Paws for Thought

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Every day, literally, I see people who purchase dogs. The irony is that they come to our non-profit hospital to receive lower fee spay and neuter and accompanying health care and education (which they actually rarely want,) and claim they cannot possibly afford standard veterinary fees. However, they had enough money to BUY a pet (and therefore do nothing but line the pockets of breeders and puppy millers, many of whom cannot even spell the breed of puppy they sell,) and may have spent many times over the amount it would have taken to care correctly and responsibly for a wonderful pet already born and desperate for a home. As many as 8-10 million wonderful dogs and cats are killed in our shelters every year, all for the crime of being homeless. Yet people continue to BUY pets, believing somehow that this confers status, prestige, sophistication, or that alleged "purebreds" are somehow superior to mixed breed dogs...(and, by the way, "Mixed Breed Dog" is the correct medical term for the PT Barnum fad of "Designer Dogs.") WONDERFUL dogs, many even "purebreds," can be adopted for a minimal fee from any shelter or rescue group in the country, usually already spayed or neutered, vaccinated, dewormed, heartworm and temperament tested, and all for a fraction of the fee these "consumers" pay to purchase one with none of that.
Some facts:

There is only one qualification anyone needs to call themselves a "breeder:"
You have access to an animal.
Period.

AKC means only as much as the ethics of the "breeder." Many breeders have no interest whatsoever in improving a breed, they only find two reasonable breed types (Dachshund female X Dachshund male) and then they order and swear to the AKC papers that the dogs are purebred and show alleged "pedigree." Not all breeders are unscrupulous, but responsible breeders do not ever sell to pet stores, flea markets, roadsides, through "shopper" ads or Craigslist, and they are extremely careful with puppies and the people who purchase them. We, in our non-profit hospital, do not see puppies or kittens from these types of "breeders," and therein lies the problem. In puppy mill situations, often parents (DAM and SIRE) are chosen at random and listed on the papers. Who would know? Who would prove it? Having AKC papers can mean nothing more than showing that my own birth certificate states I am a purebred Caucasian, because my parents were. It does not mean I am healthy, intelligent, a good example of my species or breed, nor that I am even good tempered. Jeffrey Dahmer was an AKC Caucasian. And CKC papers simply means this type of puppy cannot even meet AKC standards.

Breeders that care about their pups would never EVER sell to a pet store or broker (where and how most pet stores obtain puppies,) and would do home investigations. How often does this happen? How much do "breeders" care? If they cared, they would not sell to people who 1.) know nothing about the breed, 2.) make impulse buys, 3.) ignore or are aware of the importance of heartworm prevention, sterilization, good nutrition, an appropriate vaccination protocol, and commitment to the entire life of the pet. Backyard breeders sell for money. FOR MONEY. Period.

Every veterinarian sees puppies with owners who think that because the seller gave a "shot" or "shots" (this applies to downing whiskey in small glasses, or a firearm projectile, but does not always mean "vaccination," the actual CORRECT term,) that the pet is covered for every disease for life. Does the seller care?? Of course not; all they are interested in is convincing anyone with a body temperature to buy a puppy, often much younger in age than they tell you. And even a monkey can be trained to give an injection, but over-the-counter, feed store purchases, and "breeder" administered vaccines are often unreliable, may be inactivated, too much, too little, and can even do more harm than good to the pet, especially in small breeds. Every pet is different, and every pet deserves to have the best and correct vaccination schedule, something you rarely, if ever, see in purchased pets.

There is a lot to be said for hybrid vigor, as well. Most mixed breed dogs are more robust and have better constitutions and even conformations than the backyard breeder-puppy mill babies. Poorly or carelessly bred "purebreds" often have unfortunate genetic defects like open fontanels (permanent "soft spots,") malaligned, missing, retained or extra teeth, deafness, unstable kneecaps, umbilical and other hernias, Demodectic (genetic type) "mange," poor bone or muscle structure, and temperament and intelligence disturbances. NONE of these are the fault of the puppies, but the direct result of human irresponsibility and ignorant or blatant greed. While some owners believe these genetic or congenital abnormalities make their pet more charming, cute, or unique, it is not fair to the puppy and certainly ironic to see people encourage bringing more challenged pets into the world, and then see the owners fail to provide the best possible care for them, or to see wonderful homeless dogs and cats die in shelters because someone preferred to buy rather than save a life.

