What is HELP FIDO?

Humane Education Leads to Progress
For Informed Dog Owners

Vision Statement: We envision a society free from discrimination, where responsibility, education, love and compassion allow humans to fully respect and understand man's best friend.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Not fit for a dog" - Columbus Dispatch

This past Sunday, the Columbus Dispatch had an article entitled "Not fit for a dog" that was very critical of the management of the Franklin County Dog Shelter. While we here at HELP FIDO cannot speak to all of the issues raised in this article and are currently gathering more information through local networks, we feel it is important to highlight some of the issues. The following letter was submitted to the Dispatch editors. We are hopeful it will be published in the coming days.

As the chair of HELP FIDO, a voice for dogs in Central Ohio, I felt compelled to write in and address some points brought up in the recent Columbus Dispatch article “Not fit for a dog” about the Franklin County Dog Shelter.

Judging every dog as an individual (as the Shelter Director, Ms. Wahoff mentions) is an excellent goal. However, this should be guided with temperament testing, supported with behaviorists, education classes and socialization – not simply based upon what a dog looks like. The temperament testing at FCDS was discontinued due to lack of funding. Perhaps the money from the dog licensing fees which is currently being funneled to OSU for animal research, would be better spent on funding the temperament testing program.

FCDS is accused of knowingly adopting out "pit bulls" and "pit mixes" as "mixed breeds." This statement is inherently redundant as breed identification is purely subjective, and, short of the still developing field of DNA breed testing, is a guessing game, not a science. Determination of breed based solely on certain characteristics is inherently flawed, and leads to frequent misidentification in options for adoption, insurability, impoundment statistics, licensing statistics and bite statistics. The American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Dog Warden Association (U.K.) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals all have made statements that reject that physical characteristics or appearance as an effective way to determine an individual animal's temperament or breed. Furthermore, all of these organizations have rejected against the discriminatory nature of legislation that targets specific breeds or what a particular dog looks like.

While there is always room for improvement, the programs and policies that have been put in place by Ms. Wahoff have been highly beneficial to the dogs and residents of Franklin County. In 2007, FCDS provided care and shelter for over 13,000 animals. More than 2900 dogs were returned to their owners. 4,018 dogs were adopted or released to rescue. 3,930 spay/neuter surgeries were performed, with thousands more vaccinated for rabies and other transmissible diseases. Thousands of school children and adults have received education, teaching them how to be safe around dogs. Unlike other counties in Ohio, dogs are humanely euthanized at FCDS rather than being taken out back and shot or gassed to death. I challenge the FCDS detractors to compare the statistics of FCDS to other county funded shelters throughout the state.

An excellent model for FCDS and all animal shelters in the country is Calgary Animal Services in Canada. Earlier this month, we met with Bill Bruce, the director of Calgary Animal Services. Calgary has a 100% self–sustaining program, a 95% licensing compliance rate, 80% of stray dogs are returned to their owners – all done without useless breed specific laws, pet limits or mandatory spay/neuter laws. Mr. Bruce spoke at the recent Ohio Dog Wardens Conference here in Columbus. We are hopeful his ideas and successes in Calgary have inspired dog wardens in Central Ohio and throughout the State. I encourage the County Commissioners to review the Calgary model and consider implementing this type of program in Franklin County.

Brian Cluxton
A voice for dogs in Central Ohio
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress
can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Helpful Holiday Hints

Hello all...Dr. Mandi here again with some hints to make Fido's holiday season a safe and happy one.

There are many holiday traditions that we enjoy with our families and our pets during this festive season. However, there also things that can be harmful to our furry friends this time of year.

Christmas Plants/Flowers - Poinsettias and Amaryllis are a beautiful touch to holiday home decor and Mistletoe is sure to make us cuddle up to those we love. But all of them are considered toxic to dogs and cats. Even in small amounts they can be very harmful. So keep these plants/flowers up high or in places where animals cannot get to them.

Treats/Holiday Cooking - Many of the sweet treats we enjoy for the holidays can cause our pets to become ill. Just a simple change in diet can cause vomiting, diarrhea and life threatening illnesses like pancreatitis. Candy, cookies, cakes, peppermints and especially chocolate can cause everything from mild intestinal upset to death. Bones from meat and poultry, cooked or raw, can be very harmful to pets. They can cause choking, intestinal obstruction and intestinal punctures all of which can lead to death. They can also lead to broken teeth and mouth infections. If you ever have any questions as to whether or not a treat is safe for your pet, never hesitate to call your veterinarian and ask.

Snow Globes - This is a holiday hazard that I have just found out about myself!! These novelties have been a holiday staple for years and years, so it may be surprising to know that they can be deadly to our pets. Many snow globes contain ANTIFREEZE which is extremely toxic to dogs and cats and causes kidney failure and frequently is fatal. Antifreeze tastes sweet and can be appealing to our furry friends. So keep the snow globes where animals cannot reach them and if ever there is an antifreeze spill, make sure to clean it up thoroughly and keep furry friends out of the area until the job is done. If there is any question whether or not your pet has ingested antifreeze, err on the side of caution and take him/her to your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.

Stress - The holidays are not only a stressful time for us humans, but for our pets as well. The holiday hustle and bustle, and visits from family and friends can cause dogs and cats to become nervous and excitable. Not to mention that they can sense OUR stress levels rising! To help pets cope, try to set aside plenty time to spend with them. Walk or exercise them prior to arrival of guests to relieve stress and expend some excess energy. It is a good idea not to allow the family dog to greet unfamiliar guests. In general, commotion and unusual circumstances can be scary and stressful to our pets. Give pets a break in a quiet room with things that are familiar to them like their favorite toys, bed or blankie and allow them to join the festivities after things have calmed down a bit. Never allow children to bother pets when they are eating. Also, dogs pant and, therefore, drink more when their stress level increases, so make sure they have of water available at all times.

Cold Weather - While it may seem convenient to put pets outside when company arrives, remember that cold temperatures, snow and ice can be very dangerous. Many animals suffer from frostbite every year, even if left out for what may seem like a short period of time. Also, remember when treating your front walk with salt or de-icing substances to make sure they are pet friendly. Many can be very irritating to our furry friends sensitive paws and toxic if ingested.

Holiday Decorations - Although Christmas trees are a wonderful tradition, they can lead to problems for curious pets. There are some simple things that we can do to prevent holiday disasters. To prevent a tree from tipping over, anchor it to the ceiling or wall. Hang non-breakable ornaments near the bottom of the tree. Tinsel is beautiful but can be deadly if ingested by pets. It can cause intestinal obstruction that can require emergency surgery and lead to death. Don's allow pets to drink Christmas tree water as it can contain chemicals that help the tree to last longer and can cause serious intestinal upset to pets. Even pine needles that fall from the tree can be harmful. They can puncture holes in the stomach and intestines if ingested, so make sure they are swept or vacuumed up regularly. Lastly, candles can give the holidays a wonderful warm glow, but are very easily tipped over by a curious pet. Keep candles out of reach to prevent pets from getting burned or causing a fire.

Toys/Gifts - Children's toys can be a hazard to pets if chewed or swallowed. It is a good practice all year long to keep small toys and pieces out of reach from pets to prevent a trip to the veterinary emergency room. Help your pet stay occupied and out of the holiday decorations by giving them their own gifts. Make sure to consult your veterinarian on which toys are appropriate for your pet ahead of time.

I hope these tips will help everyone to have a wonderful and safe season.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Toys For Fido

Hello all!! Dr. Mandi here to tell you all about a wonderful, easy way to help your furry Fido friends this holiday season. TOYS FOR FIDO!!

Stop by one of our two local collection centers to donate a dog toy or treats to benefit homeless dogs in our area.

Town and Country Animal Clinic
4263 East Broad Street
Whitehall, OH 43213
(Near the cross streets of Broad St. and Yearling Rd.)


