They Should ALL Be Ashamed.

On a day that we all take time to remember the American lives lost 11 years ago today, (and since then as a result of the attack) a lot of us are reflecting on where we (as a nation) have come from, and what direction we would like America to go in the future.

Yes the United States has some major problems to solve. We have citizens in need of quality health care, while others are suffering from hunger. Still others are living on the streets and/or are not able to find work. Crime is up because employment and wages are down.

Our leaders are quoted almost every day, in sound bites on the 24 hour news channels, that they are doing everything possible to help the less fortunate among us. But it’s not hard to see that nothing ever changes. (I call it: SOS,DD)

I am SO tired of all of the bull that comes out of the mouths of our nation’s political leaders. All that they do is point their fingers and blame “the other guys” for creating the problems or not fixing them. If they would ALL spend as much time, effort and money working together to solve our nation’s problems as they do blaming each other, the problems would have been solved YEARS ago. They should ALL be ashamed of themselves! And we as citizens should demand that they “pull their heads out” and get busy working for us!

Petty bickering and end-fighting gets us nowhere. We all put our differences aside in the days following the 9/11 attacks. It’s time we do it again for the good of our country.

PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW.  OUR CHILDREN DESERVE THE SAME AMERICA THAT WE GREW UP IN!!!

My thoughts on the Westminster Kennel Club’s Dog Show

As a dog lover, I try to watch everything on TV about dogs. I have a real thirst for knowledge and the view point of others.

But this year the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was not on my list of things to watch. You see, late last week the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show announced that they were dropping Pedigree Brand Dog Food as its sponsor of almost a quarter of a century.

While it’s a free country, and they have every right to do it, I found the reasoning behind the decision a tad bit strange! It seams that they did it because Pedigree’s advertising direction (focusing on stray and abandoned dogs) is “too depressing” for them.

If you’ve been on a different planet, or just haven’t seen one of them, Pedigree’s more recent commercials focus on pet adoption by using emotional stories that tell about the lives of shelter dogs that have been abandoned, neglected or in some cases even abused.

This direction obviously doesn’t align with the kennel club’s showcase animals. They are into the pure-bred dogs with registered and distinguished bloodlines. (ironically this kind of dog is referred to as having a pedigree). WKC is obviously not about lovable mutts. It seams that they are only interested in and only want the top 1% of dogs. (After all, have you ever seen a mutt class at their show?)

The club’s director of communications David Frei, stating in a recent New York Times article that they want  “…people to think of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show as a celebration of the dogs in our lives” and went on to say,  “Show me an ad with a dog and a smile; don’t shame me” (NYTimes.com, 2012).

David, wouldn’t you say that saving a dog from utter destruction is a pretty good way to have a “celebration of the dogs in our lives?” After all, we can’t all afford a million dollar show dog!

On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with a few “happy” and “upbeat” ads aired WITH the current Pedigree spots? And, I know they have them, because I see them everyday. The one that mentions nutrition and say something like: “From the tip of their nose to their wiggly butt” comes to mind.

While it’s sad that the show has decided to part ways with Pedigree for reasons that seem strange at best, the worst thing about it is that the adoption ads that Pedigree airs have had a tremendous impact on the numbers of pets being adopted. In 2007, Pedigree received $500,000 in pledges after the ads were shown over the course of the two-day show.

In a time when thousands of dogs are put down every day only because they don’t have a home, we are ashamed and saddened that the dog show has ended its partnership with Pedigree without finding some kind of middle ground. As a result, this puts thousands of shelters and rescues all over the county much shorter on the funds they need and the dogs that need these funds are at serious risk and may not live long enough to find a forever home.

What I find really disturbing is that while they (WKC) finds Pedigree’s ads depressing, they don’t have any problem allowing some of their members to “Breed IN” genetic problems and defects into their lines of “show” dogs. One case was recently brought to my attention through a website I visited.