Please, if you care at all about animals, do some homework BEFORE adding a pet to your family. Please see your veterinarian and discuss your plans and what may be best for your family or living situation. Learn in advance what to expect and what is needed for the lifetime commitment of a pet. Spread the word, save a life; adopt a stray, rescued, or shelter animal. Help eliminate the tragedy of MILLIONS of needless deaths in shelters and on the roads each year due to too many pets for the number of people adopting them. A shelter dog of cat can love you just as much as a purchased one...and probably more, as they already know that the world is not very kind, and appreciation is something they have but your money cannot buy.

And by all means, spay and neuter, and the sooner the better.

Thank you!

Pat Gionet DVM
RiverCity Community Animal Hospital
Jacksonville, Florida
www.rccah.org

Did you know that spaying your female dog or cat BEFORE she ever has a "heat" (estrus) cycle will virtually eliminate the very real risk of breast cancer in her later years? Ask any veterinary medical college in North America, because that is what has been the standard for over 20 years now. Did you also know cats may start reproducing as early as 4.5 months of age, and they can cycle virtually continuously for 10-11 months of the year, depending on the number of hours of daylight where they live, and can have up to 3 litters per year?




MICHAEL VICK



IT IS MY BELIEF THAT THE RE-INSTATEMENT OF MICHAEL VICK BY NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL WAS AN ACT THAT PROVED TO BE "A KICK IN THE TEETH" TO THE MANY YOUNG AND OUTSTANDING ATHLETES WHO COULD HAVE EQUALED VICK'S ATHLETIC PROWESS, AS WELL AS SERVED AS A HEALTHY ROLE MODELS TO YOUNG AND OLD ALIKE. HOWEVER, I BELIEVE THAT IMPLIED IN GOODELL'S SEEMINGLY IMPULSIVE AND IRRATIONAL DECISION MAY BE THE VERY LOGICAL AND REALISTIC FEAR OF BEING LABELED AS RACIST BY THE PAPARAZZI PRESS, THE N.F.L., THE COUNTRY AT LARGE. ESPECIALLY IF HE WERE TO DENY VICK
RE-INSTATEMENT IN THE N.F.L.

YET, IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING THAT DESPITE VICK'S HISTORY OF MALEVOLENCE AND CRUELTY TOWARDS ANIMALS, MR. GOODELL STILL CHOSE THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE FOR BOTH PROFESSIONAL AND LEAGUE REASONS. IT IS MY FEELING THAT THIS DECISION LOOMS AS JUST ONE MORE CLEAR EXAMPLE OF THE LEINENCY WE AFFORD CELEBRITY IN THIS COUNRTY. CLEARLY, I DO NOT FEEL THAT MR. GOODELL IS RACIST. IN FACT, I DO NOT FEEL THAT HE HAS EVER DISPLAYED THAT KIND PUTRID SOCIAL BEHAVIOR IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM. FRANKLY, I FEEL THE REAL ISSUE IS THAT MR. GOODELL REACTED TOO QUICKLY AND IN HIS HASTE MADE AN IMPULSIVE DECISION THAT WILL COME BACK TO DISCREDIT HIS OVERALL ABILITY, THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, THE LEAGUE IN GENERAL.