Cherry Valley Animal Clinic
100 Westgate Drive
Newark, OH

Donations will benefit dogs at Columbus Dog Connection.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hero Dog

Family Dog Takes Bullet to Save Family
Dec 10, 2008 03:01 PM EST

Family Dog Saves Family’s Life
The family has no idea why the man broke in or how their dog, D-boy, survived.
By Amy Lester, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A family dog made a lifesaving move when the family needed him most.
The dog's more than a friend, even more than a companion and family members said he's the reason they're alive.
The family's hero is their dog, D-boy.
Roberta Trawick was sitting on the couch when a man busted in, through the front door.
"He came in, pointed a gun at me and said, ‘Get down on the ground'," Trawick said.
The next thing Roberta knew, her dog ran in from another room, ready to attack.
"I was too scared to move, I didn't know what to think," Trawick said.
But before the dog could get a hold of the intruder, the man started shooting.
"I seen him shoot the dog twice," Trawick said. "He shot him once in the head and he was still going after him and the guy shot him again."
D-boy was shot three times, altogether. The intruder, apparently spooked, took off out the front door.
To donate to D-boy, you can send a check to:
Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Hospital 1800 W. Memorial RoadOklahoma City, OK 73134
* Checks can be made out to VECCA and please add D-boy to the memo line.
"It is amazing, it's amazing that he want after that guy, and that I still have a family," family member Angelic Shoemaker said.
The family has no idea why the man broke in or how the dog survived.
"The vet said if it wasn't for his hard head he wouldn't be here," Trawick said. "He's got a hard head."
That hard headed dog was determined to protect his family, and a family that owes a debt of gratitude to their four legged friend.
"I'm sorry my dog got shot, but I still got my family and we still got our dog," Shoemaker said.
The family now faces another obstacle. They don't have enough money to pay the dog's medical bills. So far, they owe around $1,500.
Police are still looking for the man who shot the family dog. If you have any information, call Crimestoppers at 405-235-7300.

Now what is wrong with this story? It is a great story, with a wonderful, heroic dog. Unfortunately, nowhere in this piece does it mention this dog also happens to be a pit bull.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Measle's Animal Haven Fundraiser

Please join us on this Saturday, Dec 6 for a fundraiser at Fado Irish Pub in the Easton Town Centre (Columbus), organized by our beloved volunteer and foster mom extraordinaire, Kris McKenna!

*Saturday December 6th, 2008 2-4 p.m. Fado Irish Pub *4022 Townsfair Way Columbus, OH 43219 (614) 418-0066
Events include:

* Silent Auction and raffles, including "Spot the Pit Bull"
* Meet other responsible pit bull owners at a super-cool pub!
* Pit Bull Christmas cards, calendars, T-shirts and magnets
* Breed education and BSL educational materials
* All proceeds from this fundraiser will be used for the care of our rescued dogs

Please take a moment to vote and support Measle's Animal Haven. The shelter with the most votes by the end of January will win $10,000 Voting is quick, easy and completely FREE! Please feel free to crosspost the link far and wide!

* Please vote in Care2.com 's "A New Year of Hope for Animals" contest to help Measle's Animal Haven, win a grand prize of $10,000. As you know, Measle's Animal Haven in the only Pit Bull Specific rescue in the Central Ohio area, and we need your help in order to be able to keep helping the dogs. We need your help to get enough votes to help Measle's Animal Haven win.

Thanks for your vote and hope to see you Saturday!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Goings on" with HELP FIDO

Although our blog has been a bit quiet the last couple weeks with less frequent posts than we would like, all of us at HF have been busy with some "goings on" behind the scenes. After our work with the City of Whitehall regarding breed neutral legislation, we've become active in that community in other ways - a microchip clinic, educational opportunities at local community events, etc. Our blog has more information about those topics, if you're interested. Most recently, we met with many of the Principals and other School Administrators with the Whitehall City Schools to discuss ways HF can help with after school canine-education programs, science classes and other opportunities. Everyone was very receptive to our ideas and had many of their own ideas as well. More information to come on these events in the Whitehall School district, in the near future.

Additionally, we are very excited to have the opportunity next week to meet with Mr. Bill Bruce - the Director of the Animal and Bylaw Services for the city of Calgary, Alberta. Mr. Bruce has had a tremendous impact on the quality of life for animals in Calgary and has attained some of the best results in the world when it comes to humane treatment and education. Brent Toellners blog post over at KC Dog Blog, from last year, really highlights the achievements Calgary has made. We can't wait to meet with him and get some insight on getting on the road to similar success in Central Ohio.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Time to renew those tags!!!!

All dogs in Franklin County over three months of age are required to be licensed and vaccinated for rabies. You will need a current rabies tag number to renew or apply for a dog license. You can apply online here . The license renewal period opens every year on December 1 with a deadline of January 31.
You can also purchase a dog license at the Capital Area Humane Society during regular hours.
So go get that puppy tagged!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What we're thankful for

On this day before Thanksgiving, each of us here at HELP FIDO are thankful for many things:

Lisa: "I am thankful for having the opportunity to be surrounded by so many dogs who have taught me such valuable life lessons. I am thankful for having met so many people this past year who have managed to restore my faith in humanity. I am thankful for my kids and the rest of my family who have the patience to allow me to devote myself completely to an issue I feel so passionate about"

Dr. M: "I am thankful for the new people I have met this year and the opportunity to work with them doing something I really enjoy while making a difference. As always my family (my furry family too), friends, good health and my work which I love so much. And ALL of the FIDOS!!!"

Amanda: "My household (Big D, Little L and Verry 'Berry) is very thankful that love will always be stronger than hate, ignorance or prejudice."

Anna: "I am thankful for my dogs, my husband, and my health. All the rest is bonus - and I am thankful for all the bonuses."

Adam: "I am thankful for my family (including all of our dogs) and my friends, who have shared joys and sorrows over the years, but have always stuck together."

Brian: "Thankful to be helping our 4-legged friends, especially those that don’t have many advocates out there. "

We are all helpful to have found each other and to have formed HELP FIDO.

So to all of you (and a month late to Caveat and other friends up north!) -

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Aurora, Colorado "pit bull" ban goes to court

As detailed in this article from the Denver Post, the court case for Aurora Colorado's ban on "pit bulls" started on Monday in U.S. District Court. This is a landmark case for breed specific legislation and could have huge ramifications across the country. Our friends over at KC Dog Blog have an excellent post about this trial.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In Memory of Sandy

6 1/2 years ago we welcomed Sandy into our home. Sandy was a 12 year old, big white mutt, who found himself facing death row after his elderly owner had died and the rest of the family didn't want him. A lady drove him to us from New York. Had we only known what we were getting!

He arrived scared of EVERYTHING and more than happy to bite anyone who came to close or tried to touch his head. He joyfully proceeded marking every single piece of my new furniture and crating him was not an option. He lived his first year with us trying to squeeze under the couch to hide or trying to get behind coffee tables. We finally got him over that and as the years passed he grew less and less fearful, especially the last couple of years. Still he was never a cuddly, love on me type of dog. He would walk by and wag his tail, or follow me around the yard but he didn't want much hands on contact.
Old age finally caught up with him. He lost his hearing, was losing his sight, losing his strength and ability to stand and was getting multiple tumors. So we finally made the call.
The past couple of months he hasn't really known where he was much less who I was. But today on the way to the vet, that darn dog crawled up to the front seat and put his head on the console and stared at me adoringly with his cloudy old eyes. I don't know if he was trying to guilt trip me or just telling me it was ok but whatever he was doing it turned me into a blubbering mess. I never thought it would bother me so much to let the old guy go. Here's hoping that he is in a better place and having the time of his life. We will miss you Sandy and I thank you for the lessons you taught our family; patience, healing, committment and unconditional love.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Education Program - Franklin County

