Archive for February, 2008

Body Assessment Rating For Canines
February 28, 2008

Pfizer Animal Health has created a tool to help dog owners determine if their dogs are overweight or obese -– or heading in that direction. Spend a few minutes taking the Body Assessment Rating for Canines (BARC) survey to help determine if it’s time to speak to your veterinarian about tackling weight-loss measures.

The BARC survey is an aid to help identify obesity in dogs. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a veterinarian.


My Pudgy Baby!
February 28, 2008

OK, folks, the stats are in. Veterinarians were polled and they, as a group, felt that 47 percent of pets that they see are OVERWEIGHT. Unfortunately, only 17 percent of pet owners felt there was an issue.

So, who is right?

I’d go with the experts on that one! Obesity in pets is a growing issue -– just as obesity in humans is! And, just like in humans, obesity in pets can cause some serious health issues, including:

  • Bone issues (weight-bearing problems)
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Diabetes
  • Skin issues
  • Heat intolerance
  • Breathing problems

So, how do you know if your pet IS overweight? Check it out!!! If you can not feel ribs just under the surface of the skin, you may have a problem. If your cat’s belly is dragging on the floor, you may have an issue. If your dog can not jump up onto the sofa, you might have a chubber. If the slightest exercise makes Fido look at you as if his eyes were gonna pop outta their sockets, YOU MIGHT HAVE AN ISSUE! Not sure? Ask your veterinarian!

There are actually breeds of dogs who are prone to being overweight — Labs, Goldens, Beagles, Bassets, Cocker Spaniels, Shelties, Terriers, to name a few. So, if you have one of these, be aware of the extra risk.

Cats do NOT need to have food available at all times! This is SO common and I don’t know where it came from, but most folks leave food out all the time for their cats. Neither cats nor dogs need food available at all times. THIS MAKES THEM FAT!

So, what do you do with Chubbs? Well, the first thing is to get him or her to the veterinarian to rule out any biological reasons for the weight problem. Barring any physical reasons other than diet, let’s look at some solutions.

DIET! By that, I don’t mean CRASH diet, but look at what you’re FEEDING them! The bag of food will give you feeding instructions. Well, they SELL food so they’re going to tell you to feed MORE than you probably need! Their instructions are for active dogs and cats, I’m sure. And, MOST dogs and cats are not active on a constant level.

Second Chance Ranch Equine Rescue
February 22, 2008

Think of the words “Animal Rescue” and what comes to mind? Dogs? Cats? What if I said horses? Yep, you got it, horses.

Most people think of an animal rescue as just for dogs and cats, the occasional birds, etc., but here in CT, there are at least two horse rescues that I know of. There’s H.O.R.S.E. out in the Washington area and there’s Second Chance Ranch Equine Rescue in East Granby.

Established in 1996, the main goal of the Ranch is to take in horses that are injured, ill, abused, neglected or just no longer wanted. The founders, Karen and Paul Bacon, have a wonderful staff of volunteers who take these horses — some of which are literally on their last legs — and get them ready for new, permanent homes.

I visited with them recently and found these folks to be extremely dedicated to these animals. Some of the animals were in terrible shape, having just come into the rescue, while others were just beautiful and ready to go! The volunteers assess each horse’s needs on an individual basis and design the horse’s rehabilitation around those needs.

Adoption through the rescue is done through a thorough process to ensure that everyone’s needs are going to be met (especially the horse’s)! All adopters must meet and work with their potential adoptee and pass certain criteria before the adoption can be finalized.

Not able to adopt a horse? Interested in sponsoring one or just making a monetary donation? The folks at Second Chance Ranch Equine Rescue would LOVE that! They are a nonprofit organization, so any donations are tax deductible!

How about volunteering? I KNOW I can’t have a horse (the expense of owning one is far more than I can commit to), but I LOVE horses and would jump at a chance to help! Second Chance Ranch Equine Rescue is always looking for folks to come out and help, and it’s not just to muck stalls! They need electricians to help with electrical repairs, carpenters to help mend fences, folks to groom, walk or even just pet the horses there. The more people interaction these animals have, the better they become.

They also have a wish list for things like veterinary supplies, pitchforks, wheelbarrels, hay (a BIG wish!), shavings, fly spray, dewormers, joint and hoof supplies, gift certificates to local feed stores … you get the idea.

Whether it’s through Second Chance Ranch Equine Rescue or another horse rescue, it’s wonderful to watch these graceful animals be brought from where it appeared there was no hope to where they again have light in their eyes and spirit in their gait. And, it’s an absolute thrill to be able to help these volunteers help these animals.

As an animal rescuer, I know very well the satisfaction of watching an animal gain strength, courage and confidence through working with them and showing them, perhaps, the first kind touch they’ve ever received. I know I share that feeling with the folks at Second Chance Ranch Equine Rescue and now that you know they’re there, YOU can have that “Whoo Hooo,” too!

For more information on Second Chance, please call Michelle at 413-525-4666. You can also go to the Web site:

February 15, 2008

Whoo HOOO for UNO!

Uno Puts Beagles Atop Dog Show World

Well, for the very first time, a beagle has won at Westminster! How cool is that?!!! A “working person’s dog” has taken the title. I was thrilled to see it!

And then, it began.

