisfy” and “Catification”. I highly suggest reading his books to increase your knowledge of cat behavior and better understand your role as an animal guardian. His insights and advice offer so much, it won’t take long before you are fully educated, allowing your fur children to have engaged, enriched lives with you and empowering you to benefit from an enhanced relationship with them.
PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 5
BECOMING THE CAT DADDY
Like many successful people, it was a “slow road to success” and his “career evolved over time,” he reveals. “Working in the shelter in Boulder, Colorado for 10 years, I did every job except run it. I was helping to keep cats out of the shelter, get them off to the right start, and keeping cats in their home by educating their guardians. I found it easy to find the problem and help. It was a passion and it took 10 years to make a calculated leap to go out on my own and make consultations a business.” As cat guardians surrendered cats because of behavioral or financial issues, Jackson worked with thousands of cats and guardians to lower the euthanasia rate at his shelter by finding financial resources, and going to the pet guardian’s homes to improve the human/cat relationship. He was able to educate cat owners by teaching his unique approach and philosophy known as “Cat Mojo,” which helps cat guardians develop the skills to help their feline friends build confidence and thrive within their environment, and fosters a better human/cat relationship.
CAT BEHAVIOR: THE ISSUES
“The top two behavioral issues that will cause an owner to give up and surrender or rehome their cat are litterbox issues - peeing outside the box and aggression between cats or cats and humans,” Jackson explains. Through his work as a private consultant, he learned to “look for the underlying issues, and by and large take the long view.” What has he learned from being one on one with cats and their owners? “Awareness and education has resulted in a greater sense of investment in our animals than ever before. Cats are not furniture. 85% of Americans consider the animal in their lives to be family. That’s a big deal. We have largely pushed past the world of disposable animals.” He wants us to realize that “although the world is changing, last year in the US, one million cats were euthanized in the shelters. That’s still a significant number but it’s a big improvement from the 1960s when over 10 million were euthanized.”
COVID-19: THE IMPACT
Having fostered more extensively this year when shelters closed, I asked Jackson how the pandemic impacted rescues and fosters. Acknowledging that the community came together in a crisis, he knows the road ahead is not easy. “The spread of covid-19 resulted in shelters closed to intakes and adoptions. This put a heavy burden on rescues and fosters to pick up the slack. However, it was so gratifying to see so many who work with rescues and shelters partner like never before to take in the animals, get them treated and adopted. Now the challenge is to continue this effort going forward.”
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STRAY CATS: MILLIONS AT LARGE
Every city in the world has community (stray) cats. Los Angeles County, where Jackson lives, has one million stray cats and hundreds of volunteers who Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) or rehome the cats. Jackson is exceptionally active in helping to control the stray cat population. With Covid preventing training of rescuers, he admits “it has been painful not to be out with them. The number one message in TNR is to recognize burnout or you will lose everything you brought to the table. The next step in trapping is helping to recruit a new generation of trappers.” What he feels is critical here to grasp, is the paradigm shift from simply possession of a cat (i.e. “ownership) to perceiving a cat (or genuinely, any pet) as a family member. With this shift has come an awareness that we need to take care of our community cats too, to survive and be healthy they need love, attention and respect.” Jackson is particularly proud of his recent “My Cat From Hell” episode featuring TNR with community cats in Philadelphia. He recalls, “streets were closed due to an Eagles victory parade; it was sleeting and took months and months to plan.” Though he may be a celebrity among cat guardians and have hordes of fans, he is humble, caring, cats are his love and his life. It was a herculean effort to get this shoot done and even if he had what you could call a starring role, he gives all the credit to his team and the volunteers who were able to get the TNR done. The most touching scene, which he says he will never forget, was the “ten-year-old girl at the end opening up the trap for the cat to go back to the colony and realizing that she is the next generation of TNR, and TNR will go on. She understood that community cats don’t always go home to a family; they often just go back to their colony to live out their lives.” Jackson says his goal for TNR is “to educate forever.”
Working in the shelter in Boulder, Colorado for 10 years, I did every job except run it. I was helping to keep cats out of the shelter, get them off to the right start, and keeping cats in their home by educating their guardians.
PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 7
THE JACKSON GALAXY PROJECT
Jackson started the Jackson Galaxy Project in 2015. Today it is a Signature Program of GreaterGood.org, which seeks to better the lives of at-risk animals by transforming the places where they live and helping the people who care for them. He has started several programs that are having a lasting impact: Cat Pawsitive, focused on giving shelters and rescue workers the tools to train cats in their care so that they can find their “Mojo” and get adopted. Safe Haven which retrofits domestic violence shelters so victims can bring their pets with them. Worry over leaving a beloved pet behind has been one reason victims didn’t want to leave an abusive situations. Another program that makes a difference is Operation Homeward Bound, which transports dogs and cats to shelters around the country that have room to find them new homes; thus, saving them from euthanasia.
EVERYONE CAN FOSTER
Jackson is a big advocate of fostering, which gives him a lot of hope. This year there have been more first-time fosters applying than ever before. He encourages all to contact your local rescue group or animal shelter to find out more about fostering. Having a furry four-legged creature to care for - even short term - is wonderful for your health and surely, you’ll find as I do - it’s incredibly rewarding!
There was a time when choosing vegan options was scorned, now Jackson shares, “it is so much easier to go vegan now. Finding plantbased food such as the Impossible Burger has become so much more accessible.” An advocate of veganism, Jackson personally adheres to a plant-based diet. He is committed to this, he says, “100% for the animals and the environment,” that goes without saying, but as an added benefit, he is happy to report that this commitment increasingly has had a positive effect on his health. He is pleased to see that “every restaurant is offering more vegan options!” from his point of view, a long overdue and very welcome change.
WHAT IS JACKSON GALAXY UP TO IN 2021?
“To get back out there!” His live tour will be back on, his Cat Camp the largest free (presently virtual) cat convention which invites all to learn everything you need to know about having a happy cat at every stage of their life, will be virtual again in the spring then live again. And he will continue with the Jackson Galaxy Project by working with the Petco Foundation on a new endeavor. With the pent up energy of someone who thrives on being able to be one-on-one with cats and their guardians, he’s frustrated with the isolation required by the pandemic. He confesses, “being a life-long performer and not being able to be out with people and cats has been so hard.” Jackson’s message for all animal guardians is, “there are many, many things to be happy about in animal welfare, there is tremendous progress - in perception, in the numbers, in the advocacy we’re seeing - but,” he emphatically reminds us, “the animals have not stopped coming in to shelters.” He cautions us, “stay aware and vigilant, take what lessons we have learned and gained as people who love animals and multiply our efforts by educating 1 or 10 or 100,000 people who will continue to move us forward.” It may take a village but just one individual, like Jackson Galaxy, can bring thousands - and in his case, millions - on board. Visit jacksongalaxy.com for information, Holistic Solutions and Interactive Toys. •
8 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
Innovation for your cat & style for you
CHAMPION SKATEBOARDER MINNA STRESS AND HER COLLIE By Kunwar Ishan Sharma
t the age of 14 years old, Minna Stess has taken the skateboarding world by storm. With her sights set on the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, her international recognition is at a steady increase. One might assume that a prodigy would remain at the center of attention in the Stess household. However, as Minna explains, there is only one “queen” in her house, and it’s her 14-yearold senior collie, Tallulah. In 2007, after Minna was born the year before, Tallulah became a Stess family member. While Minna has vague memories of their earliest interactions, she loves looking at infant photos of her crawling with and on top of her new dog. As Minna grew older and began her skateboarding journey, the family’s affinity for the sport influenced the name of their collie. Minna claims, “my mom thought our dog’s nose looked like a ‘bank’ ramp, which we would skate on. There was this actress named Tallulah Bankhead, so that’s how she made the connection and picked that name.” When we asked Minna if Tallulah skates, she explains, “Tallulah is more of a fan. Sometimes when I’m skating in our backyard park, she’ll walk down the stairs and just lay in the middle of it.” When it comes to other activities, Minna says, “Before the coronavirus hit, we loved going to the beach. Now, she spends a lot of time sleeping or playing in our front yard.” Minna couldn’t help but laugh as she adds, “One of her favorite things to do at home is walk between our legs so we can scratch her butt. We call it ‘collie croquet.’”
With school, training, and the pressure of competing, Minna’s thankful to have Tallulah by her side. “She’s been there my entire life. She gives me reassurance that everything is normal and chill. She’s super loving and always makes me laugh.” These hilarious moments include Tallulah jumping into a moss-covered lake under the assumption that she was jumping on grass. When she came out of the lake slightly green and soaked, the family erupted in laughter.
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While Minna and Tallulah have immense amounts of fun, it all depends on Tallulah’s mood. As Minna claims, “Tallulah’s the queen of the house. She ignores us all the time and does whatever she wants. She’s social with people, but only when she wants to be.” However, it’s this attitude that makes their intimate moments even more special. Minna explains, “For the first time the other day, Tallulah actually slept in my bed with me. In 14 years, that was a first for us, and it was so adorable.” To keep up with Minna’s journey to the Olympics and see pictures of Tallulah, follow them on Instagram: @ minnastess and @tallulahthecollie. •
STEEPLECHASE AND SNUGGLES OLYMPIC ATHLETE COLLEEN QUIGLEY AND HER DOG PIE By Kunwar Ishan Sharma
magine this. You’re a nationally awarded athlete who is currently training for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. You’ve put on your workout clothes and start preparing for an intense day of training. Then, as you begin stretching, a furry little friend scurries into the room. She starts licking your face, jumping on top of you, and bumping her butt into your body. You try to remain focused, but eventually burst into laughter and give your cuddly companion a big hug. Welcome to a day in the life of Olympic steeplechase runner Colleen Quigley and her three-year-old Bernese mountain dog, Pie. While Pie has become a fixture in Colleen’s training days, this dynamic is a new normal for both of them. Colleen explains that “Pie and my boyfriend, Kevin, would normally be in California while I’m either racing or training at a high altitude camp. I think I only spent 119 nights at home last year, so I’m away from Pie a lot. However, COVID has turned 2020 into a year of spending more time together as a family.” What does spending time together mean for them? Firstly, Colleen now has an energetic and adorable exercise partner. “We could be going on a run or hike, and there are times where branches have fallen down in front of us. Before I can do anything, Pie will just hurdle it clean. She also loves water, and she’s an awesome swimmer, surprisingly.” Given that hurdles and water jumps are components of Colleen’s steeplechase events, the only thing keeping Pie from competing is finding a jersey in her size. When they are not doing physical activities, Collen explains, “I love having snuggle parties with Pie. As soon as I lay down on my bed, she pops up right next to me.” This affection from Pie extends to others, as well. Colleen remarks, “She’s very loving and friendly. She wants to meet everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a person, a dog, a cat, or even a squirrel, Pie wants to meet you. I love seeing people smile when they see Pie, especially if they looked stressed out or serious.” With the adverse circumstances of 2020 and the pressure of the upcoming Olympics, Colleen has many reasons to feel stressed out, too. Fortunately, Pie has helped to counter this stress with a fresh perspective. Colleen explains, “Pie doesn’t care that coronavirus ruined 2020, she’s just happy to have us around. It makes you realize that the things you stress out about might not be as important as you think. She’s shown us that life is great and simple, and she’s helped us keep that positive mentality. Of course, I’ve got goals that I’ve pushed myself to achieve, and I want to win a medal, but with Pie, nothing else matters.” If you would like to destress with hilarious and heartwarming pictures of this loving family, you can follow Pie and Colleen on Instagram: @myfavoritepie and @steeple_squigs. • JANUARY 2021
PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 11
ADVOCATE FOR EQUALITY HUMAN AND ANIMAL
THE WORD FROM ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK’S SELENIS LEYVA By Rhea Dhanbhoora
e thinks he’s a cat, she thinks she’s a dog. He’s Zeus, a ShihTzu-Maltese, she’s a tuxedo cat aptly named Oreo, and they’re Selenis Leyva’s beloved fur babies. The “Orange is the New Black” and “A Diary of A Future President” star speaks to PET LIFESTYLES about animals, advocacy, and her book, “My Sister: How One Sibling’s Transition Changed Us Both.” She’s in the middle of a busy day, but Selenis is still more than happy to talk to us as length about her pets. She’s about to receive the Human Rights Campaign’s “Ally For Equality Award,” she’s been on the silver screen, in films, in off-Broadway hits and garnered numerous accolades along the way. But for all her laurels, interviewing her is like slipping into easy conversation, an engaging discourse about animals and activism.
