AnimalWELLNESS For a long, healthy life!
Use acupressure to help him focus and learn
ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO
monsterMILERS Runners and shelter dogs unite and everyone wins
Why Animal Planetâ€™s positive trainer is so popular
Rx FOR ARTHRITIS
6 MYTHS ABOUT
Supplements that ease pain and improve mobility
A NOSE FOR
Hip, cool and healthy!
JUMPING AND CLAWING AND BITING,
Tips to discourage these common behavioral issues
Sniffing out a new sport for dogs
6 Steps to Litter
FREEDOM How to toilet train your cat!
APRIL/MAY Display until May 28, 2012
Helping homeless and feral kitties
Lifestyle changes to relieve feline stress
VOLUME 14 ISSUE 2
BONUS FELINE SECTION NOW INSIDE! FelineWellness.com
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Contents April / May 2012
features 18 5 ways to ease pain
Pain management doesn’t have to mean drugs. Here are some alternative therapies to help your dog feel better.
22 Partners in caring
It’s important to build a strong working relationship with your veterinarian. Check out the top 4 tips on being a good client.
28 Let’s run!
This unique organization teams runners with shelter dogs in a win-win combination that increases adoption and promotes fitness and well being.
32 Victoria Stillwell – the gentle touch
Unlike a lot of TV trainers, the star of Animal Planet’s It’s Me or the Dog doesn’t use heavy-handed methods to encourage good behavior in her canine guests.
34 6 myths about surgery
Do you cringe at the thought of your companion going under the knife? De-bunking these common beliefs about surgery will help you feel more at ease.
38 Sign language
You might think training deaf dogs is difficult. But canines are experts at reading body language, so hand signals are just as effective as verbal cues.
43 A proud legacy
Founded by a doctor who was ahead of his time, this company has been making high quality pet foods for over 75 years.
48 Attention, please!
Training your dog can be tough if he’s easily distracted and finds it hard to concentrate. Stimulating these acupressure points can help him focus and learn.
54 Follow your nose If you haven’t heard of nose work yet, you’re not alone. This new sport that combines training and fun with mental and physical stimulation is gaining in popularity.
57 Jerry Williams
How this entrepreneur’s Akita inspired a passion for animal nutrition -- and a company for holistic pet products.
61 Jumping and clawing and biting, oh my!
Here’s how to discourage and redirect three of the most common behavioral issues seen in cats.
64 I love Lucy
After learning stress was making my cat act out, I realized I had to make some lifestyle changes to accommodate her needs.
66 Feline-friendly gardening
Learn how to create a safe, attractive and stimulating outdoor haven for your cat.
68 6 steps to litter freedom
Is it truly possible to train your cat to use the toilet? Yes...as long as you use the right approach and have plenty of patience.
70 Dedication doubled
The merger of two cat rescue groups results in a strong organization of professionals who work tirelessly to help homeless and feral cats.
78 Focus on fitness
Helping people and their dogs get physically active was the inspiration behind this unique business.
80 Rx for arthritis
Medications aren’t only way to manage joint pain. From chondroitin to yucca, these nutraceuticals can work on many levels to relieve discomfort and improve mobility.
86 All in a day’s work
If you’ve ever wondered how service dogs do what they do, here’s a behind-thescenes look from a former assistance dog trainer.
92 Much ado about mulch Mulch looks great in the garden. Just skip the cocoa variety.
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On the cover photograph by:
This bright-eyed beagle looks like he has a sunny disposition – and that’s typical of this enduring breed. Intelligent, friendly and sociable, beagles were originally bred for hunting, but they’ve become one of the most popular household canines in recent years. Read more about them on page 46.
Volume 14 Issue 2
Editorial Department Editor-in-Chief: Dana Cox Managing Editor: Ann Brightman Senior Graphic Designer: James Goodliff Graphic Designer: Dawn Cumby-Dallin Cover Photography: DRB Images Tail End Illustration: Leanne Rosborough Columnists & Contributing Writers Mary Ellen “Angelscribe” Kristina Beard Patricia Brown Clint Cherepa Daniel Estep, PhD Bonnie Gratch Lindauer Suzanne Hetts, PhD Sara Jackson Jennifer Kachnic, CCMT, CRP Tessa Kimmel Anabelle L. Macri Lynn McKenzie Shawn Messonnier, DVM Carol Millman, RAHT, BSc Sandra Murphy Barbara Nefer Lisa Preston Kevin Schargen, DVM Amberly Scott Hindler Amy Snow Nancy Zidonis
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Subscriptions are payable by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, check or money order. The material in this magazine is not intended to replace the care of veterinary practitioners. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor, and different views may appear in other issues. Redstone Media Group Inc., publisher of Animal Wellness, does not promote any of the products or services advertised by a third party advertiser in this publication, nor does Redstone Media Group Inc. verify the accuracy of any claims made in connection with such advertisers. Refund policy: call or write our customer service department and we will refund unmailed issues. Dealer Inquiries Welcome: Animal Wellness Magazine is available at a discount for resale in retail shops and through various organizations. Call 1-866-764-1212 and ask for dealer magazine sales, fax us at 705-742-4596 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Animal Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1710-1190) is published six times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2012. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: March 2012.
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I recently caught up with my 84-year-old uncle, an avid skier, sailor and, until he started traveling the world, a dog obedience trainer and judge for 30 years. Knowing how much dog training has changed over the years, I wondered how my uncle’s methods differed from those today. “First, never, ever hit a dog,” he started out (so far, so good). “If, the odd time, my dog did something I didn’t like, I would just place my hands on either side of his head (to get his attention) and say ‘No-o-o-o’” (my uncle demonstrates in a low, groaning voice, with a look of disappointment on his face). “A dog needs to know his place and he needs to play. After work, I would take my dogs out to the field to run and play fetch. I even started tracking with them.” I agreed with much of what my uncle said. And my own shelter dogs and rescues are living proof that positive training really works. I learned one of the most important lessons ever from Paul Owens, the original dog whisperer. He said when you’re teaching a dog a new behavior, it can take her up to a full minute to process the information and respond appropriately. He demonstrated on a golden retriever he had just met. Sure enough, after walking the dog through the new behavior a few times, then asking the dog to do it on his own, the retriever stood there, looking around for a full 50 seconds, before complying. Paul never repeated the command. He just waited patiently. I also learned that dogs don’t really understand negative language. “Stop jumping!” gets you nowhere. Turning your back, or redirection with positive commands such as “Sit” or
“Go get your ball”, followed by rewards of petting or treats, are much easier for a dog to wrap her head around. (Just ask my 65-pound husky/shepherd, Sasha.) Positive training also worked amazingly well when I had to housetrain Sasha. If she’d ever been trained, she’d forgotten everything she knew in the four months she spent at the Humane Society. But after two weeks of trudging in and out with her, handing out treats as warranted, she was peeing and pooping outside on command. In this issue, we celebrate training with some fun, informative articles, including a profile on Victoria Stillwell, a positive trainer for Animal Planet’s It’s Me or My Dog (p. 32), an article on nose work, a new training game (p. 54), a revealing look at how service dogs are trained (p. 86) and some acupressure tips to help put your dog in the right frame of mind for learning (p. 48). Spring is a great time to get out and learn something new, and we’d love to hear of any new tricks you and your dog have got up your sleeve. Just go to our Facebook page to share your pics or videos. Here’s to spring!
Dana Cox Editor-in-Chief
A WRINKLE IN TIME...read on. The Indian Solid Gold (Curcumin) and the Solid Gold SunDancer Dog Food The best dog food that you can buy for your dog is the Solid Gold SunDancer. It has no grains and no gluten. To control gas production, and maybe bloat in dogs, SunDancer uses tapioca and quinoa, called the Food of the Future. The meat is chicken and fish, all the Oriental dogs, the Arctic dogs, and dogs from England, Scotland, Ireland and water dogs, such as labs and poodles, were fed a fishbased diet and sea vegetation, such as in our Sea Meal, which is always fed with our dog food. Retrievers, terriers and spaniels, were originally from England are included. Sea Meal is effective against allergies and scratching. Curcumin is the root of the turmeric plant, and is in our SunDancer dog food, Curcumin has a 4,000 year old history in India for helping a wide variety of health problems. Dr. Oz on TV frequently talks about curcumin. Edgar Cayce, the sleeping prophet, said the two greatest gifts from God to Man are curcumin and olive oil. The Jan. 2003 issue of Cancer Research declared that curcumin has the ability to “suppress proliferation of cancer cells.” The October 2010 issue of “Nutrition and Cancer” indicated that curcumin makes chemo more effective. Recently, a breeder of Dalmatians talked with our sales person about using our SunDancer dog food. He had been feeding a cheap, crappy dog food. He decided to continue to feed the inferior food and buy curcumin/turmeric in a health food store and add it to the dog’s food. BIG MISTAKE! About a month later he called our store. He asked, “Have you ever seen a yellow Dalmatian?” He had one. He had overdosed on the curcumin. First of all, curcumin has to be cooked at a low temperature and must be mixed with oils to release the active properties. He rushed the dog to the vets. He never told the vet what he had done. So after extensive and expensive test, on the liver and kidneys, costing over $350, he called us. We put the dog on our non-curcumin Holistique Blendz dry dog food. Holistic does not mean natural or organic. It means that the whole body works together-mind, body and spirit. See the previous information on problems with white, near white or light colored dogs. White dogs absorb more ultra violet light (photo-aging) which may depress the immune system. Holistique Blendz is only 18% protein from fish, to spare stress on the organs. It is particularly effective on dogs with tear stains. Most of the tear stains are on white or light color dogs. So dropping the protein to 18% helps. Sissy has an 18 year old Dane mix. She was all gray on the muzzle. After six months on the SunDancer, the black came back.
Now for our cute story – “A Wrinkle in Time” It was during WWII, Sissy, the owner of Solid Gold, lived in N.J. Her father worked for the army getting hard to find products. One summer, he was transferred to New Mexico. Sissy and her mother went there for the summer to be with him. In the cool of the evenings, the kids would go to a local stable to play with the horses. The kids loved to groom the horses. Sissy’s favorite was Fury, owned by Mr. O. Mr. O. told Sissy that if she would give Fury a daily brushing, he would teach her how to ride. So the entire summer was a delightful experience. Eventually, the summer came to an end, and Sissy returned back home. It was several years later, after the war was over, that Sissy was reading the paper. She saw a familiar photograph. She asked her mother why Mr. O’s picture was in the paper. Her mother smiled, it was a picture of Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, the Father of the Atomic Bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico. “Just a Wrinkle in Time”.
Solid Gold Holistic Animal Nutrition Center 1331 N. Cuyamaca, El Cajon, CA 92020
Ask your local pet store for a free catalogue. If they don’t have a SunDancer catalogue, call us at (619)258-7356, M-F, 10am to 5pm Pacific time. Or e-mail us at sarah@ solidgoldholisitc.com. You can also visit our website at www.solidgoldholistic.com. animal wellness
1. Nancy Zidonis and Amy Snow are authors of: Acu-Dog: A Guide to Canine Acupressure, The Well-Connected Dog: A Guide to Canine Acupressure and Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass, which offers books, manuals, DVDs, apps and meridian charts. Tallgrass also provides handson and online training courses including a 330-hour Practitioner Certification Program (animalacupressure.com or Tallgrass@ animalacupressure.com). In this issue (page 48) Amy and Nancy write about acupressure for enhanced canine learning.
4. Veterinarian Dr. Kevin Schargen practices veterinary medicine in the five boroughs of New York City. He received a BS in animal science from Cornell University, followed by a BSc in animal biology and a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery from Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia. His special veterinary interests include canine and feline internal medicine, soft tissue and orthopedic surgery. He can be reached at DrSchargen@gmail.com for appointment inquiries (NYC area) or free animal advice. For his article on joint supplements, see page 80.
2. Veterinarian Dr. Shawn Messonnier authored the Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats, The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs, and 8 Weeks to a Healthy Dog. He’s the pet care expert for Martha Stewart Living’s “Dr. Shawn – The Natural Vet” on Sirius Satellite Radio, and creator of Dr. Shawn’s Pet Organics. His practice, Paws & Claws Animal Hospital (petcarenaturally.com), is in Plano, Texas. See page 34 for his article on common myths about surgery.
5. Lynn McKenzie is an Animal Intuitive and publisher of The Divine Mission of Animals newsletter. She helps others attune and awaken to the teachings and wonder that all sentient beings wish to share. Lynn offers nationally available teleclass training on healing and communicating with animals, and a self-study audio program on crystal healing for animals (AnimalEnergy.com). Check out her article on how animal communication and body balancing can work together (page 84).
3. Dr. Suzanne Hetts, PhD, CAAB and her husband Dr. Daniel Estep, PhD, CAAB are award-winning speakers and authors, having lectured on four continents to animal parents and professionals. Their company, Animal Behavior Associates, Inc., provides pet behavior education to animal professionals at BehaviorEducationNetwork.com and animal parents at SensibleDogTraining.com and CatBehaviorHelp.com. Turn to page 61 for their article on common unwanted cat behaviors and what to do about them.
6. Carol Millman is a Registered Animal Health Technician with a BSc in Psychology. She has several years’ experience training dogs for Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS). She now runs a private dog training business called Wag The Dog in Vancouver, BC, while working part time at a holistic veterinary hospital to keep up her skills in animal health. In her spare time, she volunteers for West Coast Assistance Teams as a trainer. Turn to page 86 for her behind-the-scenes look at how service dogs are trained.
7. Jennifer Kachnic, CCMT, CRP, is the author of Your Dog’s Golden Years – Manual for Senior Dog Care Including Natural Remedies and Complementary Options (SeniorDogBooks.com). She owns Canine Wellness, LLC in Colorado, providing natural and alternative wellness therapies for senior dogs. She is certified as a Canine Massage Therapist, Animal Reiki Practitioner and Therapy Dog Handler. Jennifer raises and trains service dogs for Canine Companions for Independence. She is an Advisory Board member for the Grey Muzzle Organization and a member of the International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork. See page 18 for her tips on alternative pain management for dogs. 8. Amberly Scott Hindler worked in Client Services at high-traffic veterinary hospitals in Los Angeles. She currently lives and works as a freelance columnist in West Los Angeles. She graduated from the University of Southern California where she won awards and honors for her writing. Amberly is the recipient of a Gold Circle Award for Journalists from Columbia University’s Scholastic Press Association. On page 22, Amberly offers tips on how to be the ideal veterinary client. 9. Barbara Nefer is an animal lover and freelance writer living in Celebration, Florida. She shares her life with three cats, two horses, and a Quaker parrot. For this edition (page 32), she visits with dog trainer Victoria Stillwell, star of It’s Me or the Dog.
10. Sara Jackson lives on a 12-acre farm in American Canyon, just outside the Napa Valley. She is a graduate of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and has a BFA in Screenwriting. She is a freelance writer and has written a number of short stories, two scripts and a book (sarajacksonwriter.com). On page 38, Sara discusses sign language for deaf dogs. 11. Tessa Kimmel has over 20 years’ experience in animal care and was employed as a veterinary technician for nearly ten years. She owns MedPet & Cozy Critters Pet Care Services, a Toronto business specializing in
care for animals with medical conditions and special needs. For this issue (page 70), Tessa profiles the rescue work of Urban Cat Relief.
12. Mary Ellen “Angelscribe” is an awardwinning photojournalist, author and animal newspaper columnist. Her column “Pet Tips ‘n’ Tales” is filled with knowledge, inspiration, humor and warm-hearted stories (angelscribe. com/tipsntales.html).Her internationally known swimming cats have appeared on Animal Planet’s series Must Love Cats. She is also the author of Expect Miracles and A Christmas Filled with Miracles. On page 68, Mary Ellen reveals the secrets of toilet training cats.
13. Clint Cherepa has been busy in Nicaragua for the last year, volunteering, writing and running. He returned to Wisconsin for a winter/ spring visit and enjoys sharing the trails with his dogs. He has written for Rock & Ice, Trail Runner, Canadian Running and Concrete Wave. Check out Clint’s article on a unique organization called The Monster Milers (page 28). Sandra Murphy lives in St Louis, Missouri. When she’s not writing, she works as a pet sitter. On page 54, Sandra presents a look at nosework, a new canine training technique and sport.
!YURVEDA for dogs
Thanks for your article on Ayurveda for dogs. I’ve heard about this therapy before but never really knew much about it. My husband and I had fun reading through the descriptions for the different body types, and doing the Facebook quiz, and determining which one best suits our collie mix – we figure she’s mostly a Pitta, but she also has some Vata qualities!
BY ROBERT J. SILVE
R, DVM, MS
This ancient holistic healing system
t’s considered by many to be the oldest healing system in human history. Ayurve da is truly holistic in that its goal is to help us achieve balance in our lives – and the lives of our canine compan ions – and to create and sustain health and wellness. Ayurve da treats disease by suppor ting the body’s ability to resist illness, and in some cases by treating the disease directly .
The article has inspired me to learn more, but most of the information I’ve found so far is geared towards humans, not dogs. However, there’s a spa retreat near here that offers Ayurvedic treatments, and I plan to investigate it for myself, and also ask them if they’ve ever considered widening their clientele to include animals.
Ayurvedic medicine is based on the principle that each individual has a unique constitution related to the energies within his or her body. A balanced constitution is the best defense against disease . Ayurveda aims to preven t illness by working with the constitu tion of the individual. It sees body constitution as a balance between three vital energies known as the Doshas, or the Tridosha. These three Doshas are termed Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Pamela Ferguson, via email
Editor’s note: Like many ancient healing therapies, Ayurveda is enjoying renewed acceptance today. In time, hopefully more practitioners will also offer this modality to companion animals.
was developed in India and can be
The Doshas represent the three primal metabolic tendencies in living organisms. Every plant, animal and human being embodies one, or a combin ation of two or three, Doshas . The specific blend of Tridosh a in a person or animal is conside red to be that individual’s constitution. Each constitu tion is controlled by all three Doshas to varying degrees, but usually only one, or sometimes two, are dominant. animal wellness
applied to companion animals as
well as humans.
