Sunday, October 26, 2008


Ghosts, goblins, monsters, and witches will be appearing between now and Friday...and that's just the people! What about the dogs and cats??? More and more each year, people are taking their pets with them when they do the "Trick or Treat" routine with their children. Is this good or bad for the pets? There are many considerations to this question and Helpful Buckeye will address them after this "SCARY" introduction.

Many of you have seen some of these pictures that circulate in e-mails, but sit back and enjoy what people have done to "dress up" their pets (remember the Word of the Week from a few months ago, Anthropomorphism?):

A musical treatment of this theme would be in order at this point...enjoy Ross Bagdasarian in his 1958 rendition of The Witch Doctor, accompanied by other "trick or treating" pets: For special bonus points, let Helpful Buckeye know for what Ross Bagdasarian is better known and by what name....

To finish up our introduction of the excitement, intrigue, and scariness of Halloween, listen to the all-time #1 Halloween song, from 1962, and sung by Bobby "Boris" Pickett:

The serious part of enjoying Halloween with your pets will follow in two of the next three sections of Questions On Dogs and Cats...stay tuned!



DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa Department of Public Health said a woman found a dead bat in her coffee filter after she had been drinking the beverage. The department said the woman, who was from the eastern part of the state, made her coffee in the evening and then drank it the next morning, The (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) Gazette reported. The woman told officials that when she went to change the filter that evening, she found the dead bat inside. Ann Garvey, a veterinarian with the department, said the woman underwent treatment for rabies after the bat corpse's brain was found by the University Hygienic Laboratory in Oakdale, Calif., to have been too cooked by the coffee maker for rabies testing.

This story lends new meaning to the concept of "full-bodied" coffee, huh? Helpful Buckeye has always believed that truth is way stranger than fiction....

2) The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) released this important information this week:

October 21, 2008
Hartz Mountain recalls Chicken-Basted Rawhide Chips
The Hartz Mountain Corporation, Secaucus, NJ is voluntarily recalling one specific lot of Hartz Chicken-Basted Rawhide Chips due to concerns that one or more bags within the lot are potentially contaminated with Salmonella.
The product involved is 4,850 - 2 pound plastic bags of Hartz Chicken-Basted Rawhide Chips, lot code JC23282, UPC number 3270096463 which were distributed to a national retail customer.
Although Hartz has not received any reports of animals or humans becoming ill as a result of coming into contact with this product, Hartz is taking immediate steps to remove the product from all retail stores and distribution centers. Dog owners who purchased this product should check the lot code on their bag, and, if the code is not visible, or if the bag has lot code JC23282 imprinted thereon, they should immediately discontinue use of the product and discard it in a proper manner.
Consumers can contact Hartz at 1-800-275-1414 with any questions they may have and to obtain reimbursement for purchased product.For more information, see the FDA press release at

3) Another news item from the AVMA:
November 1, 2008
Hand washing key disease prevention measure not always practiced

Hand washing is a simple yet important component in preventing illness that often goes overlooked. Two recent studies on hygiene practices of the public and veterinarians illustrate this point. Results showed both groups do not wash their hands consistently, and could do more to prevent spreading diseases.
The first study was a meta-analysis of community-based intervention studies by investigators from the University of Michigan and Columbia University (Am J Public Health 2008 Aug; 98:1372). The analysis identified more than 5,000 relevant studies published from 1960 to 2007 on proper hand washing techniques and what effect that has on preventing illnesses in the community.
The authors pointed to results from one study indicating that only 67 percent (75 percent of women and 58 percent of men) washed their hands after using a public restroom.
Compared with no education, hand-hygiene education alone (seven studies) significantly reduced the risk for gastrointestinal illness by 31 percent and for respiratory illness (four studies) by 14 percent. Education plus use of nonantibacterial soap (six studies) significantly reduced the risk for GI illness by 39 percent and for respiratory illness (one study) by 51 percent, compared with control conditions, but had no significant effect in the two studies that combined the two outcomes. Results also suggested that use of nonantibacterial soap and hand-hygiene education significantly reduces respiratory and GI illnesses.

See, your mother was always right...wash your hands!

4) Helpful Buckeye has brought up the subject of pet food contamination problems and recalls several times, and now the FDA is interested in hearing directly from veterinarians about any of these questions. If you have any concerns about the food you give to your cat and dog, talk with your veterinarian about it and they can report it:

November 1, 2008

FDA asks veterinarians to report pet food complaints

The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine is encouraging AVMA members to report complaints about pet food directly to the FDA, particularly in light of last year's adverse events following contamination of ingredients with melamine.
Many practitioners report adverse drug events to drug manufacturers, and the law requires drug manufacturers to submit the reports to the FDA. In the case of pet food, however, manufacturers are not required to submit consumer complaints to the agency. Therefore, the FDA may not learn of any potential problems with a pet food until after the manufacturer has investigated complaints independently and notified the agency that the investigation identified a problem.
Veterinarians and other individuals can report complaints about pet food and other animal feed to the FDA by calling the FDA consumer complaint coordinator in their state. Reports should include product details such as lot number, brand name, expiration date, manufacturer or distributor, and location of purchase. Reports also should include medical information—including signs of illness, numbers of animals that do and do not have the signs, and complete medical histories. Additionally, veterinarians should consider contacting the manufacturer so any necessary investigation can be initiated immediately.
Information about the FDA regulation of pet food and contact information for state complaint coordinators is available at

5) PetFit targets overweight pets and focuses on keeping both pets and their owners happy and healthy. Watch their informative video that is being carried by ABC TV:

Any comments, send an e-mail to:


1) OK, your kids have been out trick-or-treating and some of what they receive contains chocolate. If the family dog is along for the evening, they perhaps give it a candy bar as a treat. Even if you already know that chocolate is not good for dogs, do you know why it isn't?
How many times have you been eating that candy bar when you look over and see those sad puppy dog eyes staring at you? You remember hearing that chocolate is toxic to dogs. But what makes chocolate toxic to dogs and why is it that some dogs ingest it and don’t get sick? Here are some facts to clear up some of the confusion surrounding chocolate toxicity in dogs.
Chocolate can indeed be toxic to dogs. In fact, it is one of the 20 most reported poisonings. The ingredient in chocolate that causes the toxicity is theobromine. The minimum toxic level of theobromine is 100-200mg/kg with 250-500mg/kg being the level at which half of the dogs would die as a result of consuming chocolate. So what does that mean as far as how much chocolate is toxic? The level of theobromine varies depending on the type of chocolate. The levels of theobromine are listed below:
Milk chocolate 60 mg/oz
Baking chocolate 450 mg/oz
Semi-sweet chocolate 260 mg/oz
Hot chocolate 12 mg/oz
White chocolate 1 mg/oz

Given these levels, 4 oz of milk chocolate contains about 240mg of theobromine. Considering that the average chocolate bar contains 2-3 oz of milk chocolate, it would take 2-3 candy bars to produce toxicity in a 10 lb dog. However, a single ounce of baking chocolate could produce severe toxicity in the same size dog.
So, how does chocolate make dogs sick? Theobromine causes the release of certain substances, norepinephrine and epinephrine, that cause an increase in the dog’s heart rate and can cause arrhythmias. Other signs seen with chocolate toxicity can include increased urination, vomiting, diarrhea or hyperactivity within the first few hours. This can lead to hyperthermia, muscle tremors, seizures, coma and even death.
What should be done if a dog does ingest a toxic amount of chocolate? If it has been less than 2 hours, the dog should be made to vomit. Unfortunately, chocolate tends to form a ball in the stomach and may be difficult to remove. Supportive care should be provided for any other signs the dog is exhibiting. If you're not sure how much chocolate your dog has eaten, it's better to be aggressive and call your veterinarian and/or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435) right away. If you call the Poison Control Center, be prepared to give your dog's breed, age, weight, and any symptoms.
This information is available at:
Though it may not be harmful to the dog in small quantities, it is safer to avoid giving chocolate to dogs in general. As with everything else, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Chocolate isn't as much of a concern for cats because cats don't taste sweet things as well as dogs and therefore, aren't attracted to it.

Other "goodies" to be concerned about in the Halloween basket are candies and chewing gum that are sweetened by xylitol.
Cases of xylitol poisoning in dogs rise

The Animal Poison Control Center of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has managed a substantially increased number of cases involving xylitol poisoning in dogs. Found in sugar-free chewing gum, candy, and baked goods, xylitol is a sweetener that can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening problems for pets.
The center managed more than 170 cases of xylitol poisoning in 2005, up from approximately 70 in 2004, said Dana Farbman, a certified veterinary technician and spokesperson for the center. As of August, the center had managed nearly 114 cases in 2006.
An increase in availability of xylitol-containing products may be one reason for the rise in cases, Farbman said.
While it was previously thought that only large concentrations of xylitol could cause problems in dogs, lesser amounts of the sweetener may also be harmful, the center reported.
"Our concern used to be mainly with products that contain xylitol as one of the first ingredients," said Dr. Eric Dunayer, who specializes in toxicology at the center. "However, we have begun to see problems developing from ingestions of products with lesser amounts of this sweetener." Dr. Dunayer said that with smaller concentrations of xylitol, the onset of clinical signs could be delayed as much as 12 hours after ingestion.
According to Dr. Dunayer, dogs ingesting substantial amounts of items sweetened with xylitol could develop a sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression, loss of coordination, and seizures. "These signs can develop quite rapidly, at times less than 30 minutes after ingestion of the product. Therefore, it is crucial that pet owners seek veterinary treatment immediately," Dr. Dunayer said. He also said that there appears to be a strong link between xylitol ingestions and the development of liver failure in dogs.
This information is from the AVMA at:

Everyone in your family should be aware of the dangers these toxins present to your dogs. Preventing these medical problems before they happen not only help save your dog's life but also, they help you save money!

