5 Tips learned from hurricane evacuation

When Hurricane Irma was waiting to see where she wanted to go, my sister in Virginia said, “Why don’t you evacuate here?”

I laughed. “We don’t evacuate to Virginia!”

One week later we were  headed north on I-95.

I have lived in hurricane zones all of my life, and on the Florida East Coast since 1994, and still there are things to learn.

Lesson 1: If you make hotel reservations online, call the front desk directly. I thought I had reservations at a Holiday Inn in Flagler County. Luckily, I called to verify they would take my dogs – was told they wouldn’t. Then I was told that they were closing for the hurricane and were only notifying the people who called the front desk.

This was a Wednesday – we weren’t scheduled to check in until Saturday, the day before the storm. Too late to find appropriate accommodations.

A quick call to Flagler Enterprise car rental and we were headed north to Virginia in a cargo van.

Lesson 2: Bigger is better. After taking an area rug and covering the metal floor of the van I was able to put both dog crates, the cat crate, and the bird-cage inside. No one was extremely happy about this, but everyone was safe.

Lesson 3: Harnesses. We have always used collars on our dogs with no problem. This trip the dogs were slipping out of them during rest stop walks. Seriously, I would look away to watch one dog, look back and see a dog (fortunately) standing next to his collar. We bought harnesses for both for the trip.

Lesson 4: Be up front with the staff about your pets. Stay in hotels where they are welcome. I got a break for the nightly pet fee even though there were three. They  have to super clean the room after anyway, so 1 or 3 pets it doesn’t matter. Now is not the time to try to hide a pet in your room. Believe me, there’s enough drama in your life already!

Lesson 5: Talk to the cleaning staff. Let them know if you are not in the room, the pets will be in their crates. This will help them considerably. If you are in your room, or going to breakfast and leaving them out, put the “do not disturb” sign on the handle.

One last thought:

Please realize, your pets, like kids, feed off your emotions. They have no idea what’s happening and why you are upset. Spend some time with them and try to take long walks.

The second morning one of the dogs peed on a throw rug and the bed skirt in the room. He doesn’t do that normally. The cleaning carts were out and I asked for some cleaner and a rag and was able to clean it myself. They offered to come clean it, but I thought that was going above and beyond, and since we ended up staying in that hotel for a week, it was good PR for a pup that was just nervous.

 

 

5 reasons not to have a dog at school

Some colleges and universities are offering “dog friendly” dorm room. Those who live off campus may have a agreeable landlord, or they may decide to have one anyway. This is a good way to lose housing or have to find the dog a new home too quickly.

While dogs are definitely good companions, they can cramp college style and get left behind in the process.

Kodi the corgi was a “college dog.” Lucky for him, and us, when his owner decided to join the Peace Corps after graduation, Kodi had a home waiting for him. Not all dogs are nearly as lucky.

Here are 5 reasons not to have a dog at school

  1. Loss of spontaneity – Your friends want to take a weekend trip where dogs are not allowed. You stay home –
  2. Isolation for dog – Your dog spends most of the day inside while you are at school. At night you want to visit friends, participate in club activities or join a study group. So the dog gets a half hour walk — maybe?
  3. Medical issues – Dogs need vets from time to time. Getting there, paying for the visits, and taking time from studies all should be considered.
  4. Holiday and summer break – This is especially difficult if you got the dog after you arrived at school. How are you getting it home? And are your parents receptive?
  5. Lonely dogs – Lonely dogs are going to cry out, bark at people walking by. Others in the building may not appreciate this, even the dog lovers.

There are ways to get a “dog fix” without actually getting a dog

  1. Volunteer for a nearby rescue or humane society: Most schools require community service hours.
  2. If there are no rescues groups nearby, look for a veterinarian. You may be able to walk dogs for them.
  3. Check with others who have pets and offer to pet sit. (This includes your professors)
  4. Become a dog walker. (Again, professors)
  5. Walk around town. You are going to come upon people with dogs and people with dogs generally love to talk about their dogs. Always ask, before petting a dog.

 

Transforming a homeless dog into an adopted dog

 

This week my newspaper column was about volunteers at one of our local humane societies who use their skills to make the most wonderful transformation by turning a neglected dog into a pet that is loved again.

I was so moved by the photos I had to share.

The photo above is what “Charlie” looked like when he was brought into the humane society. Look at him now! And I am happy to say – adopted.

charlie after

So many dogs come into shelters across the country looking like this, matted, dirty, covered in fleas and ticks. The matting can also cause medical issues if the skin beneath gets pulled to the point of separating the skin and becoming infected.

If you can volunteer even a couple of hours a week or a month to groom — or even give these dogs a bath — what a difference you will make. Just ask Reno. Also adopted now I am happy to say!

 

 

reno before
Before

And After!