BUILDING A FAMILY S elenis has t wo f ur b abi e s: O re o, an adorable tuxedo cat, and Zeus, a “ridiculously handsome” ShihTzu-Maltese. Oreo’s heartwarming story starts seven years ago in New York City, where Selenis’ daughter noticed a litter of kittens outside their apartment that they then began to feed regularly. Determined to help them, Selenis got a TNR (Trap Neuter & Release) certification. But the story takes a slightly tragic turn when the litter began to shrink. They didn’t know what happened, although Selenis mentions they may have seen one little accident down the road. When she noticed that Oreo was alone, she contacted the TNR specialist in charge of the area, borrowed a trap and managed to bring her home before winter set in. As a rescue, Oreo took time to adjust to her new surroundings. “It took two months before she let us touch her,” Selenis reveals. But, with enough patience and love, Selenis and her daughter managed to make Oreo so comfortable that she now sleeps with them, lets them carry her and is “the sweetest cat.” It wasn’t long before Oreo got a playmate. Three months after they brought Oreo in, they met a couple at PETCO with a basket of dogs. “We ended up meeting them a few hours later in a parking lot and got Zeus, the only boy in the litter,” she laughs. Because he’d been taken from his mother too young, Selenis had to wait awhile to get his shots (“He looked like a cotton ball!”). But Oreo loved her canine buddy from day one. “They’re inseparable,” Selenis shares. Ask if she plans to add to the family and she answers in the affirmative, adding that her only trepidation is Oreo and Zeus are so attached to her, she’s unsure how a new addition will affect them. “If it were up to me, I would have a farm with every animal under the sun. That’s my retirement dream,” she reveals. 12 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
ANIMALS ON SET While the two fur babies aren’t happy when she is away, Selenis makes sure they never spend a day alone. And, during the pandemic, they all spent a lot more time together. They’ve noticed she’s back at work, so they are getting clingier, waiting for her in their beds by the door. The two have a special bedtime routine where they get a dental treat— which they love so much they “go to the cabinet, sit there and look at me. You can tell that they’re going, ‘This is what we do, Mommy, don’t forget,’” she explains. She’s currently filming in California, where all her babies are with her. “When people ask me how many kids I have, I say ‘Well, I have three. Two of them are fur babies. One is a human!’,” she reveals, not entirely joking. They’re also her emotional support—a sentiment that, as she says, “anyone who gets how special animals are will understand.” “I swear, it’s like I gave birth to them,” she laughs, adding that if not for the pandemic, Zeus would be on set like he was for “Orange is The New Black”, a very dog-friendly show. “Every single person had dogs on the set, the dogs had T-shirts that said, ‘Orange is the New Black’ and there were parties specifically for them,” she adds.
ADVOCACY AND ANIMAL WELFARE Her passion for animals is unfeigned, so it’s no surprise she’s also a strong advocate for animal rights. She uses her platform to spread awareness about North Shore Animal League of America. The worldrenowned rescue and adoption organization—a pioneer in the no-kill movement—also holds the kitten bowl, that “was like, a room full of kittens. Delicious,” Selenis laughs. When it comes to animal welfare, Selenis believes rescuing is key, and encourages people to rescue before they buy. “If you go into a shelter, there’s no way you’ll come out not thinking of a couple of the animals,” she wants all to realize.
A STORY WORTH TELLING The actress and activist is also co-author of “My Sister: How One Sibling’s Transition Changed Us Both.” It’s a powerful, moving book, as impactful a read as it is enjoyable, and Selenis expounds on its message, saying, “When people start having conversations, when they start exploring something that they may not have a lot of knowledge about, it changes their perspective. So I’m hoping our book changes someone’s outlook on what it is to be a transgender person and what it is to be gay and what it is to be different. It’s a book for any human being who wants to grow and be more accepting of others.” Unfortunately, it was released the week everything went into lockdown. Still, she says, “It’s good to know that no matter what, our story, Marizol’s story, is out there, and it’s [in English and Spanish] available everywhere.” While not as many people will have heard about it yet because of the pandemic, she thinks there will be a resurgence that helps bring in a larger audience. She’s grateful to be back shooting season two of “Diary of a Future President,” releasing in 2021. She does miss personal interactions, and dinners after work with her united cast, but has hope for us all in the New Year, with the promising Covid vaccine and a new administration set to start work. Meanwhile, she’ll be as busy as ever: working, advocating, and spending time with her children, her daughter and her two fur babies. • JANUARY 2021
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A BEAUTY HEAVYWEIGHT AND HIS MASTIFF VINCE SPINNATO AND SAVANNAH By Michael LaChance
ou could call Vince Spinnato a heavyweight in the beauty arena. He’s been a winner in the industry for more than 25 years with a host of acclaimed product launches to his name. He’s also an activist, working with Wells of Life—to fund the digging of wells in Uganda to help bring clean water to outlying villages—and the Wounded Warrior project connecting injured veterans with trained therapy dogs. His beloved English Mastiff, Savannah, happens to be one such dog. His upcoming book, “My Pursuit of Beauty: A Cosmetic Chemist Reveals the Glitz, The Glam, and The Batsh*t Crazy”, will be out in January, with a documentary called “Skin Deep: Formulating A Legacy” following close on its heels. From the age of eight, Vince was beauty-biz obsessed, concocting homespun fragrances in his sister’s Easy Bake Oven—“pretending I was a chemist,” he says, chuckling. But by fifteen, he had created his own fragrance bottle, as well as a company name and logo—both of which he uses to this day. Now an accomplished cosmetic chemist and perfumer, Vince develops everything from fine fragrances to hair and skin-care products for A-list celebrities and doctors alike. He’s even developed numerous lines of pet-care and grooming products for dogs, cats, and horses! And when it comes to his own pet, a three-and-a-half year-old English Mastiff named Savannah, he’s not afraid to pamper her. From full pedicures to weekly baths and Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermès collars, Savannah is no stranger to the finer side of life. “She has nicer stuff than me,” Vince says, with a laugh. Savannah is also a dedicated service dog in the Wounded Warrior program. Fully trained and donning her special service vest, she pays regular visits to members of the armed forces wounded in the line of duty. Despite being an honorary member of the Marine Corps though, her training is strictly in providing comfort to our wounded warriors. Weighing nearly two-hundred pounds, Savannah is no lap dog— yet surprisingly, she travels everywhere with Vince. She’s his constant companion, and in fact, a genuine therapeutic presence in his life. Vince suffers from Trichotillomania, a widespread, yet largely unrecognized psychological condition involving obsessive-compulsive hair-pulling. In his struggle to find ways to cope with this insufficiently-understood disorder, Vince has found that what helps him the most is, in fact, Savannah. Having her around greatly alleviates the tension he feels from the condition, and beyond the calming effect of her presence and the emotional relief he feels from their bond, he’s found that the actual process of petting her directly quells his compulsion. Luckily, Savannah is the ideal candidate; Mastiffs are known for being calm and docile creatures, affectionate dogs who live for affection.