What Dosha is your dog? Visit Vata This Dosha our Facebook page to find out! roughly translates as “wind”. It is characterized by the qualities of dry, cold, light, mobile, subtle, hard, rough, irregul ar, changeable and clear. Vata is the principle of kinetic energy and is concern ed with processes that are activating and dynam ic in nature. It is considered the most powerful of all The great Dane embodies the Doshas, as it is Life the Vata constitution Force itself. Vata govern s all movement in the body, such as respiration, circulation, excretion and voluntary action. When out of balance: primary symptoms are flatulenc e and painful muscular or nervou s energy Physical constitution: ectomo rphic – thin and wiry with fasttwitch sprinter muscles Typical breeds: include sight hounds such as the Borzoi, greyhound, Afghan, whippe t, and other breeds that are thin and lanky, such as the great Dane.
12/23/11 4:42:06 PM
I enjoyed reading your “Snow safety” article in your Feb-Mar issue. The tips that the author presents don’t just apply to avalanche country. Any place where there’s deep snow during the winter can be a difficulty, or even a hazard, for a dog – especially a smaller one. One April a few years ago, after a late freak snowstorm, my ten-yearold son built a tunnel through a drift of snow that formed beyond the edge of our back terrace. Then it quickly got milder and the snow started to melt. We were outside one sunny afternoon with our Shih tzu mix, Mitzi, when my son went down the terrace and called her to come down through the tunnel. She was halfway through when the tunnel partially collapsed on top of her. If my son and I hadn’t been there to help her, I’m not sure she’d have been able to get herself out of all that snow without suffocating.
Because Mitzi is small, we always dig paths for her around the back yard so that she has a place to walk and do her business without having to flounder through snow. She also wears a warm, woolly jacket when she’s outside, and we are looking into buying her a set of dog boots. Another good tip, for those who walk their dogs along town streets, is to watch out for icicles hanging from eaves that might fall and injure them or their dogs. Some of those icicles grow huge and could do a lot of damage! Diana Keystone, via email
Editor’s note: Good advice. Snow tunnels might be fun, but they can also be dangerous – not just for animals, but for children too. This is especially important now that spring is just around the corner and the snow is getting soft and heavy.
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yakkity yak Meet the Treeing Walker
The American Kennel Club has expanded its roster of registered breeds to include the Treeing Walker Coonhound (pictured below). As its name suggests, the breed was historically used to hunt raccoons, a source of fur and meat during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The dog assisted the hunter by “treeing” his quarry and announcing the find by barking (hence the cliché “barking up the wrong tree”).
Clearing out your closet to make room for summer clothes? Getting rid of those kitchen gadgets you never use, or those books you don’t read anymore? The ASPCA has teamed up with WebThriftStore.com to launch an online thrift store where you can sell your unneeded goods. And because 80% of sale proceeds go to the ASPCA, you’ll be doing animals a good turn while freeing up space in your home.
Today, the Treeing Walker is known as a fast and sensible hunter with superb endurance. Intelligent, confident and sociable, he thrives with regular exercise. Because coonhounds are bred to be heard, they have a bark loud enough to carry for miles. akc.org
“The creation of this online thrift store gives our supporters a unique new way to make a valuable contribution to our cause,” says Jim Echikson, senior director of corporate partnerships for the ASPCA. “In lieu of making a monetary contribution – which can be tough for some in this economy – the public can now finally get around to cleaning out their garages, attics and storage lockers and help animals in need across the country at the same time.” ASPCA.WebThriftStore.com.
Going to the top The fight against puppy mills continues, and now the White House is adding its voice. Last fall, the HSUS, HSLF and ASPCA submitted a petition requesting that President Obama crack down on puppy mills. The petition specifically asked the President to help close a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act regulations that currently permits large-scale commercial breeders who sell puppies online and directly to the public to escape basic oversight and minimal animal care standards. The White House’s official response to the petition, which was signed by more than 32,000 people, outlines the United States Department of Agriculture’s plans to improve oversight of commercial dog breeders by issuing rules to regulate breeders who sell over the Internet. The White House response also highlighted the USDA’s commitment to increase enforcement under the Animal Welfare Act.
Focus on nutrition The importance of nutrition to animal health can’t be understated. Now, an innovative new faculty position at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College will ensure that dogs and cats receive the best nutritional care in-hospital, and that student vets will have the tools they need to help people make healthy choices for their companions. “The impact of nutrition on health and disease is an increasingly important area of veterinary science,” says Professor Adronie Verbrugghe (above), who is filling the position. “By paying attention to nutrition, we can delay the progression of disease and help pets live longer and improve the quality of their lives. That’s what it’s all about.” ovc.uoguelph.ca
The best time to start an integrative flea prevention program is in the early spring, before the warm weather starts. animal wellness
yakkity yak Keeping canines cozy Spring might have arrived where most of us live, but it’s a lot tardier further north. The winters in northern Ontario, for example, are long, snowy and bitterly cold, which means life is tough for outdoor dogs. This past winter, a remote community an hour and a half from Sudbury asked for help for the many homeless dogs in the area that live outside in subzero temperatures. The International Fund for Animal Welfare responded, and a team was sent to the community to build 100 insulated doghouses for these needy canines. “We can sleep easier knowing that dogs in this northern community have the opportunity to come out of their culverts, or wherever they have been hiding from the cold, and sleep a warm and safe slumber in their very own cozy dog dens,” says team leader Jan Hannah. ifaw.org
A tribute to working dogs Dogs are more than just our best friends – they’re also superb coworkers. The U.S. Postal Service celebrates the enduring partnership between dogs and people with the recent Dogs at Work issuance. This set of stamps depicts four hard-working canines: a guide dog assisting a blind woman, a tracking dog on the trail of a scent, a therapy dog visiting an elderly woman, and a search-and-rescue dog standing in a field, ready to tackle the next assignment. Artist John M. Thompson created the original paintings for the stamps, which were designed by art director Howard E. Paine. beyondtheperf.com/2012-preview/#stamp-dogs-at-work
Editor’s note: In our last edition, we mentioned that we would be featuring a follow-up of the 2012 Genesis Awards in this issue. It will actually appear in our June-July issue. Stay tuned!
Heartworm alert Depending on where you live, heartworm can pose a risk to your dog. However, a growing body of anecdotal reports and experimental evidence suggests that heartworm preventives may not be completely efficacious in preventing heartworm infection.To date, reports of resistance appear to be confined to dogs from the south-central United States, where some animals have become infected while on preventives. The Companion Animal Parasite Council is monitoring ongoing research and will be making updated recommendations on the best preventive strategies as more information becomes available. capcvet.org
True fur babies A lot of us treat our dogs like children, and a new study published in Current Biology has revealed one reason why this might be. The study, authored by Jozsef Topal of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, found that canines and kids respond to human communication in a very similar way. Both dogs and people share some of the same social skills, and a dog’s level of social-cognitive functioning is similar to that of a child between six month and two years old. That means, like human toddlers, dogs can pick up on and understand the meaning and intent of our words, as well as eye contact and body language.
When hiking with your dog, start slow and work up gradually to longer walks.
Logan (Zac Efron) takes a job at Beth’s kennel in The Lucky One.
Canine cameos Mark your calendar for April 20, when Warner Bros. Pictures releases The Lucky One, a film based on Nicholas Sparks’ bestselling book of the same name. Starring Zac Efron (17 Again, Charlie St. Cloud) and Taylor Schilling (Mercy), this romantic drama revolves around U.S. Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault and his return from his third tour of duty in Iraq. He brings back with him the one thing he credits with keeping him alive – a photograph he found of a woman he doesn’t even know. Learning her name is Beth and where she lives, Logan shows up at her door, and ends up taking a job at her family-run kennel. Logan also has a German shepherd named Zeus that features prominently in the film. theluckyonemovie.com
5 Ways to Ease Pain by Jennifer Kachnic, CCMT, CRP Massage is one of the many modalities that help alleviate pain in dogs.
Chronic pain can be debilitating, whether it comes from arthritis, an injury or illness. The good news is that pain management doesn’t have to mean drugs. Here are some alternative therapies that can help your dog feel better.
nlike humans, dogs can’t always let us know when or if they’re in pain. Because of this, some people assume that canines don’t experience pain the same way we do. But that’s not the case. Arthritis and muscle or joint injuries are just as uncomfortable for dogs as they are for us, and many illnesses also generate pain. While conventional medications can ease the discomfort, they’re not the only options. The following alternative therapies can be very helpful for pain management. Just remember to consult with an integrative or holistic veterinarian before starting any new treatments with your dog. Some of these modalities may be contraindicated in some situations – for example, massage should never be done on or near a tumor. These therapies work best as part of a whole body wellness program designed for your dog’s individual needs, with the assistance of a veterinarian.
Canine massage Touch. Dogs love it and crave it. Physical contact from another provides a calming effect and brings comfort. Massage is considered instinctive; in fact, the wonders of massage were probably first discovered when primitive man
bumped his head and reached up to rub his aching noggin! The skin is the largest sense organ in the body and is chock full of sensory receptors and nerve endings that register touch, temperature and pain, and send information to the brain. Massage therapy not only relaxes muscles but also stimulates endorphins, increases circulation, elevates oxygen levels, flushes toxins, helps with inflammation, strengthens the immune system and accelerates healing – and all of these can contribute to effective pain management.
Acupuncture and acupressure These modalities are based on the concept of energy flow within the body, and seek to stimulate certain points along the energy meridians that run beneath the skin. Acupuncture involves the insertion of small needles at these points, while acupressure involves using the fingers to apply pressure to the same points. Acupuncture must be done by a trained and licensed veterinarian. Acupressure should be done by a professional for the best results, but may also be learned by animal guardians and done at home. Both modalities can really help with pain management and anxiety. The most common
use is for back problems. Some breeds (such as Dachshunds) are more susceptible to back injury than others, and sometimes it’s hard to tell from an x-ray whether or not the dog might be experiencing pain. Often, medications do not help because of the nerve pressure and trigger points on muscles that cause the pain in the first place. This is when acupuncture and/or acupressure can help.
Often, medications do not help because of the nerve pressure and trigger points on muscles that cause the pain in the first place. This is when acupuncture and/or acupressure can help. Energy healing The term “energy healing” refers to therapies in which the practitioner improves the flow of energy in an animal’s body. These are gentle and powerful therapies during which the healer sends subtle energy through his/her hands to promote physical as well as emotional balance and healing. Energy healing works in a nonphysical way through the interconnectedness of body, mind and spirit. It is the most natural form of healing available. While conventional medicine operates on the belief that treatments for disease or injury should be strictly biological, energy medicine involves restoring the patient’s health by treating the mind, body and spirit. Studies are proving that treating all three of these elements provides the best results, which means that energy healing has gone from an obscure curiosity to an integral part of leading edge therapy in traditional medicine. The idea that a universal energy field encompasses us all is becoming more widely accepted.
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Energy healing modalities available for dogs include Reiki, QiGong, Healing Touch and Tellington Touch. Some of these have been performed around the world for centuries. While modern science has somewhat overshadowed them, researchers have begun to discover the measurable therapeutic values of these healing traditions. These values include flushing toxins, releasing endorphins, relaxing muscles, increasing circulation and elevating oxygen levels, all of which also help promote pain relief. Energy work helps regulate the immune system as well, balancing the body and supporting self-healing. Energy work is also beneficial for the end-of-life transition as it helps calm and relax dogs, while healing emotional trauma and pain. animal wellness
According to ‘Gospel’...
Canine Light Therapy
2 SIZES DO IT ALL! Helps to:
•reduce recovery time •reduce pain •heal soft tissue injury •treat sore muscles •reduce arthritis pain •increase circulation
Illuminating the future of animal care
Cold laser therapy This type of therapy was developed well over 20 years ago and is now used widely around the world. It is one of the emerging new choices in alternative treatments for aches and pains in dogs. Low-level cold laser is painless and non-invasive. It works by directing highly concentrated coherent light waves to the muscles, tissues and organs. Cold laser therapy reduces inflammation and muscle spasms and is great for disk and spine issues. It only takes minutes to perform and is painless. Along with reduced pain and inflammation, dogs also enjoy better mobility. The effects are similar to those provided by nonsteroidal medications, but unlike the latter, cold laser therapy doesn’t have negative side effects.
Hydrotherapy The benefits of swimming are well known. When dogs (or people) swim, they feel a resistance to movement, which means a five minute swim is equivalent to about a five mile run! And some dogs like swimming even better than running. Hydrotherapy, which includes exercise on an underwater treadmill as well as swimming, is particularly helpful. It can have an especially dramatic effect on senior dogs, giving them a painless and enjoyable way to move and exercise. The relief it offers can carry over for several days; many people even credit hydrotherapy with extending their dogs’ lives. The buoyancy of the water supports the dog, lessens stress on the joints, helps with freer movement, and is a safe form of exercise for those with injuries, disease or pain. It can also help with obesity as well as balance and coordination. It increases respiration through pressure on the lungs, providing oxygen, disposing of carbon dioxide and helping the dog feel better.
The buoyancy of the water supports the dog, lessens stress on the joints, helps with freer movement, and is a safe form of exercise for those with injuries, disease or pain. These are just a few ways you can help manage your dog’s pain. Which therapies you use will depend on your dog’s condition, and your veterinarian’s recommendations. Chosen and practiced properly, these modalities can make a huge difference in your companion’s physical and emotional well being, and can minimize or even eliminate the need for medications.
Partners in caring It’s important to build a strong working relationship with your veterinarian. Check out the top 4 tips on being a good client. by Amberly Scott Hindler
he dogs we share our lives with are more than just “pets”. Along with a healthy diet, adequate exercise and lots of love, your canine needs you to build a strong relationship with your veterinarian. After all, next to you, the vet is often the most important person in your dog’s life! Establishing a positive rapport with your veterinarian involves several things, not least of which is being a good client. Having worked in client services at high-traffic veterinary hospitals in Los Angeles, I understand how important it is for vets and clients to work together harmoniously. Here are four ways to help ensure a good relationship with your dog’s doctor.
People often worry that the meticulous notes and spreadsheets they bring with them to appointments will
make them appear anal and unappealing to clinic staff. But fear not: veterinarians are tremendously grateful for your diligence. “The most important thing is the dog’s history,” says veterinarian and certified acupuncturist Dr. Robert Rizzitano. “Because we cannot ask our patients questions, we need answers from the owners.” Having a solid foundation of information from the animal’s person helps veterinarians narrow down what needs to be done to diagnose and treat a problem. “We obviously can’t do everything,” says Dr. Rizzitano. Needless testing is a waste of the veterinarian’s time, and your money. But most importantly, it’s the dog that suffers most when exposed to numerous tests and treatments, many of which might be avoided with a preface from you on how he has been doing lately.
In general, most vets will want to know the following: • Has your dog been experiencing any additional symptoms other than the primary concern that brought you to the clinic? • Is he improving or getting worse? • How long has this issue been going on?
“Many times, clients will end up back at the veterinary office for problems that could have been avoided with simple compliance and care,” says Erika Berlant, who has managed a handful of busy animal hospitals in the southwest US. Dr. Rizzitano concurs, adding that complying with a doctor’s treatment plan is especially vital when dealing with chronic management cases, including skin problems, cancer, eye conditions, and cardiac and endocrine disorders. “When we’re dealing with a cold, that’s not critical,” he says. “But in the instance of a chronic illness, making follow-up visits, giving medications correctly and not skipping doses are all important.” In fact, they could mean the difference between life and death for your beloved friend.
Hospital rules keeping clients out of treatment and surgery areas do not originate from annoyance or intolerance, but simply as a requisite for maintaining patient safety.
Dr. Rizzitano empathizes with his clients and patients, and understands the fragile emotional state people may be in when they show up at his clinic, especially in an emergency situation. “We always do our best to accommodate them,” he says. This means that hospital rules keeping clients out of treatment and surgery areas do not originate from annoyance or intolerance, but simply as a requisite for maintaining patient safety. In an emergency situation, it’s best to wait patiently in the exam or waiting room, as difficult as this may be. Encroaching into restricted areas, despite your intense desire to check on your companion, is disruptive to the doctors, your dog, and the other patients under treatment. Dr. Rizzitano soothes frazzled clients who make their way past “staff only” signs by kindly reminding them: “We are trying to do the best thing for your dog, and the best thing you can do is let us do our job.” animal wellness
While in the waiting room, unless you have an urgent question, give the receptionists and support staff their space. Try not to anxiously hover or tap your fingers, but rather leave the space in front of the reception desk clear so that someone else with an emergency can approach. Standing aside will also alleviate the receptionist’s stress, leaving him or her more level-headed and able to handle your concerns.
Unless you are expecting an urgent call, resist the urge to be a “digital diva”, and silence your cell phone in the exam room.
As already mentioned, your dog’s history is the most important resource for helping your veterinarian treat him. Therefore, it’s best for you to attend the veterinary appointment alongside your animal. If you must send someone in your place, such as a friend, relative or personal assistant, make sure to prep your proxy! Often, according to Dr. Rizzitano, the replacement does not even know why the dog is there. Having someone else attend the session can be further complicated when that person does not have authorization from you to make treatment decisions. If you are in a pinch and must send someone else in your place, arm the replacement with a thorough history of your dog and make yourself available by phone. Another issue Dr. Rizzitano describes as “a little disruptive and challenging” is when a client is on his or her cell phone during an examination. Not only does this distract the doctor from his or her job, but it wastes your money as well. A wellness exam is a great time to ask the doctor any questions you may have, and to receive helpful instructions and tips on how to best care for your dog. So unless you are expecting an urgent call, resist the urge to be a “digital diva”, and silence your cell phone in the exam room. What about the ultimate transgressions that will leave clinic staff talking about you for weeks? “There are none,” Dr. Rizzitano laughs, “unless you’re absolutely inebriated or psychotic and we have to call in law enforcement!” But even without the fear of being a hot topic in the break room, it’s important to be prepared, compliant, patient and present when working with your local animal hospital. Your vet – and your dog – will thank you for it!
warm & Fuzzy Jek and the
“No, I wouldn’t expect so,” I said, paying my 20 dollars anyway. I wasn’t going to let her out of ripping me off. “I’m curious about his past. He came from the pound when he was about a year old.” “He doesn’t want to talk about it.” Well, that worked well for the psychic, didn’t it? When I said nothing, she went on. “I think there was a lot of fighting and yelling and they didn’t have time for him. I think he just left, but I’m not sure.” She told me Jek knew what I had done for him by taking him in, and that he appreciated it. I thought that wasn’t much of a limb she was going out on. Then she said: “He doesn’t understand why you go so long sometimes.” She looked at Jek again, then turned back to me. “Hours and hours? Is that right? Running?” Here’s the thing. I don’t look like a runner, I just don’t. And I certainly wasn’t dressed like a runner that day. But I had recently been doing four-hour runs because I was entered in a 50K. And because I run back country trails, I always take Jek. Bears and cougars and scary red-necks, oh my, are on those trails and they are no small part of why we adopted Jek when we did. The psychic was still waiting for me to confirm what she got from the dog, what she didn’t understand. “Yes, we run hours and hours,” I admitted.
by Lisa Preston
lame it on my mother. She called and said there was an animal psychic in town who was giving readings, and the requested “donation” money was going to a local animal charity. “You’ve said you wonder about Jek’s past,” Mom reminded me. “Go. It’s fun and for a good cause.” Soon, Jek (pictured above) and I were heading to the back of a pet store where I learned it wasn’t even necessary for me to bring my dog to the reading. The psychic told me she can do readings without the dog present. She can do them by phone or email, too. How about that? I thought skeptically. Then she said that Jek, my German shepherd, had no complaints.
