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State Question 777

posted May 11th, 2016 by
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Animal Lovers

State Question 777 is bad for Oklahoma communities and farmers

State Question 777By Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker

Protecting the environment and our precious natural resources are priorities for me as Chief of America’s largest tribal nation. Through our traditional values we embrace our natural world. It’s so important to me and the Cherokee people that we recently named the tribe’s first ever Secretary of Natural Resources. This will ensure the next seven generations of Cherokee people have continued access to all that we have today – clean air, abundant fresh water and fertile land where we can grow our crops and raise our livestock.
Sadly, State Question 777 contradicts what we hold so dearly for our air and water and land. The proposed change would add a new section to the Oklahoma Constitution that would prevent our elected policymakers from passing any law that “abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology and livestock production and ranching practices without a compelling state interest.” However, Oklahoma law already protects farmers, and this constitutional amendment is not needed.
Corporate farming interests want to use our state and our valuable resources without being subject to any state regulation or oversight. That’s irresponsible, and all of us have a God-given obligation to protect what we hold so dearly.
Oklahoma has already seen polluted water from concentrated animal feeding operations. There is no reason to believe that tying the hands of the legislature will make Oklahomans more safe or prosperous.
We have to take our stewardship of our world and our future seriously. As our Cherokee elders have taught us and we must teach our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Mother Earth is what sustains us all and God has created us to live in harmony with the rest of creation.
This proposed constitutional amendment will only serve to shield that small percentage of corporate agricultural operators who seek profit at the expense of others and will deplete our natural resources. State Question 777 would allow a large and poorly run hog operation to move in next door to your family’s farm, and there will be no recourse for the contamination of your water or the depletion of your resources. There may not be a compelling state interest involved, leaving your family’s investment and land utterly destroyed.
Unregulated practices could happen on land next door to our jurisdiction and affect land, water and wildlife located inside the Cherokee Nation in the heart of Indian Country.
Locally here in Oklahoma, we have witnessed the gradual demise of family agriculture as a result of the modern movement of mass-grown food production. In typical fashion, proponents of this issue are cloaking it in buzz words that will appeal and confuse voters. Oklahomans already have the right to farm. This is about a larger profit for a small amount of corporate agricultural companies, pure and simple.
In essence, it would not only take away the power of the legislature and municipal governments to regulate agricultural practices and our rights to legal recourse, it effectively takes away the power of the people to vote on changes.
Things in the agricultural world change, and this amendment would hamper our abilities to respond to new threats. In the 1920s, state farmers tilled up huge swaths of land in the Oklahoma panhandle to grow wheat. Then in the 1930s, Oklahomans began to realize this common agricultural practice was leading the entire country toward an environmental disaster. Lawmakers were able to respond. With this constitutional amendment, the Oklahoma legislature will be unable to make new laws to protect Oklahoma citizens from agricultural practices that are hurting Oklahoma families and communities.
Even if the legislature does make a new law to protect Oklahomans, they may find themselves hopelessly tied up in court against big agricultural companies and conglomerates who are happy to waste taxpayer money on frivolous litigation while their companies continue to rake in huge profits at the expense of ordinary Oklahomans. As anyone can see from looking at the Illinois River litigation, courts are no place to get quick answers to important questions when your community is being impacted by pollution.
This state question is designed to be exploited by huge agribusiness and corporate farms. Dodging oversight and polluting our land and water are not in the heart of what an Oklahoma farmer is all about, and they are most definitely not at the heart of what it is to be Cherokee.
I hope you will join me in voting no against 777 in November.

Barkhappy Meetup Group

posted May 10th, 2016 by
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Nicole Castillo

Barkhappy Meetup Group

BarkhappyHave you heard about the new Barkhappy dog meetup group for Oklahoma City? Oops, let me back up. If you don’t know, there is a website called meetup.com that connects people with others who share the same interests. Once you have registered for meetup.com (it’s free), you can browse the numerous groups that have formed in your area. The OKC metro has a plethora of meetups such as Discover OKC, which is a social gathering group, OKC at the Movies for film lovers, and The Oklahoma City Salsa Meetup Group, for those who want to tap their toes. There are meetups for moms, for wine and food enthusiasts, photographers, board and video game lovers, and many more. Until recently, a few dog meetup groups existed for our area, but they were exclusive to a certain breed. Last month, Barkhappy started a general dog lovers group for OKC and it has quickly acquired 63 members. There are no events planned yet, but as more people join, the calendar will fill. Go check it out and join! It’s called Oklahoma Barkhappy Dog Meetup.

BarkhappyBarkhappy is a dog socializing app for your phone. It will let you view dog groups and events around the area and it matches your dog up with other local dogs. Barkhappy is in Seattle, Portland, and Austin and it is trying to establish itself in other major cities through meetup groups. The app is not connected to Oklahoma City yet, but if there is enough interest from the meetup group, we can benefit from this great app. I checked them out on Facebook and was impressed with the fun events on the page. There was a Bark Crawl (canine bar crawl) in Austin for dogs that featured dog beer, dog tank tops, spray on dog tattoos, and just a whole lot of fun. Check it out! Barkhappy on Facebook.

There is a huge community of pet lovers in OKC. We prove it every time there is an animal fair or event. Let’s connect even more by joining the Barkhappy Dog Meetup and plan some fun dog playdates, happy hours at pet friendly patios, and fun adventures for our favorite furry friends.

If you’re looking for some cool shenanigans with your canine companion this month, check out the Tinker AFB Patriots Pet Event on Saturday May 14th, 10am – 3pm, at the Tinker AFB Base Exchange. There will be an in-store pet photo contest, pet obstacle course, giveaways, samples, crafts for the kids, per selfie booth and a canine crumpet vendor. The Uptown 23rd St Market is this Sunday, May 15th starting at 10am at 23rd and Walker. This is a pet friendly market and our friends from the Pet Food Pantry of Oklahoma will be there.  At the end of the month is the OK River Run & Dog Jog, May 30th, starting at 8am at Wiley Post Park. This event has a 5k for serious runners (no dogs) and a 3k Dog Jog (with dogs) with a pet carnival at the end. Look up all these events on Facebook or online. Get up, get out, and have some fun! If you have any events you would like me to check out, let me know in the comments, or email me at [email protected].

 

ASPCA-Subaru Grant saved Lives

posted May 9th, 2016 by
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ASPCA-Subaru Grant saved Lives

125 – – and counting

ASPCA-SubaruThanks to a grant from ASPCA-Subaru – – 125 dogs found new homes in Colorado. And, yes, saving lives frequently comes down to “Show Me the Money”. Gasoline is not free, nor are meals for the drivers, and food for the animals. The per animal cost was $39.47 x 125 = $4,934.24 – Our grant was $4,000.00 – – – money very well spent.

No matter how you look at rescue – – it starts and ends with “Show me the Money”.
Sometimes, when we’re sitting around kibitzing in general – -we imagine how nice it would be if – – big IF – we could just fill up the van at no cost, buy all the supplies and medications at no cost and – – in a dream world – – because we worked in rescue – we could get our groceries, living expenses covered by some magic wand. However, that isn’t going to happen – – ever. So – – Show Me the Money is the only way we can continue to rescue dogs and cats, then help them find new homes.

Individual donations, foundation grants, fund raisers by volunteers, monthly contributions – – – collectively they keep us going. No donation is too small; planned donations are our lifeblood (similar to paychecks); grants from foundations literally make the difference

We are grateful to the ASPCA and Subaru for their grant Everyone working together leads to success. And we know the 125 dogs who now have a good life would give kisses, tail bumps and snuggles as their way of saying “Thanks for saving me”.

Kids and Canines

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

Kids and Canines – Training 911

By Mary Green

 

My mailbox has been full lately with questions about kids and dogs. I grew up with dogs, and there were dogs in our household when my son was growing up. So from my perspective, kids and animals go together like peanut butter and jelly. But you must have a good plan of action and realistic expectations of the amount of work involved. And understand that all dogs aren’t Lassie, and all kids aren’t Timmy.

What’s a good age for a child to get a dog? School-aged children can help a lot with a dog! They can learn how to measure the dog food and scoop it into the dog bowl. Feeding the dog presents a great opportunity for the dog to learn some self-control, like sit and wait for food. If you teach the kids, and the dog, the kids can help brush the dog’s fur. Taking the dog for a walk should be a family activity—there should always be an adult present.

There are two very important rules for children to learn: Never touch or bother a dog while he is eating, and leave sleeping dogs alone. Obeying these simple rules reduces potential dog bites.

One mother writes, “How can I get my  16-week-old puppy to play gently with my kids. They are 1 and 3 years old.” My answer may not have been quite what mom wanted to hear. At 16 weeks of age, the puppy needs to be in a good training class, learning how to “sit” on cue, take treats gently, and how to settle. And the adults need to be training the pup.

A 1-year-old child is too young to play with a puppy. Children in this age range don’t generally have a concept of “personal space” that a dog may need. They also love to hug dogs (which dogs do not like), and they pursue dogs no matter where the dog tries to go! Every interaction between the puppy and the 1-year-old must be closely supervised by an adult. We certainly don’t want the puppy and the baby to be afraid of each other, so don’t segregate them—but supervision is essential to ensure a positive experience for them both.

A 1-year-old can learn how to properly pet a dog. Preferably an older, calm dog to start with! Use a stuffed dog if an older, calm dog isn’t available. The puppy can learn that cool things happen when the baby is around. If the baby is present, the puppy can be rewarded for calm behavior.

The 3-year-old child can give basic cues, such as sit, lie down, and stay, once the puppy understands these behaviors. Kids of this age can deliver a treat to the puppy, as long as the puppy has learned to take treats gently. Again, every interaction is well supervised by an adult. Playing together means there is a toy for the dog. It does not mean wrestling or chasing! It does not mean teasing the puppy with the toy. The child can toss the toy away and see the puppy get it—the puppy may not bring it back, but the interaction provides a positive experience for the puppy.

From another parent: “My 7-year-old son has been begging us to get him a dog. I don’t really have time for a dog, but he has his heart set. Is he old enough?”

Two (anonymous) quotes come to mind when I hear this question. “Every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one,” and “Every boy who has a dog should also have a mother, so the dog can be fed regularly.”

At 7 years of age, basically your son can feed and water the dog. He cannot be responsible for walking the dog. He cannot drive the dog to training class, and he needs a lot of support to train the dog. He can play with the dog if he is taught how to do so appropriately (no chasing, no wrestling). That being said, a dog can be a great friend to your son! As they both grow up, they can have a great relationship and do lots of things together. Just be realistic that for the time being, the majority of dog duties will fall to the adults.

“I’ve told my boys that if they don’t stop tormenting our dog he’s gonna bite them.” “Yes,” I thought. “He sure will.”

 Teasing a dog is a great way to provoke a bite. Teasing, tormenting, bullying, and scaring are not fun for a dog to experience. Younger kids may be able to understand   this if parents can relate it to how the kids feel when they are teased, bullied or tormented. Again, if proper adult super-vision is happening, this will stop! And don’t threaten to “get rid of the dog” if the kids’ (or dog’s) behavior doesn’t improve. 

Some dogs that have not been around children are fine, while others are very uncomfortable. Dogs that are used to children of a certain age may be wary of younger or older children. Your family dog may be safe and trustworthy around your own kids, but may not be safe around visiting children. Be smart! Do whatever management you need to in order to keep everyone safe. My advice to one pet owner whose grandchildren were coming to visit from out of state was to board her dog when they were here. It would be less stress on the family and less stress on the dog!

Each year nearly 2.8 million children are bitten by a dog. Most of these bites are not coming from some scary dog that got loose. Sensational stories make headlines, but most dog bites are more commonplace. Half come from the family’s own dog, and another 40 percent come from a friend or neighbor’s dog.*

I know that kids and dogs belong together. There are so many fun activities for kids   and dogs, like going for a walk or hike, playing fetch, running agility courses and just hanging out. I’ve seen some awesome Junior Handlers in the Obedience, Rally and Agility rings. My own dogs get super excited when my grandchildren come over. The older kids love to help with dog chores. Jackson, who is 6 years old, loves to let the dogs go outside. He tells them to sit and wait at the door, and sends them out politely. Julie, who is only 3 years old, is very proud that she can say, “Brutus, sit,” and using the hand signal, the 6-month-old puppy responds. They are going to have big fun with Grammy’s dogs, and maybe they will have a dog of their own some day.

 

*Colleen Pelar’s Living With Kids and Dogs.com

A Fancy Fish Tale

posted April 30th, 2016 by
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Nicole Castillo

A Fancy Fish Tale

FishHello, sweet pet lovers. This is the blog of a fish named Smaug. He is my new male double tale betta and a total delight. I named him Smaug after JRR Tolkien’s dragon from the Hobbit series. He is blood red and extremely grumpy looking. I knew by his sullen expression that he was going to be picky about his habitat. This was a fish that was not going to be satisfied by just a few pretty plants. I researched tank décor and was amused to see a product called a Betta Hammock by Zoo Med Laboratories. It’s basically a silk leaf attached to a suction cup. The thought of a fish needing or even wanting a hammock was comical to me, like a gag gift for your pet. I then looked at the reviews and beheld multiple pictures of happy bettas lounging on the leaves. I could not believe it. Those visuals sold me, and I ordered one at once. When it arrived, I followed the directions and installed in it Smaug’s tank. For the first few hours he relaxed under it, like a big umbrella on a bright sunny day. Then, quicker than I expected, I saw him resting over the leaf, his bottom fins laying on the hammock. So there you have it. Bettas enjoy a good hammock just like the rest of us. Probably more, because the experiences I’ve had with hammocks have not been pretty.

 

FishSmaug also has a floating jellyfish and two moss balls in his tank. The jellyfish is anchored to the bottom with a suction cup. It’s a fun decoration, unique and colorful. He loves to swim through the jellyfish tentacles and hide under it. The moss balls are good for the tank and Smaug likes to pick at them. Finding accessories for this little guy has been fun. Do you have a betta that likes his accoutrements? Is Smaug missing out on a vital betta luxury? We can’t have that! Let me know in the comments or email me at [email protected].

 

You can also contact me about any upcoming pet events. This weekend is the Thunderkatz Cat Show, Meowy May Day at the State Fairgrounds, Centennial building, April 30-May 1st, 9a to 4pm. There will be a variety of cats to see, vendors and hairballs. The Iron Thistle Scottish Festival is on Saturday, April 29th at Kirkpatrick Family Farm, 10am-5pm. This event is pet friendly and will have dog rescues, bagpipes, Scottish dancing, games, vendors and our friends at The Pet Food Pantry will be there.

Pet Overpopulation

posted April 30th, 2016 by
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Coconut Oil

Pet Overpopulation – What is the Answer?

By Kim Schlittler

Each week we hear about cats and dogs needing homes. Every cage and kennel in the animal shelters has a pet or two (or more) in it. Rescue groups and foster homes are full, so it’s difficult for them to take in another pet until one is adopted.
Pets are adopted every day. Some shelters and groups are very creative with their promotions seeking adopters. Mega adoption events are held several times a year with rescue groups and shelters coming together to find homes for hundreds of pets in a few days.
Yet the pet overpopulation problem continues. Last year, the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter alone took in 25,000 cats and dogs. More than 14,000 pets were adopted, reclaimed by their owners or transferred to rescue groups. Sadly, 10,300 pets were euthanized for various reasons. Pet owners failed to look in the shelter for their lost pets or, tragically, waited too long to look. Pet owners surrendered their pets, thinking a behavior problem was a lost cause. Not enough potential adopters thought of the shelter as a place to adopt a pet. And some pets were too ill or too aggressive to be adopted.
Of the 10,300 pets euthanized, 3,800—more than one-third—were puppies and kittens whose only crime was being born into a community where not enough people wanted to adopt young pets. These numbers are repeated on a lesser scale at animal shelters throughout the state.
With so many companion animals and too few adopting homes, what is the answer? The best answer is spaying and neutering.
Every pet lover likes to know someone is helping homeless pets. Best Friends of Pets seeks to prevent pets from becoming homeless and part of these statistics. Its spay/neuter program, which offers two low-cost, high-quality opportunities for pet owners to have their pets spayed or neutered, helps keep pets in their homes and prevents unplanned births of puppies and kittens. More than 6,000 cats and dogs were spayed or neutered in 2014 through the program.
SpayWay of Oklahoma City offers spay/ neuter, vaccinations, canine and feline tests, and microchipping. Spay/neuter fees are $30 for cats and $40 for dogs. Rescue groups and pet owners with a gross household income of $50,000 or less can call SpayWay at (405) 414-8142 for an appointment. SpayWay also goes mobile during the year and spays or neuters pets in towns throughout the state.
Cost is often the biggest reason why pets are not spayed or neutered. “We find people are tired of their pet having litter after litter of puppies or kittens, and they are excited when they can afford our services. One dog had eight litters of puppies—all accidents—in four years. Even the neighbor was excited when they found out about our low-cost spaying and neutering.”
Low-income pet owners receiving Medicaid, OKDHS or SSI (Supplemental Security Income) benefits, or meeting Best Friends of Pets’ income guidelines, can have cats spayed or neutered for $10 and dogs for $20 through its Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP).
General public assistance is also available based on income. Rabies vaccinations are $5 and are only offered when the pet is spayed or neutered. SNAP works with veterinary and nonprofit spay/neuter clinics throughout the Oklahoma City metro area. For more information about SNAP or to request a SNAP application, call (405) 418-8511 or visit www.bestfriendsofpets.org.
Puppies and kittens as young as 8 weeks or weighing at least 2 pounds can be spayed or neutered. In addition to preventing un-planned litters of puppies and kittens, spaying and neutering makes dogs less likely to roam or bite, ends yowling by cats in heat, and makes cats less likely to spray and mark their territory. Pet owners often find their pets are more calm and affectionate after being spayed or neutered.
Schlittler says now is a great time to have a pet spayed or neutered. Spring is just around the corner. With the flowers blooming, windy days and people enjoying outdoor activities also comes the arrival of stray and abandoned puppies and kittens.
Animal shelters and animal welfare groups refer to this as ‘puppy and kitten season,’ a heartbreaking time of year. Now is a great time to have a pet spayed or neutered to ensure that unplanned litter is avoided.
Best Friends of Pets is a local nonprofit organization that began in 1994 under a similar name to help increase pet adoptions and improve conditions for pets at the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter. In 2005, Best Friends of Pets started its Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP), the first year-round community spay/neuter program of its kind in the Oklahoma City area.
In 2006, Best Friends changed its adoption program to work with small groups and individuals who rescue and foster pets until they are adopted. Best Friends of Pets strives to reduce the pet overpopulation problem of too many homeless pets by helping pets, their owners and our community.