Monthly Archives: December 2011

2nd story this week of dogs helping one another

Blind dog and blind dog’s seeing eye dog find their forever home

“Maddison is Lily’s guide dog. If they are out and about, for the majority of the time Maddison will lead and Lily will walk nearly touching her so she knows where to go. It’s lovely to watch. Maddison is always looking out for her.


London, England – The Daily Mail reports another happy ending for a special needs blind Great Dane and the canine partner who has become her “seeing eye” companion. Lily and Maddison have been adopted by the Williams family and will live the charmed lives they so deserve.

Lily, six-years-old suffers from an eye disease that caused her eyelashes to grow into her eyeballs causing extensive corneal damage leaving her blind. Maddison, seven-years-old bonded with Lily, and together the dogs go everywhere. This past summer their owner gave them up because they were too much work. They have been living at the Dogs Trust in Shrewsbury, and the shelter was having a hard time finding new homes for the dogs.

When the Trust decided to advertise for a home for the dogs, the heartwarming story of the two dogs went viral. The Daily Mail reported 2000 responses to their article from people inquiring about adopting the dogs. The Trust reported hundreds of inquiries.

more on the story here

Hyperthyroidism in Cats

By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

Did you know that peeing and pooping outside of the litter box can be signs of hyperthyroidism? It’s true. The thyroid controls our bodies’ metabolism—that goes for people and for cats. It also affects our behavior.

This is Earl Gray.

Earl Gray, my cat, recently started peeing and pooping outside of his litter box. He has been with us for 15 years. We found him as a cat and our vet guestimated that Earl was four years old when we found him. So at age 19, he started exhibiting this undesirable behavior. He also lost weight, even though he was eating a good amount of cat food.

From the moment he hobbled into our home (Earl was found with a badly broken leg), he had impeccable litter box manners. He never missed, and was careful to always cover up his pee and poop.

So after a few days Earl had a series of blood work done, and the test for hyperthyroidism came back positive.

The common signs for hyperthyroidism are:
• Weight loss
• Increased appetite
• Diarrhea and/or vomiting
• Increased thirst
• Poor skin and coat condition
• Hyperactivity

The one symptom that is often overlooked is behavior. My vet said that an over active thyroid will affect a cat’s behavior. That is why Earl was exhibiting these undesirable traits. I knew something was wrong because his behavior was out of the norm.

About Hyperthyroidism
The thyroid controls the body’s metabolism—in cats and in humans. It also controls our bodies temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and gastrointestinal function. If your cat has hyperthyroidism, his thyroid gland will be enlarged. It will also produce large amounts of thyroid hormone—making it overactive.

Hyperthyroidism is common in older cats. Many cats over the age of 10 are diagnosed with this disease. The good news is that it is treatable. Our vet recommended Methimazole, a pill you can get at your pharmacy with a prescription from your vet. Earl had to take half a pill in the morning and the other half at night.

I mixed it into his food, and most of the time he ate it. The pill is extremely tiny—like the size of a small birthmark.

Pilling a cat can be tough. I’ve had to give meds to my other cats, and almost always the bowl was licked clean with a tiny pill at the bottom.

Earl took his pill. I purchased a small amount of American cheese and would wrap a tiny bit around the pill. He usually ate it that way. I know cheese is not the best food for a cat, but it worked. I hate American cheese, but it is quite malleable and hid the pill completely.

A month later, I took Earl back to the vet and he got a good report. He even gained a half pound. My veterinarian wanted me to forgo the pill and change Earl’s diet to the new Hill’s Prescription Diet y/d Feline Thyroid Health brand pet food.

I had just toured the Hill’s plant and learned about this new formula. Hill’s Prescription Diet y/d Feline Thyroid Health brand limits the levels of dietary iodine to reduce thyroid hormone production and helps restore thyroid heath. It also supports kidney function. The controlled mineral levels in the food help maintain a healthy bladder, and the high levels of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids promotes healthy skin and coat. Plus, it promotes heart health with essential nutrients like taurine and carnitine.

If you suspect your cat has hyperthyroidism, take him to your vet for a blood test. You can try this new diet, which is only available at veterinarians’ offices. The food comes in cans and dry. I never fed Earl dry food, but honestly, he doesn’t like the cans. He eats the dry food.

We go back to the vet in another week. So far, he is doing well. He has been on the diet for three weeks now. I’ve stopped giving him meds, and he is using his litter box. I was so excited because he started covering his poop, which most cats do, and he has always done—except while he was sick.

So if your cat starts exhibiting unusual behaviors, take him to the vet. If you give your cat Hill’s y/d, I would love to hear from you. I know it’s new, but I’m curious to learn how it is working for your cat.

Happy New Year

Your friends at NEPG wish you a happy New Year. Be safe in your travels..remember your furry friends count on you:)

Recycled phone to birdhouse

Vintage Wall Phone Upcycled into a Bird House - Recycled and Repurposed

Saw this on cool is this

Alternative pet care: Boston

Acupuncture, often in combination with Herbal Medicine, has been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of conditions. Your pet can benefit too! It can be used in addition or as an alternative for many conditions.

The Opposite of Downward Dog

What’s your New Year’s Resolution 🙂

Beau Buddy Rescue

Welcome Beau Buddy Rescue from Maine to learn more about this rescue and Julie it’s incredible founder go to or follow her here on FB

Beau Buddy Rescue needs your help to continue our mission of helping homeless pets. Please consider adopting or fostering a rescue dog!

The Purrrfect Cat House

Pet-friendly homes are starting to catch on in Japan.
Photo: Fauna Plus DeSIGN


Does it make sense to design homes to cater to the enjoyment of cat and dog pet owners? Several design firms are grabbing the pet-friendly home idea by the tail and running with it.

The demand is there, at least in Japan, claims Fauna Plus DeSIGN and its director, Keiji Hirose, a firm known for designing a custom home for 16 cats. The heart of the home features a cat-climbing tree that serves as a spiral staircase leading up to a catwalk on the second floor of the unit.

The catwalk forms a zigzag design and can also be accessed via steps that protrude from the wall, similar to House Taishido’s shelves. Several of the steps are next to small holes in the walls that lead to other rooms.

See article: Cat House HomesSlideshow: Cat House HomesOther cat-friendly features of that home include:

  • a cat-accessible loft that features skylights and windows;
  • a multistage cube of shelves with cat beds; and
  • a floor-to-ceiling scratching post column, wrapped in hemp rope.

According to Fauna Plus DeSIGN estimates, the cost to design a two-story, detached wooden home built to cat specifications ranges from 3.2 million yen (about $42,000 in U.S. dollars) for a 20-square-meter space (about 215 square feet) — on up to 13 percent of the total construction costs for a space measuring more than 50 square meters (about 538 square feet), the company reports.


Never a dull moment for cat lovers in this house.
Photo: Fauna Plus DeSIGN


If 16 cats weren’t enough, the residence also houses five dogs, which are separated from the cats via a glass door. To house the dogs and allow them outside access, Fauna designed a rooftop garden.

The firm is experienced with dog-focused projects, too, as its two most recent projects involved the design of an indoor waterproof kennel for the home of two dachshunds and the remodel of an apartment that houses a basset hound.


Exterior photo of “House Taishido” in Tokyo.
Photo: Key Operation Inc.


Features of a dog-friendly home typically include proper ventilation to eliminate hair shed; odor absorbent materials; and a dog shower or toilet. Other dog-friendly home features include: dog-level peepholes in garden walls, pet-door installations in each room, outdoor courtyards in dense urban housing areas, and scratch-resistant flooring.

“For dogs it’s … more difficult (than designing a home for cats),” Koyama said, adding that special attention must be given to materials used for the floors and stairs.

The cost to design a two-story wooden home to dog specifications can range from 3 million yen (about $39,000 in U.S. dollars) for a 20-square-meter space (about 215 square feet) up to 12 percent of total construction costs for a space exceeding 50 square meters (about 538 square feet).

Pet Friendly Houses Catching On

There is a market for pet-focused design, said Akira Koyama, the owner and representative director of Tokyo-based Key Operation Inc., an architecture firm behind a residence dubbed “House Taishido,” or “Cat House.”

Located in a densely populated urban district west of Tokyo, the three-story, 30-square-meter home features stepping-stone-like shelves that allow the home’s feline resident to navigate vertically into and out of the main living room via small openings.

The small openings in the wall lead to other rooms on the first floor.

The cat can also access the second floor of the unit by walking up the shelves and slipping through a slot that functions as a cat-only portal. Freeing up the unit’s staircase from cat traffic allows the space to double as a home library, with bookcases and space for reading.


These cats appear to be lying down on the job.
Photo: Key Operation Inc.

According to Koyama, the house was not initially designed to be a “cat house,” and those features took shape later in the design stages.

“It wasn’t too expensive (to add the cat features), and was quite fun,” he said, adding that the home’s design focused on creating a space with rooms of different heights and sizes connected by doorless transitions and windows.

This initial design concept inadvertently made for excellent cat mobility.

Proposed Law to Place Animal Abusers on Public Registry

Proposed Law to Place Animal Abusers on Public Registry

Brad Shear, Executive Director of the Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society, pets Oliver before commenting on animal cruelty charges against his previous owner, Michael Perillo. Oliver, a Great Dane, was badly beaten and rescued from a house in Schenectady. (J.S. Carras/The Record)

If legislation in Albany County passes, animal abusers will appear on a public registry. If you’re convinced of animal abuse, your name would appear on this registry for 10 years, according If you’re a repeat offender, your name would appear there for life. If your name appears on this registry – then you would not be allowed to purchase or adopt a pet.

There’s no question, many of those who abuse animals later on go on to abuse women and/or children, or may be currently abusing women and/or children; and animal abusers are more likely to commit violent crimes than the average person in the general population.

Albany County Legislator, Bryan Clenahan says he was inspired to write the bill after learning about Oliver, a Great Dane’ who was severly abused.

The pet stores in the area don’t like the bill because everyone purchasing a pet, even a adopting from a shelter, will have to be checked before they can bring a pet into their home. You’d think pet stores would put potential animal abuse ahead of a sale, perhaps that’s not the case.

Proponents are hopeful that if the bill succeeds in Albany, it will pass elsewhere in New York state, and maybe elsewhere in America.

By Steve Dale

Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die


His dog was dying. But they could spend one last day together.

Drawing on personal experiences, stories from fellow pet owners, and philosophical reflections, GOING HOME provides guidance and support for those in mourning. By allowing ourselves to grieve honestly and openly, he posits, we can in time celebrate the dogs, cats, and other creatures that have so enriched us. With great compassion, Katz compels us to consider if we gave our pets good lives, if we were their advocates in times of need, and if we used our best judgments in the end. In dealing with these issues, we can alleviate guilt, let go, and help others who are undergoing similar passages. Full of empathy, insight, and sage advice, Going Home is an invaluable guide and touchstone for anyone who has lost a pet. Jon Katz honors the animals that have graced our lives and reveals their truly timeless gifts: unwavering companionship and undying love.

Below is an excerpt from the book, Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die.


It is possible to take something beautiful and lasting out of the heart-wrenching experience of seeing the animal you love move inexorably toward death. Nobody can take the grief away, nor should anyone try, but our love for animals is nothing but a gift, and it keeps on giving, even when they go home.

A man named Harry, an Iraq war veteran and tennis coach from Minnesota, hit upon a simple and profound idea to transform this otherwise sad experience into a blessed one.

It was a gray morning when the vet told Harry that his dog Duke’s heart was failing and that it wouldn’t be long before he died. Harry was not surprised, but still, the news depressed him. Listening to the vet, Harry later told me, he’d gotten an idea, one he thought would pay tribute to his life with Duke and give him something to feel besides sadness and loss.

“Tomorrow, I’m going to give you a Perfect Day,” he said quietly to Duke as they left the vet’s office. He would take the day off from work and create a sweet memory with his dog. It would be a special day, filled with all the things Duke loved most, as close to perfect as Harry could make it. He would take his Canon PowerShot along to capture some images of the day, to preserve the memories.

Duke was a border collie/shepherd mix. He had always been a lively, energetic dog and would herd anything that moved. Walks, work, food, Frisbees, red balls—these were the things Duke loved, along with chasing balloons and popping them.

Harry went shopping for supplies, and when he came back Duke was napping on his dog bed. He went over, lay down next to the dog, and hugged him. “Pal,” he whispered, “tomorrow is for you, your Perfect Day.” He was embarrassed to tell his wife, Debbie, about the plan, but she sensed what was going on and gave the two of them the space they needed. It was her belief that the dog, more than anything else, helped Harry heal from the trauma of Iraq. He couldn’t look at Duke without smiling, and when he had first come home, he hadn’t smiled too often.

At eight the next morning, Harry got up. Duke was lying on his bed, which was next to Harry and Debbie’s. The dog rose a bit slowly, then followed Harry down the stairs and into the kitchen. Harry opened the refrigerator and took out a hamburger patty and two strips of bacon, cooked the night before. He put them on a plate and into the microwave.

Duke was riveted. When the plate came out—Harry touched it to make sure it was warm but not hot—he dumped the meat into Duke’s bowl, along with his heart pills. It was as if Duke couldn’t believe his eyes. He was almost never given people food. Looking up at Harry, as if asking permission, he waited until Harry nodded and said, “OK, boy,” before inhaling the food.

A feeling of sadness came over Harry as he thought about how Duke would soon be gone. He wandered into the living room and lay down on the couch. Duke came over and curled up next to him. Harry began to sob, softly, then more deeply and loudly; Duke gently licked his face.

After a few minutes, Harry rose to get dressed. Although he worried about straining the dog’s heart, he let Duke follow him up the stairs. On this day, Duke could do anything he wanted. No corrections. He sat on the bedroom floor and watched Harry put his clothes on. When Harry said “Sneakers,” Duke labored to get up onto his feet, walked over to the closet, and brought Harry his white running shoes. Harry had enjoyed training his dog to bring him his sneakers, and Duke seemed to love it too.

Harry went back downstairs, followed by Duke. He picked up a bag from the pantry and walked out into the yard. Inside the bag were two dozen high-bounce red balls. One at a time, he threw them and bounced them off the back fence. Duke tore after one gleefully, then another, catching some, narrowly missing others as they whizzed past his head.

When Duke started to pant, Harry stopped.

Next they went to the town pond. Harry sat by the water’s edge while Duke waded in, paddled around, swam back, shook himself off, then repeated the routine about a dozen times. Every few minutes Harry tossed the dog a liver treat. It practically rained the small and pungent treats. Once again, Duke looked as if he could hardly believe his good fortune.

They came back to the house and napped. After lunch, Harry took Duke to the vast state park outside of town. He picked a flat, gentle trail, and the two of them walked a couple of miles. Eventually, they came to a stone abutment with a beautiful view. Harry walked over to the edge and sat down. Duke clambered out and curled up beside him. It was a gorgeous afternoon, and the wind ruffled the dog’s hair. Duke held his nose up to the wind, picking up the scents of the earth.

God, I love this creature, Harry thought. I never feel this peaceful, this much at ease. It is something to remember, to honor.

They sat together for nearly an hour, enjoying a bond of complete understanding and affection. If only the world could stay like this, Harry thought, this simple, this good.

Harry knew that Duke was tired, so they took their time walking back, stopping frequently to rest. A few years earlier, Duke could have hiked all day, and sometimes they did that together. But not anymore.

When they got home, Harry cooked Duke some prime sirloin, then chopped it up. The dog was beside himself, looking up at Harry as he ate, expecting the food to be taken away. That evening, Harry put one of his favorite Clint Eastwood movies into the DVD player and Duke hopped up onto the couch, put his head in Harry’s lap, and went to sleep. When the movie was over, Harry carried the dog up the stairs and laid him down on his bed.

Several weeks after the Perfect Day, when Harry came home from work, Duke was not there by the door to greet him, and he knew he was gone. He went into the living room to find Duke dead. He knelt by his dog, closed his eyes, and said a prayer. Then he dug a deep hole in the backyard and buried Duke there, along with some bones, his collar, and some of his beloved red balls.

Of all the photos Harry took on the Perfect Day, the one he loved the best was of Duke sitting out on the stone ledge in the state park, taking in the sights and smells.

Now every morning before he goes to work, he flips open his cellphone and smiles at the picture of Duke, looking for all the world like a king surveying his territory.

Harry passed on the idea of the Perfect Day to friends and other dog owners struggling to come to terms with their own pets’ failing health. Many have since shared with him the stories of their dog’s Perfect Day. It makes him happy to think about Duke’s legacy—all those Perfect Days for all those other great dogs leaving our world behind.

Watch the trailer for the book. 

All of the photos in this trailer were sent in by Jon’s fans.