Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Poisonous Mushrooms and Your Dog

The recent rains have produced a large crop of mushrooms in my yard. Naturally, I worry about  the dogs, cats and horses eating them, but I don't know which are bad. The best thing to do is to pluck them up before the critters find them.

I have kicked them and smashed them, but all that does is spread the spores, and they come back up over night.  On acreage, it's difficult to pick up all the mushrooms, and they come up fast, so it's also important to know the signs of poisoning.

Symptoms of poisoning include salivating, head shaking, tremors,vomiting, diarrhea, cramping, lethargy, and difficulty walking, to name a few.  These symptoms can exhibit within a few minutes or up to several hours after ingesting.

If you catch your dog eating mushrooms, remove the pieces and induce vomiting. If you can't do this, or have delicate sensibilities, get thee to the vet. Immediately. If you have a specimen of the mushroom, take that with you.

 Check your yard each morning, especially during the rainy, damp season. They grow quickly and can shoot up overnight, so scoop them up and throw them away.

And remember, it can be nearly impossible to tell the poisonous varieties from the edible.
This link shares some great mushroom information.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy Tails---Bonnie's Second Chance

Bonnie was given a second chance at life, thanks to Sammie's Friends and the Doris Day Animal Foundation who helped pay for her surgery. 

Bonnie was brought to us by Sutter Animal Control where she was to be euthanized that day! That shelter is over-crowded and with dogs bunched into cages together, there really wasn't time to wonder where her owner was, so they kept her for only a few days. No one thought an owner was coming for this 9-year old dog.

We couldn't let this nice old gal be killed so we took her.  Next, we took Bonnie to the vet because she had hematomas in both ears. A hematoma is a collection of blood, usually clotted, outside of a blood vessel. Very uncomfortable--poor baby—she was miserable.  A little surgery on her ears and she immediately felt better.

Then the most amazing thing happened. Her owner saw her on our Facebook page and came for her!!! They live in another county, and didn’t even know where to look for their beloved girl. A truly happy ending!

Please chip your pet (and register the chip!). It makes it possible for us to help you have a Happy Tail.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What Happens To Your Pet If You Die?


What would you do with your beloved pet if something were to happen to you? Many pets are brought to the shelter after their owner has died. Would your family take your pet to the shelter? If you think they would keep it, you might be right, but you might also be surprised.

After the September 2001 attack, 800 animals were left homeless. Now is the time to plan for the welfare of your pet. You need to do three things:

1. identify the caregiver,
2. prepare written instructions,
3. and set up a fund.

 Choose a caregiver wisely. Talk to your vet, or ask local pet sitters and animal rescue groups, if your family or friends aren't able to take your pet. 
You can set up a pet trust. California is one of the 32 states that has pet trusts. You’ll also want to fund it. With this step, figure out how much you are spending each year on your pet, including vet visits, and multiply that times how many years your pet might live. If you can’t afford to do this step, please take the steps to ensure your pet goes to a person who can and will care for it and who will WANT it. Click here to learn more about setting up a pet trust.

If you leave money for the care of your pet, your trust will create a fiduciary responsibility for the appointed person to care for your pet. We had a woman call us to bring a cat to the shelter. That cat was left to her with money for its care, which she offered to give us. I doubt that was the intent of the cat’s former owner. How very sad.
The resources on 2nd Chance for Pets offer many useful forms, including a wallet card. Add your address, pet’s name and type of pet, and have an emergency contact number to this card and carry it with you. Post emergency contact information at home by your phone too. It should include an alternate phone number, the pets in your home, where to find leashes/carriers/foods/meds, the name of your vet and, most importantly, the name of an emergency caregiver.


So here’s a recap of the basics:
      1.       Identify the caregiver
      2.       Prepare written instructions
      3.       Set up a fund.

     Now let's get those plans in order!

Mustang Sally

Michelle McKenzie works at Sammie's Friends and is ruled by the many dogs and cats in her life.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pretty Girl, Slender, Likes Walks on the Beach - Morgan the Pit

Hi! My name’s Morgan and I love people. Oh sure, a lot of people say that but I REALLY LOVE people! I’m shy too. Silly, huh?

I find being at the shelter and meeting new people everyday, very difficult. It's like speed dating! I dream about having my own home with room to run and my own people to love. I hope to have another dog to play with too someday, but I’m not fussy. No, I'm not.
I was found walking the streets looking for my last family, but I never found them. A kind person brought me to Sammie’s Friends for safe keeping.