Savannah and Vince
Savannah and Vince are inseparable, and so the shift to a more homebound way of life hasn’t changed how much face-time they have with one another. Speaking of faces, Savannah is so well-trained, that with mere facial expressions, Vince can get her to obey a number of commands. English Mastiffs are a highly intelligent breed, he shares, “I think sometimes looking at her, that she might be doing algebra in her head.” Vince has had four English Mastiffs in his life—Sable, Falon, Alexis, and, of course, Savannah—all of them girls, and all of them related. Using a southwest Missouri-based breeder, Jaime Berno from Mastiff Madness, he’s chosen each of his beloved canines, from his first dog, Sable’s, family-line. Vince tells PET LIFESTYLES that loving Mastiffs can be an emotional roller-coaster. Their life-expectancy is among the shortest of any dog breed, and they’re often beset with a number of health issues. Sadly, none of Vince’s dogs have lived long past the age of six to date. But despite all the pain and loss, he maintains “a healthy respect for the cycle of life;” for Vince, six good years with a dog he loves is an immeasurable investment. • 14 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
TIKTOK STAR EMMA NORTON AND HER GEM OF A DOG, RUBY By Rhea Dhanbhoora
ne has 5 million TikTok followers, and the other is a dog who purrs like a cat. Meet Emma and Ruby, the unstoppable duo taking social media by storm this year. At just 11, Emma Norton’s Halloween costume included a self-created makeup skull look. So, it’s no surprise the TikTok star now showcases special-effects makeup on her platform. She also dances, acts, sings, and is developing her own YouTube channel — all with her Golden Retriever, Ruby, by her side. Funnily enough, she started with soccer, not social media. Her dad coached her when she was little, and she was even part of a competitive team. Though she committed herself to the performing arts after a disheartening experience with another coach, she still watches hockey and soccer, particularly the women’s national soccer team. “I respect their social activism and admire how well they use their platform to make a statement for human rights,” she says. Involved in activism herself, Emma promotes organizations like Charity Water and Brought to Reality. The Trevor Project is another cause close to her heart, and she hopes the new administration will reverse recent damage to wildlife and the environment. And, she may have been too young to vote in 2020, but “found ways to promote voting (and the policies of the Biden/Harris ticket).” Emma tells PET LIFESTYLES about her childhood with pets. “I’m told my older sister asked for a dog — instead, she got me!” she says. Her first furry friend, Rosebud (Rosie), arrived when she was just three. Almost immediately, Emma started asking for a new puppy. Then, “In 2015, Ruby arrived with a giant red bow on her collar!” Their meeting at the Denver airport was unforgettable, as was the time Rosie and Ruby spent together (a little over a year) until Rosie passed. Amid the holidays, she’s nostalgic since “Receiving Ruby as a holiday gift was such a memorable experience.” And when the holidays approach, she always thinks of adding to the family. “In the next 1-2 years, it’ll be time to take action and get a playmate for Ruby,” she says. Ruby’s current playmates include Winston, a large male Golden retriever who loves to wrestle with Ruby, and a funny singing lab named Finn, who “comes over for frequent visits and tries to steal Ruby’s bones and dog toys!” Of course, like many of us, she’s been able to be with Ruby consistently during lockdown. This sad circumstance has had one good outcome — more pet adoptions. “I smile every time I learn about how pet owners are adopting and fostering pets at a higher rate,” she says. As for her and Ruby, “Spending more time with Ruby has become one of the most positive aspects of my life. Whenever she sees my suitcase, she runs to the door in hopes of going with me. She goes bonkers when I come home – which makes me very happy.” Ruby may be a good dog but she was quite a naughty puppy. What did she get up to? We hear her crimes included sneaking underneath the back porch so Emma had to crawl on her stomach to rescue her, and chewing holes through drywall. But, all is forgiven as this pup is the ultimate dog-kitty. She is indeed one of a kind, as Emma says, “she purrs like a cat when she’s happy or enjoying her scratches. The sound is a cross between snoring and a pig grunting!” Part of their routine includes roughhousing and walking on a trail to a view of the Rocky Mountains. Emma and Ruby also just shot some pictures exclusively for PET LIFESTYLES, which Emma says was a blast. Ruby is recuperating from an ACL surgery, and we hope she’s doing okay! As for future plans? Emma wants to continue her activism. It is her goal - and the start of her life’s work - to help install robust guidelines to prevent animal cruelty and product testing, and stop puppy mills. She wants us to understand that where our beloved pets are concerned, she is truly an activist on every level. She confides, “I am a big believer in the role of dogs in enhancing the lives of senior citizens and people with disabilities.” Meanwhile, Emma and her family will be volunteering [safely] to help animals - and people who genuinely care for them, past or present. Emma encourages everyone who cares for the future of our communities to do the same. Her message: Help those who cannot help themselves, twolegged or four-legged. “Delivering a meal or finding the smallest way to volunteer could change a person’s - or a pet’s - day or even their life,” she adds a final note to encourage us all to think beyond ourselves and our immediate animal families. Follow Emma on TikTok @emmanortss. •
Emma & Ruby ©Cooper Bittman
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NIKKI DELOACH AND HER FAMILY PROTECTOR, WINDSOR By Crystal C. Long
ne of Hallmark Channel’s leading actresses, Nikki DeLoach’s life changed when she opened her heart to her now three-year old British Lab named Windsor. However, it was quite a struggle at the beginning of their lifelong friendship – DeLoach got Windsor when she was pregnant with her second child. Being pregnant and already having a three-year-old running around, now adding a puppy to the mix, made things, well, challenging, to say the least. “I really ended up having to take care of two babies and a ‘three-nager’ that year.” The Hallmark star reveals to Pet Lifestyles Magazine, “But, now we have this incredible love muffin of a pup named Windsor. I couldn’t imagine life without him. He is named Windsor because my husband is obsessed with all things British.” Labradors are known to be exceptional family dogs. British Labs are good-natured, smart and eager to please, and tend to be calmer compared to their American counterparts. And Windsor exhibits the classic traits of a British Labrador – being the perfect guardian for DeLoach and her family, especially for her youngest son, Bennett Christopher Goodell. “My favorite thing about him is how amazing he is with my two boys. He is so incredibly protective of them. If they get too far ahead on their scooters or too close to the ocean water, he gets very anxious and wants to go after them.”
Nikki Windsor & Baby Bennett ©Inda Reid at Images by Inda
Young Bennett has had a rough life – and he’s only three years old. Bennett was born with multiple congenital heart defects. As a result, he has had three surgeries in two years. Throughout this time, Windsor, being the incredible loving pup that he is, never left Bennett’s side. As DeLoach tells us, “He (Bennett) would get very sick between surgeries because his immune system was so compromised. Windsor knew before we did when he would be especially challenged. He would cling to him just before Bennett would spike a fever, and wouldn’t leave his side the entire time he was ill. Windsor is one amazing dog.” Indeed, Windsor has become an integral part of DeLoach’s family – and they are grateful. Family outings always include their furry family member. Naturally family walks including Windsor are a priority but so is swimming, a sport at which Windsor excels. This handsome British Lab is also an intrepid road warrior, accompanying the family on long road trips when DeLoach has to film far away from home. “This year, we learned that Windsor was a great traveler. We drove approximately 7,500 miles together. Windsor was a champ! So, I think my new favorite thing to do with him is travel...” Endless love describes the affection this family has for Windsor, and this handsome pup is eating it up. He is affectionately nicknamed by DeLoach “a Beverly Hills dog.” Why? Because Windsor loves the good life. His luxe musts: “A giant dog bed with soft pillows and other posh things.” Apparently this pooch grooves on the pampering, we’re told he sleeps in every morning. Says DeLoach,”he is way more fancy than I am.” DeLoach is a passionate philanthropist. She is a spokeswoman for The Alzheimer’s Association and serves on the Board of Trustees. She is also a spokeswoman for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Both organizations are very close to her heart; DeLoach can’t express enough her gratitude and love for CHLA, where the amazing doctors and nurses saved young Bennett’s life, “He had his first open heart surgery at five days old at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. His second surgery was at 1 year old and his third was last July.” With such a busy life, DeLoach make sure every day to take the time to indulge Windsor and shower him with love. “My boys decided to dress Windsor up in a superhero costume and have a ceremony for him. They gave him the title, ‘Windsor the Ultimate Super Dog.’ He got tons of treats and a new chew toy.” Surely that made his day! Windsor & His Boys ©Courtesy of Nikki DeLoach
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We all need a superhero in our lives and the DeLoach Family is stratospherically grateful for “Windsor the Ultimate Super Dog.” In fact, they wish EVERY FAMILY could have a dog whose mission in life was to love and protect them, just like Windsor, their British Lab! • JANUARY 2021
HAVE A HEART GIFTS THAT SHARE THE LOVE By Melanie Carden
ove is sweetest when shared. Whether it’s through mindful “giving-back” purchases from companies such as Found My Animal (NYC) or by splurging on an extra bag of affordable treats from Bocce Bakery to gift a friend or donate to a dog shelter—let’s make this a warmhearted holiday. If your pup is your number one Valentine, it’s time to woo-the-woof with more amour and gifties galore. We all know to skip the chocolate, but we can be generous with cozy sweaters, darling stuffies, and all the hues of pink and red… so read ahead! MATERNAL LOVE SASHAY WITH OMBRÉ NEVER TOO UNI-CORNY Floofs like to flaunt their love, and there is no love greater than that for their favorite gal—MOM! A “great get” for your dog—or a friend’s. This sweet t-shirt lets dogs of all sizes express their devotion with a dash of sugar-coated panache. Info: Chewy
It’s Valentine’s Day—now get on out there and strut with your mutt—in style. This pink ombré leash makes our hearts skip a beat. Better yet, this NYC-based business shares proceeds from their sales to support animal welfare and rescue organizations. In fact, they devote a whole section of their website dedicated to helping facilitate pet adoptions. Info: Found My Animal
The folks at Leaps & Bounds have somehow managed to combine all the sweetest joys: unicorns, llamas, and the colors of cottoncandy! This magnificent Llama-Corn is no flimsy whimsy, though. Part of their Ruffest & Tuffest line of toys, this beauty has a robust design of 2-layer ultra-strong oxfordweave fabric bound by durable, Kevlar yarn and reinforced seams. Info: Petco
SHARING IS CARING
Extravagant toys for good girls and boys. P.L.A.Y offers a line of toys 100% dedicated to love. From stuffed hearts to a bouquet of flowers, their Puppy Love Collection makes woofer-woo’ing easy. This champagne plush is a great way to include your dog in the holiday with a taste of the good life. Looking to share the love? Easy! Buy the collection as a set (3 plush toys) and gift to others. Info: P.L.A.Y.
For the floof who’s not aloof; for the Casanova of the dog park! Bond & Co. offers this adorable hoodie that will pretty much guarantee a full calendar of puppy play dates. Choose from this cutie or the pink version that says “Too Glam to Give a Damn.” Info: Petco
Bocce Bakery baked up these special Valentine’s Day treats—Red Velvet (peanut butter, cream cheese, and beets) and Candy Heart (apples, blueberries, and cranberries). Does it get any cuter? These treats are perfect for sharing. Buy in bulk and pass along the extra love to friends, dog walkers, or your local shelter. We could all use a little more amour! Info: Bocce Bakery
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KING OF KUDDLE-VILLE
TWINNING WITH YOUR BESTIE
Noble creatures naturally ascend to their birthright as the kings and queens of their kingdom (i.e. our homes). Modern Beast offers these wool felt crowns in grey, blue, green, purple, yellow, and pink. Perfect for any royal affair. And their profit—100% of it—goes to their featured animal welfare organizations. Info: Modern Beast
Marvin the Moose is his name, and just like cupid, melting hearts is his mission. This sentimental plush is the perfect way to sharethe-care with your devoted pup. Marvin’s squeaker will have your dog zany with the zoomies in a display of pure Valentine’s Day bliss. Info: Chewy
Wild One makes twinning with your dog feel like a red carpet moment. These leopard print sweaters were literally designed for sharing the love (of fashion) with your posh pooch. Let the whole world know who your BFF (bestest fabulous floof) is. It’s time to take a walk on the wild side. Info: Sir Dogwood
THE ADVENTURE OF LOVE
HEARTS A FLUTTER
THE GREATEST LOVE
Handmade in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, this Rope Hounds collar (and matching leash) are ready for any adventure be it love, a walk in the park, or a romp in the snow. Made from rock climbing rope— these products are tough and colorful. A new vibrant pink-purple colorway has just launched—and it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day. Sharing the love is as easy— grab a splitter leash and walk two doggos! Info: Rope Hounds
Great big pink hearts for the win! The savvy folks at Sir Dogwood brought this sweetness surplus over from London—and thank goodness! Our hearts are a flutter. If you’re looking to add a “hearty” holiday sweater into the woofer’s wardrobe, this is the one. Add a little V. Day magic and then go ahead and keep in the rotation all year long. Info: Sir Dogwood
Adopt, adopt, adopt! Oh…and where this awesome sweatshirt to celebrate the love of your forever friend! Every day feels like Valentine’s Day when you save a dog in need. My Pet Prints will customize this sweatshirt with your dog’s photo! Info: My Pet Prints •
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MAGNIFICENT MINAMALIST KITTY BEDS! By Monie Schulling
omfort and Design for your favorite feline! The interior design we choose for our homes is very important to us, and now we can choose furniture and accessories for our kitty that complements our home environment. Several stunning lines of modern and minimalistic cat furniture and beds have been developed that will blend in and balance your living space while giving your pampered Kitty Prince or Princess the comfort and secluded sleeping atmosphere they need to feel secure and help enrich their sense of well-being.
