from Pet Supplies Plus
John Oâ€™Hurley on dogs, books, life and, yes, J. Peterman
3 for the show A trio of new breeds debuts at this yearâ€™s National Dog Show
Wyoming K9s protect and serve
dogsunleashedmag.com Vol.2, No.2
2 Dogs Unleashed November/December 2013
Publisher: Steve Adams U.S.R. Services 3597 Henry St. Suite 103 Muskegon, MI 49441 Editor: Mary Ullmer Creative Director: Kevin Kyser kyserdesignwerks.com Dogs Unleashed is a bi-monthly magazine especially for dog lovers. It is available at more than 300 locations in Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties or by paid mail-order subscription. To advertise or become a distribution location for Dogs Unleashed, contact Mary Ullmer at: firstname.lastname@example.org All material published in Dogs Unleashed is copyrighted © 2013 by Dogs Unleashed. All rights reserved. Reproduction of material presented in Dogs Unleashed is prohibited without written permission. Contents are for entertainment only. Publisher assumes no responsibility for the accuracy, safety, or performance of the information or products presented. The opinions presented are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or judgment of the publisher or advertisers. Send photos, questions or comments to: email@example.com
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5 Canine Calendar 6 Fetch! 8 From Our Sponsor 10 Ask the Vet 12 The Doctor is In 14 Good Grief 16 Your Money 18 Profile: Artist Sarah Pyne 20 Feature story: John O’Hurley 25 Working Dogs: K9 Patrol 32 Destination: New Mexico 36 Kid Stuff 38 The Tail End
on the cover
photo courtesy of nbc
When the public relations folks from the National Dog Show presented by Purina contacted us about a story on their nationally televised event, we were intrigued. When they offered up an interview with the show’s host, John O’Hurley, we simply couldn’t say no. O’Hurley was gracious enough to talk with us on a variety of subjects, and we think you’ll enjoy reading about the multitalented, dog-loving star.
November/December 2013 Dogs Unleashed 3
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Contributors Writers: Annie Blumenfeld (Kid Stuff), Susan Harrison-Wolfiss (The Tail End), Annie JonesFrancis (Doggy Destination: New Mexico), Paul R. Kopenkoskey (Your Money: Pet Health Insurance), Ginny Mikita (Good Grief), Linda Odette (Fetch), Ron Rop (From Our Sponsor), Dr. Wendy Swift (Ask the Vet), Dr. Shane Thellman (The Doctor is In), Jennifer Waters (Working Dogs), Tricia Woolfenden (Profile: Sarah Pyne). Photographer: Mary Caperton Morton (Doggy Destination: New Mexico) Copy editors: Linda Odette, Amy Snow-Buckner
to subscribe: Order a one-year subscription (six issues) to have Dogs Unleashed delivered to your home for just $9.99. You also have the option to order it as a gift for a dog-loving friend. Go to dogsunleashedmag.com, click on the SUBSCRIBE link and complete the payment information using our secure credit card form. For more information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
4 Dogs Unleashed November/December 2013
who we are Mary Ullmer (Editor), is a former manager, editor, reporter and blogger who previously worked for the Grand Rapids Press, Chicago Tribune, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Springfield NewsLeader and Muskegon Chronicle. Email her at email@example.com Kevin Kyser (Creative Director), owns Kyser Design Werks, (ad on p. 35) a full-service branding and marketing firm. Kevin and his wife Jody have four children: Courtney, Cameron, Collin and Caden. They also have three cats and a 150-pound Lab/Rottweiler/ Newfoundland mix named Gus. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jennifer Waters (Photographer), is a professional pet photographer at Grumpy Pups Pet Photography, (ad on p. 29) She also is a freelance writer and volunteer photographer at Harbor Humane Society. She credits her three boxers — the original “grumpy pups” — for her love of working with animals. View her work at grumpypups.com or contact Jennifer at email@example.com.
Girl Scout Badge Day for Brownies and Daisies, Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. A fun, interactive way to complete the steps required to earn your badge. Contact Jen SelfAulgur at (616) 791-8066 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
West Michigan Harvest Cluster Dog Shows, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. each day, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake St., Kalamazoo. Four all-breed dog shows, obedience trials and rally trials, with more than 4,500 dogs competing. Free admission, $5 parking. Pontiac Kennel Club, Nov. 7; Greater Muskegon Kennel Club, Nov. 8; Kalamazoo Kennel Club, Nov. 9; and Grand Rapids Kennel Club, Nov. 10. For information, go to midogshows.com.
Paws ... itively ROCKIN! Live!, 1-8 p.m., Eagle Lodge, 110 Chestnut, Allegan. Free event, featuring burgers from the grill, raffles and silent auction and music from area bands, benefits Wishbone Pet Rescue Alliance/Allegan County Animal Shelter. For information, go to wishbonepetrescue.org.
Toddler Tails, 10-10:45 a.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Designed for ages 2-4 and includes stories, activities, crafts and animal interactions. Cost is $5 per family. Contact Jen Self-Aulgur (616) 791-8066 or email@example.com.
Furry Friday Films, 5:30-9:30 p.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Kids in grades K-5 are invited to join HSWM for animal time, games, crafts and an animal movie. Pizza, pop and popcorn
are provided. Cost is $25 per child with a $10 sibling discount. Contact Jen Self-Aulgur (616) 791-8066 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bellwether Holiday Open House, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Bellwether Harbor, 7645 W. 48th St., Fremont. Pet and family pictures with Santa, microchip clinic, Bellwether Harborâ€™s Boutique for gifts, the Wishing Tree and gourmet bake sale with treats for you and your pets. Contact Bellwether Harbor (231) 924-9230 or carmen@ bellwetherharbor.org or visit www. bellwetherharbor.org.
Photos with the real Santa, 6-8 p.m., Must Love Dogs Boutique & Spa, 211 Washington St., Grand Haven. Bring your pets to Must Love Dogs for pictures with Santa! Cost is just $5 per photo, and proceeds benefit both Micheleâ€™s Rescue and BestPals Rescue. No appointment necessary, but there may be a short wait. For information, contact Must Love Dogs (616) 9359588.
Baby Ready Pets, noon to 2 p.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. A workshop to help prepare your pet for the arrival of your bundle of joy. With a little training and assistance, you can make it a safe and stress-free experience for the whole family. Contact Jen SelfAulgur (616) 791-8066 or jaulgur@ hswestmi.org.
Companion Animal Grief Support, 6-7 p.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Group sessions offer a safe, confidential, structured environment. Please pre-register by noon on the day of the meetings with facilitator Ginny Mikita (616) 460-0373 or Jen Self-Aulgur (616) 791-8066 or email@example.com.
Home for the Holidays Adoption Day, 10:30 a.m.4 p.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Visit HSWM and bring one of our many loving pets home in time for the holidays! Special adoption pricing will be featured. For information, visit hswestmi.org or contact Nicole Cook at (616) 7918089 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Muskegon Humane Society Holiday Open House, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 2640 Marquette Ave., Muskegon. Visit staff, volunteers and adoptable animals as well as a gift shop and vendors on site for holiday shopping. For information, go to muskegonhumanesociety.org.
Toddler Tails, 10-10:45 a.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Designed for ages 2-4 and includes stories, activities, crafts and animal interactions. Cost is $5 per family. Pre-register by contacting Jen Self-Aulgur (616) 791-8066 or email@example.com.
Yappy Howlidays Open House, 6-9 p.m., Michigan Veterinary Specialists, 1425 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids. Pets are welcome and festivities include pet first aid and CPR classes, complimentary pet pictures with Santa, behind-the-scenes hospital tour, appetizers and holiday drinks and meet the staff. For more information, call (616) 284-5300.
Companion Animal Grief Support, 6-7 p.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Group sessions offer a safe, confidential, structured environment. Please pre-register by noon on the day of the meetings with facilitator Ginny Mikita (616) 460-0373 or Jen Self-Aulgur (616) 791-8066 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
November/December 2013 Dogs Unleashed 5
PRODUCTS FOR YOUR POOCH
DOG GAMES FOR PEOPLE
But wait, there’s more: It’s perfect for travel. Fetch it: The card game package is $24.95 and available at zazzypals. com. The site includes a video of the game being played by a cute grandma and grandpa.
What it is: Your search for a game that doesn’t involve electronics or technology but does involve dogs ends with Canine Cardz. Made by Zazzy Pals, it features eight games for all ages. A former school psychologist and dog portrait painter created the game, which comes with a 54-card deck based on real dogs and their stories, 12-colored pencils, a sketch pad, dog drawing art lessons, a card case and an easy-to-carry container.
What it is: A warm and cozy winter snowsuit is going to make both your dog and you feel good about taking walks in cold weather. Its insulated nylon shell helps keep body heat close. It’s available in many sizes and the legs and the hood zip off. But wait, there’s more: The design helps prevent the buildup of snow on your dog’s belly, making it easier for him or her to walk in snow. Fetch it: Canine Casual makes the suit, which is available online at wayfair.com for about $22 plus shipping.
DOGS TO THE RESCUE > What it is: Stylish key rings, necklaces and note cards from artist Martha Cares, who exhibited the colorful dogs in a much larger form at 2012 ArtPrize. Her 2012 entry, “My Rescue,” and this year’s entry, featuring cats, were located in front of Gerald R. Ford Museum. The artist from Sawyer, Mich., wants her work to raise awareness of the millions of shelter animals in search of “forever” homes. But wait, there’s more: She sells large dog sculptures that are 4 feet high and weigh 200 pounds. Made of steel, they come with stands, are durable enough to be outdoors and can be linked together with other dogs. She also sells 8-inch versions that can be placed in the home and will consider special requests. Fetch it: Jewelry-quality key rings and necklaces are $20; note cards are $12 for an eight-count box. Eight-inch dogs are $150, 2-foot dogs are $1,280 and large dogs are $2,800. For more information, go to myrescuedogs.org.
6 Dogs Unleashed November/December 2013
LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE
What it is: Three Mutts Ink’s hand-screened, printed apparel and accessories include the Pawsitively Puplowcases, a perfect gift for those who complain your dog is on his/her pillow again. But wait, there’s more: The Hudsonville, Mich., company also sells great T-shirts for dog lovers, with messages supporting rescue and adoption (“Keep Calm and Rescue On”) as well as humor (“I like big mutts and I cannot lie”). A portion of the proceeds go to rescue operations. Fetch it: Check out the pillowcases and Rescuewear/Dogwear at threemuttsink.com or call (616) 617-7763
WEAR YOUR HEART ON YOUR SLEEVE > What it is: Paw prints on your windows are a sure sign of a dog owner. So are paw prints on your coffee cup. To get the coffee-cup kind, you’ll need a Joe Jacket Pet Couture re-useable cup sleeve. The sleeve’s elasticity fits cups, acrylic and steel tumblers, Mason jars, large water bottles and sports drinks. But wait, there’s more: The Joe Jackets are eco-conscious – you’re not throwing away a paper sleeve every time you get a hot drink. Fetch it: The sleeves cost $6.99 and may be purchased at joejacket.com.
