Thursday, April 30, 2009

Herald-Tribune may drop Mutts comic strip

The May/June issue of Best Friends magazine has a lovely article on the Mutts cartoon strip and its creator, Patrick McDonnell. This is not just a cartoon strip, but particularly with its "Shelter Stories" strips it calls attention to homeless animals in shelters awaiting adoption.
However, the Sarasota Herald Tribune has just decided to drop the cartoon. Keven McQuaid is the current reader advocate. Please encourage your friends and colleagues to write in as well. The more comments, the more likely the decision may be reversed." Please please send an email to to protest and keep Mutts in the local paper.

Sneakers is out of time in Orlando

Hi, my name is Sneakers. I am an approximately 1 year 5 month old chocolate neutered male Pit Bull-Mix. I have been at Orange County Animal Services since Thursday, April 09, 2009.
If you are able to help please let me know at I am not affiliated in any way with OCAS.
TO rescue or adopt pls contact OCAS at and /or David and Linda at OCAS at and Linda.Hepenstal@ocfl.netocfl

Special dog in the Orlando area

My name is Scrape and if I may say so myself, I have aged rather well for a mature gal of 9 years young. I’ve always been able to relate to a saying you humans have ~ you’re only as young as you feel ~ because let me tell I myself still feel like a pup!! If only I could get rid of that gray in my face as that’s the one sure thing that always seems to give me away!!
I’ve spent a lot of years living with a whole pack of dogs and I really think I’d like to live the rest of my years in a home by myself; okay, maybe one other dog to share it with, but that’s all!! And, between you and me, I’m definitely not a fan of those furry things you call cats ~ all that meowing drives me crazy ~ all that attitude and acting hot jumping up on the counters and high shelves; who do they think they are?!? Just me and my master, for the rest of my years (I keep going back to that, don’t I) ~ okay, me and my master and another dog co-existing in one household, now that’s a do-able situation that I can envision BUT let me tell you ~ as I must be upfront here ~ if I HAVE TO live out my golden years with another dog in the house, it most definitely has to be a male. Because I’ll tell you, two strong-headed females in one household (and/or play group) is never a good thing; my Mom learned that the hard way!! I’m not really certain if it’s a good thing or bad thing but I’ve heard my Mom and her Mom describe me as ‘particular’ as I not really a fan of every dog I meet. But, I’ll let you know how I feel ~ right off the bat ~ one advantage of being ‘seasoned’ is that I’ve matured and I don’t play those head games. I don’t mind sharing but I’m not in favor of any attention hog pushing me out of the limelight. If I don’t like him at the time we meet, please don’t think he’s going to grow on me; I don’t roll like that!!! If I like him I’ll tell you. If not, I’ll let you know that too.

As far as anyone liking me (whether they’re two legged or four legged), don’t worry, they’ll like me, everyone does. It’s just a matter of meeting me. I’m really not all that photogenic; it’s my personal demeanor that will sell you on what a good catch I am! If you yourself like me ~ or ~ if you think you can hook me up, just let the fine ladies at The ARF Shack know right away. Their website is

Beagle mix available for adoption

Meet Lucy. She is a 3 1/2 year old beagle mix. She was adopted out as a puppy and with today's unfortunate ecomony, had to be returned.

She is looking for just that perfect forever home and needs to build some confidence.

She came to rescue a little on the chunky side which beagles are known for, so her foster mom has worked hard to get her slim and trim.

You can read more about her and make her part of your family by visiting and tell them Zeke sent you.

Labrador available for adoption

Shadow is a 2 1/2 year old black male who is your typical, happy-go-lucky lab, with a shiny black coat and wagging tail. I was picked up by Animal Services as a stray, just out looking for something to occupy my time. The nice people at the shelter were able to find my owners, who were supposed to come and pick me up....but they never did.
Now the people at Labrador Retriever Rescue have promised to find me a great home, where everyone will appreciate the fun guy I am. A family that will spend time playing ball and going for long walks is just what I am hoping for.
If you are interested in meeting or adopting Shadow or one of our other labs contact Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida by visiting our website or call 1-866-464-LABS.
LRROF has all our Labs microchipped, spayed or neutered, up to date on shots and each adoption comes with a 30 day pre-paid pet health insurance plan. All applicants will have a home inspection and vet reference (if applicable)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Why I love my vet

I got a card in the mail today. It was from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. It was a nice card, and made me cry because my vet, Dr. Gary Reinhardt, made a donation to the college in Junior's name when he died.
Junior didn't die at Doc's office, but was his patient for the 7 years since I move from the island into Sarasota. How touching to receive that card.
The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is always on the cutting edge. They seem to develop more programs for different animals and are widely respected in animal science. They are working with Maddie's Fund to develop a Shelter Medicine Program specifically for rescues and shelters and you know how near and dear those are to my heart.
If you are looking for that kind of vet, one who knows you and your pet and wears his heart on his sleeve, he would love to me you and your companion.
His number is 952-1900. Tell him Jean, Gypsy and Buzz sent you. In honor of Junior.

A gem in our backyard

There are many animal rescue groups, shelters and animal control centers in Florida. You can find just about anything you want in the way of animals. Any breed, color, size or shape, there are simply never enough homes for all of them.
To be able to save and adopt out animals who have lost their chance in any other rescue; to provide sanctuary to those last chance animals, I am pleased to welcome Satchel's Last Resort to the blog page and home to feature some of their animals here each week.
Satchel's is not just a rescue, but a sanctuary. A place where those animals who have been abandoned in others places, find a home. Some of their guests aren't really guests at all, but permanent members of the Resort. Others are highly adoptable to the right home, and maybe we can help promote this wonderful spot and do just that; find these guys homes.
Satchel's is like other rescue groups in that they need funds to continue operating, they need adopters to take these dogs and cats home, and they need support from the community. The difference is, many of the animals at Satchel's will never leave. They will have a home the rest of thier lives.
Please check out their website here and if you can help in any way, please do. The "last chance" animals are depending on us.

