Archive for May 2017

We’ve all heard that rescue pets are the best. That when given a second (or third or fourth) chance at having a forever home, an animal will be so grateful they will shower you with their conditional love. While that may very well be true, what you don’t often hear about are the many challenges that can go along with adopting a pet second (or third or fourth) hand. After we adopted Ace the tenacious terrier, we realized this was only the second time we had brought a dog home that we had not gotten as a small puppy. Even though we’d adopted rescues before, they were very young and had not already been imprinted with another person’s living habits. While at a little over a year old Ace was still a puppy at heart, he had lived somewhere else, in another home, with another family. He was eager to please and just wanted to be loved, but he didn’t have a clue what was expected of him. Nor did we know what he had experienced in his former home. Unlike a younger puppy, he wasn’t a blank slate that we could write only our expectations on. He was house-trained and only had a few initial accidents inside, which was a big plus, and he was used to staying in his crate (maybe too much); but we quickly learned there were things he feared and things he’d not been exposed to (like the outside world). Walking on a leash was new, as was staying outside his crate when we were not home. The past few months have been a process, but he is a smart little guy and he’s learning. He’s also found a place in the hearts of his new family. So if you are thinking of adopting a rescue pet, please be aware there may be a learning curve, and don’t let your expectations rush the adjustment that may take a little or a lot of time. Realize your new friend has had a previous life that was probably very different from the one you are offering, and don’t be in a hurry to give up. Remember this is “kitten season,” when many litters come into shelters or are taken in by rescue groups. Donations of kitten food and litter are always most appreciated, but of course the best way to help the situation is to spay and neuter our own cats. They are capable of reproducing at a very young age, so if you have recently adopted a kitten, contact your veterinarian about the best time to have this done. It is truly a gift to your pet

May 23, 2017

Ace

An Ounce of Prevention

May 1, 2017

 

 

So often we hear of or read in the news of the tragic consequences of a dog bite or attack. Courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States, here are three basic tips on how to prevent the trauma of a dog bite from happening.

Spay or neuter your dog. A dog that is altered is less likely to bite. That is not to say they will never bite given the right circumstances, but they are less apt to show aggression.

Socialize your dog. Expose your dog to different people and animals and situations so he doesn’t become frightened or nervous when around them.

Train your dog. Obedience classes can help socialize and teach techniques for helping your dog learn proper behavior.

The website www.humanesociety.org offers a number of other tips for dog bite prevention. Never encourage or allow your dog to chase after or attack other animals, even if in fun. Dogs often don’t understand the difference between play and real life. The first time a dog shows dangerous behavior is the time to consult a professional. Don’t wait till an accident happens. Aggressive behavior toward other animals can be a precursor to the same toward people. License and vaccinate your dog. Don’t allow your dog to roam alone. Dogs on their own are more apt to attack. Avoid stressful situations if your dog can’t handle them and work with a trainer to help overcome inappropriate behavior. If you must give up a dog because of dangerous behavior that you cannot control, please consult your veterinarian, humane society, or animal control for advice.

There are also things we can do to make ourselves less vulnerable to a dog attack. Don’t attempt to pet a strange dog without asking the owner first and teach children to do the same. Don’t disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, has a chew toy or a female dog with puppies. Watch a dog’s body language and learn to interpret the signs of an imminent attack. A tense body, stiff tail, eyes rolled to show the whites, yawning, intense stare, backing away, and licking lips are all signs a dog is stressed and may attack. If this happens, never turn your back and run as the natural instinct is to chase. Avoid eye contact and keep hands at your sides and remain still. If the dog loses interest, back away slowly until out of sight.

If attacked, put anything between you and the dog, jacket, purse, whatever you might have on you. If you fall or are knocked down, curl into a ball and cover your ears with your hands. Try to remain still. If bitten, try to remain calm. Wash the wound as soon as possible with soap and warm water. Contact medical help and report the bite to local law enforcement and animal control. Give them as much information about the dog as you can, including description, name of dog’s owner (if known), or if the dog is a stray, which way it went.

Always be vigilant with children around dogs, even if they are family pets. Puppies will put up with a lot more than adult dogs, and at around age two a dog begins to object to ear and tail-pulling, being hugged and sat on. Children need to be taught appropriate behavior around dogs and that any kind of teasing or tormenting is not acceptable. Children should also realize that not all dogs respond to gestures of affection the same as their own pet. A dog tied up and left alone in a busy place is never a good idea. If approached by a stranger they poiabout a dog attack that had tragic results both for the child and the dog involved, but was totally preventable. You can also download a Dog Decoder app for your phone that gives very good information on how to interpret a dog’s body language and avoid an attack. In the case of dog bites, an ounce of prevention is usually worth ten pounds of cure.