Newsletter November 2018

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November 2018

Holiday Foods Your Dog Can - and Can't - Eat


Your dog is part of the family and all you want to do is give him a big delicious meal to celebrate with you during the holidays. However, many traditional holiday foods are unhealthy or toxic to dogs. It is important to know what you can and can’t feed your dog to avoid a trip to the vet after dinner.



Dogs Cannot Eat: 

-       Turkey Skin and Undercooked Meat – Turkey skin is often soaked or rubbed with sage, garlic, and onion, all of which are toxic to dogs. Furthermore, undercooked meat can cause salmonella in dogs just like it can in humans, and both should be avoided. 

-       Stuffing and Gravy – By the same token, both stuffing and gravy are often made with ingredients that are either toxic to dogs, or can make them sick and uncomfortable. These include mushrooms, onions, sage, leeks, chives, garlic, scallions, and pepper.

-       Cranberry Sauce – While delicious, cranberry sauce often contains high amounts of sugar and high fructose corn syrup, which are extremely unhealthy for dogs. Certain recipes also contain raisins or nuts, which can be bad for dogs as well.

-       Cooked Bones – One of the worst things you could give your dog is cooked turkey bones. These could cause vomiting as well as extreme injury since they are prone to splintering and could puncture your dog’s stomach and internal organs.

-       Mashed Potatoes – The butter and milk added to mashed potatoes can give dogs diarrhea and upset stomachs, which is no fun for you or your pet. They could also have garlic or onion powder, which are toxic and should never be fed to dogs.

Dogs Can Eat:

-       Small Amounts of White Meat – When fully cooked, white meat is fine for dogs and a small amount of white turkey meat is a great way to have your dog enjoy the holiday with you. Just make sure to remove any excess skin, fat, or bones.

-       Plain Potatoes – Potatoes themselves are fine for dogs as long as there is no butter, milk, or other harmful ingredients. Though it may not be the most appetizing treat, your dog will still be thankful for it.

-       Green Beans – Although green bean casserole is a no, dogs can eat plain green beans, which make a great snack as you are preparing the meal. Fresh vegetables are healthy for both dogs and people and are a great way to include your dog in the festivities.

-       Pumpkin – Pumpkin is actually healthy for dogs and can help them with digestion, as it is full of fiber. However, be sure to give your dog pure pumpkin. Pumpkin pie and pumpkin pie filling are filled with sugar and spices, and should not be fed to dogs.

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G.I. Doe: Our Top Five Military Animals

1.     Camels

Camels have been used in military forces around the world for both transportation and mounted attack. They are often used as mounts in arid regions, as they are more well-equipped to travel through sandy deserts than horses, and they also require much less water. Because of their usefulness in certain climates, camels were used in both world wars for mounted attacks. They have also been used to carry wounded men to safety.

2.     Monkeys

Recently, the Chinese army has trained monkeys to be used as a defense against birds. Although they do not go into battle, the monkeys are extremely important in defending one Chinese base against migrating birds. The base is directly along one of the largest bird migratory channels in the world, and is surrounded by pear blossom trees that birds nest in. Birds flying into aircraft engines could cause significant damage and even bring down a plane. The monkeys are trained to destroy nests and scare birds on command in order to discourage them from coming to the base.

3.     Dolphins

Military dolphins have been used by the United States and Soviet militaries to perform several different tasks as part of the war effort. Dolphins have been trained to rescue lost naval swimmers or locate underwater mines, making them extremely valuable in battle. The US Navy has been training both dolphins and sea lions under the US Navy Marine Mammal Program for years for this purpose. As a result, military dolphins have been used by the US Navy during the First and Second Gulf Wars.

4.     Elephants 

War elephants were popular in ancient wars, where they would be trained and guided by human soldiers in combat. They were used to charge the enemy, breaking their ranks and causing fear and panic. The use of elephants declined after the introduction of firearms, and since then, they have mainly been used for non-combat jobs. However, they continued to be used in Thailand and Vietnam into the 19th century. 

5.     Pigeons

Homing pigeons have played an important role in war for years. In fact, they have been used as military messengers in both world wars. Soldiers would know when a pigeon’s message had arrived because when the pigeons landed, wires in their coop would sound a bell or buzzer notifying troops of their arrival. As a result of their hard work, 32 pigeons have been presented with the Dickin Medal for their achievements.

However, it wasn’t all glory and honor. Carrier pigeons had dangerous jobs, as enemy soldiers often tried to shoot them down. Some individual pigeons became famous among the soldiers that they worked for. One named “the Mocker” flew 52 missions before he was wounded. Another named “Cher Ami” lost her foot and one eye, but delivered her message, saving a large group of American soldiers.

