Sunday, November 25, 2007


By: Stanley Popovich

Everybody deals with stress and anxiety, however some people sometimes take it out on their pets. Instead of taking your problems and frustrations out on your pets or other animals, here is a list of techniques that a person can use to help manage their stress, anxieties, and fears.When facing a current or upcoming task that overwhelms you with anxiety, the first thing you can do is to break the task into a series of smaller steps. For example, changing careers can be a stressful situation. In order to help manage this task, try to divide this goal into a series of smaller steps and do each of these tasks one at a time. Completing these smaller tasks one at a time will make the stress more manageable and increases your chances of success. This is a lot more effective then taking your frustrations out on your pet.Sometimes, we get stressed when everything happens all at once. Instead of taking it out on your dog or cat, a person should take a deep breathe and try to find something to do for afew minutes to get your mind off of the problem. A person could take a walk, listen to some music, read the newspaper or do an activity that will give them a fresh perspective on things. This mental timeout can help you refocus on your current situation.In dealing with your anxieties, a person should learn to take it one day at a time. Instead of focusing on exaggerated assumptions that may or may not happen, focus on the present and take it one day at a time.Sometimes, it helps to be able to talk to someone about our stressful situations. Talking to a trusted friend, counselor, or clergyman can not only make us feel better, but they might be able to give you additional advice and insights on how to deal with your current problem. This is a lot more effective than yelling at your dog or cat.It is not easy to deal with our stressful problems, however taking our frustrations out on your pets or other people will not make the problem go away. When things are not going right, try to remember to treat your pet in the way you would want to be treated.


Stan Popovich is the author of "A Layman's Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods" - an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For additional information go to:

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Blog Housekeeping

Just a quick update regarding our Picasaweb photo galleries for Pet Rescue's latest adoptable cats and dogs, and the alumni dogs and cats photo galleries.

Rather than trying to keep our Picasaweb photo galleries up to date and synchronized with the main web site's galleries of the same images, the links on the blog have all been changed to directly access the main web site's photo pages. The Picasaweb galleries for those images have been removed.

This should be a seamless transition and will give you direct access to the most up to date and current images of all the Pet Rescue animals, especially since Lynn does such a wonderful job of maintaining those pages with the most recent information.

Thanks to Lynn for all the hard work she does!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

NEW SPOOK-Tacular Photos

We've just uploaded a bunch of new photos from the SPOOK-Tacular, the 2007 Pet Rescue Dinner. These are photos by Keyrana, Johnny and Heiro.

To see Keyrana's Photos, click here. (173 photos)

To see Johnny's Photos, click here. (123 photos)

To see Heiro's Photos, click here. (19 photos)

John's 63 photos, that were uploaded immediately after the dinner, are still available. See the next message to see his photos.


Saturday, October 6, 2007

The SPOOK-Tacular (Photos)

What a GREAT dinner, event, gala, and stage show from Zella Lehr, Phil Cristian, the Amazing Robere, and the ZMC Dancers! The Pet Rescue SPOOK-Tacular was a tremendous success and thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance.

SPOOK-Tacular Gallery by John
Click to see the photo gallery
To see all 63 preliminary images of the evening's activities, click here, or on the picture above. There were four photographers working the event, so there will be a LOT more photos in a few days. Be sure to check back often to see them!

If you were at the event, you may actually see yourself in the photos. Once at the photo gallery, you can download the images or even order prints. If you like the photos and download or print them, why not show your appreciation for the great pro bono photographers by making a donation to Pet Rescue? What a terrific idea! Just click the "Make A Donation" button at the top-right of this page, below the Pet Rescue logo, or any donation button on the main website. Remember, donations are tax deductible and really, really, really help the animals in our care.

Were you at the SPOOK-Tacular? Share your thoughts with everyone else. Click the "Comment" link below to post a comment about what you thought of the event, or to read other's comments.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

HELP! High Vet Bills

We need your financial assistance. Our vet bills are extremely high due to recent surgeries, heart worm treatments and medications for the animals in our care.

If you can assist, please make a donation on-line by clicking the "MAKE A DONATION" button at the top-right of this page, or you can send a check to:

Pet Rescue, Inc.
3440 NW 191 Street
Miami, FL 33056

If you can do anything to help us care for the animals' medical needs, we would greatly appreciate it.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pet Rescue at PetsMart

Pet Rescue will be at the PetsMart in the Miami Design District on Saturdays from 3-7 PM and on Sundays from 1-5 PM. The PetsMart is located at North Miami Avenue and 31st Street in Miami. A Pet Rescue volunteer will be on hand to assist in finding loving homes for our cats. Come see some of our wonderful kitties, or tell your friends about Pet Rescue at PetsMart!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cesar Millan in Miami

The star of the Emmy-nominated hit series Dog Whisperer brings his magic and wisdom about dogs and dog psychology to this unique live special event. Fans of the show and dog lovers alike will be immersed in Cesar’s world for three compelling hours, as the best-selling author of "Cesar’s Way" reveals his secrets to happier, healthier relationships between humans and their canine companions.

November 11, 2007 @ 2 PM - Carnival Center Ticket Information

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Well Trained Dog ?

Do you ever get people asking you if your dog does tricks? Even when your dog does NOT do tricks? Even when you just adopted the dog the day before? Does it make you angry?

Maybe even worse, do you know someone with a well trained dog that makes you own sweet, but ill mannered pup look bad? Don't you hate that?

Here's the answer. A well trined dog that you may not be able to pass off as your own, but will do all the standard commands perfectly every time. Just CLICK HERE to visit the site and have a go. It is very cute and if you like Yorkies, this is especially good.

Have fun!

It is a HeartGuard sponsored website.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Vick Takes Dogfighting Plea

Michael Vick during an Atlanta Falcons news conference.In a Richmond, Virginia, court today, the Atlanta Falcon's 27-year-old star quarterback, Michael Vick, filed papers including a signed plea agreement and written allocution to prosecutors in regards to a federal dogfighting investigation.

According to court documents, Vick said he did not gamble during dogfights. He did, however, admit to bankrolling the gambling operation and to participating in the killing of at least six dogs. The original charge was listed as "Conspiracy to Travel in Interstate Commerce in Aid of Unlawful Activities and to Sponsor a Dog in an Animal Fighting Venture," and is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. There is speculation that Vick will be sentenced to between 10 and 18-months in jail based on recommendations by prosecutors on the case. The judge is not bound by any recommendation or by the federal sentencing guidelines. U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson had earned a reputation for handing down stiff sentences, even to high-profile defendants. However, "tough but fair" is the description most often heard from lawyers who appear before Hudson, who owns a Bichon Frise and has declined to be interviewed.

If you wish upon a star . . . Oh, c'mon! It's a fake photo, a JOKE, get it?Three co-defendants -- Purnell Peace, 35; Quanis Phillips, 28; and Tony Taylor, 34 -- have already accepted agreements to plead guilty in exchange for reduced sentences. Last April, Vick and two of the co-defendants apparently met to test the fighting skills of the dogs. The three agreed to kill six to eight dogs that did not perform well. All of the dogs were killed by various methods that included hanging and drowning.

Vick is scheduled to plead guilty on August 27th in Richmond's U.S. District Court to a conspiracy charge related to dogfighting. Prosecutors for the state of Virginia have said that additional state charges may be brought against Vick in the future.

Michael Vick with puppy. We wonder where this little pooch is now?In a related interview in an Atlanta newspaper, Michael Vick's estranged father says he tried to get Vick to quit dogfighting years ago. Michael Boddie said that around 2001 his son staged dogfights in the garage of the family's home in Newport News, Va., and kept fighting dogs, including injured ones, in the family's backyard.

Boddie dismissed the notion that Vick's longtime friends were the main leaders behind the dogfighting operation. "I wish people would stop sugarcoating it," Boddie told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "This is Mike's thing. And he knows it."

For more information and links of interest, check the Orlando Sentinel.

For the visual results of dogfighting, visit this EnviroLink Forum page.
WARNING: The linked page contains disturbing images.

Editor's Note: We assume this means that instead of the dogs he kept, Michael Vick will be the one caged or chained-up most hours of the day. He'll be allowed outside for supervised exercise and it will be he who will be watched through the cell bars by people and their [guard] dogs. There may even be some gambling on who will win any fights that Vick may have with other inmates. Turn about is fair play, dogfighting isn't ! ! !
From beasts we scorn as soulless,
In forest, field and den,
The cry goes up to witness
The soullessness of men.

