Anita’s Animals – June 2012

Anita’s Animals

By Jackie Kellum


anita--aprilNormally this column’s main focus is educational information for pet parents. However, this month, one section is a “hot button” topic. For many weeks I have listened to personal stories from folks who have rescued a cat / dog who had been left behind when their ‘care-giver’ left for parts north without making plans for the care of their scared animal. Generally, these conversations include describing the character of these individuals who have done such a horrific thing. The word “nice” has never been uttered, with most of the descriptive terms requiring editing. It also left one wondering what that kind of person would do with a human family member if they eventually become an “inconvenience” too.  

Two such separate rescue situations really irked folks – two rescuers   found a “de-clawed” cat left behind to fend for itself. For those not familiar with the term de-clawed, we are not speaking about trimming a cat’s toenails. It is not a medically necessary surgery, it is amputation of the furthest bone of each toe and has a painful recovery. During the time of recuperation, the cat   still has to use its feet to walk on despite the now altered foot conformation, and scratch in their litter box , all regardless of the pain it is experiencing. Cats instinctively know   that they are at risk and in a weakened position, leaving them prey to predators both indoors and especially if outdoors. These two defenseless cats now need to find a home where they will be safe and loved.

We are into our hot weather months, and especially need to think how this weather will affects our pets – especially dogs who go out of the house with you. Most people have heard that you should always carry water for you AND for you dogs on your walks, and walk your dog only in the early morning or early evening—not   just because of the sun and temperatures, but because the surfaces they will walk on can be harmful to their delicate feet. Think of it this way: would you walk barefoot on asphalt or concrete in the middle of the day with the sun blazing down? Why would you think your dog has less sensitive feet than you? For those who drive and may think it is fine to take your dog with you on your errands – consider this. Pets suffer the same problems as humans, like overheating, dehydration and sunburn. Heatstroke occurs when your dog’s body temperature is high for a prolonged period of time, which can lead to brain/ organ damage, heart failure and even death. Simply parking   in the shade or leaving the windows open is not enough. Windows collect   light and trap heat inside the car, rapidly sending temperatures to dangerous and deadly levels. Some disquieting information:   a car’s inside temperature [parked in the shade] can increase as much as 40 degrees in an hour — with 80 percent of that increase within the first 30 minutes. On a mild 70-degree day, a closed car can heat up to 124° in a matter of minutes. On an 85F degree day, the temperature inside a car with windows opened can reach 102 F degrees within 10 minutes! Please consider, if you are not willing to sit in your car, with the windows opened, but, no   air conditioning running, while your spouse/partner “just runs in to do get some things”, why would you have your dog do this?

“Puppy and kitten season” has already begun. Please help with donations of kitten/puppy food, newspapers, cash to help pay for vaccinations, and etc. Thank you!


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