There was a lot of Halloween screeching going on at a Novato house. Something to think about when we decorate our houses for the holidays. Fortunately, it was a happy ending for this little Screech Owl.
If you are feeding jerky treats to your dog, better think twice and check the label. Tainted jerky and other poisoned treats are killing dogs by the hundreds and also some cats. Again, the culprit in the poisonings is mostly poultry--chicken, turkey, and duck, too, although even some sweet potato treats were found to be tainted. What is a pet lover to do? And what is the FDA doing to keep Chinese manufactured products off the shelves in our pet stores and grocery stores? Not much, apparently. They can't even keep our food safe for consumption, let alone that of our pets. Even if the food is processed here, the ingredients often come from China. I've written before about trying to persuade Raley's and Costco to take Waggin' Train chicken treats, which sickened my dogs, off their shelves. After a very long time and who knows how many sick pets whose owners didn't make the connection, the tainted treats finally disappeared from Raley's. I haven't checked Costco lately because I don't frequent big box stores that sell mostly products from China. As long as profit trumps safety in America, these problems will continue. After I noticed that the food I currently feed my dogs, Canidae Life Stages (given a nod of approval by our veterinarian) was on the hit list in 2012, I grew concerned about it in light of recent Salmonella outbreaks. As a survivor of that nasty bug myself, I also take it very seriously where my pets are concerned, especially since some of my dogs got sick back in 2006. I visited the pet store where I usually buy my pet food and tried to find any brand that didn't have chicken in it. No luck. Even when a brand claimed to be poultry free, when I read the label's contents more closely, chicken was listed. That was true of even the most costly brands. The clerk commented that all the pet food has some chicken in it. Not good news for our pets' health. The only alternative is to make all your dogs' food yourself, which is a challenge. It's tricky because you have to know what ingredients to include to maintain their health, but since even our food isn't safe, what's the point? Seeing how poorly chicken is processed in American factories, especially for the chickens themselves, it is probably far worse in China. I was shocked and sickened to see an undercover film taken in a domestic processing plant and how roughly baby chicks are handled, like they are inanimate objects. They are only hours old and should be bonding with their mothers, but a sea of fuzzy, yellow chicks speeds by on conveyor belts to be roughly sorted by workers who care nothing for their welfare. The "rejects" are dumped into boxes to be discarded. Many of the chicks are mangled in the process. The rejected chicks that survive that process are then chucked into a grinder, many while still alive, to be pulverized. That's probably those chicken by-products that end up in our pet food. What's worse is that this same company claimed in all its product advertising to be 100% safe and humane! Even the long-trusted Foster Farms has had a recent Salmonella outbreak which sickened many people. If companies like these continue to treat living, feeling animals as cruelly as they do, while lying and saying they don't, we and our pets will continue to suffer the consequences. I don't know about you, but I'm not eating chicken, and I'm still trying to find a food for my dogs that doesn't have any Chinese chickens in it. Wish me luck! I wish you the same. *If your pet has shown symptoms of illness after eating jerky treats, the FDA wants to hear from you or your vet. Sounds like they are finally starting to take this poisoning problem seriously, but it's too late for the 600 dogs that have already died. Symptoms: Look for decreased appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea (blood tinged or with mucous), increased drinking or urination.
Here's a tragic tale that demonstrates why you should never use a choke chain on your dog. Choke collars kill! Would you really ever want to use something on your dog that can crush its trachea and choke the life right out of your best friend? Get that choke collar off your dog right now and throw it in the trash where it belongs. The same goes for any type of collar that chokes or shocks your pet to make it obey. If you are compelled to exert so much mastery and control over a living, feeling creature (especially one as devoted to humans as the dog) that you must inflict pain on it with torturous devices like this, then you probably shouldn't have a pet in the first place.
Beau and Peaches lazing around in the grass. This is their routine in the afternoon. I sit out front with them in the yard and sip some wine or tea until dinner time. It's our favorite time of the day, pleasant times I'll remember fondly in years to come. I'll always be so glad I found these two wonderful companions in shelters. How they brighten my days and to quote Debbie Boone, "Light up my life." They are my very best friends in the world. Hope you find your best friend(s), too, this weekend at a local shelter in the Empty Our Shelters Program.
Join the Empty Our Shelters Project this weekend by adopting one or more pets from one of our local shelters. All adoptions are just $20. If you can provide a loving, permanent home for one of the many pets in need of one, please visit a shelter this weekend and adopt a pet. Together we can empty the shelters and put Sacramento at the top rank of this project. By spaying and neutering our pets and being responsible pet owners who keep our pets safe in their yards and ensure they are happy and healthy for the duration of their lives, we can keep our shelters empty!
I've been so preoccupied with Beau's health, I forgot that yesterday was Gotcha Day #4. Shame on Mom! In my defense I did let him sleep in my bed last night, which is a huge sacrifice because he's so long and such a space hog dog that I can hardly move around. Makes for a lousy night's rest. He must have remembered it was his special day, even if I didn't. He's such a funny guy. I made my slight up to him today by taking him for a special park excursion with Peaches at Oki Park, the same park where we used to walk our first basset hound, Butterscotch. It always brings back memories of another beautiful red and white basset just like my Beau. I also played his song, "My Darlin' Beau" on the ukelele, which he loves. He's such a special dog. I really got lucky when I found him four years ago on October 15. The time has gone by way too fast.
A miracle! Praying to the dog god worked because Beau's growth has virtually disappeared. It went from the size of a walnut shell to no bigger than a pea. Last week I took him back to the vet to get a judgment call on whether to go ahead with surgery to remove the growth. I was worried that it might have grown inward, but miraculously it hasn't. She didn't see any urgency to remove it. It's not likely cancerous if it's getting smaller instead of larger. Considering his age being around 9, I am reluctant to put him through surgery for something that minor, but I'm still checking on it every day to be sure it doesn't get any larger. Fortunately, he doesn't take it too personally when I lift up his tail to examine his nether region. He did when the doc gave him a rectal exam, though. For the first time, Beau didn't seem to like going to the vet. He hid under the bench with his face to the wall. He used to think it was all a grand adventure.
HAPPY TAILS PET SANCTUARY CELEBRATES 20 YEARS OF SAVING LIVES
This Saturday, October 19, Happy Tails Pet Sanctuary celebrates 20 years of saving lives with their Anniversary Open House and Food Drive from noon to 6 p.m. at 6001 Folsom Boulevard. Admission is free. Enjoy complimentary food and drinks, adoption center tours, vendors and prizes.
101.5 K-HITS will be broadcasting live to get the word out about the wonderful homeless cats, kittens, and dogs that need your help!
Adoptions are $20 for all pets, so you might even find a new best friend while you're there. I hope you'll check it out.
A great big piece of my heart went with a beautiful little red basset hound named Dolly this day in 1995. I lost her to complications of a disease no one knew much about back then, Thrombopathia, a spontaneous bleeding disorder like hemophilia in humans. I never saw a vet cry before that day or since. Everyone there was crying. He tried so valiantly to save her, but she slipped away bit by bit despite everything that could be done. I saw the light go out in her beautiful cinnamon eyes like switching off a bright light in a room. From then on I knew dogs have souls. I lost her at 4:00 p.m., and that evening I saw one of the brightest sunsets I'd ever seen. It was the brilliant red color of her coat. I like to think she sent it as a blessing. Since then, I have called them "Dolly" sunsets. I have never forgotten you, my beloved little Doll, and I never will.
If this story of a dog chained to a tree and starved for four years doesn't break your heart, then nothing will. I hope there is a special kennel in hell for Joseph's owner when his time of reckoning comes. For now, I hope he will be wearing chains in prison for a very long time for severe animal abuse and neglect. It is beyond my understanding how anyone could treat a dog like this, dogs that love us like no human ever could. Actually, no punishment would be good enough for the abuser, in my opinion. How could his neighbors not have known about this for four long years? I am glad that Joseph was finally released from his hell and will find a wonderful new life and home with someone who will love him like he deserves to be loved. Joseph gets a second chance, but too many others like him never will.
#1 October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month! I've adopted many, and I can tell you that my life has been enriched beyond measure. Here's some more information from Modern Dog Magazine. #2 My latest mystery in the Beanie and Cruiser series, Braced for Murder, is now available in Kindle edition. I hope you'll check it out.
Yep, it's true. Daisy Hill Puppy Farm in Charles Schultz's beloved Peanuts comic strip was actually a puppy mill, albeit a far better one than the shoddily run hell holes in the Midwest where my basset hound, Daisy, came from. Poor girl. Poor me. All those years she was driving me crazy, I never knew why she was such a nut job until after she was gone and I learned that she was whelped in an Iowa puppy mill and shipped a pet shop in Sacramento. Mystery solved. September was National Puppy Mill Awareness Day, but it's never too late to help raise awareness about this ongoing national disgrace and put an end once and for all to the misery bred in these canine death camps.