General Interest

Murphy the Labradoodle

posted March 7th, 2016 by
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What's in Your Dog Shampoo

Murphy the Labradoodle

MurphyStory and Photos by Holly Clay

 

Murphy is a 2-year-old Labradoodle with a whole lot of love to give.

Not only IS HE SPECTACULARLY ADORABLE, but Murphy can say something about himself that most dogs cannot. In fact, Murphy might even have a longer list of accomplishments than most humans. So what makes Murphy so different from most other pets out there? Murphy is not only a therapy dog with A New Leash on Life and a Certified Canine Good Citizen, but he also shines in the classroom where he volunteers his doggie time with children. If that did not make you feel a little self-conscious about your own life, then just know Murphy also has great hair.

In the winter of 2013, Stephanie Summers and her husband decided they wanted a family pet. Unfortunately, Stephanie suffers from severe allergies. While her husband started his research on dog breeds, a coworker suggested a Goldendoodle—specifically an F1b (Goldendoodle crossed with a Standard Poodle). The Summers heeded the advice of their friend and adopted Murphy on Jan. 20, 2013. Murphy is their first pet and obviously a good one!

So how did Murphy get involved with therapy work? His mom Stephanie was kind enough to explain the entire process of becoming certified. Let me tell you, it does not sound like an easy task to become a certified therapy dog and Canine Good Citizen.

“My husband and I both have hearts for volunteering,” Stephanie says. “Since Murphy is a ‘people-dog,’ it seemed like a natural fit to involve him in our volunteer efforts. At a very young age we started taking him to Jessie Cantwell, a trainer at Ranchwood Veterinary Hospital. We began with puppy socialization and then advanced to basic manners and obedience. In addition, we did extensive socialization training at parks, children’s festivals, playgrounds and dog-friendly businesses. Finally, we completed the six-week required therapy dog program through A New Leash on Life.”

As you can guess, Murphy successfully passed the required exams and became a certified therapy dog and Canine Good Citizen. However, Murphy’s work was not finished there.  Once he became officially certified, he moved his skills and volunteer efforts into the classroom at a local elementary school.

Through A New Leash on Life, Murphy and his parents have partnered with South Lake Elementary (Moore Public Schools). They currently visit the school several times each week, where he volunteers as a reading buddy and works in the special education classrooms. Murphy visits are also being used to motivate and reward good behavior. It is evident the children have a special bond with Murphy. In fact, Murphy will be starting his own club this February in the special education classrooms, called “Murphy’s Kindness Club.” The goal is to teach students the importance of kindness and how they can spread kindness each day.

Although Murphy is very popular throughout the school, the largest impact has been with the students in the special ed classrooms. These students have become attached to Murphy.

“I have seen students go from struggling in spelling, to earning a perfect score simply because Murphy came to visit for the spelling test. It’s incredible to see students who typically struggle with anxiety excel in Murphy’s presence. Everyone loves Murphy Days, even the teachers!” says Kara Evans, special education teacher.

The smiling faces say it all! It is as if a celebrity is present when Murphy enters the school. The kids yell his name and reach out to touch the fluffy dog as he happily gives kisses to them all. Murphy seems to enjoy the attention just as much as the children do. He is also given an extensive amount of treats, which he certainly does not mind either. Every job has its perks, and it seems Murphy has found the perfect job for him.

Five Great Reasons To Get Your Goat

posted February 28th, 2016 by
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Five Great Reasons To Get Your Goat

