Free Transport To Save Animals' Lives
Kathleen Quinn Charleston, Pilots N Paws
Over 3,000 volunteer pilots fly 250-mile jaunts to bring adoptive animals to new homes or shelters. This non-profit agency regularly moves animals from dogs and cats to donkeys, all at no charge. Kathleen Quinn Charleston, Executive Director, explains the Pilots N Paws' mission.
Pilots N Paws was founded in 2008 by animal-lover Debi Boies and pilot Jon Wehrenberg. The idea first took flight when Jon agreed to help Debi by flying a rescued Doberman from Florida to South Carolina, to save the dog's life. The trip was a success and the two brainstormed on how to rescue other animals. Spay/Neuter campaigns in parts of the country were working, while in others parts, primarily in the south, pet overpopulation was still a huge problem. There had to be a way to turn a problem into a solution. Former pets were dying needlessly. They needed transport out of there.
The great thing about plane transport is that pilots can cover longer distances a lot faster. Most pilots fly an average of 250 miles each. So if there is a transport of around 800 miles, there will be a relay of around 3 pilots to complete the transport. If the transport were being done by car, it could take 10-12 drivers, all driving one-hour increments, because they of course have to turn around and make their way back home. This leaves a lot of room for error in having to rely on so many people. Plus, these animals are already stressed; so flying reduces the number of people that they have to deal with.
Most of the animals transported are rescues and they are usually coming from a kill type of situation (shelters that kill because of over-population). The animals may be transported to a no-kill shelter or even directly to an adoptive family.
While most people think Pilots N Paws only transport dogs, the also fly cats, guinea pigs and boa constrictors, anything that needs to be rescued. Their strangest transport was when a pilot transported two small donkeys, but they had to turn down a request to fly a Lion, because they didn't have a plane big enough. They also transport service animals and working military dogs.
Pilots N Paws currently has over 4,200 volunteer pilots and they now fly more than 15,000 rescue animals each year, with volunteers in all 50 states. This unfortunately is not cheap. If you are a pilot and would like to help, or if you would like to make a donation, please visit their website.
How To Tell If Your Pet's In Pain
Dr. Annie Forslund, Home Pet Euthanasia of Southern California
Dogs and cats generally don't exhibit pain. This is a trait designed mostly to protect them in the wild. However, research now shows that when they are alone in a room they do show signs of pain, until someone enters the room. Dr. Annie Forslund tells us how to recognize pain in our pets.
Dr. Forslund explains that it's not that pet owners are mean or that they don't take care of their pets, its just because they don't know how tell if their animal is in pain. A pet is not going to cry, moan or whine, unless it's pretty unbearable.
No one knows why pets don't cry out in pain, but in Dr. Forslund's estimation, she believes it is a survival mechanism and they are built tough. In the wild, if they display any sign or weakness or pain, they set themselves up to a predator or for their own pack leader, who will end things very quickly. This is just nature's way of being kind so that the suffering is not prolonged.
However, in domesticated pets, we provide them with shelter and food as well as medical care, which is fine, but in an already tough species, it prolongs their suffering if their pain is not controlled properly.
It is very important to recognize little signs that will tell you if your pet's in pain. Dr. Forslund fills us in on some of the signs she suggests to look out for:
- drooping head or ears
- lack of appetite
- neglecting treats
- disinterest in favorite toy
- tucked tail
- eye whites show prominently (caused by facial tension)
- frequent shifting when resting and waking up at night
- compulsive licking of a body part
- isolation and lack of interest in surroundings
Dr. Forslund tells us of a very interesting study that was done on pets that recently underwent a spay surgery. While a spay appears to be a very routine and mild surgery, it is an abdominal surgery and is actually a major surgery. Dr. Forslund tells us when she was in school many years ago, they were not told to use pain medication on a post-op for a routine surgery. It was felt at that time that animals did not feel pain like humans do, but we now know they do. The healing process can also be delayed if pain is not controlled.
For the study, they put a group of animals that had recently been spayed in rooms with cameras so they could be observed. These animals showed some signs of pain, such as a droopy head and ears, the pet might be seen licking the surgical area, or their head was downcast to possibly protect the painful surgery area. However, the moment that a caretaker entered the room, the pet instantly changed their attitude and acted like there was nothing wrong at all. Their tail started wagging and they greeted the caretaker. All of a sudden, all signs of pain were gone.