Any comments, send an e-mail to:


1) Halloween Tips For Your Pets, from Matthew Margolis, Animal behavior trainer

This being the week leading up to Halloween, it's time to revisit reasons to leave even those dogs with the very best manners at home, inside, safe, sound and secure. First off, the fringe criminal minds for whom Halloween is both a reason and an excuse to steal, torture, poison or even kill dogs and cats left vulnerable in yards make it mandatory that pets be kept inside on fright night. Personally, I believe pets should always be kept inside at night. They are safer that way, and you are safer for having them there. Even inside, though, pets should not have the freedom to roam the house that they normally might. Dinging doorbells, flickering lights, opening and closing doors, and strange sounds and sights are enough to agitate the calmest of animals. A dog that normally wouldn't dream of darting out the front door might get the urge on a night when his routine is so dramatically altered. Here are a few more cautionary measures that will help keep your pets safe this Halloween:

  • Keep pets indoors. --

  • Walk dogs early in the evening, before trick-or-treaters hit the streets. Wings, masks, capes, sabers, costumes of any kind can be frightening to your pooch. And if you walk your dog after the festivities, watch out for candy and wrappers he may swallow. --

  • When inside, keep him comfortable and in a room away from the front door. --

  • If you want him to play sidekick as you greet trick-or-treaters, keep him on a leash. Strangers, noise and costumes are stressors that can set off even a normally placid family pet. A child could get bit, or your dog could bolt outside and get hit by a car. --

  • Keep candy, chocolate, candy wrappers, candles and jack-o-lanterns up high and out of reach. They are all dangerous -- potentially fatal -- for dogs. --

  • Make sure your pet's ID tag is current and includes your phone number, in case they do escape. --

  • Resist the urge to costume him. If you absolutely must, use nothing with a mask. He should be able to breathe, hear, see and drink water with ease at all times. --

  • And one more time for emphasis: Keep 'em inside. All night long. All of 'em -- dogs, cats, whatever.

The ASPCA tells us that more dogs and cats are separated from their owners on Halloween and the Fourth of July than any other days of the year. That's an attention-getting fact, isn't it? More from the ASPCA on the Halloween precautions:

Treat Your Pets to a Safe Halloween
That parade of kids, adults—and yes, even pets—in funny outfits is due to arrive at your door next week, bringing all the sweet and scary joys of Halloween! But pet parents, as you carve the jack-o-lanterns and fill those bowls of candy, please be aware that your furry friends may stumble upon dangers you hadn’t thought of.
Warns Dr. Steven Hansen, Senior Vice President, ASPCA Animal Health Services, which includes the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, IL, “Many of our favorite Halloween traditions could pose a potential threat to our companion animals. As pet parents start to make plans for trick-or-treating or costumes, they should be aware of Halloween-related products and activities that can be potentially dangerous to pets.”
The following are just a few precautions you should take:

  • No Chocolate: Even if your pet has a sweet tooth, ingesting chocolate—especially baker’s and dark chocolate—can be dangerous for dogs and cats, possibly causing vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity and even seizures.

  • No Sweets for the Sweet: Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination and seizures.

  • Dangerous D├ęcor: Keep wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations out of reach. If chewed, your pet could experience damage to his mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

  • Don’t Play with Fire: Keep your pets away from jack-o-lanterns with lit candles inside—knocking the pumpkin over can easily cause a fire. And curious kittens can get burned or singed by candle flames.

  • Costume Caution: Please don't put your pet in a costume unless you know that he or she loves it. Costumes can cause skin irritations, obstruct a pet’s vision or impede his breathing.

Even though some of this is repetitious, hopefully it will help you protect your pets this Halloween! Any comments, send an e-mail to:


Arrhythmia--noun; Cardiac arrhythmia is a term for any of the conditions in which there is abnormal electrical activity in the heart. The heart beat may be too fast or too slow, and may be regular or irregular. Some arrhythmias are life-threatening medical emergencies that can result in cardiac arrest and sudden death. Others cause aggravating symptoms such as an abnormal awareness of heart beat (palpitations), and may be merely annoying. Some arrhythmias are very minor and can be regarded as normal variants.


Pug--A toy dog breed with a wrinkly face and medium-small body, Pugs were bred to adorn the laps of the Chinese emperors during the Shang dynasty (1766-1122 BC). Pugs are very sociable yet stubborn dogs, described as playful, charming and clever and are known to succeed in dog obedience skills. While pugs mostly get along well with other dogs and pets, they generally prefer the company of humans. They're very clingy dogs, always at their owner's feet, in their lap, or following them from room to room. Because they have extremely short snouts and no skeletal brow ridges, Pugs can easily scratch their corneas without intending to. Pugs' short noses can also cause them to develop breathing problems as well as making them vulnerable to temperature extremes so it's important to make sure that they do not overheat in hot weather, or be left outside in cold weather. They are also prone to obesity, so its important for Pug owners to make sure their pets get regular exercise.

This is a "Pug" tarantula....

....and this is a real tarantula that Helpful Buckeye captured by camera last week:

Just a little more Halloween humor thrown in...for free!!!


1) On 21 October 1879, Thomas Edison invented something that Helpful Buckeye is using right now. What do you think it was? No, it wasn't the computer, a keyboard, a camera, or an electric coffee maker. It was: 2) According to a recent survey, the Ten Most Disappointing Halloween Treats are: How many of these have your kids brought home?

3) Famed comedian Grouch Marx is credited with this quote: "A black cat crossing your path signifies...that the animal is going somewhere." How's that for being literal? 4) On 20 October 1882, Bela Lugosi was born. To refresh your memories, Lugosi was best known for his portrayal of Count Dracula in the 1931 movie.

5) In addition to the assorted carved pumpkins we've already show, here are some more examples of "Extreme Pumpkins".... How many of these have you seen before? Then, as a follow-up, take a look at what might be "The Worst Halloween Costumes of All Time": All you can say for some of these is...."Ugh!!!"

6) Some dog superstitions:

  • Greeks thought dogs could foresee evil

  • If you have your new-born baby licked by a dog, your baby will be a quick healer.

  • Howling dogs mean the wind god has summoned death, and the spirits of the dead will be taken.

  • A dog eating grass means rain

  • A howling dog at night means bad luck or somebody close to you will be very sick or worse.

  • A dog with seven toes can see ghosts.

  • When a dog is staring intently, at nothing, for no apparent reason, look between the dog's ears and you'll see a ghost.

  • Dogs have always been credited with the power of sensing supernatural influences, and seeing ghosts, spirits, faeries or deities which are invisible to human eyes. In Wales only dogs could see the death-bringing hounds of Annwn; in ancient Greece the dogs were aware when Hecate was at a crossroads foretelling a death. Dogs are believed to be aware of the presence of ghosts, and their barking, whimpering or howling is often the first warning of supernatural occurrances.

  • There are many instances of black dog ghosts which are said to haunt lanes, bridges, crossroads, footpaths and gates, particularly in Suffolk, Norfolk and the Isle of Man. Some black dogs are said to be unquiet ghosts of wicked souls, but others are friendly guides and protectors to travellers; the Barguest of northern England could also appear as a pig or a goat, but was most commonly a huge black dog with large eyes and feet which left no prints. Packs of ghostly hounds have also been recorded all over Britain, often heard howling as they pass by on stormy nights rather than actually seen; these hounds generally foretell death, or at least disaster, if they are seen and the proper action is to drop face-down onto the ground to avoid spotting them.

  • When a dog howls in an otherwise silent night, it is said to be an omen of death, or at least of misfortune. A howling dog outside the house of a sick person was once thought to be an omen that they would die, especially if the dog was driven away and returned to howl again. A dog which gives a single howl, or three howls, and then falls silent is said to be marking a death that has just occurred nearby.

  • Dogs were feared as possible carriers of rabies; sometimes even a healthy dog was killed if it had bitten someone, because of the belief that if the dog later developed rabies, even many years afterwards, the bitten person would also be afflicted. Remedies for the bite of a mad dog often included the patient being forced to eat a part of the dog in question, such as its hairs or a piece of its cooked liver.
  • Dogs were also used to cure other illnesses; one old charm which was often used for childrens' illnesses was to take some of the patient's hairs and feed them to a dog in between slices of bread and butter; the ailment was believed to transfer to the animal, healing the patient.
  • In Scotland, a strange dog coming to the house means a new friendship; in England, to meet a spotted or black and white dog on your way to a business appointment is lucky.
  • Three white dogs seen together are considered lucky in some areas; black dogs are generally considered unlucky, especially if they cross a traveller's path or follow someone and refuse to be driven away.
  • Fishermen traditionally regard dogs as unlucky and will not take one out in a boat, or mention the word 'dog' whilst at sea.
  • If a member of the Lakota Sioux tribe would get sick they would lay with a dog and the sickness would transfer from the tribal member into the dog.

    7) Some cat superstitions:

    • Black cats were familiars of witches, and after seven years, became witches themselves.

    • If a black cat crosses your path, Satan is taking notice of you.

    • Butter your cat's feet when you move to keep it from running away from the new house.

    • If a cat crosses or jumps over the coffin, the dead person's spirit will return as a ghost.

    • A black cat is lucky or unlucky, depending on where you live.

    • Cats were sacred to the goddess, Isis in Egyptian mythology. Bast or Pasht, the daughter of Isis, was represented with the face of a cat. Anyone who killed a cat in Egypt was put to death. In Egypt it was believed that a black cat crossing one's path brought good luck.

    • In East Anglia, England, they used to mummify cats and place them in the walls of their homes to ward off evil spirits.

    • If a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it takes the good luck with it.

    • Keep cats away from babies because they "suck the breath" of the child.

    • A cat onboard a ship is considered to bring luck.

    8) Since the Halloween spirit (no pun intended) is in the air this week, this might be the time to take a look at some "unusual" pets...check out this list: How many of these have you seen before and would you want any of them?

    9) To enjoy the popular game of "Hangman"...with a dog breed theme, go to: and to enjoy the game with cat breeds in mind, go to:

    10) On 22 October 1797, Andre-Jacques Garnerin made the first ever parachute jump from a height of 6500 ft. over a park in Paris. What does this have to do with dogs, cats, or Halloween? Absolutely nothing! Helpful Buckeye just wanted to include this to honor our dear friend, Charlene, who literally took the plunge, making her first skydive earlier this year...not in Paris, but in Missouri!

