For an article in an upcoming issue of The Bark on how we choose a veterinarian, we’d like to know what – in your eyes — are the most important factors.
If you’ve found the perfect vet, just what is it that makes him or her perfect? If you’re still seeking that person, just what exactly is it you’re looking for?
As our dogs become more and more like family members, the choice of vet is a decision humans probably take more seriously than they did 50 years ago. Time was one’s choice of veterinarian was based in large part on proximity.
We’re guessing that has changed. Now we seek opinions from friends, question fellow denizens of the dog park, turn to online reviews, and perhaps even make some in-office visits, all in our quest for the perfect vet.
But what makes the perfect vet?
Is it where he or she went to school? Is it a friendly staff, reasonable rates? Is it how quickly you can make an appointment or how long you spend in the waiting room? Is it bedside manner, how much empathy, or compassion a vet exudes? Is it how clearly that vet can communicate? Whether they honor your pet insurance? Is it how the vet connects with you, how the vet connects with your dog, or both?
We want to know what is (or was) the single most important factor in your choice of veterinarian, and how you found the one (if you have) that you can’t imagine ever leaving.
(John Woestendiek, who produces the ohmidog! website, is a frequent contributor to The Bark. His story on finding the ideal veterinarian will appear in an upcoming issue.)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 3rd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, article, attributes, bark, bedside manner, best, choice, choosing, choosing a vet, communications, compassion, connection, cost, dogs, dream vet, education, factors, great veterinarians, ideal, input, john woestendiek, magazine, perfect, pets, prices, query, rates, reviews, the bark, training, veterinarians, veterinary, vets, waiting, word of mouth, writer
A family in northern Maine says it is “overwhelmed” by the generosity they saw from friends and strangers who donated enough money for them to get a service dog for their 5-year-old daughter, Faith.
Faith has spina bifida and experiences seizures. The new dog — a black Lab named Dandy — has been trained to detect when they might be coming.
Bruce and Beverly McNally, of Island Falls, took Faith in as a foster child, then as their adopted daughter. They quickly realized they needed help monitoring her for the seizures, which could be deadly if not addressed.
“The family became very worried, which is why they wanted to get the dog,” Michele King, Faith’s aunt, told the Bangor Daily News.
King is also the chief administrative officer for Brave Hearts, a nonprofit Christian home for young men in Island Falls, and that organization sponsored a fundraiser last month to try and raise the $2,500 that was needed.
King said that donations came from the more than 100 people who attended a benefit supper, and from people as far away as North Carolina.
“We just couldn’t believe it,” Beverly McNally said. “We eventually had enough money and we had to gently turn people away. We had to tell them that we had enough for the dog, but that we wanted them to donate the money to a charity of their own choosing.”
Dandy came from CARES — Canine Assistance Rehabilitation Education and Services — a nonprofit organization in Concordia, Kansas, that trains and matches assistance dogs with owners.
“Dandy has just been wonderful for Faith,” McNally said on Friday. “She picks up on a chemical change in the body when a seizure occurs. One day when we got back, Faith was very lethargic. She was in the chair with me and needed to be snuggled a lot more. And the dog got up in the chair and started whining. And I didn’t realize what was going on. And 45 minutes later, Faith had a seizure. Then I realized what the dog was trying to tell me.”
(Photo: Michele King)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 23rd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: assistance, benefit, black, brave hearts, canine, cares, dandy, detecting, dog, dogs, donations, education, faith, fundraiser, fundraising, island falls, lab, labrador retriever, maine, rehabilitation, seizures, service, services, spina bifida
Lees-McRae College, located in the mountains of North Carolina, has designated its first pet-friendly dormitory, allowing students who live there to bring along their dogs, cats, birds, fish, ferrets, and hamsters.
With the opening of the Spring 2011 semester, Bentley Residence Hall went co-species.
“I am so excited that Lees-McRae College has joined the ranks of pet friendly colleges and universities. We love our pets and we recognize that students who are pet owners are generally responsible and caring individuals,” said Barry M. Buxton, president of the Presbyterian college. “We want to encourage pet adoption and awareness that all of God’s creatures are sacred.”
