Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Here Is Your Chance

Hey Iowans...this is it! This is your chance to do something good for the animal community. 

ACTION ALERT - Write or Call Your State Representative Today and Ask Them to Support the Pet Protective Order Bill (SF2118)

This bill will include family pets in Orders of Protection for victims of Domestic Abuse.



SF2118 means this bill has passed the senate and is now up for debate in the House. Therefore it is your State Representatives that you need to write or call.

If you don't know who your state Representatives are go to this link: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find 

Search for your zipcode. 

There should be two representatives listed.  Then click on each name and their contact information will be listed. 



The Iowa Federation of Humane Societies explains the bill and gives you some talking points.

Call or Write to your State Representatives TODAY asking them to support this bill. When it passes you will know it was because of YOU. I mean seriously...how much effort does it take to write an e-mail. Most of you do it every day anyway. Make this one count.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Spring Fever


 
Now that Father Winter is finally starting to loosen his hold over the northern hemisphere and Lady Spring is waking up…there is one thing, regarding the safety of your pets, you need to be on the lookout for.  That is the residue from the salt and chemicals that have been used to treat our roads and sidewalks. 
 
 
 
When the weather starts warming up, more and more people are out and about walking their dogs.  They walk through those chemicals and then lick their paws to clean them when they get home, thereby ingesting them, which can cause a fatal reaction.  You may not use dangerous chemicals at your home, but that doesn't mean you don't drive through it.  Salt, deicer solution, anti-freeze are just a few of the chemicals that are on the roads in the winter. 
 
 

How can you help?  The best thing I have found is to keep a squirt bottle with water and paper towels near the door.  You can train your pet to sit on a mat by the door while you clean their paws.  Of course you can also try avoid walking your pet through these chemicals, but when the snow melts and turns to water, it washes these chemicals into the path of your pet, so it’s not so easy to avoid. 
 
 
 
You could also put boots on your pet.  :) Also, don’t let your pet drink from puddles while you are out and about.  This is a sure fire way for your pet to ingest these dangerous chemicals.  They can be fatal.
 
 

If you think your pet may have ingested any of these chemicals take your pet to the vet immediately.  You can also contact the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

Another thing to be aware of are the potential parasites that come back to life as it warms up.  Fleas and ticks are the obvious pests, but internal parasites can also wreak havoc.  
 

 
 
Take the time to clean up any wildlife feces in your yard so that your pet doesn’t eat it.  I can tell you from experience that we had to avoid one park in particular when we would walk Mirage.  She though goose poop was the bomb.  And of course frozen feces is like a pop-sickle treat to your pets.
 
 

 
 

Watch out when planting your spring flowers as well.  Some plants are toxic to your pets.  Never ever use Coco Mulch if you have pets.  The mulch contains the same toxins found in chocolate.  Make sure the plant food, herbicides, and pesticides you use are pet friendly.  If you must fertilize your lawn, keep your pet off of it for 24 hours.  Personally I prefer you not use them, but if you must it’s safer to wait until you have a good rain and it dries so the chemicals can soak into the ground.
 
 

Spring is also a time when many female animals go into heat.  This can cause tension in even altered male dogs.  Keep this in mind when walking your pet and avoid strange dogs.  Even the most mild-mannered pet can react when another dog is in heat.  Of course the best way to avoid this is to spay and neuter your pet, but you can’t control what your neighbors do or do not do.  Just be safe when walking your pet when other animals are around.
 
 

Take the appropriate steps to insure the safety of you and your pets as Lady Spring wakes up and blossoms.  After this winter I think I might just have to go overboard with the flowers this year to make up for it.  J

Be Well & Be Happy,
Pet~Pourri

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Making a Difference


Hy-Vee is helping their customers Make A Difference in the lives of our furry friends. I think it is awesome the way Hy-Vee helps the pets in their communities.  Makes me happy to be a customer.  What does your favorite business do to support pets in your community?



This week is Hy-Vee’s Pet Sale.  Lots of stuff to save on for pets.  But Hy-Vee has also gone a step farther.  In 5 of the 8 states Hy-Vee has a presence, you can donate to an animal shelter.




They also have a Furry Friend Sweepstakes going on.  Click here to upload a photo of your furry friend.  You will get to download two coupons and have a chance to win a year’s supply of food.  Voting is for entertainment purposes only.  A winner will be chosen randomly from the photos entered.  Click here for the official rules.



I really do think it’s amazing when a big business gets involved in the community where they have a presence.  It really makes them a part of the community.  Hy-Vee really does great work in the communities where they live.  So…support your local businesses that support your community.  Show them how much you appreciate their support.

Be Well & Be Happy,
Pet~Pourri

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dazed and Confused


So I was sitting in the living room watching the newest member of our pack, Brandy, try to get the other dogs to play with her.  Brandy is a pup who has not had much interaction with other dogs.  She belonged to a senior citizen who took her for walks, but they were pretty much home bodies.  Sitting here watching her I wish I could understand what she was thinking.
 