As detailed in this article in the Columbus Dispatch, Franklin County Animal Care and Control is starting a new program beginning in January - "instead of paying a fine of as much as $150 for having a loose, unlicensed or un-vaccinated dog or failing to control a dog, owners will have the option of taking a class on how to be a responsible caregiver." While Franklin County and the State of Ohio have a long way to go to reach the successful programs of a city such as Calgary, this is definitely a good step in the right direction. By educating people, or actually rehabilitating them, we may be making the first inroads towards ultimately achieving more responsible ownership. Another thing that could be impacted by this could be the number of dogs abandonded in the animal shelter. These dogs are often then adopted out IF they pass the behavior test (and IF they are not "of a breed associated with pit bulls"). But that leaves a bunch of "IF's" and ultimately does not address the problems of un-vaccinated dogs running loose. Nor does it address the culture of "throw away ownership" that can be perpetuated with high fines.
By offering an alternative, we hope that many goals will be achieved and that ultimately the dogs of Frankin County will benefit.
Two paws up!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The "First Puppy"

In Barack Obama's speech last evening, he mentioned that his daughters were going to get the puppy they've been wanting for when they move into the White House. Regardless of how you felt about this election, please consider contacting the Obama's to encourage them to adopt a homeless pet instead of buying from a breeder or something. What a great message that would send for the First Family to adopt a dog from a shelter, humane society or rescue! You can share your thoughts here.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Johnstown, Ohio update

Johnstown’s Tuesday council meeting was a full house again. Eventually, the 4 pet limit was dropped; although the breed specific and exotic pet limitations were still included. There was one resident that spoke in favor of the 4 pet limit out of the several dozen who spoke against it during to two public hearings and it appeared that she was actually confused about a feral cat issue. We are assuming her thinking, was that by restricting the number of cats a person could legally own would reduce the feral cat population. However by definition, a feral animal is a “wild animal” that lacks domestication. Thus meaning even restricting ownership rights will not reflect a decrease in the feral population.

Aside from several Johnstown residents (including Paula from Second Chance) several other people from animal welfare organizations testified, including a primate vet, a pit bull rescuer, a dog trainer / AKC CGC evaluator, a reptile specialist and a representative from the Licking County Board of Health. Besides pointing out the lack of proponents for the proposed regulations, several testimonies highlighted, that enforcement would be nearly impossible, and that there are STILL several legal issues with the legislation and how it relates to Ohio Revised Code.

At one point the Sarah Philips, Johnstown Village Manager, stated (to the effect) that several portions of the code in question were word for word out of the ORC, which was later pointed out not to be true as the proposed code was actually more intrusive than the ORC, and included additional language. Also through testimony an interesting detail relating to the supposed “pit bull” incident (from this past spring) that started all of this hoopla emerged. Apparently in the official police report there was NO mention or documentation of ‘breed’ relating to the incident.

Without a push from the residents of Johnstown, one is left to wonder, why the need to limit pet ownership rights? There doesn’t seem to be a real problem with pit bulls, rhinoceroses, elephants, lions, cheetahs, or hyenas (yes those were all included along with several others in the legislation) in Johnstown. With so many experts and for the second public hearing on legislation that still contains many problems, it would seem that if everyone would just work together a solution could emerge that satisfies all parties involved. Johnstown seems to have several organizations, and members of the public willing to help. Hopefully they will embrace these organizations and residents of Johnstown to work toward a positive solution that might encourage and promote responsible pet ownership, instead of limiting pet ownership.

The ordinance has been tabled again until Tuesday, November, 4th.

Friday, October 24, 2008

People get ready...

News is coming out of Virginia that convicted dog-fighter and former NFL pro Michael Vick is planning to plead guilty to state dog-fighting charges. This could enable him to be eligible for early release. THAT would enable him to possibly be picked up by an NFL team and hit the summer training field in 2009.
The thought of this really burns me up inside. First, I am bothered by the fact that he could be released in 2009. I do realize he is serving his time and has paid his fines (including money to support those dogs who were rescued from his dog-fighting house of horrors). But in my heart I feel he can never serve enough time.
Secondly, I am bothered by the possibility of him being able to return to the playing field. I realize this could be a remote possibility...but it is a possibility none-the-less. The NFL commissioner would need to grant him status to play. Then a team (and it would have to be an extremely brave owner and coach) would have to sign him.
Could this happen? Could someone who slammed dogs to a concrete floor until they died, or ordered their electrocution for not fighting well be allowed to have this status in society? Could someone who financed and gambled on heinous, illegal activities be allowed to appear on television in that often heroic status of a professional football player? Could a man who abused, neglected, and murdered animals be given an opportunity to become role-model for children?
There are rumors in the anti dog-fighting world that, contrary to what was hoped, there has been some increase in teens getting into dog fighting. This could be because Vick's conviction, imprisonment, and loss of sponsors is seen as one more way "to keep the black man down," that he might not have, in fact, "deserved" what happened to him. That it happened to him not of his own doing. And that, as had been said by others, if they were his dogs he could do with them what he wished.
Chicago's Tio Hardiman has had success in making inroads to change the culture amongst these kids. And therein lies the brilliance. Simply making an activity illegal doesn't make it stop happening (see everything regarding breed specific legislation!!). One must approach the activity from a 360 degree view and see why it is happening, what makes it attractive and to whom, and what would make it unattractive.
Tio has worked hard to change the culture that these at-risk kids operate in. He makes them see dogs as pets again - not as a commodity or status symbol. Or more specifically - he changes the the interpretation of the status symbol. It becomes "cool" to have a dog who is well-behaved, sociable, and participating in agility or obedience activities.
And a kid can be a kid with a dog again and not a kid with a weapon.
My last comment - if Michael Vick is released there will be a huge movement to contact the NFL and others and ensure that he does not rise yet again to a level of hero.
He has never apologized to the dogs.
He does deserve forgiveness or a second chance.
People get ready. . .

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cancer and Our Pets

Hey all, Dr. Mandi here again. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Ive decided to dedicate this blog to some general information about cancer as it applies to our pets. I routinely diagnose cancer in dogs in cats to varying degrees. From simple skin tumors that are easy to remove and require no follow up care or treatment, to larger internal or bone masses that require major surgery and sometimes chemotherapy and radiation to treat.

Pets are diagnosed with many of the same cancers as humans, such as, bone cancer (osteosarcoma), breast or mammary gland cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer (melanoma) and do suffer from the spread of cancer (metastisis). Some of these cancers are preventable in our pets. Breast cancer can be prevented, to a large degree, in female dogs and cats by spaying them at a young age (5-6 months). Melanomas and other skin masses that can spread internally (like Mast cell tumors) can be removed providing a very good prognosis if they are found early. Routine examination of pets at home and by your veterinarian can provide early diagnosis and intervention.

Although a diagnosis of cancer can be frightnening for many pet owners, with many of today's medical treatments and nutrition, there is hope. You veterinarian can give you information about your pet's specific disease and give you options for the best course of treatment.

Here is some general information about the disease:

What is cancer? - Cancer is a condition associated with the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells within the body. These cells can form masses or tumors that can create a variety of potetially painful and serious problems. Cancer can be found in any organ. Some types are less aggressive than others and can be cured just by removal of the tumor.

Is my pet at risk?- Many factors can influence the likelihood fo a dog developing cancer.

Age - Nearly half of all dogs 10 years or older will develop cancer.
Breed - Certain tumors are more common in specific breeds. For example skin tumors in Boxers and other Bully breeds, spleen tumors in German Shepherds and Retriever breeds, and bone cancer in giant breeds like Mastiffs.
Gender - Some cancers develop under the influence of sex hormones. Spaying or neutering your pet can decrease the chances of some types of cancers (like breast cancer).
Environment - Exposure to chemicals, such as some pesticides, herbicides and radiation can increase the possibility of cancer in animals just like they do in humans. Exposure to the sun can also increase the possiblity of some cancers in your pet.

What are the signs of cancer in my pet? - Due to the complex nature of cancer, many different signs may indicate the presence of the disease. The following are some of the most common signs.

-Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
-Sores that do not heal
-Weight loss
-Changes in appetite
-Bleeding or discharge from any body orifice
-Offensive odor
-Difficulty eating, swallowing or breathing
-Lethargy or loss of stamina
-Persistent lameness or stiffness
-Difficulty urinating or defecating

If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, it is important to consult your veterinarian. Althought these symptoms may indicate cancer, they can also indicate other diseases that your veterinarian can diagnose and treat. Also, these may not be the only signs of cancer that your pet could exhibit, so anything that is not normal for your pet should be discussed with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Just as with humans, early diagnosis and treatment offers the most successful outcome for our pets. Since they cannot tell us what is bothering them we need to be aware of subtle changes in their health and daily habits. We need to be their voice so that we can find the disease as soon as we can and begin treatment.

Well that's all for now. Remember - "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care". This month show how much you care by thinking PINK!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Apparently all the cool dogs are doing it.

So - we will too.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Are dogs allowed there?

Maybe it's just me, but I always feel really bad taking our dogs to the kennel when we're going out of town. They don't really mind the kennel and the people there are great! (quick plug for Blendon Kennels if you're in the Columbus area). But Anna and I still feel bad and we honestly enjoy a vacation or quick getaway more if the dogs are with us which we try to do as much as possible. If you feel the same way, below are some good resources for traveling with your four-legged friend. Also, in recent years more and more places, including many malls and shopping centers, have changed their policies to allow pets (but check first)
Travel & Lodging - Dog Friendly & Pets Welcome
Restaurants & Shopping - Pet Friendly & Dogster

Friday, October 17, 2008

Get your dog microchipped and help other dogs!

Friday October 17th and Saturday October 18th:
Protect your pets, support canine programs at the Ohio State University!
The Blood Bank in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and the Greyhound Health and Wellness Program are hosting a microchip fundraiser from 5-8 p.m. today (10/17) and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday (10/18) at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Veterinarians promote the placement of microchips in dogs (and cats) to assure that lost animals will be reunited with their owners. The minimum donation of $25 for each microchip includes a $15 donation to the Blood Bank and Greyhound Health and Wellness Program at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Ohio State.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Johnstown, Ohio... got pets? Heads up!

Last Tuesday night Johnstown Village Council tabled an ordinance that was to limit the total number of pets (dogs or cats) to 4 per household, limit the number of ‘Pit Bull type’ dogs to 1 per household, and place restrictions on ‘exotic’ pets as well.

The manager of the Licking County village, Sarah Phillips was quoted in the Columbus Dispatch saying, “the ordinance was drafted to address problems with pit bulls, but she acknowledged that it could ensnare otherwise-law-abiding animal lovers." Oddly enough the only recent ‘Pit Bull’ incident was in early spring of this year where two unconfined dogs, "presumed Pit Bulls," killed another dog.

Paula with Second Chance Humane Society (located in Johnstown) gave a very thorough and informational testimony. She noted that it was unlikely that Licking County animal control would enforce legislation beyond what is laid out in the Ohio Revised Code, without an addition contract with the village for providing additional services.

Several very informed Johnston residents came out and spoke in opposition to the proposed ordinance. There wasn’t a single person who spoke in favor of any of the measures in the proposed ordinance. Those who spoke agreed the passage of limit laws only guarantees an increase in homeless pets, and people “dumping” house pets in the rural area.

Looks like Johnstown will be making some changes to the proposed legislation and it will be presented again on Tuesday October, 21st.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Here's to Going Above and Beyond

A good friend shared this storywith us. It seems a church in Weymouth, Massachusetts decided to allow their members to bring along man's best friend for a special weekly worship session. We think this is an excellent way for a community to recognize and legitimize how important dogs have become to some families. However, we had to raise an eyebrow when we read that the church had to increase their in$urance so that pit bulls would be allowed to attend. There are so many things wrong with that we don't know where to begin. As our friend at Caveat likes to ask "How will they know it's a pit bull?" Perhaps the janitor graduated from the same school as the "locking jaws" expert we came across before? Or perhaps the minister would sprinkle holy water on the dog's head to see if it changed colors? The mind boggles!!

This being said, we applaud the church for paying the extra dough so that no dog is discriminated against (or should that read 'no dog is left behind'?).

And with that, we wanted to include a cute photo of Charlotte, who belongs to HF's own Lisa, taking a bubble bath.

Because if a lady is going to go to church, she needs a bubble bath!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October is National Adopt-A-Dog Month!

This Fall, Adopt A Dog and Rock Your World.
"Big dogs, small dogs, adult dogs, puppy dogs -- you can find them all at your local shelter or breed rescue group. And each one is guaranteed to enhance your life, make you smile and rock your world.

Millions of dogs are surrendered to our nation’s animal welfare organizations every year, not because they are bad or unlovable, but because their owners just couldn’t take care of them anymore. Now these dogs are homeless, and they need a second chance."

If you're interested in adopting a dog in central Ohio, our friends at the Columbus Dog Connection have compiled a list of rescues and shelters (in Ohio) full of lovable dogs looking for their forever homes.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Unconditional Love

I am having a crappy day at work. Heck - I am having a crappy year.
As with most folks - it impacts how the rest of my life goes. It affects my relations with my husband, my family and my friends. However, it really doesn't impact how my relationship is with my dogs. A friend recently gave me some words of wisdom . . . "You cannot control how others treat you. But you can control how you react to their treatment of you."
Dogs have this luxurious capacity to dwell in the present tense. They are happy you are finally home. They are happy you are feeding them. They are happy you are taking them outside. They are really happy you are talking to them in a strange voice that they don't understand but sounds good.
Their eyes and their tails belie this happiness. The warmth of their bodies are comforting when your world sucks.
I have read many an article, as I am sure you have too, about abused, neglected dogs who are rescued from the clutches of certain death . . . and sometimes from a situation worse than death. And yet, the dogs do not turn on their rescuers. They express happiness in a new found friend. Certainly there are those who have issues moving past what they have experienced. But far and away most dogs respond to the love and compassion that is bestowed upon them by returning it with equal measure. This is no more obvious than in the rehabilitation of the Vick dogs and the wonderful accomplishments they have made. Proof positive (or is that pawsitive?) that even in the "worst" of cases you can drill down to that original depth of emotions in the dog.
And so today when I return home from my awful Monday, bitter and stressed, I know that Sasha and Sparky will be just as happy to see me as when I return at the end of a good day. They will relate their happiness solely to the fact that I am home. In their eyes why shouldn't I be happy too? And when I look into their eyes I will have a hard time remaining bitter and stressed. I will seek comfort in their warm wiggly bodies. I will find humor in their actions and peace in their kisses. I will remember why I go to work...to earn more money for kibble and chew toys :-)
And I will lay my head down tonight and go to work tomorrow with renewed vigor and vitality.
Unconditional love.

World Rabies Day - September 28th

Meant to post this earlier, but yesterday was World Rabies Day. Amazingly, 55,000 die worldwide every year. More information can be found on AVMA's website. Another page has some great information about rabies prevention and what to do if you are bitten by a dog or your dog bite's someone else.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another senseless death

When are people going to wake up and become responsible? In 2007, Youngstown, Ohio passed an ill-planned breed ban which has never been enforced. The ban was put in place to ensure that another child wasn't harmed by a dog with the appearance of a pit bull. Bravo Youngstown. You chose to focus your efforts on one type of dog rather than focusing on the total pet owning population. When you could have been educating and enacting preventative measures, you instead chose to spend your efforts on a witch hunt.

Yesterday a 3 day old baby paid the price. The three day old infant was left alone in a bassinet while the father went to another room. While the father was out of the room the family's Husky grabbed the infant, inflicting multiple bites to the head and neck. The baby was dead at the scene.

