Our Pets – In Memory of Louise

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of or cat Louise. This morning she was in her basket on the steps in the store, breathing but not conscious. She In Memory of Louise 400x400had been having a more difficult time the past couple of days and due to her age and health issues, we decided to help her across the Rainbow Bridge this morning.

Louise and her sister Thelma joined the Green Acres Kennel Shop family on May 15th, 2001. Louise was probably 2 to 3 years old at the time, and Thelma was about eight months of age. They were barn cats before joining our family, so their exact date of birth is unknown. We had decided we wanted a resident rodent patrol and also thought that clients would enjoy interacting with the cats

1st day at Green Acres
1st day at Green Acres

in the store. Paula found the two of them on a farm and brought them home to Green Acres. After a short discussion, we named them Louise and Thelma.

Louise liked people and liked being close, to the point of often being underfoot. If there were ever a lap cat, it was Louise. If you sat down on a chair in the store, she would typically be on your lap in seconds. In the first few years, she was with us when we had orientation

On the retail counter
On the retail counter

sessions for our Basic Manners classes; Louise would often sneak into the training room and move from lap to lap. If she was not on a lap, she’d often be on the retail counter or would find a spot in one of the cubbies under the counter.

Both Louise, and Thelma connected with many clients and all of our staff over the past fifteen years. Due to Louise’s need for medication the past few years for her thyroid and blood pressure, staff had an opportunity to experience her moods quite well. I am quite sure that everyone has his or her own Louise story to tell; Thelma & Louise Go for a Drive-JAN11 by Kaila Moore 750x800however, one of our employees, Kaila Moore decided to share hers in this drawing. Thank you, Kaila, it fits the girls well.

Unlike her sister Thelma, Louise just did not understand dogs. Where Thelma would just quietly walk away from them, Louise would stare, hiss and then run away as fast as she could. One day a dog decided to give chase and Thelma jumped down from the shelf she was sitting on and landed between the dog and Louise, defending her older, but smaller sister.

Many people always thought Louise was a kitten due to her diminutive size. Her tiny head and abbreviated tail always generated curiosity from those seeing her for the first time. As I mentioned, Louise was a barn cat before joining us. Being underfoot amongst cows led to her tail being stepped on and permanently shortened by a cow hoof. Her tail was almost totally healed when she joined us and its shortened length never seemed to bother her.

Louise also loved to sleep and could turn almost any spot into a bed, with or without Thelma.

Snuggling in the basket
Snuggling in the basket
Snoozing in the Furry Friends Food Bank collection basket
Snoozing in the Furry Friends Food Bank collection basket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snuggling with sister - Who needs two beds?
Snuggling with sister – Who needs two beds?
EPSON DSC picture
Making a bed in the rawhide rack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's Our Anniversary! (May 2013)
It’s Our Anniversary! (May 2013)
Snuggling under the retail counter
Snuggling under the retail counter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also high on Louise’s list of favorite things was food. She was always there at meal time and always ready for more. As she went through periods of becoming plump, she reminded many of us of a feline Buddha, hence her occasional nickname Buddha.

Louise was always there for her little sister Thelma and in the early days, they would play with other often although like most sisters they had their occasional spats. While they each had individual baskets for sleeping, more often than not they would crawl into a basket together even in the middle of a hot, humid summer day. When I checked them last night before going to bed, Louise was snuggled in basket sleeping and Thelma was lying in front of the basket watching over her. Perhaps she knew.

Farewell Louise. You enriched the life of many people, and I cannot think of a single day that you failed to generate many smiles. Please send our love to all of the rest of our pets waiting for us at the Rainbow Bridge.

I'm well balanced (NOV 2001)
I’m well balanced (NOV 2001)
Keeping the chair warm as I wait for a lap
Keeping the chair warm as I wait for a lap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lying around is exhausting!
Lying around is exhausting!
Yes! I'm a paperweight.
Yes! I’m a paperweight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the wall at Castle Black watching for wildings
On the wall at Castle Black watching for wildings
Practicing martial arts with a balloon
Practicing martial arts with a balloon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

©2016, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Podcast – The Woof Meow Show: Listener Questions No. 20

5MAR16-Listener Questions No 20 400x400In this week’s show Kate and Don address ten questions they have received from clients listeners.  The questions include;

1.)  Is playing with a cat important, and what is the best way to play with a cat?

2.) I have a dog and will be moving into a new apartment with a friend who will be bringing their cat. What can we do to get both pets prepared for this change?

3.) During the winter I don’t always get my dog out as much as I should and he gets kind of crazy. What can I do to stop this behavior?

4.) My dog has chronic diarrhea and my veterinarian cannot find anything wrong. What should I do?

5.) Should dogs wear a coat when outside in the winter? How about booties?

6.) Do those dog whistles really work and do they make a dog come back?

7.) Should I use puppy pee pads?

8.) Is canned food good for a cat?

9.) I hear so many different opinions on playing tug with a dog. Is it good or bad? and

10.) Is canned food good for a dog?

To listen to the show, <click here>

You can hear The Woof Meow Show on The Pulse AM620, WZON, and WKIT HD3 at 12 Noon on Saturday. If you’re not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://www.wzonthepulse.com or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show, and can be downloaded at www.woofmeowshow.com and the Apple iTunes store.

Cats, Boxes & Other Small Spaces

Our cat Tyler enjoying some time alone in a bag.
Our cat Tyler enjoying some time alone in a bag.

The following article by Dr. Karen Becker discusses cats’ fascination with boxes, bags, and other small spaces and explains how these simple things can help alleviate a cat’s stress. A cat’s standard response to most stressful situations is to withdraw and hide, provided that is an option. By providing shelter cats with boxes as a hiding place, a team of researchers learned that those shelter cats acclimated faster to the shelter environment.

Using boxes to relieve a cat’s stress isn’t just for shelters. Consider doing the same at home if you cat is feeling a bit wary about something in their environment.

Our cat Batman in a clementine box
Our cat Batman in a clementine box

Here is the link if you wish to read the entire article. Click here to read

 

 

 

 

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Selecting A Pet Care Provider – Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – The PPG – Part 2

This article first appeared in the May 2015 edition of the Downeast Dog News.

<You can listen to a companion podcast to this article, first broadcast on The Woof Meow Show on the Voice of Maine on May 2, 2015, by clicking here>

Trust. Before becoming part of the pet care service industry I found it essential to get to know someone very well before entrusting them with the care of my pets. It’s a character trait that I find essential when leaving my pets in the care of someone other than myself. I need to be confident that my furry family members will be cared for to my standards.

I find that those of us that work with pets professionally are often trusted without a great deal of questions. Many seem to assume that because we work with animals that we will care for their pet the same way that they would. WhileIm A PPG Dog I believe that is true for me and my staff at Green Acres, there are people in the pet care services industry where that can be a dangerous assumption, as noted below.

Last month a post came through on my Facebook feed with the title “Unauthorized Use of Shock Collar Angers Dog Owner.” It referenced a story reported by KSNV My News 3 in Las Vegas which discussed a pet owner who left their dog with a pet sitter, only to come home and to discover that the pet sitter had used a shock collar on their dog. The dog’s owner had not been told this would happen, nor would it have been something they would have authorized. The dog’s owners were rightfully upset and angry and were stunned that something like this could happen. This is exactly the type of behavior in the pet care service industry that I was warning pet owners about in my last column. And yes, this type of thing has happened in Maine, more than once.

When I share stories like the one above the usual response I get is moral outrage followed by “How can something like this happen?” That’s when I explain what I feel are three reasons why this can and does happen.

  1. The pet care service industry is minimally regulated if regulated at all. Regulations typically only occur at the state and/or municipal level and often only focus on a facilities cleanliness, amounts of space and a pet’s physical care. A pet’s mental or emotional well-being is simply not covered in most regulations. Here in Maine, pet boarding facilities are regulated but there is no professional standard of knowledge that is legally required of the people that own and manage and care for the pets that they board. For example, there is no standard that says a boarding kennel operator needs to be knowledgeable about; pet first aid and CPR, canine social behavior, feline social behavior, species specific communication, and the supervision of animals in group play. Those that do not offer boarding but only provide daycare, group play, pet sitting, grooming and training are essentially not regulated at all. Just because someone likes dogs and has had a dog of their own does not mean that they have the knowledge and experience to safely care for the pets of others.
  2. Pet parents assume, with good intentions, that everyone in the pet care industry has the requisite knowledge and experience to properly care for pets, loves pets, and wouldn’t intentionally do anything harmful to a pet. That is a dangerous assumption and as I noted in last month’s column there are some questions a pet parent should always ask before leaving their pet in someone else’s care.
  3. The pet care industry does not currently have a universally accepted standard of care that encompasses the physical, mental and emotional well-being of pets. Fortunately that is changing with the advent of the Pet Professionals Guild, the first international organization to be committed to being “The Association for a Force-Free Pet Industry