4 Little Pigs

My call for critters is being answered. I am proud to add a new link and a new friend to the blog. 4 Little Pigs Guinea Pig Rescue. After doing my series on Pocket Pets, I hope we can steer anyone looking for one of the furry little critters to this site and organization.
Although they have not received their a 501 ©3 yet, I am sure it will come soon. They focus primarily on guinea pigs, but also welcome the occasional rabbit, hamster, rat ... you know, other small animals.
Right now there are only 5 pigs listed on Petfinder, however they have a total of 13 guinea pigs that are available. They hold new pigs for at least a month, and up to 2.5 months, before releasing them for adoption. That way they can get to know their personalities as well as find any behavioral quirks or medical ailments. They are always in search of foster homes, donations of supplies (they don’t ask for money since they are not a registered non-profit yet, but they also won't turn it down. You just can't get a tax deduction until then.)
They usually just ask for donations of supplies and/or gift cards to pet stores, to ensure that any donations are actually used on the animals, and of course, like any rescue group, they need good adopters.
You can click here and visit their webpage. Let's help find the little ones a home.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Settling in

I got a request today to post a blog item and let everyone know how Buzz is doing. I am going to do that, along with a photo of him and Gypsy outside playing this afternoon. I also want to explain the absence of my feline and canine reporters. They are not gone, simply taking a break and as soon as they are up for it, they will be back. Finding a reporter is not an easy task, but I am searching low and high for one.

Now, on to Buzz's first two weeks at home.
First of all, Buzz is simply a joy to have with me. He is so full of life and love and simply wants to please you. His hair, where he was shaved is growing back in now he is on a good diet with me and my vet watching his every action and reaction. My vet believes when Buzz was treated for heartworm, his immune system became compromised and must be built back up. Because of his flea allergy, one flea bite can cause him to itch and scratch repeatedly, so he had to be put back on antibiotics and prednisone. He will finish his prednisone treatment this week, he has been given a Comfortis, which is the internal flea medication, has also been given Revolution, to eliminate any chance of one of those little buggers biting him, and gets 2 big fish oil caps a day to get some oil back in his system for his hair follicles.
Yeah, I know it sounds like a lot, but his hair is now coming back beautifully and he is worth it. I was bragging on his housebreaking status, no accidents in the house, so today, he proves me wrong and pees all over my dining room chair. My fault though, he came to the computer room and told me he needed to go, and I wasn't paying attention.
He is a consummate thief and will steal any and all food left anywhere if he can get to it. I think this is due to him being so neglected and hungry his whole life, but he understands no and we will work on that issue.
He escaped out the front door yesterday. I didn't realize it because I was in the floorboard of my truck bringing in groceries. The wind blew the door open and when I raised up I saw Gypsy standing in the driveway. I shoo'd her in the house and then thought of Buzz. His collar was hanging with his leash in the kitchen and all I could think of was finding him. I began walking down the driveway and calling his name and whistling and here he comes, running down the road, just as happy as a clam, wagging his tail. He came right up to the front door, sat and then went inside.
He lays by my chair every evening, gives up the dog bed to Gypsy, tries to steal her Milkbones, antagonizes her when he wants to play, still loves his soft toys but won't play with balls and steers clear of the pool.
He is full of life, love and happiness and I am so glad I brought him home.

The power of one

I have heard many people over the years make this statement: "I am only one person, what can one person do?" I can tell you one person can do a lot and that person can make a difference in whatever goals they set for themselves. I read this poem a long time ago and thought it was appropriate for an animal welfare blog, but it could be used to inspire for many different things in your life.
The author is listed as unknown, but if anyone out there knows the author, I would love to give credit to them.
The Power of One
author: unknown
One song can spark a moment
One flower can wake the dream
One tree can start a forest
One bird can herald spring
One smile begins a friendship
One handclasp lifts a soul
One star can guide a ship at sea
One word can frame the goal
One vote can change a nation
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness
One laugh will conquer gloom
One step must start each journey
One word must start a prayer
One hope will raise our spirits
One touch can show you care
One voice can speak with wisdom
One heart can know what's true
One life can make a difference
You see, it's up to you.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Send me your critters

I am sadly missing many homeless animals on this blog. I have two rescues who send me animals with regularity and everyone else is gone.
If you volunteer or are a member of any animal rescue group in the area, or any area for that matter and have a story to tell, please drop me a line at and send me a jpg of the critter. I also post events and notices which are of interest to the public about animals and animal welfare. I don't do breeders or people who are trying to make money. Only animal rescue.
This blog exists to educate, inspire and hopefully find homes for the many abandoned and neglected pets in southwest Florida. It is here for the animals.

Labrador available for adoption

Hi, my name is Katie and I'm still waiting to meet my forever family. I am 5-years old and weigh about 75 pounds and have perfect house manners.
I love to sit by my foster Mom while she is on the computer... or at my foster Dad's feet while he watches TV. I also really love to run and play "fetch" with a ball, and you should see what a strong swimmer I am. I don't get on furniture and don't beg for food. I know how to follow commands like "sit" and "stay" and, most importantly, "No." My foster Mom and Dad say that I am very smart as I learn new commands easily.
I am a big, strong dog, but my foster family is teaching me how to walk gently on a lead. I need a loving home with new parents that will give me plenty of exercise and who will appreciate a dog that has a heart of gold and who loves to run and play. I am hanging out in Naples, won't you please come and see if I'm the Lab for you. If you are interested in meeting or adopting Katie or one of our other labs contact Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida by visiting our website http://www.labradorrescue.netor call 1-866-464-LABS.
LRROF has all our Labs microchipped, spayed or neutered, up to date on shots and each adoption comes with a 30 day pre-paid pet health insurance plan. All applicants will have a home inspection and vet reference (if applicable).

