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Meet: Dora – The One Eye Love

Meet: Dora – The One Eye Love

A traumatized kitten from a trash can coffee cup finds a home, health, and happiness.

What Was That?

It’s 3:00 am, and five-pound Dora is tearing around the living room, attempting to climb the blinds and curtains and everything else she knows is off-limits during the day. All that can be seen is one little eye glowing with glee as she speeds by. “Having one eye doesn’t slow her down a bit,” says Ben, who found her on the side of a busy road almost six years ago when she was only five weeks old.

A Rough Start

“She was hiding in an empty cup by some trash,” Ben remembers. He noticed her little head poking out and pulled over. “She ran right to me, meeping and crying.” Dora was in a rough shape, weighing only nine ounces and covered in fleas and scratches. She also had significant trauma to her left eye, which couldn’t be saved.

Dora the cat on the couch
Dora on the couch

Happily Ever After

Sweet Dora never seemed to mind the loss of her eye. She even tried to play with her stitches as soon as she came home from the vet after surgery. More recently, Dora’s job has been class mascot as Ben’s wife, Rachel, taught elementary school online. “Dora Zoomed with me every day. She’d walk all over the keyboard, sniff the camera, and twitch her tail when she heard my students talk. The kids loved it. She’d take a nap by the window to supervise.”

Hobbies & Habits

Dora’s hobbies include tackling her 17-pound older cat brother, Fluffy Ed, and napping with her more patient older brother, the Magical Mr. Mistoffolees. She also enjoys listening for the sound of a lid being removed from a rotisserie chicken container so she can roll on her back and beg by showing her fluffy belly.

~ Written by Rachel Donnelly

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JULY IS NATIONAL LOST PET PREVENTION MONTH

JULY IS NATIONAL LOST PET PREVENTION MONTH

A family pet is lost every 2 seconds in North America

I am that person who hangs up signs in my neighborhood for lost and found pets, posts photos on NextDoor of strange dogs that I see wandering around, and share posts on my Facebook page for local pets whose owners are looking for them. 

I have joined in pet search parties, have helped owners get kitties in distress down from high perches in trees, and have placed white erase boards with other people’s missing pet information on my front lawn.  July has the distinction of having the largest number of pets go missing because of the Independence Day celebrations.

Fireworks are very scary for pets.  Some tremble in fear even when they are safe in the house, some escape from their yard in terror, and some bolt right out the front door into the thick of it.  All have been petrified. Some are picked up by animal control.  Some come home injured. Unfortunately, some never come home.  My research reveals that a family pet is lost every 2 seconds in North America, 10 million pets are lost every year, 1 out of 3 pets will be lost in their lifetime and not just due to fireworks. 

BE PROACTIVE

Original artwork by Kate Goodman

You must be proactive to keep your furry friends safe at home. Start by microchipping. In case you get separated from your pet, the chip will connect them back to you. Be sure to pet-proof your house and property so that they don’t wander without you.  That means walking your yard to look for holes that have been dug under fences or gaps in the fence that your critter can scoot through. Also be sure the gate latches and closes securely.  

Inside the house, check doors, screens, and windows to ensure that they don’t provide an accidental escape route. Cats can be very dexterous about pulling at screens to open them up just enough to slip outside. Windows are better closed so curious cats aren’t given the chance to try out their hunting skills. 

USE A LEASH

Crockett’s Critter Care team members always check the fit of the collar or to ensure the pet can’t slip out or back out of it.  As a rule, extension leashes are not used as they don’t allow for proper control of the pet and they don’t protect them from sniffing out hidden dangers like snakes.  If a dog pulls or lunges after squirrels, birds, rabbits, or other perceived prey, we suggest using two leashes, just to be safe.

Original artwork by Kate Goodman

CRATED PETS

Remove your dog’s collar before they are placed in the crate.  It is a standard practice in the veterinarian’s office as a dog can be injured or worse if their collar is caught and they struggled to get free.  When your pet is crated, secure all the latches so they can’t escape.

TRAVEL SAFELY

Secure your pet while riding in the car, just as you would any other passenger. Crating your pet allows them their own space while traveling and provides assurance if you are in an accident that they won’t be ejected or run off in fright.   