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Patience a must with potty training puppies Photo bY JENNIFER WATERS
“Puppies are like babies and respond well to time frames and schedules”
By RON ROP
ou have a new puppy, and with a new puppy comes the challenge of potty training. When and how to start? Experts agree that starting the process as soon as possible and staying consistent in your methods are two very important things to consider. “Be patient. Puppies will have accidents and it will take time to train,” said Stacy Bullock, an expert on pets who works at Pet Supplies Plus on Alpine Avenue in Grand Rapids. “Be persistent and always take them to the same spot. Have a schedule, keep at it and don’t be afraid to praise and even treat your puppy for ‘going’ outside.” While that might be easier said than done, just remember to remain patient since this process could take days, weeks or longer. There is not a definite answer to how long the process of potty training will take because each dog is different. It all starts with close supervision.
— Pet Supplies Plus expert Erin Webster When your puppy is loose in the house, keep a close eye on it. Give it the type of attention you’d give a very young child if you were babysitting. “Puppies are like babies and respond well to time frames and schedules,” Pet Supplies Plus expert Erin Webster said. “For some puppies, they learn very quickly while others take a bit longer.” That means frequent trips outdoors to take care of business. Your pet’s day should start with a trip outside, followed by trips every one or two hours. Another good time for a potty break is 15 minutes after a meal since puppies have short digestive tracts. Young puppies are learning what is
8 Dogs Unleashed November/December 2013
expected of them during this process and can be expected to “hold it” only for so long. Very young puppies, for instance, have limited control of when they go. A consistent time schedule is important. And don’t give in when things aren’t going according to plan. “Dogs and methods are different, yet the end product is always the same,” Webster said. “We want our pet to potty outside. “While you are on schedule, use a key word or a treat to reward good behavior. Don’t give in to the animal because they look cute. Make them work for their reward. If they potty, switch it up between treats and verbal praise. Don’t let them expect a treat each time.” And, as has been the case with nearly every pet, there will be accidents. How you respond to those mishaps also is important. Webster suggests not rewarding a puppy for an accident in the house. But,
“It is best to take the puppy out every two hours and have the puppy in a crate at night or while you are away” — Randy Kosters, Team Leader Pet Supplies Plus at the same time, do not severely punish a puppy if you find it has used your house as its bathroom. “They aren’t really sure what they did wrong when you are disciplining them hours later,” Webster said. However, catching them “in the act” can be used as a teaching tool. Webster said you simply can tell your pet “no” and rush it outside to the correct place to go potty. Crating your puppy until it’s time to go outside is important. And when the puppy is outside the crate, be sure it’s well-supervised. “It is best to take the puppy out every two hours and have the puppy in a crate at night or while you are away,” said Randy Kosters, team leader at the Pet Supplies Plus store in Holland. “A puppy will generally not use the bathroom in a place where they sleep.” And when you do find your puppy has had an accident, the cleanup process is vital to ensuring the area does not become a regular stop when your puppy takes care of business. Using an effective stain and odor remover, such as Unique Complete, keeps your puppy from returning to that spot. Another effective product is Nature’s Miracle, a hot seller in Pet Supplies Plus stores. There also are sprays that will attract your puppy to the desired spot to go to the bathroom. Potty bells, hung near the door, also can be used. Training your dog to ring the bell when it needs to go outside is another effective tool in the potty training process. It’s a lot of work to get through this process. But, in time, good habits will be formed and you and your puppy will be happy with a job well done. “Puppies are adorable but a lot of work,” Bullock said. “The potty training period can be trying. But the effort you put in will be worth it when you have a well-trained, wonderful dog as part of your family.”
You’re welcome At Tun-Dra Kennels, we welcome all breeds and varieties to our clean, serene country setting. We offer: Personal service. The owners of Tun-Dra Kennels live on site and deliver hands-on care to each dog. Experience. Tun-Dra has been family owned and operated since 1964, and has cared for dogs in West Michigan for more than 50 years. A Happy, Healthy Environment: Our large indoor/outdoor kennels are designed to promote physical and mental well-being. Each dog has territory to call his own.
“Like” us on Facebook: Tun-Dra Kennels • 16438 - 96th Ave • Nunica • (616) 837-9726
‘Tis the Season of Giving Give your family peace of mind with an Underground Pet Fence from Hidden Boundaries.
And for every fence that
is installed by December 31, 2013., Hidden Boundaries will Give $25 to This is the only camp in Michigan that is specialized for children with epilepsy.
616-974-9470 email@example.com Call for counties that we service! November/December 2013 Dogs Unleashed 9
Ask THE VET
wendy swift, DVM
Heartworm preventative far better than the alternative Dr. Swift,
I read an article online about heartworm prevention being toxic and horrible for my 4-pound Yorkie who spends most of his time indoors. My veterinarian tells me I should give heartworm prevention yearround. What should I do?
West Michigan Spay & Neuter Clinic
6130 Airline Road Fruitport, MI 49415 www.wmspayandneuter.org firstname.lastname@example.org
than 1 million dogs are estimated to have heartworm disease, according to the American Heartworm Society (AHS). It only takes one mosquito bite to infect your dog with heartworm disease, and it can take up to six months for a heartworm test to show up positive. Dogs have a 1 in 200 chance of being infected without prevention, and heartworm disease is almost 100 percent preventable if a veterinarian-prescribed prevention is given to your pet as directed. However, not every heartworm preventative is a perfect choice for every dog, so discuss any concerns with your veterinarian and use his or her recommendations when choosing the right preventative for your pet. There are no holistic or natural heartworm preventatives that have been proven effective against heartworm disease, according to AHS. I use a combination of traditional preventatives and holistic methods to protect my dogs from heartworm exposure because all dogs living in Michigan are at risk of heartworm disease. My dogs always take their heartworm preventions orally once monthly. Not only does it protect from heartworm, it also protects against intestinal and external parasites. The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) and the AHS recommend year-round heartworm prevention to avoid having to treat heartworm disease. There is only one approved heartworm treatment for dogs and no approved heartworm treatments for cats. Melarsomine dihydrochloride is an arsenical-type drug and can be used safely and effectively to treat heartworm disease.
10 Dogs Unleashed November/December 2013
There are risks with treating heartworm disease, and the complications that might arise can be fatal. Additionally, heartworm treatment can cost more than 15 times the cost of a yearâ€™s worth of prevention that not only is protecting your dog from heartworms but protecting your family and dog from internal and external parasites, depending on the product you choose. If you are considering transitioning to a truly holistic approach to veterinary care for your pet, I recommend scheduling an appointment with a veterinarian who understands your needs, your dogâ€™s risks and your goals with prevention. An integrated approach might be the best option for your pet, utilizing an FDA-approved heartworm prevention along with a natural mosquito prevention that includes the use of essential oils and other all-natural components. My advice is to have your dog tested for heartworm disease annually and give the heartworm prevention your veterinarian prescribes monthly. Whether big or small, there is a heartworm prevention that suits all dogs. photo by TERPSTRA PHOTOGRAPHY
Dear Reader, As a practicing holistic veterinarian who offers integrated medicine to clients daily, I understand your concern. I have conducted in-depth research on the risk of heartworm disease/treatment vs. the risk of heartworm prevention administration and will share the facts with you to help make your decision to give heartworm prevention a little easier and less complicated. Plain and simple, heartworm has been isolated in all 50 states and more
Licensing is faster and easier than ever!!!
One-Stop Rabies Vaccination & Dog Licensing New Kent County Dog Licensing Program launches December 1, 2013 1 year and 3 year tags available; license expiration now based on your dog's rabies vaccine expiration. Many local veterinary clinics will be selling dog licenses for 2014 so you can get a vaccination and a license in one stop. Visit accesskent.com/kcas for all licensing options, including participating veterinary clinics* where you can get rabies vaccines and your license in one stop! *Fees for administration of vaccinations are determined by each clinic and you must schedule an appointment. Please contact clinics directly for details.
We thank you for being a responsible pet owner:
Leash, License, Love your Dog!
accesskent.com/kcas November/December 2013 Dogs Unleashed 11
THE DOCTOR IS IN
SHANE THELLMAN, DVM
Plenty to consider when adding a furry family member Who doesn’t want a smiling furry face when you come home from a hard day’s work, so happy to just see you? There are many options for getting a dog: shelters, private breeders, rescue groups. Before you decide whether a dog is right for you and your family, there are several things to take into consideration. Dogs, especially puppies, require a lot of time commitment to provide adequate behavior structure and exercise. Dogs thrive on routine, and it is reassuring when they know when you will leave and be home each day.
How you interact with your new dog the first few weeks to months might set the tone for the relationship for years to come. Spending even 5 to 10 minutes a day grooming, petting or simply talking to your dog will provide sufficient bonding time. Starting nail trimming and teeth brushing early in your relationship will only make it easier down the road. By spending time daily with your dog, you also will get to know your dog’s body language because he or she will start to communicate with you. Touch is very important to bonding and can act as a sort of medical skin exam, allowing you to find all the lumps and bumps. Exercise is paramount for physical growth and mental stimulation. Make sure your dog is up to date with all required or core vaccines before
exploring endless romping at the local dog parks. Dog parks and other dog social places will offer a chance for your dog to develop dog-to-dog interaction. Leash walking also is a great way to bond with your dog and is a win-win because it allows you to get exercise as well. Plan for at least 10 to 15 minutes of exercise per day to provide enough physical activity to keep your dog’s muscles, bones and mind growing and stimulated. Training your dog to be obedient not only is a bonding experience, it also can provide safety for you, your dog, other animals and people. Some dogs are easy to train and are food driven; others will take many months or even years before you can call your dog obedient. Don’t give up! Deciding what type of breed of
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THE DOCTOR IS IN dog is best for your family takes a lot of thought. Larger dogs might be better suited for families with large yards, while smaller dogs would fit nicely in apartments or condominiums. When looking for a new dog, ask your family what each member wants in a dog. Does your family need a dog for protection or pleasure? There are many small dogs that are just as active as large dogs, and the opposite is equally true. Maybe a hunting dog would be a good addition to your outdoor lifestyle, or a lap dog suits your style of snuggling on the couch. If you choose to adopt a dog from a shelter environment, remember that what you see in the kennel might not be the same dog at home. Kennels can be a very stressful place for a dog and might actually result in a dog that is tired and needs to catch up on rest the first few weeks at his or her new home. Take it easy the first month to allow your new friend to adjust to a new routine.
Financial awareness when selecting a new dog is a very important and often overlooked aspect of dog ownership. On average, prepare to budget about $60 per month for a small dog and about $120 for a large dog. Food, toys, medical bills, licenses and grooming should be included when deciding on a monthly spending budget. Boarding facilities will need to be considered, especially if you travel, and should be researched to find the right fit for your dog. Boarding kennels vary in price as well as quality, from the most basic of needs to an elaborate network of cameras that allow you to take a peek any time of the day via the Internet. Once you have narrowed down your preferred boarding places, make sure to visit them and remember to think like your dog when touring each place. My dogs tend to be less stressed when housed together but away from other dogs. Home improvements might be needed before allowing your new dog
SHANE THELLMAN, DVM
out in the yard or home. Fencing will provide a protective barrier from outside dangers. There are many types of fencing with each having advantages, depending on your dogâ€™s style of play. Tethering a dog can easily be done but can be dangerous for some dogs and might not provide adequate space for your pet to get out all that pent-up energy. Make sure your garden and flower beds as well as your garage are dog-proofed. There are many dangers that lurk in such areas. Neighborhoods or apartment complexes might have specific restrictions or requirements when it comes to accepting a dog within the community. Make sure you ask about the requirements before bringing your dog home to an unwelcoming atmosphere. Once you have decided that the time is right to extend your family, make sure you remember to have fun and hug your fur kid every day!
This Holiday Season Help the Animals at HSWM!
Adopt * Donate * Foster 3077 Wilson Dr NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534
November/December 2013 Dogs Unleashed 13
Experience, not science, tells us: Pets grieve, too In 2009, Richard Gere starred in a movie, Hachi, the story involving an Akita who was born in 1923. Hachi lived with Dr. Ueno, a professor at Tokyo University. Each morning, Hachi accompanied Dr. Ueno to the train station and, at the end of the day, returned to greet him. One day, Dr. Ueno had a stroke and died while teaching. For the next nine years, Hachi returned to the station awaiting his companion’s return. A bronze statue now sits where Hachi waited. According to Barbara King, professor of anthropology at the College of William & Mary and author of the book How Animals Grieve, almost no scientific research has been carried out on dog grief. King acknowledges in the book’s prologue the skepticism and accusations of anthropomorphism to which she might be subjected by her scientific peers. Even so, King believes animals experience love and, therefore, grief. Animal love, according to King, is expressed by an animal going “out of her way to be near to or positively interact with the loved one for reasons that may include but also go beyond such survival-based purposes as foraging, predator defense, mating and reproduction.” When that loved one dies and spending time together no longer is possible, “the animal who loves will suffer in some visible way.” This, King argues, is the quintessential marker of grief in animals.
another dog in the household. These behavioral issues might continue for up to six months. In preparing to write this column, I made this general inquiry on Facebook: Have any of you been witness to a dog grieving either the loss of an animal or human companion? Within 20 minutes, I had as many responses that related detailed heart-wrenching stories of dogs’ profound expressions of grief that confirmed the ASPCA’s findings. • Roxanne L. wrote: “Three years ago, I had two Pekinese dogs. Sadie died first. Bear quit eating, cried and eventually stopped barking. Within three weeks, Bear died of a broken heart.” • Ellie K. wrote: “When we put down our old dog, Muffy, our puppy Oscar barely ate. My dad and I called it his hunger strike. After Muffy’s death, Oscar lost a lot of the puppy in him.” Just as with young children, even temporary separation can be challenging for our dogs. • Rachael M. shared that when they
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA) Companion Animal Mourning project estimates two-thirds of dogs exhibit loss of appetite, lethargy and/ or anxiety behaviors such as pacing and excessive clinginess upon the death of
Photo courtesy OF LISA KRIZAN
When Sebastian (left) passed away, acupuncture helped lessen Windi’s grief.
14 Dogs Unleashed November/December 2013
leave their dog, Sophie, with a sitter, Sophie whines and cries for days. • Veterinarian Holly Cheever relayed a poignant story highlighting how little we know about the emotional and social bonds between animals within and outside their own species. Dr. Cheever maintains a sanctuary for abandoned and rescued farm animals. After the death of Parsley, a mini pygmy goat, one of the brown swift cows, Bridget, refused to eat for three days. Until then, Dr. Cheever had no idea the two animals were so close. RESPONDING WITH COMPASSION
Just as with grieving humans, it is important to maintain a regular routine and exercise regime for dogs who have suffered a loss of another with whom they were bonded. In addition, enrichment toys and treats can be helpful in bringing joy back into a grieving dog’s life a little bit at a time. Spending time together playing and cuddling, perhaps more than usual, is essential. Dogs are social pack animals. With domesticated dogs, their human companions are as much a part of the pack as other dogs. In severe cases, the use of traditional and nontraditional medical interventions might be indicated. The ASPCA suggests the use of antidepressants similar to those prescribed for canine separation anxiety and storm phobia. One friend, Lisa K., responded to my inquiry and shared her experience using acupuncture to assist her standard poodle, Windi, after the death of Sebastian, her closest canine companion in Lisa’s home. Here’s what Lisa wrote: • Windi had been raised in a houseful of standard poodles of all ages. Groomed to be a show dog, she spent much of her time in a kennel. She was shy and nervous, hating dog shows. We took Seb to meet her, and he adored her instantly. She was
“It’s arrogant to think we’re the only animals who mourn.” — Marc Bekoff, Author of “The Emotional Lives of Animals”
wary, having seen dogs come and go for breeding, boarding, showing, etc. After a couple weeks, she relaxed and the two soon bonded. Windi continued to be a troubled girl, especially in public. But at home, it was obvious she felt secure with Seb. Windi learned to have fun. Over the years, we brought two more dogs into the pack: Duncan and Race. Windi found her calling as their mother. She literally laughed out loud as she gently wrestled them with her mouth and paws. Meanwhile, Sebastian was aging poorly and had multiple surgeries for bladder stones. Halfway into his 10th year, he declined rapidly after being diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma. So we helped him over the rainbow bridge. Duncan and Race were
very subdued for about a week, but Windi’s reaction surprised us. She did not act depressed, but rather kept trying to rally the boys to play. She would do little feints and growls to stir them, but they did not engage. This cheerful behavior seemed very odd, and I knew it was Windi’s coping mechanism. But I was worried. We took the three remaining dogs to their monthly veterinary chiropractor appointment right after Seb died. Sue Ann Lesser, DVM, tenderly eased the pain of all the dogs through her healing chiropractic touch. But Windi was still agitated. Dr. Lesser used acupuncture to reach Windi’s grief and quickly and dramatically draw it away. It was one of the most profound humananimal interactions I have ever
witnessed. Windi improved but never fully recovered from losing Sebastian. She reverted to anxiety and suspicion even around the house and experienced mysterious abdominal pain. About a year later, we helped her over the bridge to join Sebastian. I know he is protecting her there. Despite the lack of scientific data to support canine grief, empirical evidence abounds. Dogs love and often develop deep emotional bonds with others with whom they share their lives. And despite how little we understand about animal grief, King maintains we do know one “simple truth that cuts across species lines: Loved ones are irreplaceable.” Just as we mourn when a close friend dies, so, do our pets. From death, grief is born.
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PET HEALTH INSURANCE
Company perks now include pet health insurance
By Paul R. Kopenkoskey Photos by Grumpy Pups Pet Photography
hristine Charlesworth discovered the hard way why it’s never a good idea to leave too much food out for a dog. Her Labrador retriever mix, Max, nearly binged himself to the great beyond when he was 2 months old. “He almost ate himself to death,” Charlesworth said of the December 2011 incident. “They don’t know when to stop.” Fortunately for Max, competent veterinarian care saved his life. But it wasn’t cheap. Charlesworth spent $1,000 on emergency vet services, which included X-rays and IV fluids for three days. The ordeal convinced Charlesworth to enroll in a major medical policy through Veterinary Pet Insurance. The coverage is offered through her employer, Sanctuary at the Shore in Muskegon, where she works as director of hospitality.
Charlesworth pays $25 per month for pet insurance. She figures the $300 annual cost, which includes a $100 deductible, is a better option than one vet bill that easily can exceed that expense. “Three-hundred dollars a year versus $1,000 vet bills is an easy decision to make,” Charlesworth said. “Labs are very active dogs. The insurance is really affordable and it’s best to just be safe.” An increasing number of employers offer pet insurance as part of their benefits packages to employees, who typically pay for the monthly premium but at a reduced rate. That’s a plus for many pet owners as strides in veterinary medicine have made it possible for their four-legged friends to live longer, healthier lives while putting a bigger dent in their owners’ pocketbooks. Among the Fortune 500 companies that offer pet insurance are Amazon, Boeing, Comcast, Delta Air Lines, FedEx, Ford, Hewlett-Packard,
16 Dogs Unleashed November/December 2013
Kellogg’s, Lockheed Martin, MGM Resorts International, Procter & Gamble, Walgreens and W.W. Grainger, according to The Associated Press. Others include Abbott Laboratories, American Express, AT&T, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Deloitte & Touche, Google, Home Depot, Hot Topic, Kohl’s, Pfizer, Sears, Staples, Viacom/MTV, Wells Fargo and Zynga. One in three Fortune 500 companies offers workers a discount on Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), an affiliate of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., as part of its employee benefit package. VPI is the oldest and largest pet insurance company in the U.S. with 61 percent of market share, providing coverage for more than 500,000 animals, according to the Associated Press. In West Michigan, Chipotle Mexican Grill offers VPI to its salaried employees but not hourly workers. Chipotle pays $10 per pet for up to three, company spokesperson Danielle Winslow said. One pet costs between
“It’s funny because pet insurance gets a lot of attention, but only 1 to 2 percent of pet owners in the U.S. have pet insurance.” — Curtis Steinhoff $10 and $57 a month, depending on coverage plans and the deductible. VPI adds a 5 percent to 15 percent discount, depending on the number of animals insured. “Chipotle tends to be a little more progressive in its corporate culture and how it treats employees,” Winslow said. “We offer VPI to all salaried employees who want it. We have a lot of dog lovers in the company.” Pet insurance isn’t only for canines. Policies are available for cats and exotic pets. Of the half-million pets VPI covers nationwide, 85 percent are dogs, 14 percent are cats and 1 percent are exotics such as snakes, birds, rabbits and guinea pigs. “It’s funny because pet insurance gets a lot of attention, but only 1 to 2 percent of pet owners in the U.S. have pet insurance,” said Curtis Steinhoff, director of corporate communications for VPI. “In the UK, 25 to 30 percent of pets are insured. “People are looking at insurance because the human bond with pets is growing and (because of) the sophistication of veterinarian medicine. Anything a doctor can do for a human can be done for an animal, which is great. But it’s an increase in cost.” The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also offers insurance through employers, but the number of people who sign up remains small, the organization’s
Christine Charlesworth and Max, a 3-year-old Labrador retriever mix.