I dream of walks, Frisbees, and a warm, snuggy bed so I can sleep right next to my new family (when they find me). Of course, if they would like me to sleep in bed with them, I am more than willing to do that too. I've been spayed and I'm up-to-date on all my shots.

Can I fetch your slippers? Bring you the paper? Keep your feet warm?? 

Meet me at Sammie's Friends, Monday thru Saturday, 12-4pm.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dogs and Trucks and Dragging Karma

Why would someone drag a dog behind a car? That's a rhetorical  question. Look at that face. This is a nice dog. He was dragged behind a car until his pads and nails were pulled off, and then was cut loose and left crumpled in the road.

Some folks speculate that he might have fallen from the back of a truck and was dragged by accident. Even so, someone cut him loose and left him to suffer. And die. A kind person found him there. Covered in asphalt and gravel and cleaned him off. They then took him to the vet. That's when animal control and Sammie's Friends got involved.

We named him Karma and we hope that the person who did this to him will experiences the full affects of karma.

Other dogs are in the shelter who have fallen from trucks. It happens often. Tie the dog up, or not, and the dog jumps out, get's strangled, breaks a leg. Fill in the blank.

Two are here right now. Doja had her hip and leg broken the first day the family got her. They put her in the truck and took off. Result: one broken dog. For months, no help was sought for this dog. Then she was turned over to the Sammie's Friends. Nice. After extensive surgery, she's recovering in a foster home. She's a sweetheart too.

The other dog here is Lady. She has three legs now after her truck episode. She's a charming girl, but even after damaging her, they turned her in to the shelter. How sad.

 According to the Humane Society of the United States, 100,000 dogs are killed each year in accidents involving riding in truck beds. Although it is not illegal in Arizona, a number of states have banned this form of pet travel. Read the article.  

Dogs don't belong in the back of your truck. Please don't put your dogs in your trucks---put them in the cab with you, or leave them home.

Karma's case is different from Doja's and Lady's. At least their owners didn't do it on purpose. At least their owners didn't leave them where they fell. To suffer and perhaps die.

A reward has been posted for the person who dragged Karma. We're also accepting donations for his medical care. If you would like to help, you can use the Paypal link on our website (this link will take you there), or you can mail your donations (the old fashioned way) to Sammie's Friends Animal Shelter, 14647 McCourtney Rd., Grass Valley, CA 95949.

To all those who have already sent your good wishes to Karma, a big THANK YOU!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Single White Female Pit Bull Looking For The Love Of Her Life

I'm single and available! Man or woman---makes no difference to me. I love them all. I'm a natural blond (white), with a big beautiful smile. Some folks say I'm the smallest, cutest pit they've ever seen, and I believe them. I'm two years old, and I'm a healthy curvy girl.

I like long walks and evenings by the fire. I like to play ball, fetch and run with you, and prefer to sleep on (or near) your bed.

Are you quirky? I have a few quirks of my own. When I laugh I snort. I don't really like other dogs, but with a proper introduction I can learn how to play nice. And, please forgive me but I simply cannot figure out why cats are on this planet.

If you don't like to cuddle, please don't reply to this ad.
Pet ID: SF 6-7-12 • Spayed/Neutered • Up-to-date with routine shots • House trained • Prefers a home without: cats • Primary color: White or Cream • Coat length: Short  530-471-5041

Sammie's Friends Animal Shelter, 14647 McCourtney Rd., Grass Valley, CA 95949

Michelle McKenzie frequently channels for the animals at the shelter.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chopper: One Heck of A Dignified Doggy Gentleman

Mommy left me in the car while she ran an errand. It took no time at all before four-year old me began to panic. I thought something happened to mommy and I cried. Should I get out of the car and look for her? It was a big street, and I didn't want to cross it by myself. My gaze was glued to the door of the store, and FINALLY she appeared. Lost in the grocery store, at the fair, add your own 'abandoned' event here. Whatever and wherever it was, it was scary!

Enter Chopper. 
Chopper, an Australian Shepherd/Chow mix, was brought to the shelter as a stray, and because no one came looking for him, we have to figure that he was abandoned. Most dogs adjust to this, but Chopper isn't most dogs. He's a ten-year old gentleman, who has manners, and dignity, and expects the person in his life to be there for him. When his person didn't appear, he got scared. (Remember your own lost-in-the-grocery-store scare, and you'll know how he feels.)