Following these simple tips, staying aware of your pet, and being proactive is the best way to keep your pet safely with you and not a statistic or featured on a lost pet poster. If you need other suggestions for pet safety whether they are furry, feathered, or finned give me a call or send me an email.  I am ready to help!

FEAR FREE PET TECHNIQUES

FEAR FREE PET TECHNIQUES

Attitude adjustments for your pet  

In my efforts to provide the best possible care for my clients’ pets and for my own, I became certified as a Fear Free Pet Professional in 2017. Their mission is to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them. Or, as they say: Take the pet out of petrified.  Below are examples of Fear Free techniques in action.

Snippy Sick Pooch

Cassidy was a terrier-type, senior dog that we walked twice a day.  She was doted on by her family and, by the time we met her, had already lived a long and happy life.  As she aged, she was diagnosed with a heart condition that required medicine twice a day.  However, the first time her owner attempted to pill her; Cassidy showed her displeasure with a nip.  

My colleague who cared for Cassidy called me to relate the incident and to request instructions for administering the medicine in a safer manner.  I drove right over to Cassidy’s house for a Fear Free “Teachable Moment.” 

Using what Fear Free calls a considerate approach, I tucked the pill into a small dollop of peanut butter on the end of a spoon and offered it to Cassidy.  She was delighted with her new treat and took her medicine willingly from that day forward.  This quick win turned a negative experience into a positive one for both Cassidy and her owners.   

Very Skiddish Vizslas

One of my clients is a busy professional whose work schedule was making it harder and harder to come home for lunch to let her dogs out.  She had a blended pet family of four dogs – her two little dogs: easy-going, people-friendly Italian Greyhounds and her friend’s dogs: high-energy Vizslas that were fearful of strangers and reactive toward me. I knew the little dogs well as I had been pet sitting for them for a while but needed to get to know the two bigger dogs. 

As always, I met the dogs in advance with the owners present and observed that they were well-trained and attentive.  Sit, stay, and go to your place commands were executed perfectly.  However, my first visit alone with them turned out to be a challenge. 

The Vizsla female was not happy with me being there.  She advanced toward me growling, barking, and kept it up for most of the visit. A thirty-minute visit went into overtime with me trying to put a slip lead on a frightened, reactive dog.  I actually hid behind the larger male Vizsla and while reaching over him  slipped a leash on the little girl.  I spoke calmly, moved slowly, and offered her plenty of treats to win her over.  The Fear Free tactics enabled me to get all the dogs outside to potty and playtime and back inside again without further ado.

Making a Good Impression

To ensure my next visit would be a pleasant experience, I knew that I needed to create good associations with these dogs.  When I arrived, I carried the Vizslas’ toys in where they could see me and they enthusiastically followed me out back for a good game of fetch. After a few more visits, they were comfortable with me and allowed me to put on their leashes to take them for a walk. 

Now these dogs are easy to handle, fun to play with, and loving toward me.  I was able to introduce another one of my dog walkers to them who they took to readily. She accompanied me three times and is now able to enjoy walking these dogs on her own.

Davy at 5 months.
Davy at 5 months.

Davy and
The Doctor

My three-year-old German Shepherd dog is named Davy.  Davy and I have been going to dog school with a top-notch trainer since he was ten weeks old.  He excels in obedience and rally.  But as a puppy, when he went to the veterinarian’s office for a visit, his boldness faded away, he became distressed, he would often pee on the floor, and when the vet examined him, he became snappy.  I had just started my Fear Free training certification and I was determined to change his dreadful veterinary experiences into happy visits.

Over the next year, Davy was trained to be relaxed and cooperative during routine veterinary procedures.  We practiced skills at home and, with my vet’s permission, repeated our lessons at regular intervals in the vet’s lobby and exam rooms.  Davy enjoyed the treats from the vet staff who often participated with us and quickly became accustomed to our simulated exams, pretend blood draws, and x-rays.  He calmly accepted a muzzle and the sounds of the clippers.  His anxiety about going to the vets was replaced with tail-wagging enthusiasm.  He now wants to explore every nook and cranny and attempts to go behind every closed door.  Most importantly, Davy has become a vet-friendly dog!

