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Precious Pets The ultimate monthly paper for pets and their owners LIKE US ON


VOLUME 1 • ISSUE 9 • APRIL 25, 2014 • #33ccff logo (web color)

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In this issue:

4 Horsing around...


12 We found Bigfoot! Jockey Sawyer Gilker with Bug



Horsing around isn’t always a cut-and-dry matter


o, this issue proved to be a bit of a challenge, at least for this column. Not knowing many people who ride horses, I turned to the SPCA initially and it appeared that the Ontario branch of that auspicious body was just the ticket. They have a horse adoption program, so I naturally assumed that the Ottawa-Carleton region was included. Unfortunately, the horses available were located near Toronto, Burlington and as far away as Sudbury, all in Ontario. Sorry, but I was not going to suggest that interested parties from this general area drive 15 hours or so to take a look at the horse of their dreams. Besides, you might encounter Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford, on such a trip and I wouldn’t subject anyone to that. It was then suggested to me by the OSPCA that I try their partner association, the Ottawa Humane Society. Alas, they did not have any equine connections, sort of funny to me due to the propensity of farms in that region and the fact they have roads named Equus Way and Hunt Club, where I actually first resided when I moved to Ottawa in 1983. Fortunately, I had some connections, it turned out, that aided me greatly and our horse cover story was in excellent shape, after all. When doing a pet paper, it is far too easy to simply drop a picture of the cutest dog on the cover and leave

it at that. But as I have stressed so many times already, a pet is any kind of animal that you love and care for. Its species makes no difference whatsoever. If YOU happen to know of a suitable animal for the cover of this paper, don’t assume it won’t make it just because you think so…. Drop me a line and let’s think it through. I would really like to shake it up from issue to issue and, frankly, although dogs are probably my most endearing animal, to focus on just dogs month after month after month would bore me to tears. I’d much rather be horsing around. Enjoy this issue.

A new addition to the Grief Group family While the Little Bear Grief Group, organized by Precious Pets and Pet Friends of Vaudreuil, has tremendous potential, a reader by the name of Samantha Havill (who started our cat column, Chatty Catty, this issue), came up with a great idea. Why not do a pet grief page on Facebook? Thanks to Janet Boiangiu, our Ontario-based Director of Social Media, we can now announce the creation of such a page. Feel free to visit, to send in pictures of your deceased, much-missed pets and to share with others your emotions on the subject. You will find the page on Facebook

Barking Bram with Bram D. Eisenthal at Precious Pets Grief Group. We ask that you kindly refrain from making light of the matter, as people will come here because they are unhappy and feeling quite alone. Solemnity and respect is that we expect from visitors at all times. Thank you all!

Merged Montreal radio not at all cool When Astral sold out to Bell, making many, many millions in the process, they won, all right. But we lovers of radio in the Montreal English market lost… everything. Now, instead of stations with very distinct personalities, we have a Bell monopoly that blurs the lines of CHOM, CJAD, MIX96 and The Team 690 by effectively merging them. Now, radio personalities merely cross the hallway in their shared HQ on Rene Levesque and populate different Bell-owned stations and The Team 690 is allowed to plug their acquisition of the Montreal Alouettes for game-broadcast purposes… ad nauseum! Guys over at The Team, a little secret: The ONLY reason you are allowed to carry the games of the Habs, Als and Impact is because you have one owner. Big accomplishment… I am so very impressed. I can’t wait till the new talk station shows up this fall on the old 600 AM waves. Just please don’t sell out to Bell six months after you make your debut. Bell is strictly about amateur management. Just watch Bell Express-Vu and read the show-guide entries if you want to see unedited copy churned out by either unilin-

gual Francophones or by kids just out of university. And while Montreal English radio has been mired in a sinkhole of mediocrity for decades now, it’s worse then ever. I am listening to independent FM stations like Mohawk station K103, Mike-FM with an international flare, more now than ever. Yay indie radio, booooo Bell Canada!

First Animal Protection Forum in Cote Saint-Luc Monday, May 5, 2014 I am pleased to announce that Cote Saint-Luc councilor Mike Cohen, who is creating the first Animal Protection portfolio in municipal politics, has invited me to participate in CSL’s first Animal Protection Forum, to be held on Monday, May 5, 2014, at 7 p.m. The venue will be CSL City Hall, 5801 Cavendish Blvd. I will be there, representing the Little Bear Grief Group (organized by Precious Pets and Pet Friends of Vaudreuil) and I will be joined by other local personalities active in the pet field. Very much on the agenda is the establishment of a Dog Owner’s Advisory Committee in The Luc, Responsible Pet Ownership, Dogs and Cat Licenses, Dog Runs, CSL’s Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt Cats Program, Volunteer Opportunities, an Open Mike session and, of course, our two Precious Pets-created grief groups. If you love animals, come one, come all on May 5th!




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Precious Pets The ultimate monthly paper for pets and their owners

Precious Pets is a publication of Precious Pets Media Group Inc. Copyright 2014. Precious Pets does not accept responsibility for errors, misprints or inaccuracies published within. The opinions and statements of our columnists are not presumed to be the opinions and statements of Precious Pets Group Inc.



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Pet Facts: COOL FACTS ABOUT HORSES 1. There are about 75 million horses in the world. 2. Horses’ hooves grow approximately 0.25 in a month, and take nearly a year to grow from the coronet band to the ground. 3. In the state of Arizona, it is illegal for cowboys to walk through a hotel lobby wearing their spurs. 4. Cross-country jumps are marked with a red flag on the right side and a white flag on the left side; the horse has to jump through these two flags or it is considered out of bounds and you are disqualified. 5. A healthy adult horse should have a pulse of between 36 and 40 beats per minute while at rest. 6. Arabians have one less rib, one less lumbar bone, and one or two fewer tail vertebrae than other horses. 7. Mr. Ed, the talking equine star of the 1960s television series, was a golden palomino. He learned an enormous amount of tricks for his role, including answering a telephone, opening doors, writing notes with a pencil, and unplugging a light. Apparently, Mr. Ed would occasionally have a fit of temper, as befitting his star status, and would stand stock still, wheezing and refusing to move. 8. 7.1 million Americans are involved in the industry as horse owners, service providers, employees and volunteers. 3.6 million and 4.3 million of those participated in showing and recreation, respectively, with some overlap in cases of people who participate in both activities. 941,000 people participated in racing in either a professional or volunteer capacity. 1.9 million people own horses. In addition to the people actually involved in the industry, tens of millions more Americans participate as spectators. 9. The horse industry directly produces goods and services of $25.3 billion and has a total impact of $112.1 billion on U.S. gross domestic product. Racing, showing and recreation each contribute more than 25% to the total value of goods and services produced by the industry. 10. The industry’s contribution to the U.S. GDP is greater than the motion picture services, railroad transportation, furniture and fixtures manufacturing and tobacco product Continued on page 4

If you scratch my back... Y Dogged ou know that thing that your dog does? You know! That thing! When you scratch your pup in JUST! THE! RIGHT! SPOT! and his legs start going like he’s riding a bicycle? Yeah, THAT thing! Maybe the area is in the middle of his belly, or near his leg, or in just that spot – that one over there, just to the left, a little to the right, YES!, that’s the spot! – on his back. That’s the exact location that gets his legs pumping. It’s like the quintessential party trick, isn’t it? It’s hilarious, right? Well, no, not really. Not to your dog. It’s actually totally annoying to your pup. I know! I had no idea either! It turns out that his leg kicking is completely involuntary and that your dog is just as surprised as you are when it happens. He’s also bothered by it, though. According to Animal Planet, “[Your scratching] activates nerves under his skin that are connected to his spinal cord and relays

Pursuits with Dawn Mirsky

a message to his leg muscles to kick in an attempt to get rid of the irritant.” Furthermore, according to Dogington Post (I read ‘em all, folks, just to keep you informed), “Veterinarians can use the spot to identify nerve damage or neurological problems. The belly rub kick can be compared to the knee-jerk that humans do when the doctor taps just below your knee with a hammer.” So even though it’s cute and funny to you, it’s very bothersome to your

dog, and so it’s best to stop doing it. I thought it meant that Artie wanted a bike for Chanukah but he just told me that he’s holding out for a car. He also told me that if I stop scratching THAT SPOT, he’ll let me drive it sometimes. He’s got himself a deal. (ED. NOTE: Dawn, you and Artie kill me everytime! I am sure our readers have a good belly laugh, too…)

Remedies from the animal kingdom


he members of the animal kingdom bless us not only with their companionship and affection, but also offer us a wide variety of healing “drugs” with which to address our health issues. The homeopathic pharmacopeia contains numerous remedies which can assist in correcting energetic imbalances and, as a Classical Homeopath, I have cases that frequently call for the healing information contained in the medicines derived from dog’s milk (Lac Caninum); Bushmaster Snake venom (Lachesis); the mid layer of the oyster’s shell (Calcarea Carbonica); the dark fluid secreted by the cuttlefish (Sepia); and the honeybee (Apis). Each animal-derived remedy carries with it the characteristics of the animal itself and will address the similar symptoms presented by a person in a state of energetic imbalance. The characteristics, or “symptom picture,” of Apis, as an example, includes a need to be busy or fidgety (the buzzing bee); edematous swelling; and burning, stinging pains which are noted in bee stings. The Bushmaster snake produces symptoms which are largely left-sided, reflecting the fact that most of the snake’s organs are on the left

Pet Healer with Barbara Etcovitch side of its body and that it curls itself from left to right. It swallows its prey whole. A person presenting with a left-sided sore throat that feels better for swallowing solids will likely need Lachesis. An excessively active tongue is a prominent feature of the snake. Accordingly, the Lachesis person can be extremely loquacious, darting rapidly from subject to subject often in a “venomous” manner. Homeopathy addresses the total symptom picture, which includes the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual symptoms of an individual. Each homeopathic remedy is first “proven” on healthy volunteers who are given crude doses of the particular substance and the symptoms produced by each “drug” are recorded in “Materia Medicas.” We are indebted to the animal kingdom for its numerous

remedies that have assisted in bringing countless individuals back to a state of balance. Barbara Etcovitch is a Classical Homeopath, Interfaith Minister, freelance writer, and lecturer. She has a BA from Sir George Williams University, a MA in Literature from the University of Ottawa, and a diploma in Classical Homeopathy from the School of Homeopathy in Devon, England. She was ordained by the All Faiths Seminary International in New York City in 2004. She offers naming and funeral services for animals, grief counseling for guardians, and includes the treatment of animals in her homeopathic practices in Quebec and Ontario. Her services are available worldwide via Skype.



Food for thought on the sport of horsing around by Bram D. Eisenthal- Precious Pets Exclusive


orses are everywhere. On TV, in movies, in literature, and certainly in nature, they are the vanguard of many exciting facets of life. Where would the Lone Ranger be without Silver? The TV show Ed the Talking Horse without Ed? Lawrence of Arabia… oh, okay, that was more camel-driven. The world-famous Lipizzaner Stallions. Gorgeous black Arabians? And those thousands of westerns of yesteryear and today? But I know precious little about horses. Unless you ride for fun and/or profit, or unless you are a veterinarian, to me they are basically like very big dogs that whinny a lot, eat apples and sugar cubes and take people around town on caleche rides. I mean, what else is there to know, right?



manufacturing industries. It is only slightly smaller than the apparel and other textile products manufacturing industry. 11. “The horse is God’s gift to man”. - Old Arab Proverb. 12. A horse typically sleeps two and a half to three hours a day. 13. Horses younger than 4 years can concentrate for a maximum of 10-15 minutes. 14. Horses lie down only about 43.5 minutes a day. 15. Horses sleep longer in the summer than in the winter. 16. A horse’s heart weighs nine pounds. 17. The horse is a herbivorous mammal. 18. Horses began to evolve on the American continent over 60 million years ago, they later died out and were reintroduced by Spanish settlers. 19. A zedonk is the offspring of a zebra and a donkey. 20. No two horses are identical. 21. The left side of a horse is called the “near side” and the right side is the “off side”. 22. A horse has approximately 205 bones. 23. A horse is described as a ‘foal’ for its first year of life. 24. Foals have milk teeth, which are replaced by permanent teeth around 3-5 years old. 25. A horse’s teeth can be used to estimate its age. 26. A female horse is called a ‘filly’. 27. Horses are traditionally measured in ‘hands’, this was originally the width of a man’s hand and has been set at 4 inches.


