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 This Week From The Redbarn Studios

Animal Radio for July 3, 2021  

These Dog Booties Won't Fall Off!
Lisa Baronoff, Walkee Paws

Lisa Baronoff with DogLisa Baronoff lives on the upper west side of Manhattan, is a mom to two dogs and was tired of cleaning her dog's paws after winter walks. She also became worried after her cocker spaniel got sick from the snowmelt chemicals put on sidewalks. But even when there isn't the snow, Lisa just finds the streets so disgustingly dirty. She then took her marketing background and launched her dog waders, Walkee Paws.

After trying all the different booties and shoes out there, Lisa had a problem with them staying on her dogs. They were also very uncomfortable, because they rely on being very tight around the dog's ankle and her dogs hated them and wouldn't wear them. Even if she managed to get them on her dogs, by the time she got downstairs, they would fall off. She knew there had to be a solution.

Lisa has a background in new product development and marketing and she once worked for a pantyhose company in South Africa where she comes from. She then had this brainwave and took a pair of pantyhose, cut them and sort of put them over her dog's back. She then had this idea to suspend a bootie to a legging and attach it over her dog's back. This way, the booties don't rely on staying on by being tight around the dog's ankle and they could actually be suspended over their back. She then came up with a really unique tightening mechanism where you could tighten it so it would fit the dog snugly.

There's been a huge trend towards wearing athleisure in the fashion market in the last two years according to Lisa. She even wears a lot of leggings herself, so she thought it would tie in really well with the humanization trend for dogs to launch leggings that dogs could wear. Why couldn't they wear them too?

It is not surprising to find that Lisa's dogs were the guinea pigs or guinea "dogs" for her new idea. She said her one dog looked really crazy while he was wearing black pantyhose.

While dogs might not love them, they do get used to them very quickly. When Lisa first put them on her dogs, amazingly after walking funny for the first few minutes and feeling a little strange, they got totally used to them. In fact, when she was testing them, her dogs would lie around all day in them until she felt that they should take them off. She thought they would try and get them off, but they never tried. However, when you initially put them on some dogs, because it's a strange sensation, they will do a little bit of a funny walk. But this lasts literally a minute or so and they get used to them and forget they're wearing them.

Dog Wearing Walkee PawsThere will always be some dogs who start walking immediately after having them put on and there will always be dogs who just stand there not knowing what to do for a few seconds. Lisa tells people after putting them on their dog, they just need to leash them up and get them going. The minute the dogs start walking and they can feel the ground, they're totally fine.

When they are on a dog, the Walkee Paws actually look like really hip fishing boots for dogs, or waders, because they look like suspenders with rubber feet. But when they are on, is a dog able to do its business? Lisa says that's not a problem. Because they are completely open in that area, there's never an incident of them becoming soiled. In fact, it actually helps, as her older dog has a habit of doing his business and then stepping in it. Now, when he steps in it with the rubber booties, she can leave them outside her door and leave the mess outside.

Walkee Paws actually started off just with three sizes; small, medium and large. So they cater to about 80-percent of the dogs. They don't cater to the tiny teacups at this point. As well as three different sizes, Walkee Paws also come in three different patterns. They have cocoa, which is a plain brown for the person who doesn't really want to make a big statement. They also have a pattern called confetti, which has a black background with little dots in bright colors. This one is more for the girl dogs and for those who want to make a splash and really make a fashion statement. And for those who really want to be fashion forward, they have the camouflage, which is very, very fashionable.

Walkee Paws seems to have hit a chord with people, says Lisa, and they're getting some really good reviews on them. People are saying thank you for finally introducing something that the dogs feel comfortable wearing. And the fact that they don't fall off is a big plus for people. People talked about losing a lot of booties in the winter, which Lisa has seen plenty of stray booties that have come off dogs around New York. However, you'll never lose another booty with Walkee Paws.

Before inventing Walkee Paws and besides working for a hosiery company in South Africa, when she came to the states Lisa worked for Mattel for Fisher Price Toys. The last thing that I was involved in before she left was the Tickle Me Elmo re-launch.

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Weather Predicting Pig!
Dr. Pages Wages, Care First Animal Hospital

Dr. Page Wages and PigDr. Page Wages is a Raleigh veterinarian who loves animals so much; she has 93 on her "Funny Farm" and a Weather Predicting Pig. Elmer the Pig has some weird behavior when it's going to rain. Dr. Wages describes her big family and what she has to do every day to care for 93 animals. Growing up, she was only allowed to have a dog and a cat and she's made up for it.

On her "Funny Farm" in her backyard, Dr. Wages tells us she has a little mixture of everything. She has two pigs, eight dogs, two rabbits in the house and three outside, two cats, three goats and then all the rest are chickens, ducks and peacocks.

