The American Veterinary Medical Association has joined with several other organizations and professional associations in proclaiming this next seven days, May 17-23, 2009, as National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Whether you own a dog or not, this problem could affect you and/or your family. If you're the dog owner, you are ultimately responsible for the actions of your pet canine and any conscientious dog owner wouldn't tolerate their dog biting someone. Meanwhile, if you are the one being bitten by a dog, you perhaps will suffer the pain and trauma (mental and physical) that can accompany a bad bite. This topic will be addressed in full later in this week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats.
From the results of last week's polling question, it is evident that most of our readers have been fortunate enough to not have to experience some of the more severe reactions of pets to thunderstorms. Most of you reported that your pets either hide in the house or go through the barking, yelping, and whining routine. Upon first impression, it appears that either most of you don't live in areas with a lot of thunderstorms or else you have been able to encourage your pet to tolerate these storms. Don't forget to answer this week's polling question in the column to the left.
Some of our readers have been having some difficulty submitting comments. This week, Helpful Buckeye has changed a few of the comment settings in order to allow easier access to the system. This may allow SPAM-type comments to show up and cause another problem, but we'll deal with that if it happens. So, be brave...submit a comment this week. You can either do it anonymously or sign your name. The place to submit a comment is at the end of each issue where it says, "Posted by Helpful Buckeye," followed by "comments." Just click on the word, "comments," and follow the simple steps.
CURRENT NEWS OF INTEREST
This past week, on 15 May 2009, marked the 200th anniversary of Lord Thomas Erskine's impassioned speech before the British Parliament in 1809 on cruelty to animals. Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, has written this message in commemoration of the event:
Before His Time: Lord Erskine in 1809
On Friday (May 15, 2009) of this week, we’ll mark the 200th anniversary of Lord Thomas Erskine’s speech on cruelty to animals in the House of Lords in the United Kingdom. Although his specific goal failed—to pass an “Act to Prevent Malicious and Wanton Cruelty to Animals”—you can draw a straight line from his speech to the passage of the first nationwide anti-cruelty law in the U.K. more than a decade later. It is a stirring piece of rhetoric, and a remarkable speechmaking artifact. I’m delighted to say that it’savailable online, and to be able to share anew profile of Erskineon The HSUS website.
For me, it’s simply extraordinary to contemplate the lines of reasoning Erskine advanced, both for his prescience, and also because I know all too well how this debate is still not settled, though the weight of popular opinion has moved decidedly in favor of these principles in all industrialized western nations. Our political opponents quarrel with the application of anti-cruelty principles, but typically not with the basic tenets of the value system.
An intellectual pioneer of the animal protection movement, Erskine was trying to address the abuse of animals at a time in history when not a single organization had been formed to advocate for animals. He understood that the status of animals as “property” would be a significant impediment to securing legal protection. Nevertheless, he assured his colleagues, he thought it feasible to provide basic safeguards for animals without infringement upon the rights of property. The property right, he asserted, is limited to use, not abuse. On the foundation of such thinking, great progress has been made in the years since Erskine’s speech and there is a robust debate about whether animals should be treated as mere property.
He also addressed the question of how the law might be enforced by courts and magistrates, “without investing them with a new and arbitrary discretion.” Reasoning from analogy with cases of cruelty to servants, Erskine pointed out that judges and juries alike had rarely had trouble distinguishing between appropriate treatment and abject cruelty. Any viable indictment before a magistrate, he predicted, “must charge the offense to be committed maliciously and with wanton cruelty, and the proof must correspond with the charge.”
Erskine was greatly concerned that owners could elude responsibility for the cruelty by instructing hirelings to carry it out. This dilemma confounds us today in cases of institutional cruelty, like those involving factory farms or slaughter plants. Just as Erskine foresaw, the owner or manager of a facility can shift the blame for cruelties onto lower-level employees,as we sawwith our investigation of the Hallmark/Westland slaughter facility in Chino, Calif.
Most of the specific cruelties Erskine mentioned are no longer around, but he built the case for his bill upon concepts familiar and in currency today: the responsibilities of human dominion, the demoralizing effect of cruelty upon the perpetrator, and the offense of animal mistreatment on the larger community, and the strong self-interest of humans in establishing high standards of animal care and welfare. Today, two centuries later, it’s common to find legislators at every level of governmentspeaking up for animals, and pressing the case for their legal protection. But someone had to be first, and it’s a blessing to the cause that it turned out to be an individual capable of delivering a speech for the ages.
Lord Thomas Erskine--
Lord Erskine's speech itself doesn't qualify as "Current News of Interest" but the concept of prevention of animal cruelty is a very timely topic.
DISEASES, AILMENTS, AND MEDICAL CONDITIONS
Many of our readers have already been working on your yards and gardens this spring and the rest of you will most likely be doing so in the next few weeks. This spring, deep-country and urban gardeners alike are pruning the greenery with pets by their sides. But beware, pet parents—elements in your lush, flowery nooks can be dangerous to animal companions. Says Dana Farbman, pet poison prevention expert for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), “Keeping animals safe from accidental poisonings should not end once you’ve stepped outside—protecting your pet from potential hazards in the yard is just as critical.” Last year, the APCC fielded 60,000 calls by pet parents whose animal companions had come into contact with fertilizers, insecticides, weed killers and pet-toxic plants. While gardens and yards are lovely for relaxing, they can also prove dangerous for our animal companions.