Reno after

 

Does your pet chew their paws? Why?

crossed paws

Do you ever have to tell your pet to stop chewing on their paws? The chewing could be their way to relieve pain and discomfort.

  1. Get a wet washcloth and quickly soak each paw. If your animals don’t mind their paws being touched you can do a more thorough job. The water can soften anything that might have become embedded or dilute anything they might have stepped into that could be burning their pads.
  2. Examine the paws. You are looking for anything from a stray unpopped popcorn kernel that’s gotten wedged to broken glass. If you see blisters it’s time to call the vet for a visit and a topical treatment.
  3. Bug bites. Mosquitoes, ants, and spiders may have bitten the pads of your pet’s paws, maybe while he or she was playing with it.
  4. Long or ingrown nails
chewing
Pets can rest easy when their paws aren’t bothering them.

If your pet is an indoor cat, consider what chemicals you might have had around. If a cat (or dog) steps into something and it burns they will chew on the affected paw and could ingest some of the chemical. Outdoor cats have the opportunity for a greater number of foreign objects that can affected them.

I heard of one cat when after his owner checked his paws, found what looked like mosquito bites. An inside cat in Boston, except for lounging on the balcony, can get bug bites too.

If your pet is chewing on its paws, or anywhere, it is time to find out why. It is important to address the chewing quickly so bad habits aren’t formed.

 

Getting rid of ants without hurting your pets

 

UPDATE: It’s been three days since I tried this. I still haven’t seen any “trails” of ants. They seem fewer but we could be in between hatching cycles. I did add some of the mixture in a line from the outside of an ant hole in the walkway outside to the grass and that colony doesn’t seem to be active any longer. If anyone has a method that works inside – please share.

Origninal post

We have had a very rainy spring and summer. I have also had work done on the house, resulting in doors open, saw dust, etc. So which is responsible for the ants?

I don’t know and don’t care, just want to get them out.  I think the rain has a lot to do with it, as I have heard from others having the same problem.

My ants have wings, but they aren’t termites thankfully. I double checked with a photo of both on the internet. My ants have segmented bodies and are built differently. So that’s the good news.

After turning on the light in the front room last night, and finding at least 20 of these unwanted visitors.

I resorted to clicking onto Lowes to find out if there is a fogger I could use. There is but I would have to take the two dogs, cat and bird out of the house for up to four hours. Not convenient and not really the method I prefer to use.

When possible I go as natural as possible. Any method will require you to keep an eye on your pets.

After much research I have combined what I was comfortable with and come up with this method. Let me know what you think. I have just put out the traps and will have to wait a few days to see.

What you will need:

20 Mule Team Borax

Sugar

Cotton balls

Plastic containers with lids (if you have some of the thinner ones that lunch meat comes in perfect!)

knife and scissors

Preparation:Ants 4

Cut slits along the bottom of the plastic container. I used a knife and squared it off a bit with scissors. Put these close to the bottom and make the slits small. You don’t want dog or cat tongues trying to lick the sugar out.

Remember you want the ants to be able to get out to take the mixture back to the queen. If you find too many still in the container you are only killing those. You want the entire colony. It’s going to be difficult, but for the next day or so I need to not squish the ants so they can make their return to the colony with the “treats.”

The method I decided was a mixture of borax and sugar. I didn’t measure, about half and half. You want it watery but with some solid pieces.

Roll cotton balls into the mixture and place three or four in the plastic tub. Snap on lid.

Ants 3

Place in strategic places. You may have to move the baits around. Everything I read said follow the trail of ants but I haven’t seen a “trail of ants” and my house is pretty tightly sealed.

I put one outside under a bush to see if I can lure some before they come into the house.

Ants 1

I choose to use the containers with lids rather than just the lids themselves. This is for my pets sake. Of course as soon as I put the container in the front room, Kodi the corgi’s nose was right there, checking  it out.

This is an experiment for me. I am really hoping it works and will post updates.

Wish me luck!

A missing pet

samantha-window
Window sills are one of Samantha’s favorite spots.

Even the most diligent of pet owners has lost a pet, if only for a few minutes. No matter how long they are gone the feeling is not a good one.
I had that feeling today. We are having work done on the house and the door from the kitchen into the garage was being replaced. I came home from work about 3 p.m. to find my contractors busy at work, my husband in his office, and Kodi and Buddy in their crates.

“Where’s Samantha?”

Samantha is our cat (or rather, my cat who sits on my husband’s  lap while we watch T.V.) The answer, “I don’t know,” wasn’t what I wanted to hear.

The search began. I was pretty sure my indoor kitty wouldn’t have willingly headed into all of the noise of saws, hammers and strangers going on in my garage that day, but I really needed to see she was safe for my own peace of mind.

So we searched all of her favorite spots, window sills, behind furniture, under blankets — she was nowhere to be found. I even looked in the garage – nothing.

I had to leave for a meeting so after about 15 minutes of searching I called a former co-worker at our local humane society to make a lost pet report. Samantha is chipped and that is generally the first thing any humane society or veterinarian scan for.  While I was on the phone, my husband called out that he had found her in a back bedroom.

She had found her place to sit out the ruckus in the open area between the wall and the storage/headboard in the guest room we have been sleeping in while we wait for our room to be carpeted. After my husband spotted her, she dashed under a sofa futon in the same room.

Sure I could believe him, but I needed to see her for myself. So down on the floor I went, peering under the futon, and looking back at me was Samantha.

This was a reminder that when workmen or guests are in your house, find accommodations for your cat, especially if doors are going to be opened.

The furthest Samantha usually ventures it out onto the pool deck and she is very easy to capture. If her heart was in it, she’d be much harder to bring back in.

This also demonstrates why even indoor cats (and I personally think they all should be indoor cats) should have identification. Collars can get caught or removed. Micro chips are the best chance you have of getting your feline back.

Firefighters save dogs

Firefighters
Ashley’s heroes. These firefighters saved Ashley and four other dogs from a wildfire in Florida. 

I enjoy what I do. I write for two small town newspapers in Florida. The kind of paper that focuses on local events.

Yesterday my assignment took me to the Flagler Emergency Operations Center. Three firefighters were being recognized by the Flagler Humane Society for actually going into a wildfire to save five dogs in the yard on March 24.

As I arrived I saw two employees of the Flagler Animal Hospital and the Executive Director of the Flagler Humane Society walking toward the front door. What made me jump out of the car and dash toward them was seeing Ashley, one of two of the dogs burned in the fire. Ashley and Harley had suffered third-degree burns and I really didn’t expect to see either of them at the event.

Suddenly Ashley turned and started “talking,” as many hounds do, and pulled his handler toward women who had just gotten out of a truck. Soon he was on top of one of his owners, licking and loving.

Firefighters 2
A heartwarming reunion.

The community came together for these animals, not just the firefighters (though they did the scariest act), but the Flagler Animal Hospital and, a non profit clinic, St. Francis Animal Hospital, in Jacksonville, and of course those generous souls who donated what they could to help pay for the medical bills.

Firefighters 3
The Flagler Animal Service officer who responded to the firefighters call and took the two injured dogs to the hospital. Anyone want to say anything bad about “Dog Catchers?”

Harley couldn’t be at the event, he was on his way back to the animal hospital after undergoing 10 hyperbolic  treatments.

There was a presentation of plaques and certificates, but from the looks on the firefighter’s faces (each who had at least one dog of their own) the real thanks came from the dog himself as he licked and nuzzled his rescuers.

The dogs recovery will take time but they are in good, loving and talented hands. A wonderful reminder that there are some very special people in this world who do some very extraordinary things on daily basis.

The humane society is accepting donations http://bit.ly/2nrddU1 (type “Ashley and Harley” or “emergency medical fund,” into the notes section), to help pay for the medical care for the dogs.

Most humane societies have emergency funds for catastrophic events and appreciate donations so they can be prepared for a disaster. Donate to yours today.

Baby wipes help reduce allergic reaction

Dog allergies
A simple box of unscented baby wipes could help reduce your dog’s allergic reactions.

Spring is showing itself on most of our lawns and on some of our dog’s skin. As the small flowers, grasses and weeds start to bloom, you may also be seeing red patches on your dog as they lick one specific area.

Diagnosis: Allergies

Both of my pups are showing signs. Buddy twists to chew the area from hip to hip, and the hair around Kodi’s tail nub is getting thinner and thinner.

Both are now on medication to relieve the itching and hopefully reduce the desire to chew.

Chewing is one of those things that can start out as relief for the dog and turn into a habit, something I don’t want.

When I picked Buddy’s medication up at the vet a couple of weeks ago, my vet’s wife told me to get baby wipes. Unscented baby wipes to wipe on each paw when they come in from outside.

I had never really given much thought as to how the allergic reaction occurred. I contributed it to airborne pollen or perhaps when the dogs rolled on the grass. But her explanation makes a lot of sense.

The allergic reaction can be from the dog licking the paws when they come in from outside. When I started to think about it both dogs do lick their paws after being outside. Doing this they ingest the pollen, or whatever is in the grass that they have an allergy to, and voila! the allergic reaction followed by chewing.

A pop-up plastic box of baby wipe, the store brand, now sits next to my front door. As soon as we come in, before the leashes come off, each dog get his paws wiped. Buddy isn’t too bad about it, but Kodi doesn’t like his paws being touched.

The process should be quick and easy. Just rub the cloth under each paw making sure to separate the toes a little and get in there. One cloth per trip outside.