LOSE WEIGHT How My Dog Helped Me Drop 37 Pounds!
TAILS U.S. Senator Tim Scott How a Rescued Rottweiler Saved My Grandfather
The Secret Language of Cats Decoding from Head to Tail
Urban Coyote Are We Surrounded? .
A Charleston Animal Society Publication
WINTER 2015 | CAROLINA TAILS
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WINTER 2015 | CAROLINA TAILS
TAILS Publisher: Keith Simmons Editor-in-Chief: Dan Krosse Managing Editor: Joe Elmore Graphic Design: Heineman Design Advertising Director: Lila K. Cloar, email@example.com Writers: Ellie Whitcomb Payne, Teri Errico, Dan Krosse, Claire Roberson, Helen Ravenel Hammond, Tim Scott Cover Photo: Jason Bennett Photographers: Reese Moore, Jason Bennett Ada Samonte, Dana Cubbage Distribution Manager: Denise Fletcher Contributors: Kay Hyman For inquiries regarding advertising, distribution or suggestions in Carolina Tails call (843) 352-9048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2455 Remount Road, North Charleston, SC 29406 (843) 747-4849
President: Elizabeth Bradham Vice President: Julie Bresnan Vice President: Ann Long Merck Vice President: Matt Watson, CPA, CVA Secretary: Perry Jameson, DVM Treasurer: Hilton Smith, III Chief Executive Officer: Joe Elmore
Members of the Board Kiara Barnett Mary Black Joe Waring, Esq. Sarah Hamlin Hastings Cynthia Hayes Andrea Ferguson Helen Pratt-Thomas Eugenia Burtschy Nancy Worsham Britton M. Hawk, Esq. Gerri Greenwood Dean Riegel
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Contents WINTER 2015
Senator Tim Scott: The Power of Unconditional Love
The Secret Language of Cats
Katherine P. Waring Fund
Urban Coyote: Are We Surrounded?
The Smartest Dog in the World: She Lives Here in South Carolina
Giving a Bunny for Easter? Why Thatâ€™s Not Such a Great Idea
The Free Roaming Cat Initiative
My Dog Helped Me Lose Weight!
Music to their Ears? Pets & Music: Fact vs. Fiction
Ask the Vet
Pet Heroes: The 8-Year-Old & The War Veteran
Kids Zone Time to Play!
Photographer: Reese Moore
Welcome DEAR FRIENDS,
o here we are, after the holidays, with perhaps a few resolutions to uphold and a few pounds to shed – sound familiar? Well, now is the time to get moving and who is a better exercise and walking partner than your dog? Take it from Donna Murray, profiled in this issue, who shed 37 pounds with coaching and companionship from her cocker spaniel Ellie. Shortly after becoming a U.S. Senator, Tim Scott spoke at our annual meeting about his grandfather’s two favorite things, his pick-up truck and his dog, Sam, adopted from Charleston Animal Society as a puppy. Sam became his grandfather’s constant companion after the loss of his wife, changing his life and the lives of all those around him, including the life of the Senator. And if you need a hero for the New Year, then let us introduce you to eight-year-old Rachel Mennett of Summerville. When Rachel heard about a local veteran in need of a service dog, she took it upon herself to raise $12,000. Please read our article on how she raised the funds – I know you will be surprised! And finally, our third issue also includes articles on the secret language of cats, the spread of coyotes in our area and a look at Charleston Animal Society’s highly acclaimed free-roaming cat initiative. We hope that you will enjoy reading this issue, and wish you the best for the New Year! With kind regards,
Elizabeth Bradham, President, Charleston Animal Society
Rachel Mennett heard Iraqi War Veteran Nick Bailey needed help obtaining a service dog and the 8-year-old came through in a very big way (Pg. 36).
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NEWS:: You Can Use
New ER Tidb s its
PET POINTERS You Go, Girl! Harry Barker’s Carol Perkins Finds Calling Carol Perkins is the queen of re-invention. Starting her career as a model with the Ford Modeling Agency, Perkins segued into a gig with magicians Penn & Teller as a ﬁre-eater! Then, after being diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease that impacts a person’s pituitary gland, Perkins had to once again change careers. As she was recovering, she started a pet-sitting business in New York. On the side, she began crafting dog blankets while “watching lots of daytime TV.” An editor friend in her building featured one of her hand-crafted dog beds on the pages of In Style. In came an overwhelming amount of orders from all over the country. “I didn’t even have a business license,” she laughed. Perkins said that her newfound craft once again gave her a restored purpose that was “rich and rewarding.” As her business grew, she sold her New York City loft, spent hours researching business practices, met with textile manufacturers and opened her ﬁrst “Harry Barker” retail shop in Savannah. The store featured pet bedding, treats and toys, as well as a pet portrait gallery. She named the store after her own Shelty/Collie mix who she said looked like Richard Gere. After she met and married Charleston Public Relations powerhouse David Rawle, Perkins moved her business to Charleston. Since 2000, Perkins has been providing earth-friendly products in her Harry Barker collection. She has just moved into a brand new office building with more warehouse space for the ever-expanding business. Perkins made a commitment early on to provide dog lovers everywhere with high-quality, earth-friendly products and treats. “These ‘products with a purpose’ are important to me, as I believe people are inherently good.” The Canines for Veterans Collection, the Sweetgrass Basket Collection and the Mote Marine Collection all have a portion of their proceeds going to support various causes. “Pets deserve the best the world has to offer,” she said. The little idea that started from Perkins’ kitchen table in New York is now a successful company with over 1,600 stores and many online retailers. Now that’s something to bark about!
Having A Ball Neuticles are testicular implants for pets who’ve been neutered. Sound crazy? Check out the numbers: 6 CAROLINA TAILS | WINTER 2015
600,000 pairs sold
$469 for a pair of Ultra-Plus
150 Vets in South Carolina offer 50 states the procedure have customers
20 years is how long Neuticles have been offered.
What Not to Do When Housetraining Ahhh…the joys of puppy training. Anyone who’s ever taken on a puppy knows the challenge of housetraining a dog. The ASPCA has boiled success down to two key points:
1 out of 4 animals in shelters are purebreeds
1. Prevent indoor accidents through confinement (crate or small room) and close supervision. 2. Take a puppy outside on a frequent and regular schedule and reward him for doing his business where you want him to go.
Jill Lundgrin of Coastal Canine Academy in Mt. Pleasant has an additional tip, “When a puppy goes outside, make sure they do their business before they get to play or go for a walk. The fun is their reward.’’ But, did you know there are some absolute training techniques you should avoid? Here’s what not to do when housetraining your puppy: ■ Do not rub your puppy’s nose in his waste. ■ Do not scold your dog for eliminating indoors. Instead, if you catch him in the act, make a noise to startle him and stop him from urinating or defecating. Then immediately show your dog where you want him to go by running with him outside, waiting until he goes, and then praising and rewarding him. ■ Do not physically punish your puppy for accidents (hitting with newspaper, spanking, etc.) ■ Do not conﬁne your puppy to a small area for hours each day, without doing anything else to correct the problem. Lundgrin offers one other bit of advice, “set a timer!” Lundgrin says in our busy society, we forget to get the puppy outside as often as we should, and that’s when an accident happens.
Animals Fiji Veterinarian Dr. Jeff Allen performs a Spay/Neuter procedure on one of the many island dogs now benefitting from excess donated medical supplies sent from Charleston Animal Society.
Reaching Out to an Island Nation As the crow flies, Charleston is 7,550 miles from Fiji. That’s a really long flight. But for Carol and John Phelps, it’s a trip they make as animal ambassadors for Charleston Animal Society. Because stuffed inside their suitcases, are life-saving gifts from Charleston Animal Society to the animals of Fiji. The Phelps (Carol is a Charleston Animal Society volunteer) purchased a home in this tiny Pacific country after visiting for several years. It was during these visits, that the plight of island dogs and cats caught their attention. “Fijians are known as the nicest people in the world. But culturally, they don’t regard animals like we do here,” John Phelps said, “Animals don’t live inside. Part of our goal is to raise interest in animal welfare.” One of the first steps was connecting with the islands’ rescue, Animals Fiji. When the Phelps first came to this island nation, there wasn’t a veterinarian anywhere to be found, but as the rescue grew, organizers were able to entice a veterinarian to stay. But a vet with no medical supplies may not be very effective. That’s when John Phelps began talking to Animals Fiji about an idea he had. “Everyone knows that Charleston Animal Society is extremely generous, and I thought they may be able to help,” Phelps said. After conversations with Charleston Animal Society’s Director of Public Health and Spay/Neuter Initiatives, Dr. Lucy Fuller, Phelps got permission to bring excess donated medical supplies from Charleston Animal Society to Fiji, to treat animals that would have no other alternatives. Charleston Animal Society also shares the extra supplies with shelters around the Lowcountry. “The people who’ve seen their animals treated for injuries or disease are so grateful,” Phelps said. So far, 75-pounds of sutures and other medical supplies have made their way to animals in Fiji, thanks to the innovative thinking of the Phelps – and their luggage. “There are places like this all over the world that need help, this just happens to be ours,” Phelps said.
Inbox:: Reader Feedback
DEAR CAROLINA TAILS: “OMG. I love your magazine “Carolina Tails” so much! This Fall’s issue touched on all the issues I bring up with friends, but no one likes to talk about ... the inhumane drug Premarin, the reasons NOT to declaw cats, and how awesome black cats are! Thank you, thank you! You guys ROCK.” – Carol Herard “I lost quite a few pets to cancer already, so (the article about the new way to treat cancer) is welcome news. Please let me know what I need to do to keep these magazines coming without any interruption.” – Lee Worton On June 1, 2013 we adopted Bubba from Charleston Animal Society and he has become the most loveable and fun dog. If you have not read the most recent Carolina Tails magazine, you will want to, because there is a heart-warming story about Emily, The Food Lion Dog on Johns Island. She came to visit us one day and found Bubba. He is pictured in the article with Sugar, the border collie mix and Emily. Thank you for a wonderful dog! – Mary Beth McKain Dew
Salute to Animal Lovers February 28th 6pm Memminger Auditorium 56 Beaufain Street Join us for the 141st gathering of Charleston Animal Society. The keynote speaker will be Dana Perino, a Political Commentator and Host of “The Five” on Fox News. She was the 27th Press Secretary of the United States, serving under George W. Bush. In 2010, she was nominated by President Obama to serve on a bi-partisan board to oversee government-sponsored international broadcasting. Dana is a well-known animal rights advocate and dog enthusiast. Limited Seating Available. RSVP by February 10. RSVP@CharlestonAnimalSociety.org
SEWE February 13 – 15 Various Downtown Charleston Venues The ﬁrst Southeastern Wildlife Exposition was held in 1983. Since then, SEWE has grown to 40,000 attendees, with 500 artists, exhibitors and wildlife experts from around the world. Don’t miss the highlight of the event, the “Dock Dog” competition! Watch as people from around the country show off their water dogs as they ﬂy off a dock trying to jump the furthest. 8 CAROLINA TAILS | WINTER 2015
Pet Fest April 11 & 12 Palmetto Island County Park 10am – 4pm Our pets love us unconditionally - so why not give back to your best friends by bringing them out to experience a day of fun, frolic and exploration? Pets and their owners are invited to join Charleston County Parks for a full weekend of exhibits, demonstrations, experts, entertainment, and more at Charleston’s premiere pet festival! Pet Fest provides an opportunity for local pet organizations and businesses to showcase their causes, products, and services in a fun, pet-friendly environment.
CHARLESTON ANIMAL SOCIETY By the Numbers
70% 18,000 ANIMALS ARE TOUCHED BY CHARLESTON ANIMAL SOCIETY EVERY YEAR.
Keep animals from ever having to enter our shelter.
of animals being sheltered by Charleston Animal Society at any given time, are actually not in the shelter, but out in the community with our foster families.
9,000 Avoid entering the shelter because of preventative programs offered:
HIGH-VOLUME SPAY-NEUTER CLINIC. Pets for Life. Food bank. Vaccinations.
If lined up in a row, that’s how far every cat and dog spayed and neutered by Charleston Animal Society last year would stretch. (That’s from the Battery, all the way over the James Island Connector!)
U.S. Senator Tim Scott’s support of Charleston Animal Society goes back decades, to his time spent on Charleston County Council. And despite his busy schedule on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Senator Scott agreed to share a personal story, about how a dog he adopted at Charleston Animal Society changed his grandfather’s life, and more surprisingly, his life and that of his entire family.
Senator Tim Scott The Power of Puppy Love
E M O H ever
BY TIM SCOTT
Photographer: Jason Bennett
For und! Fo
n April 29, 2001, my grandmother passed away at the age of 77. My grandfather was 81 and we were worried about how he would adapt. For the next couple of years we worked with him and we did lots of things together. We renewed a strong and healthy relationship with each other, and in the process, we were able to get him a house. It was a fantastic time for my relationship with my grandfather, but I knew there was still something missing. It took a few years, but it finally occurred to me, that what my grandfather was missing was the power of companionship. The power of love. After working with Charleston Animal Society for so many years, I had a thought that they could help. So as he turned 84, we brought a wonderful, kind, cuddly Rottweiler home to my grandfather. Within two years, this nice, cuddly pup grew into a 135-pound dog. And just like that, my grandfather came back to life. During this time, there were two things in this world that my grandfather loved more than anything else (No, it wasn’t his grandkids). It was his Ford F-150 pickup truck and Sam, his little, cuddly, 135-pound Rottweiler. And I will tell you that those three were inseparable for several years. As I would go to my grandfather’s house, I would buy the dog food and we would go play with Sam for a little while. Grandaddy would sit out in the front yard in the driveway, in his chair, with his dog next to his truck. It was an amazing scene – Sam running around, and my grandfather playing with him. Grandaddy turned 94 this past August. He drove that pickup truck until just last year (I was his Allstate Insurance agent and I prayed for him all the time). A little more than two years ago, as I was gearing up for my second term in Congress, Sam started to slow down a bit. He didn’t jump as much as he used to, but until the end, he was a loving companion for my grandfather. I will always remember when I got the call from my aunt that Sam had passed. I left the campaign trail and went straight to Grandaddy’s house to say goodbye to Sam. It was an awful time for my grandfather and for all of us as we missed Sam and worried about my grandfather. The one thing I will always know is that after my grandmother’s death, Sam was my grandfather’s most consistent companion, and we are forever grateful for him. I am blessed that Grandaddy was able to celebrate my election with me to the U.S. Senate in November. The Charleston Animal Society doesn’t simply impact the lives of the people receiving a pet, it impacts the lives of the family members who know the power that an animal’s unconditional love can provide. If you had gone to my grandfather’s home and watched him play with his dog in the yard at 93-years-old, you would know that it is without question --without question-- that my grandfather’s health and his happiness, was stronger and better because of his companion, Sam.
BEST PET EVENTS OF 2014 It should be no surprise as we look back at 2014, that there were so many great events for pets, because, as you know, Charleston was named the Best Dog Town in the Southeast!
CHARLESTON FIREFIGHTER CALENDAR DEBUT PARTY It was the hottest party all year, with firefighters packing them in at Memminger Auditorium. More than 5,000 calendars were sold, raising more than $200,000 for Charleston Animal Society’s Medical Fund.
BLESSING OF THE PETS Hundreds of animals were blessed at numerous events, including four sponsored by Charleston Animal Society.
PET FEST People from across the Lowcountry pack Palmetto Islands County Park to show off their dogs and see the latest in animal care.
ASPCA MEGA-MATCH-A-THON 15 rescue organizations in five counties joined together in the Lowcountry for the largest adoption event in SC History!
