Preventing dog bites before they happen

May 17, 2015 15 comments

best friendsThis week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week (May 17-23).

Every year, more than 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs. By far, children are the most frequent victims of dog bites. They are also the most likely to be severely injured when a dog bites.

I was one of those children. In fact, I was bitten twice, by two different dogs at two different times. In both cases, I was at fault. Of course, each of the dogs bore the blame for the bite. One was euthanized. It’s something I wish I could go back and change, but since I cannot, I focus on spreading the word instead. Children and dogs can be a volatile combination, especially when you have younger children.

There are lots of ways you can keep kids safe, but among them are these:

  1. Don’t let your small child (especially those on the same eye level as a dog) stare a dog in eye – In dog body language this can be seen as a threat and it could well end up in a bite. This is what caused me to be bitten.
  2. Tell children that hugs are for humans, not for dogs – Despite what “your” dog does or does not like, most dogs do not like to be hugged. They also don’t like to be climbed on, stepped on, or crawled over, so when you see a small child doing this, stop him. Remove him or the dog from the situation.
  3. Teach your children to ask before they pet – One should never assume that all dogs like kids. Children need to know that not all dogs can be approached. If they would like to meet a dog, they should ask the owner first. It’s not only polite, but safer for the child and the dog.
  4. Always supervise small children around dogs – Many dogs are unnerved by the jerky and unsteady movements of small children. If your dog is lip licking, his ears are back, he is turning away or trying to get away, or is growling, remove the dog from the room and give him a safe place to go where the child cannot get to him.
  5. Understand every dog has the potential to bite. Yes, even your family dog can bite – Children are most often bitten by the family dog, not a stranger’s dog. Just because you have had your dog since a puppy doesn’t mean he won’t bite. Given the right situation (pain, fear, excitement, etc.) any dog can bite.

This week I will be sharing information (like the great infographic below) on my blog and on my Facebook page to bring attention to National Dog Bite Prevention Week. The goal is two-fold – 1) to keep kids safe from dog bites, and 2) to prevent dogs from being euthanized because of a bite that could have been prevented.

I hope you will share and spread the word. Let’s keep both kids and dogs safe.

National Dog Bite Prevention Week

Dog Bites by the Numbers

Black and White Sunday #130 – A Horse is a Horse

May 17, 2015 14 comments

And then I saw this on the way home from the dog park tonight. There was a black horse too, and what looked to be two vaqueros riding them. So cool.

My thanks to our hosts for this blog hop Dachshund Nola and Sugar The Golden Retriever.

Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn’t allow Java script so I can’t provide a direct link to the linky, but you can join here.

Favorite Video Friday – Vici, the cutest little Whippet puppy

May 14, 2015 9 comments

Today’s Favorite Friday video will take your heart, melt it, and leave it in a little puddle on your floor. No seriously. It will.

It’s not just the cute little puppy that grabs your heart.  The two resident dogs will totally capture it too. They were so amazing with little Vici. They played with her, treated her gently and showed her the ropes.

Watching a Border Collie and a Malinois, play with this puppy was a real treat. You do not see breeds like this every day, and to see them play so gently with her tells you a lot about the owner. Border Collies and Malinois’ are extremely intelligent, high energy dogs, that are driven to do a job. They need a handler who understands their needs. The fact that they look so well-adjusted tells you that they have the very best kind of dog owner. I’d say this puppy is going to thrive.

I hope you will love this video as much as I did.

What a beautiful set of dogs.

Happy Friday everyone!

Wordless Wednesday #239 – Watching the bikers go by (in color)

May 12, 2015 4 comments

What is the picture you wished you had taken?

May 12, 2015 6 comments

I love sunsets on the water #minnesotaYesterday, while driving to work, I noticed all the dark storm clouds hanging over the Minneapolis skyline. They were quite quite spectacular looking, all dark drays and blues and blacks. It could have been a scene from some scary movie. All that was needed was lightning to strike one of the towering bank buildings and the mood would have been complete.

The photographer in me was dying to pull over and grab a photo, but I did not have my camera with me and there was no way to pull over. Even having my iPhone with me was no comfort because rush hour was in full swing, and any overpass I could have reached was too busy. I could just see me being the crazy woman with a camera causing an accident. Sigh. A great photo will be stuck in my mind forever.

Realizing this, made me think about all the other great photos I have regretted taking. 

  • There was the shot of hundreds of seagulls taking flight from a park near Lake Nokomis. The sun lit their wings and made them look almost magical, but I could not stop for because I was on my way to work.
  • There was also the little red fox that crossed my path just as I discovered I had a flat tire in an unknown area. As you can imagine, I was little too distracted to grab my camera and take the shot.
  • And then, there was the little town cemetery my sister and I saw on our drive through the backwoods of Montana. The setting sun had added a special glow to the circle of United States flags ringing the cemetery. It made for an incredible shot. Unfortunately, we were also in a rush to get to Billings before dark and decided to keep moving. To this day, we still talk about that missed shot.

