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Your Pet Life Style Magazine

Vol. 1 Issue 3 Fall 2016

Four legs with style

Fix Georgia Pets


Inspired a Pet’s Gift of Life

D ive into Fish-Keeping everything you need to know about setting up an Aquarium! Atlanta Pet Life


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Articles Cat Rangers Senior Cats


The Hairy Truth 27 About Non-Shedding Dogs

Atlanta Dog Walkers 15 Explore The Backwoods of Buckhead

7 Tips for Better Pet Photography


Millner Inspired Fix Georgia Pets


Southern Journey Rescue Transport


A Pet’s Gift of Life Blood Donations


Foxface Rabbit Fish

43 44

The Wish List


Dive Into Fish-Keeping

In Every Issue Victoria Stilwell Gift of Golden Years


Senior Pets for Adoption



Pet Products Tricks & Treats

For the Love of Cats 23 Reflections and Gratitudes Fabulous Dogs Need 25 Fabulous Things Top 5 Favorite Holiday Picks Give Your Bird a Bath

Atlanta Pet Life

Featured Businesses Harnessing Love 13



Dogly Dog Harnesses I Love My Leash Luv My Leash

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Advertising North Georgia Mountains Jackie Treneer | 706.878.8887 Graphics and Layout Stacy Wright | Contributors Michelle Bourg Ashley Daniele Carestia Katharine Schlien Cella Nelson Jan S. Granai Nicole Essawy Victoria Stilwell Lorrie L Leickel-Koch David Green


Photo credit: Front cover image by Sarina Roth Model: Ashley Daniele Carestia Some images throughout this magazine are sourced from

t u o b ile A

This past March, the Georgia state legislature passed HB 561, designating the “adoptable dog” as Georgia’s state dog. As a symbol, the adoptable dog honors the many animal shelters, rescue groups and dedicated individuals that help make Georgia a safer place for homeless animals.

Sept.- Dec. 2016, Vol. 1, No. 3 Atlanta Pet Life (ISSN 2472-3290) Subscriptions: $24.99 (U.S.A.) annually to Pet Pages Atlanta. To subscribe, including change of address, visit AtlantaPetLife. com or write 5140 Chippewa Ct., Cumming, GA 30040 Call: 770-888-9300 Attention Retailers: Sell Atlanta Pet Life in your store. Call 770-888-9300 for more information. Write to us - we want to hear from you! Send your comments, questions, or concerns to Stacy Wright, Atlanta Pet Life 5140 Chippewa Ct., Cumming, GA 30040 or All submissions become the property of Mercury Gold Studio, LLC and cannot be returned to the sender. Submissions chosen for publication may be edited for length or clarity. Copyright ©2016 Atlanta Pet Life by Mercury Gold Studio, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part may not be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Printed in the U.S.A. Atlanta Pet Life (ISSN 2472-3290) is published 4 times a year, in March, June, September, December by Mercury Gold Studio, LLC. Executive, publishing, editorial and advertising offices: 5140 Chippewa Ct., Cumming, GA 30040, (770) 888-9300. POSTMASTER: Send all remittances, subscriptions and address changes to Atlanta Pet Life, 5140 Chippewa Ct., Cumming, GA 30040 Single copies $5.99 in U.S.A. Responsibility for advertised products lies with the advertisers. Atlanta Pet Life will not knowingly publish fraudulent materials and is not liable for any damages arising from the purchase or use of any products. If you have any consumer complaints concerning goods purchased from our advertisers, please send us written notification to aid our screening process.

The bill’s author, Rep. Joe Wilkinson, R-Sandy Springs, is a lifelong animal lover who has everything from dogs to cats to rabbits and parakeets as pets. Aware that thousands of dogs and cats are homeless in Georgia, and that the majority of animals in its shelters are euthanized, he wanted to recognize those dogs currently available for adoption in the state. He hopes that HB 561 will bring “attention to the plight of these homeless animals.” It is vital that state representatives continue to support responsible pet ownership by passing laws that address spay and neuter, abandonment and neglect issues. Meanwhile, we can do our part by supporting “adopt, don’t shop” and bringing one of Georgia’s “state dogs” home.


Atlanta Pet Life

The Gift of Golden Years

Sparky and Armani came in together and it's our understanding they have been together for many years and are quite bonded. We would much prefer that they be adopted together. Sparky is about 8 years old and the more independent of the two.


Sparky & Armani

Five Reasons to Adopt an Older Dog I can't think of a better example of pure thankfulness than a senior dog. Having a senior Labrador retriever myself, I am reminded daily how precious each moment we have with our dogs truly is. So many families are convinced that adopting an 8-week-old puppy is the only route to take when getting a new dog, but the truth is that senior dogs often make a much easier transition into your home. Here are my top five rea- portant, but it will take shorter sessions of less intensive exersons to consider adopting cise to fulfill his activity needs.

a senior dog:

#1: The transition will likely be easier. Bringing home a younger dog often involves a pretty hectic transition period. Whether you're adopting or purchasing a dog from a breeder, younger dogs will need constant monitoring, especially in the first few weeks after coming into your home. #2: You know their temperament. Getting a puppy or adolescent dog is always somewhat of a gamble. Genetics and socialization both play big roles in the overall temperament your dog will have as an adult, and a senior dog already has its temperament established. So if you meet a sweet, laid back older dog, you can expect that he will keep that same temperament for the rest of his life. #3:

There’s less exercise required. Many of us live busy, hectic lives. Oftentimes, exercising the dog falls to the bottom of the to-do list. With a senior dog, exercise is still im-

Atlanta Pet Life

Armani is a stunning big boy that is about 12 years old. He has the standard senior issues, but still has plenty of spunkiness and personality.


You skip the wild puppy years. Puppies require an incredible amount of time and patience. Potty training a puppy often involves hourly trips outside, while senior dogs can “hold it” for much longer. Puppies can be extremely mouthy and may whine or bark excessively. With a senior dog, you're much less likely to have to deal with these types of behaviors.

Raisin Raisin came in recently and we chose to house her with Sparky and Armani. She is a very gentle girl that can be a little reserved. She needs time to trust and bond with her new person. She came to us after being dumped at an animal hospital overnight.

#5: The gift of golden years. There's no better gift than adopting a senior dog and making his last years the best of his life. Seniors have a harder time getting adopted, so you will truly be saving a life by adopting one. So the next time you're in the market for a new dog, take a second glance at that sweet older dog with a graying muzzle. It might just be the best decision you'll ever make!

Angels Among Us Pet Rescue 8


Hey all! My name is Chaim. I am a 13 year old Flat Coat Retriever who loves snuggles! My body is definitely considered "senior" as I have arthritis, hearing loss, and some vision loss but nobody told my heart that! I still feel young and playful in my heart...especially when food is involved! When I'm around food I magically get my vision and mobility back ten fold! I do have these nasty things called heartworms but my mommy puts extra love and pills into my food everyday so I can get rid of them. Although I am crate trained, there is no place I would rather be than snuggled up right next to my human best friend.

We don't really know Anastasia's true age but she is guessed to be 7+ years old. What we do know is that she was adopted out several years ago to a family that truly adored her and she has know nothing but love and acceptance since she originally arrived at the rescue. Unfortunately, Anastasia's owners passed away and we accepted her back with open arms! Anastasia still remains a happy-go-lucky girl and enjoys all the attention the children in the family bestow on her! She is reliably house trained and enjoys walks. She is great while her foster parents are away from work and will meet them with great enthusiasm when they return home. She is a true blessing of senior hound love and has so much more to share! American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue


Pompeii Pompeii was rescued from a rural Georgia shelter in July 2015 with his live-in sister. He is 11 years old. He has had surgery to remove a bladder stone that was the size of a peach pit and dental care for gingivitis. He currently eats a special diet that he loves to avoid more kidney stones and his teeth are well cared for. Pompeii is an absolute doll baby. He loves everyone he meets and gets along great with other animals. Pompeii likes to go on walks and explore in the yard. He does not mind a snuggle on the couch with a good movie or football game. Somebody is missing out on this special boy.



Santiago was recently rescued from Walker County Animal Shelter. She is a Chihuahua and is about 10 years old. She is very quiet and loves to be held. She makes a great lap warmer. Gets along great with other dogs and cats. Loves to burrow under the covers for a good nap. Walks well on leash and is house trained. She would be a great companion for anyone.

I'm Daffles, a small, super cuddly Dachshund spaniel mix. You see my owners paid $10 to eut-hanized me at the pound. I guess they didn't see any use of an old faithful dog. Luckily the shelter didn't put me down right then and there. I caught the eye of this wonderful rescue and here I am... Alive ! Maybe you can be my forever family and I'll have my very own dog bed. A girl can dream!


Senior cat and dog adoptions brought to you by these local heros:


Atlanta Pet Life



Here at CatRangers, we specialize in animals facing imminent death: shelter animals on death row, abandoned animals, or those involved in hoarding situations. We love finding homes for our senior cats because they are so appreciative. It breaks our hearts to see the older cats confused when they are left at the shelters, not understanding why their families have left them there. At our center in Buford, Maison du Chat, our mascots are a bonded pair of seniors that have been together almost all their lives: Hansel, who is over 15 years old, and Gretal, who is over 20. They were found in their home and brought to us by the coroner’s office. They’re everyone’s favorite kitties; they still sit together and groom, and have their own group of visitors who come just to sit with them and hear Gretal’s amazing squeaky purr. Hansel has maintained the position of alpha male since they arrived at our place three years ago. Not everyone is looking for a 15-year commitment as may be the case with a younger cat; seniors are often the desired pet for older couples and persons living in assisted living as they are calmer and likely to share genuine affection for their new family. Sometimes you just fall for an older kitty, like Mirra, a little girl who fell in love with our senior girl Nakota. At 15, Nakota is older than Mirra and has a stressed front paw that causes her to limp, but Mirra and her mom both felt that Nakota was their girl and they have been inseparable ever since. When facilitating adoptions, we prefer to rehome seniors directly from their current place so the transition is less traumatic. We do home delivery for all our cats to allow us to assist with getting them settled and feeling safe in their new home. Senior cats left at a shelter they are often traumatized and in need of medical care and a quiet spot, so we make sure to provide these things. Our volunteers take special care with our senior visitors to help them understand that they will be OK. Occasionally a family has issues adjusting to life with their senior cat, and CatRangers helps them resolve them through educating the family on how to care for a senior kitty’s special needs. If they still wish to rehome or surrender their pet, CatRangers locates a new family and introduces the two families to make the transfer process as positive as possible. We recently rehomed a beautiful boy named Jack whose family had seen him acting “swatty” towards its three-month-old baby; despite the tears at having to say goodbye to Jack, the family was able to see him move into his new home and again be the happy calm kitty he had been all his life. Adopting a senior animal is a very rewarding experience, and knowing that you saved a very special life that many might overlook is just priceless.