BY Nancy Gallimore, CPDT-KA

It was a pleasant drive to a spot in the country just outside of Claremore, Okla. I drove up a winding, tree-lined drive to find a lovely home in a clearing. I was there to meet goats, to learn about goats, to write about goats. Yet, there was not a goat in sight. Huh.
As I got out of my Jeep and looked around, I could see fenced areas with shelters. I could see hay. I could see feeders. But goats? None.
Just as I was starting to wonder if I was at the wrong address, Sharon Wilson emerged from her home with a warm greeting. We introduced ourselves, and I asked the obvious question, “Where are the goats?”
Sharon smiled as she glanced around. “They’re around here somewhere.”
She picked up a little bag of goat treats and started calling, “Goats! Here, goats!” I waited, I watched. It didn’t take long. One shake of the little bag of goat chow, and I heard the first bleat. Suddenly, like funny, little horned elves, Wilson’s Nubian goats stepped into the clearing to check us out.
At first, they seemed a little shy and unsure with strangers in their midst, but another rattle of the food bag did the trick; they scurried to us to collect on the promise of a quick snack. Suddenly, we were surrounded by curious faces and agile little lips gently and quickly nibbling goat pellets from our palms.
As we enjoyed their company, I talked with Wilson about her goats and why she considered them good pets. Our conversation, combined with information from other goat enthusiasts, led me to the creation of my top five reasons to (or not to!) add goats to your life.
Goats will likely give you an opportunity to meet your neighbors.
When considering sharing your life with goats, you need to know that they don’t always stay where you want them to. In fact, they could well be the best escape artists in the barnyard, and they do love to roam. You may even find them standing on your neighbor’s front porch.
According to Wilson, the majority of her little herd came to live with her because they were consistently escaping from their former home at Shepherd’s Cross, a nearby working farm. Because the farm was located near a busy road, the owners feared the wandering goats would be injured.
While Wilson admits that she hasn’t been 100 percent successful in keeping the goats contained, her 100-acre property allows the goats to roam safely, and they don’t seem to get into too much mischief. Because goats are at risk to predators, such as coyotes and stray dogs, Wilson does secure her goats in pens by the house each night.
The pens are enclosed with 6-foot-tall chain-link fencing that does keep the goats contained and safe when necessary. Standard stock fencing, like the fence at Shepherd’s Cross, is generally not adequate for thwarting determined goat escape attempts. I have personally seen a small goat hop on a hay bale to hop onto a horse’s back, allowing it to then hop right over a corral fence to freedom. The general consensus among goat owners I have talked with is a goat will almost always find a way out, no matter what type of fencing is used.
Goats are natural landscapers.
Goats are great for weed control. Wilson said she acquired her original two goats, Billy and Bobby, to help control weeds on her acreage. Goats are browsers whose diet consists of about 70 percent non-grassy plants and brush, so they do not compete with other grazing animals for grass and can actually improve lawn and pasture conditions.
At the same time, if you decide to plant a garden or ornamental landscaping around your home, your goats may see it as just another buffet line. Wilson was quick to point out that goats are smart, curious, and can be destructive. If you plan to invest in extensive landscaping, you might first want to invest in really secure goat fencing.
Goats just might teach your dog a thing or two about agility.
Once the picnic was over, the goats meandered away from us and into a fenced area where there were some pieces of equipment generally used for dog agility training. In this case, however, the agile dogs were agile goats.
They immediately displayed their climbing ability by scampering up a narrow ramp to perch atop the dog walk… um… goat walk, a 12-inch-wide plank positioned about 4 and a half feet off the ground. These guys could definitely win an Olympic gold medal in the balance beam competition. Three of them maneuvered around together on the plank with ease.
According to Wilson, if you are going to house goats, it is a good idea to build them plenty of things to climb on. If you don’t give them something to climb on, they will likely find something on their own. That something could very well be your car. Seriously. Goats will hop right onto your car. Wilson, and about a million other goat owners with slightly scratched and dented cars, can confirm this fact for you. She eyed my too-nearby-for-comfort, still-new-to-me Jeep with unconcealed concern. Thankfully, the goats decided to climb elsewhere during my visit.
If you want to have a pet goat, you should double your pleasure by having a pair of goats.
“Goats need companions,” advised Wilson. “You don’t want to have a solitary goat; you need at least two.” But be careful—without a little herd management, it can become a dozen goats in no time at all.
When Wilson originally decided to get goats for weed control on her property, she bought a pair, Billy and Bobby—neutered males, called “wethers” in goat-speak. When she added the goats from Shepherd’s Cross to her little herd, there were a few does and a buck named Joseph in the mix.
With Joseph’s “attention” (keeping it PG-13!), after about five months, the few goats suddenly became a herd of a dozen goats. Nubian goats often have multiple babies, so it is not unusual to see a doe give birth to twins or triplets. This means your herd can grow quickly.
Five of the babies were rehomed, as was the amorous Joseph, but apparently not before he wooed the ladies once again. With a sigh, Wilson pointed to a couple of the does who were displaying suspiciously large bellies.
It appears the stork will visit Wilson’s farm one more time in the coming months. There are few things cuter than baby Nubian goats with their huge, pendulous ears, bright eyes and mis-chievous antics. I do believe this story will require a follow-up visit, and I can’t swear I won’t leave with two baby goats in tow.
If you have goats for companions, get ready to laugh. A lot.
“Goats are clever, funny animals. Ours give us lots of laughs every single day,” Wilson said.
In just the time spent with Wilson and her crew, which includes Billy, Bobby, Mary, Molly, Emma, Sissy and Joey, I could easily understand the entertainment value of having goats around. Some were affectionate; some were shy; some were very curious—I actually cleaned goat lip smears off of my camera lens—and all were enthusiastic when it came to each goat claiming his or her share of the treats.
Honestly, I could have sat and watched this herd for hours. They bounced around, played, and loved climbing on their custom jungle gym, as well as on the agility equipment I suspect was really in place for Wilson’s beautiful Samoyed show dogs.
Of course, when considering adding any animal to your family, it is important to understand the specific care requirements of that animal before diving in headfirst. In addition to fencing challenges, and the need to have at least two goats for company, goats do have some specific diet and care requirements.
Wilson said that while she lets her goats graze freely on her property, she also supplements their diet with quality hay, alfalfa pellets and goat pellets. She also provides them with minerals essential to their health. And of course, fresh, clean water must be available at all times.
Goats also need to have their small, cloven hooves trimmed routinely and be wormed and vaccinated on a regular schedule. Wilson also counsels that you have to watch your goats carefully for any signs of illness, such as dullness or a yellow cast to their eyes, diarrhea, lack of appetite and any nasal discharge. As with any animal, early detection of illness is vital to their wellbeing, so diligent supervision is required.
Despite their hardiness, goats are susceptible to pneumonia during cold temperatures. Wilson stressed that goats need adequate protection from cold wind and damp weather. She has several straw-filled shelters in her pens, which allow her goats comfortable snuggle space out of wind and rain. She works to keep these shelters clean and the bedding dry and fresh.
If you are considering goats as weed-eating pets, information provided by Gary Pfalzbot, author of the website Goatworld.com, suggests it’s important to first define your expectations for a pet goat.
“If you are looking for a pet that sits in your lap while watching TV, a goat is not that kind of pet,” stresses Pfalzbot in an article on his site. “If you are looking for the type of pet that you need to pay very little attention to and feed perhaps once a day, a goat is not that kind of pet either.
“Having a goat as a pet primarily means that you are willing to let it be the type of animal it is—an outside animal that you cannot necessarily have sleeping on the bed with you each night. A goat basically needs to be outside in natural elements.”
Another important consideration when thinking of acquiring goats is to be sure that you live in an area where they are allowed and where you have proper habitat to allow them to thrive happily. For example, goats are not generally allowed within city limits and must be kept in areas that are zoned agricultural. A goat would not do well kept in a small enclosure in a backyard.
Wilson’s goats are all Nubians, a popular breed for goat enthusiasts. Nubians were developed as dairy goats with milk rich in butter fat. They are pleasant, friendly, people-oriented animals with a little spark of mischief readily visible in their eyes.
In a couple of months, when Mary and her other herd-mates deliver new, tiny, floppy-eared bundles of bouncing, prancing joy, I can’t swear I won’t be the first in line to see them and fall in love.
In the meantime, I’m heading to my home in the country to rethink my fencing just in case I “need” to add a couple of goats to my fold. For now, I’m still entirely too fond of my Jeep to even entertain the idea of my future goats tap dancing on the hood.

