Your Family Pet – December 18, 2014

Hello, I’m Joe Larkins. Welcome to the holiday
edition of “Your Family Pet.” Tonight we’ll find out ways
to keep your pet safe during the holiday season. We’ll profile two
volunteer organizations — one provides therapy pets to
local facilities and the other helps shelter dogs
and cats find a forever home. And we’ll have a visit
from Santa Claus himself. All this and more on this
edition of “Your Family Pet.” (female announcer)
Production funding for “Your Family Pet” is
made possible in part by Memphis Veterinary Specialists,
a referral based specialty hospital serving the needs
of small animals offering diagnostic tools and treatment
options not typically found outside veterinary teaching
hospitals including orthopedic and neurologic surgery,
oncology, dermatology, dentistry, ophthalmology,
internal medicine and more. And by.. [theme music] The holiday season is a
busy time for decorating, wrapping presents
and hosting parties. And we all want to include
our furry family members in the celebration. But the holidays can present
some unique dangers for pets. Sarah Clark sat down with Katie
Pemberton of the Humane Society to talk about how to keep your
pet safe during the holidays. Well, welcome back
to the show, Katie. It’s always great to have you. And like we had discussed about
Halloween safety for your pets.. Right. ..we are now in to
the Christmas season. Yes. First thing I’m sure
everybody is thinking of — the Christmas tree. Yeah, there are so many
things to keep in mind. And keeping your
pet safe period. But the holidays kind of throws
an extra wrench in to that. Everybody likes to put
up a Christmas tree. And there are some things
to keep in mind with that. If you’ve ever had a cat, you
know that they really enjoy climbing Christmas
trees sometimes. So, you want to make sure
that your Christmas tree is very securely anchored so if they
do do some climbing they’re not going to knock it over on top of
themselves and injure themselves or something like that. Also, with cats, no tinsel. That’s really enticing to
them because it’s shiny and they want to eat it. And that can cause
blockages in their intestines. And so, that is a bad thing.
With the.. If it’s a real tree and
you’ve got the water in it, that can be really
bad for their stomachs. Sometimes there’s
fertilizer in it. You know,
it can make them sick. So, make sure that they
don’t have access to that water. You know, put your tree
skirt around that kind of thing. And with ornaments,
you know, I don’t know. You’ve got to just know your pet
and know what they’re going to get in to and what they’re
not going to worry about. But if you have, like, glass
ornaments and hardwood surfaces, your cat could knock one of
those down and then step on it, injure themselves. You just never know. So, just use your good common
sense as your decorating for the holidays. Don’t leave, um, things that
your pet might find exciting out on their level. And what about
giving gifts to your pets? I mean, are there some gifts
that you want to stay away from for their stocking
stuffer so to speak? Yeah. Well, every pet certainly
expects gifts in the holiday season as they should. My dogs love squeaky toys
and I’ll get them squeaky toys. But when I leave,
they are going up. I don’t leave them on the ground
when I leave because they could swallow the squeaker. That can be an
intestinal blockage. But one of my favorite toys to
leave them with is called Kong, K-O-N-G. And it’s just a really strong
sturdy rubber toy that you can put peanut butter in or
treats and that will keep them entertained for a while. And you don’t have to worry
about that in most cases getting stuck. (Sarah)
Right. Or anything like that.
And with cats, um, another.. You know, they love those
toys that you can kind of flick around with a string. And those are great. But again, don’t leave
them with them alone. If you’re going to
be leaving treats, you want to do the little ball
with the bell in it or a catnip treat or something like that. Don’t leave a
string with them alone. Now throughout the holidays,
people are having guests over and parties. You know, some things
to be aware for that. You don’t want your
guests to give them food or anything like that. Talk about that. Right. Yeah, with a lot of people
in and out of the house, things can get a little
complicated with your pet. Certainly if you
have house guests, you want to make sure that you
give them a designated area to put their belongings because
we don’t want our pets to be getting in to their stuff,
chewing up a favorite pair of shoes, getting in to their
medication and stuff like that. Yeah, please do
tell your guests, “Don’t give my dog any food.” There are some human foods
that are great for dogs. But we can’t expect our
guests to know what those are. And we don’t. It can cause
stomach upset, diarrhea. And those are just not
fun things to deal with in the holidays. You’re busy. And certainly, don’t give any
bones from any of the meat that you’re cooking. And moving on in
to the New Years. Having some
celebrations, loud noises. Do you have any
suggestions about that? Yeah. I mean, New Year’s is kind
of similar to Fourth of July, Halloween. There can be a lot of excitement
and there can be a lot of noise that can scare your pets. So, I mean, you should
always have I-D on your pets but especially during
those kind of key times. Make sure that they have their
collar on with their I-D because it is one of the more common
times for pets to get out and get lost. Because they
hear the fireworks. They just get
scared and they dart. Keep your pet
inside on that night. It’s probably going to be
way too cold for your pet to be outside anyway. If they’re really
scared of, say, like, Thunder or the loud
noises with the fireworks, there’s something
called a Thunder Shirt you can get for them. It’s like a really
tight kind of vest. And that compression
calms some dogs down. I think I’ve seen those before.
