Sunday, July 4, 2010


Even though the 4th of July doesn't really mark the actual mid-point of summer, it seems to be viewed that way by most people.  Memorial Day weekend is only a memory by now and Labor Day weekend seems to be just around the corner.  However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't enjoy the next two months.  Many of our readers who have school-age children might not not have taken their vacations yet and are still looking forward to that.  Desperado and Helpful Buckeye prefer not to travel much during the summer months but we do have a short trip to Pennsylvania for a family reunion scheduled for the end of July.  We also are driving down to Phoenix on the 4th to see the LA Dodgers play the Arizona Diamondbacks, but that's just a daytrip.  More on that later....

As you can tell from the title of seemingly unrelated topics for this week's issue, Helpful Buckeye is providing a mishmash of very interesting, but not-too-serious subjects for your holiday reading pleasure.  Hope you enjoy the issue!

One of our faithful readers of Questions On Dogs and Cats reports having a problem lately with the blog loading very slowly on his computer.  If any other readers are experiencing the same problem, please send Helpful Buckeye an e-mail at: and I will check with the folks at Google for a solution.  Hopefully, this is not a widespread problem.

As expected, not very many of our readers were aware that plague can affect dogs and cats (only 10% knew).  Now, you all know.  Also, about 50% of our pet owners have had a cat or dog that showed excessive biting at their claws.  Be sure to answer this week's poll questions in the column to the left.


1) The American Veterinary Medical Association has issued this press release:

The Golden Retriever Foundation and Morris Animal Foundation have announced a $1 million, three-year study of the two most common cancers in Golden Retrievers, hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma.

Both foundations are funding the project, which is part of Morris' Canine Cancer Campaign to prevent and treat cancer in dogs. Leading the study are Dr. Jaime F. Modiano at the University of Minnesota; Matthew Breen, PhD, at North Carolina State University; and Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, PhD, at the Broad Institute.

The study will investigate mutations involved in the development and progression of hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma in Golden Retrievers. The researchers also will profile the susceptibility of specific tumor types to various chemotherapy compounds.

2) The American Kennel Club has announced that it is welcoming 3 new breeds for registration.  They are:

Cane Corso

Icelandic Sheepdog

and Leonberger

As you can see, they are all pretty good sized dogs.  Read about descriptions and history of these breeds at:

3)  The Humane Society of the United States has a nice video about the relocation of some dogs as a result of the Gulf Coast oil spill.  Watch the short video at: 


Helpful Buckeye received a lot of e-mails last week about the cat in England that was the recipient of 2 prosthetic rear feet.  The cat, Oscar, has apparently been seen on numerous TV programs and Internet sites and everybody understands that, even though he probably used up a couple of his 9 lives, he will be surely be able to enjoy the lives he has remaining...thanks to the British veterinarian who wouldn't give up on him. 

Oscar was living on a farm on the island of Jersey, in the English Channel, when he got run over by a harvester.  After the local veterinarian got him stabilized, Oscar was taken to England for his chance to walk again.  Helpful Buckeye has found this video that depicts the main part of the story.  Spend a few minutes and enjoy this truly feel-good result.  Read the article first, then click on the video: 


The HSUS has been very active in trying to help dog owners understand that dogs should NOT be left continuously chained and/or tethered.  All of us have seen this at some point or another and the HSUS has put together an informative list of questions and answers about chained/tethered dogs:

Have you seen chained dogs in your neighborhood and wondered whether leaving a dog outside is humane? Here are some frequently asked questions about chaining and tethering dogs and why it's considered inhumane.

What is meant by "chaining" or "tethering" dogs?

These terms refer to the practice of fastening a dog to a stationary object or stake, usually in the owner's backyard, as a means of keeping the animal under control. These terms do not refer to the periods when an animal is walked on a leash.

Is there a problem with continuous chaining or tethering?

Yes, the practice is both inhumane and a threat to the safety of the confined dog, other animals and humans.

Why is tethering dogs inhumane?

Dogs are naturally social beings who thrive on interaction with human beings and other animals. A dog kept chained in one spot for hours, days, months or even years suffers immense psychological damage. An otherwise friendly and docile dog, when kept continuously chained, becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious and often aggressive.

In many cases, the necks of chained dogs become raw and covered with sores, the result of improperly fitted collars and the dogs' constant yanking and straining to escape confinement. Dogs have even been found with collars embedded in their necks, the result of years of neglect at the end of a chain.

