MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Keep Pets Safe from Holiday Food Hazards

Guest Post (guest poster later requested link removal)

Tis’ the season for holiday treats! While our families are busy enjoying all of the wonderful foods that come with this time of year, it’s important to make sure pets don’t get their paws on potentially dangerous human foods. Below are a few ingredients that may be a part of your holiday festivities that could mean serious digestive upset or an emergency trip to the vet if ingested by your pets. 

Onions, Garlic and Chives: You might use these ingredients to flavor that big holiday dinner, but take caution to ensure your pets don’t ingest large quantities of these foods. These ingredients might make our food tastier, but can cause gastrointestinal discomfort and potential red cell damage for our pets. 

•Fatty Foods: Too many fatty table scraps can lead to pancreatitis in dogs and cats, which is a potentially fatal condition. Symptoms of pancreatitis include diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, abdominal pain and depression. Just one instance of eating too much food that is high in fat can trigger pancreatitis in pets, so watch your dinner guests to make sure treats aren’t being given under the table. 

•Alcohol: When enjoying your glass of champagne or holiday cocktail, don’t let your sweet pup or kitty sneak any sips. Alcohol can cause pets to experience vomiting, diarrhea, a decrease in coordination, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma and even death. Don’t take any chances with your pet’s wellbeing by keeping alcoholic beverages far from reach. You might also consider keeping your pet in a separate room during holiday parties. 

•Macadamia Nuts: While these nuts can make a tasty addition to holiday cookies, they contain an unknown toxic element that can trigger vomiting, lethargy and even temporary hind end paralysis in dogs and cats. 

•Grapes and Raisins: Whether you’re serving a healthy snack to party guests or adding raisins to those holiday cookies, make sure your pets don’t’ sneak a bite of these foods. Both grapes and raisins are toxic for our canine and feline companions and can cause kidney damage, kidney failure and even death.  

Milk: When setting out milk and cookies for Santa, make sure Fido doesn’t help himself instead. Dairy products cause diarrhea and digestive upset for pets -so keep Santa’s snack out of reach from four-legged family members to avoid a holiday mess. 

Chocolate and Coffee: When you cozy up with that yummy dessert and cappuccino this holiday season, don’t leave your treat unattended. Chocolate and caffeine can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures or even death. Protect your furry family members by keeping foods that contain these dangers out of reach. 

•Xylitol: When popping that after-dinner mint or piece of gum, be aware that many sugar free varieties contain a sweetener called xylitol, which can be deadly for dogs. Xylitol can cause a dog’s blood sugar level to drop to a dangerous low, causing weakness, confusion, seizures and sometimes even death. 

•Avocados: Avocados may not be a traditional holiday food but they’re a year-round favorite for many families. Although delicious and healthy for human consumption, avocados are a danger to pets for multiple reasons. The large pit can cause gastrointestinal obstruction if swallowed and the rest of the fruit contains persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets. 

To keep the holidays safe and happy for your pet, stick to healthy canine or feline treats or pet-safe human foods (i.e. an apple slice for your dog). If you ever have any concerns about foods your pet has ingested, immediately contact a veterinarian.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

THANK YOU, Israel: Cat Declawing is Made Illegal -- Brings Jail and Hefty Fine

Re-Posted By Dawn Kairns, Author of MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life 

 Israel Makes Cat Declawing Illegal

"Cat declawing is now officially — and legally — off limits in Israel.

On November 28th, the Israeli legislature voted unanimously to make cat declawing illegal. Imagine the collective meow of relief that was heard across the country!  If someone is caught declawing a cat they can expect up to one year in jail and a hefty $20,000 fine.  Israel joins the U.K., Brazil, most of Europe, and Australia for taking a strong stand on this cruel practice. In the United States, declawing unfortunately remains legal except in a handful of cities.

Onychectomy (the medical term for declawing) is a procedure where the claw and part of the bone of a cat’s toes are removed, usually to keep the feline from ruining furniture, catching birds or scratching children. Cat claws however are rooted deep in the bone, so partial bone removal is necessary in an onychectomy. To put this in perspective, the bone removed on each digit is akin to removing up to the third knuckle on each human finger. OUCH!

In addition to being painful, declawing leaves a cat virtually defenseless.  For an indoor cat, this may not be much of an issue, but for a cat that spends time outdoors and meets an unfriendly dog, being declawed can be fatal. Cats also need their claws for stretching their tendons, climbing, balance and marking their territory. Oh, and shredding your favorite reading chair.

Many people who consider having their cats declawed think the procedure is simple and relatively painless — and that it is a quick fix for razor sharp claws on their otherwise sweet and cuddly kitty. Clearly, having a significant section of bone removed on each toe is not a simple painless operation. Please consider passing on the word to new cat owners or submitting an editorial to your local newspaper that this is not the case!

A humane alternative to declawing is the monthly trimming of claws with nail clippers. Although, that sounds like a potentially hazardous endeavor for any human to undertake, it can be safely done! I trim my cats’ claws, especially in the winter when the snowy weather keeps them house bound and they get less natural wear and tear.  I just use human nail clippers and only do it when they are sleepy. I am very careful not to clip beyond the clear claw area. If you clip into the pink sensitive area (called the “quick”), your cat will definitely let you know about it!  The goal is to blunt the end of each claw. For a more detailed explanation on how to cut kitty’s claws without drawing your own blood, visit the website: Cats Scratching.

So, again three cheers to Israel for having the gumption to just say no to cat declawing."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Online Puppy Broker "Purebred Breeders" Exposed as Puppy Mill

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


 Below is a partial transcript and video from the MSNBC Today Show reporting on the online puppy broker, Purebred Breeders.

"...The company is called Purebred Breeders...operates nearly 800 websites...
It's a marketing deception...we found Purebred Breeders are not breeders at all, but puppy brokers...
The Humane Society sent investigators...found large scale operations with dog after do stacked in wire cages, often in dirty conditions. Classic signs, they say, of puppy mills..."

Read more here on MSNBC: Did Onlilne Puppy Site Sell Sick Pets?

Residents bark about animal shelter woes - Post-Tribune

Residents bark about animal shelter woes - Post-Tribune

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nonprofit Organization Helps Keep Pets in Their Homes in Tough Economic Times

Who are the folks at The Porter County Pet Project and Kibble Kitchen? They are an all-volunteer animal surrender prevention program founded in Porter County, Indiana in January, 2011, dedicated to keeping pets in their homes and out of shelters. In the past year more pets have become homeless in Porter County (as in most places in the country) due to families facing tough economic times. The result? Increasing numbers of pets being relinquished to animal shelters. And we all know what that means when the shelters become over crowded.  Michelle Duca, executive director of The Porter County Pet Project and Kibble Kitchen is out to change this outcome into a win-win for all involved.

The Kibble Kitchen "is working hard to help the families of Porter Co. keep their pets by providing free pet food and supplies to those that show financial hardship and without assistance may be forced to give up their family pet to a shelter," says Michelle Duca. "We are also working on spay/neuter funds for the clients along with vaccine clinics and counseling. Our hope is to become more than a pet food pantry."

Michelle tells me the story of a client who came to the pantry, desperately needing dog food, as she had been feeding her dog her own food due to having lost her job almost a year earlier. She had no money to feed herself, let alone her dog. This woman was also losing her home. Volunteers at the Kibble Kitchen provided the client food, a listening ear, and emotional support. The Porter County Pet Project and Kibble Kitchen helped her out for several months. During an open house some months later, the client came back, after selling her house, and gave back $500 to the pantry, and many hugs to the folks running it. The client wanted the Kibble Kitchen to know how thankful she was for what they did for her and her dog. The assistance allowed her keep her dog rather than having to give it up to a shelter.

Duca shares that many seniors "just don't have the extra any more to care for their beloved pets. We are now working on spay/neuter funds for the clients along with vaccine clinics and counseling. We truly want to be more than a pet food pantry."

I invite you to support of share the wonderful work of The Porter County Pet Project and Kibble Kitchen in any way you can, and may Michelle Duca's work to keep animals in their homes motivate us all to do the same in our local communities!

You can read more about the Kibble Kitchen in this Post Tribune Chicago Sun Times article, and in  Portage Visit the facebook page of The Porter County Pet Project and Kibble Kitchen and like it and share it with your friends. If you want to help the Kibble Kitchen out with a donation, visit The Kibble Kitchen website.

If you are doing anything like this in your community, please write and tell us about it!

The Kibble Kitchen Pet Pantry, Inc. is a non-profit organization working to help families keep their pets despite the tough economy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What's Your Life's Purpose?

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


I post this today from the - Daily Inspiration by Marc Allen both to share it with you and to remind myself to connect with my own purpose...

"What is your purpose in life? Many people have trouble with that word, purpose; it seems so serious, so heavy. You can substitute the word mission if you wish. Or vocation, which comes from the Latin word for calling. What is your calling? This is a great question to ask.

When I ask that question, I’m given a great key to a life well lived: We are here to reach our full potential, to evolve as much as possible, and to contribute to the betterment of humanity.

We are here to move upward in the pyramid of consciousness that Maslow described, until we become self-actualized, self-realized, and able to help many others move up to realize their potential, and help make this world a better place for all. Our purpose is to contribute in some vital way to the well-being of all. As so many have discovered, when we love and serve others in some way, our own sense of well-being, and our resources, and our joy of life expand vastly."

Please share with us here how you found your life purpose and how you are manifesting your calling in life.