CHARLESTON ANIMAL SOCIETY CHILI COOK-OFF & OYSTER ROAST 4,000 people packed The Citadel Football Stadium for the best outdoor, family-fun event in Charleston. Almost 90 chili teams competed for the top prize and all told, $250,000 was raised for Charleston Animal Society’s medical fund.
Tail Talk DECODING YOUR CAT BY: CLAIRE ROBERSON
FELI NE 411
e’ve all experienced it – you are petting your cat, his tail starts to twitch and, suddenly, he bites you. What went wrong? You thought he was happy! He was wagging his tail, or at least that’s what it seemed. But this is one misconception that’s easy to make when reading your cat’s body language. Karen Ellis, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Bee’s Ferry Veterinary Hospital, says, “There’s always a signal, always a sign, but it’s just we’re not speaking that language and we don’t recognize it.” Experts say cats have a complex way of communicating with us; they use their entire body. So here is your guide to decoding what the heck your cat is really trying to tell you:
Start with the Tail “I have a lot of people say, ‘I was just loving on him, and everything was fine, and then he just turned around and bit me.’” Ellis tells us. If that tail starts to twitch back and forth, that means your cat’s starting to get over-stimulated and maybe even frustrated. This is where a lot of confusion begins. Always remember that cats use their tails, through movement and position, to communicate with us. A tail held high is a sign that your cat is confident and ready for an interaction. However, it is important “to take it in context,” according to Dr. Ellis, “when they’re stiff and erect, that’s more of an assertive posture.” But if they are relaxed and loose, this is a friendly “Hello!” The question mark tail (tail held high with a kink in the end) is a sign that the cat is friendly and curious. With a little reassurance, the tail may straighten out as the cat becomes more comfortable. A twitching or thumping tail shows an over-stimulated cat. If you see this while petting your furry friend, it could mean they are getting irritated and it’s best to take this polite warning before he pounces. Dr. Ellis warns, “It’s important to pay attention to those cues and stop any interaction before they go over their threshold and they get frustrated and feel like they have to bite.” 12 CAROLINA TAILS | WINTER 2015
However, a low tail that is straight up in the air and quivering is a sign of excitement. Seeing you walk through the door after you have been gone all day, or opening a bag of his favorite treats, can induce this enthusiastic behavior. A bristled tail is a signal that your cat feels scared or threatened. The rest of the hair on his body may fluff up too. This is a way cats attempt to appear bigger and intimidate a potential threat.
Finally, a tail that is tucked between the legs likely means your cat is in distress and doesn’t want to be messed with. Unlike the bristled tail, this action is how a cat attempts to make himself look smaller. He is trying to appear less intimidating to a perceived threat (maybe that shadow on the wall).
Each noise our cats make is important in what they are trying to say to us.
Ears Cats’ ears are a more straightforward communication method. Forward ears show alertness, interest or happiness, whereas ears pointed backwards, sideways or flat demonstrate irritability, anger or fright. It is important to look at this communication tactic along with the tail to help determine exactly what your cat is trying to say to you. Dr. Ellis says that it is important to look at the whole animal instead of making a determination based on one body part. Just like human communication, looking at one cue and ignoring another can result in an interaction leaving you wondering, “what just happened?”
“Meow!” Though some cats are more vocal than others, they all communicate verbally. Each noise our cats make is important in what they are trying to say to us. Purring is the most common misconception in cat communication. Purring is a sign of contentment, but it is also a calming method in cats and can mean your kitty is not feeling well. Again, to differentiate between the two, look at your cats’ body language. If they are purring while laid out comfortably, that is a sign that he is happy. However, if he is hunched up in what Dr. Ellis calls a “Buddha position,” and is hiding in a corner or other small area, he is probably not feeling well and should see a vet. Short, chirp-like meows are a simple, “Hello, how are you” and a sign of overall affection, whereas a mid-pitch meow is a plea to “feed me!” Also, a drawn out “mrraaoow” noise is a more aggressive hunger demand. Hissing and growling are both hostile signals. These are signs of anger or fear and are overall warning signs that they are not comfortable with their current situation.
Why decode the signs? So why look at body language of cats? Dr. Ellis says, “I think it’s so important because it makes your home happier for you and the kitty.” Miscommunication causes issues in not only human
interactions, but also your relationship with your pet. When you can decipher between a content cat and a cat that would rather be left alone, it makes for an all-around happier, and less stressful environment for everyone!
DECODING DOGS What can be most confusing for pet owners is that dog and cat language are not the same. The following are some common cues seen in dogs: ■ Lip licking and yawning are comfort techniques used when your dog is anxious ■ Stiff, erect tail is an engaged or possibly aggressive dog ■ Swishing tail is a happy dog, but a slow, low swishing tail can be nervousness (Look at overall body language – stiff/loose) ■ Laid back ears show fear or submissiveness
DONATION:: Giving Hearts
KATHERINE P. WARING FUND TO HELP BEHAVIORALLY CHALLENGED ANIMALS
RI O N O H
BY HELEN RAVENEL HAMMOND
AS A YOUNG CHILD, KATIE WARING would see an animal that needed help and like magic, that animal became a family member in the Waring household. At one point, the Warings had five cats, three dogs and a rabbit. Whether it was Max, Moon, Hector, Harry or Lilly, Katie would dote on her cats. As neighbors growing up, young Katie and I would often meet on the wall between our homes to play with our childhood cats. Her beloved dogs (Hugo, a lab who was rescued after Hurricane Hugo and an adopted pit bull, Hallie) would bark at us from below. A true love of animals was always part of Katie, as her great aunt, Margaret Waring was a past president of Charleston Animal Society. When Katie left this world at the tender age of 28 many of her friends and family were left to wonder how her memory would carry on. Last February at the 140th Charleston Animal Society Annual Meeting, the organization unveiled the Katherine P. Waring Fund in Katie’s memory. Her mother Janice remarked at the time, “I think Katie would be enormously happy if she knew her name would be associated with such an organization as this,” she said. “She was always a champion of the underdog.” The Katherine P. Waring Fund aids the adoption of animals with challenging behavioral issues. Board President Elizabeth Bradham said the fund will help keep animals with their owners. She said a leading cause behind animals being surrendered 14 CAROLINA TAILS | WINTER 2015
is behavioral issues and now this fund will help treat the issues. “This fund allows us to treat the animal as a whole -- for both medical and emotional issues, something we have never been able to do,” Bradham told Carolina Tails. Katie’s brother Joe is now a board member of Charleston Animal Society and is excited about the fund, “this is most fitting for Katie. Katie would see an animal that needed help and no one wanted to take care of it. But she would take it in.” Joe said that while sometimes a pit bull can be viewed as “the ultimate castoff dog,” that was the dog that Katie wanted to bring home. “And consequently, Hallie the pit bull was probably the sweetest dog the family had ever had,” said Joe. Joe further explained the Katherine P. Waring Fund’s mission, “these behaviorally challenged animals need the most help. These are animals who people have given up on. And my sister would take the most
pride in not giving up on these animals,” he said. Joe laughs when he reminisces about “the colorful childhood” he shared with his sister, brother and their many dogs and cats. “I cannot imagine how different my childhood would have been without being intermeshed with animals,” he said. According to Waring, the operations are expensive in treating these animals. Finding a cause that Katie could identify with and make an impact would make her very happy and proud. “It is a true way to honor my sister,” said Joe. “The Charleston community has been fantastic in its support and generosity of Katie’s fund, but there is still so much work to do,” he added.
Visit charlestonanimalsociety.org/ katherine-p-waring-fund/ for more information.
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WINTER 2015 | CAROLINA TAILS
URBAN COYOTE THERE’S NO MORE DEBATING IT. COYOTES ARE EVERYWHERE – WITH THE SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES (SCDNR) EVEN REPORTING SIGHTINGS IN DOWNTOWN CHARLESTON.
