Hurricane Preparedness for your Furry Family

For those living in the Northeast, we know that you all have been rushing around to get flashlights, non-perishables, bottled water, fuel and batteries as Hurricane Sandy threatens millions.  As you hear about evacuation plans and hurricane preparedness we wanted to make sure that you also make proper preparations for your pets.  It is estimated that 62% of families in the United States own a pet, totaling approximately 358 million pets.  In a recent survey by Zogby International, 61% of pet owners indicated that they would not evacuate without their beloved animals.  As you can surmise, you can count us among that 61%.   So, in an effort to help you and your pet family be more prepared, the following is a checklist for any and all pet owners:

Don’t forget the water!

  1. Food and Water:  The HSUS of the United States suggests bringing 5 days of food and water for every pet you own.  Please remember to put dry food in airtight containers and if you give your dog wet food in a can don’t forget the can opener!  AND, don’t forget the bowls.  There are travel size and collapsible bowls available in pet  stores and online.  

  2. IDENTIFICATION:  Make sure your dog is wearing a collar/harness with ID that includes your cellphone number.  If you can add an additional phone number add someone out of town who may not be affected by the storm and may be better able to accept a phone call should you become separated from your pet.  It is a good idea to have current photos as well as detailed markings of your pet in case you are separated.  (Friendly reminder here to make sure you get your animals microchipped if they aren’t already.  This greatly increases the chances of you and your animal being reunited.)

  3. Waste disposal:  Make sure you have a cat litter box and cat litter for 5 days.  For dogs make sure you have waste bags ready.  Abby and Zoey are trained to go outside but due to the conditions we have wee wee pads on hand so we do not need to leave the house unless we have to. Also, bring a garbage bag for the waste.

    Clean up after your pet

  4. Comfort:  Try to bring your pet’s favorite toy, blanket or bed to help decrease the amount of stress put on the animal during a possible evacuation and transition.

  5. Carrier:  Have your pet’s animal carrier ready along with all of your evacuation materials.  These are helpful to transport your pet safely and to ensure that they cannot escape.  Please make sure your pet has room to comfortably stand, turn around and lie down while in the carrier.

    Bring a toy, blanket or small bed that can make your pet comfy



  6. Medical:  Make sure you have your pet’s current medications, medical records, vaccinations, and pet first aid kit packed in a waterproof container to take with you should you need to evacuate.

  7. Collars/Harnesses/Leashes:  Make sure these are sturdy and your pet is used to wearing them.  Please remember to keep identification on your pets at all times.

Best of luck to all of our readers and to their pets over the next few days.  We hope everyone on 2 and 4 legs is safe and sound!

Stay safe everyone!

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Adopted Abby Gives Back

Hi, I’m Abby!

Our longtime readers are well aware of Zoey, whose first few months of life are the whole reason behind Protected Paws and ZoeyStory.  For those newer to our blog and story, please read back through the archives to learn more about this wonderful little dog.  However, this post is going to focus on Zoey’s older sister, Adopted Abby.

Adoption Day - 6 years agoAbby was adopted in August, 2006 from the Sebastian County Humane Society (SCHS) in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  Every year, we always do something special for Abby’s Adoption Day, to celebrate her arrival into our family and to remember where she came from.

Yum!

This year, we decided to do something that was totally unrelated to ZoeyStory and Protected Paws and focused entirely on Abby’s story.  This idea eventually culminated in the First Annual Adopted Abby Gives Back in August!

As part of our general work about puppy mills, we speak with staff members at the SCHS, which takes in many puppy mill survivors (remember that Arkansas is one of the largest puppy mill states).  In a recent conversation with the director of the SCHS, she indicated that the organization’s number one need was food, since it currently goes through approximately 200 pounds of dog food and 75 pounds of cat food per day.  SCHS relies exclusively on private donations for its needs, so I immediately sensed that this might be a place where we could make a positive difference.