Stopped to capture this beauty while on the way to the dog park. Taken on my iPhone.Throughout my life, I can remember the shots I didn’t get, including several of my dogs. I have very few pictures of my first dog, Alicia, and even fewer of my dogs Aspen and Indy. That is why taking pictures of my dogs is so very important to me now. I don’t want to look back and wish I had taken more. I don’t want to look back and always remember the shot I missed because I was too busy to take it.

Do you have that one photo you wished you had taken when you had the chance? Is there one image in your mind that sticks with you because you didn’t? If so, what was it?

Dirt? What dirt? #Cupcake

Canine Influenza – Seminar by Maddie’s Fund was informative

May 10, 2015 9 comments

Shelter dogsOn Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend an online seminar put on by Maddie’s Fund. I was already interested in the topic, but expected to learn little new as I had already been reading up on the topic on my own. As it turns out, I learned a heck of a lot more information in the seminar than in the newspapers. Go figure.

The topic? What Animal Shelters Need to Know About the Canine Influenza Outbreak. The seminar was presented by Dr. Sandra Newbury from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine and UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program. Dr. Newbury has been working closely with shelters since the outbreak and was able to share some details that the media has missed in their rush to join the hype.

Sad Looking Chocolate LabShe shared some of what shelter workers who have been dealing with after the spread of this virus, not only in the  shelters in Chicago, but also in the surrounding areas and states. Wow. I cannot imagine the stress. They deserve our support. What they are dealing with is incredibly overwhelming. I imagine they are exhausted after managing through this for the past two months. They are not only caring for hundreds of sick cats and dogs, but also worrying about exposing their own pets to this virus. Imagine how scary it must be for them.

You can get a copy of the presentation handout here, but I thought I would share a few of the things I learned.

  • The virus currently making dogs sick in Chicago (H3N2) originated in Korea, China and Thailand. It is suspected it came from the Avian influenza and transferred to cats and dogs. In Korea, China and Thailand, the virus also infected cats, who experienced a significant mortality rate when infected (something we have not seen here).
  • Despite what we may think, there is no proof that the virus came in with a dog imported from these countries to the United States. They may never know how it made it to this country.
  • The virus did not originate in a shelter, but started with one dog living in a home. Contraction of the virus most likely started in a training class, vet clinic, or doggy daycare.
  • When it did hit animal shelters in Chicago, it hit them like a tidal wave. Example: One or two dogs started showing symptoms on  Monday. By Tuesday, ten dogs were sick and by Friday, shelters were seeing 50-100 dogs sick. In CACC, they saw 200 dogs sick with the virus.
  • Most of the dogs have had mild to moderate respiratory disease. Very few that have died, but some have developed pneumonia and needed additional treatment.
  • Symptoms usually start with a cough and nasal discharge. Dogs sickened with this virus seem to feel worse than the dogs infected with the known virus, H3N8.
  • This virus differs from the one we have previously seen in the United States (H3N8) in that it has a longer “shedding” period (the virus can still be shed by the formerly sick dog long after they seem well, thus making them still contagious after 19 days). 
  • This has had a huge impact on shelters and shelter workers. Because of the longer shedding period, shelters have had to stop or slow down the release of dogs to  rescues and they have had to turn some dogs away in order to avoid infecting more dogs, sometimes diverting incoming dogs to other uninfected shelters. They are trying to be very, very careful to not spread the virus.
  • Because this virus is new to the United States, many shelters were placing dogs up for adoption after seven days, when they appeared well, but they soon discovered that other dogs were getting infected when exposed to these dogs even though they (the formerly sick dogs) were well.
  • Dr. Newbury said they are now recommending that dogs be isolated for at least 21 days after they were first diagnosed to prevent spread of the disease, but she cautioned that they are not yet positive that 21 days will be long enough, because they thought it would be fine after 14 days and discovered it was not.
  • If a rescue or animal shelter chooses to adopt out a dog who was sick and no longer has symptoms, they should be apply two rtPCR tests and get a negative result from both before allowing the dog to be adopted, and even then, they should gain agreement from the adopter that they will keep them isolated for the full 21 days (no dog parks, no training classes, etc.).
  • Shelters in Chicago are developing plans to release some dogs from their shelters to avoid an increase in euthanasia, but they are giving rescue groups very, very specific instructions on holding the dogs in isolation and away from other dogs. They do not want to move dog to an area that does not have influenza already.
  • Sick dogs are not turning over to recovering dogs as quickly, but they are starting to see more recovered dogs than sick now. That is very good news.

While I still think this is a very serious outbreak, I feel better knowing more of the details. The speed at which this virus spreads and the fact that the shedding period is so long should be a concern for rescues as they import dogs from these sates. They may want to avoid the ones where cases already been confirmed for now.

Kudos to all the shelter workers dealing with this and trying to make sure it is contained. You have a tough job on normal days. This is above and beyond what is “normal.”

 

 

Black and White Sunday #129 – Watching the bikers go by

May 9, 2015 8 comments

Dog watching bicyclists in b&w
Daisy, Jasper, Cupcake, Foster Maggie and I are wishing all you moms out there a Happy Mother’s Day!

My thanks to our hosts for this blog hop Dachshund Nola and Sugar The Golden Retriever.

Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn’t allow Java script so I can’t provide a direct link to the linky, but you can join here.

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