Animal rescue transports

I have written about these wonderful people before, but a friend sent me this link to a story in USAToday which is very well done.
Check it out.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Following the chain of command

As a person who had the luxury of being employed by the same company for 25 years, I have always been fully versed in what is known in the business world as the "open door policy." Any time you had a problem or question about your job or your boss, you had the ability to go to the next higher up person with no threat of losing your job. You could take it all the way to the corporate offices of The New York Times if you had to, and would never hear a word about it.
I am a great believer in going up the chain of command. The problem lies in following the chain and then losing your job. This will deter most employees from ever speaking up when wrongs are being committed. The wrongs are then committed over and over again and the door swings to the unemployment line quite frequently.
I also believe in utilizing what controls are in place to handle these issues. I have said before here, and will say again, if you are dealing with a not-for-profit, please address your issues to the executive director. If you can't get answers there, send letters to the board of directors, who are the executive director's bosses.
Unfortunately, many issues will be explained away as simply disgruntled employees and the real issues at hand will not be addressed. Fortunately, many people who write boards have money and power, and when they want answers, the do not want to be brushed off with the flick of a wrist. They will demand answers to their questions and then expect to receive those answers. If they don't, the money, donations and volunteers will dry up.
That is the way it works.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Labrador available for adoption

Lilly is a fabulous, 7 year young, loving, black female. After two hip replacements, Lilly, the girl that had so much heart she had to prop herself up with the fence to get around the yard, is ready to roll. This girl has a phenomenal disposition and would make a wonderful pet for anyone who needs a calm, loving dog. Barking issues? Not with her. Her foster finally heard her bark after having her a year. Gets along well with cats, other dogs and people. Lilly is searching for her forever home. Won't you take a look this wonderful Lab?
If you are interested in meeting or adopting Lilly or one of our other Labs contact Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida by visiting our website or call 1-866-464-LABS.
LRROF has all our Labs microchipped, spayed or neutered, up to date on shots and each adoption comes with a 30 day pre-paid pet health insurance plan. All applicants will have a home inspection and vet reference (if applicable).

Cat communication: The meaning of meow

Murmur: Rhythmically pulsed vocalization; exhalation, social interactions, solicitation, non threatening, possibly related to dyssynchronous contraction of muscles in larynx and diaphragm (Remmers & Gautier 1972)
Growl: Low-pitched, harsh; lengthy, agonistic (Bushnell 1963)
Squeak: High-pitched, raspy, associated with anticipation of feeding; given by females after copulation
Shriek: Loud, high-pitched; pain, fear, aggression
Hiss: Agonistic, mouth open, teeth visible; offensively defensive (avoids frank aggression)
Spit: Short sound before or after hiss
Chatter: Anticipation, frustration
Purr: Contentment, nursing, mild conflicting anxiety
Chirr: Queen's call to kittens
Mew: High-pitched, medium amplitude; mother-kitten interaction for location, identification, encouragement
Moan: Low frequency, long duration; epimelectic; regurgitation, solicitation
Meow: Greeting, epimelectic, willingness to interact
Data from Moelk (1944) and McKinley (1982)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Labrador available for adoption

Lilly is a sweet, 10 year old senior female who weighs about 86 lbs. Lilly found herself in the shelter after the only family she has ever known got divorced. She is a mild mannered sophisticated lady who is good with cats, other dogs and kids of all ages. Like any Lab she loves to swim and be with her human companions. Lilly is in the Port Charlotte area.
If you are interested in meeting or adopting Lilly or one of our other Labs contact Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida by visiting our website http://www.labradorrescue.netor call 1-866-464-LABS.
LRROF has all our Labs microchipped, spayed or neutered, up to date on shots and each adoption comes with a 30 day pre-paid pet health insurance plan. All applicants will have a home inspection and vet reference (if applicable).

Behavior training shelter dogs

It is estimated over 90% of dogs turned into animal shelters are due to behavior issues. When I first began working on training shelter dogs, I attended a class in animal behavior which was so instructional, I thought I would pass it along for others, in hopes they can also began a behavior program in their shelter.
The rewards are great and the lives which can be saved are many so with thanks to my expert, here is the written seminar.

Don't feel sorry for the dog. Did you read that? Don't feel sorry for the dog. Feeling sorry will enable poor behavior which is one reason the dog is here. Identify behavior issues and correct them.
With CLEAR COMMUNICATION, PROPER PRAISE AND REWARD, they will learn and then become good canine citizens thus enabling them to secure a forever home, which is their dream.
Be mindful of YOUR BODY LANGUAGE. Do not calm a nervous dog with praise. Do not push a dog off you. You are petting the dog as you push them off. Do not say stay, then walk away and squat down. Learn how to read the dog. Pay attention to what they are doing. Sometimes when they "are not listening" we are not communicating clearly. This creates confusion and anxiety for them.
You must be DETERMINED, CONSISTENT, COMPASSIONATE AND LOVING for each training period. Teaching the dog and expecting them to listen is the key. Of course they will make mistakes. You will quickly correct/interrupt the undesired behavior and quickly move on to something positive. Remember to love, praise, and treat at the proper time for desired behavior. This is the KEY to success.
You must be able to physically control the dog at all times. This is for your safety as well as the dog's. They need to know they cannot control you. the easiest way to do this is to just STOP. regain control, praise them and then move forward. You may have to repeat this several times, but will see a remarkable difference in a short time.
Dogs love to be successful and want to please. You need to be a good leader to them and EARN their respect. They are steadfast, loyal and loving. They need to be secure and comfortable with their routine but they MUST have mental stimulation. This will ease anxiety and they will learn what they can count on. A bored dog is an unhappy do and a tired dog is a good dog.

Ten Tips for Preventing Pet Behavior Problems
1. Set rules immediately and follow them.
2. Observe the animal and provide what it needs: food, water, elimination and shelter
3. Supervise the animal at all times with attention and training. Restrict the animals area until trained properly.
4. Encourage good behavior with praise, food and attention.
5. Avoid situations that produce inappropriate behavior.
6. Immediately correct and interrupt bad behavior and provide a positive solution.
7. Never physically punish the animal. Your hands and voice should be a positive reinforcement. You do not want the animal to fear you.
8. Don't play rough with the animal. You, or any other person is not a toy.
9. Expose your animal to people, animals, places, and noises where you want them to live.
10.Contact an animal behaviorist or veterinarian to correct any undesirable behaviors.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Idiopathic and Learned Aggression

Idiopathic aggression is also know as rage or Jekyll-Hyde syndrome.
Sometimes dogs become aggressive for no apparent reason. Typically, dogs who suffer from this are usually affectionate, obedient, pleasant and well-mannered canines who for no apparent reason suddenly ferociously turn of their owners or visitors.
The observant owner might notice a glazed look to their eyes just before an attack but other than that there is no warning. Some dogs will remain subdued for a short while afterwards but others snap out of it immediately and return to their affectionate ways.
Certain breeds seem to be predisposed to this type of aggression: Bernese Mountain Dogs, St. Bernards, Rottweilers, Dobermans, German Shepherds and Cocker Spaniels.
There is no treatment for idiopathic aggression. Some studies link it to epilepsy. There has been some improvement using an epilepsy treatment, but sadly, euthanasia seems to be the only option.

