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 This Week on Animal Radio

Animal Radio for July 8, 2023  

"HERO PEOPLE OF THE WEEK" - 911 Dispatcher - Lynn Willett

Lynn Willett and Major RoscoeWhen Police Dispatcher Lynn Willett received an emergency call to check on the welfare of an elderly man, she had no idea she would end up adopting his dog. Lynn tells us her heartwarming story about a German Shepard named Sgt. Roscoe.

Lynn Willett, a police dispatcher in Milwaukee, took a call a years ago about checking on a person who hadn't been heard from in several days. When officers went out and checked on the person, they discovered that he had passed away.

One of the first things the officer asked was for Animal Control to come and pick up a German Shepherd. The dog, Sgt. Roscoe, had been with the man for days. Lynn called Animal Control and told them the situation and asked them to come pick up the dog.

When Lynn went home that evening, she couldn't stop thinking about the dog, Sgt. Roscoe, and what was going to happen to him. Lynn suspected that there probably weren't any family members who could take him because they had received calls in the past for this man, with the calls coming from his elderly mother.

Lynn then reached out to the mother to see if there was anyone who could take Sgt. Roscoe out of the pound. The mother was so distraught and was worried about the welfare of Sgt. Roscoe. She couldn't take him herself, because she lived in a retirement home.

As Lynn feared, there was no one who could take him. She then went to the pound to see how he was doing and was told that if there wasn't any family to take him, in 7 days he would be put on the "list" for euthanasia. Just because his owner died, Lynn felt that it shouldn't be a death sentence for Sgt. Roscoe.

Next, because he was a purebred German Shepherd, Lynn reached out to a German Shepherd Rescue group. Because Sgt. Roscoe was ten years old and had health problems, there wasn't any rescue group willing to take him. The groups Lynn reached said they only wanted dogs they could adopt out and stated they were not sanctuaries.

Not one to give up, Lynn called back the mother and told her she was still working on a home for Sgt. Roscoe. The mother then asked Lynn is she would bring Sgt. Roscoe to the funeral, because he was her son's best friend and had to be there.

When Lynn inquired at the shelter if she could pick him up and take him to the funeral, she was told no, "It's not like a library!"

To ensure that nothing was going to happen to Sgt. Roscoe in the meantime and to be able to take him to the funeral, Lynn filled out the adoption papers, but would still work on trying to find him a forever home. While Lynn had recently lost a dog, she wasn't ready for another dog herself, but she didn't want Sgt. Roscoe to die.

At first, Lynn was apprehensive when she went to pick up Sgt. Roscoe, as she had never met him before. She was very nervous and felt it was like a first date, and what if he didn't like her! But when Sgt. Roscoe walked into the room, he walked right up to Lynn and licked her in the face - it was as if he knew!

At the funeral, Sgt. Roscoe walked up to the front of the room and laid down by the head of the coffin and stayed there the whole time.

When they got home, Lynn continued on her quest to find Sgt. Roscoe a permanent home, but without any luck. Lynn felt that during those few days together, Sgt. Roscoe had been such a good, sweet dog, that she decided that no matter how long he had left, he could stay with her.

Lynn also felt that since Sgt. Roscoe was ten years old, he should be promoted and became "Major Roscoe."

Major Roscoe lived about two and a half years with Lynn before he passed away.

Laser Therapy on Pets
Dr. Marty Becker

Marty Becker with PuppyAnimal Radio Veterinary Correspondent Dr. Marty Becker is excited about his gadget. It's only the size of an iPhone Plus but it has multiple applications in the veterinarian's office. Could Laser Therapy be used on your pets?

Laser therapy has been around for many years and laser products can be used to treat a variety of problems ranging from arthritis, wound care, fungus, incisions, inflamed ears, skin problems, even to calm a pet.

Dr. Marty Becker has been a proponent of laser therapy and uses a Class II Laser, which is "cold" laser that he carries in his pocket. He states there are many types of lasers, and one he has never actually used is a cutting laser. However, he says many of his colleagues are using them in place of an actual scalpel.

There are also other lasers called a Class IV Laser, which are actually "hot" lasers. These laser units are usually very large and are on wheels. These lasers are usually used on wounds that won't heal, arthritis and even post-surgery on stitches to eliminate the redness and swelling around the site.

Dog Undergoing Laser TherapyDr. Becker tells us of a time he was in California and dealt with a small dog that was in a lot of pain after being mauled by a large dog. He took this Class II Laser, called an Erchonia, and put it on this dog's back. Within minutes, all of the pain subsided. The dog stopped shivering and shaking.

Another time Dr. Becker dealt with a 140-pound police dog that is normally muzzled by the officer before going to a veterinarian. The last time the dog was seen by a vet was for perianal fistulas, which is a very painful condition in their rear, and it took three people just to hold the dog down. This time, Dr. Becker decided not to muzzle the dog and give it a "fear free visit." This meant a lot of treats, soft music and pheromones. They then "hit" the dog with the laser, which at that time only required the officer to hold his head while Dr. Becker did the treatment and fed him treats.

