Misty, the 10-year-old Golden Retriever who inspired the Senior Dogs Project

The Senior Dogs Project
..........."Looking Out for Older Dogs" ...........

"Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog."
-
Sydney Jeanne Seward

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News.... May/June 2004
Bulletin! May 26, 2004 -- Raisin Toxicity
Laurinda Morris, DVM, Danville Veterinary Clinic, Danville, OH, issued an Internet alert after her patient, a 56-pound, five-year-old male neutered Lab mix died after he ate half a cannister of raisins. He started with vomiting, diarrhea and shaking several hours after he ate the raisins, but was not taken to the vet for another six hours. The vet writes, "I had heard somewhere about raisins AND grapes causing acute renal failure but hadn't seen any formal paper on the subject. We contacted the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center and they said to give IV fluids at 1 1/2 times maintenance and to watch the kidney values for the next 48 -72 hours." Despite heroic efforts on the part of the veterinarian and additional medical attention at MedVet, the dog did not respond to treatment and had to be euthanized. The vet notes that most people are not aware that raisins can be toxic to dogs. She says, "Please alert everyone you know who has a dog of this very serious risk. Poison Control said as few as seven raisins could be toxic. Many people I know give their dogs grapes or raisins as treats. Any exposure should give rise to immediate concern."
Bulletin! May 29, 2004 -- Woof & Co. Selling Puppies from Mills in Malls
......Dogs in a puppy mill......
A new retailing concept, supposedly appealing to the "upscale" market, is threatening an assault on the dog rescue world. Camouflaging themselves in the slogan of a "holistic approach," Woof & Co. plans to move into malls across America to sell puppies priced at $700 to $1,800. Currently, there are two stores in the Boston area (one of them at South Shore Plaza at the intersection of Route 3 and I-93 in Braintree, MA). Six more openings are planned this year, and next year there is to be a national assault.
Two marketing "whiz kids" have been appointed to management positions (Donald C. Jones, President and CEO, formerly of IKEA and GAP; and Karen Oden, head of Operations, a former Baby GAP employee).
The Kinship Circle website has posted extensive details on the management team and financial backing of Woof & Co. You may wish to contact the parties involved to let them know you disapprove of their retail concept, to tell them about the inhumane practices that must be a component of puppy production (i.e., puppy mills), and to admonish them for threatening to destroy the progress the U.S. has made toward becoming a no-kill nation.
In this edition: Issues & Announcements....Senior  Dog Health.....Rescue and Adoption News.....Can You Post a Senior Dogs Project Flyer?.......Some Thoughts to  Consider
Issues & Announcements
What It Means to be "Responsible" for a Companion Animal
Buckwheat and Alexandra, photo courtesy of Kathleen ThurstonWhat, specifically, does it mean to be "responsible" for a pet? We're guessing that any visitor to the srdogs.com site knows every item on the list that follows, but we thought we'd provide it anyway, just in case you run into someone who is not as familiar as you are with the information and who might need to read it. We found most of the material on this topic at a website called Military Members and their Dogs. We have adapted it and added our own thoughts for presentation here.

Acting responsibly for a companion animal means that you:

(1) Ensure the animal receives all vaccinations and appropriate veterinary care, including heartworm preventative, regular exams, and intermittent/emergency veterinary attention for any conditions requiring it. (2) Obtain licenses required by local government agencies. (3) Arrange for care of the animal when unable to personally attend to it. (4) Provide appropriate exercise and attention to maintain a socialized, interested, happy pet. (5) Train your dog through obedience classes or other humane and non-punitive methods, ensuring that the dog is suited for social situations with people and other animals. (6) Clean up after your dog when on walks or in areas around your home so that dog litter does not collect. (6) Spay/neuter every pet in your guardianship. (7) Never breed, and, rather than purchasing a pet, make adoption from a shelter or rescue agency your first choice. (8) Tell your landlord that you have or anticipate having a pet. (9) Commit to having your pet for the lifetime of the animal -- not until you get bored. (10) Never use violent physical means of any kind in dealing with your pet (physical violence against an animal is considered animal abuse and is punishable by law). (11) Research the needs of your pet as you would the needs of your children. (12) Deal appropriately with behavior problems by analyzing the cause and seeking professional help when necessary to prevent unwanted behavior from occurring. E.g., investigate why your dog is barking, do not allow the dog to continue barking until the neighbors are annoyed, do not yell at the dog to "shut up," treat the dog with respect in finding the reason for his barking. (13) Make the animal a true family member, not simply an occupant of the yard. (14) Prepare to take financial responsiblity for a companion animal by investigating the potential costs and ensuring you are able to cover them before taking on the commitment. (15) Realize that animals are sentient creatures, capable of experiencing pain, and do all in your power to prevent pain and to provide love.