PURPLE PET BED
The fantastic Purple mattress company has now designed Purple Pet Beds! Per Purple, they are Paws-itively comfortable and just what your pampered puss deserves; a good day and night’s sleep! With one inch of the Purple Grid™ patented Smart-Comfort grid your kitty will rest easy because the bed has been engineered to adapt to your cat’s body for deep pressure relief and support. Great for your older feline too! The stretchy, washable cover is durable, odor-neutralizing, moisture-resistant, antimicrobial, easy to clean, and great looking in your home. The bed comes in three sizes for both cats and dogs, with a removable washable cover. Free shipping in the contiguous USA. Available at purple.com
Meyou-Paris has a new line of accessories and furniture for cats in the image of our companions: delicate and elegant. Inspired by Scandinavian design, all products are French-made from allnatural materials. The products are designed to offer maximum comfort to your kitty while beautifully complimenting your interior design. The BALL is a soft sphere that comes in several colors which is both a comfortable cocoon and a scratching post. Your kitties will be in, around and on top of the Ball! The BALL is placed on an elegant support combining wood or metal and comes in 7 colors with a choice of frame design and color. The company makes three styles of pet beds and many other products for your chic kitty. Available at meyou-paris.com 20 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
FHASSO CAT BED
Fhasso has modern designed beds for cats so your kitty can have the ultimate chic sanctuary! This is contemporary accent piece is also serving as your cat’s favorite place to hide and nap. The luxury organic bamboo covered cat beds are handmade with an outer shell for protection and a soft, plush cushion inside. You pick the inside color choice of white or grey. The covered shell is environmentally-friendly and sustainable. All materials are safe, durable and long lasting for your pet, family and our planet. The machine washable cushion cover zips off for easy maintenance. Available at etsy.com/shop/Fhasso
From Tuft + Paw, comes a wonderful Choco Tent. Created using natural materials, this tent is meant to bring nature inside for your cat. Its smooth cone shape and domed wooden base offer a comfortable and contemporary hide-a-way for cats. A luxurious pillow insert supports your cat’s body and contours to their shape. The tent and wood disc are beautifully crafted and exquisitely designed to look kitty chic in any room. The tent comes in five colors to coordinate with your palette. Wooden rods support this tent and make it both solid and durable for use. Tuft + Paw makes beautiful products for cats. Every product is environmentally friendly and approved by cat behaviorists. The company supports animal rescue efforts in any way they can. Tent and pillow cover are washable. Available at tuftandpaw.com
DOUBLE LOVECAT TOWER
Square Paws hand-crafted and unique cat furniture continues to be fun and fanciful with products your fur child will love. The new LoveCat Tower comes in a single or double tower and can be customized. They developed the first model as a fundraiser to help the people of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and they have been making them ever since. The Double LoveCat Tower is really nice for multi-cat households because it offers multiple places for cats to scratch and two luxurious heart-shaped beds that can each hold two cats, so it’s big enough for four cats if they are comfy and cozy with each other! Cats love to be elevated and it’s great for their well-being. Check out the fantastic designs on their web site or have them design one for your environment! Available at squarepaws.com
LOVELY CAVES CAT BED
The Lovely Caves Minimalist Style Cat Bed is designed to blend seamlessly with your Mid-Century Modern or retro environment. Your kitty will love sleeping in the soft, warm chenille and velvet fabric. The neutral cat bed is made with durable hardware, natural wood and tough sisal material so it’s sturdy enough to stand up to long-term use while looking absolutely paw-fect in your home. Your favorite feline will purr with content being part of your environment while having a sophisticated place to chill. Available at chewy.com • JANUARY 2021
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SERIOUS SNOOZE DECISIONS BEST BEDS FOR FIDO AND FIFI By Melanie Carden
hopping for pet beds is more than choosing a color that matches your décor. You need to consider size, sleeping style, age, and health needs of your pet. Do they “mushroom cap” into a small ball when they sleep or are they spread out like they’re trying to win a game of Twister? Knowing that, and then measuring your feline or canine, will go a long way in helping you to choose just the right size. Do you have one furry friend—or will there be a fluffy pile of pups and cats sharing sleeping quarters? You may want a stately wood-frame for home and, perhaps, a soft-sided one for travel. These are all weighty decisions, but we’ve done most of the work for you! COZY CAVE TUCKED AWAY FOR A PUPPY STAY Dogs and cats alike often love to cozy-up in their own little quiet nook. The Frisco igloo-style bed is the perfect match for the furry friend that likes a cozy hiding spot. No early morning sunshine in the eyes in this snuggle hut! Info: Chewy
Editors are often very efficient, so it’s no surprise we love this murphy bed-style sleeper! This sleek design is perfect for apartments and smaller living spaces. It’s also the perfect gift for family members who may puppy-sit for long weekends—functional but ready for the grand-pup to visit at the drop of a milk bone. Info: Pet Pro Supply Company
Older dogs who are prone to fatigue or arthritis will find sweet relief in this supportive memory foam bed from P.L.A.Y. With its water-resistant liner, it’s ready for any accidents along the way. And, trust us, dogs of all ages are likely to be leaping for joy when it’s nap time in this super-comfy beauty. With filling made from 100% post-consumer certified-safe recycled plastic bottles, whether you choose grey, brown, or black…you’ll be GREEN! Info: P.L.A.Y.
Obviously, your floof needs a pouf! Designed for both cats and dogs, the pouf is a win for besties looking to sink in and cuddle up. It’s like a fuzzy hug for your pup. It adds a soft, demur décor element to any space—with the added bonus of spoiling the napneeds of your little prince or princess. Info: Chewy
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NATIONAL PARK POOCHES
For the four-legged best friend who loves to adventure in our nation’s national parks—or just chases squirrels on the town green, Pendleton offers this line of Kuddlers. Each print is an homage to a national park—“Acadia”is our favorite, shown here in striking black. These beds feature a non-pill polar fleece, overstuffed with recycled, high-loft MemoryFiber™ polyester fill. It offers bolster sides with a zippered, removable cover and it is machine washable. Info: Pendleton
This K & H Brand orthopedic bolster bed is offered in a velvety fabric featuring a cute, subtle paw print pattern. Its elbow-noodle bolstered shape is just purr-fect for cats…and dogs who need a little extra support. Available in soft green as well as eggplant, it’s a big win in the affordable dog bed category. Info: Chewy
IN OR OUT: NO DOUBT!
Snug as a bug in a self-warming rug—Scruff ’s Thermal Dog Bed is self-warming! This thermal “champion of cozy” features a foam layer backed with reflective foil that’s sandwiched between quilted polyester fibers and the bed’s main fill. This layer actually reflects body heat back to your furry friend, while quilted hollow fiber beneath the bed’s fleece cover further insulates by holding the warm air. How great is that?! Info: Chewy
The Reddy Olive Indoor/Outdoor Dog Bed is an ideal hangout for your pup built to withstand the elements so the two of you can watch a movie or enjoy the great outdoors together. Whether you’re chillin’ on your balcony or bonding at a campsite, this bed doubles as both an ultra-comfy sanctuary and durable on-the-go snooze zone. Info: Petco
SLUMBER PARTY! Maybe you’ve got more than one dog (lucky you!) or maybe your dog likes to host slumber parties. New Age has got the cool-factor covered with this extraordinary bunk bed. Cats and dogs don’t mind sharing here—but they gotta have enough spunk to call dibs on the top bunk. Info: Pet Pro Supply Company •
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A MUSHER’S LOVE DOGSLEDDING ON LAKE MIRROR By Melanie Carden
ohn Houghton’s voice cracks—so wrought with pain over the loss of his dog, Allison. All dogs are special but Alison— one of John’s 21 Alaskan Huskies—was an extraordinary point dog, and one of the key members of John’s Adirondack Mountains dog sledding team. In a conversation of exuberant rapid-fire stories, there comes a stillness when chatting about Allison. Sled dogs are incredibly enthusiastic—always ready to go-go-go with vim and vigor. Allison was, according to John, in a league of her own—even among the legends of the sport. She battled cancer with that same sled dog stamina, but passed away in her sleep. Hearing John—so devastated— mourn the loss of this special girl—was a raw and powerful glimpse into the bond between musher and dog. When they are itty-bitty, “pup-pup-pup!” is the call that gets John’s dogs running to his side. As they develop their own personalities and John gets to know them, they’re given names. Allison was named after John’s trusted veterinarian. After an exceptionally laborious labor, Allison came into the world by way of C-section and the skilled hands of John’s long-term vet and her devoted team. So appreciative of their care and dedication, John named all the pups in that litter after members of the extended veterinary team. 24 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
Heading out for an adventure and have a hunch that the weather could turn for the worse? Reach for Ruffwear’s most technical soft shell layer – the Cloud Chaser. Keeps water out and lets Fido feel free!
