You are currently browsing the OKC Pets Magazine tag.

A Chat with Kaycee Chance of OKC Pets

posted November 30th, 2016 by
  • Share
Nicole Castillo

   photo-nov-30-7-28-34-pm Kaycee Chance is a good friend of mine. She writes for OKC Pets Magazine  and volunteers and works at Free to Live Animal Sanctuary in Edmond, Oklahoma.

She is also the Wonder Woman of dogs who stray from their homes. Her Facebook page is sprinkled with witty tales of stopping by the side of the road to collect befuddled and lost dogs and return them to their worried owners. As I prepared to write this blog, I scrolled through her page and quickly found five of these stories, complete with pictures.
I asked her if there was a particular dog that stood out in her mind and she told me about Duke, a dog who had wandered away from his yard.

“Ok, so this is the story of Duke: I was driving through Nichols Hills one day and saw a big, beautiful, well cared for dog running frantically in the middle of the street. I keep a kit in my car that has dog treats, cat treats, a few medical supplies, some bottled water, bowls, towels, and leashes for this kind of situation.

photo-nov-29-10-49-43-amI could tell he was TERRIFIED and that he was not going to be easy to catch. But he had a collar on, so there was no chance I was letting him get away. There are a lot of major streets nearby (Penn and Britton) so I was really worried. I lingered in my car for a second watching his behavior. He was timid, tail between his legs, completely docile, just scared. There was a lady in her front yard with her dog on a leash while she gardened. Duke (although I didn’t know his name at the time) lingered around her dog for a second, but took off when she approached.

This gave me a good indication that he was a member of somebody’s pack, as his natural instinct was to go by the other dog for comfort. I saw him go through the fence into somebody’s backyard, so I knew I had a few minutes to act on my master plan.

I approached the lady doing her gardening and explained that I was trying to get the dog and explained that I thought her dog might be helpful. I asked if she would be willing to simply walk her dog nearby the house where Duke had gone into the backyard. She was down to help and I was glad! She lingered in the front yard with her dog while I slowly called for him “come here, baby, it’s ok” with a few treats in my hand. I was low to the ground, kept my body language completely calm, and sat by the hole in the fence waiting.

He kept eyeing me and the other dog and after a few minutes he approached the fence, I stuck my hand out on the ground with a treat in it and he took it. After a few more treats and chin scratches (always go under the chin first for a shy/nervous dog) he came through the fence and I was able to leash him. Once he was on the leash he became more comfortable and plopped down next to me for some lovin’. I got him some water from one of my bottles and THANKFULLY he was properly tagged.

I called the number on his tag and a frantic voice answered, “I found your dog, Duke,” I said. The young woman on the other end began SOBBING. She explained to me that she got up to let her dogs out at about 12:00 AM the night before and when she went to let them in 10 minutes later all the dogs were there except for Duke. She said she and her fiancé had been out looking for him nonstop for the past fifteen hours. They were overjoyed, Duke was overjoyed, and I was overjoyed. Sometimes it’s a pain in the ass, but it’s always worth it.”
photo-nov-30-7-33-18-pm-1   There are animal lovers, and then there are animal warriors like Kaycee. She has opened her home to to five cats, and two dogs. Each pet has a unique past and all are happy to call the Chances’ house home. Kaycee gave me the rundown of her tribe.

Etsel and Ely, age 8, are my sweet “handicats” as I call them. They have deformed back legs and they were my inspiration to get so heavily involved in the rescue world.

Lillian, age 7, is my sweetest companion who I basically consider me in cat form: lazy, hungry, and sassy.

Harlow, age 3 is my crazy girl, always running wild around the house. Found her as a stray with her kittens and rehabilitated them back to health. Once all the kittens were adopted she became part of my kitty clan.

Valentine, age 14, is my old man. He loves nothing more than to sleep, eat constantly, and play with his favorite toy monkey (which is actually a big Kong toy for dogs hahah).