ASPCA experts have provided the following guidelines for making your yard and garden experience safer for your pets:
As a final piece of advice, keep this phone number handy: Animal Poison Control Center 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435
As mentioned in our lead-in for this week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats, this is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. The AVMA released this press notice detailing the importance of the observance:
National Dog Bite Prevention Week—prevention is the best cure for dog bites
Important dog bite injury prevention tips include:
The AVMA has also provided these additional web sites for further information. Spend a few minutes looking at these...they are nicely done and very interesting:
American Academy of Pediatrics – A Lesson in Dog Safety Can Help Prevent Bites
BREED OF THE WEEK
The Birman cat is believed to have originated in Burma, where it was considered sacred, the companion cat of the Kittah priests. There is a legend as to how the Birmans developed the colors they are today: “Originally, the guardians of the Temple of LaoTsun were yellow-eyed white cats with long hair. The golden goddess of the temple, Tsun-Kyan-Kse, had deep blue eyes. The head priest, Mun-Ha, had as his companion a beautiful cat named Sinh. One day the temple was attacked and Mun-Ha was killed. At the moment of his death, Sinh placed his feet on his master and faced the goddess. The cat’s white fur took on a golden cast, his eyes turned as blue as the eyes of the goddess, and his face, legs and tail became the color of earth. However, his paws, where they touched the priest, remained white as a symbol of purity. All the other temple cats became similarly colored.
The modern history of the Birman is almost as shrouded in mystery as its legendary origin. What is known for certain is that, probably around 1919, a pair of Birman cats were clandestinely shipped from Burma to France. The male cat did not survive the arduous conditions of the long voyage, but the female, Sita, did survive, and happily, was pregnant.
The ideal Birman is a large, long stocky cat. It has long silky hair, not as thick as that of the Persian, and is of a texture that doesn’t mat. The color of the coat is light, preferably with a golden cast, as if misted with gold. The “points” - face, legs and tail - are darker, similar to the Siamese and colorpointed Persian color patterns of seal point, blue point, chocolate point and lilac point. The almost round eyes are blue, set in a strong face with heavy jaws, full chin and Roman nose with nostrils set low. The very distinctive white feet are ideally symmetrical. The gloves on the front feet, if perfect, go across in an even line, and on the back feet end in a point up the back of the leg, called laces. It is very difficult to breed a cat with four perfect white gloves.
PHRASE OF THE WEEK
Helpful Buckeye is happy to report that a lot of our readers are pretty sharp when it comes to deciphering an obscure phrase! Many of you responded by e-mail about last week's mystery phrase, "It is fruitless to attempt to indoctrinate a super-annuated canine with innovative maneuvers," with the correct answer of "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."Congrats to all of you! A couple of cartoons from The New Yorker illustrate certain aspects of this concept:
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
This product is a little pricey, but...if you live in a mosquito infested area, it just might pay big dividends for your back yard, patio, or camping area. Read about this product that supposedly succeeds due to carbon dioxide, which attracts the mosquitoes: http://shopping.aol.com/lentek-koolatron-mk05g-mosquito-trap-champion-half-acre/
1) Ken, from Flagstaff, sent in these photos of the newest in security systems. As the advertisement goes, "For security in your back yard or shop, groom your dog like this."
2) The world's tallest dog, a Great Dane, has lost a leg due to bone cancer. Bone cancers are much more common in the larger breeds of dog and this Great Dane stands a whopping 42.2 inches...at the shoulder! Check out the story at: http://news.aol.com/article/worlds-tallest-dog-loses-leg/485943?icid=mainhtmlws-
3) A few weeks ago, Helpful Buckeye ran a story of how service dogs are being used in the Flagstaff area to help youngsters practice their reading skills. Well, it seems that this is being tried elsewhere in the USA also. A team from the American Kennel Club has done the same thing in North Carolina: http://www.akc.org/news/literacy_day.cfm
4) Perhaps you've wondered where your puppy really came from, or wish there was a way to check out a breeder's record. Maybe you just want to learn more about a specific breeding kennel in your neighborhood. Well, now you can! Puppy Facts Database is a program offered by the online by the ASPCA. Simply, go to their web site, follow the easy instructions, and you're on your way! http://www.aspcapuppyfacts.org/
5) Today, 17 May, is the birthday (1749) of English physician Edward Jenner, the developer of the small pox vaccine.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have finally decided that they can play and win without Manny Ramirez in the lineup. We took 2 out of 3 in Philly and 2 out of 3 from the Marlins, teams which have beaten us often in the past.
A quote from Charlotte Bronte was proven wrong this week! Our hike along the West Fork of Oak Creek was the disprover. Ms. Bronte's quote was: "Life is so constructed, that the event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation." Charlene, Ken, Desperado, and Helpful Buckeye are here to tell you that the hike exceeded all expectations!
Thanks to the progress of computers, the Internet, and Google, Helpful Buckeye is able to bring you this blog...even though there have been some mistakes along the way. An anonymous observer had this to say about computers: "Computers let you make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila."
For the upcoming weekend, remember to allow for some time to think about Memorial Day and what it means to our country.
~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~