Allison was one of John’s twenty-or-so Huskies. He knows each one inside and out. He knows that if the temperature is 20-below zero, they’re fine—but at 30-degrees above zero, they might get too hot and need to really stay hydrated. Houghton’s team’s bloodline reaches back to the Reddington Line. That might not mean much to you and me, but in the dogsledding world, well—it’s a big deal. The Reddington Line is tied to the very founders of the Alaskan Iditarod. John Houghton knows the specific dietary nutrition needs of his dogs—and how the percentages of protein and fat need to change seasonally. He may go through 20 pounds of food a day in the summer—but come winter, that volume doubles. In short, John’s dogs are exceptional examples of the breed’s love of winter and the sport of dog sledding. They are bound together—this team of musher and dogs—not by a sporty harness— but by John’s limitless love for them. I’ve seen this love just once before— when my husband and I went on a dogsledding tour in Montana. A dog-guardian all my life, I was certain I know what “a love of dogs” looks like—until then. When I saw the level of dedication and respect between the musher and his team, I was floored. The dogs were so loud with enthusiasm, it echoed through the forest, and they were leaping with a joy that—even as a writer—I have a tough time describing. Our guide, the musher, got them harnessed and ready—a tough job as the dogs jumped with anticipation and licked his face. My husband and I took turns in the basket—the small sleigh you ride in—while the other mushed. Speeding across the snow—watching the dogs run in tandem with such exuberance— was one of the most memorable winter adventures I’ve ever experienced. But you don’t have to go all the way to Montana or Alaska for such a thrill. John is the owner of Thunder Mountain Dog Sled Tours, and operates rides on Lake Mirror (Lake Placid, NY). Though pandemic circumstances change from week-to-week, John is open and excited for the winter season. He’s in touch with the mayor, who’s been very supportive, and all covid-precautions are in place. If you’re looking for a great outdoor activity this winter, John and his team of sled dogs could be the adventure you need. Rides are $20 per person and, yes, you can pet the dogs! If you can’t make it to the Placid Lake region, you can still have some wintertime fun with your dog. The chances are though, that if your dog does not come from royal Alaskan Husky bloodlines , it will need additional warmth for those long afternoons of snowman-making and sledding in the park. Ruffwear (Performance Dog Gear | Ruffwear) makes exceptional outdoor wear for city and country dogs who enjoy snow days. • JANUARY 2021
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A CELEBIRDY WEDDING CHRIS AND CASS TIE THE KNOT By Chris Minton
airytales truly do come true, especially on social media. The pandemic has been hard on everyone, pets too. Just like many humans my career came to a screeching halt in mid-March when we entered lockdown in New York. I had a big job on Saturday Night Live in early March and then my human and I headed north to spend the pandemic with my Grandma. I love hanging with Grandma, but as an animal entertainer I also love to perform and I wanted to find a way to bring my special talents to the world. At the advice of a friend who reps celebrity humans, my mom started a TikTok account for me (@christhecockatoo) and pretty soon I was shaking my moneymaker—and all the straws and props I could get my feet around – in videos and posting them to the app. I expected everyone would love to watch me dance, but I didn’t expect to meet the cockatoo woman of my dreams on TikTok. 26 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
Congratulations! ©Geoff Tischman
Chris in his tuxedo by Avian Fashions
Cass in her custom gown by www.dafashion.com
Attendees: 1. Jameel, Bride’s Flock; 2. Jimmy, Wing Man; 3. Lava, Bride’s Flock; 4. Mr. Max, Grand Birdie of Ceremonies; 5. Rin the flower girl; 6. Rosy, Wing Man; 7. Sammy, Best Bird; 8. Starbuck, Bird of Honor; 9. Nemo, Wing Man; 10. Agador, Bride’s Flock.
One day when my mom and I were watching TikTok videos there she was, a vision in white feathers, swinging from a chandelier! I knew instantly she was the cockatoo for me. Her name is Cass (@ cassthestinkychicken) and she is a beautiful umbrella cockatoo, just like me. Our moms got in touch and Cass and I began our cybercourtship. Pretty soon I proposed with a beautiful rainbow colored heart shaped ring and Cass accepted. Just like human couples we had a lot of wedding planning to do. We thought we would have a low key, intimate virtual wedding because of COVID and because Cass lives in Missouri and I live in New York. But when our social media bird friends saw that we were getting married they all wanted to be part of the festivities. Cass and I started to document every aspect of the wedding planning including the proposal, picking out the flowers (it took willpower not to eat them), the dessert tasting (yes, vegan ice cream & sorbet), the gown and tux fittings (Cass’ mom made her beautiful gown), and choosing our wedding party (birds only, of course). We wanted all of our interested bird friends to be guests, but we picked the bird of honor, best bird, bride’s flock and wing men out of a hat (okay a bowl). The cockatoo MC was a You Tube star named Mr. Max. And, thanks to Pet Lifestyles, we had a human celebrity bestow a wedding blessing on us on the big day: Tony Award-winning animal trainer Bill Berloni gave us a lovely blessing we will cherish forever. After the wedding, Cass and I flew the coop for an exotic whirlwind virtual honeymoon. For the moment, Cass and I will be living with our respective moms, because building a luxury nest is expensive, even though I’m doing most of the wood chipping myself. Now that I have a wife to support, I’m working harder than ever. I am pleased to share that I do have two jobs in addition to my acting and modeling roles. I’m an official content creator on TikTok and I’m an influencer for the new pet app, Purrch Pets (www.purrchpets.com).
THE CELEBIRDY WEDDING GIFT REGISTRY For Chris and Cass, The Cockatoos
Cass and I are fortunate to live in private homes and have plenty of toys to play with, but not all parrots are so lucky. In lieu of wedding gifts for us, we ask that anyone interested purchase a toy for a parrot living in a bird rescue. We are partnering with Birdie Box Bird Toys (birdieboxbirdtoys. com) to do that. Here is the link to donate a toy to a bird in need: birdieboxbirdtoys.com/rescues-sanctuaries.html Even though Cass and I do enjoy the good life - yes, it includes lots of toys - we know we are blessed to live in happy homes with moms who take good care of us. We decided that in lieu of wedding gifts for ourselves we would suggest that anyone interested donate a toy in need to a bird in a rescue. If you would like to help a bird please purchase a bird toy from Birdie Box Bird Toys (see inset above for the link) and Birdie Box will send your gift directly to a bird rescue in honor of our wedding. I hope everyone enjoys our wedding photos here and videos on petlifestylesmagazine.com. You can follow us @christhecockatoo and @cassthestinkychicken on Instagram and Tik Tok. • JANUARY 2021
PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 27
MONTHLY LOVE AND FUN FOR YOUR KITTIES! By Monie Schulling
et’s face it; we have become closer than ever to our kitties during the pandemic! They give us love, kneading and cuddles when we need it and they become essential to our wellbeing. Spending more time with your kitties this year has cemented the bond you share. They entertained us with their antics especially when playing with us; they photobombed our Zoom calls and became our co-worker! The least we can do for these supportive fur buddies is to keep engaging them with new toys. I don’t know about you, but now every time I enter the kitchen my kitties think, “Oh Boy! Treat Time!“ I’ve got some happy, well fed kitties now with all this at home time and now with a monthly fix of new high-quality treats and toys, I’ve discovered the perfect way to keep them active and healthy. Many of you have adopted new kitties or fostered this year. Playing with toys, teaching cats to hunt, chase and capture toys or training with treats is the perfect way to bond with them, train them and have fun! Cats are very intelligent and they love the stimulation of the hunt with their wand toys.
SHARE THE LOVE It’s time we give our kitties some love back with a monthly or bi-monthly delivery of their favorite toys and treats! Cat Subscription boxes are the purrfect answer. Cats lose interest in their toys, catnip smell fades over time but fresh new toys stimulate their senses! Subscription boxes are carefully curated, toys are unique and all food or treats are high-quality. All the boxes we reviewed were a really good value and you don’t have to shop multiple sites for the right toy; these are cat-tested! We found five boxes that we and the kitties love and when they arrived, it didn’t take long for the kitties to smell their catnip arrival and bust open the box! The gift every Cat or Cat Lover desires! You can purchase one box or a subscription for a fantastic themed surprise!
PICK OF THE LITTER KITNIPBOX KitNipBox works with over 100 animal welfare organizations to donate a portion of sales each month. Giving back to the needs of small and large rescue organizations is meaningful to me as a rescue supporter and foster. The boxes contain the best high-quality cat toys, all-natural treats, and other fun, healthy cat products. They do a cute theme for each box. My cats loved the unique toys. This was the box that my cats couldn’t stay away from and wanted to steal the toys before I had a chance to unwrap them! Pros: Catnip is very strong. Cons: Toys are not all made in the US but very good quality and well designed; cats loved them! COST: The monthly box is $19.99 for 5 items, or for multi-cat households you get 7 items for $29.99 with free shipping. INFO: kitnipbox.com 28 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
KitNipBox has a terrific, high quality toy assortment - a hit with the author’s kitties!
VetPetBox emphasizes health, wellness, and education. Every item in a VetPetBox has been hand-selected and evaluated by their veterinarians for quality and safety. You’ll get toys, treats, accessories and the same healthcare items (shampoos, supplements, etc.) that you’d find on the shelf at your vet’s office! There is a monthly wellness topic selected by vets. July was the Danger of Lilies for cats. The box was fantastic. Great mix of products. My favorite item was the litter box deodorizer. Like Poo-pourri but for cats! My cats clawed the catnip toys out of the box right away and they devoured the treats and food! Pros: A little more expensive but the value was outstanding; the box was full of generous items. The educational piece was excellent. Cons: Higher monthly cost but worth it. COST: Single cat boxes start at $35 for a monthly subscription with free shipping. They offer a multi-cat and a dog option too. INFO: vetpetbox.com
Meowbox with their One Box Can program donates a can of cat food a cat shelter or rescue organization for every box you buy. I love giving back being a cat foster myself. Rescues and shelters always need more food! You can even track where the donation goes! Each box has a theme, and contains high quality toys and organic or grain free treats or food. My cats loved the new canned food, and best of all I got a coupon to order more online. Pros: Toys and food made in the USA or Canada, everything great quality. Cons: Good value but I would pay more for a larger multi-cat box. COST: $22.95 per month (or bi-monthly option) includes free shipping. INFO: meowbox.com
VetPetBox emphasizes health and wellness with excellent educational information as well.
Meowbox not only delivers great value but gives back to cat rescues too.
CAT CLAWS CLUB
Catclaws monthly Cat Claws Club has custom cardboard scratchers and cat toys made in the USA that are approved by their professional staff of cat testers. The box we received had a great scratcher, a cute bunny hat costume, and a lot of toys. Every box is unique and themed. Right after I opened the box and put the catnip on the scratcher, the fur kids were all laying on it and scratching. Keeps them away from my furniture! They loved the handknit toys and all toys were in a bag being infused with catnip! This box had a more expensive scratcher and smaller toys but my cats loved everything. Pros: They also sell hundreds of cat items on their web site along with the subscription box, so if your kitty loves an item, you can reorder. Cons: It’s not free shipping but even with the nominal shipping cost, it’s still a great value and the bi-monthly shipment is perfect! COST: Each box is $24.95 plus shipping. INFO: catclaws.com
Pet Treater caters to both Cats and Dogs with USA made treats and can help with special diet needs too. Contains treats, accessories and fun toys with different themes monthly. For every Pet Treater shipment sent out, a toy, bag of treats, blanket etc. is donated to a shelter in need. My cats knew this box was for them as soon as it arrived! The treats are healthy and it’s a comfort knowing they are wholesome and made in the USA. Pros: Delivery of fresh toys and treats direct to my cat monthly at a very affordable price. Cons: Toys are high-quality, but not all toys are made in the USA. COST: Subscriptions start at $15 per month for 3-4 items or a Multi-Cat box with 5-8 items for $25 with free shipping. INFO: pettreater.com •
Cat Claws Club is cat-tested and owner-approved. Plus you can re-order favorite items.
Every shipment from Pet Treater benefits a shelter in need.
PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 29
NEW YEAR’S CHECKLIST KEEPING YOUR CAT HEALTHY AND FIT! By Monie Schulling
s we create our New Year’s Resolutions and put together the list of goals we want to meet to keep ourselves healthy and fit in the New Year; it is a great time to go through the checklist below for the top things your kitty needs to ensure they remain a pawsome, fit and healthy feline! ANNUAL VET CHECK-UP Dr. Eric Dougherty DVM, Medical Director, The Cat Practice, www.thecatpractice.com states; “Cats in general go to the veterinarian less frequently than dogs, though this does not mean that they are healthier. It indicates that cats hide illness better, and that since cats stay indoors, some families do not always recognize the importance of preventative medicine and annual exams. Shying away from annual vet visits can cause harm to cats in the long run since many illnesses are discovered much later than they should have been if the cat had been seen by their vet regularly. Regardless of a cat living solely indoors, they still need an annual exam even when they are young. After age 7+, I recommend annual lab work as well to help identify a variety of issues and to ensure there aren’t any changes from the year before, even If the cat is not showing signs of illness at the time of their exam. Cats are still predators at heart and do an excellent job of concealing illnesses to others. A cat can often be very sick by the time it would show symptoms, so routine exams are even more important for cats than the average dog. A veterinarian that specializes in cats will also be a benefit to your cat’s care, and if one isn’t available in your area, be sure to find a vet that is an unabashed cat person if at all possible.”
HEALTHY DIET AND WATER Per Dr. Dougherty; “Cats are obligate carnivores which means they need an entirely meat-centric diet and very minimal carbohydrates. In nature, a cat would also get the majority of its water intake from eating prey, and they also have a low thirst drive with tongues poorly adapted at efficiently drinking water from a bowl or flat surface (which is one reason why cat fountains are great). A healthy cat on a wet food diet would rarely be seen at a water bowl, but cats on dry food and cats with health issues are often seen drinking more often. A wet food diet that consists of high-quality meat-based protein and is also grain-free is a great place to start for a healthy cat. I also advocate for wet food diets since dry food can contribute to a variety of health problems long term and be a contributing factor in illnesses such as diabetes, urinary issues, constipation, obesity, chronic dehydration, and so on. Dry food has a significant amount of carbohydrates as well, so it is better to use it as a treat or as a meal on occasion. Even if cats love dry food, feeding them a diet closest to what they would be eating in nature is more important for their wellbeing. Dr. Lisa Pierson, author of www.catinfo.org, created a website entirely about cat nutrition and it is a great resource if you’re looking into feline nutrition.” 30 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
“I and love and You” treats
HEALTHY TREATS No human food scraps or treats! Several companies have come out with more natural treats filled with ingredients good for your cat! My kitties loved these treats from “I and love and You”. Hair Meow’t Hearties are a Purr-fect treat, made with real meat, Prebiotics + Probiotics for happier tummies and no grains, fillers or anything artificial. They include Omegas 3 & 6, flaxseed and fish oils for healthier skin and shinier coats. Available at iandloveandyou.com.
FRESH, CLEAN WATER Essential to health, ensure you have clean water bowls throughout the house with fresh water daily. Cats LOVE water fountains. They do require cleaning and changing the filters per recommendations but your cat will love a running water source like they are in the wild, and drink more water. One fountain my cats love that is stylish for your décor and easy to clean is the Drinkwell Pagoda Pet Fountain. The Pagoda provides 70oz of filtered moving water in a quiet fountain that has two levels for them to drink from. Comes in four colors, with an optional cleaning kit and extra filters. Available at chewy.com.
Drinkwell Pagoda Fountain
CLEAN LITTER BOX
Chillx Kitty Litter Box
Hauspanther Max Scratch
This goes without saying. You don’t want to go in a dirty bathroom and neither does your kitty! The rule of thumb is one box per cat away from their food source. Ask your vet about litter type, as some cats do need a special litter. Scoop at least once a day, plus clean/sanitize and put in fresh litter once a week. This will avoid any outside the box urine issues. Do not use clumping litters for kittens under 8 weeks as they may digest them. An amazing new self-cleaning litter box we and the kitties are crazy about is the new ChillX AutoEgg self-cleaning litter box! It’s the Cat’s Meow in litter boxes! Cool, minimalistic, quiet, and high tech. The 5V/2A USB Type-C input power ensures safety for both your cats and your family. The AutoEgg performs an automatic self-cleaning 5 minutes after every bathroom trip and operates an additional 4 times a day to ensure it is clean. ChillX cares about your cat’s health with the AutoEgg’s touchscreen display that records a health log of the date, time, duration, weight, and waste data after every use. Keeping an eye on their health log and alerts gives you the confidence of knowing your feline friend is healthy and happy. The AutoEgg will save you time, money, and help to support you and your cat’s health. Available at chillx.co.
HIDING PLACES Provide a safe hiding place like a cube or cat tree with compartments for your cat to hide and rest. We covered this extensively in our September issue if you want to refer back. Always provide spaces for your cat to sleep, escape and feel safe in.
SCRATCHING POSTS Cats instinctively scratch to remove their outermost layer of claws to reveal the sharp claws beneath. It also stretches out their muscles and paws, plus marks their territory with the scent glands in their paws. When your kitty scratches, they leave a scratch marks and scent to warn other cats away. If you don’t provide a place for them to scratch with sisal in an area that is easy for them to get to, they will use your furniture. Scent your scratching posts with catnip when introducing new posts. One scratcher we love that is also beautiful for your environment and your kitty will use & adore is the Max Scratch. Available at Hauspanther.com.
SUNSHINE AND FRESH AIR According to our vet expert, Dr. Dougherty, “Always make sure to take the proper safety precautions if you are going to train your cat to accompany you on a leash outside. I prefer the velcro vest harnesses for cats since they are harder to escape from, and be sure to get one that doesn’t strain their neck. I have four cats and only one of them had an interest in learning how to wear his harness and go on walks, but it has been a wonderful experience for us both, and it is fantastic to have that bonding and adventure every day. The downside is that he meows at the door nonstop in the summer, so be prepared to be very committed if you decide to share the outdoors with your cats. I would not recommend letting a cat outside unattended or off a leash, unless there was a custom cat-safe enclosure in your yard. If that is the case, make sure that flea and tick prevention becomes part of your cat’s routine as well. Most cats can learn how to escape from your home very easily and can slip past any door the moment it opens, so if you’re able to add a second door to a mudroom area if one is available, that can be helpful. If you live in a high-rise building or have a balcony, never open your balcony door with your cat in the same room – make sure to have them safely waiting in another room while you enjoy your view from the terrace. Most cats are very happy to stay indoors and do well with apartment living, and as long as you provide some excellent sunning spots for them and add some furniture for perches, extra spacious windowsills, or attachable pet beds along the windows, it will bring them a lot of joy.” One of the best kitty harnesses and leashes we have found is the Comfort Soft Mesh Cat Harness & Leash. You can take your fur child on adventures with the harness & leash. The two-inone set features a breathable harness crafted in a lightweight mesh material that can easily be adjusted to best suit your cat. The style allows pressure to be evenly distributed across the neck and shoulders for a comfortable fit while the step-in design is quick to put on your kitty. Comes in four stylish colors and allows the kitty to roam 6 feet. Never leave a cat unattended with a leash or outside unattended. Available at Chewy.com.
Comfort Soft Cat Harness
While you are outside exercising your cat; you will want to wear these adorable BOBS Uptown Kitty shoes. For every pair of BOBS footwear and apparel purchased, Skechers makes a donation to help save the lives of dogs and cats! Through animal welfare organizations, Skechers has donated more than $5.9 million – funds that have helped save the lives of over 770,000 dogs and cats and supported more than 381,000 additional shelter animals across the United States since 2015. Available at skechers.com.
Bobs Uptown Kitty shoe
PLAY TIME AND ENGAGEMENT Dr. Dougherty states; “Keeping cats active is very important for healthy living, but since most cats live indoors only, it can be harder to achieve optimal exercise time if cats are left to their own devices. Having another cat companion for them is a great way to keep them active, and their friendly play can help them engage with their natural hunting instincts in a constructive way. While not all cats initiate play, you can help them interact more each day. Fishing pole toys, laser pointers, catnip toys, teaching them how to play fetch, or even throwing a treat or kibble for them to chase, can each work to keep them moving.” Plan time to play with your kitty daily before feeding with toys that hone into their hunting instinct with a wand toy. Cats love all the natural cat toys like this Wiggly Wand available at deziroo.com. Dezi & Roo Wiggle Wand
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We hope this checklist will help you to have a healthier, happier and pawsome kitty in 2021! • JANUARY 2021
FIGHT TO PROTECT GREYHOUNDS REACHES THE NATIONAL STAGE
HISTORIC BILL FILED TO STOP US DOG RACING By Christine A. Dorchak, President and General Counsel, GREY2K USA Worldwide
ollowing the release of a heartbreaking expose on the practice of live lure t ra i n i n g on greyhound b reed ing farms, GREY2K USA has just announced the first federal bill to prohibit dog racing. Pet Lifestyles Magazine has endorsed this historic legislation. Public records show that greyhounds used for commercial racing suffer serious injuries including broken backs, broken necks, head trauma, paralysis, seizures and electrocution. While adoption efforts have improved, many dogs simply do not survive their racing career. And now, yet another cruel aspect of this terrible industry has been revealed. In the spring of 2020, investigators documented a multi-state conspiracy of cruelty involving the torture and killing of innocent rabbits to â€œblood greyhounds.â€? In live lure training, small animals are used to excite and enhance a chase instinct in young dogs. Typically, screaming animals are dangled before starving greyhounds, dragged in front of them on ropes, or simply let loose to be attacked. They suffer cruel and miserable deaths. In March, June and July, undercover investigators caught greyhound breeders torturing and sacrificing rabbits in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas. 34 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
West Virginia racing kennel (inside)
On breeding farms across the country, female greyhounds are artificially inseminated and made to pump out litter after litter until they can produce no more. Their little puppies are taken away and kept in outdoor pens. There are no beds for them, no toys and no play. At the age of eighteen months, young dogs are sent out to race, where they face death at every turn. According to state records, thousands of dogs have died or been destroyed post-race at American tracks – all so that someone could place a $2 bet on them. In addition to live lure training, state records also show that adult greyhounds are drugged “grey2kusa.org/about/ drugs.php”with cocaine and other narcotics in a misguided attempt to fix races. The individuals involved in these cruel activities represent a veritable “Who’s Who” of the racing world and nothing short of a nationwide ban will stop their gruesome activities. The Greyhound Protection Act of 2020 has been introduced by Representatives Tony Cardenas of California and Steve Cohen of Tennessee, and has co-sponsors from both major parties. H.R. 7826 makes it a federal crime to engage in live lure training and commercial greyhound racing. Learn more and take action at grey2kusa.org/ stopusdogracing.