Just some of the food donated

I reached out for local support and facilitation from a fabulous store in the Fort Smith area – Happy TailsHappy Tails in general and dog trainer and friend Kris Minkle in particular were hugely important when I first adopted Abby.  They calmed my anxiety as a new dog mom and provided guidance in how to take care of an inside dog (I grew up with a collie), including tips on appropriate food.  Happy Tails was also the place where Abby got her first bath and haircut.

Happy Tails is an absolute gem of a store with amazing accessories, groomers, and it only carries healthy dog food, treats and chews.  These business owners and employees truly care about animals and prove it each and every day!

Look how teenie tiny I am after getting all that fur off!

Look how teenie tiny I am after getting all that fur off!

When I told the folks at Happy Tails of my idea for Adopted Abby Gives Back they were quick to provide help in picking out the correct food to buy in bulk and for SCHS’ diverse pet population and even offered me the food at wholesale PLUS a discount since it would be going to an organization which the store supports wholeheartedly.

Our initial goal was to raise enough money to buy one ton of dog food.  However, the kindness of not only friends and family but complete strangers, many of whom are friends of ZoeyStory on Facebook, was so enormous that we upped the ante and are happy to report that Adopted Abby and all of her supporters enabled us to raise enough money to buy 4500 pounds of dog and cat food for the SCHS!

Yummy food!

The food was delivered immediately and helped offset the shelter’s needs for more than two weeks.  We cannot thank everyone who donated enough for this overwhelming response.  We truly appreciate everyone’s support; know that your efforts made a huge difference in the lives of many animals that are in need.

This little lady dressed up for dinner!

 

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Happy Birthday Zoey

In honor of Zoey’s 3rd birthday today, here are some of the things about little Z that I want to share with our loyal readers:

1. It’s a miracle that she’s even around to celebrate her b-day

2. She loves (and loves to torment) her big sister, Adopted Abby 

3. When we purchased her, we were told she was a pure-bred Coton de Tulear.  She’s actually a poodle mix.

4. She looks and acts just like her dad — facially, body type, disposition

 

5. Say the word “treat” or “flossie” and she’ll come running

I love antlers!

6. She may even try to eat your finger if you’re holding a treat or piece of food she finds particularly appealing

7. She works even harder to get love from people who are uncomfortable around dogs

8. Her big tail is always wagging.

9. She’s LAZY.  Even though she’s a pretty good jumper, she’d much rather be picked up.  

10. She doesn’t like car rides at all, which we think is an outgrowth of the trip from hell she was forced to endure from Missouri to New York when she was a puppy

11. She’s willful — listens only when she wants to, even though she hears everything and if she’s in trouble, comes right away

12. She’ll lay in your arms or lap like a baby if you’ll let her

13. She often stretches out on the floor like a cat

14. She watches the TV endlessly, often barking at dogs, animals or cartoons she finds offensive (we’re trying to break her of this habit but it’s tough) Zoey loves Reality TV!

And last but not least…

15. She hates puppy mills and the pet stores that profit from selling dogs that come from them.

 

We could go on and on with traits about Zoey but will stop here.  We hope every dog owner stops once in a while and thinks about all the wonderful qualities their dogs have and the joy they bring to the house.  We are all blessed to have such wonderful friends in our lives.

And please join us in wishing Little Z a Happy 3rd Birthday!  We’re so thankful she’s still with us and it’s our honor to be able to tell her story.

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From the Beginning…The Abbreviated Version

Zoey’s Story could not be more grateful to both the local NBC affiliate, WNBC, the Humane Society of the United States and the website Gothamist for doing a story this past week on pet stores in Manhattan, specifically focusing on the fact that the puppies these stores sell come from puppy mills, despite what the owners claim (that they come from local breeders).