Please people, do NOT leave a child alone with an animal....EVER. Why is this such a difficult concept for people to grasp?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dogs and their routines

I was reading a post on the Happy Pit Bull blog - about her dog Dozer and how he was depressed when they were packing suitcases for a trip. That got me thinking about all the dogs I've ever had and how they so quickly fall into a routine. For example, every night, without fail, our two dogs get up at 10 PM - looking for their last meal of the day. They could both be crashed out, twitching with their doggie chasing rabbits dreams at 9:58 but two minutes later, at 10, they're both up looking for food. How do they know??? Cracks me up. Likewise, Sasha simply knows when we are leaving - before even heading to the door, just getting ready to leave at a certain time of day and she gets in her crate. It's both sad and funny at the same time. Sparky's usually completely oblivious but that's a whole other story :) Anyway, what about your dogs - do they do anything like that? I'm sure they do, let's hear 'em.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Just do it - get involved!

I know it's sometimes difficult, when facing a large problem such as dog and cat overpopulation or irresponsible dog ownership, to get frustrated and overwhelmed - not knowing where to start.  I've definitely felt that way at times in our work starting up HELP FIDO and other issues in the past (both animal related and non-animal related).  However, everyone in HF has come to realize that the key is to simply get started.  For example, we had been talking for a couple months about having a low-cost microchip clinic in Whitehall Ohio.  After Anna sat in on teleconference with Ken Foster (the author of "Dogs I Have Met" and other books) we followed his advice to "just do it" and went ahead and set a date of September 13th to have a microchip clinic in Whitehall.  Some members of HF had done this in the past but we hadn't as a group, so the logistics of everything were a bit intimidating at first.  But, with a deadline in place, we had no choice but to make it happen.  And the result? A rousing success!  We microchipped 44 dogs (just about every breed under the sun) at $10 a piece and everything went off without a hitch; we also were able to talk to people about the importance of spay/neuter and other issues.  BTW - if anyone else out there is thinking of doing something like this, feel free to contact me and I'll be happy to give you some advice on things we learned. 

Likewise, we've also found that the key to getting involved in your local communities and working to influence citizens, City Council, State Legislatures and Congress is really simple - go to meetings, stay after, talk to your respresentatives, call or email their offices (calls are more effective).  Thanks to Brent Toellner, Michelle Davis and others for that piece of advice. Honestly, most people will listen to you and are receptive - not all, but most.  Just by doing these things, HF has already accomplished so much in a short period of time and we look forward to doing more.  

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Memory of K-9 Officer Marty Martin

Today has been a difficult day. First, today is the 7th Anniversary of September 11th. This brings to mind many images for all Americans. We should always remember the bravery shown that day by the first responders, police officers, fire fighters, medics and other personnel as well as the people that lost their lives that day. Also, we should always remember the Search and Rescue dogs that served in both Washington and New York City in the days following 9/11, searching for survivors.
Today has been difficult for another reason - a great Deputy Sheriff, Certified Police Dog Instructor, husband, father and friend - Marty M. Martin - died in the line of duty this past Saturday. Marty's funeral was earlier today. There were over 1,000 attendees including hundreds of officers from around Ohio and the country. Marty started a Police Dog kennel along with his wife and some friends a few years ago and some of the K-9 Police Dogs were at the funeral as well - simply amazing animals. Marty's wife, Jody, and Anna (another HELP FIDO board member), are both breast cancer survivors and met a few years ago through work with the Young Survival Coalition. So Marty's death, coupled with what Jody and the rest of Marty's family is going through right now, really hit home for Anna and me. Please keep Marty, Jody, their 6 year old son Kyle, their special dogs ~ Bul, his retired K-9 Unit dog, Charly his competition sport dog, Sydney, Tess, Tak, Tigra and Brita, and many Liberty Hoeve Kennel canines ~ and all of their friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.
On this day of days - a heartfelt thank you to both Marty and Jody for the bravery they have shown in their work and in battling cancer, and being such great people.
**If you would like to read more or for ways to help Jody - you can see Anna's blog.**

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Be Part of the SOLUTION!

Hey all, Dr. Mandi here again saying that if you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem. There are an overwhelming amount of puppies and kittens, dogs and cats across this country without a roof over their heads. There are strays roaming the streets with no shelter or food and no place to call home. The solution to this sad state of affairs? Spay and neuter your pets. Owning a pet is, in my humble opinion, a privilege and comes with certain responsibilities. Spaying and neutering not only benefits you and your family, but your pet and your community.

How does it benefit you?
Spaying and neutering can eliminate or reduce the incidence of a number of serious health problems for your pet that can difficult and expensive to treat.

Spaying and neutering can make pets better companions for you and your family.

Neutering can make it less likely for dogs to mark their territory with strong, foul smelling urine not only outside but also inside of your home.

Spaying a dog (or cat) prevents her from having a heat cycle. Estrus (heat) lasts an average of 6-12 days, often twice a year in dogs. Dogs in heat may appear nervous, can be edgy and sometimes aggressive and can attract unwanted male dogs to your home.

Neutering can make pets less likely to roam, run away, get into fights with other dogs and get hit by a car.

Unsterilized animals often exhibit more behavior and temperament problems than those that have not been spayed or neutered.

Neutering may make dogs less likely to bite.

How does it benefit your pet?
Spaying and neutering helps cats and dogs live longer, healthier lives.

Spaying females eliminates the possibility of uterine and ovarian cancer, and greatly reduces the incidence of breast cancer, especially when your pet is spayed before her first heat cycle.

Spaying can prevent various reproductive tract disorders, such as pyometra. Pyometra is an infection of the uterus that many times requires your pet to be spayed as an emergency procedure. Performing surgery when an animal has a pyometra can be risky and the condition itself can be deadly.

Neutering eliminates testicular cancer and decreases the incidence of prostate problems like benign prostate disease.

How does it benefit your community?
An estimated 8-10 million animals are taken in by animal shelters each year.

An estimated 4-5 million animals are euthanized (put to sleep) in shelters each year.

Tax-payers spend millions of dollars each year to control the unwanted animal population.

Animal shelters are many times filled to capacity and overburdened with surplus animals.

Stray pets and homeless animals may get in to trash containers, defecate in public areas or on private lawns and can spread disease that could potentially make humans ill. They can also frighten or anger people who have no understanding of their needs or misery.

MYTH: It is NOT "healthier" for your dog to have a litter or go through a heat cycle before they are spayed. The opposite is actually true. For each heat cycle your dog has, the chances of her developing breast cancer INCREASES significantly.

MYTH: Your dog is not "missing something" by not breeding or having a litter. They are not sexually motivated in the same way humans are. Guys...your dog does not miss his testicles.

So please people...spay and neuter. I know this sounds like a Bob Barker, Price is Right public announcement, but seriously it is important. As a veterinarian I see the effects of what NOT spaying and neutering can do to a family pet. I recently had to anesthetize a 15 year old dog to spay her due to a pyometra and cystic ovaries. It was a very difficult procedure for her and it took a very long time for her to recover from the anesthesia. I have had patients pass away from pyometra, testicular cancer and breast cancer. These are things that can be prevented. Also, remember that the older your pet is the more difficult the procedure is for them, so by spaying and neutering them at a young age you can save their lives.

That's all for now folks and remember..."People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Discrimination during hurricane rescue efforts

Ms. Donna at BAD RAP has a great post up about the discrimination against "pit bulls" in New Orleans as part of hurricane Gustav rescue efforts. While I certainly applaud the rescue efforts of the SPCA of Texas, it's shameful that they would leave any dog behind simply based on what it looks like (btw - see here about breed identification, that's a whole other story). If a dog is aggressive and cannot be safely rescued during a hurricane or other natural disaster, it's absolutely acceptable and probably unavoidable to leave some dogs behind. But if a dog or dogs really are being left behind simply because they may be a pit bull or look like a pit bull, that's a disgrace. Thankfully, the aftermath of Gustav has been a far cry from Katrina for both our 2-legged and 4-legged friends. Speaking of Katrina, if you haven't already seen this, please check it out - Michelle Davis from KC Dog Advocates posted about their rescue efforts following Katrina in 2005.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Do spayed dogs get hot flashes?