It takes Dr. Wages about one and one half hours every morning and every evening to feed her menagerie. Even with her full time practice. Dr. Wages said it was easy to make time to do this and that it's actually fun. She just has to get up really early and stay up really late. And of course there is the cost, but that is just a part of being a pet owner.

Surprisingly, people have never told her she was crazy to have so many animals. In fact, people come out to her "Funny Farm" to pet the animals and everybody loves it.

Most of Dr. Wages' animals have special needs of some way, shape or form, which a lot of people think is kind of neat. Dr. Debbie says that is a running joke in the vet world, because it seems that vets don't ever have animals with all their body parts. They're usually missing something!

Dr. Wages has a chicken with no legs and another chicken with a prosthetic leg. Chicken Little, the chicken with no legs, was brought to her by Animal Control. He was so tiny; no one felt he would live. However, Chicken Little is four now, but he never grew any legs. So when it rains a lot, he can't get off the ground and has to come inside, or if it's too cold outside he comes inside. Even though he is on the ground, he plops around and has a girlfriend. He also has a small house so they can go in and out and he does just fine. Chicken Little's other girlfriend just died from old age and so Dr. Wages had to find a new girlfriend for him because he got really lonely, as the other chicken picked on him.

As well as all her chickens, Dr. Wages has a weather predicting pig. Dr. Wages has two pigs, a male and female both neutered and spayed. One day the male, Elmer, started carrying sticks and making a pile by the door when he was outside. Dr. Wages looked this up in the Farmer's Almanac, which stated that pigs will start carrying sticks around if it's going to be a cold winter. And they did have a horrible winter last year. Elmer has started doing it again this year. He does it about a week or two before they have a really bad cold snap or a really bad snowstorm, which is odd for North Carolina anyway. Elmer is now her weather predicting pig and has basically been correct every time so far. However, now her back porch is full of giant piles of sticks.

Dr. Wages is very involved in community service and spends seven months out of the year training students and others interested in missions. She leads four mission trips annually, working with the Native Americans and Christian Veterinary Mission. Her mission work involves working with the Cherokee in NC, Yup'ik in Alaska villages and the Navajo.

ABC 11 from North Carolina did a story on him on predicting the weather recently, and you can view the video here.

Black Widow Spiders Poisonous to Pets - Dr. Debbie

Dr. Debbie WhitePet Threats Come in All Sizes
Our doggie family ambled along on our typical morning walk along the community trail. With a family of two Labradors and a Yorkie mix, my crew is always up for fun and they investigate anything and everything.

Sometimes it's a crunchy cockroach snack or the fortunate edible remnant in a discarded candy wrapper. My dogs enjoy the "date game" where they snatch up shriveled fruit fallen from date palms, crunching away before the mom and dad notice. And sometimes it's a half-hearted game of chase with an unsuspecting rabbit. A more gut wrenching episode once involved my Labrador ingesting a rat with tail slipping down his gullet like a piece of spaghetti. My furry kids are professional trouble finders so I try to keep a watchful eye for things that make them go "Oooh," and make me go "Ugh!"

Female Black Widow Spider
While walking along the pedestrian pathway we came upon today's discovery - spiders and lots of them living in the recesses of a block wall. The hairs on my arm stood up as my Yorkie mix approached their lair. I recognize what these spiders are and what could happen to a 16-pound pup.

The long legged spiders were over 1 1/2" in length, black in color with a distinctive orange hourglass mark on its underbelly. Meet the black widow spider, a common arachnid found in every state in the U.S. except Alaska.

The Black Widow Bite
Black widow spiders contain a potent neurotoxin that causes pain, swelling and can lead paralysis. Female black widows are the dangerous ones, while the males rarely ever bite. While some black widow bites go unnoticed, others cause immediate pain at the site or result in pain at the nearest lymph node. Pain intensity reaches its maximum within 1 to 3 hours after the bite, but can last up to 48 hours.

Symptoms of a black widow bite appear within 8 hours after bite an include muscle twitching, restlessness, rigid abdomen and difficulty breathing. Symptoms may result in high blood pressure, a racing heart rate, seizures and collapse. Dogs are more resistant to a black widow bite, but still can suffer serious illness. Cats are very sensitive to the toxins and can suffer fatalities.

Symptoms of black widow bite include:

Black Widow Spider- Pain and numbness around bite site
- Anxiety
- Racing heart rate
- Muscle pain and stiffness, especially abdominal muscles
- Difficulty breathing
- Paralysis
- Seizures

Treatment for Black Widow Spider Bite
Call your veterinarian if you suspect your pet was bitten by a black widow. Initial home emergency care of a black widow bite may include ice packing bite area and oral antihistamines like Benadryl. Your veterinarian will need to see your pet to evaluate and treat the more serious symptoms. Treatment may include medications to control muscle spasms and seizures. Blood pressure and blood sugar are monitored and intravenous fluids may be administered. An antivenin is available for more serious confirmed cases of black widow bite.

