Tuesday, April 24, 2012

On The Road to His Grand Championship

Although beautiful Sherpa hadn't been in the ring in a year, he recently returned and after only a few shows is well on his way to his grand championship.   He already has earned two 5-point majors (you need three majors and a total of 25 points to earn a grand championship) and this weekend in West Springfield he took Best of Breed on one day and Best of Opposite Sex on another.  Way to go Sherpa!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Paying the Price of a Fat Pet

In the year before she died, Lacey, a white German shepherd, was crippled by a weight problem and hip dysplasia, barely able to walk. Her owner, Myrle Horn, had paid little attention to her diet, feeding Lacey plenty of food because “she always wanted more.” It was only toward the end, when Lacey’s extra weight seemed to worsen her hip condition, that Ms. Horn began to cut back on her food.

“It was a horrible tragedy,” said Ms. Horn, 79, a food writer who lives in Florida. “I had to have a vet come to the house to put Lacey down because I couldn’t get her up and I couldn’t get her out.” Convinced that Lacey’s weight worsened her quality of life, Ms. Horn became more diet-conscious with her next white shepherd, Gypsy, and now is vigilant about keeping the dog’s weight at a lean 60 pounds. Ms. Horn monitors her calorie intake, feeding her things like fish oil, spinach, zucchini and turkey breast. “The last year of Lacey’s life was horrible,” she says, “and I swore to Gypsy that I would never let her end up like that.”

As the number of Americans who are overweight has grown, studies show that they have gained some four-legged company. About half of all dogs and cats in American homes are overweight or obese, up slightly from 2010, according to a recent study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. In a nation of 170 million pets, many of them as beloved as children, that means that roughly 85 million are carrying too much weight. And many pet owners are finding that the extra pounds on a pudgy cat or dog can lead to severe – and costly – health problems.

“Seeing animals suffering from health conditions secondary to their obesity is a common situation,” said Dr. Louise Murray, vice president of the Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, run by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, in New York. Just as diabetes and heart disease are more common in people who are obese, these diseases also are more common in overweight animals. The average cost of veterinary care for a diabetic dog or cat in 2011 was more than $900, according to Petplan USA, a pet insurance company.

Treatment for arthritis and cruciate ligament tears, which can be caused by the strain of an overweight frame that weakens joints, especially in dogs, cost pet owners an average of $2,000. In 2011 alone, pet insurance claims for diabetes increased by 253 percent, according to Petplan. Claims for heart disease rose by 32 percent, while claims for arthritis soared by 348 percent. Some of the most popular breeds – golden retrievers, German shepherds, Yorkshire terriers – are susceptible to orthopedic problems for genetic reasons, but these problems occur earlier and more severely with pets that are overweight, said Dr. Jules Benson, vice president of veterinary services at Petplan.

Dr. Benson said it is not uncommon to see dogs that are rendered practically immobile by a combination of weight and joint or bone issues. “The most heartbreaking thing is having to put a pet to sleep just because it can’t mechanically get around anymore,” he said. “They’re otherwise alert and healthy, but their quality of life becomes so low that you have no choice but to put them to sleep.” Many people find their chubby cats and dogs amusing.

But where pet owners see humor in a hefty ball of fur, veterinarians like Dr. Murray of the A.S.P.C.A. see problems that can cause suffering and a shortened life span. “People may have a sense that their pet is overweight but won’t always realize the consequences,” she said. “An owner might say about their cat, ‘I don’t understand why Fluffy’s coat looks so terrible, why she has these mats over her back and has this smell,’ and I have to point out to them that she’s too overweight to groom herself.”

The problem in pets mirrors that in overweight humans, often stemming from lack of exercise and too many snacks and calorie-dense foods – or, in this case, treats and table scraps – between meals. For veterinarians, broaching the subject of an overweight cat or dog with owners can be a delicate task. Some respond defensively or see it as a reflection of their lack of exercise and struggles with the scale. Bringing it up with an owner requires just as much finesse as pointing out someone’s own weight gain.

“It can be a sensitive issue,” Dr. Murray said. “People feel defensive, as though they’ve done something wrong – that their pet is suffering discomfort because of something they did. It’s not something where you can just leap in and be blunt. You have to be very delicate.” But getting a portly pet back into shape can carry risks of its own. Hammering the pavement with an overweight lab or boxer that also happens to be arthritic can worsen the condition and cause cruciate ligament tears, akin to an A.C.L. injury in humans, which can happen all too easily in dogs, said Dr. Carol McConnell, chief veterinary medical officer for VPI Pet Insurance.