I wrote this up on my personal blog, so in the art of being lazy I am going to copy it here as a Saturday funny-haha-post.
Our first dog, Maggie, was about 6 months old when we adopted her from Capital Area Humane Society. When we adopted her she was intact, but when we picked her up, as we knew would happen, she had been spayed. For the first couple years of her life she slept in a crate at night. But slowly she made her way into our bed. First she took naps, then when I came home from my mastectomy surgery, she slept at my feet (due to the type of surgery I had I had to keep my knees bent so I used her as a way to keep my knees up), and eventually she slept all nights with us. We always made fun of how wish-washy she was about being under the covers one minute, then out and panting, then back under the covers . . . this would go on through the night. When Sasha came into our lives, we noticed that she too, moved in and out of the covers through the night.
I had hot flashes when I started chemo, and they never completely went away though they did lessen with time. Recently, I had my ovaries removed as part of ongoing prevention and also as a way to finalize the decision not to have children. As fully expected, my hot flashes increased both in frequency and intensity. And I noticed that my nightly temperature fluctuations seemed eerily similar to those of Sasha's.
And so I began to wonder...do spayed dogs get hot flashes? (okay I just got a crazy vibe as I read back through this ending with the question that this post sounds like something out of 'Sex and the City'. I can almost hear SJP's voice in my head as I re-read it!).
I have done some preliminary online research and I am not the first to ask this question. However the answers are incredibly unsatisfactory because they mostly fall into a "no they don't because we are removing their ovaries so no estrogen left to go through menopause." Oh yeah? Because let me tell you, my ovaries are completely gone and I have RAGING hot flashes. So this answer just doesn't cut it.
And how would one know? You can't survey a dog. I discussed this with Dr. Mandi here at HELP FIDO , and she immediately had some good questions one could ask a dog: "Do you find yourself trying to lay on cold tile floors? Do you want to hang your head out the window inappropriately in the winter?"
I asked my mother-in-law about her current spayed female, Belle, and her previous spayed female, Chloe (RIP) and she agreed - both dogs exhibited signs consistent with running hot and cold. And neither of her male dogs have.
I don't quite know where I am going with this other that to say that I find it fascinating!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Puppy Luvuuuuv

(admin note: posted for Amanda - who still does not have her computer hooked up at home and can't access blog from work. But we love her anyway!)
Here at HELP FIDO, we love dogs. We love dogs with no tails, dogs with bad manners, dogs with one eye, dogs that can't hold their water, dogs with pedigrees and dogs that resemble a heap of spare parts (admin: we even love dogs with only two legs!). We love ALL dogs. We believe that dogs deserve our respect, understanding and compassion. We believe that every dog should have his/her day. So that's part of the reason why we get so hot and bothered when someone decides to deny any dog those rights, solely based on an impossibly hard to nail down breed ID.
Why, our local Humane Society is still nursing a stinging wound courtesy of an individual in Tennessee. CAHS' very own Batman made his debut national television appearance and in doing so, stole the heart of a Knoxville, Tennessee detective.
We had visions of Batman with his new Dad, donning his uniform and ready to roll in a marked vehicle. His potential new Dad even promised us those darling pics, saying he'd be "tickled" to do so. But alas, his significant other succumbed to the media hype and fear that have us believe the problem is the dog. No home for Batman...yet. We'll keep looking. Meanwhile, Batman continues to show us why we do what we do. Sure glad he doesn't know how close he came to being finally "home."
So, to the naysayers, go ahead and keep up with the lies and myths! We're running on pure doggy Luuuv at HF! What could be sweeter?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy National Dog Day!

National Dog Day has two goals: to honor dogs, and to rescue dogs from homelessness and abuse. It's an opportunity for us to recognize and appreciate the value and importance of dogs in our lives.

This day is intended to honor dogs for all that they do for us. In addition to giving love and companionship, dogs help us out in countless ways. They are watchdogs for our safety. They lead the blind. Dogs aid in search and rescue, and they seek out bombs and drugs.

The second goal of National Dog Day is to rescue dogs in need. On occasion, dogs need us to save them from homelesness and abuse. The goal of the National Dog Day foundation is to rescue 10,000 dogs a year. Lend a hand to help a dog in need today, or any day.

National Dog Day

Monday, August 25, 2008

Animal Planet "Animal Witness" Michael Vick Documentary - Not for the Faint of Heart . . .

. . .or faint of stomach for that matter.
I stayed up late last night watching this new series on Animal Planet. I read Donna's warning on the Bad Rap's blog last week and knew that I would be witnessing some rather graphic dog fighting footage. However, I was unprepared for the gratuitousness of the violence. I literally "threw up a little in my mouth" a few times. I also found myself covering the eyes of Sasha and Sparky (because in my mind this was like a horror film on crack...and even though they are dogs...I just couldn't let them "watch" it).
This morning I found a site for viewer comments to Animal Planet and posted the following statement:

I am writing to express my disappointment in the Animal Witness program about Michael Vick. The middle section was so extremely graphic in the footage of real dog fights that I was almost overcome with nausea. I expected more information such as the details from the case in regards to Vick crossing state lines to buy dogs, and the funding schemes of Bad Newz Kennels. I expected much more in terms of the details of how the dogs have been rehabbed. The last 20 minutes were the best in terms of demonstrating how dogs can come out of this awful situation. Perhaps more time could have been spent discussing the generalities of dog fighting. Some discussion of how laws have increased since the Vick case to help protect dogs might have been utilized. But the gratuitous violence of the dogs fighting…how is this any different than violence on crime shows? To show one dog pinning another down with blood spurting from its neck is, at the very least, needless violence. All this serves is to up the hype and to numb the viewers as to how truly awful it is. Also, why did you outline “how to host a dog fight”? You have provided an instruction manual. I am also disappointed that you included extensive interviews with PETA–who was never actually involved with the case! Also, there was an incorrect statement regarding the number of dogs sent to sanctuary–you stated 22 when it was actually 10. Please consider editing to focus more on the treatment of the dogs. This is Animal Planet – not the Sopranos!
If you would like to send them your own comment you can go to http://extweb.discovery.com/viewerrelations - you will be limited 1,500 characters so I suggest preparing something ahead of time. All that being said - the footage of Leo, former fight dog and now a therapy dog - is absolutely wonderful. And the interviews with the folks at Bad Rap show the real deal. Here's hoping that a few minds get changed this week!

ALERT: From CAHS - Please pass along!

For those of you living in central Ohio, or if you know of any cat or dog owner who does - please pass along this frightening alert from Capital Area Humane Society:
The Capital Area Humane Society says two dogs were shot with cross bows in two different parts of town.
By Nicole Franks - 610 WTVN
nicolefranks@ clearchannel. com
Saturday, August 23, 2008
The Capital Area Humane Society is warning pet owners after two dogs were shot and killed with what appears to be a cross bow. The latest incident happened Friday evening to a 13-year-old German Shepard dog. Jodi Buckman, the Humane Society's Executive Director says the dog was in a fenced backyard near Sawmill and West Case Road. The first attack happened a week ago to a Rottweiler mix near Rumsey and Lockbourne Roads. "We cannot make any assumptions as we continue the investigation as to whether or not these two attacks are related," Buckman said. "Or if they could possibly be related to similar attacks on cats with arrows earlier this year." A reward is being offered that leads to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator. To report information people can call the Capital Area Humane Society's cruelty investigations division at 614-777-PETS ext. 250.
More here on WBNS 10tvHarly, the Rottie mix, did not survive. Readers - this incident follows on the heels of the two cats shot with arrows in April. That crime is still unsolved. If you own a cat who normally goes outside, please consider keeping them indoors for the time being. If you own a dog, please do not leave them out unattended. Protect your family, including your 4-legged members. And if you have any information please call CAHS!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Toy might be DANGEROUS!

