Sunday, November 16, 2008


Well, here it is, the middle of November, most of us have gone through our "Indian" summer, and some of us have felt the first thrust of winter. Only our friends in Florida and Chico, CA have been spared the onset of cold weather.

Our old buddy, Mark Twain, described the onset of winter this way:

"Winter is begun here, now, I suppose. It blew part of the hair off the dog yesterday & got the rest this morning." (from a letter to Chatto and Windus, October 21, 1892. Published in The Fence Painter, Winter, 2004.)

Helpful Buckeye can't speak for all of our readers, but a chill wind that blows "the hair off the dog," will get my attention right away! If one of my former clients would have brought their dog in to see me with a complaint of the winter wind blowing the hair off their dog, I would have probably initiated a serious chat about giving their dog better protection. Helpful Buckeye will address being prepared for the onset of winter and what it means for your pets later in this issue.

First stage of winter in Flagstaff:


1) Helpful Buckeye wants to remind all of our readers that the deadline for filing a claim in the pet food melamine contamination problems of last year is NOV 24, 2008. The American Veterinary Medical Association has published this news update:

Nov. 24 deadline to file claims relevant to recalled pet food

A U.S. district court has granted final approval of a $24 million settlement to pay economic damages to the owners of cats and dogs that ate pet food subject to last year's massive recalls.
The recalled pet food contained ingredients from China contaminated with melamine and melamine analogs, which apparently combined to impair renal function in cats and dogs.
Pet owners must file claims by Nov. 24 to receive compensation for economic damages from the settlement fund. The cash fund comes from U.S. and Canadian companies that supplied the ingredients in question or manufactured, distributed, or sold pet food containing the ingredients.
With documentation, consumers can receive up to a 100 percent cash payment of reasonable expenses that resulted from their purchase or their pet's consumption of the recalled pet food. Consumers also can receive up to $900 for reasonable and valid economic damages for which they do not have documentation.
Valid expenses include food purchases, veterinary care, necropsy costs, the price of cremation or burial, the purchase price or fair market value of a pet that died or of a new pet, and other economic costs.
Claim forms are available by calling (800) 392-7785 or by visiting The Web site provides more details about the settlement.

2) In an effort to tighten controls over large-scale dog breeders, Congress has been trying to bring more oversight responsibility for this to the USDA. The AVMA reports on this bill's progress:

"Federal law could increase scrutiny at dog breeding facilities; Law would broaden USDA jurisdiction, change exercise requirements
Lawmakers are trying to close a loophole that exempts some large-scale dog breeders from federal scrutiny when the breeders sell directly to the public.
"Even though they're these massive operations, they are not under the jurisdiction of the Animal Welfare Act because they're selling directly to consumers," said Tom Mentzer, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Sam Farr. "And so you have these puppy mills that should be regulated because they are huge commercial operations, but they're not."
Representative Farr, of California, introduced the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act in the House of Representatives Sept. 18, and he is among more than 20 representatives and senators sponsoring or co-sponsoring the bill in their respective houses. U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois introduced it in the Senate.
It did not appear likely at press time that H.R. 6949 would pass this year, and Mentzer said Farr will likely reintroduce it in January or February.
"I think we're trying to build momentum so we can introduce it early on in the 111th Congress," Mentzer said in early October.
The AVMA has monitored but not yet taken a position on the bill."

To read the rest of this report, go to:

3) The Humane Society of the United States has begun a program to encourage "Citizen Activism," when it comes to identifying and reporting violations of animal cruelty laws. Citizen Activism has given animals a voice in the quest to prevent the mistreatment of pets. The HSUS centers on the contributions of 3 individuals in this uplifting press release:

As explained toward the end of this press release, there are 3 ways to become involved in the Citizen Advocate program:

Helpful Buckeye knows that our readers are already concerned with the welfare of animals or you wouldn't have the interest to keep reading Questions On Dogs and Cats and sending in the questions that you do. Becoming even further involved in some type of activism, like this program by the HSUS, may be just what you were looking for...especially with winter coming on and some of your outdoor activities being curtailed. Check out these web sites and let us know if you've pursued any of the options.

