Emergency Preparedness For Your Pets

September is Designated as Emergency Preparedness Month

September is  National Emergency Preparedness Month. How very fitting as residents of the Carolinas and much of the East Coast are bracing for Hurricane Florence to hit later this week. Here at Coddle Creek we take this issue seriously.  We lived through Hurricane Hugo twenty-nine years ago and learned a great deal. 

emergency preparedness

Take Me With You!

Hurricane Hugo Compared to Hurricane Florence

In Hugo, we learned there could be power outages as far west as Boone and Asheville.  We learned that rooftops could be lifted and homes destroyed.  Billy was stationed at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, SC.  He and other military personnel were “deployed” for weeks afterward in various parts of North and South Carolina to help with clean up.  

I lived in Asheville, NC.  My sister was a student at Appalachian State University in Boone.  Our brother lived in Clover, SC. We each experienced heavy rain and high winds with some damage in the areas of our homes.  Our parents lived on the family homeplace in Lincoln County.  Approximately 10 acres of their property was covered in hardwoods.  Remarkably, my father had enough downed trees to cut all the firewood they needed to heat their home for the next eleven years.  After their deaths, there was still enough firewood stacked in the chicken house to have heated their home for several years.

The National Weather Service website contains personal stories from numerous people, including the then young meteorologist Eric Thomas at WBTV.  A story in the Charlotte Observer on the 25th anniversary of Hugo tells similar stories.

Similarities Between Hugo and Florence

Florence has enough in common with Hugo to have us on alert and well prepared.  We expect you are prepared if you lived through Hugo, grew up hearing the stories or have lived around here long enough to meet some of us “old-timers.”  You most likely know what you need to keep yourself safe and comfortable. Therefore, we are focusing on the extra information you need to keep your cats, dogs, small caged pets and birds safe.  

Emergency Preparedness for Pets

A lot of emergency preparedness for pets is similar to emergency preparedness for humans.  We know the drill.  Have enough water and food. You need medication. Have supplies handy and ready to deploy.  But there are several special considerations for our pets.

Several major networks offer great tips.  Here is an article from CNN. And Fox News offers great tips too.

Special Food and Water Considerations for Pets

  • If you feed raw food you will need extra ice and coolers in case of power outages
  • For pets on a prescription veterinary diet you will need to have an extra bag of prescription kibble or box of canned prescription food
  • If you make home prepared meals for your pets you will need extra ice to keep the food safe if you lose electricty
  • For pets who eat regular kibble or canned food you need an adequate supply in case you can’t get to the store
  • Pets that drink distilled water or filtered water need extra jugs of water

Medication for Your Pets

  • If your pet is on  medication for thyroid issues, Cushings, diabetes, anxiety, etc you will need  enough for two weeks
  • But even if your pet is not usually anxious he may feel nervous with the noises of a major storm, changes in barometric pressure, etc
  • If you have to evacuate from your home your pet may get sick in your vehicle
  • If you have to move to the home of a relative or to a shelter, your pet may be nervous
  • In each of these instances it’s a good plan to talk with your vet today about what over the counter supplements may be helpful if it’s too late to have your pet evaluated for prescription medication  

Special Supplies for Your Pets

  • Nature’s Miracle makes a cat calming spray that can be sprayed on blankets and beds
  • Feliway makes diffusers and a calming solution for the cat scratching post
  • Sentry makes calming collars for cats
  • Adaptil makes calming collars, sprays and diffusers for dogs
  • There are numerous storefront retailers and on line retailers that sell a wide variety of calming treats, collars and sprays for multiple species of pets
  • It’s helpful to use one of the calming sprays on your pets’ blankets or to put a calming collar on them
  • It’s also helpful to give your pet a calming treat if they don’t have medication to treat anxiety

Pet Friendly Emergency Shelters and Hotels

  • Bring Fido provides information on pet friendly hotels
  • Here is a list of pet friendly emergency shelters
  • Many breed specific rescue organizations have active social media pages
  • Log into those social media pages to see if someone is offering a place to stay for others affected by the storm
  • Because most public emergency shelters will have separate areas for humans and pets you will need dog crates, cat carriers and bird cages for your pets
  • To block the scary view of others it’s helpful to place a blanket or towel over the dog crate or cat carrier.
  • Each dog will need a crate, bed, towels, food/water bowls, ID tags, collar, leash, harness, poop bags and toys
  • Each cat will need a carrier, bed, blankets, food/water bowls, toys, ID tags, collar, litter, litter box, litter scoop and bags to use for used litter
  • Consider a harness and leash for your cat
  • Each bird needs his or her cage, food and water containers, toys and blankets to cover the cage

What to Do Before the Next Pet Emergency

Chances are you were not fully prepared this time.  That’s ok.  Very few people are always fully prepared.  Good preparation takes planning, time and money. You can’t be blamed for not knowing what you don’t know.  Now you know so you will do better next time.

Next week do these steps:

Review the things we talked about and select the ones you have the time and budget to implement first. That might mean buying a dog crate.  Or maybe it’s getting one extra bag of pet food so you can stay ahead.  Likewise maybe you can schedule a vet appointment for your anxious pet to get medication. 

Train your cat to go in his carrier or your dog to love her crate. The public library has lots of books to help with this.  If your budget will stretch a little further schedule a few private sessions with a positive reinforcement trainer or take advantage of free classes offered

If you want to go a step further consider taking a pet cpr and first aid class in case your pet sustains an injury.  That’s helpful in every day life.  We teach Pet Tech classes and are happy to have you join us if your live nearby. 

Another great plan is to microchip your pets. 

And last but not least.  Never give up. This too shall pass.

