Sunday, September 28, 2008


Something that serves to guide, point out, or otherwise facilitate reference, especially:
1. an alphabetical list of names or subjects dealt with in a book, indicating where they are referred to....

Join the rock group Chicago as they sing our readers' lament, "I've Been Searchin' So Long"....

Questions On Dogs and Cats has been published weekly since 16 May 2008 and has covered a lot of subjects during that time. From time to time, Helpful Buckeye has made reference to previous issues when discussing a current topic. With the way the issues of this blog are listed by date only on the left side of the page, the reader is left to their own devices when needing to find a particular topic. So, Helpful Buckeye decided to put together an index to make locating all of our topics a lot easier. If this arrangement is well received, the index will be updated at regular intervals for your convenience. Look it over and try it out...see how it goes...send back some feedback, OK?

Helpful Buckeye welcomes Billy Swan as he contributes his help..."If you have a problem...I can help"....

OK, we've stated the problem and here is the help. Enjoy!


Animal Volunteer Groups (Humane Societies, etc.)

  • Labor of Love Pet Beds 8/24/08
  • Abused animals 8/17/08, 9/14/08
  • Service Dogs 9/21/08


  • Excessive Barking 8/31/08
  • Discipline for Cats 8/31/08
  • Pets on Furniture 7/27/08
  • Dogs and thunderstorms 6/15/08
  • Good pet neighbors 5/23/08
  • Dog bites 5/18/08
  • Invisible fencing 9/7/08

Breeds (Cats)

  • Exotic Shorthair 8/17/08
  • Persian 8/10/08
  • Abyssinian 7/20/08
  • Siamese 7/13/08
  • Maine Coon 9/14/08

Breeds (Dogs)

  • Dalmatian 8/31/08
  • Dachshund 8/24/08
  • Beagle 7/20/08
  • Poodle 7/13/08
  • Labrador Retriever 9/7/08
  • Golden Retriever 9/21/08


  • Prince Chunk 8/31/08, 8/10/08, 8/3/08
  • University mascots 8/31/08
  • Cat Distemper 8/31/08
  • Panleukopenia 8/31/08
  • Playing with string 8/24/08
  • Catnip 8/24/08
  • Feral Cats 8/17/08
  • Rabies 8/10/08, 6/22/08
  • Dementia 8/10/08
  • Cat Scratch Fever 8/10/08
  • Getting a New Kitten 8/10/08, 7/13/08
  • Natural History 8/10/08
  • Superstitions 8/10/08
  • Gourmet Cat Food 8/10/08
  • Fleas 7/27/08
  • Tapeworms 7/20/08
  • Psychology, Laws of 7/20/08, 7/13/08, 7/6/08, 6/29/08
  • Roundworms 7/6/08
  • Intestinal parasites 6/22/08
  • Heartworms 6/8/08
  • Grooming 6/1/08


  • Dogs 8/17/08, 6/22/08

Disaster Preparedness

  • Hurricanes 8/31/08, 9/7/08, 9/14/08
  • Post 9/11 Rescue/Relief Dogs 7/13/08
  • Wildfires 6/29/08
  • Flooding 6/22/08
  • Evacuation preparations 6/8/08


  • Dog (Canine) Distemper 8/31/08
  • Cat (Feline) Distemper 8/31/08
  • Panleukopenia (Cat Distemper) 8/31/08
  • Deafness in Dalmatians 8/31/08
  • Heat Exhaustion 8/31/08, 6/1/08
  • Disk Disease 8/24/08
  • MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staph aureus) 8/17/08
  • Rabies 8/10/08, 6/29/08, 6/22/08
  • Cat Dementia 8/10/08
  • Cat Scratch Fever 8/10/08
  • Tapeworms 7/20/08
  • Hookworms 7/13/08
  • Roundworms 7/6/08
  • Intestinal parasites 6/22/08
  • Heartworms 6/8/08, 6/1/08
  • Types of Disease 6/1/08
  • Cancer 9/14/08


  • Dog Influenza 8/24/08
  • Dog Distemper 8/31/08
  • Deafness in Dalmatians 8/31/08
  • Heat Exhaustion 8/31/08, 6/1/08, 5/23/08
  • Disk Disease 8/24/08
  • Obesity 8/24/08
  • Dog-Friendly wineries 8/24/08
  • Poop Scooping Laws 8/17/08
  • Fleas 7/27/08
  • Weird Facts About Dogs 7/27/08
  • Tapeworms 7/20/08
  • Selecting a Dog 7/20/08, 7/13/08, 7/6/08
  • Hookworms 7/13/08
  • University mascots 7/13/08, 7/6/08, 6/29/08
  • Riding in bed of pick-up truck 7/6/08
  • Roundworms 7/6/08
  • Rabies 6/29/08, 6/22/08
  • Corneal Abrasions 6/29/08
  • Riding with head out of window 6/29/08
  • Anal Glands 6/29/08, 6/22/08
  • Intestinal parasites 6/22/08
  • Swimming pool safety 6/22/08
  • Thunderstorms 6/15/08
  • Heartworms 6/8/08, 6/1/08
  • Natural History 6/8/08
  • Grooming 6/1/08
  • Dog bites 5/18/08
  • Prosthetic devices 9/7/08
  • Dog “Catnip” 9/7/08
  • Working Dogs 9/14/08
  • Service Dogs 9/21/08


  • Pet Food recall 8/31/08, 8/17/08, 5/23/08, 9/14/08
  • Gourmet Cat Food 8/10/08

General Health

  • Pet Odors 8/17/08
  • Nail trimming 8/17/08, 7/6/08
  • Salmonella food poisoning 8/3/08, 7/6/08, 6/15/08
  • Fleas 7/27/08
  • Micro-Chips for ID 7/20/08
  • Diagnostic Work-Up 7/13/08
  • Tear stains on hair 6/29/08
  • Traveling with a pet 6/15/08
  • Tap water safety 6/8/08
  • Grooming 6/1/08

Persons of Interest (Medicine/Science/History)

  • James Herriot 8/31/08
  • Charles Darwin 8/31/08
  • Alexander Fleming 8/10/08
  • Gregor Mendel 8/03/08
  • Francis Crick 6/8/08
  • Oliver Sacks 6/8/08
  • Carolus Linnaeus 5/23/08

TV/Radio/Web Site Programs

  • Calling All Pets (NPR) 8/31/08
  • Cat Galaxy 8/24/08
  • Greatest American Dog (CBS TV) 7/20/08
  • Groomer Has It (Animal Planet Network) 5/23/08


  • Cat Distemper 8/31/08
  • Dog Distemper 8/31/08
  • Rabies 6/22/08
  • General importance of, 6/15/08


  • Schools of Veterinary Medicine 7/27/08
  • Choosing a veterinarian 5/18/08, 9/14/08

    ~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~

Sunday, September 21, 2008


This week, Helpful Buckeye has turned the keyboard over to me, Desperado, so that I can share some information on Therapy and Service Animals, a topic that captured my interest (and my heart) several years ago.

You see, in 2005, my 82-year-old mother transitioned from living independently to being a resident in a nursing home. Her mind was sharp, but her rapidly deteriorating physical condition necessitated around-the-clock nursing care. A few weeks after she was admitted to the nursing facility, Mom told me about “Luke,” a gentle black Labrador Retriever who came to work at the complex every day with his owner, Vickie. Luke would make the rounds with Vickie, visiting residents in their rooms and in central gathering areas.

