Category: Cats

What a brilliant idea!

This is a wonderful, innovative way to look after dogs.

It’s not that often that something comes along that is wonderfully refreshing, both as an idea and in practice. I am speaking of a way of housing shelter dogs.

It’s the work of Austin Pets Alive and I’m not surprised in the slightest to read from their website:

Austin Pets Alive! is not your average animal shelter. We pioneer innovative lifesaving programs designed to save the animals most at risk of euthanasia.

They are in Texas.

But back to the article which appeared on the Treehugger website.

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This Rescue is Building Tiny Homes for Shelter Dogs

They offer a calm alternative to the chaos of shelter life.

By Mary Jo DiLonardo, October 1st, 2020

The shelter is building two tiny homes for rescue dogs.
Austin Pets Alive!

The shelter environment can be incredibly overwhelming for any dog. There are strange sights, smells, and sounds, and the presence of unfamiliar animals and people can be constantly changing. Some pets adapt more quickly than others, while some struggle with the frenetic surroundings.

One animal shelter in Texas is building tiny houses as a solution for those anxious dogs that need a calmer place to stay. The non-profit rescue is creating two small cabins on their shelter grounds complete with heating and air conditioning, dog-friendly furniture, and their own private yards. The cabins will also provide workspaces for staff and volunteers.

The tiny homes should be ready for their first guests later this month.

“The idea is to provide more of a home-like environment for the unique population of dogs Austin Pets Alive! cares for as the safety net for shelter animals who need us most — a place for decompression, training, and quality-of-life purposes,” Director of Operations Stephanie Bilbro tells Treehugger. “It seemed like the best opportunity for the investment, and also has the benefit of being a project that can be repeated as many times as we want!”

Having tiny homes for some of the shelter’s canine residents was a long-time dream of the rescue’s executive director, veterinarian Ellen Jefferson. The rescue put together a committee of staff and volunteers in 2019 to assess the facility and see what improvement could be made.

They decided to build the tiny homes “as a way to provide a better quality of life for some of our longest-stay or most behaviorally challenged dogs”, Bilbro says.

The cabins will house one dog at a time and they will remain there for the rest of their stay until they find a foster or adoptive home. The cabins will primarily be used for dogs who are overstimulated by the standard kennel environment.

Some dogs are scared and overwhelmed by the shelter environment. Austin Pets Alive!

“Overstimulation can lead not only to higher stress in the animal, but can actually be dangerous for a handler, or other animals, if you have a dog who expresses stress by showing impulsive or aggressive behaviors,” Bilbro says.

“Overstimulation is also a big barrier to successful training or behavior modification, so it can be difficult to make progress with dogs like this in a kennel or shelter environment. The cabins will ideally provide a quiet and low-stimulation place for the dogs to decompress and relax in a way that will help our staff and volunteers get through to them easier.”

The rescue is relying on donations to keep saving lives and trying out innovations like these, Bilbro says. When the pandemic first started, the rescue increased its intakes so smaller and more rural shelters that were temporarily closing wouldn’t have to euthanize animals.

The first dogs should be moving into their tiny houses soon. And maybe they won’t be staying long.

“We also hope that the ‘home-like’ environment of the cabins will help us learn a little more about how a dog would act in a home, which could tell us more about what kind of foster or adopter they need for our matchmakers to match them with their forever families,” Bilbro says.

“Would they be calm or anxious, would they be destructive or tidy, are they possibly housetrained, will they let people come into their space without conflict? These are things we would hope to learn from a foster home but without needing to find a foster who is willing to take on a challenging dog, or a dog we don’t know a lot about.”

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I have nothing to do with neither Treehugger nor Austin Pets Alive.

However, I was so impressed with the way they operated that we made a very small donation. So, if there’s anybody else out there who can afford some money then this is the link to donate.

I just donated to Austin Pets Alive!, an organization that serves the animals most at-risk through innovative programs that address the animals’ needs. I’m proud to support a mission that believes that animal shelters should do just that – provide every animal the chance to find their forever home!

Provide every animal the chance to find their forever home.

It doesn’t get any better for our lovely dogs than that.

Our last cat has died!

She hadn’t been eating for a couple of days.

A Mexican cat similar to Aranlla

Yesterday morning we took our last cat to the vet. Her name was Aranlla, which is clearly a Mexican name. She was born in the Summer of 2006 and Jean found the baby kitten all on her own in the Mexican dirt. Jean took the kitten home immediately.

So all these years later we were down to a single cat: Aranlla.