ProudMembers BadgeThe Pet Professional Guild (PPG) was founded by Niki Tudge in 2012. PPG’s focus started on dog training and the need to help the industry move beyond the out-dated concepts of dominance and coercion/punishment based training. Today the PPG is open to all in the pet care services industry as well as pet owners. In a recent interview on The Woof Meow Show, Ms. Tudge described PPG as a place where professionals could come together and help each other, support each other, learn from each other, and network. Additionally, she described PPG as a meeting place where pet owners could access those pet professionals that share their values. She stated: “It is a place where we can advocate for how we believe our pets should be trained and cared for.”

At the heart of the Pet Professionals Guild commitment to force-free pet care is their “Guiding Principles.” A pet care professional can only become a member if they agree to abide by these principles which are clearly stated on the PPG website. Section one states: “To be in anyway affiliated with the Pet Professional Guild all members must adhere to a strict code of conduct. Pet Professional Guild Members Understand Force-Free to mean: No shock, No pain, No choke, No fear, No physical force, No physical molding, No compulsion based methods are employed to train or care for a pet.” To me that’s pretty clear and fits right in with how we have officially defined “pet friendly” at Green Acres for years. Based on feedback we get from our clients at Green Acres,’ I’d say a significant  majority of pet parents are looking for pet care providers that comply with this type of standard but as I’ve noted before, people need to ask to make sure providers do indeed actually comply with these standards.

On the May 2nd/3rd edition of The Woof Meow Show Niki, Kate and I discussed the growth of doggie daycare and the lack of professional standards and regulations. We discussed how supervising dogs playing together requires extensive knowledge and training in order to keep dogs safe and to make sure that every dog is having a good time. Niki indicated that PPG will be launching an accreditation program for dog trainers, behavior consultants and other pet care professionals in the coming months. Green Acres’ has developed its own extensive training program for our staff but we look forward to learning more about PPG’s move towards industry wide standards because we know they are necessary so that all families can feel comfortable when they leave their pet in someone else’s care.

The Pet Professional Guild was founded in 2012 and in less than three years has grown to over 4000 members across 27 countries. Pet owners can join for free and get access to webinars, some free, the PPG publication “Barks From The Guild,” and other great articles.

The Pet Professional Guild website (http://www.petprofessionalguild.com/) can also be a valuable resource for pet owners to find trainers, boarding facilities, daycares, groomers and others that share PPG’s force-free philosophy and that have committed to abide by PPG’s Guiding Principles. If the couple in the news story “Unauthorized Use of Shock Collar Angers Dog Owner” had selected a PPG professional member, their dog wouldn’t have ended up wearing a shock collar.

If you’re a pet owner/parent I encourage you to join PPG. What have you got to lose, it’s free! If you are a provider of services to pets (boarding kennel, daycare, pet sitter, dog walker, groomer, trainer, behavior consultant, vet tech and veterinarian) I encourage you to take the pledge to commit to force-free pet care by joining PPG and supporting other force-free pet professionals.

Next month I’ll wrap up this series with a discussion of what veterinary clinics are doing to make your pet’s visit to the vet fear-free.

Links to the other two parts of this series can be found below.

Selecting A Pet Care Provider – Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – Green Acres Kennel Shop’s “Pet Friendly” Philosophy – Part 1 – <Click Here>

Selecting A Pet Care Provider – Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – A Veterinary Perspective – Part 3- <Click Here>

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Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop (greenacreskennel.com) in Bangor. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He produces and co- hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on The Pulse AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonradio.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. A list of upcoming shows and podcasts of past shows can be found at www.woofmeowshow.com. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>