Meet Zoey's father, rescued from a puppy mill in Missouri

It’s even more exciting that one of the stores that was featured was Raising Rover and Baby, the one and only place where I bought Zoey; remember as well that the owners and employees adamantly promised me beforehand that Zoey was NOT from a puppy mill.  As a bit of background, I had shopped at Raising Rover and Baby for supplies for my older dog, Abby, who was rescued from the Sebastian County Humane Society.  When I started thinking about getting a second dog, I questioned the owners, with whom I believed I had a good relationship, about where they got their dogs from, noting that because I was from the South, I was aware of puppy mills and specifically did not want a dog that came from one.  In response, the owner showed me his license from the USDA and stated adamantly that the dogs in his store were bred either by himself and/or by close friends/acquaintances on Long Island and upstate New York that he had known for over 20 years.  On this promise, I decided to go ahead with the purchase.

Zoey became deathly ill the day after I purchased her, eventually necessitating her admission to an ICU for 3 days; had I not taken her to a pet hospital and instead listened to the advice of the vet Raising Rover suggested I use (that I take her home and “monitor her condition overnight”), she surely would have died.  While Zoey was in the ICU, I asked for and was provided her breeding information.  This was when I discovered that she was NOT from Long Island or New York state but instead had been born in Wheatland, Missouri.  I was infuriated that the owners of Raising Rover had lied to me about where Zoey had been bred.  When I confronted the owner with this new information, he immediately backtracked on his prior statements, claiming that he had never promised me that he uses local breeders.  Either way, I was horrified by what had transpired (and Zoey was still not out of the woods as yet).

She is too sick to even lift her head up or walk

Longtime readers know that this story has a happy ending: thanks to the efforts of the vets at New York Vet Specialists, Zoey survived and has made the most of every moment since.  Her unbelievably outgoing personality and always-upbeat attitude provides everyone who knows her with endless smiles and entertainment.  But I still shudder at the thought of what this little dog was forced to endure for the first two-plus months of her life, bred to two puppy-making machines in Missouri, ripped from her mother before she was fully weaned, shipped to NYC under terrible conditions, and cooped up in a pet store for a few weeks, as if on parade for her eventual owner.  It is this story, Zoey’s Story, and those of so many other dogs forced to endure similar-such lives without their own happy endings, that I started this blog and my non-profit, Protected Paws.  I know change won’t come quickly or easily, but with the help of reporting like the story done this week by WNBC and others, we hope that hearts and minds will eventually come to understand that people should adopt rather than shop, and advocate for legislative and regulatory change that ends the large-scale puppy breeding industry once and for all.

For those who might be new to Zoey’s Story, below is the complaint I filed with the USDA, which summarizes the case:

Description of Complaint:  Puppy (Zoey) purchased on 04/06/09 with DOB:  01/19/09.  Customer who is aware of large-scale breeding facilities throughout the mid-west questioned the owner regarding the breeder.  The owner explained that the dog (Zoey) was “bred locally in Long Island, NY by breeders he had personally known for close to 20 years.”  I put a small deposit down to “hold” the dog while making a final determination that I wanted it and then paid the remaining amount on 04/07/09.  NYS General Business Law 753-B states that “every pet dealer shall provide the Breeder’s Name and Address of the source of the animal. “ Under this section on the contract between the pet store and customer there is no identification number and a signature that is illegible which was signed at the time of the purchase in the pet store (Contract available upon request).

The dog vomited on the way home from the establishment on 04/07/09.  The dog continued to vomit numerous times through the entire next day, 04/08/09.  I called the store to express concern and was told to take our dog to East Side Animal Hospital, the pet store’s “preferred” veterinarian.  The dog was seen on 04/09/09 by a veterinarian at East Side Animal Hospital under terms of a free medical check up with proof of purchase at Raising Rover and Baby.  Upon leaving the veterinary practice, I called Raising Rover and Baby to inform them of what was transpiring.  At that moment, the veterinarian from East Side Animal Hospital was on the phone with the owner of Raising Rover and Baby, providing him with a full medical update without my (the dog owner’s) approval.

