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.~~

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