“Why?” “It’s for a race I’m going to in a few weeks. After that, we’ll back down to one- or two- hour runs. Tell him.” “He heard. Does he have to do the race?” “No. Just me. He won’t be coming.” “He says it was raining the last time you two ran for a long time and he just wanted to go inside. You have, like, a carpet. By a fire? Do you have a fireplace?” “Yes.”
Although I still resist the idea that psychic powers enabled her to know something so odd and specific, I cannot explain how she came up with this. Plenty of homes have fireplaces in this area. It wasn’t much of a guess for any so-called psychic. But I didn’t say it had indeed rained for the final two hours of our most recent run.
floppy-eared mutts and a pointer. Then it hit me. Jek is the only pinnate-eared dog among them. The horse hadn’t seen another dog, at least not at our barn, with erect, pointy ears.
“He’s a little vain,” she told me.
Back home, I wondered how the psychic came up with something as far out of the mainstream of good guessing as “Jek doesn’t understand why we run for hours and hours”. Although I still resist the idea that psychic powers enabled her to know something so odd and specific, I cannot explain how she came up with this. I just can’t.
“Is he?” “He says he’s a lot better looking than your other dog. He says it’s not even a contest. What kind is the other dog?” “A golden,” I answered. Golden retrievers are generally beautiful, but honestly, the one who moved in with us was obviously badly bred and not a very good example of the breed. We loved her for her heart and personality, not her looks. Jek, on the other hand, is more along the lines of drop dead gorgeous. And to hear the psychic tell it, he knows it. There was more. I wondered how Jek liked his many dog friends, what he thought about our horses and even what they thought about him. The psychic told me that one of the horses (the one we think of as our responsible guy) said Jek was a lot smarter than our other dog (hideously true), but that he didn’t understand Jek’s ears at first.
So, would I ever consider trying a psychic again, especially if I had a real problem with an animal? Well, yes.
Excerpted from Natural Healing for Cats, Dogs, Horses and Other Animals by Lisa Preston, published by Skyhorse Publishing, 2012.
I puzzled over that latter comment as I left. A lot of dogs have come to our barn. There are Labs and a beagle, poodles,
This unique organization teams runners with shelter dogs in a win-win combination that increases adoption and promotes fitness and well being.
by Clint Cherepa
magine being stuck in a cage or pen 24/7, with perhaps one short period each day to get out and go for a walk around the block. It’s how many shelter dogs live. These facilities are usually overflowing with homeless animals, and can’t afford enough staff to give resident dogs the individual attention they need and crave. So, until they’re adopted, shelter animals spend most of their time cooped up in small spaces. But one organization is giving shelter dogs a unique outlet, thanks to Carrie Maria. She’s the founder of The Monster Milers (themonstermilers.com), a non-profit program in Philadelphia that connects runners with shelter dogs as running companions. Participants visit the dogs on a daily basis to take them on mini-running adventures. “Tired dogs are happy dogs,” says Carrie.
How it all began The Monster Milers is an offshoot of The Monster Minders, a Philadelphia dog walking service also owned by Carrie. In 2009, Carrie started running after a five-year hiatus. Her dog walking service was growing and she found herself spending more time behind a desk and less time actually walking dogs. Because of this lack of time, she started to run her own dogs. She soon found that after a 20 or 30 minute run, her dogs would sleep for hours. This got her wondering if PAWS (Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society) would allow her to run their shelter dogs instead of walking them. The shelter thought it was a great idea.
Monster Milers co-founder, Lindsay Maria, runs with Lola.
The next step was to search out the running community for volunteers who would be willing to run the dogs. “We were expecting a small group of runners,” says Carrie. “Maybe ten or 20 who would want to visit the shelter with us. Word got out, and within a month we had a waiting list of over 300 runners!” Since then, the organization’s growth has been tremendous. The Monster Milers have put over 250 runners through orientation and have run countless dogs. On any given day, from two to eight runners will show up at two different PAWS shelters and take dogs for runs. “Most of our volunteers had never set foot inside an animal shelter,” says Carrie. “We assumed we were putting a lot of seasoned volunteers through our orientation – shelter advocates who also happened to love running. Instead, we are tapping into a whole new base of volunteers and potential adopters. The runners have made connections that have led to adoptions.” Carrie says this is one of the most exciting parts of the program.
For runners to join The Monster Milers team, they need to commit to a run every two weeks. The organization can only train four to eight runners at a time, so Carrie has to give priority to those who are truly committed. It often takes months to get an orientation spot. Once runners are ready to participate, they book running spots on the organization’s website, and show up at PAWS shelters on the appointed days and times to take the dogs for a run. The length of each run is tailored to the individual dog’s fitness levels, but typically lasts for at least 20 minutes, with breaks to rest or walk. “Most of the dogs we run are some type of pit bull mix or other ‘pound-puppy’ mutt,” says Carrie.
Everyone benefits Both dogs and runners are benefiting from The Monster Milers program. Shelters can be stressful places for dogs, who often misbehave or act out of character because of anxiety. It’s understandable, since many are confused after being surrendered and have no idea why they are now stuck in a kennel all day. Others may have been strays and are naturally wary and on edge. “By being exposed to a variety of people through the program, the dogs learn to trust again,” says Erin McCormick, an avid Miler. “They also learn we are there for them and want to help them find a great home.” In short, most dogs don’t thrive in a shelter environment, and this makes it harder for them to be adopted. “Getting these dogs out for vigorous exercise hastens the adoption process because it mellows them out, and that in turn allows the shelters to rescue even more dogs,” explains Carrie. “Endorphins are magic, and our dogs benefit from them too!”
We are tapping into a whole new base of volunteers and potential adopters. The runners also benefit from the program. Some Milers use it as a motivational tool. Knowing there’s a dog waiting in a kennel for his or her running partner helps discourage people from skipping their runs. Others, especially women, feel more secure when they have a dog running by their side. It’s also a great way to spread the word about dog adoption, adds Donald Kushon, another enthusiastic Miler. “When I’m out with a dog it’s an opportunity to make an impact with the public,” he says. “More than once I’ve stopped and talked with interested people who see the ‘Adopt Me vest’ and want to know how to help.” animal wellness
Carrie runs with an adoptable pooch in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood.
A runner greets one of the dogs at an adoption event.
Endorphins are magic, and our dogs benefit from them too!
Carrie takes a break with one of her running companions.
Onwards and upwards
a 5K race to benefit the program and its partner shelters, and is considering starting its own foster system to ease the burden on the shelters. In an attempt to get other communities involved, the website offers a how-to guide for those interested in starting up similar programs in their own towns or cities.
The Monster Milers has recently expanded to running dogs at Philadelphia’s newest no-kill facility, STAR (Street Tails Animal Rescue). “We hope to expand further to include our city’s intake shelter either this year or in 2013,” adds Carrie. In addition, the organization plans to host
In the end, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. “Life in a shelter isn’t easy, but the dogs are always happy to run, happy to see people, just happy period,” says runner Julia Nawrocki. “It’s hard not to feel the same way!”
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Victoria Stillwell – the gentle touch by Barbara Nefer
Unlike a lot of TV dog trainers, the star of Animal Planet’s It’s Me or the Dog doesn’t use heavy-handed methods to encourage good behavior in her canine guests. Dog trainers using aggressive methods are all too common on many TV reality shows, even though this isn’t what most animal lovers want to see. The star of Animal Planet’s hit show It’s Me or the Dog, is different. Now entering its eighth season, this popular series not only showcases Victoria’s talents as a positive dog trainer, but also her gifts for helping people understand how they’re contribute to “bad” behavior, and restoring harmony to households with major pooch problems. Victoria was once an aspiring actress, working on television and in theater in London’s West End. “As an actor, you have to have a survival job, and mine was working with dogs and training them,” she says. “I started out walking dogs and got really interested in the whole training aspect. It was a natural progression. I worked with dogs during the day and did my acting at night, so it fit in really well.” In 1999, Victoria and her husband moved to the United States, where she switched to dog training as a fulltime job. She specializes in positive reinforcement rather than methods that position her as the alpha of the pack, as so many other trainers do. Victoria firmly believes that positive reinforcement is much more effective than dominancebased training, which she calls “highly flawed and potentially dangerous”. “The initial results look impressive,” she explains, “but when you delve into what’s going on inside the dog, you see that dominance training is literally suppression of behavior. It doesn’t change how the dog feels, so the behavior can rear its head again. The dog is
dominated into doing something, and that not only impedes the learning process but also the trust between dog and person. “When you manhandle an animal and inflict pain, that dog is going to remember forever,” Victoria adds. “You’ve really tarnished your relationship. People will argue, ‘My dog loves me and wants to be with me.’ Dogs are so darned forgiving, and they want to please people so badly. When they’re handled in this manner, they try to appease their people because they have no other choice. “You’re not dealing with robots. You’re dealing with animals. Dogs are amazing emotional beings. They’re predators with different drives and thought processes, and we need to respect that.” Victoria sees dominance training as inherently cruel. “You see methods done on other shows where, if those methods were used on children, it would be called abuse,” she says. “Why is it okay to do this on dogs? We know the emotional part of a dog’s brain is wired in the same way as a human’s. Dogs feel the same fear, pain, joy and excitement as we do. Think what we’re doing to these animals psychologically when we’re using dominance training. “You should never belittle a dog’s emotional experience. You can’t get rid of intense anxiety in a day. People go through therapy to deal with feelings like fear and anxiety and to learn how to cope, and dogs need time, too.” Victoria says dominance-based methods are popular because they look like quick-fix solutions. “It looks sexy and incredible, and the
Victoria uses only positive training techniques on her show. animal wellness
results seem amazing. TV can make anything look great. But if you watch, you’ll see a dog in anxiety, a dog slinking off, a dog that’s very uncomfortable. “On my show, we don’t say everything’s great. We say this is going to be a process. You’ll see shows where people didn’t follow up and ended up regressing with their dogs.” A lot of work goes into the 44 minutes of footage you ultimately see on the air when you watch It’s Me or the Dog. A typical case involves shooting 56 hours of footage, which is then distilled down to show the highlights of the training process. “I try very hard to make sure people are motivated enough to continue with the training after I go,” Victoria says. “As a species, people are inconsistent and lazy. Not only that, but we have busy lives. Positive reinforcement works very quickly, but it needs ongoing work.” It’s Me or the Dog is just one small part of Victoria’s overall career. She’s also a prolific author and has started a certification program for dog trainers. “Training is such an unregulated profession,” she says. “I want to help people find someone they can really trust. I’m doing this in response to hearing so many people tell me that a trainer came to their house, or they went to a class, and now their dog is upset or fearful or peeing all over. My trainers are the crème de la crème. They’re experts in their field and passionate about what they do, and they only use humane methods.” Her team of trainers is growing steadily but slowly because of the rigorous approval process. “We have to go through hundreds of applications to find the right people.” Victoria cautions dog lovers searching for a trainer to make their selection very carefully. “Dominance-based trainers know the buzzwords now,” she warns. “Ask questions like ‘What kind of collars do you use? What do you think about pack theory? Are dogs lucid? How do you handle correction?’ If the trainer says you have to be the alpha, or uses things like choke chains and shock collars, run away.” She also created the Victoria Stilwell Foundation, a charity that supports assistance dog organizations with money and training expertise. The foundation’s inspiration dates back to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York. “I lived in Manhattan at the time and we were all very much affected by what happened. I was at the World Trade Center, volunteering with the ASPCA. It was my job to go down and make sure the therapy dogs being used with the victims’ families were healthy. Seeing the work those dogs did, bringing incredible comfort and making people feel better, reminded me of the sheer power of dogs in our lives. It takes a lot to train therapy and service dogs, but it’s such a great thing. We provide help for the groups that do it.” Even though Victoria’s life could have taken a very different path, she’s never regretted her choices. “I loved acting, and I’ve been offered many parts on TV and in the theater. Maybe one day I’ll do a play again, but there’s nothing better for me than having this global platform to help dogs. I’m able to make a difference and affect change, and I’m honored to be able to do this.” Find training tips, videos and articles by Victoria on our new dog training page at animalwellnessmagazine.com. animal wellness
6Surgery Myths about
by Shawn messonnier, DVM
Do you cringe at the thought of your companion going under the knife? De-bunking these common beliefs about surgery will help you feel more at ease.
hen Barb discovered a lump on her golden retriever’s side, it took her awhile to bring it to the veterinarian’s attention. Why? “I was scared,” she admits. “I didn’t want him to undergo an operation. I had to drum up some courage before I took him to the vet.” As it turned out, the lump was benign, but if it hadn’t been, Barb’s fear and hesitation could have had serious consequences.
The truth is, most dogs will need one or more surgical procedures at some point in their lives. It could be for spaying or neutering, dental work, or a tumor or wart removal. People often have anxieties about subjecting their dogs to operations. This article addresses six of the most common myths associated with surgery in dogs.
Of course, there may be other factors involved besides age. For example, a 15-year-old Labrador with hip dysplasia and arthritis might be a candidate for total hip replacement surgery. But his person may decide against it due to the cost, the postoperative physical therapy required, and the fact that the dog has already reached the end of his life expectancy. But the dog
“My dog is too old for surgery.” I hear this way too often. How sad that our senior citizens of the canine world are denied proper medical care because someone thinks they’re “too old.” No dog is too old to receive necessary surgery.
In my practice, most of my surgical patients are ten years of age and older, and many are 15 years of age and older. These animals routinely receive surgery for dental work and the removal of various skin growths, including tumors. None are “too old” for this type of care. With modern anesthetic drugs and monitoring, and analgesic (pain relieving) medications, all these animals do very well and have no negative post-operative effects.
“It’s okay to wait to spay or neuter my puppy.”
knows exactly what will be involved in the procedure until he is doing it. While spaying and neutering are commonly performed, they should never be viewed as routine. Doing so may encourage complacency which could result in unnecessary complications.
“All tumors should be removed.” Some veterinarians recommend that people have any and all growths on their dog removed. While I’m a big fan of early diagnosis of cancerous tumors, I don’t believe in doing surgery just for the sake of doing surgery. Here are the guidelines I use to help people determine if and when a growth or tumor should be removed:
There is really no reason to wait to have your puppy spayed or neutered. In fact, early spaying and neutering have several health and behavioral benefits. Females spayed before their first heat have almost no chance of developing breast cancer later in life. Males that are neutered young have no chance of developing testicular diseases, and a reduced chance of developing most prostatic diseases and perianal tumors.
• Any growth large enough to aspirate with a small needle and syringe should be aspirated, and the contents of the aspirate examined microscopically. • If the tumor is a benign lesion, such as a fatty tumor or cyst, I may use herbal or homeopathic therapy to help shrink it. However, if it is large, or is growing or bothering the dog, I will schedule surgery to remove it. • If the aspirate shows a malignant cancer, the growth is removed surgically. • If the aspirate is non-diagnostic, the growth is removed surgically and biopsied. • Following surgical removal of any lesion that is cancerous, or for which a diagnosis was not made using aspiration cytology, the lesion is sent to a pathologist for further microscopic examination and definitive diagnosis.
Removing tumors when they are small may actually cure the cancer without the need for chemotherapy or radiation. There is one thing to keep in mind about spaying and neutering: it’s all too common for many veterinarians and dog lovers to consider these surgeries “routine.” I have never seen a “routine” surgery in my entire life, as they are all different. No doctor ever
My personal feeling is that most of the time, it is a waste of money to have small benign lesions removed. My one exception
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would be if the dog is scheduled to have another anesthetic procedure such as a dental cleaning done, during which the lesion can be removed. I try to avoid surgery whenever it’s not necessary in order to spare people the expense, and to prevent subjecting dogs to unnecessary anesthetic procedures.
“It’s okay to wait for a tumor to grow before removing it.” Again, it is okay to wait and watch benign lesions before removing them, as they rarely grow. However, unless an aspirate of the tumor has been examined microscopically, I believe all tumors should be viewed as potentially malignant until proven otherwise. There is no reason to wait and watch cancer grow when tumors can easily be removed when they are small. Removing tumors when they are small may actually cure the cancer without the need for chemotherapy or radiation. Therefore, unless we know that the tumor is benign and unlikely to hurt the dog, it should be removed rather than watching it grow to potentially harm or kill the animal.
One word of caution: many veterinarians, in an attempt to reduce the costs of a surgical procedure, either do not use any (or enough) analgesic medications, or offer it as an option prior to the procedure. I personally believe this is malpractice and encourage you not to subject your companion to any surgical procedure in which some type of analgesic medication is not used.
Analgesic (pain killing) medication should be used whenever we know or suspect a dog may feel pain. For the majority of surgeries, some type of analgesic medication should be given. The best way to use it is through pre-emptive analgesia and multimodal analgesia.
There are veterinarians who call themselves “low cost”. While I appreciate the desire and need for people to save money, it’s important that cutting costs doesn’t reduce the quality of care the dog receives, or put his health or life at risk.
“Analgesic medicine is not necessary for most “The lowest cost provider should be the one surgeries.” you choose for your dog’s surgery.”
• Pre-emptive analgesia means giving the medication before pain occurs – that is, prior to surgery. • Multimodal analgesia means giving the dog several different classes of medication, such as NSAIDS and opioid medications, and even local anesthetics, which work on different biochemical pathways to relieve pain. Of course, naturopathic medications that assist in healing, such as herbs and homeopathics, can be included in the multimodal approach to analgesia.
No dog is too old to receive necessary surgery. Following surgery, additional analgesic medications should be given at home for several days (or longer, depending on the procedure) to assist in healing.
There are only so many ways to cut costs with surgery. Usually this requires “leaving something out”. If that “something” is essential to your dog’s well being, it could possibly affect him in a negative way. Some low cost veterinarians reuse needles, syringes and scalpel blades (sterilizing them between procedures, but not using fresh new ones). Some use less expensive anesthesia, which makes it more challenging to control a dog’s vital signs. Others do not have animals monitored by a technician or machine during surgery. If you’re considering having surgery for your dog, no matter how “routine” the procedure may seem, find out ahead of time just what is or is not included in the price you are quoted. Chances are, your dog is going to need at least one operation in his lifetime. Arming yourself with the right information will help you make the best possible choice for his healthcare, and give you better peace of mind.
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You might think training deaf dogs is difficult, since they can’t hear commands or clickers. But canines are experts at reading body language, so hand signals are just as effective as verbal cues.
by Sara Jackson
ach year, many dogs are surrendered to shelters because they’re deaf. Unfortunately, few will find forever homes. But people who train and live with hearing-impaired dogs will tell you that deafness should not be regarded as a handicap. Deaf dogs can learn as well as those that hear. You just have to use visual rather than verbal or sound cues. In fact, because dogs are so good at reading body language, training can actually be easier this way. The trick is having a clear signal for each command, and to keep that signal consistent.
“Watch me” There are hand signals for commands like “sit”, “stay”, “down” and “come”, but you’ll also need sign language for phrases like “watch me” and “good dog!” The hardest part of training a deaf dog is getting him to focus on you without being distracted by his surroundings, so the first piece of sign language you’ll need to teach him is “watch me”.
Christina Lee’s husband Chris using hand signals to train Nitro.
Photos courtesy of Christina Lee, Deaf Dogs Rock
The trick is having a clear signal for each command, and to keep that signal consistent. “Every time my dog Nitro would look at me, I would give him a flash of my open hand to mark his good behavior, then give him a treat,” says Christina Lee, founder of Deaf Dogs Rock (deafdogsrock.com). “An open flash of the hand replaces the ‘click’ in clicker training to mark the good behavior the second it takes place, followed by a high value food treat.”
Nitro watching for the next cue.
Once your deaf dog has learned to “watch you”, it’s time to start teaching him sign language for basic commands. To make things easier, begin your dog’s training in a place devoid of too many distractions – inside the house or in a fenced yard. It is recommended that training sessions be kept short – between five and ten minutes at least three times a day.
Christina suggests teaching deaf dogs the signals used in American Sign Language. Though there are other ways of going about it, Christina suggests teaching deaf dogs the signals used in American Sign Language (ASL). Here some training tips for basic commands using ASL hand signals.
“Sit” Begin by holding a healthy treat at the tip of your dog’s nose, then draw the offering back behind his head until he sits. When using the ASL sign for “sit”, place the treat between your thumb and palm while making the sign.
Chris commands Nitro to “stay”.
“Stay” When teaching your dog to “stay,” Christina suggests using the ASL hand signal then taking a step back. If he stays, he gets a hand flash to mark his good behavior. Repeat, taking an additional step back each time.
“Down” Teaching a deaf dog to lie down is very simple and can be done in either one of two ways. The first is to motion toward the floor with the flat of your hand, palm facing down. The other is to get him to focus on your finger as you draw it towards you on the ground. Pretty soon, he will slide towards you into the down position.
“Come” You can use the ASL signal, which is to keep your elbow bent, and with your arm in front of you, bring it to your chest. “With a deaf dog, start off with a long line attached to him at all times,” says Christina. “The main thing with the ‘recall or come’ command is keeping your dog’s attention from a distance when there are distractions. Even if you have a backyard, you want to have control of the dog so he doesn’t walk off. Once you get his attention, take a couple of steps back, ask for the ‘come’, and when he takes even one step towards you, flash your hand to mark the correct
behavior. Then reward the step with a treat. From that point, just increase the distance with each training session.”
“Good dog!” During training sessions, it’s important to let your dog know he has done a good job, not just by giving him treats but also by signing “good dog!” This is usually indicated with a thumbs up, followed by lots of petting and tummy rubs. The use of treats should only be temporary, so it is vital that your deaf dog be shown praise by the use of body language and hand signals. You might be wondering how a deaf dog will know when he has done something incorrectly. Christina stresses that you should never ever strike or slap a deaf dog (or any dog) because he views your hands as a means of communication. It’s very important to retain his trust so he feels safe and secure. “I will sometimes give the ASL sign for ‘no’, then redirect the behavior followed by a thumbs up,” says Christina. “If the dog goes right back to the bad behavior after being redirected, I will put my hands on my hips and make an angry face.” With lots of love and patience, your deaf companion will soon become as well trained as any other dog.
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For our Amazing Animals Photo Contest Enter our Amazing Animals Photo Contest and you could win one of many prizes up for grabs, plus your photo will appear in an upcoming issue of Animal Wellness Magazine for all to see. What a great tribute to your special friend! You can enter in one of the categories below, or simply let our judges choose which category fits best. Enter by July 15, 2012 for your chance to win. • Best photo • Most artistic • Best bond (human/animal)
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Send a digital photo, scanned at a minimum of 5”x7”, at 300dpi resolution in a tif, jpeg or pdf format to email@example.com, or send a good quality hard copy original photo (not a color photocopy) to: Photo Contest, Animal Wellness Magazine US: 6834 S. University Blvd. PMB 155, Centennial, CO 80122 CAN: 202-160 Charlotte St., Peterborough, ON K9J 2T8
Please remember to include your name, address and telephone number or email address, along with your animal’s name, sex and age (if known) and a short description of the photo. Hard copy photos must have contact information on the back.
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Founded by a doctor who was ahead of his time, this company has been making high quality pet foods for over 75 years. BY ANN BRIGHTMAN
remium pet foods might seem a fairly recent innovation, but not when it comes to Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Company. Their roots go back to 1935, when Dr. Fred Evanger, a physician and breeder of champion great Danes, started producing quality food for his dogs. “He was a fervent believer that the health of his great Danes depended on complete, meat-based wholesome nutrition,” says the company’s CEO, Holly Sher. “He built a cannery on his family farm. He utilized crops and livestock raised on the farm to make premium dog foods. Dr. Evanger was a man way ahead of his time.” Evanger’s has been specializing in premium pet foods ever since, never losing sight of its chief goal – to produce the highest quality products possible. “We are dedicated to improving the health, longevity and quality of life of animals,” says Holly. “I am a very health-conscious person, so I will not put anything into our pet foods that I would not eat personally.” The company offers a variety of premium canned and dry diets, including grain- and gluten-free products and a unique line of hand packed foods, created in 2002. “[The latter] was initially developed for our dog, Yukon, who has a very selective palate,” explains Holly. “Even though the meat was the same, Yukon preferred to eat our dinner steaks instead of his ground steak. So we tried putting a whole, un-ground
Evanger’s official taste tester and mascot, Yukon, with VP Joel Sher and CEO Holly Sher.
piece of beef in a can and cooked it. When we served it to Yukon, he loved it, and our number one flavor, Hunk of Beef, was born.” The hand packed line has expanded to also include a selection of whole chicken, salmon and mackerel dinners. “All our dog foods must be approved by Yukon before we bring them to market.” Evanger’s products are manufactured and packed right at the facility, and 90% of the ingredients are locally sourced and used within 24 hours for optimum freshness. “We have never used any by-products, soy, corn or wheat,” adds Holly. The company is currently working on some new products, including a hand packed canned food made from pulled meat, and new non-extruded dry diets for dogs and cats. Another of Evanger’s goals is to give back to the community. “We work with the Keshet Vocational Program to hire kids with developmental disabilities to make our sample bags of dry foods,” says Holly. “It gives these kids an opportunity for employment that may not otherwise be available.” Holly says the company will proudly continue Dr. Evanger’s legacy. “I love helping people when they have a problem. I love telling them about proper nutrition, then they call back crying with joy because we actually helped them. This tells me we are making a big difference in so many lives.” animal wellness
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What’s your breed?
I Beagle – friendly and intelligent by Ann Brightman
f I were to adopt a new dog, I think I’d choose a beagle. Not too big and not too small, beagles are friendly and companionable, have an easy-tocare-for coat, and an appealing demeanour. My neighbor has an elderly beagle mix who always comes to the fence to say hello, never barks at strangers, and has a easy-going attitude towards life. He was rescued from a hunter who was planning to have him euthanized because he had “out-lived” his usefulness in the field. From the time of their first appearance in history, at least 200 years ago in Great Britain, beagles have been used primarily for tracking game, especially rabbit and fox. Beagles were introduced to North America in the 1870s, again for hunting and tracking purposes. Until recent decades, in fact, the beagle’s role as a family member has been a secondary consideration, and still is among some hunters. But more and more people are recognizing this delightful dog’s value as a companion animal – in fact, the beagle is currently the fourth most popular breed in the US, according to the American Kennel Club. Beagles are gentle, happy-go-lucky and good with children. They don’t shed much and are free of the “doggy odor” that affects many other breeds. However, because they were bred to track, they have a lot of energy and stamina, so they need plenty of regular exercise. They’re also pack animals, which means they’re sociable and enjoy the companionship of other dogs or people. A beagle tends to bond with the whole group or family rather than just one individual. For these reasons, beagles aren’t an ideal choice for apartment dwellers, or those who are away for long periods during the day.
For a full list of beagle rescues, visit AnimalWellnessMagazine.com. animal wellness
These dogs have a very powerful sense of smell, so if a beagle scents a rabbit or squirrel, he’s liable to take off after it. Good training will help ensure he doesn’t ignore your calls to return. Better still, keep your beagle on a long lead or only let him run free in an enclosed area – you don’t want him tangling with a skunk or porcupine! Beagles may bark a lot if bored or lonely, and will make a characteristic baying sound when they spot a rabbit, raccoon, fox or other wild animal. These dogs are independent and like to roam, and may dig out from under a fence in order to do so (as my neighbor’s dog sometimes does). To
help curb these habits, you need to give your beagle extra physical and mental stimulation. Beagles are intelligent and alert as well as active, so they do well in canine sports such as agility, flyball, obedience and tracking. Typically, beagles have a white, black and tan coat, although they can also be tan and white or red and white. The white tip on a beagleâ€™s tail isnâ€™t just cosmetic â€“ it was bred into them because it makes the dogs easier to follow in the field. Beagles weigh 18 to 30 pounds, and measure 13â€? to 15â€? in height. Despite their relatively small size, theyâ€™re sturdy, compact dogs with well-developed muscles. Theyâ€™re also generally healthy, although they are susceptible to epilepsy, thyroid and eye problems, hip dysplasia and disc disease. Beagles are proof positive that good things come in small packages. Gentle, outgoing, active and smart, these dogs make wonderful companion animals. There are literally dozens of beagle rescues across the US and in Canada, so thereâ€™s no shortage of places to look if you want to welcome one of these attractive little canines into your life.
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Attention, please! Training your dog can be tough if heâ€™s easily distracted and finds it hard to concentrate. Stimulating these acupressure points can help him focus and learn. by Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis
ost dogs “will work for food”. So if you make training sessions into a game with treat rewards, you’ll help hold your companion’s attention during lessons. But what’s the best way to get him focused and eager to learn in the first place?
Once your mind is clear and stress has dissipated, look at your dog and imagine what a focused and perfect training session you are going to have together. Slowly and with intent, stroke his back three times from his shoulder to his hindquarters on each side of his spine. Then, take another moment to envision how enriched and productive a time you are going to share.
Many trainers and guardians begin training sessions with acupressure to help their dogs settle comfortably into a physical and mental space where both animals and humans can work together. Acupressure can help both of you focus and gain the most out of a training session, even if your dog is initially distracted, anxious or unwilling to engage in training.
The Yin Tang Point draws in the dog’s focus when he is distracted, hyperactive or anxious.
Setting the stage The first step in a productive training session is for you to center your thoughts and energy. If your thoughts are elsewhere, your dog will know it. Dogs are highly perceptive and will not focus well if you are thinking about something other than training.
Acupoints for focus Now that you’re focused, it’s time to increase your dog’s receptivity to training by performing a brief acupressure session. Acupressure is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theories. According to these ancient concepts, specific acupressure points (acupoints) found along energetic pathways or “meridians” on the body are known to have particular healing effects. Some have a calming effect on both humans and dogs. Others help with the ability to focus.
One method for releasing extraneous thoughts and energy is to breathe. Inhale slowly, filling your chest. Hold your breath momentarily then exhale, adding a little force as if you are pushing your breath out and away from you. Repeat this technique three to six times until you feel more relaxed and clear of mind.
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The following acupoints (also see the above chart) have been selected to enhance training by calming and clearing your dog’s mind so he is less susceptible to distractions and more able to give you his full attention. Yin Tang Point: Located on the midline of the dog’s head just above the level of the eyes, in the “third eye” position. This point is one of the classical acupoints used specifically to draw mental energy into focus. It’s the point to use when your dog is distracted or anxious. Yang Tang Point: Another classical point to be used when your dog is overly focused on one thing and not able to diffuse his attention and pay attention to you. When a dog is aggressively fixated on another dog, this acupoint can break that focus and you can get his attention. The Yang Tang point is located lateral to the outer canthus of the dog’s eye in the soft spot above the zygomatic arch. Note: The Yang Tang Point has the opposite effect to the Yin Tang Point. That is, the Yin Tang Point draws in the dog’s focus when he is distracted, hyperactive or anxious. The Yang Tang Point diffuses the dog’s intense focus so you can draw his attention to you and the training. Heart 7 (Ht 7), Spirit’s Gate: This point is known to calm the dog’s spirit as well as strengthen and clear his mind. It is located just above the “wrist” (carpus) on the forelimb, in the depression (slightly lateral) formed by the tendon and the joint. Pericardium 6 (Pe 6), Inner Gate: This point supports the bonding process by allowing the animal to reduce pretense and build trust. It also clears the mind and calms the spirit while enhancing the smooth flow of energy throughout the dog’s body. Pe 6 is located on the forelimb above the wrist on the inside (medial aspect) of the forelimb.
Bai Hui, Heaven’s Gate or Point of 100 Meetings: This classical point for animals is located at the lumbosacral junction where it feels like a small soft trampoline with no spinous processes sticking up on the dog’s spine. Most dogs love to have this point scratched. The Bai Hui point relieves stress and opens the mind.
Two techniques Since the acupoints on the dog’s body are bilateral, you need to hold the acupoints on both sides sequentially. There are two different finger techniques you can use: 1• Thumb technique – usually effective on the head, neck and trunk. Place the tip of your thumb directly on the acupoint and hold the point gently, but with intent, for a slow count to at least 30. If your dog shows no reaction, you can hold the acupoint longer. After a reasonable length of time, move on to the next acupoint. 2• Two-finger technique – best for the limbs. Place your middle finger on top of your index finger to form a little tent, then place your index finger gently, yet with intentional firmness, directly on the acupoint. Stay there for a slow count of 30, or longer if your dog shows no reaction. Move on to the next point even if your dog indicates a release of energy. While doing these techniques, keep your other hand on the dog to feel for any reactions. You will know if the dog is moving energy and releasing if he yawns, licks, passes air or stretches. While proceeding through this session with your dog, picture all the benefits you’ll receive from the focused, productive training you’re about to enjoy!
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Follow Your Nose
If you haven’t heard of nose work yet, you’re not alone. This new sport that combines training and fun with mental and physical stimulation is gaining in popularity.
by Sandra Murphy
melia thinks nose work is tailor made for her,” says Elizabeth Lundell of her Basenji companion. “But what’s not to like? When she locates a specific odor, I throw treats to her!” If you’re wondering what Elizabeth is talking about, it’s a relatively new and versatile sport that provides a positive outlet for a dog’s natural ability to use his nose to find things. The goal of nose work is for the dog to locate a hidden target scent, and alert his handler to its exact location. Boasting 225 million olfactory cells compared to our measly five million, canine noses out-sniff ours by miles, so it’s not surprising dogs love and excel at this sport. With a little practice, anyone can do nose work. It can be done in any setting and it suits any breed or size of dog. It’s a great way to build your dog’s confidence, provide mental and physical exercise, and strengthen the bond between you. Best of all, nose work requires no previous skill on your part.
How to do it You’ll need a collection of small cardboard boxes and a handful of healthy treats, such as pieces of whole dried meat or raw carrot.
P ut a treat in an open box where your dog can get at it. Leave the lid open.
2 3 4
hen he finds the treat, reward him with a couple W more treats.
S lowly add more open boxes and more treats. L eave some of the boxes that formerly had treats empty so he knows to find actual treats and not just old smells. ow the fun begins. Put a lid on the boxes, fold the flaps N shut, turn a box upside down, put a box inside another box, and/or reduce the number of boxes containing treats. This way, your dog will have to use his nose to find the treats, and not simply rely on sight. This is the basis of nose work.
The next level If you want to go further with nose work, and perhaps even compete in events, consider enrolling your dog in a National Association of Canine Scent Work class. NACSW sets the standards governing the official sport of K9 Nose Work®, and is
Boasting 225 million olfactory cells compared to our measly five million, canine noses out-sniff ours by miles, so it’s not surprising dogs love and excel at this sport. the only official sanctioning and organizing body for nose work titles and ORTs (Odor Recognition Tests). An introductory class will involve the use of scented swabs, like the ones used to clean ears. A few drops of a natural essential oil are put into a jar with some swabs. The jar is sealed so the swabs will absorb the oil and the scent. The swabs are placed in small tins with holes in the lids which are then hidden for the dogs to find. The first scent is birch. As your dog progresses through the levels of training, he’ll also learn to find anise and clove. Dogs learn quickly to recognize these scents. “I was getting our swabs ready, and as I prepared the jar, my dog Gimme came in,” says Carla Baker. “She’d found the scent! There’s no doubt she knows what that smell is about.”
