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Torrey’s diary August 2008

Posted on: August 28th, 2008 by

By: Dr. Jack Stephens

Wow! What a month! So much has happened and I hardly know where to begin. Since a few of you have asked (and because I personally enjoy being the center of attention), I asked my people to take a few beauty shots of me to help tell this month’s story.

To begin, we spent several busy and incredible days at the American Veterinary Medical Association annual meeting in New Orleans where it was hotter than sin. Thank God for air-conditioning as I’m not sure that I would have made it. As you know, real ladies never sweat, so that was a bit of a challenge in 510% humidity, even for a dog.

This show seemed even busier than usual for some reason. Dad was shaking hands a lot, and while we usually spend a lot of time talking to people, it seemed like there was hardly ever a moment when we were alone. Other people were really excited, and it all seemed to be a pretty big deal, something about Somebody Something Trust and some lady named Edna, but I just smiled and enjoyed the extra attention.

While we were there, Mom picked up J.P., short for Jefferson Parrish because he was adopted from, yes, Jefferson Parrish, a New Orleans shelter that Mom helped fix up with other volunteers while we were there. She said he was too adorable to leave behind. I don’t know about that, but I do know I’m glad *I’m* not stuck in one of those boxes!

As far as J.P. and I go personally, I’m glad that he seems to understand who the pack leader is, so he and I have not had any issues. Yet.

I’m glad that he’s a decent sort of fellow because Mom and Dad took us camping the weekend after AVMA and it was irritating enough to have to share my space with seven others, let alone seven plus the new guy who may or may not have deferred to me naturally, as he should have. I did the best I could and spent most of the time in my chair or trying to stay near Dad. Truthfully, I missed my cheetah couch as I am not a huge fan of the Great Outdoors.

Back in the office I settled back in to my daily routine of Office Guard Dog and Chief Giraffe Fetcher, along with my customer advocate duties.

All in all, it’s been a pretty good month. I have a celebration of the day I was born coming up next month, but since ladies never reveal their true ages, I’ll just say that I am in the prime of my life. (And not that I would share this with just anyone, but it’s on Sept. 10th if you’d like to send jewels, treats or anything cheetah themed, my favorite.)

And to whomever shared the Animal Behavior website with my Dad, you and I need to talk. Fortunately, I was able to do a little damage control so that Dad remembers that I, of all people, don’t need behavior modification, but the phrase “I have a bone to pick with you” does not begin to describe the conversation I plan on having once I find you.

Remember, Darlings, well behaved women seldom make history.

Until next time,


Spotlight On: The Arizona Humane Society

Posted on: July 30th, 2008 by

Posted by Angela Klein on 7/30/2008 in Articles from Newsletters

With one look at the Arizona Humane Society, it’s easy to see that this group is so much more than just a shelter for pets in transition.

Founded in 1957 as a private nonprofit organization, the Arizona Humane Society works daily to stay true to their mission: to safeguard, rescue, shelter, heal, adopt and advocate for animals in need.

In addition to being Arizona’s largest animal-welfare protection agency, the Arizona Humane Society provides free or low-cost spay/neuter services for dogs and cats in an effort to end pet over-population in the greater Phoenix area. Last year, nearly 20,000 surgeries were performed. They accomplish this at their campuses and on the road with their mobile spay/neuter and animal wellness centers that travel throughout the Southwest.

Each year, more than 50,000 pets are rescued and/or sheltered at the Arizona Humane society’s campuses, and as the state-designated companion animal disaster response organization, they also provide services to pets in natural disasters.

In 2004, the Arizona Humane Society was honored as the National Shelter of the Year, chosen from over 300 other animal protection organizations throughout the United States.

Additionally, the Arizona Humane Society inspires community action through their efforts such as their Pets on Parade television show, educating groups on the importance of respect and compassion for all living beings through the Startdust Humane Education Program, and lobbying for laws that protect pets.

Pets on Parade, which holds the distinction of being the longest running show in the history of Arizona television, hit the airwaves in the Phoenix-metro area 40 years ago and features adoptable pets from the shelter.