What Happens in Vegas…Comes Home to Coddle Creek

What Happens in Vegas…Comes Home to Coddle Creek Pet Services

Episode I

Despite popular opinion some things that happen in Las Vegas are designed to be shared. The PetSittingOlogy Conference is one of those happenings. In October 2014 Billy and I were privileged to attend the 3rd Annual PetSittingOlogy Conference. We were delighted to attend the 5th Annual PetSittingOlogy Conference this past October.
 
Vegas

PSO Pet Sitters 2016

 

Arden Moore

Over the next several months we will share the highlights from the conference with you. Today we start with the incomparable Arden Moore. You may have been fortunate enough to listen to her radio show, Oh Behave! on Pet Life Radio. Several years ago I bought her book, The Cat Behavior Answer Book and  have found the tips invaluable when working with, shall we say, less than enthusiastic cats!!

While at the conference Billy and I had the privilege of spending some one on one time with Arden and got to know her on a personal level. Arden’s sense of humor is delightful.  We also had the opportunity to purchase two more of her books, Fit Dog and Fit Cat.  We heartily recommend Arden’s books.

Just this week Billy passed along recommendations for medicating a cat to one of our clients that was distressed about her cat’s needs for medication. Said cat is independent and does not like to be messed with. 

Arden’s cat Casey assists her with teaching Pet First Aid 4U. Pet Safety Cat Casey endorses the The Explorer Adventure First Aid Kit. The kit contains the items you might need in an emergency (for your pet or you). Billy and I previously created our own first aid kits for carrying in our cars but needed something compact enough to carry on hikes with our dogs. This kit is the perfect addition to our backpacks for those so beloved hikes.

Stay tuned next month for Episode Two of What Happens in Vegas…Comes Home to Coddle Creek Pet Services.

Whisker Fatigue

What is Whisker Fatigue?

What do you know about whisker fatigue?  Yes, there really is such a thing!!  We loved this article in a recent issue of Modern Cat.  Already we knew that a cat’s whiskers are approximately as long as he is wide so your cat knows if he can fit into a space.  But we also learned that in addition to serving as a ruler, your cat’s whiskers help him to respond to changes in vibrations.

There are proprioceptors at the end of your cat’s whiskers that actually do the work. If you are a human of a certain age you probably have noticed your proprioception has become somewhat compromised. I surely have and am always careful going up and down steps for this very reason.

Your cat’s whiskers are quite sensitive and easily become fatigued.  That’s why it’s so important to give him food and water bowls that allow him to eat and drink without his whiskers brushing against the side of the bowl.  Think low and shallow for food bowls and low and wide for water bowls.  Many cats will also paw at their water bowls so it’s a good idea to have a plate underneath the water bowl to serve as a “catch pot.”

Remember that stainless steel or ceramic bowls are the best option for keeping clean. Washing their bowls daily is a must to keep from getting slimy buildup on the food and water dishes.

whisker fatigue

Chester getting a drink

Or you could just let your cat drink from the sink the way Chester is drinking in the photo above. Gotta love those cats.

Fireworks and Pets

Fireworks and Pets Mix Like Oil and Water.

fireworks and pets

Fireworks and pets

No doubt any pet owner who did not already know that fireworks scare the heck out of pets has learned that fact the last few days.

We have three dogs of our own and are also professional pet sitters.  During the last few days we have seen far too many anxious dogs and cats.  I am distressed that the thoughtless illegal actions of others have troubled so many pets and people. It’s truly distressing to be taking care of pets in a house that sits on a thumbnail sized lot with houses so close you could practically touch them if you stretched your arms out. In one instance I had taken a dog out to “do her business.” Just as she squatted a huge BOOM went off. The poor dog stopped in her tracks and did not relieve herself out of fear.

A neighbor had left his dog tied up outside. The pitiful sounds of the dog whimpering and whining broke my heart. The cats inside the house went into hiding.

Certainly we don’t want to destroy anyone’s fun. But apparently many people have differing definitions of fun. However; I cannot define “fun” as an activity that causes extreme anxiety and fear in pets and also causes severe trauma for those who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For someone to define this action as “fun” demonstrates their level of immaturity.

More about those issues later in this post, but for now I want to focus on what we as pet owners can do to reduce the fear and stress our pets feel over the sound and sight of fireworks.

Fireworks and Pets:  How Can we Help Our Pets On July 4 and New Year’s Eve

Let’s face it, we most likely will not be able to get our neighbors to refrain from setting off fireworks.  There’s no point in banging our heads against the wall.  Instead, let’s get prepared for dealing with fireworks and pets.  Here are my top ten ideas.

  1. Talk with your neighbors in a friendly manner.  Find out what their plans are and when they plan to set off their fireworks. Tell them you need to know so that you can prepare your pets or plan on being away from home for awhile.
  2. Ask your neighborhood association to send out a notice suggesting that celebrations be confined to one night only each season….ideally on July 4 and New Year’s Eve. Approach this in a solution focused manner to reduce the need for anyone to fee defensive.
  3. Speak up at neighborhood meetings and discuss the realities of the issues around fireworks and pets. Let people know that some pets shake and drool uncontrollably, some pets try to escape their crates or even their homes. Dogs have been known to escape fences if outside when fireworks start. Any human who has ever experienced an anxiety attack is sure to be able to relate to how horrible that feels to the pet. Maybe I’m still just a little hopeful that folks will change their ways!
  4. If your dogs like car rides consider driving around in the country side where there are less likely to be fireworks displays.  Make sure you have the car radio on and bring along some chew toys for your dogs.
  5. Research camp grounds and find out where dogs are allowed and where traditionally fireworks have not been set off.  Once you know, take off on that camping trip. fireworks and pets
  6. For those of you that don’t like to go camping and for those of you with pets that don’t travel well (cats, birds, fish) learn how to make your home a fortress from loud noises. If you have a basement, that’s probably the best spot.  Turn on window air conditioners and fans to generate noise. Invest in a “white noise” machine.  Turn on the TV or stereo with the kind of music you already know is helpful to your pets. Use heavy curtains to help block noise and flashes of light.
  7. Give your dog something to occupy himself.  For food motivated dogs a frozen stuffed kong is ideal. We really like these ideas from Lynnette Walczak. Engage your cat in play. Pull out that laser light or play with a flirt pole to occupy his attention.
  8. Check out calming products for your cats and dogs. Not all products will be effective on all pets so you will need a little trial and error. Some of our favorites include the Thundershirt (they make them for cats too), Adaptil collars and diffusers (for dogs), Sentry Calming Collars (for dogs and cats), Feliway diffusers for cats, Music Through a Dog’s Ear/Cat’s Ear, Bach’s Flower Rescue Remedy and Nature’s Miracle Cat Calming Spray.
  9. If the environmental efforts you made and the calming products you tried did not work, consult your veterinarian for a prescription medication to calm and sedate your pet during the most stressful events
  10. Remember, this too shall pass.  Try to stay as calm as you can because we know that our pets respond to our moods also.