Learned Aggression:
Dogs can be taught to be aggressive. Like a police dog. Aggression can be turned on and off.
People who train dogs for fights choose breeds that were bred for fighting, like the pit bull terriers. They often use pain to induce aggression. Pain is a powerful stimulus for aggression.
Aggression develops to its maximum potential by the time a dog is 2.5 years old.
Types of Rewards: Food, Touch, Sound, Play, Owner Attention, Chewing and Discofort Avoidance.
Types of Punishment: Must be used at the time of wrong doing: Physical pain, intimidation, feat and time out.
Punishment given inconsistently can create a condition of the mind called learned helplessness. A neurotic state in which the dog learns to be helpless.
Simply calling your dog's name to praise him and calling his name for punishment can lead to this neurotic state.
Dogs learn through observation: classical conditioning and operant conditioning. It gets reinforced by a reward. Learning takes place whether we are involved or not and there are constant gains and losses in a dog's mind. These gains and losses can be affected in several ways.
1. Shaping: Rewarding a scent detection, then shap the scent we want to detect.
2. Extinction: If a learned response is not reinforced then it is gradually lost and the frequency of the behavior fall to its naturally occurring level.
3. Chaining: Dogs can learn to carry out a sequence of events in order. The last behavior is learned first and reinforced with a primary reinforcer like food or touch and then with a secondary reinforcer like voice. Then the preceding behavior is learned, giving food reward for this and verbal reward for the final behavior.
4. Habituation: Dogs have the ability to get used to neutral (non-harmful and non-rewarding stimuli) This is called habituation and occurs in tow ways, through constant exposure to the stimuli or through gradual introduction to it.
5. Flooding: Habituation through constant exposure. If a dog's mind is continually flooded with something mildly fearful, like traffic noise, he learns to disregard what, in other circumstances, would be frightening and to relax in the presence of that stimulus. City dogs constantly learn through flooding and often develop "street sense" as a result.
6. Systematic desensitization: habituation through gradual exposure. If a dog sees a cat at a distance on a day, then at a closer distance another day, and gradually over time at a closer and closer distance, his natural aggression or fearful behaviors might be altered. Getting a dog used to something that causes fear by gradually exposing the dog to the fear inducing stimulus like noise is a common method of modifying a dog's behavior.

We expect our dog to allow friends to enter our homes and to cheerfully greet them, but prevent intruders from comin in. We think our dog will protect us from bears, but we want them to leave rabbits alone. We are so confusing to the Dog.
Remember to keep your dog mentally stimulated, provide daily exercise with some one-on-one attention and you will have a very happy, healthy dog.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Prescription help

In this down economy, every penny saved counts towards meeting your financial obligations. I have seen many owners who are having a hard time just keeping dog and cat food in the house and must depend on the programs available to help feed their best friends.
I was watching the local government channel one day last week while the Sarasota County Commission meeting was going on and they mentioned a prescription card for all residents of Sarasota County, regardless of income or health benefits you already have. This was great news to me when I heard it also covered your pets.
Since pets are considered part of the family, and prescription drug cards don't cover them, I listened closely, went to the website and actually had an occasion to use the card today.
Buzz needed a prescription so I took it to Walgreens, presented it with the RX card, and it saved me $12.00.
Now, I would have paid the whole thing if I had needed to, but I am just as glad I had the card and could save the money.
The cards are good for the whole family so visit this website and check it out. Every little bit helps.

Labrador available for adoption

Hi folks, Necco here. I am a three year old male Lab mix with an all Lab personality.
I am a very laid-back easy-going kind of guy who likes to please. I will very gently take a treat from you and think it's the greatest thing ever.
I do great walking on a leash, am crate trained and get along very well with other dogs. Don't know about kitties though.
I am getting rid of some nasty heartworms right now and should be able to go to my forever home at the end of April. I am looking forward to having visitors soon. I'm hanging out in Naples. To apply to adopt from Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida, please visit our web page at http://www.labradorrescue.netclick on “How to Adopt”.
All applicants will have a home inspection and vet reference (if applicable) before they are eligible to adopt from Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida.

Thank you for your interest in our rescue!

Special kitten in Englewood

Meet Sterling. He is a blue and grey kitten with lots of love to share.
He is good with kids and is a TLC kitten all the way.
If you want to meet him and all the kitties up for adoption, come out to our open house every Saturday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. at 270 Lakeview Lane in Englewood.
You can also go online at or call 941-473 - 5406 for more information.

Predatory aggression

Dogs are predators. Left to revert to natural behavior, the domestic dog becomes the dingo. The basis for predatory aggression is genetic, but it must also be learned from the mother.
We see this type of natural behavior in most dogs when they play at prey cathcing. The cature after short chases and long chases are rare. They give up easily. When dogs engage in predatory aggression for real, it is usually against different species; sheep, cats, squirrels, but can be directed at children or older people. Although it is uncommon, this is still the most serious type of aggression because the aim is to kill
Any breed of dog can behave in a predatory fashion, but a dog is less likely to do so with animals that is has been socialized with.
This is the most difficult form of aggressive behavior to overcome because it is rooted so deeply in the dog's mind. The rewards are magnificent: The chase and the kill.
Shock Collars can be used under supervision and the only alternative is euthanasia. Remember: Euthanasia for behavioral problems is the most common cause of death in young dogs.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Introducing the newest family member