Sparrow, age 8, a Pitbull mastiff mix who was once considered extremely aggressive. After being rehabilitated by the Free to Live staff he is now the best big brother to his five kitties.

Faith, age 12, once belonged to the executive director of FTL, who passed away a few years ago. She is shy as all get out, but photo-nov-29-10-42-40-amonce you get her to open up she is the sweetest old gal. Loves her walks, bacon strips, and a good romp around the yard with Sparrow.

You can find Kaycee at Free to Live Animal Sanctuary, walking, feeding, cleaning, and playing with the furry residents. She also has a teaching apprenticeship at the University of Central and writes fabulous poetry. She is truly a lady of many hats and the lost pets of the OKC metro are fortunate to have her patrolling the streets, making sure all the animals are tucked in at night.

Tucker’s Story

posted November 18th, 2014 by
  • Share
20140515c

In the rubble of his Earthly possessions, John Salazar found what matters most.

Tucker

By Anna Holton-Dean

 

 

 

May 20, 2013, started out like any other day for John Salazar, a Moore, Okla., resident. He knew there was a chance of severe weather, but nothing like the day would turn out to be.

He went about his morning as usual, taking his chocolate Lab, Tucker, out to do his business before putting him back in his room, closing the baby gate behind him.

John, and Tucker, lived with his then-girlfriend—now fiancé—Amy Boyer, and her cat, Casper.

Business as usual, the couple headed off to work—Amy to downtown and John to CarMax in Edmond where he had been employed for six years.

Later in the day, as weather reports became serious and news of tornadoes spread, John and Amy discussed by phone what they should do about their animals.

Between the phone calls and the time John made it home, the now infamous EF5 tornado struck Moore and leveled his home with Tucker and the cat inside. It was part of a larger weather system that produced other tornadoes as well.

Peak winds reached an estimated 210 mph, killing 24 people and injuring 377 others. The tornado touched down at 2:56 p.m., staying on the ground for 39 minutes over a 17-mile path, crossing through a heavily-populated section of Moore. John’s home was directly in the path of the tornado, which was 1.3 miles wide at its peak.

“At 3 p.m., I realized it was getting close to where we lived,” John says. “Amy got home shortly after it hit. I got there an hour after it hit. Neither of us could drive into the neighborhood, which was less than a mile from the elementary school that was leveled.

“I parked as close as I could get, ran three to four miles to get to the house, and I didn’t even recognize the neighborhood. Signs were gone; most houses were leveled. It didn’t give me a lot of hope of finding Tucker. I couldn’t even tell what street I was on.”

John guessed at which direction his house would be and headed there on foot. He hadn’t talked to Amy since their last phone call before leaving work. When he finally located his house, 90 percent of it was gone.

“Very little was left,” he says. “I finally saw Amy and asked where the animals were. She was in tears and said, ‘Tucker’s gone, the cat too.’”

Tucker’s room was destroyed—the window, roof, Tucker’s bed and the baby gate were all gone. Everything was the opposite of where it should have been, John says.

“My room that I kept all of my clothes in was leaning over, and two walls were missing,” he says. “All of my stuff was gone or strewn around. I lost everything. I thought for sure Tucker was gone.”

He remembers people searching for their animals, and dogs running everywhere through the remains of the neighborhood. People and neighbors were asking one another if their animals had been seen.

By 7 p.m., the police wanted everyone gone from the area in order to search for survivors. “At that point, I was leaving, and I hadn’t found my dog,” John says.

“We heard they were taking dogs to Home Depot and here and there. Several friends were trying to help us find him. It was pretty hard.”

But they had no luck or any leads in finding Tucker.

“We went to bed that night and woke up bright and early to go to the house about 7 a.m. We thought there would be lots of people there; there was talk of looters. My boss, fiancé and I sifted through what we could find,” John says.

As they walked through what had been the entryway of the house, they noticed something sticking out of the rubble. It was Tucker’s nose. He was buried underneath the house, and John quickly dug through the mess to pick him up. Amazingly, he was unharmed.

“Best we can tell,” John says, “he was probably thrown under there. The kitchen, living room and garage were a giant pile; Tucker was in about where the kitchen should be—a good 50 feet from where his room was. It was a very interesting route how he got there.”

In the end, Casper, the cat, was also found alive.

Amidst losing most of his physical possessions, John could have been understandably devastated. But finding Tucker alive and well brought out the positive in a life-altering circumstance, what mattered most.

“When I found him, it felt like nothing else mattered,” John says. “It really put things into perspective on what can be replaced and what can’t. I had come to grips with not finding him, or if we do find him, it won’t be good. It was very challenging because I’ve never lost something that close to me. It was tough.”

It would be impossible to go through such an event, and not have the effects change a person in some ways… or even a dog. John says the ordeal has changed Tucker in that he is more timid than he used to be.

“The biggest thing is at the groomer, she cannot put a blow dryer on him,” John says. “He is scared of the air blowing on him.”

But that hasn’t stopped Tucker from visiting his groomer, Emily Cefalo, at Mia & Company Pet Salon & Spa. John says she has been great with Tucker’s uncertainty after such a traumatic event.

Emily noticed his anxiety during his first grooming last year, but didn’t know about his ordeal. “He was great during his bath,” she says. “Blow drying dogs is not always easy due to noise. The majority of the time, I hand dry as much as possible.

“The minute I turned on the dryer, Tucker got extremely nervous. Not a typical response from a Labrador Retriever. I finished drying him by hand. I wanted Tucker to trust me. That’s my goal with every dog that comes to Mia & Company.”

Tucker’s story is a reminder of that day and the many stories that unfolded, some with happy, and some with sad, endings.

“Like humans, every dog has a story,” Emily says. “Some we know about, and others we may not. I knew he had been through something. When John picked up Tucker, I asked him if he was afraid of noises. He explained Tucker has survived the Moore tornado. I cried after he left that day.

“Reflecting back and remembering lives that were suddenly taken. Tucker is my hero—I have extra space in my heart for him.”

Training 911

posted November 11th, 2014 by
  • Share
20140715c

Training

by Khara Criswell, MA, CPDT-KSA, CNWI

 

Aroo, woof, woof, yelp, yelp… Oh my, you’re home!  Why won’t you feed me dinner now?

I don’t like that dog! Did you hear that sound? Stay away from my owner!

This is our house!  Every time the doorbell rings, I must tell my owner.

 

Aroo… when are you coming back?

This might be an interpretation of what your dog is saying when he barks. Did you know there are five different types of barking: 1) excitement barking, 2) frustration barking, 3) watchful barking, 4) learned barking, 5) separation anxiety barking. Telling the difference might take some record keeping, such as a barking chart.

In the barking chart, you can track: where you are and the date, time barking starts, time barking stops, how long it lasts, how the barking sounds, where the dog is located, what the dog is barking at, and what the dog is doing (movements, etc.) Once you get this data, you can interpret the type of bark and what your dog is trying to communicate.

Solving the barking can take different avenues. For the excitement barking and frustration barking, you will want to stay calm and not yell at the dog. When you raise your voice, the dog might think you are barking with them, so keep your voice a neutral tone or whisper.

Teach your dog to go to a place (go to a mat), to sit, fetch or play the “find-it” game. When the dog does another behavior, remember to mark it “good dog” with a reward, toy, praise, treat or anything else your dog finds fun.

Watchful barking can be solved by using your dog’s kibble or a high value reward, such as a treat or toy to come with the trigger. Scenario: I walk my dog on leash and another dog or skateboard is coming the other way. My dog is going nuts on leash. I would keep walking and say “good boy” and feed my dog treats as we walk by the other dog or skateboard.

During this scenario, I would give some distance between my dog and the other dog or skateboard. Eventually, I would pair this with a “watch me” or “touch,” then “good boy” and a treat. I’m teaching the dog that the thing is not that scary, and he does not need to be watchful for me.

Learned barking is something us humans have conditioned the dogs to do. Doorbells seem to be the best learned barking we teach our dogs. Solving the doorbell can be two-fold.

One way to solve it would be to desensitize your dog to the doorbell by going to your local hardware store and picking up a doorbell with two push buttons. Put one of them on your front door and the other one in the house with you. You will randomly hit the house button.

You have options: 1) do nothing while your dog is barking, and when the dog takes a breath say “good dog” and reward, using treats, toys, or your dog’s kibble; 2) you can say “thank you,” “who wants hot dogs?” or any other phrase and walk over to the back window or kitchen and give out treats; 3) you can say “go to your spot,” and when the dog goes to the spot, say “good dog” and reward on the spot, not from your hand.

Be consistent and your dog will learn that the doorbell means good things will come. You will eventually wean off the treats, but you will never wean off the marker “good boy” or reward of toy or praise.

Separation anxiety barking is when you leave the home or come home, and the dog starts talking. You should make a list of triggers, such as putting on shoes, getting the keys, etc.

As you put on the shoes, or grab the leash, just have a seat and do nothing. You are trying to teach the dog that just because things are occurring doesn’t mean you are always leaving.

Keep it up, and you will be on track to a quieter household!

Spay FIRST!

posted November 4th, 2014 by
  • Share
20140715c

Spay FIRST

by Ruth Steinberger

 

 

Pet overpopulation is a serious problem in most communities, but in small towns and rural areas where people have little or no access to veterinary care, the costs can be staggering. Unsterilized pets are not only predisposed to health problems, taxpayers also bear the burden due to the large number of unwanted pets that find their way into shelters.

 

But long-time animal activist Ruth Steinberger is addressing this growing problem head on through her organization SpayFIRST!

Steinberger founded Spay FIRST! in November 2010 to reach out directly to those on the forefront of controlling the pet population, including pet owners, communities and veterinarians. Through education and coordinated efforts that enable communities to provide sterilization services, Steinberger hopes to lessen the burden of unwanted animals.

The statistics are staggering. According to Steinberger, approximately $2 billion is spent annually in the U.S. just to shelter unwanted dogs, yet less than 3 percent of that amount is spent on prevention.

Steinberger brings years of experience and firsthand knowledge of the cost these unwanted litters heap onto communities, and she is making strides by teaching pet owners the importance of sterilization by working with communities and animal professionals.

Below, Steinberger explains to OKC Pets Magazine the importance of pet sterilization and how SpayFIRST! is making a difference.

You have a long history of involvement in animal advocacy. What led you to become so active in this area and start your organization Spay FIRST?

About 30 years ago, my home became an “accidental rescue,” as happens to others. You know, people realize that you care  about animals, they bring them to you, and suddenly you’re a safety net for unwanted animals.

Through my mentor, activist and artist Carol Hoge, I came to realize that not only could we prevent litters, but that the threat of litters was why many people “get rid of” female pets. Being spayed or neutered is a huge factor in keeping pets in their homes. In rural areas, that security means life and death.

Why is spaying and neutering pets so important, not only for the animals, but for communities?

People and the animals that live with them are not separate; we affect each other. If animals “mark” their adoptive homes, get into fights, roam or have litters, they will not remain welcome. Dog bites, maulings and characteristic male dog behaviors overwhelmingly come from intact male dogs.

These disproportionately affect low-income communities where access to spay/ neuter is limited. When we talk about the importance of compassion instead of killing, spay/neuter is absolutely at the center of that discussion. A litter of puppies may be cute, but many children realize that the puppies were eventually abandoned, otherwise killed, or they simply die from disease and neglect. Is this good? Witnessing neglect does not teach compassion.

A lot of pet owners say they want their dog or cat to have a litter before they are spayed or neutered, or they would like their children to experience the birth process with their pet. Explain why letting a dog or cat become sexually mature before spaying or neutering is harmful to their health.

First, there are significant health benefits to avoiding a first estrus or “heat” cycle. Research shows that preventing the hormonal changes during even one heat cycle has a tremendous impact on reducing incidents of mammary cancer in dogs. That’s no small thing.

Dogs are nine times more likely than people to get mammary cancer, and the preventive value is lost with successive heat cycles. Characteristic male dog behavior, like marking furniture, is much easier to prevent than to stop later on.

There is no “miracle” to the birth of surplus pets. It teaches kids that it’s OK to produce surplus animals on a self-centered whim. It teaches irresponsibility.

Historically, veterinarians recommended pets be sterilized at about 6 months of age, but that is changing. Pets can now be sterilized much earlier. At what age is this safe?

The age approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is             8 weeks or two pounds, and in a shelter setting, all pets should be spayed or neutered before release. Many private clinics recommend that kittens or puppies finish their juvenile wellness vaccinations and be altered shortly thereafter. Some offer kitten or puppy wellness packages that facilitate that timeline.

There is some controversy about the impact of early sterilization on giant breeds, and there is controversy about the quality of the studies that supposedly support that controversy. However, the fact remains that the single leading cause of death of dogs and cats in the U.S. is euthanization in shelters… because an unwanted litter is born in the U.S. every 20 seconds.

Is surgery the only option?

No. There are other options and more are being explored by both public agencies and private entities. And we need all of the tools available to stop litters.

Worldwide, 75 percent of dogs, and about the same percentage of cats, are unwanted. That is over 600 million animals! Knocking the numbers down humanely is the first step to stopping suffering, and it cannot be done without non-surgical methods.

In many places across the globe, basic medical care for people is a luxury; children still get polio, and tens of thousands of people die of rabies from dog bites in developing nations. Sadly, in these circumstances, the resources needed to provide surgery is decades away from being available for millions of street animals.

Because of the potential to work in the poorest of regions, our most important work is in the field of non-surgical sterilization. Spay FIRST! has partnered with Pueblo Animal Health Services,   Native American Veterinary Services and an organization in Lahore, Pakistan, called Vets Care Organization, to promote the use of a non-surgical option for neutering male dogs and cats.

We are working with two Oklahoma veterinarians to closely monitor colony cats on a feed-through contraceptive and under the leadership of SpayFIRST! founding board member Dr. Charles Helwig and our advisory board member Dr. Billy Clay, we have partnered with the USDA on research of an injectable contraceptive that will hopefully be proven effective in dogs.

Your organization focuses a lot of its outreach in poor or underserved com-munities, especially those with little or no access to veterinary services, with your MASH unit. Can you explain what this is?

MASH, or Mobile Animal Surgical Hospital, refers to programs in which surgical equipment is brought onsite to a remote location in order to set up temporary spay/neuter services.

This is a program often used to provide services on Native American lands. It is a labor intensive program, but it’s a great way to get a lot done. It is the most cost-effective model there is.

If someone said to you they don’t think it matters if their pet is sterilized, what would be the most important thing they need to know about their decision?

They need to know that their decision does not support the best care for their own pet, and if unwanted litters are born, they are contributing to the world in a terribly negative way. I’ve heard people say they found good homes for the offspring. If indeed they did, some other kitten or puppy died.

One way or the other, for better or for worse, the decision that each one of us makes has an impact. According to American Pet Products Manufacturers, 38 percent of dogs and 75 percent of cats are obtained from family, friends or other incidental sources. That’s how many incidental, unplanned animals are never even counted in the shelter numbers… Staggering.

For more information about Spay FIRST! or to donate, visit spayfirst.org. Follow Spay FIRST! on Facebook and Twitter or follow Steinberger’s blog at huffingtonpost.com.

Project Breathe

posted October 28th, 2014 by
  • Share
20140715c

Invisible Fence Brand providing pets a breath of fresh air.

Invisible Fence

By Anna Holton-Dean

 

An estimated 40,000 to 150,000 pets die each year in fires, according to industry sources, most succumbing to smoke inhalation. In many states, emergency responders are unequipped to deal with the crisis. The loss is devastating for families and heart-wrenching for firefighters also.  Because human oxygen masks do not fit pets, there’s not much first responders can do to reverse the effects of smoke inhalation.

But thanks to Invisible Fence Brand, providers of the original electronic pet containment system, 120 pets have been saved as of February 2014, through their Project Breathe campaign. Because the pet oxygen mask kits fit just right, animals can take advantage of oxygen flow, saving their lives.

Invisible Fence Brand has donated over 10,000 pet oxygen masks to fire stations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Locally, Invisible Fence of Oklahoma has donated animal oxygen masks to fire stations in Moore, Nichols Hill and The Village. They are now in the process of obtaining a kit for Mustang with Edmond as their next target area. And many of the masks given have already saved local pets’ lives.

Emily Shanbour, manager/operator of Invisible Fence of Oklahoma, says the Project Breathe campaign is a logical way for the company to help the local community.

“Invisible Fence’s motto is ‘keeping dogs safe at home.’ This takes what we are already doing one step further,” she says. “Anything that any corporation can do for a local community at no additional cost to that community is a good thing.”

The program not only saves the lives of pets, but eases the overall painful experience for their owners as well. “When a family suffers the tragedy of a fire, lives are turned upside down,” Albert Lee, director of Invisible Fence Brand, says. “Pets are valued family members, so we want families to know that their pets can be cared for if tragedy strikes.

“We realize that humans are the first priority, but in many cases, pets can be saved if firefighters have the right equipment. Our Project Breathe program is simply a way of giving firefighters the tools necessary to save pets’ lives, and we celebrate with the families and the emergency personnel each and every time a pet is rescued and saved.”

For more information on the Invisible Fence Brand Project Breathe donation program, visit www.invisiblefence.com/O2 or check out www.oklahomacity.invisiblefence.com  .

Ask The Doc

posted October 14th, 2014 by
  • Share
20140715c

Tracei Holder, DVM/Medical Director, VCA Kickingbird Animal Hospital

Doc

Q: Why do dogs lick their feet?

 

 

A: Dogs most commonly lick their feet secondary to allergies. The inciting cause can vary, from a sensitivity to grass to the wool fabric from carpets. Inhaled molds and pollens can result in the skin on their feet becoming inflamed and then itchy.

The dog begins to lick and secondary bacterial and yeast infections may arise, which leads to more licking of the feet. Management of the allergy, as well as secondary infections that develop, is necessary to control the foot licking.

If a dog suddenly begins to lick at one foot in particular, we look for something stuck on the foot or between the foot pads, an acute injury to a toe or nail, development of arthritis in a joint in the foot or the presence of a growth. Growths can be either malignant or benign and should be evaluated by your veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment.

We do on occasion see dogs that have an obsessive compulsive disorder, and they may lick at their feet in order to soothe themselves. It may involve one foot or more and may be managed by use of anti-anxiety medications.

 

Q: Why do some dogs’ feet smell like Fritos?

 

A: This is commonly reported by owners, and most times a yeast infection is found as the underlying cause. If there is no obvious redness of skin or sores on the feet, the smell can be managed by washing the feet in a shampoo containing ketoconazole or 2 percent chlorhexidine.

 

 

Q: What is bloat?

 

A: Bloat is a very serious, potentially life-threatening situation that can develop without much warning. The term refers to a medical condition—gastric dilatation and volvulus/GDV—where the stomach becomes filled with gas and/or food and stretches to many times its normal size. It then twists, blocking outflow and the normal blood supply. This results in an extreme amount of pain and can be fatal within hours.

Large, deep-chested breeds, such as Great Danes, St. Bernards and Weimaraners, are at increased risk. Some factors that can reduce the risks are eating two or more meals per day including some canned food in the diet and  feeding a dry food containing a calcium-rich meat meal listed in the first four ingredients—such as lamb meat meal, fish meal, chicken by-product meal or bone meal. Dogs that have a more relaxed or happy temperament are less likely to bloat.

Page 1 of 212