BY ELLIE WHITCOMB PAYNE
HOT TOP IC
iawah Island keeps track of all their wildlife, coyotes included. Jim Jordan is a Wildlife Biologist for the Town of Kiawah Island. He suspects coyotes made it to the town from Johns Island the same way everyone else does -- by crossing the bridge. Jordan is part of a team that has been studying coyote activity on the island since 2010. Over those 4 years, 56 reported sightings have been logged! They use GPS technology to track two coyotes in particular, whose movements are mapped out at their website (see pg. 18). Jordan hopes the findings can put residents at ease. “Both coyotes that we track on Kiawah show a strong avoidance of developed areas,” says Jordan. “They tend to spend the majority of their time in undeveloped portions of our island, utilizing the dunes and marsh to a large extent.” The mapping of a 29-pound female coyote initially captured and tagged in April, shows her carousing from one end of Kiawah to the other. Most of her time was spent on the Northeast corner, where the Stono River meets the Atlantic. But that’s not to say she didn’t stroll down neighborhood streets like Governors Drive or Flyway Drive or stop and hangout on the prestigious Ocean Course and the dunes that run along the beach, as she made her way to the marsh side of the island on the Southwest corner.
While the state doesn’t track, some municipalities do. Mount Pleasant logged 18 reports since October 2013, with the majority originating from the Patriots Point area where caution signs are already posted for visitors
THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!! The country coyote moved to the big city and, despite his efforts to lurk in the shadows, the passage did not go unnoticed. From the prairies and deserts of the Southwest, coyotes embarked on a massive migration in the last two centuries. They now inhabit nearly every part of the U.S., from Alaska to Florida. At about 25-35 pounds (and even over 50lbs!), the coyote is a formidable predator. Able to survive where other large carnivores cannot, the coyote can be pesky. According to South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, they threaten our deer population, harass pets and livestock, and will poach sea turtle eggs. As a threat to your pet, one may be inclined to seek and destroy, but experts say this is futile. Understanding their behavior, however, can put the threat in perspective and help you protect your pets. Coyotes’ extreme adaptability allows them to thrive in some of America’s largest cities. Chicago, Charlotte, and Washington D.C. all have significant populations. Coyotes made it to South Carolina in the early 70s and they quickly spread to every county in the state. The first recorded coyote in the Lowcountry was in Berkeley County around 1980. Filling a void left by the declining population of the red fox, the coyote is now the top predator of the Lowcountry. City life is fine for urban coyotes and they tend to live longer than their rural counterparts. It’s easy to understand why -- good food, nice parks, and little competition. Plus, fewer hunters, who are coyotes’ biggest threat!
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HOW MANY ARE THERE? SCDNR does not record all coyote sightings, but takes a general statewide census, focusing mostly on rural areas. DNA samplings and GPS tracking have improved the quality of data biologists use to study all kinds of animals, but the science is expensive. According to Jay Butfiloski, the head of the Furbearer Project at SCDNR, a census would be cost prohibitive. “Instead, we look at trends to get a feel for what’s going on, including the number of animals killed by hunters and trappers and sightings and complaints from citizens across the state.” While the state doesn’t track, some municipalities do. Mount Pleasant logged 18 reports since October 2013, with the majority originating from the Patriots Point area where caution signs are already posted for visitors (See Table).
Pet owners need to be aware. Missing cats and dogs have been attributed to coyotes. 1. Use leashes on walks with dogs or cats. 2. If your yard does not have a fence, stay alert. 3. If you encounter a coyote, don’t run, make noise, and appear large by waving arms. 4. More tips: www.scdnr.org
OUT OF THE SHADOWS Sightings will increase based on the life phase of resident animals and the quality of the habitat. Remember the 56 sightings on Kiawah Island? Well 49 of those reports come from 2012-2013, with only three sightings in 2014. Jordan sees a pattern with populations on the coast, which holds true on the island. When coyotes find a new habitat, there is a lot of activity. He explains that during the ‘colonization phase’ not only is the actual population number greater, but they are less adept at hiding from people. “Once coyote pairs establish territories, numbers stabilize and resident coyotes occupy the best habitat areas,” says Jordan. “It likely takes them a while to learn where the best hiding and hunting areas are. At that point, they become much less visible.” In densely populated areas coyotes prefer nocturnal lifestyles, but this is a learned behavior and not a rule. Any particular coyote will hunt at the most opportune time for his situation. Sightings could increase in spring and summer when coyotes are looking for shelter and food for new pups. In 2014, Isle of Palms reported seven sightings from February to June, but none the rest of the year. Packs will sometimes form to protect a territory, but a coyote is usually a solitary animal. They do not hunt in packs. A home range can be as small as a couple of square miles but a lone coyote can travel upwards of 60 miles seeking food. You could see a coyote in Charleston, and, soon after, the same animal is spotted in Summerville. Coyotes have even been tracked across multiple states. SCDNR picked up an animal in Anderson County in the midlands with a GPS radio collar. The data indicated it came all the way from Fort Bragg, about 250 miles north!
Sightings will increase based on life phase of resident animals and the quality of the habitat thinking they can eradicate entire populations, “If your charge is to keep an area free from coyotes, then you are obligating yourself from here on out because they will just be replaced.” Parks, golf courses, small wooded areas and marshes can provide refuge for the Lowcountry’s urban coyote. Butfiloski advises neighborhoods seeing an increase in nuisance coyote activity to clear out brush and thick grass. This overgrowth provides shelter and attracts rodents and other small prey items for the coyote. But urban coyotes can find plenty to eat without coming into your back yard. Plentiful rodents, berries, and carrion are the main attraction to city life. What’s further, some appreciate the coyote’s role in controlling the pest population and nuisance deer. Sometimes just the perceived threat can cause quite a stir but the fact is that domesticated dogs are responsible for far more pet and human attacks “I suspect the coyote population in rural areas is fairly stable,” says Butfiloski. “Urban and suburban areas are likely to see somewhat increased coyote activity as coyotes start to fill in unoccupied areas.” For communities living with a coyote population, DNR offers pamphlets and signage summarizing safe coexistence.
Coyote By The Numbers: Reported sightings for 2014 AREA SIGHTINGS Sullivan’s Island 21 Mt. Pleasant 18 Isle of Palms 7 Kiawah 3 Charleston 2 Folly Beach 0 Goose Creek 0
REDUCE THE RISK Coyotes do carry pathogens that are lethal to dogs and cats, but a vaccinated pet has nothing to fear “If an issue pops up, and a coyote is threatening people or pets, that animal should be removed,” says Butfiloski. However, Butfiloski cautions municipalities from 18 CAROLINA TAILS | WINTER 2015
Map shows the trail of a gps-tagged female coyote on Kiawah Island as she traveled from one end of the island to the other in 2014.
WINTER 2015 | CAROLINA TAILS
DOG GON SMA E RT
Carolina THE WORLD’S SMARTEST DOG
BY TERI ERRICO
Duke University evolution expert calls her the most important dog in the history of modern research. She’s been featured in magazines, newspapers and even in a 60 Minutes report hosted by Anderson Cooper on CBS. And most importantly, Chaser, a 9-year-old Border Collie, is known as the world’s smartest dog and she lives right here in South Carolina. With a 1,022 word vocabulary, Chaser is the focus of so much attention, because she has opened wide-ranging discussions on the depths of the canine mind. Dr. John Pilley, an 86-year-old retired behavioral therapy professor at Wofford College in Spartanburg, receives all the credit for teaching Chaser, whom he has had since she was two months old. Chaser was a gift from his wife intended as a companion for the retired professor following the death of his beloved dog, Yasha, and also as his newest student. According to Pilley Bianchi—Dr. Pilley’s daughter who spent a year with Chaser and helped her father compose his book Chaser, Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows 1000 Words—the professor spent years trying to teach Yasha language. “People always teach dogs behaviors, such as roll over, lay down, and fetch. But those are all actions,” Bianchi explained. “What my dad wanted to know was whether or not dogs have the ability to recognize nouns since there was no research to document it.” After years of research, Dr. Pilley concluded that dogs were unable to learn nouns, and in fact didn’t even know their own names. That is, until he met a Border Collie Dog trainer who proved him wrong. When the professor explained his findings to a sheep herder he met, according to Bianchi, the farmer respectfully countered that if dogs can’t understand language, how come he can call out to one of his five dogs, tell him to round up two specific sheep out of 200 by names, and he will do it every time? “My dad was wowed and realized he’d been so wrong,” Bianchi admitted. When Dr. Pilley received Chaser soon after, he was determined to prove the farmer was right. “My dad’s goal was to explore the boundaries of the canine mind because no one else had. Everyone’s worked with primates and dolphins, but we’ve been living with these incredible animals and nobody’s tested their intelligence,” Bianchi said. So Dr. Pilley went about training Chaser in a completely different way. “Previously he had tried teaching Yasha to get a
20 CAROLINA TAILS | WINTER 2015
You have to make training engaging and fun for your dog.