Fear Free for All

I and my staff apply Fear Free methods on every visit to ensure that each pet we care for has a calm experience with us.  We have cats come out from under the bed for snuggles, formerly fearful dogs greet us with tail wags, and owners return home to happy relaxed pets.  Proving that Fear Free techniques are simple and pet tested.

Long Life Bonds

Long Life Bonds

Keeping Seniors with Their Pets

There are so many benefits for senior citizens to retain their pets that it is absolutely ideal to keep them together for as long as possible.  Studies have proven that pets provide companionship, mental stimulation, plus a wider support and social network.  Pets lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones circulating through the body, facilitate social interactions, and lessen loneliness.  Crockett’s Critter Care has been fortunate to provide dog walking services to seniors over the years and we have witnessed the benefits first hand.

Dog Walking and Bird Watching

One of our clients, Mrs. M. had a little dog named Whitey.  Even though her dog was small, the aging process took some Mrs. M’s mobility and her health had compromised her breathing so it became difficult to get Whitey out for her daily walks. Mrs. M. lived in a lovely golf course community that didn’t allow a fenced yard so she inquired about us walking Whitey twice a day – morning and afternoon.  Each day we reported back to Mrs. M. how many birds’ nests Whitey spotted on her walks and how her leash manners had improved. 

Our daily visits gave Mrs. M.’s family reassurance that she had social interaction each day when we entertained her with Whitey’s adventures. When Mrs. M.’s condition deteriorated and she was no longer able to live on her own, we were able to find a forever home for her beloved pet, which comforted her knowing that Whitey would continue to be cared for and loved.

Sweet Kitty

A sweet orange cat “Marmalade” resided in assisted living with Mr. J. This little girl was a senior herself and had some serious health issues.  When Mr. J. traveled to visit his family, he always asked us to step in and care for her.  While on his trips, we would send Mr. J. pictures and reports which he loved showing to his family.  As Marmalade’s health worsened, we offered to take her to the veterinarian, but Mr. J. cut his trip short to do so himself.  I know that this cat filled a big space in his heart and home.  It was a pleasure to visit Marmalade and get to know her during her last years.

A Lively Bit of Fluff

A little dog named Duffy is owned by Mr. Bob and is a favorite at the assisted living facility. We take Duffy for a walk every day in the morning and evening and we can’t get down the hallway without everyone stopping to pet this little fluff.  Sometimes, Duffy is out front with Mr. Bob waiting for our arrival. As the seniors chat, Duffy makes the rounds to collect ear scratches and head pats from his adoring fans. When we bring Duffy back from his walk, he always jumps into Mr. Bob’s lap for a mutual snuggle.

As part of our service, we monitor Duffy’s feeding to ensure he is getting all of his meals and we send a report to Mr. Bob’s family letting them know that Duffy’s needs are being met.  We love talking to Mr. Bob about the life he has led and the importance that animals have played in it. He has been a good steward for all of his pets which included many dogs, a horse, and a donkey name Gina Lollobrigida because of her long eyelashes.  Mr. Bob feels very strongly that we develop a partnership with our pets and they should be treated with kindness and care for their entire life.

For us, it is an honor to support and share in the loving bond these seniors have with their furry companions.

Dogs, Cats, and Copperheads

Dogs, Cats, and Copperheads

How to keep your pets safe from snakes.

The warm weather brings Copperheads out of hibernation.  They can be seen at our dog parks, in the middle of our yards, on wood piles and compost mounds, under bushes, in gardens, on porches, and just outside your front door. Are they dangerous to our pets? YES!

Take action:  If your pet is bitten, take it to your veterinarian ASAP.  Do not delay treatment.  Bites are painful and prone to infection.  Your pet needs to be evaluated and treated with pain medication, fluids and/or antibiotics.  Diagnostic tests may also be warranted to determine if there are any systemic effects from the venom.

The clinical signs associated with a snake bite are extensive and painful swelling that spreads rapidly.  You may see bleeding or a bloody discharge at the site of the bite.  Fang wounds are not always visible due to rapid swelling or the mouth size of the snake that did the biting. 

The prognosis of the snake bite depends on several factors:  the size of the snake; the location of the injection; the age, size and health of the pet; and the pet’s sensitivity to the venom.   Small and frail animals are the most susceptible to venom which makes them the most vulnerable. 

Prevention:  While dog walking use a short leash.  Keep dogs away from exploring holes in the ground, digging under logs, flat rocks or wood piles.  Don’t let your pups sniff around things you can’t see like wood piles, under bushes, or planks.  

Hiking:  If you are hiking, stay on the trail or open paths where snakes are easier to see.  If you pet seems curious about “something” that you can’t see – be cautious. 

Yard:  Keep compost or wood piles away from the house.  Maintain your garden so it is free of overgrown plants and debris.  Regularly mow the law. Install fences 8-12 inches deep. Don’t leave containers of water around. Keep sheds rodent-free. Remove fallen fruit from the ground.  Basically, provide an environment that is not attractive to snakes.  If you see a snake on your property, bring your pets inside the house.  

As a pet sitter, I worry about the dogs and cats that have access to the outdoors while their owners are away.  If a dog goes out the doggie door to spend time exploring in the yard, it may be bitten and not even discovered until the next scheduled visit which could be hours later. 

An extended leash used for dog walking may enable the dog to venture near a well-camouflaged snake that we don’t know is there until it has struck.  A curious cat is certainly no match for a snake bite.  Cats are natural hunters and will chase anything that moves without realizing the danger they are putting themselves in. 

So it is with good reason for us all to take precautions to protect our pets, keep our distance from snakes when we see them, and take our pet to the veterinarian if a snake strike occurs.  Let’s hope 2019 is a mild season for snake bite reports.

Bye-Bye, Back Soon!

Bye-Bye, Back Soon!

I’m curious. When you leave your home, what do you tell your pets? Do you linger over them, tell them you hate to leave and will return soon? Do you leave them with kisses, pats on the head, and kind words? Do you just say – “Gotta go!” and dash out the door?

I asked my pet sitter colleagues this question and received a vast range of responses. Some were short and to the point, others were quite elaborate. Here are some of my favorite responses:

“I love you guys. I’ll be back soon.” But when I am going away for a long trip, I find closing the door for the “last” time agonizing. I never want to leave them and drag it out until the last minute.

When I leave, I choose one to be in charge. This duty rotates. Today when I left, I said, “Rocky, you have the honor.”

I give my dogs treats and put them in their room, feed and love on my two cats and they go to their room. I tell them all “I’ll be back guys!” My husband tells them I’m cheating on all of them!

I have six dogs and four cats. I always tell them I love them and add, “No wild parties.”

“Be good puppers. Mommy will be back soon, I love you.”

“I’ve only got cats, but they get “Bye babies! I’ll see you later!” And kisses/pets for each kitty if I can find them.

“I’ll see you soon my handsome man… Mom has to go to work now, so that you can live like the little king that you are.”

I tell my little fuzzy nuggets that I love you and will see them soon. The scaly and shelled guys get the same thing. My dogs go to work with me, but when I leave in the morning, I say “Bye cats! Bye birdies! Bye rats! I love you all.”

I just tell mine I’ll be right back…and they tell me if they had a nickel for every time they heard that, they would be rich.

Mommy loves you, but I have to go to work now, I will be back soon. Doesn’t matter if I am gone an hour or 8 hours, they are excited when I return.

I have a puppy and we’re working on isolation distress, so I give Kongs (which also happens when I am not leaving so no association) and I head out without a fuss. I also don’t make a big deal about my return, even though I can’t wait to pick her up and snuggle.

I have five dogs. I usually tell them daddy is going to make some money to keep them in the lifestyle they have become accustomed to. I’ll be back soon.

What I discovered in my pet sitter science research is we pay attention. We talk to them, pet them, give them treats, assure them we will be back and tell them that we love them. We like to leave them on a positive note. And when we are caring for our clients’ pets we tell them when we will be back and wish them a nice day. Often we add, “Be good.”