Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Pet Safety

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With Halloween upon us, it's time for a reminder to keep your pets safe. While some pets enjoy going out for a walk (on a leash!) with the kids while they're Trick or Treating, most dogs and cats do not enjoy the noise and the unaccustomed activity. There are too many potential dangers lurking.

Candy will make your dog sick. And far.  Chocolate, which contains theobromine, can be lethal to dogs and cats. Keep them away from the children's treats. You may think it's cute but a sick pet and a high vet bill aren't much fun at all. Not just candy but sugarless chewing gum is also lethal to pets.
Photo by Gary Rohde

The ringing of the doorbell and the door constantly opening and closing don't bode well for your pet. Even a dog with a reliable recall can escape in all the  confusion. That last think you want s for your dog or cat to leave the house. Be sure they have a tag and a microchip for safety and your cat's tags are on a breakaway collar. You don't want to allow children to swoop down on them. 

Some pets wear costumes for Ha.lloween it is, conservatively, a multi-billion dollar business. Let's talk about those costumes. Never put anything on your dog or cat that will inhibit his mobility. If he can't walk easily in it, don't buy it. One should never cover up the years of a dog or cat. Cats especially, need to be able to rotate their ears to gather information. If you insist upon dressing up your dog or cat, you can find a nice teeshirt with a Halloween design on it.

Patrol the floor for small toys and other things your dog or cat could pick up and swallow. Halloween decorations can also cause the same problem.
Photo: Frank Incremona

If you're having a Halloween Party for grown-ups, it is not funny for your guests to give your pets liquor to drink. Nor is it allowable for your guests to try to scare your pets.

The safest place for your cat or dog is in a room with the door closed, the television or radio on to help distract from the other noises. They will need fresh water, toys, a scratcher for your cat, beds on which to rest, perhaps some food or, better yet, a toy that dispenses food to keep them occupied.  You can check in on them every so often. You'll probably be happy to spend a few quiet, calm minutes with them.  

You want your pets to have some of the fun of Halloween but think about whether or not this is really going to be fun for your pet. Keeping him safe and happy is your responsibility.   

Have a Happy and SAFE Halloween.      

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

BUDDIES - Book Review and Giveaway

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The human-animal bond is so special that it is not just visible to the human heart, but  seems to leap out of pictures seen by the human eye.

A new book that is arriving in time for Veteran's Day on November 11, 2015 is full of such pictures. BUDDIES: Heartwarming Photos of G.I.'s and Their Dogs in WWII, by L. Douglas Keeney. Obviously, that means it's also released in time to be a holiday gift for your favorite history buff or dog lover. Keene is a best-selling author of more than a dozen books on American History. In 1992 he cofounded The History Channel which is now part of Discovery Communications.

Dogs aren't the only ones in the book with Servicemen. A variety of of Mascots appear including at least one monkey, a bird, well, you get the idea. Far and away, however dogs rule the day. 

Photos of Servicemen and their dogs gave family members at home the feeling that their guys were not quite so alone. Propaganda? Yes, but the dogs did serve an important purpose in providing diversion, comfort and unconditional love for the men who shared their rations and lavished attention on them.

Along with the pictures there's enough dialogue to explain what was happening and put names to the dogs and other mascots, even giving some information about them when it was available.  For example, a Boxer named Max was a full-fledged Paratrooper in the Army who earned his wings after 5 jumps. Hobo, a Navy dog, followed his friends when they took a beach. That's not something we usually think about and it was certainly news to me that a dog went along when a beach was taken. The book shows Servicemen and their Dogs, etc., from every Branch of the Service.

"I actually wrote this book 15 years ago -- well before I started writing full length non-fiction, said L. Dougas Keeney. "I accidentally ran across the first 40  of these photos while researching the photo well of another book. They immediately touched me -- I mean, I was sitting there in this large, neon lit research facility at the National Archives suddenly looking at photos of young men and their dogs juxtaposed against a world war. I was emotional and fascinated at the same time." Frankly, so was this reader. 