So, they do work? They work for some dogs. Okay, not every dog. Well, thank you so much. We always
appreciate your advice. And thanks for
being on our show. Thank you! The English novelist
George Eliot said, “Animals are such
agreeable friends — they ask no questions,
they pass no criticisms.” That’s the concept
behind therapy pets, animals that provide comfort
and relief to people who just need a friend. Cris Hardaway reports on Mid-South Therapy Dogs and
Friends and finds that sometimes life’s best medicine
doesn’t come in a bottle. (Cris)
Today, the residents at Page Robbins
Adult Day Care Center have a very
special visitor. Her name is Pearl and she’s one
of only a dozen or so therapy llamas in the country. (female)
When the llama comes in, it evokes a memory that they
might have thought — might not have thought about
for a long, long time. So, that’s probably one of
the most enjoyable parts to me. It gets individuals thinking
about something perhaps they have not thought
about in a long time, something very
pleasant to think about. (Cris)
Giving people something pleasant to think about and putting
smiles on faces is what Mid-South Therapy Dogs
and Friends is all about. This 12-year-old non-profit all
volunteer organization brings animals and their
handlers in to hospitals, schools and
facilities like Page Robbins. Therapy work is based upon the
fact that when a therapy animal enters the room,
the energy changes. We saw that today. And it doesn’t matter if
you’re old or you’re young. They bring a smile
to your face always. (Cris)
The concept that animals could somehow be furry physicians
is a relatively new idea. In 1977 two veterinarians and a
psychiatrist formed the Delta Society, now
called Pet Partners, based solely on empirical
data from observing pet and patient interactions. Their scientific research
proved that animals can have identifiable physical and
emotional impacts on humans which produce
positive benefits. The people that
interact with animals, it’s been shown that
their heart rate drops, their blood pressure drops. The animals are just
not judgmental at all. And so, it’s that unconditional
love that they provide during their visit that just
makes somebody have a smile on their face. (Cris)
With the ability to lower blood pressure, reduce stress
and stimulate the release of endorphins that make people
feel good, therapy animals have established their value
with the medical community. In fact, doctors even
write prescriptions for them. In addition to Pearl and a
miniature donkey named Nestle, Mid-South Therapy Dogs and
Friends has about 45 teams, mostly dogs that serve
a wide range of facilities throughout the area. Animals and their handlers
are required to go through a training period lasting
an average of six months. Basic obedience skills are
mandatory and special emphasis is given to interacting with
large groups and dealing with foreign environments
such as hospitals. After training is complete,
animals and handlers must pass an evaluation before
being certified to work as therapy teams. It is a considerable investment
of time and money on the part of the animals and their owners,
but the rewards are worth it. I know of no other organization
that meets as many needs with one vehicle as therapy
work does with animals. It brings a piece of normal
when she walks through the door. I think in a lot of medical
situations that’s what we see that is so beneficial. They’re in such a sterile
environment and they’re being poked and prodded all
day long, facing challenges I’ll never understand. But when I walk
through the door with Bear, all of the sudden a piece of
normal world has walked in. And they forget where
they are and they jump down. And they throw their
arms around her neck. And for a minute, they’re a
normal child back home with their own pet. (Cris)
The impact of therapy animals at Page Robbins is so positive
that its executive director has a one-year-old puppy named
Daisy in training to become a regular visitor to
the center’s clients. When a client becomes anxious
or when somebody needs an extra little bit of something that
a puzzle or a song just can’t convey that there’s something
for them to responsible for, to interact with
other than a person. Sometimes they
need that break with, um, that an
animal can provide. Animals are nonjudgmental. They don’t care if they’ve told
the same story over and over. And so, it works. It works well to
have a pet here. So, we got Daisy
just for that purpose, to be able to do that. (Cris)
It’s easy to see the smiles on faces and understand
what people get from a visit by therapy animals. But what about the
animals themselves? (Mary)
I think they sense their need to be useful. I think they know
that they’re providing something very special. They have a job to do and