    This book, by Bill Myers, is available at:

    11) This last video is a little longer than most of the ones we use in this blog. It's about 10 minutes long, but it's a nice relaxing way to finish out our celebration of Halloween week...enjoy The Great Pumpkin, With Charlie Brown:


    The Ohio State Buckeyes stubbed their toes against Penn State last's starting to look like this might be a rebuilding year, as we get our freshman QB used to the system.

    The Pittsburgh Steelers lost today to last year's Super Bowl champs, the NY Giants. This was the first of 4 tough games in a row...hopefully, the next 3 won't be in the losing column!

    The NBA season starts this coming week...and that means periodic updates on the San Antonio Spurs.


    Helpful Buckeye would like to leave you with 2 quotes this week:

    1) From Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English writer (1772-1834), known for The Rime of The Ancient Mariner..."Advice is like snow - the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper in sinks into the mind." Hopefully, our advice has fallen softly on our readers...and has sunk deeper into your minds.

    2) From Pablo Picasso, Spanish artist (1881-1973)..."Action is the foundational key to all success." Helpful Buckeye wants all of our readers to act upon the Halloween advice for pets provided in Questions On Dogs and Cats, which will then lead to success in surviving this holiday!

    Be sure to meet us back here next Sunday evening for our pre-election issue....

    ~~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, October 19, 2008


Ah, yes, the words of Paul Simon serve as a reminder for anyone who deals with the any capacity:

Gee, but it’s great to be back home
Home is where I want to be.
I’ve been on the road so long my friend,
And if you came along
I know you couldn’t disagree.
It’s the same old story
Everywhere I go, I get slandered,
I hear words I never heard
In the Bible
And I’m one step ahead of the shoe shine
Two steps away from the county line
Just trying to keep my customers satisfied,
Deputy Sheriff said to me
Tell me what you come here for, boy.
You better get your bags and flee.
You’re in trouble boy,
And you’re heading into more.

Listen to Simon and Garfunkel perform this song, from 1970:

Helpful Buckeye strives to keep this in mind while preparing each weekly issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats. Our readers comprise our public and a happy reader is a return reader. Likewise, veterinarians must remember that their clients must be kept satisfied, on several levels, in order to assure that they will continue to return. If you are the unsatisfied client, you must consider whether to just "walk away" or to try communicating your feelings of dissatisfaction to the other involved party. Often, these exchanges can be productive and beneficial for both parties. In the arena of politics, "keeping the customer satisfied" qualifies as job #1. Sometimes, for politicians, keeping the customer satisfied and doing the right thing can even be accomplished at the same time!

Since we have an important Presidential election coming up in 2 weeks, a few quotes illustrate the many aspects of keeping the customer satisfied:

"All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats"...Groucho Marx

"Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the problem." (speaking of liberals)...John Galsworthy, British writer

"A conservative believes nothing should be done for the first time"...Thomas Fuller, British writer

"How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four; calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg"... Abraham Lincoln....

and this story from 15 October 1860:
Eleven-year-old Grace Bedell of Westfield, N.Y., writes a letter to presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln, suggesting that if he could "let[his] whiskers grow" he could improve his appearance. Lincoln responds to Bedell a few days later suggesting that whiskers are a "silly affectation," yet by his March 1861 inauguration, he had grown a full beard.

Helpful Buckeye suspects that Lincoln had the insight described by former Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, when he said, "The essential ingredient of politics is timing."

Speaking of timing, it has been reported that dogs (not just Boston Terriers) have begun their journey to...Boston...for their convention to nominate the Canine Presidential candidate. The reason given for such a late start is that they have no money and have little hope of raising any in the next 2 weeks. Also, not to be outdone, cats have begun to show up in the...Catskills...for the purpose of selecting their Feline Presidential candidate. Should a viable candidate emerge from either or both of these parties, Helpful Buckeye will be the first to break the news...right here in Questions On Dogs and Cats. Stay tuned...and remember, "Keep The Customer Satisfied!"


1) As reported in The USA Today, 15 October 2008: "A federal judge approved a $24 million settlement Tuesday (the 14th) for owners of dogs and cats that were sickened or died after eating pet food tainted with an industrial chemical. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman clears the way for pet owners with claims to start receiving checks next year. Under the deal, pet owners have until Nov. 24 to file claims. Sherrie Savett, a lead lawyer for plaintiffs in the case, has said she believes that more than 1500 animals in the USA died after eating the food last year. Lawyers say that more than 10,000 people have filed claims. Of the claims analyzed so far, the average for damages is nearly $1500."
2) The American Kennel Club (AKC) has announced this month that the most commonly used names for dogs are "Lady" and "Bear":

Move over "Fido," the American Kennel Club® (AKC®) today announced that "Lady" and "Bear" top the list of most popular male/female dog names in the U.S.
A survey of 2007 AKC registration statistics showed that, in addition to Lady, Belle/Bell/Bella, Princess, Mae/May, Bear, Blue, Max/Maximus/Maxwell, Rose, Daisy, and Duke round out the top ten dog names.
"Traditionally names based on a puppy’s physical appearance or personality, such as ‘Spot’ or ‘Sassy,’ have been popular with dog owners,’" said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "Today we are seeing human names, such as ‘Jack’ and ‘Molly,’ and names that reflect a pet’s stature in the home, such as ‘King’ and ‘Princess,’ gain in popularity as more people consider their dog a valued member of the family."
The top male/female dog names, according to the AKC are:
Most Popular Male Dog Names:

1. Bear
2. Blue
3. Max/Maximus/Maxwell
4. Duke
5. Buddy
6. Jack
7. Prince
8. King
9. Bailey
10. Rocky
11. Harley
12. Jake
13. Shadow
14. Lucky
15. Hunter
16. Dakota
17. Lou
18. Midnight
19. Cooper
20. Buster

Most Popular Female Dogs Names:
1. Lady
2. Belle/Bell/Bella
3. Princess
4. Mae/May
5. Rose
6. Daisy
7. Grace/Gracie
8. Baby
9. Molly
10. Maggie
11. Sadie
12. Ann/Annie
13. Star
14. Lily/Lilly
15. Angel
16. Coco/Cocoa
17. Sophie/Sophia
18. Lucy
19. Abby/Abigail
20. Marie

The AKC offers the following rules to consider when naming your pooch:

  • Names often reflect the character of your pet. Observe your dog for a few days and see if his personality suggests a name. Is he regal? Does she always want to be the center of attention? If so, how about "King" or "Star"?

  • Short, sweet and easily recognizable names work best in getting your dog to be responsive. Use a name that is one or two syllables, ending with a vowel, such as "Sadie" or "Rocky."

  • Don’t choose a name that is too long or difficult to say. A name such as "Sir Barks A Lot" will only confuse your dog.

  • Avoid names that sound like commands. Names like "Joe" sound like "no" when called.

  • Pick a name that will fit your dog regardless of his age. For example, a puppy named "Fuzzy" may not be a good fit after he grows into adulthood.

  • Don’t name your dog after a friend or family member without getting their prior permission. You never know who could be offended.

  • Test out the name you would like to give your dog for a day or two. Remember any name you give your dog will be a 10-to-15-year commitment for the life of the dog.

  • After you chose a name for your dog make sure you use it often so he can learn it more quickly.

  • Don’t raise your voice every time you call him, and try to use his name in positive, playful settings, such as when you feed him, play with him or pet him.

Additional information on caring for your dog can be found online at * The AKC’s most popular dog names represent the 157 AKC registered breeds. Information was extracted from 2007 AKC registered dog names. General words were eliminated to reflect the most common name given. AKC allows up to 36 characters in a name.


Toxoplasmosis is a disease that periodically stimulates questions and discussion between veterinarian and client. It is considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be the third leading cause of death attributed to foodborne illness in the United States . More that 60 million men, women, and children (of all ages) in the U.S. carry the Toxoplasma parasite, but very few have symptoms because the immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing illness. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has prepared an informative pamphlet that answers the most important questions about Toxoplasmosis:

What is Toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by a microscopic parasite called Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii). It is not a new disease, having first been discovered in 1908. Many warm-blooded animals including most pets, livestock, birds, and people can become infected with T. gondii. Approximately 11% of the U.S. population ages 6-49 have antibodies to T. gondii, meaning they have been infected with the parasite. Although infection with the parasite is relatively common, actual disease is rare. Signs of illness include mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, mild aches and pains, and enlarged lymph nodes for a short period of time.
How do people become infected with T. gondii
There are 3 principal ways Toxoplasma gondii infection is acquired:
1. Ingestion of infectious oocysts (pronounced oh-oh-sists) from the environment -- soil or water contaminated with feline feces.
2. Consumption of undercooked or raw meat, or unpasteurized milk from animals that have been infected with T. gondii.
3. Transmission directly to an unborn child from the mother when she becomes infected with T. gondii during pregnancy.
The consumption of undercooked or raw meat is the most common route of infection in North America. T. gondii tissue cysts may be found in meats from sheep, pigs, and goats. They are less frequently found in poultry, cattle, and game meats such as venison. They have also been detected in raw, unpasteurized milk. T. gondii in meat can be killed by cooking at appropriate temperatures (for cooking temperatures for meat, go to
While nearly all warm-blooded animals can have tissue cysts in their meat or milk, cats are the definitive host for T. gondii. This means that they are the only animals that pass the infectious oocysts in their feces. These oocysts must spend at least 24 hours in the environment to develop into an infectious stage before they can infect other animals, including people. Oocysts are very hardy and can persist for months or years in the environment. They can survive freezing — even several months of extreme heat and dehydration. Moreover, oocysts can be carried long distances in wind and water.

What are the dangers of toxoplasmosis in people?
There are two populations at high risk for toxoplasmosis — pregnant mothers and immunocompromised individuals. Women exposed to T. gondii during pregnancy can pass the infection to the fetus (resulting in congenital infection). Although the majority of infected infants show no symptoms at birth, many are likely to develop signs of infection later in life. Children congenitally infected with T. gondii may suffer from loss of vision, mental developmental disability, loss of hearing, and, in severe cases, death. Women can be serologically tested for T. gondii. Women infected prior to pregnancy will have antibodies to the parasite, and are not at risk of passing the infection to their unborn child.
Usually, people that develop toxoplasmosis after infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were exposed to the T. gondii parasite earlier in life, and the immunosuppression caused by the HIV infection simply allowed the parasite to grow unchecked. Toxoplasmosis in these patients can result in severe neurologic disease, convulsions, paralysis, coma, and death despite appropriate treatment.