rope or a newspaper, and while he could go to the yard and get it, the newspaper had no value. It was just an object to him.” Bianchi continued, “So in order for the word to have value for Chaser, or any dog, my dad used toys to teach her words. And because she got to play with these objects, they took on value for her.” To start, Dr. Pilley taught Chaser basic obedience commands, such as sit and stay—as he recommends all dog owners do first. He then began his research with one small toy: a blue ball. “My dad would sit with the toy in the middle of the room, with no other toys or objects around, and he would roll it to her and say, ‘Chaser, this is Blue.’ And for little play periods of five to 10 minutes he would tell her, ‘Catch Blue. Touch Blue.’” It’s important when training your dog, according to Dr. Pilley and Bianchi, that you eliminate all room for mistake. Have only the one toy on the floor, put it in plain sight, and repeat the object’s name constantly. “There is no way to make a mistake in this situation,” Bianchi noted. “People tend to be disappointed when their dogs don’t do what they’re expected to, and dogs feel that.” This is why it’s important to positively reinforce your dog. As a result of training, within three days, Dr. Pilley was able to hide Blue anywhere around the house and Chaser always found it. For five hours a day, five days a week, Dr. Pilley trained Chaser and eventually after three years, Chaser learned more than 1,000 words. To prove that she not only knew the words, but retained them too, Dr. Pilley then spent three weeks testing her memory on 800 cloth animals, 116 balls and 100 plastic toys. Of course, most dog owners’ schedules don’t allow for such round-the-clock teaching, but making time and being diligent about training is key to success, according to Dr. Pilley. “What’s remarkable is that Chaser knows nouns. She knows that anything that flies through the air and is flat is a Frisbee, and she also knows her Frisbees by individual names, such as Snow and Sponge Bob,” Bianchi explains. Each of Chaser’s toys, she admits, have wacky names, and coming up with them is often the hardest part of training for Dr. Pilley. But each toy is labeled in case he forgets, though Chaser never does. “You can tell Chaser go get Snow and she will, or if she’s in a room and there’s a Frisbee
LEFT: Chaser, the world’s smartest dog. BELOW: Dr. John Pilley became a true believer in the potential of a dog’s intellect after working with Chaser. (Photos by Dana Cubbage.)
she’s never seen, she knows what it is.” Chaser also knows things like trees and sticks, and if you ask, she can select a bigger or a smaller stick. Bianchi says this is a result of showing Chaser varying sticks during her training and saying, “This is big stick. This is small stick.” Chaser’s breed has a lot to do with her ability to learn language— Border Collies have been bred for centuries to listen to farmers, and have intense focus and concentration—but her success is also due to enjoying her work with Dr. Pilley. “It was all play for her. She was so happy learning,” Bianchi said. “You have to make training engaging and fun for your dog. You have to watch, listen and pay attention. Our dogs communicate with us all the time. They tell us no when they refuse to get in a car and go to the vet, or yes when they want to play. We just need to capitalize on it.” Listening, as well as time and patience, a gentle voice and dogfriendly toys are all key components to teaching your dog language, according to Dr. Pilley. And he believes it is possible for you, too, to teach your dog. In fact, he and his daughter get fan mail daily from owners who have taught their pups dozens of new words— though not as many canines can say they have a New York Times Bestseller! But nothing’s impossible. Nobody ever thought a Border Collie could learn 1,000 words and Chaser is still learning every day of her life.
But nothing’s impossible. Nobody ever thought a Border Collie could learn 1,000 words and Chaser is still learning every day.
WINTER 2015 | CAROLINA TAILS
EASTER:: Bunny Trail
HARE BRAI N IDEA ED !
THE EASTER GIFT YOU SHOULDN’T GIVE BY HELEN RAVENEL THOMAS
IT SEEMS LIKE A SUPER IDEA: THE Easter Bunny brings your kids an adorable bunny rabbit for Easter. What could be cuter or more fitting than to have this precious fluff ball hopping around your child’s basket full of pastel eggs? Bad idea, warns Pearl Sutton, Senior Director of Animal Services at Charleston Animal Society. In the three months
following Easter of 2014, Charleston Animal Society experienced a 400% increase in rabbit intake — and that spike happens every year. “People don’t understand that there is a huge time commitment in owning a rabbit, more than that of a dog or cat,” said Sutton. 22 CAROLINA TAILS | WINTER 2015
A rabbit has a life expectancy of 10-12 years, much longer than a smaller animal like a hamster or guinea pig. It is also important to think of kids handling rabbits, because Sutton says rabbits are very fragile. “If carried unsupported, rabbits are capable of kicking so hard with their rear legs that they dislocate their spinal column,” added Charleston Animal Society Director of Public Health and Spay/Neuter Initiatives Lucy Fuller. While a rabbit can be litterbox trained, it can also become very destructive and aggressive. There’s also the balancing act between giving a rabbit the freedom it wants, with the confinement it needs to stay safe. “Constant confinement can be damaging to a rabbit’s mental health, so stimulation is imperative,” emphasized Lucy Fuller. Sutton warns parents not to turn their rabbits out into the wild, because most bunnies that are bought as gifts are domesticated, and cannot survive out on their own. As for medical bills? Get ready to pay specialists, because most vets are are not experienced in rabbit medicine, so you will likely be paying higher than normal rates. And all those jokes about “breeding like rabbits” are true. Rabbits need to be spayed
or neutered because they can reproduce as young as 4-months-old. The challenge is that rabbits are extremely sensitive to anesthesia, making the procedure more risky than for other animals like dogs or cats.
Charleston Animal Society Chief Executive Officer Joe Elmore says the practice of many stores giving away bunnies at Easter, works against Charleston Animal Society’s mission. He asks people to be cautious and think twice about the many responsibilities in taking on a rabbit as a pet. Since many people give up on their rabbits shortly after getting them, Charleston Animal Society spends many of its resources in the Spring, finding responsible homes for these animals. “Rabbits can make wonderful companions, but you have to realize, they are not for everyone,” Sutton said.
WINTER 2015 | CAROLINA TAILS
I L T O SP
HERE, KITTY, KITTY The Free-Roaming Cat Initiative BY HELEN RAVENEL THOMAS
All cats shown are free-roaming cats in the Charleston area. (Photos by Julie Reynolds.)