As I posted last weekend, Buzz is now a member of my household. It is interesting for me to be exposed to an animal who is 7 years old and has never had the comforts of a real home.
From the time he entered my house, after his introduction to Gypsy, in which he was not quite sure what to make of her, he has been nervous.
The first time the telephone rang, he was terrified. The sound of the television had him cocking his head and looking at the screen like, "What is this thing where the noise is coming from?"
He has not attempted to climb the stairs to the loft, follows me everywhere I go except upstairs, and stands in my back yard with a puzzled expression like he can't believe he can run wherever he wants. The first two days he would stand at the window facinated by watching the outside world.
I don't believe he knows how to play, but I am working on that and he will gather all the soft toys in the house in the corner he is laying in and then move them from room to room as he is following me around.
He tries to pick up his food dish, with food, and carry it outside to eat. I am not sure if this is because he is afraid of Gypsy stealing his dinner, (which she has been known to do) or simply he doesn't feel comfortable eating in the house.
Although he lived his life outside, he has not once gone potty in the house but waits patiently for me to walk outside with him.
He will go to the veterinarian on Saturday just to be checked out and after the first ride in the truck on the way home Saturday, I expect he will be nervous going to the vet.
After less than a week at his new home, he is settling in, but like any rescue dog, it will take time.
I will keep the blog posted with updates.

Labrador available for adoption

Emma is a sweet, 5 year old yellow female, about 70 pounds, who is great with kids of all ages, good with other dogs, not sure about cats, and trustworthy in the house.
She does not need to be crated. She is a very loving, mild mannered sweet girl who walks well on a leash.
Emma would make a great Best Friend for anyone looking for a big dose of Lab-Love. She's a low maintenance girl just waiting for her new home.
If you are interested in meeting or adopting Cory or one of our other labs contact Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida by visiting our website at or call 1-866-464-LABS.
LRROF has all our Labs microchipped, spayed or neutered, up to date on shots and each adoption comes with a 30 day pre-paid pet health insurance plan. All applicants will have a home inspection and vet reference. (if applicable)

Inter male dog aggression

Males of all domesticated species including dogs and humans have a special propensity for fighting with each other. When tow females fight it's usually because of a conflickt in dominance. Although serious inter male aggression only occurs after puberty in dogs, it is not wholly dependent on the male hormone testosterone. Giving testosterone to adult spayed females is relatively ineffective in making them more aggressive.
It appears that inter male aggression has its origins in the neonatal development of the pup and is stimulated by the early masculination of the pup's brain just before birth. The testosterone surge at puberty is the precipatating cause of this form of aggression, but is only influential on the already masculinized brain. Receptors must be present of the hormone to induce aggression. Inter male aggression is responsible in 1 out of 10 cases treated by veterinarians and is a specific form of dominance aggression. It can be induced by the sight of another male dog or by the scent.
There is a good likelihood for improvement through castration. Approximately at 60 % change castration will significantly reduce inter male aggression.
When castration alone is not effective in reducing this aggression, the female hormone progesterone can be used. The less aggressive dog should be castrated first.
Always consult a veterinarian or behavior specialist if this type of aggression is observed.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Labrador available for adoption

Hi, I am Cory, an active 10 month old Labrador retriever mix female. I had a rough start with a broken leg that was not cared for. Luckily, the vet said I healed very well. I live with an older dog and cat in Sarasota. We get along, but I am probably better with young pals that want to play. I am going to obedience classes, and doing fantastic.
If you are interested in meeting or adopting Cory or one of our other labs, contact Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida by visiting our website at or call 1-866-464-LABS.
LRROF has all our Labs microchipped, spayed or neutered, up to date on shots and each adoption comes with a 30 day pre-paid pet health insurance plan. All applicants will have a home inspection and vet reference. (if applicable)

Possessive aggression

Possessive aggression including competitive aggression and sibling rivalry only occur when dominance and submissive relationships have not been established.

Sibling rivalry occurs when two dogs are so similar they find it difficult to determine which id dominant.

This usually happens in dogs that resemble each other is size, sex and age and is usually triggered by competition for food, toys, a sleeping place or our attention.

Do not punish the bully dog. The owner should establish which dog is naturally dominant and this may change during the course of the anials life as when one dog become a senior and the young dog believes it is now the dominant one. The owners must reinforce the dominant dog.

All members of the household, including children are dominant and must reinforce the dominant dog. The dominant dog should always see the humans as the leaders.

This behavior is typically seen in terrier breeds and often in 2 male golden retrievers in their later years; ie: 6 and 10 years of age.

Watch this video

My friends send me stuff for the blog all the time. That is the power of having friends. They see a lot more things of interest collectively, than I could ever find on my own.
So when you are thinking life really sucks, watch this video for some advice on making it better.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Mutt Mutterer has come home

Today is a good day. Today a new homeless pet has found a home. The Mutt Mutterer column was started to bring attention to those dogs who needed a little bit of extra attention. Some dogs found their homes quickly while others remained the columnist for months.
Written from the dog's perspective, through me, I have tried to focus on putting a human in a dog's kennel. Sometimes it worked better than others and at times it could bring tears or make you laugh.
Buzz, who is the current Mutt Mutterer defines what this column was all about. He is a senior, which you know are my passion, and was dumped off at the shelter covered in fleas and ticks, so emaciated you could count his ribs. He had internal parasites, the most serious of which was a high positive for heartworm. He had fatty growths all over his backside and did not even know the sit command. He is also a FBD: Florida Brown Dog.
After the passing of my Junior, which was only a short month ago, I toyed with the idea of getting another rotti puppy. As I have said before, puppies are lots and lots of work and with my schedule being what it is, in order to do the job right, I decided against a pup.
Buzz, being the kind of rejected, throwaway dog he was, still brings the passion I have for saving animals to the front of my thought processes. He has grown into quite the handsome dog, although I will always call him Buzz Butt, due to his shaved behind. He is happy, heartworm free, and although he still needs some work, is becoming a dog any owner could be proud of.
Buzz is coming home with me today. He will never have to worry about food, or medicine, a place to lay in the sun, or knowing someone loves him.
This will also be the end of the Mutt Mutterer column for the time being. The blog will still be here and you will still be able to read all about the homeless cats and dogs who reside at local shelters and rescues, just minus the Mutterer column.
So, if you are in my area, see an old, fat, homely hound dog with an old, skinny, handsome FBD walking with a young, skinny, beautiful blond (yeah, I wish), stop us and say hello. Gypsy will bark, but she does that all the time, Buzz will wag his tail and sit in anticipation of a treat, and I will introduce you to 2 of the best dogs ever, both rescued, and both amazing creatures.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Senior adoption day tomorrow