Dr. Forslund graduated from the University of Montreal in 1990. She moved to California in 1996 and while practicing veterinary Medicine she trained as a grief counselor and acquired 14 years of experience in that field. Seeking to combine her two major passions and utilizing her special connection with animals, she created Home Pet Euthanasia of Southern California and dedicated her practice to helping families faced with the very difficult time that the loss of a pet brings.
Protect Your Small Pet From Attacks
Johnny Dumas, Spike Bite
The "Spike Bite Pet Protector" is a new lightweight vest for your pet that can stop an attack from another animal instantly. There are an estimated 4.5 million dog bites each year to humans and an estimated 1 million attacks on pets from other animals. Smaller dogs are the prime target from a larger dog or dogs attack each other for dominance and territory.
Smaller dogs are also at a greater risk for attacks from coyotes, wild cats, and of course larger dogs if they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many people have had their pets killed from wild animals and they wished they would have had a way to protect their pet. Losing a pet is almost like losing a child or a loved one for millions of people in today's world.
So how did Johnny come up with this idea? He lives in an area where there are many coyote attacks. He states these coyotes are a hybrid species, mixed with a grey wolf 20 years ago, creating a species that is capable of hopping a 17-foot tall fence. Lately, they have been hopping into yards and taking pets.
One day Johnny was planning to take his small dog out for a walk, when his mother asked what he would do in case of an attack? Johnny replied, "I will make him a porcupine vest!" As soon as the words came out of his mouth, Johnny knew he was on to something.
When Johnny went to look for a product such as this, he couldn't find anything that would protect his small dog. So, he invented the Spike Bite Pet Protector.
The key to the Spike Bite vest is that it has firm foam pads that are in a bright or florescent color (so you will know where the spikes are) and inside the foam pad there is a bed of spikes that are pointed into a blunt point. The foam pads are positioned in the most vulnerable areas for maximum protection. A pet owner may pick up their pet and hold them easily and does not have to worry about poking themselves with the spikes. It is also fluorescent to reflect the light at night.
The vest covers the most vital areas like the jugular, the ribs, back and stomach. Don't worry; your pet will not be walking around with spikes all over his body! It also only weighs 6 ounces, so it won't weigh down your dog.
When an animal attacks the pet, the attacker will bite into the foam pads. When the mouth bite presses down, the spikes attack the mouth of the animal. This stops an attack immediately and can save the pet's life in many cases. It also provides an opportunity for the pet to escape and for the owner to help save their pet.
Multiple Cats, Stress & Illness - Dr. Debbie
Caring for one cat is easy. Adding a second or third doesn't take much more work. But how many cats are too many? As the number of cats in a home increase, there is greater risk of behavior and health disorders - partly due to higher stress. Problem behaviors like hissing, chasing and soiling outside the litter box are more common in multi-cat homes. But environmental stress contributes to medical disorders too. That's right - stress will make your cat sick.
Defining Feline Stress
Crowding within a home zone creates psychological stress for cats. Cats are social creatures, but don't form social structures like dogs or people. They require room to be away from fellow cats and retreat to their own space. But just having more square footage isn't enough. Cats require a multi-dimensional environment with vertical perching sites and hiding spots.
Household activity, changes in the home and the presence of outdoor cats nearby can rile up your cat's stress level. It's easy for cat owners to fail to detect clues of cat stress in the multi-cat household. A majority of cat communication is nonverbal, so even if you don't hear growling or hissing, your cats can be stressed out.
Even mealtime can be stressful. A study of feral cats has shown that cats hunt and eat their prey preferably away from other cats. Feral cats eat up to 10 to 20 times throughout the daytime and night. So kibble offered to pet cats in a large communal bowl once to two times a day is contrary to innate kitty dining behaviors.
Just as in people, the mind-body connection is at work in cats too. Higher stress results in higher levels of compounds that result in bodily inflammation and suppress immune responses.
Feline interstitial cystitis, also referred to as feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC), is an inflammatory problem of the bladder typified by frequent urinations, straining to urinate, and bloody colored urine. The cause of FIC isn't completely known, but stress is believed to contribute to its development. Cat owners are shocked to learn that those bloody urine accidents may have nothing to do with bacteria, and everything to do with stress.