it’s a very important job. And if it’s for them to lie on
the bed of somebody that is in hospice, they’ll
lie there gently. If it’s going to a grief camp
with a group of little girls and they’re all wound up, then it’s
playing with the dog with a ball that’s got high activity. So, they each have
a special job to do. And each of them is different. (Cris)
Anyone who has ever owed a pet of any kind has experienced
the invisible bond that exists between animals and humans. Medical science may be able
to quantify this interaction by measuring blood
pressure and stress levels, but it will never be able to
measure the value of the smiles, the memories and
the way soft fur feels on the palm
of your hand. (Joe)
Our breed of the month is the Boxer. Boxers are a short-haired,
medium-sized breed with a muscular body, standing 21 to
25 inches in height and weighing anywhere between
55 and 75 pounds. Originally bred in
Germany as hunting companions, Boxers love to run,
enjoying long walks and jogs, and need both physical
and mental exercise daily. In spite of their athleticism,
they are not well-suited to living outdoors,
but prefer equal time spent indoors and out. Boxers require minimal grooming
due to their shiny short coat. The lifespan of a Boxer averages
between eight and ten years. Boxers are highly intelligent
and are devoted to those they are attached to. They tend to be curious and
outgoing and make a great companion for families
who live active lifestyles. You’ll find that Boxers
respond well to commands and are generally good with
other household pets. But they may show signs of
aggression around unfamiliar dogs or dogs
of the same gender. Boxers are rambunctious with
their owners and those they are familiar with, but can
be trained to maintain a calmer demeanor. They love to play and
are a highly social breed. Most dogs love to get dirty, but
they don’t like to take a bath. Sarah Clark visited Woof Gang
Bakery and Spa to get some tips on how to make bath time
a more pleasant experience for your dog and you. Sabrina, tell us how important
is it to wash your dog and maybe how often. It’s pretty important. Short haired dogs — probably
about every six to eight weeks just because they don’t have the
problems with the long coats. Long coats — probably
about every four to six weeks. You don’t want to
use your shampoo. It can dry their skin out. Also, they can
have reactions to it. Dog shampoos are more
calming for their skin. There’s all different sorts. Oatmeal is the
safest and easiest. A lot of dogs don’t
like to get baths. Are there ways around that? Are there ways to kind
of make them enjoy it or, I guess, trick them
in to getting a bath? You can.. Best thing is to
start out young. About eight weeks you
can start bathing them. Most grooming shops will take
them at eight weeks as long as they’ve had their
first and second shots. Most places have, like,
puppy baths or puppy trims. Just bring them in, like,
every four weeks for that. Or at home, at least try and
bathe them every four weeks. Give them a treat before. Bring them in to the places like
the store that you’re bringing them to be groomed in between
and get them a treat or a snack and just let them
socialize and play. That way, they don’t think that
the building or where you’re going is automatically
going to be a bath. A bad place. Yeah, exactly. Okay, now kind of talk about
the do’s and don’ts of a bath. I mean, you hear
all these things. Don’t use human shampoo or
don’t get water in their ears. But coming from you.. I mean, you obviously give
a dog a bath quite often. What are the do’s and don’ts
and kind of the process of bathing your dog? I mean, you just
want to be careful. Getting the water in the ears,
it really doesn’t happen that often because
their ears flap down. You will get some in there. But usually once you clean
them after the bath with the ear cleaner, it helps
dry it back out. Getting water in their nose and
in their mouth is actually the hardest thing because they’re
moving their head around trying to get away
from the water. You want to make sure you use
a tearless shampoo on their eyes so you don’t
get it in their eyes. It hurts. You just want to make sure
you get them nice and wet. Lather up the
shampoo really good. Let it soak for a little while
that way it’s actually working. And then, make sure you get
all the shampoo off because then they can also have a
reaction from the shampoo just sitting on them. Now I don’t know but I’m sure
there are people at home that end up leaving the house
with pet hair all over them like myself. Is there a way to minimize
shedding while you’re giving a dog a bath? There is. Doing a shedless bath
with a shedless shampoo and conditioner. Different groomers
have different preferences on the shampoo. Some use the FURminator. We use the Espree.
