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.

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.

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