It so happens I know a young woman, a friend of our talented photographer Sierra Van Biello (the two attended Montreal’s FACE together from grades 7 through 11), who can tell us about horses from a very privileged perspective. Sawyer Gilker, 18, is a professional jockey. Slightly built since she was a young girl, Gilker competes in races, following one of the most daunting of careers. Jockeys are forever starving and stressing, in order to be as light as possible when mounted upon their steeds. “I was born in British Columbia and moved to Montreal when I was 13,” Gilker told me. “I spent my high school years at FACE, trying to uncover an artistic side to my personality. I have always thought horses were... interesting. I was never that typical ribbons-and-glitter type of girl, but I have been competitive from a young age. My sister was the one who first started taking riding lessons and I would walk around the arena picking up stones so the horses wouldn’t bruise the soles of their feet. Later on I would gallop around on my friends’ ponies, jumping over everything we could find. I finally started taking lessons at an Eventing barn, which is one of the oldest equestrian disciplines, and fell in love with the adrenaline of it all. In all honesty, my sister probably inspired me to start riding but my first equestrian ‘idol’ was Ian Millar, who has competed for the Canadian Show Jumping team for a decade as of 2012.” For Gilker, first and foremost, riding a horse is about one thing. “It’s mainly about the connection. There’s something about riding a 1000-plus pound animal, which results in your developing a certain type of connection and trust that can’t be broken easily. It’s hard not to fall in love with that feeling.” I wondered what she has discovered most about horses through her experiences. “First of all, horses are huge babies,” she stated. “I feel like every time I turn around, one of them has hurt itself somehow. It’s usually the smaller things that will get them, too, like stepping on a rock wrong, or even taking a step wrong, running on hard ground, etc. “They’re a lot of maintenance, but it’s worth it, because what they give back is unlike anything else you have ever experienced. Secondly, they are incredibly intelligent. Horses will remember people and other horses forever, reunions are a big deal... also, we have a good handful of horses that will let themselves out of their stalls no matter what kind of latch we put on to keep them in. Once one of them learns how to do it,

pick up on all of those tricks and tips when you work for someone who knows what they’re doing. What I get out of it is this feeling that’s hard to explain… but when you are riding an animal with a mind of it’s own and you accomplish something that you have been working on for weeks and weeks, it’s just tremendously satisfying. And I am Real estate broker Bunny Berke with her horse not saying that you are dominating the horse, not at all. What the ones that are in the stalls around I am saying is that you are working it will pick up on it. It drives me nuts!” and accomplishing things together. Gilker also has a dog, Dingo, “that “Also, I am a huge adrenaline we rescued from the SPCA in Aikjunkie and riding over solid obstaen, SC. He’s one of the best, if I do cles at 520-plus meters- per-minsay so myself, and yes I am being ute is pretty darn cool. I think it is a biased, but aren’t we all? good career choice as long as you “When it comes to my horse, are prepared for the hard work that’s though, I prefer to use the term ‘partinvolved. Unlike a normal job, you ner,’ since my horse and I go through can’t take a day off: It’s a 24/7 job. a lot of blood, sweat and tears every You need to be prepared to wake up day together. So I like to think we’re at 2:00 a.m. and head out to the barn on the same page for the most part. to spend 15 hours in the sun, rain, My horse, Bug, is a chestnut, offsnow, or hail, competing or riding or the-track thoroughbred, which badoing whatever it is you need to do sically means that he used to be a to keep up a competitive edge. You racehorse, but just wasn’t quite fast give up a lot and people don’t realize enough and they needed to get rid of that, having a ‘normal’ life is a hard him. thing to achieve. I would be tempted “Luckily there I was, ready to take to say this was a downside but in the on the roller coaster of a ride that end, I couldn’t see myself doing anyhe is. He was born in Ohio, tossed thing else.” around a little bit when he was young Gilker rides for Boyd and Silva er, and then sold to another trainer in Martin, so keep an eye on the tube Kentucky. I found him, he then travand you may actually see her comeled to Aiken, South Carolina and we pete someday soon. finally ended up in Pennsylvania to For another perspective, I spoke train with Olympic rider Boyd Martin. with veteran real estate broker BunHe’s only 6-years old and has alny Berke (currently with REIMAX ready started his competition career Action, based in Montreal’s City of at the upper levels after we have Westmount). A horse rider for about been together just a year and a half. 20 years now, her latest steed being I have a really good feeling about this Sir Lancelot (see photo), Berke starthorse. He’s a good one.” ed riding to accompany her then I then asked a question many of young son, Charles. “I have jumped us must share: Why become a jockand ridden dressage and I often ey, even if you adore equines? “Now ride in the Hamptons,” she told me. that’s a question,” Sawyer replied. “For me, riding is not like doing any“To be a jockey, or an equestrian in thing else. You are at one with your general, especially at the top levels horse… for instance, the horse is of the sport, requires a lot of things. very intuitive, knowing whether you Let’s start with dedication. To be a reare afraid. A sense of calm is importally good rider, you need to spend a ant to avoid being thrown, which has lot of time doing it: You can’t just go happened to me several times.” to the barn, ride one horse and be When that happens, Berke evokes done. You need to ride multiple horsthe old adage: “You get right back on es a day to become a diverse rider the horse,” she said. “You just can’t and, personally, I think you need to let that change your attitude.” work for someone who is a profes She also stated that there is nothsional. ing more calming for her. “When you “There are a lot of things that go are in a stressful career, nothing into making a top horse that no one beats riding. It’s very therapeutic, as thinks about and there are different you ultimately reach a very real level programs that focus on bringing out of euphoria.” specific aspects in each horse. You