spokeswoman Lisa Hockensmith said. “While pet insurance is still a young industry, it’s growing,” Hockensmith said. “People are finding it a good option to take care of their pets, particularly when there are more advancements being made in medicine. There are a lot of things vets can do for animals, like MRIs and chemotherapy, but owners need help providing that kind of care.” There are some differences between pet insurance and medical coverage for people. Pet insurance policies typically reimburse the owners, which enables them to choose a veterinarian and individualize the care. Other differences: Pre-approvals and referrals for specialized treatment aren’t required. “We do not set any treatment plans. We don’t interfere at all in what veterinarians recommend,” Hockensmith said. “What the pet parent decides to do is fine. As long as it’s covered by their plan, we’ll reimburse for it.” It typically costs more to cover dogs than cats since canines are more apt to engage in riskier behavior. Other factors that can determine health insurance premiums are a pet’s age and where they live. Veterinarian rates vary across regions of the country. To compare dog insurance premiums and consumer ratings, visit petinsurancereview.com/dog.asp. Charlesworth said she discovered pre-existing conditions affect reimbursement if the problem occurs within the year it initially happened. “People need to know if the insurance company covers it one time they may not cover it within a year,” Charlesworth said. Fortunately for her, the second time Max experienced food bloat, it was beyond the one-year mark of his first incident. Max’s second food bloat episode came in 2013, while they were visiting Charlesworth’s friends in Chicago. The trip to the vet this time was covered by her pet insurance, thus saving her hundreds of dollars.
When Max had a second food bloat episode, the treatment was covered by pet health insurance.
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November/December 2013 Dogs Unleashed 17
artist sarah pyne
Drawing inspiration Sarah Pyne with a portrait of Zona, her Samoyed-Lab mix who died at age 13. The portrait was her first to incorporate a dog’s cremains.
Multimedia artist Sarah Pyne finds growth amid loss Story by Tricia Woolfenden Photos by JENNIFER WATERS
Sarah Pyne wasn’t always a creative person. The busy mother and registered nurse spent much of her adult life raising her family — she has 25-year-old triplets, a 30-year-old son and a 21-yearold stepson — and working full time to help put her kids through college. When her mother became seriously ill several years ago, Pyne spent time each day at her side and the two forged a deep connection. The bond and her mother’s untimely death awakened something in Pyne. “In her death, she gave me life,” said Pyne of Spring Lake. “Something changed in me; I became this very creative person.” Two and a half years later, Pyne is enjoying something of a side career as a
visual artist. Her specialty is portraits, particularly for people who have lost a family member, friend or pet. For bereaved pet owners, she offers an additional option: She can incorporate a small portion — about a tablespoon — of the animal’s cremains into the portrait. Pyne said she has been commissioned for numerous pet portraits, including some with the
Artist Sarah Pyne spins dog fur into yarn on an old-fashioned spindle.
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departed pets’ ashes. The material’s use is so subtle that it’s not visible to the eye. Simply knowing the ashes are there can provide some comfort, Pyne said. “It makes it that much more special,” she said. An Artistic Awakening
Pyne is a self-taught artist. She dabbled in books that presented formal techniques but discovered that didn’t work for her. Instead, she said she had to look at the paper and draw inspiration from there. Her husband, Michael, an oil painter, took her to Hobby Lobby for supplies. “He told me to draw a portrait every day for two years and see what happens,” Pyne said. She added that in the beginning, “I couldn’t draw an apple.” “I never took an art class. I don’t
know why I listened to [Michael], but I did. I began drawing and got better and better. I am passionate and I love it.” Pyne, who first came to art after a personal loss, has found it useful for weathering other difficult events. Pyne’s 13-year-old Samoyed-Lab mix, Arizona (Zona for short), died last summer. Before Zona’s death, Pyne, who also makes handspun yarn from dog fur, kept some of Zona’s fur. Zona was cremated and placed in a tin on a shelf. Soon after, Pyne and her husband attended a three-day “silent” retreat — no TV, no internet, few distractions. “I brought a picture of Zona and some of my art supplies,” Pyne said of the retreat. She also brought along a small portion of the dog’s ashes. Pyne drew a portrait of Zona and used turpenoid to help incorporate the ashes into the piece. “I put her ashes throughout her portrait. But I focused the majority on her chest, because that’s where her heart was,” Pyne said. Pyne recognizes that the technique isn’t for everyone. She said she offers it as an option for those who find value in the concept. “Some people think it’s gross and creepy. Other people find it comforting,” Pyne said. “It helped me through the grieving process.” A Way to Cope With the Pain
Around the time of her mother’s death, Pyne was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She since has received chemotherapy injections to suppress her autoimmune system’s tendency to attack her cells. She is pragmatic about the future, opting to create as much art as she can while she can. “I thought, I’ll probably lose my hands eventually,” Pyne said. [Meantime] if I can do something that makes somebody feel good, I’ll do it.” Pyne finds some physical comfort in the act of spinning yarn but said the precise work of drawing sometimes can bring pain. There are times when her arms feel so “heavy and tired” she must hold her elbow up simply to maintain the strength to complete a portrait. This does nothing to deter her artistic endeavors, which otherwise have
proved therapeutic. “It is so meditative. It’s the best medicine in the world, so I’ll never complain about it,” she said. Pyne has entertained the idea of placing flyers and ads at local veterinarian’s offices. But so far, most of her portrait commissions have come from word of mouth. Because she works full time and watches her “two beautiful granddaughters” on the weekends, she doesn’t keep a rigid drawing schedule. She prefers to work when the mood strikes and likes to have several photographs of her subject at hand
so she can draw from the person’s or animal’s presence. “I like to do it when my energy is in the right place,” Pyne said. “A portrait can take anywhere from a day to three days.” She said part of her enthusiasm for this work stems from learning so much about herself at this point in her life. She said while she is pleased with the technical progress she has made since she started, there are still some limitations to what she can capture in an image: “If I could put on paper the way my heart feels as I’m doing this ...”
ANIMAL-LOVING ARTIST Name: Sarah (Morrow) Pyne Occupation: Registered nurse at Community Mental Health Services of Muskegon County Pets: A 6-year-old Maltese named Seattle, a 5-month-old Yorkie named Chaplin and three goats Mediums: Drawing, jewelry design and handspun yarn (from dog fur)
Sarah Pyne holds a portrait of Lucky, a longhaired Dachshund, whose ashes were mixed into the colors Sarah used.
Contact her: Inquire about rates or commission a piece by emailing sPyne456@gmail.com
Artist Sarah Pyne works on a painting in her studio.
November/December 2013 Dogs Unleashed 19
20 Dogs Unleashed November/December 2013
TO THE DOGS
The man of many roles — actor, author, composer — takes his cues from four-legged friends By MARY ULLMER
Photo courtesy OF NBC
ohn O’Hurley, the man with the perfect voice, has found the perfect dog. The multi-talented star, perhaps best known for his role as J. Peterman on Seinfeld, discovered the perfect dog last year as he was preparing for his role as host of the annual National Dog Show Presented by Purina, which airs on Thanksgiving Day on NBC. A couple nights before last year’s show, O’Hurley relaxed on the couch with his then 5-year-old son, Will, in his arms. Part of O’Hurley’s role with the National Dog Show is creating entertaining segments for the viewing audience. Suddenly, the idea came to O’Hurley and he created the poem The Perfect Dog. In the poem, his son asks, “What is the perfect dog?” and, in Dr. Seuss fashion, O’Hurley does his best to find the answer. In a video piece that aired during last year’s National Dog Show and received rave reviews, O’Hurley and his son search the event’s benching area where visitors can meet all the breed entries and chat with breeders. O’Hurley’s perfect voice recites the poem he had come up with just a couple days earlier. The poem since has become
a children’s book, The Perfect Dog, available at amazon.com. The book includes photos of dogs and O’Hurley’s son. And the cover features a photo of Will’s dog, Puppy, a stuffed animal. “Puppy follows him around everywhere,” O’Hurley said. “We have two dogs at home (a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Sadie, and a Havanese, Lucy) that we cuddle with, but Puppy is his. “He’s very excited about the book coming out because, obviously, there are copies of it that will be donated to his school and he’s going to be doing a reading. There aren’t many first-graders who have their own book.” It shouldn’t be too difficult for Will to recite the book to his classmates. He has the poem memorized, O’Hurley said. “I wrote it with him lying in my arms two nights before the show, so it’s kind of neat that just a year later here it is as a book,” he said. Even before The Perfect Dog was published, it was touted by the Children’s Book of the Month Club. That’s not surprising, given O’Hurley’s previous success as an author. His first book, It’s OK to Miss the Bed on the First Jump, made The New York Times bestseller list. He wasn’t aware of the book’s success until he received a phone call while at the hospital after the birth of Will in 2006. “Will was born about 11:30 the night before, so I stayed in the room with my wife, Lisa. I had a cot in there,” O’Hurley said. “I woke up the following morning and I got this phone call and
it was from New York. I was kind of in a daze from being up so late the night before. … They said, ‘Congratulations.’ I said, ‘Thank you very much, mother and child are doing wonderfully.’ “They said, ‘No, your book hit the New York Times bestseller list.’ So, it was a happy day all around.” O’Hurley has experienced success in just about everything he has done. Not only is he known by millions for his four-year stint on Seinfeld, he also is the voice of King Neptune on the wildly popular cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants. He hosted the TV game show Family Feud and was declared the winner of the inaugural season of Dancing With The Stars. He currently stars in the stage production of Chicago and has several stage appearances to his credit, including Spamalot. Perhaps a lesserknown fact about O’Hurley’s career: He’s also an accomplished composer. He has released two CDs, Peace of Our Minds (2005) and Secrets from the Lake (2008). But it’s his love of dogs that has helped make him a successful author. Before Your Dog Can Eat Your Homework, First You Have to Do it: Life Lessons for a Wise Old Dog to a Young Boy was his follow-up to It’s OK to Miss the Bed on the First Jump and was inspired by his Maltese, Schoshi, who lived to be 21. “In my first book, the premise was that dogs really teach us everything we need to know in life in terms of life lessons, so that’s why it was entitled It’s
November/December 2013 Dogs Unleashed 21
OK to Miss the Bed on the First Jump,” O’Hurley said. “Schoshi really was the model for the second book, lessons on manhood to my son. Schoshi totally distrusted that I would be able to teach anything on the nature of manhood to my son, so he took it upon himself to leave a series of notes under the foot of the big blue elephant that sat in the chair in my son’s room. So they’re little scraps of paper, little sayings on manhood … as best [Schoshi] understood them.” O’Hurley has had dogs as far back as he can remember, starting with a Dachshund when he was 4. “That dog kind of followed me everywhere, on all my little adventures at the swamp near our house in Boston,” O’Hurley said. He has had rescue dogs and purebred dogs and has “no qualms or prejudice either way, nor do I think anyone should.” For those who might criticize dog shows for celebrating and developing purebred dogs, O’Hurley points out the main message of both dog shows and dog breeders. “It celebrates the rich history of breeding, and breeding is an important part of responsible dog ownership,” he said. “They’re trying to secure the history of these breeds, and I think there is a certain place for that. It doesn’t mean a dog is less lovable if they’re not purebred, and it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t encourage adoption among people that don’t want to choose purebred dogs. “But part of the whole program of the American Kennel Club and corresponding organizations is to teach
Photo courtesy OF NBC
Sky, a wire fox terrier, was selected Best In Show at the 2012 National Dog Show.
Photo courtesy OF NBC
David Frei (left) is the National Dog Show’s expert analyst and works alongside host John O’Hurley.
responsible ownership of pets and that it’s a lifelong commitment and not something to be taken whimsically or temporarily. Unfortunately, too many of our shelters are filled with examples of people that don’t take [pet ownership] seriously. ” DOG SHOW GUY
O’Hurley has been involved with the National Dog Show since NBC began televising it in 2002. Jon Miller of NBC Sports took home a copy of the film Best in Show, a satirical look at the dog show world. “He came in Monday morning and said, ‘I know what we’re going to do with the two-hour time slot we have on Thanksgiving Day. … We’re going to do a dog show,’ ” O’Hurley said. “Before they laughed him out of the office, he was able to license the show from the Philadelphia Kennel Club and had Purina jump on as a sponsor. “The next day, he called me in Los Angeles … and said, ‘Woof, woof.’ And that’s how it started. He had me at ‘Woof, woof.’ ” O’Hurley teams with analyst David Frei at the National Dog Show. Frei is communications director for the Westminster Kennel Club and serves as analyst of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show — the “Super Bowl” of dog shows — each February. “We had never met [before the National Dog Show]. It was a blind
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date,” O’Hurley said. “But we became fast friends. He’s one of the most gracious and generous people, with the therapy dogs he helps to sponsor around the country and with his ‘Angels on a Leash’ program … it really is quite spectacular.” Frei has a mutual admiration for O’Hurley. “He’s a class guy, and I’m fortunate to have a guy like that as a [broadcasting] partner,” Frei said. “We’re good friends and have done a lot of family things together. If he didn’t live in L.A. and us in New York, we’d be doing a lot more.” Frei said some of his favorite moments during the show come when O’Hurley seems to slip back to his Seinfeld days. “It’s also fun because I’m a big Seinfeld fan,” Frei said. “So it’s fun to be sitting there sometimes and we’re watching the monitor or maybe doing a voice-over and he’ll say something. I’ll say, ‘That’s Peterman. … Where’s Jerry?’ And I look around for Jerry. And my wife is great at quoting the dialogue [from Seinfeld] to him, and he’ll bounce right back with a response that’s a scripted response.” What kind of dog would O’Hurley’s Seinfeld character, J. Peterman, own? “My instinct … the first thing that pops into my mind is an Irish setter,” O’Hurley said. “I think since they’re not making dogs out of really exotic
titled The Peterman Guide to an Extraordinary Life, said people can learn a lot from dogs. The main lesson, he said, is to live in the moment. “Dogs have no sense of future and they have no sense of past,” he said. “If you don’t believe me, if you try to reprimand a dog for something they did 15 minutes ago on the carpet, I guarantee you they’ve already forgiven themselves for it. “They live moment to moment to moment, and I think that’s the greatest lesson they teach. They’re always joyful because they’re not worried. They forgive themselves very easily and they have very few expectations beyond the present moment. And whatever you’re doing is infinitely more interesting than what they were thinking of doing. “If you think about it, for we mere humans, time is the biggest burden we have. Most of our stress is caused by either dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. But for people who live in the present moment, like all dogs do, they have very few worries and very little stress.”
corduroy … I think there is something about the Irish setter that kind of bespeaks the whole Peterman — the auburn coat, the outdoor type of dog. I think Irish setter accessorizes the Peterman outfit perfectly.” LESSONS FROM THE DOG
O’Hurley said his favorite thing about hosting the National Dog Show isn’t necessarily the show itself. “I think my favorite thing is really not in the ring,” he said. “It’s when my wife and I get to walk up and down the aisles and there’s more than 2,000 dogs there, 170 breeds, and it’s just a wonderful day, a spirited day. Everybody’s happy. “That’s the wonderful thing about being around dogs. Nobody’s in a bad mood. When you put 15, 20, 25,000 people in an arena and everybody’s in a good mood because they’re around the dogs, it’s a joyful experience every year.” O’Hurley, who also has a motivational speech program he presents to colleges and businesses
NATIONAL DOG SHOW What: The National Dog Show Presented by Purina When, where: Nov. 16-17, Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks Broadcast: Nov. 28 on NBC, after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The show is hosted by John O’Hurley and features David Frei (analyst) and Mary Carillo (reporter) About: It’s one of the few remaining “benched” shows in the United States and is presented by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia. … More than 2,000 dogs and 175plus breeds will compete in seven groups — Working, Sporting, NonSporting, Terrier, Toy, Herding and Hound. … The taped television broadcast of the show is viewed by nearly 20 million Americans each year.
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• 4500 dogs • 150 different AKC breeds • Parking $5.00 per vehicle FREE ADMISSION!!! • Show hours, 9am-5pm each day • Visit our website for more information: www.midogshows.com
• Junior Dog Judging contest Saturday. • Come meet the breeds event on Saturday afternoon. • A variety of booths selling gifts for the pampered pooch and their owner • Obedience competition all three days • Rally Obedience all three days
November/December 2013 Dogs Unleashed 23
was named New Hampshire’s state dog in 2009. The breed has a thick, tawny-colored (ranging from pale honey to a deep reddish-gold) double coat lying close to the body.
National Dog Show is ‘coming out party’ for trio of breeds By MARY ULLMER
One of the highlights of both the National Dog Show Presented by Purina and Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the introduction of the newly recognized breeds. Three new breeds – Portuguese Podengo Pequeno, Chinook and Rat Terrier – will be welcomed this year. While the breeds are not new to those familiar with them, it will be the first time they compete in both dog shows. David Frei, television analyst for both events, said the American Kennel Club (AKC) – not the Kennel Club of Philadelphia (which holds the National Dog Show) or the Westminster Kennel Club – decides which breeds are eligible. Frei said the AKC bases its qualification on population, geographic distribution and the existence of a parent club. “The population has to be at a stable number that you know is going to up rather than down,” Frei said. “They have to have a geographic distribution. … They can’t all be living on a farm in Florida, for example. And they need to have a parent club that watches over them, oversees their stud registration and makes sure they’re breeding to the standard that describes the dog.” New breeds first enter AKC competitions in the miscellaneous class rather than the traditional groups (Working, Sporting, Non-Sporting, Terrier, Hound, Herding and Toy), Frei said. When the AKC is satisfied the breed has met its requirements and has seen them in the ring to make sure they’re being bred true to type, they’ll be placed in their groups for future competitions. “What makes these shows fun is we get to see these dogs for the first time,” Frei said. “It’s amazing, the attention they get. We say ‘new breeds,’ but they’re really not new breeds; they’re newly recognized breeds. They’ve been around long enough that the people who have them say, ‘We’ve been here forever.’ But now, we’re sharing them with the world.” Here’s a glimpse into the breeds being introduced this year.
PORTUGUESE PODENGO PEQUENO Group: Hound Description: Known for its small size, erect ears, wedge-shaped head and two coat types (smooth and wire). It hunts by sight, scent and hearing and is related to the Pharaoh Hound, Ibizan Hound, Cirneco dell’Etna and Basenji. The smooth coat is short and very dense, while the wire coat (rough) is long and harsh, with a bearded muzzle. Preferred coat color is yellow or fawn, with or without white markings. Frei’s take: “The first thing I think of is it looks like a dog you’d see walking down the street. It can be a scruffy little dog, and they’re fun. They look like they’re having fun all the time. You have to be able to look at them and imagine them doing what they were bred to do. And you can look at that dog and see them in a field, chasing down prey and finding prey for a hunter. They’re a typical hound in a lot of ways. … They are hunt-oriented and preyoriented but supposedly great family dogs. I say ‘supposedly’ because I’ve never had one or seen one in a family situation.”
CHINOOK Group: Working Description: Developed in New Hampshire as a sled dog whose function was drafting and sled dog racing. Bred to combine the power of freighting breeds with the speed of the lighter racing sled dogs, the Chinook is an athletic, hard-bodied dog. The Chinook, whose name means “warm winter winds” in Inuit,
24 Dogs Unleashed November/December 2013
Frei’s take: “They’re a working sled dog and they’ve been around a while. When I was living in Seattle and started doing the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show 24 years ago, I had a good friend there who was a Chinook owner. I would see her at shows, not showing, of course, and she’d say, ‘When are we going to be recognized?’ I told her the WKC doesn’t have anything to do with a breed being recognized, and you guys have to figure that out on your own. I think the people very involved in the breed and developing it are from New Hampshire. It’s a longlived dog. … The breed has been around for 100 years or so.”
RAT TERRIER Group: Terrier Description: A multi-purpose companion dog capable of hunting rodents and vermin above and below ground as well as coursing small game. A sturdy, compact, small- to medium-sized parti-colored dog giving the appearance of elegance and athleticism. Short, smooth coat might come in any variation of pied patterning. Pied is described as comparatively large patches of one or more colors in combination with white. Acceptable colors, with or without “tan points,” include the predominate black or chocolate, red, apricot, blue, fawn, tan or lemon. Frei’s take: “It’s a beautiful dog. I love the ears and the way it looks you in the eye and stands there. They have ears like satellite dishes for TV. They’re a nice portable size and they can do just about anything. They have a great temperament and great personality and they go full speed all the time. There were a lot of them in early 1900s, and they went away for a while. Enthusiasts for the breed kind of helped bring the numbers back.”
