Archive for April, 2010
Every year millions of innocent animals are injured, tortured, neglected, abandoned and abused. These helpless and defenseless animals suffer unnecessarily at the hands of humans who have little regard or respect for themselves let alone any other living creature.
These “castoffs” or “strays” are left to struggle to survive under the most stressful and horrific circumstances – alone and at the mercy of the elements - without food or water - without the aid or intervention of humans – without love or compassion – and without any hope of companionship, friendship, help or support from people. They live in fear - lurking in the shadows – running and hiding – attempting to find food, shelter and safety in our cities, suburbs and countryside’s.
Many of these “strays” are picked up by Animal Control, and if they are very, very fortunate and deemed healthy mentally as well as physically, they may be “rescued” by an animal welfare organization or rescue group If they are determined to be unadoptable, or if there is limited time and space in a public shelter, they will most likely be euthanized. within a few days of their arrival.
So many of the animals that end up in shelters or are euthanized have been betrayed by human beings who have behaved irresponsibly, carelessly or through ignorance. They do not recognize animals as sentient beings whose lives can be meaningful and purposeful. They do not regard themselves as the pet’s caregiver or assume responsibility for the animal’s health or behavior. They do not vaccinate or spay or neuter their pets. They do not recognize the animal’s innate intelligence and desire to both serve and please humans. They do not make the effort to “obedience train” their pets to help ensure that they are well-behaved and socialized. They don’t provide them with necessary veterinary care. They fail to feed them healthily or regularly or provide them with clean water.
Dogs are highly sentient and can provide many remarkable tasks and services for people. They can be trained to be of service to people with disabilities; they can provide comfort and companionship for the lonely; they can sniff out potential hazards such as bombs, drugs and weapons; they can provide the police and the military with protection and service in many different capacities and they can assist us in our search and rescue efforts following man-made as well as natural disasters. Some of the finest search and rescue dogs as well as canine companions have been adopted from animal shelters where they were discarded and surrendered by their owners. With respect, affection and the appropriate training, these animals can perform seeming“miracles” and save lives.
If you are considering the possibility of adopting a rescue dog, it is important to learn as much as you can about the type of dog or breed you are thinking about bringing into your home. It is rarely advisable to adopt or purchase a pet on impulse. It is so easy to instantaneously “fall in love” with an adorable puppy on appearance alone without thinking about the long-term ramifications or consequences. Find out as much information as you can about the dog’s physical characteristics as well as his personality and behaviors. Remember, becoming a responsible pet guardian requires a lifetime commitment, and it is essential to know as much as you possibly can about a creature that will become a family member of yours for many years to come.
When preparing to adopt a “rescue” dog, consult with animal shelter workers and your veterinarian as well as an animal behaviorist. Try to discern as much information as you can about the animal by his behavior. Is he aggressive – does he snap, growl, bite, block your path, curl his lips, bark intimidatingly or excessively, lunge forward at other people or dogs, or exhibit any other behaviors that might indicate aggression? Generally, workers at an animal welfare or rescue organization who have spent some quality time with the animal will have a good idea as to his personality and any health or behavioral issues that are or may be potentially problematic. As a rule, animal welfare and rescue organizations will only adopt out an animal that is truly adoptable and will make a good ‘forever” pet.
A rescue dog may require more time, effort, socialization, patience and compassion than a dog that has never suffered abuse of any kind. However, the joy and gratification to be derived from saving the life of and adopting a dog that has been mistreated or discarded are boundless.
To hear real life rescue stories, visit my facebook page. I post a new one every Friday!
1). When your pet is diagnosed with and suffering from a terminal and disabling illness or disease, it is time to think about the possibility of ultimately having him euthanized.
2). “Euthanasia” is the Greek term for “good death.”
3). Deciding to euthanize your suffering pet is one of the most painful, difficult and complex decisions you can make.
4). Providing your pet with euthanasia can be one of the kindest, most compassionate, unselfish and humane decisions you can make.
5). Euthanasia can be one of the most heartbreaking yet merciful decisions you will ever make,
6). Only you can determine at what point the quality of life for your pet has deteriorated to the point at which euthanasia is warranted and advisable.
7). Although no one knows your pet better than you do, it is advisable to consult with your veterinarian(s) as to when it is time to let your pet go.
8). When you have determined that your pet no longer enjoys any quality of life - he is incontinent, immobile, has difficulty breathing, refuses to eat or drink, has little or no interaction with you, no longer plays and sleeps most of the time - it may be time for him to be euthanized.
9). The actual process of euthanasia involves the veterinarian painlessly injecting a massive dose of sedative or barbiturate intravenously. Some vets employ two different injections – one to relax and sedate the pet; the second to stop the patient’s heart.
10). Following the procedure, it is very common for the pet’s guardian to experience intense personal grief, sadness and depression.
11). It is our moral and ethical responsibility as pet parents to do what is in our pet’s best interest and to alleviate unnecessary suffering.
To contact me for more info or any personal questions come see me on Diane Pomerance, Ph.D.
After a long and dreary winter, many of us are planning to take advantage of the mild weather and enjoy some much-needed vacation time. A lot of us will hit the road with our pets. Other than a spouse or significant other, who can provide more pleasant companionship than our beloved pet(s)?
Here are some important pet travel tips that will help you and your pet to have a safe and pleasant journey;
1. Prepare your pet for car travel by taking him with you on a series of short local trips that he will find pleasant and not intimidating.
2. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian 7-10 days prior to your intended trip to make sure your pet is in good health and that he is current with all of his vaccines.
3. Plan to bring your pet’s vaccination record and health certification with you.
4. Bring a pet crate or pet carrier made of strong wire mesh that allows adequate ventilation for your pet and that is large enough for your animal to stand, turn around and comfortably lie down in.