Never say never T here are a couple of words in general that I don’t like. They are “ALWAYS” and “NEVER” and this certainly pertains to the field of dog training. There are a few different schools of thought in dog training. There are those people who feel that you should NEVER correct your dog for wrong behaviour and only reward the good behaviour. That school thinks that by ignoring bad behaviours, they will simply disappear. There is another school of thought who thinks that you should ALWAYS out-dominate a dog and show him “who’s the boss.” This school tends to be very confrontational and not very relationship-building. I would like to think that there are very few trainers who actually fall at the ends of this spectrum and that most fall somewhere in the middle. A growing trend in the dog training industry today is

a method called ‘balanced training,’ which incorporates the best of both worlds. To say that a dog NEVER needs to be corrected and that all bad behaviours can ALWAYS be modified by a reward system doesn’t make sense to me (or also to anyone who has had children, I think). At the same time we can’t deny the incredible power of properly rewarding and praising your dog when they perform in accordance with proper behaviour. You can get more bees with honey, right? When we train our dogs we are building a relationship of trust and friendship, but with very specific rules and boundaries. Nothing freaks a dog out more than erratic behaviour from a human. If there is predictability in a dog’s life the vast majority will remain calm and relaxed. Maximizing communication through feedback is the best and fastest way to help your dogs understand what is expected of them and clearly define what the rules are. The most effective feedback is a two-way street, involving both positive and negative outcomes to your dog’s choices. We clearly indicate to him that he has done something wrong, show him the right thing to do and then reward him when he does it. To say you should ALWAYS do this or NEVER do that doesn’t make any sense to me. Every dog I see has a distinct personality and should be treated as such. Every case is different. There are many similarities in general, but dogs tend not to be carbon copies of each other… so

Doggie Do with John Truss to maximize our ability to effectively communicate with them, we have to carry as many tools in our toolbox as possible. I do have, however, one “NEVER”

and one “ALWAYS” that I adhere to. NEVER feed your dog from the table and ALWAYS take some time in your day to tell him what a great dog he is.







(If you are looking to earn Karma points, this is the place!)

From Gerdy’s Rescues & Adoptions This sweet tri-coloured Beagle boy is 4 ½ years old and has one eye blue and the other brown-very distinctive! CHARLIE was abandoned by his owner. CHARLIE would love a new home to call his own! He would do best in a quiet household where he can go for walks on leash and putter around with you in the fenced back yard. Beagles can be overly vocal when excited, so are not ideal for an apartment or condo. And they need a securely-fenced back yard, as they follow their nose if loose and can be miles away in no time, exploring. But they are great pets, full of love for their family. For more information, contact Gerdy’s Rescues & Adoptions at or on Gerdy’s cell: 514-203-9180. ED. NOTE: Rock legend David Bowie has one blue eye and the other brown. Not too shabby, after all…


From Montreal Dogs The Beagle is 4-years old .... she was saved from a puppy mill breeding place and is shy, but very sweet once she gets to know you. Her name is PIXEL. The Shitzu is RALPH and he is 4- years old, as well. He was given up due to an overseas move that didn’t include him. He is calm, friendly with people, and likes other little dogs. E-mail Mina Carbone at or call her at 514- 923-0880



Wanna sell your pet cheap? Okay,

okay, we knew we’d get your attention this way. Nope, we are not looking to buy pets or convince people to sell them... But this is very much about sales.

We at Precious Pets are looking for two commissioned sales reps, for Montreal and also for the Ontario Region, basically the area from Ottawa to the Ontario-Quebec border. This is a superb chance to help a very unique and exclusive pet paper grow and to make some good money, as well (the commission is far from stingy). There is plenty of room for growth, so if you do well, you never know where this could lead. Join our exciting and fun team - We promise you’ll have a blast and prosper at the same time. If you are interested or you know someone who is, contact publisher and editor Bram Eisenthal or sales manager Tina Di Salvia at

In memory of, in honour of and because we love our

Precious Pets Jasper Jasper is a 2-year old Pomeranian. He’s a jovial dog that loves to play ball outside. He uses his paws to cuddle up to you or let you know whether something is up. Jasper likes to be elevated and close to his mommy Jade at all times!

URGENT – Missing Dog NEAR WILLIAMSTOWN, ONTARIO If anyone has seen this dog, he answers to the name Rocky, is an 8-year old Miniature Sheltie / Poodle mix, is grey with a white head, white chest, and white on the bottom of his paws (more on the front ones). Rocky went missing near the St Raphael’s area, Williamstown, Ontario. His human companion is Linda, whom you can reach at 613-551-8470. Linda is offering a reward if she is reunited with her precious pet. You can also e-mail her at



Invest in your future,

Bunny Berke

Invest in your property

Real Estate Broker


Kimry Gravenor

Sales Coordinator




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The League of Extraordinary Greyhounds (T-Legs) is a volunteer not-for-profit organization, formed and operating in Montreal to promote the adoption of retired racing greyhounds. The mission of T-Legs is: to educate the public about greyhounds through meet & greets and events; to encourage the adoption of greyhounds; to accept and screen applications for greyhound adoption; and to aid and support our adopters and hounds from beginning to end. Greyhounds are intelligent, calm and graceful and they make wonderful pets. Greyhounds love people and are very sociable. They reward their owners with a lifetime of unconditional love and affection. In this issue of Precious Pets you will find “The Wild Gene” – the greyhound’s ancient instinct “Forced to Run?” – exploring the greyhound controversy “Couch Potato meet Crate Potato” – still at 45 MPH “After the Race is Over” – Hauling and fostering For more information contact The League of Extraordinary Greyhounds email:; phone 514-239-2513

The Wild Gene

by Dennis McKeon reprinted with permission. Copyright, 2012

Retired Racing Greyhound adopters, as a group, are perhaps the most enthusiastic, enthralled and bemused pet owners in the world. Many of them have adopted small packs of retired racers, unable to resist having “just one”. The Racing Greyhound is a bewitching creature, indeed. One only has to search the various internet Forums to infer that there is something very special happening here. People all seem to sense in their greyhounds, an ethereal, mystical and beguiling quality, and the essence of which they just can’t seem to identify, grasp, or wrap their minds around. They don’t quite understand it, but they know it is there, just below the surface. Since before the dawn of civilization, Greyhounds have been the companions of men. They have always served a purpose, and they have been maintained as a supremely functional breed, because of this symbiosis. Yesterday, they were lethal coursers and hunters. Today, they are racers of astonishing athleticism and speed.

The essence of our modern Racing Greyhound’s ancient ancestors is still held just beneath their skin. When you see that certain look in his eye, when you notice that certain set to his ear, or that certain body language and expression that seems



foreign to you, almost otherworldly, don’t be alarmed. You’ll never touch it, you can’t hold it, and you can’t feel it. It is beyond you. The ancient dogs of pre-history who culled the elk herds, the dogs who hunted and fought with the Celts, and the dogs who coursed after the hares and deer on the verdant fields of Ireland, are simply calling out to him. He can hear them as clearly as you hear the alarm clock in the morning. He can hear them, and he can understand that ancient language which has resonated across countless generations and through oceans of time. He can hear them, and he must heed them, because he is a Racing Greyhound. When racing is gone, when Greyhounds no longer perform even a variation upon their natural function, only then will those voices forever be still.