Meet some pros • “Chance is a nose work nut,” says Nan Sanders. “At home, we do four or five searches a day; when we’re traveling, two or three. To a Belgian sheepdog, completing the job is
the reward. Food and praise are just icing on the cake.” Nan adds that nose work is a great way to exercise your dog when you’re on vacation. “When we were in Louisiana, we were playing in a hay field with just a few trees so I had to figure out where to put the scent for Chance to find. I hid the first one on a tree and the second on an ATV. In Texas, meanwhile, the dry ground confused Chance at first but he adapted. I stuck the scent container in a pine cone. That was one of the harder searches; the pine mingled with the scent.” • E lizabeth’s other Basenji, Professor, also loves nose work. “He was 18 months old and had the attention span of a gnat on espresso,” she laughs. “When he started on nose work, he was in heaven. It’s solving the puzzle that delights him more than the food. Now he can concentrate.” • H ans, a Swiss shepherd, is another enthusiast. “He searches methodically and follows the scent waves,” says his person
Beryl Gersch. “It all depends on air currents. We’ve searched a huge training room with large industrial fans. That room was full of balls, which are Hans’ love, but he ignored them. Any breed or mixed breed may participate. In Hans’ class we have a soft-coated Wheaton terrier, a Shiba Inu, a boxer, a miniature poodle and a Viszla.” • C arla takes Gimme to her local Home Depot to do searches. She has found that store odors like fresh cut wood or machine oil in the tool rental department add a challenge but that her clever Dalmatian still finds the hidden scents. (Store staff have known and loved Gimme since she was a puppy, which is why she’s allowed in the store.) Nose work is not just for fun or titles. It also forms the basis for bomb, drug, arson or search and rescue training. Thurber, a bloodhound, used his nose work skills to find lost dogs or cats. “Thurber was considered to be a Missing Animal Response
Nose work is not just for fun or titles. It also forms the basis for bomb, drug, arson or search and rescue training. Dog, perhaps the only one in Vermont,” says his person Lisa Robinson. “Even when we couldn’t catch up to a lost animal, people knew where he’d been on the trail. They could post fliers, notify agencies and newspapers in the area. There was a much better chance of finding the dog or cat. Thurber didn’t get any ribbons or have a slew of titles, but he loved what he did. He was a hero to all the people whose animals he searched for, and that was enough for me.” And it all starts with a treat in a box!
Resources For more information about nose work, check out these websites:
atozdals.blogspot.com (Gimme’s blog) k9nosework.com nacsw.net youtube.com (search canine or dog nose work)
Gimme practices her nose work with Carla at their local Home Depot.
These tins are used to contain scented swabs, then hidden for the dogs to find.
photo: © Amiee Stubbs Photography
How this entrepreneur’s Akita inspired a passion for animal nutrition – and a company for holistic pet products.
Jerry and wife Gaia against the Nashville skyline.
erry Williams likes being asked why he started a holistic pet products distribution company. “I’ve shared the answer many times and am always happy to do so, as my intent has been the same from day one – to make available only the foods and products I personally believe in.” His journey to becoming president of Holistic Pet Source, Inc. started way back in 1983, when he got his first Akita. Jerry wanted to feed Kyoto the best possible food he could find, but unfortunately, this was back in what he calls the “The Dark Ages” of pet food. “The major brands were formulated using ‘science’ to theoretically create a mixture that would sustain the lives of animals while using ingredients rejected from human food suppliers,” he says. “This practice still exists today, but during the 1980s, information was not readily available and high quality pet food choices were almost nonexistent.”
Like many others, Jerry assumed the costliest pet foods had to be the best, so he always purchased the most expensive foods for Kyoto. “As I later discovered, I was the victim of very successful marketing,” he says ruefully. Despite his apparent investment in his dog’s well being, Kyoto developed health problems. Jerry realized it was because he’d been feeding his companion inferior commercial foods. “The challenge for me was figuring this out,” he says. “It took years, and the many veterinarians I visited were as clueless as I was.”
“Read, ask questions, and don’t take anything at face value.” Then he discovered a pioneer in natural pet food. “The accompanying information linking many harmful ingredients to animal illness sparked an epiphany as I immediately realized the source of Kyoto’s maladies,” Jerry says. “I ordered a bag of animal wellness
this food from the closest supplier in Indiana and viola – Kyoto began to improve within a week.”
Jerry and the dogs having fun in the warehouse.
Holistic Pet Source is a proud supporter of rescue groups and animal shelters across the southeast including: • Saving Grace Animals For Adoption (Wake Forest, NC) • Waiting For A Star To Fall Farm (Tullahoma, TN) • Friends To The Forlorn Pit-bull Rescue (Dallas, GA) •The Shamrock Pet Foundation (Louisville, KY) • Animal Rescue Corporation 58
photo: © Amiee Stubbs Photography
Jerry and his office staff at Holistic Pet Source.
photo: © Amiee Stubbs Photography
Inspired, Jerry developed a keen interest in animal nutrition. “I soon realized that a lot of animals were suffering with illnesses that included skin allergies, cancer, diabetes and kidney disease. All these can be attributed to poor nutrition and toxic food ingredients.” Armed with this knowledge, Jerry transformed his passion into a business. “Soon I was selling natural pet food out of my home and delivering in my Toyota pickup,” he says. “I started Holistic Pet Source in 1996. We were the first and remain the only distributor in the southeastern US committed solely to natural pet foods and products. Although our product assortment and distribution reach has grown considerably, our mission – to provide the best quality natural pet foods, treats, toys, topical products and supplements available – has remained unchanged.”
“The natural state of the dog, cat or human body is radiant health, providing that proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are in place.” Jerry and his staff encourage animal guardians and pet store owners to be proactive when sourcing products for companion animals. “Read, ask questions, and don’t take anything at face value,” he advises. “We live in an era where illness is very prevalent. The tendency for many people is to forget that illness does not occur in a vacuum, so look for the reason! The natural state of the dog, cat or human body is radiant health, providing that proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are in place. Knowledge is empowerment, and as consumer and retailers become wiser, the bar is continually pushed higher by manufacturers. When Jerry looks back to when he had Kyoto, he wonders how he could have missed what now seems so obvious to him. “But I stayed inquisitive and was led down a path where I was able to help Kyoto; and through our company and its knowledgeable, compassionate staff, we have positively affected the lives of literally thousands of animals. There is so much truth to this quote: ‘The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison’.”
feline wellness Hip, cool and healthy!
Jumping and clawing and biting ,
Tips to discourage these common behavioral issues
Steps to Litter 6 FREEDOM How to toilet train your cat!
Helping homeless and feral kitties
Lifestyle changes to relieve feline stress
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Jumping and clawing and biting, oh my! It’s natural for cats to engage in these behaviors, but they’re not ideal in a home environment. Here’s how to discourage and redirect three of the most common issues people have with their cats.
by Daniel Estep, PhD, and Suzanne Hetts, PhD
There’s a lot to be said for cats. They’re affectionate but rarely suffer from separation anxiety. They don’t need to be “housetrained” in the traditional sense – if you provide litter boxes that meet their behavioral preferences, they’ll use them. And while cats may be aloof with visitors, it’s rare for them to threaten or confront people the way dogs can. But despite their best qualities, cats have their own behavioral issues, and you need practical plans to address them.
Some cats are big fans of gravity, and seem to enjoy seeing things fall and hit the floor.
1Get the jump on her
One of the more annoying habits cats have is jumping on elevated surfaces such as kitchen counters and tables, or shelves containing breakables. A cat jumps for a variety of reasons: • She’s trying to get away from something (a dog, feline wellness animal
another cat, or a toddler who is harassing her). • She’s searching for – and finding – food or objects to play with. • She enjoys being able to see what’s going on from a high perch. It’s important to know what’s motivating your cat’s jumping behavior, because how you resolve the problem will depend on what she’s trying to accomplish.
Escape mechanism If your cat wants to access high places because she is trying to get away from something, then the solution is to help her overcome her fear or remove the source of harassment. And because cats are so predisposed to vertical perches as an escape mechanism, it’s just a good idea to provide them with their own elevated areas, such as a cat condo.
A cat tree with many levels satisfies her need to jump and climb.
If your cat is not getting on well with other family animals, you may need to separate them temporarily, and reintroduce them. Social conflict is the most common reason for cats escaping to high places. (Noise phobias usually send cats hiding under something rather than seeking out an elevated and exposed position.) Reintroductions require a careful implementation of counter-conditioning and desensitization techniques, a process you may need an animal behaviorist to help you with.
The joys of counter surfing If your cat has discovered that counter and table surfing results in tasty bits of food, or really cool playthings such as pens or spoons, then his behavior has big reinforcement value! To address it, ensure your cat has easy access to engaging toys within her reach. Some cats are big fans of gravity, and seem to enjoy seeing things fall and hit the floor. Provide your cat with her own elevated play areas, such as a kitty climbing pole that includes perches covered with cat toys she can easily bat to the floor.
Don’t leave food on the table or counters to tempt your cat.
feline animal wellness wellness
Sometimes cats seek out high places because it allows them to better monitor their surroundings, or gives them a different vantage point to peer through windows and see what’s going on outside. A strategically placed climbing pole with perches can help your cat keep her job as family sentinel without using your counters, tables or shelves. Your cat is much more likely to utilize alternative options
if you simultaneously make “off limits” places less appealing. • Keep surfaces clear of food as well as any items that can act as toys. • Use motion detectors that make a startling sound or release a spray of compressed air when triggered by your cat’s presence. • Make surfaces uncomfortable for your cat by covering them with plastic carpet runners, pointy sides up, or commercially available mats made for this purpose.
Is she shredding your furniture?
Cats claw things primarily to mark objects. This is accomplished not only with visual marks, but also secretions from the scent glands in the pads of their feet. Scratching is also a part of play, and a way to stretch muscles and help the cat rid her nails of worn outer sheaths. Scratching surfaces is normal and natural for cats, so rather than trying to stop the behavior, decide how to manage and redirect it. The most important strategy is to provide acceptable scratching surfaces that are as appealing (it not moreso) than the ones you want her to avoid. Consider the texture, height, location and stability of what your cat is now scratching and create similar alternatives. You will need to provide multiple objects for scratching, so that one is nearby when your cat’s urge to scratch strikes.
Kittens are notorious for hit-and-run attacks on moving feet, hands and legs, but older playful cats can still enjoy ambushing people. Once you’ve done this, make the off-limit surfaces (most commonly upholstered furniture) unaccessible. If that’s not possible, make them unappealing by placing doublesided tape on the surfaces the cat is scratching at, using the same motion detectors described above, or placing “pointy mats” around the furniture. Regularly trimming your cat’s nails or attaching soft caps on the claws will limit any serious damage to your furnishings.
Your veterinarian or a groomer experienced with cats can teach you how to cut her nails and apply the caps.
Play biting and scratching
Kittens are notorious for hit-and-run attacks on moving feet, hands and legs, but older playful cats can still enjoy ambushing people. Despite the playful intent, biting and scratching during play can cause injury, so it’s important to create appropriate play habits. The most effective strategies for preventing playmotivated biting and scratching are to never be physically rough with your cat during play, never use your hands or feet as play objects, and end playtime if she becomes overly excited. Appropriate toy selection is also vital. Provide toys that stimulate predatory behavior, which is the basis for nonsocial play. Use toys attached to flexible rods that can mimic the twitching motions of mice or birds, enticing your cat to stalk and pounce. Tossing small, soft balls will encourage batting and chasing, and some cats will even fetch and return them to you. If your cat’s jumping, scratching and biting persist despite your best efforts, it’s time to seek professional help from an animal behaviorist. Usually, though, patience and persistence will pay off. animal wellness
After learning that stress was making my cat act out, I realized I had to make some by Patricia Brown lifestyle changes to accommodate her needs. I look at the beautiful calico sleeping peacefully on my mother’s bed. This surely can’t be the same She Devil who wakes me during the night with her insistent meowing, and takes severe vengeance on me if I dare ignore her demands. The beautiful sleeping calico and the She Devil are, of course, the same cat. The beautiful sleeping calico is currently enjoying a month’s vacation at a luxurious spa (aka “Grandma’s” house) where she enjoys her favorite activities on a daily basis, including bird-watching from the windows, fine dining with meals served at specific times, excellent conversation, and being pampered to her heart’s content. As it turns out, vacationing at the spa is very different from sharing a one-bedroom condo with me.
I asked my mother what she did to bring about this miraculous transformation. The answer was simple and made perfect sense: “My life runs on a schedule, and I put Lucy on my schedule. She eats when I do, I make a fuss and play with her whenever we’re together, comb her several times a day, clean her litter box once or twice a day and talk to her all the time. She’s wonderful company, a perfect cat.” In other words, Lucy has been given what she needed most: a routine. I adopted Lucy from the local shelter when she was three years old, and have had the honor and privilege of being her person and caregiver for the last five years. The shelter staff described her as extremely timid. She was afraid of strangers, easily stressed and hated loud noises. She did not enjoy living at the shelter and didn’t do well there. Lucy is a sensitive, loving cat, and given her background and temperament, it makes sense that she would thrive in a home where the daily schedule does not change. Unfortunately, my own schedule varies from day to day because I work several different jobs and am also self-employed. Sometimes I work from my home office, while other times I’m gone most of the day. Lucy in her “beautiful calico” mode.
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The She Devil makes her appearance when Iâ€™ve been working long hours and am feeling stressed. She meows and cries when my mind is not focused on her during our time together. She knows when Iâ€™m thinking about something else. Usually, sheâ€™s been on her own all day and has spent most of the time sleeping. I can hear her meowing when I get off the elevator. She gets upset when Iâ€™m five or ten minutes late getting home. On these days, Iâ€™m ready to go to bed and sleep because Iâ€™m tired and exhausted. But Lucy is wide awake and figures we are supposed to spend the entire evening and night playing...itâ€™s our time! One brief play session isnâ€™t enough. But I go to bed anyhow, and after amusing herself for maybe half an hour she starts meowing and demanding food. I say â€œnoâ€?, pet her and tell her to go to sleep. She starts to bite my electrical cords and on it goes. Iâ€™m frustrated and tired, and sheâ€™s bored and unhappy because Iâ€™m not spending enough quality time with her.
Iâ€™ll be getting up earlier so I can give Lucy some quality time for at least half an hour before I leave for work. Lucyâ€™s in excellent health and I want her to stay that way. Her transformation into the She Devil simply means she is stressed because her normal routine has been disrupted. Sheâ€™s trying to tell me in the only way she knows how that something is wrong. Her behavior makes perfect sense to her, and her month at â€œthe spaâ€? being pampered and having a regular schedule has helped it make perfect sense to me too. I realized I need to change and adapt my lifestyle to accommodate Lucy more so her stress levels are kept to a minimum. â€˘ Iâ€™ll be getting up earlier so I can give Lucy some quality time for at least half an hour before I leave for work. Iâ€™ll play with her and spend time brushing and combing her. My mind will be totally focused on Lucy and nothing else. Iâ€™m looking forward to having lots of one-on-one conversations with her. I hear from Mom sheâ€™s a wonderful listener! â€˘ When I get home in the evening, my top priority will be to spend more quality time with Lucy. She wants to be fed the moment I get home, especially when Iâ€™ve been away most of the day and hasnâ€™t eaten since early morning. A timed feeder may be an option on the nights I canâ€™t avoid being late. â€˘ After Lucy has eaten, we will spend more time together. Because she usually spends most of the day sleeping when Iâ€™m not there, she has lots of excess energy. Itâ€™s important I help her get rid of this energy so Iâ€™m hoping sheâ€™ll be willing to chase catnip toys, go for walks in the halls of my condo, and play with me. Lucy needs and enjoys one-on-one time. When my older cat Bob was diagnosed with feline diabetes, I changed my lifestyle to accommodate his needs because I loved him. After seeing how Lucy changed during her stay at Momâ€™s, I realized I have to make some changes for her too. After all, I love the beautiful sleeping calico, I love the She Devil â€“ and I love Lucy!
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Feline-friendly gardening Learn how to create a safe, attractive and stimulating outdoor haven for your cat.
by Ann Brightman
lot of my friends have cats, most of whom stay indoors 24/7. That’s fine for many felines, but I can’t imagine my kitty not being allowed to enjoy the great outdoors on a regular basis. It just seems so natural for a cat to be able to prowl through grass, chase insects, and roll on a sun-warmed patio stone, even if it’s just for half an hour a day. Depending on where you live, there’s no reason your cat can’t go outdoors, as long as you create a safe environment that also offers him plenty of scope for physical and mental stimulation. A cat-friendly garden is the perfect setting for kitties who enjoy visiting the outside world from time to time. Here’s how to create one. • While it’s fine for your cat to go outside, it’s not a good idea to let him roam at large. Train him to a harness and leash or consider cat fencing to surround your yard or garden. Purrfect Fence (purrfectfence.com), for example, offers fencing systems specifically designed to gently return your cat to the ground if he tries to climb over the top. They also help keep stray cats and other unwanted animals from entering your yard. Another alternative is to build your cat an enclosure – there are all kinds of configurations, sizes and styles to choose from. If you opt for a harness and leash, be prepared to stay with your cat while he’s outside. If you don’t have time to supervise his outings, cat fencing or an enclosure is the better way to go. • Choose cat-friendly plantings for any beds or borders your
cat is going to have access to. This means avoiding any toxic plants such as daylilies and Asian lilies, daffodils, clematis or hibiscus, and planting only non-harmful varieties like alyssum, bachelor’s button, impatiens, coreopsis, hollyhocks, roses, petunias, cosmos and many others. The ASPCA offers comprehensive listings of both toxic and non-toxic plants at aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants. • Also include plants that your feline will really like, such as catnip and various cat grasses. A variety of culinary herbs are good for kitties to nibble on too – these include parsley, dill, thyme, oregano and others. You can create a special herb bed just for your cat, or plant them in a container to place inside a cat enclosure or near his favorite sun-bathing spot. • Do not use any chemical pesticides or fertilizers in the garden or on the lawn. They can make your cat ill. • Cats love to climb, so your feline-friendly garden could include some small trees – tall enough to give him some exercise and fun, but not so large that he could get too high for comfort or use them as an escape route from your yard. Be sure to choose tree species that don’t grow thorns or drop poisonous fruit. If you don’t want to plant trees, and/or if your cat will be confined to an enclosure, use some logs or branches from fallen trees to make a simple “climbing frame”. • Cats and wild birds don’t mix, so if you also want to attract birds to your yard, you’re going to have to find a way to keep
them separated. A cat enclosure or supervised walks on a harness and leash are the best way to keep songbirds safe. Otherwise, situate bird feeders, bird houses and bird baths on another part of your property (e.g. a side or front yard) where your cat can’t go. Also avoid planting dense bushes or hedges near areas frequented by birds – cats love hiding in shrubbery to wait for unwary prey. • Make sure the garden stays free of anything that could potentially harm your cat. Check the area regularly for wasp nests, remove any containers that might collect stagnant water, and ensure that sharp garden tools are put away. Avoid using cocoa mulch – it can be toxic if ingested. • Ensure your cat always has access to fresh water and shade when he’s outdoors. Change the water on a daily basis. Do not leave cat food outside as it can attract strays, raccoons and other unwanted visitors. • Watch the weather. Don’t take your cat outside for long periods when it’s wet, cold, or extremely hot and humid. • Protect your cat from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes when he’s outside. Regular applications of beneficial nematodes can help rid your property of fleas and ticks. And although cats are most active at dawn and dusk, that’s when mosquitoes are also most active, so it’s best to keep your kitty indoors at those times. Long grass can harbor ticks and mosquitoes, especially if you live near fields, ponds or woods, so don’t let the lawn get too long before mowing it.