Pet owners should consult with a veterinarian before putting a pet on a diet. Putting a cat on a strict diet without medical supervision is risky, because cats’ metabolism cannot handle calorie restriction. Unlike dogs, which evolved to hunt as packs and can go days without eating, “cats are usually single predators,” Dr. McConnell said. “They nibble, they eat whatever they can find. They don’t do too well with starvation.” In cats, severe calorie restriction can signal the body to send stores of fat to the liver, where they can be converted to glucose. But over time, the liver is deluged with fat deposits, crowding out the normal cells of the liver and causing hepatitis. “If you suddenly change something too drastically, they can get into trouble,” said Dr. McConnell. “You want to make sure the pet is healthy either for calorie restriction or for an exercise plan. Whatever you do, you need to do it gradually.”

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tibetan Terrier Helps Campaign Go to the Dogs

President Barack Obama plays with Bo, the Obama family dog, aboard Air Force One during a flight to Hawaii.

In presidential politics, a candidate’s children are off limits. In the 2012 campaign, pets are fair game. Two dogs to be exact: Bo and Seamus.

Bo is the Portuguese water dog and first-pet, with which President Barack Obama rides in his armored limousine to shop for bones and aboard Air Force One for family vacations in Hawaii. Seamus is the Irish setter who belonged to Mitt Romney’s family in the 1980s. He’s famous for being placed by the former Massachusetts governor in a crate on the family car’s roof for a 12-hour ride to Canada for a vacation.

The tale could hound Romney until November. Obama’s aides have used it as a character contrast between the president and his near-certain Republican Party general election opponent.

Now, independent political action committees are spreading the word about the Ontario-bound car ride. The latest, “DogPAC,” opened this week. The organization’s founder has set a fundraising goal of more than $1 million to blanket such swing states as Ohio and Virginia with ads, bumper stickers and T- shirts.

In a new age of micro-targeting messages to a splintered electorate, pet owners represent a growing prospective voting pool. The number of U.S. households that own a pet has increased 2.1 percent to its highest level of 73 million, according to a 2011-2012 national survey by the American Pet Products Association.

Dogs and Presidents
Dogs have played a significant role in presidential culture, helping to humanize the nation’s top executive for people by making him seem more like themselves or their neighbors. They also serve as best buds: former President Harry Truman, who had Feller, a cocker spaniel, stated: “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”

George H.W. Bush’s English springer spaniel, Millie, was the first presidential pet to write a book. Richard Nixon had King Timahoe, an Irish setter. Franklin Delano Roosevelt had Fala, a Scottish terrier he defended against a Republican attack in the 1944 “Fala Speech,” saying: “These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or on my wife or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala.”

“It creates the picture of the family man who has a pet and is kind and gentle,” said Robert Dallek, a presidential historian. “The contrast being made is that Romney is a rather stiff-back, harsh character, and he made the dog ride on the roof of his car.”

Santorum Attack
Seamus became fodder during the primary fight when Romney’s former rival for the Republican nomination, Rick Santorum, claimed that Seamus’s treatment on the car trip raised “issues of character.”

“We need to look at all of those issues and make a determination as to whether that’s the kind of person you want to be president of the United States,” Santorum said in a March 18 interview on ABC’s “This Week.”

In the general election, timing also may not be Romney’s best friend -- National Dog Day falls on Aug. 26, the day before the opening of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

Bo, meanwhile, is featured on the White House Flickr photo feed roughly as many times as National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling and Chief of Staff Jacob Lew.

During a women’s forum at the White House last week, Obama joked that his “wingman Bo” is usually with him to help balance out his female-dominant household.

Bin Laden Raid
In a 17-minute campaign video released last month, Obama enhanced his pet credentials further when he went out of his way to reference Cairo, the Belgian Malinois from Seal Team Six involved in the raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

“It wasn’t until I knew that they were across the border, they were safe, everybody was accounted for including the dog,” Obama said, pausing with a smile, “that I allowed some satisfaction.”

Romney campaign officials dismissed the criticism, saying economic matters would trump all others.

“Gas prices are above $4 per gallon. Rising costs at the supermarket and at the doctor are causing deep economic unease for so many families,” said Kevin Madden, a campaign adviser. “And the Obama campaign wants to talk about a story involving the Romney family and their pet from 1983? Do they really?”

YouTube parodies of the 1983 car ride include “The Ballad of Mitt and Seamus” and the “Mutt Romney Blues.” A recent Google search for “Seamus the dog roof” brought up an ad to buy a dog t-shirt that says “Woof not Roof.”

Obama Campaign Appeals
The Obama campaign has been advertising its “Pet Lovers for Obama” group on select websites, and there’s a dedicated pet section for shoppers at the campaign store.

“It’s not just the dog story, it relates to other things about the man’s character or personality that allows it to resonate it so effectively,” Dallek said.

Stephanie Cutter, the deputy campaign manager, was given a “Dogs Against Romney” T-shirt -- made by a non-campaign affiliated group -- that sits on a table in her office. Chief strategist David Axelrod, in January, posted on Twitter a picture of Obama and Bo in the presidential limo with the caption, “How loving owners transport their dogs.”