DOGS ON DUTY Wyoming Canine Unit celebrates 25 years of protecting and serving Story and photos by JENNIFER WATERS
Dutch’s first day on the job is the stuff of legend. Just one day after completing training and certification to be a Wyoming Police Department K9, the 3-year-old Dutch Shepherd was in the first minutes of his first patrol with his handler, Officer Eric Toonstra, when they got a call to assist the U.S. Marshals. The deputies had tracked a fugitive to a house but needed help locating him inside. Everyone thought the fugitive was in the home’s crawl space, but Dutch had different ideas. (Above) Wyoming Police Department’s Canine Unit. From left to right: Officer Eric Toonstra and K9 Dutch; Officer Randy Adams and K9 Mojy; Officer Robert Aungst and trainee Kilo; Officer Bob Robinson and K9 Arras.
“I put Dutch in there and he just turned around,” Toonstra said. “He wasn’t going in there. I put him in there a few more times and he just turned around, walked back out.” Officer Randy Adams, a 20year veteran of the Wyoming Police Department’s Canine Unit, was with Toonstra and Dutch to assist on their first day together. He knew Dutch was on to something. “Randy said, ‘Send him in the furnace room.’ I put (Dutch) in the furnace room, and he went straight to a bank of shelves and just started pulling stuff off the shelves,” Toonstra said. The area was so small, even Toonstra didn’t believe a man could be hiding there. But Dutch insisted, pulling things away until the fugitive’s arm was in sight. “I yelled, ‘Show me your hands!’
Dutch grabbed on and pulled him out,” Toonstra said. “That was pretty awesome.” A short time later on the same shift, Dutch and Toonstra were called out on an armed robbery. Toonstra located the suspect and followed him to an apartment complex. “I learned really early on to yell, ‘Stop or I’ll send the dog!’ Everybody stops because no one wants to get bit by a dog,” Toonstra said. As the armed robbery suspect was about to take off, Toonstra yelled just that. The suspect saw Dutch and flattened out. The suspect, on parole for a previous armed robbery, was handcuffed and arrested, the stolen money in his pocket. “So that was day one,” Toonstra said, laughing. “Day two was a little slower than that.”
November/December 2013 Dogs Unleashed 25
“Obviously, we would never endanger one of our lives over an animal. But if he goes in there and saves one of our lives, and if he’s lost, then he’ll die a hero. And that’s the way we need to think about it.” — Officer Bob Robinson
K9 Mojy, normally situated in the back seat, prepares to leap from the cruiser for a training exercise.
Crime Scene to Community Building
Since 1988, Wyoming’s Canine Unit has served the people of this West Michigan city, helping to find lost children, chase down criminals, keep drugs off the streets and protect the officers who work alongside them. Today, there are three working dogs – Dutch, Arras and Mojy – with rookie Azar training for a fourth spot. Life as a police K9 or handler isn’t all guts and glory. The dogs and officers in the Canine Unit often serve a relationship-building role as well. Officer Bob Robinson, who serves with Arras, an 8-year-old Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd mix, loves the chance to connect with the city’s residents with his dog as ambassador. “We go to schools, retirement homes and community events like National Night Out, and it gives people a chance to see us as not just authoritative,” Robinson said. “Kids in the city, often times they don’t have a lot of positive contact with (police), whether we’re in the house to arrest their mom and dad or we’re policing an accident or they’re misbehaving themselves.” Robinson said he hopes meeting
him and his dog in a school or community setting will give people the courage to “come up and shake our hands and pet our dogs. Maybe that positive contact will turn into a positive attitude down the road next time we meet that person.” “Dogs are a great public relations tool,” said Sergeant Dan Mahoney, Wyoming’s Canine Unit supervisor. “Everyone loves a police dog.” Everyone except a criminal, that is. On average, Wyoming’s K9s are used about once per shift. The handling officers respond to all calls, patrolling the city while their K9s wait in the back seat for the signal to go to work. Calls for the dogs can vary from tracking a suspect to sniffing for drugs to helping find a child or elderly person with dementia who has wandered away from home. While some dogs may specialize in unique areas such as explosives, Wyoming’s dogs are all cross-trained. They are skilled in tracking, locating narcotics and searching buildings as well as aggression work, when they chase, bite and/or subdue a fleeing suspect. Sometimes, the dogs end up excelling in one area over another. “Arras loves aggression work, but he
26 Dogs Unleashed November/December 2013
really has found a niche in narcotics,” Robinson said. “He really does excel in that. He’s found multiple pounds of marijuana, kilos of cocaine. One time, he sniffed $10,000 worth of drug money that was hidden in a car. He loves his drugs.” Mojy, on the other hand, is what Adams calls a very “balanced” dog. The 5-year-old Belgian Malinois has patrolled with him for two years and is adept at tracking and narcotics detection. But Mojy is not as social as Arras or Dutch. “Mojy is never going to play with other dogs,” Adams said. “It’s not because he’s a police dog; it’s because he’s Mojy. He was very dog-aggressive when I got him.” That doesn’t mean he’s aggressive in general, Adams said. Mojy has never had a street bite. “He chases (suspects), finds them and they surrender,” Adams said. “Suspects dictate whether they get bit or not. We don’t have very many bites as a whole, maybe a couple a year in the whole department. If (suspects) run or fight back, they’ll likely get bit.” What’s more likely is that Mojy will bust someone for drugs and work over the car a bit in the process. “All our dogs are aggressive alert,” said Adams, meaning they scratch when they smell narcotics. “They do damage suspects’ cars. But then again, you shouldn’t be doing drugs.” Heroes in the Line of Fire
The officers and their dogs do face potentially violent situations.
“We do track people that are reported to be armed,” Adams said. “A lot of times, you don’t know if they’re still armed. When a dog goes after them, you don’t know what will happen.” “It’s an added variable,” Robinson said. “Now, you have to worry about him as well as somebody that wants to shoot you or stab you or run at you and grab you.” Dogs have been assaulted, kicked by suspects desperate to escape. Mahoney’s dog once was stabbed with a pen by a homicide suspect. Because of that, canine handlers over time have adjusted the types of situations dogs get sent into. If a suspect with a knife or gun has been cornered in a building, using a dog to search the building is not the best option. “We’ve got motorized cameras now, robots and other tools that we can use to better affect that arrest than using a K9,” Robinson said. “We won’t ever send (dogs) to their deaths. Ever.” In fact, no Wyoming K9 has been killed in the line of duty. Despite their reputation as snarling, biting aggressors, the dogs actually may act as diffusers, deescalating stressful situations before they turn violent or lethal. Robinson said he has witnessed plenty of suspects prepared to run or fight think better of it and surrender once they know a dog is on the scene. That’s part of the point, Mahoney said. Despite the cost and effort, Wyoming’s K9s are another tool the officers use to keep themselves and the public safe. “One of the hardest things to do,” Robinson said, “is to think that this animal is a tool. A locating tool, a searching tool, a sniffing tool, and that he’s no different in that aspect than our gun, our Taser, our collapsible baton or even our flashlight. He’s a tool and he’s never going to question what you tell him to do. Obviously, we would never endanger one of our lives over an animal. But if he goes in there and saves
K9 Dutch leaps through a simulated window on command from Officer Eric Toonstra.
K9 Mojy alerts to the scent of a human during a training session. Officer Eric Toonstra is hiding inside the box, one of several on the field.
one of our lives, and if he’s lost, then he’ll die a hero. And that’s the way we need to think about it.” The sacrifices and services performed by these dogs are taken seriously. Dutch, Arras and Mojy have earned their department’s trust, respect and gratitude time after time, as have the dogs that since have retired. This year marks the Wyoming Canine Unit’s 25th anniversary. In that
time, there has been a roster of dogs who have served admirably. They are remembered fondly and with great pride: Chico (two of them), Chica, Bento, Quince, Black, Yalk, Fesci, Jake, Bak, Max and Barron, to name a few. Zeke is the latest retiree added to the list. He retired this summer and now lives as a civilian with Officer Robert Aungst’s family. Aungst noticed that Zeke’s nose wasn’t working as well
November/December 2013 Dogs Unleashed 27
Trainee Azar, handled by Officer Robert Aungst (center), is evaluated on bite work by canine training officer Randy Adams (right), while Ottawa County Sheriff Deputy Jeff Somers prepares for a bite.
as it used to and he was having a hard time jumping in the cruiser. Although it is a difficult decision to make a dog retire from a job he loves, Aungst knew the day was coming. Zeke’s intended replacement, a 2-year-old German Shepherd named Kilo, had been under Aungst’s training since he was 8 weeks old. If things had gone according to plan, Kilo would have taken over for Zeke in September. Despite all his training, Kilo didn’t have the right characteristics for the road, and he didn’t pass the rigorous certification test. So Aungst was faced with the decision to start over with a new dog – and an eight-yearcommitment – or step down from the K9 squad. He chose to stay, and his new dog, Azar, is now the rookie on the force and newest member of Aungst’s household. Technically, it will be months before the 17-month-old German Shepherd is ready to take his first patrol shift. So far, his only skills are sit, stay, bite and, of course, chase a tennis ball. GOING GREEN
Officer Randy Adams takes a bite from trainee Azar, handled by Officer Robert Aungst, during a training session.
During training, Officer Bob Robinson simulates a situation where his dog, Arras, might be distracted during a suspect chase.
Officer Randy Adams rewards K9 Mojy with a little play at the end of a training session. 28 Dogs Unleashed November/December 2013
That’s where Adams comes in. In the world of Wyoming K9s, everything comes back to Adams. He has been with the Canine Unit since its inception, and every dog on the force was selected, trained or handled by him. Given Adams’ skill and experience in dog training, both for the city and as a private trainer, Wyoming buys “green” (untrained) dogs. It not only saves money, but also lets officers train the new dogs to their own specifications. According to Mahoney, a “green” dog costs about $6,500 to $8,000, while a fully trained dog costs $10,000 to $12,000. Funding for new dogs comes through drug forfeiture. When drug money is seized, it can be allocated to buy a new dog on an as-needed basis. Dogs are selected carefully. Adams and Robinson looked at 21 other dogs before finding Arras. Dogs are tested on ball drive, hunt drive and prey drive and checked for any peculiar behaviors, such as fear of people, fear of linoleum floors or uncontrollable aggression. Ball drive, the innate desire to chase
and retrieve a ball, is important because it’s often the main reward for successful training or tracking. It’s common for an officer to pull into a park during a shift, let the dog out and play a quick game of fetch during a slow stretch. Then, it’s back to work. The national mandate for police K9 training is 16 hours a month. Wyoming dogs and their handlers exceed that standard. Rain or shine (or sleet, adds Aungst), they train weekly for about seven hours at a time. Even officers who work the night shift are required to show up at training once they get off patrol the next morning. It’s an enormous commitment, but a necessary one when lives are on the line. All K9 dogs live with their handlers. “There is this expectation to perform,” Toonstra said. “You show up with these dogs, and everybody wants you to find somebody or wants you to find dope. They want that dog to
perform.” Training continues until the day a dog retires, which typically happens around the time they’re 8. Arras now is 8, which makes him the next likely candidate for retirement. According to Robinson, Arras is still going strong, and he hopes to get another year or year and a half out of him. Then, he’ll retire him and give him a “normal” dog’s life. “God willing, I’d rather him go out on top than go out not being able to jump in the car anymore because his hips hurt him,” Robinson said. “I’d like to have him make the transition from ‘copping’ to just being a dog at home and letting him live his life out without any expectations – other than chasing that tennis ball.” And when the day comes for Arras to step down, his service will be well recognized. “Oh, he’s going to have a party,” Robinson said, laughing. “Dad is going
to have a party for him.”
