MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life
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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Did You Know That Our Demand for Dogs Drives Puppy Mill Supply?

Most of us know that our relationships with our dogs begin the day we bring them home, whether from a responsible breeder, a shelter, or a breed rescue group. I suggest we expand the context of our relationship to "Dog" to the larger sense, and consider the beginnings of so many dogs before we ever lay our eyes on them. And the plight of so many dogs who never feel their feet on the ground or fresh air on their faces -- the ones who live their entire lives in puppy mills.

According to Jon Rutter of the Lancaster Sunday News, people are in a hurry to get a pet and few question where their pups come from. Demand for dogs is high, and families usually want a dog immediately, which helps perpetuate the market for mass dog breeding (I am referring to puppy mills, not responsible dog breeders who promote the best in a breed). He relates the story of a woman who spontaneously purchased a dog last summer through a newspaper ad. Sadly, their boxer grew deathly ill within days, and the family faced thousands of dollars in veterinary bills. Unable to afford the vet bills,they gave the dog up. The dog was traced to a kennel called CC Pets.

A judge ruled that the owners of the kennel,
CC Pets, formerly called Puppy Love Kennels, failed to state its name in newspaper ads as the court had directed four years earlier. The kennel was ordered to close for six months. Calls to CC Pets were not returned. Fortunately, the puppy mill boxer survived and has a good new home.

Although I understand that Lancaster County, PA has a higher concentration of puppy mills than most states, the problem is nationwide. Luckily, consumers are becoming more aware about the dog/puppy mill industry. But some folks still simply don't connect that cuddley pup in a pet store with the deplorable conditions in puppy mills. These people aren't consciously supporting puppy mills; they just don't understand the connection. Consumers should know that dogs bred under factory conditions live only five or six years before being destroyed, according to animal-welfare advocates.

What can dog "shoppers" be aware of? According to Jenny Stephens, of North Penn Puppy Mill Watch, kennels should be clean, and the population of dogs low enough that the staff can spend time socializing the dogs. She urges you to check state kennel inspection reports online (search Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement), and know that a "warning" means that a kennel has already broken the law.

Remember that millions of unwanted dogs in this country are euthanized every year according to Jenny Stephens (NPPMW). Please consider the millions of dogs in shelters when you plan to get a family dog. And remember, you can get most of the purebred dogs you want from a breed rescue group.

For more help and information about puppy mills, log on to the North Penn Puppy Mill Watch Web site,, or contact United Against Puppy Mills,, or call 1-866-975-3647.

Let's honor the "spirit of dog," all dogs, and make sure we do our part to see that all dogs are treated as the beautiful, loving beings that they are.

Posted by:

Dawn Kairns,
Author of
MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Good Breeders Let You Meet Your Puppy's Parents

I found this great educational article on the Main line Animal Rescue (MLAR) website about puppy mills & what you should know about pet stores. Breed rescue organizations and how to find a good breeder are also discussed. Main line Animal Rescue raises awareness of the deplorable conditions in puppy mills and rescues their helpless victims.

Copied from Main line Animal Rescue Website:

"See that cute little dog in the pet store window? If he came from one of the over five thousand puppy mills in this country, his mother will more than likely live the entirety of her short life standing on a wire floor, packed in a small cage with other dogs that may be aggressive toward her. Frightened, malnourished, often without medical attention of any kind, she shivers in the cold days of winter and bakes under the August sun. Never knowing kindness or the slightest affection, she is a prisoner for profit. Bred at six or seven months and then every heat cycle after that, her short life will end brutally when she is no longer able to produce puppies. MLAR has rescued breeding females who were "de-barked" with steal pipes, their back teeth cracked, their jaws broken. Other dogs came to us with scars from undergoing more than dozen Caesarians, all performed without anesthesia by commercial dog breeders, who are generally farmers unqualified to perform such surgeries.

Please don't support these inhumane practices by purchasing a dog from a pet store; adopt from a shelter or rescue organization instead.