Our thanks, again, to the creator of the Military Members and their Dogs Web site for inspiring presentation of this topic.

Legal Issues -- the Right to Sue for "Emotional Distress"
DVM: the Newsmagazine of Veterinary Medicine reported that in California a bill was pulled from the state Legislature that would have enabled people who have lost their pets due to veterinary medical malpractice to sue for up to $25,000 for "emotional distress and loss of consortium" (also called "non-economic damages"). Drug manufacturers feared they would be sued for related product liability, and so Pfizer was instrumental in lobbying to get the bill derailed. The bill was originally backed by California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA)'s Non-Economic Task Force, but voted down by the group's Board of Governors. The CVMA Task Force believed the bill would better control the outcome of a national movement to increase pet worth. However, Pfizer's spokesperson said that legal expenses involved in defending against such suits would only serve to increase their costs of doing business, which would then be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher drug prices. CVMA officials did not approve of the "backdoor lobbying tactics" that got the bill pulled, accusing both Pfizer and the Animal Health Institute (a trade association that represents manufacturers of animal health care products) of using "fear tactics." The American Veterinary Medical Law Association (AVMLA) reported there are currently at least five cases in the US that are seeking non-economic damages for injury for the loss of pets. CVMA had hoped to cap the possible damages awarded in such cases, but, now that the bill has been pulled, there won't be an opportunity to do so until next year. But, in the meanwhile, read on.......
An "Emotional Distress" Case Wins in a CA Court
Sent from the Internet -- Los Angeles, California: The Tuesday, February 24, Los Angeles Times reported that a jury had awarded a dog's guardian $39,000 in a malpractice suit (Part B, page 5). The reporter, Jean-Paul Renaud writes, "A man who sued his Fountain Valley veterinarian for malpractice has been awarded nearly $39,000 for the death of his dog." The verdict is the highest amount ever awarded in the United States for the value of a dog. More important, it was awarded for "emotional distress" of the guardian, not the "open market value" of the dog, a Lab mix who would have brought $10. The article states, "Jurors ordered the veterinarian to compensate Bluestone $9,000 for the veterinary bills and $30,000 for the dog's 'unique' value to his owner." Source: www.dawnwatch.com

More action in other states....

You Are What You Eat....and What They Eat

According to nutritionists, low carbohydrate diets (such as Atkins), which exclude or minimize vegetables and fruits, can cause constipation, diverticulitis, and other gastrointestinal problems. In addition, such diets offer little availability of the phytochemicals that occur in vegetables and fruits, which are known to fight cancer. Other negative effects: decreased energy and athletic performance; slow recovery from exercise; eventual re-gaining of the weight due to difficulty of maintaining the diet.

Did you know that cattle are fed chicken excrement? According to an item in DVM: the Newsmagazine of Veterinary Medicine, the Food and Drug Administration is proposing a ban on adding blood, chicken excrement and restaurant table scraps to cattle feed. You might guess that chicken producers are against the ban. The "litter" they currently sell to cattle producers includes "chicken fecal matter, dead birds, feathers and spilled feet." If the chicken producers don't have to dispose of this material, but instead can sell it as cattle feed, their operation can be more profitable. Center for Veterinary Medicine Director Stephen Sundlof says they are making progress, but no date has been set for implementing the ban.

