Would You Take In Eight Disabled Dogs?

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video still from KATU news

What started out as an amazing story – a pup run over by a motorcycle and left for dead in  Costa Rica, then brought to the US for veterinary care – just got more tearful.

Papillo’s new family already includes SEVEN disabled dogs, including a blind Lab and a Great Dane with intestinal issues.

While the new owners seem capable and rational about what constitutes humane veterinary care, would you consider taking in this many animals with disabilities?

7 Tips For Summer Pet Safety

Now that it’s summer, our four-legged friends are spending more time outdoors, being active – and that comes with risks. Here are some important tips for keeping your dog safe in the hot summer months:

Hot car in the city. Don’t leave your dog in the car when it’s warm – temperatures inside a closed car can be 20 degrees or more above the outside ambient temperature. That means that although it’s only a balmy 80 outside, your dog will be at risk of heat stroke and suffocation in your 100 degree car.

Avoid the hottest part of the day. If you usually exercise your dog in the middle of the day, consider switching to early mornings or evenings, to keep you both cool. You wouldn’t want to go for a jog when it’s 90 degrees out, would you?

Water, water everywhere. Trips to the park for exercise when it’s hot out require frequent water breaks. If your park has a water fountain, bring along a collapsible bowl. Otherwise, make sure to bring an extra bottle of water.

Picnic and BBQ vigilance. We’re more likely to eat outside during the summer, adding more temptation for our dogs to try to steal food that could make them sick. Keep an eye on your picnic basket, even during that scintillating game of badminton, and put your steaks and other goodies high enough that your pup can’t get at them.

Itchy and scratchy. With more outdoor activities comes increased exposure to fleas and ticks. Set up a recurring event on your calendar to remind you to administer flea and tick prevention when appropriate, and make sure to stock up from a trusted source.

Bang! Independence Day is one of the most enjoyable summer holidays for humans, but loud fireworks can upset animals and cause them to bolt in fear. Keep pets inside, give dogs a safe place to “hide”, and make sure all pets are wearing collars with ID just in case someone pulls a legger.

Toxin risks. If you use petroleum based fertilizers – or any substances that have a poison warning on the container – on your garden, keep pets away for the period stated on the label. If you have an emergency, the ASPCA’s poison control center operates a 24/7 hotline at (888) 426-4435 (there’s a $65 charge).

7 Essential Tips For Including Your Dog In Your Wedding

Cute beagle dog in a wedding party

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Wedding season has started, and if your dog is a part of your family, you may want to include him or her in your wedding party. But when you get drunk relatives, small kids, booze, and dogs in a confined space, there’s plenty that can go wrong. The Taunton Daily Gazette offers seven tips on how to keep your wedding from becoming the dog’s breakfast:

Pick a pet-friendly venue. Including your dog as a ringbearer for an outdoor ceremony and enlisting a friend or family member to return your pup home before the reception is a good compromise.

Enlist an escort. Ask someone your dog knows and trusts to handle your dog – the bride and groom certainly won’t have time during the ceremony and reception.

Be prepared. Include all the accoutrements you’d bring on a day trip with your dog – leash, bedding, crate, plenty of treats, rawhides, a favorite toy or Kong, and most importantly, poop bags.

Include your dog in the rehearsal. Make sure he or she is accustomed to any special clothing.

Anticipate the worst. Even the most even-tempered dog can freak out in large crowds. Have an adult in control of the leash at all times, and use a “stunt” ring if your dog will be carrying it.

Be considerate of your guests. If your dear Aunt Irene is wildly allergic or you know your pup will plow down your toddler nieces, leave him or her at home for the wedding. You can always include your pup in your engagement photos.

Roll with the punches. Weddings are often filled with flubs, faints, and unexpected hiccups. Adding a dog to the mix increases the chances of something going wrong exponentially. Look at it as a funny story to tell your kids and grandkids – how many of their parents had their wedding cake demolished by a runaway Mastiff?

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The Truth About Tripods – When Is It Best To Amputate?

Three legged "tripod" dog at the dog park

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Whether due to cancer or injury, many pet parents have agonized over the possibility of having to amputate a pet’s limb. But do we anthropomorphize or empathize too much with our dogs and cats in this situation?

“People get hung up on the idea of losing a limb, and dogs really don’t care,” she says. “They just want to run and be happy.”

These pet parents and veterinary professionals want to provide the best quality of life for our companion animals. Could you make the choice to amputate, if it means your dog or cat would avoid pain?

Oddest Animal Mothers

Everyone knows that a mother’s love is the strongest, sweetest thing we humans have – but animals have mothers too! In honor of Mother’s Day, let’s take a look at some of the least expected – and cutest! – pairings of mothers and cross-species adopted babies.

Lucky the cat has nursed and cared for a baby rabbit named Merlin along with her kittens as if it were her own. (AP Photo/Columbus Dispatch,Tom Dodge)

Zookeepers in China enlisted this dog to supplement the tigers' mother's milk (credit)

Female dachshund named Bessi lays in a basket with a 5-day-old baby tiger on May 20, at the wild animal park in Stroehen, Germany. Credit: Philipp Guelland/Getty Images

Tourists watch a tigress with piglets at the Sri Racha tiger zoo. (credit: AFP PHOTO/ SAEED KHAN)

Breed Bans – Protection or Perception Problem?