This police dog had been treated at this office for three years and its normal resting heart rate was in the 138-140 range. However, after using the laser therapy, its resting heart rate was only 84.

Dr. Becker also tells of treating a 15-year-old cat. He says cats normally do three things: they fight; they take flight or they freeze. It is much easier for a veterinarian when a cat freezes, but unfortunately that is not always the case. This cat in particular would normally fly around the room and get in a corner and twitch his tail, ready to protect himself. When he did this, Dr. Becker "hit" him with the laser and put clipnosis on him. The Clipnosis Gentle Calming Clip mimics what a mother cat does when she picks up her kittens by the scruff at the back of their necks.

Cat Undergoing Laser TherapyAfter all of this, the cat then just laid down on the table and started kneading with his paws and purring to the amazement of his owner.

Dr. Becker states that the great thing about laser therapy is that you can literally see it working right before your eyes. You can see the cat calm down; you can see the dog calm down; and you can see the swelling go down.

Visit Fear Free Happy Homes for tips on making your home fear free and to locate a Fear Free Veterinarian near you. Go to Fear Free Pets to become certified.

Listen and Explore the Fear Free Expert Series

How to NOT Train a Dog - Dr. Debbie

Dr. Debbie WhiteOne day I was walking my dog in a community area and encountered a lady with two Shih Tzus. As we approached, her dogs rallied with barking and tugging on their leashes. I asked if her dogs were friendly, so as to decide if we could approach. The lady scowled, embraced her still barking dogs and grumbled, "Do they look like they're friendly?"

Realizing this dog owner was more unsociable than her dogs, I decided to vamoose, but not before I envisioned this blog topic - how pet owners mold unsocial dog behavior.

Unwanted doggie behavior such as lunging and barking on the leash become established when the dog owner hasn't made it clear what the appropriate behavior is, fails to correct and redirect to a more suitable behavior, or simply reinforces the undesirable behavior through actions or words. Face it - there aren't bad dogs, just poorly trained ones.

Avoid making these top 5 training mistakes:

1. Secluding Your Dog in the Backyard
Keeping your dog in lock down almost guarantees problem behaviors will develop such as biting, inter-dog aggression and phobias to anything from noises to car travel. Isolated dogs lack the experience and confidence when faced with novel situations while socialized dogs adapt easily.

I see it all the time - the dog owner prides herself in keeping her dog safe. "I didn't want Fido to catch any diseases as a pup, so I didn't let him out of our backyard till he was a year old." The overwhelming fear of infectious diseases like parvovirus causes some well-meaning owners to confine their new dog or puppy to the limits of house and yard. Even more extreme is never allowing a puppy to step foot outside until after their last puppy vaccinations! Puppies are most adaptable to new experiences between 6 and 16 weeks - this is the time to expose them to unfamiliar places, people and animals.

That doesn't mean you should take your eight week old puppy to dog parks, but rather to use good sense selecting low dog traffic areas and visiting with family and friends outside of the home that have properly vaccinated pets.

2. Skipping Obedience Training
Going to school is a must for any new dog to a home, whether a puppy or adult. No two dogs are the same, and each learns differently. Formal obedience training is a useful tool to gently reaffirm who's in charge and sets the rules in the house. Statistics show that dogs that go through formal obedience training are less apt to develop behavior problems and be relinquished to shelters.

Dog Walking on Leash3. Reinforcing Fear at the Veterinary Office
In the exam room I cringe when I see a dog owner comforting a nervous, fearful or aggressive pet. That "good boy" and pat on the head reinforces your dog's behavior, making it more likely that on the next hospital visits he'll behave the same, or worse. Some problem behaviors escalate making it difficult for the veterinary staff to examine or treat the animal. This may mean additional costs for sedation or anesthesia for routine medical needs.

It's natural for a pet owner to want to reassure a pet when he is frightened and it can be difficult to hold back the urge to soothe him. However, the best strategy is to ignore those fearful behaviors in the vet office. Don't be tempted to kiss, snuggle or hold Fido on your lap when he is misbehaving. Rather, place the dog on the floor, refocus your dog's attention to you, and cue him to "sit" or "lie down."

4. Not Using Food as a Reward
Food shouldn't just be for the taking. Don't leave food out for your dog to graze whenever he wants and don't give treats just for the sake of giving a treat. Present food and treats as a reward for good behavior such as sitting quietly, going to a pillow, or performing a trick or obedience work. This places you at the top of the household hierarchy. You become the provider of great edibles in the house, and your dog will be motivated to listen to your requests in other situations.

We all love to spoil our dogs and give treats at times. But be sure to give treats for a reason, or you will have a spoiled doggie brat on your hands.

5. Not Exercising Your Pet Enough
Inadequate exercise can result in obesity and boredom, and may lead to problem behaviors like separation anxiety, destructive chewing and excessive barking. Dogs should get 30 to 60 minutes of sustained physical activity each day for optimum mental and physical benefit. And no - letting Buffy run around the backyard during the day is not adequate exercise.