Forced to Run? Exploding the Myth

by Dennis McKeon, reprinted with permission. Copyright, 2014

I came across an interesting article today. The thrust of it is something breeders of sporting and working dogs have known for a long time. “New research from Emory University School of Medicine, in Atlanta, has shown that it is possible for some information to be inherited biologically through chemical changes that occur in DNA.” But of course. There is a heritable and collective consciousness within species and breeds of animals. Not all things they do are learned. Not all behaviors they exhibit are simply to please us, or in spite of us. Some things are just etched upon their DNA, and they couldn’t care less about what we think of it. That’s why Doberman Pinscher dogs warn and protect. It’s why Huskies mush. It’s why ShepherdCONTINUED ON PAGE 10


Half a million unwanted pets euthanized in Quebec in 2013 (by Dr. Wybranowski, B.SC. DVM CCRT)


ccording to a Léger Marketing poll conducted early this year for the Association des Médecins Vétérinaires du Québec (AMVQ), there were 730,000 cats and dogs adopted in the province of Quebec in 2013. At the same time, 500,000 cats and dogs were euthanized because they could not find a home. Here is the breakdown of the number and the sources of new pet adoptions in 2013: (CATS versus DOGS) • Adoptions in 2013: 458,000 + 272,000 • Sources of adoption: Neighbour, friend 24% + 28% • Found outside: 20% (insignificant number for dogs) • Shelter: 29% + 5% • Pet store: 6% + 4% • Recognized breeder: 2% + 22% • Other sources: 19% + 41% Here are interesting similarities, but it’s the differences I find more interesting. Let’s start with cats. There were a great many cats found outside: One out of five. Almost one third of all cats were adopted from shelters, while very few cats were bought from a recognized breeder (Canadian Cat Association-accredited breeder). With dogs, it’s the opposite. No significant number of dogs were found outside (we very rarely see dogs wandering the streets, thank God!), but only 5% were adopted from a shelter. People instead bought them from a recognized breeder Canadian Kennel Club approved member: They wanted a pet with certain features, or of a specific breed, and they were willing to pay for that. Take a look, however, at the number of animals that come from other sources. Unfortunately, many of these animals come from cat and dog farms. These animals have substandard care and nutrition and serve only as slaves to generate a profit for their owners. Even pets sold in pet shops that are not accompanied by a pedigree may come from these cat and dog farms. Let’s try to put an end to this injustice. Adopt your pet from a shelter. You will not only save a life, you will also get great value for your money. All pets will be sterilized, vaccinated, de-wormed, and will be assessed for behavioural problems. Cats will also sometimes be tested for Feline Leukemia and AIDS, while dogs may be tested for heartworm disease. And they will all be flea-free! If you opt for a purebred animal, that’s no problem – but get an animal with a pedigree. Don’t buy the argument that if you want a pedigree, it will cost X dollars more. It costs peanuts to register your purebred litter with the CKC or CCA. If the seller presents that argument, you are not

getting a purebred animal. The pedigree is the only guarantee of purity of breed. Whenever possible, try to meet the parents of your newly adopted puppy or kitten and try to see the litter-mates. Are they healthy looking? Is the premises clean? Do the parents exhibit normal behaviour? It may not always be possible to meet

the father, since he may not belong to the owner of the mother, but always insist on meeting the mother. If the mother is not present, the pet most likely comes from a pet farm. Whatever you decide to do, do not buy your pet from individuals on Kijiji. You may just be sponsoring a pet farm. April 30th is Adopt-a-Pet from a Shelter Day – Please consider

adopting your next pet from a shelter. At Animal 911, we always have healthy cats for adoption. Give us a call at 514-685-8387 or visit our Facebook page. (ED. NOTE: I find this to be THE most disturbing column we have ever published. Please, please heed Doctor W’s sage advice and don’t allow animals to be put down unnecessarily!)

Dr. Wybranowski and Willow





ing dogs herd. It’s why Labradors retrieve. And it’s why Greyhounds race. It’s also why greyhound breeders, trainers, and others who are truly knowledgeable of the breed, take extreme exception to the oft-repeated fable and fallacy, that by some sinister spell of dark magic, greyhounds are “forced to run” by their breeders and handlers. Like most of the popular mythology of the Racing Greyhound, nothing could be further from the truth. A greyhound who doesn’t revel in the gifts of his own speed and grace, a greyhound who isn’t inclined to compete with his littermates and pack mates, or a greyhound who does not choose to chase after game or lures—they are the anomalies. For a breed of considerable antiquity, such as the greyhound, these things are self-evident, to anyone who has even the slightest familiarity or experience with the modern, racing Greyhound. I have no idea why it has taken science so long to catch up with what King Canute and his subjects knew in the 11th century, and what rural, agrarian, wide-open-spaces America has known since pioneer times. Greyhounds are running, hunting dogs, who are furiously competitive when doing so, and who are completed-- made whole--by the very act of partaking in the chase. Far from being “forced to run” by humans, a greyhound’s every nerve, fiber, sinew and cell demands that he run. He is compelled to do so, by voices so ancient and powerful that we, in our suburban idyll, cannot even imagine their resonance. As a former professional race trainer, I would love to be able to sit here and tell you all that each and every greyhound who was placed in my hands, owed all of his/her success to my consummate skills and intuition, as someone who trained them, impeccably, to run and compete. But that would be yet another myth to add to the litany of greyhound mythology already out there for public disinformation. The truth is, the trainer’s job is to give the greyhound ample opportunity and time to hone the skills he already possesses, and to nurture the drives and desires the greyhound is born with. We merely let them express themselves. We don’t teach them to race and to compete. They already know how to do that. We simply evaluate where they are, physically, mentally and competitively at any given time, and we try to maximize each greyhound’s competitive potential. A greyhound who does not wish to race, simply doesn’t race. They either refuse to break from the start-


ing box, or they quit the chase shortly after the race begins. I have never known anyone who could “force a greyhound to run”. Neither has anyone else. It might surprise you to learn that some great greyhounds, even breed icons like Rinaker and Dutch Bahama, declined to race at one point or another in their careers. And no one could force them to do it. They decided for themselves, if and when they would or wouldn’t. Greyhounds are like that, as many of you may know. So, contrary to insidious, popular mythology, greyhounds are not forced to run or to race. It is simply impossible for a handler to do that. Period. The greyhounds we see racing on tracks do so because they love to, and as the researchers from Emory University have surmised: “… experiences are somehow transferred from the brain into the genome, allowing them to be passed on to later generations.” Inasmuch as that is certainly the case, by whatever mechanism, and has been for hundreds of generations of sporting Greyhounds, it behooves us to ask ourselves what the real “cruelty” is. Breeding and enabling them to race? Or forcing them not to?