How can human exposure to toxoplasma be prevented?
Change cat litter daily before T. gondii oocysts "ripen" and become infectious. Dispose of used litter safely, preferably in a sealed plastic bag. If pregnant or immunocompromised, avoid changing the litter box or use rubber gloves when doing so and wash hands thoroughly afterwards.
Wash vegetables thoroughly before eating, especially those grown in backyard gardens. Boil water from ponds and streams when camping/hiking.
Cover sand boxes when not in use to prevent cats from defecating in them.
Wash hands with soap and water immediately after working with soil or after handling raw or undercooked meat, vegetables, or unpasteurized dairy products. Avoid consumption of raw milk or other unpasteurized dairy products.
Cutting boards, knives, sinks and counters should be washed thoroughly and disinfected immediately after cutting meats.
When cooking, avoid tasting meat before it is fully cooked.
Cook meat to appropriate temperatures to destroy the oocysts. For the appropriate temperatures, go to

How do cats become infected with T. gondii?
The most common way that cats become infected with T. gondii is from eating infected mice, birds, and other small animals.
For indoor cats, the most likely source is uncooked meat scraps. When a cat eats meat or other tissues from infected animals, it becomes infected with T. gondii and can excrete millions of oocysts in its feces each day. This release of oocysts can continue for more than two weeks. After the initial infection and shedding period, most cats will not pass oocysts in their feces again, even if re-infected.
Oocysts in feces become infectious one to five days after being passed in cat feces. Since most healthy cats groom themselves frequently, it is unlikely that feces would remain on their fur long enough for any oocysts to become infectious. Therefore, handling cats is unlikely to pose a risk of T. gondii infection for humans.

Can T. gondii make my cat sick?
Most infected adult cats appear healthy, with no visible signs of illness. However, some cats may develop pneumonia, liver damage, and other health problems. Signs of illness include lethargy, loss of appetite, coughing, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, jaundice, blindness, personality changes, and other neurologic problems. The reason why some cats get sick and others do not is unknown, but immunocompromised kittens and cats (e.g. those also infected with feline leukemia virus and/or feline immunodeficiency virus [FIV]) appear to have increased risk of illness. There is currently no vaccine available for T. gondii, but treatment can be effective if the disease is diagnosed early. A blood test for T. gondii antibodies can help in diagnosis of toxoplasmosis in sick cats.
To help prevent T. gondii infection in cats,
Keep pets indoors - Do not allow cats to hunt rodents and birds.
Feed cats only cooked meat or processed food.

For more information, visit:
Cornell Feline Health Center:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Remember, awareness is a major contributor to knowledge...and using that awareness will help keep you and your pets healthy and safe!

1) Cat Myths--From cat fancier Rob "Power of the Meow" Stanson

Myth: Cats always land on their feet.
Fact: While cats instinctively fall feet first and may survive falls from high places, they also may receive broken bones in the process. Some kind of screening on balconies and windows can help protect pets from disastrous falls.

Myth: Cats should drink milk everyday.
Fact: Most cats like milk, but do not need it if properly nourished. Also, many will get diarrhea if they drink too much milk. If it is given at all, the amount should be small and infrequent.

Myth: Cats that are spayed or neutered automatically gain weight.
Fact: Like people, cats gain weight from eating too much, not exercising enough, or both. In many cases, spaying or neutering is done at an age when the animal's metabolism already has slowed, and its need for food has decreased. If the cat continues to eat the same amount, it may gain weight. Cat owners can help their cats stay fit by providing exercise and not over-feeding.

Myth: Cats cannot get rabies.
Fact: Actually, most warm-blooded mammals, including cats, bats, skunks and ferrets, can carry rabies. Like dogs, cats should be vaccinated regularly according to local laws.

Myth: Indoor cats cannot get diseases.
Fact: Cats still are exposed to organisms that are carried through the air or brought in on a cat owner's shoes or clothing. Even the most housebound cat ventures outdoors at some time and can be exposed to diseases and worms through contact with other animals feces.

Myth: Tapeworms come from bad food.
Fact: Pets become infected with tape worms from swallowing fleas, which carry the parasite. Also, cats can get tapeworms from eating infected mice or other exposed animals.

Myth: Putting garlic on a pet's food will get rid of worms.
Fact: Garlic may make the animal's food taste better but has no effect on worms. The most effective way to treat worms is by medication prescribed by a veterinarian.

Myth: Pregnant women should not own cats.
Fact: Some cats can be infected with a disease called toxoplasmosis, which occasionally can be spread to humans through cat litter boxes and cause serious problems in unborn babies. However, these problems can be controlled, if the expectant mother avoids contact with the litter box and assigns daily cleaning to a friend or other family member.

Myth: A cat's sense of balance is in its whiskers.
Fact: Cats use their whiskers as "feelers" but not to maintain their balance.

Myth: Animals heal themselves by licking their wounds.
Fact: Such licking actually can slow the healing process and further damage the wound.

2) Cats love warm dark places. A dryer full of fresh warm clothes is an enticing place for a cat to curl up. You may think: so what's wrong with that? Well, a lot of people have killed their cat because they didn't see or forgot she/he was in there, and turned the dryer on. It's sad to think this, but it does happen. We can prevent this but it has to be practiced by the whole family. Always keep the dryer door closed, and anyone who is doing the laundry should check to see where your cat is. If you should happen to find her/him in there, here is a way to prevent this from happening again: If your cat should be in the dryer, shut the door for a second, pound on the top of the appliance and make as much noise as you can, open the door and let her/him out. This may sound cruel but it does work. He/she will really be hesitant about going back in. After all, a cat afraid of the dryer is better than a harmed or dead cat.

3) The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has published this position statement on the frequency of visits to the veterinarian suggested for pet owners: "For optimum health and wellness, all pets should have a veterinary examination at least annually. For many pets, more frequent visits may be appropriate. Decisions regarding specific frequency of visits are appropriately made on an individual basis, based on the age, species, breed, health, and environment of the pet. The American Animal Hospital Association recommends that pet owners consult their pet’s veterinarian regarding the appropriate frequency of veterinary visits for their pets."

This may sound like unnecessary advice, but it nonetheless bears repeating since there are far too many pet owners who wait too long between visits. This delay can lead to health problems getting out of control for your pet.

Remember to use your awareness and the sense of timing (as described by Trudeau)....


Oocyst--noun; spore phase of certain protozoan parasites such as Cryptosporidium and Toxoplasma. This reproductive state can survive for lengthy periods outside a host and is very resistant to dry conditions and water.


Boston Terrier--

The Boston Terrier is a small, sturdy, round-headed and short-faced canine with large expressive eyes who is not a delicate lapdog. The breed is usually good-natured with people and other pets and has a passion for playing games and chasing balls. While originally bred for fighting, they were later down bred for companionship and the modern Boston Terrier can be gentle, alert, expressive, and well-mannered. Both females and males generally bark only when necessary. Having been bred as a companion dog, they enjoy being around people, and if properly socialized get along well with children, the elderly, and other pets. Some Bostons enjoy having another one for companionship. Boston Terriers can be very cuddly, while others are more independent. Because of their short snouts, they do tend to snort and snore. Due to the Boston's prominent eyes, some are prone to ulcers or other potentially serious injuries to their cornea.


1) The correct answers for matching Presidents and their pets was submitted by Margie, from Chicago. The correct pairings were:

George Washington--36 hounds; John Tyler--Greyhound; Ulysses Grant--Newfoundland; Teddy Roosevelt--Chesapeake Bay Retriever; Franklin D. Roosevelt--Scottish Terrier; Dwight Eisenhower (Ike)--Weimaraner; John Kennedy--cat (Tom Kitten); Lyndon Johnson--Beagles; Richard Nixon--Cocker Spaniel; Gerald Ford--Siamese Cat (Chan); Jimmy Carter--Siamese Cat (Misty Malarky Ying Yang); Ronald Reagan--Cavalier King Charles Spaniel; Bill Clinton--cat (Socks) and Labrador (Buddy); George H.W. Bush--Springer Spaniel....How many did you get correct?

Here is the picture of LBJ holding one of his Beagles, "Him," by the ears, that became such a controversy:

2) The Diane Rehm Show on National Public Radio this past week had an interesting interview with Jon Katz about him using his dogs to help out at a local hospice. The interview lasts for approximately 30 minutes and is a nice follow-up to Desperado's feature on Service and Therapy dogs. When you have the time, go to the NPR web site and click one of the audio choices beside Jon Katz's name: This was a very enjoyable interview and you can also purchase his book about the same topic at:

3) Mountain lion mistaken for large cat

CASPER, Wyo. (UPI) -- A Casper, Wyo., woman said she initially thought the mountain lion resting on her back porch was simply a large house cat. Beverly Hood said the cougar looked well groomed and she assumed it was someone's pet until it stood up and hissed at her, the Casper Star-Tribune reported Wednesday. "I wasn't scared. I just thought, 'Whoops, I'm not going out there,'" Hood said. She reported the 80 to 90-pound animal to authorities as a "big cat," leading Casper Police Officer Mike Ableman to the impression that he was en route to shoo away a "kitty cat." He said the dispatcher assured him he was dealing with a house cat and not a mountain lion. Ableman said the assumption was quickly dispelled after he went into the yard. "It stood up and looked at me, and I ran back in the house," he said. Wyoming Game and Fish Department Warden John Lund shot the mountain lion twice with a tranquilizer gun and took it into custody. "Based on the animal's age and its behavior," he said, "we feel we are going to relocate this lion in suitable lion habitat away from people or livestock."

Apparently, the police officer was smarter than the she could confuse an 80-90 lb. cat with a house cat is beyond imagination (even considering Prince Chunky from New Jersey)....

4) Removing Stubborn Pet Hair from Your Car Carpets JASON FOGELSON AOL AUTOS

To remove stubborn pet hair from your car carpets, put on a pair of latex gloves (readily available in boxes of 100 from any home improvement store) and then rub your hand over the carpet. The static electricity caused by the latex glove will help bring the pet hair up to the surface of the carpet for easy removal by hand or vacuum.

