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The National Greyhound Adoption Program

Posted on: October 27th, 2008 by

Posted by Pets Best on 10/27/2008 in Articles from Newsletters

Every year, racing-dog breeders produce tens of thousands of greyhounds, far more than they can place at racetracks. This overbreeding is motivated by the desire to produce winning dogs. Many times, the dogs that are not fast enough to compete are euthanized. Those who are fast enough may only race until they are retired at three-and-a-half to four years of age. Thousands of greyhounds at each track are disposed of yearly to bring in a fresh group of dogs.

In response to this widespread problem, the National Greyhound Adoption Program was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1989. Their main goals are:

-To help find loving, adoptive homes for former racing greyhounds
-To provide superior knowledge and support for greyhound adopters and other adoption groups
-To educate the public and spread awareness about the plight of the greyhound
-To provide specialized medical care specifically geared towards the greyhound

NGAP’s first few adoptions took place in the early 1990s, with greyhounds being flown a few at a time from Florida to Philadelphia. Later, the group began hauling greyhounds up from Florida in a large truck, often up to 30 dogs at a time. NGAP has come a long way since those early days and greyhound adoption is now just a fraction of the things that they do.

In 1995, NGAP opened its own greyhound clinic to fulfill the need for specialized greyhound care. Their clinic and surgical facility performs over 2,000 greyhound procedures under anesthesia annually—more than any other facility in the United States.

The NGAP now receives greyhounds from a variety of different groups all over the United States. Their kennel houses anywhere from 40 to 50 adoptable greyhounds, and they maintain a staff of almost twenty people including full-time, live-in caretakers.

The non-profit group has no affiliation with any greyhound track or any other organization; they pride themselves on being a strong national advocate for greyhounds. They are primarily funded by adoption fees, fund raising events, car donations and various donations of other kinds.

It should be noted that the NGAP is not the only group in America dedicated to the rescue of these majestic, loving dogs. In fact, there are hundreds of local rescue organizations throughout the United States and around the globe seeking good homes for the nearly endless supply of greyhounds. Interested in helping to solve this problem in your local area? The Greyhound Project, Inc. is a great resource, offering a worldwide directory of recue organizations. Locate a rescue organization in your area and contact them to learn how you can adopt a greyhound or make a donation.

Having a Dog Can Save Your Life

Posted on: October 17th, 2008 by

Posted by Pets Best on 10/17/2008 in General Articles

Dogs provide us with companionship, love, loyalty, and friendship – but having a dog could also save your life. It is easy to underestimate your dog, but when danger strikes, it may be your dog that comes to the rescue and helps to keep you safe.

Dogs are incredibly instinctive, especially when working with those who are elderly or ill. Many dogs can, in fact, be trained to alert their owners when they are about to have a seizure, or even when their blood sugar is too low. They also play a vital role in the recovery of many of their owners. There have been many cases of miraculous recoveries when a patient is reunited and allowed to stay with their dog, with whom they have a close connection.

Nationwide, there are many dogs working in the field of pet therapy, where their love and compassion can help brighten the spirits and save the lives of those who are ill. The patients who receive pet therapy are often down and out, and have all but given up hope for survival. The pet therapy and love they receive from these dogs helps to enliven them, and give them a reason to live again.

Their instinctive nature also comes in handy when dogs are trying to warn their owners of impending danger. Many cases have been reported of dogs waking their owners up in the middle of the night to alert them of fires, robbers, or extreme weather.

Dogs have also been known to help find their owners when they are lost. Dogs have rescued adults and children who were drowning, helped locate survivors after a natural disaster, and have been known to run for help when their owners have become stranded, or hurt far from help.

Dogs are some of the most loyal friends that many people will ever have. And they may just save your life.

Long Term Health Effects of Invisible Fences

Posted on: October 17th, 2008 by

Posted by Pets Best on 10/17/2008 in General Articles

Owning a dog is a big responsibility, and having to train your dog to stay outside can be difficult at times. Many people decide to invest in invisible fencing, thinking that this is the best solution to keeping their dog contained. However, it is wise to research the long term health effects of invisible fencing on dogs before you decide to invest the money, time, and energy into buying one.