Check the area regularly for wasp nests, remove any containers that might collect stagnant water, and ensure that sharp garden tools are put away. • If coyotes are an issue in your locale, be extra vigilant. They can dig underneath fences, so stay with your cat when he’s outdoors, and never leave him out when you’re not at home. At the very least, provide him with a high place to escape to that’s well out of reach of dogs or coyotes. There’s no reason why a cat-friendly garden has to be unattractive or sterile. There are all kinds of colourful flowering plants, trees, grasses and herbs that are safe for felines, and given today’s choices in cat enclosures and fencing, it’s much easier to keep your kitty from straying. This spring, why not factor your cat into your gardening plans? feline wellness
Steps to Litter
Is it truly possible to train your cat to use the toilet? Yes...as long as you use the right approach and have plenty of patience.
by Mary Ellen “Angelscribe”
Easy does it
The author has successfully trained her own Persians to use the toilet.
magine not having to scoop a litter box anymore, or lug heavy bags of cat litter home from the store. Imagine not having to worry about feline odors permeating your home, or bits of litter tracked over your floors. It might seem an impossible scenario – that is, unless you train your cat to use the toilet. You’ve probably heard about cats using human toilets, or seen videos about it on YouTube, and wondered how in the world they learned to do it. You might even wonder if it’s really possible, and if so, how you’d go about teaching your own cat to do the same. With patience and the right approach, it can be done. And given that 662 pounds of kitty litter per cat ends up in landfill every year, it also makes good environmental sense. While you can certainly buy eco-friendly litters nowadays, there are still a lot of non-biodegradable products making their way into landfills.
Teaching cats to use a toilet is easier than you think. Cats of any age can learn. But you will need time and patience to allow your cat to adjust to the change. Wait one week before moving on to each new stage. Every cat has his own pace, but it’s best to move ahead at the slowest learners’ level. This prevents the frustration of back-track training.
Wait one week before moving on to each new stage.
Start by placing your cat’s litter tray on top of a sturdy wooden box or small step stool, to get him accustomed to jumping up to the level of a toilet. Do not move the litter box from its existing location until he’s used to having it at a new level. If your cat has trouble jumping, place a smaller box or stool nearby so he has a step up.
Once your cat is comfortable with this change, gradually move the raised litter tray from its current location closer to the bathroom. Keep doing this until the litter box is next to the toilet. Take your time. A sudden and drastic change in litter box position could upset your cat and lead to inappropriate elimination.
lace the kitty training device of your choice on the toilet P and fill it with flushable kitty litter.
Gradually move the raised litter tray from its current location closer to the bathroom. et the old litter box become soiled, so L your cat will be encouraged to explore the fresh new toilet training system. Yes, this means your bathroom will smell rather unpleasant, but it’s only temporary.
After a week, remove the old litter box and just use the toilet training system. Keep the flushable litter clean and fresh to discourage “creative” potty alternatives around your home.
ach litter training system has a E cutaway device that enlarges at each new stage, exposing more and more of the open toilet seat, and training your cat to balance on the existing toilet. Eventually, you will be able to dispose of the training product entirely and your cat will be using the toilet.
litter “potty” each time you want to use the toilet yourselves, although once your cat is fully trained, this will no longer be an issue. • Even after your cat is trained, everyone in the household will have to remember to leave the toilet seat up at all times, so your cat can access it when he needs to. • Geriatric or arthritic cats may have some difficulty getting up to the toilet. In cases like this, keep a catsized step stool by the toilet. • Since your cat can’t flush the toilet after he’s used it, you’ll have to do it yourself. While you might consider teaching your cat to flush (and some do learn!), it can cause a problem if he gets so fascinated by the rushing water that he start flushing repeatedly and wasting water.
Choosing the right system There are various toilet training systems for cats on the market, but it’s vital to choose the right product. Carefully look at the quality and durability of a system before buying it. Our four cats have tried several products, and the first was a failure and a waste of money. The cheap, thin plastic toilet cover made a crackling noise, frightening one cat so much that he leaped out of the bathroom. Another almost fell into the toilet when the plastic buckled. Buying a product that’s poorly designed and doesn’t work can lead you to give up before you’ve really even started.
Keep in mind.... Toilet training your cat does come with a price tag. • W hile you’re training him, you and everyone else in your family will have to remove and then replace his
At the end of the day, the benefits of having a toilet-trained cat outweigh the drawbacks. We’ve trained our own kitties to use the toilet, and although it took time, patience and some experimentation with different products, we have no regrets.
Gradually moving the old litter box closer to the toilet gets the cat used to the idea. feline wellness
Two kittens rescued by UCR and awaiting their forever home.
The merger of two cat rescue groups results in a strong organization of professionals who work tirelessly to help homeless and feral cats. by Tessa Kimmel
he tearful voice on the phone was a young girl’s. She and a friend had found a badly injured kitten by the curb of a busy intersection in Toronto. The girls were directed to meet a team member from an organization called Urban Cat Relief at a nearby veterinary clinic. Upon arrival, the kitten’s status was quickly assessed and lifesaving treatment began. The teenage Good Samaritans were graciously thanked for saving the baby’s life, and comforted with assurances that the organization would be responsible for everything the little guy needed. The kitten has since recovered and been adopted out to a new home. He’s just one of thousands of needy felines lucky enough to fall into the loving hands of the Urban Cat Relief team. Rosalynne (Roz) Gelade is president of the non-profit organization, based in Downsview, Ontario. It was formed in 2009 through the merger of two other cat rescue groups – Fostering Felines Cat Rescue and CATalyst Cat Rescue. The groups united to create a stronger alliance dedicated to helping homeless cats. Urban Cat Relief (UCR, ucrcats.com) focuses on rescue, foster and adoption, as well as public education and caring for feral colonies. “In 2011 alone, we responded to hundreds of emails, and over 2,000 calls,” says Roz. “We rescued, vetted and fostered over 400 cats and kittens and provided emergency veterinary care for kittens with life-threatening illnesses or injuries. We arranged adoptions for over 300 cats and kittens. We also supplied food for over 50 cats per day in managed colonies; spayed and neutered over 200 through our TNRM (Trap, Neuter, Return & Maintain) program and started a barn-home relocation program for feral cats that can’t be returned to their original colonies.”
“Relief” is the operative word for UCR. “Although rescue is a very large part of our work, relief imparts hope and promotes a positive, humanitarian view of what we do,” says Roz. “Through our network, we relieve the suffering of whatever the issue is.” This suffering is not exclusive to illness or injury. It is also emotional and environmental. Roaming cats put tremendous stress on the environment, and an indoor cat suddenly left to live outside with poorly-honed survival skills undergoes incredible hardship.
“In 2011 alone, we responded to hundreds of emails, and over 2,000 calls.” UCR is not a Tuesday knitting group of “crazy cat ladies”. It’s a conglomerate of well-educated professionals who respect and love animals. Completely volunteer-driven, it’s organized and directed by four board members while other volunteers assist with trapping cats, fundraising events, administration, feeding feral colonies and making veterinary appointments. Three veterinarians provide medical care and 23 foster homes, including some that specialize in caring for special needs kitties or taming ferals, offer felines a loving haven for transition or recovery. “These foster homes are truly the stars of our organization,” says Roz. “Without them, we could not do what we do”. “The cost of care for one cat for three months is $300 on average,” adds Roz. “We are funded solely by donations and fundraisers, and by the generosity of veterinarians who set discounted fees for medical care.”
The individual needs of each cat are assessed by UCR’s board members. Each cat receives a care directive based on his or her unique requirements. Regardless of the cat’s health status or age, the organization is committed to adopting all its rescues into best matched homes. They work closely with the foster homes to ensure this, and the cat stays under UCR’s wing until it is adopted. Kirby is one such kitty. “He was found injured by someone who knew he had lived outdoors for many years,” says Roz. “He was not neutered and thought to be eight to ten years old. Our veterinarian treated his abscess, neutered him and ran some tests that confirmed he was FIV positive. FIV positive cats can live long, healthy lives but the stigma of the disease makes it very difficult to place them. However, we were determined to find a family experienced with this condition. After three months, during which Kirby lived at the veterinary clinic, the right home came through. Despite his years of being a tough street cat, he sought out affection. Until he came to us, he had probably never known a loving human touch.” UCR’s mandate is “helping people make a difference in the lives of homeless cats.” Says Roz: “A situation does not need to be desperate for us to help, but the more desperate it is, the harder we work. We believe no cat or kitten should ever be left behind.”
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Raising Awareness “Cats are the most misunderstood and undervalued of all domestic animals,” says Roz, who is also a feline behaviorist. “We work to create awareness of the value of a cat’s life. We educate people on responsible cat care and how, by spaying or neutering and keeping cats indoors, they can help decrease the number of unwanted cats while eliminating inappropriate behavior. “The top reason cats are abandoned and euthanized is due to behavior issues. So if someone is experiencing behavior difficulties, we are diligent in helping. If a situation cannot be resolved, we will take the cat and rehabilitate and re-home him in a more suitable environment. “We also work to dispel urban myths about black cats and show how positive and loving they are. Black is the most common color, yet so often black cats are negatively viewed and the hardest to adopt out.”
Dr.Susan L. Shaw
CertiďŹ ed Animal Chiropractor
157 Bradford St. Barrie, ON L4N 3B4
705.725.8632 | www.shawchiropractic.ca
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Animal Holistic Care Mark Haimann, DVM Floral Park, NY USA Phone: 718-631-1396 SmithRidge Veterinary Services Dr. Marty Goldstein South Salem, NY USA Phone: (914) 533-6066 Website: www.smithridge.com
Ballantrae Animal Hospital Margaret Hacking, DVM Stouffville, ON Canada Phone: (905) 640-6809 Website: www.AnimalWellnessCentre.com Burgess Veterinary Mobile Services Dundas, ON Canada Phone: 905-379-3824 Website: www.burgessvet.com Cynthia Harcourt, DVM Queensville, ON Canada Phone: (905) 478-1995 Dr. Autumn Drouin, DVM, ND and Dr. Sasan Haghighat (Hyatt), DVM, CVA North-East Newmarket Veterinary Service Newmarket, ON Canada Phone: (905) 830-1030 Email: email@example.com Website: www.holistic-vet.ca $''&"! $!*!"! $!*'%!" %&"'$)%& * "%&#&(&"
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Guelph Animal Hospital Guelph, ON Canada Phone: (519) 836-2782 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.guelphvet.com Janet Knowlton, DVM Almonte, ON Canada Phone: 613-253-7473 Secord Animal Hospital Toronto, ON Canada Phone: (416) 486-1700 Email: email@example.com
Advertise your business in the Wellness Resource Guide 1-866-764-1212
North-East Newmarket Veterinary Service
Sasan Haghighat (Hyatt), D.V.M., C.V.A. Autumn Drouin, D.V.M., N.D.
Acupuncture, Bach Remedies, Chiropractic, Clinical Nutrition, Herbs (western and chinese), Homeopathy, Homotoxicology, Integrative Medicine, TCVM.
Waterloo North Chiropractic Massage Jennifer Heik, DVM Waterloo, ON Canada Phone: (519) 746-3838
Beaver Animal Clinic Beaver, PA USA Phone: 724-774-8047 Website: www.beaveranimalclinic.com
Rockledge Veterinary Clinic 401 Huntindon Pike, Rockledge, PA 19046
Francie L.Rubin, VMD, Carrie Hutchinson, VMD Laura Jones, DVM, Bill Brice, VMD
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Calm down! You’re trying to train your dog, but he won’t settle down enough to pay attention. Canine Calm from Earth Heart Inc. can help. Made from a combination of soothing essential oils like bergamot, tangerine, lavender, geranium, ylang ylang and marjoram, this gentle aromatherapy product can be sprayed on your hands and massaged into your dog’s ears or abdomen, or misted in the air behind his head. earthheartinc.com
Walking in style
Paws up! For the ultimate in dog product selection, check out PatisPaws.com, a one-year-old online retail store that caters to canines. In addition to offering over 230 high quality products, including a large choice of all-natural products, PatisPaws.com is committed to contributing any way it can to help animals. Since launching, the company has donated money and products to local shelters and groups, including Paws for Patients, Dogs for Dystonia and The Susan G. Komen Foundation. PatisPaws.com
where you find everything you need for your precious paws
A quality leash makes all the difference when taking your dog out. Smoochy Poochy’s all-in-one collar and leash is made from an “alternative to leather” material. The 4” slip lead is soft on the hand, the material is easy to clean and won’t absorb water or odor. The company offers other products as well, including collars for dogs that swim, and the optional hand-free lead. smoochypoochy.com
A demand for massage
Bella is tops
The PetMassage Training and Research Institute announces a new program to train and license instructors to operate regional satellite PetMassage Schools throughout the US and around the world. It was developed in response to requests from people who want to learn the PetMassage method at other places besides the organization’s location in Toledo, Ohio. Instructors will teach a series of workshops, and will mentor and help graduates market and manage their canine massage businesses. For details, see petmassage.com.
The most popular dog name for 2011, according to Veterinary Pet Insurance, was Bella. Here’s the complete list:
Comfort and design Letting your dog sleep with you might make him happy, but may not give you a peaceful night’s rest. Yet sleeping on a cold hard floor isn’t very comfy for your favorite pooch. Enchanted Home Pet has a wide selection of dog beds in a variety of designer materials and styles that assure both you and your canine will sleep well. Whether he’s a lounger, a leaner or a cuddler, they have the perfect bed to keep him comfortable, while showcasing your design style. creativeorganization.org
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Bella Bailey Max Lucy Molly Buddy Daisy
8. Maggie 9. Charlie 10. Sophie
Skin problems? If your dog has skin allergies, he’s not alone. Happily, there’s help. Kramer’s Salve was developed specifically to treat and heal aggressive skin allergy symptoms in dogs, and to stop itching and heal hot spots. This proprietary blend uses Ayurvedic principles and ingredients, and features the healing power of high quality organic Neem. kramersalve.net
Focu s o n
Helping people and their dogs get physically active was the inspiration behind this unique business. by Ann Brightman
eri Stone knows the importance of exercise and fitness, not just for people, but for dogs as well. “I lost my two miniature Schnauzers to cancer,” she says. “That was long before I learned that being overweight and not getting enough proper exercise might have contributed to their illness. Now I know better!” Jeri also knows many dog lovers are still in the same mindset she used to be, and don’t yet recognize how crucial it is for their canine companions to get adequate physical activity. “I wanted to show them there are many different ways to exercise with their dogs in a healthy way, beyond just an occasional walk around the block.” Jeri’s passion to get canine couch potatoes moving motivated her to launch DogTreader. “I started thinking about a business whereby I could provide valuable information to dog lovers on some of the ways they could help their animals stay healthy and well adjusted through exercise,” she says. “In 2010, I began researching to find the best sports, conditioning and rehab products that I would feel confident in recommending to others. My website has been active since June of last year, and I now have a nice range of quality equipment to enable people to bike, walk, run, ski, swim and scooter with their dogs, as well as dog treadmills, conditioning and rehab products.” Her company website offers a wealth of information and products, everything from why your dog might need a treadmill, and how to find the right one for your canine’s size, to agility equipment, bike leashes, accessories for Skijoring and Canicross (running with your dog), and tips on night, water and travel safety. Products may be ordered online, and Jeri makes
Jeri understands the importance of exercise for both canine and human health.
herself available to provide further information. “I have a very personalized business where people can actually call and ask me questions,” she says. “I think that’s a lot better than dealing with a static mega-website where there is no personal interaction. Customer service should be a number one priority.” Jeri is also active in a variety of animal-related causes, adding that she has loved animals since childhood. “The years spent in 4-H as a young girl and later as a 4-H leader; a career as a dog groomer; adopting the many stray cats and dogs who just showed up at my door over the years – it all deepened my desire to help animals. I participate in various canine cancer, shelter and AKC events throughout Sacramento and Nevada counties. It’s a great way to spend the day – so many happy faces and wagging tails!” Though her business is not yet a year old, Jeri feels she is filling a much-needed niche in canine care. “People are aware of the importance of being fit themselves, but are still learning about the role that fitness plays in the health and wellness of their dogs.”
Rx Olive Oil
Medications arenâ€™t only way to manage joint pain in companion animals. From chondroitin to yucca, these nutraceuticals can work on many levels to relieve discomfort and improve mobility. by Kevin Schargen, DVM
f you have arthritis, or know someone who does, youâ€™ll recognize how miserable and debilitating it can be. Like us, many companion animals also develop arthritis as they age.
all that are required to control an animalâ€™s clinical signs. In more advanced cases, when a drug or combination of drugs is required, regular nutraceutical use can significantly lower the dosage of drug needed.