Then a couple of days ago she went off her food and nothing would coax her to eat.

A fitting image from home.

We left her at the vet and later on, about 2pm, the vet called and said that there was a long list of issues and what was our decision. Jean reluctantly said to let her go.

We went back to collect the body and she will be buried in our fields tomorrow (today!).

Within a few hours yesterday it already felt very strange. Thank goodness for our lovely, beautiful dogs.

P.S. The cat has now been buried! It looked so quiet. Of course, it was, by definition. But lying there in the bottom of the hole – so sad!

Dogs and cats!

Here’s an article about a dog that thinks he is a cat!

Dogs are amazing animals. Not only have they been associated with humans for, literally, thousands of years, in the main they bond so very closely with us. I should add that the lucky ones do.

But they are also independent animals and show it.

Here’s an article from The Dodo that shows how Mako demonstrated his own uniqueness of spirit; by thinking he was a cat!

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Rescue Dog Is Totally Convinced He’s One Of The Cats

“Whenever Mako sees the boys on the counters or cabinets he hops up to join them.”

When Bethany Castiller and her family went to a local rescue to adopt a dog, Mako immediately made it very clear that he would be the one going home with them.

“We joke that we didn’t really pick him, he picked us,” Castiller told The Dodo. “When we went to the rescue shelter he had his back against the cage so we started petting him and he looked over his shoulder and gave direct eye contact and we just fell in love with the little guy.”

Bethany Castiller

The family had been hoping to adopt a dog who would get along with their cats at home, Pecan and Gizmo. The shelter assured them that Mako got along with cats really well — and they quickly realized it was probably because Mako totally thinks he’s a cat.

Though they can’t know for sure, everyone thinks that Mako was probably raised with cats, because all of his favorite things to do are classic cat activities. He doesn’t bark, he loves cat treats and he absolutely adores sitting on top of counters and cabinets, just like his cat siblings do.

Bethany Castiller

When they first caught Mako climbing on top of tables and counters, his family thought it was a little weird — but quickly accepted that that’s just who Mako is, and that they’d basically adopted another cat instead of a dog.

Bethany Castiller

“We went online and found a dog toy that looks like a cat one so we go to the backyard and he chases and jumps after it like the cats,” Castiller said. “He also likes to lay on the tables with my cats and look out the window at the birds with them. When he sees one of my cats lay on their backs for a tummy rub he comes over and does the same thing!”

Bethany Castiller

Mako is obsessed with his cat siblings and loves hanging out with them every chance he gets, and his family can’t help but laugh whenever they come into the room and find Mako on top of something right alongside the cats, just one of the gang.

“Whenever Mako sees the boys on the counters or cabinets he hops up to join them,” Castiller said. “He really just wants to be around the cats all the time. If he is not in the room with one of us humans, he’s with the cats.”

Bethany Castiller

Mako is definitely a little different and will always be way more into cat activities than typical dog ones — and his family wouldn’t have him any other way.

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So, what to make of this! Seriously, it goes to show how at one level we really don’t have a clue as to what a dog is thinking of. Yet they are still our very best of companions and the fact that many of you will read this and enjoy it just proves my case.

Now for something completely different.

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) held its first annual Capture the Dark photography competition during May 2020. The goal was to portray the meaning of the night for people around the world. Participants were invited to submit images in five categories: Connecting to the Dark, International Dark Sky Places, Impact of Light Pollution, Bright Side of Lighting, and Youth. In two weeks, IDA received nearly 450 submissions from people around the world. An international panel of judges made the final selections. The winning entries in each category are on this page.

I’m not going to show you all the winning entries; you can go onto the website if you wish to see them. But what I am going to share is the winning entry.

Jean-Francois Graffand captured this image at the Pic du Midi International Dark Sky Reserve in France. It’s the winner in the International Dark Sky Places category. The photo is titled Dark Night in Pyrénées Mountains.

It’s magnificent and very beautiful.

 

 

Southern Oregon VC, continued.

The story continues …

We closed the first part of this interview with a look inside one of the rooms where dogs are worked on but not to the extent of requiring surgery.

That is carried out in specialist surgical rooms. Here’s a surgeon working on a dog as we passed by outside in the corridor.

Photograph taken looking through the sealed porthole.

It is always busy with the peak being from the end of April through to October. The COVID19 pandemic has seen an enormous influx of new patients with the most critical being those dogs that have an urgent need for care.

SOVC have also installed an MRI machine and here are two photographs of this incredible piece of equipment.

