Bowling to Help Neighbors

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Join us October 31, 2015 for some fun!
Costume contest, bowling, and PRIZES!

All proceeds go to help your neighbor who may have had a hardship or disaster and insurance or lack of government programs to help their animals.

Yes animals are our family too!

Help us help them!

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Compassion or Not, an Internal Debate

HS staff kennel euthinize wait

 

 

 

I have an internal debate that I hope all of you good people can help me resolve. I have had this internal debate going on for as long as I have worked with rescues and in the pet care field. A couple of recent events have stirred the turmoil into overdrive.

I have always tried not to judge the position of the people who have to euthanize animals to harshly because having worked with many of these people over the years I know that it is a very difficult job to do. Let me give a little background on what provoked this round of my internal debate so you can understand where I am coming from.

I have started taking a training course as a volunteer for Hospice, yes for people. As I already do Hospice care for animals taking care of people seems like it would be an easy transition but not the case. Actually I am partly doing this for those families that have animals that when they are caring for their loved one sometimes the furry family member gets forgotten. With the understanding I am leaving a lot of detail out about the reasons and purpose for me training to do this type of volunteer work, it is more the training exercise combined with the view of the people who has caused this turmoil. vet Don’t get me wrong the people are all wonderful and exceptional for doing this and I respect each and every one of them and their opinions. My problem remains to be my internal debate on whether or not there is a level of compassion for animals that are being euthanized in shelters or in vet offices and the level of “family” status they are given.

As I sat in training, we got into small groups and were asked to imagine we had a life threatening illness and talk about how we would want others to interact with us. Somehow my groups conversation went toward certain professions and how people perceive animals. Someone mentioned that a relative cries over the death of a pet but they cannot understand this because they are around it all the time and it is “JUST” an animal. I tried to explain that not everyone feels that way and most people see their furry four-legged pet as one of their children, a true part of their family and they become connected in a special way. This was met with a very dismissive response.

By the time I left training I was still trying to understand how anyone can be so uncaring even if they are trying to keep themselves removed from their job of euthanizing animals. By the time I came home for the day, I had a message from a representative for a rescue league. Without getting into the details of this situation (my apologies but I value the privacy of others), after speaking with the representative and hearing his compassion for the animals that he helps to rescue, the people he must take them from, the decision of which ones must be euthanized, and the choices he must make regarding the owners, I found myself reeling again due to my inner turmoil of how different individuals, but with similar positions have a different approach to their job and level of compassion.

animal control officerofficer rep for dog call If anyone can give me their insight and help me understand how ANYONE can say they like or love animals but euthanize them and say “it’s just an animal”? How can there be so little compassion in these professions? Don’t people take these positions to give compassion to the ones that need it most? Or do they REALLY take these jobs just to have a job?

Pet Friendly or Just Pretend?

As I was looking into my area hotels that are “pet friendly” I was very excited over the number of them that list themselves as “pet friendly”. As a pet sitter this expands my potential clients greatly; one would think. However, the information I was finding began to disturb me on several different levels. Let me break it down on what I was finding:

COST: I found that some places were charging $100 NON REFUNDABLE fee. Now I can understand a charge however it is the NON refundable part that bothers me. This was based on no matter how many days you stayed so whether one day or five days you were charged this $100. It also had a lot of restrictions that I will get into in a moment. The limits and restrictions make it almost impossible to bring along your pets. There is the limits of one animal per room but you may or may not be allowed only two pets, for instance if you have two animals you have to get separate rooms AND pay another $100 fee. Oh and then there is this weight limit thing. No animal over 25lbs. Last time I checked over half the population has an animal over that, including cats being over 25lbs.

LENGTH OF STAY: OK this one item I just DON’T get. Why would you limit them a stay of up to five days or less??? No matter the amount of restrictions why, why, why, would you tell your patron they could only stay five days or less? Don’t you WANT to make money? This restriction is not only ridiculous it would seem to me not very good for business.

