Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Left behind

Having a Web site relating to people and pets makes me want to scream at least once a day. It's not hard work - I love it. It's not the animals - I love them; I share my life with enough to make up a soccer team.

It's the people I don't like. Not all of them because I have met some awesome people who, like me, love pets and humanity and all that's still good in the world.

The people I don't like are those who don't love their animals, who don't treasure every moment they have together, who leave them behind - literally, behind. Alone, in an empty house or tied up in an overgrown back yard. Not a word to anyone, a neighbor, a friend, that there is an animal being left. No thought to the animal at all. They do this sort of thing...when moving to another city or state and the pet is suddenly an inconvenience...when fleeing a hurricane...and now, the latest, when the bank has foreclosed on their house and they're not sure where they'll be spending their next night. (Click on title link for the article which promoted this blog entry.)

Hey, before you paint me callous, I am not without understanding here. In one of the darkest hours of my life several years ago, after my divorce, I was faced with the possibility of not being able to afford to stay in my home. I considered putting the house up for sale. I thought about the moving process and where would I go. I worried the bank would foreclose before I could sell it.

I frequently envisioned myself, walking down Interstate 95, with nothing but my cat in his carrier under one arm, a small suitcase full of all my earthly belongings under another, maneuvering three leashes with panting dogs on the end of them. I might have to start sleeping under a bridge, I told myself, but at least I'd be with my animals.

Point is, my life was not in good shape. But never once did I decide to vacate my home and leave my animals behind to...grow hungry, be confused as to where I went, wonder where was food, where was water, where was mommy, growing weaker every day...until the unthinkable might happen.

If you ever face a foreclosure, or if you ever move and know pets won't be accepted in your new residence, or if you ever flee a hurricane, PLEASE let my words ring in your ear. Make arrangements for your pet(s) beforehand. If you can no longer care for a pet, please contact your local humane society or animal rescue. You'll be starting over, so please give them the chance to do the same, not to die a slow, painful death alone, in what was once their home with their beloved, UNdeserving humans.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Pets part of the family is no news to some of us

I just read the funniest thing. There are scientists out there, trying to decide if people feel close to their pets. I swear. Actual time and money are being spent to figure this out.

University of Florida psychology professor Frederic Desmond had this to say on the topic, "There is some research that says pets are seen as an extension of a person's family."

Isn't that precious?

I think I'd refer Professor Desmond to the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association, which provides all kinds of statistics about American people and pets. For example, according to the Association's 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey, people with pets is currently at its highest level with 71.1 million households in the U.S. having the companionship of at least one pet (63% of the 113.7 million total U.S. households). The increase is up from 69 million households in 2004.

And we're spending our money on our beloved pets too, Professor Desmond. Collectively, people with pets will plunk down about $41 billion a year on their non-human friends. For things like food that won't poison them, vet checks, health insurance, grooming, clothes, and more toys and accessories than you can shake a Frisbee at. I'd say that's more than a satisfactory amount of compelling research for you, sir.

So, yes, Professor Desmond, pet people do indeed think of their pets as extensions of their family. Actually, not just extensions; we think of them as actual members of our families. And we're better for it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Stem cells are helping horses and dogs

While humans continue to debate stem cell research, some veterinarians are actually using it to help with conditions like arthritis in dogs and horses.

Vet-Stem, based in California, specializes in "veterinary regenerative medicine" and has used its licensed stem cell therapy in horses for three years. They're now offering that service to dogs which they can treat with their own stem cells to repair tendons and ligaments. Can you image?

The process is called "fat-derived stem cell treatment" and will be even more widely used commercially this fall, when vets across the nation will be able to
become credentialed users via online training at the company’s Web site

Will your vet get credentialed?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Space Coast Feline Network Receives $10,000

Space Coast Feline Network (SCFN) will receive a $10,000 grant from Florida Animal Friends Spay/Neuter license plate sales. This grant will allow a significant increase in the number of cats sterilized by the SCFN by providing an increase in spay/neuter services to low income caregivers in particular, and to those who support large colonies of feral cats

Space Coast Feline Network is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to decreasing the feral cat population in Brevard County through low-cost spay/neuter services for feral cat caregivers. It also provides education to caregivers at quarterly caregiver workshops that are scheduled for 2007 at the Central Brevard Library in Cocoa. Further information can be found on the SCFN Web site at http://www.spacecoastfelinenetwork.com or by calling the Helpline at 321-631-SPAY (631-7729).

SCFN volunteers coordinate spay/neuter clinics at various locations throughout Brevard County , including SPCA of North Brevard and Animal Medical Clinic in Melbourne , and at The Piedmont Animal Clinic in Apopka , FL. This grant will allow more feral cats to be spayed and neutered over the next year.

The Animal Friends License Plate is available for purchase for $44.60 when renewing a vehicle license plate. A pro-rated amount is charged if a vehicle owner wishes to purchase this specialty plate within 3 months of the owner’s birthday. Funds from the sale of the license plate are used exclusively to fight cat and dog overpopulation by increasing the number of animals sterilized. For additional information go to: http://www.floridaanimalfriends.org.

SCFN is also pursuing the donation of a late model van to help with transportation to clinics. Reliable transportation has become a high priority with the receipt of this grant to spay and neuter more feral cats.