Monday, October 27, 2008

"Ask Ginny"

Ginny invites you to write
to her with your questions......
[Submit them as a comment
on one of the "Ask Ginny" posts
and Ginny will repost them
in a new post segment.]

Q & A about health,
veterinary matters,
training, and life
~ ~ ~ ~
Q: Dear Ginny,
I am a 10 week old Labrador retriever puppy. I am full of energy but I am a little shy around other dogs and people. My vet told my owner that I should have my 16-week vaccination booster before starting a puppy class, but several dog trainers have said that it is more important to get me "socialized" while I am still young. What is your opinion?
--submissively yours,
Angus (West Chester, PA)
A: Dear Angus,
My human partner said that there was a news story published in the October 1, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) stated, "A position statement on early socialization in puppies released in July by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior encourages veterinarians to recommend puppies be socialized before the vaccine series is complete." The article said that, even though infectious disease is certainly cause for vigilance in young puppies, "the fact is that behavioral issues--not infectious diseases--are the number one cause of death for dogs under 3 years of age, according to the AVSAB." The article quoted the AVSAB president, Dr. E. Kathryn Meyer, as saying that "Puppies go through a sensitive period of socialization when they are uniquely prepared to benefit from exposure to social opportunities. From the time the owner adopts the puppy until 3 to 4 months of age, it is critical that the owner get the puppy out to meet other animals and people, and experience many different kinds of environments.... These (unsocialized) puppies may also fail to develop coping mechanisms and grow up into dogs that are unable to adapt to new situations." To see a copy of the AVSAB puppy position statement, go to and click on Position Statements.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What Fun! - I Joined a Play Group

Today, I made some new friends. My people signed me up for a play group. I heard them discussing it before hand. They said that I was not getting enough exercise and did not have enough opportunity to interact with other dogs. The group leader, whose name is Larry, came over to our house first, to meet me. I liked him right away. He took me in his van to pick up the other dogs. I got to stay in the front section, which has a barricade so I can see and sniff the other dogs as they got in, but so I wouldn't be overwhelmed in case one of them got pushy. My people went ahead to the tract of wooded land where the play group runs. I didn't find out until later that they were there to check out how I was doing. As soon as they saw that I was getting along well, they drove away. Larry kept me on a leash, to make sure I stayed with him. He says that I'll be able to go off-leash, like the others, once I get the hang of things. I think it is going to be a lot of fun.

(Pictures are from the "The Sandwich Dog"--http://www/

Friday, October 17, 2008

Extraordinary Dogs: In The Line Of Duty


"Missti Lavallee of Erie, ND, had been a soldier in the U.S. Army Combat Military Police Corps for nearly a decade when she was injured in the line of duty and told she would never walk again. Not one to give up, Lavallee made the life-changing decision to bring home Lara, a 12-week-old blue heeler/shepherd mix, and train her as her therapy dog.

"In the first few months, Lara learned to assist her human by reminding her to take her medicine and fetching Lavallee’s husband when she needed his assistance. Lara even figured out—all on her own—how to test the temperature of Lavallee’s bath water. But the real turning point was when Lavallee lost circulation in her legs—so badly they were turning purple—and the shepherd mix climbed into bed and lay on her legs. 'Her breathing and her soft fur heated up my legs—slow enough not to cause more pain, but fast enough to relieve the pain I was in,' Lavallee recalls.

"Lara soon knew instinctively when Lavallee needed her legs warmed, and was right there to help. Little by little, as Lavallee’s circulation improved, Lara encouraged her mom to get out of her wheelchair and walk alongside her as they played hide-and-seek with her two daughters. 'Doing the "seeking" with Lara gave me motivation to get up and walk alongside her, no matter how hard it was or how much it hurt,' Lavallee tells us.

"This former soldier believes her amazing dog encouraged her to focus on her and the kids instead of on the pain. 'Lara did what four doctors in two countries could not—after about eight months, I began to walk!' Lavallee says. 'Let me say that again because it feels so good. Thanks to my blue heeler/shepherd mix, I can now walk!' That winter, for the first time in a long time, Lavallee was able to go outside and play with her two daughters.

"Lara’s assistance extends beyond the physical. She’s also a nanny! 'I don’t have to worry about the kids fighting with each other,' says Lavallee. 'Lara is quick to get between them and tell them to knock it off with one "Woof!" She’s tough! Being a female soldier, I learned that the words "I can't" and "No" are fighting words—and Lara helped me win the fight.' "

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

EXTRA! EXTRA! Candidates Mittens and Rowdy Caught Canoodling

ASPCA Presents: Cat vs. Dog '08

"A photo surfaced today showing presidential candidates Rowdy and Mittens clearly canoodling on a comfy sofa, drawing public outcry.

"A joint statement issued by the pets defended their decision to cross party lines. 'While we continue to differ on legalization of catnip, we have concluded that all pets agree on the important issues facing us today: preventing cruelty and ensuring safety and security. So we are officially joining forces to ensure the next human in the White House knows our stance.'

" 'We will take the signatures of everyone who pledges to fight cruelty directly to Obama or McCain this November.'
The statement continues: 'Also, the sunny spot on the couch is pleasant. After thoughtful negotiations, we determined that there is room for both of us.' In a press conference candidate Rowdy admitted, 'Typically I am not allowed on the sofa, but in this case an exception was made.'

"Candidate Mittens added, 'We did not anticipate having our afternoon nap interrupted by pawparazzi. But we are proud to stand together in fighting animal cruelty, and we still need your support and help.'

Read the full story here:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

First Aid for Pets

I saw this web page on First Aid for Pets, while my partner was browsing on her computer. It is put out by the American Red Cross and has a lot of good information.,1082,0_10_,00.html

My Favorite Facebook Page! I am SUCH a Fan (I'm also their mascot!)

I try not to discriminate against a species that is "less fortunate" than mine.