It was about a merle Collie that is a Best of Breed winner at Westminster and currently ranked as the number one Collie in the USA.  The dog is a merle Collie who was sired by A double merle Collie who is BLIND and DEAF. The dog was intentionally bred so that he would ALWAYS produce litters of all merle puppies.

For those who may not know, “merle” is not a coat color. It is actually the definition of an incomplete dominant gene that controls coat color in dogs. Breeding two merle dogs together statistically results in 25% of the resulting litter being double merles. Puppies that result from double merle breeding are often smaller and the litters will frequently have stillborn puppies.

In most countries the breeding of two merles is forbidden due to the probability of the resulting puppies having severe health problems including:

– Deafness – from birth or will happen as the dog ages.
– Iris Coloboma – part of the iris is missing
– Corectopia – off center pupil
– Microphthalmia – Abnormally small eye(s)
– Anophthalmia – absence of eye(s)
– Blindness – blind from birth or may go blind as they age

(Read the full Story about merles) at: http://networkedblogs.com/tX0sN?a=share&ref=nf )

If you would like to let the club know what you think or if you agree with them, here is the contact info from their website.

Westminster Kennel Club
Director of Communications
David Frei
(212) 213-3212
david@westminsterkennelclub.org

Valentine’s Day and Your Dog

A recent news article said that Americans spend $17.5 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts! Good Morning America says a lot of pet owners not only purchased gifts for their spouses, they also spent a lot of money for gifts for their pets. In fact, they stated on their website that The National Retail Federation expects consumers will spend $367 million on their pets this Valentine’s Day. So, the following questions begs to be asked! Are you spending any money on your pets for Valentine’s Day? If so, how much. (Just a Ball Park number please).

As an alternative to buying a diamond studded collar, a Waterford Crystal water bowl, or Gucci bag for your designer breed why not do something for your dog that it will REALLY love and appreciate?

Instead of spending money, consider an investment of time. Spend some extra time walking or playing with your pet. If you can’t walk or play because of some kind of physical issue just spend a few extra moments hanging out and sharing a little extra quality time! It doesn’t have to be long periods of time either. Just 3-5 minutes several times a day will be greatly appreciated.

Dogs aren’t little four footed humans. They are animals that have been bred to crave human interaction. They don’t care how much you make, what kind of car you drive, or how big your home is! The only thing they really care about is spending time with you. They live to hang out with you and make you happy.

OK, I agree. Buying your pet a gift CAN make you happy. And there’s nothing wrong with buying your pet a nice gift once in a while! But I dare you to spend a few extra minutes every day walking or playing with your dog, and not walk away just as happy!

No matter whether you buy gifts or not, thank you for loving and taking care of your pets and their needs.

Controversy and Conflict in Our Little Corner of the Dog World

Recently it was brought to our attention that one of our blog friends had “called out” a municipal animal shelter in the area for what this “blog friend” heard was going on there.

We have spent a good amount of time looking into it and thinking about it.

While we want to thank the person(s) for contacting us, (multiple times), after all things are considered, it is NOT our policy to put someone down or ridicule them for what they think, or say on their own blog. After all, a blog is meant to be a place to express ones thoughts and opinions and provoke discussion about them. And that’s exactly what this blogger is doing.

Wrong or right, it is our God give right, and our duty as citizens to question the actions of our government and the agencies that spend our tax dollars. Because we at IDT do not have any first hand knowledge about this specific subject, we can not in good conscience comment on the validity or accuracy of any statements made. That is up to the author of that blog.

What is NOT in question here is: the large amount of passion and commitment  this blogger has in making sure that all animals are treated with kindness and in a humane way.

2012 Iowa Dog Trust “Pawlitzer Prize” Awards

If you read this blog yesterday you already know that Dog Leader Mysteries gave us a great vote of confidence by awarding us for our work on this blog. We see this as great praise and inspiration. It has inspired us to pass this inspiration on to other bloggers as well.

By doing this we hope to encourage more bloggers to help dog owners around the corner and around the world by offering them quality instruction, information and guidance. We will be calling ours: The “Pawlitzer Prize” Award.