Who says tethering dogs is inhumane?

In addition to The Humane Society of the United States and numerous animal experts, the U. S. Department of Agriculture issued a statement in the July 2, 1996, Federal Register against tethering:

"Our experience in enforcing the Animal Welfare Act has led us to conclude that continuous confinement of dogs by a tether is inhumane. A tether significantly restricts a dog's movement. A tether can also become tangled around or hooked on the dog's shelter structure or other objects, further restricting the dog's movement and potentially causing injury."

How does tethering or chaining dogs pose a danger to humans?

Dogs tethered for long periods can become highly aggressive. Dogs feel naturally protective of their territory; when confronted with a perceived threat, they respond according to their fight-or-flight instinct. A chained dog, unable to take flight, often feels forced to fight, attacking any unfamiliar animal or person who unwittingly wanders into his or her territory.

Numerous attacks on people by tethered dogs have been documented. Tragically, the victims of such attacks are often children who are unaware of the chained dog's presence until it is too late. Furthermore, a tethered dog who finally does get loose from his chains may remain aggressive, and is likely to chase and attack unsuspecting passersby and pets.

Why is tethering dangerous to dogs?

In addition to the psychological damage wrought by continuous chaining, dogs forced to live on a chain make easy targets for other animals, humans, and biting insects. A chained animal may suffer harassment and teasing from insensitive humans, stinging bites from insects, and, in the worst cases, attacks by other animals. Chained dogs are also easy targets for thieves looking to steal animals for sale to research institutions or to be used as training fodder for organized animal fights. Finally, dogs' tethers can become entangled with other objects, which can choke or strangle the dogs to death.

Are these dogs dangerous to other animals?

In some instances, yes. Any other animal that comes into their area of confinement is in jeopardy. Cats, rabbits, smaller dogs and others may enter the area when the tethered dog is asleep and then be fiercely attacked when the dog awakens.

Are tethered dogs otherwise treated well?

Rarely does a chained or tethered dog receive sufficient care. Tethered dogs suffer from sporadic feedings, overturned water bowls, inadequate veterinary care, and extreme temperatures. During snow storms, these dogs often have no access to shelter. During periods of extreme heat, they may not receive adequate water or protection from the sun. What's more, because their often neurotic behavior makes them difficult to approach, chained dogs are rarely given even minimal affection. Tethered dogs may become "part of the scenery" and can be easily ignored by their owners.

Are the areas in which tethered dogs are confined usually comfortable?

No, because the dogs have to eat, sleep, urinate and defecate in a single confined area. Owners who chains their dogs are also less likely to clean the area. Although there may have once been grass in an area of confinement, it is usually so beaten down by the dog's pacing that the ground consists of nothing but dirt or mud.

How else can people confine dogs?

The HSUS recommends that all dogs live indoors as a part of the family, are taken on regular walks, and otherwise provided with adequate attention, food, water and veterinary care. If an animal must be housed outside at certain times, he should be placed in a suitable pen with adequate square footage and shelter from the elements.

Should chaining or tethering ever be allowed?

To become well-adjusted companion animals, dogs should interact regularly with people and other animals, and should receive regular exercise. It is an owner's responsibility to properly restrain her dog, just as it is the owner's responsibility to provide adequate attention and socialization. Placing an animal on a restraint to get fresh air can be acceptable if it is done for a short period or while supervised. However, keeping an animal tethered for long periods is never acceptable.

If a dog is chained or tethered for a period of time, can it be done humanely?

Animals who must be kept on a tether should be secured in such a way that the tether cannot become entangled with other objects. Collars used to attach an animal should be comfortable and properly fitted; choke chains should never be used. Restraints should allow the animal to move about and lie down comfortably. Animals should never be tethered during natural disasters such as floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, or blizzards.

What about attaching a dog's leash to a "pulley run"?

Attaching a dog's leash to a long line—such as a clothesline or a manufactured device known as a pulley run—and letting the animal have a larger area in which to explore is preferable to tethering the dog to a stationary object. However, many of the same problems associated with tethering still apply, including attacks on or by other animals, lack of socialization and safety.

What is being done to correct the problem of tethering dogs?

