Case in point: today’s “Dear Abby” column, in which a reader relates how a 9-year-old visitor to his home climbed aboard his Labrador retriever, possibly causing her permanent injuries.
“Isaac,” the visiting child, who apparently had little experience with canines, was playing with Layla, the retriever, when the homeowner heard him say, “Look, I’m riding your dog!”
“I immediately intervened, but I was too late,” the letter writer said. “A day or so later, Layla was unable to descend our stairway and was clearly in pain. She has been on pain medication for three weeks and is growing progressively worse. The next step is to get X-rays and/or an MRI to see if she has a spinal injury, and then determine her treatment. It’s possible the damage is irreversible.”
The letter writer wasn’t seeking veterinary advice, but wondering how to tell Isaac and his parents about the harm he caused, and keep him from doing it again, without placing “undue guilt on a 9-year-old boy.”
Abby responded to “Heartbroken in New York” this way:
“Children are not mind-readers. If you don’t tell them when they make a mistake, they won’t realize they have made one. Contact Isaac’s parents and explain what happened. If your dog needs treatment, they should be responsible for whatever damage their son did.”
I — though nobody asked — would add only two things to that. First, that any guilt Isaac might feel on learning what he had done isn’t exactly “undue.” Second, that when your dog is meeting someone new — especially a child — you should be in the room, watching and, if necessary, teaching. It’s very easy for a dog owner to assume everyone knows how to behave around dogs, but it’s also very wrong.
Riding a dog, no matter how big he or she is, no matter what the Internet might tell you — and the photo above is just one example of some incredibly irresponsible online “expertise” — should simply never be done. Period.
(Photo: Taken from wikiHow.com’s article on “how to ride a dog”)
(Postscript: The day after this article appeared on ohmidog!, the wikiHow article on “how to ride a dog” was taken down.)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 8th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abby, advice, animal welfare, breeds, children, dear abby, dog, dogs, expertise, health, heartbroken, injuries, injury, internet, irresponsible, kids, kids and dogs, labrador retriever, layla, meeting, new, responsible, ride, riding, riding dogs, rode, safety, wikihow
The American Kennel Club says dog thefts are on the rise.
The AKC says it has has tracked more than 115 missing pets via incidents reported by news media and customer reports through Nov. 30 of this year, compared to a total of 71 in 2008.
The AKC offers the following advice to lessen the chances of your dog being stolen:
– Don’t leave your dog off-leash or unattended in your yard. Keeping your dog close to you reduces the likelihood it will wander off and catch the attention of thieves. Dogs left outdoors for long periods of time are targets, especially if your fenced-in yard is visible from the street.
– Never leave your dog in an unattended car, even if it’s locked.
– Don’t tie your dog outside a store. If you need to go shopping, patronize only dog-friendly retailers or leave the dog at home.
– Protect your dog with microchip identification. Collars and tags can be removed so make sure you have permanent ID with a microchip.
– If you suspect your dog has been stolen. Immediately call the police / animal control officer in the area your pet was last seen and file a police report.
- Don’t buy dogs from the internet, flea markets, or roadside vans. There is no way to verify where an animal purchased from any of these outlets came from.
Additional tips can be found on the American Kennel Club website.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 15th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advice, akc, american kennel club, crime, dog, dog thefts, dogs, flea markets, id, increase, internet, microchip, police, prevention, rising, sales, shopping, stolen, thefts, tie, tips, unattended
It seems I wasn’t the only one to disagree with “Dear Abby’s” recent opinion that throwing the bagged poopage of your dog into someone else’s garbage can was acceptable.
“I’m sorry to say my advice … landed me in the doghouse,” the columnist noted earlier this week.
Back in September, Abby advised “Pooped Out in North Carolina” — who was getting the business from his family after tossing his dog’s bagged feces in a neighbor’s garbage can — that “as long as the bag was securely sealed, I don’t think adding it to someone’s trash bin was a social no-no.”
ohmidog! quickly pounced on Abby for dispensing such bad advice. It’s bad manners and, worse yet, gives the anti-dog types something else to complain about.
As it turns out, we weren’t alone. Many others disagreed with Abby, and a sampling of those opinions were included in her column Monday.
“DEAR ABBY: … As a homeowner who is a frequent recipient of foreign feces, there is a practical issue that you may not have foreseen. Our garbage collectors will not dispose of small bags of dog poop; they will only take trash bags of the larger size one would expect to contain household waste,” wrote Frequent Feces Finder.