MANY YOUNG PEOPLE- NO MATTER THEIR COLOR, CREED, OR ETHNICITY VIEW PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES AS ROLE MODELS OF THE FIRST ORDER. MR. GOODELL FAILED BY VIOLATING THOSE SOCIAL PHENOMENA WHEN HE SO QUICKLY AND WANTONLY RE-INSTATED MR. VICK. THE EFFECTS OF THAT DECISION ARE YET TO BE FULLY REALIZED. IF I WERE A BETTING MAN, BUT I AM NOT, I WOULD SPECULATE THAT MICHAEL VICK HAS LITTLE TO OFFER IN A POSITVE SENSE TO ANYONE AT THIS PARTICULAR TIME, ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF HIS TURBULENT AND MALEVOLENT BEHAVIOR. FINALLY, WHAT IS MOST TRUE IS THAT VICK DOES NOT REPRESENT THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS WHO FIND HIS ACTIONS SO DEPLORABLE AND REPREHENSIBLE INDEED. IN MY OWN MIND, THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE GUIDING LIGHT THAT GOODELL, THE LEAGUE AND THE FANS OF PROFESSIONAL SPORTS SHOULD DEMAND AS BASIC ACCEPTABLE ACTIONS BOTH ON AND OFF THE PLAYING
FIELD.

----RIKK JOHNSEN
August 24, 2009

A place for pigs


Well, my story is that I have a pot belly pig (PBP). He's smarter then any animal I've ever had. He learns tricks in 30 minutes and I potty-trained him in three days. He has his own bedroom and puts himself to bed when he's tired. (He even closes the door.)
    I've had him for almost two years and just found out that Moreno Valley's not zoned for PBPs. No one has turned me in but he's like one of our kids. I would like to be zoned for PBPs, but a lot of people don't understand about them and think they are like eating pigs and are dirty and smelly. They are not smelly or dirty or noisy at all, in fact no one would know that you had one because they are so clean and quiet.
    This is my sad story and I need help to keep my baby and others in M.V. also Can you or someone you know help?


---- Tonia
TONIA97@AOL.COM

 

As a person who has always rented and probably always will, I think the attitude of landlords towards having pets needs to be changed. I am currently renting a duplex apartment where I can have pets, but I pay a high price and it isnít all that nice. However, I stay there because I donít want to give up my dog. When I go to look for a new place to rent it is always the same, "NO PETS!" I donít get it. Do they really think we want our animals to run around destroying things? That we allow our animals to go to the bathroom in the house? What is sadder is I have had human neighbors that were dirtier and more destructive than any animal Iíve ever owned. If more landlords would open their minds and hearts to animals, more people could either KEEP the animals they have or would be able to adopt. We just canít wait for everybody in the world to own a home.

If anyone has any ideas or opinions, I would be interested.

Marie Boyce

Mboyce@us.oracle.com

April 6, 1996

 

Dear Fellow Human Beans,

Local and National News media focused on the recent heroic act of a mother cat saving her five kittens from certain death in a burning garage in the Bronx, New York.

The day before the (blessing-in-disguise) fire this wonderful cat's life was overshadowed with things like abandonment, scavenging for food for herself and her five kittens, and the everyday life-threatening dangers that befall all the homeless cats of this nation.

I understand 700 to 1000 people responded with offers to adopt these otherwise orphaned creatures of our planet. I say, to them and everyone else whose eyes meet this letter, anyone who sincerely wants a dog or cat for real ---- RESPONSIBILITIES AND ALL --- go to your local Humane Society, SPCA, or animal control shelter and see firsthand all their HEROICS. SADNESS. PAIN. Then adopt a companion or two for life.

We must help these creatures and ourselves by taking care of this overpopulation tragedy we have knowingly created.

We argue repeatedly about abortion and the death penalty. Both these tragedies and countless more happen to our pets everyday!!!!! Euthanasia is a death sentence. It means PUT TO DEATH. Sometimes humanely. Most times NOT. The sickening fact is that my county of Clark has euthanized 17,000 animals last year alone. The tragedy rises to 15,000,000 (15million) plus when looked at this nation as a whole.

This is from everyone --- religious or not. I thought life is life? No matter how small! Disagree? This shameful statistic does not reflect that.

If we don't change our ways in everyway,the rulers of this planet will be the cockroaches. OR IS IT ALREADY?!? Judge Yourself.

Don't forget to spay & neuter!

Sincerely,

Staci Bravender-Street

 

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