Signs of Success When a cat enthusiast group started managing a Mount Pleasant cat colony off of Rifle Range Road four years ago, there were 15-18 free-roaming cats. Now there are twelve of the original cats present, which is a good sign according to Reynolds, who is one of their volunteers. An even more encouraging sign is that there are no new kittens and she can touch 80% of the feral cats. Once a year, the cats are taken for their vaccinations.
ver look out your window during breakfast and see that neighborhood cat and you just can’t figure out who it belongs to? If its ear is tipped, you can rest assured, he or she is doing just fine. Julie Reynolds is part of a volunteer group that helps care for four different cat colonies in Mt Pleasant and she is a big fan of the “Free-Roaming Cat Initiative,” run by Charleston Animal Society, that reaches out to cat colonies with expert care that keeps the colonies’ size under control through an aggressive spay-neuter process widely known as Trap-NeuterReturn (TNR). “What Charleston Animal Society is doing is a wonderful example of how TNR works,” said Reynolds Charleston Animal Society Chief Executive Officer Joe Elmore said Charleston County, including the city of Charleston, has one of the most successful free-roaming cat initiatives in the world. The effort was launched in 2010 by Charleston Animal Society and other animal organizations comprising Humane Net, a coalition of Lowcountry animal organizations. “The purpose was to reduce the population of free-roaming cats because the past strategy of trapping and euthanizing simply was not working, as the population continued to increase each year,” Elmore said, “we need to also understand that many free roaming cats are not feral.” The best way to measure the population growth of a species is through the kittens that come into the shelter. The ultimate result, according to Elmore, is that there has been an 11 percent reduction in kitten intake. And since 2010, euthanasia has decreased from 61% to 6%. Elmore emphasizes, “it is an animal population control strategy -- not a ‘save the cat campaign.’” But, he says, the bottom line is that the intake is reduced and will continue to drop.
Role Model “Charleston County is one of only a handful of communities nationwide that is effectively managing the population of freeroaming cats. Communities from across the nation and overseas, including France and Australia, have reached out to us about our success in decreasing the intake of cats,” said Elmore. According to Elmore, the Free-Roaming Cat Initiative is a sterilization intervention and is not intended to treat other issues that might exist, unless they are life-threatening. After going through the free-roaming cat action plan (see sidebar), a cat will not be able to reproduce, so the population of a colony eventually declines.
FERAL CATS ARE NOT A THREAT “ TO THE COMMUNITY. THEY HAVE A HOME, AND IT IS OUTSIDE. ” – Julie Reynolds “Prior to this strategy, many citizens were feeding community cats but were not willing to trap them or have them trapped for fear that the cats would be euthanized. So, cat populations were exploding,” Elmore said. Along with spaying/neutering and vaccinating, cats are also “ear-tipped.” This procedure ensures the free-roaming cat can be recognized from a distance, letting experts know the cat has already been treated.
Elmore said that he has heard from bird enthusiasts, and they want the same thing he does; fewer free-roaming cats. “Feral cats are not a threat to the community. They have a home, and it is outside,” said Reynolds. Also, she added that feral cats are not a threat to people or children. “They are more scared of you,” she added. Elmore and his staff have spent countless hours on research and educating the public. Community leaders, elected officials, animal organizations, animal control agencies and citizens have worked tirelessly to aid in this initiative. “Citizens are the key to continuing the reduction (of free roaming cats). It is critical that we TNR as many as possible before the spring breeding begins.”
Free-Roaming Cat Action Plan (TNR) ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
Cat must be in stable health Cat is spayed or neutered Cat is vaccinated for rabies Cat is ear-tipped (for easy identification in future) Cat is micro-chipped Cat is returned to colony within 24 hours
WINTER 2015 | CAROLINA TAILS
NEW YEAR:: New You
Photographer: Ada Samonte
Donna Murray getting fit and enjoying a walk with her dog, Ellie.
MY DOG HELPED ME LOSE 37-POUNDS!
GET TED VA
BY TERI ERRICO
EVERY YEAR AT THE STROKE OF midnight on January 1st we make resolutions to travel more, volunteer and exercise more -- and indulge a little less. But Donna Murray knows how tough those resolutions can be. That’s why when she decided to lose weight last January, she enlisted a secret, four-legged weapon. “I had a goal to lose 37 pounds within the year,” Murray said, “and I did it in eight months by walking my cocker spaniel Ellie every day.” Whether it was a thirtyminute walk, or a stroll that lost track of time as she and her pet turned corners and lapped around cul-de-sacs in her Ladson neighborhood, Murray made the promise to walk with her dog daily, no excuses. “We started out on short walks that developed into longer ones over time. When it was too hot, we took shorter trips. When it became dark out early, we found other ways to exercise,” she added. But no matter what, Murray went on that walk, and in time the exercise she dreaded became excursions she looked forward to every day. The desire to exercise more, both for Murray and Ellie, was sparked by a trip to the vet, who told Murray her beloved pet 26 CAROLINA TAILS | WINTER 2015
needed to lose a few pounds. Add to that a diet book she received soon after reintroducing healthy eating habits, and Murray finally had the impetus she needed to start getting in shape. “Putting on those shoes and getting out the door that first time is always the hardest step, but it’s the most important one,” she said. Murray quickly shed a few pounds those first weeks, and then a few more fell off. Soon neighbors she only knew in passing were stopping her to say how great she looked. “I of course had my days when I would come home and think, ‘Oh gosh, I just don’t want to walk today,’” Murray admitted. “But as soon as that key went in the door and
Ellie ran towards me, I knew I didn’t have a choice. She is so happy on those walks. She’s energetic, we bond more, and she lost her goal weight, too.” On days when motivation is lacking, Murray’s best advice is to head out the door in your work clothes and not even allow yourself the time to change gear and let second thoughts creep in. It also helps to have someone to walk with. Murray befriended a neighbor who often exercises with her, and the companionship has been encouraging. “It’s beneficial to have a walking buddy, whether it’s two- or four-legged because it helps push you when you don’t want to be out there,” she said. “And because I had someone to walk with, even if it was only Ellie, it became less of, ‘I have to exercise,’ and more of ‘Oh wow, have I already been walking for an hour?’” To add more stimulation to the walks for Ellie—who happily bounds down the streets meeting new people and interacting with neighborhood children—Murray insists her Cocker Spaniel perform a trick before anyone pets her. “She has to roll over, speak, sit or do something in order to receive a treat,” Murray explained. “It’s a great way to teach her to be less reactive to people and make walks that much more enjoyable for everyone.” Previously Murray had tried to get Ellie’s extra energy out with mental stimulation, such as hiding treats in Kongs, but as they both developed healthier habits and lost weight from walking, it clearly became the best exercise for them. It only reinforced Murray’s motivation to keep moving when she woke up each day with less and less aches and pains. “It really was mind over matter,” she said. “I remained focus on what I wanted for myself, for my health, and for my and Ellie’s longevity.”
CHARLESTON ANIMAL SOCIETY CHALLENGE If you still need motivation to get in shape, there’s an app for that! Download “WoofTrax – Walk for a Dog” for free and not only will it track your walks with your pet, but for every stroll you go on, a donation will be made to Charleston Animal Society. Just go into your app and designate Charleston Animal Society as the beneficiary of your walks and the app does the rest! WoofTrax benefits more than 4,000 animal shelters around the country. So get out there with your dog and get in shape!
TRAINING TIPS:: Sit. Heel. Stay
To T SIC h Ear eir s?
ASK THE TRAINER BY HELEN RAVENEL HAMMOND
Diana Nichols Pappert, CPDT-KA, CDBC, founder of Animal Antics and a certiﬁed animal behavior consultant, said that she plays music to soothe dogs, and it helps. “It works the same way with people. If you are going to work out at the gym, you are not going to listen to classical music,” she said. But ironically, Pappert has found that classical music may be the exact ticket to calming your pets at home. Just ask Ellen Dressler Moryl, the founding director of Charleston’s office of cultural affairs and the founder of Piccolo Spoleto. She shares a genuine love of dogs and the arts with her husband, Richard, an accomplished composer, jazz musician and painter. “My dogs are at my feet when I practice cello in the evenings, “ said Moryl. One of the favorites she plays for her dogs is “Vocalise” by Sergei Rachmaninov scored for tenor voice, cello and organ. She describes this as “hauntingly beautiful” and a bit melancholy. Holding up a photo of Ralph, her pet Labrador Retriever who passed away in 2008, she said that he loved this piece and she dedicated it to him. As a little girl, Moryl remembers watching her family pet Laddie sing as her father gave French Horn lessons, “Dogs give us comfort and the music that we make gives us comfort,” explained Moryl. But before you rush out for a new catalogue of classical music, researchers at the University of Wisconsin found an answer that is a bit more complex. Their ﬁndings showed animals enjoy music that sounds
Photographer: Reese Moore
QUESTION: DO DIFFERENT KINDS OF MUSIC AFFECT YOUR PET DIFFERENTLY? – Michelle, Wadmalaw Island
Ellen Dressler Moryl plays classical music on her cello each evening as a signal to her dogs that it’s time to say goodnight.
like their own vocalizations. Monkeys, for instance, enjoyed music that included high, shrill, yelps. Music for pets is big business. We found albums in iTunes speciﬁc for cats and dogs selling for $9.99. Most seemed compilations of acoustic guitar, with some classical music too. Nothing for monkeys – at least not yet. However, the University of Wisconsin researchers are working with composers on music that would be species-speciﬁc. Moryl will not be waiting for those CD’s. In the evenings, before she goes to bed, Moryl routinely sits down to practice her
cello. And like clockwork, her dogs Wolf and Charlie will suddenly appear to watch and listen, taking it as a signal that it’s time to say goodnight.