One of the most neglected areas of animal welfare is the adoption of senior animals. Many dogs and cats are dropped off at shelters when the humans who owned them think they have outlived their usefulness. Many shelters euthanize for age, believing the public will not give a home to a senior pet. Luckily, the shelters in this area don't, for the most part, practice this aniquated and inhumane judgement on animals who are brought in.
Senior animals, as much as I love puppies and kittens, bring a different perspective to your life. Most are more mellow, housebroken or litter trained, and are tolerant of many more things than a young animal.
Tomorrow, Saturday, April 11, the Humane Society of Sarasota County is having their semi-annual Senior Adoption Day from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. If you have been looking for that special pet, please consider visiting some seniors tomorrow. Many of these animals have been in the shelter for longer than they should have been simply because of their age and deserve to spend their final years, whether it is one or 10 in a home with a family.
For more information, please call 955-4131 or stop by 2331 15th Street in Sarasota. There will be special fees for seniors, animals and humans, and all these available for adoption need a permanent forever home.
If you aren't looking for a senior, there are many others available who may fit into your life. Save a life, Opt to Adopt.

Great quote

Every once in a while, I find a great quote that seems to fit my life at that time. This morning one popped in my in box I thought I would share. It has nothing to do with animals, but here it is:

That you may retain your self-respect, it is better to displease the people by doing what you know is right, than to temporarily please them by doing what you know is wrong. - William J. H. Boetcker

Special cat in Englewood

Meet Fuzzy. She is such a sweet kitty.
She is so loving and gentle. She wants you to take her home.
If you want to see her and all the kitties up for adoption come out to our open house every Saturday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. at 270 Lakeview Lane in Englewood.
You can also check us and all the kitties out online at or call 941-473 - 5406 for more information.

Labrador available for adoption

Rusty here, I am a big yellow boy, between 1 and 2 years old. I am full of energy and ready to play. I like other dogs, and my foster mom has a little boy that is a great playmate.
I am a little hard to walk on a leash so I am learning with the help of a harness. If you want an active, energetic buddy, I am the one for you.
If you are interested in meeting or adopting Rusty or one of our other labs contact Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida by visiting our website: or call 1-866-464-LABS.
LRROF has all our Labs microchipped, spayed or neutered, up to date on shots and each adoption comes with a 30 day pre-paid pet health insurance plan. All applicants will have a home inspection and vet reference (if applicable)

Aggression in dogs: dominance

The next form of aggression in dogs, which I will discuss is dominance aggression. Thanks again to my friend, the dog specialist for notes and discussion about this tendency.
Dogs are pack animals. The simply don't expect equality. The dog's natural genetic predisposition is to find his place in the pecking order. They like to be top dog.
This type of aggression is usually shown by male dogs between 2 and 2 1/2 years of age. Dogs go through puberty between 6 months and 1 year. Yet the apparently sudden, unprovoked aggressive attacks of dominance aggression, usually against members of the immediate family, frequently don't occur for another one or two years. The onset of these attacks coincides with the time of puberty in wolves. Selective breeding had made dogs precociously sexually mature at an early age, but emotional maturity takes longer.
Dominance aggression can be provoked in a myriad of ways and is a pack problem. As we humanes make up most dog packs as far as the dogs are concerned, it is usually directed at us. This type of aggression can be provoked by simply disturbing your dog, such as awakening him or moving him or ordering him to move from his resting place. It can be provoked by approaching his food, his favorite person or his resting area, even if he is not in it. Dominance aggression can be stimulated by petting, by having collars and leads put on or off, by being stared at or disciplined, by grooming, nail cutting, toweling or even by meeting in a narrow passageway where the dog feels he has the right of passage. Discipline, either verbal or physical can provoke dominance aggression. Just standing over a dog can be interpreted as a threat to his position and can invoke a dominance response.
Some dogs can be psychologically dominant but physically submissive. This is particularly true of some toy terriers, dogs that enjoy being carried and tickled but only in their own time, biting their owners if the humans get out of line.
The dog perceives his owner to be weak. When a dog comes over and asks to be petted and I pet him, then I behaved. When dogs interpret our behavior as a reaction to theirs, their natural inclination is to feel more assertive and dominant.
Dominance aggression is both inherited and learned. Although 85% of clinical cases occur in males, it is not puberty related. The hormonal influence on this behavior probably occurred near birth, when the male pup's brain was mascuilined by a surge of testosterone. This is why castration has little beneficial effect of correcting this unpleasant behavior.
Dogs exhibit their dominance aggression in may ways: Standing over an object, guarding an object, direct eye contact, the stare, the tense, rigid posture with erect ears and tail, growling, teeth baring, snapping and biting.
Again, displayed at their human pack with kind owners who allow them to get their own way or treat them as equals.
An interesting fact is dominant aggressive dogs rarely attack very submissive people or small children. In their minds they only perceive more forceful people as threats to their social position. Children usually get bitten more frequently than adults, but this is more fear related or competitive aggression.
Backing away from a growl, allowing the dog to win tug of war, letting him wander freely, allowing him to jump on people, and permissiveness creates problems, but this aspect of dominance aggression can be overcome through retraining.
Dominance aggression can be be avoided through careful selection of a dog. Certain purebreds show this trait more often than mixed breeds: English Springer Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, Rottweilers, Dobermans and Lhasa Apsos.
Puppy testing is not a predictor, but pups that test positive for dominance do grow up to be dominant. To correct this: dominate your puppy, avoid behavior that provokes aggression, obedience train and "nothing is free" training.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Do I like your dog?

