News: Guest Posts
Terri Crisp again linked to fraudulent fundraising
Terri Crisp, an officer with SPCA International, is back in the news for charity mismanagement. According to CNN, SPCAI raised $27 million to help animals around the globe, but paid nearly all of it to a direct-mail company for fundraising. Nearly five years ago, I blogged about Terri Crisp's settlement with the state of California regarding her misuse of funds raised for animal victims of Hurricane Katrina ("Noah's Wish Settles Katrina Allegations," August 10, 2007). At that time, she agreed that she would not "serve as an officer, director or trustee, or in any position having the duties or responsibilities of an officer, director, or trustee, with any nonprofit organization for a period of five (5) years from the execution of this Settlement Agreement.” Yet, a 2011 document filed with the North Carolina secretary of state lists her among SPCAI's officers and directors, which would seem to violate that settlement. To ensure your donations go to animals, not advertising, check out your charity of choice through the American Institute of Philanthrophy's Charity Watch evalution and rating service.
FTC to Look at Pet Medications
Our office just received a notification from the Federal Trade Commission that they’ll be holding a public workshop on Oct. 2 that should be of interest to many of you—they’ll be exploring “competition and consumer protection issues related to the pet medications industry.” Basically they’ll be looking at the ways that pet medications are distributed to consumers, and to that end are also looking at how and to what extend consumers can obtain “portable” prescriptions for their pets’ meds that can be filled wherever the consumer wants, plus looking at the rationale for the high cost of these medications. At long last the feds might be getting to the bottom of why a tiny tube of eye medication for canine “red eye” should cost $40! I’m sure many of you have similar stories to tell and questions to ask.
This all sounds really interesting, and the FTC is seeking public comments from consumers, veterinarians, business representatives, economists, lawyers, academics, and other interested parties. Comments can be submitted in paper or electronic format through September 14, 2012, with full instructions available in the Federal Register notice. You can see their notification here.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Emergency evacuation shelters keep pets safe
Wildfires in Colorado have displaced tens of thousands of people and destroyed hundreds of acres of land, making it the most destructive fire in state history. The fast spreading disaster has also resulted in hundreds of animals with no place to go. Some are from evacuees needing temporary shelter for their pets and others are found lost or abandoned on the streets.
The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region has two emergency evacuation shelters set up to accommodate the influx of pets. They've also put together a web site to keep track of what donations and supplies local rescue and volunteer groups need.
It's heartbreaking to see entire neighborhoods flattened and countless lives changed in an instant. But I'm glad that the Humane Society has made it easy for people to evacuate knowing that their pets are safe.
Animal lovers around the world have been rallying to support these families and pets in need. Visit the Humane Society's web site or Facebook page to find out how you can help the rescue efforts.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Bark readers are by their very nature, responsible dog owners. We treat our dogs as family and many of us love to take them with us whenever possible. The fact that we include them in every aspect of our lives is an example of our commitment to them. We would never knowingly do anything to put our beloved friends in danger and yet leaving them in our cars, even just for a few minutes, can be fatal. As an animal control officer, I know the dangers better than most. I have witnessed the tragic results of people leaving dogs in the car “just to run in and get a gallon of milk.” Sadly, sometimes people get distracted, run into an old friend or the line is longer than expected. I have removed dead dogs from the owners vehicles and been haunted by the images in my dreams.
During the summer months our department responds to multiple dog-in-hot-car calls every day. Most of the time the vehicle is long gone when we arrive, or the dog is fine and the caller was just overly concerned. Occasionally the dog is truly in distress. I have a little portable thermometer that I put inside the vehicle (assuming that the window is cracked open) to measure the temperature. Often the owner comes back before the dog is in serious distress but when I show them the thermometer listing 90, 100 or more degrees, it makes an impact. Dogs vary tremendously in how much heat they can take. Short- faced or heavily coated dogs are far more susceptible to heat stroke than some others. In one case, the Husky puppy died in the vehicle, while a kitten was able to climb under the seats and survive. I won’t hesitate to break a window to save a dog’s life.
I remember one overcast day when an elderly couple drove a long distance to a hospital for a routine early morning appointment. They cracked the windows, parked in the shade and left their two dogs waiting in the car. The husband suffered a medical emergency during his visit and ended up being airlifted to another hospital. In the chaos of the day, the dogs were temporarily forgotten. The sun came out, the shade shifted and the dogs became distressed. I removed the dogs, placed them in my truck with the cooler on and water available and waited. Finally the panicked wife arrived, distraught with worry about her husband and suddenly remembering her dogs. The dogs recovered quickly but this is an extreme example of the kind of things that can come up, taking our attention away from our dogs.
I’m mortified to admit that I myself once put two puppies in danger in a hot vehicle. I was raising the orphaned pups on a bottle and had to attend an all day class in another city. No one was available to feed the babies so I took them with me, planning to feed them during the breaks from class. It was a very cold, overcast winter morning and I was actually worried about the pups being chilled.
Two hours later when I returned to feed the pups, it was still overcast but the sun was peeking through the clouds and beating straight in the windows. It was chilly outside but the inside was uncomfortably hot and the pups were panting and crying in distress. Horrified by what I had done, I was in tears as I quickly moved them into the building and found a place for them inside. The pups were fine after a few minutes but it made a lasting impact on me and reminded me how easily it can happen.
Wellness: Health Care
As an ER vet, I officially mark the start of the summer season when I see several patient charts over the course of a 10 hour shift with the presenting complaint: sudden sneezing. By the third one I think, “Another one? What the foxtail!”
Annual grasses releasing foxtails grow quickly throughout the rainy season. As temperatures rise, the foxtail-shaped tip of each grass blade dries out and the individual awns take a ride on any passing object. This plant is engineered by nature to spread its seed, and the foxtail is actually designed to burrow further into an object with each movement, making it a major problem for small animals.
There is no escape. The pesky seeds from these dried grasses get stuck everywhere, and I mean everywhere, our furry friends included. Many pet owners have heard the warnings about foxtails and know to avoid them as much as possible. What many don't know, however, is that foxtail migration can cause severe—and potentially deadly—consequences.
While foxtails are often caught in the fur and can be quickly removed, they can also migrate internally if left unfound through several common routes such as the nose, ears, and eyes. They can even penetrate through the skin or through a pet’s genital openings. If these problematic hitch-hiking seeds find their way inside of a pet’s body, they can cause many serious problems. Once internalized, foxtails can wreak havoc on the body, causing internal abscesses and even infections of the bones around the spinal cord. I have also seen cases of foxtails getting lodged in the abdominal organs or lungs.
While foxtails aren't always easy to spot, their presence can be noticeable through various telltale symptoms, depending on their location in the body. Be mindful of the following symptoms during foxtail season:
If any of these symptoms are noted, you should see your veterinarian immediately for a check-up. If a foxtail is found relatively superficially in the skin or nose, it can be removed rather simply. If a foxtail has moved into the lungs or deeply into the nose or genitals, an endoscope can be used for its location and removal (pictured).
An endoscopy involves the use of a high-tech instrument with a specialized video camera and small grabbing tools that can be passed through the mouth, nose, or rectum and is a lot less invasive than traditional surgical methods. However, if the foxtail has entered the belly or lungs, surgery is sometimes the only treatment possible.
While it's best to avoid areas where foxtails grow, if your pet has been exposed to the grass, make sure to brush her coat well, feel all over the body with your hands, and perform a thorough inspection of the ears, nose, between the toes and paw pads, and underneath the collar after each romp. It’s important to learn about the dangers of this plant, take extra precautions, and remove foxtails immediately. Be overly cautions during foxtail season- dogs and their people deserve to enjoy a drama-free summer outdoors.
News: Guest Posts
Whenever you mix dogs, people and the freedom to play in nature, you get something special.
In 2002 I created Maian Meadows Dog Camp in Washington State, an environment for safe, off-leash play for dogs and people who rarely get to experience it. I feel like an alchemist, stirring just the right ingredients to create a weekend full of fresh air, forest and lake, dog-centered activities, comfort food and—most importantly—the shared unconditional love of several happy dogs all together in one place. The end product is often magical.
Over the years, I’ve befriended lots of wonderful people and dogs. All have back stories, some quite extraordinary.
Two years ago, a mother and her early-twenties daughter attended. Observing them, I realized the daughter had some cognitive challenges. I couldn’t put my finger of just what sort. She was bubbly and outgoing, but her social skills were a tad off. She mixed well with the other campers and her little Chihuahua was delightful.
Saturday evening, the mother took me aside. “I don’t know if you noticed, but my daughter has Aspergers,” she said. “This is the first activity we’ve found that has kept her interested and engaged for an entire weekend. Thank you.”
While I get many heartfelt thanks for hosting camp, that one remains the most special.
The magic happened again at last weekend’s session of dog camp.
Anita arrives with her dog Toby, a certified therapy dog. His skills came in handy. After attending camp in 2010, Anita had to skip June 2011 because she was undergoing chemo for cancer. In September 2011 she and Toby spent a few hours in camp, Anita bald and beautiful, but clearly exhausted. Toby stayed close by. This year, Anita—sporting new hair—and Toby spent the entire weekend in camp, hiking both mornings and participating in all the activities. Anita’s cancer is in remission, and at 66, she’s going strong. So is Toby, by her side.
