Sunday, August 2, 2009


Wow, is it possible that football season is back already? Well, sports fans, the NFL training camps all opened over the, those of you who aren't baseball fans now have something to pick you up. As our regular readers here at Questions On Dogs and Cats know by now, Helpful Buckeye is a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan. It has been nice basking in the glow of the Super Bowl victory, but, as they say, it's a brand new season. As our readers also know, Helpful Buckeye lives in Flagstaff, AZ, where the Arizona Cardinals hold their training camp, on the campus of Northern Arizona University. Since the Cardinals played the Steelers in this last Super Bowl, and almost won the game, there has been a lot of interest in their practices. In past years, the crowds have numbered in the low hundreds, while this year, they've been in the 3000-4000 range. Helpful Buckeye has already been to two of the practices and the Cardinals do look like they might be for real. It's hard for me not to like them...their best player, Larry Fitzgerald, went to my undergraduate school (Pitt) and their #1 draft choice this year, Beanie Wells, went to Ohio State. Add to that the fact that most of their coaching staff has roots in the Steelers' system and you can see why they've become my second favorite team. There are a surprising number of Steeler fans out here in Arizona...I see their logos, license plates, shirts, and hats almost every day. The picture to the left is from the back yard of a house in my neighborhood, only 3 miles from the Cardinals training fields. I ran this next photo last year, but it still represents the spirit of NFL fanaticism.

Not very many readers voted in the polls this past week. The poll on Internet pharmacies revealed that most of you have not used one. The poll on Michael Vick and his dog-fighting conviction showed that most of you probably don't care whether or not he plays again in the NFL. Be sure to vote in this week's poll question in the left column...the more votes received, the better the results reflect our readers' feelings.


Helpful Buckeye did receive quite a few e-mails this week about the American Humane Association's response to the Michael Vick situation. Most of you felt their President, Marie Belew Wheatley, gave a well-thought out response about their willingness to give Michael Vick a second chance. However, there were a few of you who wrote that he deserved NO second chance because the dogs never had a second chance. Now, the American Kennel Club has entered the discussion as well. Their Chairman, Ronald Menaker, and their President, Dennis Sprung, co-wrote a letter to the Commissioner of the NFL, asking him to NOT reinstate Michael Vick's playing privileges. You can read the text of their short letter at:

Then, the Humane Society of the United States weighed in with this response by their President and CEO, Wayne Pacelle: As you can see for yourself, opinions on this situation are all over the map. Helpful Buckeye feels that Mr. Pacelle's approach is probably the best scenario for all concerned. The dogs that died are not coming back to life and, if anything positive at all can come from this, the HSUS approach provides the best hope. On the video of Mr. Pacelle, continue watching and you will get to see the HSUS Anti-Dogfighting Training Camp program as it demonstrates some of its activities.


This week's topic of SPAYING AND NEUTERING does not initially conjure up the idea of a disease, ailment, or medical condition. However, there are some medical considerations that come into the picture once in awhile after these procedures have been done. Several weeks ago, one of our new readers, Martine, from CA, sent an e-mail asking that we discuss spaying and neutering and any medical issues that might be associated with those procedures. So, Martine, this is for you and "Sugar."

For this week, Helpful Buckeye will discuss the actual surgical procedures, along with a list of "Frequently Asked Questions" provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Next week, the discussion will cover the medical aspects of the benefits of this surgery as well as the potential negative effects.

From the AVMA:

Is there a pet population problem?

Yes, every year, millions of unwanted dogs and cats, including puppies and kittens, are needlessly euthanized. The good news is that every pet owner can make a difference. By having your dog or cat surgically sterilized, you will do your part to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens and enhance your pet's health and quality of life.

What is surgical sterilization?

During surgical sterilization, a veterinarian removes certain reproductive organs. If your cat or dog is a female, the veterinarian will usually remove her ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus. The medical name for this surgery is an ovariohysterectomy, although it is commonly called "spaying." If your pet is a male, the testicles are removed and the operation is called an orchiectomy, commonly referred to as castration or simply "neutering."

While both spaying and neutering are considered major surgical procedures, they are also the most common surgeries performed by veterinarians on dogs and cats. Before the procedure, your pet is given a thorough physical examination to ensure that it is in good health. General anesthesia is administered during the surgery and medications can be given to minimize pain. You will be instructed to keep your pet calm and confined for several days after surgery until the incision begins to heal. After the surgery, there may be some discomfort, but this is a part of the normal healing process and can usually be controlled with various medications.

What is the best age to spay or neuter my pet?

Generally speaking, as early as possible. Most veterinarians recommend that a female be spayed BEFORE her first estrus or "heat" cycle, which usually occurs around 6 months of age (although this can be a little earlier in small breeds and a little later in the larger breeds). A male dog or a tomcat can be neutered at 6 months to a year of age. Consult with your veterinarian about the most appropriate time to spay or neuter your pet based on its breed, age, and physical condition. The best time to have this conversation would be during the 2-3 month age period while getting the puppy or kitten vaccinations. Some veterinarians are spaying and neutering pets as early as 4 months of age without any problems.