 

She obviously misses her owner.  After being with us a week now she is finally starting to lose that dazed look on her face.  Fellow rescuers will know the face I mean.  Dogs who are not very social or aren’t used to change get this clouded dazed look on their face.  You can just tell they are not adjusting well to the change taking place in their lives. 

Brandy had been removed from her home, taken to the Chicago Animal Control, then saved by a fellow rescuer and taken to a vet’s office.  She stayed at the vet’s office for about 8 days before going to 3 different foster homes.  All this in the three weeks it took for us to be able to drive to DeKalb to pick her up. 

She is a super sweet dog and was gentle and friendly with anyone she met, but she was in a state of shock and was not connecting to anyone or anything.  As if she was thinking ‘Hello, nice to meet you, now where’s my dad?’  You could see she was trying to determine what was coming next.  The whole time we were driving home with her she was looking out the back window as if to say ‘Hey…my house is that way’. 
 
 

Brandy has been with us a little over a week now.  The first day my husband was able to take her on a tour of the yard, all she did was look for a way out of the yard.  She was friendly, but really didn’t want to get attached.  As a foster child who bounced around from home to home and from school to school, I can relate to what she is feeling.  It’s like she is just waiting for the next blow.  Once she gets settled in here and starts to feel at home, will she be yanked away and taken somewhere else?

The last couple days I have seen the dazed look leaving her face and her attempting to get us and the other dogs to play with her.  She isn’t quite sure how to instigate play time, so she will sit in front of her ball or in front of one of the other dogs and start barking.  Just one bark…a pause…then another bark.  The first few times she did this I didn’t know what she wanted.  I thought maybe she had to go potty, so I would take her outside.  Then when we came in she would sit and bark again. 
 

 

Finally I noticed this little green ball that none of the other dogs have played with sitting in front of her and she was looking at it barking.  I picked it up and asked her if this is what she wanted.  She actually got a smile on her face and barked again.  When I tossed it up in the air she chased it and brought it back, laying it at my feet, and barked again.  Then yesterday she was sitting in front of my husband’s recliner barking at Winter.  I think she was trying to get Winter to play with her.  Then again later in the afternoon, she did the same with Elke.  Elke laid there having a discussion about it with her.
 
 

To me, this is a good sign.  It means that Brandy is starting to settle in.  Still can’t trust her in the yard off leash.  Won’t do that till she comes back when we call her, but at least she is starting to feel like our home is her home.  I’ll keep you updated on her progress.

Be Well & Be Happy,
Pet~Pourri

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

World Spay Day




Today (February 25th) is World Spay Day.  This is an international day of awareness to urge folks to have their pets spayed or neutered.

Now most of us have heard the story that one female cat and her offspring can produce over 420,000 cats in seven years.  HUGE number right?  Let’s get realistic.  This number is estimating that all the cats born survive and that at least 50% of them are female.  Realistically, looking at mortality rates and what not, that number is more like 400 cats in seven years.  That is still a big number considering the number of pets that are killed in shelters every year from being unwanted. 

 


No matter what the actual number is, with all the unwanted pets dying every day in shelters across the world, you need to have you pet spayed or neutered.  Now don’t give me this crock where you want your child to experience the wonder of live birth.  Nowadays you can find YouTube videos that will give you graphic detail.  You can also take your children to the shelter so they can see first-hand what happens to those cute little kittens and puppies that no one wants once their own kids did experience that wonder.

 


If you can’t afford to have your pet spayed or neutered there are plenty of programs out there that will assist you.  Low-cost or even free in some cases.  Here is a link to Animal Rescue League of Iowa’s spay/neuter programs.  Heck, just do a Google search for Low Cost Spay Clinic.  I had 344,000 results come up.  There is no excuse for not being a responsible pet owner.

 


Why should you have your pet spayed/neutered?  It’s not just because of all the unwanted pets that die every day…that’s just one reason.  There are also health reasons, behavioral issues, and reduced costs in the long run.  Spayed and neutered pets are cheaper to care for in the long run.  The Humane Society of the United States gives some excellent reasons.

 

Remember that if you are looking for a new pet to add to your family, Adopt, don’t Shop.  Go to your local animal shelter or rescue and save a life in need.

Be Well & Be Happy,
Pet~Pourri

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Iowa Lobby Day for Dogs


WARNING, some of the photos in this blog are graphic, but I think they are necessary to understand why this topic is important.

 

So today I would like to talk about some legislative issues that will affect rescues, shelters, commercial breeders, and kennels in the state of Iowa.  One of my interests is lobbying at the Iowa State Capital for animal rights.  This past Tuesday, February 18th was Lobby Day for the Dogs.  One of the bills of interest to me is this one.  SF 2166 - Care of Animals in Commercial Facilities.  It is a bill that was introduced by Senator Matt McCoy.  This bill will help give all animals in Iowa humane care and treatment and will strengthen the penalties for animal abuse.  Specifically, it would revise the laws regarding licensure, fees, standards of care and enforcement of shelters, pounds, kennels, breeders, dealers, etc. caring for companion animals, including establishing a remediation fund to be funded by animal shelters and commercial breeders and dealers.

