Tuesday, February 26, 2013

From My Heart Today, and From a Rescued Dog

Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the 

kennels. I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.

I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn't be afraid. As she stopped at my  

kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage. I didn't want

her to know that I hadn't been walked today. Sometimes the overworked shelter keepers

get too busy and I didn't want her to think poorly of them.

As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn't feel sad about my past. I only have 

the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone's life.

She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me. I shoved my shoulder and

side of my head up against the bars to comfort her. Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she

was desperate for companionship. A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to 

assure her that all would be well.

Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her 


I would promise to keep her safe.

I would promise to always be by her side.

I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.

I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor. So many more are out there who 

haven't walked the corridors. So many more to be saved. At least I could save one.

I rescued a human today.

My dear Poodle loving friends...do you ever think about how Poodles are much more 

fortunate than hardly any other breed of dog?  Very few of them are left homeless and 

those that do, will usually be quickly accepted into Poodle rescue organizations.

Please take a look at my www.knowingdogsblog.com today and help me network to save

Kam and Handsome.  A Walkerhound, no matter how wonderful he or she may be, has a 

very small chance of making it out of a shelter, in comparison to a Poodle.  Can you help?

If only we would take the time to realize it, the poem above is true...they have so much love 

to give, they are really the ones who are rescuing us.  I know.  I have rescue dogs who 

have brought me just as much joy as my precious Standard Poodle. 

They are all precious in God's eyes, and in mine.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Negatives to Early Neutering?

Should we rethink this important issue?

The last thing that an ethical animal group wants to see is an adopted animal being accidentally bred before it has been spayed or neutered. We all know that there are already more animals in shelters than there are available homes to adopt them. Thus more and more animal groups have opted for early spaying and neutering....even as young as 7 or 8 weeks for puppies and kittens. This practice has become more common in the last decade, so only recently are studies coming out that show what the effects have been on the health of dogs that have been altered at a young age. Before the practice became popular, animal groups had to follow up with every adopter, to make sure that the dog was altered at the age their veterinarian recommended (usually somewhere between 7 and 12 months of age). Unfortunately, female dogs often come into season around 6 months of age, so the adopter had to be very responsible to make sure they kept her confined during her first heat cycle.  In a perfect world, no dog would ever be adopted to an irresponsible owner, so no accidents would ever happen. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world. So, for various reasons, once early spay/neuter became available, many groups decided no animal would leave for their new home until it was altered and many adoptable animals were altered when they were infants.  I am continuing to research this issue, as I recently have heard that some studies have shown increased aggression in female dogs who were spayed at an early age, as well as higher incidents of incontinence issues. I will share this information with you once I can find the studies involved. In the meantime, special thanks to Benjamin Hart at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis for permission to reprint this article that goes over a recent study about early neutering.

Golden Retriever Study Suggests Early Neutering Affects Health

Neutering, and the age at which a dog is neutered, may affect the animal’s risk for developing certain cancers and joint diseases, according to a new study of golden retrievers by a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis.
The study, which examined the health records of 759 golden retrievers, found a surprising doubling of hip dysplasia among male dogs neutered before one year of age. This and other results were published Feb. 13 in the online scientific journal PLOS ONE.
“The study results indicate that dog owners and service-dog trainers should carefully consider when to have their male or female dogs neutered,” said lead investigator Benjamin Hart, a distinguished professor emeritus in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
“It is important to remember, however, that because different dog breeds have different vulnerabilities to various diseases, the effects of early and late neutering also may vary from breed to breed,” he said.
While results of the new study are revealing, Hart said the relationship between neutering and disease-risk remains a complex issue. For example, the increased incidence of joint diseases among early-neutered dogs is likely a combination of the effect of neutering on the young dog’s growth plates as well as the increase in weight on the joints that is commonly seen in neutered dogs.
(photo courtesy of Patti Repko-Lucas, this is Baron, a beautiful rescue dog)

