Tag: puppy

Grrrrrrreat Reads – Not Just For 1st Time Adopters

 

It is exciting to find so many good books about pet adoption on the market. Those of us who live with adopted pets know how much they mean to a family.

 

If you have ever opened your heart to an older pet, here’s a book you’ll want to check out:

 According to William Hageman, Reporter for the Chicago Tribune,  “If you read My Old Dog: Rescued Pets With Remarkable Second Acts (New World Library) and don’t want to run out to a shelter and rescue a senior pet, you have a heart of flint.”  The book, written by Laura T. Coffey and photographed by Lori Fusaro, champions a sometimes-forgotten segment of the animal shelter population.  It contains some truly beautiful photographs of senior dogs and a very nice resource section for folks who make older dogs a part of their life. http://www.myolddogbook.com/

 

 

Perhaps the writer of My Old Dog will follow up with an equally well-built version about senior cats? Let’s hope so. In the meantime, we have an excellent book available now, offering the latest information on Senior Cat Care. Written by Susan Easterly, Your Older Cat – A Complete Guide to Nutrition, Natural Remedies and Veterinary Care is a veritable Bible of good information for anyone whose cat is reaching its sunset years. With easy to follow tables, resource lists and helpful hints, this book will help any reader get a grip on old-cat topics like the aging process, preventive care, natural healing options, chronic diseases and senior cat nutrition. The suggested reading list is most helpful and the photos are just beautiful.

 

At the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s an excellent book on how to raise a great puppy written by Dr. Sophia Yin. Dr. Yin died a few years back, but she left behind her a tremendous wealth of writings about positive methods in pet training based on the latest research. Being a veterinarian, Dr. Yin also tempers her writings with the physical drivers behind behavior. Illustrated profusely with photos and drawings that are easy to interpret, Perfect Puppy in 7 Days – How to Start Your Puppy Off Right not only can help someone raising a puppy to do it right. It also can help the owner of a young dog understand the reasons behind behaviors they may be seeing in their pet, and how they can best modify those behaviors without ruining the dog.

 

Since we like to be even handed in our reviews, we owe it to the felines and their families to mention an equally interesting and well-designed how-to book about cats by Pam Johnson-Bennett: Think Like A Cat – How To Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat – Not a Sour Puss  From how to choose a new cat or kitten to how to kitten-proof a home to how to help your vet diagnose your cat’s ailments, this book is the one cat owners will turn to again and again over the lifetime of their cat. There’s some exceptional material in here about how to not only train a cat, but how to modify and even eliminate undesirable behaviors your cat may have developed. Personally we might have liked to have seen a few more illustrations in this book to break up the text a bit and help the more visual learners in our midst to get the message; but with so much valuable information in this book, we can forgive the lack of images and appreciate the treasure between its covers.


Legislative Corner – What is Animal Cruelty?

TASP gets our share of calls from folks concerned about this or that animal’s welfare in their neighborhood. Whether it’s a neighbor’s dog tied out in weather extremes, or dairy heifers with hip bones protruding in springtime, it’s commendable that people care enough about animals to seek help on their behalf. Sometimes what they’re seeing is actually not cruelty, according to NY State law, and sometimes it is. In the previous TASP newsletter, we talked about how to make change happen at the federal level. I thought it might be a good idea to take it back a notch and talk about state level matters, especially concerning animal cruelty.

When the topic of animal cruelty comes up, sometimes I lose a friend when I explain what TASP can and can’t do, legally. After all, TASP is not the official Animal Control officer for any jurisdiction. We’re educated in Animal Law so we can recognize it when we see it and share information on the topic with concerned members of the public. We’re glad to communicate what we’ve learned to enlighten others, but we don’t have the authority to remove animals from premises without the permission of the animal’s owner or of law enforcement officials responsible for the location where the suspected cruelty is taking place. We also don’t have the legal authority to demand that law enforcement remove an animal from its owner, even when cruelty is suspected. And we can’t legally represent you to law enforcement and make a formal complaint on your behalf about something you’ve witnessed and we haven’t.  All we can do is what YOU can do if you suspect animal cruelty:

Look carefully at the big and small picture and compare what you see to Article 26 of the NY State Agriculture and Markets Law. Remember, not everything that looks like cruelty is legally cruel under our existing laws. In this state, animals are still considered the property of their owners, just like a car or a ladder. Companion animals have a bit more protection under Article 26, but even at that, the protections are in some cases vaguely worded and up to the interpretation of officers, attorneys and judges.