Mirra and Nakota

Atlanta Pet Life



Tips for adopting an older cat: • If you are adopting from a shelter or rescue organization, discuss your lifestyle and preferences honestly with the staff to help ensure that you are matched with a cat that is compatible with you. • Make sure that the cat receives a full medical examination by either your own vet or by the shelter/ rescue organization, and be prepared to accommodate health issues such as decreased mobility, incontinence, special dietary needs, or conditions requiring medication. Recognize that health issues can arise quickly in older cats and be observant of changes in behavior that could signal an impending health complication. • Be prepared to be patient as your older cat learns to trust you, especially if it has a history of mistreatment, and accept that there may be hiccups and setbacks in the process. • Remember that older cats are likely to be less adaptable and that the habits they have now are most likely to be permanent. or call 770-831-5513



Que Que is a brown tabby colored male Domestic Long Hair/Main Coon/mixed cat. He is a senior who is up-todate on vaccinations. Que is house trained, good with cats and ready for a new home and family.

Chunky Monkey She's 10 years old and 18 pounds of love. She was neglected for most of her life, and has so much love to make-up for. She loves purring in your lap or rolling around in catnip. She's on a weight control diet as well as a kitty exercise program (making her walk around the room a few times every day) to lose some weight. She gets along well with other cats and dogs. She underwent eye removal surgery to correct a long-standing injury. Chunky is as good as new, and can't wait to meet you! Apply to adopt this adorable hunk of fluffy love today!


Emmie is just a tiny bit shy, but luckily for her and us her shyness manifests itself in the cutest, most charming way possible. She loves to leave her favorite cat tree perch to draw your attention and then run back to her spot and wait to be lavished with affection. Though she may be initially shy, once she knows she can trust you she’s likely to follow you so she can rub against your legs. Her boldly colored fur is so thick and silky that you may find it hard to stop petting her once you’ve gotten started, and her unique purr makes it seem as though she is serenading you. This sweet, laidback kitty will be your perfect companion and eagerly return the love that you show her.








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No one knows how pets can help us traverse the most difficult periods in our lives more than Mikki Ford.

Harnessing ove L A professed cat person, Mikki grew to love dogs after her daughter, Maggie, tragically passed away at the tender age of 24. Mikki was left with an overwhelming amount of grief, in addition to the arduous task of taking care of Maggie’s beloved dogs: Sam, a spaniel, and Karma, a brindle pit/Lab mix. It was not an easy task for Mikki, unfamiliar with the care of not one but two dogs on top of dealing with the devastating loss of her only child. But Mikki put one foot in front of the other, recognizing that she had to keep going, if not for herself, then for Maggie’s dogs. “Those dogs saved my life!” says Mikki. “They gave me a reason to wake up in the morning. They needed to be fed and to be walked. They made me leave the house. I would not have made it through without them. They changed my world.” In fact, Mikki’s world would be changed in more ways than she could ever imagine.

“those dogs saved my life” Mikki uses Puppia and Hip Doggie brand harnesses for their high quality and excellent fit for both large and small dogs.

One of Mikki’s dogs, Karma, weighed 70 pounds and would pull on the leash when they walked. This created a strain on Mikki’s petite five-foot frame, in addition to causing her concern that the collar would cause Karma injury. As a result, Mikki set out to find a dog harness. Contributed by: Cella Nelson is the owner of Georgia Horseback and a Marketing/ Volunteer coordinator at

“First of all, it was really hard to find a large-sized harness. And when I found ones that fit, they were of poor quality and like a Chinese puzzle to put on,” recalls Mikki. But she finally found one that fit correctly and was lightweight and went home with a dog that no longer caused her strain… wearing a plain harness. For Mikki, this solved one problem but created another. “I just can’t stand anything plain. I need bling!” says Mikki. With those words, Dogly Dog was born. Mikki began adding creative embellishments to the plain harnesses she purchased, focusing on designs placed where she could see and admire her handiwork. A creative person who had sewn and painted 13

most of her life, Mikki easily came up with unique, colorful and fun designs featuring embellishments of sequins, studs, stones, embroidery, fabrics and patches that are dog-safe and can stand up to the wear and tear of rambunctious pups. Friends and family began to request them and her business took off. Based in Johns Creek, Dogly Dog also creates themed harnesses for universities, military branches, and anything else the customer desires, at prices from $25 to $65. What’s next for Dogly Dog? Shirt collars for dogs: Mikki creatively removes collars from shirts found in thrift stores and creates beautiful pet collars. Mikki runs her business with the goal of giving back to the animals. “God sees everything you do, even how you treat animals,” she says. You can find her and Dogly Dog as an exhibitor at rescue events. Atlanta Pet Life

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Atlanta Dog Walkers



hidden oasis for nature lovers beckons dog walkers with its cool streams and shady trails, just off one of the busiest streets in the city of Atlanta. The Blue Heron Nature Preserve on Roswell Road covers nearly 30 acres of land bursting with native plant and animal species. In just one walk on the quiet, groomed trails a hiker can see turtles sunning near the pond, colorful birds flying overhead, little schools of fish swimming in the creek and small critters scurrying through the woods. Visitors can explore the trails and learn as they go with signs that describe the native plant species and the various conservation efforts underway. The Woodland Loop and Painted Turtle trails are easily accessible from several points in the Preserve and nearby neighborhoods, a detail which has helped cultivate strong relationships with nearby homeowners. Dogs can enjoy the winding trails or splash in the cool, clear creek. Not only can nature lovers walk the trails, but they can also attend any of the various events the Preserve hosts throughout the year, or enjoy the carefully curated art

exhibits, both indoor and out. The annual Doggie Daze summer event is just one of many such social gatherings, this one specially planned for dogs and their owners. Many community events throughout the year, such as open houses and art gallery openings, invite Atlantans to learn more about the biodiversity in their own backyard. Experienced gardeners or those who want to test their green thumb can rent a plot in the community garden, which is bursting with colorful flowers and produce, all pollinated by the bees and butterflies buzzing around. Education isn’t only in the informational trail signs around the preserve, it’s also incorporated into every event, be it a family firefly hike or an Atlanta Audubon bird walk. Oglethorpe University partners with Blue Heron to offer service learning and hands-on education to its biology and urban ecology students. Many elementary schools and community residences around the city have joined the Preserve in its Meadows for Monarchs program, which builds meadows and gardens specially designed to support the Monarch Butterfly population as it migrates south. 15

Founded in 2000 by a local school teacher and the North Buckhead Civic Association, the Preserve was created to save seven acres of floodplain along Nancy Creek from development. Tireless work by local residents, community groups, businesses and students to remove invasive plants and stabilize stream banks culminated in a peaceful place to enjoy the natural beauty of the Southeast. After the success of the first seven acres, the City of Atlanta added three more pieces of land to the Preserve. These were the nineacre wetland at the end of Emma Lane, the five-acre site of Nancy Creek Sewer Tunnel and the 5-acre site of THW Architects at 4055 Roswell Road. The area has a great deal of history, and local historical societies have helped the staff delve into the stories that built this area. The Preserve’s trails are open from 6 am to 11 pm every day in accordance with City of Atlanta park hours. The building is only open by appointment or during special events. To learn more about Blue Heron or support its mission, go to

Atlanta Pet Life

Millner Inspired

Ginny Millner traces her passion for animal welfare to a single event: the moment when, at the age of four, she saw a small dog run over and killed on a Mexico City street. The memory has inspired her efforts to help all animals escape abuse, neglect and homelessness to this day. “That’s where my whole mission started,” says Millner. “It’s very painful for me to see any animals abused.” Now a longtime Atlanta resident, Ginny Millner is working to end Georgia’s pet population crisis through the organization Fix Georgia Pets. Recognizing that spay/neuter is the key to Contributed by Michelle Bourg managing Georgia’s pet population crisis, Millner and co-founders Chip Perry, Davis Cosey, Rubye Reid and Dale Wintlend started Fix Georgia Pets in 2012 with the mission of making affordable spay/neuter services available in high-risk areas of the state. The organization provides grants to spay/neuter agencies, helps them find additional funding and educates Georgians about the benefits of spay/neuter programs. Raising critically needed funds is a major part of the work of Fix Georgia Pets, and for every dollar the group invests, it raises $3 through events such as the Dog Bone Golf Tournament and the Red Carpet Fete and Auction. A very special project that the group has worked towards since its inception is about to become a reality and will be the centerpiece of its fundraising efforts going forward: a new Georgia specialty license plate with all proceeds going to fund spay/ neuter programs statewide. While much remains to be done, Millner sees encouraging signs as she works towards her dream of making spay/neuter services availGeorgia Spay Day at the Capitol! Fix Georgia pets co-founders Ginny Millner and Rubye Reid, along with Debra Burger of the able free of charge across Georgia. “I Atlanta Humane Society and LifeLine Animal Project and an think we’re getting somewhere,” says enthusiastic group of volunteers met with Governor Deal. Millner. “We’ve got a long way to go, but we’ve done something, and that makes me happy.”

Gives a

Fix to Georgia


Fundraising Event

This year’s Red Carpet Fête invites everyone to “Come Together” on October 20 at The Estate in Buckhead for a Beatles-themed evening featuring music, a live auction and celebrity guests. For information about the event and about Fix Georgia Pets, visit

Ginny Millner and husband with AndrewAndrew, at Fix Georgia fundraising event

Atlanta Pet Life



Cats & Dogs euthanized a year

Unspayed, a female cat or dog is capable of producing two to three litters every year. Left unchecked, the number of animals born from these litters grows exponentially, and there aren’t anywhere near enough homes for even a small percentage of them. Homeless animals most often face a short, brutal life that ends in disease or injury. Those surrendered to shelters are not likely to leave, especially in Georgia, where 350,000 cats and dogs—62 percent of those received— are euthanized annually at a cost to taxpayers of more than $100 million.

“goes beyond being just an ‘animal issue,’ it’s a community welfare issue.” The benefits of spay/neuter go beyond population control. Altered animals live longer, healthier lives, with lowered stress levels and reduced risks for many cancers. They exhibit fewer behavioral issues (frequently the cause of owner surrender or abandonment), and as they’re less inclined to roam, are less likely to be injured by cars or other animals or to bite people or damage property. Spay/neuter also represents a significant savings to taxpayers over the costs of animal control and euthanasia. As Millner points out, pet overpopulation “goes beyond being just an ‘animal issue,’ it’s a community welfare issue.”


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Contributed by Michelle Bourg


uch like its human counterpart, veterinary medicine has made astounding progress in recent years, especially in the area of transfusion technology. Through the use of transfusions, animals have been saved that couldn’t have been helped before, giving them many more happy years with their pet parents. In turn, this has led to a greater need for animal heroes to donate blood to make these miracles possible.

Pets may require transfusions for many of the same reasons humans do: trauma, surgery, autoimmune disorders, anemia and bleeding disorders resulting from conditions such as hemophilia. With only a few national animal blood banks in existence, local blood banks are increasingly important, making it easier to quickly deliver blood products, including separated plasma and platelets, to where they’re needed. Here at home, Best Friends Blood Bank is an important resource in meeting the needs of Atlanta area dogs and cats.

a Pet’s Gift of

Like humans, dogs and cats have specific blood types. Dogs have numerous types, making type-specific transfusions difficult. While dogs can typically receive one transfusion of a different blood type once, those requiring multiple transfusions should be cross-matched with compatible donors. Cats have three blood types: A, B, and AB, with A being the most common. Like humans, cats have antibodies to blood types other than their own and should always be blood-typed or cross-matched for donor compatibility.

To serve as blood donors, pets must be in excellent health, be up to date on all vaccines, have never received blood or plasma, and not be on any medications except for heartworm and flea regimens. Best Friends requires dogs to be 1-7 years old and weigh at least 50 pounds and cats to be 1-8 years old, weigh at least 10 pounds, and be indoor-only pets. All pets must have calm temperaments and be accustomed to being handled.

While plasma can be frozen for up to a year, the shelf life for red cells is only three to five weeks, making a steady supply essential. Dogs can safely donate blood every three to four weeks, cats (for whom the need is especially critical) every four to five. Best Friends attempts to schedule donations every eight weeks, but in the event of a shortage, donors may be called upon again after six. Benefits for Best Friends donors include exams with full blood work including heartworm testing and disease screening, nail trims, and a $100 incentive check issued upon the completion of six donations. Before Donating

Pets receive a full physical exam and have their red blood cell count checked. Once cleared, a small spot on the pet’s neck is shaved and cleaned with antiseptic and a needle attached to a collection bag is inserted, usually into the jugular vein. Afterward, pets typically receive subcutaneous fluids. The entire process takes approximately 30-45 minutes. Dogs generally don’t require sedation; cats usually receive a mild tranquilizer.

Blood donation is highly safe and generally no more uncomfortable for animals than receiving vaccines. Complications are uncommon and usually limited to clipper burn, bruising, or sensitivity to the antiseptic. Of course, it’s always a good idea to make sure a donor pet takes it easy for a while afterwards and to watch for adverse reactions.


or our animal companions just as it is for us, blood is life. One canine blood donation can save the lives of up to four dogs and a feline one up to two cats. And just as it often is with humans, the need far outstrips the supply. If your pet meets the criteria to be a donor, consider volunteering their services. Together, you just might be saving lives. For information about Best Friends Blood Bank, see


Atlanta Pet Life

Play. Eat. Repeat.

RUCKER PET Atlanta Pet Life


Your Local Pet Nutrition Experts.

Trick&Treats Tricky tech we found on

Tempting Treats we found


around town


Sweet Water Brewing Company Tour their pet friendly brewery and also pick up some treats for your pet. Choose from three flavors of barley dog treats, Sweet Water dog collars, leashes, dog bowls and stuffed trout toys. A portion of the proceeds from these items go to the Atlanta Humane Society. With automatic food and water dispensers, the ability to video chat with your pet from anywhere, an easy-touse app, and food delivery straight to your doorstep via Amazon, easyFeed will improve the quality of life for you and your furry friends.

Ezscoops-Best Poop Scoop Bag Ever! Ezscoops are disposable pet waste bags with a built in cardboard scoop for easy and pleasant pet waste disposal. The bags are earth friendly and Made in the U.S.A. You just place your hand on the scoop, grab the pet waste, invert the bag, tie up, and toss.

The Halo Collar

Employees of Sweet Water with their dogs: Paul with Ralph, Theodor and Lucil and Molly with Oliver

Treats from Ruckers

Blueberry and Peanut Butter Crunch, also Turkey & Sweet Potato

Halo Collar introduces the world’s first and only groundbreaking technological hybrid – a pet collar with a built-in live view HD camera, two-way audio and GPS tracking. For the first time ever, pet owners can now take a look into their pet’s everyday experiences and live-stream it from anywhere at any time. They can not only see and hear from their pet’s perspective, but can even verbally communicate with them as well. Our pets might not be able to talk back, but they’re listening!


Atlanta Pet Life

Opening This Fall

Blocks From the Beltline in Old Fourth Ward

For The Love of Cats

All Cat Hospital Since 2006


and Gratitude for 2016 contributied by Michael D. Friedlander, DVM Cat Care of Vinings

When someone finds out I work at Cat Care of Vinings, they often retort with, “oh, I am a dog person,” as if there is some defining aspect of themselves that needs to be clarified. Usually there is a brief exchange of photos of “Fido” or “Fi-Fi” and the stories begin. Right there, time after time, I can feel their love and enthusiasm sharing both their amazing connections and tragic losses. I take a deep breath in wonderment of their joy. It is most certainly my privilege to be part of that moment with them. No matter how sad and difficult, I have never had anyone say they regretted the care and time required for the relationship, cat or dog, or that the animal was anything other than a wonderful and essential part of their life. “Boy, Pee-wee really has been with me through thick and thin” is a common comment. “I lived through that time in my life for my cat Elliott because he needed me—I really don’t know how I would have survived without him.” At my home, my “Annabelle” is famous for dancing and “wagging” her tail when I return home. She sits on command, gives a “high-five” and jumps up to give a kiss on the cheek if you ask her. Though she is quite the “foodie,” ordinarily, she would rather sit in my lap for time together than get her evening meal when I return. “Dallas” is quieter, more subtle, but jumps high on the cat tree to her favorite place we play “hide-and-seek,” turning over purring, showing me her belly and making “air-biscuits” to greet me. Mona Lisa makes a habit of “preening” my hair as she sits on the back of the couch during the evening. She is especially generous with her drool and purrs so loud I can scarcely hear the television sometimes! As of 2016, thirty-two of my fifty-three years have been spent in the company and love of cats.

Say awww... 4691 S Atlanta Rd SE, Ste 200 Atlanta 404.792.0700

How long have the cats in your life danced and purred, chased and conquered, scattered, shredded, and “helped” you with small breakables along the countertops, night-stands, or mantles? How long have you been soothed by the purring of a cat stretched and contouring along you in bed, on your pillow next to you, or waiting patiently by the door for your return? I swear they can tell time… Though, they are often perceived as aloof, self-serving, and essentially unengaged unless there is food or fun to be had—they give generously and unconditionally of themselves without fail by participating in our lives. Their unconditional love and care is immeasurable, though they clearly do not understand the value of a crystal vase or a silk scarf—I cannot imagine my life without cats! Peace, hope, and great charity to all in need as we close 2016. 23

Atlanta Pet Life

BARK FIFTH AVENUE fabulous dogs need fabulous things

Buckhead Atlanta’s ONLY High-end Retailer for Fabulous Dogs The Best in Luxury Travel & Accessories Shop in-store or Online Complimentary Sizing for the Perfect Fit Let Us Spoil You & Your Posh Pet with Complimentary Bubbles & Treats Open Monday-Friday: 10-6PM Saturday & Sunday: By Appointment Toll Free: 844-422-BARK 690 Miami Circle N.E. Suite 625 Atlanta, Georgia 30324

Fabulous Dogs Need Fabulous Things Deck the Halls with Bones of Holly!


n a majority of households, those shiny presents under the Christmas tree or Hanukkah bush, are meant for the family pets. The holiday season is one we traditionally dedicate to giving, and it turns out most Americans extend that spirit to our furry four legged family members. Christmas is, unsurprisingly, the most popular pet-giving holiday, ahead of their birthdays and Valentine's Day according to Rover. com. At the March 2016, American Pet Products Association’s (APPA), Global Pet Expo in Orlando Florida, CEO Bob Vetere announced that the overall spending in the pet industry for 2015 came in at a record $60.28 billion. “The pet humanization trend is alive and well and continues to drive growth at the premium end of the market,” said Vetere. “As millennials prepare to take the reins from the baby boomer generation as the primary demographic of pet owners, they stand to further develop this trend.” Spending on supplies such as beds, collars, leashes, toys, litter, bedding, food and water bowls, clothing and other accessories is heading towards an estimated $14.98 billion

for 2016, making it the third highest spending category, behind food and narrowing the gap on veterinary care spending (APPA, 2016). Our pets love us unconditionally, so it’s no surprise that we treat our posh pets like members of the family and give gifts. While some dogs are happy with just the wrapping paper on their presents, watching them tear open the paper is priceless! Some of the gifts we have researched range from the must-have holiday sweaters and treats in their pets stocking, to extravagances usually reserved for humans, such as car seats, luxury carriers, and Swarovski studded accessories. Gifts average $36 to well over $100. It can be difficult to decide what to get for your favorite pets and pet lovers — even if money is no object — because all we really want to give that perfect gift. Each year, owners can choose more and more pet products and pet gifts. The good news is Bark Fifth Avenue has you covered. Whether it’s in our Buckhead boutique, on-line, or with one of our complimentary personal shoppers, we will make sure you find the ideal gift.