Couch Potato meet Crate Potato

by Dennis McKeon, reprinted with permission. Copyright, 2014

Canines are all pack animals. All canines are “denners”. This means that left to their own devices, they will seek out places to sleep and rest that provide close cover and protection, not only from the elements, but from their enemies. Greyhounds, unlike most domestic canines, are raised in a pack. As puppies and then as saplings, that pack is comprised of their littermates and/or other greyhounds their age who are being raised on the facility where they reside. When they arrive at the racing kennel as young adults, they become members of a larger pack, with sub-packs. Each pack member in the racing kennel has his/her own “den”, which we (and those companies who sell them commercially) refer to as

crates, and anti-racing propagandists prefer to call “cages”, for maximum, negative connotation. Canines have been observed, ad infintum, to sleep anywhere from 1216 hours per day, both in domesticity and in the wild. That is perfectly normal behavior for canines of almost any stripe. Greyhounds, whether in a racing kennel or kept as pets in the home, are so fond of sleeping for protracted periods of time, and for such huge portions of the day, that they are known by all and sundry, affectionately indeed, as the infamous “45 mile per hour couch potato”.

After a brief period of adjustment and evaluation, once they begin their racing careers, greyhounds are kept on a program of vigorous exercise, training, handling and grooming. They gallop in long runs, or on the racetrack itself. They are schooled behind the lure. They are walked on walking machines or by hand, and sometimes they even swim at facilities that have hydrotherapy units, nearby lakes or other bodies of water that the trainer can make use of. They take whirlpool baths and/or receive relaxing massages, and they are brushed, combed, pedicured and slicked up before and after racing or training sessions. They are kept busy, and at all times, share their lives with their pack members. In all cases, conditioning them to race successfully takes time, repetition, commitment, and more than anything, it takes a lot out of the greyhound. Greyhounds cherish and require their downtime, their rest and their relaxation, to recover from the exertions of playing, training and then, racing.

pleasant fatigue and satisfaction on the face of the dog, it is impossible to imagine the degree of their desire, contentment and commitment. Once you witness it, it all becomes perfectly clear. The amount of sleeping and lolling about they do is roughly a reflection of the depth of their natural and healthy expressions of their genetic and athletic heritage. So that couch potato you have at home, blissfully snoozing the day away as you occasionally check in to see if he or she is still alive, was, before he met you, a 45 mile per hour “crate potato” in the racing kennel. He learned to rest and snooze in his own private den space, feeling perfectly secure, while the kennel was a virtual beehive of activity all day long. He was deprived of nothing, was anything but bored, and was perfectly exhilarated when his name was called for either galloping, schooling, walking or racing---or just about anything other than the dreaded nail-trimming.

After the Race is Is Over Eventually it comes time for the racer to retire. This can be due to a lack of interest in “the chase”, age or, perhaps, an injury. This is where the adoption groups take over. Most racetracks work with adoption groups that will either take the dog into their own group or work as a intermediary group. An intermediary group is able to get the dogs further afield than a local group. After the dogs are taken from the racetrack they are put onto a “hauler” and driven to the various adoption groups around the US and Canada Where the adoption group volunteers anxiously await them...

Those of us who have never seen a greyhound immediately after a race or a training session behind the lure, have no idea just how much effort and energy they expend getting after it. Until you see the pumped up muscles, almost appearing to bulge through the greyhound’s skin, the heaving sides, and the expression of



In praise of the precious feline


or those of you who don’t know me yet, my name is Samantha and I am the owner of West Island Cats – a personalized cat sitting service. So it’s only natural that I love cats. But the real question is…..are cats truly superior to dogs? Are felines better than K9’s? My simple answer“Yes – Cats rule and dogs drool!” Generally, cats are easy to care for. From an early age they are great sleepers, able to be left on their own without much consequential damage to your home and, best of all, they are quick to potty train!! A dog on the other hand will whimper all night long, chew on your best pair of shoes and poop on the kitchen floor! How’s that for a welcome-home- present af-

Greyhounds Eventually all the hounds are ready for their temporary new homes.

The hounds are inspected,

Then they are given a “spa” treatment Some love it .....

Others not so much… We use a foster program to get the hound used to being in a home before they go to their new adopters. Many people are under the impression that fostering a Greyhound means you should be adopting it. There is absolutely no obligation to keep a foster Grey. Fostering a hound for a month or two provides a huge service to our organization as it prepares a greyhound for “home living,” for when it finally finds its “forever” home.

ter a long day at work! A feline companion doesn’t demand much: A bowl of food; water; litter; some snuggles, some feathery toys to toss around the house; and some brushing to keep her coat silky and healthy. But having a dog presents many more responsibilities. One major difference in responsibility is the need for you to accompany them to do their “business.” As a previous dog owner I know they can dilly-dally and sniff every fire hydrant, mailbox and street sign in sight just so you can be late for work in the mornings! And that’s just the beginning of it: Don’t forget that dogs need much more time dedicated to outdoor play. Failing to do so can turn the inside of your home into his daily jungle gym!