My old hound dog, Gypsy, is a homely girl. She is a mix of coonhound and something, so her features are a little out of whack and her lips droop. Her ears are not hound ears, but her body is a hound one. She is fat, although between the vet and I, we cannot figure out why, except she is the consummate thief and will steal any and all food or crumbs laying around. She is mine though, and I love her.
My neighbor across the way has a boxer/pit mix named Elsie. I love Elsie. She is a great dog. The neighbor next to Elsie has two dogs, both shelter dogs of a small/medium size and I love watching her walk them down the road together.
The neighbor on the other side has a puggle, who I don't like, not because of the dog, but because of the irresponsibility of the owner with the dog.
I am not much of a small dog person and like my pets big and burly, except for my friend's chihuahua, Sassy, who I adore.
The folks who live in back of me have one of those white, fluffy dogs who doesn't like Gypsy so she barks while she is back there.
Right around the road there are 4 small ones, 2 who are shelter dogs which I introduced to their new owner and their parents live two doors down with 2 more dogs, of medium size who are some kind of cocker mix.
There are a multitude of dogs in my neighborhood. They are all different in breed, personality and looks. Some I like better than others.
You see, personal opinion only counts for your pet. You can think whatever you want about someone else's animal. So it doesn't matter if I like your pet or not. As an individual, what attracted me to Gypsy, was not what might attract you to your dog.
There are a variety of dogs and cats in this area who need homes. Please visit your local rescue group or shelter and find your perfect pet. Remember, it doesn't matter what the neighbors think.

Buzzword for euthanasia: aggressive

I remember a young family coming in the shelter several years ago and asking to look at dogs. There were two young girls with a father and the father wanted to find a pet for the girls. He began before we ever made it back to the kennels in stressing he didn't want an aggressive dog. Every 2 or 3 minutes he reiterated that fact. "I want a family dog, no aggression." "Make sure you only show us dogs which are not aggressive."
Finally, as we reached the final row of animals, I turned to him and ask him exactly what he meant. We didn't adopt out aggressive dogs and knew enough about the animals to send home a dog who would be good with the children. "Oh, you know. "I don't want a dog who jumps," he said. I politely explained that jumping was a normal dog behavior but we would continue on and see if we could find the perfect pet. We didn't that day, but he returned several weeks later, found a dog which fit his family and left happy.
When people want to explain the reasons for euthanizing a dog, aggression is the most common reason the animal is killed. Aggression is a highly acceptable reason, when it is true. The problem is, many dogs are labeled aggressive and unadoptable, when the truth is just the opposite. This is the reason many shelters are now employing behavior specialists to work with the animals and not depending on the uneducated to make these life and death decisions.
Unfortunately, many animals still slip through the cracks. Given the time and instruction with a behavior specialist, following protocol and standards set by them, many of these animals could be saved.
The sad part of this is, the easier route is simply to label the animal aggressive, euthanize it, and move on. I had hoped we had moved beyond that.

Labrador available for adoption

Hi I am OZZIE, an AKC 7 year old ,yellow male. I am very sweet, loving, and playful. I get along with children and other dogs just fine. I love to be near people and will come up under your legs for a good head scratching, in fact my nickname is the "love muffin".
In my picture I am wearing my lucky "love" bandana. Don`t I look cute? I used to be a breeder`s dog but now I just want to relax and enjoy the good life with my new forever family. I`ll be turning 8 next month but you wouldn`t know it; I still have a lot of life left in me. Right now I am taking it easy because I am going through heartworm treatment but I am looking forward to fetching my tennis ball and being spoiled rotten. I should be ready to go soon.
If you are interested in meeting or adopting Ozzie or one of our other labs contact Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida by visiting our website: http://www.labradorrescue.netor call 1-866-464-LABS.
LRROF has all our Labs microchipped, spayed or neutered, up to date on shots and each adoption comes with a 30 day pre-paid pet health insurance plan. All applicants will have a home inspection and vet reference (if applicable)

Aggression in dogs

Several years ago, when I first began my journey in the world of shelter animals, I took several instructional classes on animal behavior and training. Working with shelter dogs can be a little tougher than household dogs, but because of the euthanasia rates at shelters who house these animals, I believed the more educated humans became, the more animals we could save. I still believe this. It is the uneducated, untrained, and god-complex people who always think they know animals, which cause a lot of the euthanasia in shelters today.
Many thanks to my friend, who is a behavorist for the following. I will post up my notes and her handouts from the classes in the next few days dealing with the subject of animal aggression.
Because fear aggression is one of the most common reasons dogs and cats are put to death in shelters, I will begin with that.

Fear aggression including pain induced aggression

Fear aggression is defensive and is primarily a learned behavior. Because it is learned, it is treatable.
If a pup does not experience sights, smells and noises during his formative socialization period, then he can develop a fear of the unusual. Fear is the natural self preservation response of all animals to new or unusual situations and is the most common response of all captive animals to humans. It is also the most common type of aggression that pet dogs exhibit. One out of every 4 cases of aggression that is brought to the veterinarian is for fear aggression or its' equivalent of pain induced aggression.
The dog's response to fear or pain is a mixture of physical, physiological and emotional things and although many types of fear induced aggression have their origins during the socialization period, from seven to twelve weeks of age, a dog can develop fear aggression at any age.
The body posture of fear can be a mixture of subservient gestures and aggressive ones. The ears are plastered back on the head. The tail is held very low and will usually wag in short, quick movements. There may be a sumissive grin, but at the same time a degree of of open-mouthed threat with a retraction of the lips and a show of teeth. The dog's back may be arched and his head held low. He might even show licking movements together with the retracted lips, which shows he is uncertain about his situation.
Fear aggression is the most common cause of dog bites of children. Boys over 5 years old are bitten twice as often as girls and 5 through 14 year olds are bitten the most. Bites occur most often in seasonal climates in the spring and summer. To the dog's mind, the children are quite different than adults. Children than have not gone through puberty smell different and are much smaller. They move in a jerkier fashion.
Prevention is through socialization, or in the case of an already fearful dog, behavior modification. Expose the animal to children, postmen, cats and other dogs, traffic noise, crowds, and elevators. If a dog's mind is barraged with sensory stimulation at an early age, he is less likely to be fearful later in life.
Then, should your pet ever end up in a shelter situation, he may make it to the adoption floor and be able to find a new family instead of being classified as unadoptable.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Decisions for the right reason