Dog owners in the United States are overwhelmingly choosing to neuter their dogs, in large part to prevent pet overpopulation or avoid unwanted behaviors. In the U.S., surgical neutering — known as spaying in females — is usually done when the dog is less than one year old.
In Europe, however, neutering is generally avoided by owners and trainers and not promoted by animal health authorities, Hart said.
During the past decade, some studies have indicated that neutering can have several adverse health effects for certain dog breeds. Those studies examined individual diseases using data drawn from one breed or pooled from several breeds.
Against that backdrop, Hart and colleagues launched their study, using a single hospital database. The study was designed to examine the effects of neutering on the risks of several diseases in the same breed, distinguishing between males and females and between early or late neutering and non-neutering.
The researchers chose to focus on the golden retriever because it is one of the most popular breeds in the U.S. and Europe and is vulnerable to various cancers and joint disorders. The breed also is favored for work as a service dog.
The research team reviewed the records of female and male golden retrievers, ranging in age from 1 to 8 years, that had been examined at UC Davis’ William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for two joint disorders and three cancers: hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear, lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma and mast cell tumor. The dogs were classified as intact (not neutered), neutered early (before 12 months age), or neutered late (at or after 12 months age).
Joint disorders and cancers are of particular interest because neutering removes the male dog’s testes and the female’s ovaries, interrupting production of certain hormones that play key roles in important body processes such as closure of bone growth plates, and regulation of the estrous cycle in female dogs.
The study revealed that, for all five diseases analyzed, the disease rates were significantly higher in both males and females that were neutered either early or late compared with intact (non-neutered) dogs.
Specifically, early neutering was associated with an increase in the occurrence of hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear and lymphosarcoma in males and of cranial cruciate ligament tear in females. Late neutering was associated with the subsequent occurrence of mast cell tumors and hemangiosarcoma in females.
In most areas, the findings of this study were consistent with earlier studies, suggesting similar increases in disease risks. The new study, however, was the first to specifically report an increased risk of late neutering for mast cell tumors and hemangiosarcoma.
Furthermore, the new study showed a surprising 100 percent increase, or doubling, of the incidence of hip dysplasia among early-neutered males. Earlier studies had reported a 17 percent increase among all neutered dogs compared to all non-neutered dogs, indicating the importance of the new study in making gender and age-of-neutering comparisons.
Other researchers on this UC Davis study were: Gretel Torres de la Riva, Thomas Farver and Lynette Hart, School of Veterinary Medicine; Anita Oberbauer, Department of Animal Science; Locksley Messam, Department of Public Health Sciences; and Neil Willits, Department of Statistics.

About UC Davis

For more than 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matter to California and transform the world. Located close to the state capital, UC Davis has more than 33,000 students, more than 2,500 faculty and more than 21,000 staff, an annual research budget of nearly $750 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges — Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science. It also houses six professional schools — Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.
(c) UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, reprinted with permission.

Media contact(s):

  • IMPORTANT NOTE:  In correspondence with Dr. Hart, he stated the following:  "For shelters and adoption groups, if they want the dog sterilized before adoption, vasectomy of males and tubal ligation of females is a less invasive and less expensive approach."

(c) Melanie Schlaginhaufen, 2013, all rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact Melanie through her Knowing Dogs website, www.knowingdogs.com.  OF SPECIAL NOTE:  Melanie supports several rescue organizations that are advocates of early spay-neuter, such as Angels of Assisi in Roanoke, Virginia.  The benefits often outweigh the risks when adopting dogs to the public at a young age. Please consult your own veterinarian when making decisions about the age at which to alter your own dog.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why Dogs are Better than Boyfriends

Thank you to the Honest Kitchen for sending us this guest post with adorable cartoons! Happy Valentine's Day...giving you a few day's notice so you won't forget to go buy your dog a toy since he or she is a truly loyal Valentine. Or better yet, order him something yummy and healthy to eat from The Honest Kitchen!

Why Dogs are Better than Boyfriends

1. They’re great listeners. Whether you’re dealing with a hard day at work, a jealous friend, or an over-bearing mother – you always have their uninterrupted attention.
2. Dogs are happy to skip the ball game or bar night and stay in & ‘help’ you cook. While boyfriends may be critical of your culinary skills, dogs will lap it up & beg for more.
3. They like you just the way you are. You can get a bad haircut, wear your sweats all day, go lip gloss free or gain a few pounds. But to them, you’re perfect in every way.
4. You can almost always teach an old dog new tricks. Boyfriends, on the other hand, can take many years of coaching & still be unsuitable to take out in public.
5. Your mother will love your dog (she might even call them her grandchild). There’s no approval needed when you bring home a new pup – she’ll feed & spoil them – even if they cause a “stink.”
6. Dogs love your friends and they’re always down to hang with the girls. Bring along some treats and they’re happy to join in on shopping excursions (especially if they can fit in your purse).
7. They love to snuggle up any time of day or night. If you’re sick, they’ll cuddle with you for hours and won’t say a word about your current aesthetic state or number of Kleenexes on the bed.
8. Dogs are happy to join in any exercise routine – and unlike a boyfriend, they won’t judge your technique, try to time your reps, or correct your form.
9. They always let you watch what you want (but you might be sharing the popcorn). Plus, they won’t ask you to explain why you love sappy chick-flicks or dancing shows. The remote is all yours.
10. You’re never too old for your dog. They’ll never prefer a younger owner and they’ll love you no matter how many miles on your clock, or wrinkles around your eyes.

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