WEIGHT LIMITS: Is this one a joke? I have a hard time understanding this one. This one tells anyone that if you have anything other than a toy dog or maybe a stuffed animal…. no offense to those that have small dogs but…..they are telling you if you do not have one of these then you can not stay here. But really we ARE pet friendly. Last time I checked over half the population that has pets and go on vacation have medium to large dogs, that means they weigh more than 25lbs. Again this greatly lowers your clients that may think you are “pet friendly” Just because a dog is larger does not say they are any more at risk of misbehaving.

WHEN IN ROOM: This one I can kind of understand because being a pet sitter I know that animals in a strange place or under stress don’t always behave as well as they do at home. But then again you ARE charging an astronomical fee in case of damages so why again are you telling people they can NEVER leave the animal alone in the room? Maybe if you are going to charge such a fee maybe you should pair up with a pet sitter and offer these services.

Feeding Your Pet Nutritionaly

There is so much information on the web about pet nutrition that it can become quite confusing, making it very difficult to know how to read ingredient labels. I am going to try to give the basic information in layman terms and at the end I am going to put a quiz for you to test your knowledge. When you’re done post a message and let us know how you did and if the information you got here was helpful.

While people make the occasional decision to eat highly processed or poor quality foods, this isn’t an issue for their overall health due to the variety of ingredients in their diet. Unfortunately, if a pet is being fed a poor quality diet, they will be exposed to those ingredients, chemicals and additives every single day.

Dogs and cats are carnivores, and do best on a meat-based diet. Ingredients on a pet food label must be listed in descending order (by weight) based on FDA and AAFCO regulations. Most often this means the first five to seven ingredients are the major ingredients in the food. These ingredients should be real named meat, whole grains and vegetables to ensure a pet is getting excellent nutrition from the best ingredients. Avoid foods that list by-products, unnamed meat meals or partial grains (for example “poultry by-product meal”, “meat meal”, or “corn-gluten meal“, etc.) in the top ingredients, as these are sub-standard sources of protein used instead of real meat that holds more nutritional value. “Meat meal” may sound like something you might serve your own family instead this ingredient may contain a variety of animal parts other than meat including 4-D animals (dead, diseased, disabled or dying prior to slaughter). Meats that are cooked (usually through heat or steam) create meat meals. The quality of the product can vary depending on how and where the meat was sourced.

A specific meat is what you want to see first on the label, but what you want to see second and third is also specific meat or specific meat meal or animal protein.

Many artificial preservatives are suspected of causing cancer (aka carcinogens) in humans. Used in the production of pet food, artificial preservatives will limit the growth of bacteria or inhibit oxidation of food. Common preservatives that should be avoided include BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, sodium nitrite and propylene glycol.  Natural alternatives for preserving food includes a mixture of varying forms of vitamin E called mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract and even the process of freeze-drying.

Artificial flavors and colorings (e.g. corn syrup, propylene glycol, molasses and MSG/ FD&C Blue No. 1, Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5) are frequently used in pet food manufacturing to disguise inferior food quality and some of these additives give dampness and flexibility to semi-moist foods and treats.

Filler, an ingredient added to a pet food that provides dietary fiber and has no particular nutritional value. Filler is used to “bulk up” the bag of pet food cheaply. While pets do require a source of fiber in their diet, it is best that this fiber is provided by whole grains and vegetables. Ingredients such as wheat mill run, rice bran, corn, hulls and certain pulps are examples of fillers that should be avoided or at least not be present in the main ingredient list. Another type of filler is more correctly called a plant-based protein booster.  Many pet food companies use cheap grains as the base of their recipes because they are an inexpensive way to meet nutritional requirements for protein and fat. Cats and dogs should be getting the majority of their protein from real meat and high quality named meat meals, instead of plants. These protein fillers used as main ingredients such as corn, corn gluten or corn germ meal, and soybean meal should be avoided. Corn gluten meal is a high allergen and causes gastrointestinal fermentation and other GI upsets.

Basically, when meat is processed for human consumption, all the left over pieces go into some bags of pet food, labeled as meat by-products, or meat by-product meal.  When you see something like, “chicken by-product meal” on a bag of pet food, the by-product meal is made from heads, beaks, feet, feathers, and entrails, all the stuff that would be too hard to sell.