Folks loved to talk to him, feed him healthy pet snacks, play “fetch” with him, and, of course, stroke his silky coat. Mom would tell me about Luke’s latest visit, what color of neckerchief he was wearing that day, and what his owner Vickie was up to. Every time we visited Mom, we would marvel at Luke and Vickie: How they brightened everyone’s day with warmth and laughter.

Then one day Mom was in tears when she answered her phone. Luke had died very suddenly from a brain tumor. The residents and staff shared Vickie’s grief. Many times, Mom talked about how much she missed Luke. In fact, on the last day of Mom’s life, in March of this year, she mentioned Luke.

For Mom and all of her pals in the care facility, Luke was more than a dog. He was a friend. And often, that’s what someone needs the most. James Taylor captured these sentiments beautifully in his hit from the 1971:


The terminology and definitions associated with therapy and service animals can get a little confusing. Here are the basic distinctions:
1) Service animals are legally defined in the Americans With Disabilities Act (passed by Congress in 1990), and are trained to meet the disability-related needs of their handlers who have disabilities. Federal laws protect the rights of individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by their service animals in public places. Service animals are not considered "pets."
2) Therapy animals are not legally defined by federal law, but some states have laws defining therapy animals. They provide people with contact to animals, but are not limited to working with people who have disabilities. They are usually the personal pets of their handlers, and work with their handlers to provide services to others. Federal laws have no provisions for people to be accompanied by therapy animals in places of public accommodation that have "no pets" policies. Therapy animals usually are not service animals. Mom’s friend Luke was “therapy dog.”
3) Companion animal is not legally defined, but is accepted as another term for pet.
"Social/therapy" animals likewise have no legal definition. They often are animals that did not complete service animal or service dog training due to health, disposition, trainability, or other factors, and are made available as pets for people who have disabilities. These animals might or might not meet the definition of service animals.

Service animals, usually dogs, can be further defined by the types of roles they play with their handlers: They can be Guide Dogs, Hearing Assistance Dogs, or Mobility Assistance Dogs. Each type of dog can perform a wide variety of tasks. For example:
1) Guide dogs take directional commands and institute a path of travel, indicate changes in elevation, indicate and avoid oncoming traffic, navigate around obstacles and locate and retrieve objects on command.
2) Hearing dogs are schooled to alert to the specific sounds needed by their partners, primarily in the home setting. Some hearing dogs also work outside the home, alerting to specific sounds in the public settings. Instead of barking, hearing dogs are trained to get the attention of their human partner by touch, (either a nose nudge or pawing) then the dog leads the partner to the source of the specific sound.
To learn more about hearing dogs, check out This remarkable organization rescues dogs from animal shelters throughout Oregon, Washington, and California, and then trains them to assist the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Hearing dogs are trained to alert to the sounds of fire/smoke alarms, telephones, door knocks, doorbells, oven timers, alarm clocks, and name calls. In some cases a dog may be trained for the cry of a baby.
3) Mobility assistance dogs are trained to assist people who have a wide variety of mobility impairments. Some teams have mastered up to fifty tasks. The lists of tasks in this section are a broad sampling of what tasks can help to empower, reduce or avoid pain, minimize dependency on loved ones, prevent injuries, or get help in a crisis:
Retrieve based tasks
Carrying based tasks (non retrieval)
Deposit based tasks
Tug based tasks
Nose nudge based tasks
Pawing based tasks
Bracing based tasks
Harness based tasks
Medical assistance tasks
Crisis assistance tasks
Seizure Alert Dogs, Anxiety Disorder Alert Dogs, Autism Assistance Dogs, Special Needs Assistance Dogs
A perfect example of this type of aid from a trained dog occurred on 10 September in Phoenix, AZ:

There are numerous ways that service dogs can be trained to help those that have hidden disabilities such as a seizure disorder, autism, a psychiatric disorder, a potentially life threatening medical problem, or conditions that cause chronic pain.
Click here to watch a compelling video of therapy animals at work, enhancing the lives of so many people: The video is found on the Home Page of The Delta Society, a non-profit organization that we’ll say more about later in this blog.


1) It turns out that there is a growing trend across the country to include pets of all kinds in the daily lives of people in nursing homes and senior-living communities. Dogs, cats and rabbits are roaming the halls and visiting residents, parakeets are chirping from cages in lounges and common areas. And even a kangaroo is hopping around the halls of a care facility in Salt Lake City. See a great picture of Marlee, the kangaroo and Paul, a resident at the Silverado Senior Living Community, by clicking here:

Most of the creatures in senior communities are "resident pets" or "community pets" either owned by staff members who bring them to work, or rescued from shelters to live in the facility full time and spread their love to all who reside there. Some are animals that residents brought with them.
Just a few years ago, directors of these facilities were reluctant to allow resident pets because of potential risks from bites and scratches, allergies, and liability issues. But today, research shows that those issues are overblown. In fact, negatives are far out-weighed by the positives such as these:

  • Pets are all-accepting, whether you are in a wheelchair, unable to see or hear well, or unable to talk.

  • They add excitement and spontaneity to daily lives which are often too routine.

  • They help to relax and calm residents who are agitated.

  • They draw out shy and reserved residents.

  • They give residents a focus for attention other than themselves and their own infirmities.

2) In fact, new research shows that owning a cat may cut your risk of heart attack death. So say researchers at the University of Minnesota, as reported in September 2008 AARP Magazine. During a ten-year study they found that “owners of cats were 40 percent less likely to die from a heart attack than their catless counterparts.” Feline companionship appears to reduce stress and anxiety, which are known to be harmful to the heart in many individuals. Studies on dog owners have shown similar beneficial effects.
An innovative approach to linking the elderly with pets who need loving homes is promoted by the nonprofit group, “Pets for the Elderly.” This Ohio-based organization pays up to $50 of the adoption costs—fees, medical exams, spaying or neutering—when people 60 or over adopt a dog or cat from one of 58 animal shelters in 31 states. Read more about this unique program at

3) One of the pioneering organizations to understand and promote the important bond between humans and animals is the Delta Society. It was founded in 1977 in Portland, Oregon, under the leadership of Michael McCulloch, MD. Delta's first president was Leo K. Bustad, DVM, PhD, dean of a veterinary college and a pioneer in human-animal bond theory and application. Delta's founders wanted to understand the quality of the relationship between pet owners, pets, and care givers, both human and veterinary, (hence the "delta" name based on this triangle). In the 1970s, pets were widely considered luxury possessions, not of central importance to individual health and well-being. Delta's early years focused on funding the first credible research on why animals are important to the general population and specifically how they affect health and well being. Early Delta members were primarily from the veterinary and human health professions and from university faculties.
Once the importance of animals in everyday lives was established from this research, Delta began to look at how animals can change the lives of people who are ill and disabled. In the late 1980s, Delta began creating educational materials to apply the scientific information in everyday life. Membership expanded to pet owners and a broader general public.
In the 1990s, Delta built on its scientific and educational base to provide direct services at the local level. This includes providing the first comprehensive training in animal-assisted activities and therapy to volunteers and health care professionals. A significant advance was the development of the Standards of Practice in Animal-Assisted Activities and Animal-Assisted Therapy, which provides guidance in the administrative structure of AAA/T programs, including animal selection, personnel training, treatment plan development, documentation and more. Use of the Standards of Practice in Animal-Assisted Activities and Animal-Assisted Therapy provides a sound base on which to build quality AAA/T programs.
One of Delta's strengths continues to be the development of standards-based training materials. They identify subject matter experts and work with them to create, pilot and revise, and then implement training. Using this process, The Delta Society is creating a comprehensive service dog trainer curriculum. In 2001, they published Professional Standards for Dog Trainers: Effective, Humane Principles, that provides guidelines for all dog training developed by Delta Society.
Visit Delta Society’s web site to learn more about the important work they are doing.