Students living in Bentley Hall are now allowed to bring their pets from home to school with them to live in their rooms. Under the new policy, qualifying students can have fish, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, birds, ferrets, cats and dogs under 40 pounds. (We’d argue dogs over 40 pounds are sacred, too.)
Previously, students were only allowed to have fish in residence hall rooms.
Under the new pet friendly policy, faculty and staff are also encouraged to bring their pets to campus.
“It is great to be able to have my two dogs for companionship while I am studying and doing homework in my room,” said student Lauren Lampley, owner of Shih Tzus Heidi and Buckley. “This responsibility also forces me to manage my time well enough to take care of them and make sure I make time to spend with them.”
The approved pets for the inaugural pet friendly program include a Boston Terrier, a small Labrador retriever, two Shih Tzus, a pomeranian/Chihuahua mix, a miniature dachshund, a Maine coon mix, a Siamese mix, a leopard gecko, a Dutch rabbit, two ferrets and two birds.
The new policy represents the latest in a trend toward colleges welcoming pets, noted Joshua Fried, director of Petside.com: “We know how much the companionship of a pet can benefit a college student, particularly in the form of stress-relief and as a remedy for homesickness.”
“Now I have two alarms,” one student joked. “When I ignore my alarm clock, my dog licks my face and my nose until I get up. She really cares about my education.”
Lees-McRae College, a four-year, co-educational liberal arts college, is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northwestern North Carolina in the town of Banner Elk.
(Photo courtesy of Lees-McCrae College)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: allowed, allows, animals, banner elk, bentley hall, birds, campus, cats, colleges, dog, dog friendly, dogs, dormitory, education, ferrets, gecko, guniea pigs, hamsters, lees-mcrae college, life, new, pet friendly, pets north carolina, policy, rabbit, stress, students, universities
Glassboro, N.J. has a group of third graders to thank for its new dog park — expected to open next year.
More than a dozen students from Dorothy L. Bullock Elementary School showed up at a borough council meeting in March, taking turns reading from a prepared statement, urging the council members to consider creating a dog park. It was signed by all their classmates.
Three months later, and even amid serious cuts elsewhere in the borough budget, the dog park, students recently learned, is a go.
Just before the school year ended, Glassboro Council President Tony Fiola and Councilman Ed Malandro went to the children’s classroom to deliver the news, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Malandro and Fiola had spoken to their class earlier in the year, and they invited the students to the next council session, encouraging them to present their thoughts on how their community could be a better place. After that their teacher, Shelly Petrozza, had the students nominate things they thought would improve Glassboro. It ended up a tie, with half the students favoring a dog park, half choosing a skate park. The children presented the council with a case for each proposal.
After research, the skate park was ruled out because of cost – at least $75,000, Malandro said. The dog park idea, on the other hand, appeared to be possible.
“We said, ‘This is something we can afford to do,’ ” Malandro said. “It lets us do something for the kids, and it lets them see government does work in the right ways.”
The dog park will likely be in East New Street Park, next to the Bullock school, and plans call for a plaque commemorating the role the third graders played.
“We all said to them, ‘Boys and girls, look at what you did. You’re only 8 and 9 years old,’ ” said their teacher. “I think they realized you do have power no matter how little you are.”
(Photo: Philadelphia Inquirer)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 2nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, borough, borough council, class, council, dog park, dog parks, dogs, dorothy l. bullock, ed malandro, education, elementary, gloucester, new jersey, pets, proposal, school, shelly petrozza, students, third grade, third graders, tony fiola
Classes are underway at Dog College.
What is Dog College? It’s a series of free online courses — not for real college credits — being offered by Dog Fancy magazine in conjunction with DogChannel.com. It’s sponsored by Iams Healthy Naturals brand dog food.
This semester has already started, and includes nine courses that pet owners take over three months — including classes on physiology, natural nutrition, communication, genetics, environmental science, health science and art history.