There was a country song out several years ago and the chorus had some advice given to a son from his father. The gist of it was, "You've got to stand for something, or you will fall for anything."
Sometimes in life, decisions must be made that seem totally off the wall to people on the outside, looking in. These decisions may make no sense to people on the outside, but people in your inner circle know why you did what you did and why you are willing to take the consequences of your actions.
The outsiders can offer up many reasons, most of them not true, but they don't really know. Especially when are just assuming things from what they have been told. I know that karma, especially bad karma will come back and bite you in the ass if you are not careful.
Just know that all the decisions I have made for this blog and for my life in general, especially in the last week, have been for all the right reasons and not, as some would have you believe, because I am simply a mean or disgruntled person.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Special cat in Englewood

Meet Shamus. He is such a sweet, loving boy.
He would like to set up a play date with you.
If you want to see the him and all the kitties up for adoption come out to our Open House every Saturday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. at 270 Lakeview Lane in Englewood.
You can also go online at or call 941-473 - 5406 for more information.

Labrador available for adoption

My name is Mocha. I'm an almost 10 year young puppy.
I still have lots of playful energy, and I got great marks from the vet when I was checked out a couple of weeks ago. I`m a trim 67 pounds, and the only thing the vet said was I have a couple of fatty growths. She even remarked about how much flexibility I have in my joints. I guess I`m just younger than my years.
I am easy to get along with and fit right in to my foster's house with 3 other dogs. It took a couple of days for them to adjust to me, but now we chase each other until they get tired. I LOVE all their toys!!! I carry them around constantly if allowed, or if I find one left out. I tug a little when I walk on the leash, but its mostly because I want to be with my foster sister when we walk together.
I am housebroken, and listen well. My foster mom has been teaching me to wait at the food bowl until she says OK, and now that I`ve done it a few times it's fun, because I know I'll be fed when I do it right. I'm looking for that forever home. I'll fit right in as I'm very flexible and will follow the lead of my new parents.
If you are interested in meeting or adopting Mocha or one of our other labs contact Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida by visiting our website: or call 1-866-464-LABS.
LRROF has all our Labs microchipped, spayed or neutered, up to date on shots and each adoption comes with a 30 day pre-paid pet health insurance plan. All applicants will have a home inspection and vet reference (if applicable)

New donation and resale shop to benefit cat sanctuary

Pufffy Paws Kitty Haven is opening a Donation Center and Resale Shop, for the direct benefit of the kitties.
This new endeavor, located off San Casa Drive on Woodgate Ct , which is the North entrance to Englewood’s Walmart, is Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Puffy Paws is looking for used electronics - furniture - appliances - clothing - etc... to sell and raise much needed funds for the Community's unwanted kitties.
All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law .
If you have any items to donate, please drop them off or if you would like to become a volunteer, call 941 - 473 -5406 or visit

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Frisky Felines of Fame: what excitement

It's Toots and Maggie May. This week we would like to welcome Tigger, C.J and Felix as our newest shelter guests.

Featured cat star
by Toots:
Mia is a 4 year old domestic short hair who is black and white in color. She has lived with other cats and children. She loves attention and is here waiting for you today. She also comes with 30 days of pre paid health insurance. She came in with girl cat who was already adopted. If you mention Toots sent you I will pay $10.00 to the adoption fee of Mia.

Mature spotlight cat
by Maggie May:
Meet Me (Maggie May). I would very much like a forever home. The other cat I came in with was adopted and I have been here over 1 year. I am somewhat depressed but I just hope and pray the day will come when I get that forever home. I am 9 years old, domestic short hair, gray and tan in color. My adoption fee is sponsored by Jessie's Fund.
I am independent and can be a little timid at times. I love small pieces of ham; it is a great treat. I would probably be best as an only cat and that way I get all the attention. PLEASE ADOPT ME I also come with 30 days of shelter insurance.
Latest Gossip
by Toots
I got to go to the event Friday, The Tour For Life. I really had a good time and was hoping to be adopted. Several others found forever homes . Sunday I got to go to Michael's on East for When Angels Purr presentation by Dr Sherry Zenor, Feline Veterinarian. I have never seen so much food. I even got to talk to Lori Michaels, the Pet Psychic and told her I do not like my food at the shelter. I was a busy kitty that day. I even got all dressed up. It is very hard to walk in high heels. Wonder if I can order shrimp or lobster ?
Doc is back. He went on a vacation to Hawaii and told us he had a blast. He talked about all the medical conferences he had to attend. I myself would have been on the beach sunbathing in my new catikini (cat bikini). Weasley was telling us about Pina Colada. He likes her but is afraid to ask her out. Should he do it ? Should he hold off ? Does she even seem interested in him? What do you think ?

Special event coming up April 11th: Senior Adoption Day.

till next week,
Toots and Maggie May

Labrador available for adoption

KONG FLYER FRISBEE...$12, LABBIE TOYS...$9, SOCKS... $4.50, ALLERGY MEDs...$10, BO's WET NOSE KISSES...Priceless. There are some things that money can't buy like my wet nose kisses at 6 am, my big brown soulful eyes looking at you when realize that I have stolen another sock, and my silly dances at dinner time. For whatever it is worth my foster family feels I am priceless.
I have the fancy paperwork that says AKC. I turned 5 last May. I am fairly well trained- I know the basics; sit, down and shake. I am crate trained but also trustworthy in the house. I like children of all ages. I am a Frisbee freak and I love to carry my "baby" around the house.
I have been in rescue for awhile now and am looking for that special adopter who does not mind all my little quirks; my fear of large male dogs so dog parks are out of the question, my allergies which are preventing me from being a swimmer and my love for eating socks. Got some quirks? Come meet me and we can share stories & wet nose kisses. Let's see if we are a match!
If you are interested in meeting or adopting Bo or one of our other labs contact Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida by visiting our website or call 1-866-464-LABS.
LRROF has all our Labs microchipped, spayed or neutered, up to date on shots and each adoption comes with a 30 day pre-paid pet health insurance plan. All applicants will have a home inspection and vet reference. (if applicable)