 

Fireworks and Military Combat Veterans

We promised to address the issue of combat veterans and fireworks too.  Here are our thoughts.

fireworks and pets

Combat Veteran Lives Here

Imagine my horror when I read a post in Next Door from someone who apparently had a large fireworks display in their yard.  The individual defended their actions as being patriotic due to her husband’s past military service. I am proud of my father, uncles and even one aunt who served in the military during WWII, another uncle who served in the US Army during the Korean conflict and my husband who served in the US Air Force for 22 years.

However; service in the military truly does not justify distressing others with illegal actions.  Far too many of our former and retired service members served in combat and continue to suffer from the ill effects many years later.  My own father was traumatized and I know many more were also.

The little things truly can make a difference.  Most veterans with PTSD are happy for you to celebrate with fireworks on July 4. To be courteous, please confine the celebrations to one night, July 4.  Please don’t make a week long celebration out of it.  Also know that many combat veterans prefer not to place a sign in their yard.  If they do place a sign be sure to honor it and warn them of your plans. That way the veteran can either leave home for the evening, take anti anxiety medication, turn up the music or do what ever he or she needs to do to ward off the crippling anxiety attack.

For those who think they are honoring military veterans with fireworks, perhaps it’s time to consider a different way to honor our veterans.  The thoughts expressed by many veterans regarding Memorial Day on the Task & Purpose web page are a good start.  One comment in particular rang true with me.

I understand the sentiment and the desire to convey appreciation. Rather than thank me, however, I would prefer people to take moment and think about the original November 11, in 1918. After a horrific campaign, the endless shelling, gassing, and gunfire ceased at 11 am, replaced with the first silence that the battlefields of World War I had heard in four years. Think of the shock and limitless thankfulness the soldiers felt as they heard birds chirping, something we hear and take for granted every day. They had survived hell, and could be reunited with their families. These men carried the scars of war with them forever, as do veterans of all conflicts. —Angry Staff Officer, U.S. Army National Guardsman

Another statement addressed the issue of service as follows.

With regards to being thanked for my service, no one should be under any obligation to do so. If they want to, that’s fine, although ask about my experiences, the people, the conditions. The real, honest stories we share truly help people understand a concept so foreign (literally and figuratively) to them. If they truly feel the need to thank and support service members, I would encourage them to find a veteran’s group or organization and help them out however they can. —Kyle Dykstra, U.S. Army veteran

Common Courtesy

Common courtesy goes a long way in addressing the concerns. For those of you who enjoy setting off fireworks in your yard, please consider the issues and needs of your neighbors (humans, dogs, cats and birds). For those of us who love and care for pets and humans suffering from PTSD, think proactively about how to approach your neighbors in a non confrontational manner. Be prepared with the actions and products that can most help your pets and you get through these difficult holidays. For me, July 4 will always be difficult because my father took his own life 16 years ago on July 4.  Little did we know that he had always hated July 4. Only after his death did we learn that he had taken out an entire company of men one July 4 during WWII.  I make sure not to knowingly engage in anything stressful on July 4 and simply take care of myself and my family the best way I can. May you do the same.

 

 

How to Play with Your Cats

play with your cats

Curious Cat

Do You Know How to Play with Your Cats?

Who doesn’t love to play?!?  That goes for your cats too. Did you know that cats enjoy playing fetch?  It’s a little different than playing fetch with a dog but just as engaging. Cats enjoy hunting for “prey” so you can put their natural instincts to work. When you play with your cats, be sure to let your cats “catch” the prey or it’s much too frustrating for them.

Choose toys that are sized right for your cat to bring to you in her mouth. It’s much more pleasant to have her bring a stuffed “mouse” than the real thing! Try to mimic actions that mice might make when getting your cat’s attention. Or use a feather on a wand and mimic a bird.  It’s really cool to see the cats we take care of engage with their toys and play time will bring you both a lot of pleasure.

Jonasek the kitten gives us a lively demonstration about the joy of playing with cats on this You Tube clip.

D – I – Y Toys

how to play with your cats

Cat cave by Jess

Toys can be expensive motorized ones, inexpensive stuffed mice or totally free paper bags and boxes. One cool idea is to make a cat cave from a box covered with an old t-shirt. Jess from the blog Practically Functional  writes about how easy it is to make this cat cave. Her step by step written instructions with photos demonstrates how she used objects that otherwise would have gone in the trash.

 

 

Ali Andrews provides a You Tube clip to demonstrate another method of fashioning a cat cave from a t shirt and box.

how to play with your cats

Stella in her blanket cave

Our friend Stella saves her humans the trouble and creates her own cave under the blankets. In the photo you can see me trying to entice Stella out from under her cave with a toy. Stella also enjoys playing with her very own oatmeal box!