Anybody who ever carried a dog or cat in their car should love this tip....

5) Cat clash in Colorado car causes crash

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Colorado State Police troopers ticketed a woman for careless driving after she rolled her car while her two cats were fighting in her lap. The feline fracas broke out as the woman was driving along Interstate 70 and caused her to lose control of the vehicle, KKCO-TV in Grand Junction, Colo., reported Tuesday. The swerving vehicle forced another car and a semi-truck off the road and sent the cat-loving driver to the hospital Monday with injuries police said were not life threatening. As for the cats, they ran off, presumably in separate directions, and were still at large Tuesday.

Helpful Buckeye supposes this could have been a relative of the woman in #3 since neither of them was even slightly aware of the dangerous situations in which they found themselves...can you say, "Darwin Award candidates"?

6) Paul Simon, mentioned above, celebrated his 67th birthday this past week...October 13th...he kept a lot of customers satisfied, don't you think?

7) On October 14, 1996, the Dow cracked the 6000 barrier (closing at 6010)...and now, just 12 years later, it seems that the Dow is trying to crack 6000 again...going the other way!!! What's up with that?

8) Helpful Buckeye figures you need a little humor to loosen you up after that last tidbit. Enjoy this entertaining depiction of what your pets might say to you if they could talk: ....and then, go on over to this web site for more humor about a cat's "wake up call":

9) Perhaps with the idea of making a little extra money in this crazy economy, our readers might want to pursue this idea, from The USA Today: might not even need the whole $75 million!

10) Or, if you're happy with just some spending money, then "Fetch! Pet Care" might be just what you were looking for. Fetch! Pet Care is the nation's largest franchised pet-sitting and dog-walking network, with 144 locations in 33 states, and has announced a recruiting drive aimed at retired individuals and older folks with time on their hands. Veteran animal lovers can earn some additional income plus get daily exercise. For more information, visit their web site: This article is from AARP Magazine/Nov&Dec 2008

11) The September 29, 2008 issue of The New Yorker has a very interesting article on "The Legal Battle Over Trust Funds For Pets," by Jeffrey Toobin. Helpful Buckeye wrote about Leona Helmsley in the 6 July 2008 issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats and her $8 billion that was intended for the care and welfare of dogs. Mr. Toobin goes on to describe how some courts are interpreting these trust funds and what the future may hold for these types of bequests. Enjoy the whole report at:

12) Since Halloween is just 12 days away, our readers might be interested in this offer of 50 scary, horror movies on DVD for only $12.99: ...Sounds like a pretty decent deal to Helpful Buckeye! Also, be prepared to be confronted with dogs and cats in costumes over those next 12 days...starting right here!


1) Well, the LA Dodgers have been cleaning out their lockers this past week after falling to the Phillies...however, we made it deeper into the playoffs than anyone expected. The team has already been sending out forms to their fans asking for a $50 contribution toward the "Re-sign Manny Ramirez" campaign.

2) The Ohio State Buckeyes pummeled Michigan State yesterday as they get ready for the big showdown with Penn State this coming Saturday. For what it's worth, the Big 10 title will probably rest on that game.

3) The Pittsburgh Steelers crushed the Bengals today (but, then again, who hasn't?) as they prepare for a string of 4 really tough games in a row.


1) Helpful Buckeye would like to leave you with a famous quote from Harriet Beecher Stowe: "The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone"....this applies to many things--not voting when you should, not telling someone how much they mean to you, and not reading and responding to this blog....

2) Sometimes, you might even have to wait in line to get these important things done, but you need to wait nonetheless...your turn will come and then you can take care of business....

3) Since a lot of our readers live in states where the Fall colors are in abundance right now, take a walk or a drive and experience the idea that: "Colors are the smiles of nature." (Leigh Hunt, English writer)

~~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, October 12, 2008


No, that's Columbus, Ohio! Or so goes the joke from the old TV commercial. Anyway, Columbus, Ohio is the largest city named for the "discoverer" of the Americas...Christopher Columbus, who the USA honors by celebrating Columbus Day on the 2nd Monday of October. Yes, on 12 October 1492, Columbus is credited for landing on a small island in The Bahamas, thinking that he had reached India...his GPS was just a little off (no satellites back then!)....

Christopher Columbus (the Anglicized form) was also known as Christophorus Columbus (Latin), Cristoforo Colombo (Italian), Cristovao Colombo (Portuguese), and Cristobal Colon (Spanish) depending on who was writing about him. Regardless of his name, he was truly an intrepid explorer willing to venture into the unknown, sailing with 3 ships, the largest of which, the Santa Maria (Hello to Tippy's folks, Marilyn and Terry!), was only 75 ft. long and 25 ft. wide:

None of these ships, the Nina, the Pinta, nor the Santa Maria, were considered sea-worthy enough for a long voyage, but Columbus was either smart enough or crazy enough (probably a little of both) to attempt the voyage of discovery.

From the ship's log, kept by Columbus, we know that he and his crew did find dogs in the New World: "In one of them (a small village) he found a [kind of] dog that never barked, There are here mastiffs and small dogs,"....

To help you make the transition from the history lesson into the main part of Questions On Dogs and Cats, let's go back to 1969 and see if you remember this hit song by The Association...Goodbye Columbus:


1) October is designated as National Pet Wellness Month, sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Fort Dodge Animal Health, with the goal of increasing the awareness of pet owners for the health and welfare of their pets. The web site for this program is full of interesting information and suggestions for helping you to help your pet (much the same as our stated goal at the top of this blog):

2) During the last month, there have been several articles in the news media concerning the possibility of contracting Salmonellosis from reptiles and other "exotic" pets. The Salmonella bacteria group has received a lot of attention this year, mainly due to the contamination of vegetables, which Questions On Dogs and Cats has addressed in 3 separate issues. The AVMA has released a report on their suggested approach to this potential problem:

Veterinarians say good hygiene, common sense key to healthy pets and families...AVMA responds to news reports claiming exotic pets are a health risk to young children

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. , October 7, 2008
— In light of recent news reports focusing on the potential health risks to children less than 5 years of age from nontraditional pets, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is reminding the public that no matter what your age and no matter what species your pet, good hygiene practices greatly reduce the spread of disease and lead to happier and healthier relationships between people and their pets.
The AVMA is also stressing that, under no circumstances, should people abandon pets or turn them loose in the wild due to the fear of diseases that spread between animals and people, also known as zoonotic diseases. If a pet must be relinquished, pet owners need to find it a new and suitable home.
"Pets have so much to offer our children and can be valuable additions to our households," said Dr. James Cook, president of the AVMA. "It would be a shame if recent newspaper articles scare people away from pet ownership, or cause them to abandon pets they already have. Pets bring our children joy and companionship and teach them about animal welfare and responsibility. If anything, these reports should remind people about the importance of washing their hands and other sanitary measures they can take when in contact with any animal."

A thorough question and answer news release was also provided by the AVMA:
Frequently Asked Questions about Pets and Zoonotic Diseases

Updated: October 7, 2008

Can animals carry diseases I can catch?

Yes, they can. Diseases passed from animals to humans are called "zoonotic" (pronounced "zoe-oh-NOT-ick") diseases.
Are these diseases deadly?

Some, such as rabies, are deadly. Many others are not, but can still make you sick.
What is the risk that I or my children will become infected?

The risk is low, if you use common sense and good hygiene and keep your pet healthy.
Are certain people more likely to catch these diseases and become sick?

Yes. People whose immune systems aren't working normally are at higher risk of catching these diseases and becoming sick because their immune systems can't fight off infections as well as healthy people. Very young or very old people, people with diseases such as cancer or HIV infection, and people who are receiving medical therapy or medications (such as chemotherapy or steroids) that can affect their immune systems should be especially careful around animals.
Are certain animals more likely to carry these diseases?

Yes, but any animal (or pet) can carry disease if they become infected. For example, birds (including chicks) and certain species of reptiles and rodents may be more likely to carry Salmonella, a type of bacteria that can cause intestinal problems and other infections. Salmonella can also be carried by other animals (including dogs, cats, and horses) and people. Hamsters can carry a virus that can cause nervous system disease. Cats can infect people with an organism that causes toxoplasmosis, a disease that can cause problems for pregnant women or people with poorly functioning immune systems. Dog roundworms can infect people and cause skin problems, blindness, or organ damage. Healthy pets of any species are less likely to be infected and pass the infection to you.
Should I even get a pet, if there's any risk it could give me a disease?

Pets provide many benefits for people, including companionship and protection, and pet ownership is a very rewarding experience. Many pet owners consider their pets to be members of their families. The decision to get a pet is a personal decision, and should be based on a number of factors, including your family's lifestyle, living arrangements, and others. Although the possibility of disease is an important factor to think about, the risk is low and often considered to be outweighed by the benefits of pet ownership. Additionally, there are many simple things you can do to minimize your risk.
How can I prevent my pet from making me sick?

There are many simple steps you can take to prevent your pet and your family from getting sick.
First of all, healthy pets are much less likely to carry diseases that can infect you. Taking your pet to the veterinarian for regular check-ups, vaccinations, and deworming is a simple way to keep them healthy. Keeping your pets free of fleas and ticks is also important. If you are buying a pet, don't purchase a pet that looks ill or unhealthy.
Don't handle your pet's stool or urine. Wear disposable gloves (or gloves that can easily be disinfected) when cleaning the cat's litter box, and use a scooper or something to cover your hand when picking up after your dog.
Clean up after your pet. Keep your cat's litter box clean, and keep your yard free of dog waste.
After handling your pet, or its food or bedding, or cleaning up after your pet (even if you were wearing gloves), thoroughly wash your hands. This is especially important before you eat anything. Make sure children know to wash their hands after contact with any animal, or wash your children's hands for them if they are not able to do it.
Don't let your pets (or children, for that matter) come in contact with stray or wild animals. These animals are much more likely to have diseases that can infect your pet and possibly infect you.
Don't let your pets lick you in the mouth, and teach children not to put their mouths on animals or put any part of the animal's body in their mouth.
Keep your family healthy. If the people in the family are healthy, they are less likely to be infected, even if the pet becomes infected, because their immune systems are healthy.
I just read a news article that says families with children under 5 years of age shouldn't own pets like hamsters, lizards, turtles, hedgehogs, etc. We already have one of these as a pet. Should we get rid of it?