Ask The Doc

posted February 15th, 2016 by
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Ask The Doc

Gary Kubat, DVM / Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Hospital BluePearl Oklahoma City
Q: I live near a location where the emergency sirens blow every Wed-nesday at noon. My Lab puppy, who has never heard this sound before, has started running outside and howling when he hears the noise. Why does he do this, and are the sirens hurting his hearing?
A: Ahhh… another great mystery of canine behavior that can only have a definitive answer when we learn to speak “dog” (and they learn to speak back). We may be disappointed in the canine’s answer as it is probably not as interesting or mysterious as it appears.
The general consensus is that the sirens are interpreted by your pet as another canine howling; hence, the natural response is to answer back in the instinctual language that is heard. This same reasoning could also apply to barking as it is heard progressing through a neighborhood. The howling may communicate a location, sex, dominance status—we simply do not know for certain, but it is likely not complicated.
Perhaps some dogs just enjoy the vocalizing! Someday a behavioral researcher with the time and funding may find a way to conduct fMRI tests on howling dogs to see which parts of the brain are activated and functioning just prior to the initiation of the vocal response; then we might have some insight into the reason.
It is unlikely that the sirens are causing discomfort. Observe dogs that are howling; they do not exhibit the expected signs of pain or fear. They do not try to run or hide; they do not tuck their tails or lower their ears or heads. Just as your dog, some try to run toward the sound outside rather than away.
Two of the greatest and most enjoyable sounds in nature are the howling of a wolf and, for those of us in Oklahoma, the howling-yapping of a pack of coyotes in response to sirens (it certainly serves to locate the pack!).
Meanwhile, here is another pack behavior to ponder. Why do some municipalities test storm sirens on Wednesday and others do it on Saturday? And who picked noon as the time?

Q: My dog has “hot spots” no matter what time of the year. I can’t clear them up. Any suggestions?
A: Hot Spots (more expensive-sounding synonyms are: acute moist dermatitis, pyotraumatic dermatitis, or just moist eczema) are always initially a problem of self-trauma. A focal itch or inflammation is scratched and rubbed until the skin becomes even more inflamed. This induces more itching, initiating a self-traumatizing progressive cycle. The lesion can become very large even in a few hours. At this point the lesion is painful to touch, and many dogs will require sedation just to clip and clean the wound to allow topical treatment.
The location of the lesion is often a clue as to the cause of the originating itch or lesion. For example, if the lesion is located on the hips or rear limbs, the prime suspect is flea infestation. You may only see one flea, but that is enough to start the problem. If the lesion is on the side of the face below the ear, the original problem may be an ear infection that resulted in the dog scratching at the ear area.
The hot spot skin lesion needs to be treated, but the initiating factor needs to be identified. Dogs do not spontaneously self-traumatize (exceptions exist: see acral lick dermatitis or lick granuloma). Other causes include staph skin infections; skin fungal infections; allergies, topical or inhaled, that result in skin itching; and many other factors.
Another common denominator is a moist environment, especially with a long-haired breed. The skin stays wet, becomes inflamed and itches, resulting in the scratch/rub response. Some dogs that drool heavily develop hot spots on the lower jaw as a result of constant excessive moisture. I once had a patient presented because the owner thought the dog had been struck by lightning, when in fact the dog had multiple hot spots all on one side of its body.
The dog had spent long periods of time in its dog house (with wet straw bedding) during a recent rainy spell of several days. The long-haired dog simply never dried out, and dermatitis developed, which the dog then self-traumatized. Another potential complication during the warmer months is an infestation of the lesion with fly larva or myiasis. The hot spots’ lesions are oozing serum and often smell strongly necrotic, attracting the flies. This is often a problem with older, arthritic or obese dogs that are not mobile enough to keep the flies off the lesion.
The treatments of the skin lesion include topical ointments with antibiotics and corticosteroids for the inflammation (after the lesion is clipped, cleaned and dried). Topical antiseptics may also help, as well as antihistamines. I usually dispense the topical medication as a spray since most patients are too painful in the area to allow application of an ointment. I also like to apply a topical anesthetic, such as lidocaine ointment, or an injectable anesthetic, such as Marcaine, for an instant although brief relief from the itching to break the cycle. Treating the actual lesion is relatively easy and usually responds well within a few days.
The real problem and solution is to identify the inciting cause, especially in your case of repeated episodes at all times of the year. Frankly, in Oklahoma, your problem is flea infestation until proven otherwise. If not fleas, then we proceed through the culprit list based on logically identifying the most likely cause. A skin allergy may be only seasonal, but if it is induced by household items (smoke, carpets, foods, straw in the dog house), it could be a problem year-round.
Some cases will require a skin biopsy to determine if a bacterial infection (pyoderma) or other disorder exists. If your pet is experiencing repeated year-round hot spots you need to be prepared to spend some time and effort with your veterinarian to resolve the problem.

Q: My dog got pancreatitis and almost died. It was really touch and go, and it was scary. What exactly is pancreatitis, and how does a pet owner prevent this?
A: First, let’s determine what exactly is a pancreas? It is an abdominal organ closely associated with the duodenum and liver that produces and secretes chemical enzymes that assist in digesting food. It also secretes insulin, associated with the most common diabetes. Amazingly, it does this without harming or digesting itself… normally. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that develops when the normal protective mechanisms of the organ are overwhelmed by pancreatic enzymes, resulting in autodigestion.
What is the cause? Anecdotally, most veterinarians (myself included) will blame a dietary indiscretion of a high-fat diet (often table foods) as the inciting cause most of the time. In truth, the actual causal agent of pancreatitis is frequently unknown. What we do know are a whole lot of related risk factors associated with pancreatitis and pancreatitis patients.
Certainly, ingestion of high-fat foods is on that list. But we have all heard the story of how the same dog has eaten the same table food many times without a problem, and the other dogs in the household ate the same thing and are having no problem. Pancreatitis is more common in obese animals (that probably eat more table food anyway, which is why they are obese). Hyperlipidemia (high levels of fats/lipids in the blood even when fasting) is associated with increasing frequency of pancreatitis.
The miniature Schnauzer is a breed often associated with hyperlipidemia and pancreatitis. But pancreatitis can also cause hyperlipidemia. Pancreatitis can also cause diabetes, at least transiently. Diabetes is also associated with hyperlipidemia, and it is not unusual for a miniature Schnauzer to be diagnosed diabetic. Which came first? Isn’t this complicated? There is more…
Some commonly used drugs have been associated with pancreatitis, including furosemide, a diuretic often used in cardiac dysfunction; if the heart is not functioning well, the pancreas may suffer from hypoperfusion or poor blood supply, which leads to pancreatitis as well). Potassium bromide, an anti-seizure medication, has been associated with a higher frequency of pancreatitis. Hyperlipidemia has been associated with seizures.
Now suppose you have an older, overweight, diabetic, hyperlipidemic miniature Schnauzer taking potassium bromide for occasional seizures, and on furosemide for mild heart disease. How do you prevent pancreatitis? Well, at the very least, be extremely careful with diet. The bacon fat can find some other use. Also, consider pet insurance.
If your pet is diagnosed with pancreatitis, it will usually be treated in-hospital at least during the acute phase. It was once believed that all oral stimulation and food should be withheld to avoid stimulating the pancreas to secrete enzymes, but current thinking is to provide oral nutritional support as soon as nausea can be improved. IV fluid support, antiemetics, antibiotics, and narcotic pain medications are usually the basis of treatment. Complications can involve the liver-bile duct system, sepsis, or in severe progressive necrotizing pancreatitis, surgery may be required to address the peritonitis (inflamed or infected abdominal cavity). Other complications can include pulmonary failure, kidney failure and blood coagulation problems. While most patients do recover, pancreatitis is not usually a 24 to 48 hour recovery. Expect your pet to be in-hospital for several days, and if complications do develop, the prognosis for recovery is reduced.
Although in some cases it may be unrealistic to completely prevent pancreatitis, you can certainly reduce the risk by eliminating associated risk factors as much as possible and adhering to very strict dietary control. You should work closely with your veterinarian to identify the risk factors you have the power to change. Specially developed prescription-only diets are very beneficial also.

Homeless, But Not Hungry

posted February 7th, 2016 by
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What's in Your Dog Shampoo

Homeless, But Not Hungry

By Nancy Gallimore, CPDT-KA

 

She was waiting patiently, lying on the grass in a patch of early morning sun. Her head resting on her front paws, she kept her brown eyes focused on the sidewalk where a steady stream of people were coming and going from a nearby church. She didn’t move a muscle; she wasn’t pulling against her leash; she wasn’t barking or whining.

I later found out that her name is Bella. She is 8 months old. She is the pride and joy of her owner, a slender, quiet young man named Stacy.

Stacy, who was initially too shy to even look at me, lit up when I complimented Bella’s sweet temperament and shiny coat. As the big puppy climbed into my lap and lavished my face with kisses, Stacy told me that a friend had given Bella to him a few months earlier. She had been a stray puppy. Now she was his best friend.

It’s a nearly perfect “boy and his dog” story except for one small issue; Stacy and Bella are homeless. I met Stacy and Bella during breakfast at Tulsa’s Iron Gate at Trinity Episcopal Church. Iron Gate is a non-profit organization housed in the basement of Trinity. Iron Gate’s mission is to provide food in a friendly environment every day for the hungry and homeless of Tulsa, regardless of race, color, creed or religious affiliation. Hundreds of people—old, young, and entire families—come to the organization’s soup kitchen and food pantry each week.

This story is not unique—many members of Tulsa’s homeless population have pets. According to Iron Gate Executive Director Connie Cronley, it is not unusual to see a number of dogs tethered outside the soup kitchen as their owners go in for a bite to eat. While you may think that life on the streets is not a good life for a pet, a little time around some of these dogs and their owners could easily change your mind.

Bella, for example, was a sweet, healthy, friendly dog. She has obviously received good care in her young life. She was leashed to a shopping cart that clearly held all of her owner’s possessions. Among those things was a bowl, a bottle of water, a dog bed, and a gallon zip-lock bag full of dog food. Bella’s owner is dedicated to taking care of his dog.

I asked Stacy if it was hard to find a place to sleep with a dog in tow. He just shrugged and said, “Not really. We figure it out.” I asked him if it was hard to care for Bella. Again, with a slight smile on his face, he said he got food for her from the dog catchers and then he glanced across the parking lot at a truck parked on the corner.

The “dog catchers” on duty were Tulsa Animal Welfare (TAW) Animal Control Officers Jeff Brown and Pete Theriot. Together with Field Services Supervisor Susan Stoker, they formed a support group known formally as Feeding the Pets of Tulsa’s Homeless (FPTH).

FPTH was officially founded in January of 2014 when Stoker received a large donation of dog food and asked Brown what he thought they should do with it. The TAW shelter is a division of the City of Tulsa and does not use food donations for city shelter dogs. Brown, however, had an idea.

In the past, Brown and other TAW employees had distributed donated pet food to Tulsa’s homeless population at various camp sites around the city. Brown suggested that this donated food could be used for the same purpose, and Stoker quickly agreed to the idea. With that first supply of donated food, FPTH was born.

“Initially, we would pull up to a camp or to an area where homeless people congregated, and they would all scatter,” Brown said. “They would take one look at our TAW trucks and assume we were there to take their animals away.” Brown said it took time and a lot of reassurance through word of mouth to assure the homeless citizens the animal control officers were not there to separate people from their pets, but instead to help provide for the animals.

Once trust was gained, and the program began to evolve, Brown found that rather than trying to take the food to various sites, it was more efficient to have specific distribution points. Now Tulsa’s homeless citizens can count on seeing the friendly faces of these dedicated TAW employees every Wednesday morning at Iron Gate, and also on Thursday evenings at Night Light Tulsa, a downtown community outreach program for homeless and low-income individuals and families. There are no  strings attached, no questions asked. If someone says they need pet food, they receive pet food.

“Between the two locations, we hand out nearly 4,000 pounds of dog food and about 1,200 pounds of cat food a month,” Brown said. The food is packaged into gallon zip-lock bags that are easy for the pet owners to carry in backpacks. Because the food is distributed weekly without fail, people can take just what they need for one week and don’t have to try to carry heavy bags.

Visits to both distribution sites made it clear the commitment of the people behind FPTH’s mission runs deeper than just the distribution of bags of pet food. Brown, Theriot and Stoker have forged relationships with many of their regulars.

“Hey, it’s the Dancing Man,” Brown exclaimed in the early morning chill at Iron Gate. The approaching man grinned as he recognized his nickname. Brown and the Dancing Man shook hands and clapped each other on the back. Theriot was already reaching into the truck to get the food he knew their visitor needed for his pets. This welcoming scene played out over and over as people steadily approached the truck to get their weekly ration of pet food.

“We like to interact with all of our friends in the homeless community,” explained Brown. “It’s our way of having a little fun and showing them that we are here to help. There’s too much bad in the world today. If we can put a smile on someone’s face or make someone’s day better by helping them care for their pets, we will.”

At both events, Brown, Theriot, Stoker and a few volunteers helping hand out the food and supplies seemed to be at a family reunion instead of at an outreach for homeless and low-income Tulsans. Heartfelt greetings were exchanged. Friendly dogs were admired and petted.

One man asked if there was anything for a young dog that was a powerful chewer. Brown immediately went to the front of his truck and produced a sturdy bone for   the man’s dog. “We’ve handed out leashes, dog coats, toys, food and anything we think might be helpful,” Brown said. During one two-hour event at Night Light Tulsa,  in addition to handing out food,        the TAW employees also had two big boxes of donated fleece blankets to distribute to the line of people waiting to stock up on pet food.

“The FPTH program relies 100 percent on donations from individuals, veterinarians and pet supply stores,” Brown said. “Without donations, we couldn’t keep this program going. Thanks to area veterinarians, we have also been able to hold clinics to provide vaccinations and wellness exams for these pets and hope to have more in the future.” 

The value of FPTH’s efforts needs no explanation. All you have to do is head downtown to see some of the dogs firsthand. Every dog I met was friendly, appeared healthy and in good condition.

When asked if they had ever taken in any animals from the homeless, Brown was quick to respond. “We have never had to take even one animal because of neglect or cruelty,” he said. “The homeless will take care of their pets before they take care of themselves. These animals are their life.”

What is clear to see when volunteering at Iron Gate or Night Light Tulsa, is that the definition of the word “home” doesn’t always mean four walls and a roof over your head. Sometimes home is the place where you find a loyal companion who trusts you and will stick by you no matter what. Now, thanks    to some very dedicated animal welfare officers and the generosity of donors, the word “homeless” does not have to include “hungry” in its definition.

A Time for Reflection

posted January 31st, 2016 by
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A Time for Reflection

By Pat Becker

Every once in a while someone asks me how and why I became an animal enthusiast, a pet advocate, a dog lover. After all, I have hosted a national PBS TV series, “The World of Dogs Biography Series,” a local radio show on KTOK, “Speak,” and a local TV show on KSBI, “Dog Talk.” So when I’m interviewed, it’s often the first question asked of me.
I’ve given it some thought. It occurred to me I was exposed to the charms of animals at an early age. I can only assume it was through my parents’ compassion for—and access to—puppies and kittens raised by my grandmother. Both my sisters and I learned the value of having furry, loving companions with whom we shared our secrets, our joys and our sorrows. To hold a tiny kitten, to be aware of its vulnerability and feel the obligation for its care taught us dependability.
We also took pride in having trained our dogs by gaining their trust. My family and I have long been involved in obedience trials. As a result, the tradition has been passed down to my daughters. I began showing my Cocker Spaniel in conformation classes at a young age. I trained my Beagle in agility and freestyle and my Canaan dog in barn hunting. Likewise, my daughter Lorri achieved a CDX title on her Old English Sheepdog and had the first Rat Terrier in the U.S. to win a Master award in Fly Ball. And we’ve hunted quail with seven fabulous Pointers for years.
Out of my love of animals I have developed close relationships with the best and brightest professionals in the country, having had the opportunity of highlighting their skills with dogs on my radio and television shows. I never tire of learning new information about dog training, medical updates for animals and the all-important psychology of evolution among our animals. Passing on exciting, educational data is my mission.
My experience as an actress with 20th Century Fox in the 60s, and as a singer with The William Morris Agency, gave me the confidence to feel comfortable in the area of communication as a media professional, allowing me to further the cause of loving and caring for our animal friends.
Through the years, most of my dogs have been adoptees. God blessed me with 46 furry companions in my lifetime. Some were purebreds; some were crossbreeds. Frankly, I saw more in them than their DNA and defined them by their good character, not a breed.
After all, I’ve never met a dog who could not be trained. However, I’ve met countless numbers of people who had a great deal of trouble communicating with their dogs and other people, a fact which might account for their lack of training skills.
When any of us in the business of dog advocacy are asked the question, “What in your opinion is the most important advice you can give to someone who has recently adopted a dog?” our answer is unanimous: learn to “speak dog!” You can’t understand a dog if you don’t have the ability to communicate with him.
We can truly learn to “talk” with our dogs. Dogs study our physical movement and the energy level of our vocal activity. Then they interpret and respond to our interactions with them. Trying to understand us and how to please us are necessary efforts which ensure our dogs’ survival. Sadly, many people are often inconsistent in their physical and emotional behavior, and it makes the dogs’ job harder.
Also, we can learn to read our dogs’ body language. From the tip of their ears to the tip of their tails, their bodies speak to us. Make it a point to study your dog’s active and reactive movements. It will make your lives together so much easier! Remember every time you interact with your dog you’re teaching him something about you, himself and the world around him. Make it something good!

Many hugs!

INAPPROPRIATE INGESTION

posted January 21st, 2016 by
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What's in Your Dog Shampoo

INAPPROPRIATE INGESTION – FROM STRANGE TO BIZARRE…

by Sherri Goodall 

 

What do the following items have in common?

Socks, underwear, bank statements, baggies, paper clips, spoons, coins, Kleenex, a whole chicken, jewelry, sewing needles, dog and baby toys, teething rings and pacifiers…

If you haven’t guessed yet, all of the above have been ingested by dogs and cats. In the veterinary world, it’s known as “inappropriate ingestion.”

Dr. Ron Hooley at River Trail Animal Hospital explains the reason why certain breeds are more prone to this and why they do it.

Dogs most prone to this are high-energy breeds and hunting breeds. Almost everyone with a Lab or a Golden Retriever has a story about items their dogs have eaten.

The cause is usually due to separation anxiety from their owners, boredom, or just plain curiosity. The reason so many dirty items of clothing are eaten is because the dog smells its owner on them. Socks seem to be the preferred choice on the menu of clothes, although I’ve heard of t-shirts, lingerie and slippers being chewed up and swallowed or simply swallowed whole.

Dr. Hooley says the most bizarre case he’s seen was from an owner calling him hysterically, saying her dog had swallowed a chicken. Dr. Hooley asked if she meant chicken bones or raw or cooked pieces. She said, “You don’t understand; he ate a whole chicken.” They lived in rural Oklahoma on a farm, and the dog evidently decided he  wanted a whole chicken for dinner, so he ate it!

Dr. Hooley isn’t sure, but feels the dog must have killed it first. The owner was able to grab one leg of the chicken before the rest went down the dog’s hatch. The X-ray shows the whole chicken in the dog’s stomach, feathers and all. Hooley kept the dog for a few days, watching and waiting. Sure enough, the dog digested just about the entire chicken, and nature took its course. Surgery wasn’t necessary. Eventually, the owner and Dr. Hooley had a good laugh about the dog, which was a mixed breed, part Husky.

The X-ray of a sewing needle comes from a cat’s tummy. Cats love to play with string and thread and will eat it sometimes. Often the thread is attached to a needle, as in this case. The needle had to be surgically removed since it was actually stuck in the intestines.

Dr. Hooley says there’s a big advantage to using an endoscope. This thin tube with a pincer-type tool on the end can be inserted through the animal’s mouth, into the esophagus and stomach and can actually grab and pull out ingested material. My own Westie, MacTwo, got a piece of rawhide stuck in his esophagus. (He was trying to take it away from my other Westie and swallowed it whole in the process.) Thankfully, our vet was able to extract it with an endoscope.

Dogs and cats have twisty intestines, just like humans. Dogs have extremely strong stomach acids. This comes from their predecessors – wolves. Wolves eat mostly wildlife, not cooked steaks as we’d like to think our dogs prefer. Since wildlife feeds on vegetation, the wolves get the carbohydrates and fiber they need plus the protein without the added fat that we humans love in grain-fed cattle (to fatten them up).

That’s why if you give your dog fatty meats, he will usually get sick. That’s when you might see your dog eating grass. It’s not always because they have indigestion but because they crave it in their diets. They can also have gastritis issues, like Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and the grass helps their tummies.

Our very own publisher of TulsaPets Magazine, Marilyn King, has a great story about her Lab, Buster Brown. He got into Marilyn’s bathtub one day and scarfed down her disposable razor!  For dessert, he ate an entire bar of her special Erno Laszlo face soap. Of course, she panicked, and rushed Buster to the vet where X-rays were taken. Fortunately, the soap had encased the broken razor blade, which kept his intestines from being slashed. Again, nature took its course, and Buster pooped out bits of razor encased in very expensive soap. Good thing he was still hungry after the razor!

You might remember Watson, the Golden Retriever featured in TulsaPets who went to Disneyland with his trainer, Casey Largent. Casey was training Watson for Therapetics. While under  her tutelage, Watson ate her bank statements (chewing them first), paper clips, baggies, dog toys and coins. His favorite though was used Kleenex, which he would snatch off tables,        and dig out of waste baskets. He’s since  gone to live with his new partner and seems to be more appropriate in his dining habits.

Casey’s own dog, Cami, ate about $100 worth of scrapbooking supplies. While the Border Collie was at it, she chewed up a book, fittingly titled “Bad Dogs Have More Fun.”

Another one of my friends, Ben, has a yellow Lab named Calvin. He is the epitome of everything funny and crazy I’ve heard about Labs. For starters, Calvin swallowed Ben’s wedding ring. Her husband, Gary, didn’t believe her and claimed she lost it. Two days later, she felt like it was Christmas. Calvin pooped out her ring. The games were just beginning. Calvin discovered      Ben’s husband’s anti-snoring device on the bathroom sink. It only took one minute for Gary to turn his head, and Calvin jumped up and crunched it. Before he could swallow it, Gary grabbed the pieces. To no avail, it cost $1,500 to replace.

For more fun, Calvin grabbed the TV remote and ran outside. Gary gave chase. While Ben is yelling, “Don’t hurt Calvin…” Gary falls and cracks two ribs. As with most dogs, Calvin is a huge socks  fan, as you can see in his picture. His favorite of all are golf socks, which he faithfully throws up at night. How can you not love this dog?

One of my favorite stories is from a family with a mixed Terrier. The dog  was losing weight and feeling listless over a period of about a year, even though he was eating his regular meals. The dad finally took the dog to the vet to find out what could be wrong. After an X-ray, the doctor came out and said, “Looks like a pacifier’s stuck in your dog’s intestines.” Sure enough, the dad remembered about a year ago spending a sleepless night when their baby wouldn’t go to sleep because they couldn’t find its pacifier. This time, the pacifier was surgically removed,   and the dog continued to thrive, as did the baby.

My sympathies to all of you who have these eating machines for pets. Your vet thanks you for his or her job security!