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 This Week on Animal Radio

Animal Radio for May 18, 2024  

Gone Hollywood
Teresa Ann Miller- 2nd Generation Animal Trainer

Teresa Ann Miller with German ShepherdSecond-Generation Hollywood Dog Trainer Teresa Ann Miller has trained dogs and other animals you see in movies and TV. She was brought up on the set while her dad worked on such notables as The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction. She'll be sharing some great stories from her experience working with animal actors.

Teresa has been working with dogs, cats, small wildlife and barnyard animals for the motion picture industry since 1983. A few of her feature film credits include, Sex Tape, Leather Weapon 1 & 2, The Nutty Professor 1 & 2, Beethoven and Babe. Her work has been seen on television in the series "Bones," "C.S.I. Las Vegas," "Desperate Housewives" and "NCIS: Los Angeles" among many others.

Teresa is also the daughter of legendary animal trainer Karl Lewis Miller, whose credits include Stand By Me, CUJO and White Dog.

As a child, Teresa tagged along with her dad while he was training animals for film and learned the trade directly from him. She said their house was the favorite house in the neighborhood, because whatever film her dad was working on at the time, he brought the animals home with him. She said you never knew what he would bring home next!

In addition to her work in Hollywood, Teresa has also worked internationally on projects in Mexico, Canada, Austria, Germany, Spain, Italy, Hungary, France, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Out of all the animals Teresa has worked with, she states that her favorite animal to work with is a pig. She says they are so comical and can quickly learn a new behavior. Because it is so unexpected of these animals to learn, it makes them fun to work with.

One of Teresa's projects was the film "White God," where she trained a cast of over 250 canines, more than any film in history. She did this with a lot of help. On their biggest day of filming with multiple dogs, she stated that there had to be at least 70 to 80 animal handlers to handle all of the dogs for the pack running scenes. This averaged out to about two to three dogs per handler.

Scene from White GodMany of the dogs used in the film were shelter dogs. The lead dog, Hagen, was actually a rescue and didn't know what a leash or even what grass was when he was selected with his identical brother for the film. Hagen had to learn everything, no only basic commands, but how to be around cars, airplanes, boats and even water.

After filming, the producers started an adoption program so that all of the dogs could find homes at the end of filming. It was a great success - all of the dogs did end up finding homes, with a lot of them going home with the crew members.

The film White God was the Winner of the Un Certain Regard Prize at the 2014 Cannes Festival. The film is a story of the indignities visited upon animals by their supposed human superiors, but it's also a brutal, beautiful metaphor for the political and cultural tensions. When young Lili is forced to give up her beloved dog Hagen because its mixed-breed heritage is deemed "unfit" by The State, she and the dog begin a dangerous journey back towards each other. At the same time, all the unwanted, unloved and so-called "unfit" dogs rise up and under a new leader, Hagen, the one-time house pet who has learned all to well from his "Masters" in his journey, through the streets and animal control centers how to bite the hands that beat him.

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Green Interactive Feeder
Dr. Roger Mugford, Company of Animals

Green Interactive FeederDr. Roger Mugford is back with the Green Interactive Feeder. This gadget will slow your dog down when it's dinnertime, preventing upset and bloat.

Dr. Roger Mugford is a Psychologist and Farmer, as well as CEO of Company Of Animals. Dr. Mugford states that engaging in good feeding practices is probably the single most significant contribution you can make to enhance the welfare of your pet.

Perhaps you have one of those dogs that gulps its food down in the blink of an eye, in just seconds. This is not good for any pet, but in dogs it can actually cause bloat, which is the second leading killer of dogs, after cancer. From the onset of bloat, you only have about 40 minutes within which to save their life.

Bloat is actually two different conditions. The first is when the stomach distends with gas and fluid. The second is when the stomach rotates on its long axis and actually flips. Bloat happens in all dogs of all ages, but usually occurs in middle-aged to older dogs and those with deep chests, like the Great Dane, the German Shepherd and the Boxer.

Signs of bloat are pacing, restlessness, salivating and trying unsuccessfully to vomit. Their stomachs may appear large and they may cry if you press on it. If you "thump" on their stomachs you may also hear a hollow sound.

With the Green Interactive Feeder, you not only decrease the chance of bloat, but also engage in the natural scavenging that dogs used to do for food and help alleviate boredom. The feeder also slows down feeding, which lets your dog actually taste his food and helps your dog feel fuller for longer.

The Green Interactive Feeder is made out of hard plastic so it is safe for indoor and outdoor use and is also completely dishwasher safe. It is available in two sizes. There is one for medium-large breeds, with a depth of 3" and a mini feeder for small breeds, with a depth of 2".

Purple Interactive FeederCats also benefit from the interactive feeder, especially those that have limited access to the great outdoors. As natural hunters, cats love to seek out and chase prey and are well known for playing with their victims. The use of the Purple Interactive Feeder helps stimulate the cat mentally, slow down his eating (great for overweight cats) and helps emulate their natural feeding style.