To learn more about the Arizona Humane Society and their efforts, visit them online at

Pets Best Insurance is proud to partner with the Arizona Humane Society and others in the Pets Best “Racing to Save Pets” campaign by identifying and confronting the key issues that cause euthanasia.

Dr. Jack Stephens, a veterinarian and the founder and pioneer of the pet insurance industry in the United States created “Racing to Save Pets” as a means to address and create a sense of urgency regarding the primary reasons that cause 3 million pets in shelters and millions more throughout the country to be destroyed each year.

“Racing to Save Pets” addresses the need for better support and understanding of our community shelters by raising support and awareness. Pets Best Insurance also provides its ShelterBest partnership program as a means to directly support shelters with community efforts and funding that can make the difference for countless pets that need and deserve to find homes.

By providing a better understanding of the human health benefits of pet ownership, raising awareness for smaller shelters and groups that need support, and providing an ongoing source of donations, “Racing to Save Pets” is partnering across the nation with shelters like the Arizona Humane Society and other adoption groups to make a difference and reduce unnecessary euthanasia.

On the Road Again! Travel Tips for Smooth Sailing with Your Dog

Posted on: July 30th, 2008 by

Posted by Angela Klein on 7/30/2008 in Articles from Newsletters

There are few phrases in a dog’s vocabulary that elicit joy like the phrase “Let’s go!” As more and more families bring their pets along on their travels, we wanted to compile a list of tips to remember to help make your journey safe, memorable and fun.

The adage says that the devil might be in the details, but planning before you go will help not only relieve last minute stress but give you the knowledge you need to make choices you’ll be happy with. Be sure to ask about the features, fees and restrictions of each hotel or campground you’re considering as some establishments charge a flat fee where others offer a refundable deposit. Ask which category the prospective hotel falls in, since some can be as high as $100. Also, knowing that the motel you’re wanting has a policy of no dogs over 25 pounds will help ensure that when you show up with your Great Dane that there are no surprises waiting for you, such as having to find another hotel at the last minute.

Speaking of surprises, we’ll state the obvious here as a side note, but as more and more dogs are out and about, remember to pick up after your dog when you’re traveling, whether you’re at a campground, motel, dog park or even a rest area, to keep the good will and friendly attitudes toward our pets strong.

Other potentially obvious tips that deserve repeating when planning a trip:

-Bring your dog’s favorite toy or blanket.
-If traveling by plane, don’t feed your dog for six hours before the trip and be sure to check the airline’s policies for caring for your dog if you can’t fly together.
-When traveling by car, allow extra time to get out and stretch and be sure to have plenty of water on hand so there’s no risk of dehydration.
-Remember that a tired dog is a happy dog. Exercise before you go.
-Enter and unpack in your hotel room first. This will make sure that your scent is in the room before your dog enters it.
-Bring along a first-aid kit and an extra leash, just in case.

As much as we all don’t like to think about emergencies, the truth of the matter is that they happen. Plotting out several veterinarians on your route before you go means that if something happens, you’ll know where to go without having to spend time looking. Use our Vet Locator to quickly find several options, including emergency clinics, in the areas you’ll be vacationing.

Finally, be sure to remember things like water safety (yes, there absolutely are life jackets for dogs, and they’re recommended) and avoid any potential for heat stroke and other summer dangers like hot cars and walking on black pavement for any period of time. (Ouch! Those poor paw pads!)

Most of all, whether you’re going just up the road or halfway around the world, enjoy yourself. Pack up those doggy goggles, whatever he or she needs to be comfortable and repeat those wonderful words, “Let’s go!” Your next adventure is just a road trip away.

You Oughta Be in Pictures!

Posted on: July 23rd, 2008 by

Posted by Angela Klein on 7/23/2008 in Articles from Newsletters

You Oughta Be in Pictures!