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We were allowed to tour much of the inside of the building, under the care of Renee, and here is another photograph of another room with three staff looking back at the camera. (Names unfortunately not obtained.)

I also want to share the following photographs before rounding off my piece.

Another two staff attending to a dog.

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The one task that no-one seems to get on top of!

I started this post on the 2nd July with a statement that I wanted to explore in a little more detail the difference between dogs and humans, especially those humans who choose to become the veterinarian doctors of this world.

Dogs are pure in mind and most often loving towards us humans. They are intuitive and caring of us humans.  I can no better support that statement than share the ‘Welcome’ page of my blog:

Beloved Pharaoh. Born: June 3rd., 2003 – Died: June 19th., 2017. A very special dog that will never be forgotten.

Dogs live in the present – they just are! Dogs make the best of each moment uncluttered by the sorts of complex fears and feelings that we humans have. They don’t judge, they simply take the world around them at face value. Yet they have been part of man’s world for an unimaginable time, at least 30,000 years. That makes the domesticated dog the longest animal companion to man, by far!

As man’s companion, protector and helper, history suggests that dogs were critically important in man achieving success as a hunter-gatherer. Dogs ‘teaching’ man to be so successful a hunter enabled evolution, some 20,000 years later, to farming, thence the long journey to modern man. But in the last, say 100 years, that farming spirit has become corrupted to the point where we see the planet’s plant and mineral resources as infinite. Mankind is close to the edge of extinction, literally and spiritually.
Dogs know better, much better! Time again for man to learn from dogs!

Veterinarian doctors are subject to enormous pressures.

Take this video as an example:

According to the CDC, the number of veterinarians who die by suicide is going up. With rising student debt, increasingly isolated offices, and pet owners with social media, the veterinary field is becoming high-risk. “Not One More Vet” CEO and veterinarian Nicole McArthur joins CBSN AM to explain why vets are struggling and how her company is trying to help vet-to-vet.

SOVC doctors note the end of an animal’s life on a ‘Blue sheet‘; a paper sheet. Renee herself worked one Christmas Day at SOVC and there were 11 Blue sheets that day. Indeed Renee had tears coming to her eyes when she spoke of that Christmas. It is a profession that faces daily challenges full of emotion as the CBS video explains. One can’t be in the profession without being fully committed, both heart and mind, and yet that means that one can’t easily put up defenses against one’s feeling.

I paused in my note taking to recall Pharaoh and couldn’t keep my eyes dry and yet he died 3 years ago and we have others that we care for and love.

I am going to finish by quoting the mission of SOVC, for I think it is very special.

Our Mission

The doctors and staff of Southern Oregon Veterinary Specialty Center recognize that there is a special bond between pets and their human family. (My italics) Our goal is to work as a team, with you and your family veterinarian, to help you make the best decisions for your pet’s medical care. We are dedicated to offering the highest level of medicine, to providing a compassionate environment to those pets entrusted to our care, and to treat each pet as we would our own.

It is a very special and caring profession!

Southern Oregon Veterinary Center

An outstanding center of excellence.

Let me start this review of Southern Oregon Vet Center (SOVC) with an extract from a recent blog post by Rob Mielcarski about Cognitive Biases and his presentation of the Cognitive Bias Codex :

I counted them. There are 195 distinct cognitive biases named and described in the list.

Have a look. Do you notice something very odd?

The most important and powerful of all human cognitive biases, and the one that created our unique species, is not on the list: denial of unpleasant realities.

Nor is its progenitor, denial of death.

Any half-wit who studies human history will notice that the first wacky thing our species did after evolving into behaviorally modern humans was make up stories (religions) to deny death.

Today our species aggressively denies every single unpleasant reality of substance that threatens its survival including: over-population, non-renewable resource depletion, climate change, pollution, habitat destruction, and species extinction.

The reason I started with Rob’s post is that at SOVC one comes face-to-face with the reality of the difference between dogs and humans. More of that later.

SOVC was formed in 2004 by Dr. Adam Reiss, DVM, and Dr. Steven Ferreira, DVM.

The facility at the time of formation was, and still is, the only 24-hour facility within a 250 miles radius in all directions. Now that straightforward statement needs thinking about for a moment.

Portland, Oregon is 268 miles to the North by road and Williams, California is a tiny town just off the Interstate I-5 some 254 miles to the South. It’s an enormous area and that’s without heading to the East!

I’m taking from the SOVC website more information on Dr.’s Reiss and Ferriara.