Is the operation expensive?

Professional fees for spaying and neutering reflect the difficulty of the procedures involved. The actual fee may vary from one area to another, depending largely on the economics of maintaining a veterinary hospital in a particular community. The size, age, sex, and health of your pet may also affect the cost of the surgery.

If the fee seems high, remember that surgical spaying or neutering is permanent. It's a life-time investment in your pet that can solve a number of problems for you, your pet, and a society already burdened with too many dogs and cats. In fact, it could save you money in the long run. The cost of boarding your female pet during just one or two "heat" cycles, for example, probably would pay for an ovariohysterectomy. This surgery can dramatically improve your pet's quality of life and prevent some behavior frustrations for you.

If you are still uncertain whether or not to proceed with the surgery, consider the expense to society of collecting and caring for all the unwanted, abused, or abandoned animals being house in shelters. Having your pet spayed or neutered is a part of responsible pet ownership.

Next week, we'll discuss the medical and behavioral benefits that can be gained from spaying or neutering your pets. We'll also address some of the common myths associated with spaying and neutering, in addition to discussing some of the potential detriments to the procedure.

Any comments, please send an e-mail to: or click on the word, Comment, at the end of this issue and leave your comment.


This past week, a press release got a lot of people's attention. This release detailed the account of a veterinary dentist using a laser to shorten the sharp teeth of a dog that had become a habitual biter. Take a few minutes to read this account and then think about where you would stand on this question. You'll be able to express your opinion in the poll question of the week in the left column. Go to:


If this product is not available on the market, it should be! You can get almost anything else for your dog...why not something in their favorite scent?


1) According to the folks at, they asked 1110 pet-owning Americans whether they are pet friendly or pet frenzied. These pet owners responded that they have done these things with their pets:

  • Taken them along on vacation--42%

  • Included them in a family portrait--35%

  • Included them in a holiday card--33%

  • Taken them to work--17%

  • Taken them places they're not allowed--16%

You can draw your own conclusions from these numbers, but Helpful Buckeye thinks pets are pretty well involved in our family's lives.

2) Speaking of being pet friendly, here's an article that asks the question, "Can a pet friendly hotel actually save you money?" Before you quickly answer, "No way," go to:

3) There were 2 interesting stories this week about dogs surviving falls of great height. The first one involved a Golden Retriever that ran off a 40-ft. cliff on the Isle of Wight (English Channel) and landed on the rocks below. His injuries and subsequent recovery make for a nice ending:

4) The second story involving a dog falling a great distance originated with a New York City man feloniously throwing his dog off the roof of a 6-story apartment building. Like the dog in England, this one also suffered fractures to its front legs and is expected to do OK. For the rest of this story, go to:

How many of you would like to be on the jury for this case?

5) Helpful Buckeye has previously discussed some of the problems associated with feral cats: and

Now, the subject of how to deal with thousands of feral cats has encompassed the Phoenix metropolitan area and this article from the Arizona Republic presents the considerations at hand:

6) Also in Phoenix, a city parks employee has come up with an idea that is saving the city a lot of money:

7) Questions On Dogs and Cats has covered the "Ugliest Dog" contest in California the last 2 years, but now, an "ugliest" dog has made the news in England. "E.T." has been in a dog rescue pound for months because he can't seem to attract an adopter. Read the story and decide if you'd like to adopt him:

8) England seems to be pretty well represented in this week's stories, and this one is no exception. Casper, the cat, has been taking a free 11-mile bus ride every day for the last 4 years, unbeknownst to his owner. Read the details of Casper's escapades at:


The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves tonight to end their road trip at 3-4. Helpful Buckeye told you last Sunday that we would have a problem with St. Louis...and we did. Back home to Chavez Ravine Monday evening and some home cookin'....


Holly, Helpful Buckeye really appreciates the way you always seem to hit the ground running on Monday morning. Your comment is almost always the first one in line and your feedback has been invaluable! Thanks....for you, from Voltaire, French philosopher and writer, who said, "Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well."

Life is good...the fire-roasted Hatch chilis are back at the Farmers Market! I can smell them right now....

~~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.~~


  1. Fantastic post as usual!!

    Not sure if you knew, we no longer have Sugar any more.

    We are most likely getting two new puppies from a rescue a few hours away... they will be spayed/neutered this next week and if it all works out they will come home with us on the 16th.


  2. Doc:
    I wrote a blog about this topic with Vic called I'm Conflicted. But at the end of the day, I'm always shocked at how many people want to give an aggressive dog a fighting chance to turn it around and become good...

    But, can't find it in themselves to give a Human Being the same chance at becoming good.

    Seems a harsh double standard.

    Great job here and thanks for all the support about Fiona!

    Go Stillers! I live just down the road from St. Vincent College so you know how things are around here at the moment!!!

  3. Oh, and for the thanks? You are most welcome. For all you give us to help and entertain.