4) We have covered the selection of the Presidential first dog since the topic first arose during the campaign. If you're tired of this topic, skip this and go ahead to the next section. However, since the Secretary of State hasn't even been selected (amidst a lot of speculation), Helpful Buckeye feels it's only proper to provide coverage until the first pooch has been chosen. This report from ABC News gives the situation even further analysis:

Comedian Bill Maher has given us his take on the back-ground security checks being done on potential first dogs: "A sure bet that a dog will be eliminated from consideration is if it has ever palled around with terriers."


1) In many areas, winter is a season of bitter cold and numbing wetness. Help your pets remain happy and healthy during the colder months by following these simple guidelines.
With the onset of winter weather upon us, the HSUS offers these tips for protecting your pets from winter's woes:

  • Don't leave dogs outdoors when the temperature drops. Most dogs, and all cats, are safer indoors, except when taken out for exercise. Regardless of the season, shorthaired, very young, or old dogs and all cats should never be left outside without supervision. Short-coated dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater during walks.

  • No matter what the temperature, windchill can threaten a pet's life. A dog or cat is happiest and healthiest when kept indoors. If your dog is an outdoor dog, however, he/she must be protected by a dry, draft-free doghouse that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The house should be turned to face away from the wind, and the doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.

  • Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet's water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal; when the temperature is low, your pet's tongue can stick and freeze to metal.

  • Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car's hood to scare them away before starting your engine.

  • The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet's feet. Wipe the feet with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates his/her mouth.

  • Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach. Better yet, use antifreeze-coolant made with propylene glycol (as opposed to the much more toxic chemical ethlyene glycol); if swallowed in small amounts, it will not hurt pets, wildlife, or your family. There are several nationally available propylene- glycol antifreezes on the market, including:
    Sierra (Safe Brands Corp., 1-800-289-7234)
    Sta-Clean (Sta-Clean Products, 1-800-825-3464
    Prestone LowTox® Antifreeze/Coolant-available at most automotive stores and departments

Probably the best prescription for winter's woes is to keep your dog or cat inside with you and your family. The happiest dogs are those who are taken out frequently for walks and exercise but kept inside the rest of the time. Dogs and cats are social animals who crave human companionship. Your animal companions deserve to live indoors with you and your family.

Helpful Buckeye will address antifreeze and other household hazards in next week's issue. Stay tuned....


1) With the existing economic conditions, one of the very unfortunate results has been the high number of home foreclosures. In addition to a family losing their home, many of these families also have had pets, which seemed to have gotten lost as the family transitions to a new location. Local, state, and national organizations have tried to encourage volunteers to act as temporary foster "owners" of these pets in order to allow time to find the pets a new home. The Arizona Republic features this article about a project being offered by the Arizona Animal Welfare League: ....

The AVMA has also put together a list of questions and answers to help in the assistance of those who are about to lose their homes and pets. Even though hopefully none of our readers is in this situation, any of you may know of someone who is facing such a crisis. If so, use this list to familiarize yourself with the problem and some potential solutions:

"Frequently asked questions about pets and foreclosed homes"

The HSUS has also initiated a program designed to assist those in danger of losing their homes and their pets by making financial grants available for the care of those pets:

2) The second big problem arising out of this economic downturn is that a lot of pet owners have found it difficult affording any type of veterinary care for their pets. The HSUS has also addressed this situation and provides a nice comprehensive list of options and considerations for pets that need medical care:


1) The mystery pet from last week was NOT an Irish Water Spaniel, as some of you suggested, although there is a slight similarity. The mystery breed was a Portuguese Water Dog and was correctly identified by...yep, my Aunt Cathy in FL. An Irish Water Spaniel is shown on the left and a Portuguese Water Dog on the right:

2) In the Halloween issue, the Pet of the Week was the Pug. We had a little fun with this breed, seen in a couple of humorous costumes. Helpful Buckeye had another picture of a Pug banner, in a delightful flower garden, but decided to hold the picture for a few weeks so that it could be seen with the proper respect of his memory. Jeffrey was a favored pet of Pat and Ed, of Martinsburg, PA.