When there’s no meat specified such as chicken, beef, turkey, etc. – the unspecified meat might be chicken or it could be rendered horse meat. All this garbage can be added to pet food as ‘crude protein.’ Unspecified meat or bone meal is also to be avoided. Meal is fine, as long as a type of meat is specified such as chicken meal or beef meal. ‘Meat meal’ gives you no idea of the content. It could be bird beaks or feathers, or pig snouts.

Chicken liver is a by-product, yet a bag of pet food that simply says “chicken by-product” on the label, or even worse, “animal,” or “meat by-products” are not using a specific by-product, but a mix of them that could be any part of the animal.  These companies are using by-products to replace actual meat and meat meal ingredients. A company that uses by-product meals in their formulas almost always put corn or wheat gluten into the formula to get the protein levels back to where they should be.  Corn and wheat gluten are some of the most common causes of allergies in pets.

Semi-moist foods are some of the most toxic pet foods on the market. They contain propylene glycol, ethoxyquin, BHA and BHG, they also contain high fructose corn syrup and a large amount of carbs. These are used all in an effort to create palatability.

Treats should be tiny morsels of food you use to reward your pet for good behavior and for training and reinforcement of positive behavior. Be careful as tiny amounts of treats can add up over time. It is recommended to feed healthful meat-based treats like dried salmon, turkey jerky, or a fish-based treat. Any type of dehydrated real meat is a good choice because it’s grain and carb-free, with no added salt, fats or sugar. The package or label should say 100 percent natural and pure, USDA inspected. It should also say Made in the USA. In summation here is a list of things to look for:

1) Look for ingredients on the list that you recognize: beef, chicken, duck, lamb, brown rice, vegetables. These are high-quality ingredients and are readily digestible nutrient sources your pet’s body can use.

2) Look for carbohydrate fillers like cornmeal, wheat, soy and white rice. Stay away from foods loaded with these fillers because they are indigestible to your pet and provide no nutrients. Wheat and soy are also known allergens. Instead choose higher quality grains, such as barley, brown rice, and oatmeal, or a preferable alternative starch/carbohydrate such as potatoes or sweet potatoes.

3) Look for animal by-products. It’s a common pet food filler made from the feet, feathers, hooves, beaks and hair of other animals. Animal by-product is commonly used to boost the protein content on the guaranteed analysis, but it is indigestible to your pet and they cannot absorb any protein from these materials.

4) Look for foods that use meat meal, which is meat without its water content. Meat meal is a highly concentrated protein source that pet’s bodies can absorb readily. Meal is simply the meat with the moisture removed.

5) Look out for chemical additives and steer clear of foods that contain them and artificial food colorings and preservatives like BHA, BHT and other long chemical words you cannot pronounce. Instead, look for natural sources of preservatives like antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, Rosemary extract and no colorings at all.

6) Look at the guaranteed analysis chart to make sure certain minerals have been included in the food. Dogs need a daily supply of calcium, magnesium, sodium and phosphorous, and cats need taurine and magnesium for optimal health. You can find this information in the ingredients list as well as the guaranteed analysis chart.

7) Look for an indication of how the food is made. High-quality foods are always proud of their nutrient-preserving processing methods and will usually state that somewhere on the bag.

Once you find the food that suits your pet you may be concerned about problems with diarrhea when they switch pet foods. If you switch to a new food too quickly after your dog or cat has been eating the same thing every day for years, your pet will probably develop diarrhea. But if you provide nutritional variety on a regular basis, your pet’s digestive system will adjust and will ultimately function better and become more resilient.

When you switch foods, do it gradually. Do this over about a two-week time span:

25% food A, 75% food B

50% food A, 50% food B

75% food A, 25% food B

100% food A

Now please take the time to click on the link and take the quiz, no peeking at the answers and let me know how you did and if the information was helpful.