This award will hopefully bring some added attention to some great but, lesser-known blogs too.

The rules for the “Pawlitzer Prize” Award are very simple.

  1. Nominated Blogs must contain at least 80% dog related content.
  2. Nominated Blogs must be active and post new items at least once per week.
  3. Nominated Blogs must have “G” or “PG” content that is acceptable reading for children as well as adults.
  4. As a way to promote all of the blog sites, we would appreciate it if nominees and winners provide a link back to this blog. It will not only promote each blog, it will also serve to make all of the blog sites more visible to Google, Yahoo and the other major search engines. This will bring more traffic to all of our blogs.
  5. Copy & paste our award image (above) on your blog with a link back to iowadogtrust.wordpress.com  This will insure that your blog will be eligible for our Annual Award Drawing.

You may also want to consider creating a “top five blogs” list of your own. Let people know about blogs that you feel are important or interesting. After you reveal your “top five” picks, let them know about it by leaving a comment on their blog.

Our First Five “Pawlitzer Prize” Award Nominees are:

  • http://peopleforanimals2011.wordpress.com/
    People For Animals is one of our favorite blogs because each article is designed to educate, update and inform readers (Iowans and non-Iowans alike) on animal laws,  stories and events, in hopes to get the ball rolling for tougher legislation to protect our companion animals.  Education is the key to getting this problems solved.
  • http://trainingaservicedog.wordpress.com/
    An Excellent blog about the trials and tribulations of training a service dog named Bambi. The owner hopes to someday help veterans train their own dogs but at the moment she is learning and documenting the training of Bambi.
  • http://www.dogleadermysteries.com/
    Deborah Taylor-French writes mysteries for children; full of animal rescue and positive dog leadership. She has taught as a guest artist for California’s Artists in the Schools, led numerous teacher workshops and has raised five adopted dogs. 
    She is also the one who provide the inspiration for this award!
  • http://iowadogblog.com/
    This blog celebrates and discusses all things doggie in Eastern Iowa and the Midwest. It includes Announcements and events about local and regional dog happenings, Stories about her dogs and other dogs she encounters as well as suggestions for places to go (walks or getaways), for people/dogs to see, and dog-related things to check out.
  • http://waywarddogs.com/
    Wayward Dogs is the bloggers attempt to keep track of — and if possible help – the lost and wandering dogs that she encounters. It’s also about a human search for meaning and community. It’s about sniffing around and scoping out the surroundings. It’s about venturing off (and on) trails of conventional living.

Please take a few minutes to visit each of these great blog sites and leave a comment for them.

We will be adding more nominees as the year goes by.  So if you have a dog blog, just “Follow” this blog, or “Like” one of our blog posts and you will automatically be added to our list to be considered for future Pawlitzer Prize Nomination. We are also working on some sort of prize giveaway or reward of some kind for our Annual Pawlitzer Prize Award. We’ll announce it at a later date.

 

This Year Make a New Years Resolution You Can Keep

Photo of a dog behind a chain-link fence at th...

Please Help Me. If not you, Who?

We all do it. It’s really nothing new. We all sit around during the holidays and proclaim that “This coming year it’s going to be different. This year I’m going to ….” and then we go into detail about what we are going to do different and how our life will be different because of it.

But by the end of January the “resolution for change” has been put on the back burner (so to speak) or forgotten completely. But that’s OK. No one got hurt, no one’s life was harmed because of it … it’s just something that never got done. Right?

Well it might not be that simple! Lives might actually be hanging in the balance, be lost, or at the very least, they might be changed for the worst.

I’m not talking about humans here. I’m actually talking about the pets that live in shelters and with rescue groups across our great land. Millions of shelter pets are counting on us to look after them and to provide the much needed resources that they need so that they can live long enough to find great homes.

So this year, why not make a resolution you can easily keep? Resolve to help your local shelters and rescues … and then do it.

It’s actually very easy! Just search Google or Yahoo for “Animal Shelter” or “Animal Rescue” and then put your city or state behind it. When the results page is displayed, simply click on the links and pick the one (or more) groups that you like the best.