Someone on one of the TV morning shows made the comment, “Wouldn’t a baby beagle be a great gift for Valentine’s Day?”

I uttered a few choice words under my breath at this anchor’s stupidity, but I calmed and moved on.

Then, phone calls started … “Do you have any beagles for adoption?”

OK, that was IT. My thoughts quickly went to “101 Dalmatians” -– that Disney movie that inspired EVERY KID ON EARTH to BEG for a Dalmatian puppy because they were SOOOOOO cute! Well, the truth is, DALMATIANS DON’T LIKE KIDS! But we couldn’t tell anyone that because they were SOOOOOOOO CUTE!! Jeez.

So, here’s my attempt to STOP this in the BUD!

Ready? Here goes:


There -– I said it. I feel better. Now, ya wanna know why? GOOD!

OK, Uno is what is considered a “show” line. He has been bred for SHOW, which means that his puppies will go for $1,500 to $2,000 EACH. It means that he’s a very nice tempered SHOW dog -– not a WORKING dog. Show lines bark less, dig less and are generally easier keepers -– if you care to pay for them.

Working lines, on the other hand, are what you find out there in pounds across America! They’re being sold for about $200 each, and are in every paper, everywhere!

Now, before I continue, let me say that I have NOTHING against Working or Show lines — I happen to LOVE the breed and have owned them.

Beagles (working lines) are HUNTING DOGS. They hunt rabbits. They dig holes. (We’re not talking little holes here -– you could hide a CHILD in one of their projects!) They dig under fences, and you have to actually dig your fence partially underground to make sure they don’t dig underneath them. They squeeze through the smallest spaces and run like the wind, gleefully following their noses, disregarding screaming owners, honking horns and everything else, and, once they’ve gone off, trying to get them back is a long process. They bark. I’m not talking “yip, yip.” I’m talking “BawooOOOOO BawoOOOO!!!!” They love to “find” things around the house -– most times it’s someone’s dirty underwear -– and they love to hide it, too. They eat cat poop -– and then come running for affection. They get into EVERYTHING –- garbage, etc., and parade it around like it’s a trophy. They can be tough to housebreak and tough to obedience train.

But they can also be the clown of the house. My husband called ours the Circus Dog as she happily ran across the back of the sofa, over the dining room table, across the cat and under the other dogs. They are extremely affectionate and a joy to have -– IF YOU ARE PREPARED!

So, nope, they’re not all like Uno. They can be wonderful, or a nightmare. My point here is this: Make sure you KNOW the breed. RESEARCH IT. TALK TO OWNERS. Make sure you know the breed inside and out before you go ahead and get one!

Let’s not have another Dalmatian nightmare where pounds were loaded down with dogs who were purchased based only on what folks saw in the media.



Meet Rocky and Samson
February 15, 2008

Meet Rocky! 11 weeks old, from Protectors of Animals

Meet Samson! 5½-year-old male, from Protectors of Animals

Tax Deductible Donations
February 2, 2008

Question: I want to make a tax deductible donation to an animal shelter – How do I know which one to pick?

Answer: First, make sure the shelter is a registered, nonprofit organization. Make sure they ARE vs. they are “in the process” as the IRS does not recognize “almost.” Registered, nonprofit means that they have a “501(c)(3)” status with the IRS.

Second, make sure you can speak with someone at the shelter about the shelter. I hate it when the only way to talk with someone is via an e-mail address — That’s not personal!!!

Third, make sure you know what the shelter is all about. Ask about their future plans and what they’ve accomplished already. Make sure that what they do meshes with what your idea of a shelter is. Ask what their adoption fees are, how many animals they place annually, etc., to get a good feel for what they do. Can they send you literature on their organization?

Many shelters, like Bandit’s Place, rely on donations to cover veterinary costs, supplies, transportation, etc., and many times the adoption fee does not cover what we put into an animal to get it ready for adoption.

The bottom line is this: Know where you’re sending your money to. Animal Shelters are very grateful for the support and donations received to help them exist and operate clean, healthy facilities.

Through tax deductible donations to registered, nonprofit animal shelters, everyone comes out a winner -– especially the animals!


  1. Make sure the organization is a registered, nonprofit organization. The IRS doesn’t recognize “almost.”
  2. Make sure you can actually speak TO someone at the shelter, and NOT via e-mail (very impersonal).
  3. Make sure you know what the shelter is all about. Does it mesh with what you believe? Do they have a brochure they can send you?

Meet Audrey & Maisey
February 2, 2008

AUDREY is a 1 or 2 year old domestic short hair spayed female with extra front toes. She is a torty-calico. She was found as a mother with kittens. The person who rescued her was able to place all of her kittens, but not Audrey. Audrey is affectionate and would be a good lap cat once she is used to her new owner. She plays and is also good at relaxing on a pillow. She enjoys attention but has no problem being alone. She needs to be an only pet in a household with no children.

MAISEY is a 1-1/2 year old domestic short hair spayed female who is a grey and white tuxedo cat. She came to the shelter with her sister, who has been adopted. She is affectionate and intelligent, playful, curious and loves people and attention. She can also amuse herself and loves to look out the window for hours. Maisey needs to be the only pet in a quiet household. A small, quiet family with no children would be the best fit for her. A single person household would be ideal.