Ashley Daniele Carestia proprietor of Bark Fifth Avenue LLC, a luxury Dog boutique in Buckhead Atlanta.

top five new products & couture items we deem fabulous for this year.

Orostani Couture

Shabby Armoire

Furbo, World’s Best Treat-Tossing Dog Camera An all-in-one dog sitter that includes a camera, treat popper, barking alerts, night vision, and more. The smartphone app controlled interactive camera lets you see, hear, talk, play and give treats to your pet when you’re away.



A super chic wardrobe to guard all our little ones’ the clothes and accessories. Made entirely in Italy solid wood decorated with beautiful friezes. A unique piece of equipment for your perfect home to store all the fabulous things and keep them in perfect order.


For the sophisticated and elegant four-legged child. These beds compliment the décor of your home, bringing luxury to the next level. Your fur babies need a spot to retreat to; a place to lay their head, somewhere soft and comfortable to call their own. These beds are elevated enough to keep a bit of distance between a cold floor and your pet. (available at Bark Fifth Avenue)


The passport cover for your classy jet setter. Keep important vet documents and other for travel, or just shopping. 25

High-fashion designer outerwear created exclusively for dogs. Orostani Couture creates a oneof-a-kind glitz and glam creations that have turned many a head— and tail. We got to sit down with designer Olga Yuditsky to discuss trends for this Fall/Winter 2016 and some of her favorite designs. “Leopard print, denim, shearling, schoolgirl tartan prints, hoodies, leather studded harnesses, and skull themed pieces” are currently trending. Her most popular holiday gifts for pets? Of course it is nothing but fabulous. Olga says, “The Gucci monogram classic horse bit harness with red and green tartan ruffle skirt, and the Gucci collar and leash sets.”

Atlanta Pet Life

Voted in Atlanta’s Best Self Magazine “Best Dog Daycare”

the wish list

Giving to Your Local Pet Shelter Contributed by Michelle Bourg


s a pet parent, you make a difference in your pet’s life every day. But in shelters across the city, there are hundreds of homeless animals that don’t have loving owners to provide for them, and while you’d like to help, you may not know where to begin, especially if funds are tight. The good news is that there are many ways to be a friend to shelter pets and the people who care for them, even on a budget.

A cage-free, open play daycare environment and luxury boarding experience! With spacious indoor and outdoor playrooms, boarding suites and apartments, bathing and a large variety of retail options, Puppy Haven is the perfect place for your pup!



2740 Caldwell Rd NE 2854 Holcomb Bridge Rd Brookhaven Alpharetta 404-869-2494 770-609-7483

Before making your gift, check the organization’s website or give them a call to find out exactly what they need or can’t accept. Also find out the best method for delivering the items, as they may not have dedicated facilities and staff available during business hours— you don’t want to drive around town with a seven-foot cat tree wedged into your trunk for a week.

Commonly Requested Items            

fIrsT dAY free

Full Groom & Style

Traditional breed cut or consult with a stylist to create a cut for your pet’s unique life-style


Old towels and blankets Cat litter Toys Fragrance- and dye-free detergent Bleach Old newspapers Hand sanitizer Envelopes Stamps Pens, rubber bands, post-it notes Gift cards for pet or office supply stores, supermarkets or home improvement centers Proceeds from wedding registries or birthday, confirmation, or Bar/Bat Mitzvah gifts

Includes the full Spa Bath treatment along with touch up trim of face and paws.

There is also one thing that only you can offer: your time. Volunteers are always needed for tasks ranging from cleaning kennels to answering phones to data entry. These activities are perfect for high schoolers looking to fulfill a service requirement.

Blueberry facial, ear care, anal gland expression if needed, nails and pads trimmed.

If you have a special skill such as accounting, photography, or web design, you can help balance the books, take pictures for a pet’s Petfinder profile, or maintain a website.

Spa Bath

However you choose to help the animal organization that’s close to your heart, rest assured that your efforts are needed and appreciated by the animals and the organization that serves them.

Puff n Fluff Pet Spa

11550 Jones Bridge Rd. Johns Creek, GA 30022


Atlanta Pet Life


Contributed by Lorrie L Leickel-Koch

We seem to be busier than ever these days, with work and kids and day-to-day errands, but at the end of that day, many of us still want to come home to the ever-faithful family dog. We know a dog will need veterinary care, wholesome food, fresh water, training, exercise and plenty of toys. We check our bank balance and schedules and conclude that we can manage all that. We research breeds that might fit our busy lifestyle, considering the dog’s full-grown size, trainability and projected life span. Somewhere in our research, we notice two words that seem almost magical: “non-shedding.” Non-shedding—what a great idea! We should get a dog that is “non-shedding.” No dog hair in the car or house or our favorite chair. No extra vacuuming or chasing dog hair dust bunnies under the dining room table. Dog ownership just became a bit more manageable, because we can get one that is non-shedding.

If only it were that easy.


Hairy Truth about Non-Shedding Dogs

The truth is that all dogs shed some amount of hair; non-shedding breeds just shed much less. If we meet one of these breeds or mixes as a puppy, we will be enchanted by its soft, fluffy coat that begs to be tousled. But if we meet one as an adult, they may instead be knotted and in need of a good grooming. What happened? We thought this dog was non-shedding and believed that meant we wouldn’t have to brush it, when actually, the reverse is true: If the dog’s coat isn’t going to shed out naturally, it will be up to us to keep it tangle-free and to remove any dead hairs and debris. Breeds with long flowing coats such as the shih tzu and Yorkshire terrier must be thoroughly combed—not just brushed—several times a week, if not every day. If they are not combed, even for a week or two, painful tangles and mats will develop and the dog will need to be taken to a

professional groomer to have the coat dematted or trimmed down to a point where it can start over. For popular non-shedding terrier breeds and mixes, such as cairn terriers, Scottish terriers and West Highland white terriers, weekly combing at a minimum is needed to remove dead undercoat, undo tangles and distribute the coat oils evenly to keep the coat shiny and clean. Purebred poodles have a coat with a dense, harsh texture. Their infamous curls need to be brushed daily, with extra attention to their long wavy ears, to separate tangles, remove any sticks or burrs and keep the coat oils evenly distributed. Goldendoodles and labradoodles, while usually blessed with happy- go-lucky personalities, are often cursed with coats that many owners cannot keep up with. Combining the thick coat of the Labrador retriever, the curls of 27

the poodle, and the long coat of the golden retriever, these breeds require time and effort to keep them brushed out and mat-free, and may make us wonder if we wouldn’t have been better off with a shedding purebred of either breed. So, what are we to do? We must realize that owning a dog is a compromise. If we adopt a dog that sheds, we will need to groom it weekly and vacuum often. If we adopt a non-shedding breed dog, we will need to comb or brush it almost daily, and may find ourselves on a first-name basis with the local professional groomer. Grooming any dog can and should be a bonding time for the dog and us. Learning how to work with the coat the dog has will make the task easier for both of us, with a walk around the block and some sloppy doggie kisses the rewards for a job well done.

Popular “non-shedding” breeds: bichon frise, bouvier des Flandres, Lhasa apso, Maltese, Portuguese water dog, shih tzu, soft-coated wheaten terrier, Yorkshire terrier, and anything that ends with “oodle.” Daily brushing is required for these dogs, as well as regular trimming around the face and ears for health and hygiene. Smooth Coated dogs: labradors, short hair chihuahuas, and short hair dachshunds are the easiest type of coat to maintain. These dogs shed constantly and routine brushing with a soft brush can help to reduce excess hair. Curly coated dogs: poodles, bichon frise, and kerry blue Terriers, have non-shedding coats that should be bathed and clipped about every 8 weeks. Daily brushing towards the end of the clipping cycle may be required. Short Coated Dogs; corgis, German shepherds and jack russell’s, should be brushed at least twice a week, more during seasonal sheds. Silky coated dogs, like collies, shelties and Afghan hounds, are the hardest type of coat to maintain, and require daily attention. Wiry coated dogs, such as Australian terriers and Carin terriers, have stiff, wiry coats that can shed, and requires frequent grooming to prevent matting. Atlanta Pet Life

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Sadie and her puppy of 8 weeks.


Tootsie is a one year old Boston Terrier and the love of my life. Tootsie is sweet, fun and beautiful. She can run faster than the wind and loves to play outside. I got Tootsie right after 2 very close friends passed away unexpectedly in separate incidents, and she was like receiving an angel from heaven. I don’t know how I could have handled the deaths of my two friends if I hadn’t had Tootsie in my life. So, I guess you could say that Tootsie rescued me.


Pepper is a Standard Poodle. Her father "Cooper" was featured on Duck Dynasty.

M olly Molly is the small white Chihuahua. She's ten years old and was our first foster dog turned foster failure.


Willow is the long haired blue merle colored toy Aussie and she's a year and a half. We got her from a responsible breeder who I still keep in touch with today.

Tiger passed away last February from cancer at 13. My firstborn baby who I still miss! I got her when I was still single from the Atlanta Humane Society.

Scrappy Email a high resolution picture of your pet and we will feature them here in Barks & Brags. Send images or stories, we all love a great rescue story. Send them to:

Willow Rocky is the predominately black and grey short haired chihuahua mix. He's 2 and we got him from a rescue. He was left in a breeder’s backyard with his siblings, mom, and dad until a neighbor called the rescue group to come get the entire family. 29


Atlanta Pet Life

Giving Your “I wanna take a shower okay?” “Wanna take a bath?”

Yo Yo, male Grand Eclectus, after his shower on his shower chair.

Bathing is important to all birds. Take a look outside the next time it rains and watch how many birds are in or under shrubs, flapping and wiggling their wings in the wet foliage or watch birds flock to a bird bath. Bathing helps to relieve dry, itchy skin, and helps keep feathers in top condition and, sometimes, it is just plain fun and can be good exercise too.

Atlanta Pet Life

“I need to take a shower”

I hear those things in my house at least several times a week and, sometimes, several times a day. But I live alone so who is saying it? My birds. And yes, they know what they are talking about and get quite insistent if I do not follow through with their requests/ demands. Bath time for our companion birds has come a long way from the days when the only thought given to it was the purchase of a tiny plastic bathtub with a mirrored bottom sold in the pet supplies section. (I never did quite understand the purpose of those mirrors). There are numerous products related to bird bathing available in pet stores and online but keep in mind that just because it is sold, does not mean it is a good idea. Please avoid sprays that claim to be made for bathing and deodorizing your birds. They can contain chemicals that strip the natural oils your bird needs to keep its feathers healthy and that can lead to things like feather plucking. And if your


bird smells bad enough that you think it needs to be deodorized, then you need to see a vet because there is probably something very wrong. All you really need is plain, cool water. In my house, I have two who like to get in the shower with me. I purchased a shower chair – made for humans who have difficulty standing in a shower- for them to sit on. There are special perches made for the shower available but I have yet to find one that reliably stays on the shower wall. I use a hand-held shower head that has several different spray settings. I bring in the birds individually and let them sit on the shower curtain

rod while I get myself clean with unscented shampoo and soap. Then I put them on the back of the shower chair, turn the spray setting to “mist”, make sure the water is cool but not cold and angle that mist so that it is over their body. They respond by opening their wings and sometimes flapping. I try to keep the spray on them long enough for them to get a thorough soaking or until they show that they have had enough. I add to the fun by pretending to open my “wings” and I sing a song I made up about taking showers. It makes the experience fun for us all. If your bird is not used to showering with you let them just observe you a few times so that they realize this is something fun. Some birds will not like being in the shower but will accept being misted with a spray bottle while they are in their cage. Please keep in mind, if you do this, that you ONLY use a spray bottle that has never had any kind of chemical in it and that, when not in use, you keep the bottle empty and dry. You might have to start this style of bathing by spraying near them in the cage, not at the bird, to let them get used to it. The advantage to this style of bathing is that it gives you a great opportunity and head start on also cleaning the cage. For smaller birds or birds who do not like

being in the shower or being sprayed you can use a shallow dish or bowl on the bottom of the cage. Just be sure to remove it after a few hours or as soon as it becomes dirty. Finches, canaries and parakeets will sometimes “bathe” if you hang some wet lettuce or kale leaves from the cage bars.

Here are a few more tips: ➢ Try to provide bathing opportunities in the early part of the day so that your bird has time to dry before bed time and make sure that your wet bird is not in a cold or drafty area or under an air conditioning vent. Bathing can be done more often in the warm months and less often during the cooler ones. ➢ Do not use a blow dryer to dry your bird. Most dryers have Teflon or other non-stick coatings in them and these, when overheated, can give off a colorless, odorless gas that can kill your bird quickly. ➢ If your bird showers with you be sure that you remove the bird from the bathroom before you put on your deodorant, use styling products or perfumes, etc… ➢ If possible, use a filter on your shower (available on-line or in stores) because the


Kelli Jean, Blue Front Amazon, spreads her wings for the cool water spray from a bottle.

chlorine in tap water can be drying. If using a spray bottle, make sure to use fresh, bottled or filtered water. ➢ If your bird has somehow gotten in to a substance that is oily or sticky or something that can’t be removed with plain water. PLEASE seek veterinary attention and do not try home remedies. ➢ If your bird seems resistant to bathing try this trick; turn on a vacuum cleaner and let it run in an area where the bird can hear it. For some reason, the sound makes many birds head to their water bowl for a bath.

Jan S. Granai, Kennesaw, GA, Bird mom to: Alice, YoYo, Tex, Hershel, Oliver, Peep, Willie, Chief Education Officer – Papayago Rescue House

Atlanta Pet Life

rs tee


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Tips for Better Pet Photography by Sarina

Roth, Never the Rock Photography


PHOTOGRAPHER Award-winning photographer Sarina Roth has been shooting professionally for over 10 years. She offers dynamic commercial photography services for a variety of businesses, such as high-end real estate, restaurants, and magazines, as well as providing profile headshots for artists, chefs, authors, and musicians. She also enjoys working with families, children and pets, creating beautiful and unique lifestyle portraits. Sarina offers photography workshops and presentations for adults and teens, civic groups, and organizations who benefit from improving photographic skills. She currently displays and sells her fine photographic art in several galleries and restaurants in north Georgia which include a variety of her travel, wildlife and artistic work.


Do you want to take better pictures of your pet? Whether they are furry, feathered or scaled, these 7 easy tips should help.


Know your equipment.


Prepare your pet.

Use your camera properly by reading the manual thoroughly. Learn about its capabilities and practice using the functions.


Take the time to brush their fur and clean their eyes before taking the shot.

Plan the shot.

Take portrait photos when your pet is calm and relaxed. When taking high energy action shots, be sure to use a fast shutter speed.

Limit the help. Too much activity can be a distraction for your pet. If someone else is with you, have them stand directly behind you, and only one person should make noises to get the pet’s attention.



Let there be light.

Unless you want a silhouette, be sure the light source is in front of your pet. If flash is too harsh, try backing up and zooming in. Shooting in the shade can give you better, more even light than shooting in bright sunshine with dark shadows.


Get low.

Take a variety of angles, including close-ups, tilted shots, and shots from their eye level, but always focus on their eyes.



mindful of the background.

Avoid shots with too much “stuff” behind your pet that can distract from the photo. Open grassy fields, plain walls and draped white sheets as a backdrop can help you create a better image.

I hope these tips will challenge you to improve your photography. If you have comments, questions or want to share your before/after images, please email me at 33

Atlanta Pet Life

September Best Friends Strut Your Mutt, Sept 24, 8 a.m. -12p.m., Old Fourth Ward, Atlanta This fundraising festival includes interactive games and activities for you, your dog and your whole family. Beneficiaries include: Angels Among Us Pet Rescue, Atlanta Animal Rescue Friends, Atlanta Pet Rescue and Adoption, Friends To The Forlorn Rescue, Georgia SPCA, Good Mews Animal Foundation, Mostly Mutts Animal Rescue

October Howl-O-Weenie, Oct 1, Clayton County International Park, 2300 Highway 138 S.E., Jonesboro Races. An artists market, silent auction, food trucks, beer, T-shirt sales with the annual original Howl design. Music by DJ Brian. A booth to get your doggie’s nails trimmed and microchip in. Beautiful fall weather and photo opps galore. Bring your picnic blanket or your camp chairs and settle in for a day you will never forget. Splish Splash Doggie Bash, Oct 1-2, Piedmont Park Aquatic Center, Get ready for the splashiest event of the year for your favorite furry friend! Join us for a dog swim at the pool and enjoy music, raffles, a Wag Bag, dog vendors, drinks & more! Event proceeds benefit the Piedmont Dog Park.



Bark & Boogie Ball, Oct 8, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Lanier Technical Institute, Cumming Atlanta Bully Fest VI, Oct 8, 9:30a.m.-4p.m., Canine Crossing Dog Park, College Park Free admission for you and your Bully! Free Parking, NO Booth Fees. Free Set Up! All you pay for is to register your dog for the show ring!!! Just bring your own tent and set up early because this event is sure to be packed….enjoy good music, great food, and the best bulls in the South. Road Trip Home’s Pumpkin Classic 10K/5K/ Fun Run, Oct 10, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Dellinger Park, Cartersville

In addition to the runs, there will be music, a barbecue, a Kids Zone and vendors. All proceeds will help pay for veterinary care and relocation costs to transport Georgia’s homeless cats and dogs to loving families in the Northeast. www.roadtriphome. Bark In The Park, Oct 1, 9 org a.m.-8 p.m., Downtown Dahlonega, BarkWorld 2016, Oct 12-16, Bark in the Park is looking for ven- 7a.m.-7p.m., Loews Hotel, Midtown dors to have a booth to sell items and AtlantaThe only conference designed showcase their business (animal-re- to help supercharge social stratelated or not!). Booths are $65 and gies as it relates to pet owners. Exthe entire fee helps the animals at pert-led workshops, breakouts and TLC; any money you make that day rock star keynote presentations. Disof the event is yours to keep. This is cover the best pet social media and a great event to meet people and sell digital techniques at BarkWorld. your stuff. Atlanta Pet Life


Remarkable Reptiles, Oct 22, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Ruckers, 3540 Keith Bridge Rd, Cumming The Wahsega 4-H Center will be bringing their snakes, turtles, and an alligator. Their team will educate us on how to tell venemous from non-venemous snakes, the importance of turtles in our ecosystem, and even show you a real life alligator. Boxerstock Music Festival, Oct 23, 12 p.m.- 6 p.m., Jim R. Miller Park, Callaway Road SW, Marietta

