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June 2011

Cancer in Dogs

Sad dog-close up nose In more remarkable evidence of dogs tracking humans in terms of disease, dogs now get cancer at about the same rate as humans. Cancer is the cause of almost half of all deaths in pets over 10 years in age.

As in humans, there are many different kinds of cancer that affect dogs. Some of the more common ones, according to PetPlace.com, include skin cancer, lymphoma, mammary gland tumors, abdominal tumors, and testicular tumors.

The following warning signs, says PetPlace, could indicate cancer, so you should schedule a visit with your dog's vet if any of them appear:

  • Any lump or mass that appears to be increasing in size 
  • Any sore that does not heal
  • Change in bowel or bladder habits
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating
  • Unexplained bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent lameness or stiffness
  • Offensive odor
  • Difficulty eating or swallowing.

  • Obesity Continues to Dog People...and Dogs

    PetObesityPrevention The latest annual Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Study found approximately 53% of cats and 55% of dogs were overweight or obese. Preliminary data released from a nationwide collaboration with Banfield, the nation’s largest chain of veterinary clinics, reveals pet obesity continues to be a serious problem. APOP founder Dr. Ernie Ward said, “This year’s data suggests that our pets are getting fatter. We’re seeing a greater percentage of obese pets than ever before.”

    35 percent of dogs were found to be overweight and 20.6 percent obese. “The number of obese pets is growing," said Dr. Ward. "This is troubling because it means more pets will be affected by weight-related diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease costing pet owners millions in avoidable medical costs.”

    The group began conducting nationwide veterinary surveys in 2007 and has seen a steady increase in the percentage of pets classified as obese or at least 30% above normal body weight. For dogs, obesity rates escalated from just over 10% in 2007 to 20% in 2010. “One of the reasons we think the obesity rate for dogs has dramatically increased is due to a better understanding of what an obese dog looks like. Veterinarians also realize how critical it is to tell a pet owner when their dog is in danger due to its weight,” said Dr. Ward.

    For helpful information about maintaining your dog's weight, visit http://www.petobesityprevention.com/


    What to Do If You Find a Stray Dog

    Staring dog There are a remarkable number of stray dogs roaming around the streets and highways of the Carolina mountains. Most dog lovers' hearts go out to these strays and they wonder what they can do to help. Here are some tips condensed from an excellent article you'll find on Petside.com:

    1. Safety first: Use caution approaching a stray. Any dog that appears tense, has raised hackles, growls or shows teeth is best left alone. Call the nearest animal control officers or local police department if such is the case.

    2. Containment: If the animal appears to be friendly, approach slowly and calmly. Many animals are found while driving, so you should consider keeping a spare leash in your car. Gently loop the leash around the dog and see if you can coax it into your car. Determine if the dog is injured and, if so, see if a local vet or animal care facility is willing to treat it. If you decide to take the dog home temporarily, separate it from your own animals and wash your hands after you touch it.

    3. Taking Action: If you have taken responsibility for the animal, your first objective should be to try to locate its owner, if it has one. Obviously, if a tag with identification information is on the dog, try to contact the person and leave a message. Have a vet or animal shelter check to see if the dog has a microchip. This microchip is linked to a database which hopefully has updated information about the owner. If you cannot locate an owner, you can keep the dog (this is more common than you would think). You should post notices of a found dog in the area where you found it along with your phone number. You could also decide to bring the dog to your local animal shelter. Typically the animal shelter will retain the dog for a period of time to see if it is claimed. If the dog is not claimed, the shelter will put the animal up for adoption if it is deemed adoptable.


    Take Your Dog To Work Day - June 24

    Takeyourdog Friday, June 24 is Take Your Dog To Work Day. Started in 1999 by Pet Sitters International, Take Your Dog To Work Day encourages businesses to open their workplace to employees' dogs on this one special day.

    On June 24, businesses, animal shelters and petcare professionals from around the world will work together to better the lives of shelter dogs everywhere. Thousands of businesses will open their doors to employees' four-legged friends on this day in celebration of the great companions dogs make and to promote pet adoption.

    To learn more about Take Your Dog To Work Day, including ways to organize an event and get your business involved, visit http://www.takeyourdog.com/index.php


    Happy Tails Doggie Ice Cream at The Hop

    Doggieicecream It's ice cream season, so why should your dogs be left out? While there are numerous fine ice cream and frozen yogurt establishments in the Carolina mountains, we thought we'd make special mention of one place (with two locations) that is especially dog-friendly.