4) Even pet “celebrities” are getting into the service animal arena. The adorable Uno, the first beagle ever to win the coveted Best in Show Award at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in February, just completed a six-week training course for pet partners. Sponsored by the Delta Society mentioned previously, Uno’s training took place at the ASPCA in Manhattan with an ASPCA Therapy Dog Trainer, Michael Siegel. "From the moment Uno entered the training area, I felt he would be an excellent therapy pet," says Siegel. "Not because he's so adorable to look at, but because of his relaxed body language, his bright, alert eyes and his ability to acclimate immediately to new surroundings." Siegel also keenly observed Uno's affinity toward humans. "He initially focused on the handlers in the room, and secondarily on the dogs."
Read more about Uno’s graduation at


5) More animals, especially dogs, are training to be service animals for disabled veterans. The American Service Animal Society is a nonprofit organization based in Arizona, dedicated to enabling disabled veterans to live a more productive life through the use of service animals.
On their website at they state their mission and objectives:
“We at American Service Animal Society are a caring supportive, headstrong team that are dedicated to improving the liberties of the disabled. We envision a world in which disabled veterans are able to lead a happier and healthier life through the use of a service animal. We realize the need to improve awareness and education to the public as a whole. Together with your support and donations, the service animal team can succeed.”
The ASAS does not actually buy or train dogs. Rather, they do the following:

  • Provide the funding for a disabled veteran to be partnered with a trained service animal

  • Assist the disabled veteran in the selection of a qualified trainer and appropriate service animal

  • Monitor the progress of the disabled veteran and his or her dog

  • Support the disabled veteran as much as possible in caring for the service animal

  • Rescue service animals, re-partner when possible or find the animal a good non-service home

If you live in Arizona, check out WOOFSTOCK, their fundraiser coming up on November 15, 2008.
The Great Chandler Arizona Dog Walk

Bring your "Furry Friend" and walk to help disabled American Veterans!
Woofstock is a benefit to help fund the American Service Animal Society. Through donations we fund Service Animals for disabled American Veterans. This event will have 3 walking routes of different distance, food, vendors, exhibits, and a whole lot of FUN!
Saturday, November 15, 20088 AM to 12 PM

6) Several innovative programs exist that train prison inmates to train service dogs. Read more about Puppies Behind Bars, where 30 female inmates at several prisons in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut help train service dogs to assist disabled people, including veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. This is clearly a winning situation for everyone--and every puppy!

From the Gmail Bag…
We love to hear from our readers. Please email us at We usually respond directly to you by return email, but sometimes a question has broader appeal. We recently received this request from CJ in Kansas:

Dear Helpful Buckeye,
I would like to begin training dogs to be service animals. I’ve read a lot of websites that say only golden retrievers can be trained. Do you agree? Can you give me some additional information on this? CJ

Dear CJ: In case you haven’t checked out the web site of Service Dogs America, please give it a look. It is one of the best sources on how to train your own pet to be a service animal: Here are some FAQ’s from Service Dogs America that speak directly to your question:

What breeds make good Service Dogs for physically disabled people?

The short answer is Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers. Of course, there are exceptions. Dogs from the working group are easy to train but tend to be protective. Field dogs tend to be more interested in their environment than people. Small dogs can't pick up large objects or pull wheelchairs. Large dogs are difficult to put under a table at a restaurant or out of the way on a bus or plane. A good Service Dog is not protective, is people-oriented, is not overactive, and is confident but not dominant or submissive. Service Dogs should not require complex grooming.

What breeds make good Hearing Dogs?

Since most Hearing Dogs are rescued from shelters, they tend to be mixed breeds. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. The great majority of Hearing Dog applicants request small- to medium-sized dogs, so most Hearing Dogs tend to be the size of a Sheltie or smaller. In addition to size, personality and temperament are important in a Hearing Dog. They must be energetic and ready to work in an instant. They must be friendly and people-oriented. Because of these requirements, a lot of Terrier mixes are used, along with various combinations of Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus and Chihuahuas.

Why shouldn't a Service Dog be protective?

A Service Dog's job is to make disabled individuals more able, not to protect them. The dog's presence is a natural deterrent. Because disabled people take their Service Dogs into public places and many are not able to physically restrain their dogs, the Service Dog must be safe for the public. Many dogs, especially working breeds, will sense their owner's disability and vulnerability. These dogs can learn on their own to protect at inappropriate times. This problem can be compounded by people who don't recognize that they are unconsciously encouraging this behavior.

Can you recommend any books on assistance dogs and people with disabilities?

Here a just a few of the books available:
Teamwork I & II by Top Dog in Tucson, Arizona;
Partners in Independence by Ed and Toni Eames;
Lend Me an Ear by Martha Hoffman;
Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs and Declarations of Independence by John Hockenberry;
Life on Wheels: For the Active Wheelchair User by Gary Karp;
Planet of the Blind by Stephen Kuusisto;
Waist-High in the World: Life Among the Non-Disabled by Nancy Mairs;
Chelsea: The Story of a Signal Dog by Paul Ogden

How do I get my dog certified as an assistance dog?

Currently there is no national certification available for assistance dogs.

What are the benefits of certification?

Since there is no standard certification process, this would vary with the organization you chose. Some programs offer a thorough certification process that can take two or more years and could include training classes, field trips and in-home instruction. In addition to being able to take pride in what you and your dog have accomplished, as a "certified" graduate, you might receive the program's identification card and dog equipment; you may also personally train your dog to accomplish your own specific needs.


Helpful Buckeye has already discussed the Labrador Retriever in the 7 September issue.

Golden Retriever--Originally developed to retrieve downed fowl during hunting, the Golden remains one of the most common family dogs as they are easy to handle, very tolerant, happy and friendly. A low-maintenance dog, Goldens thrive on attention, regular exercise, a balanced diet, and are usually compatible with all people and other dogs. While they typically bark when startled, their friendly nature generally makes them poor watchdogs. Goldens are valued for their high level of sociability towards people and willingness to learn and are often used as guide and search & rescue dogs. And, of course, as the name indicates, the Golden loves to retrieve. Retrieving a thrown stick, tennis ball, or flying disc can keep a Golden occupied and entertained for hours.

A Final Thought
I really enjoyed learning more about service and therapy animals. In addition to the great organizations I’ve spotlighted here, there are many more that promote the therapeutic interaction between humans and animals.
Most of these organizations are non-profit. They rely heavily on donations to continue their good works. Helpful Buckeye and I have found that these are great organizations to donate to in memory or in honor of friends and loved ones. When my Mom passed away, several of our relatives donated to Dogs for the Deaf in her memory and I am sure Mom would be very happy with that donation.