Florida volunteer at yes on 13 outreach table
Formed in February of 2001, GREY2K U S A Wo r l d w i d e i s t h e l a r g e s t greyhound protection organization in the United States with more than 250,000 supporters. As a nonprofit organization, the group promotes the adoption of ex-racers and works to pass laws to end the cruelty of dog racing around the world. With the passage of GREY2K’s ballot question in Florida and their recent closure of China’ only legal dog track, the group is determined to end dog racing everywhere. For more information, go to GREY2KUSA.org or visit GREY2K USA on Facebook or Twitter. •
Gina (Rescued from Derby Lane and now in Massachusetts)
DID YOU KNOW? The first recognized commercial greyhound racetrack in the world was built in Emeryville, California in 1919 by Owen Patrick Smith and the Blue Star Amusement Company. The track was oval in design and featured Smith’s new invention, the mechanical lure, thought to offer a more humane alternative to the live lures used in traditional greyhound field coursing. By 1930, sixty-seven dog tracks had opened across the United States — none legal. Florida became the first state to legalize commercial pari-mutuel wagering in 1931, triggering a chain reaction across the globe. In 2018, our coalition passed Florida’s Amendment 13 to phase out dog racing in its biggest state. The measure was approved on the ballot by a margin of 69% - 31% and dog racing is now illegal in 41 states. We are delighted to see the fight for greyhounds move to the national stage.
Catherine Blake and rescued greyhound Pache
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OWLS AT RISK
HUMAN HABITS PUT RAPTORS IN DANGER By Michael La Chance
ear-perfect depth perception, binocular vision and necks that rotate 270 degrees — yes, we’re talking about owls. From Hedwig to Big Mama, these intriguing birds are full of beauty, mystery, and spot-on predatory instincts. We’d all love to be surrounded by a parliament (fun fact: that’s a group of owls) of them. However, it’s best to leave them to their own devices. You see, for the best chance of survival, owls need food and nesting trees — but most importantly, they need a habitat free from humans. And, apart from our development ruining their habitats, some of our habits are putting them in grave danger. Here’s a practical guide to what they need, and why you should never, ever keep them as pets.
HUMANS: THE BIGGEST THREAT YOU CAN CHANGE THINGS Most threats owls face are avoidable, and caused by us! As Rob Hope, Raptor Care Manager at OWL (Orphaned Wildlife) Rehabilitation Society says, “Human disturbances are development-related — nesting trees and habitats are removed for roads and houses.” Paul and Nicola of The Owl Sanctuary expand on the threat we cause, telling us it involves everything from the unassuming fences and outdoor decorations to the more obvious poison and poaching. They explain that rodent poison remains in the animals bodies, and can kill owls who later feed on these creatures. Low-flying owls are vulnerable to passing cars, and they can be tangled in fencing. Whatever the regulations in different countries, poaching and stealing eggs are also a grave threat. They’re even disturbed by bird-watchers!
If you think there’s nothing you can do to help, think again. As Daniel says, “There are many things that can be done to help owls. Just asking what you can do is a great start!” Liberty emphasizes leaving owls alone during their nesting time. “Interested observers and photographers can create problems, even causing them to abandon their nests. Getting too close and flushing a female from her nest can lead to sad consequences,” she explains. She also suggests voting for environmentally friendly politicians and supporting conservationists and researchers, financially and otherwise. Paul and Nicola give us additional tips to help owls survive among us: • Use traps, not poison for rodents. • Drive slowly and look out for flying owls, especially at night. • Make fences more visible and avoid barbed wire or razor wire. • Keep outdoor decorations or anything that can obstruct flight paths to a minimum. • Leave old barns for nesting or roosting owls to minimize habitat loss. • Spread awareness to eradicate superstitions (owls represent death in some cultures) to prevent harm against owls. • When bird watching, put the bird’s safety first — don’t jeopardize it for a better view or photograph.
WHAT IF I SEE AN INJURED OWL?
The first thing to do is call an owl rescue in your area. However, there are ways to help Liberty DeGrandpre, from The Owl Research keep the owl comfortable while you wait for help to arrive. “A wild owl will instinctively Institute, adds, “Warming temperatures will fly away from humans so if you are able to pick it up, it is likely to be severely injured have an impact, as well. For Snowy Owls, and will be further traumatized by being handled,” Paul and Nicola explain. whose breeding populations are declining in our study area of the Arctic, it may already be Since more birds are killed by shock than injuries, approach with caution. Don’t try to impacting their critical prey species, the brown examine, feed, or treat the bird. You can however, keep it warm! “Put the bird into a lemming. For Great Grays, another northerly well ventilated, (not too small or too large) darkened cardboard box lined with a owl, we may see them moving further north. towel or newspaper. Never use straw or sawdust and do not place water in the box. Owls inhabit such diverse habitats that climate Do not cover the bird with a blanket or towel when it is in the box,” they add. change affects each species differently. Forest thinning, fire management, grazing, insect outbreaks, are all threats to owls.” As Rob adds, “Climate change is also affecting owls, especially with more frequent forest fires that are burning hotter and causing more extreme deforestation.” And don’t forget about new farming practices. Daniel Cone, Assistant Director at the World Bird Sanctuary explains, “These have altered the landscape enough to significantly reduce native wildlife populations. Monocropping, heavy fertilizing, and the reduction of fencerow space have made farmland uninhabitable for many native species.”
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JOIN THE EFFORT The organizations we spoke with are doing so much to help the owls. If you’re looking for a way to conserve these remarkable birds, it’s a good idea to take a leaf out of their book. The Owl Research Institute, Liberty says, “is dedicated to long-term field research and population monitoring of many different owl species yearround.” They have live cams on the owls and nests, partnering with Explore. org so millions of viewers can watch owls raise their young. “It’s really magical. We’ve created citizen scientists programs where viewers help us collect behavioral information,” she says, adding that helping the owls can lead to better conservation efforts. To participate, she says, “There are compelling opportunities for citizen scientists to participate — the WAFLS surveys, Saw-whet migration banding nights, nest monitoring, box checking, and many others.” Daniel tells us that the World Bird Sanctuary has bred and released over 1,000 barn owls back into the wild. “Additionally, we participate in studies to track the migration patterns of the small saw-whet owl, and we rehabilitate hundreds of owls annually that have been injured in one way or another,” he says, adding that you can get up close and personal with owls as a volunteer. At the OWL (Orphaned Wildlife) Rehabilitation Society, they specialize in owl rehabilitation, rescue, and release. With over 700 to 800 birds in and out every year they could use your help too. The organization also focuses on awareness and education. And, as Rob explains, “We have an extensive foster parent program where we use our permanent birds to help raise young and hopefully return them to the wild. The Owl Sanctuary, run by Paul Rose and Nicola Dawes, is also a rescue and rehabilitation centre. And, like most of these organizations, they care for owls and educate people about the conservation of wild and captive owls — all of which, they say, their lives are dedicated to doing.
Paul & Merlin
OWLS AS PETS Before you get excited — we’re not giving you tips about caring for a pet owl. In fact, we’re saying you shouldn’t have one at all! All the organizations we spoke with strongly oppose the idea, with good reason. Even if your favorite book or movie makes owls as pets seem appealing, avoid this altogether. As Paul and Nicola explain, “Our intake of rescued/re-homed captive-bred owls has sadly increased since the Harry Potter books and movies.” Daniel adds, “Owls, and all wild animals, make very bad pets. These are dangerous birds with very specific husbandry requirements.” And, as Liberty says, “It’s also illegal. The exception to this is licensed rescue/rehab groups who provide homes to owls who cannot be released back into the wild.” Apart from the obvious drawbacks, it’s also terrible for the birds themselves. “They imprint on humans – meaning they kind of think they are a human, and then they cannot function properly in the wild anymore,” Liberty explains. Instead of trying to domesticate a creature so obviously better-suited to the wild, volunteer to get cozy with owls without harming them.
FUN FACT: ORPHANED OWLS Do you know enough about orphaned owls? “Many ‘orphaned’ owls are not usually orphaned at all, they may just be in the process of testing their wings. Here at the Sanctuary we call this the engine test!” Paul and Nicola explain. They tell us that fledglings spread out and away from their nests before they can fly. “It prevents overcrowding in the nest as the youngsters grow rapidly, and is nature’s way of minimizing any threat to the entire clutch from predators,” they add. Unfortunately, young owls may lose their footing and fall to the ground. If you see one of these owls, contact an organization that can help. The best thing you can do, Paul and Nicola say, “is make sure it is out of the way of direct harm from predators, vehicles and people by putting it in the branches of the nearest tree, and quietly walking away.” Unless an owl is clearly injured, never take it out of its natural habitat. • JANUARY 2021
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FUR BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE! PROTECT YOUR PET FROM WINTER’S ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS By Steve Whitney
inter is here. Are you ready for the special considerations colder weather brings in pet care? According to the Washington Post what began this past March as a sudden surge in demand in pet adoption, has become, as of November, a bona fide boom. Shelters, nonprofit rescues, private breeders, and pet stores—all reported more consumer demand than there were kittens and puppies to fill it. This recent exponential increase in pet ownership correlates to a need to educate the public in the field of basic winter weather pet care. OUTDOOR LIFESTYLES The Bood pull on coat and The Snood button Our pet’s ancestors lived 100% of their lives outside. This might lead one to believe there is no reason to pay attention to the amount of time a dog can spend outdoors in the winter. However, each pet is an individual and needs to be cared for on an individual basis. Generally speaking outside activities are super safe above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the temperature begins to dip down near 32 degrees, pet owners need to understand their risk of frostbite and hypothermia.
on neck scarf in Polartec fleece. All made in America. Shown here the boy cut offering maximum dryness in blue one of six colors. ruffinanyc.com.
Any outside activities in temperatures lower than 10 degrees can be lifethreatening and special attention should be taken. You should also take into account acclimation, meaning dogs that live in arctic conditions have become accustomed to the colder temperatures, as opposed to a dog who had minimal outdoor exposure in freezing temperatures. Wet conditions will sometimes in the right environment double or triple the chance of hypothermia. There are plenty of pet sweaters and jackets on the market that can help keep your pet warm but nonetheless keep an eye out for shivering and other signs of hypothermia. Chewy. com has a great assortment of coats including exceptionally functional Hurtta which originated in Finland. The water- and windproof Hurtta coats use a foil pattern to reflect the dog’s own body heat back to the dog making the jacket especially warm. For casual city strolls in cold weather vs. extended outdoor hikes, Ruffina makes double layer polar fleece coats (made in America) specifically tailored for a boy or a girl dog and best of all with matching accessories for humans.