More than 100 communities in more than 30 states have passed laws that regulate the practice of tethering animals. Maumelle, Ark., and Tucson, Ariz., completely prohibit the unattended tethering of dogs. Many other communities only allow tethering for limited periods of time or during certain conditions. Orange County, Fla., for example, does not allow tethering between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or during times of extreme weather.

Why should a community outlaw the continuous chaining or tethering of dogs?

Animal control and humane agencies receive countless calls every day from citizens concerned about animals in these cruel situations. Animal control officers, paid at taxpayer expense, spend many hours trying to educate pet owners about the dangers and cruelty involved in this practice.

A chained animal is caught in a vicious cycle; frustrated by long periods of boredom and social isolation, he becomes a neurotic shell of his former self—further deterring human interaction and kindness. In the end, the helpless dog can only suffer the frustration of watching the world go by in isolation—a cruel fate for what is by nature a highly social animal. Any city, county, or state that bans this practice is a safer, more humane community.


1) For a nice comparison of the different types of temporary dog cages that are available, check out this site:

There should be something here for everybody's needs.

2) Martha Stewart, the "Domestic Diva," is releasing her own line of pet products.  Learn more at: 


1) We all know that people do things differently in other parts of the world.  This even extends to creative dog grooming.  Read what's happening to dog grooming in China, then click on the video: 

2) A puppy got stuck in a drain pipe in a humane shelter in California.  Following its rescue by a plumber, the puppy got an unusual name.  The story is at: 

3) All pet owners know that puppies and kittens are usually able to entertain themselves, but these kittens have perfected the art.  Check out this video: 

Sounds a lot like Scott Joplin in the background, huh?

4) Every summer, the World's Ugliest Dog Contest is held in northern California.  This year, a chihuahua has won the title, breaking a string of several years of Chinese Cresteds dominating the competition.  Read about Princess Abby and watch the video of part of the contest at:

Helpful Buckeye still thinks the Chinese Cresteds of previous years had this Chihuahua beat!
5) How many of you know what a "Torbie" is?  One showed up at an Atlanta animal shelter recently.  Its name is the result of a combination of the colors of a tortoiseshell cat and the stripes of a tabby cat.  For the interesting description of this rarity, go to:

The LA DODGERS surprised everyone this week by sweeping a 3-game series from the Giants, right after giving away a heartbreaker to the Yankees last Sunday.  Then, we had to follow up that series by going into Phoenix to face the lowly Diamondbacks who have just replaced their fired manager with Kirk Gibson...a former Dodger World Series hero, and NL 1988 MVP.  Of course, the D'Backs played like world champions...and won the first game handily.  However, the Dodgers bounced back nicely to crush the D'Backs Saturday night and won the game today, 3-1, especially for 2 of their biggest fans in attendance, Desperado and Helpful Buckeye.  It was a really nice day!


Mark Twain had this observation on the game of baseball, from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (his 1889 novel):  "This experiment was baseball. In order to give the thing vogue from the start, and place it out of the reach of criticism, I chose my nines by rank, not capacity. There wasn't a knight in either team who wasn't a sceptered sovereign. As for material of this sort, there was a glut of it always around Arthur. You couldn't throw a brick in any direction and not cripple a king. Of course, I couldn't get these people to leave off their armor; they wouldn't do that when they bathed. They consented to differentiate the armor so that a body could tell one team from the other, but that was the most they would do. So, one of the teams wore chain-mail ulsters, and the other wore plate-armor made of my new Bessemer steel. Their practice in the field was the most fantastic thing I ever saw. Being ball-proof, they never skipped out of the way, but stood still and took the result; when a Bessemer was at the bat and a ball hit him, it would bound a hundred and fifty yards sometimes. And when a man was running, and threw himself on his stomach to slide to his base, it was like an iron-clad coming into port. At first I appointed men of no rank to act as umpires, but I had to discontinue that. These people were no easier to please than other nines. The umpire's first decision was usually his last; they broke him in two with a bat, and his friends toted him home on a shutter. When it was noticed that no umpire ever survived a game, umpiring got to be unpopular. So I was obliged to appoint somebody whose rank and lofty position under the government would protect him....The first public game would certainly draw fifty thousand people; and for solid fun would be worth going around the world to see. Everything would be favorable; it was balmy and beautiful spring weather now, and Nature was all tailored out in her new clothes."

...and we think umpires of today are treated badly?

~~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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