~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Early coal mines did not feature ventilation systems, and the miners would have difficulty detecting any build-up of methane and carbon monoxide gases. Since canaries are especially sensitive to these gases, miners would routinely bring a caged canary into new coal seams they were working. As long as the canary in a coal mine kept singing, the miners knew their air supply was safe. A sluggish or dead canary in a coal mine signalled the need for an immediate evacuation. Because canaries tend to sing much of the time, they provided both a visual and audible cue in this respect. Even as gas detection technology improved, some mining companies still relied on the 'canary in a coal mine' method well into the 20th century, 1987 in Britain. Other animals were used occasionally, but only the canary had the ability to detect small concentrations of gas and react instinctively. Today, the practice of using a canary in a coal mine has become part of coal mining lore, but the ideology behind it has become a popular expression. The phrase "living like a canary in a coal mine" often refers to serving as a warning to others. This little tidbit of history will later tie into one of our stories of current interest.

Helpful Buckeye continues to receive numerous e-mails from our readers covering many of our topics, but you shouldn't ignore the option of returning a "comment" directly to the blog. This subject was addressed many weeks ago after a reader inquired about posting a comment (Sherri from PA); however, the process has recently been streamlined and simplified, so you might want to try it. At the end of each week's post, click on "comments"...this produces a box in which you can type your comment/question. Check the space for "anonymous" (although you are welcome to include your name and location)...then click on "publish your comment." Helpful Buckeye has chosen to be able to moderate these published comments before including them in the blog...this helps eliminate the problem of SPAM comments. If you approve having your comment published, say so and include what name and location you would like to be used. If you want to stay anonymous, say so and your comment will still be published, if appropriate to the blog. Go ahead and send an e-mail, or post a comment, ask a question, make an observation, offer a critique...Helpful Buckeye will welcome all forms of communication.


1) In the 17 August 2008 issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats, Helpful Buckeye reported on the rescue of 363 animals from a filthy southwest Missouri property. As is frequently the case, these unfortunate stories take on a positive twist when caring people step in and accept the challenge of nurturing these abused animals. This past week, the Arizona Republic reported that 28 Beagle dogs from that group have been placed in foster homes in order to be prepared for adoption to local residents: least, a partial good ending to a sad story!

2) Dogs will swallow just about anything, as any small animal veterinarian will attest. One of Helpful Buckeye's colleagues worked on a dog way back in Veterinary School that had swallowed a small butcher-type knife, blade first. On a more modern slant of this story comes this news item from South Africa:

Dog back home after cell phone surgery ----------PRETORIA, South Africa - A Pretoria, South Africa, family said their dog underwent a $700 surgery after he swallowed a cell phone whole. Marie Matthews, 67, said her daughter Driekie Boojens was feeding the family dog, a Doberman-Great Dane mix named Nero, when the canine snatched the cell phone from her hand and swallowed it whole, The Daily Telegraph reported Monday. "My daughter screamed terribly because we were scared that Nero would die," Matthews said. The family took Nero to a local animal clinic where the cell phone showed up on an X-ray of the large dog's stomach. Matthews and she and her husband, Archie, shelled out $737 for an operation the following day to remove the phone -- which she said had to be thrown out -- from the 11-year-old dog's stomach. "They not only found the cell phone, but also a lot of stones," she said of the operation.Matthews said the family is just happy to have their dog back at home. "He is my life, like one of my children," she said.

No word on whether Nero had made any long distance calls while "holding" the phone....

3) Just 2 weeks ago, the Food and Drug Administration reported that almost 6000 claims had been received stemming from last year's massive pet-food recall. Then, just yesterday, the FDA sent out this news release:

Mars Petcare US Issues Voluntary Recall of Everson, PA Plant Dry Pet Food Product due to Potential Salmonella Contamination
Contact:Debra Fair(973) 691-3536
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Franklin, Tennessee -- September 12, 2008 -- Today, Mars Petcare US announced a voluntary recall of products manufactured at its Everson, Pennsylvania facility. The pet food is being voluntarily recalled because of potential contamination with Salmonella serotype Schwarzengrund. This voluntary recall only affects the United States.
Salmonella can cause serious infections in dogs and cats, and, if there is cross contamination caused by handling of the pet food, in people as well, especially children, the aged, and people with compromised immune systems. Healthy people potentially infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. On rare occasions, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.
Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Animals can be carriers with no visible symptoms and can potentially infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.
The company stopped production at the Everson facility on July 29, 2008 when it was alerted of a possible link between dry pet food produced at the plant and two isolated cases of people infected with Salmonella Schwarzengrund.
Even though no direct link between product produced at Everson and human or pet illness has been made, Mars Petcare US is taking precautionary action to protect pets and their owners by announcing a voluntary recall of all products produced at the Everson facility beginning February 18, 2008 until July 29, 2008 when we stopped production.
The company is continuing to work collaboratively with the FDA to determine the nature and source of Salmonella Schwarzengrund at the Everson facility. Since it has not yet identified the source of the Salmonella Schwarzengrund at the Everson facility, Mars Petcare US does not plan to resume production out of a commitment to the safety of our pet owners and their pets, customers, and associates.
The top priority of Mars Petcare US has always been and continues to be the health and welfare of pets and their owners. Consumers can continue to have confidence in the quality and safety of the products produced at other Mars Petcare US facilities. Only those products which were produced at the Everson facility are impacted by the voluntary recall.
Many of the brands involved in the recall are national brands produced at multiple facilities. A chart for all products is below. For example, PEDIGREE® is manufactured in numerous facilities throughout the country, and Everson represents a very small portion of the manufacturing base – 2.7 percent of total PEDIGREE® production.
Mars Petcare US will work with retail customers to ensure that the recalled products are not on store shelves. These products should not be sold or fed to pets. In the event that consumers believe they have purchased products affected by this voluntary recall, they should return the product to the store where they purchased it for a full refund. Specific product details and other information can be found at
Please find recalled pet food UPC information below.
The products listed below are made at our Everson facility on behalf of a variety of retailers. All code dates, with the exception of PEDIGREE®, are listed in a similar format as noted below:Consumers should look for “17” as the first two digits of the second line. Sample:Best By Feb 18 0917 1445 1
For PEDIGREE® the Everson code date format is as follows:
Consumers should look for “PAE” on the bottom line – the sixth, seventh and eighth digits. Sample:PEDIGREE ® Small Crunchy BitesBest Before 02/2009808G1PAE01 12:00
In an effort to prevent the transmission of Salmonella from pets to family members and care givers, the FDA recommends that everyone follow appropriate pet food handling guidelines when feeding their pets. A list of safe pet food handling tips can be found at:
Pet owners who have questions about the recall should call 1-877-568-4463 or visit

If pet-food scares are going to become more common, perhaps pet owners would be wise to have a "canary in the coal mine" as a way of getting an early warning of a problem in the making. A just-published book, Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine, by Marian Nestle, does just that, according to the publisher, University of California Press:

Marion Nestle, acclaimed author of Food Politics, now tells the gripping story of how, in early 2007, a few telephone calls about sick cats set off the largest recall of consumer products in U.S. history and an international crisis over the safety of imported goods ranging from food to toothpaste, tires, and toys. Nestle follows the trail of tainted pet food ingredients back to their source in China and along the supply chain to their introduction into feed for pigs, chickens, and fish in the United States, Canada, and other countries throughout the world. What begins as a problem merely for cats and dogs soon becomes an issue of tremendous concern to everyone. Nestle uncovers unexpected connections among the food supplies for pets, farm animals, and people and identifies glaring gaps in the global oversight of food safety.

With increasing publicity of pet food contaminations, it wouldn't surprise Helpful Buckeye if more readers don't consider going the route of Rachel Ray, from last week's blog issue, and start preparing food for their pets.