Avoidance of spider habitats is the best prevention. These eight-legged critters favor dark recesses both indoors and outdoors. Look for cobwebs with a distinctive funnel-shaped opening at the top. And keep a close eye on your dog when out exploring. Inquire about spider control methods with your pest control company.

With pet noses so close to web level, the risk of black widow bites is just natural to being a dog. Our morning spider encounter ended without any drama, thankfully. After one firm "No!" my doggies retreated to unearth some other lucky find. Here's to hoping it doesn't involve any rats or bugs next time.

Featured veterinarian known as "Dr. Debbie" on national pet radio program, Animal Radio. Ebook author of "Yorkshire Terriers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Pugs: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Mini Schnauzers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; and "Shih Tzu: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend." Dr. Debbie's books.

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Animal Radio News - Lori Brooks

Lori and Flo BearMice Talk
Rodents spend all day talking to each other, but what are they really saying? We can't hear many of their vocalizations because they're so high pitched. However, two young scientists at the University of Washington School of Medicine have developed a software program called DeepSqueak, which takes mice communications and transforms them into an image or sonogram. One of the inventors investigates complex behaviors relating to stress and addiction, while the other inventor's specialty is studying the psychological aspects of drugs. Their program will allow them to study the effects of medications and the side effects of addictive drugs and medications that can help addicts. Interesting side notes from their research so far: mice have about 20 different calls or types of communication; the mice are happiest when they're playing or getting sugar; and when male mice get together, they tend to repeat the same calls over and over and over. However, when they sense a female mouse nearby, their vocalizations are more complex, as if they are singing a courtship song.

Russia Puts New Animal Laws Into Place
Russian President Vladimir Putin is a big animal lover, so it's no surprise that he signed new animal welfare laws. The laws include banning petting zoos and animal fights. It also banned the killing of stray animals, which must instead be captured and placed in shelters. It also stated that only domestic animals can be kept as pets at home with no exotic pets allowed. Dog owners in Russia must also walk their pets only in specially designated places and clean up their waste. And, dogs of potentially dangerous breeds when walked in public must be on a leash and wearing a muzzle. Also, when those stray animals are captured and taken to a shelter, they can only be captured out of sight of children and it must be recorded for public review.

Alexandra BlackRegulation Needed on Keeping Exotic Animals in Private Facilities
A lion killed a young female intern at a North Carolina wildlife center a few years ago when the lion got loose while she was cleaning his enclosure. That tragic accident has put a new focus on how keeping exotic animals in private facilities is regulated by the state. It turns out that North Carolina is one of just four states in the nation with very few or no laws for keeping wild animals like lions, bears and primates in captivity. The three other states that have little or no regulations on the ownership of exotic animals are Alabama, Wisconsin and Nevada.

Having A Pet Can Make You a Successful Leader
We all know that vision, forward thinking, risk-taking, determination, hard work, dedication and a good game plan are what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. However, something else isn't so well known also helps. According to a study (which was conducted for Banfield Pet Hospitals), having a pet, it doesn't matter what kind or breed, can actually help people become successful and better company leaders. The research found that behind most C-suite executives (which are the CEO's, CFO's, COO's), is a pet. In a survey of 857 people with the word Chief in their title, 93-percent said that their childhood was filled with pets. Eighty-three percent of them grew up with a dog; 59-percent grew up with a cat and 37-percent grew up with pets like birds, rabbits or rodents. But regardless of what kind of animal or pet, the leaders agreed their childhood companions taught them valuable lessons such as responsibility, empathy and creativity and these qualities have supported them in their ability to thrive as leaders in the workplace.

Coyote in NeighborhoodCoyote Mating Season
You may notice more coyotes in your neighborhood. So how do you keep your pets safe? Experts in wildlife say wave your arms in big circles and yell at them or perhaps throw a stick or some stones, not to hit the animal, but near it, to give the coyote a healthy fear of humans. You should know that coyotes see dogs as a competitor in their territory, so keep your dog close to you whenever you are walking them outside, especially at night. One expert suggests taking something with you on walks to scare coyotes away. Consider putting some coins in a soda can to shake and make loud noise. Another tip is to keep your yard clean so you avoid attracting coyotes. If your birdseed is getting scattered all over the place, that can attract other animals like squirrels or rats, which are prey species for the coyotes. If you see a coyote that looks injured or needs help, you should leave it alone and contact the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in your area.

EarListen to the entire Podcast of this show (#1126)

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