If you think you might have a "Pimpleball w/ Bell" please read the following links and check to make sure your dog is not in danger.

The following quote is from the VP of the toy's manufacturer.
"After reviewing the product we found there to be a manufacturing flaw in the mold. By simply looking at the product the problem is not visible, that is why our QC Department did not catch this prior to the product being shipped. The toy has a large hole on one side and a small hole on the other side. The smaller hole is there to insure airflow in order to prevent any type of suction. At first glance, the ball appears to be fine; it is only when you hold it up to the light that you can see that the smaller hole is not completely open. We have reached out to all of our customers to have them remove this product from their shelves and return them to us. We are reworking all of this inventory to insure that the product functions correctly.

We are also going to post on our website and by any other means we can find to let consumers know that if they currently have this product, they should hold it up to the light and make sure the small hole is completely opened. If it is not, all they need to do is take a sharp object such as a nail and carefully push it through the small hole to open up the airway. Please be assured that we have taken all necessary steps to ensure that a situation like this does not happen again."
You can read the enitre repsonse HERE.

Also you can read about Chai a sweet boy who eventually had to have his tongue amputated due to the injuries from the toy HERE.

I still have yet to find a warning on the FourPaws website, about the possible dangers of this toy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Another Dog Died Today......

Today another handsome, muscular, square-headed dog felt the sting of a needle, breathed his last breath, as his eyes became glassy.

Today another once exhuberant, happy go lucky dog is placed in a garbage bag and waits in the freezer to be moved to his final resting place.

Today another dog lost his life not because he was vicious and a threat to humans or other animals but because he made the mistake of pushing open a partially latched door and his owner was financially unable to buy an insurance policy.

Today an 18 month old little boy lost the friend who shared peanut butter kisses and cuddles on the couch.

Today another rescuer shed a tear for you, for not being allowed to be your lifeline.

Goodbye sweet boy. I know you will be missed and will not be forgotten.

The Dogs of HELP FIDO

Izzy's story:
Izzy is a rescue which a county pound begged us to take. She came to us with her sister and 2 brothers when they were about 8 weeks old, having been labeled "pit bulls" They were quaking bundles of fear and had to patiently be cajoled out of the car.
The day after they arrived they all became really sick with parvo. Her brother Heckle, died 12 hours after becoming ill. Her sister Kota and brother Jeckle survived after being hospitalized a couple of days. Izzy, on the other hand, became VERY sick and was hospitalized over a week. On her 5th day of hospitalization the doctor called and said Izzy is not going to make it. Her temp is very low and she is so weak she can't even raise her head. She is suffering and we should put her down, do you want to be here?
Hubby and I rushed right over. The vet asked if we wanted some time with her before they put her down. Of course we did! We were warned about how bad she would look etc. They carried her in, nothing but skin and bones, wrapped in a blanket and laid her on the examining table. She wasn't moving. I squatted down and got up to her face and started talking to her.
All of the sudden "thump, thump, thump" her little tail started wagging. The next thing we knew she hopped up and started running all over the table and the counter. Full of wiggles and kisses for everyone. The vet called it a true miracle and said if she hadn't have seen it, she never would have believed it. Izzy made a full recovery and was home 2 days later. We decided that if we meant enough to Izzy that it gave her the will to live, how could we ever send her away. So she has stayed and become one of the gang and is a fantastic dog, one of the smartest dogs I have seen. As far as her being a "pit bull"? Nah, not so much but a GREAT dog nonetheless.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Dogs of HELP FIDO: Louie's Story

Louis (a.k.a. Lou, Louie, Louis Bean, Sir Louis of Beansworth, Louieboy, Stinkyface, Momma's Boy, and "what did you do??!!") became a part of my furry family in July of 2004. He was about 6 months old.
I first saw this precious pup when he was about 8 weeks old. He had no name and was only called "Puppy" on his chart. I was in my 4th year of veterinary school and working my way through clinical rotations. My classmate was carrying him like a baby through the main hallway to the x-ray ward. You could hear all of the "oohs and aahs" as she walked him down, as students and professors alike were stopping to give him a little belly tickle or to marvel at his absolute cuteness.
His reason for evaluation at OSU Veterinary Hospital was his inability to walk correctly. He hobbled on his back legs and could barely get around. After being seen by the Orthopedic veterinary specialists and being x-rayed, he was found to have a condition called Grade 4 bilateral medial patellar luxation. In simpler terms, his kneecaps were fixed into an abnormal position on inside surface of each of his back legs at the area of the knee. Each time he tried to walk, malformed ligaments would pull tightly and cause him pain and discomfort. This is a common condition of small dogs and usually causes very minimal problems. However, Louie was a larger breed dog and he was one of the unfortunate few that had the condition to such a serious degree that he would require orthopedic surgery to correct the defect.
When Louie's owners were informed of his diagnosis and the surgery required to make him walk normally, their response was this, and I quote: "If he's not going to be an athletic dog then we just want to put him to sleep." My classmate and the residents on the case were, needless to say, horrified at the owner's unemotional and seemingly final decision. They immediately pleaded with the powers that be, and the orthopedic surgeon to take pity on this pup. They managed to persuade Louie's owners to sign ownership over to the OSU Vet Hospital. Louis was scheduled to have surgery under the "good samaritan" sanctions of the hospital, meaning that his care would be paid for from a fund established for just such cases.
Surgery included shaving down some bone, cutting and repositioning ligaments and inserting 2 pins into the bone of each of his back legs. He had a long road to recovery. He spent several months under strict cage rest with physical therapy. Along the way he had this really funny walk where he had his knees turned out and walked on his toes...he looked like a little frog.
So, how did I come to take in this lucky boy? Needless to say I immediately fell in love with him the first time I saw him. And so did everyone else in the vet hospital. I visited him every day, and he frequently spent time in the surgery office, main office, reception area and radiology ward with the technicians. Everyone wanted to spend time with little Louie. I came forward, initially to adopt him for my parents in NY who had very recently lost one of their dogs. The adoption was approved and shortly thereafter Louie (who my parents called "Tre" because he was their 3rd dog) was driven across 600 miles to become a new yorker. Unfortunately, one of my parents other dogs did not approve of Louis and after a period of trying to make things work, my parents did not think they could keep him.
Here is where I come in. Accepting the plight of all veterinarians and vet students of taking in every down and out creature, I adopted "Tre" and changed his name to Louis. The rest is history.
Louis is now about 4 and a half years old. He is the sweetest pup you could ever know and is a real momma's boy. He gets along famously with my 2 other dogs and 5 cats. He is always ready to snuggle, give a wet slobbery kiss (seriously...he gives the BEST puppy kisses!!), or a really great hug. He does have an occasional problem with separation anxiety (its no wonder with all of the time he spent in a cage), but is very happy with his new digs here in Ohio. As far as his activity level and ability to get around, it's like he never had a disability at all. He is EXTREMELY active! Along with loving to play ball and fetch a stick, his other favorite activity is jumping about 4-5 feet straight up into the air.
Although his front paws stick out to the side a bit and his front legs are "bow-legged" because of all of the pressure he put on his front end while he was recovering from surgery, his only real reminder of his ordeal are the small scars on each of his knees. The bowed legs and turned out toes give him character, and I wouldn't want him any other way.
He has gotten me through so much over the last few years, and I couldn't ever imagine my life without him. He is a true inspiration to me. He is my Louie.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mail Carrier Safety-are they truly concerned?

Almost daily I hear another report of a Mail Carrier being attacked by a dog. These dogs, more often than not, are animals that are usually confined on their own property be it by fence, chain or behind a screened door. Confined until something or someone provokes the dog enough to jump a fence, break a chain or force its way out a door. I recently sent a letter to the Postmaster General in an effort to address the issue and offer suggestions.