An all-day music festival with family-friendly music on two stages, dog demonstrations, guest speakers, family fun and entertainment, food trucks, two fenced dog parks for both big and small dogs, vendors, and Walk for the Animals, Oct more for the entire family, including 16, 7:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., Atlantic Sta- dogs. tion, Atlanta, Atlanta Humane So- The Derby’s 3rd Annual ciety’s largest fundraising event; all Fundraiser benefiting Angels net proceeds will help save the lives Among Us Pet Rescue, Oct. 23, 1 of Atlanta’s homeless animals. Cre- p.m.- 4 p.m., The Derby Sports Bar, ate your own individual fundraising 7716 Spalding Dr. Norcross, Enjoy webpage or “form a pack” and raise a silent auction, raffle, games, live money as part of a team. Every dollar music, drink specials, adoptable dogs team raised helps a homeless animal and more! find a forever home. Smyrna Woofstock, Oct. Fourth Annual Pink 26, Smyrna Market Village, 2840 Pooch Parade & Festival, Atlanta Road, Smyrna, Visit over 50 Oct 16 1 p.m.- 5 p.m., Pavilion 949 non-profit, rescue groups, pet relatSouth Main St, Old Town Conyers, ed arts & crafters, pet related busiIt’s that time of year for annual pink nesses, and commercial sponsors at pooch parade and festival. We would the event. Entertainment includes like you to come out and join us it’s dog contests, frisbee dog demonour fourth annual parade in efforts strations, the “Air Dogs” dock diving to beat out breast-cancer. All pro- competition, inflatables for the kids, ceeds go to the pink patriots team pet adoptions/vendors, arts & crafts, in their journey at the Atlanta today and much more. Plus incredible food walk for breast cancer. Join us as over trucks and a beer garden. 300 people and their pets celebrate Jonny & Xena 5K & Fun dressed in pink. Run, Oct 29, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m., 330 Town Center Avenue NW, Suwanee Red Carpet Fete, Oct 20, Proceeds will directly support autism 6:30p.m.- 10 p.m. ,“Come Together” programs and animal rescue. Cuson October 20 at The Estate in Buck- tom awards to the overall male and head for a Beatles-themed evening female, overall masters male and female, the top three in each of the featuring music, a live auction and celebrity guests. For in- normal five-year age groups 10 and formation about the event and about under through 75+ AND the fastest Fix Georgia Pets, visit fixgeorgiapets. dog. All fun runners receive a ribbon when they cross the finish line. org. All registrants will receive a shirt

OCT. 12-16, 2016


pet social media. Join us at the national social media & lifestyle conference for pet parents.

get 15% off registration with promo code PetPagesATL It’s o.k. for your pet to sit still Or stay put Or rollover Once you sit in a Subaru, you’ll stay.

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Atlanta Pet Life

She’s just trying to find

the way home. AND SHE WILL...

WITH YOUR HELP! afterwards while supplies last. In-store registration at Big Peach Running Co., Suwanee location. 9th Annual Daffy’s Day Fall Event & Hike for Hungry Pets, Oct 29, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Lilburn City Park, Join us for our 3nd Annual ‘Hike for Hungry Pets’ at Daffy’s Day 2016!!! This will be a leisurely hike on the paved Camp Creek Greenway around Lilburn City Park so you needn’t be an athlete to participate! This is a rain or shine event. All proceeds from ticket sales for this hike (other than those being donated to GA SPCA) will go directly to SOS Club, Inc. (our registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to “keeping families and their pets together”). PuppyUp Atlanta Walk 2016, Oct. 30, 12 p.m.-3:30 a.m., Brook Run Park 4770 N. Peachtree Rd, Dunwoody, The PuppyUp Foundation was to find out why dogs are getting cancer and why they are getting the same cancers that humans get. Through the PuppyUp Walks, we are building one of the largest pet and people cancer communities in the world. Thousands are walking with us to bring awareness to comparative oncology,the study of cancer in pets and people.

November Angels Among Us Pet Rescue Dog & Cat Adoption, Nov. 5, 12 p.m.-4 p.m., North Point Mall, Center Court, 1000 North Point Circle, Alpharetta Atlanta Pet Expo, Nov 12-13, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Georgia World Congress Center, Andrew Young International Boulevard NW, Atlanta Live entertainment, obedience demonstrations, author readings/book signings, exhibitors, prize giveaways and fun for both the two-legged AND four-legged. Dozens of rescue groups and a mega-adoption event, discounted vaccinations, microchipping, heartworm and flea preventatives, free nail trims, lure course, and agility demonstrations Atlanta Pet Life

Paws For Cocktails, Nov 17, Paws for Cocktails is the annual cocktail fundraiser for FurKids. More details will be announced soon, but make sure to mark your calendar and save the date for this amazing event!

December Weim & Cheese, Dec 3, 6:30-9:30 p.m., Huntcliff River Club, Sandy Springs, a gala to benefit the Gray Ghost. Heavy hors d’oeuvres, silent auction Reindog Parade at Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Date To Be Determind

All Year Round Sweet Water Brewery 195 Ottley Dr Ne, Atlanta, Come out and sample their brews anytime during the two hour tour period. Furry friends are allowed on the patio only. Wednesday - Friday, 5:30 p.m. 7:30 pm Saturday and Sunday, 2:30p.m. 4:30 pm $10 admission grants you a tour and 6 tasting tickets

Keep up with local pet events at events Check Dates And Times at PetPagesAtlanta .com


In the past year, Furkids has placed more than 3000 cats and dogs in carefully matched homes for fewer dollars... Not by cutting corners. Not by giving their animals anything less than the best care and conditions, but by making sure that every penny is used to the maximum benefit of the animals in their care. With the help of their extraordinary volunteers, fosters, thrift stores, and the generosity of ordinary people, Furkids continues to put donor money where it matters - into saving the lives of pets right here in our community.

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330 Town Center Ave. Suwanee, Georgia 30024 In store registration available at Big Peach Running Co., Suwanee Location. In store package pick-up Friday October 28, 2016 3:00-7:00pm


Atlanta Pet Life

Southern Journey

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The powder white sands of Destin, Sandestin, 30 A and Panama City Beach await you with a wide range of affordable pet accommodations.

Sometimes in life, you need to make a journey, leaving your old life behind to get to where you truly need to be. For some homeless Georgia pets, a journey is more than a change of scenery; it’s a chance to find a forever home. Since 2014, some lucky Atlanta pets have been doing just this with Southern Journey Animal Rescue and Transport.




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Southern Journey is the brainchild of two animal-loving Atlantans: Chris Bishop, a veterinary technician, and Michael Walls, a former writer and ad manager for the West Georgian. The duo have a mutual love of dogs with a complementary approach to rescue: Walls enjoys providing another chance to older dogs who’ve had a rough time, while Bishop loves giving puppies a happy start in life. “Together we make a perfect team,” says Bishop.

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Bishop and Walls had been facilitating local adoptions with area rescues, but found their efforts weren’t enough to keep pace with the number of animals being lost in the shelters. When they learned that there is actually a shortage of adoptable animals in the northeastern U.S. due to the prevalence of spay/neuter programs there, they knew they’d found their mission, but needed financial support. They met with Betty Lou Stokes and Suzette Lindsay of Top Dogs Pet Boutique, who were looking for a way to leverage their stores’ success to help save animals in need. A happy partnership was born.


Next they needed a responsible group to receive the animals, so Bishop and Walls contacted Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, MA, one of the largest no-kill shelters in the region. “Working with them has been a blessing,” says Bishop. “They are a huge part of the success of our animals. They strongly believe in finding them the perfect home and screen potential adopters. We have formed an everlasting bond with each other.” Most of Southern Journey’s passengers come from animal control facilities, owner surrenders and rescues. Each animal is placed in foster care during the medical clearance process, with food and supplies provided by Southern Journey. On travel day, up to 60 pets are loaded into a gleaming new cargo van for the 18-20-hour journey north, traveling in climate-controlled comfort with food, water, bedding, and toys. After a 48-hour quarantine, they are available for adoption, and within a week, more than 90 percent of the newly minted New Englanders are in their forever homes. The scope of Southern Journey’s mission continues to grow. It now does two transports per month involving a total of 60-100 animals, and is working on a second partnership with another no-kill shelter in Vermont. This past July it kicked off a new cat program that enables them to rescue and send 30 cats on each transport.

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“The need for our service is great,” says Bishop. “So many animals are being euthanized in our local shelters because there is just no space to house them. There has been a positive change, but there is much more work to be done. Spay and neuter is the best way to stop the overpopulation problem with animals in the south.” He concludes, “We are all working together for a promising future for all animals.”

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Southern Journey is in need of fosters caregivers, transport drivers, volunteers and donations to continue their work. To learn more, visit 39

Atlanta Pet Life

I Love My Leash!

of 14 bright and vibrant colors with fun names such as raspberry, punch and olive. Plus the leashes are washable. Simply hand wash and air dry. “The length of the leash you choose depends on the owner’s height and the height of the dog” explains Stevenson. “For a Saint Bernard, for example, you may want a shorter leash so that the dog walks next to you. But it is all about what is comfortable for the customer.” Naming his new company was incredibly easy. Marc’s customers would constantly come back and say, “I love my leash!” So it was a no brainer that Luv My Leash would be the company name.