It’s an all-natural. You just let them
soak in that shampoo. It helps loosen up all the dead
hair and also helps strengthen the weak hair. (Sarah)
Okay. (Sabrina)
So, it doesn’t come out as much. You need to do that probably
about every six weeks if you actually want to reduce
it with lots of brushing, which is what a lot of
us don’t have time to do. At least brush them probably
twice a week if you could with either a FURminator or
a rubber Zoom Groom. What about drying? How important is it
to really dry your dog after giving him a bath? I mean, it is important. You don’t want them to
go outside and get cold. Because then, they’re just going
to smell like wet dog rolling all over the place
collecting everything that you just got off. Drying them with a
towel is the easiest. If they’re a fluffy
dog — and I mean, any dog really — you want to
get them used to a blow dryer because the blow
dryers are loud. And that can be scary. And that’s one of the
processes of being groomed. They need to be dry. So, now a lot of
people don’t want to get their bath tubs dirty. They don’t want to
also go to a groomer’s. And there is such thing
as a self-serve dog wash. So, kind of like a
car wash for dogs. Explain that process. You bring your dog like in here.
Several places do it. Usually it starts out
from around $10 to $15. It’s really easy. You use their facilities.
Like here, you use our tubs. We have a restraint to keep
them in the tubs so they’re not flying all
over the place. You get to use our
shampoos, our towels, our dryers,
our little water-proof smocks. And I mean, it’s easier because
it’s not as messy on you. We get to clean it up. (Sarah)
Perfect! You don’t
have to bend over. You don’t want to
worry about all that. It’s a lot less
stressful really. The bigger dogs, it’s definitely
a lot easier unless it’s, like, summertime and you just
want to go outside and get them wet that way. That’s easy. Well, thank you so much. You’re welcome. Okay, come here baby. [chuckles] Every day hundreds of dogs
and cats sit in local animal shelters waiting for adoption. Memphis Pets Alive is a local
volunteer organization dedicated to saving these animals. Recently Sarah talked with Linda
Baxter to find out more about the work of this organization
and their weekly Wag Along Tuesday event. Linda, explain more
about Memphis Pets Alive. What is it? Memphis Pets Alive is a group
that came together in early 2013 after we identified that there
was a critical need for more education and resources
in the Memphis community to save shelter pets. And what kind of events do you
all have throughout the year to get your
information out there? Oh, well, currently right now
we have pet photos with Santa. That’s happening this Sunday
at Wolf Gang bakery in Cordova at Trinity Commons. So, that’s a little bit
of a fundraiser for us. And during the summertime,
we do a lot of dog washes. We also are working on
a program right now. It’s called the
Twelve Cats of Christmas. And we’re asking
people to donate $40. And what that does is cover the
adoption fee for us to rescue a pet from Memphis
Animal Services. And then we’re going to enroll
them in our brand new program for cats that,
um, are at PetSmart. So, we just took over the
habitat at PetSmart and are very excited about this. That is awesome. Now what about
Wag Along Tuesday, I believe is
what it’s called? I’ve been seeing
a lot about that. Explain what that is. Yes. Wag Along Tuesday was one of the
first activities that we ever kicked our group off with. It’s probably one of
our most public events. We send a group of volunteers
out to Memphis Animal Services every Tuesday night
from 5:30 to 7:00 — about 6:45, 7:00. And we photograph every single
pet that we can get in front of whether it’s
the healthy holds. And some of these terms may
not be familiar to everybody that hasn’t gone there. But the dogs that are
ready to go out the door. We also photograph
the cats that are there, the puppies, the moms. Anything and everything we
can get in front of and just an effort to network them with the
local rescue groups to get their photos out to the public because
not everybody is ready to emotionally available
to go to the shelter and be in that environment. So, we want to provide the
animals there as much of an opportunity as
possible to be seen, to be adopted or rescued. Now I notice a lot of people are
interested in dogs and puppies. What do you
all do for cats? Cats.. Again, we take
photographs of them, as well. And we have a separate
album for them every week that we try to promote. They are a bit more difficult so
to speak because a lot of people think dogs, dogs, dogs. What about the cats? And as I mentioned earlier, we
did just partner with PetSmart and we are taking over
the habitat there located at Poplar and 240. So, when we go through this
process of pulling animals from Memphis Animal
Services or adopting them, we will place them in
our habitat there so that they can be adopted. We also have a trap-neuter
release program in the community which means we go in to
communities that we’re aware of that there are — some
people call them feral cats. We call them community cats.