The dog was treated at East Side Animal Hospital for approximately 6 hours on 04/09/09 until my return at 5 PM.  At that time, the dog was returned to me with no firm diagnosis; the vet who treated her indicated that she would be fine to get her rest at home and bring her back in on 04/10/09 to continue fluids and rehydration.  East Side Animal Hospital does not provide 24-hour care, making overnight observation impossible.

Because my dog could not walk or even hold her head up, I became extremely concerned upon leaving East Side Animal Hospital and took the dog directly to NY Vet Specialists for another opinion (records available upon request).  The dog was immediately examined and admitted directly into the Intensive Care Unit.

NY Vet Specialists reviewed the dog’s medical records, at which point it was brought to my attention that the vet who initially saw the dog as a puppy was located in Missouri.  This was the first indication that I had been lied to by the pet storeowner, so I called him immediately to obtain the puppy’s true place of origin.

Welcome to the "Show Me State"

Welcome to Missouri

There is a possibility that there is a violation of Section 65-3 regarding the health certificate being submitted to the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets for an imported dog or he simply just lied to me. The Pet storeowner subsequently provided the name and phone number of the breeder, Evelyn Brinlee (“Brinlee”) of Wheatland, Missouri.  I spoke with Brinlee that evening in order to obtain information regarding the dog’s previous care.  She verbally provided some of this information and politely told me that if my dog died she would just send me another one with the shipment she had coming to New York the following week.

She was barely alive when we took her from the pet store vet to the animal hospital.

While the dog was in ICU, the owner of Raising Rover and Baby repeatedly called my home and cell phone requesting that I take the dog back to “their vet.”  I refused due to what I believed to be the inadequate initial treatment at East Side Animal Hospital and the subsequent disclosure that East Side Animal Hospital was providing all new medical information to the storeowner, not the dog owner.  The storeowner also repeatedly called NY Vet Specialists to request information and attempt to have my dog’s care moved back to East Side Animal Hospital.  Consequently, I had to instruct NY Vet Specialists to stop any and all contact with anyone associated with Raising Rover and Baby and East Side Animal Hospital.

My dog was released after 3 days in the ICU on 04/11/09 with strict dietary restrictions and medications (medical records available upon request).

Subsequent to the dog’s release, I reviewed the contract with Raising Rover and Baby, which indicated that “under NO circumstances will the purchaser ever receive a refund” even though this is expressly not prohibited by the N.Y.S. General Business Law, Article 35-D which covers the sale of cats and dogs Once I informed the owner that I was aware of my rights under Article 35-D, I was given a refund of $2200 for the purchase price of the dog.  Taxes on the $2200 were NOT included on the $2200, nor were the costs of medical care, which slightly exceeded the cost of the dog.

Subsequent to these events and after Zoey began to recover, I contacted a non-profit for help and subsequently visited the large-scale breeding facility in Wheatland, MO, where my dog was bred in January.   I also attended an open kennel auction conducted by the facility’s owner, Brinlee, in August.  At said auction, more than 300 dogs (not including puppies) were sold, including both my dog’s sire and dam.  I also met Brinlee and spoke with her for a substantial period of time.

Auction Catalog for Zoey's Mother and Father

Unaware that I was the pet’s owner, Evelyn Brinlee later commented to another person the puppy I had purchased was not a purebred Coton de Tulear but was in fact a Coton mixed with a black and white poodle.

Over the course of my research, I also discovered that Raising Rover and Baby had puppies listed for sale on approximately 15 different websites.  Approximately 2 months after purchase, I also noticed that the pet store was using images of my dog to solicit offers on other Coton de Tulear dogs.  Raising Rover and Baby was also using my dog’s likeness to advertise that, “we sell MICRO TEACUP, TOY and MINIATURE PUPPIES, which are bred by myself and local friends.”  This advertisement also indicated that the dog for sale was “AKC registerable,” even though it is believed by me based on knowledge and information that AKC currently does not allow Coton de Tulears to be registered under its auspices.  The advertisement also cited a “health certificate, health guarantee and pedigree.”  

I found pictures of my dog on 5 different websites advertising my dog for $600-$1000 less than what the store owner charged us (puppyfind.com, hoobly.com, kijiji.com, k9stud.com, etc.)  (Images available upon request).  In addition, some of the advertisements listed my dog’s birth date as different than was actually the case.  I immediately contacted the Internet company hosting the website and had the photos removed from the site.  As late as November 2009, Raising Rover and Baby continued to use my dog’s photo to promote the sale of other Coton de Tulear dogs in their store.  

Raising Rover and Baby currently has more than 146 dogs for sale on one website alone, even though the owner promises that his puppies are, “always healthy and “I am a real person with real puppies and not an Internet farmer or scammer.”

I seek for the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets (perhaps in conjunction with the AG’s office or city officials) to investigate these claims, and if information comes to light to show these violations that the appropriate action will be taken in accordance with the applicable laws.

 

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Happy 5th Birthday/Adoption Day ABBY!

It was five years ago TODAY that I adopted Abby (lil’ Zoey’s sister) from the Sebastian County Humane Society.  It was one of the most momentous days in my life.  For the small price of $80 I found my best friend.  When I first saw Abby, she was a large, matted, black and gray scruffy dog.

Abby, Adoption Day!

 I was still living in Arkansas and volunteering with the Junior League of Fort Smith; I was on a tour of the local Humane Society with a great group of kids.  I just kept noticing a medium sized dog rubbing her body on the wires of the cage and then licking the bars; she clearly wanted out.  I went in with no intention of getting a dog.  I had lost my first dog, Lady, a few years earlier and that loss was still so fresh and affecting that I didn’t think I would ever get another dog.  But clearly life had a different plan.

I returned to the Humane Society a few more times, and each time the sight of this dog had an unexpectedly large impact on me.  I just couldn’t get her out of my head.  Something inside of me told me that I needed to adopt this dog; I can’t explain it, it was just a strong feeling.  I decided to just jump in, overlooking whatever concerns I might have.  Her name was either going to be Abby or Zoey.  But there was really no choice; she was always an Abby to me.

Abby patiently waiting for me

When I picked Abby up, I walked her out to the parking lot.  I was planning to put her in my car.  After all, what pound dog would know how to get into one?  Instead, Abby just jumped into the driver’s seat and then walked onto the passenger seat.  Clearly, she was quite familiar with the concept of automobiles (as is the case to this day, nothing makes her happier than riding in a car, including sticking her head out the window) and she just wagged her tail all the way to Petco.  And so our adventure began.

I took Abby to get groomed that day and was amazed with what appeared when I came back.  My supposed 25 lb. dog was now just 12 or so.  All her hair was gone, and in its place was a somewhat scared, yet also vibrant, loving and playful animal.

Abby, day 2

Abby has been my sidekick through thick and thin.  My friends all know that I consider Abby (and Zoey for that matter) to be my child but more than anything she is my friend.  She was with me when I bought my first house in Arkansas.  She was with me when I decided to uproot my life and move to Manhattan.  She watched with concern as I began hyperventilating when the Mayflower moving truck pulled out of my driveway in Fort Smith, signifying that I was finally on the fast track to the Big Apple, with no turning back.  She jumped into the car with a huge smile on her face, just like she did outside of the Humane Society, as we took off to drive to New York City.  She was with me every step of the way.  And during those first days in New York, which were filled with concern, wonder and the unknown, she never left my side.  She was a source of strength and constancy that gave me comfort and happiness.  I relished coming home to her jumping on my leg, smiling at me and sitting by my side.