Not all cruelty or neglect is intentional and not all cases of neglect are considered by law enforcement to be prudent to prosecute, from a resource-availability perspective. An elderly pet owner who isn’t able to trim their pet’s nails or whose dog/cat’s fur is matted isn’t necessarily intending to hurt their pet. On the contrary, they may be distressed, embarrassed and/or ashamed that they aren’t able financially or physically to keep up with the animal’s care. It may be their only companion and so they may be reluctant to let it go. There may be no relatives or neighbors nearby who can/will help them with the tasks, or they may not understand the physical discomfort that long nails or matted fur can cause an animal.  The owner’s arthritis, poor eyesight, lack of resources or the onset of their or their loved one’s illness may also be legitimate reasons for a lapse in a pet’s care. Swooping in to judge/accuse/publicly shame the owner in such cases without knowing the backstory adds to the tragedy instead of helping overcome the issue for the long term. Those are the cases where TASP might be able to help by paying for grooming or vetting for that pet. Or, if the situation is a sinking ship, TASP may even offer to help the owner place the pet in a more secure home so the owner can move on to assisted living. But before you set us on that pet owner, why not drop by with a cup of coffee, a little tray of cookies or some animal-related trinket that shows you care, so you can get acquainted and learn more about why your neighbor’s animal looks the way it does and how we outsiders might be trusted as worthy to help?

I actually had a very nice lady call me once with great concern about abused dairy cattle on a farm near where she lived. It was spring and she said she was seeing the female cattle standing outside with hip bones protruding. She said they looked starved and were all muddy and she was sure they were being horribly neglected. She didn’t stop in to talk with the farmer and she didn’t research on the internet to learn more about how to judge a cow’s body condition score. She just drove past the farm day after day on her way to and from work and with each pass, she got herself more and more worried about these poor cows. When she called me to talk about it, I assured her I would take a look, but that these cows were probably fine, given it was calving season. I gave her a brief rundown in what makes cows look the way they do so she could understand why what she was seeing might be expected at this time of year. And when I drove over to take a peek, my hunch was confirmed; there was no shortage of food available to those cows and they were happily chewing cud when I got there. This lady was a very well meaning person unfamiliar with dairy farming. She was judging the appearance of these cattle against the condition of her pet dog and saw a disturbing contrast. But those familiar with dairy farming will tell you the cow’s physical structure is far different from any dog’s (let’s start with just the number of stomachs for an example) and a heifer’s body condition fluctuates with the time of year and her calving/lactating cycle. As it turns out, these cows were in fine condition; they had just been calving and that takes alot out of the system so the Moms all naturally looked a little droopy around the hip bones at that time.  There was no law broken here.

So here’s a test for you…. a couple of photos of a suffering dog. Is it a case of animal cruelty/criminal neglect?

 

 

 

 

Answer: Not. This dog had a loving owner who spent thousands of dollars in her attempt to overcome her dog’s allergies. She trusted her veterinarian to diagnose and treat this dog, but unfortunately, this particular vet was having difficulty getting a grip on the case. The stack of invoices and reports in this little guy’s vet history attested to a year’s worth of repeated trips to the vet, each time with a new proposed treatment that was supposed to stop the tormenting itch. By this time, the dog had ulcers from too many steroids, an antibiotic-resistant staph infection from too may antibiotics and he was half his normal weight. At the recommendation of her vet, his owner was about to euthanize the 2 year old West Highland Terrier when she reached out to her coworker who reached out to TASP.  We had the dog properly diagnosed and treated by another vet with more experience in helping animals with severe allergies. The dog’s Mom gratefully surrendered him to TASP because she didn’t feel equipped to deal with the care he would need going forward. He’ll always need allergy shots and carefully controlled diet and environment, but here’s a recent photo of Spencer …..he actually needs regular haircuts now!

If we pass judgement just by what we see without digging deeper to obtain more context, we can deceive  ourselves. But let’s say you did your homework. You’ve made unsuccessful attempts to clarify/rectify the situation. Perhaps, in spite of your asking your neighbor to clean up their yard, the smell of feces and/or garbage coming from the person’s back yard where their dog is tied is enough to gag a maggot; so you know Article 26 Section 353b.3.b has been violated. Or worse yet, you’ve witnessed the animal being beaten or otherwise abused (Article 26 Section 353 and/or 353a). In other words, you are convinced that you have a case of unjustifiable cruelty. Here’s what you need to do next:

First, do NOT change the condition of any of the animals on that property. Don’t groom the matted one, don’t trim the nails or make any improvements to the suffering animals. Sound cruel? Wellllll, if you change the condition of any of the suffering animals before they can be witnessed and professionally documented by a vet/officer, you’ve changed the evidence of the crime. Instead, start documenting the cruelty you suspect. In a perfect world, this would entail taking photos or video of the situation. But the important thing you need to know is, you aren’t legally allowed to step onto the property of others of whom you suspect cruelty without their inviting you to do so. This reality may be the factor that determines you aren’t able to gather images of the animal you think is suffering. If that’s the case, write down the dates and times when you witness cruelty occurring and write detailed descriptions of the incident: what kind and how many animals and how are they being abused? What evidence are you seeing? Be specific. Try to match up what you’re seeing with the actual section and subsection of Article 26 that applies. List any other witnesses present and try to be objective in your description. These notes may be reviewed by law enforcement and may eventually be considered evidence in a trial if the case gets that far.

With your evidence in hand, call 911 or visit the local police department and report the suspected cruelty. You need to file an official complaint with the local police, and you may need to insist that they take your complaint, depending on how animal-friendly the officer on duty is. After that, the case will be reviewed and an officer may visit the suspect’s home, or they may send the dog control officer (if it’s a dog that you are concerned about) to see if they see any evidence of a cruelty issue.

Don’t be surprised if the officer/DCO points out to the suspect that they are in violation of one or more sections of Article 26, and offers the suspect an opportunity to correct the situation. This is akin to an officer offering you a warning instead of a citation for speeding in your car…..and based on what the officer learns when visiting the suspect, he or she may feel it makes good sense to give the suspect a chance to get things back under control over a given period of time instead of immediately drawing them into the criminal justice system. Now, some people may say, “How can you equate suspected animal cruelty with my innocent speeding violation?” The answer is, your vehicle weighs ALOT, and when it’s going faster than recommended, the chance of your imposing cruelty on an innocent animal/human who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time is actually quite high. That’s one reason why we have speeding laws. But if an officer looks you in the eye, communicates with you, looks around your vehicle, checks your past record and feels you would change your behavior after a warning, then they’re entitled to make that judgement and give you the opportunity to self-correct. This saves valuable police and court resources for the really heinous cases that absolutely require immediate prosecution: the person who lights the stray cat on fire, the person who beats a pet to death with a shovel, the person who slashes their neighbor’s pet horse in its stall, or the person who blatantly refuses or is unable to heed the warning of an officer who has already given them official warning of their violation.

The New York State Humane Association wrote the  book on investigating animal cruelty. Literally. CLICK HERE to read their indepth procedural layout for animal cruelty investigators. This is the book by which many police departments learn how to investigate Animal Cruelty, so in becoming familiar with this manual, you can help your officers do the best job of bringing an animal abuser to justice with a case that isn’t likely to be thrown out of court.

We’re a nation of laws. They’re certainly not all perfect but they’re part of a system that attempts to provide at least a bare minimum of protection for the vulnerable. The tricky part of all this from the perspective of law enforcement is protecting the rights of animals without violating the rights of humans. As animal lovers, it’s easy for us to confuse our own standards of care for our pets with what is legally required. This is one of the root causes of misunderstandings and polarization among the community. By becoming more educated ourselves about the legal side of animal welfare, we can help law enforcement do a better job and we can also offer our law makers concrete suggestions for new bills that can update and improve laws. And that’s how we can make our community a better place for all species.

 


Tip o’ the Day – The Biggest Mistakes New Animal Owners Make

We’ve all seen the movies and read the books about animals and people living happily ever after. And animals really do enrich our lives, no matter what the species. But all living things have physical and emotional needs.  They’re not appliances we can turn on and off as we find necessary. They need the right food, the right medical care and the right enrichment to live an acceptable quality of life…..and most importantly, they need our time and attention. Once we bring a pet into our lives, we become their primary source of these things. They depend on us to know what they need because they can’t always tell us themselves. In this issue of our newsletter, we thought it might be helpful to use the internet to learn in advance what others have to tell us about the animals we want to make a part of our family.

The most common mistakes new animal owners make…….

Thinking of acquiring a cat? CLICK HERE to learn how to avoid the most common mistakes new cat owners make.

You say you’re smitten by the puppy you just met at the shelter? CLICK HERE to learn from the mistakes of others.

You always wanted an equine and now you’ve got the opportunity to achieve that dream. Before you do, CLICK HERE to prepare yourself in advance.

Ferrets, rats, snakes, lizards, turtles……are they all low maintenance pets? CLICK HERE to find out.