WINTER 2015 | CAROLINA TAILS
FACING THE ELEMENTS:: Winter Blues
WINTA ER TAIL! ’S
PURR OR BRRRRR!? BY TERI ERRICO
CATS CAN WITHSTAND MORE THAN you think in cold weather, so if you’re worried about them, remember they have thousands of years of resilience in their genes. “Cats can be very resilient in colder temperatures, but it really depends on your cat,” says Dr. Ben Fuller of Cats Only Animal Hospital in Mt. Pleasant. “Getting caught outside in the winter is much more different for an indoor cat than for an outdoor cat that is acclimated to climate changes. And while some breeds do have fuller coats than others, indoor cats don’t develop as much of a winter coat as outdoor ones do.” And for those who have cats, you know all too well those natural fur coats are all they have to keep them warm as there’s no chance your furry friend will ever let you dress him or her up in a winter coat and boots! As a rule of thumb, Dr. Fuller notes, keep your pet indoors any time the temperature 28 CAROLINA TAILS | WINTER 2015
is below freezing. Indoor cats, especially, should be kept inside your home as they haven’t developed the instincts to survive outdoors, to seek out shelter or food, or to find their way home, therefore potentially being lost and stuck outside much longer in the cold. If a cat does get caught outdoors in frigid temperatures, however, Dr. Fuller advises never to warm your pet up with a heating pad or a hair dryer as the mechanisms will heat too quickly and shock your cat. “Instead, wrap a hot water bottle in a blanket or put a towel in the dryer for a few minutes,” Dr. Fuller says. “This way you can warm your cat up to a healthy temperature without the heat being excessive.” For those with outdoor cats, one of the most important steps you can take to ensure your pet’s wellbeing is monitoring their water source so it never freezes. You can check the water regularly each day, or Dr. Fuller suggests purchasing bowl warmers for your pet’s water supply, as well as if they eat wet, canned food. He also adds for those whose cats remain outdoors all night, “Find a place your pet can hide at night, whether it’s building a shelter or putting a dog door in the garage where your cat can stay drier and warmer than out in the
elements. The night time will be the hardest to keep safe.” As for those free-roaming cats in your neighborhood? Charleston Animal Society Chief Executive Officer Joe Elmore said there is a misconception that the winter will kill all of the cats. But Elmore says free-roaming cats are fine outdoors. These cats survive the winter, as evidenced when they come back in the Spring. After all, says Elmore, cats have been around for 10,000 years including living in Antarctica.
WINTER WARNING: TAP YOUR HOOD! Veterinarian Ben Fuller offers a warning to everyone —remember to knock on your car hood before starting it up in the winter. That’s because it’s not unusual for cats to find shelter in cars. “While your car is still warm, cats will often climb into wheel wells or engines to find warmth,” Dr. Fuller notes. So whether you have a cat, or if you know of stray cats roaming the neighborhood, rap on the hood of your car or make a noise to try to move the cats along before you start the engine.
WINTER 2015 | CAROLINA TAILS
PET HEALTH:: What’s on Your Mind?
ASK THE VET
Photographer: Reese Moore
Dr. Sarah Boyd examining a bulldog that was rescued.
Dr. Margaret Morris bandaging an injured cat.
IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION YOU’D LIKE to ask the veterinarians at Charleston Animal Society, please email us at CarolinaTails @CharlestonAnimalSociety.org. I have a boxer who gets nervous in the car and occasionally throws up. Is there anything I can do to keep it from happening? Dennis, Charleston Thank you Dennis for this question addressing a common concern with pet owners who travel with their animals. Car sickness is easier to manage when addressed at a young age. For both motion sickness and anxiety, time and patience are required. First, take your dog on frequent short car rides. For the anxious dog, start with the car engine off and make each experience enjoyable. For the motion sick dog, start with an empty stomach and slowly increase the distance. It is very important not to scold a dog for getting sick in the car; this will only increase their anxiety level, and that could make things worse. Also, using seat belts that allow your dog to sit upright during travel can provide a feeling of security, prevent animals from being lost or thrown from the car in an accident, as well as prevent distractions to the driver. 30 CAROLINA TAILS | WINTER 2015
For some dogs, just like people, acclimating to car rides is not sufficient to overcome motion sickness or anxiety. For these animals, discuss additional options and/or medications that may help with your veterinarian. MARGARET MORRIS, DVM Associate Director of Public Health
My last cat had arthritis and it always disturbed me that she might be in pain. What is arthritis and is there any way to prevent it in from impacting my new cat? Kristy, Goose Creek
Dr. Lucy Fuller performing a Spay/Neuter procedure.
Why does my dog seem to be getting ear infections 2 or so times a year? Marco, Mt. Pleasant
Arthritis is not as commonly recognized in cats, as in dogs. So if you have observed signs of arthritis in your cat, you are an astute owner. The term arthritis generally describes inflammation in the joints from a number of causes. For cats, the most common causes are old age and obesity, with injury as a less likely cause. As dogs and cats age, the cartilage cushion between bones wears and the joint exhibits even mild laxity, thus a painful joint that is not as stable as it once was. This process can be compounded for an overweight cat. Maintaining an ideal weight by feeding an appropriate amount of food and by helping your cat to exercise is one, if not the only, way to prevent arthritis. Should you suspect your new cat has developed arthritis (she or he is reluctant to jump, stiff when they wake) please see your regular veterinarian for several treatment options.
Marco, thanks for your question. Ear infections in dogs are often secondary to inflammation associated with allergies in dogs. Dogs can have seasonal allergies just like humans, so the inflammation from those allergies may be setting his ears up for infections by damaging the skin. Dogs can also be allergic to certain proteins often found in dog food (beef and chicken are the most common allergens in food) I recommend speaking with your veterinarian about allergy testing to determine his allergic triggers. Controlling his allergens will go a long way towards clearing up those ears! It’s best to do this as soon as possible, as chronic ear infections can lead to extreme pain, loss of hearing, and may eventually require very expensive surgery to remove the ear canals, if you leave it untreated.
SARAH HEILMAN BOYD, DVM Director of Shelter Health and Wellness UC Davis - ASPCA Shelter Medicine Fellow
LUCY FULLER, DVM Director of Public Health and Spay/Neuter Initiatives
WINTER 2015 | CAROLINA TAILS
BEST SHOTS:: Photo Contest
SUPER BOWL XLIX: GET YOUR PHOTO ON!
RE U T PIC IME T
Here’s your chance for the cat or dog in your life to make it in the pages of Carolina Tails Magazine. Pick your favorite Super Bowl team and show us how big a fan your pet really is! Whether it’s a perfectly placed football, some cleats or that oversized jersey – send us your best shot and we’ll publish our top 5 picks in our next issue. Deadline for submission is: MARCH 1, 2015. EMAIL US YOUR PHOTO TO: CarolinaTails@CharlestonAnimalSociety.org
MEET OUR CELEBRITY ADVOCATE “Martin Luther King had a dream. So does Charleston Animal Society. Call me foolish, I believe in both of these visions.” – SHIRLEY JONES Actress
32 CAROLINA TAILS | WINTER 2015
WINTER 2015 | CAROLINA TAILS
RESCUE:: Adopt, Don’t Buy!