Although that decision is up to you, we encourage you to discuss it with your veterinarian. Often, there are simple things you can do, such as following the guidelines listed above, that will keep your family safe and allow you to keep your pet. If you decide that you cannot keep your pet, please find your pet a suitable home. Turning a pet loose outside is not good for the animal or the environment. Even though many species kept as pets were originally wild animals, they no longer have the instincts that allow them to survive in the wild. Your veterinarian's office, local animal shelter, pet rescue, or other organization can help you find a new home for your pet.
I'm thinking of getting a pet, but I have young children. What's the best pet to get? Should I get a pet at all?

Getting a pet is not a decision that should be made lightly. It is a big responsibility. It is very important to get a pet that best fits your family's lifestyle and needs. In some cases, the best decision is to postpone getting a pet until the children are older. However, many families have young children and pets and have not had any difficulties. Veterinarians are very good source of information on pet selection. In addition, the AVMA has a number of brochures about pet selection: they can be viewed at
What are "nontraditional" pets?

Many people consider domestic cats and dogs to be traditional pets; any other species kept as a pet is considered nontraditional. Examples include amphibians (frogs, toads, etc.), fish, reptiles (turtles, lizards, snakes, etc.), birds, ferrets, rabbits, rodents (rats, mice, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, chinchilla, hedgehogs, etc.).
Do "nontraditional" pets make good pets?

They certainly can make good, even great, pets for responsible pet owners. Some of these animals require special care or housing, so it's important to thoroughly research any animal you consider getting for a pet—this includes cats and dogs, too. Some people have allergies to cats and/or dogs, and nontraditional pets offer these people options for having a pet that doesn't trigger their allergies. In addition, many of these nontraditional pets can form strong bonds with their owners, and owning a nontraditional pet can be very rewarding.
What animals do not make good pets?

Wild animals are not good pets; they can be dangerous and are more likely to carry diseases. Skunks, raccoons, foxes, squirrels, coyotes, wild birds and other wild animals should be left in the wild; if they are injured, they should be cared for by licensed wildlife rehabilitators. Zoo animals (including lions and tigers) are not good pets, either; these animals require special care and diets, and can be dangerous. Nonhuman primates (monkeys, chimpanzees, etc.) are not good pets because they can be dangerous and are more likely to carry diseases that can infect you and your family.
I have questions about a specific type of pet. Where should I go?

Your veterinarian is the best source of information about pets.
What about the animal kept in my child's classroom? Should I tell my child not to handle it? Should I tell the school to get rid of the animal?

Classroom pets provide very valuable learning experiences for children, and keeping the pet healthy is just as important for classroom pets as it is for family pets. Children should be taught how to handle the pet(s) and taught proper hygiene (such as washing their hands after handling the pet). If you have concerns about the classroom animals, you should discuss them with the school and a veterinarian.
Should I keep my child away from petting zoos or any other activities that involve animals until they are older?

This decision is up to you and your family to decide. Please keep in mind that animals offer valuable educational opportunities. Animals offer companionship and teach children responsibility and respect for all living things, and stimulate their curiosity and interest in learning. If you choose to allow your young children to participate in these activities, adult supervision is necessary to ensure that the children are exposed to the animals in a safe manner and good hygiene practices are followed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also have compiled a short list of recommendations for pet owners and those who may be handling animals other than the traditional dogs and cats:

Helpful Buckeye has devoted a lot of space to this topic because there not only appears to be an increase in the frequency of contamination-type infections, but also a greater coverage of these outbreaks by the media. The path to understanding depends on knowledge and awareness, and an informed public will be a healthier public. Take the time to read this stuff....

3) The AVMA has announced that it intends to lobby Congress for the right of consumers to choose pet health insurance as one of the benefits available from employers:

October 15, 2008
Pet health insurance as an employee benefit? AVMA hopes so

Pet health insurance will one day be among the pretax benefits available to the nation's employees if the AVMA has its way.
The Association intends on asking Congress to pass legislation amending Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Service Code to include pet health insurance as an option offered in so-called cafeteria plans.
Participants in cafeteria plans can choose to receive certain benefits on a pretax basis. Depending on what an employer offers, benefits can include group term life, medical, accident, and disability insurance, and adoption assistance.
The AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee proposed having the AVMA Governmental Relations Division lobby Congress to add pet health insurance to the code before the close of the congressional session this year. The recommendation does not name a particular pet health insurance policy or provider, only that it be included as an employee benefit.
Board members supported the proposal because they believe it is consistent with the AVMA's policy on pet health insurance. The policy states, in part, that, "The AVMA endorses the concept of companion animal health insurance that provides coverage to help defray the cost of veterinary medical care."
Dr. Larry Kornegay believes offering pet health insurance as an employee benefit would resonate with millions of pet-owning Americans. "I can see where the option of using pretax dollars for pet health care would be popular when we have 60 percent of U.S. households with pets," he said.
Also helping the bill's chances is its subject matter: pets, a topic most legislators tend to look on favorably, Dr. Kornegay added.
One of the challenges to be faced, however, is convincing legislators that the benefits of allowing pet owners to dedicate a portion of their pretax salaries to pet health insurance outweigh the financial costs to the federal government.
"We're in very difficult budgetary times, and this proposal would reduce the amount of taxes taken in by the federal Treasury," Dr. Mark Lutschaunig explained, "Congress will require cuts in other parts of the federal budget to offset the income lost by this proposal."
Even if the pet-owner friendly legislation isn't introduced in the 110th Congress, the AVMA will be looking for lawmakers to sponsor the provision when the next session convenes in 2009.

This proposal appears to have some merit, in light of how many pet owners there are in the USA. However, it may have some difficulty in getting positive attention due to the certainty of upcoming budget constraints that will be needed as our country deals with the current economic disaster. (Pet health insurance will be further addressed below in the Non-Medical Concerns section)

4) Helpful Buckeye would like to know, "How far would you go for your dog?" Consider this picture of a huge python beginning to swallow a small dog recently in Australia:

...and then, read this account of a dog rescue in Malaysia:

KUCHING, Malaysia, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- A Kuching, Malaysia, man said he killed a 19-foot python by clubbing it with a piece of wood and dragging it after it tried to kill his dog.
Aleson Mangga said he, his young sons and his dog were tapping rubber Sunday when he heard the canine barking wildly after running into a bush, The Borneo Post reported Monday.
Mangga said he ran to the bush and grabbed a piece of wood after seeing the massive snake beginning to coil itself around the dog. He said he clubbed the snake repeatedly on its head until it gave up its grip on the dog, then Mangga and his sons tied rattan strips around the snake's neck and dragged it more than a mile back to their home, where it soon died from its injuries.
Mangga said he plans to sell the python carcass to a friend.

I don't know about all of you, but Helpful Buckeye is impressed by this dog owner's fortitude!

There is an old cowboy saying that goes: "If you're ridin' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there." I hope I haven't lost any of you with the grisliness of this python I'll look back right now to see if you're all still with me...

OK, some of you are standing there and some of you are running...

So, Helpful Buckeye will assume that all of you are at least still with me (some more eager than others after the snake story).


Ah, many times have you been around someone who starts hacking/coughing only to be heckled with shouts of, "Hairball, hairball!" from nearby unsympathetic bystanders? This response, of course, has arisen from the classic sounds made by a cat as it tries to get rid of what has been described, for lack of a better term, as a hairball.

Nothing is quite so alarming as hearing the "hack-hack-hack" of a cat trying to cough up a hairball. And almost nothing is as disgusting as seeing one on the floor, unless it is stepping on it at night in bare feet.

Ughh! Seriously though, although hairballs may be the topics of jokes among thoughtless humans, they are a source of discomfort or worse, for cats. Hairballs pose a potential danger by blocking the passage of digested food through the intestines, causing an impaction. Hairballs are formed when a cat grooms itself excessively and swallows the hairs.

Since hair is not easily digested, it can compact with undigested food in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. Obviously, longer-haired cats will be more likely to experience this problem than those with short hair. Impactions are serious business, and sometimes must be removed surgically. In lesser cases they can cause painful constipation, something no concerned caregiver wants to wish on their cat.

How to Recognize Hairball Problems:

  • Cylindrical (cigar-shaped) masses on the floor or furniture. Once you've seen one, you'll never forget!

  • Constipation, or hard stools with hair showing,

  • Dry, matted hair coat,

  • Frequent dry coughing or hacking, particularly after meals,

  • Lack of interest in eating,

  • Depression or lethargy.

It would be wise not to wait until these symptoms appear, as hairballs can be so easily prevented. The number one way to avoid hairballs on the floor and in your cat is: Brushing! Most cats enjoy being brushed, and the bonding that develops between cat and human during these brushing times is an added bonus. Regular brushing (1-3 times per week, depending on hair length) should be started when your cat is still a kitten so that it will be a part of the routine. Remember, the hair you see on your cat brush is hair that won't be swallowed. The second part of prevention is the proper usage of one of the available lubricant/laxatives compounded specifically for this purpose. Your veterinarian will help you in determining which combination is the best for you and your cat.


1) Pet Health Insurance has been around for more than 20 years in the USA and it has been the source of a lot of questions from pet owners. Veterinary medical care for your pets has been becoming more expensive, in much the same way as human health care costs have escalated. If the costs of wellness exams, regular vaccinations, medical/surgical treatments, and emergency care have begun to exceed what you, as a conscientious pet owner, can budget for, then perhaps it is time for you to consider if some type of pet health insurance plan is right for you and your dog and/or cat.

As Pet Insurance Review (an independent source of pet health insurance information) presents it:

Pet Insurance 101

Pet insurance has been increasing in popularity recently, due in large part to the advances of veterinary science. Vets today can offer treatments and procedures that were unheard of just a few years ago, such as radiation therapy, transplants, and MRIs. However, these new treatments are not cheap; veterinary costs have risen over 70% in the past five years, to over $19 billion last year. Pet health policies are similar to human insurance policies: annual premiums, deductibles, and various coverages based upon what the owner chooses. Most plans also have co-pays and caps that limit how much will be paid out anually. Items to be aware of:
Some policies won't cover older pets
Certain breeds are excluded from coverage
Pre-existing conditions are normally excluded
Most insurers offer a multi-pet discount policy

Costs vary widely, depending on the animal and the different packages that the owner can choose. Some packages are comprehensive, including such things as annual checkups and vaccinations, spaying/neutering, death benefits and even reimbursement for offering a reward for lost pets. Other plans cover only accidents and illness.

Pet Insurance Review can be found at: and, at this site, the left-side panel of the home page has several categories of interest to an insurance "shopper," including a list of 12 major pet insurance companies in the USA.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) International also provides a nice description of the principles of pet health insurance om their web site:

....10 Things You Need to Know Before Purchasing a Policy
To be competitive and give you more choices, each pet insurance company offers slightly different plans. And that's the single biggest reason that you need to carefully compare the options to make an educated decision.
To help you decide, here are the most important things you'll need to consider.

1. Which Deductible Should You Choose? Choosing a higher deductible will lower your monthly premium, but your out-of-pocket will be higher each time your pet requires medical treatment. Choosing a lower deductible will increase your monthly premium, but your out-of-pocket costs will be lower.
Also, is there a penalty for changing plans and deductibles? You should be able to make those changes to maintain your pet's coverage in times of financial hardship.

2. What Are the Policy Limits? Modern veterinary medicine can be sophisticated and extensive, which can make low per-incident limits (or low lifetime limits) unrealistic. Choose a plan that covers the true costs of unexpected illnesses and accidents.

3. What Does the Policy Cover? What Are the Available Options?Look for plans that cover illnesses, accidents and optional routine care.
· Illnesses. Any illness and accident plan should automatically cover common ailments, but what about chronic diseases like cancer or diabetes? Are they covered as well? For how much?

· Accidents. Cuts and broken legs are common and should be covered. In an accident-only plan, look for surgical coverages that include removal of swallowed objects and treatment of hernias.

· Routine Care. These optional coverages may include such preventive measures as annual exams, vaccinations, teeth cleaning, and diagnostics such as blood panels and urine testing.

4. How Is Your Reimbursement Calculated When You File a Claim? This may be the most misunderstood and most important part of your pet insurance coverage.
Reimbursement is calculated in one of two basic ways:
a) As a fair and straightforward percentage of your veterinarian's bill.
b) As a percentage of a benefit schedule which limits the amount the insurance company is willing to pay.
The actual reimbursement as a percentage of a benefit schedule can be as little as 30% of your vet bill. Avoid surprises by knowing what you're buying.

5. Can You Choose Any Vet or Are You Restricted to a Network? Look for plans that allow you to visit:
· The Veterinarian You Choose. Don't buy a policy that requires you to select a doctor you don't know from a list. Be sure you're allowed to visit any licensed veterinarian.

· After-Hours Emergency Care. Illnesses and accidents sometimes happen after normal business hours. Does your policy cover emergency care at 2 a.m.? You'll also want to be sure your use of an emergency clinic doesn't reduce the amount of coverage allowed for follow-up care.

· Specialists. When your pet needs treatment by a veterinary ophthalmologist (eye care) or a veterinary oncologist (cancer), you'll want to be sure your policy covers specialist care.

6. Who Determines Your Pet's Treatment? You and your veterinarian should determine the best course of treatment for your pet. Choose a plan that doesn't limit your choices with a complicated fee schedule or benefit schedule.

7. What Is Excluded? Amazingly, there are pet insurance companies who will not list treatments and conditions that are not covered by their policies. Be sure you ask for specifics about what is and is not covered by your policy so that you know which treatments are available for your pet.

8. Does Your Veterinarian Recommend the Pet Insurance Company? Your vet's staff members have heard all the news, good and bad, from other policy holders. Ask which one they recommend.

9. Is the Pet Insurance Company Licensed in Your State? You'll have the coverage you need when you choose a pet insurance company that's regulated by your state government. Choose a company that's licensed in your state.

10. What Experience Can You Expect? When you have a problem, or you need help with a claim, a pet insurance company who employs pet lovers who care, and who understand pets, can make all the difference.

We hope that these ten suggestions leave you better prepared to make an educated choice in your pet insurance company and policy. We encourage you to shop around and find the pet insurance company that's right for you and your pet. Here are some of the major American companies:
Pets Best Insurance· PetCare and ShelterCare Pet Insurance Programs· Petshealth Care Plan by The Hartford Group· PetFirst HealthCare· Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI)· Embrace Pet Insurance

When reading and evaluating this information from the SPCA International, our readers need to take into consideration that the ASPCA has a pet health insurance of its own...although, that being said, Helpful Buckeye feels that this information has been presented an unbiased manner and, therefore, is valid and beneficial.

Helpful Buckeye suggests that any of our readers, who might have concluded that they can benefit from pet health insurance, should talk to any of their friends/acquaintances who already have pet insurance for their experience with their insurance company. The next source of information would be your present veterinarian to find out her/his experiences with the various companies and if your veterinary hospital accepts the particular plan you are considering.

2) "The bond that we form with animals is unique. The loss of an animal can have an impact on you that is as great or even greater than the loss of a family member or friend. This bond is what makes our interactions with animals rich and rewarding, but also what makes the grief process so complicated." This excerpt is from the AVMA brochure, Understanding Your Feelings of Loss When Your Animal Dies.... and it continues with: "After your animal has died or been lost, it is natural and normal to feel grief and sorrow. Although grief is an internal and private response, there are certain stages of grief that most people experience. By understanding the process, you will be better prepared to manage your grief and to help other family members and friends who share your sense of loss."

Whether your pet has disappeared, died naturally from old age, died as a result of a disease or accident, or has to be "put to sleep" by euthanasia, your sense of loss can be immense and quite difficult for you to process. Professionals who deal with issues of grief categorize grief into several stages (although not everybody experiences them all or in the same order):

  • Denial

  • Anger

  • Guilt

  • Depression

  • Acceptance

  • Resolution

Although the stages of grief apply fairly universally, grieving is always a personal process. Some people take longer than others to come to terms with these stages and each loss is different. If you understand that these are normal reactions, you will be better prepared to cope with your feelings and to help others face theirs.

The last situation mentioned involving the loss of a pet, that of euthanasia, presents a very difficult circumstance for both the pet owner and the veterinarian. Borrowing from another AVMA brochure, How Do I Know It Is Time? Pet Euthanasia:

"Perhaps the kindest thing you can do for a pet that is extremely ill or so severely injured that it will never be able to resume a life of good quality is to have your veterinarian induce its death quietly and humanely through euthanasia. Your decision to have your pet euthanatized is a serious one, and is seldom easy to make.
What should I do? Your relationship with your pet is special, and you are responsible for your pet's care and welfare. Eventually, many owners are faced with making life-or-death decisions for their pets. Such a decision may become necessary for the welfare of the pet and your family.
A decision concerning euthanasia may be one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make for your pet. Although a personal decision, it need not be a solitary one. Your veterinarian and your family and close friends can help you make the right decision. Consider not only what is best for your pet, but also what is best for you and your family. Quality of life is important for pets and people alike.
How will I know when? If your pet can no longer experience the things it once enjoyed, cannot respond to you in its usual ways, or appears to be experiencing more pain than pleasure, you may need to consider euthanasia. Likewise, if your pet is terminally ill or critically injured, or if the financial or emotional cost of treatment is beyond your means, euthanasia may be a valid option.
Your veterinarian understands human attachment to pets, and can examine and evaluate your pet's condition, estimate its chances for recovery, and discuss its potential disabilities and long-term problems. He or she can explain medical and surgical options and possible outcomes. Because your veterinarian cannot make the euthanasia decision for you, it is important that you fully understand your pet's condition. If there is any part of the diagnosis or the implications for your pet's future that you don't understand, ask to have it explained again. Rarely will the situation require an immediate decision and usually you will have some time to review the facts before making one.
Once the decision for euthanasia has been made, you may wish to discuss the care of the remains of your pet's body with your veterinarian and your family. Your veterinarian can provide information about burial, cremation, and other alternatives.
What if the animal is healthy? Euthanasia might be necessary if a pet has become vicious, dangerous, or unmanageable. Some undesirable and abnormal behavior can be changed, so it is important to discuss these situations with your veterinarian.
Economic, emotional, and space limitations or changes in lifestyle also may cause an owner to consider euthanasia for their pet. Sometimes it is possible to find another home for the pet and that option should be pursued prior to opting for euthanasia. Euthanasia should be considered only when alternatives are not available.
How do I tell my family? Family members usually are already aware of a pet's problems. However, you should review with them the information you have received from your veterinarian. Long-term medical care can be a burden that you and your family may be unable to bear emotionally or financially, and this should be discussed openly and honestly. Encourage family members to express their thoughts and feelings. Even if you have reached a decision, it is important that family members, especially children, have their thoughts and feelings considered.
Children have special relationships with their pets. Excluding or protecting children from this decision-making process, because they are thought to be too young to understand may only complicate and prolong their grief process. Children respect straightforward, truthful, and simple answers. If they are prepared adequately, children usually are able to accept a pet's death.
Will it be painless? Euthanasia is most often accomplished for pets by injection of a death-inducing drug. Your veterinarian may administer a tranquilizer first to relax your pet. Following injection of the euthanasia drug, your pet will immediately become deeply and irreversibly unconscious. Death will be quick and painless.
How can I say goodbye? The act of saying goodbye is an important step in managing the natural and healthy feelings of grief, sorrow, and loss. Your pet is an important part of your life and it is natural to feel you are losing a friend or companion, because you are.
Once the euthanasia decision has been made, you and other family members may want to say goodbye to your pet. A last evening with your pet at home or a visit to the pet at the hospital may be appropriate. Family members who want to be alone with the pet should be allowed to do so. Farewells are always difficult.
How can I face the loss? After your pet has died, it is natural and normal to feel grief and sorrow. For some people, spending some time with the pet after euthanasia is helpful. The grieving process includes accepting the reality of your loss, accepting that the loss and accompanying feelings are painful, and adjusting to your new life that no longer includes your pet. By understanding the grieving process, you will be better prepared to manage your grief and to help others in the family who share this loss.