The discomfort and decreased mobility characterizing the condition arise from inflammatory and degenerative changes occuring inside affected joints. Although arthritis is irreversible, its progression can be slowed, and the associated discomfort drastically reduced, with a consistent well-thought-out therapeutic plan.
Certain nutraceuticals are prized not only for their ability to reduce pain, but for their influence on joint architecture over time. For example, the regular consumption of oral chondroitin, glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, MSM, green-lipped mussel extract and an antioxidant blend can potentially repair and strengthen the padded cartilage covering the bone surfaces involved in joint articulation. Further benefits include the nourishment of synovial fluid in joint spaces, resulting in more uniform joint movement and less pain with joint flexion and extension. These anatomical changes can be maintained with regular supplementation, improving joint health and quality of life.
Prescription medications may be required to control moderate to severe pain, but these agents can produce a constellation of side effects, ranging from gastrointestinal upset to lifethreatening perforation of the stomach wall, or dangerous blood clot formation in the lungs. Nutraceuticals offer a safer way to give your dog or cat relief. Oral and injectable joint health supplements are now widely available for dogs and cats. They often function as a safe alternative or complement to veterinarian-managed drug therapy. These dietary supplements are effective and relatively inexpensive, and side effects are very rare and extremely mild. In mild cases of arthritis, these natural supplements may be
14 supplements for arthritis relief Use supplements specifically developed and packaged for use in dogs and cats, as opposed to those marketed for humans. The advantages of species-specific products include easy and safe dosing, improved palatability and better bioavailability. Consult with an integrative or holistic veterinarian before starting your animal on any new supplement.
lucosamine HCl is a special type of sugar found in various G body tissues, including bone. It helps prevent the formation of damaging inflammatory substances within joints, protect the health of cartilage cells, and encourage the production of important proteins that maintain joint health.
Chondroitin sulfate is a complex sugar naturally found within joint tissue. Chondroitin binds with certain proteins and other molecules, resulting in complexes that form the cushiony, shock-absorbing tissue found in joints. Chondroitin-deficient joints are prone to degenerative joint disease (arthritis).
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is another complex sugar needed by the body to form healthy cartilage. This large molecule is capable of scavenging free radicals within joints, providing improved joint fluid viscosity and alleviating joint pain.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sulfur-containing compound with potent anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to reducing inflammation, MSM is recommended for maintaining healthy, supple cartilage.
New Zealand green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) extracts are formulated from a shellfish and contain potent
anti-inflammatory properties. The compounds in the mussel can directly inhibit substances that signal the body to mount an inflammatory response. Supplements containing Perna extract have been shown in scientific studies to reduce pain in dogs with osteoarthritis.
Omega-3 fatty acid (DHA/EPA) supplementation from fish oil improves cardiovascular health, say medical researchers. In veterinary medicine, Omega-3 fatty acids tend to be used as an anti-inflammatory agent in patients with allergic skin disorders and osteoarthritis.
Flaxseed oil is loaded with Omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, in specific ratios to each other. Although this plant-derived oil can provide some anti-inflammatory support, it is probably best to choose concentrated Omega-3 fish oil supplements for osteoarthritis.
live oil hcontains a moderate amount of vitamin E and O other important antioxidants and nutrients, so adding it to an arthritic animal’s diet can be beneficial. If it is given for arthritis, it should be combined with, and not used in place of, Omega-3 fish oils.
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Injectable products Most joint health products come in an oral form, such as a tablet, liquid or powder. Several potentially efficacious injectable products are also on the market. They require a prescription from a veterinarian. The two main products contain different but synergistic natural compounds. • Adequan ® contains polysulfated glycosaminoglycans, or PSGAGs, and is administered by a veterinarian via the intramuscular injection route at manufacturerrecommended intervals. • Legend ® is a sterile solution containing hyaluronic acid. It is given either by the intravenous route or injected directly into the joint capsule, where joint fluid is found. It must be given by a veterinarian and may require some degree of invasiveness, depending on the route of administration.
odified milk protein is a specialized dairy protein M patented by VPL under the name Duralactin®. This protein is derived from the milk of heavily immunized cows, and has been shown to profoundly inhibit proinflammatory substances within joints. Dogs and cats with arthritis pain may find significant relief when this product is given regularly, in conjunction with other joint health supplements.
anganese is a trace mineral. It plays a well-recognized M role in certain antioxidant pathways that must occur to maintain the health of cells throughout the body. Some canine and feline arthritis sufferers may benefit from restricted supplementation on a daily basis. Avoid oversupplementation by using a product with a pre-measured quantity of manganese in each serving.
itamins C and B are water-soluble, vital compounds V that should always be provided to older arthritic animals. The recommended daily value can be reached by offering a well-rounded diet and a quality, animal-specific vitamin/ mineral/antioxidant blend.
Avocado soybean unsaponifiables, isoflavones and isoflavonoids are a group of plant-derived compounds showing promise in the management of degenerative joint disease in animals and humans. These bioactive, concentrated, natural compounds support healthy cartilage formation and may reduce pain associated with joint inflammation. Tart cherry extract is a popular supplement that has been used for decades by arthritis sufferers to relieve chronic pain. It is thought that tart cherries, in the form of juice, fruit flesh or dried extract (which can be found in certain pet joint health products), contain anti-inflammatory compounds that can reduce joint swelling and discomfort.
Dosage for nutraceuticals (once or twice daily, in milligrams)
Ten-pound dog or averagesized cat
20-pound dog or very large cat
40 to 80- Dogs over 80 pound pounds dog
Omega-3 fish oils 75-250 (DHA+EPA)
G r e e n - l i p p e d 50-150 mussel extract
ucca is a Latin American plant with anti-inflammatory Y properties. A freshly-boiled, soft yucca root is a great afternoon snack for a slow-to-rise, geriatric golden retriever. Dried yucca stalk extracts can be found in health food stores, and can also be used in animal patients. erbs that can help with arthritis are too H numerous to discuss in detail. Some dried herbs and herbal preparations that might be useful for an arthritic animal include Arnica, Cartilago suis, Dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade), Embryo/placenta suis, Funiculus umbilicalis suis, Alpha lipoicum acidum, Nadidum, Natrum oxalaceticum, Rhus toxicodendron, Sanguinaria canadensis, Silicea, Symphytum officinale, white willow, Lobelia and Boswellia.
Nutraceuticals are only one spoke in a giant wheel of treatment options for arthritis. In my opinion, a broad treatment plan should include chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage therapy, low heat therapy and physical therapy (passive rangeof-motion exercises or low impact exercise such as swimming). A heavily-padded (preferably heated) high quality animal bed is also a must.
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A powerful combination How animal communication and body balancing can work together for your companion’s well being. by Lynn McKenzie
nimal communication is an effective way to get to the root of a behavioral problem in a dog or cat. It can even contribute to physical healing. But when it’s combined with a modality I call body balancing, the results can be exponentially more amazing than if each had been used on its own. Most of you are probably familiar with animal communication. Briefly, it involves telepathically connecting with the “higher self” or soul of an animal (with his/her permission) to seek and convey specific information. It requires deep focus and intention on the communicator’s part, and includes questioning, listening to and counseling the animal, as well as often playing detective. Animals “speak” to us through words, imagery, feelings, colors, impressions, symbols, etc. On occasion, they may even use music and poetry. It’s the communicator’s job to interpret these messages. Generally speaking, the better trained and more practiced the communicator, the better the results. I find animals are more than willing to share, as they easily pick up on our intentions and welcome the opportunity to connect and heal on this deeper level.
energies from the animal’s energy field. It also encourages the body’s innate healing ability and brings about harmony, balance, comfort and ease. An animal’s energy field is comprised of various subtle energy bodies (or levels), similar to those of a human, which include the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. For simplicity’s sake, I will liken the energy field to the electrical system in a house, including the wiring, outlets and circuit breaker panel. If you plug too many electrical appliances into one outlet, and try to use them all at once, you could easily blow a circuit. To correct this, you have to find the main breaker panel and switch the blown circuit back on. The energy field functions something like a home’s electrical system in that upsetting events, accidents, illnesses, surgeries and other stressors can accumulate and “blow the energetic circuits” in the field.
Clearing energetic imbalances
Due to individual sensitivity levels, an event that triggers an imbalance in one animal may have little or no effect in another. It is virtually impossible to protect our companions from every situation that could create imbalance. Even day-to-day activities can be stressful and create imbalances for some animals, while for others it may take much more dramatic or traumatic events to generate stress and imbalances.
Body balancing is a system that energetically clears (or releases) blockages, imbalances and non-beneficial
Body balancing works in much the same way as flipping
I find animals are more than willing to share, as they easily pick up on our intentions and welcome the opportunity to connect and heal on this deeper level. the electrical circuits back on. However, it is obviously done using an alternative method. The first step is determining that there is an imbalance, then identifying at which level or energy body the imbalance is â€“ physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. Next, I work systematically through my body balancing protocol to establish any pertinent details and clear the energy. I repeat these steps over and over until the individual has received enough balancing for one day.
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Once the energetic cause of a problem or issue is located and neutralized, the door is opened for positive changes to occur. These can be observed as dramatic shifts or changes in an animal, and in those around him. These shifts may occur on many levels and may be seen as emotional, behavioral and physical changes. I conclude sessions by recommending individualized practices that the client can continue at home to â€œlock inâ€? and anchor the work, and assist with the healing. These may include exercises and suggestions of specific flower essences, crystals and colors that energetically resonate with their particular animal companions.
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What these modalities can do The following is a list of situations that can benefit from animal communication and body balancing (in some cases the balancing is performed on both the animal and guardian): â€˘ Health concerns (illness, surgery and recovery) â€˘ Cancer support â€˘ Performance issues â€˘ Behavioral issues â€˘ Training issues â€˘ Aging animal issues â€˘ Death and dying process issues â€˘ Euthanasia decisions â€˘ Amputation issues â€˘ Helping veterinarians with diagnosis â€˘ Support for rescue and abused animals â€˘ Helping feral cats adjust
â€˘ Dominance, territorial and bullying issues â€˘ Conflicts in animal relationships â€˘ Nutritional support â€˘ Stress issues â€˘ Missing/lost animal support â€˘ Inappropriate elimination and spraying â€˘ Relaying messages to an animal â€˘ Understanding others or circumstances â€˘ Travel issues â€˘ Promoting happiness and well being â€˘ Grief counseling
Companion animals can suffer imbalances for a variety of other reasons. These can include living in unnatural environments, absorbing the emotions of the people they live with, taking on negative energies and diseases as a buffer to protect their guardians, or misunderstanding the situations they find themselves in. Animals are also known to suffer from the abuses and injustices done to their species as a whole. Animal communication and body balancing are potent healing modalities we can use to help them, and when combined, they truly are a force to be reckoned with. Disclaimer: Animal communication and body balancing are not substitutes for veterinary care.
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photo: © courtesy of West Coast Assistance Teams
Ryan Hill, an advanced trainer for West Coast Assistance Teams, trains a dog to flick a light switch with her nose while in a public setting.
All In A Day’s Work Service and therapy dogs perform what seem like miracles on a daily basis. If you’ve ever wondered how they do what they do, here’s a behind-the-scenes look from a former assistance dog trainer. 86
by carol millman, raht, bsc
everly and her assistance dog Drake were waiting for the elevator at the mall. When the doors opened, she saw a man in a wheelchair inside. He made no move to get out, and she wasn’t sure if she could fit her own wheelchair plus her dog into the elevator next to him. “I’ll wait,” she told him cheerfully. But the next time the elevator stopped at her floor, the same man was still sitting inside.
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Training a dog to open a door or fetch the phone is actually easier than teaching him to ignore a French fry on the floor of a restaurant. “I’m sorry,” he said, his speech slurred by the effects of cerebral palsy, “I’ve dropped something, and no one understands me when I ask them to pick it up for me.” “Oh, let my dog get that for you.” Within moments, the item had been delivered into the man’s hands, and he gaped at Drake in astonishment. “I’ve been stuck in this elevator for half an hour!” he exclaimed. “Where can I get a dog like that?” As Drake’s trainer, I know how much time and effort led to that moment in the elevator, and why there is such a long waiting list for dogs like him. Assistance dogs are time-intensive and expensive to train. It costs service dog charities upwards of $30,000 to raise and train each dog. And some
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photo: © courtesy of West Coast Assistance Teams
Bailey picks up a dropped remote.
turn out to be just too nervous or impulsive to enjoy being assistance dogs. These are adopted out to good homes, often to the volunteers who raised them. For those dogs that make the cut, my job as an assistance dog trainer was to give them all the skills they needed to truly make a difference in my clients’ lives. Here’s how it’s done.
efore they reach a trainer like myself, future assistance dogs are heavily B socialized, starting at eight weeks of age when they are given to volunteers to raise. The volunteers take their puppies with them everywhere so they will grow up accustomed to crowds at the mall, explosive noises at the movie theatre, and rattling shopping carts at the grocery store.
photo: © courtesy of West Coast Assistance Teams
When the dogs are approximately a year old, they leave their foster homes and enter advanced training, which is where I came into the picture. The doghandling abilities of volunteer puppy raisers vary, and while some dogs came to me with excellent obedience already in place, others arrived tugging at the leash and then greeted me by jumping up – not the best start. Happily, dogs learn fast, and as long as a dog had been well socialized, I knew she had been given a great start.
Ryan trains Samantha, a curly coated retriever, to press an automatic door button.
photo: © courtesy of Wendy Proudlock.
bedience is a vital aspect of assistance and therapy dog training. A service dog O must always walk nicely on leash. He must ignore the many distractions around him and never bark, steal food, or get in people’s way. Therapy dogs especially need to be able to greet people calmly and be gentle at all times.
photo: © courtesy of West Coast Assistance Teams
The author works with Nash, a dog from Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS).
Party learns to open cupboard doors in the kitchen.
Training a dog to open a door or fetch the phone is actually easier than teaching him to ignore a French fry on the floor of a restaurant. The first two skills impress people more, but the last one is much harder and takes a lot longer to teach. I taught obedience with a combination of positive reinforcement and consistent correction in increasingly difficult scenarios. By the time a dog was ready to place with a client, I could put her in a “stay” and throw balls past her nose, while doing a hula dance around her, and she would continue to hold her command.
Advanced skills y first act as a trainer was always to introduce a new dog to the clicker. Dogs M have a limited capacity for language, so that distinctive “click!” can be a trainer’s best friend – the fastest and clearest way to let a dog know he has earned a reward.
Once the dog has learned that a click means “jackpot!” you can use it to guide all kinds of behavior, like flipping a light switch or retrieving a nickel...or ignoring that French fry on the floor. The clicker is mostly used to shape behaviors. You click the dog for doing something close to what you want – like sniffing a target stick. Then, as he begins to repeat the behavior, you increase the criteria for success – now he has
to push the stick with his nose. Just as with obedience, you slowly make the game harder and harder to win, until eventually the dog is pressing a button instead of a stick.
left my side and lovingly laid her head in the volunteer’s lap, just wanting to soak up all the bad feelings and pain.
Once the dog mastered a skill at the training centre, I would take him on the road. Dogs are very specific learners, so the canine who could hit the automatic door button perfectly at the training centre would very often be stumped by the exact same button at the local mall. Much of my job involved taking the dog everywhere, clicker in hand, until he could do his skills anywhere, anytime.
By the time a dog was ready to place with a client, I could put her in a “stay” and throw balls past her nose, while doing a hula dance around her, and she would continue to hold her command.
Loving and letting go
Eventually, the time would come to say goodbye to the dog I’d been training for the last six months to a year. That was always a bittersweet moment. It was always hard to see them go, but placing a dog with a new client was such a rewarding process that it more than made up for any loss I felt.
F rom that moment on, it was obvious that Poppy needed to be a therapy dog. She is now at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in Vancouver, where she provides love and comfort to the children, parents and medical staff alike. I miss her, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
One of my favorites was a golden retriever named Poppy, who possesses a remarkable desire to comfort those who are emotionally distressed. One day we were headed back to the kennels after a training session when we found a volunteer sitting on the floor, crying. Poppy immediately
hether I was training an assistance dog like Drake or W a therapy dog like Poppy, I felt deeply honored to be a part of something so special – the opportunity to guide an animal into a job that would touch the lives of others in a profound way.
survive death? Do animals
ut Mom, I did feel Sadie rub against my legs when I was putting the dishes in the dishwasher. It was just like at feeding time when she would push against my legs.” “Nonsense, Joey,” said his mother. “Sadie has been dead for a week. I know you miss her very much and didn’t get to tell her goodbye, but your imagination is running wild.” Joey’s imagination may not be running wild. Many people report having strange experiences like Joey’s. Some report seeing or hearing their dead animals; others report smelling or feeling their presence. A fascinating article in the January 13, 2010 issue of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, called “Pet Owners Say They Feel Presence of Their Deceased Furry Friends”, relates the experiences of animal lovers as well as information from psychologists who disagree with these claims. I would never have believed these stories myself until my own experience several years ago after the death of Flash, my 17-year old American Eskimo dog.
Was Flash saying goodbye? I had walked Flash every morning for many years. After his death, I missed him terribly. I also missed our early morning walks, so I took up jogging around the area we used to go. About a week after his death, while I was jogging, I noticed a large brown dog walking briskly ahead of me. I looked for the dog’s person, but there was no one in sight. As I got closer to the dog, I saw he didn’t have a collar. He began to run ahead of me and turned up the driveway where I lived. I recall thinking how odd this was, especially since the dog stopped once to look back at me. As I turned the corner and approached the front steps, I heard something above. At the top of the stairs I came face to face with this strange dog, waiting in front of my door. He paused and looked at me before turning left and running away in the other direction.
by Bonnie Gratch Lindauer
Every day for two weeks I looked for this unknown dog, but never saw him again. I believe Flash’s spirit inhabited this dog just long enough to say goodbye to me and let me know that everything was all right.