Then contact them and give them a few dollars. Any amount will be helpful. You can also take them some old blankets, towels, a few gallons of bleach or some cleaning supplies. Every shelter and group has something that they need. All you need to do is ask. Better yet, why not give them a few minutes of your time once in a while. They can always use an extra hand so help out where ever you can. They will really appreciate it!

If you can’t decide, just drop us an email and we’ll help you figure out which group is the best fit for your assistance.

Remember … Donate Locally or Your Donation will NOT Help Local Pets In Need!

Holiday Pet Safety

The holiday season is a time to get together with family and friends. It is a time to create memories that will last a lifetime. It is a time for family and friends to come together for parties and festive meals. It is also a season full of sights and smells that wake the senses. Christmas trees trimmed with colorful decorations, turkey, stuffing, pies and cookies baking in the oven, and lots of new presents and wrapping paper all over the floor on Christmas day.

Unfortunately, with all of the added festivities the holiday season brings, it also brings new dangers to our pets.

Most seasoned pet owners know that the items listed below can be very dangerous. But sometimes it helps to be reminded. For the newer pet owners, maybe this is the first time you’ve seen this list. If this post saves just one family from a disaster this holiday season it will have been worth it.

Alcohol
Holiday parties often include a few alcoholic beverages meant to lighten the mood. But if they’re not kept out of the reach of pets, even a small amount of alcohol may cause vomiting, loss of coordination, and disorientation in your pet. Larger amounts may even cause death. Keep a careful eye on shots and mixed drinks. They can do damage faster.

Bones
Any cooked bones can be dangerous. Turkey and chicken bones are extremely dangerous because the splinter very easily. Ham and beef bone also splinter, just not as easily. All cooked bones have dangerous effects when ingested and can internal injury. Never intentionally give cooked bones to your pets. When you lay out the meals on your counters and tables, make sure that your pets can’t get to the food. Also make sure that they can’t get to the surfaces where the dirty dishes are placed.

Candles
Candles can offer an intimate and elegant element to the holiday. They can also ad a very dangerous element as well. Make sure they are nowhere near the reach of your dogs and cats. Flames can easily find wagging tails and curious noses, they can then be tipped into things that can easily catch fire. Need we say more?

Chocolate
Most pet owners know that chocolate is toxic to pets. Unsweetened baking chocolate and dark chocolates are the worst. But all chocolate, fudge, and other candy is bad as well. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include: diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, nervousness, and even death.

Christmas Decorations
The shininess of tinsel, decorations, ribbons and bows is bound to attract curious dogs and cats. Accidental ingestion of these decorations can cause bunching and the possible perforation of intestines. This is a life-threatening condition requiring emergency surgery.

Christmas Trees
You only need to see a Christmas tree from your dog’s eyes to understand this danger. All of the sudden there’s a big tree in the house. If it doesn’t out-n-out frighten him, it will most likely raise some major curiosity in him. To avoid your tree falling over after a few bats of the paw, be sure to secure your tree in a sturdy stand and block off any access to it. You may also want to limit the amount of decorations you use on the bottom of the tree and make sure there isn’t anything dangling that your dog can get a hold of or pull on.

Garbage Cans
Once your holiday parties and the family feast is over, make sure the table scraps, foil, and other waste goes into a sealed trash can. Be aware that dogs and cats have a great nose and they may be able to open cupboards, doors and garbage cans. So make sure these places are well secured.

Pine Needles
If your dog or cat likes to chew, it may chew on or ingest pine needles from a real tree. If this happens it can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, depression, and possibly obstruction of the GI tract. In addition, Christmas trees are often sprayed with paint or preservatives. If a fertilizer is used it can also be extremely harmful.

Plants
Some holiday plants are harmful to pets. These plants include poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly. Ingestion of plants like these can cause mouth and stomach irritation, seizures and death. If you use these plants to decorate your home, keep them out of the reach of your pets.