They may not understand Sometimes well-meaning family and friends may not realize how important your pet was to you or the intensity of your grief. Comments they make may seem cruel and uncaring. Be honest with yourself and others about how you feel. If despair mounts, talk to someone who will listen to your feelings about the loss of your pet. Talk about your sorrow, but also about the fun times you and the pet spent together, the activities you enjoyed, and the memories that are meaningful.
I cannot forget If you or a family member have great difficulty in accepting your pet's death and cannot resolve feelings of grief and sorrow, you may want to discuss those feelings with a person who is trained to understand the grieving process, such as a grief counselor, clergyman, social worker, physician, or psychologist. Your veterinarian certainly understands the relationship you have lost and may be able to direct you to community resources, such as a support group or hot line.
Should I get another pet? The death of a pet can upset you emotionally, especially when euthanasia is involved. Some people may feel they would never want another pet. For others, a new pet may help them recover from their loss more quickly. Just as grief is a personal experience, the decision of when, if ever, to bring a new pet into your home is also a personal one. If a family member is having difficulty accepting the pet's death, getting a new animal before that person has resolved his or her grief may imply that the life of the deceased pet was unworthy of the grief that that is still being felt. Family members should agree on the appropriate time to acquire a new pet. Although you can never replace the pet you lost, you can obtain another one to share your life.
Remembering your pet The period from birth to old age is much shorter for pets than for people. Death is part of the lifecycle. It cannot be avoided, but understanding and compassion can help you, your family, and your friends manage the grief associated with it. Try to recall and treasure the good times you spent with your pet. You may also wish to establish a memorial of some type or contribute to a charity in honor of your pet."

The first sentence of this section, "The bond that we form with animals is unique," is a very powerful and meaningful statement. Many writers have tried to capture this feeling in words or music. A very popular song, released in 1976, and sung by Henry Gross, has retained its popularity to this day because of its poignant lyrics (also by Henry Gross) and haunting melody. There are several versions of the origin of this song, but they all seem to agree that it was written in memory of the death of a dog owned by Carl Wilson, one of the Beach Boys. The lyrics to "Shannon":

Another day is at end...Mama says she's tired again...No one can even begin to tell her...I hardly know what to say...But maybe it's better that way...If Papa were here I'm sure he'd tell her.

Shannon is gone I heard...She's drifting out to sea...She always loved to swim away...Maybe she'll find an island...With a shaded tree...Just like the one in our backyard.

Mama tries hard to pretend...That things will get better again...Somehow she's keepin' it all inside her...But finally the tears fill our eyes...And I know that somewhere tonight...She knows how much we really miss her.

Shannon is gone I heard...She's drifting out to sea...She always loved to swim away...Maybe she'll find an island...With a shaded tree...Just like the one in our back yard...Just like the one in our back yard....

And now, for the song:


Trichobezoar--noun; a compact mass of hair formed in the stomach especially of a shedding animal (as a cat) that cleanses its coat by licking; more commonly known as a...hairball! Don't worry...I won't show you another picture!


The pet this week will be the protagonist of the following story:

Three handsome male dogs are walking down the street when they see a beautiful, enticing, female Poodle. The three male dogs fall all over themselves in an effort to be the one to reach her first, but end up arriving in front of her at the same time. The males are speechless before her beauty, slobbering on themselves and hoping for just a glance from her in return. Aware of her charms and her obvious effect on the three suitors, she decides to be kind and tells them, "The first one who can use the words 'liver' and 'cheese' together in an imaginative, intelligent sentence can go out with me." The sturdy, muscular black Lab speaks up quickly and says, "I love liver and cheese.'' "Oh, how childish," said the Poodle. "That shows no imagination or intelligence whatsoever." She turns to the tall, shiny Golden Retriever and says "How well can you do?'' "Um. I HATE liver and cheese," blurts the Golden Retriever. "My, my," said the Poodle, "I guess it's hopeless. That's just as dumb as the Lab's sentence." She then turns to the last of the three dogs and says, "How about you, little guy?" The last of the three, tiny in stature but big in fame and finesse, is the Taco Bell / Chihuahua. He gives her a smile, a sly wink, turns to the Golden Retriever and the Lab and says....
Liver alone. Cheese mine!!!

A big thanks to Sara, in Richmond, VA for that one....especially since Chihuahuas are one of her favorite breeds!


1) October has been designated as National Adopt-A-Shelter Dog Month by the ASPCA. The ASPCA does a remarkable job of adopting homeless dogs and cats and their web site lists the "Top Ten Reasons to Adopt an Older Dog" as:

1. What You See Is What You Get Older dogs are open books—from the start, you’ll know important things like their full-grown size, personality and grooming requirements. All this information makes it easier to pick the right dog and forge that instant love connection that will last a lifetime. If you’re not so into surprises, an older dog is for you!
2. Easy to Train Think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Hogwash! Older dogs are great at focusing on you—and on the task at hand—because they’re calmer than youngsters. Plus, all those years of experience reading humans can help them quickly figure out how to do what you’re asking.
3. Seniors are Super-Loving The stories you submitted about your senior dogs were wonderfully varied, but they all contained beautiful, heartfelt descriptions of the love your dogs give you—and those of you who adopted older dogs told us how devoted and grateful they are. It's an instant bond that cannot be topped!
4. They’re Not a 24-7 Job Grownup dogs don’t require the constant monitoring puppies do, leaving you with more freedom to do your own thing. If you have young children, or just value your “me time,” this is definitely a bonus.
5. They Settle in Quickly Older dogs have been around the block and already learned what it takes to get along with others and become part of a pack. They’ll be part of the family in no time!
6. Fewer Messes Your floors, shoes and furniture will thank you for adopting a senior pooch! Older dogs are likely to already be housetrained—and even if they’re not, they have the physical and mental abilities to pick it up really fast (unlike puppies). With their teething years far behind them, seniors also are much less likely to be destructive chewers.
7. You Won’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew There are those who yearn for a doggie friend of their own, but hold back because they worry what might happen in their lives in the years to come. And they are wise to do so—a puppy or young dog can be anywhere from an eight- to 20-year responsibility, which is not appropriate for the very elderly or those with certain long-term future plans. Providing a loving home for a dog in her golden years is not a less serious commitment, but it can be a shorter one.
8. They Enjoy Easy Livin’ Couch potato, know thyself! Please consider a canine retiree rather than a high-energy young dog who will run you ragged. Not that older dogs don’t require any exercise—they do—but they’re not going to need, or want, to run a marathon every day.
9. Save a Life, Be a Hero Older dogs are often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized at shelters. Saving an animal’s life offers an unparalleled emotional return on your investment, and you’ll feel the rewards every day you spend together. There’s nothing like that twinkling in an older dog’s eyes when he finally gets adopted and realizes that after a lifetime of searching, he’s home.
10. They’re CUTE! Need we say more?

2) If you're wondering how and why so many animals end up at the various animal shelters, the National Council on Pet Population Study & Policy lists these reasons:

Landlord issues
Cost of pet maintenance
No time for pet
Inadequate facilities
Too many pets in home
Pet illness (es)
Personal problems
No homes for littermates


Too many in house
Cost of pet maintenance
Landlord issues
No homes for littermates
House soiling
Personal problems
Inadequate facilities
Doesn't get along with other pets

3) To whet your appetite a little more in relation to pets and the upcoming Presidential election, Helpful Buckeye has this little quiz for you about Presidential pets. From the web site of : "U.S. presidents and their families have typically liked animals. Creatures from mice to bears have made a home at the White House and its grounds." See if you can re-arrange these Presidential pets to match them with their master :

George Washington--------Cat (Socks), Labrador (Buddy)

John Tyler----------------Siamese Cat (Misty Malarky Ying Yang)

Ulysses Grant-------------Cocker Spaniel (Checkers)

Teddy Roosevelt----------Cat (Tom Kitten)

Franklin D. Roosevelt------Newfoundland

Dwight Eisenhower--------Scottish Terrier

John F. Kennedy----------36 Hounds

Lyndon Johnson-----------Greyhound

Richard Nixon------------Siamese Cat (Chan)

Gerald Ford--------------Springer Spaniel

Jimmy Carter------------Weimaraner

Ronald Reagan-----------Chesapeake Bay Retriever

George H. W. Bush-------Beagles (named Him & Her)

Bill Clinton---------------Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Send your answers to and Helpful Buckeye will name the winner next week!

4) Helpful Buckeye recently saw these interesting climate-controlled pet carriers advertised by KomfortPets at: . As described, these carriers have a certain amount of self-contained cooling and heating provided for a dog or cat riding inside. After you've read about the product, visit the company's Home Page for further information.

5) Today was the birthday of the U.S. Navy, founded in 1775. Here's a patriotic shout-out to my good friend and Naval Academy grad, David, here in Flagstaff! No, that's not David...that is John Paul Jones, America's first well-known naval hero.

6) Helpful Buckeye is still getting positive comments about Desperado's contribution of the issue on Service and Therapy animals, the most recent from Dianne, in Chico, CA. We do appreciate all the feedback. As a follow-up on that issue, several of our readers have mentioned the charitable organizations listed, in addition to several others. As a word to the wise for potential donors, a recent article in the USA Today deals with some of today's concerns with fraud and mis-use of funds by charities:


The LA Dodgers didn't look very good in the first 2 games against the Phillies but we took a big step forward with a huge win in LA tonight. The next 2 games are in LA and we have a really good record at home. By this time next week, we'll either be going to the World Series or cleaning out the lockers!

The Ohio State Buckeyes beat Purdue yesterday. Since the number of undefeated teams is dwindling weekly, the Buckeyes aren't looking so bad after all. There may still be some hope for ....

The Pittsburgh Steelers had the week off and it came at a perfect time, with so many of our starters being injured. We play at Cincinnati next Sunday.


This reminder that the name, "Fido," comes from the Latin for "fidelity"...a fitting name for "man's/woman's best friend"....

~~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.~~