Mail Carriers are in the unique position of being a provocation for many dogs, without meaning to be. There is no other person who “invades” the dog’s yard on a daily basis, usually around the same time each day. This creates an unhealthy and potentially dangerous pattern. In the dogs view, “Here comes that person, walking through my yard again! Now they are closer, oh my gosh, they are on the porch! I must bark and defend this territory and make them leave.” As the dog is barking and behaving in this manner the Mail Carrier finishes delivery and leaves the property. This creates an action/reward scenario for the dog and the dog is conditioned to act aggressively toward the Mail Carrier. This is reinforced daily, six days a week, fifty-two weeks a year. With this level of reinforcement, if given the opportunity, the dog will take it to the next level, resulting in injuries to Mail Carriers. Unfortunately, many dog owners are not overly responsible, and are either not aware or unwilling to take the precautions necessary to safeguard the Mail Carriers.

I am not quite sure why the USPS feels it is necessary to place the Mail Carriers in this vulnerable position when there are alternatives available. Carriers would be much safer if they were able to deliver mail from the safety of a vehicle rather than on foot. There is no reason why mail needs to be delivered to the door. Most neighborhoods are designed in a manner which would accommodate curbside mail delivery via a standard mailbox. If mail theft is a concern, the consumer could purchase a locking mailbox. In neighborhoods where on street parking is the only option, central mail distribution boxes could be installed, similar to those found in many apartment complexes. I am sure the cost of installing these boxes would be much less than the medical expenses incurred by Mail Carriers that are attacked by dogs.

I received a response from the USPS who wrote "We would prefer to deliver mail from the vehicle to a curbside mailbox and avoid the consequences of unwanted interaction between the dog and the carrier, just as you suggest. However, the vast majority of the population does not see it quite this way. We are just finishing a response to a Congressional inquiry as to why we will not deliver to the door of a man whose dog DID attack and injure a carrier. And when we do try to relocate mailboxes to either the curbside or a centralized delivery point we are met with a barrage of hostile letters." "I am sure any major change such as this would face insurmountable objections from the general public as well as their elected representatives."

Can it be? Can those people and representatives who are chanting about "Dangerous Dogs" really have a serious objection to curbside mail delivery? Is slipping on a pair of shoes and walking 50 feet to a mailbox really such an inconvenience? Why is the USPS at the mercy of these people? Why are elected representatives not concerned about mail carrier safety unless a situation can feed into the dangerous breed hysteria? I think the USPS and local representatives need to take a stand and have concern for the carriers. I think the general public needs to get on board and send letters to the USPS and their city leaders in support of curbside mail delivery.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Dogs of HELP FIDO

(admin note: This is the second in a series of stories about the dogs who belong to the members of HELP FIDO. These stories will help you to understand why we do what we do. Also - this was written by Amanda Spires but because she STILL hasn't hooked up her pc at home and her work won't let her see blog's - it has been posted by Admin. Maybe someday we will be able to convert her posts over to her name - if she EVER gets online at home!)
Diamond Dog's Story:
Diamond's special. And when I say special, I mean short bus special, different special, backwards special and silly special. He's all sorts of special, folks. He was one of two dogs that bravely took me in a new direction that changed my life. If that sounds overly dramatic, that would be accurate. Even before I met my little alien, I had raised my hand to help a few deserving dogs from our shelter find a new home who would otherwise be put to death for just being something that “could be identified as” a pit bull. "Yea," I thought, "we’ll transfer these guys to all those awesome pit bull rescue groups that are just aching for more dogs to place. It’ll be really easy." Yea, real simple. That bubble didn’t take long to burst. After a few months of disappointing news from inundated pit bull rescue groups, and other groups that couldn’t get involved with “those dogs”, we went back to the drawing board and I found a new passion.
OK, back to Diamond. Diamond lived out an estimated 1-2 years tethered to a chain-link fence in a dusty backyard. His "shelter" was a Vari kennel (the type OK'd to transport dogs in airplanes). As an outdoor dog in Central Ohio, he endured rain, snow, freezing temperatures, broiling temperatures, fly strikes, fleas, sunburn, eye infections and probably some not so nice treatment from our fellow two-legged types. A friend of mine refers to this type of existence as "bird bath terriers" (pit bull terriers plopped in a yard and left to rot there much as an unattended birdbath would). Enter a few amazing animal cruelty investigators (two women that he worships to this day), a search warrant and the local police. Diamond’s fate took close to 1 year to be determined. Since then, over the past 2 and half years, he's been a huge part of my life. I tend to say he adopted me, but truth is the first (and last) time someone inquired about adopting him, I had to turn them down. The idea of him living with someone else was just something I couldn't bear! So, he became my "foster" dog. I think we all know the rest.

He's put on about 10 pounds since then (so he's close to 70 pounds currently) and has clothes now (which he loves, especially the rain coat and his fleece). He's been beaten up by no fewer than 2 cats and has been reduced to a shivering mess by a feisty Shi Tzu. He's my shadow and has learned to put up with a lot of changes in the past 12 months. My dude that loves . . . no . . . clings to routine lost the first real home he ever knew when I didn't renew my lease last summer. I put our life in storage, quit my job and stuffed him and his large dog bed in the car for a road trip that took 4 days to finish. I think people wondered where I found such a backwards, unidentifiable character, but he loved the West Coast sun and we found quiet spots to enjoy together. We're settled once again and his life now includes a new-ish canine lil' bro and a bratty foster puppy. He really does love to wrastle with the youngsters, but every once in a while (like when he gets clobbered by two teenaged pit bulls reenacting the Indy 500 at 11:30PM) I swear I see a look in his eyes that seems to miss that dusty Vari kennel. I know I'll never have another dog like him, and I love him to teensy weensy neurotic white dog pieces!
(Admin note: Amanda started and coordinates the bully breeds adoptable program at the Capital Area Humane Society. )

Monday, August 11, 2008

Busy Weekend!!

The crew of HELP FIDO was busy this weekend! In addition to our booth last Tuesday for National Night Out, we had a booth at the Whitehall Family Fun Night on Saturday! In total we have signed up more than 70 owners of more than 100 dogs for the planned fall micro-chipping clinic! We are tentatively looking at Saturday September 13th in Whitehall. We are also looking into the possibility of offering low-cost vaccines (including rabies), and Franklin County dog licensing. Additionally, for the two-legged folks, we may be offering voter registration! If you are interested in participating either as an owner, a volunteer (we will need many!), a vet or vet tech to help, or as a donor or sponsor please contact us!! Or if you want to make sure to hear about this and any other upcoming events, volunteer needs, or just stay in contact with us - sign up for our mailing list and Join the Pack!!
We also connected with the folks at Whiskers Animal Welfare. This rescue group shares many of our same goals and has some gorgeous kitties up for adoption. (Believe it or not, reducing the numbers of feral and intact cats can also lead to improved quality of life for dogs!!) They will be hosting a car show fundraiser September 21 in Lancaster and we hope to post more info soon!
While we were busy enjoying the beautiful weather, food and music outside, HELP FIDO treasurer and rescuer Lisa was speaking at a local pit bull expo. Lisa was invited to speak about responsible breeding practices (spay neuter contract!), image control (do you REALLY need that spiked collar?), and BSL. Lisa reports that the dogs were precious and the owners were excellent listeners. We are so thankful she was invited to speak and we look forward to more opportunities to spread this information!
Dog owners unite! Several folks in the blogosphere are reporting on what our friends up in Lucas County / Toledo are doing to get rid of the maniacal Tom Skeldon. Not only are they looking to ditch the dog warden - they are demanding low-cost spay neuter services and educational programs! If you would like to sign their petition go here and consider sending the link to anyone you know who lives in or around Lucas County. The group spearheading this movement is called 4 Lucas County Pets. Also, via comments below from Caveat via KC Dog Blog, Lakewood residents are also starting a petition - this time to repeal their recently approved ban. Go Bucks!

These are the dogs of HELP FIDO...our dogs...this is why we are here...