Senior Dog Health
How to Save on Pet Remedies
Thanks to Michelle Slatalla's "Online Shopper" column in the New York Times (Thursday, March 25, 2004), you are likely to find good prices on remedies and medicines for your companion animals by going to these sources:

www.vetamerica.com

www.kvvet.com

www.1.800petmeds.com

As an example, the reporter found GlycoFlex, normally more than $60 for 300 pills, for $33.99 (vetamerica.com) and $31.95 (kvvet.com), and a cheaper private-label version with the same ingredients at $26.99 (1.800petmeds.com).

Getting Ready for Summer -- Heartworm Disease
Although heartworm disease thrives best in warm, humid weather and climates, it exists in every part of the US. It is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, and both cats and dogs are susceptible. Mosquitoes fly both inside and outside the house, so your animal won't be safe, even if indoors most of the time. The heartworm may grow to a length of 11 inches, and, if the condition is left untreated, a colony forms that can infest a dog's heart and lungs and cause serious, irreversible damage. Treatment of heartworm can be successful, depending on how far it has gone, but, keep in mind that older dogs are not as strong as younger ones. The treatment can be very taxing for them. Eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes that are on your property and keep screens in good repair. Most important, have your dog tested every year for the disease and religiously use the preventative recommended by your veterinarian. More on Heartworm disease .....
Getting Ready for Summer -- Vacation Planning
Going on vacation? Don't leave your dog behind! There are greater opportunities than ever to vacation with your dog. Even adventure travel is now possible. Investigate these:
Bailey Knows Travel, Sherman Oaks, CA Activities: explore Santa Barbara, botanical garden walks, quadricycle riding (with basket for small dogs), in-room massage, pet psychic, nutritionist.

Colorado Canines Adventure Trips, Boulder, CO. Activities: Gentle river rafting, hiking, vegetarian meals, houseboating on Lake Powell

Camp Dogwood, Ingleside, IL Activities: Overnight camp, hiking, canoeing, trick-training class, agility, dog massage lessons, canine water-sports

Blue Sky Dogs, New York, NY Activities: Bed-and-breakfast, happy hour (dog treats, wine, cheese), canoeing, barbecue

Dog Paddling Adventures, Toronto, Canada Activities: three-day canoeing trip, basic paddling lessons, campfire dinners, day hikes, swimming

Rescue & Adoption News
Seniors-for-Seniors Programs Growing
The Senior Dogs Project is happy to have received announcements of the forming of the following efforts/organizations to promote the adoption of senior dogs by senior citizens. In addition, please see the other Seniors-for-Seniors programs listed on this site.
San Diego, CA -- Senior Mutt Match writes: "The mission of Senior Mutt Match is to help promote the adoption of senior dogs (ages five and older) from shelters and rescue groups in the San Diego community. We want to educate the San Diego community in general and senior citizens specifically, about the wonderful benefits of adopting a senior mutt*. By doing this we hope to help create a life-time match between a senior dog and his or her new forever family.
"We feel this is a win-win situation since many amazing senior dogs will have their lives spared and just as many citizens, young and old, will have their lives enhanced by animal companionship. If that wasn't reason enough, there are also many research studies that show the connection between better mental health, improved physical health and having a pet in your life. (* We lovingly refer to all dogs in shelters as 'mutts' whether they are a purebred or a wonderful mix of breeds.)"

Rogers Rescue, serving New Jersey and Eastern PA, writes that they are " . . . launching a Seniors for Seniors program! One of the saddest things about rescue is seeing how many great senior dogs are dumped in shelters. They get depressed and sick easier and faster than the younger dogs, and are very confused about why they're in a shelter after being with their families for most of their lives. Our seniors program will offer senior dogs (aged 7+) to senior citizens (age 60+) at a discounted adoption fee of $100. This fee will include rabies, dhlpp, fecal test, heartworm test, and spay/neuter. We will also treat any known illnesses before adoption.

"To apply for this program, please fill out an adoption application and indicate you're interested in adopting through our Seniors for Seniors program. Once your application has been processed, we'll contact you for a phone interview and discuss what type of dog would best fit into your family. If approved to adopt thorugh our rescue, we'll begin the search for a dog specifically for you!"
Sherwood, AR, Has a Serious Senior Dog Advocate

We were delighted to receive this E-mail message from Sara Dawson of Sherwood, AR:

Sarah Dawson with Zack"We have now rescued two senior dogs: Sammy, a Schnauzer mix, lost his person when she had to enter a nursing home. Sammy was 14 years old. His person had adopted him as a puppy when he was found on the side of the road. We were able to give Sammy three more good years and took him to visit his first mom at her nursing home. Sammy's decline was fairly rapid. He became blind, developed congenital heart problems, and finally dementia set in.

"My second rescue is Zack, a wonderful 12-year-old mini Schnauzer. His people received orders to Iraq and had to relinquish him. Zack is loving and has the energy of a two year old. Even my 15-year-old Dachshund loves him. This senior dog takes me for a brisk hour walk each day and we have started obedience classes so that I can better understand what Zack expects from me.

"Please send the flyer and I will make copies and post them all over Sherwood, AR."

Can You Post a Senior Dogs Project Flyer?
We continue to ask your help in educating people about the joys and benefits of adopting an adult dog by posting a Senior Dogs Project flyer.......

Jazzmine, adopted at 8 years of ageSo many good dogs who are over the age of five are euthanized simply because of their age and the bias most people have toward adopting puppies. Our flyer explains why adopting an older dog is such a good idea. We can e-mail a copy of the flyer to you (request Word or PDF format, and you can print it out from your computer). Just send an e-mail to: flyer @ srdogs.com (remove spaces in the address before sending) with the word "Flyer Word" or "Flyer PDF" in the subject line. We've heard from supporters that they've posted the flyer in supermarkets, shelters, churches, veterinary offices, doggie daycare centers, dog trainers' offices, parks where people walk their dogs, and community bulletin boards. So, if you have time and opportunity, we'd appreciate your printing out a copy and posting it. Thank you!

Some Thoughts to Consider
Dr. Jane Goodall, the world's foremost authority on chimpanzees, believes that education is the best route to stopping mankind's precipitous slide toward the decimation of our resources and the inhumane treatment of animals. She and Marc Bekoff, a professor of biology at the University of Colorado, have written a book entitled The Ten Trusts; What We Must Do to Care for the Animals We Love. The ten trusts are: (1) Rejoice that we are part of the animal kingdom. Goodall gave her chimpanzees names, offering them personality and individuality, which shocked her fellow scientists. She provided the lesson that we are co-dependent with all the creatures of the Earth, and that each of us has identity and worth as an individual and as part of the kingdom. (2) Respect all life. Such respect would not allow the operation of inhumane industries such as factory farms, rodeos, and circuses. (3) Open our minds, in humility, to animals and learn from them. (4) Teach our children to respect and love nature. Animal abuse learned in childhood has been shown to be related to violent behavior of adults. Teaching children respect for all forms of life yields compassion and concern. (5) Be wise stewards of life on earth. You can do this by choosing a personal lifestyle that conserves resources and does not support industries that squander them. (6) Value and help preserve the sounds of nature. Goodall advises us to "become vigilant" in protecting nature (and ourselves) against the rudeness of jet skis and boom boxes, and the destructiveness of pesticides that kill our songbirds. (7) Refrain from harming life in order to learn about it. One animal dies every three seconds in research laboratories. Computer models can be substituted for the inhumane, unnecessary, and frequently redundant research done in laboratories and medical schools. (8) Have the courage of our convictions. Take every opportunity to speak up about your beliefs and to educate people about these important issues. (9) Praise and help those who work for animals and the natural world. You can work on a personal, community or global level. (10) Act knowing we are not alone and live with hope. Goodall says, "As long as each of us does our bit, the cumulative result will be massive change for the good."

Adapted from The Animal Chronicles, Spring 2004 edition, a Marin Humane Society Publication.

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