    The Hop, located at 640 Merrimon Avenue in Asheville and 721 Haywood Road in West Asheville, is a long-time Asheville tradition, known for both its outrageous gourmet ice cream flavors and its undying commitment to civic responsibility. Greg and Ashley Garrison are especially kind to the local animal welfare community, participating in a recent adoption event at Asheville Humane Society's new Adoption Center and holding regular doggie socials on behalf of other animal groups.

    The Hop also offers the first locally made ice cream for dogs, "Happy Tails Doggie Ice Cream." It's all natural with no added sugar, artificial flavors or preservatives. The plain yogurt base is enhanced with protein, peanut butter and bananas -- a summer treat your doggie will love.

    Both locations are open Monday - Saturday from 1  to 11 PM and Sunday from 1 to 10 PM. And the ice cream for humans is pretty darn awesome, too!


    Full Moon Farm Howl-In, Black Mountain, June 18

    Wolf howling Full Moon Farm is an organization dedicated to the well being of the wolfdog (wolf hybrid). Situated on 17 beautiful mountain acres in Black Mountain, NC, the sactuary operates as a not-for-profit organization for abused and refused wolfdogs who find themselves in need of love, shelter, and care through no fault of their own. Full Moon Farm provides a safe haven for animals that cannot be placed into homes for the rest of their lives. 

    You have the opportunity to visit this unique farm during the Full Moon Farm Howl-In on Saturday, June 18th. Tours of the Farm begin at 3:00 PM.  Potluck supper begins at 5:00 PM.  A $5 donation includes main dish and water/soft drinks. Bring a side dish and join the fun!

    For information and directions, call (828) 664-9818 or email info@fullmoonfarm.org (Please note: On the day of the event, it is best to call, as the email account will be unmonitored). 


    Dads & Dogs - BMW of Asheville, June 18

    BeemerThere will be a special Dads & Dogs Celebration at BMW of Asheville, 649 New Airport Road in Fletcher, on Saturday, June 18 from 12 to 4 PM. Asheville Humane Society will bring adorable adoptable animals and there will be fun for all too! 

    Bring your 4-legged friend and compete in one of our "just for fun" dog show classes. Enjoy Circle B Ranch BBQ. Get your pet a stylish new BMW collar and bandana while you're there.

    Go to www.bmwofasheville.com and register to win the use of a new BMW convertible for Father's Day weekend.

    Celebrate with Dad the way he would like -- surrounded by dogs and BMWs!


    Feed Our Furry Friends-Asheville, June 25

    Cat dog eating On Saturday, June 25, from 10 AM to 2 PM, the Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park will host the inaugural 'Feed Our Furry Friends, an Empty Bowls project!' benefit to raise awareness and funds for the Pet Food Assistance Program of Animal Compassion Network (ACN).  

    ACN is asking local artists and crafters who make wares suitable for pet food bowls to donate as many finished pieces as they wish for sale at this event. Other handcrafted items for pets will also be much appreciated, including pet accessories and gift certificates for services such as pet sitting, grooming, photography, etc. 

    If you have a hand-made product or service you wish to donate, please contact Lori Theriault (lori@crazygreestudios.com). Then plan to attend the event with your own furry friend!This will be a pet-friendly event, and each artist who donates pieces for the event will receive a complimentary ticket to attend.

    2011 marks the 10-year anniversary of Animal Compassion Network's Pet Food Assistance Program. Since the program's inception in 2001, ACN has provided approximately 250,000 meals to hungry cats and dogs throughout Western North Carolina.

    If you are an artist interested in donating your wares, please note:

     * Donations needed by: Saturday, June 18 

    * Donations may be dropped off at Pet Harmony, 803  Fairview Street, Asheville, NC Monday-Saturday between 10 AM - 6 PM. 

    * Pet food containers must be non-toxic and washable.


    Bark for Life-June 12, Black Mountain

    Dog-barkforlife The American Cancer Society is sponsoring "Bark for Life," a canine event to fight cancer, to be held on Sunday, June 12 at the Pisgah Brewery Company Outdoor Event location, 150 Eastside Drive in Black Mountain. This non-competitive walk event is a way for dogs and their owners to raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society's fight against cancer. Join in and help "take a bite out of cancer."