4) Reminiscent of a similar story in Louisiana recently, the state of Texas is being lambasted by Hurricane Ike which made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 13, 2008. In what is the largest evacuation in Texas history, approximately a third of the state is being evacuated, including the state's entire Gulf Coast. From the AVMA, came this call for help:
Texas Veterinarians Call for Help in Aftermath of Hurricane Ike
—The Texas Veterinary Medical Association Foundation is sending out an immediate call for funding to assist them with the purchase of fuel for generators delivered to veterinary clinics hardest hit by Hurricane Ike. Those wanting to assist in this effort can call the Texas Veterinary Medical Association Foundation at 512-452-4224. Hurricane Ike, the largest hurricane to touch United States soil since Hurricane Katrina, made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 13, 2008. Due to massive power outages in that area expected to last through the week, the Texas Veterinary Medical Association is delivering generators to veterinarians in hard hit Orange County.
People wishing to help are encouraged to be sure that any organization they donate money to is not just a political organization but one that uses donations to actually help save, treat and house animals and those who take care of them during emergencies. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) is one such group, offering grants to help fund disaster preparedness efforts, educating the public, providing disaster training, and reimbursing veterinarians for their out-of-pocket expenses on medical supplies, and also offering grants to help rebuild veterinary clinics destroyed in a disaster like a hurricane. Make donations to the Animal Disaster Relief and Response Fund by calling the AVMF at (800) 248-2862, ext. 6689 or visit

Any Comments, please send an e-mail: or post a comment at the end of this issue.


Following the recent multi-network program on progress in the fight against cancer, Helpful Buckeye has received several questions on cancer in dogs and cats. The American Veterinary Medical Association offers a question and answer pamphlet on what you should know about cancer in animals:

What is Cancer?
Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells on or within the body. Cancer may be benign or malignant. It may be localized or it may invade adjacent tissue and spread throughout the body.

How Common is Cancer?
Cancer is common in pet animals and the incidence increases with age. Cancer accounts for almost half of the deaths of pets over 10 years of age. Dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans, while cats get fewer cancers.

How is it Diagnosed?
Strong circumstantial evidence of cancer can be attained from x-rays, blood tests, ultrasonography, the pet's physical examination and medical history. Most cancers, however, will require a biopsy (a removal of a piece of tissue) for confirmation that cancer exists and to grade the level of severity from benign to aggressively malignant.

Is Cancer Preventable?
Unfortunately, the cause of most cancers is not known and, therefore, prevention is difficult. Early detection and treatment are the best ways to manage cancer in pets.

Common Types of Cancer in Pets
Skin - Skin tumors are very common in older dogs, but much less common in cats. Most skin tumors in cats are malignant, but in dogs they are often benign. Your veterinarian should examine all skin tumors in a dog or cat to determine if any are malignant.
Breast - 50% of all breast tumors in dogs and greater than 85% of all breast tumors in cats are malignant. Spaying your female pet between 6 and 12 months of age will greatly reduce the risk of breast cancer. Surgery is the treatment of choice for this type of cancer. Follow up treatment may be recommended.
Head & Neck - Cancer of the mouth is common in dogs and less common in cats. Signs to watch for are a mass on the gums, bleeding, odor, or difficulty eating. Since many swellings are malignant, early, aggressive treatment is essential. Cancer may also develop inside the nose of both cats and dogs. Bleeding from the nose, breathing difficulty, or facial swelling are symptoms that may indicate cancer and should be checked by your veterinarian.
Lymphoma - Lymphoma is a common form of cancer in dogs and cats. It is characterized by enlargement of one or many lymph nodes in the body. A contagious feline leukemia virus can be the cause of lymphoma in some cats. Chemotherapy is frequently effective in controlling this type of cancer.
Feline Leukemia Complex - The feline leukemia virus is contagious among cats and will occasionally cause different types of cancer. It is not contagious to humans. While a great deal of research is ongoing, no consistently effective treatment is presently available for virus-positive cats.
Testicles - Testicular tumors are rare in cats and common in dogs, especially those with retained testes. Most of these cancers are preventable with castration (neutering) and curable with surgery if done early in the disease process.
Abdominal Tumors - Tumors inside the abdomen are common but it is difficult to make an early diagnosis. Weight loss or abdominal enlargement are signs of these tumors.
Bone - Bone tumors are most often seen in large breed dogs and rarely in cats. The leg bones, near joints, are the most common sites. Persistent pain, lameness, and swelling in the affected area are common symptoms of the disease.
Many of the above signs are also seen with noncancerous conditions but they still warrant prompt attention by a veterinarian to determine the cause. Cancer is frequently treatable and early diagnosis will aid your veterinarian in delivering the best care possible.

How is Cancer Treated?
Each type of cancer requires individual care and may include a combination of treatment therapies such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, cryosurgery (freezing), hyperthermia (heating) or immunotherapy. Once you have a diagnosis, your veterinarian will discuss the best treatment option(s) for your pet. In some instances, your veterinarian may refer you to a board-certified oncologist (cancer specialist) depending upon the recommended course of treatment.

What is the Success Rate?
This strongly depends upon the type and extent of the cancer, as well as the aggressiveness of therapy. Some cancers can be cured and almost all patients can be helped to some degree.
Your veterinarian will have a betterchance to control or cure your pet's cancer if it is detected early.
This brochure was developed with assistance from the Veterinary Cancer Society.

10 Common Signs of Cancer in Small Animals

  • Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow

  • Sores that do not heal

  • Weight loss

  • Loss of appetite

  • Bleeding or discharge from any body opening

  • Offensive odor

  • Difficulty eating or swallowing

  • Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina

  • Persistent lameness or stiffness

  • Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating

Resources for More Information American Veterinary Medical Association

American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

Veterinary Cancer Society

Any Comments, please send an e-mail to: or post a comment at the end of this issue.


Back when Questions On Dogs and Cats first started, Helpful Buckeye asked our readers what it was that drew them to their current veterinarian and/or veterinary hospital. What attracted you to the facility in the first place? What are the reasons that keep you going back to the facility? Many of you responded that you either chose a hospital that was reasonably close to your home or one that an acquaintance recommended. Some of you dug a little deeper and chose a veterinarian because they had a special interest in the breed of dog or cat you have. A few of you looked for a veterinarian who accepted the type of pet insurance you had already purchased. All of these are valid and understandable reasons for making this decision. The AVMA has produced a comprehensive guide for choosing a veterinarian who will most meet your expectations for best helping your dog and/or cat live a healthy life:

Today's pets are living longer, healthier lives thanks to the availability of high quality medical services and pet-owners' careful monitoring of their animals for early signs of illness. With so much attention being given by owners to their pets' daily needs, doesn't it make sense to take some time in selecting the veterinarian who will become that pet's health care provider?
When choosing your family's veterinarian, use the same care and criteria that you would in selecting a physician or dentist. Think about what is important to you. Location? Convenient hours? Range of medical services? Friendliness and commitment of doctors and staff? Payment options? Your goal should be to find the veterinarian who you believe can best meet your pet's medical needs and with whom you feel comfortable in establishing a long-term relationship.
The veterinarian you select will want to maintain an ongoing history of your pet, including health records that detail immunizations, reactions to medications, surgical procedures, behavior traits, etc. He or she will also advise you on the best preventative care program available to maintain your pet's health.