Exotic birds are entertaining, colorful, and some can even talk to us. But there’s more to owning a bird than just putting food and water in a cage. CLICK HERE to find out what you may not have considered about owning a bird, before you bring one home.

 

 


Vet Sci 101 – The Scoop on Poop

As pet owners, we sooner or later will be subjected to cleaning up a very stinky mess left behind by our canine or feline friend. It’s important to learn how to interpret the language of poop so we can be an advocate for our animals who can’t necessarily describe their situation to the vet.
Did you know that a fecal sample is the window to what’s going on inside your pet? Knowing what different kinds of BM mean can help you save your pet from suffering; and a little bit of time spent being a “scat detective” can even save a life.
The AKC wrote a terrific article about this very subject. And although it’s written from the perspective of a dog lover, the general information it offers about the features of feces can be generalized to other species like cats and horses.
https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/doggie-diarrhea/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=yourakc-20161121


This Quarter’s Featured Project – Keepin’ It Together

Best Friends for Life: Gail and Puppy

Thanks to all of you from Puppy!

My name’s, “Puppy.” I’m a 13 year old Yorkie & Chihuahua mix. Everyone is surprised to find out how old I am when they hear my name and meet me….frisky and lively and full of energy, I guess I’ll always look and act like a pup, and that’s just fine with me!                                                         When I was younger, Mom, Dad, Bro and I all lived on a modest little farm in the country. We raised dairy goats; Nubians and LaManchas were our specialty. I really liked the way they smelled and I enjoyed going to the barn each day with the folks to help with milking and caring for my caprine “cousins.” My favorite thing to do was to steal a piece of the trimmings when the goats had their hooves clipped…..have you ever tasted goat hoof? It’s the caviar of doggie cuisine, y’know.

About two years ago, things all of a sudden changed ALOT! First, Bro got really sick…… the kind of sick that means hospital trips, chemo, and weeks and weeks of pain medicine. After that, Bro never really looked the same; and soon, he just completely disappeared. Mom and Dad walked around like zombies after Bro left. They looked scared.

We moved to a smaller place because Mom’s health wasn’t very good anymore. She has a lot of trouble breathing. Soon, she was wearing a leash attached to her nose (she called it her oxygen) and she was never able to walk off-leash again. That seemed bad enough, but then, all of a sudden, Dad got sick like Bro. And less than a year after Bro disappeared, Dad disappeared, too. Mom says both of them went to live in heaven. I can’t understand why they left Mom and me here alone, but Mom says they got invited and we didn’t. But she says we will be invited to heaven soon enough. She says Dad and Bro are not coming back, either. So now, it’s just Mom and me scraping by on her Social Security check.

With things going so badly in Mom’s life, I didn’t want to tell her that my mouth hurt. But as time went on, it REALLY got sore and I couldn’t chew my food. She noticed and started calling around to see if a vet would fix my mouth on credit…….but none of the vets agreed to let Mom pay on time; not even the one we’ve been going to all these years!

But ya know what? Mom didn’t give up. She kept asking around and eventually she found out about TASP: The Animal Support Project. She talked with a volunteer there and they hooked us up with a vet named Dr. Nicole, who actually fixed my mouth for FREE! Dr. Nicole had a grant from the ASPCA to help animals belonging to poor people…..and since nobody’s poorer than Mom and me, I was able to get the care I needed. But that’s not the end of the story!

The vets also said I needed medicine to help my heart work better. So TASP took me to a specialist and got me the tests I needed to get the right medicine. Now, a TASP volunteer visits Mom and me twice a month to count out pills into my trays. The trays have little compartments in them and each morning and evening, Mom takes the pills from a compartment and folds them into some tasty canned dogfood that I find just irresistible.  TASP even found me a sponsor who donates my pills so Mom doesn’t have to use food money to buy them.

The volunteer says Mom and TASP have “joint custody” of me so I can remain at home and still get the special care I need.  They say I will be happier at home with the Mom I’ve known all my 13 years than to be uprooted and sent somewhere else. They know I am only at peace when I’m on Mom’s lap, watching the cooking shows on cable. And Mom is SO HAPPY to know she doesn’t have to spend the rest of her life alone! Mom and I sometimes look at each other and wonder which of us will be the next one to disappear. But at least now Mom knows that if SHE gets invited to heaven first, then I still have my friends at TASP to care for me until my invitation arrives.