Dr. Adam Reiss

Adam Reiss,DVM, DipACVECC Emergency and Critical Care
Adam Reiss, DVM

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care

Dr. Reiss was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City. He graduated from New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell in 1993. Following graduation, he completed a small-animal internship at Alameda East Veterinary Hospital and residency in emergency and critical care at Denver Veterinary Specialists. Dr. Reiss obtained board certification in emergency and critical care in October 2002. Dr. Reiss has been involved in the growth and development of two large 24-hour emergency and referral centers in Denver, Seattle, Medford and Portland. He has published a paper on traumatic cardiac injuries, as well as book chapters on subjects such as dystocia and pneumonia. Dr. Reiss has special interests in trauma, transfusion medicine, critical care nutrition and pulmonary diseases.

Dr. Reiss moved to Medford from Seattle with his wife, Dawn, their daughters, Alexys and Makayla, son Deryk and a multitude of pets. His interests outside of veterinary medicine include woodworking, snowboarding and classic cars. Dr. Reiss moved to Southern Oregon to provide veterinary services not previously available in the area, as well as to enjoy the wide variety of activities the region has to offer.

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Dr. Steven Ferriara.

https://www.sovsc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/SOVC_Doctor15.jpg
Steven D. Ferreira, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgeons

Dr. Ferreira is originally from Arizona, but was raised in Houston, Texas. He received his DVM from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine in 1994. He worked in private practice in both Seattle and Houston for three years prior to completing a small-animal surgical residency at Denver Veterinary Specialists. During his residency, Dr. Ferreira completed and published orthopedic research focused on the effect of gas plasma sterilization on demineralized bone matrix grafts at Colorado State University. In February of 2002, he became board certified into the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. After three years as staff surgeon in a large veterinary referral practice in Denver, Dr. Ferreira moved to Medford to help establish the Southern Oregon Veterinary Specialty Center. Dr. Ferreira’s special interests include general orthopedics, trauma and fracture management, TPLO stabilization for cranial cruciate ligament injury, spinal surgery for disc herniation and surgical management of abdominal disorders.

Dr. Ferreira lives in the Medford area with his wife, daughters and their Chihuahua. In his spare time, he enjoys family life, golf, reading, hiking, snowboarding, music and fly fishing.

My appointment was with Renee Self who has been with the center, as in the hospital, for four years. She started in reception having come to SOVC from running her own finger nail business. At first Renee worked for 25 hours a week but since then she has advanced to her present position responsible for a whole myriad of things.

As well as the main contact person, Renee is also responsible for the relationships with their referring veterinarians; and they have 5,000 on their database, mainly from the U.S West coast but also other parts of the U.S. continent.

I didn’t understand at first that this entails annual blood work for lots of animals, running continuing education classes on a co-sponsored basis (under normal circumstances for 55 – 80 people), fund raising, and being a partner to the Grants Pass Homeless Pet Project and No Pet Left Behind.

Renee Self, Hospital Communications Manager.

Another fact that bowled me over was hearing about the number of vets supported by SOVC. Now not all them are active at any one time, of course, but nevertheless a large number on their database nonetheless.

In Renee’s words, Dr. Reiss is a brilliant man in many areas including planning, veterinary medicine, critical care and he also engages in some surgeries. He has always had a passion for veterinary medicine and has previously started six hospitals.

Dr. Adam Reiss, DVM (with apologies for it being slightly out of focus).

The present building at 4901 Biddle Rd was purpose built as a veterinary centre and everyone moved here in 2017. Before that they were in 4,000 square feet of building that was relatively close by.

A general view of the inside of the hospital.

In view of tomorrow being a Federal holiday the next part of this article will be published on Monday, 6th July.

 

Dog & Cat food recall

A food recall that came in yesterday!

We haven’t had a recall for some time but here’s one from Health Canada.

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Carnivora Dog and Cat Food Recall

June 15, 2020 — Health Canada is recalling Carnivora Fresh Frozen Patties for Dogs and Cats due to a possible contamination with E. coli O157.

E. coli O157 is a particularly dangerous strain of bacteria that can cause serious and life-threatening illness in both pets and humans after eating or handling the affected food.

What’s Recalled?

The recall includes 6 varieties of Carnivora brand raw pet food.

Approximately 1,803 packages of the affected products were sold nationwide in Canada between January 13, 2020 and June, 2020.

As of June 12, four cases of illness related to the recalled product have been reported.

About E. Coli Bacteria

E. coli O157 is a bacteria that can cause serious, sometimes life-threatening illness.

Some people infected with E. coli O157 do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others.

