Monday, February 28, 2011

Pets in the bed: "Zoonoses" are not the real problem

A new study by the CDC warns of the dangers of letting your dog or cat sleep in bed with you.
Franklin, Washington, DC. First day home from the shelter.

Tinoket & Ella, two hip DC cats

Liebe and foster brother Billie of Arlington, VA, all tuckered out and tucked in
after a three-hour hike with Mom.

According to the CDC, contractable zoonoses can include:

*Bubonic plague
*Chagas disease
*Cat-Scratch disease
*Pasteurella spp

As AOL put it, 'Letting Sleeping Dogs Lie in Your Bedroom Can Kill You.' (cue panic)

But if you read beyond the headlines, you'll see the study is upfront about the fact that catching anything from a pet is rare and, of course, requires the pet to actually be diseased. Easiest fix is to keep your pet healthy, regardless of whether you sleep alongside him or her.

Clearly the CDC hasn't focused on the real perils of pets in the bed:

***What about those times you steal your fiance's face mask and, while you're out cold, pit in the air, tee-shirted cat beside you, that self-same fiance takes your photo? What then, CDC?

my cousin Daev and Saba, both of Santa Cruz, CA

***What if your puppy takes up the entire bed?

I'm not naming names, BELLA.

***What if you don't want any more kittenz? (Assure your peace of mind: Spay/Neuter!)

    Moseley & Dylan snuggling.

    ***Excessive adoration

    Lucy of New Jersey loooooves her human

    ***Many of us dog lovers have woken to find a half-masticated, slobbery wet bone next to us. The CDC does not discuss this issue anywhere in its report.

    Sure Billie is cute, but look what's next to him.

    ***Nothing comes between Yoshi of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and her (your) blankets. And if she's just rolled in something, you're not going to want to join her. Nor will you want to be holding onto that comforter.

    *** And what about bears?! Sometimes a person goes to brush her teeth, and when she returns, a wild bear (in a bandanna!) has taken her spot. (Greta!)

***Some dogs are so tiny and teddy bear-like you literally don't want to fall asleep because you might miss a moment of their damn cuteness. And that can get exhausting.

Roxy of Maine works hard all day helping make declicious TriPomChews,
so you must let her sleep where she wishes.

Rico of Tucson, Arizona, relaxes with his mom. Neither of them is suffering from anything, thank you.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Going Home

The short version: This is what happiness feels like: "Mo" went home today. His family, and he & they together, are perfect.

The slightly longer version: Mo's new canine brother's been doing poorly in the wake of his family's aged dog's death. It wasn't just that the family wanted another dog in the house. Mo's new brother, bereft without his buddy, needed one. The grieving dog came into the room with his tail between his legs. Mo crossed to him immediately and the two smelled each other out. In a matter of a minute or two, Mo's brother was a changed dog. He didn't need to stick closely to his human dad, searching his face for assurance that everything was fine. He was lit up--tail high, eyes happy, coming to one and all to say hello. But mostly Mo.

Mo also has two human brothers. The five-year old kept hugging Mo (he stood still and wagged his tail) and telling him that there were toys waiting for him at home. When he wasn't hugging his new dog (or his other dog), Mo was licking his face. In glee upon learning Mo could go home with him that day, he hugged me several times.

Mo's parents know young labs, active labs, separation anxiety. They clearly love dogs and have no illusions about the work and committment that bringing one into your life entails. They weren't looking for 'perfect,' and yet.

I don't know these people, I may never see them again in my life. But this was one of the best days--most rewarding, heart-warming, genuine--of my entire life.

Thank you, Mo.

Monday, February 21, 2011

It's almost a funny story

I've been off the blog for a month now, but I'm back. The question is: Do I yet have the strength, the perspective, the peace of mind to tell you why? It's almost a funny story. And I do think I'm ready to share. It just might take me a little while to do so. So please enjoy some other fun stuff I've come across in the past month while I take a deep breath and spill.

Like these guys. A friend snapped them waiting outside a Manhattan store for their guardian to come out. Evolution, right before our eyes!

So I had a wonderful, sweet foster and he didn't like his crate. We worked on it over our first weekend and he was barking less when I went back to work. (Note: Of the 16 dogs I've been fortunate to foster, I think I've had two who didn't have some separation anxiety at the start. It's very common and it should never keep you from fostering or adopting a dog)

When I think of dogs on the beach, they are usually running in the surf. But not always, I now know.

Where was I? Right, so "Mo" didn't like the crate. So he barked. Which is normal. What is not normal (or rather: not par for the course) is what came next.

Have you ever noticed how dogs are always saving people from fires? Ohio, California, Alaska, South Carolina. I think insurance should require people with homes to adopt dogs!

So Mo actually managed to bust out of his crate. I didn't know this was possible. But he rocked it so hard, he undid the clips and walked out the back. Then he turned on my kitchen faucet.

Dogs have also saved people from cougars, swarms of bees, and sexual predators.

I had dirty dishes in my sink, and Mo wanted to lick them. So he stood on his hind legs and did so, in the process knocking into the faucet with his head, and turning it on.

My sink overflowed. My kitchen flooded, as did the kitchen below. We calculated that it was no more than 3 hours of pouring, streaming, damaging water. I have a hole in my kitchen where the folks had to remove the flooring. The neighbor below needs a portion of his ceiling replaced. Do you know the term for drying out a place following water damage? It's water mitigation. I know that now. The water mitigation team told me how lucky I was. Wasn't feeling it.

Earning that knowledge was followed by lots of back and forth between insurance (mine) & insurance (condo's) & lots of stress, which pretty quickly decimated my immune system and let in a rotten flu. Three weeks of flu, responsibility assigned (to the condo. DC law is a crazy thing) and more stories of errant (I prefer "talented") dogs (in fact another dog in this very same complex did the same thing 10 years ago) and general water damage (the woman who forgot about the bath she was drawing til it overflowed, ruining her downstairs' neighbor's bathroom; the friend who was sick in bed when the ceiling started to cave in on her --she thought she was hallucinating) than I could have ever imagined, I am back.

The blog is back.

Fostering is on hold for a bit. But that's OK, because dogs are so amazing and so cute, that I'll still have plenty to write about.

Akasha of New City, NY, cutely changing channels.

Bella and I are off now to help look for Olivia. Because I can't imagine anything worse than losing your dog. And I have seen some crazy stuff.