"Buddies came out 15 years ago but my new publisher saw a bigger book in it  so she contacted me and asked if I would expand it and, now, 15 years later, we finally have the book I envisioned all those many years ago. Warm. Poignant. A connection to men who are now in the 90s, seen when they were very young and very afraid but oh so brave."

It's hard to picture the young men in the pictures as they must look today but I hope many of them are alive to see themselves in this book. What a treasure it must be for their family members!

"As an author, I look for those lost voices that help today's readers understand our nations proud history," Keeney explains. "My new book on Roosevelt brings out the backroom dealings that led to the D-Day decision and through those dealings we get to know George Marshall, Winston Churchill, FDR and even Stalin in ways we never had before. Same with Buddies. Through these photos we see The Greatest Generation not as tired 90-year olds nursing a cup of coffee, but as they were -- young men pulled from their lives trying their best to survive, trying their hardest to help win this war, hoping beyond hope to do just one thing. Get home."

We owe this author a huge Thank You for bringing part of The Greatest Generation to us as they were during the war. Freedom is not free. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude and the sacred duty of keeping our country free.  Reading Buddies is a very moving experience, something read and reread and treasure as a very real part of our history.

Published by Zenith Press, it's available wherever books are sold, both online and it brick and mortar stores.  If you can't wait to read it, you can order it right now at Amazon. It retails for $19.99

Thanks to the publisher, one lucky PerPETuallySpeaking reader has the opportunity to win a copy of Buddies. Just leave a comment between now and Thursday, the 29th.  Contest open to U.S. Residents Only.

NOTE: I was not paid for this review. I received only a review copy of the book. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015


We know it's important to keep at least an ID tag and a Rabies tag on our four-legged companion but if you're anything like me, getting on metal loop onto the other one is an exercise in frustration. And occasionally, futility. Worst case scenario: I beg a friend to do it for me. I've tried fingers, nails (they invariably break), pliers, and have nearly resorted to chanting. I believe in two forms of identification: tag and a registered microchip. However, getting those tags on the metal loop is often a chore.

Leave it to someone to figure out a better way. A father and daughter team from Kansas City. With LinksIt it takes about 15 seconds to attach a tag. The key is in the pet tag connector that hangs from the metal ring on your pet's harness or collar. Your cat, of course, should be wearing a break-away collar for safety.  You choose the Pawdentify tag you want - a larger size for dogs, a smaller size for small dogs or cats, then select a design you like and the color. The Pawdentiftag is engraved to your specifications with up to 18 characters per line.

The nice thing is that the engraving won't wear away. The products was tested at Kansas State University. The designs and text are permanent and can withstand 80 pounds of force! The connector can hold 58 pounds. That's sturdy! It can hold 3 or 4 tags, depending upon the thickness of the tag and there's none of that jingly sound we've come to endure which has to sound worse to our pets whose hearing is so much more acute than ours.

The design is deliberately created to be impossible for a child do open. It is lightweight and compact for small dogs and cats.

For just $22. you will receive the engraved Pawdentify tag, a Links-It connector in the color of your choice and they even include free shipping. Best of all, it has a lifetime guarantee. 

There are places around the country that sell Links-It and the Pawdentify Tag and you can find them online or you can simply order online:  Links-It Your order will go out in about 2 business days.

If you have trouble with adding tags or you simply want a tag that's guaranteed for a lifetime, Links-It is certainly something to consider!

NOTE: I received no compensation for this post. I was sent a sample (not engraved) so I could see how it works and whether or not I would want to blog about it.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Are Your Pets Really Guilty?

I was watching a video from HooplaHa. It's a compilation of dogs, puppies and kittens allegedly looking "guilty."  The owner has caught the pet having done something inappropriate such as getting into the trash or unrolling a roll of toilet paper. 