Where to Look for a Veterinarian
Ask a Friend...Animal-owning friends are generally a good source of information. Ask them why they chose their veterinarian. If you believe their expectations of service are similar to yours, you may want to schedule a visit to the facility.
Breed Clubs...If you have a purebred dog or cat, area breed clubs can be a good source of information. They have often established a strong relationship with a practice that is very familiar with the potential health-related problems for your particular breed.
Local Directories/Internet...Turn to the business pages of a phone book or yellow pages for contact information on local veterinarians. Also check the Internet for listings of veterinary association Web sites - many state or local veterinary medical associations maintain lists of area practices.
Your Current Veterinarian...If you are relocating to another city or state, ask your current veterinarian if he or she can recommend a practice where you will be living. Many times they have colleagues in other towns whose practice policies and services are similar to theirs. Your current veterinarian should also give you copies of your pet's medical records to take to the new practice to ensure your pet's medical history is available to the new staff.

When to Look for a Veterinarian
It is a good idea to start thinking about selecting a veterinarian before acquiring a new pet. In fact, a veterinarian can assist you in selecting a pet that complements your personality, work schedule, and home life.
If you have recently moved to a new area, locate a veterinarian before your pet actually needs one. Don't wait until your pet becomes ill or requires emergency care. It is best to have secured a doctor's name and number and become acquainted with the practice and staff in advance of such situations. Consider scheduling an initial visit soon after arriving at your new home. Your veterinarian will suggest ways to help your pet become accustomed to its unfamiliar environment.
Pay a Visit...When deciding on a veterinary practice, first schedule a visit with the veterinarian to discuss your pet and ask questions about fees and services. You may want to visit several practices before making a final selection.

Tips to Keep in Mind When Visiting a Veterinary Practice
Office Hours
What are the regular hours?
Are they compatible with your schedule?
Will they accept e-mails or appointments electronically?
Who covers the practice when the doctor is unavailable?
What is the average wait time for making a non-emergency appointment?
Professional Staff
How are telephone calls handled?
Can you request an appointment with a specific veterinarian?
Does the staff dress and act professionally?
Do you feel comfortable talking with the doctor? The technician?
Fees and Payment
What methods of payment are accepted?
Does the hospital treat patients of clients that have pet insurance?
What is the range of medical services that the practice provides?
Does the hospital have educational materials for pet-owners on a variety of topics?
Are there non-medical services such as boarding, grooming, and training classes?
If necessary, does the veterinarian have a network of specialists for referrals?

Emergency Care
How are emergency calls handled during regular office hours and after office hours?
Is there an emergency facility in your area should you need it?

Is the building environment clean and orderly?
Are there any unpleasant odors?
Can you take a tour of the non-public areas?

Professional Affiliations
Are the doctors members of a professional veterinary association such as the American Veterinary Medical Association or a state or local veterinary association?
What is the hospital policy regarding continuing education for the professional staff?

Your Responsibility As a Pet Owner
In order for your veterinarian to maintain your pet's good health, it is important for you to schedule regular checkups and practice preventive care at home. At each appointment, be sure to communicate clearly your pet's behavior and habits. Since many signs of illness are subtle, even minor changes in your pet's behavior can give your doctor valuable information on what might become a serious health issue.
Remember that veterinarians care as much about you as an owner as they do about your pets. They are available to give you the information and resources you need to take the best possible care of your animals. By taking the time to select the veterinarian that you feel confident can provide for your needs as an owner and the medical needs of your pet, you will establish a rewarding partnership.

Any comments, please send an e-mail to: or post a comment at the end of this issue.


1) Last week, Helpful Buckeye showed you this picture:

and asked you how the word heterochromia applied to this dog. Heterochromia iridis refers to the pigments of each iris being different from each other, as they are in this dog. Several of our readers had the right idea on this one, but my Aunt Cathy in FL e-mailed the correct answer first.

2) Neoplasia--noun; defined by the National Cancer Institute as "Abnormal and uncontrolled cell growth"

3) Neoplasm--noun; defined by the NCI as "An abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Neoplasms may be benign (not cancerous), pre-cancerous, or malignant (cancerous). Also called a tumor.


Since last Monday was the observance of Labor Day, Helpful Buckeye would like to recognize the working breeds of the dog world. The American Kennel Club divides all registered breeds of dogs into groupings of similar traits, talents, and uses. The AKC group of "working" dogs is described as such:

Dogs of the Working Group were bred to perform such jobs as guarding property, pulling sleds and performing water rescues. They have been invaluable assets to man throughout the ages. The Doberman Pinscher, Siberian Husky and Great Dane are included in this Group, to name just a few. Quick to learn, these intelligent, capable animals make solid companions. Their considerable dimensions and strength alone, however, make many working dogs unsuitable as pets for average families. And again, by virtue of their size alone, these dogs must be properly trained.

You can look at each of the 26 breeds recognized as working dogs by the AKC at this web site: How many of these dogs did you recognize?

An alternate view of working dogs is presented by Joseph Sabol, a Doberman breeder:

When someone mentions "working dogs", most people think of the breed group recognized by the American Kennel Club. This group includes Dobermans, Rottweilers, Akitas, Newfoundland, Bullmastiffs and several other breeds. These dogs were developed to perform specific duties, such as guarding and protection, sled pulling, herding and farm work. They are successful because of their intelligence, strength and determination.

Today, the term "working dogs" refers to a much wider variety of dog breeds because of all the different jobs they have been trained to perform. Naturally, different breeds excel in different tasks depending upon their physical abilities as well as temperament. Now working dogs do many different jobs and assist their human counterparts in so many ways. Dogs that will be used as guard or protection dogs require a certain temperament and instincts. Police and military K-9s are trained in Schutzhund, which consists of obedience, tracking and protection. Strong instincts required in guard and protection dogs include, prey instinct, which drives the dog to chase. Active aggression is the fighting drive for defense and self preservation, and reactive aggression defines their protective, territorial nature. Social aggression characterizes the dogs desire for pack leadership and dominance. This is most notable in male dogs. These dogs also must display a pack instinct, which leads to close bonds with handler or family.

One of the most familiar roles of working dogs is in Search and Rescue. The American Rescue Dog Association (ARDA) is the organization that tests and certifies dogs for Search and Rescue. The dogs and handlers of the ARDA are volunteers that work with local law enforcement to find missing persons in wilderness and disaster locations, water search, rescue and recovery, and even help locate human remains. Some of the dog breeds used for these jobs include, German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and for water rescue especially, Newfoundlands. The ARDA requires 2 days of tough field evaluations for certification and dogs must be tested every 3 years. Search and Rescue or SAR dogs also work around the world doing avalanche rescue. When skiers are buried under tons of snow, there is not much time to find them and dig them out. If not for the specially trained dogs, it would take rescuers far too long to locate the skier and it would become a recovery rather than a rescue.

We have seen Search and Rescue dogs working many hours alongside their handlers going through the rubble after the World Trade Center towers came down. They showed determination and a willingness to keep going in spite of the danger. The stress of that environment took its toll on the dogs as much as on their handlers. One dog, Worf, found the bodies of 2 missing firefighters the first day. He was so overwhelmed that he lay down, curled up and began shedding profusely, quit eating and would not play with the other dogs. His handler decided that the 12 year old dog would retire right then. Some of the handlers explained that their dogs were trained to find lost people and would be rewarded when the person would praise and pet and thank the dog. In the case of the World Trade Center disaster, the dogs were not finding people alive and became discouraged. The handlers would have to set up a "find" where another volunteer would hide and the dog could find him and be rewarded with hugs and praise. Some dogs were brought in specifically to provide emotional support and stress relief to the men and women working so hard in such a depressing environment. The motto of the ARDA is ..."these things we do so others may live".