 


On Tuesday this bill passed a subcommittee and the full Commerce Committee.  This is an amazing step forward to get this bill passed.  What I like about this bill is that my rescue will then be licensed as a Shelter.  Right now we are licensed as a Dealer.   Our rescue was the first breed specific rescue to seek licensing in the state of Iowa and they really didn’t know what to do with us.  Because we were breed specific, we didn’t fit the requirements for a shelter.  With the passing of this bill that will change.

 


I’m going to be blunt…the purpose of this bill is to tighten regulations for Commercial Breeders (Puppy Mills).  There are too many animals that die in shelters every day.  Commercial Breeders are not breeding for the betterment of the breed, but for money. Period.  Every time a movie comes out with a dog as the star, commercial breeders start breeding puppies of that breed to send to pet stores because people want that dog.  Then when the love affair is over the dog winds up abandoned on the street or in a shelter.  Animal rescuers cringe every time a movie starring a dog comes out.

 


Then there are the ‘designer breeds’ or Mutts.  Cockapoo, Goldendoodle, and Puggles, to name a few…all of them are mutts, yet commercial breeders make thousands for every puppy.  And the dogs in their facilities are used for as long as they can breed. Once they are done they are auctioned off or dumped in shelters or even killed.

 


Now I have nothing against these dogs.  I love all animals.  My problem is the people who breed them and the conditions these pets are kept in to breed puppies to make money for the owners.  Most true breeders, who breed for the betterment of the breed, will only breed their dogs once a year or once every two years.  Dogs in commercial breeders are expected to produce puppies every time they go into heat or they are discarded.  Most dogs go into heat 4 times a year.  Now imagine you or your spouse having a baby every 9 months for as long as you can breed.  Commercial breeders don’t care about genetic or hereditary problems a specific breed carries.  Often times the dogs are inbred which makes these problems worse.

 


My own beloved Mirage was a product of a puppy mill.  We rescued her from a pet store that was about to send her back to the breeder because she had been there for almost 8 months.  She had severe hip deformity, yet was going to be sent back to the breeder to breed more puppies.  She lived a very long happy life with us and was the matriarch of our rescue until she passed away on 1/11/12.

 



Ok…I’ll get off my soap box now. 

One of my reasons for writing this blog is, hopefully to educate my readers and teach you that you can make a difference, but also to ask my Iowa readers to contact your legislators and ask them to pass this bill…without any significant changes.  The main goal of this bill is for commercial breeders to start treating their animals humanely.  IF they must breed, treat the animals like the sentient beings they are.

 


You really do make a difference.  When I first started lobbying for animal rights there were over 450 commercial breeders (puppy mills) in Iowa.  Now there are fewer than 250.  The photos throughout this blog are the conditions we are trying to stop.  No sentient being deserves to live like this.  So please take the time to contact your legislators to stop this abuse.

Be Well & Be Happy,
Pet~Pourri
 

All photos in this blog (except the one of Mirage & the Iowa State Capital) came from Iowa Voters for Companion Animals.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Crying Kitty


Photo from cats.lovetoknow.com
 
One of my favorite sayings is “You learn something new every day”.  Well…maybe not every day…but I did learn something new today, and this surprises me because I used to be a ‘crazy cat lady’.  J  I came across this article from andmycat.com about cats crying throughout the night for attention.  None of my cats ever did this.  According to this article, cats cry throughout the night for various reasons.  Usually as kittens or seniors.  Kittens especially when in a new home because they are missing momma and siblings.  Seniors because they don’t’ want to go looking for you and want you to come to them.

 

Photo from www.sevacall.com


Getting up and giving them attention reinforces the behavior so it is recommended that you do not check on them.  I never had this problem but I think it was because I always brought my cats to bed with me.  They give some tips for dealing with the issue like having a play session before bed or feeding the main meal before bed.  You could also find ways to keep your cat awake during the day so they will sleep through the night.

 

Photo from www.222animals.com


Of course you know your cat better than anyone else, so if this is a new behavior, take your cat to the vet to make sure there is no medical reason for this behavior.  This is how I first noticed my Merlin had some medical issues.  The ASPCA site also gives some suggestions for cats that keep you awake.

 

Photo from CatChat.org


In researching this issue I guess it is more common that I thought.  I must have been lucky with my babies.  CatChat.org agrees that this behavior is usually a cat wanting attention.  Their last bit of advice is don’t give in.  Cats need to learn that the nocturnal crying is not going to get them the attention they want.  Even yelling at your cat is giving it attention, so if you are sure it is not a medical concern, ignore kitty.  They will get the message…eventually.  J

 



Be Well & Be Happy,
Pet~Pourri