Each course includes advice and information from dog experts, and includes reading material, video or slide shows. To graduate, students must complete all of the quizzes with a passing score of 60 percent or higher. To receive top honors, students must take all of the quizzes and score 90 percent or higher on each one.
A valedictorian, chosen from those who score 100 percent on all quizzes, will win a year’s worth of Iams Healthy Naturals dog food provided by PETCO. To learn more and sign up, visit at DogChannel.com.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 28th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, classes, college, courses, degree, dog, dog college, dog fancy, dogchannel.com, dogs, education, free, iams, news, ohmidog!, online, pets, school
Much like McGruff the Crime Dog, Eddie Eagle — aka a National Rifle Association representative in an eagle costume — has been showing up in school assemblies for more than 20 years.
But it appears the NRA mascot and his lessons on gun safety are destined to become mandatory in Virginia – at least in those school districts that choose to offer the curriculum.
The state has approved gun safety classes in elementary schools, and will structure the curriculum with help from the National Rifle Association.
The law allows local school divisions to offer gun-safety education to pupils in kindergarten through fifth grade. While each school board can decide whether to offer it, those that do must use the state curriculum — which will include rules used by the NRA’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program.
Not all parents are thrilled with that.
“I personally don’t think firearm safety has a place in the schools,” Lori Haas, spokeswoman for the Virginia Center for Public Safety whose daughter is a survivor of the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007.
“That’s up to the parents to teach that at home.” she told Fox News
NRA’s Eddie Eagle website says that the program’s goal “isn’t to teach whether guns are good or bad, but rather to promote the protection and safety of children.”
The Eddie Eagle mascot advises children: “If you see a gun: STOP! Don’t Touch. Leave the Area. Tell an Adult.” Eddie Eagle does not promote firearm ownership or use and firearms are never used in the program, the website says.
The website tells schools they can “add excitement to your assemblies with a safety mascot appearance. The use of the Eddie Eagle costume provides an entertaining way to enhance the program.”
The Eddie Eagle safety mascot costume is available for purchase by law enforcement agencies only, for $2,650.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, curriculum, eddie eagle, education, elementary schools, firearms, gun, gun safety, guns, law, mascot, national rifle association, news, nra, ohmidog!, safety, schools, virginia
Starting in fall 2010, the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University will no longer use dogs and other healthy, live animals to teach surgical skills.
The college in East Lansing will no longer require “terminal surgery labs” in which animals are killed after being used to practice surgical techniques.
Instead of the controversial labs, the college will use more humane teaching methods, including sophisticated models and animal cadavers — a change that has been initiated at more than half of the 28 other veterinary medical schools in the U.S.
“We are ecstatic that MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine has made this compassionate change to their curriculum and we hope to work with them in the future to make additional advances such as an ethically sourced cadaver program,” said Mitch Goldsmith, President of MSU Students Promoting Animal Rights (SPAR).
Laura Ducceschi, Director of Animalearn, a national program that provides resources for humane science education, commended MSU for “taking this positive step towards joining the many other prestigious veterinary institutions that have ended terminal surgery labs and replaced them with humane alternatives and shelter medicine programs that benefit students and animals.”
Animalearn, the educational division of the American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS), works with educators, students and others to achieve quality humane science education without harmful use of animals.
Both SPAR and Animalearn advocated to end animal use at MSU following revelations of the extent of the university’s use of dogs in Animalearn’s 2009 report, Dying to Learn: Exposing the Supply and Use of Dogs and Cats in Higher Education.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 5th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aavs, alternatives, american anti-vivisection society, animalearn, animals, cadavers, cats, college, curriculum, dogs, dying to learn, education, healthy, higher education, humane, live, medicine, michigan state university, models, msu, news, practice, science, surgery, surgical, techniques, terminal surgery labs, veterinary
There are more cats and dogs in the UK than anyone thought.
According to figures in a new study, there are around 10.3 million cats and 10.5 million dogs in the UK, a total of 4 million more than pet food manufacturers had estimated, according to The Guardian.
The report, based on polling, also concludes that cat owners are better educated.
The study is the first published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal in 20 years — when there were 6.2 million cats and 6.4 million dogs.
Cats, according to the study, are more likely to live in households with someone with a college degree. A poll of 2,524 households found that 47.2% of those with a cat had at least one person educated to degree level, compared with 38.4% of homes with dogs. We will presume that cat owners did the math.
Last year, the Pet Food Manufacturers Association estimated — not too precisely, as it turns out — the size of the UK domestic cat and dog population at about 8 million each.
The new study, published in the Veterinary Record by Jane Murray, a cats protection lecturer in feline epidemiology at Bristol University, does not take into account strays or those animals in shelters.
About 7% of UK households own both a cat and dog.
(Photos: My dog Ace, your cat Miley, both of whom got their education on the streets; by John Woestendiek)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 8th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 10 million, animals, bristol university, cats, census, count, degrees, dogs, education, homes, news, pet ownership, pets, poll, polling, research, study, uk, united kingdom
An autistic student’s right to bring his service dog to school was upheld by an Illinois appeals court last week.
The appeals court upheld a Monroe County court ruling that permitted Carter Kalbfleisch to bring his autism service dog, Corbin, to school. The Columbia School District had appealed the lower court decision.
Instead of following the lower court’s ruling, the district decided it could not meet Carter’s educational needs and sent him to the Illinois Center for Autism, agreeing to pay for his education there, but refusing to pay the cost of trasnporting Carter and the dog to school, according to the Belleville News-Democrat in Illinois.
”We’re happy that it went our way,” said Chris Kalbfleisch, Carter’s father. “Hopefully the school will change their direction with this. … Hopefully we can move forward and get our son back in school.”
“We hope they come to the realization that the law is the law and they have to follow it,” said Kalbfleisch’s attorney, Clay St. Clair. “Just because you don’t like a law doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow the law. We hope they do what they are supposed to do.”
School and district officials argued the dog would be disruptive, and possibly cause allergic reactions in other students.
The school district has the option of accepting the appellate court’s decision, or appealing the case to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 21st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: appeal, autism, autistic, carter kalbfleisch, columbia school district, courts, disabilities, education, illinois, law, laws, monroe county, rights, schools, service dogs, special education, student, upheld
Holy Formaldehyde! Times are changing. As of this fall, thousands of Catholic school students in the Philadelphia area can opt out of that once mandatory, highly stinky rite of passage — dissecting a frog in biology class.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has established a policy under which students in its 20 high schools who have concerns about traditional animal dissection are allowed to use alternatives to frogs, cats and other actual animals.
As an increasing number of high schools and universities are realizing, there are plenty of options to cutting up an animal, and students can learn just as much about biology through models and computer graphics.
“As the 21st century evolves, greater use of virtual dissection experiences will be encouraged and eventually replace the use of scientifically preserved animals,” said Mary E. Rochford, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. “With the availability of virtual lab experiences and other Internet instructional tools, students can arrive at the same learning.”
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s policy is modeled after the Pennsylvania Students Rights Option, a law established in 1992, which enables public and non-public students from grades K-12 who do not want to harm animals as part of their coursework to use an alternative instead.
You can learn more about the Pennsylvania law here.
“The Archdiocese’s student choice policy can serve as a model for other schools in the state of Pennsylvania, in addition to other dioceses across the U.S,” said Laura Ducceschi, Director of Animalearn, a project of the American Anti-Vivisection Society.
Tens of thousands of cats, frogs, and other animals are killed annually, specifically for dissection and other educational purposes, despite available alternatives and studies showing that students learn as well or better by using virtual dissection and other humane alternatives, according to Animalearn.
Animalearn’s website offers a searchable database of over 450 alternatives to dissection, downloadable software, and other humane science tools. A free resource to students and teachers nationwide, The Science Bank offers interactive models, videos, and virtual dissection CD-ROMs and DVDs.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 7th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aavs, alternatives, animalearn, animals, anti-vivisection, archdiocese, biology, catholice, cats, choice, class, computer, dissect, dissection, education, free, frogs, graphics, high school, humane, models, options, philadelphia, schools, science, science bank, students, tools, virtual