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Fat & Furry is not Fun

I see London I see France I see dogs that need a Second Chance (I’ll bet you thought I was going to say underpants). Sorry, despite the fabulous opening to this Pet Column it is not about Brexit. It is actually about me, London, and my daughter, Paris. And because we were both allowed to get overweight I am also going to touch upon the steady rise in pet obesity and how to prevent your pet from widening (get it?) those statistics.

First the obesity crash course. The majority of cats and dogs in the US are overweight or obese. We are talking 59.5 percent of cats and 55.8 percent of dogs. And those numbers only appear to be increasing (along with pet’s waistlines) so the time to pay attention to this is now.

One of the best ways to prevent or reverse obesity is with proper diet and exercise based upon what stage of life (growth, reproduction, senior, etc.) a pet is in as well as that pet’s lifestyle (sedentary vs working/active). In other words, pet parents need to determine the optimal nutrient range for their pet’s peak health and longevity.

Pet obesity is not as simple as cutting back on the same food you are feeding your pet. It can be caused by poor lifestyle, improper nutrition, hormonal imbalances, genetics, or bacteria in your pet’s stomach. So a trip to the vet can help determine the cause as well as provide guidance on a therapeutic diet designed for proper levels of fiber or fat to make sure your pet is healthy and full.

Maintaining a pet’s optimal body condition can add 2 years to its life (or a 15% lifespan increase) so why would you not want to make some changes? It is not too late, if your pet is obese it can be reversed. The important thing is to start now. One simple change is to treat your pets with walks and playtime rather than biscuits and leftovers.

My daughter Paris and I, six and four year young Blue Heeler mix girls, have lived sedentary and under socialized lives, resulting in our more robust figures. But since arriving here at the Second Chance shelter we are on weight reduction programs and feeling better every day.

We are very good natured but shy from living rather reclusive lives. We are slowly opening up to new people but were so shy that the first shelter we were at didn’t think we could get adopted and decided to euthanize us. We are grateful that the Second Chance folks stepped in and saved us. I have plans for an awesome new life (now that I Brexited my old life).

And it has already begun. We are now enjoying walks and sunshine and Paris is learning to play with her new four legged friends while I supervise. So the biggest thing we now need are new homes with families who will continue our new healthy lifestyles and show us what true family life is like. I just want to be a happy dog and can’t wait to meet my new family that will show me what that really means.

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.

 

 

Declawing a Cat is Inhumane. Period.

 Take a look at your fingernails. Now imagine what it would take to permanently remove them. Ouch. Looks like you would have to remove part of your fingers? Yep. Well that is what you’d have to do to me to remove my claws. I am not sure how declawing is still even legally allowed in the U.S. as in most developed countries it is recognized as totally inhumane and is prohibited. 

Read more: Declawing a Cat is Inhumane. Period.

The Two and a Half Year Human

Would you like to understand your dog better? Stanley Coren, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, canine researcher and author of books such as "How Dogs Think" and “The Intelligence of Dogs”, has some interesting research to help. He utilizes tests meant for pre-linguistic or limited-linguistic humans to see whether dogs have certain mental capacities.

Coren states, "And that allows you then to do a whole bunch of things, not only to determine whether a dog has a certain thinking skill but to place him where would he would be in terms of human beings, as well as in terms of other animals ". Coren’s research has found that the mental abilities of dogs are close to those of a human child between 2 and 2½ years old.

Thus, Coren's research reveals how dogs are more like humans than previously thought. He says dogs can learn about 165 words and signals (265 for the more intelligent dogs), can count up to four or five, and have a basic understanding of arithmetic. Also, he says, dogs can intentionally deceive other dogs and people to get things they want (well you don’t need a Ph.D. to figure that one out…).

Illuminated about the abilities of dogs, Coren stated: "We all want insight into how our furry companions think, and we want to understand the silly, quirky and apparently irrational behaviors Lassie or Rover demonstrate. Their stunning flashes of brilliance and creativity are reminders that they may not be Einsteins but are sure closer to humans than we thought."

I would like to offer some words of caution regarding the application of this data as I believe Anthropomorphizing intelligence indicators of dogs can be misleading. We must remember there are species specific “intelligences” that humans may not value as highly but were important to the development of certain breeds. For instance, the tracking abilities of the Hound breeds (the breeds on the bottom rung of the “intelligent breeds”) mark a hunting intelligence but just not an intelligence that humans might value as much.

So, just because the Border Collie is considered the most intelligent dog by obedience trainers does not mean that it is the best dog for everyone. As Coren points out, depending upon your lifestyle it may be more difficult to live with a more intelligent, rather than a less intelligent dog. An intelligent dog that is not appropriately trained, socialized, exercised, or mentally stimulated will find other (undesirable to the pet parent) ways to manage these energies.

My name is Pueblo and I am a bright and energetic 3 month-old Boxer/Lab mix dog here at the Second Chance Shelter. My brother Rifle and I are the last of the litter to be adopted and very eager to find new homes. Also, I was the star of the shelter dog fashion show during last Saturday’s successful Second Chance fundraiser, Furry Flicks & Fashion.  So I am a famous, adorable, fashionable, smart and slightly mischievous pup that loves to play with the big dogs. How can I still be homeless? Come meet me today!

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.

The Catwalk

The past few weeks here at the Second Chance shelter I’ve heard much chatter about a “big catwalk”. I found the thought of anyone organizing a group walk for cats to be quite comical, as most cats would find that as compelling as a cold bath or a tooth extraction. But I was curious, as cats can be, and so I decided to investigate.

Read more: The Catwalk

The Real Star is Born

First of all I would like to thank my publicist, my stylist, and my trainer for making me look so good. But I wouldn’t be here receiving this award today if it weren’t for my fans who feed me, walk me and boost my spirits every day. And last but not least… Mom, wherever you are and whatever your name is, I love you!

Read more: The Real Star is Born

Beware of Plastic Bowls

Perhaps you’ve heard you shouldn’t use plastic bowls to feed your cat. They have been linked with facial pyoderma, or chin acne, in cats. Plastic allergies have been implicated in some skin problems in children, so it is not an unreasonable concern, but unfortunately there is no scientific data on this phenomenon in cats. The scientific community is claiming that since plastics have changed over the years the frequency has decreased or disappeared entirely. But the scientific community is lacking my feline perspective…

Read more: Beware of Plastic Bowls

Dogs Makes the Best Valentine’s Dates

Ahhhh, Valentine’s Day, the perfect day for snuggling, petting, kissing and purring – but really so is every day.  For those who greet Valentine’s Day with “Ugh”, you’re not alone. Yahoo News reports that one in five people would prefer to spend Valentine’s Day with their pet over their partner. Basically, dogs like me have this love thing totally nailed and everyone knows it. Below are some reasons why dogs make the best Valentine’s Day date:

Read more: Dogs Makes the Best Valentine’s Dates

Reintroducing Animal Protection Law

Today I write to share more good news on the political front! I know I am a dog and by nature not interested in politics – and I also know that the term “good news on the political front” can raise a few eyebrows these days – but if you were an animal you would agree this is good. So stay curious with me here people…

Read more: Reintroducing Animal Protection Law

Picturing the Human-Animal Bond

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened”- Anatole France

Do you remember the first time this slumbering part of your soul was awakened? Often people respond to this question by describing a poignant moment of connecting with a family pet during childhood. Others recall connecting with a pet that they simply met in passing. Some, who grew up with family pets, have unknowingly felt this connection for their lifetime. Regardless, at Second Chance this awakening is referred to as the human-animal bond. It is a force to be reckoned with and I will share with you how to capture it.

Read more: Picturing the Human-Animal Bond

Pot & Pets

I like to get high. I get high often. A soft belly rub is one of my favorite highs. Playing with toys is a medium high while hiking with people I trust is off the charts high. Yes, fun living is my recreational drug and I write today to encourage you to keep the other types of recreational drugs away from me and other pets. We just don’t know how to say no – especially if it tastes good.

Read more: Pot & Pets

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet or to learn about adopting a homeless pet and the SCHS spay/neuter, volunteer, feral cat or other programs. View our shelter pets and services at adoptmountainpets.org.

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