Marc Stevenson’s goal in life did not include being an inventor. But after his clients began to complain of arm fatigue and hand burn due to walking their very exuberant dogs, Marc set out to design a solution. A dog trainer for over 30 years, Marc used his experience coupled with years of client feedback to produce an ultra-light weight, super strong, padded leash that dramatically reduces arm and hand pressure while preventing dogs from pulling. “I figured out how to pad a dog leash, developed the product to be indestructible with a high breakpoint of 4200 pounds and then had it patented. My mission was to create a leash for dogs weighing 20lbs or more that would be comfortable in my client’s hand. The purpose was to make their walking, running, or training experience more enjoyable.“ The leash construction features tubular nylon webbing for strength, cotton fill for comfort, and weighs only 6oz. The versatile leash doubles as a leash harness and features a snap on handle to hold items such as keys or a doggie bag. An extra snap can connect a leash to walk two dogs. The handle can also be connected to a belt loop for hands free walking. The leashes come in a variety of lengths from one to six feet and sport a choice Atlanta Pet Life


What’s Next? What’s next for Luv My Leash? Marc is developing a new website which will provide a discount for rescues and also enable customers to be able to donate to a rescue. Based in Nashville, Marc Stevenson does not have any animals himself due to his heavy travel schedule, but he is more than happy to use his experience as a dog trainer to help clients with their pets. Luv My Leash is sold on their website (price point is from $17.50 to $35.00) at and also via some retailers throughout Atlanta and Nashville. You can often find Marc as a vendor at local pet events, such as DogFest Walk n’ Roll, Suwanee Fest and Boxerstock Music Festival . 615-578-1519

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Foxface Lo, Siganus vulpinus The Foxface Rabbit Fish from Australia and Indonesia is a charming salt water fish which is not seen in many aquariums. One of the best kept secrets of the aquarium industry. The term “rabbit fish” comes from the similarity in the shape of its nose to a rabbit’s. The Foxface has a bright mottled yellow color, similar to that of a Yellow Tang. Its white face bears distinctive black markings reminiscent of a fox. The fish also has a camouflage color scheme. It displays this camouflage when it is sleeping, hiding, or stressed. These colors are very effective when it is among rockwork in an aquarium. There is a row of venomous spines along the top of the Foxface’s body. Although the Foxface is not an aggressive fish, its spines carry a strong sting, and predators tend to leave it alone. Aquarium owners are rarely stung, but it does happen, so caution must be exercised when one’s hands are inside the aquarium. In an aquarium, Foxface Rabbit Fish can be a model citizen, if not somewhat skittish. It is non-aggressive (except to other Rabbit Fish) and is a good, hardy fish to add to a new display. Most of the Foxface Rabbit Fish in the aquariums range from 4-6 inches, although they have been known to grow up to 9 inches. Couple that with their active swimming behavior, and they will do best in a six-foot tank (125 gallon) or longer. They are sometimes looked at as being a gentler substitute for a Yellow Tang because they don’t have the highly territorial and bullying behavior often seen in Yellow Tangs (in my experience, this often comes as a behavior from being added to an aquarium too early and establishing a large territory in the tank). While Foxface Rabbit Fish are omnivores, they mostly eat algae. They enjoy sheets of seaweed and macroalgae, such as caulerpa, which can overgrow in an aquarium. The fish should be kept well fed, especially in a reef or mixed-reef display. If it is hungry, it has been observed nipping at some of the corals, mostly zoanthids and button-polyps.

Foxface Rabbit Fish

David Green Co-Founder of ReefTechs Aquarium Consultants. He oversees aquarium maintenance operations and quality control. He is a SeaChem Certified Technician, an Atlanta native and a US Navy Veteran.

Putting an Aquarium Together

power strips off of the floor and to avoid getting them wet. Some people hire an electrician to run a line, if necessary. Place larger aquariums by a load-bearing wall. A 75-gallon tank will easily weigh 1,000 pounds, which in my experience, has been fine in most locations. With larger tanks, the weight increases dramatically. Most floors can handle a load of this size, but it is always better to know beforehand. Hiring a contractor to check the floor to make sure it can hold the larger aquariums is advised for large aquariums. The room in which the aquarium is placed should be kept at a consistent, moderate temperature. Aquarium water temperatures average approximately 75 to 80 degrees (I like 78 degrees). While most aquariums are equipped with some sort of heater, the ambient temperature determines how hard the heater has to work and how consistent

As families come home from vacation, this time of year often finds people thinking about their homes and how to make them more enjoyable. I’m asked about installing home aquariums more often during the fall than at any other time. It is not necessarily complicated, but building a happy aquarium can involve thinking about a few things. sitate a custom tank. Mo s t common aquarium sizes range from a two-foot cube on a pedestal to around 10-12 feet long. Where to Put the Most aquariums that I most ofAquarium ten see in both homes and businesses are larger tanks four to six Before choosing an aquarium, feet long. it’s necessary to know where it When placing your aquarium, will be located. An aquarium is leave 6-12 inches of space on the as much a work of living art as sides and in back and at least 18 it is a collection of pets, so mak- inches above the top for cleaning it an active part of your decor ing and access. Place it close to a with prominent placement will source of electricity to avoid the help maximize your enjoyment. use of unsightly extension cords. The family enjoys the aquarium Many aquariums are placed every day, and visitors almost al- above an electrical outlet from ways want to see it. So putting it which one or two power strips somewhere where you entertain are run, hidden by the stand. and where everyone sees it every Provide space to mount the day will help you get more out of your tank. This is often in a living room or entertainment room. Sometimes it is placed next to the main focal point of the room, such as a tv, or it is treated as a second focal point, possibly on an adjoining wall. If it will be placed on a stand, consider what the stand will look like. The aquarium stands on the market are functional, but they don’t always match or blend in well with the look of one’s home. A contractor or furniture builder can either modify the stand or build another to make the aquarium fit into the room more seamlessly. If it is going inside a wall, decide if it will be viewed on both sides from adjoining rooms, which will likely neces-

Atlanta Pet Life


the tank temperature is, which is very important to keep stable. Avoid putting the aquarium in direct sunlight; this will help prevent uncontrolled heating and help reduce or eliminate nuisance algae. An important thing is to consider hiring an aquarium professional for a consultation. This will almost always get better results than relying on someone in a store who doesn’t know where the aquarium is going. A consultant can see the aquarium’s intended location and what is around it without having to guess. It’s also a good opportunity to get advice, but beware of “free consultations” that are often sales pitches in disguise. A consultation should answer your questions, make recommendations, and provide you with a list of everything you need, whether you choose to hire that professional or someone else for installation or maintenance.

Choosing the Aquarium Many factors affect the type of aquarium you choose. Here is a list of the common aquarium types and the most important requirements for each: • Most freshwater aquariums, including cichlid tanks, are not demanding at all. A simple filter, heater, and light are sufficient for most. • Planted freshwater aquariums need high quality water and lighting that promotes photosynthesis. • Saltwater Fish-Only with Live Rock (FOWLR) aquariums can be very forgiving, as long as good filtration is in place. • A saltwater mixed reef needs excellent water quality and quality lighting that promotes photosynthesis • Saltwater reef tanks need consistent pristine water conditions with brighter lighting in specific spectrums, depending on what is in the aquarium.

Choosing the Tank When I am asked what size aquarium someone should get, I tell him or her that I believe that a person should get as large an aquarium as possible. For many, that means a capacity of 75-90 gallons. These tanks are normally four feet long and are on the smaller end of the large aquarium range. I don’t usually recommend a 55-gallon tank, because the difference between 55 and 75 gallons is small, as far as the footprint goes, but the difference is impressive in the way the aquarium looks and what can be put into it. Keep in mind that aquariums come in a wide range of prices. “More expensive” does not always equal “better,” although “cheap” often means “low quality.”

Acrylic aquariums are a little clearer than glass and are lighter, which makes a big difference in the larger sizes. However, they are easily scratched, so much so that there is a separate set of tools for cleaning acrylic tanks, and cleaning them generally requires more time and cautious effort. Glass aquariums are strong, but heavier than acrylic. Thicker glass can add a slight green tinge to the display, although it is

mostly unnoticeable. It is simple to clean and harder to scratch. Stick with the larger brands, such as Marineland, Aqueon, Deep Blue, and Red Sea. From what I have seen and what others tell me, these are all good quality and consistently reliable. I have experienced and heard of more problems with cheaply made aquariums. Getting a “reef-ready” tank with built-in overflows can save a lot of headaches; it also hides pipes from view, making them a viable option for freshwater tanks, too.

Lighting Lighting comes in four basic types: LED (Light Emitting Diode), metal halide, high output and very high output fluorescent and compact fluorescent. LED lighting had a bad reputation just a few years ago when it was new. However, it has come a long way, and there is a large 45

selection of lights available. Beware of cheap LED lights; this is one of those areas in which you get what you pay for. I usually recommend one of a couple different lights to my customers, depending on how they will be used. Marineland makes a solid light that works well for many aquariums. The higher end lights come with blue dusk/dawn lights (actinic) and white lights, each with a timer built in. I have

seen their reef lights grow several corals well. EcoTech Marine’s Radions are the light that other lights are compared to. They are very customizable, with sunset and sunrise, variable weather, lunar cycles, and can be controlled from anywhere with an internet connection using their ReefLink wireless device. Their outstanding customer service offsets what can be a difficult installation process. T5 High-Output and Very High Output Fluorescent Lighting have been in use for quite a while, and are still widely used because they work well. T5 bulbs are narrow fluorescent bulbs with a very specific spectrum based on what they are meant to do. There are bulbs for plants, corals, and general purposes. They should be replaced every six to nine months, depending on the manufacturer and what one is trying to accomplish. Metal halide lighting is the standard by which all other lighting is often measured. These lights are bright—the closest thing to putting the sun right on top of an aquarium. This performance comes with a cost, however:

Metal halide lights are expensive to buy and to run, and generate considerable heat. Compact fluorescents were the standard until other lights surpassed them. These dual-tube bulbs put out a strong light and can be set up with two spectrums. They aren’t out of the game yet, but someone getting into aquariums will be happier with a different choice.