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The folks over at World’s Best Cat Litter Blog show a whole bunch more!  Enjoy.

The Playful Kitty Blog provides more ideas.

Inexpensive Cat Toys

play with your cat

cat toys

To help build your bond with your cats it’s a great idea to play with your cats in an interactive manner.  After you play you can put the interactive toys away until the next play session. Your cats will also enjoy the toys more if you rotate them in an out of use just as you might rotate toys in and out of use with your children.

If you are supplying plenty of enrichment via cat caves, elevated surfaces, cat scratchers, cat TV (views of bird feeders outdoors) and indoor kitty gardens your cats will enjoy their day and still get plenty of exercise.

 

You can find these cat toys in most any pet supply store.

Play-time Etiquette 

It’s best to supervise your cat during play time and to inspect the toys  for safety after each play session.  Remember you play with your cats to give them the necessary exercise, build your bond and to teach them how to play gently. With catnip it’s best to see how your cat responds and remember not to over stimulate your cat.

Mimic the action of their natural prey by dragging the toy away from your cat so he has to chase it.  Let your cat catch the toy and “kill it.”  Keep your hands away so your cat does not learn to scratch or bite you instead of the toy.  The “kill” is the natural reward but a treat or two as a reward from you can signal the end of the play session and your cat will associate the reward with you.

After the play session your cat will be ready to curl up in her comfy cat bed or lounge in a sunny windowsill.

play with your cat

Cat lounging in window sill. All he needs is a view of a bird feeder!

 

 

 

 

January Pet Holidays

January Pet Holidays

The January Pet Holidays jump start 2016 for us.  Read all about the zany holidays and some more practical and useful January pet holidays in 2016.

January is designated as National Train Your Dog Month, Walk Your Pet Month and Adopt a Rescued Bird Month. Notice it is Walk your Pet, not just walk your dog month.  Sure enough, some cats can be trained to walk on a leash, but it is not recommend for every cat.  Click here to read a great article on the subject.

January Pet Holidays

Luke and Beth on a snowy hike

We know it’s cold outside in January, but that does not give us a “bye” for giving our dogs the exercise they crave and need.  If it’s too cold for you to walk your dog every day or if it’s dark by the time you arrive home, consider having us walk your dog from one to five days every week. Check out our doggy care page to learn about the services we provide for your dogs.

January 2 was National Pet Travel Safety Day.  We strongly advocate that when you are transporting your pet that you secure them with a pet safety belt and harness or inside a crate. Airline approved crates are the most sturdy for this purpose.

January 14 is National Dress Up Your Pet Day.  It’s one of those zany holidays just because it’s fun.  Pet MD even offers 10 reasons it’s a good idea. Be sure that your pet enjoys dressing up, that the clothing is not too tight and restrictive and and that nothing dangles off that could cause your pet to choke.

National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day (January 22) was designed to remind us to pay attention to what our cats are trying to tell us in the only language they have. Rather than simply being annoyed when your cat pees outside the litter box, scratches your sofa or scratches and bites you, think about the issue from your cat’s perspective.  If your cat’s behavior is perplexing you consider booking a consultation with Charlotte based Rita Reimers the Cat Analyst. Rita is a trusted colleague who also offers cat sitting services in the Charlotte area.

Change a Pet’s Life Day is celebrated on January 24. The ASPCA is sponsoring a contest to tell how you have changed a pet’s life. Check out this link to enter the contest.

January 21 is the day that Luke, Daisy Mae and Trooper are most looking forward to. On that monumental day they get to appreciate squirrels!

January pet holidays

Luke, Daisy Mae and Trooper (front to back)

Pet First Aid Class Available in Mooresville on February 28

Billy Harwell Certified to Teach Pet Tech Pet First Aid and CPR Classes

Have you ever wondered what the “More” is in our business name?  When we were brainstorming what to name our business we purposely made allowances for expansion. Hence the “More” in our name. On February 28 you will see one of the multiple reasons for “More” when Billy begins offering pet first aid classes. Both of us were trained by Pet Tech, Inc. in pet first aid and CPR last October. Billy’s background with first aid and CPR with humans has easily transferred to pet first aid and CPR.

In January Billy achieved a significant professional goal after attending a three day training course for Pet Tech Instructors.  Pet Tech is an international organization whose mission is “Improving the quality of pets’ lives, one pet parent at a time.”  Pet Tech is the premiere organization offering information and training in Pet CPR, First Aid & Pet Care.  Check out the web site at http://www.pettech.net for full information.

Billy successfully completed the Pet Tech Instructor Training program in January, 2015 and is qualified to teach the Pet Tech family of programs.  The 8-hour PetSaver™ class includes the skills and information necessary to prepare the pet owner in the unfortunate event of a medical emergency involving their pet.  Some of the topics highlighted in the class include:  CPR, Rescue Breathing, Shock Management, Bleeding, Injury Assessment, Heat Injuries, Cold Injuries, dental care and senior care.  These skills are essential for dog and cat groomers, dog walkers and pet sitters too. Billy now offers Pet Tech’s pet first aid and care classes for pet owners:  PetSaver™, First Aid & Care For Your Pets™ and Knowing Your Pet’s Health™”.

Class is Completed!

Class is Completed!

 

Why Take a Pet First Aid Course?

An important part of being a caring, conscientious, responsible and loving pet owner is knowing the life saving skills of pet first aid and care.  Your pets, just like children are at greater risk of death or injury from preventable accidents than any other reason.  Taking the correct and proper actions can significantly increase the chances of survival and reduce the extent of injury to your pet, before transporting them to your veterinarian.  The PetSaver™ Class is designed to help pet parents keep their pets happy and healthy. Additionally, each student receives a copy of Pet Tech’s PetSaver handbook, an emergency muzzle and a certificate valid for two years. Your registration fee also includes lunch.