With summer fully arrived, the heat is on and we’re looking for your best doggone and cool cat photos. Submit your dog or cat’s best summer photo with a caption by August 15th and we’ll post winners – one for dogs and one for cats – in the early September edition of the Pets Best Newsletter.

We love to hear the stories of the pets in the Pets Best family and look forward to getting to know more about yours!

Our sales manager, Steve Gardner, says he will personally be in charge of the photos, so we have high hopes that fun will be had by all.

In addition to bragging rights, Steve promises to send the winning dog and cat cool treats. (Bones and catnip have been mentioned so far, but one just never knows with Steve!)

So get in on the summertime fun and send us your favorite photo by August 15th. Also, Steve said that he loves putting pictures on our website, so when you send a picture to him remember that you are giving him permission to post it. We look forward to hearing from you!

Send your photos to Steve at or call and chew the fat with him at 1-877-738-7237 ext. 311. (Or, in his words, regale him with tales of fun and mystery.) Give him a call. You’ll be glad you did!

Pet Insurance Myths

Posted on: July 22nd, 2008 by

By: Dr. Jack Stephens

Recently Pets Best conducted another set of focus groups of pet owners in order to find out if we are addressing what pet owners really want and to see if they understand the value concept of pet insurance.

Overall we verified previous observations from years of prior experience and learned more about perceptions of Pets Best. One thing of note—which was prevalent in all the focus groups—is that there are definitely still myths floating around about pet insurance. The following are the highlights along with my responses to those lingering myths:

1. Pet Insurance is only for sick pets

Actually, you must purchase insurance before your pet is sick for it to be effective, the same as you would buy auto or homeowners insurance before you have an accident or catastrophe.

2. Insurance is a hassle

Pets Best plans are simple, you simply pay your veterinary bills and submit the bills to us and we reimburse you directly, usually in less than a week.

Unlike some plans which are complicated and use schedules which may be substantially less than your actual veterinary expenses, with our 80% payment, after the deductible, it is easy to figure out how much we will reimburse you for claims.

Since pet owners are typically out-of-pocket for their pets’ medical expenses, unlike human health care where hospitals and doctors bill the insurance company, the turnaround time for payment is important when choosing a pet insurance company.

3. We could not choose our own vet

Fortunately with most pet insurance plans there are no managed care principals, pet HMOs or veterinary PPOs to contend with. At Pets Best—and most other pet insurance providers—you can always select the veterinarian of your choice. Pet insurance is not typically involved in the decision process for treatments, care or cost. As with most things, there are exceptions, though, and at least one company is currently working to set up a network of veterinarians.

4. Pet Insurance must be expensive

Although premiums vary by company, plan type, the age of the pet, and species (cat or dog), in most instances pet insurance is more affordable than you might imagine with the monthly cost being about what you would pay for a dinner for two. Pet owners can also choose even less costly plans with lower limits and a higher deductible or higher cost plans with lower deductibles and higher limits. Prices will vary from company to company, but most are reasonable.

5. Pet Insurance has too many exclusions or does not cover what I need

When it comes to accidents or illnesses, pet insurance actually has very few exclusions. Pet insurance is designed to transfer the risk of your pet’s future unknown health cost to the insurer. When it comes to your pet’s health and the many thousands of accidents and illnesses that can happen to pets, other than hereditary, congenital and pre-existing, all accidents and most illnesses are covered.

With Pets Best many of the typical exclusions are limitations, where the payment, although smaller does provide some coverage and value. Ask your veterinarian or their staff how many times a pet’s illness can present financial hardship and hard decisions for pet owners. Pet insurance is like your own health insurance, it is designed to help pay for your pet’s medical needs, whether it is a simple skin rash, a virus, an ear infection or severe cancer.

Although your actions in insuring your pet speak to your understanding the myths and knowing the value pet insurance can provide to your peace of mind, our recent focus group shows that most pet owners still do not completely understand pet insurance. I will not rest until every pet owner is at least aware there is pet insurance coverage that can be budgeted at a reasonable cost so they never have to be concerned with their pet family member’s health cost.