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Sheltering Pets from Domestic Violence

More than 40% of domestic violence victims stay in abusive situations out of fear of what would happen if they left their pets behind. Not only that, but more than 70% of pet owners entering shelters to escape domestic violence report that the abuser has threatened, injured or killed family pets.Yet most shelters do not admit pets. Finding family or friends who will take in the victims of abuse AND their pets can be difficult.

Now, shelters are beginning to address this problem.domesticabusedog

Ahimsa House has been providing safe housing for pets belonging to those fleeing domestic abuse since 2004. They maintain a network of homes willing to offer safe, short-term housing for pets as their owners enter shelters to escape domestic abuse. Their website has a nationwide directory of safe havens for pets in domestic violence situations.

New York City’s first co-sheltering program was opened to enable domestic violence survivors and their pets to reside together. The project, called PALS—People and Animals Living Safely—is running as a six-month pilot that started June 1.

Although PALS only accepts cats and smaller animals such as hamsters, birds and fish into shelter now, the goal is to raise money to put the PALS program in three other domestic violence shelters and welcome dogs as well. 

Muriel Raggi, a domestic violence survivor who was in shelter four years ago, said she’s thankful to URI and the Alliance for recognizing how important pets are in people’s lives. “I remember lying in bed at night, with so many fears and worries swirling in my head, wishing I could have my dog Jasmine next to me to provide raw affection, comfort and support,” said Raggi. “ PALS will ensure that other survivors with pets won’t face the heartbreaking choices I did.”

Because pets are often used by abusers to maintain control over their victims, to torment them emotionally, or to get revenge, 25 states now offer court-ordered protection for pets. Such protection orders limit the contact an alleged abuser can have with the person seeking protection, ordering the abuser to stay away or allowing the victim safe access if they need to return to a home. In the case of an animal, it would allow victims to take a pet with them if they left home and prohibit the alleged abuser from harming the pet.

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Posted by on September 19, 2013 in In the News

 

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Natural Disasters: How to Help Our Dogs

Guest post by Pamela Schaub, Cape Cod (MA) Animal Disaster Response Team

When a disaster strikes we are usually unprepared. The good news is that it only takes a little forethought and preparation to preserve the safety or life of our beloved pets. In the past 10 years, an estimated 20 million Americans have been affected by natural disasters such as flooding, tornados, hurricanes, and severe lightning storms.

Order your free Rescue Alert Sticker from the ASPCA

Here are a few of the most basic ways to prepare, now, before a disaster strikes:

1) Take a clear photo of your dog so that he may be identified in the event he becomes separated from you.

2) Get a secure collar with appropriate I.D. tag containing at least one phone number. Better yet, microchip your dog. Most vets and shelters scan incoming lost pets for a chip.

3) Prepare an emergency “Go Kit” for you and your pet.  It’s an inexpensive way to have a piece of mind. Always know where it is. RedRover.org recommends the following items be packed for each animal in your home:

  • One-week supply of food. Store it in a water-tight container and rotate it every three months to keep it fresh. If you use canned food, include a spare can opener.
  • One-week supply of fresh water. If officials declare your household water unfit to drink, it’s also unsafe for your pets. Follow American Red Cross guidelines for storing emergency water for your family and your pets.
  • Medication. If your animal takes medication, a replacement supply may not be easily available following a disaster.
  • Copies of vaccination records
  • Photographs of you with your pets to prove ownership
  • Photographs of your pets in case you need to make “lost pet” fliers
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Temporary ID tags. If you’ve evacuated, use this to record your temporary contact informationand/or the phone number of an unaffected friend or relative.
  • Carrier or leash for each animal. Caregivers of multiple cats or other small animals can use an EvacSak, which is easy to store and use for transport.

4) Have a plan and share it with family. If a disaster should force you from your home, determine a safe place to stay, and do it ahead of time. Find out where a local emergency pet sheltering facility is located. During times of disaster, temporary shelters are often facilitated by the ASPCA, IFAW, HSUS, etc.

5) Be sure your smartphone directory has phone numbers for emergency contacts and 24 hour veterinarians.

Remember, your own safety comes first. Be wary before, during, and after a disaster strikes, and never leave your household pet alone, tied up, or encumbered to fend for themselves.

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Product Review: Resolve High Traffic Foam

Even indoor dogs can be hard on carpets. Whenever dogs lie down for a long chew on a rawhide chew, run in and out of the yard, or gets dirty at the dog park, the carpets suffer. I have several areas of the carpet that get particularly dingy from dog activity. So I decided to try Resolve High Traffic Carpet Cleaner. 

This is a large area cleaner, so you can do a patch of carpet that’s three feet square, which is usually enough to cover a dirty area in front of a crate or around a bed. It’s designed to work with a gadget called Easy Clan Carpet Brush from Resolve, but you can use it even if you don’t have the brush (which I don’t). Simply shake and spray the foam over the dirty area, then work it into the carpet using a damp, clean mop or cloth. I used a microfiber towel (I use them for everything when I clean around the house). The instructions say you should rub the foam in two directions, wait for it to dry, then vacuum it up.

I have to say, it did a very good job. I feed my dog a raw diet, and occasionally, he’ll take a pork neck bone, chicken wing, or other messy treat to the middle of the floor and commence to gnawing it. This sometimes leaves a damp, yucky mess behind. I start with a damp towel to blot up most of it, then use the foam. This foam seems to attach itself to the dirt and mess, then dries so you can vacuum it up.

There are other high-traffic areas that I’ve tried this foam on. The carpet inside the back door leading to the yard always gets dark and dingy. But this foam cleans the dirt well between professional carpet cleanings (every 6 months). One caution, though. The more a carpet gets abraded, the more it “blooms,” which means the fibers unwind from the loops and give a “spread-out” and worn look. So I wouldn’t want to be rubbing this or any other product vigorously and frequently on the same spot of carpet. However, for occasional cleaning of high-traffic spots that get dirtier than most of the rest of the carpet, Resolve High Traffic Foam does a good job.

The fragrance is light and clean, not perfumy, so you get the added benefit of freshening up the room without overpowering your dog’s sensitive sniffer. You can even use it on upholstery, if your dog should have a mishap. It’s best to use as little foam as you can and avoid overwetting, to avoid rings. Also, you should clean the entire section — all the way to the seam — when cleaning upholstery. NOTE: Evidently, the manufacturer is testing different packaging designs, so your can may look slightly different than the one shown.

Although not a substitute for professional steam cleaning, this is a good product that will help keep dog households with carpeting cleaner between steam cleanings.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Dog Product Reviews

 

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Alarm Calls You When Dog Barks at Intruder

To many folks, all dog barks may sound the same, but dogs have different barks for different purposes. The friendly bark that your dog greets you with is not the same bark as the rapid, high-pitched bark she may aim at the UPS guy or the passing motorcyclist. A low bark can mean an intruder or direct threat.

A new “dog alert” system developed in Israel is able to recognize when a dog feels threatened or is stressed by analyzing its bark, then sends an SMS to the pet owner’s mobile phone. It also sends an alert if the dog runs away (or is stolen) by tracking whether the dog has left a certain geographic area by means of a GPS system.

The company, Bio-Sense, uses a 1.5″ x 3″ sensor that analyzes the dog’s bark. The system, named Telidog, uses a combination of a bark analyzer, GPS chip, and movement/motion sensor. It will send a text message or place a voice call to the dog’s owner if it senses the dog is in danger or threatened. The owner signs in to the company’s website, where he can enter his mobile phone number and manage other specifics. If the dog ever leaves the pre-determined geographic area (your home and yard, or neighborhood, for example), you can go online to see where the dog is. So if you dog goes on an unauthorized walkabout (or is stolen from your yard), you don’t have to rely on strangers to scan a microchip or collar tag; you just sign in and see where he is.

HIGH ACCURACY

The technology behind Telidog has been tested with the Israeli Department of Homeland Security and the Israeli Defense Forces, along with hundreds of other sites. The detection algorithm has been found to be extremely accurate, with a very low rate of false alarms.

If you’re worried about what might happen to your dog while you’re at work all day, pair this technology with an Internet-based home camera system and put your mind at ease.

The collar costs $260 and the monthly fee is $12 to $25. Customers can join by mail at sales@bio-sense.com.

What do you think of this kind of technology?

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Top 100 Dog Products

 

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Snoutstik Nose Balm for Dogs Product Review

A dog’s nose is many times more sensitive than a human’s. Imagine how painful a dry or irritated dog’s nose can be! Many of us don’t even examine our dogs’ noses on a regular basis. We don’t notice when it’s dry or irritated until it’s uncomfortable for the dog. Snoutstik was created to help alleviate dry dog noses caused by exposure to the elements, allergies or heredity. The product contains a core combination of healing, natural sunscreens, Shea Butter, Sweet Almond Oil and Jojoba Seed Oil.

I liked the idea of the Snoutstik because my Irish Setter, like many, has a sensitive “liver” nose that occasionally gets hyperkeratosis (or “crusty nose”) across the top. Many older dogs get dry nose. Some social sites’ message boards revealed that dog owners had been using Bag Balm with some success. I had been using Vitamin E oil, which my veterinarian recommended. It works well, but my dog tries to lick it all off. I thought the Snoutstik might stay on better if it were thicker or waxier, like Chapstik.

I liked the language used to describe the Snoutstik formula: soothing, moisturizing, healing, hydrating, restorative, silky. I really wanted it to work. It did seem to cling better than oil, and Finnegan didn’t try to lick it off. However, he did not suffer it to stay on his nose any better. In fact, every time I put it on him, he went straight for the carpet, rolling onto his back and rubbing his head upside-down on the carpet. He eventually got a little abrasion above his nose, where the “nose” flesh becomes regular skin.

I think the fragrance was too strong for him. I tried the Lavender one. Perhaps the Rosemary or Pumpkin would be less strong. I tried an unscented natural lip balm and he seemed to tolerate it much better. However, it didn’t seem to make much difference in the granular flesh of his nose.

I’m back to Vitamin E oil.

Available for $3.99 in pumpkin, rosemary and lavender. Made in the USA.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Dog Product Reviews

 

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People Giving Up Pets Because They Can’t Afford Them

I’ve read several articles in the news about people giving up their pets because of the tight economy. More than 80 dogs have been dropped off at a single shelter in West Virginia. Other shelters have seen a sharp increase in people dropping off pets because they can no longer afford them. And, because of the economic scares, fewer people are adopting pets.

It’s hard to understand giving up a family pet because money’s tight. I’d have to be missing some meals before I could give up my fur-kids.  I know there are situations in which the pet truly cannot remain with its owners, and for them I am deeply sorry. Knowing that adult pets are far more difficult to find homes for – and many of them are put down at shelters – I hope that if there’s no money for pet food, there’s also no money for cell phones, cable television, clothes, bottled water, movies and sweets. If there’s money for that stuff, there’s money for your dog.

The decisions we make in the emotional moments after losing a job or filing for bankruptcy are sometimes life-and-death decisions for our pets, who have no say in the decision making process.

Let’s not toss them aside too quickly.

Before you drop your dog off at a shelter, please think about what it really costs to keep your dog. If you already have a leash, collar and crate, what does it really cost? For a healthy dog, it only costs food and heartworm/flea medication. There may be areas in which you can save money that are often overlooked. Do you mow your own lawn? Do you have bottled water delivery? Can you reduce your cable/satellite or Internet service package? How often do you go to Starbucks?

In other words, are the discretionary things you spend your money on worth your dog’s life?

Our dogs give so much, and they don’t ask for much in return. Let’s at least provide a safe home for them with the people they love.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on January 5, 2012 in In the News

 

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Lucky Dog Radio Show

 Have you heard about The Lucky Dog Show?

It’s a new weekly radio show that talks about hot trends and cool products for dogs and the people who love them. If you love shopping and dogs, this show was made for you. Every Saturday morning, you can listen from anywhere in the world as The Lucky Dog Show dishes up the best in dishes … plus toys, treats, beds, apparel, summer and holiday items and much more.

 The Lucky Dog Show is all about the coolest, freshest stuff for dogs. Visit www.luckydogshow.com for details on upcoming shows, how to call in, and when to listen.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2007 in Miscellany

 

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