Your pets are counting on you to keep them safe from dangers like these. A few simple preventative steps can assure that this holiday season will be a healthy and happy experience for your family and friends. Including your four footed friends.

I hope you will all have happy and healthy holiday season.

Humane Society of the United States: Not About Helping Shelter Pets

I recently read a post from someone who works for Humane Society of the United States. In it this person stated that HSUS is not now, nor ever was, about helping local animal shelters.

This person went on to say that the focus of the HSUS is to help animals by focusing on “The Big Picture” and using their money and power to changes laws effecting animals. But when asked why they didn’t spend ALL of the money they received by donations and fund raising to “help the animals” (instead of using it to pad retirement accounts and pay the HSUS leadership’s big salaries) the answers quit coming.

It is important to note that the HSUS spent $126 million last year. Yet less than 1 percent of its budget was grants to support pet sheltering.

While I agree that laws need to be changed to protect animals, the immediate problem is that we have more animals than we do homes for them. With proper funding, shelters and rescues could take more time to find owners for these homeless animals. More funding to local shelters and rescue groups could also be used to educate the public about pet ownership, training and spay and neuter programs. Education is also needed to teach people about building a proper bond with animals instead of participating in animal abuse.

Around 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters every year. HSUS only provides support for about 1 percent of them. Currently it is estimated that about 500 of these animals are put to death every hour of every day. And the reason they are killed is not because they are sick or unfit for adoption! The reason is that the shelters just don’t have enough money, room or resources to keep them.

So if you really want to help dogs and cats, give ONLY to your local shelters and rescue groups. This will assure that your donations will do the most possible good and help the most effected animals.

Don’t Forget to Remember Our Nation’s K9 Veterans

This Veterans Day, as we celebrate our nations veterans both past and present, we salute all of these men and women who have put themselves in harms way so that we may live free. Each and every one of them deserves our recognition, our gratitude and our respect. Of this there is NO doubt.

"War Dog Monument, Sacrifice Field, National Infantry Museum, Ft. Benning, GA. Dedicated 8 October 2000. "

But in our armed services, another group of dedicated soldiers goes virtually unrecognized. Officially, the dogs that are trained for military service are labeled as equipment, not personal. These dogs are drafted into the U.S. military for life. But because these dogs are classified as “surplus equipment” the military does not pay for the dogs’ return trip home. They are often just left behind, or euthanized once they are deemed incapable of continuing the jobs they were trained for.

But they are so much more to the soldiers that they serve with on the battlefield. The stories that surfaced about the “Dogs of Seal Team 6” (the group that killed Osama bin Laden) have sparked a lot of interest in adopting the dogs as they retire from their military service.

Adopting a K9 veteran can be costly (about $2,000). This is mostly because the U.S. military does not pay for the dogs’ return trips home.

In the past, the military would not bring dogs back to U.S. soil because they claimed that these dogs were incapable of being retired to civilian life. The fact is that police dogs, which receive identical training, are successfully and peacefully retired to loving homes and families upon retirement.

Things are different now. The military has changed it’s policy due to overwhelming protests from both the public and the dog handlers themselves. Military dogs are now returned to the U.S. and are no longer euthanized. Now they are given to their handlers when they are retired or the general public can adopt these wonderful war heros.

Yes I said Heros … I use the word Hero because they have gone through everything our men and women have. They’ve all had extensive training, seen combat, been exposed to gunfire, and been around explosions on a daily basis. Just like their human counterparts, they should be able to retire at some point and live a peaceful life.

On the average, when these military dogs comes home, they only have two or three years remaining in their life. With a loving family and in a peaceful atmosphere they can now live out their remaining years in the peace and comfort of a loving home.

So while you celebrate the service and sacrifice of our countries veterans have given, please take the time to remember our K9 veterans too.

Little Known Facts:

– Every year around 300 ” K9 veterans” are retired from service and put up for adoption.

– Since the May 2nd raid on the bin Laden compound in Pakistan, officials said they’d received more than 400 adoption applications.