Star Crossed Lovers: Jack the Donkey and Diane the Emu

Jack the donkey and Diane the emu were living together on a farm in Kershaw, South Carolina with several other dogs, cats and chickens, when their owner mysteriously vanished in early November. After no one seemed to be caring for the animals, the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue took them in. However, they immediately noticed something unusual about Jack and Diane.

When the rescue workers went to pick up the animals from the farm, they loaded Jack the donkey onto a truck before Diane the emu, only to find Diane going crazy, sticking her head through the fence. Rescuers worried she would hurt herself, so they put her together with Jack despite concerns about the two different animals riding together.

These concerns were soon proven unnecessary, however. While they were on the road, the rescuers saw that Jack and Diane were laying down together in the back of the truck. From that moment, they realized that the two animals had a special relationship.

When they got to the rescue, the donkey and emu would cuddle and even sleep together and seemed to be “in love” according to workers at the animal rescue. It appeared that they were very tightly bonded and workers suspect that they were kept together for years. After they were rescued, they were separated into different pens, but Diane the emu began pacing frantically, and Jack the donkey began crying to be back with his friend.

Jack the donkey has also attacked other donkeys at the rescue who tried to get near Diane the emu. Because of their close relationship, the rescue is now looking for someone that would be willing to adopt both an emu and a donkey in order to prevent the pair from separation.

Now, Jack and Diane are in the same enclosure and never leave each other’s side. Some speculate that their close relationship stemmed from loneliness on the farm. Researchers note that unusual animal friendships such as Jack and Diane’s often occur in human-controlled environments such as the farm where they lived. Animal rescue workers say that the pair seem to have been comforting each other for years.

However, their unusual bond may make them difficult to adopt, and the rescue worries they may have to keep Jack and Diane indefinitely. Jack the donkey did not get along well with other donkeys and could not be kept in an enclosure with them. Furthermore, Diane did not get along well with fellow emus. It will prove difficult to adopt out both a donkey and an emu, particularly when they do not seem to behave well with others of their species.

All is not lost for the unusual pair, however. A Facebook campaign was launched to raise money for the donkey and emu’s food and medical bills. Currently Carolina Waterfowl Rescue is raising $150,000 to move from its current location to a farm almost five times bigger so that they can keep the larger animals.

Since the campaign was launched, Jack and Diane have gone viral, attracting many new visitors to the rescue to see them. Despite their newfound fame, they have remained extremely close and continue to spend all of their time together, going on walks, and standing by each other’s side.

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Pet Retention: Keeping Pets and Families Together

One of the biggest problems animal shelters face is people adopting pets, but later deciding they don’t want them, and bring them back. This issue is harmful to animals and pet shelters alike. However, in order to prevent it from happening, many organizations have developed pet retention programs to keep pets in their loving homes.

Pet retention programs have many components that try to address the most common reasons why owners might want to return their pets after adoption. One facet of retention programs is animal behavior and training. Often owners have issues with pets who bark at night, jump on guests, chew on furniture, or become aggressive. However, all of these issues can be addressed through proper training and care.

Pet retention programs aim to give pet owners the tools they need to teach animals to stop doing unwanted behaviors, or address underlying problems which may be causing those behaviors. For example, if a cat is going outside of the litter box, pet retention programs might guide cat owners through litter box training, or determine whether a medical problem such as an UTI is causing a deeper problem.

While many people believe that these problems cannot be solved, and that the pet just “isn’t working out,” it is often the case that behavior problems can be resolved with a little time and care, and a pet can be kept in a happy home. While many behavior problems may be extremely difficult for pet owners, there are few that cannot be resolved through animal training.

Some pet owners may also give up their pets due to financial issues. Many people have strong emotional bonds with their animals and would not give them up if they had access to short-term help to get through a rough patch. To help these individuals and their pets, pet pantries are often available with donated pet food for those who need temporary assistance. Food donations allow pet owners to get through a difficult time while keeping their pets in their homes.

Veterinary assistance and temporary pet housing are also often available resources for those who need assistance caring for their pets. The use of these resources is still better than putting a pet back in a shelter. Pet retention programs may often refer pet owners to these services in helping them care for their pets, such as a low-cost spay/neuter clinic, or low-cost vaccine services. 

Finally, if all other options have been exhausted, pet retention programs may also help pet owners re-home their pets by finding a new loving home for them rather than returning them to a shelter. Local rescue groups and re-homing programs are happy to help find a new home for many pets so that they can avoid returning to shelters.

Ultimately, shelter systems have limited financial resources and space. Many shelters have high euthanasia rates for companion pets. If pet owners did not return their pets to shelters, these shelters would be able to concentrate their resources on the animals that were most in need. Keeping pets in loving homes and out of shelters is the best solution for both animals and families.

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