Invisible fencing works by burying a wire around your yard, typically where you would install a traditional fence. You then attach a special collar around your dog’s neck, and when he or she crosses the “invisible” line of the fence, they receive a shock. Many advocates of this type of training call it a “simple static electric shock.” Unfortunately, this is not always true. There have been people who have tried the collars on themselves, crossed the line, taken the shock and then realized that it is painful enough to cause limping, tingling and even nausea for hours afterwards. Different dogs can take different amounts of pain, so a shock that may be mild to one dog can be quite painful to another.

Long term health effects of invisible fencing can vary. For one, many dogs are so upset by the shock that they start to refuse to come outside. They are so scared of being shocked that they become languid, refusing to leave the house and cowering inside at times. Dogs may begin to live in fear that they will be electrocuted for normal behaviors. This can cause health problems gradually as the dog may become lazier and gain weight from lack of exercise, simply because they are too scared to venture outside. Psychological stress to a dog being trained with an invisible fence is very real indeed, and a problem that can lead to health problems later. These can include aggression and panicked behavior.

Some dogs simply do not respond to an invisible fence. Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are two breeds that have a high tolerance for pain. That being said, these breeds may not be stopped by the shock that an electric fence will give them and charge through it anyway. Repeated shocks to a dog can lead to changes in the dog’s system, such as the heart and respiration rate. It can also lead to gastrointestinal disorders and long term urinary problems.

Another long term health problem that can develop is the possibility of seizures. While there are still many disagreements over whether an invisible fence and the ensuing shock actually causes seizures, dogs that are epileptic may suffer a seizure if shocked. Dogs that have severe skin issues or sensitive skin can also suffer long term health effects from the use of an invisible fence since the collar must be worn outside at all times. There may also be prongs on the collar that have to be in close contact with skin, and these can cause long term irritations to the skin around the neck of many sensitive dogs.

Because the health effects of invisible fences can be unpredictable, be sure to monitor your dog’s health and behavior to determine whether or not an invisible fence is right for your dog.

10 Animals Who Have Better Jobs Than You

Posted on: October 17th, 2008 by

Many animals have jobs; some serve a vital role for those in need, and others are just purely for our entertainment. However, most of us have never really considered that animals may have better jobs than we do. Many animals hold higher positions in society then we could ever hope to reach, and get paid quite well for the jobs they do. Here are ten of them.

10. Seeing Eye dogs have great jobs. They get to help people everyday. Not only that, but they have someone who depends on them for survival. They live every day knowing that they are needed, and have a sense of purpose. They also are well provided for and loved, and receive much more attention than their regular pet counterparts.

9. Oscar the Hospice cat and other therapy pets have fulfilling jobs as well. Oscar is a special kind of therapy cat who works for Hospice, a program for the terminally ill. Oscar has a knack for knowing when someone is near the end of their life, and will curl up with them until they pass on. Oscar is well taken care of in the Hospice house, and was given a plaque to commemorate his commitment to patients’ end of life care. Other therapy pets serve a similar role, and are surrounded everyday by patients vying for their love and affection. They are treated kindly, and serve an important roll in many hospitals and nursing homes worldwide.

8. Brody the Bear is a trained Kodiak bear who has been raised by his owner Jeff Watson since he was a cub weighing less than ten pounds. He has performed in many films, television shows, and commercials such as The Today Show, Energizer commercials, and Rice Krispie Treat commercials. He spends his non-working days playing with his owner and traveling the country to help educate the public about bears and outdoor safety. He has even spent the night at Muhammad Ali’s house while on the road!

7. Racehorses have better jobs than us as well. They get to perform doing something they love, and they live very cushy lives most of the time. They train hard, or play hard, depending on how you look at it. Horses naturally love to run, and having a job doing what you love is hard to come by. Winning racehorses are well provided for to ensure their continued health and performance. They receive the best grooming, food, healthcare, and more to keep them on the winning track.

6. The Budweiser Clydesdales have pretty cushy jobs too. There are six teams of Clydesdales working for Budweiser, five that travel the country ten months out of the year, and one that stays at the main headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. The Clydesdales that travel the country are put up in the best stables, and travel in trailers that have air cushion suspension and rubber flooring for comfort. The team housed at headquarters lives in the historic brick and stained glass stable, and all teams enjoy the crowds of people that gather to greet them.