Label Test Final

 

Basic Pet First Aid Kit

 

 

Basic First Aid Kit EVERY Pet Owner Needs 

 

  • Info card with emergency numbers & national poison control number  
  • Info card with your pets base temperature & weight 
  • Commercial muzzle or length of fabric to make one
  • Sterile gauze pads in various sizes
  • 1” – 2” rolls of stretchable & non-stretch gauze
  • Elastic bandages (Ace Bandages)
  • Plastic wrap (Saran Wrap) to seal wounds
  • Bandage tape
  • Blunt scissors for bandaging (also to trim fur away from wound)
  • Duct tape or other heavy tape (to immobilize pet on firm surface)
  • Bubble wrap (for splinting)
  • Blunt tipped tweezers, old sterile credit card and needle nose pliers (to scrape splinters & other foreign objects)
  • Electric clippers (to trim fur around wounds)
  • Large needless syringe, baby dose syringe or eye dropper (to give meds)
  • Rectal thermometer
  • Clean towel & blanket (to restrain your pet, keep him warm or use as a stretcher)
  • Ready made cold packs & hot packs or wash cloth & hot water bottle to make own
  • Antiseptic liquid soap or saline contact lens solution (Betadine skin cleanser & wound flush)
  • Witch Hazel – topical antiseptic
  • Epsom salt (for itchy, irritated skin)
  • Latex gloves
  • Cotton balls
  • Clean wash cloth
  • Lubricants (mineral oil, petroleum jelly, & K-Y Jelly which is water-soluble)
  • Sterile eye lubricant
  • Karo syrup or honey (for shock)
  • Antibiotic ointment (Neosporin) for wounds
  • Activated charcoal preparation (Toxiban)
  • Syrup of Ipecac or 3% hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting) NOT FOR CATS use pepcid AC
  • Buffered Aspirin (for pain DOGS ONLY)
  • Antihistamine (Benadryl) for itching (also good sedative)
  • Anti-diarrhea (Kaopectate)
  • Styptic Powder (Kwik- Stop) for minor bleeding
  • Penlight

 

Hoarding…..Mental Illness or Cruelty

Do you find these pictures disturbing? Have you ever seen things like this at a Neighbors? Friends? Family members house? Do you know what to say or do if you have?

Hoarding has become more prominent in the news lately, for those of you asking “what is hoarding?’

Animal hoarding involves keeping large numbers of animals as domestic pets without having the ability to properly house or care for them, while at the same time denying this inability. Compulsive hoarding can be characterized as a symptom of mental disorder rather than deliberate cruelty towards animals. Hoarders are deeply attached to their pets and find it extremely difficult to let the pets go. They typically cannot comprehend that they are harming their pets by failing to provide them with proper care. Hoarders tend to believe that they provide the right amount of care for their pets.

While it is a disturbing subject there is much research still to be done on the subject. Hoarding should not go unpunished but in the same respect, the one doing the hoarding has far more mental issues that need attention and care. The subtle signs of this aweful sickness need to be paid attention to:

  • People who engage in compulsive hoarding have countertops, sinks, stoves, desks, stairways and virtually all surfaces stacked with stuff. When there’s no more room inside, the clutter usually spreads to the garage, vehicles and yard. Hoarding affects emotions, thoughts and behavior. Signs and symptoms of hoarding may include:
  • §  Cluttered living space
  • §  Inability to discard items
  • §  Keeping stacks of newspapers, magazines or junk mail
  • §  Moving items from one pile to another, without discarding anything
  • §  Acquiring unneeded or seemingly useless items, including trash
  • §  Difficulty managing daily activities, including procrastination and trouble making decisions
  • §  Difficulty organizing items
  • §  Excessive attachment to possessions
  • §  Limited social interactionPeople who hoard typically collect items because they believe they will be needed or have value in the future.

A person also may hoard items that he or she feels have important emotional significance. People who hoard may report feeling safer when surrounded by the things they collect.

 Hoarding animals
People that  hoard animals may collect dozens or even hundreds of pets. They usually hoard animals that can be confined inside and concealed more easily. Because of their sheer numbers, these animals often aren’t cared for properly. Hoarding ranges from mild to severe cases. Clutter and difficulty discarding things are usually the first symptoms of hoarding. If you know of someone you may suspect of having this problem reach out and try to get them help as they need as much help as the animals they are harming.