Officer Eric Toonstra gives K9 Dutch a 5 a.m. bath after Dutch tracked a suspect through a trash-filled alleyway.
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MEET THE WYOMING K9s ARRAS Age: 8 Breed: Belgian Malinois/ German Shepherd Partner: Officer Bob Robinson About: “He loves life, he really does,” Robinson said. “He’s always loved life. He’s always been a real happy dog, loves to come to work, loves to go home, loves to go camping. We’ve been very, very fortunate. I couldn’t ask for a better dog.” DUTCH Age: 3 Breed: Dutch Shepherd Partner: Officer Eric Toonstra About: Toonstra and Dutch work the night shift, so when they get home in the morning, they both need to relax before bed. “He’s usually pretty tired when we get home,” Toonstra said. “I usually take him out in the yard, let him take a break, sometimes throw the ball a couple times.”
AZAR Age: 17 months Breed: German Shepherd Partner: Officer Robert Aungst About: Azar is in training. He will undergo training for about four months before he’s ready to test for certification.
MOJY Age: 5 Breed: Belgian Malinois Partner: Officer Randy Adams About: Adams, whose wife also serves on the Wyoming police force, says Mojy has a sweet spot for his mom. “He’s supposed to be this big bad police dog,” Adams said, “yet when he sees mama, he runs up to her rubbing up and down, wanting some loving. It’s embarrassing.”
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November/December 2013 Dogs Unleashed 31
Barking Bad Albuquerque area a playground for people and pooches
A blue sky and red rocks overlook the area near Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Story by Annie JonesFrancis Photos by MARY CAPERTON MORTON
ew Mexico is Hatch green chile hot when it comes to finding fun activities and events for people and their dogs, especially during the holiday season. You don’t have to throw a fetch stick too far to find dog-friendly activities in the Albuquerque and North Central region of the Land of Enchantment, which rests in the high desert 5,000 feet to 13,100 feet above sea level. There are mountains and snow. The climate is arid, so the desert nights cool off considerably throughout the year.
The biggest event of the year, Animal Humane of New Mexico’s Doggie Dash & Dawdle, is Nov. 2 at
Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque. The event raises money for homeless pets and is all about dogs. “The event attracts about 4,500 dog lovers, many who bring their dogs, which is about 2,000 dogs,” said Dawn Glass, Animal Humane’s marketing director. In 2012, the event raised $275,000. All the proceeds went toward helping homeless animals. The event’s Barket Place features more than 70 vendors as well as various food trucks. Dog owners dress up their dogs in flamboyant costumes and participate in a variety of activities, including a 5K run, 2-mile walk, bobbing for hot dogs, build-a-biscuit and rent-a-dog. “If you can’t have a dog in your life then have one for a day. Rent-a-dog is very popular and always sells out,” Glass said. Many who rent a dog for the day, at $15 per hour, participate with the dog in
32 Dogs Unleashed November/December 2013
the 5K. All get to experience what it’s like to have a dog for a day. The wildly popular ABQ Trolley Co. allows smaller, well-behaved dogs on tours. The “tour guys,” Jesse Herron and Mike Silva, have their own mascot, a greyhound/pit bull mix named Bill Murray. ABQ Trolley is famous for The BaD Tour, a three-hour tour of shooting locations used for the TV series Breaking Bad. The tour has been featured in USA Today, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, CNN and People magazine. The second Friday after Thanksgiving — Dec. 6 this year — is reserved for Albuquerque’s annual Holiday Stroll in historic Old Town. Streets are blocked off for foot traffic only, and people bring their dogs to shop, listen to music and watch the Santa parade and annual lighting of the
Christmas tree in Don Luis Plaza. Christmas in New Mexico wouldn’t be complete without the festive farolitos, known more commonly as luminarias. The Christmas lanterns, which usually are a lit votive candle in a small brown paper bag and weighted with sand, line many of the streets, sidewalks, driveways and rooftops. “Merchants and homeowners put on a great luminary effort,” said James de Champlon of Old Town’s Cultural Arts Department. Luminarias begin appearing along the streets and rooftops shortly after Thanksgiving. Anyone may take a selfguided tour of neighborhoods known for being extra festive, but Christmas Eve is when official luminaria tours are conducted by a city or village entity. “Many people walk their dogs through Old Town,” de Champlon said. He recommends waiting until after the crowds have decreased then “walk your dog through the beautiful Country Club neighborhood,” which has become famous for television shows and movies filmed there. Keep in mind dogs are not allowed on any of the extensive ABQ Ride bus tours, which run throughout Christmas Eve. In Santa Fe, the oldest state capital in the U.S., dog owners are encouraged to bring their pets to the lighting of Christmas trees Nov. 21-22 on the Santa Fe Plaza and to the Farolito Walk on Canyon Road on Christmas Eve. The roads are blocked off to vehicle traffic. “People stroll up and down Canyon Road with or without their dogs. Several of the galleries and stores provide hot cider and treats,” said Laurie Wilson of Teca Tu, a pet store in Santa Fe. “I usually take my dogs and put [LED] Christmas lights on their harnesses.” In Taos, the official lighting of the Christmas tree on historic Taos Plaza is open to dogs. This year’s lighting is Dec. 6. The event also features local entertainment, caroling, Santa, Mrs. Claus, the Grinch and goodies. Plaza businesses are open to foot traffic only. These communities emphasize that owners be responsible and bring their dogs only if they are well-behaved. These events get crowded and the walking pace is quite slow, so problems can evolve quickly. To avoid the rush, consider going later in the evening around 8 p.m.
Hiking is plentiful in Cerrillos Hills State Park south of Santa Fe. TAKE A HIKE
While many enjoy the holiday celebrations in town, others might want to head for the mountains, which are nearby and easily accessible. Trish Hernandez, who writes the weekly column “Taos Bark” for the Taos News, says there are plenty of hiking trails in the area. “Many people head to the forest and hike along the Rio Grande (River),” Hernandez said. The Orilla Verde Recreation Area is one of those spots. The recreation area
is located within the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument and along the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River, about 22 miles west of Taos. Other recommended trails in the Taos area are Williams Lake, Wheeler Peak, Yerba Canyon and Manzanita Canyon. While Williams Lake and Wheeler Peak are considered moderate to strenuous hikes — partially because the elevation gain is steep and the trails might have slippery spots — the trails themselves are relatively easy. They’re popular with snowshoers and dogs. Yerba Canyon and Manzanita Canyon are considered easy to moderate trails. They loop through lush alpine scenery to Lobo Peak. Some shy from these trails because of their many stream crossings. If you’re in the Santa Fe area, Rebecca Pierson of Gentle Souls Sanctuary and New Mexico Animal Foster Network recommends hiking or snowshoeing with your dog along Windsor Trail in Hyde Park on the way up to the Santa Fe Ski Area. This is in the Santa Fe National Forest near Pecos Wilderness area. Pierson also recommends the McCauley Hot Springs trail. This is a 3-mile loop near Los Alamos in the Jemez Mountains. The trail, accessible year-round, is for all skill levels. Dogs must be kept on a leash. Depending on the temperature, you can bath in these
Cerrillos Hills State Park covers more than 1,100 acres.
November/December 2013 Dogs Unleashed 33
warm springs. Dogs, however, aren’t allowed near any of the hot springs in the Jemez Springs area. About 30 minutes north of Santa Fe in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains lies the tiny community of Chimayó. It’s believed to be the site of a miracle in the 1800s, and healings are believed to have happened at the site where a wooden crucifix was unearthed. Leashed dogs are allowed to accompany those who visit this deeply spiritual community to tour the village and view the exterior of the main chapel, el Santuario de Chimayó, built in 1816. While this chapel is the destination of thousands of pilgrims and travelers each year, dogs aren’t allowed inside. Winding through thousands of acres of piñon and juniper woodlands, the City of Santa Fe’s Dale Ball and Connecting Trails and the La Tierra Trails provide a network of more than 50 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails as well as shared multi-use trails for equestrians. Head back west to Espanola and drive north on U.S. 84 to Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu for a self-guided day hike on one of the three trails, which lead you through red rocks and hills to lush green areas of forest and past dinosaur quarries. Leashed dogs are allowed on these trails for day hikes but not on guided tours or as guests on the 21,000-acre ranch that draws all types of artists. Dogs also aren’t allowed on the ranch’s campground. Heading south to Albuquerque brings a plethora of hiking and snowshoeing opportunities with your dog. C.J. Johnson of Albuquerque enjoys taking her two rescue Labrador mixes — Lucy, 14, and Lodi, 8 — to the many trails on or along the Sandia Mountains on the eastern border of the Albuquerque area. “My dogs enjoy running and rolling in the snow getting the cooties off,” Johnson said. For a quick trip, she takes her dogs to the 640-acre Elena Gallegos Picnic Area and Albert G. Simms Park along the Sandia Foothills Open Space. There, visitors can view Mount Taylor to the west, the Jemez Mountains to the north and the Tijeras Arroyo to the south. For a longer walk, Johnson takes Lucy and Lodi to the Sandia Crest Trail.
Photo courtesy by Becca Pearson
Gorgeous sunsets greet visitors at Cerrillos Hills State Park (top), and there are plenty of hiking trails for people and their dogs (right). Above, hikers can expect snow accumulation on the New Mexico mountain trails.