Other stress related health problems include excess grooming behaviors, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and obesity. Cats in high-density living situations may be prone to upper respiratory outbreaks even if residing solely indoors. Stress and an indoor lifestyle have also been implicated in contributing to obesity, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, and dental disease.
What to Do
It's not that you can't have multiple cats, but you need ensure you can provide the environment for more cats. Consider the feline perspective with living space, feeding, and interaction with other animals and people.
Add cats to the home that share similar personalities. A rowdy cat gets along best with other rowdy cats. A timid cat may be stressed out and fail to thrive in a home where fellow cats are outgoing or rambunctious cats.
Work toward household harmony by following the basic guidelines in resources. Provide ample resources to avoid competition, and therefore stress. Provide one more resource than the number of cats in the home. For two cats you should have three litter boxes and three feeding/watering sites.
Vertical height equals safety to cats, so provide ample perching sites for cats, such as cat trees and window perches. Stick to the rule for one more perching site than kitty in the home. Provide hiding spots like paper bags or cardboard boxes.
Promptly address feline behavior problems when they arise by consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist.
For more information on enriching your indoor cat's environment, visit the Indoor Pet Initiative. This resource is provided by the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
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.
Animal Radio News - Judy Francis
Find The Right Pet Match With Your Smart Phone
Finding just the right pet might be as easy as going to your smart phone. Superfish is a Palo Alto-based startup that specializes in image search. It's now created an app called PetMatch that lets you look for adoptable pets in your area based on photo technology. Here's how it works: you upload a picture of the pet you wish you could find; it might be a dog you see at the park; or maybe you want a cat just like one you used to have. If you don't have a photo, you can choose a picture from the app's internal library. PetMatch then does an image recognition search of similar, adoptable pets in your area and gives you the info to connect with the shelter or rescue that has them.
Stores Stop Selling Chinese Made Treats
A few weeks ago we talked about dogs and cats getting sick after eating treats made in China, but despite years of testing, federal authorities haven't been able to figure out what it was in the treats that's causing the problem. The FDA says the treats have been linked to reports of over 5,000 cats and dogs getting sick and over 1,000 dogs dying. Now, both Petco and PetSmart say they aren't going to wait to find out what's wrong, they're going to stop selling Chinese-made treats. Since the reports began, both chains have been cutting down on Chinese-made treats and both say they'll now expand their line of American-made products along with treats made in New Zealand, Australia and South America.
What Type of Pest Control Do You Choose For Your Pets?
Now that the weather is getting warmer, you have to start worrying about fleas, ticks and mosquitoes feasting on your pets. There are plenty of products out there. So how do you choose? An online survey sent to newsletter subscribers of dogchannel.com asked 2,700 dog owners whether they preferred using a topical product that kill pests through contact or oral treats that only kill fleas and ticks after they bite the animal. Overwhelmingly, dog owners gave topical treatments the thumbs up. In fact, 84-percent said they use them over the oral products. The survey was part of dogchannel.com's "Why Wait for the Bite?" campaign.
Scientists keep on finding ways that animals and humans are more alike than different. The latest, that certain dogs, just like certain people, carry a gene mutation that results in little or no pigment to the eyes, skin and hair. Researchers at Michigan State University found that Albino Doberman's share the exact genetic mutation as people with albinism. And just like people with the condition who have a high sensitivity to sunlight, canines with the mutated genes also have a higher risk of developing skin tumors, much more than normal white dogs.
Dog Bites Reach Epidemic Proportions
You've probably seen that amazing video on YouTube of the family cat saving a 4-year-old boy from an attack by a neighborhood dog. Turns out, the American Humane Association says that the dog bite situation is at epidemic proportions. Every year, over 4.5-million Americans are bitten by dogs. More than half of them are children. And these bites aren't always coming from the type of dogs you might think. Even a small, mild-mannered pooch can bite. What's the solution? The Association says better education and awareness among dog owners and the public, along with better-trained dogs.
Are Our Dogs Opinionated?
Our pets watch everything we do, but do they have an opinion on it? That's the gist of a new short from first-time director Patrick Osborne and Walt Disney Animation Studios. Feast is making its world premiere at the Annecy International Film Festival. It's the story of one man's love life as seen through the eyes of his best friend and dog, Winston, and told bite by bite through the meals that they share. It will open in theaters in front of Disney's big-screen adventure "Big Hero 6" in November.
Listen to the entire Podcast of this show (#1076)