Archive for April, 2013

Raw diet safety tips

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If you feed your dog a raw protein diet, the following steps will help ensure his safety, and the safety of the humans around him:

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  • Practice impeccable hygiene.  Wash your hands thoroughly and sanitize your pet’s dish as well as all utensils, cutting boards, and preparation surfaces.

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  • Never leave raw meat sitting in your pet’s bowl; discard or refrigerate any uneaten food after 10 to 15 minutes.

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  • Do not allow young children near your pet’s food bowl.

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  • Set aside a dedicated preparation area to avoid cross-contamination with your family’s food.

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  • Freeze raw meat until ready to use and always thaw in the refrigerator, never on the counter.

DogFancy’s NaturalDog magazine, Winter 2013 edition

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April 29, 2013 at 10:08 am Leave a comment

Saving abandoned animals, one ride at a time

By Erika Angulo, Producer, NBC News

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For former trucker Sue Wiese, obstacles don’t get in the way of her drive to save pets’ lives.  The 69-year-old Texas grandmother is the founder of Operation Roger, a group of volunteer truck drivers who transport animals from kill shelters and rescue groups to families willing to adopt them.  “We’re a ragtag group of pet lovers who want to help pets who already have a home to go to, give them some T.L.C., and a hitchhike to get there,” she said.

Sue Wiese named the organizaion after her late Manchester Terrier Roger

Sue Wiese named the organization after her late Manchester Terrier Roger

Now retired, Wiese started the nonprofit, named after her late Manchester Terrier, Roger, after listening to grim stories coming out of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in August 2005. As she drove one night, Wiese said she prayed for guidance on how to help the pets stranded by the storm.  She says she remembered saying, “Lord, I am just a truck driver, is there anything I can do to help?”  Then it came to her: transportation.  At the advice of loved ones, Wiese called into Bill Mack’s XM Satellite talk show, a favorite with truckers, to ask for support to transport abandoned pets.

Toni Bowser, one of the coordinators for Operation Roger, helped rescue several dogs from a crowded shed in Oklahoma.

Toni Bowser, one of the coordinators for Operation Roger, helped rescue several dogs from a crowded shed in Oklahoma.

She described her idea on the air — and although no one volunteered right away, by the end of the program her phone had voice mails from a dozen other truckers wanting to participate.

Finding their ‘forever family’

Almost eight years later, Operation Roger has 50 truck drivers. Their two coordinators locate a driver who will be traveling near the pet’s destination, or they locate a series of truckers who can do a relay to move the rescued animal from one state to the other until finally arriving at the home of the adoptive family.  “Dogs, cats, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, chinchillas, anything a driver can put in the cab of their truck they will take,” said Wiese.

Chihuahua owner and trucker Tony Hamilton said the drivers treat the dogs like they are family, carrying one animal at a time.  “We’re all pet lovers,” he said.

Pekingese Shelby is the 692nd pet to “hitchhike” to his “forever family.” He lived under a tin shed crowded with some other 30 dogs and at least two dozen cats in Buffalo, Okla., for years until the local sheriff stepped in and labeled it a hoarding situation.

Washington State-based truck driver David Binz transported this rescue dog named Shelby to his new family in Alaska, a nine-day journey from Oklahoma.

Washington State-based truck driver David Binz transported this rescue dog named Shelby to his new family in Alaska, a nine-day journey from Oklahoma.

Rescue groups Furever Friends and W.O.O.F Pet Rescue took in the pets.  “The feces and the urine were inches thick,” said Melba Shawn Evans of Furever Friends.

Alaska family adopts Shelby

Then a family in Tok, Alaska spotted dog Shelby on a pet rescue website and decided to adopt him. Operation Roger coordinator Toni Bowser found Washington State-based driver David Binz who had been assigned to pick up goods in Texas bound for Alaska.  As a volunteer for the group, Binz has transported nine dogs and one cat since he joined Operation Roger.  “It’s a good way that truck drivers in America can give back to society because we’re not home a lot,” he said. “We can’t do a lot of volunteer projects, but this is something that we can do.”

For nine days Shelby rode with Binz and his own dog Izzy for 4,579 miles. Saturday they arrived in Tok, Alaska, where the Kern family anxiously awaited Shelby’s arrival. Morgan, 11, and her twin sister Madison met the Pekingese with big smiles and hugs.  “I’m very excited,” Morgan said.

The Kern family poses with their new dog, Shelby, who was rescued from Oklahoma.

The Kern family poses with their new dog, Shelby, who was rescued from Oklahoma.

Shelby’s new dad said the family is proud of being able to provide a good home for the dog.  “He was in a bad situation and it was just our duty to do something like that, to give him a good home,” said Todd Kern.

Operation Roger drivers are not just transporting pets, said Bowser, they are also helping the animals heal from abuse and abandonment trauma.  “They’re being loved on during the ride, the drivers try to meet the pets’ needs” she said.

To this day, Wiese is surprised and impressed at how many people have joined her cause.  “I feel in awe,” she said. “It’s been a whirlwind.”

 

April 25, 2013 at 10:46 am Leave a comment

Three Chihuahuas and Two Cats

What a fun and exciting week I’ve had in Bothell this week with these three adorable Chihuahuas

Lola, Maximus & Sure

Lola, Maximus & Suri

And two cats.

Joe and Peppers

Joe and Peppers

Wow, what a house full!  When the weather was cold and raining so we couldn’t spend very much time in the back yard or take walks (these pups don’t like the rain :-)) they were either playing with their toys, all piled on top of me cuddled up or laying around keeping warm by the fire.

Warm and cozy fire

Warm and cozy fire

Joe thinks he’s one of the dogs and likes to hang out with them.  He is a very verbal cat so is constantly “talking” to me.

I'll have my breakfast NOW please!

I’ll have my breakfast NOW please!

Joe hanging out with Lola and Suri

Joe hanging out with Lola and Suri

Peppers, on the other hand, doesn’t like the dogs and definitely doesn’t like hanging out with them.  She prefers to hang out by herself in her basket or on her cat tree away from all the activity and noise.

I'll take a belly rub please!

I’ll take a belly rub please!

One day when the sun was shining and we were all in the yard, I realized that Peppers hadn’t come around for a while.  I started calling her and could hear her but couldn’t see her.  I began to worry that she was stuck somewhere or hurt and couldn’t get back.

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Well, guess where I finally found her?  Yep, Peppers had hopped onto the roof and now couldn’t get down.  I’m assuming she was frightened by the dogs.  Now what do I do?  Well, I finally found an upstairs window that opened and she came right in.  Apparently this wasn’t the first time she had done this because she knew exactly where to go.

I fine mess I've gotten myself into!

I fine mess I’ve gotten myself into!

Suri is a sweet little girl who, when I’m talking to her cocks her head asking “What?”  She’s the first one on my lap when I sit down and is constantly playing with her toys.  I absolutely LOVE her ears 🙂

Look at those adorable ears

Gotta love those ears!

Lola is the quietest of the three dogs.  She stands back and stares at me if she wants on my lap or wants some more petting.  She sticks more to herself and sometimes I find her laying in her crate.  Oh how I wish I knew what these little ones were thinking at times.

Oh if I only knew what you were thinking

Oh if I only knew what you were thinking

Max is a very interesting little guy.  He was adopted, as were all the rest of the little ones in this house (Yay to their mom!) and doesn’t trust touch.  So I was warned not to put my hand on him or stare at him so he wouldn’t get threatened and bite me.  A really hard thing for someone like me who loves nothing more than loving and pamper these little guys.

Maximus - The cutest face ever!

Maximus – The cutest face ever!

One day I was on my computer at the counter and Suri (I thought) came up to me wanting some attention.  I leaned down and gave her some good petting and lifted her into my arms and was cradling her while I was looking at the computer screen.  All of the sudden I looked down and realized it was Max I was holding instead of Suri!  What to do now?  I think Max realized what he had allowed me to do about the same time and started to panic.  I quickly put him down but was overwhelmed with happiness that I got to hold him, even if just for a short time.  After that he was much more comfortable with me.  Hopping onto my lap, licking my face and he actually let me pet him a couple more times.  What a sweet little boy!  Yes Max, you can trust me!

April 21, 2013 at 10:03 am Leave a comment

Vets Corner – Healthy Eating

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The most important thing we can do to keep our pets healthy and happy for as long as possible is to feed a high quality diet and feed the appropriate amount of food consistently.  This sounds so easy and so logical doesn’t it?  Yet with about 80% of pets that I see whether in for a wellness visit or an illness, I find myself discussing this very concern.

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During a physical exam on every patient every time we see them we assess and give a body condition score.  A 1 is the skinniest pet you could ever imagine and a 5 is the heaviest pet you could imagine.  A score of 3 is ideal and what we are always aiming for.  Of the many pets that are a grade 4 or 5 I find that often owners are not really feeding too much food, but that they are giving an excessive amount of treats and table scraps.

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What I also find often is that it is one person in the household that just can’t help themselves from giving their pet treat after treat.  Of course the dog or cat always wants to hang around that person.

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The information to try to change that behavior comes from a Purina study that proved that dogs that are lean live two years longer than dogs that are obese, and that they live a much better quality of life.  That is huge considering the normal life span for most dogs is 12-13 years.

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The quality of the food also plays a huge role in the overall health of our pets.  Foods that are very high in grains like most inexpensive dry foods are more likely to add fat rather than muscle, and make pets more likely to have issues like urinary tract infections or bladder stones, diabetes, and pancreas problems.  Cats especially do not do well with these high carbohydrate foods as they are carnivores meaning that the vast majority of their nutrition must come from meat.  A premium high quality meat based dry cat food should have a protein content of about 50%.  We also recommend canned foods for cats as even the inexpensive canned foods are meat based and usually will contain 50-60% protein.  The other advantage for cats who are not big drinkers is that the canned food is about 80% moisture which is very good for their urinary system.

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One of the most exciting things that has occurred for me in veterinary medicine in the last few years is that we not only can help better control diabetes in cats with diet, but in 80% of the newly diabetic cats that are switched to a high protein, low carbohydrate canned cat food can be cured of their diabetes.  (I must add that in many cases insulin is needed initially to control the blood sugar until the body responds to the diet change.)  The vast majority of diabetic cats are Type 2 diabetics and are usually overweight male neutered cats that have been on a higher carbohydrate dry food all their lives.

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It used to seem so easy to pick out a food for our dogs and cats.  Now it seems like the pet food aisles never end and every brand has several different variations.

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The best thing to do for your pet is to consult your veterinarian to see if they have any special concerns where a particular diet could make a difference.  Although premium foods are more expensive, in general you do get what you pay for and if a good diet can prevent an illness it will more than pay for itself in the long run.

Dr. Landorf – Oakwood Hills Animal Hospital
from Pet Sitters Associates, LLC Quarterly Newsletter

April 17, 2013 at 10:56 am 4 comments

Mukilteo

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During the time I was pet sitting in Mukilteo I decided to pop down town to see the ferry and take a walk along the beach.  I absolutely love being by the water, listening to the water rush onto shore, and listening to the sound of the ferrys mournful horn.

Roman & Juma

Roman & Juma

The Mukilteo Lighthouse Park is right next to the ferry dock and has lots of parking, and is a pretty cool little park, so this is where I went.

Ferry coming into Mukilteo

Ferry coming into Mukilteo

Art in Mukilteo Lighthouse Park

Art in Mukilteo Lighthouse Park

Sitting on a historic plot of land, flashing a white light once every five seconds, the Mukilteo Lighthouse guides ships on their way to Everett, Washington.  The light was lit for the first time on March 1, 1906.  Electricity reached the station in 1927 and was automated in 1979.  I think it’s a beautiful little lighthouse.

Mukilteo Lighthouse

Mukilteo Lighthouse

The beach is pretty cool with lots of driftwood and things to explore.  Even on a week day afternoon there were plenty of people enjoying it.

Beach along Mukilteo Lighthouse Park

Beach along Mukilteo Lighthouse Park

If you’re taking the ferry across to Clinton on Whidbey Island, be sure to leave yourself a little extra time to enjoy this great little park.  I’m so glad I took the time to take a little walk along the beach.  Maybe next time I’ll take a ride on the ferry!

April 13, 2013 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment