Wednesday, February 27, 2013

World Spay Day & Catvocacy

World Spay Day has come and gone. I chose to wait until after the event to write about this annual push for spaying and neutering pets because I have some very specific views on it.

World Spay Day was started by the actress/singer Doris Day and was originally called Spay Day U.S.A. She had someone lobbying in Washington for spay/neuter.  While there are excellent reasons to spay and neuter the zealots have gone too far. I can hear them screaming at me now because I dared to say that.  Let me be more specific. I expect my readers to be reasonable and not scream before trying to understand what I'm saying.

I am, without doubt, an advocate for spaying and neutering pets. I believe that some of the pet overpopulation talk is not valid in many places. For example, where I live the shelters import pets not just from other States but from outside the 48 contiguous States. One shelter had to be closed because the dogs they brought in from another country had brought disease with them, and I don't mean kennel cough.  

We have too many mixed breed dogs and in that I include the "designer" breeds. These are not purebred dogs. They don't have a set breed type, nor will they. Nor are those alleged breeders likely to do genetic health testing before breeding. They are the result of someone wanting a quick buck.  Those dogs and puppies should be spayed and neutered.

There are also health reasons for spaying and neutering. A female has zero chance of getting breast cancer if she's spayed before her first heat. The longer the owner waits, the higher the chances of cancer developing. Neutering male dogs completely eliminates testicular cancer. And males are less likely to roam. Neutered males may, or may not, continue to lift their leg when urinating.

All are excellent reasons to spay and neuter. There is no need for a dog or cat to have a litter first. They do have every chance of complications during birth and some die.  As for those who want to show their children "the miracle of life," there are videos available and they won't add to the pet population.

That said, let's remember that there is nothing wrong and everything right with purebred dogs and cats who are bred by ethical responsible breeders who do the necessary health screenings before breeding, socialize their puppies and kittens, keep the litter together with their mother for at least three months and then carefully place their puppies or kittens in carefully selected homes with responsible owners who are ready, willing and able to keep those pets for his or her entire life. And the responsible, ethical breeder will take back a dog or cat of their breeding, no matter how old. They created that life and are always ultimately responsible for it.  

It's quite likely that I will explore these topics in future blog posts.  There's far too much for just one post. The point is to be fair to everyone and respect all life. 

On another note. I'm pleased to tell you that I have been selected as a Catvocate by World's Best Cat Litter.  This is an honor as only a limited number of cat writers/bloggers were chosen. It represents that we are dedicated to bringing good information to cat owners. 

Let me be clear, I'm not paid by World's Best Cat Litter. That said, it is the litter that my cat, Aimee (GP Sinaye's Plaisir D'Amour of Ajolie) uses. It's the substrait she prefers. It would, therefore, have been accurate if Aimee had been named a Catvocate. She's well-mannered, intelligent and certainly knows all there is to know about cats. She's doing a good job of helping round out my education.

As a Certified Animal Behavior Consultant (both cats and dogs), I am dedicated to making life better for our companions. It's the least we can do for them when they do so much for us!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Banana Joe and A Hint About Something New for Cats

    It's a week since the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and I find myself reflecting on the results. Instead of being in the press box as I was for so many years, I've taken to sitting in my den and watching on television. The TV cameras are able to get wonderful close-ups that you can't get in Madison Square Garden unless you look up at the big screen to see the same video. And anyone can be an armchair judge but only the real judge gets to put his or her hands on the dog to check structure. All we can see is the outline of the dog as presented by the handler, the gait, and the dog's personality.

There's no doubt that the little Affenpinscher, Banana Joe, owned the ring that night. He was completely on top of his game.   His co-owner, Tina Truesdale, has been waiting for one of her dogs to go Best in Show at Westminster for a long time and I'm happy for her.  But it's no secret that my heart dropped when the little guy won the coveted award. Why?  The answer is quite simple.

The day after Westminster there is an enormous demand for whichever breed has won the coveted Best in Show. No dog is right for everyone and the Affenpinscher is no exception.  They've been turning up in puppy mills for years and this bodes badly for any breed. It is very bad for a small, cute dog whose looks belie his personality and characteristic traits.

These little dogs are very much Terriers in personality. They're intelligent, quick and as Toy dogs go, this is one of the harder breeds to housetrain.  Sadly, when faced with this fact becomes all too apparent, the dog is often abandoned to a shelter where, if not rescued by Breed Rescue or someone looking for a dog to adopt, he will be put to death.

Are they right for some people? Of course!  But never and I do mean NEVER, get a dog unless and until you can make a commitment for the dog's entire life, you have done your homework and found a breed you can live with that fits into your lifestyle and personality, and you can deal with the breed's idiosyncrasies.  

Joey is now in The Netherlands, relaxing into his retirement from the show ring.

Now, for the felines in your life. The people at World's Best Cat Litter, a product my cat uses daily, are hinting at a new product. What will it be? Stay tuned. I think an announcement won't be far away.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Two Winners!

It's been a busy day. I've spent the day going over contest entries and have had a very difficult time making a decision - who will win the ASPCA gift pack in conjunction with their Adoption Event? The field was narrowed down to two entries but there can only be one winner.  Keep reading.  It will be announced at the end of this post. 

First we need to talk about this week's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the annual event that dazzles dog lovers. Out of a field of seven really wonderful dogs, it was the Toy Group Winner, the little Affenpinscher, Banana Joe, who dazzled the judge. And so, Joe ends his career with the coveted Best in Show at Westminster and will go back to The Netherlands in happy retirement from the show ring.

For the very first time at Westminster, a Reserve Best In Show was chosen. The first dog to earn this honor is from the Herding Group, the Old English Sheepdog, Bugaboo's Picture Perfect.

Now, for the winner of the ASPCA's Meet Your Match gift pack.  It came down to a older Border Terrier who had been a Therapy Dog and a young Flatcoat Retriever whose owner wants to pay it forward if her dog wins by donating to the behavior fund at the American Kennel Club's Canine Health Foundation. Their sponsored research will benefit all dogs, mixed breed or purebred. It's thought that behavior issues are responsible for more dog deaths than any one disease. Why?  Because owners give up on their dogs and put them into shelters. Therapy Dog?  Behavior Research?  Equally important. Each dog their family's own personal Valentine so the families win no matter who gets the gift pack. What to do. What to do...  

Keeping dogs out of shelters, resolving behavior issues is very much in keeping with the Meet Your Match Shelter Adoption Theme of the contest even though neither dog was adopted. Therefore, the gift pack from the ASPCA goes to The Schejtman Family and their Flatcoat Retriever, Karma.

Thanks to everyone who entered and to the ASPCA for sponsoring this wonderful Valentine event to raise awareness about shelter adoptions and for their gift pack to our lucky winner!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

"Meet Your Match" Pet for Valentine's Day

Everyone needs someone to love who will love them in return. For so many of us, love walks into our lives and straight into our hearts on four furry feet. For those of you who are thinking of added a companion to your life, The ASPCA has a neat new event just in time for Valentine's Day; a live-streamed Dating Show called, "Meet Your Match."  

Here's how it works:

Presenting some of the most eligible pets who want to find their forever homes, the event will begin at 6 p.m., February 12th, EST at and will feature an ASPCA behavior person who will serve as the "Relationship Expert" answering viewers' questions about their pets. Viewers can vote for their favorite most adoptable pet on ASPCA's Facebook page (

In conjunction with the live-stream Dating Show, there will be a live Twitter party. (Here's a link to tell you how to join a Twitter party in case you're not familiar with it: The hashtag for the Twitter Party will be: #PuppyLove which sums it up pretty nicely.  To add to the fun, the Twitter Party will feature quizzes about legendary animal/human couples.  The Twitter Party is intended to spread adoption awareness which is always a good thing.

The ASPCA is doing something extra nice for my readers for Valentine's Day in conjunction with this wonderful event; they will send one lucky winner a super Gift Pack consisting of:

A Pugs and Roses Tee from David & Goliath
A Valentine's Day Heart Collar
ASPCA Orange T-Shirt
Walker's Shortbread Cookies
ASPCA Orange wristband
ASPCA Magnet

That's quite a windfall for any pet owner! To enter the contest, send me a message via my website: and tell me why you want to win. I'll select a winner on February 13th so hurry and get your entries in!

If you want to add a pet to your life be sure you have the time to spend with your companion and that includes positive training and daily exercise. Also be sure that you can afford food, regular veterinary check-ups and put aside a little extra every week in a special account in case there's an emergency later on.  

Valentine's Day is a great time to think about sharing love and giving a shelter pet a new leash on life.

 Note:  I am not a paid spokesperson for the ASPCA. They are providing the gift pack to one winner. I am helping spread the word about this wonderful event in the hope that at least one shelter pet will get a forever home because someone somewhere was inspired by reading this.