5. Make sure that your pet has easily recognizable identification tags and is microchipped. The identification tag should provide your name, address and telephone number. Your pet should ALWAYS wear id, and should never let out of the car without wearing a collar and being attached to a leash.
6. Bring some color photographs of your pet along with you to identify him in case he somehow gets lost.
7. To keep your pet healthy as you travel, bring along a supply of his regular food and water he is accustomed to drinking.
8. Bring any regular medications your pet maybe be taking.
9. If your pet gets car sick or frightened by thunderstorms, make certain you bring medications prescribed by your vet for these conditions along with you as well.
10. If your trip is requires you to spend several nights at a motel or hotel, make certain you have contacted and made certain these places accept pets. Make reservations for accommodations to ensure you and your pet will be welcome.
11. To ensure a fun travelling experience, be sure to pack up your pet’s favorite toys, blanket and treats so that he will feel “at home” even while away.
12. Make certain your car is checked out by a mechanic and is in perfect working order – heat, air conditioning, windows and tires included.
13. Plan your trip in detail – have your GPS and/or maps handy.
14. Do not feed your pet immediately before embarking on your trip.
15. Make certain your pet has been well exercised before you leave.
16. Put your pet in the back seat of the car either buckled in or in his travel crate.
I hope you have enjoyed these pet travel tips. And now you’re ready to go. Once you’re on your way, don’t forget to stop at least every couple of hours to walk your pet on a leash and to make a potty stop.
Have a great trip!
Pet Expert, Diane Pomerance, Ph.D.
Having rescued and adopted and simply just known so many animals in my life, I am always surprised when asked if I believe animals have feelings. Of course, I believe animals have feelings!
As to precisely what feelings they experience and the profundity and range and depth of these feelings, I cannot be certain. But I do know from my own relationship with and observation of their behaviors that they experience (at the very least) what Charles Darwin referred to as primary emotions. Darwin, the first scientist to study animal emotions systematically, identified six universal emotions: fear, anger, sadness, happiness, disgust and surprise. Darwin maintains that these emotions help us to deal quickly with a wide variety of circumstances and help us to survive in a highly complex and sophisticated social world.
Although there is significant anecdotal evidence of animals experiencing a wide array of emotions, we are unable to discern the extent and depth of their emotions, especially in comparison with our own. However, it is easy to identify the obvious emotions in terms of how they relate to our own. Grief over the loss of a beloved one (whether maternal, paternal, sibling or child); love and affection for a relative or child; jealousy, anger toward, sympathy and compassion for a loved one – all are emotions associated with human beings AS WELL as animals There are innumerable examples of the compassion and kindness and sympathy animals display for one another.
The care and compassion that her fellow herd of elephants displayed to Babyl the crippled elephant in Kenya, is noteworthy. The elephants, for no apparent reason other than kindness and compassion, cared for Babyl and adjusted their behavior to make certain the disabled elephant was cared for and remained with the group. Depending on how she was faring, the elephants would wait for her or proceed. The matriarchal elephants also often fed her or made certain that she ate.
There are countless examples of animals’ empathy and compassion. Do animals have feelings? Do they feel sympathy and compassion? There can be no doubt of their feelings and concern for the welfare and well-being of one another.
Springtime Safety Tips for your Pets
Spring is generally regarded as a beautiful time of year bringing with it hope, renewal and rebirth. We – as well as our pets – emerge and venture forth from our winter long “hibernation.” We see blue skies and green (not dull brown) grass and flowers and trees in bloom. Near euphoria sets in. We find ourselves spending quality time outdoors, and, of course, we want to share the warmth and beauty of the season with our beloved pets.
Spring-lovers, beware! All is not as peaceful as it may appear to be. There are dangers posed by this season of which we may not be aware and that require our attention! It is important to make sure that our houses and yards are safe for our pets.
Spring marks the increased presence of the fleas, ticks and heartworms – although these parasites exist throughout the year – in all seasons. Fleas and ticks can exist throughout the winter and can lurk in the underground as soon as the ground thaws out. These parasites are not only painful and uncomfortable, but they are able to pass along life-threatening illnesses. It is advisable to continue flea and tick prevention not only at the first sign of spring but throughout the year to avoid infestation. Flea and tick treatments like Frontline or Revolution can help prevent skin discomfort and issues and protect your pet from unwanted bug bites and infestations.
As pet owners venture out into the garden to plant flowers and vegetables, they need to be aware of the harm that certain types of fertilizer and gardening products can inflict upon their pets. Even certain kinds of mulch as well as flower bulbs can result in a pet’s illness. Fertilizer and other garden products can result in their pets illness as well.,
Just like their human companions, pets may fall victim to allergies. They may display symptoms like coughing, sneezing or wheezing. They may break out in rashes and other kinds of skin irritation as well. They may lick their hot spots and cause even further pain and skin damage.
Always make certain your pets are wearing an identification tag in case they manage to escape from your property. Microchipping them is a very good idea. Also, when walking them outside your property, make certain to keep them on a leash so that they cannot run into the street or get attacked by another dog or animal.
Always make certain that your pet has adequate clean water and is not overheated. Check your dog’s water supply consistently throughout the day, and make certain he has plenty of shade in which to rest and play.
Avoid planting lilies, azalea, rhododendron, chrysanthemums, daffodils and tulips, which are all toxic to pets. Examine the ingredients of plants, mulch, fertilizers and herbicides as well as pesticides to determine that they are not toxic to your pet.
Enjoy this wonderful time of year – just make certain that your house and yard are safe havens for you and your pets. Plan on sharing the joy and beauty of the season with your animal companions!