                        ~M. Frida Hartley

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dumb and Dumber-er-er

The Associated Press is reporting that New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury defended Michael Vick, calling dogfighting a sport and comparing it to hunting. Marbury spoke Monday about the federal dogfighting conspiracy charges against Vick while promoting his basketball shoe in Albany, N.Y.

"I think it's tough," Marbury said, according to Albany TV station Capital News 9. "I think, you know, we don't say anything about people who shoot deer or shoot other animals. You know, from what I hear, dogfighting is a sport. It's just behind closed doors."

On Monday, Vick said through a lawyer that he will plead guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and conspiracy to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture. He also faces possible prosecution in Virginia.

"I think it's tough that we build Michael Vick up and then we break him down," Marbury said. "I think he's one of the superb athletes, and he's a good human being. I just think that he fell into a bad situation."

Editor's Note: Is Marbury so out of touch as to actually believe that dog fighting and hunting are the same? Even if someone was opposed to hunting, the differences are just too great. The biggest difference being, of course, that hunting is legal. It makes me want to go right out and buy a pair of Marbury's signature B-ball shoes --- NOT! Whoever is using Marbury to promote their sports products needs to muzzle him as a spokesperson.

UPDATE 24 Aug 2007
New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury backed off his defense of Michael Vick, according to newspaper reports Friday (today). "What Michael Vick did was wrong, and he has admitted his guilt," Marbury said in a statement released by the Knicks to New York newspapers. "He should be punished. However, he should be given a second chance, as others have received for more serious crimes."

Editor's Note: Looks as though someone from the team or his shoe sponsor talked to him. Luckily they "released a statement" rather than allowing him to speak on his own. It sounds like he is half-a-bubble out of plumb.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hurricane Center Feeds

UPDATE 21 AUG 2007
Obviously, Hurricane Dean has bypassed Florida but has left significant category five style damage in Jamaica and Mexico. We have removed the NHC's Dean Updates from the right-side column. Still, think about what you would do if a storm heads in your direction. The time to make your plan is NOW!

Originally Posted 15 August 2007
Updates from the National Hurricane Center for Tropical Storm Dean have been added to the RSS Feeds section of the blog.

Tropical Storm Dean (supposed to become a hurricane by tomorrow) is not a definite threat to South Florida as yet, but should be a wake-up call if you have not yet finalized your hurricane emergency plans, purchased your safety supplies or made plans on what you will do with your pets in case a storm does approach.

Remember that you can always get the complete tropical outlook at the National Hurricane Center Website.

Monday, August 13, 2007

When Is The Right Time?

If you have been reading the blog for any length of time, you are probably aware that I have two dogs: Kirby, a Border Collie, and Mike, a Broward Humane terrier-mix, rescue pup. Kirby was purchased/adopted at 9-weeks and Mike was adopted three years later, at 10-weeks of age. Mike is 9-years old now.

Kirby, at the age of 12-years, has been in failing health. His vision and hearing were both on the wane. Like me, arthritis was causing him difficulty. He could no longer jump onto the bed and had difficulty walking at times, especially in the mornings. He recently developed a severe internal problem that was not responding to treatment.

On Sunday, August 12th, 2007, his race was run. Kirby passed away and I can only hope that the concept of the Rainbow Bridge is correct. I am left with an emptiness that Mike is attempting, to the best of his ability, to fill. Yet, how can one make the decision to allow his best friend to pass on and not second guess the decision?

In my heart of hearts I know that as Kirby gazed into my eyes on Sunday morning that he was asking me to end his suffering, his unhappiness, and was telling me that it was okay, that he was looking forward to peace. His look told me that he was ready. Yet I was torn.

If I waited would he feel better in a few day? If I waited would he suffer additional discomfort for those same few days? Was it too soon? Had I already waited too long?

I decided to let him go, but the questions remain. He was my best friend, literally, not just in the sense of the old saw that "dog is man's best friend." He actually was my best friend, my big boy, my baby, my son. He is gone based on my decision and I wonder in moments of reverie if I was correct in my actions.

I have had four dogs during my adult life. Chrys was a foundling Golden Retriever-mix, who came to me one evening, skinny and injured, wandering in a parking lot. C.J. was a Golden-mix adopted from the Miami Humane. Then there was Kirby and Mike.

C.J. died at age four of pancreatic cancer. It was swift in onset and there was no choice to be made. Chrys aged well until the day he simply could not rise, though valiantly trying with all his might. His eyes that day conveyed an apology because he was unable to stand. I allowed him to go away later that morning, to leave me forever. His eyes told me he didn't want to go. They said he wanted to stay with me despite his pain, but there was no other option. He only wished to stay for my benefit. For Chrys I berated myself for postponing his departure and allowing his pain to continue. I thought myself selfish.

Today I ask myself if I couldn't have waited a bit longer for Kirby. In thinking back I must believe that had I waited any longer, I would have only continued his discomfort. I think back to his eyes gazing into my own. Those expressive eyes that told me that he was ready to leave me. Those supremely intelligent eyes that said the decision was the right one and that everything would be alright.

It is less than 24-hours since Kirby passed, and I ask myself if I correctly interpreted his gaze. I ask myself if I should have waited. I ask if I had waited too long. I ask, and I ask, and I ask. There is no answer save that down deep I know it was the right thing do, the right time, the right decision. And, yet, I continue to ask, and ask, and ask.

In time I will stop asking, second-guessing or wondering about my decision. I can only hope that I interpreted his final gaze correctly, that he understood, that he agreed, that he forgives me. I can only hope that when Kirby and I meet again that he will view me with compassion and our friendship will be renewed. That he and Chrys and C.J. will have already met and become aquainted; become friends. That they are, even now, keeping one another company until my time comes to join them. My friends, my boys, my children. How I miss them all.

Kirby was born on December 17th, 1994, in Homestead, Florida, and was adopted on February 9th, 1995. A certified animal therapy dog, he was a pure-bred Border Collie, registered with the American Border Collie Association under the name  Chase's Kirby Cameron Dell. He was the smartest dog I have ever known. He was a supreme gentleman. He was my best friend.

In  Memoriam
Chase's Kirby Cameron Dell - Click picture to visit Kirby's online photo gallery.
Chase's  Kirby  Cameron  Dell
December 17, 1994   to   August 12, 2007

Comments are not being allowed for this post. We are not looking for condolences, though your good thoughts are appreciated.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Michael Vick Chew Toy

First Coast News is reporting the appearance of a website that is causing some shockwaves after offering a chew toy for dogs that looks like NFL quarterback Michael Vick. The toys came out following the star quarterback's federal indictment on dog-fighting charges. The website offering the toys says it's for charity, but the Jacksonville Humane Society is saying "no thanks."

When the Humane Society found out they'd be getting the donations, they said they're sticking to toys they can trust. Chere Garrard, with the Humane Society, can understand why a dog lover would want to give their dog that chew toy. "Oh, oh, boy, let me give my dog this chew toy to chew on, a way to kind of, 'take that, Michael Vick,' said Garrard. That's especially true when a portion of the money made from the toy is promised to go to the Jacksonville Humane Society. But Garrard says the website selling the toy may not be all it seems. "We're skeptical as to whether that organization is on the up and up," said Garrard.

The first she'd heard of the donations came from the media, not the company selling the toy. "Normally, when people do fundraisers for you, quite often they'll contact you first and say, 'we'd love to do this, are we on the same page.' We never got that phone call," said Garrard. She says that's not all that seemed fishy. "It's interesting that the original press release that seemed to go out nationally had a Jacksonville dateline on it, and referenced the Jacksonville Humane Society, but no reference of our fire," said Garrard.

Another problem is that it's practically impossible finding the company, which claims to be based here in Jacksonville. All our searches for the company were unsuccessful. A Google search only turned up news stories of the toy. The Humane Society had the same problem. "Can't find them. Can't find them anywhere. Can not track down the business," said Garrard.

Garrard says if anyone does figure out the mystery donors, she says they've got to know. "If you can find out who's behind it, give us a call!" said Garrard. Shipping of the product, according to the website, begins Tuesday, August 7th, and would be received within 2-3 weeks. Garrard says, buyer beware.

Since the donations offer from the website was made. it's been taken back, saying: "Due to unforeseeable circumstances and squabbling over charitable donations, our statement claiming we will donate proceeds from the "Vick dog chew toy" has been removed. We will now do so anonymously," said the website.

The Jacksonville Humane Society says they wouldn't accept the offer anyway, since Vick hasn't yet been convicted of anything.

2007 Pet Travel Stats

Check out the pet travel statistics for 2007 from, a leading pet friendly hotel and lodging directory that continuously polls thousands of its Web site visitors, newsletter subscribers, and random households regarding their travel and purchase habits. All who participate in the surveys own at least one pet. Portions of the 2007 year to date results are as follows:

  • 77% frequently take their pets with them when leaving town.
  • 38.5% say it is “difficult” to find pet friendly lodging.
  • 79% stay at designated pet-friendly hotels or lodging each year.
  • 16% stay at designated pet-friendly 6 or more times each year.
  • 63% would be more likely to lengthen their stay if given the opportunity to travel with their pets.
  • 84.6% travel with dogs.
  • 6.3% travel with cats.
  • 33% travel with dogs over 50 pounds.
  • 36% say it is ‘difficult to find pet-friendly lodging’ for their pets over 20 pounds.
  • 10.3% complain that most pet friendly places they find also allow smoking.

For more information on pet travel, visit the website.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Fleas Plague Sunshine State

By Alexandra Hackett from Tampa Bay's 10

Rhiannon is normally a happy energetic dog, but some tiny pests are making her miserable. "It’s been bad this time around I have never had it this bad," said pet owner Dena Bilella. Dena has been battling her dog's flea problem for a long time and just when she thinks it's under control, it pops up again, even during this exam.

Rhiannon also suffers from what's called “flea dermatitis”, her skin chewed raw from the itching. Dr. Heather Willis-Goulet, with Florida Veterinary Specialists, sees this all too often. Fleas don't discriminate. They love cats and dogs and Florida's hot and humid environment is ripe for a flea breeding ground. They live outdoors.

Only rarely do fleas jump from one pet to another. "They like it under rubbish in the yard, mulch underneath the house under….deep dark humid areas like that," she said.

Once a flea lands on your pet, it will start laying 50-eggs per day. "By the time you notice your dog has fleas, you have the whole life cycle: the eggs, the larva, the pupa, the adult, in your house and your yard," Dr Willis-Goulet sais. The doctor recommends a consistent treatment of adulticide and what she calls “flea birth control” to fend off both fleas and their eggs. But as with Rhiannon, it may take months to eliminate the infestation.

-Flea treatment for dogs should never be used on cats, because it can be very toxic.

-You usually don't have to treat your yard, but if you do, make sure it's something that's not UV-light sensitive, because it is degraded by the sunlight.

-Consult with your veterinarian for the best types of flea treatment and be sure to follow the label directions.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Massage Therapy For Pets

Article by Azia Li Forrest, from the Villages Daily Sun

Once Nikki Hoffman finally learned how to calm her dogs, she decided to help others. "Massages help with range of motion with the older dogs," Hoffman said. "It improves circulation and enhances muscle tone."

Hoffman’s Barkissage Canine Massage Therapy has been open since April. Before that she was looking for a break from her 20-year career in technical sales. "We were living in Saint Lucie County, and it was around the time when we kept getting hurricanes," she said. "We had no electricity for several days and the dogs were panicked."

Hoffman, who has two Pekingese (Brandee-Cherie and Barry), said she noticed massages helped them relax. After moving to Lady Lake in 2006, she began doing more research on canine massage and became certified the following year. She also became an active member of IAAMB, the International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork, and began volunteering her services at dog shelters and rescue organizations.

"It used to be considered alternative, but it’s becoming more mainstream," Hoffman said about dog massage. "It’s very fulfilling because the dogs benefit from it and so do I." Barkissage is the first certified therapeutic canine massage company in The Villages. Hoffman works closely with veterinarians in The Villages and Fruitland Park. "There are a lot of older, geriatric dogs here in The Villages," she said.

Although she thinks massage is beneficial to canines, she said it is not a substitute for medical care when a pet needs it. "Massaging does not replace good vet care," she said, "it works in conjunction with it."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cutest Puppy Ever?

Heart Coated PuppyThis just might be the cutest puppy ever. He's a 6-week-old long-coated chihuahua from northern Japan.

The kicker is his coat. He has a heart on his back and it's real (see photo). The owner, Emiko Sakurada, has been breeding chihuahuas for years, and she's never had one with a coat this remarkable. She named him "Heart-kun" and has no plans to sell him.

Whatever happens, don't let Cruella DeVille find out about him.

Animal Oxygen Masks

A cat is rescued from a fire in Michigan and firefighters said special oxygen masks are being credited. Fire Chief Les Powell told The Ann Arbor News that firefighters were called to a home around 9:30 p.m. Sunday and discovered a garage and two cars engulfed in flames. The family escaped without injury, but their cat was left inside the home. Firefighters used the oxygen mask on the cat and saved its life.

"The thing with animals, they're on the floor, and that's the best place to be because it's where the air still is," Powell told The Ann Arbor News. "But it was hot in there, and oxygen helps a lot."

The masks were donated by Friends of Michigan Animals Rescue. Marcy LaFramboise, vice president and co-owner of FMAR, said the masks each cost $53. The group has provided oxygen masks to the Van Buren Township Fire Department and has masks ready to donate to the Belleville Fire Department.

Monday, July 9, 2007

EH's Six-toed Cats Protected

The U.S. Department of Agriculture apparently thinks the six-toed cats that live among the brush surrounding Ernest Hemingway's former Key West home are some sort of tourist ploy and want someone to get a permit for animal exhibitions. Not going to happen! At least not right away. The Key West City Commission exempted the home from a city law prohibiting more than four domestic animals per household. About 50 cats live there. Their new ordinance states that the cats are "an integral part of the history and ambiance of the Hemingway House."

The house has been locked in a dispute with the USDA, which claims the museum is an "exhibitor" of cats and needs a special license, a claim the home disputes.
A USDA spokesman did not return messages left late Sunday. The cats are descendants of a six-toed cat given as a gift to the writer in 1935. All carry the gene for six toes, though not all display the trait.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Have a Safe and Happy 4th

Happy 4th of JulyI can't believe it is July already! Time seems to simply disappear, not just fly by.

Everyone at Pet Rescue wishes you a safe and happy 4th of July.

Please take a few moments to consider the dangers of fireworks. Obviously, they can harm children and, in these draught conditions, cause fires if they are set off near dry grass or brush. Fireworks can also injure your pets.

"Owners need to use common sense when letting their pet join in the festivities," Lorraine Corriveau, wellness veterinarian at Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine, said in a prepared statement. "Some dogs love to chase those spinning and swirling objects on the ground. Others are traumatized by loud noises. Owners can help with tricks that can be as simple as putting cotton in their pet's ears to muffle the sound," Corriveau said.

Other steps pet owners can take over the holiday include:

  • Don't leave pets alone outdoors, even if tethered or in a fenced yard.
    • Chained dogs can choke in their attempts to escape fireworks sounds.
    • Dogs can break out of supposedly secure yards under extreme stress.
  • Remove sharp objects from enclosures.
  • Turn on the radio or TV for distraction.
  • Don't take pets to fireworks shows.
    • Their ears are much more sensitive and can be permanently injured by the volume of the explosions.
  • Don't leave pets unattended in cars.
  • If pets must be outside, keep them on a leash or in carriers.
    • Be sure they have ID chips and/or tags if they break loose.
  • Protect pets from children who are using fireworks.
    • Simple sparklers can be up to 1800 degrees F.
  • Use sedation on pets if necessary; your veterinarian can advise you about giving a mild sedative or tranquilizer to calm fears of an extremely stressed animal.
  • Pick up leftover sparklers and other sharp objects after the festivities.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Ukranian Crocodiles

Check Owner's IQ Story #2

The Associated Press is reporting that an animal trainer brought a crocodile to the beach in an effort to drum up interest in his circus, but got some unwelcome publicity instead when the animal broke free and swam off into the Azov Sea. The 3-foot croc, named Godzi, escaped near the city of Mariupol on Thursday, according to a spokesman for the regional branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry.

Ministry workers were searching for the crocodile and reported that it has been seen swimming in the sea, which lies north of the Black Sea between Ukraine and Russia. Officials issued a warning to area beachgoers, but Ukrainian media reported that many sunbathers and swimmers were undeterred and came to the shore anyway.

If the crock bites someone, then what? Mmm... tastes like Chicken Kiev?

Rains Came, Dog's Gone

Hank was swept down this drainage pipe. PHOTO CREDIT: WTVT-13Two days ago we wrote about preparing for this year's hurricane season in the article "Hurricane Season 2007". One of the things we mentioned was to be aware of your pet's needs after the storm. Heavy rains tend to erase all the familiar smells that help dogs navigate their local haunts. We also warned against allowing pets off-leash immediately after a storm or allowing them to venture into standing water.

That was June 1st, the first day of hurricane season. It was also the day a rain storm in the Gulf of Mexico was designated Tropical Storm Barry and headed toward Tampa Bay. The next day, June 2nd, Tampa's WTSP-10 and WTVT-13 TV reported that Hank, a lovable 20-month old yellow lab living in Largo's Green Meadows Mobile Home Park, jumped into a retention pond to get a toy football as it floated past. The pond had filled to overflowing in the wake of over six-inches of rainfall from the storm. The water was moving so swiftly that Hank couldn't fight the current and his owners watched as he was swept into a drainage pipe.

The storm has subsided. The rains have stopped. The water level of the pond has fallen. Hank is still missing.

UPDATE 5 June 2007
After hearing Hank's story, county work crews were out at the retention pond removing vegetation. So far they have not found Hank's body, so the family is holding out hope that Hank is still alive.

UPDATE 6 June 2007
The news has come to us that Hank has been found, but the end of the story is not a happy one. His body was found several hundred yards downstream. He has been laid to rest in his human's back yard.

Creature Comforts

Animated comedy debuts Monday [4 June 2007] at 8:00 PM on CBS.

Creature ComfortsPorcupines talk about the fear of needles. A police dog explains how to spot a liar. A female bird rattles off her health problems. A fish talks about an unusual condition: "Dry skin. Can you believe it?" Creature Comforts excels at gallows humor. Lobsters in a boiling pot are interviewed. A snake is asked about the worst thing it has ever done -- and it's clear the reptile has been dining on something it shouldn't have. Just as in daytime TV, sex is a vital topic in the animal kingdom. Chickens and horses talk about attraction. Birds and bees expound on the "birds and bees," ie. the facts of life.

If you ever saw the Chevron commercials with the animated talking cars, you know the people behind this show. From the creators of "Wallace and Grommit," Aardman Animations, Ltd., this adaptation of a British hit has no plot. Rather, the program takes interviews with everyday people and lets those words come out of the mouths of animated animals. The show unfolds like a series of fast-paced sketches.

This is a must see if you like animals, Wallace and Grommit, or any of the other Aardman animations that have been available for download on the Internet for years. I know where I will be at eight on Monday night.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Hurricane Season 2007

O.K., you've heard it all before. Be prepared, be prepared, be prepared, ya da ya da ya da... and it goes on. You're probably tired of hearing it or regard it as hype. No problem.

On the other hand, you've got pets. What about them?

Are they ID microchipped? Are they tattooed? Is the information up to date? In other words, if your pet becomes lost and is later found, will they be able to find you to get your pet back home? If you bought a dog or cat that was already microchipped, the chip company may have no information about you at all. If your vet chipped your pet, the information is probably correct and up to date, unless you've moved or changed your phone number (hint, hint).

If your pet has an Avid chip go to for information or call PETtrac directly at 800-336-2843. For a Home Again chip go to You can also visit or call 866-597-2424. Otherwise, check with your vet — soon.

What if the phone isn't working at your house after the storm? If the only number for you in your pet's information is your home phone, then what? Provide a phone number for a friend or family member that lives elsewhere, somewhere that would not be affected by a storm that affects your home. Be sure to tell them about it too or this can happen...

"Hi. Did you lose a dog?"
"No, not me."
"Oh, sorry, bye."

If there is a storm on the way, do you have enough water for you AND your pet? They say to have enough food and water to sustain yourself for at least THREE to SEVEN days. Unfortunately, dog and cat food will be low priority items in the wake of a major storm and its resulting damage. It is recommended that you have enough pet food on hand for at least TWO WEEKS. How about a first-aid kit? What will you do if Fluffy cuts her paw on that glass from the broken window? It will take more than a band-aid.

Regardless of your situation, if you live in the state of Florida, most batteries, flashlights, weather radios, tarps, tie downs and other hurricane-related supplies are available without having to pay sales tax through June 12th. NOW IS THE TIME to buy the things you and your pet may need during and after a storm.

Make a plan. Get prepared. Be safe. It is important for you and your animal family members.

Test Buyer IQ Before Selling Dog

In The Category: Where Do They Find These People?!?!

Late Thursday [31 May 2007] a report came to Lee County, Florida, Animal Control about a dog biting someone. An Animal Control officer went out to the home in Bonita Springs. After the owner laughed and told the dog to attack the officer, backup was called in the form of sheriff's deputies.

According to police reports, when the deputies arrived, they knocked on the door and also called the homeowner on the phone. Police say the owner laughed again and tried to excite the dog with respect to the people outside.

After multiple attempts to talk to the homeowner, the door eventually swung open and the dog reportedly bounded out, charging at the officer and deputies. One of the deputies shot the dog as it ran toward him, killing the animal.

The 34-year old owner was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. When asked why he acted as he had, he reportedly told the deputies that he didn't realize it was a sheriff's officer at the door.

Editor's Note: The report did not indicate the breed of the dog or the IQ of its owner, or if the owner was under the influence. Hopefully, they will add a charge of cruelty to animals for inciting the animal to the point where it was killed. According to the title of an animated movie, "All Dogs Go To Heaven," but owners like that need to go and do a little dance in hell.

Palm Beach Canine Flu Alert

The Palm Beach Post is reporting that their county's Animal Care and Control Department has quarantined 25 to 30 dogs and suspended rabies vaccinations and microchipping for pets after a dog tested positive for canine influenza at the shelter. The dogs will remain under quarantine for 10 days, the length of the disease's incubation period. Officials are cautioning pet owners to be careful when going to public places with their dogs and to consult their dogs' veterinarians if symptoms are observed.

This is a big deal and very serious. Last July over 500 dogs were put down and adoptions suspended at the PBC facility in an effort to quell a canine influenza outbreak and due to a lack of space for incoming animals. They don't want to euthanize any of the dogs, according to community programs manager Karen Buchan, but if the dogs get sick, depending on the severity of the illness and the situation, they might have to.

Canine influenza does not affect cats or people.

All dogs are susceptible to the virus which is spread by moisture droplets that are expelled when they cough or sneeze, and it's in their saliva. They can catch it simply by breathing in the vicinity of another contagious dog, by playing with another dog's toy, or through contact with a human who has been around a contagious dog. The virus can remain viable for several days outside a dog's body. Dogs spread the virus for two to five days before they begin to show symptoms and are contagious for about seven days.

About 20 percent of dogs will be contagious but will not show symptoms. Symptoms include a soft, gagging cough for up to a month. About 15 percent will develop a sudden high fever and runny nose which may mean that pneumonia caused by opportunistic bacteria has developed. Dog flu is probably fatal less than 8 percent of the time but much higher numbers die if they develop pneumonia.

Police K-9s Good And Bad

Police Officer and Retired K-9 Are ''Partners for Life''

Officer Michael Erwin and his K-9 partner, Banook, display a plaque received from Chief Dorene Thomas. Photo Credit: Julie RobertsJulie Roberts, reporting for the Pinellas Park Beacon, wrote that "Mayor Bill Mischler and the City Council were present recently as man and dog took center stage in the City Hall meeting room. Both ''police officers'' stood at attention to receive the award recognizing five years of dedicated service. Chief Doreen Thomas held out a hand – that was immediately licked by the grateful recipient, whose partner smiled proudly.

"With that solemn ceremony, Banook the K-9 dog, partner to Officer Michael Erwin, officially retired and was transferred from active duty to family pet status. ''Not go home with me? Not be my partner for the rest of his life? That was never an option. I would not have let it happen,'' said Erwin, a K-9 field training officer and an 11-year veteran of the force. Outside city hall after the ceremonies, Erwin relaxed and soothed the anxious dog. The response was immediate. Banook, a sable-coated German shepherd, twisted his head around and saturated the officer with trust and adoration.

" ''For the last five years, it’s just been Banook and me, 24/7,'' said Erwin, who left the K-9 unit and returned to patrol. ''His big reward, what made him happy, was earning my approval and my reward. Now it’s my turn. That’s what we do in this business. That’s what you do in life. You look after each other.'' "

Read the whole story of Banook and his Partner here.

The Flip Side Is Considerably Less Happy

A 26-year veteran of the Miami-Dade County Police Department, and 23-year member of the police K-9 unit, has been charged with animal cruelty in the alleged kicking death of his K-9 partner, a 4-year-old German shepherd named Duke. Sargent Allen Cockfield, who has been on paid administrative leave since the June 2006 incident, surrendered to authorities Wednesday [30 May 2007] on charges of animal cruelty and killing a police dog, a felony. He was released after posting $6,000 bail and has been relieved of duty without pay.

The story has received wide coverage from numerous news agencies. For a special insight to the case, read this article on Miami Herald reporter Ellie Brecher's blog, Crazy for Critters. Apparently, soon after the K-9's death, a number of people and agencies received an anonymous e-mail that detailed the alleged events leading to the dog's death, including, ''Duke was on a leash at his partner's side. He barked at a time when his partner, Sgt. Cockfield, did not want him to. He was then strung up by his neck and kicked repeatedly. Duke let out a prolonged yelping cry, shook and went limp. When put down on the ground he died IMMEDIATELY.''

No matter how this happened, it is dreadful.

SARDS Dogs Regain Sight

Blind Dogs Can See After New Treatment For A Sudden Onset Blinding Disease

If two dogs are any indication, Iowa State University veterinary researchers may have found a cure for a previously incurable disease that causes dogs to go blind suddenly.

In the past six weeks, two dogs have been successfully treated for sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS) by a research team led by ISU veterinary ophthalmologist Dr. Sinisa Grozdanic in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

The experimental treatment is the first to reverse blindness and restore sight to dogs diagnosed with SARDS. The treatment restored sight to the two dogs that were treated on April 12 and April 27.

Read the whole story in Science Daily.

Vick Loses Sponsor

AirTran Airways has ended its relationship with Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who has been a pitchman for the airline since 2004. ''Michael's contract expired May 8, and we advised him then that we would not renew it,'' AirTran spokesman Tad Hutcheson said Thursday. Hutcheson said Vick had appeared on five billboards and did radio commercials under a one-year contract, which had been renewed twice before.

There have been a string of publicity gaffes on Vick's part. His name has recently been dragged into a Virginia investigation of dog fighting. He was sued by a woman who claimed he gave her herpes, he made an obscene gesture to spectators while leaving the field after a game, and security screeners at Miami International Airport stopped him from boarding an AirTran flight in January with a water bottle that turned out to have a hidden compartment.

Especially stinging to AirTran was when Vick's publicist blamed the airline when the quarterback failed to arrive in Washington to speak before Congress. AirTran said Vick had ample opportunities to get to his destination on AirTran but chose not to.

Authorities say that informants have come forward that can directly link Vick with dogfighting at his Virginia property, according to the prosecutor in that case. The jury is still out on what the NFL Commissioner is going to do, if anything, or what plans the Atlanta Falcons have for their star quarterback. It is probable that Vick's other sponsors are gauging the worth of retaining his services.

Doggie Fun Facts

There are about 73 million dogs owned in the U.S., according to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) Web site (

Thirty-nine percent of U.S. households have at least one dog.

Twenty-five percent of U.S. households own two dogs.

Fourteen percent of U.S. households have three or more dogs.

Assistance dogs are changing too. They can be a lot smaller than one might expect. There are now mental disabilities that qualify having a psychiatric service dog. The dogs are trained to assist the handler with a psychiatric disability, such as bipolar or post-traumatic stress disorders, autism, and schizophrenia. The Americans with Disabilities Act says the majority of the dog's work is to provide environmental assessment such as dealing with paranoia or hallucinations. The dog may respond to ''alerting behaviors'' like interrupting repetitive behaviors or reminding the handler to take his/her medications. The dog may also be trained to recognize the onset of epileptic seizures. You don't have to be big to do those things.

Pet-Friendly Venues Needed

It's always nice to find someplace where you can take your pet. If you're like me, that is often limited to PetSmart and the Bark Park. So, when I saw this item, I thought it should be shared...

In the Miami Herald's After Dark column by Gabe Berman, he mentions the following:

"Coconuts, 429 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. ''Upscale,'' or any of its synonyms, barely applies. You won't need the keys to an Italian sports car to fit in at Coconuts because this Intracoastal cafe feels more like a Keys hideaway.

"While you'll be welcomed at Coconuts wearing anything except your birthday suit, I've included it because the service is exceptional, the wine list is impressive and the surroundings are immaculately maintained. It feels like the bar at the Four Seasons compared to the neighboring Elbo Room and Treasure Trove.

"Enjoy live music Thursday through Sunday. Coconuts is a pet-friendly venue and the manager Karen Coffey will treat you, and your four-legged loved ones, like you're VIPs."

Do you know a great pet-friendly place to take your four-legged friends? Let us know by leaving a comment below. Just click the comment link.

Dog Bolts, Owner Killed

This is such a sad situation. WSEH-TV Channel 2 in Orlando is reporting that a man and his dog were standing outside a fast-food place on Thursday night [31 May 2007]. Witnesses said the man was on a pay phone arguing with someone when the dog ran off. The man ran into the street after the dog and apparently tripped on his untied shoelaces. A driver struck and killed the man. Police say the driver will not be charged and there is no information about the fate of the dog.

If only the dog were on a leash. If only the dog were better trained. If only, if only, if only.

My dogs are pretty well trained. They regularly accompany me into the unfenced front yard sans leashes. They know the boundaries. Stay out of the neighbors' yards and never go into the street. I trust them around the house and when they are outdoors in the front yard, so am I.

Away from home, they are never allowed off-leash unless in a secure area, even in a friend's front yard. They get leashed in the car and then we exit to visit our friend. Despite my efforts at training, I'm not willing to risk an unforeseen desire on one of their parts to chase something at the worst possible moment.

That the man was willing to run into traffic to save his dog is either heroic or extremely foolish. That he was killed is tragic. That his shoelaces were untied at the time is proof that Murphy's Law is still in effect.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Pet ID Chip Works!

Bella was lost in the aftermath of hurricane Wilma. The storm blew down a fence and Bella wandered off. That was two years ago. After an extensive search, the owners of the 5-year old Presa Canario mix had given up hope of ever finding her.

That all changed on Wednesday [30 May 2007] when Miami-Dade County Animal Control Officer Lisa Yambrich responded to an injured animal report. Undernourished, anemic and infested with ticks, Yambrich loaded the dog into her vehicle for the trip to the shelter in Medley. Once there a scan turned up a microchip that provided the information needed to return Bella home within hours.

Bella is home now, tick-free and well fed, getting reacquainted with her humans, their neighbors and the neighbors' pets. She is also getting to know her new brother, a one-year old Presa Canario named Thor.

Hurricane Season starts tomorrow, June 1st. This may be a good time to check with your vet to see if your dog could get a microchip of their own. Read the whole article about finding Bella in the Miami Herald here. We want to point out that Ellie Brecher, the owner of the Crazy for Critters blog, wrote the article for the Herald for whom she is a reporter. If you haven't read her blog, you should, so click the link above or check the right-side column of this blog for her blog's info.

This is also a good time to remind you that in the aftermath of a storm, always monitor your animals closely. As in Bella's case, a fenced-in yard may no longer be secure. More importantly, your dog may be stressed and the wind and rain very well may have eliminated all the smells pets need to find their way about their local area. Without those smells, your pet-friend could become lost much more easily.

After the storm, keep your pet indoors or on a leash for a few days unless you are physically with them and are absolutely sure they will respond to your calls to "come." Plus, there are many hazards --- broken glass, downed power lines, broken and weakened tree limbs, and standing water that may contain germs and bacteria, including waste material from septic tanks.

China Food Offical To Die

The Free Market News Network is reporting that a Chinese official, Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of the country's food and drug agency, has been sentenced to death on bribery and corruption charges.

The Chinese food and drug agency, which has the responsibility of implementing food and drug safety standards, was involved in several scandals including poisoned toothpaste sent to Panama and poisoned pet food products sent to the United States. Xiaoyu reportedly accepted $832,000 in bribes during his seven years in office to approve food and drug products that were not safe. Inspectors are being sent to factories in order to enforce safety regulations and Chinese officials hope Xiaoyu's execution will renew trust in Chinese consumer products.

It's a harsh sentence to be sure. There is no word on whether there was a trial or if Xiaoyu has been arrested.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Where's The So.Fla. Pet News

I regularly scan the internet news databases for items to add to the blog. It has dawned on me that there are very few stories about animals in the South Florida area as opposed to the number from Tampa, Orlando and the northern sections of the state. I find two or three stories a week about animals in Miami-Dade and Broward, but there always seem to be at least that number virtually every day from the Tampa Bay area. Granted, not all the stories are good; animal abuse, injury and worse, but there are good items too.

It would be wonderful to see more articles about animals in the South Florida news. It might increase awareness in that segment of the general public that do not consider themselves "animal people" and thereby boost the level of compassion for animals in our area. There are so many animals that need homes, so many organizations that need financia and volunteer support for their work on behalf on animals. Any increase in awareness would be a boon.

Share your stories, thought and ideas. You can leave comments by clicking the "comment" link below this article. You can comment on any article we post, so please do so. We welcome the information you can provide.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Memorial Day

All American PuppyPlease have a safe, thoughtful
and reflective Memorial Day.

Drive safely and wear your seat belt if you are travelling, and reflect on the real meaning of the day. It is more than the unofficial beginning of summer, more than the Indianapolis 500, more than picnics and barbecues.

Formerly known as Decoration Day, the holiday commemorates U.S. men and women who have died in military service to their country. It first began as a way to honor Union soldiers who died during the Civil War. After World War I, it expanded to include those who died in any war or military action, including the 3,444 killed in Iraq and the 390 killed in Afghanistan, as of May 25th, 2007.

If you would care to listen, here is an audio link to Taps in mp3 format from, and below are the most recognized lyrics to the piece of music also known as "Butterfield's Lullaby" or "Day is Done":

Memorial Day

Fading light dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar drawing nigh,
Falls the night.

Day is done, gone the sun
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest;
God is nigh.

Then goodnight, peaceful night;
Till the light of the dawn shineth bright.
God is near, do not fear,
Friend, goodnight.

Broward County Memorial Day events from the Sun-Sentinel.

Miami-Dade County Memorial Day events from the Miami Herald.

Plam Beach County Memorial Day events from the Palm Beach Post.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Cheaper Pumps for Pets

This doesn't have much to do with pets, but maybe if you save some money on gas, you can spend it on your animal friends or even send a donation to Pet Rescue (nice thought, eh?). Just enter your zipcode in the search you want, MSN or MapQuest, click the appropriate button, and get gas prices for your locale.

MSN Gas Prices
MapQuest Gas Prices

Results will open in new windows. Once the new window opens, you will be able to get additional or more specific information on prices, or zoom in on a map.

$1 Million Bit Nipple?

Pit Bull attacks have been big news lately. How about suing for $1 million dollars in such an attack? The kind of injuries such a mauling brings to mind may seem justified. Now, think about a Jack Russell Terrier (JRT), the kind of dog that was a star cast member on the TV sitcom Frasier. O.K., even a JRT can bite your leg, savage your ankle and shred your hand, maybe.

Then there's the lawyer from the firm of Bohdan Neswiacheny, specializing in insurance defense and commercial litigation. According to reports, a JRT was in a tiff with some other pups in a Boca Raton dog park at Military and Banyan trails. The lawyer stepped in and picked up the JRT, which he did not know or own. The JRT, shall we say, allegedly "nipped" him on the, um, nipple. The lawyer is now suing the Boca Raton family who owns the 2-year old dog, which was adopted one week earlier, for $1 million.

According to the suit, the lawyer needs the money to pay for medical treatment, loss of income and for general damages for pain, suffering, physical disfigurement and "loss of sexual comfort and desire."

Read the article from the Sun-Sentinel here and see if you think this is the kind of story that makes people like dogs and dislike lawyers. Hey, by the way, did you hear the joke about the Jack Russell Terrier and the lawyer at the dog park? If not, just click the link. Geez!

Indian River Co. Rabies Alert

The Stuart News is reporting that an otter has bitten three people in the area of Vero Beach, Florida, at the Grand Harbor golf and beach community. The otter was captured and has tested positive for rabies. Those bitten are receiving treatment for their injuries and vaccinations to prevent infection by the the disease.

Ten people have been bitten or exposed to raccoons, a stray cat and an otter since January 4th, 2007, when Indian River County lifted a 3-month old, countywide rabies alert. They are all receiving vaccinations for rabies.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Westminster DVD

Click for

If you missed the big dog show, you can watch it at your leisure. The four-hour DVD of the 131st Westminster Kennel Club dog show has been released. In addition to the coverage seen on the USA network, there are behind-the-scenes footage and extras for dog fanciers. The DVD is $26.99 on

Canine Assisted Reading

How cute is this? Shy kids getting help with their reading from dogs. No, the dogs don't read, the kids do... to the dogs. The dogs don't make fun of the children when they make a mistake. The kids are motivated to practice their reading. Certainly the dogs don't mind listening. It seems to be working and both the kids and the dogs like it.

Want to know more? It's on the NBC-6 website, in an article called "Dogs Help Shy Kids Learn To Read." There are pictures and a video link.

Gatorade for Dogs

$2.49 for a 16-ounce bottle. No kidding. The Gainesville Technology Enterprise Center and BioGalaxy Inc. recently released "Animactive." It's billed as a drink designed to rehydrate and rejuvenate the world's forgotten athletes - pets.

It will probably sell like hotcakes! Read all about it here.

Diet Drug for Dogs Released

Pfizer has made a new drug available to veterinarians that assists in dog weight control. It is called Slentrol. It works by making the dog feel full and by blocking fat absorption. Vets will decide the retail price of the drug, which is expected to be between $10 and $100 a month, depending on the size of the dog. Pfizer representatives said diarrhea and vomiting are side effects of the drug which can only be used for dogs. It can cause liver problems in cats and severe digestive issues for humans.

NFL Player: Dogfighting OK

Nancy Armour, a sports columnist for the Associated Press, has written an article about dog fighting in light of comments made by Washington Redskins' running back Clinton Portis regarding the dogs found on Michael Vick's Virginia property. Portis apparently made the statements on Monday, saying that dog fighting is no big deal. The next day, the Redskins apologized on his behalf, and Portis' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was attempting to spin the story with little success on Wednesday, if Armour's article is any indication.

Read Armour's article, "Brutality is brutality, whether it's against a human or animal," for the entire story, in the Northwest Florida Daily News. We applaud the stand she has taken.

A similar article appeared in the Orlando Sentinel, written by Jerry Greene. Read "Vick, Portis could land in the NFL's doghouse."

While we're talking about animal fighting, tourists at the Harbin Wildlife Park in China can pay to watch Siberian tigers attack and eat other animals. $4 to see a chicken fed to the tigers and $200 to watch a cow attacked and eaten, according to the AP report on Orlando's

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Katrina Heartbreak Goes On

After their Louisiana home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, the family leaves their two dogs at a shelter. The dogs are eventually adopted by people in St. Petersburg, Florida. The original owners get their lives back in order and want the dogs. The adoptive owners want to keep them. It's a story of natural disaster and loss, good intentions and love, and eventually doing the right thing despite the pain it brings.

Read the whole story here in the St. Petersburg Times on

Weston Muscovy Deaths

Miami's CBS-4 TV is reporting that a 17-year old Weston teen has been charged with animal cruelty after allegedly driving through a Sunrise neighborhood and purposely attempting to run over Muscovy ducks. Police said they received a call from a resident who told them a car was circling the block and the male driver was intentionally hitting the ducks. When officers arrived they found four ducks dead and one seriously injured. The teen faces five felony counts of cruelty to animals. Each count carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a 10-thousand dollar fine.

Editor's Note: The parents will hire a lawyer and pay the minimal fine that will be imposed. The kid will eventually get a month or two of probation, and maybe some community service. Will he be forced to get counselling? Doubtful, though it might be the most helpful long term. I fear for the girls this young man dates and classmates that will share his schools in the future.

Monday, May 21, 2007

You're A Dog Person If...

  • You have a kiddie wading pool in the yard, but no small children.

  • You have baby gates permanently installed around the house, but no babies.

  • You talk about your dog the way other people talk about their kid.

  • You sign and send birthday/anniversary/Christmas cards from your dog.

  • You put an extra blanket on the bed so your dog can be comfortable.

  • You only go to the supermarket when you need dog food or treats. Then you buy food for yourself as well.

  • You go to the pet store on Saturdays because it's one place you can take your dog inside, and your dog loves to go with you.

  • You and the dog come down with something like flu on the same day. Your dog sees the vet while you settle for an over-the-counter remedy from the drugstore.

  • Your dog is getting older and arthritic, so you go buy stairs or lumber and build stairs so she can climb onto the bed by herself.

  • You are the only person outdoors in the pouring rain because your dog needs a walk.

  • You don't go to happy hours with co-workers any more because you need to go home and see your dog.

  • You like people who like your dog. You despise people who don't.

  • You carry pictures of your dog in your wallet instead of pictures of your parents, siblings, significant other, or anyone else remotely human.

  • Your dog is the star of your World Wide Web site!

  • You have dog hair stuck on tape on wrapped gifts.

  • You cringe at the price of food in the grocery store but think nothing of the cost of dog food or treats.

Pet Food Paranoia

Both of my dogs are low-maintenance. They go to the vet twice a year. They eat once a day. They get a bath two or three times a month.

When they feel poorly, it's fairly easy to see and the level of their discomfort is readily apparent. Until recently if they were feeling poorly I would keep watch on them for 48-hours and if they were not improving it was off to the vet for a quick check-up... until recently.

My younger boy, an 8-year old rescue pup, terrier mix, stopped eating. His nose was cold and wet, and his temperature seemed OK, so I went into 48-hour watch mode. Then he threw up. He had grass in the bile. The grass was from the lawn. I had seen this syndrome before. Eating grass induced upset stomach. A day later he would be fine. The next day he refused to eat again. I was getting worried. My worry was significantly greater than normal and growing much faster than normal.

In all other aspects my pup was fine. He acted in his normal terrier fashion. He ran and played and wanted to snuggle as usual. So I watched him outdoors and stopped him from eating grass. I also closely watched his brother, a 12-year old Border Collie who ate the same food from the same bag. He was fine.

The next day he started eating again. Only have a bowl of food at first and no cookies. A half a bowl the next day, with cookies. Then he was back to himself again.

Under normal circumstances I would have simply been thinking it was a case of the doggie flu or an upset stomach. It's happened with him before. This time he was under my microscope. I was waiting for a belated recall on his brand of dog food. I even checked our brand's website for a press release, just in case it appeared there before it hit the news cycle.

My little guy's fine again and his brother never showed any difficulty, but it was not my normal 48-hour puppy watch. I was scared. I was worried about the dog food they were eating and I had never felt that way before.

When spinach became suspect due to e-coli I didn't worry. My spinach intake is much less than it probably should be. I was interested in the reports of the pet food recall, but checked our brand's website at the beginning and saw no problems.

I truly thought that I had not been personally impacted by the pet food recall. I was wrong. I have been affected and that is really scary.

Have you been affected by the pet food recall? Share your thoughts in a comment to this post. Just click the "Comment" link below.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Florida Animal Cruelty Briefs

Sheesh, I thought we were a civilized state. Here are some of the reports for the last week — ONE WEEK.

WARNING: Some of this is rather nasty. Don't read it if you're easily upset...

Have you heard about...

The 40-year old woman who, while walking her dog in Satellite Beach, allowed the pit bull to maul a German shepherd mix in the shepherd's own yard. There is a post below.

The Stuart resident who, while hunting birds, allegedly also shot a cat with his .22-calibre rifle.

The 20-year old Cape Coral man who shot and killed a protected burrowing owl with a paint-ball gun. The burrowing owl happens to be the official bird of Cape Coral.

A dozen dogs, including a number of puppies, were rescued in Bradford County from what investigators called the worst case of animal abuse they had ever seen. Some of the dogs were in the disabled car of a family who were fleeing the north Florida fires. People trying to help with the car found the dogs and reported the incident to police. Pictures of the dogs were not released as they were reportedly "too gruesome to show."

The three- to five-month old Palm Beach County pit bull puppy whose ears were cut with a razor or pair of scissors by someone who did not use any anesthesia but wanted to crop the dog's ears. At least they dumped the pup at a shelter so it could receive some medical care before they ran away.

On the other side of the docket...

A 16-year old Belle Glade teen was sentenced to 3-years in jail to be followed by 30-years probation for the vandalization of a neighbor's house, which included putting the victim's kitten in the oven and baking it alive.

A Naples man was sentenced to two concurrent terms of six months in jail for probation violation. The case against him for killing his girlfriend's kitten by throwing it against a wall was dropped due to lack of evidence when the girlfriend recanted her story.

A rehabilitated and happy Lazarus has a safe new home this week. He's the Pensacola area bullmastiff mix found buried alive in January, suffering from mange, torn knee ligaments and damaged teeth. He was adopted last Friday.

Dog Bite Awareness Week

Dog Bite Awareness WeekThat's right, Dog Bite Awareness Week. It starts today and is sponsored by the Post Office, so you may not be able to find a card at the local Hallmark store. It's a big deal to postal workers, though. Almost 3,200 mail carriers were bitten by dogs in 2006.

If you were a mail carrier, you'd be looking over your shoulder here in South Florida. Our area was the number five location for dog bites against postal workers. Santa Ana was worst, with 96 bites, followed by Houston, Sacramento, Los Angeles and then us, South Florida chomped in with 71 bites. The safest places were the New York metro area, Alaska, Honolulu, Maine and Montana. Entire states were safer than South Florida.

DART Training

Disaster Animal Response Team (DART) Training

Volunteers will be in Tallahassee to attend the DART training this weekend [5/17-5/20/2007]. The seminar starts Friday evening and runs through Sunday. It offers an introduction to helping pets and livestock caught in hurricanes, floods, wildfire, and toxic-substance spills. Some of the many topics covered include the incident command system for managing disasters; disaster planning for communities, animal facilities and individuals; large- and small-animal handling; communications; legal issues; emergency pet sheltering; and a demonstration of animal-catching equipment at 1 p.m. Sunday. Tuition is $75 and includes a comprehensive notebook, a CD-ROM packed with reference materials, and some meals during the training. Class size is limited to the first 40 paid registrants.

For more information, go to

What WAS She Thinking?!?!?

Satellite Beach P.D.: Owner Let Pit Bull Attack Another Dog

Satellite Beach is on the barrier island just northeast of Mebourne, Florida. The local police are looking for the dog owner who they say allowed her pit bull to maul another dog.

The dog owner, described as a woman in her 40s, was walking her pit bull on a leash Monday night when she approached the yard of another dog owner, police said. The tan, black-faced, pit bull became agitated. The owner dropped the dog's leash, allowing it to charge, attack and maul the German shepherd mix in the yard, according to police. The attacked dog had to be sedated and was taken to an emergency veterinarian's office.

Editor's Note: I just don't get it. How can someone who owns a dog knowingly allow any other dog to be injured. And to purposely do so by dog attack?!?! It is beyond my comprehension. Then again, I don't understand the concept of dogfighting or training a dog to be aggressive, save for police K-9 training or similar, well controlled programs. Hopefully the woman will be found and prosecuted. Unfortunately for her dog, it will probably be put down because of the owner's aggression/fight training or total lack of dog training at all. The owner will probably be given a light fine and suspended sentence, if any. I almost wish her aggressive dog turns on her. Maybe then she would have some empathy for the shepherd she allowed her dog to attack.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Rx For A Squirrel Attack

Attack SquirrelThree people were attacked by a squirrel in a Port St. John pharmacy in Brevard County. The squirrel got into the CVS holding onto a customer's leg. Once inside the squirrel provided a prescrition for mayhem.

It began when a customer was walking into the store and the squirrel latched onto his ankle. He tried to shake it loose and it wouldn't let go. When another customer tried to help, the squirrel grabbed his leg. When a CVS employee stepped in, the squirrel attacked, scratching and biting her eight times.

Someone finally got a basket over it, but even after being caged, it did back flips and acted strangely. The squirrel's fate is, as yet, undetermined. Animal Control officers said squirrels are a low risk for rabies and that they often bite multiple times, particularly when scared, injured or sick.

WFTV-9 Orlando has the whole story here.

Are Your Pets Hurricane Ready?

The article below was posted about a month ago, but it's probably a good idea to move it up to the top of the blog again since the Florida Governor's Hurricane Conference is beginning today. The five-day conference at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale may draw up to 4,000 participants from across Florida to discuss emergency planning for schools and special-needs populations, tropical meteorology, feeding the masses and animal rescue.

If you have pets, you need to plan ahead as well. Where is the closest pet-friendly shelter? If you become separated from your pet, is he or she ID chipped, tattooed or otherwise able to be identified and thus able to be returned to you? If the pet is identified, but your phone and power isn't working, how can you be contacted? Do you have an emergency kit with food, water and medications for your pet? It is all a matter of pre-planning for what forecasters say will be a busier than normal hurricane season, which starts in about two weeks.

Originally posted on 19 April 2007
The new PETS Act (Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act, H.R. 3858) requires all states to include pets and pet owners in their disaster plans. That's great, but it doesn't remove the need, by pet owners, to take steps to plan for your pet in emergencies. Hurricane season starts on June 1st, only about 40 days away.

There is a good article about the PETS Act, the upcoming hurricane season, and what you need to do to be sure you and your pets are ready for it. The article is May 2007 - Hurricane Preparedness for Pets Challenge by the folks at and is available on It is definitely worth a read.

Other places to get help in preparing for pet emergencies:

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Fla. Panther Population Growing

Florida PantherThe Miami Herald is reporting that "for the second time in just over a year, an endangered Florida panther has died on a South Miami-Dade road. The cat, found Wednesday along the 18-mile stretch to the Florida Keys about a half-mile south of Card Sound Road, was the eighth killed on Florida roads this year... Before a panther death last February on Card South Road, it had been nearly 20 years since a documented vehicle strike in the area. Darrell Land, panther team leader for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said the recent deaths point to an expanding population of panthers encountering an expanding population of people."

Meanwhile, Colier County's NBC-2 is reporting "an endangered Florida Panther was spotted earlier this week inside a gated community in Collier County. Wildlife experts say it's a rare encounter that could become more common. Tammy Rye spotted the big cat after it startled her dog... 'At this point I'm like oh my God; I don't know what this is...' said Rye. She thought it was a bobcat, but authorities showed up and told her she was mistaken... The panther was in a nearby tree. Biologists say the big cats aren't supposed to be so close to town. 'We haven't had to deal with it historically,' said Mark Lotz, panther biologist. Lotz says development and a booming panther population is pushing animals out of their natural habitat... Another problem, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission says more pets are getting attacked by panthers. So far this year, at least four pets have been killed by panthers. Lotz thinks it could start happening more often."

1865 Florida Dog Tax

Dog TaxThe 2007 edition of the Florida Tax Handbook says that in 1865, the Florida Legislature imposed a $2 tax on every dog over 6 months of age. The tax collector was directed to kill any dog for which the tax was not paid.

If you didn't pay the tax, it definitely meant that that dog don't hunt.

Luckily, things have changed for the better, but a $2 dog license these days would be be a great deal.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Smoke Can Affect Pets

EPA Air Quality MapThe smoke is back again for the weekend. Fires in Georgia and north and western Florida, along with sub-tropical storm Andrea's wind patterns have combined to bring smoke back into the southeast Florida environs.

While outdoor activities are not recommended for people young or old, that also includes animals. Vets say if you're not going for a walk or run, neither should your pet. "Certainly if you have an animal and it's been predisposed to asthma, pneumonia, or heart failure, you definitely want to avoid those pets being outside," explains Dr. Anthony Ishak of Florida Veterinary Specialists.

The heavy haze forced many people inside, and Dr. Andrew Alexander of St. Joseph's Hospital says that's exactly where you should stay. "The longer you're exposed to these pollutants, the more they get into the respiratory track, and the more likely you'll have respiratory problems," said Dr. Alexander. "And if you're already an asthmatic or have emphysema, then those problems can start very quickly and very severely."

So, keep the pets indoors excpet for the short outdoor bathroom breaks they may need. Allowing them to go outdoors for extended periods of time could be harmful to their pulmonary health.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

HBOI Rescues Young Dolphin

A team from Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution rescued and released a young dolphin Thursday that had been trapped in packing ring so tight it cut down to the animal's ribs. The team found the dolphin Thursday in the Indian River Lagoon. They determined he swam into the 12-inch diameter, rubberized ring when he was a baby. The garbage cut into his skin as he grew.

"I cut it off surgically, cleaned its wound and let it go with its mom," said Dr. Gregory Bossart, a senior scientist and marine mammal veterinarian with Harbor Branch. With just a tinge of anger, Bossart said this should be a lesson to everyone. "The take-home story in this is let's stop throwing our garbage in the Indian River," he said. "Using the Indian River as a garbage can almost cost the life of a dolphin."

Bossart said the dolphin's scar would was massive but he should do just fine. "It's a happy ending to a story that could have been tragic," he said.

Turtles Released From Rehab

The Miami Seaquarium released seven sea turtles back to the wild today, Thursday, May 10, after months of rehabilitation. Five loggerhead, one Green and one Kemps Ridley sea turtles made up the group. The release took place on Key Biscayne at Bill Baggs State Park in Miami.

The Miami Seaquarium have rescued over twenty sea turtles so far this season.

For more information, pictures and video, see the article on the CBS4 website here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Broward Pet Drug Discount

Broward residents and their pets got a helping hand from Broward County commissioners recently, who adopted a national prescription-drug discount program. The program will cut an average of 20 percent from the cost of prescriptions for those without insurance or are underinsured. Any prescription filled by a pharmacy is covered, even if it's for a pet. The program is open to any Broward resident who is uninsured or underinsured. Miami-Dade is considering the program as well.

You can read the entire story here, in the Miami Herald.

Sarasota Doggie Dining

The Sarasota Herald Tribune's Patrick Whittle is reporting that the county's restaurants have gone to the dogs. Restaurants in the unincorporated areas of the county can pay $150 for a "doggy dining permit," the County Commission decided Tuesday. The permit allows dogs "in designated outdoor portions of public food service establishments." Residents attended Tuesday's meeting with pictures of their dogs hanging around their necks. They met with little resistance from the County Commission, which unanimously approved the law.

Hernando Co. Rabies Alert

Two racoons have tested positive for rabies in separate incidents, according to the Hernando County Health Department. One raccon was in a fight with a dog, the other may have exposed a cat to the disease. Authorities are recommending that pet owners make sure their animals have current rabies vaccinations, that they do not allow their animals to run free, and to stay away from and not feed any wild or free roaming animals in the vicinity.

Hernando County is the second county north of Tampa on Florida's gulf coast, and contains the communities of Spring Hill and Brooksville. Tampa is in Hillsborough County. Pasco County is to the north of Hillsborough, and Hernando is north of Pasco.

This follows a distemper alert in Alachua County on May 5th, a rabies alert in Duval County on May 3rd, and a rabies alert in Miami-Dade County on May 1st.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

K-9 Down Rescue Program

What do you do when you come upon a severely injured dog or cat? Even EMTs and Paramedics are usually unsure. They're trained to stabilize and transport people, not animals.
One option is to attend "K-9 Down." The K-9 Down Program started in 2000 at the University of Florida. When UF stopped offering the program, course director Rita Hanel, a clinical assistant professor at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, decided to keep it going.
The two-session course teaches police officers, firefighters, search-and-rescue teams and others how to respond to a canine or feline health emergency. It is offered one weekend a year in Florida, in March, at the Florida Veterinary Specialists and Treatment Center, in Tampa. Limited to only 40 participants, the program costs $195 for nonprofit or government employees and $395 for employees of private organizations.

Read the story from the Naples Daily News here, or visit the K-9 Down Program website here. Photo credit: K-9 Down Program website.

JRT Defends To The Death

A George Update: 8 May 2007
The Royal Society for the Protection of Animals, New Zealand’s main animal welfare agency, awarded a bravery medal to George, the spunky Jack Russell terrier who is credited with saving five children from a pair of attacking pitbulls.
"It was an extraordinary act of heroism," according to the society’s chief executive, Robyn Kippenberger. "It says a huge amount for the animal-human bond that he actually went in to save them." Kippenberger said her group’s recognition for bravery "has not been awarded to a dog since 1990," as it is usually given to humans for their bravery in helping animals. Trained police dogs were the two previous canine recipients. "That he weighed into a couple of dogs considerably larger than himself, clearly to protect a child, is just a most amazing act and needs to be recognized," she said. We say, Good on ya', George!

Originally posted: 6 May 2007
George, a 9-year-old Jack Russell terrier, fought off two pit bulls, saving five children.The Daily Mail is reporting that "a plucky foot-high Jack Russell terrier named George saved five New Zealand children from two marauding pitbulls, but was so severely mauled in the fight he had to be destroyed, according to his devastated owner.
"George was playing with the group of children as they returned home from buying sweets at a neighborhood shop in the small North Island town of Manaia last Sunday when the two pitbulls appeared and lunged toward them, his owner Allan Gay said.
" 'George was brave -- he took them on and he's not even a foot high,' Gay told The Associated Press. 'He jumped in on them, he tried to keep them off. If it wasn't for George, those kids would have copped it.'
" 'George tried to protect us by barking and rushing at them, but they started to bite him -- one on the head and the other on the back,' Richard Rosewarne, 11, said. 'We ran off crying and some people saw what was happening and rescued George.' "

The size of a terrier's heart has no relation whatever to its stature. Read the whole story here.

Post Script: is reporting [video links are available] that the story of George has travelled around the world and that "fellow dog lover and former US marine Jerrell Hudman from Austin, Texas read the story and is going to send his purple heart to mend Gay's broken one. 'My wife was reading it to me over the Internet's just a moving story, it really tore me up,' Hudman says. Hudman was awarded the purple heart when injured in the Vietnam War but thinks George deserves a medal of his own. 'It's the most any living thing can do for another living thing, is protect them like that.' "