HEAT SEEKERS Pets will seek inside heat during the winter months. Pay particular attention to where they are nesting. Avoid space heaters, baseboard radiators, and fireplaces which all pose major threats. A good quality pet bed will help keep your dog or cat comfy and warm. Make sure it is placed in a safe draft free area. P.L.A.Y. makes top quality - environmentally safe for your pet - beds in a range of colors and sizes to work with any interior. Sit Stay Forever makes organic beds, their Double Velour Fleece Landing Pads cradle your pup in warmth and velvety softness in a range of colors suitable for country or city.
This cozy snuggle bed from P.L.A.Y. works as nicely for dogs as it does for cats. Available at chewy.com.
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Heating our homes tends to dry out the air, which in turn will dry out your pet’s skin and fur. Although most pets may need an extra layer of protection in the winter, make sure it comes from their coat and not a layer of fat. Cold temperatures may even bring on lazy behavior and the need for fewer calories. Be attentive to your dog’s activity level and adjust their calories accordingly. A high quality preferably raw meat-based diet enriched with whole foods will help ensure a healthy coat and good energy for the cold winter months.
DRY MATTERS Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. Use a pet robe after bathing your pet to keep them from becoming chilled and protect your furniture and rugs. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse. We like the probiotics in Skout’s Honor shampoo + conditioner because they help defend against common skin problems that may pop up anytime the season’s change such as itching, odor, dryness, dandruff, hot spots, yeast and excessive shedding. Another cold-weather tip is to use a dry powder shampoo, we have an excellent one at Sit, Stay, Forever that is hypoallergenic and safely deodorizes, heals, and soothes. Never leave your pet in the car, as the vehicle can act as a refrigerator keeping the cold air inside leading to hypothermia and even death. Many cats (and other small animals) will seek the warmth of a hot engine block. Always pound your car’s hood and beep the horn before starting your vehicle during cold weather.
SNOW AND ICE
Probiotic shampoo fom Skouts Honor solves a host of skin issues for Fido. skoutshonor.com
Did you know that dogs will eat snow to induce vomiting similar to how they will eat grass in the summertime? Some pets will choose eat snow as a means of hydration over stale water sitting in their inside bowls. Excessive snow eating can also be a sign of kidney failure or other endocrine / hormonal diseases. Pay particular attention to this behavior as all types of dangerous chemicals can be found in the snow. One particular danger is auto antifreeze which can be spilled onto driveways, sidewalks and streets. Antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Always be hyper-vigilant looking for any signs of discoloration or things hidden in the snow. Road and sidewalk salt can wreak havoc on paws, leaving them raw, dried out, and painful. While you can’t change the type of salts used by your local municipality, you can purchase pet safe salt for use in your own immediate home environment. Safe Paw Ice Melter is not harmful to your pet or your property or the planet. Winter grooming is essential for optimum pet health and paw care is a must. Brush their coat thoroughly to allow optimum insulation. If your pet has particularly furry feet trim the hairs between the pads. Clean any snowballs that may have formed on their coat, rinse or wipe your dog’s paws to remove any snow, ice, or salt as soon as they come inside. There are many brands of paw salves, balms, and waxes. Musher’s Secret is the classic, all time favorite for dog owners but there are other brands like M. Barclay and Sit Stay Forever who make excellent, all natural paw protection. Use these products before and after winter activities. If your pet exhibits extreme discomfort when walking outside on frozen or salted surfaces, consider using dog booties, we love the functional yet fashionable looks from Fairy Boss which can bring instant protection and relief. The winter season can bring loads of fun and good times for you and your pets, but it’s important to remember to stay safe. Never stay out in the cold longer than appropriate and keep a close eye on what your dog might find to eat in the snow. A good rule of thumb: “If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet”. I can’t stress enough how important it is to not only take your dog to yearly veterinarian checkups but to bring them in if anything seems out of the ordinary. Our pets are not as different from people as we may think, they need medical care just like us to stay healthy and safe! Author’s note: Steve Whitney is a degreed environmentalist (MS, BS, OSU, Natural Resources) and a lifelong owner and trainer of horses, dogs, and cats. He is also the owner of Sit. Stay. Forever. Safety First Pet Products. •
Pet safe salt to help dissolve snow and ice. No more anguish from wet, burning paws. safepaw.com
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Green Chimneys student - animal care
ANIMALS AND AUTISM A UNION BEYOND MEASURE By Sebastian Rubino
arm animals have been known to share a co-dependent relationship with humans as far back as civilization itself. Farm animals serve many purposes however there’s one that is often be overlooked: Therapy for autistic children. Green Chimneys and Pegasus, both based in Brewster, New York, conceived to simultaneously aid children and animals alike. WORKING WITH ANIMALS Green Chimneys is a day and residential school that serves children with social, emotional, and behavioral issues, including autism and other disabilities, while incorporating animals for therapeutic purposes as well as to help them learn. The school serves around 240 children using what Director of the Farm and Wildlife Center, Michael Kaufmann, calls nature-based interaction. With the help of a therapist, the children interact with the animals to refine their motor skills by feeding them, tending to their care, and grasping the emotional connection they can forge with animals. “There is an amazing educational aspect to working with animals, as well as personal growth,” Kaufmann would like all to understand. “And then there’s also a recreational aspect to being outdoors with animals. The combination makes the children feel good.” Since autistic people can find difficulty with understanding social cues, learning through and with animals can benefit them. It does not require a grasp of certain nuances such as sarcasm and tone of voice. Animals’ social cues are simple, a great foundation for learning more advanced social cues down the line. 40 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE
EQUINE THERAPY Although Green Chimneys does have an equine therapy component, Pegasus focuses specifically on this as a means to therapeutically assist autistic children. Taking in children aged four and older, their methods have been able to help the children’s development exponentially, according to Pegasus Program Manager, Liz Fortes. “The movement of the horse organizes the child’s sensory system through the body,” Fortes explains. “While horseback riding helps strengthen the children’s core muscles and improves balance, thanks to the bond that the children develop with the horses, this union also is able to help some children develop speech, even if they were nonspeaking prior to that.” Fortes shares that one autistic boy was able to say “I love you” to a horse that he grew attached to, despite having never spoken before.
Green Chimneys student with horse
Such amazing results do not occur from riding horses alone. The therapists and staff at Pegasus utilize music to soothe the children and horses, as well as games to help the children learn to lead the horse. While a therapist plays a guitar, for example, a child can learn to steer the horse using rings, navigating around an obstacle course with orange cones. One child can throw the rings, not knowing what to do with them. But within a year, the child can learn to successfully use the rings for the intended purpose of steering. The child’s therapist makes it easier by having the child hold the rings on the count of ten, so the child eventually gets used to holding them without throwing at all.
BOOSTING CONFIDENCE Pegasus’ therapy helps boost confidence of autistic children. It gives them the feeling of independence by treating them with respect and care. “We don’t think about the diagnosis,” Fortes wants us all to understand. “We think about whatever each child’s characteristics are, and work on that.” Instead of trying to extinguish the behaviors, like certain autism therapies do, Pegasus therapists try to identify the triggers of their behavior. Some sensory-seeking children finding chewing as a soothing sensation, so the therapists allow them to use what’s called “chewlery,” which are chew toys attached to necklaces that the children can bite on. Others are hypersensitive and benefit from noise-cancelling headphones, which they allow the children to use as well. The horses at Pegasus tend to be older horses that have been donated to them and no longer can fulfill the jobs they once held. However, each horse must be resilient to handle these challenged children, as some make loud noises for sensory-seeking reasons. Both the children and horses have a mutually beneficial relationship.
THE VALUE OF EQUINE COMPANIONSHIP Like those at Green Chimneys, the children who participate in therapy at Pegasus form a wonderful companionship with the horses. Horses don’t require understanding the complex nuances that neurotypical people do. As a result the process of developing social skills for autistic children is vastly easier. The value of equine therapy for autistic children is beyond measure. For more information on these exceptional programs, go to Pegasus Therapeutic Riding :: Home (pegasustr.org) and Home - Green Chimneys. • JANUARY 2021
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COLD AND FLU SEASON WINTERTIME TIPS TO KEEP OUR DOGS HEALTHY By Dr. Brett Shorenstein, VMD
ou’re probably aware that dogs can get “cold” viruses and bacterial infections. Most of your dogs are vaccinated for Bordetella (kennel cough), as this vaccine can help prevent some of these illnesses. But did you know that the chances of them catching one of these viruses is greater in some seasons, just like with people? Despite the social distancing efforts in place, boarding, daycare and travel plans have begun to increase as holidays approach. We’re also now seeing more canine cold cases in NYC, so we recommend taking some extra precautions when it comes to dog parks and day care. Certainly make sure your dog has a warm comfortable to place to rest at home and when out and about, be careful not to prolong exposure…not every pet has the stamina of a sled dog. Here are some tips for making the season easier for all pet owners: • Vaccinate! If you are taking your dogs to play areas, pet stores or other doggy gathering places, make sure your pups are vaccinated. If you notice dogs coughing in these spaces, consider leaving and coming back another time. The organisms causing diseases like Bordetella and canine flu are airborne, so it’s easy for dogs to pass them on. Even the cleanest kennels can’t always prevent an outbreak. If your dog is not vaccinated for these organisms and has been going to the dog park or day care, please call us! • Keep coughing dogs home. If your dog is coughing or showing other signs of canine cold or flu, please don’t bring him or her to play or boarding. We are happy to see your pet and prescribe medicine when necessary! But, since no vaccine is 100% effective, we ask you to keep coughing pets away from group situations until they have not been coughing for about three days.
KENNEL COUGH & CANINE INFLUENZA: CAN YOU SPOT THE SIGNS? When a canine coughs it can sound like honking, wheezing or retching. If your dog begins to cough, especially suddenly, it’s best to bring them in for a visit as soon as possible. Common signs of canine influenza or kennel cough include: • Strong honking cough • Runny nose • Loss of appetite • Sneezing • Eye discharge If you notice the signs and symptoms above, please call your vet. Be observant, small changes can lead to big problems. Take stock of what your dog looks like in a healthy state so when illness sets in you can see the difference immediately. Always make sure your pet has access to plenty of fresh water, wintertime cold can dehydrate too as can heated interiors. Trade an extended daily walk for some downtime with a humidifier. If they are experiencing congestion the moist air will help break it up. With some at-home TLC and treatment from your vet, they’ll be on the mend in no time! No one can prevent all cold and flu infections, but by being careful and considerate, we can reduce exposure. If you’d like to update your pet’s vaccines or think your pet may be ill, Abingdon Square Veterinary Clinic can help, request a visit on our website. • 42 | PET LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE