Archive for October 2021

Tips for Keeping Pets Safe at Halloween

October 26, 2021

Halloween, while a fun holiday, is also a time to take extra precautions to keep pets safe. Here are some helpful tips from the ASPCA and

Keep all candy out of reach of all pets. I discovered our cat Zombie likes candy corn and also the little chocolate miniature bars, so no more leaving them out in open candy dishes on the table. Make sure trick or treat bags of candy are also safely stashed. A good idea, in case someone manages to still find a forbidden treat, is to keep the ASPCA Poison Control number posted in an easily accessible place, like the refrigerator door. 1-888-426-4435.

If at all possible, keep pets inside in the days leading up to and the day and night of Halloween. There are many tales of animals being mistreated by cruel tricksters. Some may be urban legends, some may be true, but it’s best not to take any chances. Many shelters and rescues will not adopt out black cats right before Halloween for this reason. The many myths surrounding black cats are explained in detail at the Billings Animal Family Hospital website. As the owner of a black cat, I found it interesting to find out why they’ve been so misunderstood and maligned over the ages.

Untended candles and pets can be a recipe for disaster. If lighting up your jack-o-lanterns with candles, make sure to keep them away from pets. Better yet, if the pumpkins are inside, maybe use battery powered tea lites to make them glow.

Make sure pets are not able to escape out the door when greeting trick or treaters by putting them in a separate room or at least blocking their access to that open door. Increased foot and vehicle traffic on Halloween make the outside world unsafe for pets that night.

If your pet likes to dress up, make sure their costume is not constricting and that they can see and also relieve themselves with no trouble. If you plan to take them trick or treating with you, please keep them on a leash of no more than six feet and have some reflective material on their costume. Also, consider how your dog reacts to people in scary masks and costumes. If they are easily intimidated or may become upset perhaps it’s better to leave them home with a special treat of their own.

We all want Halloween to be a safe and fun time for everyone. Taking these few precautions will help keep it that way. 

Looks like maybe Zombie has found a place to hide out till Halloween is over!


Loss of a Pet

October 5, 2021

Recently I read a letter in an advice column, from a woman who was having a very difficult time getting past the loss of her beloved dog. It had been a while and she was still grieving the loss and wondered what she could do to recover from it and live with her sadness. Having just gone through such a loss, I could certainly relate. It led me to research how someone who experiences the loss of a pet can learn to deal with it. Here are some of the suggestions I found, many from the American Kennel Club.

Seek out others who understand and have also gone through the death of a pet. Not everyone understands how deeply affected some pet owners are from such a loss. Perhaps a family member or friend who has experienced it is willing to listen to your concerns. Social media and online support groups can be helpful. One is the AKC Pet Loss Support group on Facebook. It is a private group that offers members a place to grieve and comfort one another. Realize there is nothing wrong with grieving the loss of a pet. You shouldn’t nor do you have to grieve alone.

Find a way to memorialize your pet. Plan a service, plant a tree or flowers in their favorite spot, create a scrapbook of photos, donate in their memory to a rescue group or animal shelter. Even collecting items like their collar, blanket, a toy, and putting them together in a memorial box is helpful.

Know that other pets in the family may experience grief at the loss of their friend and need more attention and love, especially if they are the only remaining pet. Showing them extra care can help you work through your own grief.

As with any loss, there is no timetable or expiration date for grief. It takes as long as it takes to get past the initial shock and feelings of sadness. If you feel you need professional help, do not hesitate to reach out. There is a wealth of information online, but a local rescue group, shelter, or even your own veterinarian might be good resources to check for finding a support group and getting the help you need. The AKC itself offers a lot more ideas.

There is also no timetable for when or even if you are ready for another pet. Some folks rush right out and get another one; others need time to process the loss before they’re ready to welcome another animal into their life. If you decide to adopt a new pet, don’t view it as replacing the lost pet or compare it to that pet. Each animal is its own being and will bring their own joy and companionship to you.

Since we have just passed the 20th anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11, it seems fitting to mention the many search and rescue and comfort dogs who worked at Ground Zero and the Pentagon. From Ricky, a rat terrier who could squeeze into small places, to the German Shepherds and Retrievers, who worked for weeks to help recover remains of those who perished in the attacks, they all were inspiring to the human rescue workers. Although they were not able to find many survivors, the dedication of those dogs and their handlers will always be remembered and honored. The last remaining canine hero from 9/11, a Golden retriever named Bretagne, was laid to rest in June of 2016, at nearly 17 years old, but an exhibit by photographer Charlotte Dumas, in Lower Manhattan, entitled “K-9 Courage” memorializes in portraits many of the dogs of 9/11 in their later years.  You can find out more about the canine heroes of 9/11 by going here:

In memory

Foo Foo

6-20-2009 to 08-13-2021