The trail is 28 miles but can be accessed from several smaller trails if you’re inclined to drive halfway up and park. If you head up there, Johnson advises to watch out for bears and to expect snow accumulation and/or ice during winter. There is snow on the crest usually from October to early May. If you want to check out ancient rock art, Petroglyphs National Monument allows dogs on two trails: Piedras Marcadas Canyon and Volcanoes. Both trails overlook Albuquerque from the west. Deanna Sauceda, director of media relations and community engagement for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and 2012 co-chair of the doggie carnival at last year’s Doggie Dash & Dawdle, said she loves taking her dogs snowshoeing.
34 Dogs Unleashed November/December 2013
She has taken Bala, 8, a border collie mix, and this year plans to bring the newest member of the family, Kiwi, a 1-year-old red heeler/Chihuahua mix. “Kiwi’s going to go through her first Christmas with us this year,” Sauceda said, adding snowshoeing is not easy with smaller dogs. Sauceda said hikers and snowshoers should be responsible and respectful of others on the trails, particularly crosscountry skiers. She added there’s great reward in getting your dogs – and yourself – exercise on the many hiking trails of the Sandia Mountain park system. “Our dogs have a great time. They come home pooped out and are wellbehaved for a couple of days afterward,” Sauceda said.
GETTING AROUND For detailed information on great spots for Spot in the north central region of New Mexico, check out these websites. • ABQ Trolley Company: ABQtrolley.com • ABQ Ride Luminaria Tour: cabq.gov/transit/programs-and-projects/ special-events/luminaria-tour • Albuquerque’s dog-friendly hiking trails: localhikes.com/MSA/ MSA_0200.asp • Chimayo community: Chimayo.us • Doggie Dash & Dawdle: doggiedashanddawdle.org • Ghost Ranch Abiquiu trails: ghostranch.org/tours-activities/hiking/ • Old Town, Albuquerque: albuquerqueoldtown.com • Sandia Mountains hiking: sandiahiking.com • Santa Fe dog parks, walks, trails: santafeselection.com/visitor-info/dogwalking-spots
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• Santa Fe Farolito Walk on Canyon Road: farolitowalk.com • Santa Fe lighting of the Christmas trees: santafe.com/calendar/event/ lighting-of-christmas-decorations-on-the-plaza • Taos dog parks, walks, trails: petfriendlytaos.com/parks.html • Taos Yuletide activities: taos.org/art/festivals-events?/item/189/Yuletidein-Taos-Thanksgiving-to-New-Years
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An ounce of heartworm prevention is worth a pound of cure Annie Blumenfeld has sold some of her paintings to raise money for her non-profit organization, Wags4Hope. Photos by MARY ANNIE BLUMENFELD
y family searched for three years to find a loving and loyal friend. Not just any dog, but a true loyal companion who would provide love and security for our family in Fairfield, Conn. Last spring, our search happily ended when I was searching the Internet and serendipitously stumbled upon a delightful bouncy 2-year-old shaggy dog that had been rescued at a high kill shelter in Houston, Texas. Sadly, he was surrendered by his owner and his name was unknown. Why would someone drop off this beloved animal? How could he just have been abandoned and forgotten? From the moment our eyes met, it was love at
first sight. Teddy showed our family what true compassion and devotion meant. At his veterinarian checkup soon after we got him, Teddy tested positive for heartworm disease through an antigen test. This blood test detects specific proteins called antigens that are released by adult female heartworms into the dog’s bloodstream. Teddy had to be given two injections of arsenic and remain in a crate. He had to remain inactive and carefully monitored for a couple of months. The treatment for heartworm disease is very expensive and difficult for dogs to recover from. It also can be potentially toxic to the dog’s body and can cause serious complications, such as life-threatening blood clots to the dog’s lungs. Treatment is expensive because it requires multiple visits to a veterinarian for blood work and X-rays. It broke my
36 Dogs Unleashed November/December 2013
heart to learn my dog had endured great pain. I researched further and learned that heartworm disease is extremely serious and can result in severe lung disease, heart failure, other organ damage and even death. Heartworm disease is caused by a parasitic worm, Dirofilaria immitis, from mosquitoes. These worms are spread through the bite of a mosquito and produce offspring while living inside the dog. The worms are called “heartworms” because they live in the heart, lungs, and other blood vessels of an infected animal. In the U.S., heartworm disease is most common in the south because of the extreme heat in which the mosquitoes thrive in. However, they are present and highly populated in all 50 states. Since heartworm disease treatment is very expensive it is cost-effective to use preventatives. There are many safe
FDA approved products that can be used. All of these products require a prescription from a veterinarian. These preventatives are used monthly and are simple. There is a vast range of different products from liquids to tablets. It is incredible to think that this condition can be avoided by giving your pet a monthly preventative. Having learned the devastating effects of heartworm disease from my loving companion, I sought to educate pet owners across the country about the importance of heartworm protection. I cannot imagine my life without Teddy and am so thankful he made a complete recovery. I know I can make a difference and help save other innocent dogs, so I founded a nonprofit organization called Wags4Hope. I combine my love of painting with my passion for animals. All the money raised through my paintings is given to various animal rescue shelters to help pay for the dogs’ medical supplies until they find their forever homes. Last year, I was named youth advisor for the Pet Animal Welfare Society in Norwalk, Conn. It was there that I designed several dog panels, baked hundreds of dog cookies and raised more than $500 through my dog paintings at the society’s successful 50th Anniversary Walk in the Park event. I have designed an informative heartworm flier and distributed it to numerous corporations, animal rescue shelters and universities in all 50 states,
parts of Europe and Australia. Teddy and I were recently were named “heartworm heroes” by the American Heartworm Society. I also founded the Wags4Hope club at my high school. I work with my peers and teachers within my community on various events to raise much-needed supplies and donations for neighboring animal shelters. Each April, we work to hold a special event as part of National Heartworm Awareness month. In an effort to create more awareness, Teddy and I have made television appearances and I have spoken on the radio and at special educational events throughout the tristate area. Today, it is far too easy to obtain a pet, and pet owners must be responsible. Owning an animal takes lots of time, money and responsibility. My goal is to educate pet owners across the country about the importance of heartworm prevention. I want to be the voice that represents these precious, innocent animals. I am so thankful Teddy has come into my life. He provides me with so much love and is kind to everyone he meets. But, most importantly, he showed me that I have the power and tools to make a positive change for the well-being of animals. I am determined to continue my passion of educating others, and I strive to get others actively involved in my cause every step of the way.
WAGS4HOPE Annie Blumenfeld is a 15-year-old student at Fairfield Warde High School in Connecticut who started her own nonprofit, Wags4Hope, to educate pet owners on heartworm prevention. Now in its second year, Wags4Hope has raised $10,000 to date. For more information on her mission and how to get involved, visit wags4hope.org or facebook. com/wags4hope. For information on heartworm disease in pets, visit the American Heartworm Society website: heartwormsociety.org. To read her dog Teddy’s blog, check out teddystales.tumblr.com. Write to Annie at wags4hope@ gmail.com and follow her on Twitter: @wags4hope.
YYYY DDD’’ OOO SSSS SSSS HHHHHHH
“Treat” your dog RIGHT!
When Annie Blumenfeld met Teddy, it was love at first sight.
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the tail end
‘Puppy love’ isn’t just for teens A friend of mine has a new puppy, a golden retriever named Cassie, adopted at just 10 weeks old. Do I even have to say my friend is head over heels in love? That she’s slightly goofy acting over her new pooch, memorizing the way the pup’s eyebrows rise when she’s amused, watching her as she trips over her own feet? That she’s mesmerized by the simple sight of a puppy stalking a leaf wiggling in the wind or a dragonfly on the wing? We’ve all been there. As for me, I feel like a doting aunt, listening to every detail of a day in the life of someone with a new dog. But the truth is, I’m happy to do it. I’ve been worried about my friend. She had to put her old dog down in July. And even though she said it was time, that it was the kindest thing to do, that she knows she did everything she could have done and more for her old girl, her heart was broken wide open. And she was so lonely. They’d been together, just the two of them, no one else in the house, for 12 years. There have been other dogs in my friend’s life, other goldens even, but she made no bones about it. The last one was her absolute favorite. “I’m not going to get another dog,” she pronounced in those first days when she was alone. “Maybe I’ll get a foster dog or walk other people’s dogs, but I’m not going to get a dog. Not now. Maybe never. It’s too hard.” I couldn’t imagine her without a dog at her side. She’s had one for as long as I’ve known her, which is almost 40 years. But this was something only she could decide. It had to be in her own time, if at all. Late in the summer, she started talking with rescue groups about
adopting or fostering dogs without families and homes. But, for whatever reason, nothing clicked and she stopped talking dogs. Then, out of the blue one day in September, she called. We hadn’t talked in a week or so, which is unusual even though she lives halfway across the continent. I knew something was up when I picked up the phone just by the sound of her voice. She was laughing even before she said hello. “You have a puppy,” I said. I could hear a puppy bark in the background. It sounded like a squeaky toy, and that made me laugh long distance: confirmation of new life, new joy, new companionship and, yes, new worries. My friend works erratic hours, a routine her old dog knew and adjusted to. But it isn’t the perfect setup for a puppy. And my friend isn’t as young as she used to be; her words, not mine. In November, she turns 62, and a baby’s a baby, whether it’s two-legged or four. That exhilaration I heard in her voice
38 Dogs Unleashed November/December 2013
Photo by iSTOCK
also was exhaustion. They’d been up all night potty training, so to speak. “What was I thinking?” my pal asked slightly seriously. “What have I done? I’m too old for a puppy.” There was random talk of doggy day care and that maybe she should give the puppy to her younger neighbors who have more energy and time and who want a golden from the same litter as Cassie’s. (Cassie was the last one available for adoption from the breeder.) I think she was just blowing smoke; just blowing off steam the way you do when you’ve made a commitment for life and you suddenly realize that means forever and it could involve messes on the floor and chewed-up shoes, or worse. “Puppies are a lot of work,” she said. She was breathing hard, trying to keep up with her puppy who’d revved it up from a scamper to a full-out trot. “A lot of work,” she repeated. I don’t know. When we talked they’d only been together five days, but I could tell this was no short-term relationship. Cassie was already her dog. It won’t matter how many times my friend has to get up at night to let her out to do her business or how many socks might be chewed up when Cassie starts teething. Or how much she has to juggle her schedule to accommodate a puppy’s needs. “You’re such a good girl,” my friend crooned in that voice people use around puppies and babies just seconds after she made the “lot of work” remarks. “Aren’t you? Aren’t you such a good girl?” And lucky. “Aren’t the two of you lucky to find each other?” I tried to butt in. But my friend didn’t answer. She was too busy laughing at a 10-week-old golden retriever chasing the wind.
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