Flow Water in an aquarium should always be moving, just as in a fish’s natural home. This gets pollutants into the filtration system and out of the water. It also distributes oxygen and food throughout the tank, along with a variety of other tasks. All aquariums have a main pump. It may be in a filter hanging on the back of the tank, or it could be in a separate tank, or “sump,” that handles filtration. If it is in the filter, it is almost always built in. If it is in the sump, it stands alone and returns water to the display tank. Inside the tank, currents can be created with what is called a “power head.” Power heads are small fans that blow water through the tank. Saltwater aquariums need these, especially if they are reefs, or mixed-reefs. Freshwater tanks don’t necessarily need them, although they can be beneficial if set up correctly. Atlanta Pet Life

Life Support The most important job an aquarium does is remove waste and waste materials from the water. The more efficiently a system does this, the better it is for the health of the aquarium system and its inhabitants and the happiness of the owner.

Hang-on-the-Back Filters The entry level to filtration is the filter that hangs on the back of an aquarium tank. I have seen them perform well for both planted and non-planted freshwater and for saltwater fish-only aquariums. While they are cheap and easy to maintain, they have drawbacks: I have seen several of these filters fail. They can become noisy and splash water on and around the aquarium. They have parts that often get stuck, and they are somewhat limited in what they can remove from the water. There is a type of “pre-filter” which uses a U-tube to carry water over the back of the aquarium, draining into the sump below. These depend on a constantly clear siphon being maintained. If they get blocked or impeded, flow through the U-tube slows to the point where it doesn’t keep up with the water being pumped into the display, and a large amount of water ends up on the floor. In my experience, it has not been a question of “if” as much “when” this will happen.

Canister Filters The next step up is the canister filter. These sit hidden from view below the tank, pulling water from the display and running it through a series of filters before returning it into the display. The main disadvantage to canister filters is that they do not oxygenate the water as it is filtered. This can be overcome by making sure that it is done in the display either with a bubbler or creating enough surface movement to mix oxygen in the water. However, canister filters are highly customizable. Different filtration media and methods can be used based on the needs of the aquarium, and are simple to reconfigure as those needs change. Atlanta Pet Life

Wet/Dry Filters Wet/Dry filters are most often used on saltwater FOWLR tanks. They sit below the tank, and water from the display drains into a chamber filled with balls specially made to maximize surface area called “bio-balls.” Bacteria growing on the Bio-balls process dissolved wastes into less toxic compounds. Wet/Dry filters were the industry standard for years. They oxygenate water quite efficiently, but after time, some of this collected waste material can get back into the tank. They also have a tendency to splash quite a bit, affecting the water’s salinity and making a mess in the stand.

Sumps Sumps allow the maximum amount of waste to be removed from an aquarium. These tanks sit below the display tank in the stand, or even in some cases in another room. All water conditioning, filtration, heating, dosing chemicals, and other treatment happens in the sump, keeping unsightly equipment, tubes, and hoses out of the display.

Filtration Equipment Aquarium filtration equipment includes filter socks, UV sterilizers, protein skimmers, bio-pellet reactors and more. While no filtration system is 100% effective, it is an essential part of maintaining a clean tank environment. Filter socks remove particles from the water and make it clearer. They are very efficient and can be reused, saving money over repeatedly buying filter material. UV Sterilizers run the water past an ultraviolet light that neutralizes parasites with UV radiation. The tanks that I have seen using these have a much lower instance of parasites, which is enough for me to generally recommend them. Protein skimmers do not work in fresh water, but are a must for saltwater aquariums. 46

A protein skimmer removes dissolved wastes from the water by creating thousands of micro bubbles with an electric charge which attract dissolved wastes to them. They stick together and are pushed up out of the water and into a collection cup that is removed, rinsed off, and reattached. Bio-Pellet reactors work in conjunction with protein skimmers. They are filled with pellets that are a food source for certain heterotrophic bacteria that assimilate dissolved wastes into their bodies. Once they grow large enough, they fall out of the reactor and are removed by the protein skimmer.

Creating the living space Decorations come in many forms, most available at any local pet store. Items obtained elsewhere should be thoroughly checked for safety and compatibility with both aquariums and fish. Metal items and components should be avoided. For the interior, you may want to choose some sort of sand or gravel for the bottom, considering the color and size of the grains or pebbles. I often recommend a good crushed aragonite for saltwater tanks, and against black sand, since some black sands are magnetic, and black often shows fish waste prominently. You may also opt for nothing at all. For freshwater aquariums, most customers are happiest with natural looking substrates, although some like brightly colored gravel. For planted tanks, I specifically recommend SeaChem’s Flourite Onyx Sand to my customers: Its gray color may not sound very exciting, but I have gotten many comments on how it makes the colors pop. A large piece of driftwood or a small accent piece or two also add natural beauty to a freshwater tank, planted or otherwise. Prices for these decorations vary but can be expensive. Saltwater tanks generally use “live rock,” so called because of all the life that has developed on it in the form of bacteria, plant life, and other animals, such as sponges. Rocks, wood and other decorations do more than simply look pretty; they also give the fish places to call home and to hide in. The more holes they can provide, the better. Keep this in mind while setting everything up inside the aquarium. A happy aquarium means happy fish and happy pet owners. The list of “what to get” can seem long. But unlike with any other pet, an entire ecosystem is being created. Doing it thoroughly from the beginning creates a better experience for everyone.

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Thank you Vido my sweet boy; we will never forget you. Rest in peace.

It was supposed to be a big adventure for all of us.

My husband and I were going on a month-long vacation to Germany to visit my family and taking our 3 ½-year-old Doberman, Vido, with us. As a former event planner and now pet first aid instructor, I had planned everything for a smooth journey for both of us and especially for our beloved dog. As a service dog, Vido was allowed in the cabin, and with the support of some homeopathic drops for anxiety, was very calm throughout the nine-hour flight. Even when we hit some turbulence and our stomachs turned for a moment, he stayed put, although I’ll never forget his nauseated expression. Vido was a well-behaved, intelligent, affectionate dog with great manners who most of the time had the freedom of running without a leash, so at my cousin’s house in the countryside, his reward was a long walk in the vineyards. He loved the open fields and ran happily with his ears flopping. I had arranged for several doggie dates with friends, as playing with other dogs was his greatest motivation. Three weeks into our trip, our wonderful vacation turned into our worst nightmare. Vido was to be the ring bearer at my cousin’s wedding, and on that day my husband took him for his now usual walk in the vineyards. As I was getting ready, I was alarmed by a loud thud on the door and instantly knew something was wrong. I opened it with my heart already pounding and saw my husband, accompanied by two police officers, horror and shock on his face. His clothes were ripped in several

Atlanta Pet Life

places and his arms bloody, the tendons hanging out like spaghetti. Behind him was Vido, as if nothing had happened. My head was spinning. As we waited for the ambulance, my husband told me that Vido had been playing with some other dogs and gotten into a fight with one in competition for a female, but nothing serious had happened and everyone had gone their separate ways. After walking away, Vido attacked my husband for no apparent reason and did not stop for several minutes. We both knew how strong and athletic Vido was, but I could not believe he was capable of such a vicious attack. Thankfully, my husband’s wounds were not life threatening and he was flown by helicopter to a hospital, where hand surgeons operated for four hours. The following days were surreal as I tried to figure out what to do. I was constantly on the phone talking to canine psychologists, trainers, breeders and shelter owners. I consulted with several vets, including the largest veterinary clinic in the area. Meanwhile, upon my husband’s release from the hospital, Vido greeted him wholeheartedly and did not seem to remember attacking him. Nobody could give me an answer as to why Vido had had this aggressive outburst, yet was now his normal self again.

The prognosis for his future was not looking good. Was it pain-induced aggression—a defensive reaction in response to a medical condition? According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, Dobermans are among those breeds with the highest incidence of brain tumors, but Vido showed no other classic symptoms. A theory exists that there is a condition present in breeds with especially narrow heads that can cause the arteries between the skull and brain to swell under conditions of extreme stress and trigger a debilitating migraine attack, but I was unable to confirm this. Upon further research into the different types of canine aggression, two stood out in Vido’s case: the first being redirected aggression, which is characterized by frustration and occurs when the primary target of aggression is inaccessible. Vido was unable to carry out the fight with the other dog and could have been pent up. But as the attack happened some time afterward, and, as my husband described, with Vido having glazed eyes and seeming to be in a haze and unaware of what he was doing, his symptoms did not seem to fit this profile. The second type is idiopathic aggression, also called “mental lapse syndrome” or “rage syndrome,” which is severe aggressive behavior that appears unprovoked and is unpredictable and uncontrolled in nature. It is a neuronal dysfunction and is presumably caused by genetics. The majority of behavior experts agree 48

that this condition is incurable and that euthanasia is the most responsible choice. We will never know for sure what caused Vido to crack. Ultimately, we had to admit to ourselves that his condition was incurable and that he had become an unpredictable, dangerous dog that could snap again at any time. With the attack and his history of mistreatment, it was inconceivable that he would ever be able to have a normal life again: He would have had to wear a muzzle at all times and likely have spent the rest of his life in a shelter. The separation from us would have traumatized him even further. I had to spare him from a life like that. It was the hardest and most painful decision we have ever had to make. Vido was a beautiful soul, and even now keeps on teaching us about life, death, love and compassion. In many ways his death was the catalyst for our family to open our hearts and to heal old wounds. We all grew closer and I am thankful for that. About DobieMom Nicole Essawy grew up in Germany and immigrated to the U.S. in 2003. She is a certified Pet Tech Instructor, giving classes on first aid techniques for dogs and cats. Nicole teaches pet parents and industry professionals alike in the Atlanta Area. She also barks about a healthy lifestyle through her blog at

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Vol 1no3 12016  
Vol 1no3 12016  

Fall 2016 issue of Atlanta Pet Life. Pet Blood donation, senior adoptable pets, How to start an aquarium, and Ginny Millner with Fix Georgi...