    Registration for the event is from 2 to 3 PM. The leashed walk and games take place from 3 to 5 PM. There will be live music by "Chompin at the Bit" string band.

    All registrants receive a t-shirt, doggy bandana,goody bag, and one complimentary Pisgah Beer ticket. The cost is $20 in advance, and $25 at the door ($5 to register one additional dog).

    For more information including directions, visit: www.relayforlife.org/barkasheville


    Asheville Yappy Hour-June 9

    Bulldog Join Asheville Humane Society at its first Yappy Hour of the summer season at Laughing Seed Café in downtown Asheville on Thursday, June 9. It's a social for dogs!

    Drop in anytime between 6-8 PM for a drink and some visiting with other dog lovers. Pooches can sniff and mingle while munching arf d'oeuvres provided by Three Dog Bakery and slurping doggie daiquiris. For a $10 donation, human companions can relax with their beloved pooch while enjoying vegetarian appetizers and sipping beer, wine or soda. Dogs are admitted free with their people."

    Laughing Seed Cafe is located at 40 Wall Street in Asheville with additional information at www.laughingseed.com.   


    Recommended Reading: "Strays" - Book Signing June 11

    Strays book Strays, a novel by Western North Carolina author Jeanne Webster, will be available in June from Personhood Press, at online booksellers, and in bookstores. Jeanne will be signing her book at Accent on Books, 854 Merrimon Ave., Asheville on Saturday, June 11 from 2 to 4 PM. A portion of book sales will be donated to Animal Compassion Network, who will be bringing some of their adoptable dogs to the event.

    Strays is the compelling story of a spiritual journey taken by Jane Morgan, a young woman in search of life's answers. Jane connects with nature in a unique and unusual manner. Along the way, Jane meets a stray dog, Max, who becomes not only her companion but her spiritual guide. Max is an endearing character you can't help but love.

    This fanciful tale is beautifully written in flowing, evocative language. The author does a masterful job of weaving in age-old stories of the mountains and the Cherokee Indians, which adds to the mystical flavor of Strays. If you suspend your rational mind and let your imagination go, you will be enthralled with this story. So many of us have "strayed" in our lives from the things that have true meaning. This is a book that just might lift your spirits.

    Karen Allanach, Associate Director, Animals and Religion for the Humane Society of the United States, says: "In Strays, Webster sagely guides us on a revealing journey about the importance of animals and the environment to our whole existence -- physical and spiritual. The scruffy canine, Max, is sure to win hearts of readers in this inspiring story."

    To learn more about the book and to read free excerpts, visit: www.straysthebook.com . And be sure to meet the author on June 11 at Accent on Books in Asheville.


    Pawsitively Purrfect Evening-Cashiers, June 17

    CHHS The Cashiers-Highland Humane Society will be holding its annual fund raiser, the "Pawsitively Purrfect Evening," on Friday, June 17 in Cashiers, NC. The event features an evening of cocktails, dinner and dancing, as well as a live auction with great items from local merchants.

    For complete information about the event, contact the Cashiers-Highland Humane Society at (828) 743-5752 or visit the organization's website: http://chhumanesociety.org/


    Therapy Dog Helps Stressed Out College Students

    Monty the therapy dog The college school year may have come to a close, but at Yale University, students could be remembering the past academic year with fondness, even when they were stressed out. Why? Because some of them went to the Yale Law School library to check out a stress reliever named Monty.

    At first, students circulated rumors that this was a gag, but in late March, librarian Blair Kauffman sent a memo to students which read, in part:

    "The law library intends to run a three day pilot program starting on March 28, 2011 during which students will be able to 'check out' our certified library therapy dog, Monty for thirty minute periods. We hope that making a therapy dog available to our students will prove to be a positive addition to current services offered by the library. It is well documented that visits from therapy dogs have resulted in increased happiness, calmness, and overall emotional well-being.

    Beginning March 21, 2011, a sign-up sheet with additional information will be available at the circulation desk for students wishing to check out Monty. Even though Monty is hypoallergenic, visits will be confined to a dedicated non-public space in the library to eliminate potential adverse reactions from any library user who might have dog-related concerns. We are committed to ensuring our library remains a welcoming and comfortable environment for all our users."

    It's not as crazy as it sounds. A number of other colleges already use therapy dogs to calm down students -- but this seems to be the first time a university library has made one available for "check out."

    Photo: AbovetheLaw.com