In fact, that’s usually where you can find Abby — by my side.  She is a great cuddler, keeping me warm in the winter.  She is incredibly perceptive, drying my tears (literally licking them) when I’m sad.  She is a friendly, happy presence in my home, running to meet me at the door when I get home, if she isn’t there already, jumping as high as she can as the elevator beeps on its way up.  She is alternately playful and sweet.

Abby and Zoey couldn’t be any more different.  Whereas Zoey is a total extrovert and ham, immediately rushing toward every new person that comes into her life, Abby is reserved and slow to warm to newcomers.  Most people consequently gravitate to Zoey at first blush.  But those who spend a lot of time with the girls always end up falling in love with Abby.    Just last week, someone who’s known both girls for a while but had never spent much time with them, told us that after two straight weeks with them, he “really loves” Abby and commented repeatedly on how good a dog she is.  Abby’s dignity, sweetness and obedience grows on everyone she comes into contact with for a lengthy period of time.  She’s simply impossible not to love.

Abby in St. Thomas

All smiles

Interestingly, it’s because of Abby that we even decided to get Zoey.  Abby suffers from intense separation anxiety, pouting deeply when she knows she’s about to be left alone (in a particularly funny episode earlier this year, she ran outside and literally played dead, thinking that might stop me from leaving for dinner).  I thought getting a second dog to spend the day with, sharing the house, would make her less lonely.  That concept started the long process that eventually led us to Zoey.

Abby with her little sister, Zoey

Abby has been with me to Boston, Washington D.C., Detroit, Maine, South Carolina, Memphis, and numerous trips to the Virgin Islands.  She’s become such a great traveler, happily going into her carrier and sleeping when I put her under the airline seat.  Seatmates have commented numerous times that they can’t believe I had a dog with me.  And she so loves the wind, sun and warm weather that it gives me so much pleasure to watch her enjoy the Caribbean during winter.

Abby does D.C.

With Abby you can sense her love and loyalty.  You can watch as she lives each and every day to the fullest.  I want to thank everyone for allowing me this one day to highlight my other dog, my best friend Abby.  I am so grateful to have her in my life and it is just another perfect example why one should adopt their next family member from their local animal rescue.  It was the best thing I have ever done.  Happy 5th Birthday Abby!  XO-L*

Happy 5th Birthday Abby!

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Congrats on being the first….now are the owners going to be charged?

Seventy-three dogs including Cocker Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, American Eskimos, Poodles, Beagles, Papillons and Brussels Griffons were rescued by the Humane Society of Missouri on Thursday, July 14th in Monett (Lawrence County) Missouri.

Not enough space :(

This will be the first puppy mill put out of business since the new Canine Prevention Cruelty Act. Missouri’s Attorney General, Chris Koster, promised that this is just the beginning of their efforts to improve Missouri’s dog breeding reputation.

Here are a few of the violations from the inspection reports:

  • Failed to provide adequate veterinary care to animals in medical distress
  • Failed to clean and sanitize the facility
  • Facility allowed excrement in food receptacles and dirty, muddy drinking water.  In some places feces had accumulated to the point it was indistinguishable from the flooring.
  • Failed to keep sick, aged, or young animals in indoor or sheltered housing facilities.
  • No drainage to keep animal waste and water eliminated so the animals stay dry and had shelter
  • The owner routinely used gunshot as a means of euthanasia, also in violation of the law.

    This is how the owner disposed of dogs

An agreement approved July 14 and enforceable under the circuit court, the owner will surrender all animals to the Humane Society of Missouri, surrender her Missouri Department of Agriculture commercial breeder license and will not operate a dog breeding facility for at least the next 6 years.  What we want to know is if the breeder will be criminally charged?  Per this act each violation carries with it a class C misdemeanor.  If Missouri really wants to clean up their reputation as the puppy mill capitol we believe a good start would be to fully enforce the consequences of the act. The rescued animals were taken to the Humane Society of Missouri’s Headquarters for individual veterinary exams and treatment. As soon as they are healthy, as many of them as possible will be made available for adoption.

 

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