Dogs have been trained to track people for miles, sniff out drugs and bombs and some dogs have even been able to detect when a person is about to have a seizure. We are all familiar with guide dogs for the blind and assistance dogs for the wheelchair bound. Dogs have been trained to detect land mines in war torn countries and detect accelerant in arson fires. Dogs are not just our best friends and companions, they help us accomplish things we could never do on our own. They love to work and will work for nothing more than praise and some special playtime. I cannot imagine our lives without these amazing animals.

This cartoon from The New Yorker magazine offers a tongue-in-cheek insight into the success of one of the working breeds, the Bloodhound:

Cat Breeds--Maine Coon

Affectionately referred to as "the gentle giant," the Maine Coon is one of the largest breeds of domestic cat, and is known for its intelligence and playfulness as well as its distinctive physical appearance. They have a tendency to use their front paws extensively and can easily learn to open cabinet doors and get into other mischief. Their extreme intelligence makes them a relatively easy cat to train and may explain their "dog-like" behavior. Playing fetch is a favorite game, where they'll bring their ball, drop it your feet and wait for it to be thrown. They can indeed be large cats, growing up to 40 inches long and even healthy cats can weigh as much as 25 pounds. Maine Coons have medium-long, dense fur, with longer hair, or a ruff, on their chests similar to the mane of a lion. They're also distinguished by their long, bushy tail and large ears which are tipped by tufts of fur.


1) For a example of some "working" dogs doing their stuff, take a look at this video (and try to imagine being on the wrong end of one of these dogs!):

2) We often see TV reporters working with or holding pets that always seem pretty docile. Well, here's one reporter who got more than she expected from this cat (she did, however, admirably retain her composure):

3) This past week, the 3rd annual Surf Dog "Surf-A-Thon" was held in Del Mar, CA. It is a fund-raiser for the Helen Woodward Animal Center. Watch this short video of some of the competition (some of these dogs are better than humans at staying on the surf board!):

4) In our 17 August issue, Helpful Buckeye reported on the AKC election to choose the dog for the Obama family. The election is now finished and...the winner is...the Poodle, which beat out the Wheaton Terrier by a "(dog) hair." Read the complete story about this "election":

Since the subject of the upcoming Presidential election has been broached, it is only fair to mention that Helpful Buckeye has heard rumblings from the dog and cat worlds that they will be holding their national conventions soon...and hope to be offering viable candidates from which the American voters can choose. More on this as the story develops.


1) OK, let's get this out of the way right now! The Ohio State Buckeyes were vastly over-matched against USC...whether it was the players or the coaches is open for debate. It is Helpful Buckeye's humble opinion that Pete Carroll (USC's head coach) could have won with Ohio State's players.

2) The LA Dodgers continue their rampage toward the playoffs by winning 12 out of their last 13 games...and taking a 4.5 game lead over the Diamondbacks! It's hard to tell what caused this mysterious turnaround, but having Joe Torre at the helm probably hasn't hurt.

3) The Pittsburgh Steelers played at Cleveland Sunday night and beat the Browns, 10-6, in a hard-fought game.


Helpful Buckeye did successfully complete the climb of Mt. Humphreys, although it was a day later than planned due to inclement weather on the mountain. The day of the climb was a beautiful, sunny day and the arrival on the peak was exhilarating!

~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Those of you who have been regular readers of this blog have gotten used to our usual light-hearted weekly opening, frequently accompanied by some music and pictures. This week, Questions On Dogs and Cats will be opening with a much more somber theme...that of a solemn remembrance of the events that took place on 9/11/2001 in New York City, Washington, DC, and Shanksville, PA. It was a momentous day in the history of our country and rightfully deserves all the attention it gets. Helpful Buckeye has decided to not show any pictures of the events of that day (mainly because those images are still very upsetting to view), but I do want you to listen to a song that has a close tie-in with 9/11/2001. Both Helpful Buckeye and Desperado claim the Eagles as their #1 favorite musical group (you can find this in my profile). The Eagles were scheduled to record their “The Very Best Of…” album on September 11, 2001, but weren't able to--for obvious reasons; that day they began writing this song, which was eventually included on the album. It’s a fitting tribute to the way so many of us felt on that day, and still do when we think about all that happened that day. Watch this video, listen to the words (the words are also printed just below the video,) and go ahead and sing along. It's quite a fitting tribute...


1) September is designated as National Preparedness Month by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security and what a way to welcome the month but with a string of four hurricanes! That's right...Hurricanes Gustav, Hanna, Josephine and Ike are excellent examples of why National Preparedness Month, held every September, is so important—preparation is the best defense. Helpful Buckeye has already addressed getting you and your pet ready for natural disasters (in the June 8, 2008 issue) with many suggestions, tips, and lists of necessities to have ready for a possible evacuation. Even though Gustav didn't produce the devastating damages that were expected, there still was a lot of work to do for the people who volunteered to help with lost pets and pet evacuations. The USA Today ran a story reviewing the activity in Louisiana:

2) Just when you think you've heard everything about elections, voting, and registering to vote, along comes this tidbit from Tacoma, Washington:

Woman off hook for registering dog to vote TACOMA, Wash. - Charges have been dropped against a Seattle-area grandmother who registered her Australian shepherd- terrier mix to vote. Jane Balogh of Federal Way, Wash., reached a plea agreement last year that required her to perform 10 hours of community service at the Tacoma Rescue Mission and to pay $240 in court costs. On Monday, a judge dismissed charges of making a false or misleading statement to a public servant. Balogh said she registered her dog under the name Duncan M. Donald to demonstrate how easy voter fraud has become. She used a utility bill in the dog's name as identification for voter registration and to obtain an absentee ballot. She did not vote in the dog's name and returned the ballot signed with a paw print. Balogh said she was sad that no politicians have been in touch with her about her demonstration. "I'm a nobody. I'm just a plain old lady who loves her country and nobody is responding," Balogh said. "What does it take to get somebody to listen?"

Wow, there's nothing mentioned about whether the dog developed any behavioral problems as a result of not being able to vote...after going through all the procedures of registering to do so.

3) There was an interesting story from South Dakota this week about black-footed ferrets and prairie dogs succumbing to an apparent epidemic of a form of bubonic plague...yes, I know prairie dogs are not really dogs, but it's still interesting:

4) Lastly, a story that Helpful Buckeye referenced last week seems to have included a factual error in the text of the incident. The story of the huge spider that caused a British soldier's dog to die reported that the spider was venomous. The Solifugids are not venomous and, therefore, would have had difficulty poisoning the dog. Whether or not the spider was able to cause the dog's death by other means is still open to question, since the British TV channel has yet to respond to Helpful Buckeye's e-mail. A big tip of the arthropod "hat" to my good buddy, Ken the Entomologist (and Junebug's "Daddy") for pointing out this error!


In the issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats from two weeks ago, regular readers will remember the presentation on disk disease in dogs. As Helpful Buckeye pointed out, due to important differences in the anatomy of the spine and spinal cord, dogs are much more likely to suffer paralysis from a herniated disk than are humans. When a dog owner is confronted with their pet being paralyzed in the rear legs, many things need to be considered before making a decision on what to do:

  • Is the dog in good health otherwise?