And we trap them. We spay and neuter them
to keep population control under control. And then we
actually put them back in to their
familiar environment. Having that cat back in to a
familiar community helps your community in the fact that
one, it keeps down the rodents. But also, that cat becomes very
territorial for its environment and will prevent other
cats from coming in. So, if you trap,
neuter and release one cat, that’s going to mean the other
three that are hanging out in the neighborhood next
door aren’t going to start infiltrating your
neighborhood so to speak. That’s interesting. And it keeps them
out of the shelters, as well. Absolutely because
for the most part, feral cats or community
cats are not equipped to deal in a home environment. And when you put
them in a shelter, they are not typically the type
of cat that people are wanting to go snuggle with. Right. Now what are other ways
that people can get involved? I mean, say you can’t
adopt or you can’t foster. How can people help? Volunteering goes
all over the place. You can donate your time. Come and join us at the
shelter if you think you’re able to do that. You don’t have to
take the photographs. You can hold treats and scratch
ears or anything like that. You know, if you love cats, come
hold a cat because we take them out and photograph them. We also need people who can just
get on the phone and get status updates from the local
shelters once we photograph. And we like to keep our social
media updated so that people.. We’ve had people
out-of-state contact us and say, oh, I love this dog. It reminds me of
mine when I was three. How can I get him? So, we have people that do that. With our new
habitat for the cats, we are looking for lots of
different types of people. Those that can go in
and take care of the cats on particular days. We need somebody who can
coordinate foster programs. And we will teach
whatever we need. So, there are lots
of opportunities. We are getting ready to do what
I find is incredible for our group to do is we’re going
to go out in to the community this Saturday. We’re calling it
Howliday Deliveries. We’ve identified a few streets
off of Jackson Avenue that we have delivered pet
food to previously. We have a pet pantry to help
people not surrender their pets if they can’t
afford to feed them. We’re going to pull up a flat
bed truck and we’re going to fill it with dog houses, and
straw, and food, and treats. And we are just going to roll
down those streets and we’re going to knock on doors. We’re going to look
for dogs in yards. And we’re going to
hand out leashes. We’re going to hand
our collars and food. And to me, that’s our way of
giving back to the community in the areas that need it most. I love that. We really want people to
understand we’re not just here to get dogs adopted. We also want to help prevent
them from being put in to the shelters in the first place. Well, I saw on your Facebook
page that you all are now asking for cat food. So, people can be on the lookout
on your Facebook page or social media for things that
you all might need. Correct? Absolutely. Gently used collars,
leashes, dog beds, dog bowls. Anything that another
family could benefit from, we share. Cat food right now is it
seems to be our primary concern. We’re very low. We’ve worked partnerships with
some other groups and people, again, as you said,
dogs, dogs, dogs. I love dogs, too. But people tend to donate
dog food and not always think about the cats. And so, cat food
in cans, dry food, litter, things like that that
will help families just get through a little bit longer. Well, thank you so much. We appreciate everything that
you’re doing and looking forward to see how it turns out. Thank you. That’s all for this
edition of “Your Family Pet.” But before we close we couldn’t
let the holiday season pass without a visit to Hollywood
Feed where Santa was taking pictures with pets, with all the
proceeds going to pet charities. Enjoy the holiday season. Sarah and I will see
you in the New Year. [“Jingle Bells” instrumental] [theme music] (female announcer)
Production funding for “Your Family Pet” is
made possible in part by Memphis Veterinary Specialists,
a referral based specialty hospital serving the needs
of small animals offering diagnostic tools and treatment
options not typically found outside veterinary teaching
hospitals including orthopedic and neurologic surgery,
oncology, dermatology, dentistry, ophthalmology,
internal medicine and more. CLOSED CAPTIONING PROVIDED

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