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In the aftermath of Maryland’s ruling that pit bulls and pit bull mixes are “inherently dangerous”, owners and their landlords are now liable for damages resulting from an attack.

But what constitutes a “pit bull” or “pit bull mix”? Would you be able to recognize one?

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Take the quiz and find out. Courtesy pitbullsontheweb.com.

I’ll admit that when I’m at the off leash park and see one or more dogs who look like pit bulls enter, I’m warier than I am when, say, a lab ambles up. But yesterday, at the local off leash with my lab mix and a friend’s French Bulldog, we came upon three pit bulls who were all so friendly – to both humans and my dogs – that I’ll be less suspicious next time.

Have we just been trained to see pit bulls as dangerous, just as we were German Shepherds and Saint Bernards in previous decades? I remember how scary Cujo was, and my avoidance of the breed stuck with me for years!

Can You Trust Your Dog Off Leash?

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A recent guest editorial in my local paper stirred up a pack of angry comments on the practice of letting dogs exercise off leash. Living in Portland, OR, the city with the highest number of dog parks per capita, there’s bound to be controversy over any proposal to allow dogs access to even more of our fair city.

There were some legitimate objections, and very few defenders of the author’s proposal to allow dogs off-leash on our local hiking trails. What do you think? Do you exercise your dog off-leash? Should well-behaved dogs be allowed to run off-leash? Or are the risks of injury and ill behavior too high?

How to Plan the Best Summer Vacation For Your Pet (and You)!

Jake in his favorite mode of transportation, a 1980 Turbo Scout II!

If you haven’t already started making plans for summer travel, it’s time to start! Whether you’re planning a “staycation” at a local beach or dusting off your passport for an international flight, it’s never too early to start making plans for your pets.

With or without Fido?

When trying to decide whether or not to take your pet with you on vacation, the two main considerations will be cost and hassle. If you’re flying overseas, quarantine requirements usually make bringing your pet along a no-go. Even Hawaii requires animals to be quarantined a minimum of five days.

If your plans involve air travel, keep in mind the cost of transporting a pet. United has now adopted Continental’s PetSafe program, which most experts consider a worthwhile service. However, the costs are now significantly higher for animals not traveling in the cabin. Be sure to compare costs before choosing an airline for your and your pet’s trip.

Pet-friendly vacations

If you’re bringing your pet with you, there are some great resources available online for you and your pup! DogJaunt is a comprehensive blog dedicated to bringing your small dog with you – starring the writer’s own Cavalier King Charles Spaniel:

photo courtesy DogJaunt

Other helpful pet travel resources include:

When you’re out and about, you can use this Dog Park Finder app if you have a smartphone to find convenient, close-by places for your dog to do his business.

Kennels vs. pet sitters

If you’ve done the math and figured out that bringing your pet with you on vacation is just too expensive or complicated, you should start making plans for where your pet will stay in your absence.

Cats and other small pets usually aren’t good candidates for boarding. Dogs who are immune compromised, not especially social with other dogs, or prone to separation anxiety usually don’t thrive in kennels.

If your pup would rather stay at home, or even sleep over with a friend, what’s the best way to pick someone to help? Yelp reviews are written by strangers, and notoriously unreliable. The best way to find your pet’s home away from home, or someone who will care for your furry friend as well as you do, is to ask a friend to pet sit.

Once you’ve found someone you can trust to pet sit, make sure they know all your pet’s likes, dislikes, medications, and what do to in the event your dog or cat gets sick. A comprehensive pet care checklist that you can share online or on paper can make sure everyone’s on the same page.

Don’t forget the meet-and-greet before you leave – this will help your pet feel more comfortable with their caretaker while you’re gone.

Good luck, and we hope your summer is as great as this guy’s!

Top 3 Awesomest Scary Movie Dogs

3. Cujo in Cujo, 1983

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I’ll be honest, it’s been so long since I’ve seen Cujo that I hardly remember it. It’s also difficult for me to reconcile the main canine with all the Saint Bernards I’ve known since – affable, gentle giants all. That said, Cujo was probably the first evil movie dog I remember to rock the “covered in Jell-O” look that would become a staple for subsequent pups of peril.

2. Zombie Doberman in Resident Evil, 2002

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While most viewers of the first Resident Evil movie are more likely to remember Milla Jovovich’s shower scene than the canine cameos, the zombie dobermans were my favorite part of this movie (okay, the boots were fierce, too). Dobies covered in cherry Jell-O? Sold.

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1. Vampire Pomeranian in Blade: Trinity, 2004

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By the time the third Blade movie came out, we were all in on the joke. Professional wrestler as “actor”? Check. Gratuitous scenery chewing by indie sweetheart Parker Posey? Yup. And “Pac-Man”, the genetically engineered vampire Pomeranian.

Because who doesn’t like a good Pomeranian evil sidekick?

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Happy Friday the 13th!