Common symptoms observed after infection include nausea, vomiting, headache, mild fever, severe stomach cramps, and watery or bloody diarrhea.

Most symptoms end within five to ten days.

Pregnant women, those with weakened immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications and might need hospitalization.

There is no real treatment for E. coli infections, other than monitoring the illness, providing comfort, and preventing dehydration.

People should contact their health care provider if symptoms persist or worsen with time.

What to Do?

Health Canada advises consumers to stop using any of the affected pet food products and contact the retailer where it was purchased from for a full exchange or refund.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to the FDA’s “Report a Pet Food Complaint” page.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

Get Lifesaving Recall Alerts by Email

Get free dog and cat food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.

There’s no cost. No spam. Cancel any time.

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There you are good people. I trust none of you is affected.

This is a good story!

It never fails to amaze me at the potential for friendship between cats and dogs.

This comes from The Dodo website. It’s one of a number of sites that I follow. I should really say more but am lost for words so here it is!

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Cat Makes Sure His Dog Friend Is OK During Thunderstorm

Photo Credit: Mary Barnes

When things get scary, we all need a friend to let us know that everything’s going to be OK.

For a pittie mix named Moose, that friend is a cat named Marvin.

Mary Barnes rescued Marvin six months ago, hoping that the fearless kitty would become a playmate for her 7-year-old dog.

“I didn’t know how Moose and Marvin would get along because Moose had never really interacted with cats, but she’s the absolute sweetest and most gentle girl so I had faith,” Barnes told The Dodo.

Photo Credit: Mary Barnes

“They very quickly became best friends,” she added. “Marvin has the personality of a dog so they nap and play together all day.”

When Barnes moved into an apartment in downtown Detroit, she began to notice that Moose was becoming more and more sensitive to loud noises. Every time the pup heard fireworks or thunderstorms, she would immediately tremble and hide.

“I try to give her treats and keep her busy when it’s storming but she usually ends up going into the bathroom and hiding in the shower,” Barnes said. “She’s always hidden in the shower — it’s her safe place.”

Photo Credit: Mary Barnes

Marvin doesn’t have the same fear of thunder shaking the windows. But Barnes never could have guessed the loving cat would step up and comfort Moose in her time of need.

“Last night was the first really big, long storm we’ve gotten in Detroit since Marvin has been with us,” Barnes said. “He was very curious and concerned about his big sister.”

Marvin knew Moose was suffering and he wasn’t going to let her sit alone.

Photo Credit: Mary Barnes

“He went back and forth to her in the shower to check in,” Barnes said. “It distracted [Moose] from the storm for a little bit because she leaned down to give him kisses!”

The storm eventually passed, and Moose and Marvin quickly got back to playing and relaxing together.

If there’s one thing they both know, it’s that having a best friend can make getting through hard times a whole lot easier.

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The thing about this story is that our pet dogs and cats have a number of emotions and they recognise the need to comfort other animals in the same house.

I suspect that a wide range of animals also have a number of emotions.

I allowed myself to do a quick web search on the subject – there’s loads!

Try this WikiPedia extract:

Emotion is defined as any mental experience with high intensity and high hedonic content.[1] The existence and nature of emotions in animals are believed to be correlated with those of humans and to have evolved from the same mechanisms. Charles Darwin was one of the first scientists to write about the subject, and his observational (and sometimes anecdotal) approach has since developed into a more robust, hypothesis-driven, scientific approach.[2][3][4][5] Cognitive bias tests and learned helplessness models have shown feelings of optimism and pessimism in a wide range of species, including rats, dogs, cats, rhesus macaques, sheep, chicks, starlings, pigs, and honeybees.[6][7][8] Jaak Panksepp played a large role in the study of animal emotion, basing his research on the neurological aspect. Mentioning seven core emotional feelings reflected through a variety of neuro-dynamic limbic emotional action systems, including seeking, fear, rage, lust, care, panic and play.[9] Through brain stimulation and pharmacological challenges, such emotional responses can be effectively monitored.[9]

Emotion has been observed and further researched through multiple different approaches including that of behaviourism, comparative, anecdotal, specifically Darwin’s approach and what is most widely used today the scientific approach which has a number of subfields including functional, mechanistic, cognitive bias tests, self-medicating, spindle neurons, vocalizations and neurology.

While emotions in animals is still quite a controversial topic it has been studied in an extensive array of species both large and small including primates, rodents, elephants, horses, birds, dogs, cats, honeybees and crayfish.

There’s much more and it is a comprehensive article.