– A family in the Los Angeles area, was more than happy to adopt 8-year-old German Shepherd named Bagger. They have given him a loving home, but the military will not tell the family anything about the dog’s history.

– Dogs have been fighting with U.S. soldiers for centuries … unofficially in the Civil War, then officially inducted into the U.S. Army in 1942 for service in World War II

– Only 204 of the estimated 4,900 dogs that were used by the U.S military in the Vietnam War returned to the United States, according to military dog organizations. The ones that didn’t make it back were euthanized, abandoned or given away to the South Vietnamese army.

– President Clinton legalized the adopting of military dogs in 2000.

– Gerry Proctor, a spokesman for Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, told the Associated Press that none of the dogs were euthanized now. “All the animals find a home”

– There is a six-month waiting for people wanting to adopt. And applications have gone up substantially since the bin Laden raid.

– Last year, 338 dogs were adopted by families, police departments and other governmental agencies.

Find out more about adopting a military dog.

National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week: Nov. 6–12, 2011

National Animal Shelter & Rescue Appreciation Week is designed to bring awarness to the plight of homeless pets that are waiting for new homes in shelters and rescues across the country.

There are approximately 3,500 animal shelters across the United States that serve an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals each year. Still more find themselves in need of the services that are provided by local rescue groups.

These cats, dogs, and other companion animals end up in shelters and rescues through no fault of their own. And there are a number of reasons that these pets end up there. But if given a second chance, these wonderful animals will make fabulous family pets.

National Animal Shelter & Rescue Appreciation Week is also a great way to thank the people who work tirelessly to find loving homes for these homeless animals.

PLEASE DONATE LOCALLY
Your local animal shelters and rescues desprately need your help. They are on the front line of the battle to save pets in need. In order to provide homeless pets with this much needed help they count on all of us to donate our money, resources and our time.

We’ve all seen the TV advertisments. But contrairy to popular belief, the Human Society of the United States doesn’t do much of anything to help homeless pets. In fact, the Humane Society of the United States has no connection of any kind to ANY local shelters in this country. The only thing they DO have in common is the two words “humane society” in their name!

They do however collect donations from people like you and me. They make us think that we are giving our hard-earned money to them so they can help local shelters. But that’s NOT the case. They’re real good at tugging on our heart strings in their advertising. So good at it it fact, that they collected $131 million in 2010. $131 million that could have, and should have gone directly to help the local shelters that really needed it. But tax records show that they actually offered up less than 1 percent of their donated budget to local pet shelters or humane societies to help them care for homeless animals.

So if you really want to help homeless and abused pets, you need to give your donations locally. The HSUS does not house or adopt out any pets. They are for the most part a political lobbing group.

HELPING HOMELESS PETS LOCIALLY
Shelters and rescues are always in need of towels, toys, treats, cleaning supplies and food for the animals they care for. Every shelter and rescue group has a “wish list” on their website. Please take a look at the list and give what you can. And ask your family, friends and colleagues to do whatever they can as well. Every little bit helps.

Tough times effect us all, so If you can’t afford to make a monetary donation you can still help. You can help by taking a few moments to send an email, make a call, or stop by your local shelter or rescue to thank the people who work tirelessly to care for the homeless animals in your community.

If you are considering a new family pet, be sure to adopt it from them. If you have an adopted pet, send the organization an updated picture to let them know how well your pet is doing! Just a minute of your time can make a huge difference.

If you’re not in the market for a new pet, you can still make life better for homeless pets in your area by volunteering at your local shelter or rescue organization. They can always use an extra hand.

Another great way to help is to be sure that your pets have an identification tag or a microchip. This can not only insure that your pet will be returned to you if it gets lost, it will also save the shelter or rescue presious resources that could be better used on a real homeless pet.

Lastly, have your pets spayed or neutered. Unwanted pets make up the bulk of the shelter’s inmates.

Help us celibrate National Animal Shelter & Rescue Appreciation Week this year. Do whatever you can to help homeless pets in your area.