So scatter the desired amount of food across the Interactive Feeders and let your pets go to "work."

Dr. Roger Mugford introduced the concept of behavioral therapy to the veterinary profession by founding The Animal Behavior Centre in 1979. Since then, his referral practice is seen as the leading authority in the field and has seen more than 50,000 pets. He invented the Halti headcollar plus other training and reward based behavior aids distributed by The Company of Animals, of which he is the CEO.

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Pet Spending At All-Time High
Bob Vetere, APPA

Dog with MoneyTop Dog at the American Pet Products Association, Bob Vetere is back to explain why the pet industry is exploding and how we spend Billions of dollars on our pets. This amount covers everything from food, supplies, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, veterinary care, live animal purchases and other services.

Most of the money spent goes to food alone, as people are becoming more aware of the quality and source of food given to their animal companions. Pet food manufacturers are also offering new varieties of food for dietary preferences, medical issues, overall health, and other partialities, and pet owners are paying for these options.

Second was veterinary care. Even though visits to the vet are down, expenditures per visit continue to go up as more expensive procedures grow in popularity.

Live animal purchases (this includes adoption fees as well) has actually gone down. The reason is that the baby boomers are getting older and are not replacing their pets as they pass away.

Bob expects there to be more growth every year. The pet industry is so huge; it's bigger than movies, hardware, candy and even jewelry sales.

It seems everyone is getting on board with more and more people are quitting their white-collar jobs and coming over to the pet industry with some great new ideas.

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) is the leading not-for-profit trade association serving the interests of the pet products industry since 1958. APPA membership includes more than 1,100 pet product manufacturers, their representatives, importers and livestock suppliers representing both large corporations and growing business enterprises. APPA's mission is to promote, develop and advance pet ownership and the pet product industry and to provide the services necessary to help its members prosper.

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"HERO PEOPLE OF THE WEEK" - David Hendrickson - That's A Lot Of T-Shirts!

David Hendrickson and WilliamDavid Hendrickson is this week's Hero Person. He rescued a Chihuahua who would later be a muse for his charity work. David raised over $700,000 for small animal welfare charities by selling items from his website.

David Hendrickson, founder of Hendrick & Co., met his Chihuahua, William, when he was volunteering at a shelter. William was just a puppy who was poisoned through his mother, who was poisoned by an abuser. Unfortunately, this poison passed on to all of her puppies. Out of a litter of eight puppies, just two survived.

William's prognosis wasn't good and David was told that he would not live very long. David connected right away with William and decided to bring him home and make the last couple of days of his life terrific.

Years later, William was happy and healthy. As a result, David created Hendrick & Co. Something that started years ago with $250 and a dream, turned into an organization that raised over $700,000 for animal charities.

Hendrick & Co. is an apparel line, which includes all kinds of items such as tees, hoodies and tanks and accessories like totes and necklaces. They even have a dog collection of leashes and collars.

Dog Wearing T-ShirtHendrick & Co. works by supporting a network of non-profits, which includes supporting animal charities all over the world. These are private rescues, as they don't support any national organizations.

When a customer purchases an item from their site, for every order, Hendrick & Co. then makes a donation to a charity.

David created his company to support the local non-profits, who are really the heroes. These are the people who have full-time jobs but still manage to dedicate their lives to saving animals and rarely get any credit or support.

David is a triplet, with two other identical brothers, and states that he and his brothers grew up in a house where his parents rescued all types of animals. Besides the usual cats and dogs, at one time they had a mountain lion and his mother even had a 70-year-old tortoise.

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Dr. Debbie WhiteDizzy Old Dogs - Diagnosing Idiopathic Vestibular Disease -Dr. Debbie

I came running when I heard the crashing paw steps of my 12 year old Labrador, Magnum as he flopped and tumbled in a nervous frenzy. With head crooked to the right, Magnum's dizzy, wobbly movements resembled a carnival lover's exit from the tilt-a-whirl ride. His eyes darted back in forth in an uncontrollable movement. Many might assume Magnum suffered a stroke, and figured it was time to put the old guy to sleep. But fortunately there was hope - Magnum developed a typical case of Idiopathic Vestibular Disease.

What is Idiopathic Vestibular Disease?
Idiopathic Vestibular Disease, also known as Old Dog Vestibular Disease, is a condition commonly diagnosed in senior dogs, but also seen in cats. The term idiopathic basically means the cause is unknown. This condition affects the vestibular system and the pet's sense of balance, typically with a rapid onset of symptoms. In Magnum's case he literally was fine at the start of a television program, and was wobbly just one hour later.

Symptoms of Old Dog Vestibular Syndrome include a wobbly gait, head tilt, anxiety, panting, and an abnormal eye movement called nystagmus, a condition in which the eyes dart rapidly back-and-forth or up-and-down. In addition to mobility problems, the topsy-turvy sensation leads to nausea, vomiting, and an inability to eat or drink. Thankfully my sturdy stomached Labrador barely missed a meal during his bout.

The cause of idiopathic vestibular vestibular syndrome isn't completely known, but fortunately most dogs recovery from symptoms within 2 to 4 weeks. In some cases dogs may suffer from future bouts months to years later. Some dogs may retain a slight head tilt or unsteadiness at times.

What Can Be Done?
A veterinary examination is important to identify suspected cases of vestibular disease. Other possible causes of these symptoms could include an infectious or inflammatory condition, inner ear infection, cancer, or a brain vascular episode - a stroke-like episode. In order to rule out these potential causes, more detailed testing is needed and may include tests like a CT, MRI, and CSF tap.

Magnum With Head TiltThere isn't a cure for a vestibular episode, and some pets recover without any treatment. But other animals require supportive care including anti-nausea medications, intravenous fluid therapy, hand feeding, and physical assistance to walk and protect from household hazards.

Caring for a frightened, disoriented, wobbly, nauseated dog can be difficult. My 80 pound Labrador needed physical support to get up, walk outside and required hand feeding at times. He couldn't be left home alone without risk of injury. And because of all the hoisting, blocking collisions with furniture, and guiding away from the depths of the pool, I injured my back during his rehab time. The reality is that home care of a small or toy breed with vestibular disease is much easier than the physical demands of a assisting a large or giant breed dog.

Lessons Learned
I have seen many a patient come to my veterinary office for euthanasia after developing similar vestibular symptoms. Some pet owners assume that the severe symptoms and rapid onset mean that there is no hope and euthanasia is the only choice. I'll admit that vestibular symptoms are scary and affected pets are tough to care for at home, but if given the tincture of time, many senior dogs will eventually improve. Perhaps Magnum's story will help other pet owner's opt to pursue treatment or testing, and give time a chance to heal.

Four weeks later and Magnum was back to playing with toys and energetically bounding on walks. He still retained a slight head tilt to the right, his badge of courage as I see it. I'm thankful for his recovery and adore his charming, lovable tilted perspective of the world.

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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Tammy TrujilloAnimal Radio News - Tammy Trujillo

Pet Fit Club Competition
The PDSA is a British agency that helps pets by holding an annual Pet Fit Club competition. Pet guardians all over the U.K. sign up their overweight pets to take part in a six-month competition. During that time, the animals take part in a tailored diet and exercise program overseen by expert vets and nurses. One entry was a 3-year-old rabbit named Grace who was so fat, she actually had a double chin. Vets say that obesity in pets is way too common and can contribute to pets developing deadly conditions that can cut their lifespan such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, as well as debilitating conditions like arthritis.

Ferrets Still Unwelcome in New York City
Ferrets will continue to be unwelcome in New York City, as health officials decided not overturn a decades-long ban on them. They were considering lifting the ban for ferrets as long as they were vaccinated for rabies. A poll showed that New Yorkers were split over legalizing ferrets as pets. Thirty-nine percent agreed they should be allowed and forty-two percent were opposed. California and Hawaii are the only states that ban ferrets. Domesticated ferrets live an average of six to eight years, sleeping much of the day and spending their waking hours basically playing and getting into mischief.

Cat Riding on Hood of CarCat On A Leash On A Car
The pictures of this exploded on the Internet. The photos are of a cat on a leash on the hood of a car while it was driving around Ohio. A woman actually saw this in New Philadelphia, Ohio and took and posted the pictures. Sadly, she didn't get a shot of the car's license plate. The brown tabby with white on its chest was seen balancing itself on hood of a gold SUV. Its harness appears to be attached to the vehicle's windshield wipers. A sudden stop and the kitty could easily hang over the side of the SUV and get jammed in the wheel well.

Teaching Police How To Deal With Dogs
Utah's police department added a program to its police academy to teach cadets how to deal with pet dogs. The program was championed by Sean Kendall whose Weimaraner Geist was shot and killed by a police officer after coming into the dog's backyard looking for a lost child. Kendall starting promoting the education to prevent another dog from losing it's life. The program was designed in conjunction with the Humane Society of Utah to teach officers how to interpret dog behavior, what to do when they encounter aggressive dogs and alternatives to using force or less lethal self-defense responses.

Dog with Starbucks PuppicinoMany Restaurants Have Secret Menus For Pooches
It turns out that many well-known restaurants have secret menus that cater to your pooch. You do need to make sure that your pet can handle some human-ish food before you order for them at the drive-thru. For example, Starbucks will serve up a Puppuccino. It's a small cup filled with whipped cream for your pup. Just like with you and that Frappuccino, there's a lot of sugar and fat so you don't want to order either one every day. Dairy Queen's pup cup is a little bit of vanilla soft serve, topped with a doggie treat. Lazy Dog Cafe lives up to its name with a special rice plate that includes a cut up piece of beef. If you're on the West Coast, there's In-N-Out where you can order a Pup Patty, a plain, unseasoned burger patty with no salt, for your dog. And while sitting in the outdoor patio area of a Johnny Rockets, you can ask for a cut-up burger patty and water for your pup.

Ear Listen to the entire Podcast of this show (#1276)

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