Frankly, these pets found something to do when they were unsupervised and hadn't been given something appropriate to occupy them.  The "look" is not guilt. Dogs and cats, puppies and kittens are very sensitive to us. They're masters at reading body language and if that weren't enough, the owner's tone of voice is a dead giveaway. They know the owner is displeased and the expression is an expression of fear. They want to please us and know that they haven't. They can't predict what the result will be. They were only doing something to amuse themselves, something they were led to out of curiosity and/or boredom. They are not to blame, the owner is.

Now that you have a proper frame of reference, look at the videos, listen to the voices. I hope it will help you have a better understanding of your own pets and your responsibility in the equation. There is so much we can do for our pets to teach them other behaviors, to keep them busy, and not to leave puppies or kittens unsupervised with run of the house.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


I don't often call attention to an app. In fact, I think this may be the first time. Why am I telling you about this one? Because I see the possibilities of helping a lot of people and their pets be reunited, and because this won't cost you anything. That's right, it's free. 

FurAlert allows you to get the message out that your pet is missing while it allows you to be aware of pets in your area who are missing. This doesn't mean it replaces a collar or harness and tag, or a microchip. This means you have one more tool to help reunite you with your pet thanks to Cory Donovan who created the app.  I had an opportunity to ask him about it, after trying it out. No, thankfully, my Aimee wasn't missing but I downloaded the app on my phone and could see how easy it is to use, even for someone who is not a techy person.

My questions are in capital letters.  Cory Donovan's responses are in normal print.

Julie, Indy and Cory Donovan

A friend was visiting and unbeknownst to me, he left the gate to our yard open. When I let the dogs out they escaped and I didn't know they were gone for a half hour. When I found out, I freaked out. As I was looking for them, I thought that people had probably seen them but were either unable (because my dogs were running too fast) or unwilling to approach them (because they are Dobermans). That's when it occurred to me that the phone number of their collar and on the microchip under their skin were essentially useless if someone doesn't physically engage the dog. FurAlert allows people to contact you with information about the location of your pet, even if they aren't physically in possession of your pet. Also, I wanted the app to be free because half the pets in this country live in low income households. So, from an animal welfare perspective, that was important.

That was about a year and a half ago. In the time since, we have been working hard and funding the project out of our own pocket. My wife is the co-founder and she is a veterinarian.

Developing a good app involves a lot of steps beyond just writing the code. I am basically doing everything but writing the code.

I have seen missing pet posters for turtles, frogs and snakes, so FurAlert can be used for any missing pet, not just cats and dogs, but I assume those will be the most likely subjects. In terms of how people learn about it. we are in the process of engaging with veterinarians, rescues, doggy boutiques, groomers and other organizations that are involved with pet/animal welfare and services. We will also be conducting our own marketing efforts to lead people to our website at FurAlert We would like to identify some pet lovers who are willing to champion FurAlert in their neighborhoods to help build a strong local community that can and will help each other when a pet goes missing.

The most important thing I can add is for people not to wait for their pet to go missing before they download FurAlert. No one every plans for their pet to go missing. It just happens, and when it does it becomes the most important thing on your agenda because in a matter of minutes the animal can  put itself in harms way. Time and distance are the enemy, so letting others near you know that your pet is missing allows them to help before the animal gets too far away. The app is free so there's no reason not to use it. And in addition to being there if your pet ever goes missing, you'll be able to help others in their time of need because the app will let you know when there's a missing pet in your vicinity.

Thanks, Cory. 

Now, check below for a video that will show you how the app works:

Monday, October 12, 2015

Fall and the Senior Dogs

Picking up where we left off, I have more Senior Dogs to show you from the Mr. Mo Project. I love Senior Dogs (and Cats!). They are usually the first to be overlooked at shelters and the first to die. They have so much more life in them and so much love to give. I want you to watch this video of these Seniors enjoying the leaves like little kids and then tell me why you won't adopt a Senior! Better, yet, tell me why you WILL adopt a Senior Dog.

We have our friends at HooplaHa to thank for this heartwarming, fun video: