Speaking of Pets (Opinion)

Saturdays at 8:59 a.m.

Speaking of Pets with host Mindy Norton is a commentary (opinion piece) for people who care about pets and humane treatment for animals in general, and who want to celebrate that special relationship between us and our animal companions.

Spay Day 2021

8 hours ago
Daniesq [Flickr]

How many puppies can you count in this picture?  Should be easy to find homes for them - after all, they're so cute!  But if the shelter has already received more than a hundred puppies that day, chances for these little guys are not so good.  Please spay or neuter your pet!

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When A Pet Owner Dies

Feb 20, 2021
KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO [Facebook]

The late Bill Dorris wanted  his faithful dog, Lulu, to be with someone who loved her and would care for her.  The $5 million trust he left for Lulu's care will be managed by a conservator who will reimburse her caretaker for all expenses.  

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Pet Theft Awareness

Feb 13, 2021
Phil Scoville [Flickr]

Estimates are that almost two million pets are stolen every year.    And in the pandemic, there was a significant increase due to the demand for dogs during the lockdown.  It's thought that many are stolen by dog flippers, who hope to make fast money by selling your pet; but unlike flipping a house, dog flipping does not improve the animal.  Your best friend counts on you to keep it safe.  Protect your pet by making sure it does not get stolen.

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Orbiting Sphere [Facebook]

In 2018, United Airlines refused to allow a peacock onboard its flight as an emotional support animal.  Now airlines have the DOT on their side as the new rules allow them to limit animals on planes to qualified service animals who are trained to assist individuals with disabilities.  

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Patches Comes Home

Jan 30, 2021
Animal Shelter Assistance Program [Facebook]

Three years after her owner was killed in a massive mud slide, Patches the cat was reunited with her owner's partner, all thanks to a small (and relatively inexpensive) electronic marvel called a microchip.

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Pet Food Recall

Jan 16, 2021
basykes [Flickr]

To be honest, most pets don't really care what the food bowl looks like - it's what is in the bowl that counts.  Unfortunately, some pet owners have learned that the food they have been giving their best friends every day could harm or even kill them.

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Canine Good Citizen

Jan 9, 2021
born1945 [Flickr]

`Training your dog is time well spent - for both of you.  It provides mental stimulation, exercise, and builds a solid and lasting relationship between you and your pet.  You will be a better friend to your furry buddy, and you will find you have a true companion that will be devoted to you!

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Mindy Norton

Many of the New Year's resolutions we make for ourselves could also apply to our pets - eat healthier, get more exercise, regular medical checkup and shots.  But this year my resolutions are for better treatment and concern for all pets!

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New Pet in the House

Dec 26, 2020
Jeffrey P. Home [ Flickr]

Having a new pet in your home can be a fun and exciting time for both of you, but it's important to get things off on the right foot.  Your new furry buddy will need some supplies, and especially attention from you.  After all, it takes time to adjust to all-new surroundings - and people!

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Animals at the Manger

Dec 19, 2020
Prayitno [Flickr]

Most Christmas manger scenes include animals, because the Christ child was born in a stable.  Other than Joseph and Mary, the animals were the only witnesses to the birth of Jesus.  So it seems natural that we would  include our pets in our Christmas celebrations!

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Pet Adoption Scams

Dec 12, 2020
Kim Alaniz [Flickr]

Some internet pet sellers are legitimate, but scammers often use available online photos (like the one shown here) to lure you in.   If you want a specific breed, statistics show 1 of every 4 shelter dogs is a purebred.  So be a hero, and adopt a new best friend from your local animal shelter or rescue group.

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Pandemic and Pets

Dec 5, 2020
brownpau [Flickr]

One way to keep your pet entertained in confinement is to play with it.   Most cats are easily entertained with a peacock feather.  It is lightweight, and usually easily replaced if needed.  For some reason, a cat finds it almost irresistable.  And playing with your best friend is a good way to strengthen the bond between you.

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JohnWDavisJr [Flickr]

Some Christmas decorations can pose a risk to our pets that may entice your furry friend into the tree.  Even bows and ribbon on gifts can cause problems if chewed and swallowed.  Protect your pet from Christmas dangers so you can enjoy the holiday now and for years to come!

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BobMacInnes [Flickr]

Many dogs go gray in the face as they get older.  Cats, on the other hand, tend to maintain their youthful color and often do not show their age until they are quite old.  Even so, senior dogs and even senior cats need extra attention and care to make sure they (and you) can enjoy their later years! 

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nataliaking [Flickr]

If you are not sure you're really ready to adopt a pet, consider fostering one for your local shelter.  It helps the pet you foster, it helps the shelter, and it may help you decide if having a pet on a long-term basis is right for you!

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Halloween

Oct 31, 2020
marioanima [Flickr]

Before putting your pet in a Halloween costume, is your buddy okay with the ideas?  Make sure it does not interfere with your pet's ability to breathe or see or move, with no small parts, like buttons, that are easily swallowed.  Never leave it alone while in costume, and if your pet shows signs of stress, be kind and remove the costume.  

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American Humane Association

Mackenzie had a rough start in life, but she also had lots of tender loving care.  Even though she may not be able to bark, her actions speak volumes as she helps to care for other animals with disabilities that are in desperate need of a hero - like Mackenzie!

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Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue [Flickr]

A Veterinary Technician, or "Vet Tech" can make the Veterinarian more effective by running diagnostic tests, administering anesthesia, even cleaning cages if needed.  That allows more time for the veterinarian to focus on diagnosis, determine treatment and talk to the owner.  

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Diane Stunguris [Facebook]

The quote of the day at the Toronto Pearson Airport: "Boy, could she run!"  It wasn't easy to catch Crystal the Spanish Podenco, a breed known for its speed and stamina.  She looked like a white blur running down the taxiway.  It took hours, but finally the frightened animal ran out of steam and was rescued.

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Dog Joy-riding

Sep 26, 2020
waferboard [Flickr]

Most dogs love the wind in their face, but they don't realize the danger.  After all, you wouldn't let your child ride like this.  Allowing your best friend to ride in a vehicle with its head out the window exposes it to serious injury.

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frankieleon [Flickr]

Storms continue to form in the Atlantic region, so pet owners should be prepared to keep themselves and their best friends safe.  If that means evacuating to a safer area, it helps to have a plan so you and your furry buddy will have what you need to weather the storm together.

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WoodleyWonderworks [Flickr]

A newly released British study of cat owners focused on the relationship between cats, people and wildlife.  While some view a cat as a malicious hunter of defenseless creatures, others note the cat's contribution to pest control.  And some just enjoy their feline friend's company.

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Humane Society of North Texas [Facebook]

Transports like Wings of Rescue  are a vital link in rescuing pets from the path of an oncoming hurricane.  But most of their efforts are aimed at relocating endangered pets from high intake shelters to areas where pet overpopulation is not so much of a problem.  One of their mottos is "flying at-risk pets to safety".  Pipsqueak, for one, is grateful for their efforts!!

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American Humane Association

The 2020 Hero Dog Awards seek to find and recognize dogs who help people in many important ways. Dogs are nominated in one of seven categories: Shelter Dogs, Emerging Hero Dogs, Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs.

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The Shelter Dog category honors shelter and rescue dogs who are given a new “leash” on life.  A shelter or rescue dog can be nominated for overcoming difficult odds, having a remarkable rescue story or for simply brightening the lives of the people who gave them a second chance to be a first-rate pet!

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American Humane Association

The 2020 Hero Dog Awards seek to find and recognize dogs who help people in many important ways. Dogs are nominated in one of seven categories: Service Dogs, Shelter Dogs, Law Enforcement/ Arson Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs.

A Guide Dog is trained to lead, follow commands, ignore distractions, and even disobey a command that would put its human partner in danger. The human also must be trained on how to handle the dog and how to be a good leader of the team. A Hearing Dog is specially trained to alert its deaf owner to sounds we all take for granted. Unlike a Guide Dog that must be of a certain body size in order to lead a person, a Hearing Dog can be large or small, pure-bred or mixed breed. Many are shelter animals who are determined to have the intelligence and temperament to serve as a Hearing Dog. It is a perfect blending of needs - deaf individuals have the opportunity to live an independent life, and dogs who may literally die for lack of homes are given a purpose and owners that will love and care for them. Guide dogs and hearing dogs are living examples of the trust bond between human and animal.

In the world of Search and Rescue operations, dogs have a very special place.  Their keen sense of smell, excellent night vision, extremely sensitive hearing and endurance have made them crucial in efforts to locate people or animals who are missing or trapped.  They can truly be life savers!  Human Remains Detection dogs help locate bodies and may be instrumental in solving crimes or bringing closure for family members.

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American Humane Association

The 2020 Hero Dog Awards seek to find and recognize dogs who help people in many important ways.  Dogs are nominated in one of seven categories:  Service Dog, Shelter Dog, Law Enforcement/Arson Dog, Therapy Dog, Military Dog, Search and Rescue Dog, Guide/Hearing Dog. 

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Interacting with an animal can be very theraputic for humans. While other animals, such as horses and cats can be great therapy animals, dogs really excel in helping humans who are going through a difficult or troubling time. A certified Therapy Dog can make a significant contribution to many treatment programs.

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Dogs began helping our military forces as early as World War I, but it wasn't until World War II that the Army established its first K-9 Corps. They serve as scouts, detection specialists for explosives, and assist on guard duty to protect US service men and women around the world. Nowadays, dogs have their own military service records and can be awarded commendations for outstanding service. It is not possible to count the number of lives military dogs have saved, sometimes at the extreme cost of their own. The Military Dog category seeks to recognize the dedication and valor of these extraordinary animals.

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American Humane Association

The 2020 Hero Dog Awards, celebrating its Tenth Anniversary, is seeking to find and recognize dogs who help people in many important ways. Dogs are nominated in one of seven categories: Service Dogs, Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs, and Shelter Dogs.

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The Service Dog category includes animals that assist people with disabilities other than sight and hearing. Most have received special training.

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Law Enforcement dogs include what we often think of as police dogs, animals specially trained to patrol, search buildings, track criminals, and to detect drugs, narcotics and explosive devices.  Arson dogs are animals trained to sniff out accelerants that may have been used to start a fire. 

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Animal Hoarding

Aug 1, 2020
Animal Rescue Corps [Facebook]

Groups like the Animal Rescue Corps step in to help  through direct action in situations where animals are suffering or in danger.  Coordinating with local and regional animal shelters and animal welfare agencies, they can make a real, life-saving difference to protect animals.

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Unchain That Dog

Jul 25, 2020
barock schloss [Flickr]

Humane Society of the United States defines "dog chaining" as the practice in which a dog owner tethers a dog outdoors to a stationary object for extended periods of time.  That practice poses a serious threat to the animal's physicial and psychological well-being.

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Scott 97006 [Flickr]

Summer heat can be uncomfortable, especially for your dog.  Most dogs enjoy being outdoors, but they can overheat or burn their paws before you know they are suffering.  Burned paws can blister and be very painful for your best friend.  It's up to you to make sure your furry buddy stays safe in the summer heat.

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