Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Actually, our animal friends DO communicate with us -- especially when something is wrong. If the TV is too loud a dog might howl, a cat might run into another room; if their stomach hurts cats and dogs usually won't eat; and if something is stuck in their paw oftentimes they limp, hold their paw off the ground or lick the sore spot. It's important for us to watch our animals so when something is wrong we notice. If your cat skips dinner one day it may be that he is not hungry, but if he skips dinner a second day he may be telling you something hurts and should be examined by the veterinarian . If your dog won't put his foot down something may be stuck in his pad, he may pulled a muscle in his leg or he may have hurt his toe. But he can't tell you which of those things is wrong, so it's best to have your veterinarian look at your dog as soon as possible.
This is Briscoe. Doesn't he look happy? You can even see his tail wagging in this picture. Briscoewas not feeling so happy this morning. He was limping; he wouldn't put any weight on his leg. His guardian noticed that Briscoe was walking on three legs instead of four. When she brought him to the Washington Animal Rescue League's Medical Center this morning, the veterinarian discovered a long, sharp splinter stuck in Briscoe's pad. The veterinarian removed the splinter, and within minutes Briscoe was back to walking on all four feet.
Our animals many not speak our language, but they are great communicators. It's important that we, as their care-givers, pay attention to what they are saying.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Gladys came to live with me in 1992. She was a young adult black cat with a scarred eye who was only going to stay until a permanent home could be found. She moved in and immediately told the five other cats that she was in charge, she let Ruth -- my old dog-- know the same. Gladys found her forever home -- mine. She lived in three different houses with me, and welcomed two kids into the family by sleeping with each one. She out lived Ruth and the other cats, and tolerated the cats who came to live with us after her. She totally ignored Nigel four years ago when we brought him home.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Max Edelman, now 86, was only 17-years-old when he was sent to a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Max survived five years of torture, including horrible beatings, starvation and watching others die including a man who was killed when the commandant ordered a large German Shepherd dog to attack. From that day forward Max was deathly afraid of dogs. Who could blame him?
Conquering fear is never easy. But, when he was nearly 70-years-old, Max was determined to overcome his fear of dogs because he wanted a dog's help. Max is blind, and has been so for decades since he was viciously beaten by guards in the camp. Max knew that a seeing eye dog could help him become far more independent. So, he summoned up all of his courage and contacted Guiding Eyes (http://www.guiding-eyes.org/), a seeing-eye dog training and placement organization.
He did it! Or, so he thought. Max completed a 26-day Guiding Eyes training, but that wasn't enough to allow him to bond -- really bond -- with Calvin, Max's assigned dog. Calvin, a very smart and social chocolate Labrador retriever, who successfully completed two years of intense training knew that something was not right between him and Max. They were not a team. No matter how hard he worked, Calvin had not won Max's trust. Calvin began to lose weight. The veterinarian could find nothing physically wrong with him. Calvin was depressed.
Then everything changed -- tragedy nearly struck. The two were waiting at a crosswalk when Max heard the traffic stop. He gave Calvin the "forward" command. According to the article, "A driver made a sudden, sharp right turn and was upon the two without warning. Watchful Calvin stopped instantly, and the two returned to the sidewalk. 'He had saves both of us from serious injury,' [Max] hugged Calvin, and the barrier dissolved." Best friends, Calvin and Max, were together for nine years.
Earlier this summer Max was paired with Tobin, his third dog. To see a picture of Max and Tobin check out the USA Today article at http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-07-28-guide-dog-holocaust_N.htm. Max and Tobin are still getting to know each other. But one thing is for certain, as far as Tobin is concerned, Max is not afraid of dogs!
Monday, September 14, 2009
Michael McCulloch, the director of research conducted in San Anselmo California's Pine Street Foundation, has enlisted the help of several dogs to use their powerful sense of smell to detect cancer. The dogs, all pets volunteered by their guardians are "detecting a metabolic waste from the tumor cells, which is chemically different from the normal cells," says McCulloch.
Animals do amazing things that help people. Sometimes, they do some not so amazing things but are helpful all the same. Send me your examples of animals who have assisted people.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Two hours after reading that the people in a Leesburg neighborhood have "have long complained of deer trampling manicured lawns, eating flowers and ruining community landscaping," I heard a radio report regarding the best way to control the deer population in Rock Creek Park. The spokesperson mentioned four possible means of control including doing nothing, fencing particular plants, adopting birth control measures and killing by sharp-shooting and/or trapping and humanely euthanizing them.
As a means of deer population control In Defense of Animals (IDA) suggests--
- Remove vegetation from roadsides to reduce the attractiveness of roadside areas to deer.
- Prevent deer from eating yard plants and trees by installing fencing.
- Protect individual trees with mesh and netting.
- Contact a nursery to find out what types of netting are effective.P
- Plant native plants tolerant of deer browsing.
- Plant plants that repel deer through smell and taste.
- Use flashing lights or loud noises to startle deer away.
These seem like good ideas to me. Killing the deer, especially in a cruel, barbaric manner like bow-hunting, is not a long-term solution, in fact, it's not even a temporary solution. IDA points out that:
allowing hunters to kill more does, however, does not resolve population problems. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the open hunting of does left fawns without mothers, and removed too many females from the breeding population. Sport hunting decimated deer populations in many states. As a result, states passed laws restricting the hunting of does. These policies have contributed to the overpopulation of deer.
Hunting does remove some animals from the population, but it does not keep deer populations at a continually reduced level. Immediately after a hunt, the remaining animals flourish because less competition for food exists, allowing the remaining animals to live healthier lives, and resulting in a higher reproductive rate.
Fact is, there are a lot of people and a lot of deer. Somehow, the people must figure out how to live with the deer. We might lose a few plants in the process, but we will lose deer -- and much more -- if our way of dealing with the problem depends on bows, arrows and guns.