  • Is the dog an indoor or outdoor pet?

  • Are you (the owner) capable, both emotionally and physically, of dealing with the needs of a paralyzed dog?

  • Do you have the time it will take to properly care for your pet?

If your decision, after careful consultation with your veterinarian, is to proceed with trying to accommodate your paralyzed pet, there will be numerous sources from which to get help. There are many prosthetic devices available for pets, some through your veterinarian, some at the larger pet supply stores, and some online. There is a comforting video available for those pet owners who might think they have no choice but to euthanize their paralyzed pet. This owner has even produced her own video of her story of "Frankie, the Walk and Roll Dog." Go to this site, then click on "video": (be sure to have your speakers turned on)

Other web sites with information about prosthetic devices and orthotics for injured or paralyzed dogs and cats:

ANY COMMENTS, send an e-mail to:


1) Helpful Buckeye has made numerous references to all the bad things that can happen to a dog when it runs loose. In addition, the concept of being a good pet neighbor suffers when your dog runs loose through your neighborhood, defecating anywhere, digging up someone else's flower beds, or confronting walkers, joggers, or bicyclists. Having a properly fenced enclosure for your dog is one good way of preventing any of the above from happening. However, sometimes, that is either not possible or feasible. There have been several companies that have produced an electrical sensing system that is buried underground and was designed to provide a negative reinforcement to a dog that crosses the "invisible" boundary. After a certain amount of time, as the theory goes, most dogs will respond to this negative reinforcement by observing where their boundaries are and staying within the demarcated area. The dogs must wear a special collar that receives the electrical signal. One of these companies is: and their web site provides a lot of interesting information about their product.

A lot of dog owners have been very pleased with the results of installing one of these systems in their yard. However, as with many other problems, it's hard to come up with a perfect solution. Dogs can get out of their collars, the collars are not supposed to get wet, the batteries in the collars must be changed every few months, and some dogs just don't respond in the desired manner to the electric impulse. Other logistical problems can arise: piles of snow can interfere with the signal and you must be careful to not dig anywhere near the buried line. These drawbacks apply to your dog--the one you're trying to keep in your yard. What about other dogs running loose through your neighborhood? Does the "invisible" system keep them out of your yard? Of course not!

All that being said, the system still has merits. If you live in an area that does not allow fences or any kind of dog run, this could provide you an alternative. It really comes down to a calculated decision based on your abilities to keep your dog protected...either some type of standard fencing, an enclosed dog run, or this "invisible" type of barrier. Weigh the expense of different solutions versus the practicality of each. Whichever way you go, remember that your main goal is to protect your dog from danger and to keep your dog from running loose in your neighborhood.

2) Helpful Buckeye received a comment this week from a reader:

Helpful Buckeye--A couple of issues ago, you talked about catnip and cats. A friend of mine told me his dog really loves something like that, but it's for dogs. Anything you can tell us about that? Thanks.
Andy, in TX

Well, Andy, catnip is catnip...and that's it. Cats love it, Dogs don't care about it! However, there is a substitute, of sorts, and many dog owners have seen their dogs act ga-ga around it. The substitute is anise seeds, which comes from an herb and is available in the spice section of your grocery store. Look over this short 2-page article about the use of anise seeds and you can determine if it might interest your dog (the flatulence deterrent might even be an unexpected benefit):

ANY COMMENTS, send an e-mail to:


1) Ailurophile--noun; a person who likes cats

2) Heterochromia--noun; here's a picture that illustrates this word:

What do you see? The answer next week....


Dog breeds--Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers, originally from Newfoundland, were initially used in work alongside fisherman, helping to pull in nets and catch fish that escaped from fishing lines. After being crossed with Setters, Spaniels and other Retrievers, the Labrador Retriever honed its skills as a true retriever. From this point in the breed's history, "Labs," as they are affectionately called, were bred primarily to perform as an efficient retriever of game, with a stable temperament suitable for a variety of activities beyond hunting. An ideal sporting and family dog, the Labrador Retriever thrives as part of an active family or as a trusted hunting companion. A double-coated breed which sheds seasonally, regular grooming keeps his coat at its water-resistant best. Because of his even temperament and trainability millions of Americans own a Labrador Retriever as a pet. The Labrador Retriever coat colors are black, yellow and chocolate. Enjoy this picture of Ruutu, a still-growing Lab pup, owned by Sherri and Randy, in PA:


1) Seen on a bumper sticker this week: Auntie Em, Hate you, hate Kansas, taking the dog... Dorothy

2) Not only is everyone publishing a cook book these days, but also it seems that many of the big cooking stars are promoting their own pet foods. Rachel Ray has been quite popular the last several years and she now has entered the pet food scene:

She also has a web site for pet food recipes: and a rescue site for animals in need:

3) Not to be outdone by celebrity cooks/chefs, some posh hotels/resorts are coming up with their own creations for pets...from an article in USA Today:

4) Helpful Buckeye realizes that you might think of an agility contest as an event made for dogs. However, here's one for cats only, as described in USA Today:

Could your cat compete in this contest? I like the way the author says they "respond on cue...sort of".

5) Anyone with a cat litter pan somewhere in the house understands the need for "aroma" control! Here's a new product that seems to provide an alternative approach to the problem:

The only question Helpful Buckeye has is whether or not the cat will be OK with performing its necessary tasks so close to a continuous fan.

6) If your cable system provides the Animal Planet channel, the program, Pet Trends, might be of interest to you. Enjoy watching all the newest trends and fads for pets:

7) This past Tuesday, Sept.2, was the 60th birthday (1948) of Terry Bradshaw, former QB of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who led them to 4 Super Bowl Titles. Thomas Henderson, former linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, once said of Bradshaw: "He couldn't spell CAT if you spotted him the C and the A..." Well, 'ole Terry hasn't done too badly for himself...and he did beat those Cowboys several times!


1) Yes, sports fans, the NFL started its season this week...and pro football mania is alive and well across the land. Do any of you claim this woman?

2) The Ohio State Buckeyes were definitely caught looking ahead to their next game against Southern Cal this coming Saturday, as they almost were ambushed by Ohio University. A dose of reality may go a long way toward making them play harder vs. USC...we'll need the extra effort! Helpful Buckeye will be flying the scarlet and gray banner all week!

3) The Pittsburgh Steelers opened their season with a convincing win over's a good start! ...and for those of you who think the mania is not widespread, check out this vehicle in western PA:

That's Ron, from PA...

4) I know I said I wouldn't be mentioning the LA Dodgers again this year,, we are now in 1st place all by ourselves in our division! What a turnaround! Now, let's see if it lasts.


1) Helpful Buckeye wanted to throw in a picture a friend of mine took here in Flagstaff recently of several trophy-sized elk (inside the city limits):

2) Another cartoon from The New Yorker illustrates the vicissitudes of blogging:

3) As a final reminder, this coming Thursday, sometime early in the morning, take a moment to stop what you're doing, take a deep breath, and observe a period of silence as a tribute of respect for the victims of the horrific attacks on our country on 9/11/2001. Helpful Buckeye is planning on climbing Mt Humphreys on Thursday, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 ft., right here in Flagstaff...and I will be observing that moment of silence (followed by a lot of singing/humming of "There's a Hole in the World") as I stand at the trail remembrance.

~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~