5. Twiggy the water skiing squirrel has starred in many movies including recent films like Dodgeball, Anchorman, and Down to Earth. He originally started his career as a water skiing squirrel act in 1979. Once discovered, nothing could stop him from becoming a superstar! Twiggy and his owner are paid handsomely for his roles in movies, and you can rest assured that Twiggy is living the squirrel high life.

4. There are 22 Orcas that perform at the three Sea World parks across the United States, and they love their jobs. They perform tricks for thousands of people everyday, and get rewarded for everything they do. They are fed the most nutritious food, and shown plenty of love and attention by their trainers and the people who look after them. They are much better cared for than their wild cousins, and are far more famous!

3. Gidget, a Chihuahua born in 1995, made herself and her owner a large amount of money. She will die a legend, forever remembered as the Taco Bell dog. Gidget played the famous dog in the Taco Bell commercials from 1997 until 2000, when she was replaced by a new ad campaign. She now enjoys early retirement, and lounging around in doggy nirvana as her owners cater to her every need.

2. Levi, the monkey from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, is one of the most recent animals to land a job as a superstar. Levi, an eight-year-old Capuchin, played the undead monkey in each of the three Pirates movies. He has truly achieved star status with loads of fan mail and his own fan club. He has earned a place in our hearts, and is well-provided for by his owners.

1. The animal with the best job that is most assuredly better than ours, is good old Punxsutawney Phil. How great would it be if you worked only one day out of the year, and had the entire day dedicated you and what you do? Every year, people gather to celebrate this Groundhog Day by watching Phil do his job on Gobbler’s Knob. The remainder of the year, he lives in the town library, and even has a wife named Phyllis. The two groundhogs are taken care of by a group called the Punxsutawney Club. Phil even has an “inner circle” that is in charge of planning the annual Groundhog Day ceremony.

The list doesn’t end there; many more animals are far more famous than us, or hold jobs that offer more fulfillment and respect that ours do. Don’t you wish you had it as good?

Designer Dogs: Furry Status Symbols

Posted on: October 17th, 2008 by

Posted by Pets Best on 10/17/2008 in General Articles

Designer dogs have become the new trend both in and outside of Hollywood. Since their arrival on shows like Good Morning America and The Today Show, these pets have become the hottest thing around, with many A-list celebrities standing in line to pick theirs out. These new breeds of dogs have become little more than little furry status symbols, with everyone fighting to be the first to own one.

Designer dogs are created by the mating of two purebred dogs of different breeds. These new breeds of dogs often lack the flaws of the individual breeds, while keeping all the cuteness and desirable qualities. For instance, a puggle is a mix between a beagle and a pug, lacking the bulging eyes and stubbornness of its parents, while staying just as adorable. Some of these designer dogs also boast even temperaments and allergen-free fur, which is a big plus for people who have children or allergies. Puggles and other breeds – such as labradoodles, a mix of a poodle and a Labrador retriever, and schnoodles, a miniature schnauzer and poodle mix – are the newest status symbols among celebrities, and the waiting lists for the top breeders can be full for up to a year or more.

Just like designer jeans and jewelry, which are also marketed to the rich and famous, these designer pups do not come at a small price. Prices for these mixed breeds start around $900, and can often go up to $2,000 for dogs from the best breeders. Celebrities are not the only ones love-struck by these pooches; many middle class families have taken to purchasing their own designer pups, a new way of keeping up with the Joneses, as it were. Although these dogs will never be pedigreed animals, they can currently be registered with the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC).

What is the difference between a designer dog and a mutt? With mutts, the bloodlines of the animal can’t be traced, whereas with designer dogs, both parents are known, and the dog may even come from champion bloodlines. There has been some controversy surrounding these mixed breeds lately. Some believe that people are buying the dogs just to say they own a designer dog, and then dumping them when the dogs turn out to be less than they expected. Others believe that it is wrong to be breeding more mixed breed animals when there are many of the same mixes in the shelters.

Even with the high price tags and lack of pedigree, breeders have found a hot market in designer dogs. Status symbol or not, there is no denying the cuteness of these pups, and their ability to win the hearts of their owners.