CLICK HERE to watch Puppy & Gail’s video

 

 


Vet Sci 101 – How to Advocate for Your Pet After Surgery

In the January-February 2017 issue of Veterinary Team Brief magazine, Teresa Ann Raffel-Kleist, CVT, VTS, provided her top 5 tips for a Veterinary Team to communicate to pet owners, to use in monitoring their animal at home after surgery. We’re turning the pronouns around and sharing these simple tips with you in order to spread the word and bring awareness about how we can best collect data and communicate with the Veterinary Staff during our pet’s period of vulnerability.
  1. Understand the medications you’ll be giving your pet. Make sure you know how much and when to give, and understand how it is to be administered. Don’t be afraid to ask your Vet or Vet Tech to demonstrate how best to apply meds like ointments or drops. Also be sure to ask how to recognize side effects. If your pet also has a chronic health condition for which they are already taking a medication, it doesn’t hurt to ask your Vet Team if you should expect any potential drug interactions.
  2. Understand your pet’s surgical site. In other words, discuss any incision with your Vet Team; how many and what kind of stitches? Will they need to be pulled in 7-10 days or will they dissolve on their own? Should the incision be kept dry or should damp compress be applied in case of swelling, discharge or discomfort? What kind of discharge is normal and what kind is not? Will an e-collar be needed to keep the pet from chewing or licking the incision? Take photos of the incision every day or so in case you need to show them to the Vet.
  3. Ask your Vet Team how they want you to care for the bandage. How often should it be changed? What if it slips out of position? How to readjust it without damaging the tissue below? Smell the bandage each day…..What kinds of smells should we expect from the bandage as time goes on and what do they mean? If it’s a limb that’s bandaged, learn how to check your pet’s foot for warmth, color and swelling.
  4. Discuss exercise restrictions. For instance, stomach incisions take about 2 weeks to heal internally, so a pet with such an incision should not be allowed to jump for at least 2 weeks. If walking will be permitted, ask for specific instructions about leash length and recommended duration for walks. Are there any exercises we can engage our pets in that will aid with the pet’s rehabilitation? Ask for a demonstration if you aren’t absolutely clear on any exercises recommended.
  5. Discuss dietary restrictions with your Vet or Vet Tech. Controlling weight gain during the idle healing period will make it easier for your pet to rise from recumbancy while they’re convalescing. Issues with urinary blockages, kidney or liver dysfunction may require special or prescription food.
Understanding our pets’ post-surgical requirements will streamline the recovery process and offers our pet the best possible outcome. It also gives us the opportunity to advocate most effectively with our Veterinary Team on behalf of our pet. Vets and Vet Techs are more than happy to explain any of these care tips with their clients. They know a pet owner who is well informed is a valuable extension of their team .

 


Local Low Cost Pet Services

Low-cost Clinics

In each newsletter we will list various shelters and organizations that provide low-cost veterinary services, such as vaccines, microchipping, and spay/neuter to individuals who may need financial assistance affording vet care for their companion animal(s).

Animal Protective Foundation (APF) – Located at 53 Maple Avenue in Scotia, the APF provides lower-cost spay/neuter clinics.  Appointments must be made in advance by calling 374-3944, ext. 121 or 125 (please leave a message) or email: afpclinic@animalprotective.org.  For more details go to: www.animalprotective.org

Battenkill Veterinary – Rabies Vaccination Clinics held Monday through Friday from 2-3PM on a walk-in basis. For more details: http://battenkillveterinary.com/

Mohawk Hudson Humane Society – Lower-fee spay and neuter for individuals with limited income. Appointments must be made in advance by calling the Menands shelter at 434-8128 or the Saratoga shelter at 886-9645. For more details go to: www.mohawkhumane.org/spayneuter.html

Capital Region PETCO Stores – Low cost vaccinations through VETCO, with convenient hours. Click here to check availability at Capital District stores.

Pet Supplies Plus – VIP PetCare Community Veterinary Clinic offering: low cost vaccines, heartworm testing and prevention, and other preventative veterinary services including canine Rabies vaccines and micro-chipping. No appointment necessary, first-come, first-served. For more information, visit www.VipPetCare.com or contact the store. Click here to check availability at Capital District stores.

Tractor Supply Company (TSC) – Offers monthly preventative vet care visits at many of their locations in the Capital District, Washington County, and Bennington County, Vermont.  The clinics are operated by VIP Petcare Mobile Clinics with a licensed vet on staff. No appointment is needed and there is only a charge for the vaccinations. Contact your local TSC for dates and times. Click here to reach the Tractor Supply website.

In Case You Don’t Live in NY’s Capital District, you can find low cost spay-neuter clinics at this cool ASPCA site: Click Here to check it out.

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