DOG OWNERSHIP

But Wasnt An Older Dog Dumped Because He Didnt Make a Good Pet?

People often assume that if an older dog has wound up in a shelter or kennel, it means he was an incorrigible animal, unable to fit into a human family and finally needing to be given up. But in just about all cases, mature dogs are relinquished not because of something about them but because of something about the people to whom they belonged. Sometimes, sad to say, its simply that the novelty of having…

A Close Look at the Good Work of Those in Rescue

Its early in the morning of New Years Day, but Jacky Eckard, president of Safe Harbor Lab Rescue in Golden, Colorado, is already at work. We have a dog that was surrendered the day before yesterday, she says, and was brought in to be spayed, so Ill be picking her up and taking her out to her foster home where shell remain until she gets adopted. Ill also be working with some of our…

Dying at Home

John McKee had sons of his own, and I have a loving father, but when my wife and I moved next door to John almost 20 years ago, something other than blood brought us to those roles like two puzzle pieces that had gone missing but unexpectedly made their way into each others waiting spaces. It satisfied in the way that only completing a puzzle could. Pick a day, and you might have seen…

Gentle Into That Good Night

Your dogs heart disease has progressed to the point that there are no more medicines to try, no higher dosages to give, no more procedures to perform. Or her liver failure has reached a tipping point; the toxins are building up faster in her body than they can be cleared. Or her dementia has crossed a certain line - she interacts with you much less frequently and now spends a lot of her time…

Euthanasia At Home, Too?

Because euthanasia is an option when it comes to our dogs, chances are high that euthanasia is in your dogs future. Very few dogs succumb painlessly in their sleep, and most people actively choose to take a dog out of her suffering rather than wait for a painful death to come naturally. But where will the euthanasia occur? …

Not Just Family Members But Professional Colleagues

Regular readers of this page are by now fairly well acquainted with my canine family members, border collie Franklin and shiba inu Rosie. What you may not be aware of is that they not only number among my loved ones but also are my office mates. While I frequently interview veterinarians on the campus of Tufts Cummings School and watch them performing ultrasounds of dogs and overseeing pets on dialysis machines and other apparatus…

At Google, Ben & Jerrys, and Other Firms, Every Day Is Bring Your...

n One of the perks of working for Ben & Jerrys, the gourmet ice cream company with corporate headquarters in Vermont, is the three free pints of ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sherbet that employees may take each day. But for some Ben & Jerry staffers, an even bigger perk is being allowed to bring their dog to the office. …

Is a Retractable Leash the Way to Go?

For situations in which a dog needs to be on a lead, he says, you need [more of] a solid bridge between you and the dog for proper control at all times, adding, if your dog can go 15 or 20 feet in front of you and 15 or 20 feet behind, theres not a lot of leadership from you. Youre handing over to your dog an unusual dose of freedom. Thats okay if youre walking down a hedgerow looking for rabbits. But when youre out in public, a retractable lead surrenders control to the dog, giving him too much autonomy to make bad decisions.

Does the American Kennel Club Enable the Proliferation of Puppy Mills?

Some say that peoples desire for purebred dogs leads to the creation of puppy mills, large commercial breeding operations with too many bitches and too many puppies to be handled humanely, all for the purpose of producing particular breeds of dogs for those who want, say, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel or other type of dog unmixed with any other breed. The upshot: puppies who are treated like merchandise rather than as the sentient beings…

What About Rescue?

As for the whole idea that you cannot breed dogs until the shelters are empty, its a non-starter, AKC judge Charlotte McGowen says. Rescue dogs are big business in themselves. She comments, you get a rescue dog and are [told] thatll be $500, please. Tuftss Jerold Bell, DVM, corroborates her thinking. America wants puppies, but there arent enough of them, he says. Thats what helps keep puppy mills in business. As for all those strays out…

American Kennel Club: Snooty Society or Dog-Friendly Organization?

Say American Kennel Club, and many people automatically think of terms like pedigree dogs and breed purity, and they dont like the sound of them. They smack of elitism and purposeful exclusion, conjuring up images of perfectly coiffed people showing perfectly coiffed Afghans and Irish setters at the Westminster Dog Show - the sort who wouldnt consort with the hoi polloi and who wouldnt let their dogs cavort with a mutt. Detractors say, too,…

Cloning Fido

The future is here, in South Korea specifically, at a company called the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation. The firm just finished holding a contest in Great Britain, offering to clone at a steep discount the beloved dog of whoever writes the best essay and submits the best photos and videotape to demonstrate that the exact genes of their canine companion should live on in another animal. The usual price for dog cloning at Sooam…