TAKE ME HOME
RES CUE ME
Whether you’re looking for a cat, kitten, dog or puppy, make CHARLESTON ANIMAL SOCIETY your first stop. View the current animals available for adoption online at charlestonanimalsociety.org. Or, better yet, come visit us at 2455 Remount Road in North Charleston.
You can say it, Go ahead. I’m beautiful and I know it. My name is Ramona and I’m a 3year-od Staffie, who’s waiting for you to come adopt me at Charleston Animal Society.
Hi, I’m Margaret. A little shy, but once you get to know me, I can be very snuggly. I’m a 7-year-old Domestic Short Hair. Hope to see you soon!
I am Caesar. I love saying that. I am Caesar. Anyhoo, I’m up for adoption, I’m an Orange Tabby, very friendly and have a strong, memorable name. I am Caesar.
I’m Kaizer, an 8-month-old Staffie Mix, who’s mastered “sit” and is ready to move on to “down,” “stay,” and “roll over.”
You really expect me to tell you everything about myself in one or two sentences? Pfffft. Come see me. Ask for Kysis. No, I don’t know where that name came from.
Hi, I’m Annabelle, a 9-year-old Smooth Coat Collie and my smile says it all. I’ve still got lots of love and life to share.
34 CAROLINA TAILS | WINTER 2015
Follow Us CharlestonAnimalSociety
WINTER 2015 | CAROLINA TAILS
COMMUNITY:: Reaching Out
SWE STOR ET Y
PET HEROES WHEN 8-YEAR-OLD RACHEL Mennett’s big brother came home from work last summer and talked about an Iraqi army veteran who needed help getting a service dog – Rachel just knew she had to do something. Her parents were busy talking about setting something up online to help, when Rachel interrupted to say, “I want to do a lemonade stand.” Her parents smiled and said “OK,” but continued planning. Little did they know that Rachel’s lemonade stand in Summerville would wind up garnering news coverage on all three local TV stations, in newspapers, and then, Fox News and TV stations around the country. (Ellen and Queen Latifah also called!) More importantly, the media blitz provided so much interest from around the country that before that lemonade stand was taken down, $12,000 had been raised through donations in one weekend. “It made me happy to help Nick,” Rachel said. 34-year-old Nick Bailey beams when he speaks about Rachel. “She’s my hero,” Bailey said. Bailey is one of America’s heroes. He served 12 years in the army, most of them in war zones. During his second tour in Iraq, a mortar attack left him with spinal injuries, nerve damage and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Several surgeries have tried to help him heal physically, but he still needs to use a cane to walk. As for the PTSD, only his German Shepherd Abel has been able to help Nick. “Abel makes it possible for me to go out in public. He will create a little bubble around me for security. And if he senses I am stressing out, he will lead me to an exit, or go find my wife Vanessa,” Bailey said. While Abel did his best to help Nick, the German Shepherd still needed advanced 36 CAROLINA TAILS | WINTER 2015
Photographer: Reese Moore
BY DAN KROSSE
Iraqi War Veteran Nick Bailey calls 8-year-old Rachel Mennett his hero, after she helped raise $12,000 through her lemonade stand, to have his service dog trained.
training to become a full-fledged service dog. Specialized training like that is expensive. Add in travel to Arizona and the price tag nears $20,000. Furlife German Shepherd Rescue, based in the Lowcountry, stepped in to help get the word out about the need for funding. That’s when Rachel’s brother, Logan, heard about everything at the pet store where he works …and the rest, as they say, is history. Abel is expected back home by the end of January. Nick is thrilled and Rachel is very excited, “Nick and Abel are going to come to my school for an assembly.”
As for Rachel’s parents, Carol and Tony Mennett? They’re still shaking their heads in amazement and pride over their daughter’s big heart. “You never think a lemonade stand will bring in $12,000. God works in mysterious ways,”Rachel told Carolina Tails.
Nick is still paying some of the costs for Abel’s training and transport out of his own pocket. The fundraising account to help defray costs is still open at: www. GoFundMe.com.
It’s easy to see why Charleston was named the Best Dog Town in the Southeast in 2014. People love to take their pups everywhere in the Lowcountry!
1. Elizabeth Barbee is getting a head start on her New Year’s resolutions, with the help of her dog Amanda. (Photographer: Ada Samonte)
2. Jumping for joy in St. Stephen is Samuel Q, the boxer, who can’t wait to give his mommy, Kim Keller, some love as she arrives home. (Photographer: Ada Samonte)
3. The incredible view from the stands inside the Citadel Football Stadium, where the 15th Annual Celebrity Chili Cook-off & Oyster Roast raised $250,000 for Charleston Animal Society. (Photographer: Randy Otsuka)
4. 2015 Charleston Firefighter Calendar Model Clint Donellan and a fan enjoy the Charleston Animal Society Chili Cook-off. Donellan is Mr. July.
5. Looks like someone is about
to get a tail tug at Patriot’s Point in Mt. Pleasant. (Photographer: Jason Bennett)
WINTER 2015 | CAROLINA TAILS
TIME TO PLAY! PET-CARE CROSSWORD...
38 CAROLINA TAILS | WINTER 2015
Kids are some of the best animal advocates so weâ€™ve devoted this space to young pet lovers.
HOW TO MAKE A RICE SOCK Animal shelters can always use rice socks! These can be warmed up in a microwave and can apply a warming comfort to kittens and other animals in need. (You can also use them for aches and pains, by heating them up or putting them in the freezer and applying to your sore spot!) 1. Get a cotton sock (thick athletic socks are best) and fill it with uncooked rice. 2. Don’t pack it too tight, because you want to leave some room for the grains to move around so that it will be easier to snuggle around a kitten.
3. Tie the end of the sock with yarn, ribbon, or string to keep the rice from spilling. (With longer socks, you can also tie the ends.)
KOOL KIDS! Every day, Charleston Animal Society is amazed by the generosity of our communitys’ children, who always seem to ﬁnd a way to give back by donating to Charleston Animal Society. Here are this issue’s Kool Kids! MADDIE CATLIN, 13, IS IN 8TH GRADE AT DANIEL ISLAND SCHOOL. After a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, she began selling wreaths and named Charleston Animal Society as one of the beneficiaries of her hard work! At last count, Maddie had raised $130 (and rising) for our animals!
KAILA HANNA, 8, IS A THIRD-GRADER AT LAMBS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN NORTH CHARLESTON. Her mother, Air Force Staff Sgt. Leigh Anne Terry, was explaining to Kaila how animals in shelters depend on people to donate and take care of them. That’s when Kaila insisted on going shopping at the Joint Base Charleston Commissary to fill up on food and other supplies for Charleston Animal Society. Thank you Kaila! Want to see your animal artwork in a future issue of Carolina Tails? Send us your picture! EMAIL: CarolinaTails@CharlestonAnimalSociety.org
WINTER 2015 | CAROLINA TAILS
40 CAROLINA TAILS | WINTER 2015
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Is Your Business Reaching the Local Pet Market? 1
75% of U.S. Households own pets.
$61.4 billion spent per year on pets annually in the U.S.
Recession Proof! Statistics show that spending on pets increased from 2007 and 2011.
Advertise in Carolina Tails Charlestonâ€™s pet lifestyle magazine that features dogs and cats!
We invite business owners who would like to reach local pet owners to advertise for the following reasons: Advertising in Carolina Tails helps Charleston Animal Society prevent cruelty to animals. Animal lovers are passionate, loyal and support businesses who support animals. Align your company and brand with our message. Custom Publishing Division
*Statistics taken from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013
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Published on Jan 1, 2015
Published on Jan 1, 2015
The premier magazine for animal lovers! Published by Charleston Animal Society, South Carolina's largest animal rescue organization.