Classes are scheduled for February 28, 2015 and March 21, 2015. For more information call Billy Harwell at Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC (704-662-0973).  For those of you that have used our pet sitting, dog walking or pet taxi services, we offer a significant discount on the fee.  You may call us to register.

If you are new to our services you may sign up for the February 28 class here. You may sign up for the March 21 class here.

 

CPR for dog

CPR for dog

 

 

 

 

 

Pet Tech – Pet Saver is Coming to Coddle Creek

Pet Tech – Pet Saver is Coming to Coddle Creek

Recently we told you how pleased we were to take the Pet Tech – Pet Saver training when we were in Las Vegas last October. We took the course for the safety of our own pets as well as the safety of your pets. When we are providing care for your pets, we want to assure they are happy, comfortable and safe.  We love our pets and know you love your pets as much as we love ours. We want you to have the skills and confidence necessary to administer first aid to your pets when necessary, but just as importantly to be able to recognize potential health issues to discuss with your veterinarian. That’s why Billy has chosen to be trained as a Pet Tech – Pet Saver, CPR and First Aid Instructor. http://www.pettech.net/index.php

Billy is taking the Pet Tech – Pet Saver instructor’s training this month and we anticipate he will teach his first class in March or April.  The course he will offer is 8 hours in duration and can be taught in one full session or two half days. Please let us know whether you prefer one full day or two half days for taking the Pet Tech – Pet Saver, CPR & First Aid program. We will keep that in mind as we set up the schedule.

Some of the topics addressed in the training include primary assessment; snout to tail assessment for injury and wellness; heat and cold injuries; insect bites/stings and snakebite; bleeding and shock management; choking management; assessing the pet’s vitals; seizure; rescue breathing; canine and feline breathing; restraining and muzzling; and caring for your senior pet-izen.

The American Veterinary Medical Association reminds us, “Always remember that any first aid administered to your pet should be followed by immediate veterinary care. First aid care is not a substitute for veterinary care, but it may save your pet’s life until it receives veterinary treatment.”

PetTech Logo

New Year’s Resolutions from the Coddle Creek Dogs

All lined up, pretty as a picture: Luke, Daisy Mae and Trooper

All lined up, pretty as a picture: Luke, Daisy Mae and Trooper

New Year’s Resolutions

The Coddle Creek Dogs read my recent post about New Year’s resolutions and have a few New Year’s Resolutions of their own.

Luke, “I hereby resolve to…….

  • sleep on both new doggie couches and get them shaped ‘just so’ to all my curves
  • show Trooper and Daisy Mae how the game of fetch is played
  • eat more bacon, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt
  • cuddle with my humans every day
  • learn to like bananas
  • eat more peanut butter

Trooper, “I hereby resolve to…..

  • be the first one out the door every morning
  • claim my crate before Luke or Daisy Mae have a chance to sleep in it
  • eat the entire spoonful of Greek Yogurt and cottage cheese in one helping
  • learn how to dislike at least one food
  • learn how to give up the ball when Daddy plays fetch with me
  • eat more peanut butter

Daisy Mae, “I hereby resolve to…..

  • quit going in Trooper’s crate or climbing on top of it
  • learn to like dried sweet potato chips
  • claim the new doggie couches before Luke and Trooper get to them
  • be the prettiest girl in our household
  • eat more bananas
  • eat more peanut butter

Predictions About Their New Year’s Resolutions

  • Trooper and Daisy Mae are incapable about learning the rules of fetch, so give it up Luke
  • If Luke ever eats bananas we will know he is sick, so this one better not come true
  • Trooper never seems to get the timing right to claim his own crate so he will be sleeping on the Kuranda bed because he sure won’t go in Luke and Daisy Mae’s crates
  • If ever Trooper does not want to eat whatever is put in front of him, we will know he is sick, so this one better not come true
  • Nothing can convince Daisy Mae that sweet potato chips are good……..bananas are another thing
  • Daisy Mae loves all crates and beds and couches, so give it up everybody
  • Daisy Mae will always be the prettiest girl in our household
Did somebody say peanut butter?!?

Did somebody say peanut butter?!?

Presents 4 Pets

English: dog in a wire crate strapped into a c...

English: dog in a wire crate strapped into a car for safe traveling Taken by Elf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Presents 4 Pets in Mooresville, Davidson and Cornelius

 

We are getting ready to start our first annual collection drive for Presents 4 Pets in Mooresville, Davidson and Cornelius.  We invite you to a be a part of this gift giving opportunity.

 

 

 

 

 

Starting November 1 and running through December 15, we will be coordinating a collection of items needed for dogs and cats in foster care or in local shelters. Presents 4 Pets is an annual project sponsored by members of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS).We have contacted the organizations that we have selected to be the beneficiaries but need to finalize details before listing them by name.  Later this month we will reach out to local veterinary hospitals, groomers, pet supply stores and other interested businesses regarding serving as a collection location.We will collect the items the rescues and shelter identify as most needed.   As a general rule the most needed items include canned and dry dog and cat food, stainless steel cat and dog food and water bowls, kitty litter, pet sized fleece blankets, towels, dog and cat toys, Nylabones, dog and cat collars, dog leashes, dog and cat flea and tick preventatives, Kongs, baby food (for the sick or injured little ones), formula for newborn kittens and puppies (when mommas are weak, sick or injured), cat towers, cat carriers, dog crates, puppy training pads, dog beds, cat nappers,and cleaning supplies.

If you happen to see these items on sale it would be a great time to buy some for donations. Stay tuned for further details in our October newsletter and on our social media sites.

 

 

How to Transition Your Outdoor Cat to an Indoor Cat

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Outdoor Cat

Are you ready to bring your outdoor cat inside to live? Great because outdoor cats, on average, live to age 5 while indoor cats may live into their late teens or early twenties. While you may not be able to transition a feral or barn cat, most cats can successfully make the adjustments. It will take patience and time but can be successfully done.