Obama’s aides haven’t noted that the presidential pet is technically transported on taxpayer funded aircraft and vehicles.

Seamus’s Ride
According to the 2007 story in the Boston Globe, Romney built a windshield for the dog carrier to “make the ride more comfortable for the dog.” During the trip, Romney’s son “glimpsed the first sign of trouble” and called out “Gross!”

“A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who’d been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.” After turning into a service station, Romney “borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management,” the Boston Globe reported.

Seamus survived the trip and Romney has said he lived to a “ripe old age.”

The story resonated particularly for Ron Carver, 65, whose Tibetan terrier, Amber, passed away late last year. Carver was especially rabid over Romney’s decision to keep a hosed-down Seamus on the roof after the dog’s nervous accident.

DogPAC Campaign
Carver, a retiree who was a labor organizer for the Teamsters Union, has never donated to Obama’s campaigns. Yet, along with some of his own funds, he hopes to raise more than $1 million through DogPAC to advertise on cable channels in battleground states.

With his “Paws on the Pavement” campaign and a website called GoodDogBadRomney.com that went live this week, he’s also set a goal for recruiting more than one million people to put bumper stickers on their cars, featuring a cartoon logo of Seamus’s ride.

“I would take Amber up to Boston on a 10-hour trip at least once a year in my minivan,” Carver said. “But what we did was we put our luggage on the roof and my kids and the dog in the minivan.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cacio e Pepe

When we were in Toronto recently we ate at the best restaurant ever! A place called Enoteca Sociale. The atmosphere is great and the food was devine! We had one simple pasta dish, Cacio e Pepe, which literally means Cheese and Pepper. It was so good that we had to try it at home. We used a mix of parmesan and pecorino cheeses and a four pepper (black, red, white, and green) mix that we picked up at a spice shop in Toronto.

Watch the video above if you want to enjoy it yourself!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

La Vie En Rose

Rose in Hat.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Let's Hear it for The Bo-The President's Dog

Just have to love a president that includes his dog in his campaign!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Double Dutch Dog

When we saw this video on Ellen we got so excited! Now this I just have to try!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Polka Dog Bakery

We're looking forward to these new shops at Target which will be open May 6 through June 16. Especially Polka Dog Bakery. But really we like Milk Bones and Oatmeal the best!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dogs Rescued in Michigan Need Homes

We wanted to share this email we received today:

"Hi everybody, I am sure most of you have heard about the 352 dogs that were confiscated here in Allegan. I think the count is above 370 now. I spent 6 hours at the animal shelter yesterday shaving dogs. It was worse than anything I have ever seen. They were Shitzus, Yorkies, Toy Poodles and all mixes thereof. The woman let any of them breed to whatever. She had the crates stacked on top of each other in a garage with no heat. The crates had no trays in the bottom so every time the dogs went to the bathroom they did so onto the dogs beneath them. The dogs looked like Poulis but the tundrels were matts of urine and feces. We would shave them as much as we could but some areas we could not scissor or shave due to the exstensive matting. They would have to go to the other building that had warm water and soak for quite a while so we could get the crud off of them and then try to shave the rest off. The stench was so bad that I had to go outside every hour or so just to get a breath of fresh air, it made us all sick to our stomachs. The poor little things were shaved bare to expose the skin infections etc so we could treat them but it did not help that we had a freak snow storm and at times it was a complete white out. The cold weather did not help matters.
We were all amazed, including the vets that were there that none of the dogs were yippy or snippy or tried to bite us. They just shivered, both from the cold and from fear of what was going on. I think they were in shock too. They did appreciate all the volunteers that wrapped them in towels and blankets and just held them. None of them that were in the garage ever walked on the ground or saw the light of day. Many pregnant bitches in awful shape. It was just heart breaking.
I am very proud of our community, there were approx. 100 volunteers that showed up, you could fill a small semi with the blankets, paper towels, towels, bleach, dog food, shampoo etc that were brought in. I spoke with the woman that was heading it up. She said that they have enough items but they are very concerned about the mounting vet bills. The vets are giving them a nice discount but it will still be a huge amount when all is said and done. CenMasc is sending a donation.
Anyone that can help out here is the info. The place to send donations is as follows: Wishbone Pet Rescue 2933 33rd St. Allegan Mi. 49010 Phone:269-686-5112 email:alleganpaws@gmail.com www.alleganshelter.com
Thanks everyone, I know any and all help will be very appreciated

Please cross post this anywhere you think it would help"

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Beamer is Getting Better!!!

Beamer's Mom, the famous bunkycooks.com (James Beard Finalist) reports:

"Beamer went down with hind quarter paralysis on February 16, 2012. This was exactly 19 days after he received a rabies booster following an attack by a raccoon in our backyard. This video shows his progress from March 30 to April 9, 2012."

We are so happy that Beamer is getting better. He is soooo handsome!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012