“DEAR ABBY: You should have told “Pooped” to check the local laws first. In my community, if you’re caught putting your trash in someone else’s container, you are made to clean it out, fined and sometimes given jail time,” wrote Tom in Reed City, Michigan.
“DEAR ABBY: We walk our dogs four times a day and place their carefully bagged “deposits” only in the trash at our house. We do this for two reasons: One, people can be territorial about their refuse containers and resent any ‘unauthorized’ garbage placed there. Two, many homeowners hate finding animal waste on their property or in their trash,” opined Picker-Upper in California.
(Photo from the flickr page of left-hand)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 2nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abby, advice, animals, bags, cans, columnist, dear abby, dog, dogs, feces, garbage, manners, pets, poop, pooped, property, refuse, responsibility, responsible, trash, waste
It’s not too often we cover cats at ohmidog!, but National Hairball Awareness Day (it’s today, if you didn’t know) isn’t strictly about cats.
Dogs get hairballs too — as do humans, and cud-chewing animals, such as cows, oxen, sheep, goats, llamas, deer, and antelope.
As pets go, though, cats are more prone, and with almost 90 million U.S. cat owners we feel it’s our duty to pass on these hairball-alleviating tips — not just to avoid having to clean them up, but because they can pose dangers to the animal by blocking food from passing through the intestines.
The folks who make the FURminator offer the following tips, chief among them of course, buying their products:
- The more you groom your cat, the less, he or she will groom his or herself, making hairballs less likely. In addition to deshedding tools, there are shampoos that claim to reduce shedding.
- A little butter or pumpkin added to food can decrease the likelihood of hairballs, the butter helping grease the way, the pumpkin’s fiber helping to get things moving.
- Keep your cat well hydrated, placing water bowls throughought the house.
- Laxative supplements from your vet can help with chronic hairball problems.
If you want to learn even more about hairballs (and we would hope you don’t), the National Museum of Health and Medicine has a webpage devoted to them, and, should you want to make the trip to Washington (and we really, really hope you don’t) there’s a human hairball on permanent display in the museum.
The National Museum of Health and Medicine has 24 veterinary and 3 human hairballs or “trichobezoars” in its anatomical collection. To commemorate National Hairball Awareness Day on April 27, 2006, the museum featured a temporary display of 10 of these hairballs to explore the myths and realities behind these medical curiosities. Included were hairballs from a steer, two oxen, three cows, a calf, horse, and a chicken.
As for our picture above, rather than be so tasteless as to confront you with the real thing, we’ve chosen a crocheted hairball from the collection of Fluffy Flowers. If you’d like to learn how to make your own (and, once again, we’re hoping you don’t), you can find a tutorial here.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 24th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advice, animals, cats, chicken, cows, digestion, dogs, fur, furminator, hair, hairballs, health, horse, humans, ill, national hairball awareness day, pets, precautions, shedding, sickness, steer
The American Kennel Club has — no surprise here — congratulated the Obama family on the anticipated arrival of their purebred 6-month-old Portuguese water dog, Bo.
And they’ve filled us in on his pedigree as well: the dog’s official name is Amigo’s New Hope, and he was bred by Art and Martha Stern, long-time breeders who reside near Dallas.
Bo is indeed a littermate of Senator Ted Kennedy’s pup Cappy, the AKC confirms.
The organization believes the dog will not only leave “a good mark” on the Obamas (but preferably no stains) and will “shine a spotlight on dogs and the importance of responsible dog ownership around the world.”
“With one of the American Kennel Club’s primary missions being the encouragement of responsible dog ownership, we are delighted with the wonderful example you have already set in researching the right breed for your family and obtaining a dog through a reputable breeder who is a member of the AKC parent club, The Portugese Water Dog Club of America,” said AKC President and CEO Dennis Sprung in a letter to the Obama family today.
Of the breed, the AKC says PWDs possess a lot of energy, and a predictable temperament. They are loyal and loving companions, but require daily vigorous exercise. Historically, the breed spent most of its day swimming, assisting its fisherman owner by retrieving broken nets, diving for fish and delivering messages between ships.
Although currently only the 64th most popular breed in the United States according to 2008 AKC registration statistics, the Portuguese Water Dog’s popularity is likely to rise due to its appointment as First Pup.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 13th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: advice, akc, american kennel club, amigo's new hope, bo, breed, breeder, dallas, dog, first family, news, obama, obama dog, obamas dog, portuguese water dog, praise, presidency, pup, puppy, pwd, stern, video, white house