 

Indoor Cat

Be sure to provide scratching posts and pads for your kitty. To attract the kitty to the scratching post you may want to sprinkle some fresh catnip on it. Cat furniture that is sturdy and stable and has vertical and horizontal angles will be most appealing. Be sure your kitty has some perches where she can survey the outdoors.

 

 

cat scratching posy

cat scratching posy

Cat gets comfortable in litter box

Cat gets comfortable in litter box

Locate her litter boxes away from her food and water bowls because cats are known for not wanting to eat in or near their own bathroom.  You need a litter box on every floor of your house the cat has access to and at least one more litter box than the number of cats you have.
Cats love to play no matter their age so provide safe and fun toys. Furry little mice toys and ping pong balls are great options. Avoid string though because it’s a choking hazard. When you are available to play with the kitty use laser pointers or feathers on a wand to engage your cat. Be sure to put out some paper bags or boxes because most cats love them. And be prepared to share your sink.

 

 

For more information consult The Cat Behavior Answer Book by Arden Moore Catbehaviorcover

or Indoor Pet Initiative of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State University.

http://indoorpet.osu.edu/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author:  Beth Leatherman Harwell

www.coddlecreekpetservices.com

 

Treats…Treats…We Love Treats

 Who doesn’t love feeding their dogs treats?

Yummy in my Tummy!

Yummy in my Tummy!

Pup-sickles

32 oz plain yogurt
1 mashed ripe banana
2 T peanut butter
2 T honey

 

Blend all together and spoon into ice-cube trays (who remembers those?!?) or Dixie cups or egg cartons. Freeze until solid. Serve individually to your pups.

 

For those remaining hot days of summer plan on serving these out-of-doors (they are messy) for your pups to enjoy.
Human Foods

Carrots are tasty!

Carrots are tasty!

Your dogs may enjoy small bites of watermelon, berries, carrots, apples or cheese. Your cats might like zucchini, cantaloupe or leafy green veggies.

Is it my turn yet Mommy?

Is it my turn yet Mommy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our three dogs sit at attention politely waiting on a spoonful of plain fat-free Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.

 

Just remember that portion size matters and calories do count. Think 1/8 inch square for a cat or small dog and 1/4 inch square for a larger dog.

 

 
Author:  Beth Leatherman Harwell

 

 

Special Pet Days and Weeks in August

August is steaming hot.  Let’s celebrate the special pet days and weeks in August for a little relief.

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We’ve all experienced the dog days of summer.  We have no idea where the term came from.  Maybe it was because the heat and humidity makes us feel dog tired.  At any rate, we believe every day with our pets is special, but here are more reasons to celebrate those special pet days and weeks in August.  While you are at it, be sure to make some cooling pupsickles for your pets.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month.

This a great time to be sure our pets’ shots are up to date and to consult the the veterinarian about titers.

 Special Pet Days and Weeks in August

August 3 – 9        International Assistance Dog Week

August 15            National Check the Chip Day

August 15            International Homeless Animals Day

August 22           National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day

August 26           National Dog Day

 

Assistance dogs provide a necessary service for children in schools, wounded warriors and folks with hearing or vision impairments.  Without these highly trained dogs, the lives of many people would be barren and bleak.  Micro chipping our pets is a great way to improve the chances of a lost or stolen dog being returned home. That helps to reduce the likelihood of more homeless animals.

Cats are not known for liking to travel. Consider leaving your cat’s carrier out so she can go in and out of it at will.  that will make her trips to the vet a lot less traumatic.  You may also want to consider using a vet office that has separate entrances for cats and dogs or seeking the services of a mobile vet.

So, let’s enjoy the dog days of summer.

Puppy Punch

Puppy Punch is just the thing on those hot summer days.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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We found this recipe for puppy punch on Pinterest.  It can be served to your pups as a punch or frozen treat. Just be uber careful to use decaffeinated green tea as caffeine is not OK for the pups!

 
Ingredients
1   cup decaffeinated green tea
1   13.5 oz lite coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 bananas
2  cups frozen blueberries
Directions
Brew 1 cup decaffeinated green tea. Place in refrigerator to cool.  Puree remaining ingredients in a blender. Stir in chilled green tea.  Serve chilled or pour into small silicon molds or ice-cube trays.

Let the pups enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowmageddon in Coddle Creek

We had a rare snow event in Coddle Creek today.  It was beautiful.  As much as we love to pet sit for others, today was a no go.  Fortunately, we had no one scheduled for today and the parents of the kitty client scheduled for tomorrow have postponed their trip by a day. Lucky break.

Enjoy this photo from our deck.

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Daisy in a Rare Quiet Moment

It is so cold outside that even I, the one and only Daisy Mae Harwell decided that it would feel good to snuggle up in my blankie.

Daisy Mae Getting Warm in her Blankie
I don’t really have a favorite blankie, but I let Mommy think I do.  BOL.

Panda’s Freedom Ride

What a beauty she is.  Panda is the first black and white Brittany I have met.  She is a real stunner with those panda bear eyes.  We can easily see how she got her name.  Panda’s  life story is sad.  She was picked up as a stray, along with her siblings, Angel and Spot.  Iredell County Animal control checked: sure enough Angel and Spot were chipped!! Oh happy day!!

Panda gets ready to leave the shelter.

Panda gets ready to leave the shelter.

Not so fast.   A phone call to the owner was disappointing.  He said he had “given away”  all three dogs.  Really?  Pretty lame.  But at least he came to the shelter and completed the owner surrender paperwork.

This freedom ride thing is a lot scary

This freedom ride thing is a lot scary

All three took their initial rides to freedom this weekend.  Angel and Spot left a little earlier in the day to be fostered by New England Brittany Rescue (NEBR).  I picked up Panda and transported her to Rock Hill, SC where a foster mommy with American Brittany Rescue (ABR) was waiting to take her to her home in Columbia.