Compelling anecdotal evidence Could these visitations be real? Many articles in various publications and on websites, some from veterinarians like Dr. Michael W. Fox, describe peoples’ experiences of being visited by their dead animals in dreams and in real life (twobitdog. com/DrFox/Animal-Spirits-Communication-Grave). In some cases, two people in the family experience the same thing. One woman reported on Yahoo Answers that she would see her dead cat’s tail going around the corner. When she mentioned this to her husband, he reported seeing the same thing, but added that he had been too embarrassed to tell her about it. A well-known paranormal investigator of ghosts, Joshua Warren, writes about animal visitations in his book Pet Ghosts. He describes how he heard his dead dog Nellie whimpering and barking at night. He reports that he was able to capture a “small field of energy moving around the kitchen low to the floor” by using electromagnetic and electrostatic detectors that measure charged and static electrical particles.
The scientific perspective The scientific community generally does not believe that these accounts of animal visitations are real. Some psychologists view them as part of the grieving process. They explain that bereaved people are so sad that they imagine these encounters in order to find comfort in their loss. Others view these experiences as hallucinations. In the Post-Gazette article, Dr. Mark Miller, an associate professor of psychiatry, explains that people may be hallucinating because they have a hard time accepting the death. “The phenomenon is in the mind of the observer, not in an actual visiting of the pet,” he says. Scientific evidence proving the claims of dead animal visitations is practically non-existent, although the Post-Gazette article includes a description of some audio evidence. Staff from the Pennsylvaniabased Peace of Mind Paranormal Society are reported to have captured an audio recording of a suspected ghost cat, according to the organization’s founder. The cat’s person said something would shake her mattress each morning, jump on her chest and purr loudly in her face, waking her up. The team heard the purring and recorded it while sitting in her kitchen. Some religious spokespeople and spiritualists agree that animal lovers are, or feel they are, experiencing the spirits or souls of their dead companions. There are many psychics who support the claims of people who believe their deceased animals’ spirits have visited them. So what should Joey and his mother believe about Sadie? What should I believe about Flash? Dr. Wallace Sife, psychotherapist and the founder of the
Association for Pet Bereavement (aplb.org/index.html), explains in his book The Loss of a Pet that it’s natural for some people, especially younger children, to deny the death of their beloved animals. They do this because it’s too painful to accept the death. They may fantasize visitations, which is all right as long as the denial period does not last too long. “The person in prolonged or acute denial may need professional help,” says Dr. Sife.
The cat’s person said something would shake her mattress each morning, jump on her chest and purr loudly in her face, waking her up. Sadie’s spirit may or may not have actually visited Joey. But what Joey believes he experienced is normal and common among some people. Chances are, after a few weeks, Joey will have accepted Sadie’s death and the sadness will lessen. At that point, it’s unlikely he will experience visits from Sadie anymore. But then again, he might. Either way, there’s no need to be scared or alarmed if you should someday experience a visit from your own deceased animal companion.
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Much ado about
mulch by Ann Brightman
Mulch looks great in the garden. Just skip the cocoa variety.
ost of us know chocolate is toxic to dogs. It contains a chemical called theobromine, a xanthine compound similar to caffeine that can be lethal to dogs. But did you know that cocoa mulch is toxic, too?
theobromine as unprocessed cocoa beans – 0.19% to 2.98% versus 1% to 4%, according to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center – if enough of the mulch is ingested, it can have serious repercussions.
Cocoa mulch is made from the shells of cocoa beans, and is a by-product of chocolate production. People like it because it has an attractive and natural color, a fragrant smell, and breaks down into an organic fertilizer. While cocoa mulch doesn’t contain as much
Theobromine affects the nervous and cardiovascular systems and can manifest in a variety of symptoms. In a study of dogs who had accidentally ingested cocoa mulch, conducted by The Animal Poison Control Center, 50% of dogs experienced vomiting, while tremors
occurred in 33% of the dogs and 15% developed tachycardia, a rapid heart rate. No clinical signs were seen in a third of the dogs, likely because they ate only small amounts of the mulch. Other symptoms of theobromine toxicity include restlessness, diarrhea and, in some cases, seizures and death. Even if your dog isn’t an indiscriminate eater, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid using cocoa mulch in your landscaping. Use one of the many alternatives instead.
Book reviews Title: Title:
30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog
More and more people are seeing the advantages of using positive, reward-based methods to train their dogs. Among them is Tamar Geller, dog coach to the stars, whose clients include Oprah Winfrey, Ben Affleck and Larry King. In her new book 30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog, Geller makes The Loved Dog™ method accessible to readers who want to train their dogs using pleasure instead of punishment. The book takes a step-by-step approach to training a dog or puppy, starting with the day you bring your new companion home, and working through socialization, housetraining, teaching basic commands and discouraging negative behaviors, training him to walk on a leash, do tricks, and much more – all using positive, gentle techniques. By the end of just one month, you’ll have a happy, well-adjusted and well-behaved dog – and a loving and loyal companion for life!
Publisher: Gallery Books
Complete Idiot’s Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats
For Dogs and Cats
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Pet First Aid participants will learn: • Early signs of illness • Prevention of injury • Emergency response skills • Choking, airway, and CPR skills • And much, much more!
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Making sense of holistic animal care can be overwhelming. Where do you start? What do you need to know? Written by award-winning animal writer Liz Palika, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats is a comprehensive introduction to alternative healthcare for your companion. This well-organized guide opens with a section on what “natural” actually means, and how to do your research and work with a vet to get the kind of care you want for your companion. Chapters on natural healing therapies follow, with detailed discussions on acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic, homeopathy, flower remedies, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, Reiki and more. There are also sections on vaccines (pros and cons), natural grooming, exercise, healthy nutrition and supplements, followed by a glossary of common illnesses from allergies to urinary tract disorders, and how they may be treated naturally. Whatever your interests or questions, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for in this book.
Publisher: Alpha Books
Oils for Animals
Aromatherapy is a powerful healing modality, but it needs to be practiced wisely, especially with dogs and cats. In Essential Oils for Animals, aromatherapist Nayana Morag sets out everything you should understand about using these substances with your four-footed companion.
ancient wisdom modern solutions
Whether you’re an essential oil novice or master, this book will soon become a well-thumbed addition to your library of natural healthcare volumes.
Dr. Rose’s Remedies Skin Treatment is an all-natural herbal salve that promotes rapid and complete healing of skin ailments. It can be used on a wide variety of animals including dogs, cats, and horses. ÝÛ?]YdkÛogmf\kÛZmjfkÛZjmak]kÛ and lacerations ÝÛ?]dhkÛkh]]\Û`]Ydaf_Ûg^Û surgical wounds ÝÛI]da]n]kÛafyÛYeeYlagfÛYf\ÛajjalYlagfÛ associated with inter-digital infection ÝI]da]n]kÛal[`qÛkcaf ÝDgaklmjar]kÛkcaf ÝKj]YlkÛjYafÛjgl ÝKj]YlkÛ`glÛkhglkÛÛ
Publisher: Off the Leash Press, LLC
610-558-4610 | drrosesremedies.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Morag teaches you how to use aromatic extracts to increase health, reduce stress and enhance the bond of trust between you and your animal. You’ll find out how and when to use essential oils, how to make natural lotions, and what you need to keep in mind about safety – for example, using hydrosols for cats and diluting oils before using them with any animal. The book also includes detailed profiles of 52 essential oils, 20 hydrosols and 12 carrier oils, and shows you how to use 5 Element Theory to choose oils and understand your animal.
Title: Animals Author: Allen
and the Kids Who Love Them
& Linda Anderson
Children and animals seem to share a special bond of love, loyalty and trust. In Animals and the Kids Who Love Them, renowned authors Allen and Linda Anderson celebrate the hope, healing and compassion that kids and critters bring to one another. Read about Midas, the golden retriever who vastly expanded an autistic boy’s world; Simon, the disabled cat who visits inner city children while they’re being tutored; and Sparkles, the Dalmatian who teaches kids about fire safety, saving lives in the process. Other species also figure in the book, including a horse, a llama, and even a chicken that helps a highly anxious girl become emotionally stronger. Each moving, true-life story demonstrates the healing therapeutic benefits of animal companionship, and how caring for an animal can help children develop a sense of responsibility, compassion and respect for others.
Publisher: New World Libarary
Case study Spotlight on Summer She has weak teeth and allergies to antibiotics, but this yellow Lab is healthy again thanks to an alternative approach to her dental care. by Anabelle L. Macri
The woman behind the counter at the vet clinic gave me a bottle. Inside it was my dog’s tooth. I paused, looking at it, thinking to myself: I’ve failed caring for Summer’s teeth. At only five years of age, my yellow Lab had already lost one tooth, and was in danger of losing more. She had been diagnosed with weak teeth, probably from being malnourished as a puppy before I adopted her. This diagnosis limited my options for Summer’s dental care, because any kind of hard toy or bone would endanger her teeth and cause fractures, and the accumulating tartar in her mouth would eventually mean further tooth loss. According to my veterinarian, Dr. Lisa King, plaque contains up to 100,000,000,000 bacteria per gram! These bacteria cause inflammation in the gum tissue, and the underlying bone can recede. This in turn causes open spaces between teeth that trap food and other particles, further increasing the potential for bacteria and inflammation. Dr. King added that some dogs have a genetic predisposition to periodontal disease. Brushing Summer’s teeth was helpful, but it wasn’t enough because her back teeth were too close together, allowing for bacterial growth, inflammation and infection. Dental rinses and gels were also good choices for her, but they weren’t working for her back teeth. Because of how they were
arranged, pockets had already formed where bacteria had caused severe gum recession.
First I purchased a tiny toothbrush, one made for people who have braces or permanent retainers. It enabled me to get into the pockets that had formed in Summer’s upper back teeth. I did this once or twice a day, and after several days, she became used to the routine. She now tolerates it well, and seems to instinctively know I am only trying to eliminate further infections in her mouth so she won’t have to undergo additional extraction procedures.
Knowing that a dog’s life can be shortened by complications from dental disease, I began researching options to strengthen Summer’s teeth and improve her oral care. I read that carrots and organic yogurt can help prevent tartar buildup and gingivitis, so I tried them. I supplemented Summer’s holistic dog food with steamed carrots and raw honey, and I also gave her raw carrots and the organic yogurt as a treat. I soon saw improvement in Summer’s digestive health as well as less odor from her mouth, and less burping and reflux.
I added a probiotic supplement to her food – just a quarter of a teaspoon twice daily. Gatric reflux can exacerbate periodontal problems if the acid makes contact with the gums
and teeth. It erodes the enamel and gingival tissue. Dr. King agreed that gastric reflux can be managed by small frequent meals, yogurt with active bacteria, and probiotics to help maintain healthy digestion. The good bacteria in probiotics also help stimulate white blood cell production to fight infection.
Summer is allergic to most antibiotics, but I learned that if she gets another infection in her mouth, I can pat a tiny amount of Himalayan crystal salt on the inflamed area to treat it. As a matter of fact, had I not done this the week prior to her tooth extraction, the procedure would have been more complicated as the area would have been inflamed. Although the tooth was loose as a result of the infection, the infection itself had been resolved prior to surgery, so none of the bad bacteria entered her bloodstream. Her recovery time was remarkably shorter than it would have been had I not applied the Himalayan crystal salt to the area.
sinuses, compromising other bones besides the teeth, and an abscess in the very back of the mouth could actually affect the eyeball and lead to blindness. There is also evidence that chronic inflammation can lead to oral cancer. The effects of periodontal disease can also reach the rest of the body. Once in the bloodstream, bacteria can travel to the heart, lungs, kidney, liver and other body parts. The importance of regular and routine dental care becomes clear when you examine the facts as I have. Itâ€™s a very necessary part of ensuring a lifetime of good health and happiness for your canine companion. It appears that what I am doing for Summerâ€™s mouth is working, and that makes both of us much happier.
Her recovery time was remarkably shorter than it would have been had I not applied the Himalayan crystal salt to the area. Dr. King told me the salt works by drawing water out of the tissue and the bacterial cells themselves. Himalayan salt is a crystal salt that has formed due to pressure in the earth over millions of years. It has not been exposed to pollutants, unlike sea salts that have sometimes been contaminated from toxic chemicals and environmental pollutants. This is why the Himalayan salt is a good option to assist with infection, especially in cases where the dog is allergic to a variety of medications. When you consider that infected areas in the mouth can lead to a variety of complications, the importance of mouth care for your dog becomes essential. After talking with Dr. King, I learned that infections in the mouth can invade the animal wellness
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Events AR103: Level 1 Animal Communication April 14, 2012 – Online Only - $130 Instructor: Carol Schultz Part 1 (3.5 hours): Introduction to the essentials on how to get in touch with animals telepathically. Discover your blocks to communicating with animals and the levels of communication possible. Learn how to experience animals’ perspectives, how you may have already communicated telepathically with animals, and how to expand on that. Enjoy exercises that open your heart; increase your awareness and understanding of animals and your receptivity to telepathic communication. Deepen your communion with all of life. Part 2 (3.5 hours): Learn how to quiet and focus your attention when being with animals. Practice opening the channel to get across to animals and to receive what they communicate telepathically in thoughts, images, impressions, feelings, messages. For more information: (815) 531-2850 email@example.com http://tinyurl.com/yk54cbl Toronto Cat Rescue Adopt-a-thon April 21-22, 2012 – Pet Valu Brampton, ON Join Toronto Cat Rescue on Saturday April 21 and Sunday April 22 for an adopt-a-thon at Pet Valu (370 Main St. North, in Brampton). There will be tons of cats and kittens waiting for their forever families to adopt them at the adopt-a-thon! Please come and adopt your new best friend(s) today. The adoption fee at the event is only $100 (vs. the standard $175 adoption fee). This ensures that the cats that come into care receive the medical attention they need, are spayed or neutered, vaccinated (and receive a rabies vaccination if age appropriate). The fee also includes 6 weeks of free pet insurance.
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Therapy, Millis, Levine, and Taylor), two procedures are prominent in practically every program: massage and swimming. PetMassageTM and WaterWorkTM can be included with, and can enhance, many veterinary post-surgical and non-surgical rehabilitation regimens. Imagine the dynamics, flexibility, and therapeutic value that dogs can get moving in a warm water, non-weight bearing, environment. Imagine holding and supporting a dog, suspended in water; guiding the body in your arms in large, sweeping movements across the surface of the water. Feel how the water drags and drifts the myofascial tissue and articular connections. Your secure presence, based on the training and skills you’ve learned, resolves fears and apprehensions the dog exhibited when first entering the water. In your hands, the dog relaxes, allowing integumentary and musculoskeletal structures to float into and away from each other. Restrictions from holding patterns release. Alternative neuromuscular systems engage. Your dog experiences his body WaterWorking: joyful, relaxing, rejuvenating, rebalancing, reconditioning, resoundingly and amazingly therapeutic and beneficial. Goals of WaterWork Workshop: • Learn how effective PetMassageTM and WaterWorkTM is for dogs. •Develop understanding of the theory, vocabulary & skills of applied PetMassage techniques in water. •Learn to channel water dynamics, flexibility and therapeutic value. •Learn how to move in, and be moved by water •Learn techniques to safely and effectively move dogs in water For more information: Anastasia Rudinger (800) 779-1001 firstname.lastname@example.org www.petmassage.com
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Nothing wrong with
BIG girls by KRISTINA BEARD
Peggy Lee was going to be a hard-sell adoption from the beginning. I’d been volunteering at the shelter for about six months when she was surrendered to us. By then, I knew most adopters prefer smaller dogs over the bigger boys and girls. Seven years old and with a few extra pounds on top of an already – let’s say generous – bone structure, Peggy Lee the Rottweiler was never going to fit into a doggie carry-case, under an airline seat, in the basket of a bike, in a suede nesting bed or…you get the picture. Shelter staff worked diligently to make up for Peggy’s utter failure to resemble a ten-pound Papillon. She sported a jauntily-tied red bandana, and every few weeks, staff posted a new write-up about her on the adopt-a-pet website: “Come meet Peggy Lee – a big honking slice of Rottie love that would love to meet you! (Almost as much as she would love more food!)” Peggy was even featured on the local TV news which did a story on the shelter to promote adoptions. Her alert, no-nonsense brown-eyed gaze remained steady on the reporter’s hand (which held a dog treat just out of view of the camera). In short, in the lottery that is being a big dog at the local animal shelter, staff did their best to buy Peggy extra tickets.
horses and the horses advance past each other a few inches here, a few inches there, till someone wins the stuffed bear. “It’s Peggy Lee in the lead…no wait, it’s volunteer No. 3 making a strong effort to pull in front – watch her stubby legs go!” As the weeks went on, I began to get worried for Peggy. While smaller dogs came and went, Peggy remained. Then one day, her kennel had a different occupant. I nervously asked the shelter staff where she was, and was relieved by the answer. She’d been adopted. I don’t know who took her, but I like to think it must have been someone with patience, a good sense of humor and an appreciation for strong-willed females (oh, and really long legs). If you have an amusing story you’d like to submit, send it to: Tail End, email@example.com
Sweet and goofy as Peggy was at the shelter, she transformed into the watchdog she was bred to be when I took her for walks. She patrolled the perimeter with an alert determination, head held high, eyes focused straight ahead. After all, it was her neighborhood, and you were just visiting. I always tried to stay ahead of Peggy Lee to show her who was boss. Usually it turned out to be her. As soon as I drew even, she would turn her head slightly to the side, eye me beadily, and increase her trot speed. When I tried to catch up she quickly pulled ahead…and so on until I felt like we were doing a bizarre imitation of that carnival game where participants shoot water at toy animal wellness
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Soothegum guminflamation inflamation Soothe Soothe gum inflamation Soothe gum inflamation (gingivitis) (gingivitis) (gingivitis) (gingivitis)
Noanesthetic anestheticrisk risk No No anesthetic risk No anesthetic risk
Remove Remove Remove Remove plaque plaque plaque plaque
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Peppermint Peppermint Peppermint Gel Gel Gel Peppermint Gel
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Salmon Oil Salmon Salmon OilOil Gel Gel Gel Oil Salmon Gel
4 4 4 4mouth Eliminatemouth mouthodors odors Eliminate Eliminate odors
Noside side No No side No side effects effects effects effects
55 55 Gentle to teeth
Gentle Gentletototeeth teeth Gentle to teeth andgums gums and and gums and gums
Eliminate mouth odors
Made in USA Made Made in USA in USA Made in USA