New campers Adrian and Hana bring their two year old Golden Retriever Jasper. Adrian, an Irishman and statistician of about 50, has spent his entire life afraid of dogs. With Hana’s encouragement, they add Jasper to their family. Adrian no longer fears any dogs, and delights in being around all the dogs at camp.
Dogs heal all sorts of hurts
Stick with me for one more back story. It’s a good one.
Two weeks before camp, I receive an email asking if there is still space for one person and one dog. It’s signed “Tracie and Daisy.” I reply that there is. The registration form arrives, with a very unusual first name; Tracie is a nickname. I worry that my assumption that this camper is female—and can share a cabin with another female—is wrong. I Google the full name. All hits refer to the Dean’s List at a nearby college. Intriguing, but I still don’t know if the camper is male or female, or how old. I decide to proceed as if she is female. If a male shows up, well, there is an extra cabin.
Friday afternoon I welcome campers and their dogs as they trickle in from all over—Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and even Alberta. Just before dinner, a camper arrives with a dog meeting Daisy’s description: black lab/hound mix. Daisy bounds from the car and gleefully romps with the other dogs. Tracie gets out and introduces herself. She is a very petite young woman of twenty. She has chin length brown hair, wire-rim glasses and a huge welcoming smile showing charmingly crooked teeth. She’s wearing a daisy print blouse. Daisy’s collar has daisies on it. Already I like Tracie. She’s going to fit right in at dog camp.
And she does. I’ve never seen someone so young possess such confidence and outgoing friendliness among so many strangers, most of whom are much older. Daisy is just like Tracie, young (two years old), full of energy and enthusiasm. Throughout the weekend, Tracie frequently has to coax Daisy out of the lake. Daisy loves to swim. And Tracie loves Daisy. Their bond is strong and touching to observe. I determine to learn Tracie’s back story.
Later, during a meal, I overhear tidbits as Tracie shares her story with other campers at her table. I hear words familiar to me in my work as an attorney advocating children’s best interests in the legal system: foster care; Child Protective Services; aging out of the system. The next day, as Tracie throws the ball into the lake for Daisy to retrieve, I ask her to share her story with me. She does, without any sense of embarrassment or shame—another sign of her amazing maturity.
Tracie’s birth mother has mental health issues. She often chose, and married, violent men. Tracie suffered abuse at the hands of one step-father who broke her shoulder. Her mother kicked him out (because CPS required it), but Tracie discovered that the next man her mother brought home was a registered sex offender. Tracie, only 13, took action, standing up for herself and her younger siblings by telling a counselor. This time her mother chose the sex offender. Tracie was removed from the home and placed into foster care. This separated her from her siblings, whom she’d raised; they were placed elsewhere. Over the next several years, Tracie bounced from foster care to her mother’s and back to foster care, a sad and all too common experience for older kids in the system.
As Tracie neared age 18, the foster family she was with had a pregnant black lab. Pup number four (of fourteen!) had a big head and became stuck; Tracie helped bring that pup into the world. The foster family gave Tracie the puppy to commemorate becoming an adult—aging out of the system—and starting a new life. Tracie finally had a family of her own: Daisy.
Tracie chose the name Daisy because the symbolism associated with the flower is purity, innocence, loyal love, beauty, patience and simplicity.
While still in high school, Tracie accumulated two years of college credit. The week before dog camp, at age 20, she graduated with a four year college degree. She’s now enrolled in graduate school. She wants to become a social worker. She wants to help kids in the foster care system. She wants to get Daisy certified as a therapy dog so that they can work with kids as a team. And as soon as she’s 21, Tracie wants to become a foster parent herself. If she does, then she and Daisy will help heal children scarred by a system that often doesn’t care very much about them. I’m confident that Tracie, with Daisy by her side, will accomplish all her goals.
I had no idea, over a decade ago, that creating and directing a dog camp would provide a space for people to heal what hurts them, or gather strength to meet their next challenge. But I should have. Anything involving playful, free-roaming dogs just has to promote joy and healing.
Check out this exclusive behind the scenes video of the Dogs of the Daily Show photo shoot for The Bark’s current cover article. Witness the pandemonium as dogs are rounded up for their portraits and caught lounging on Jon Stewart’s desk. Armed with treats, squeaky toys, and Daily Show staffers … photographer KC Bailey and editor Claudia Kawczynska capture the ultimate canine photo session.
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
We were “featured” last night, Tuesday 6/26/12, on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart—watch for the magazine to appear towards the end, on what they call “Segment 4,” Jon was "reading" the mag and had fun with one of the cover lines!. Theyl also posted the video that was taken during the dogs’ exclusive studio visit. As many of you know, I was treated to an all-day visit and Q&A session with the Daily Show staff and wrote a ten-page story that appears in our current issue. For the dogs, this was their first visit to the hallowed studio—and all of them got to sit on, or behind, Stewart’s desk. I was surprised that many of the dogs took this posing in stride, perhaps sensing how special this was. It certainly helped that they had many humans coaxing and cajoling them equipped with squeaky toys and lots of treats. KC Bailey, our great and uber patient photographer, got the perfect cover dog shot, the video too will add to the story.
Then the more I learned about how great the dogs have it at The Daily Show office (they really can roam just about anywhere inside the office space), and how they are appreciated by everyone there, we also decided to cap it off by giving The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Bark’s 1st Annual Best Place to Work Award.
You can find this issue on many newsstands, and at places like Whole Foods, or from our store too.
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Novartis closes a factory that produces canine and human medication
Earlier this year I found out, somewhat randomly, that veterinarians were experiencing shortages of the heartworm medications Interceptor and Sentinel. As soon as I could, I went straight to the veterinarian and bought two of their last three boxes. I was shocked that the office wasn't more proactive in informing patients about the problem.
However, it seems that veterinarians didn't have the whole story either and that this situation isn't exactly uncommon.
Back in December, Novartis closed a Lincoln, Nebraska factory that produced both veterinary and human medication, including Interceptor, Sentinel, and Excedrin. While there are alternatives available, veterinarians have been frustrated over the way Novartis handled communication. The company is still unable to provide a date for when the factory will resume production.
As I've been researching the topic, it looks like product shortages and recalls are no stranger to the veterinary field. After scrambling to buy the last boxes of Interceptor, I decided that I'm going to be proactive and research alternatives for all medication that my pets take. I found out about the Interceptor shortage through a passing comment on Facebook and was shocked that information wasn't widely shared either in the news or by my veterinarian.
The shortage comes at a particularly bad time since the mild winter has created an increased risk of heartworm disease this year. Given how long this problem has lasted so far, it's probably best to find an alternative if you're running low on medication.
Some dogs, particularly herding breeds, have an adverse reaction to heartworm medications containing ivermectin, so it's important to consult your veterinarian to identify a safe alternative.
Are you prepared if access is restricted to the medications your pets use?
Now that our most recent issue (featuring the dogs of The Daily Show as our cover dogs) has hit the newsstands I start to wonder what readers might think—along with letting out a huge sigh of relief that we have done another Bark. With this issue especially, I covered a lot more writing ground than I normally do, going to NYC to get The Daily Show “exclusive” scoop for starters. Then after reading a plucky editorial in the New York Times, I decided to interview its writer, Lily Raff McCaulou, about her first book—she not only writes well, but is a new mom and, surprisingly, fishes and hunts up in Oregon, (and turns out she is a Bark subscriber). I also wrote a “thought” piece about the joys of silence, a book review (of a kid’s book, One Dog and His Boy, that I really enjoyed), and my editor’s letter. So far I heard from a few of you who liked some articles, including the one that Julie Hecht wrote about one of our dogs’ most confusing (and embarrassing) behaviors, plus Karen London on just what the differences (if there are any) between big and small dogs, and a lovely essay by Laurel Saville about learning to accept a dog for who she is.
But at least one reader didn’t like that we talked with Lily, the hunter, noting that is “what we have supermarkets for,” and another who reads The Bark to her children, so didn’t appreciate the “profanity” found in John Oliver’s interview and other “diversions” coming from us including any “gay” mentions. I understand these concerns and do appreciate hearing from all our readers with all their divergent and wide-ranging viewpoints—good to know that we are read by so many different people too. While it is encouraging to know that mothers read a magazine to children, and that the smiling dogs and other photos are appreciated by youngsters, we never intended that our written content would be suitable reading for all age groups (although we have been known to bleep out a few words that might offend some adults). As for John Oliver, he is one very funny man. I had wanted to post audio segments of his interview, but I was laughing so loud that my raucous laughter almost drowned out his voice, his delivery, much less his non-Posh Brit accent, is funny in itself. So I hope that we are excused for letting Oliver say his piece about his new found dog appreciation his way with all its comedic phrasing.
For those of you who have read this issue, I truly welcome hearing your thoughts. Post your comments here, letting us know what you think. It is certainly nice to be kept on our toes. Now it’s off to start on the next issue.
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