Panda is warming up!!

Panda is warming up!!

Panda is pretty in pink.  She is a little chubby (60 pounds!) but will slim down in no time after she recovers from her spay surgery.  Here’s to a happy life for Panda the beautiful Brittany Spaniel.

Happy Panda ready for new life!!

Happy Panda ready for new life!!

Open Adoption: For Dogs

Our Experience with Open Adoption:  For Dogs

 

The front door was open so we could see through the storm door. The doorbell rang. We were nervous. What if Trooper didn’t remember his former Daddy? Would he know him when he saw him or would he have to smell him? Luke and Daisy were in the den and took off for the living room door. I called Trooper; no response. Had he not come back from his walk with Daddy?? I opened the stairway door and here he came, trailing a leash behind him.  This was our opportunity to see how open adoption:  for dogs would turn out.

Trooper remembers his 1st Daddy

Wow, look at that tail wag! Here he goes jumping up and down. Even Luke and Daisy were jumping up and down but had no idea why. Guess it was just contagious exuberance!  No need for Trooper to smell; he knew his first Daddy by sight. He just could not get close enough to his Daddy. It was a great hour-long visit and we hope the first of many.

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Trooper’s elderly first Daddy was diagnosed with cancer and had to have chemo. His doctor told him he would not be able to withstand the treatment and look after three dogs. He convinced his MD to let him keep the oldest dog and his vet hooked him up with English Springer Rescue America (ESRA) for help in re-homing Trooper and  Brownie.  Enter Trooper into our lives and for this we are grateful.  So are Luke and Daisy Mae.

Pet Death and Grief

Beau the Snow Dog in his prime

Beau the Snow Dog in his prime

Dealing with Pet Death and Grief

 

Losing a beloved pet is so very hard. We are sharing some general tips along with a bit of our journey in hopes that our experiences will be helpful to you.

As a licensed clinical social worker in a local hospice agency I know that everyone’s grief journey is personal and individual. What is right for you may not be right for me. The beauty of the journey is that we each get to make our own choices.

We had no idea how hard it is until last May when our precious Beau was diagnosed with lymphoma. He was just two days short of his 8th birthday when he crossed over the Rainbow Bridge and we had just under two weeks to adjust to the idea. By the time he was diagnosed he was pretty far along. When he vomited every meal for two days it was time to take him to our vet.

The initial impression was that he either had a “dietary indiscretion”, pancreatitis or something wrong with his liver. We were given pain meds and prednisone and strongly encouraged to take him to the specialty vet clinic for an ultrasound. We followed up the next day. When the vet told us that Beau had lymphoma I almost fell to the floor. A co-worker’s Golden Retriever had died from lymphoma less than a year earlier and I knew instantly what was going to happen. They told us that dogs can go into remission from lymphoma with chemo and that chemo is not as difficult on a dog as it is on a human. The goal is remission, not cure. We chose to manage the remainder of Beau’s days with comfort directed care. For us that was the right decision. We would have felt selfish to put Beau through any amount of discomfort. For others, we know the decision to treat is the right one. Neither of us can stand in judgment on the other.

While at the specialty clinic I went into the ladies room and sobbed as quietly as I could. That night we invited Beau up on the bed with us. As I tried to go to sleep my mind and heart kept going to the sadness until once again my body was wracked with sobs. I sobbed so hard and so loud that Beau got off the bed never to get on it again.

We strongly advocated for all the comfort measures possible for Beau and felt that we had done for him the best we could do. I dropped out of training for my first half marathon to spend more time with him. We took him on car rides, to our favorite restaurant, for one last hike at Lake Norman State Park and on lots of hikes in our woods. We took video and still pictures of him. And we told him endlessly how much we loved him.

Beau at the restaurant at the lake

Beau at the restaurant at the lake

He declined much more quickly than we had anticipated. It was torture watching him try to poop and not be able to. We called the vet and learned that canned pumpkin helps with constipation.  So we fed him canned pumpkin. Next he lost his appetite (he was a large Brittany who weighed 50 pounds and loved to eat). We tried everything except standing on our heads to get him to eat. We did learn that he liked cottage cheese and plain Greek yogurt. Who knew??? But what he ate at one meal was untouchable at the next meal. We bought very expensive highly palatable canned dog food and sometimes he ate it and sometimes he did not. We cooked veggies and sometimes he ate them and sometimes he did not. Once again we called the vet; this time about his poor appetite. The vet recommended that we back off on his pain meds. But when we did that he just shook from the pain.

Meanwhile I had been researching cures for cancer in dogs along with searching for vets who made home visits for the purpose of euthanasia. We did not want to go to the vet’s office to “put him down.”   While I researched these items Billy dug the grave in our woods. On Beau’s final night with us I looked into his eyes and told him what a good boy he had always been. I told him how much we loved his desire and need to run and be independent. And I told him we would not let him suffer anymore. I told him that I would talk to his Daddy the next day and we would let him go.

Beau's last day

Beau’s last day

On Beau’s last day with us he went on a hike with his Daddy and brother Luke in the woods. We had called the vet (we chose Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice for Beau) and made an appointment. We let Luke wait inside the house and we went outside where Beau was hanging out under his favorite tree next to his wading pool. That is where we said goodbye to him. We were there holding his paw, stroking his head and telling him how much we loved him during his final moments on this earth. We let Luke come out to say goodbye and let Luke watch us wheel Beau in our wheelbarrow to his grave. We laid him to rest with a blankie, a tennis ball and a dog cookie (three of his favorite things). As always Beau was good for a laugh. We had a large tarp under him and used that to lift his body from the wheelbarrow into the grave. As we slipped the tarp out from under him he rolled over and over into the grave. Only our thunder-chasing Beau could do something like that. We covered him with landscape cloth because Daddy could not stand to throw dirt on his face. Together we shoveled the earth over him and piled rocks to mark the grave. It is odd, I am not a grave visitor. But I visit Beau’s grave frequently.

At several points during this process I found myself feeling guilty for feeling his loss so intensely……..maybe more so than even when my parents died. Now don’t get me wrong. I grieved mightily for both my parents, but never did cry. In searching for answers to these strange feelings I discovered other writings that suggested it is not abnormal to grieve so intensely about our pets. After all, they love us unconditionally and never do anything to hurt us intentionally. We tell them things we might not tell humans. They bring laughter to our lives every day. I felt better with those explanations.

Fortunately the intensity did not last nearly as long as my grief over my parents and my healing journey has been peaceful and strong. I still miss Beau every day and know there will never be another dog like him. I visit his grave whenever I want, look at his picture daily and stroke his fur and collar whenever I want.  I talk about him with my husband and Luke.  And I tell our two new rescues Daisy and Trooper all about him.  Poor dogs; they probably have a complex after hearing so much about Beau!!  These are the things that have worked for us.  We hope the tips listed below will be of help to you on your grief journey.

1.  Talk to your pet and tell him how much you love him
2.  Tell your pet goodbye
3.  Keep your pet’s remains in an urn or bury her body where you can visit
4.  Keep a picture and other mementos (we have a clay paw print, a swatch of his fur, his      picture and his collar)
5.  Talk to and with others who have lost a beloved pet
6.  Go on regular walks where you and your fur-baby used to walk
7.  Consider adopting another pet in his honor (we adopted Daisy Mae and now are fostering Trooper with a plan to adopt him)
8.  Volunteer to walk dogs at your local shelter
9.  Volunteer for a pet rescue organization
10. Advocate with your state and federal representatives for the elimination of puppy mills and the elimination of breed specific bans
11. Advocate for the end of gas chambers for dogs and cats in local shelters
12. Contribute to funds for low-cost spay and neuter programs to end pet over-population
13. Advocate for the end of lab experiments on dogs
14. Our favorite one is to start a pet related business. Our loss led us to this one and now we get to play with numerous cats and dogs on a regular basis. Now that is a win-win situation!

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Pet Safety at Halloween

cute-halloween-dog               With smart planning, Halloween can be a barrel full of fun and safe treats for pets and humans.

Halloween is loads of fun. However, joy can turn to tragedy if simple precautions are not taken to ensure the safety of your pets.

“Pets are curious by nature,” said Dr. Steve Hansen, a board-certified veterinary toxicologist and senior vice president of The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Hansen, whose department also includes the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, asks pet parents to be mindful of their pets this fall.

“Thinking about your home from your pet’s point of view will help ensure everyone has happy and safe holidays,” Hansen said. “Pets have the ability to get into everything, especially during the holidays when there is more to see and do.”

To ensure a happy and safe Halloween for you and your pets, Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC recommends that pet owners be cautious of the following:

Ringing door bells and scary costumes  The constant chatter and squeals are upsetting to some pets.  If your dog or cat is skittish, confine them to a bedroom with the door shut and provide an interactive toy to keep them occupied.

Pet Costumes  Chances are Snoopy and Snuggles will not think a costume is very cute.  You know your pet better than anyone else so assess his comfort level.  You may need to take the costume off after the photo opportunity.  Be sure your pet will not overheat, the costume doesn’t have any dangly pieces that can easily be chewed off, and your pet can still breathe, meow and bark.

Escape artists Sometimes our best efforts are not enough and a pet gets out the door.  Make sure Fluffy and Rover are always wearing collars with identification.  If you have a microchip (we heartily recommend this) be certain you have registered with the microchip company and keep the information up to date.

Tricksters  Keep your pets indoors on Halloween even if that is not your normal custom.  Some adolescent tricksters think it is funny to scare your pet.  Funky costumes can freak out your pet even if not intentional.  Black cats are especially at risk on the weekends before and after Halloween as well as the actual day.

Candles  The glow of candles inside pumpkins is festive. But curious cats and dogs can easily be injured or create a fire hazard.  Be sure to keep a barrier between your pets and lighted decorations or use battery powered lights instead.

Dark and baker’s chocolate While milk chocolate is not poisonous, it will cause your pet to have an upset stomach.  On the other hand, dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate contain high levels of theobromine and caffeine.  Animals are extremely sensitive to both and ingesting either type of chocolate could be fatal.

Xylitol This sugar substitute causes a dog’s blood sugar to drop quickly.  This poisoning can be treated, but causes liver failure if not treated properly.

“Healthy treats” Some people choose to hand out grapes and raisins as an alternative to all the candy.  But be aware that grapes and raisins are extremely toxic to cats and dogs. Ingestion of these substances can lead to kidney failure for your dog or cat.  We don’t even want to think about what could happen with chocolate covered raisins!

Candy wrappers Your pets will not unwrap treats first and those foil and cellophane wrappers can cause an intestinal blockage.

It pays to plan ahead. Remind your children that pets’ digestive systems are easily upset or   compromised by food items humans can safely ingest. Be sure to have a ready supply of the treats your cats and dogs like and are accustomed to eating.  Remember to meet the needs of your cats and dogs for interactive play, attention, brushing and loads of walks for your dogs so they will be calm before the potentially frightful night begins

If your pet ingests any potentially harmful product, call your vet or a local emergency animal  hospital immediately. Other alternatives include the ASPCA Animal Poison Control (888) 426- 4435 for a fee of $65.00 or the Pet Poison Helpline 1-800-213-6680 for a fee of $39.00.

Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC offers pet owners these helpful hints to keep pets out of danger, while still enjoying the food, fun and festivities that accompany Halloween.