OK, Helpful Buckeye has mentioned a lot of products for pets since starting Questions On Dogs and Cats back in May. As always, just because these products are described in this blog, it doesn't mean that Helpful Buckeye endorses them. The products are mentioned because they are interesting, for one reason or another. If any of our readers decide to try one of these products, this site will welcome any first-hand account of its usage. In that light, this new section, Product of the Week, will be reserved for the most unusual or most interesting product that shows up during that week. The first in this line of memorable products will be (drum roll!)....the flushable dog poop bag! Yes, you read that correctly! Straight from the folks at Flush Doggy comes this eco-friendly way of getting rid of your dog...poop. They even are offering one free poop bag to anyone who fills out the simple form on their web site: Go ahead and read over the web site, especially the part on "Why Flush? " for their explanation of the application of this product. If any of you follow through on this offer, be sure to let us know what you think of it.


1) Gus, crowned the world's ugliest dog back in June, passed away this past week. He was a Chinese Crested with several disadvantages, one of which was a skin tumor that ultimately caused his death. Our sympathies go out to his owner.

As long as Chinese Cresteds are still around, they shouldn't have too much trouble retaking the crown (Sorry, Susan!), unless the Xoloitzcuintli or the Peruvian Hairless are able to make a push for the title! Read the report at:

2) A Maltese dog named Max is headed home to Florida after he was found in Chicago. Max disappeared from his yard several months ago and was ultimately identified in Chicago by a microchip his owner had implanted. Hardly a week goes by without hearing of or reading a similar story. As Helpful Buckeye advised in our July 20th issue, you never know when your pet could disappear and a microchip could be what reunites you.

3) Just as we thought...the investigating officer of the case involving the dog driving the car in Pryor, OK last week said the car in question was an '82 Buick...old enough that it did not require a foot to be on the brake for it to be put in gear. And, this story update comes to you today, the 101st anniversary of Oklahoma statehood! A shout-out for Charlene and Ken is in order right here!

4) Not to be outdone by Gus, the 3-legged dog mentioned above, or the 2-legged dog many of you have seen in an earlier video (dog has both back legs and walks almost upright), here is a really remarkable Greyhound. This Greyhound not only has just 2 legs, but they are both on the same side of the dog. For this dog to do the things it does is much tougher physically than the dog with only the 2 back legs. Watch this video and tell me if you don't shake your head in awe: (use your sound on this one)

5) A man from the Defiance area (Ohio) got frustrated because he couldn't find the type of furniture and other accessories that he wanted for his cats. So, he started making his own and soon he had himself a nice little business. Read about it in: then, go to: for his video ad for the products (with some interesting music)....

6) There seems to be a cable channel for just about everybody's personal interest. If you happen to get The Game Show Network, you might want to check out the "Think Like A Cat Game Show." Whether or not you get the channel, you probably will also want to go to their web site at: ....go to the "Cat Capades" section and click "play now" and have your sound on. Go a little further down the page and see the names of the 8 finalists in the Show.

7) On the 11th of NOV (1964), Calista Flockhart was born.

8) On the 14th of NOV (1666), the first ever blood transfusion was accomplished in London...between 2 dogs!

9) As an example of making something good out of something bad, comes this story of The Vicktory Dogs Wine Collection. It features colorful portraits of 22 dogs confiscated from Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennels that now live at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in southern Utah. Their portraits are seen on select bottles of a boutique wine maker in Buellton, CA. Read the entire story at: and let us know if you buy the entire set of 24 bottles.

10) Several famous writers and their cats are briefly profiled on this web site: One of these writers, our friend again, Mark Twain, had this additional comment about cats: "Of all God's creatures there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat."-- Notebook, 1894


The Ohio State Buckeyes got a little revenge on Illinois yesterday by winning easily in Champaign. We now have just 1 more game in the regular season, against Michigan (which has just about disappeared from the college football map)....

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat San Diego today in the snow in Pittsburgh. The final score was 11-10, the first time in the history of the NFL (12,837 games) that a game ended with that score. A strange play occurred at the end of the game, with the Steelers scoring a TD, but the officials wiped out the, for now, the 11-10 score stands. The Steelers ended up with more penalties than points, but we'll still take the win!


Next week, Helpful Buckeye will turn the discussion toward the upcoming Holiday Season, with plenty of advice and tips to help you keep your pets safe and healthy through the New Year. See you then....

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

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