Not all breeds are cut out for all exercise - a Labrador may enjoy retrieving games or swimming, a Jack Russell terrier may thrive with jogging or Frisbee, while a Basset hound will be satisfied with a leash walk.

Your dog can't be a well-adjusted, socialized canine citizen without you, as the pet owner, taking an active role in training. Put the time in, and you'll be thanked many times over with an outgoing, friendly canine pal that can accompany you on life's adventures.

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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Joey VillaniThe Dogfather's Grooming Tip with Joey Villani

Joey received a letter from a lady who does cat rescue. Unfortunately, these cats and kittens crawl under and around cars and get covered in grease. The woman has been using Dawn Dish Detergent to clean them and wanted to know how safe it was for them., because when using Dawn, the woman also noticed that the cats' skin appear to be flaky.

Joey states that Dawn is good in a pinch. However, it is not something you want to use on a regular basis, and not more than once every 8 weeks or so. This is because it is a degreaser and will strip all of the oil out of the cats' skin. Its best if you just spot clean the greasy area with a good quality pet shampoo.

If you use a good quality pet shampoo, you can wash your pet every day if you wanted to with no problems. One quality pet shampoo that jJoey recommends is Coat Handler. You may have a problem finding it, but if you ask your local groomer, they should be able to order it for you.

Tammy Trujillo

Dog Flu Spreads
The dog flu virus has continued to make its way throughout the Midwest and has made more than 1,000 dogs sick. It's a strain of flu that experts say likely came from Asia, and since dogs here in the U.S. have never been exposed to it before, they have no immunity to it. The symptoms are very similar to the ones we get with the flu, coughing, nasal discharge, fever and loss of appetite. It's thought to be spread through nose-to-nose contact with other dogs, so dog guardians are warned to keep dogs on a leash and avoid dog parks if they are really crowded, especially if your dog is very young or very old dog and may have a compromised immune system. Humans cannot catch the dog flu.

Pets Get Into Just About Anything
It seems that no matter how careful you are, pets can get into just about anything. A five-year-old Doberman made it to the hospital just in time after she managed to get a drawer open and eat three wristwatches with leather straps. The dog's x-rays showed a bunch of watch gears, springs and other tiny parts inside her stomach. Luckily, only a few pieces had started traveling through her digestive system so veterinarians were able to do an endoscopic procedure to get most of them out. The vet said a few pieces will come out on their own, but were small enough that they wouldn't cause any problems and she would be fine.

Real Ham Bone for DogsWarning About Dynamic Pet Products' Real Ham Bone For Dogs
A man in Salem, Oregon, said ham bones killed his dog. He said he and his wife bought the ham bone at Wal-Mart and that his dog loved it and was having a great time gnawing and chewing on it. They took it away from him though when they saw part of the bone. His dog then started throwing up a while later and veterinarians found three big clumps of sharp shards of the bone in his intestinal tract. The Better Business Bureau said the ham bones for dogs is suspected of killing or hurting dogs nationwide, but that it's still available in stores. The FDA says all bones are too dangerous for dogs.

A Pet Could Be Just What The Doctor Ordered
A pet could be just what the doctor ordered if you are trying to deal with stress. Even fish can have a positive effect on people being able to relax and calm down, which is why so many doctors' offices have fish tanks. Many studies are backing up the beneficial effects of being around animals and their ability to lower heart rate and blood pressure. In one study, children with autism showed a 43-percent reduction in anxiety when they had a pet guinea pig in their classroom. In a study detailed in Science magazine, researchers found that dog guardians' brains received a dose of the "love hormone" oxytocin when they stared into their pet's eyes. This response may be part of what makes being around animals makes most of us feel so good. Another contributing factor may be that animals, unlike people, don't judge us.

Products Containing XylitolXylitol Products Are Toxic To Pets
Anyone who has a dog knows they will pretty much chew on anything they can get ahold of, but this story underscored how careful we need to be around them. A Golden Retriever somehow got ahold of a piece of gum containing Xylitol. She suffered severe liver damage and had to be euthanized. The dog had found the pack of "Ice Breaker" Lemon-flavor gum and chewed it open. Xylitol is found in all sorts of things, including sugar-free gum, sugar-free vitamins, toothpaste, peanut butter, dental floss, nasal sprays and in some baked goods. If a dog gets even as little as you'd find in a couple of pieces of gum, it can result in severe hypoglycemia, causing a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and liver failure. It's another reason to check the ingredients on the things you buy and keep ones that can be dangerous out of the reach of your pets.

Pet Store Bait-And-Switch
A pet store in Brazil teamed up with local shelters and secretly put rescue animals in place of the pricey purebred animals it usually sold, and even better, offered them free to anyone who fell in love with them. People shopping for a pet had no idea that the animals they were looking at were homeless and were shocked when they found out they could take them home at no cost. Customers quickly began to realize that there is no difference between a purebred animal and a rescue animal. The pet store said that's the message that it was trying to get across and what really matters when adopting a pet is the love that the person feels for it. It doesn't matter if the pet has a pedigree or not, or if it costs $3,000 or nothing at all.

Ear Listen to the entire Podcast of this show (#1231)

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