Main Line Animal Rescue is an all breed rescue organization helping all dogs regardless of their breed, but there are specific breed rescues across the country who help only purebred dogs of certain breeds. For example, Lab Rescue helps only Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundland Rescue assists Newfies in trouble, and if you want a West Highland Terrier, their rescues place hundreds of homeless Westies from New York to Seattle every year. Information is available on the Internet under or through the national club for the specific breed you are looking to adopt.

If you are determined to purchase a purebred puppy, contact a reputable breeder endorsed by the national club for the particular breed you desire. This information is available Online. Or if you live in Southeastern Pennsylvania, call Braxton's at 610/688-0769 and ask them to recommend a good breeder. You can also ask your veterinarian for recommendations. If there is a practice in your area comprised of veterinary specialists (an orthopedic surgeon, a canine dermatologist, neurologist, etc.) then call them and ask to speak to their "fertility specialist." This specialist will be familiar with the breeders in your area and will be able to put you in contact with a small reputable breeder.

A reputable breeder breeds for the purpose of improving the breed, not simply for profit. When you find a breeder ask questions. Talk to their vet as well as people who have already purchased their dogs. Reputable breeders will also take their dogs back, even after five or six years. They are also willing to answer any questions you may have after you bring your new puppy home. Always see how and where the puppies are living, and always… always… meet the parents! If the breeder won't allow you into his barn or into his kennels, thank him and leave. It is most likely a Puppy Mill."

This article was taken from Main line Animal Rescue Website. Please support them and/or other puppy mill awareness if you can. I give 10% of my publisher royalties from my book sales to MLAR.

Posted by:
Dawn Kairns
Author of MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The First Dog, Bo, Joins the Obama Family

Photo taken from Obama's Dog Blog

The Obama's new dog, Bo, did not spend any time in a shelter. But sources say he wasn't a fit with his original family. So that constitutes a rescue, doesn't it? A good breeder will typically ask for a pup to be returned to them rather than to a shelter if the situation doesn't work out when one of their dogs is placed in a home.

The Obama's daughter, Malia, has allergies. Portuguese Water dogs do not shed as much hair and are said by some to aggravate people allergies less (there are those who say a hypoallergenic dog is more specific to the person and tests are available to determine an individual's response to an individual dog).

But the breed is not for everyone. A "Portie" is very energetic and needs a guardian who will exercise him regularly. This is true for so many dogs, whether it be a shelter dog, rescue dog, or a purebred dog. Having the honor of a dog in your life takes a committment -- one that lasts for the lifetime of the dog. Perhaps our First Family can be an example to the world on how to take great care of a dog to keep him fit, happy and healthy.

Whether or not you think our president broke a promise to adopt a rescue dog or not, you can't miss the joy on the faces of the Obama children as they romp with their very own first dog. Look at the smiles on all of their faces! Do you all remember that feeling of your very own first dog?

Did the Obamas rescue a dog in need of a good home or not? Let me hear your thoughts.

Posted By:

Dawn Kairns
Author of MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

Monday, April 13, 2009

Alternative Therapies for our Pets

After my dog, Maggie went through an intense surgery at age eight, I took her to a veterinarian for acupuncture to help with her recovery. Maggie had wonderful results from the acupuncture, including increased energy and well-being and the improvement of an arthritic limp. There are many alternative therapies available today for our animals, including more subtle forms of energy treatments such as Reiki and Tellington Touch. Animals are particulary sensitive to the energy around them, including ours -- and respond beautifully to energy treatments such as Reiki. Today I have invited Ingrid King, a writer, Reiki Master Practitioner and owner of Healing Hands to share with us the benefits of Reiki treatments for our pets.

Reiki for Animals
by Ingrid King

Reiki is an energy therapy that originated in Japan. The word Reiki is a Japanese composite word usually translated as "universal life energy". Animals, especially cats, are naturally receptive to the Reiki energy and tend to gravitate towards it readily (some people even say cats invented Reiki). Reiki benefits animals in many different ways.