CONTIUNUED FROM PAGE 10 While it may be “efficient” to have all Greys housed in the same facility for potential adopters to be able to visit and spend time with them, it is our belief that fostering offers more benefits for all involved: The hounds are introduced to couch life by volunteers that have already been educated by these gentle giants, ensuring smoother transitions for the hounds; The fostering family becomes the source of knowledge about the hound’s personality, ensuring higher rates of win-win adoptions; Adoptive families get a hound that has been introduced to family life, making it easier for first-time adopters; Foster families get to form a closer knit relationship with other members of the adoption group because It’s about being part of and promoting a special community! Who can be a foster family? Fostering is meant to be easy, uncomplicated and most of all enjoyable. Being passionate about what wonderful companions Greyhounds can be is the most important requirement. The adoption group takes care of the material needs of the hound, but it is the foster family that provides the guidance and love the hound needs to become a family companion. The adoption group is as present and supportive as needed to foster families making sure that families do not feel overwhelmed during the fostering period. For more information contact The League of Extraordinary Greyhounds email:; phone 514-239-2513

Chatty Catty with Samantha Havill And with outdoor play comes outdoor dirt! Bathing a dog can be “fun!” With cats and bathing, well, they take care of it by themselves! Any actual bathing of a cat should be accompanied with thick leather gloves and the courage to go along with the act! On the topic of exercise, if you have more than one cat I’m sure you hear them tearing up and down the stairs after each other, or speeding down a long hallway only to leap onto the bed or cat window seat. If you only have one cat, you will need to become that other cat! Not literally! Don’t start jumping on the bed just yet, but know that you will need to invest more time for playing purposes as part of your daily schedule. All animals, including cats, need play time, as it has many benefits. It helps lower anxiety, helps keep the animal fit and energy levels where they should




be, promotes socialization and helps you build a better bond with your cat. They’ll be much happier to chase a feather toy rather than nibble on your feet or swat them as you sleep! As an avid pet lover, I will never actually say that dogs don’t make good pets (and I did not mean to infer that they do not, in case you are about to write an angry letter to this paper), if you like that wet dog smell, dog breath and the ever-so-popular mouth drool. But, as a self-proclaimed, proud “crazy cat lady,” I can honestly say that I think cats are the best! (ED. Note: In all truth, we are pleased to finally have a column promoting the cat’s point-of-view, as we have been seriously dog-heavy since we started. We love dogs and other animals (like horses), but we love cats, too.)




Weird animals displayed at Maine’s coolest museum: Highly-educated American researcher Coleman responsible by Bram D. Eisenthal- Precious Pets Exclusive


’ve always had huge interest in unexplained phenomena. As a child of no more than 8 (almost 50 years ago!), I started looking at books and watching televised shows that involved Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and UFOs. By 12, I was devouring at least two books per week, many dealing with unexplained mysteries. So, it’s no surprise that, years later as an adult, writing feature articles for newspapers, they were often of the “weird” variety. But I have also learned that there are likely more skeptics or unabashed non-believers out there than those who shared my views. The then-travel editor at The Gazette refused to accept stories about things HE did not believe in. Sort of ridiculous, I thought, since it was not HIS paper, but what could I do? There were (and still are) plenty of respected papers willing to accept such features. Now I am usually reading books on unexplained, unproven creatures and UFOs, or watching documentaries on TV. Am I weird? Maybe, but no one is going to tell me what I can read or watch. Or write, for that matter. Those interested in such matters can find a lot of reading material out there and I recommend anything by the following authors: Late, legendary naturalist Ivan T. Sanderson, Canada’s Dr. John Bindernagel and American Loren Coleman (all Bigfoot experts), Frank Edwards (UFOs and other unexplained phenomena), Hans Holzer (ghosts), Colin Wilson (anything strange) and the long-departed British Commander Rupert T. Gould, whose book Oddities is a classic about everything related and who wrote one of THE first books on the Loch Ness Monster, published in the 1930s. My friend, Joseph Citro, is a Vermont-based author and paranormal buff who has had many books published on ghosts and other unexplained phenomena… I recommend his book Passing Strange if you seek a truly terrifying literary experience. From this list of respectable authors, just one has made his many years of research accessible to the museum-going public, at a 3-yearold place less than six hours away by car. Several years ago, Loren Coleman established the International Cryptozoology Museum, the only such venue in the world, and if you have even a passing interest in strange animals (Cryptozoology – pronounced cripto-zoo-olojee, is actually the study of hidden animals), the 1-2 hours you will spend here is well worth the trip. The admission cost is negligible, kids love it as much as adults and they have plenty of cool


Bram D. Eisenthal, Precious Pets Publisher (left), with Bigfoot souvenirs to purchase and take back with you. Want a casting of an actual Bigfoot print? A creepy Mothman figure? Plush, humorous reproductions of strange creatures? One of Coleman’s books, signed by him? They have them all - And they even have the coolest tee-shirt with the museum’s imprinted logo and other fun graphics. I managed to get hold of the always-busy Coleman, who is sometimes off on one field trip or another for the purpose of research, and he responded to a few questions. He told me that he and his assistant director, Jeff Meuse, have spent considerable time updating the museum’s website lately, so perhaps you might enjoy taking a look at There is a lot of interesting information to be found there. As was the case with me, Coleman became interested in unusual animals when he was quite young: “I saw a Japanese movie (Half Human) on the Abominable Snowman and asked my teachers what this business was about the Yeti,” he told me “I was given three answers - ‘They don’t exist,’‘Get back to your studies,’ and ‘Don’t bother me with that.’ “Frustrated and still curious, I went to the reference librarians at

the Decatur (Illinois) Public Library with the same question. They gave me a couple books (hardly any were written on the subject – then called “romantic zoology” back then). The topic would later be called ‘cryptozoology’ (the study of hidden or unknown animals). Even though the term was coined in the 1940s by Scottish/naturalized American zoologist Ivan T. Sanderson, then used more often by Belgian zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans in the late 1950s, cryptozoology was not used in print until 1961. “Romantic zoology/cryptozoology and these animal mysteries captured my interest and I began going on local investigations of ‘black panther encounters’ and ‘small ape sightings with Illinois law enforcement officers/ game wardens (my father was a professional firefighter). I began corresponding with scientists around the world.” Coleman then chose his undergraduate school (1965-1969) and he majored in anthropology and zoology at Southern Illinois University–Carbondale, because of the propensity of information on the ‘little red ape’ and other folklore there. “I wrote my first published article in 1969 and my first book, The Unidentified (Warner Books), in 1975,” he added. “I moved


to northern California for parts of two years (Jan 1974 - Aug 1975), to explore the Bigfoot info there, then moved to New England half way through 1975 for my graduate school studies (Masters in Social Work, 1978, and two Ph.D. Programs in Anthropology and Sociology – but he did not complete either). I then worked at USM, 1975-1996, at the Muskie School, but taught at USM in Documentary Film, Social Work and Anthropology from 1989-2003. I also taught at Boston University, Bunker Hill Community College, St. Joseph’s College, UNE, and SMCC, during various periods from 1980-2007. “I taught the first credit course in Cryptozoology in the USA, in 1989, at USM,” Coleman stated. “The decision to open the museum in 2003 was based on my insight that the history of the field of cryptozoology was too often being ignored and literally ending up in dumpsters, after people’s expeditions and/or deaths.” In his younger days, Coleman was an active field researcher and is still infrequently out in the field. “But what is more important to me now is to be a faithful chronicler and keeper of the legacy of Cryptozoology. By mere effort and years, of course, we are always closer to discovering the new species, some of which may be based on well-known cryptids. I do not, by the way, comment on any ‘paranormal’ or ‘ufological’ subjects, only on Cryptozoology.” Why do members of the public enjoy visiting his museum so much? “People love mysteries, animals, and thus Cryptozoology. As opposed to having to camp out in the woods, our visitors can take their time and soak in the history and backgrounds of both the mystery animals and their seekers. The museum is educational and scientific, but not about ‘convincing’ people that Cryptozoology should be their life’s passion. We do not attempt to make ‘believers’ out of anyone. We ourselves are open-mindedly, albeit skeptical and sceptically-open minded.” Coleman chose Portland, Maine as the locale for his museum for several main reasons: He raised his sons there; Portland, Maine is somewhat of a tourist mecca; and, as is the case with small cities, it’s an ideal spot, unlike larger cities where a small museum would get lost among the many other attractions.” What does he hear the most from visitors, I wanted to know? “Wow, what a cool place!” International Cryptozoology Museum 11 Avon St, Portland, ME, USA 04101





No need for kaw-tion with these brilliant avians


o you like crows? Most of you will probably say “no” because you might find them scary and evil looking. There is a lot more to them, however, than meet the eyes. In reality, crows are considered to be the most adaptable and intelligent birds in the world and have an excellent memory. Scientists discovered that they are able to recognize and memorize human faces. They can differentiate and remember humans who offered them a tasty peanut from the ones who tried to hurt them. They are so ingenious that if they are unable to open a nut, they have been observed dropping it on the street so that cars can run over it and crack it open for them.

You got to admit, it is not bad for a bird to think of that, right? Crows do have emotions and their own varied language. Kawing is the sound that they make and each vari-

Birds of a Feather with Chantal Gargano ation can have a different meaning depending of their mood. They can also imitate the sounds made by other animals. They are able to associate noises with events, especially when it they are associated with food. I had two crows that used to come and perch on my neighbour’s roof, as soon as they heard me open the side door of our house… because I would toss peanuts toward them each time I would depart from that particular door. Crows will hide extra food in the grass and will cover it up with leaves or other materials. At our house, to my spouse’s great displeasure, they have adopted our rain gutters as their preferred food hideouts! To me, this is just the cutest thing...but, then again, I am not the one cleaning the gutters! In April, crows are nesting. During that time, the female will mostly stay

And the winners are…


Saying Goodbye to Your Angel Animals: Finding Comfort after Losing Your Pet by Chantal Gargano


f you have lost one of your beloved animal companions, you know how much it subsequently hurts inside. It is not easy to get over the loss of an animal and to find peace and comfort during a grieving phase. With their beautiful book ‘’Saying Goodbye to Your Angel Animals – Finding Comfort after Losing Your Pet’’, however, Allen and Linda Anderson, founders of Angel Animals Network, have managed to cover all the various aspects of losing a beloved pet. They tell many inspirational stories and offer simple, easy and meaningful meditation exercises that will help you reflect on your inner relationship with your departed animal. They offer their caring advice on topics such as: The Colors of Saying Goodbye, Remembering the Life of Your Angel Animal, Crossing over the River of Grief Together, Angel Animals, The Afterlife and many more. What I also really enjoyed about this book is that


in her nest and the male will bring food to her. He will break it in little pieces and place it under his tongue in order to carry it back to her. Since water is harder to bring, he will dip the dry foods in water and take the softened, moist material back to the nest. Human males should be taking notes here because women love to get their meals served to them as well… During the fall and winter seasons, crows will gather together in large numbers, sometimes thousands of them into a single group, in order to sleep together. Those sleeping groups are called roosts. So, the next time you see crows, try to appreciate them for the unique birds that they are. It is easy to get “kawrried” away observing them! Happy crow watching!

you are asked to do various simple exercises such as “Make a list of the enjoyable habits and routine you shared with your animal companion, Stop and remember how it felt to share your life with your special pet,” etc. I really liked doing those exercises because they helped me re-connect with the deepest feelings I had for my beautiful angel rabbits Bunbun and Beanie. While reading this book I went through various stages of emotion. It provided me with the comfort and reassurance that I was so desperately seeking after losing my pet rabbits. At the end of the book you will also find an extensive list of pet loss organizations and various website links. I would recommend this book to everyone who is grieving their animal companion, but also to those who have not yet lost their pet but are interested in learning more about deal-

ing with grief. This book is really easy to read and offers you the chance to achieve inner reflection about your relationship with your precious animal companion. My only negative comment is that it is too short! The authors have so much knowledge about pet loss that they could have expanded their thoughts on various topics. In conclusion, my personal closing remark after reading many books about pet loss is that, if you are presently grieving the loss of your cherished pet, try to remember that even if your animal friend left his physical body, the heart connections between your souls will never be broken. Your angel animal will forever be there for you and, whenever you miss him, simply reach inside your heart and you will find him. I rate this book four paws out of five!


Precious Pets is pleased to announce our first Like Us & Share on Facebook Contest. The randomly-chosen winners are: First Prize (Gift Basket from Little Bear of Westmount) Monica Haltgreve, West Island Second Prize (Gift Basket from Pampered Pets of Westmount) – Belinda Schneider, Chambly Third Prize (Marley & Me on DVD and a Kong toy for large dogs) Louise Bessette, Ottawa Thanks to all who participated and keep an eye out for the next contest from Precious Pets, coming your way soon!

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514 947-0168 24 HRS PRECIOUS PETS • VOLUME 1 • ISSUE 9 • FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014 •




Precious Pets Vol 1, Issue 9  
Precious Pets Vol 1, Issue 9  

Precious Pets Vol 1, Issue 9