So after Chopper was adopted into a wonderful home, and the family left him to run errands, he became terrified, and tried to escape to find them. It's called separation anxiety. 

Separation anxiety symptoms run from mild to severe and can become a full-on panic attack. Some early signs include:
  • following you from room to room, pacing (when he sees you preparing to leave)
  • salivating
  • howling
  • barking
  • whining
There are things you can do on your own to help with a mild to moderate case of separation anxiety. Here are a few from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary's Sherry Woodard.

"If you have been told that your dog has mild to moderate separation anxiety, there are some strategies you can try to break the cycle of escalating anxiety. First, practice leaving without opening the door. Put on your shoes, pick up your keys, and walk to the door, but don’t leave. You may need to do this 10 times per day for weeks or months to quell your dog’s anxiety.

Another strategy is to walk into closets and close the door behind you. Wait one minute and then reappear. You can also exit via an outside door that you normally don’t leave through. Wait one minute and then walk back in. If your dog doesn’t appear anxious, try two minutes and add time if the dog continues to be comfortable with it. Back off on your time, however, if the dog becomes stressed.

Once your dog is comfortable with you leaving through the back door, you can start working on walking out the main door and returning after a short period of time. Again, gradually increase the time according to how your dog handles it. Practice as many absences as possible that last less than 10 minutes." (continue reading article)
Back to Chopper:
Chopper came back to Sammie's Friends and he may just need someone who will be home with him and who can take him wherever they go. With some work, though, he might be able to recover from this fear of abandonment. He's great on a leash. Will just sit in the room, relaxed and happy as can be. Loves to be with other dogs, kids, even cats. You would never know from his calm and dignified demeanor that he needs help recovering from abandonment. Won't you consider meeting him?

Chopper is neutered, up-to-date on all his shots, and house trained.
Sammie's Friends Animal Shelter14647 McCourtney Rd., Grass Valley, CA 530-471-5041

For more information about separation anxiety in dogs, talk with your veterinarian, and find a behaviorist you trust.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Do Unto Other (Cats & Dogs) As You Would Have Others Do Unto You

Zorro with her new family

The Golden Rule "Do Unto Others As You Would Have Others Do Unto You" applies to our pets as it does to us humans. When I use this to guide me I do the right thing for my pets. For example: Would I like to sit in a hot car with a fur coat on with the windows rolled up?  The answer is "No
." Do I like to go without regular meals?  "No, again."  Do I want to see my dentist when I have an abscessed tooth?  "Yes I'm in pain." If I got a foxtail up my nose would it drive me crazy?  "Yes, it would."  If I got screamed at would I cower in the corner, especially if the screamer was as much bigger than me than I am to my cat? "Yes I would."  I think I'd pretty much answer these  questions like my pet would. Ask yourself and see what answers you come up with.

Pets feel the same emotions we do. They can be happy, sad, lonely, depressed, scared or excited. Watch them and you can quickly determine what they are feeling. Our pets also have the same senses we do. They feel pain when something is hurting them, they're hungry, or they are ill. They like to be petted and loved like we do. 

We humans were given an analytical ability that other species don't have; they were given some things we don't have. We expect our pet to go with the flow when many people (s)he has never seen before come and pet
her/him. We don't like everybody touching us—everyone isn't our instant friend. Yet we expect that from our pets and most of them are quite tolerant and patient with all of this. You are way bigger than the animal.   What if some person proportionately bigger than you (as you are to your cat) picked you up in the air and expected you to purr immediately and show gratitude for being picked up by a monster.  I think we'd be the hissers and scratchers, not the lovers and purrers.

BB and her boy Ryan

Animals do need discipline and rules and boundaries, they do not need abuse. For instance, when your child misbehaves it is appropriate to talk to the child, take away a privilege, require some chore be performed to demonstrate "I'm sorry," or incent them with a reward to do better. It is not appropriate to hit, scream or berate your child and tear his/her character down. The same is true for your pet. One of the most effective techniques I used on my very special doggie, Sammie, was a time-out sitting in the corner. A few minutes was enough. He got the picture and altered his behavior and our great relationship remained intact.

Pets are a gift and a treasure just like our children are. Treat them as such and you will have one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.  No human will ever show you the devotion that a well
-loved pet will.    Most humans do not have the patience and tolerance that our pets do. Your pets need exercise, discipline and affection—please see that they get it.

Jupiter gets to drive to the dog park

----Cheryl Wicks is the Director and Cofounder of Sammie's Friends