• Reiki enhances your pet's overall well-being. Just like people, even healthy pets can have occasional physical, emotional and mental imbalances that, if left untreated, can manifest as illness. Periodic Reiki treatments can help maintain your pet's natural state of well-being and balance.

• Reiki strengthens the immune system and accelerates healing following illness and surgery. Cancer therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation present stress to an already compromised immune system. Reiki helps alleviate or prevent the side effects of conventional cancer treatments and provides pain relief. Reiki can alleviate and prevent side effects of conventional medications such as pain killers and antibiotics, and provides pain relief and relaxation to facilitate and enhance the body's natural healing response.

• Reiki increases trust and bonding between you and your pet. People and pets often mirror each others' physical and emotional states. Animals are natural healers and sometimes take on their person's problems, often in an attempt to heal them. This happens because of the deep bond shared between a pet and her person. Because of the shared energy in such a close relationship, energetic imbalances are shared as well. For optimum healing, joint treatments for pet and person can often be beneficial.

• Reiki can help with behavior issues by promoting relaxation and stress reduction. Many behavior issues are caused by stress. Reiki has a calming effect on the pet and may help make the pet more receptive to training and behavior modification. Reiki is extremely beneficial for animals with a history of abuse. This gentle form of touch, combined with the healing energy, can help restore trust in animals who have learned to associate touch with being hurt.

• Reiki can facilitate the transition for terminally ill animals and their owners. Often, animals will not allow themselves to transition because they intuitively feel that their person is not ready to let them go. Joint Reiki treatments for the pet and his person can help both through this difficult time by enhancing the bond and allowing a gentle transition.

Healing Hands provides in-person and distance Reiki treatments for pets and their people. For more information, please visit

Ingrid King publishes a free newsletter and a blog with topics ranging from conscious living for you and your pets to holistic and alternative health topics. Ingrid is the author of "Buckley's Story - Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher" to be published later this year.

Thank you for sharing Reiki with us, Ingrid! It's a great reminder of how important it is for us to be balanced around our pets, and gives us a preventive treatment option to help our beloved animals be healthier and stronger. We look forward to your coming book ...

Posted by:

Dawn Kairns

Author of MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Be Kind to Animals Week, May 3 to 9, 2009

From American Humane

May 3 to 9, 2009 is Be Kind to Animals Week & has been celebrated every year since 1915. The annual tradition "commemorates the role animals play in our lives, promote ways to continue to treat them humanely, and encourage others, especially children, to do the same."

Although Be Kind to Animals Week is celebrated just once a year, people can be kind to animals every day:

Speak out for animals by getting informed about policies and legislation that can impact the animals in your community and throughout the country. When you advocate for animals it can make a huge difference in their safety and well-being.

Report Animal Abuse. Animal cruelty and abuse is tragic for animals. It also an indicates that other forms of abuse such as domestic violence could be happening. If you see something suspicious, like a dog chained in your neighbor’s yard that looks underfed, a child putting a cat in a box and kicking it around the yard,don’t hesitate to let someone know.

Adopt From A Shelter or Rescue Group. Every year, an estimated 3.7 million animals are euthanized at our nation’s shelters because they could not be adopted into loving homes. Please help reduce this tragedy by giving animals a second chance by adopting your next pet from your local shelter or rescue group.

Our pets need us to help keep them healthy and safe throughout their lives. Make sure they are wearing proper identification. Know what it takes to be a responsible pet owner.

Visit the American Humane website:

Register to receive Action Alerts from American Humane -- you’ll be able to speak out for animals with just the click of a mouse.

Advocate for animals through American Humane Learn how.

Learn how to report animal abuse.

American Humane has tips to find the animal companion that’s right for you and develop a bond that will last a lifetime. Learn how.

posted by:

Dawn Kairns
Author of
MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life