Tag Archives: Current Events

Remembering 9/11

(This is a re-post from 2012, with a little bit of editing to bring it up-to-date. It’s still rel and true.)

I was lucky enough to visit New York City in 2012 spending a wonderful day with a dear friend, Michele. For a long time I’ve wanted to make the pilgrimage to lower Manhattan and the site of the World Trade Center. Michele was happy to indulge me–she is a native New Yorker, exiled to New Jersey, and very proud to show off her favorite city.

Even though my goal was Ground Zero, I think the most powerful part of the day for me was the walk we took across the Brooklyn Bridge. In the chaos that followed the fall of the Towers, I remember the sea of people I saw on TV rushing across the Brooklyn Bridge trying to find safety.

We all want to be safe.

So, on this day, let’s remember the heroes of 9-11 — the fire fighters, the police officers, the courageous airline passengers facing down high-jackers, the office workers who checked to make sure no one was left behind on the trek down all those stairs to the street, the strangers who helped other strangers get across the Brooklyn Bridge — or uptown — away from the clouds of dust and debris as the Towers came down. All the heroes who helped people to safety that day. And let’s remember the workers and volunteers who came after. And the dogs who helped.

All any of us want is to be safe.

On this day, make a special effort to be gentle and polite to strangers. Hug the people and furbabies that you love. Take joy in being alive and able to appreciate the beautiful and diverse world we live in.

And be safe.

Tyler Gets His 15 Minutes

While I wrap up the final numbers for how much money was raised for the March Online Bichon Bash, I had to share this little bit of fame with you: Tyler appears in this week’s Bloomsberg BusinessWeek Magazine.

I don’t really mind that they give P&G all the credit for coming up with My Fire Hydrant (my blog) and Tyler–that’s just reporters editing the facts to suit their needs, and I had my 15 minutes a few years ago with The Wall Street Journal. But I wish they would have added in the URL.

Of course, Tyler is the cutest thing that the business world could ever hope to seen, and he’s in a typical Tyler pose!

4-3-12 tyler


Is he cute or what??!


Last Post of the Year.

I had to stop by my vet’s office today. As I was leaving, I wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year–but my tongue got all tied up and what came out was


But that’s OK, because they knew what I was trying to say. And actually, isn’t that really a more appropriate wish?

Wishing you all a very safe and Happy Neuter!

Is this Cooper’s Mom? Part 2

Cooper and Mason

Cooper and Mason

Since this is Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week AND ALSO Deaf Pet Awareness Week, it seemed appropriate to check in with my friend, Michele–who shares her life with less adoptable pets, deaf Boxers.

Last year, Michele was dealing with the news that her Boxer, Cooper, had been diagnosed with Stage III Mast Cell Cancer. And also adjusting to adding a 4th Boxer to her pack — Mason — because Michele failed Foster 101. Both Cooper and Mason are deaf.

Michele tells me, “In the past year, Mason has learned over 20 signs but his favorite sign is ‘good boy.’ People who see us walking always ask about him and his deafness when we sign; they say they would have never thought a dog could communicate through sign. I also still get calls from people who have deaf dogs. And also from people who realize their old dogs are going deaf. And I think my old girl is losing her hearing some too — she startles a lot more as she is getting older — but she knows the signs, so we communicate.”

Michele goes on,

Geddy, Mama Michele, and Mason

Geddy, Mama Michele, and Mason

So a little over a year has passed since our lives were touched by a new Boxer in the house, can I just say it’s been a whirlwind!

Bailey, Cooper, Geddy and Mason are all sleeping on my bed as I write this update.  Sleep is what Cooper does most of his days now.  The vet is completely astonished that we still have him in our lives and he is doing as well as he can.  The cancer has spread to some organs but he seems to be still happy when he’s awake and will take any opportunity to lie on my lap…. Which of course no matter what weight loss he has had, he’s still a BIG boy!

Our Bailey has had two tumors removed from her this past year, both were benign which is a blessing, however she had her shoulder injured last fall with a run in with our crazy pup and her arthritis has really kicked in.  She still runs the roost and is the Queen around this house!

Geddy is still our sweet boy and has enjoyed Mason the most since we got him.  They are the best and worst of friends… we call it the love hate relationship as Mason gets the most pleasure out of torturing Geddy!

Then there is Mason…. Or as we like to say, the DEMON SPAWN!  Oh yes, I have to say he’s tested my patience this past year!  He’s every Boxer owners nightmare with bad behaviors… he’s mouthy, he loves to destroy toys… he’s torn up any toy I can find, which includes the ones that say SUPER TOUGH or UNCHEWABLE!  That makes me laugh when I bring them back the next day.  He was a challenge to get him crate trained, to not chew on everything he could in our house and walk on a leash without wanting to chew it up also!



He also is my youngest son’s best friend, who will wait by the window every day without fail 5 minutes before he gets off the bus.  He will fall asleep with him at night and slowly creep out of his bed once he’s asleep as to not wake him up and he has the sweetest face anyone could imagine. He has a special sense about him when the older dogs are not feeling good, always “trying” to be on is best behavior or giving them extra kisses on the head when they are laying down.  He is so smart, sometimes too much for his own good, but he has learned so many signs, he knows the routines when we leave or go to bed and although he was this little guy when we got him, he towers over all the other dogs with his gangly “pup” legs!  He is a blessing and as I look over on the bed, his head resting on the back of my Cooper, I realize he’s brought new life into Cooper as well and may just be what’s helping us keep our house full of Boxers!

Both Mason and Cooper were classified early on as “less adoptable dogs.” How lucky for them that Michele saw their potential. And how lucky for Michele and her family. These two sweet boys are well-loved members of Michele’s family. They just communicate with their human pack members in a slightly different way.

Not less adoptable. Totally more adaptable.


If you’re interested in more information on what great pets deaf dogs can make,
visit Deaf Dogs Rock.


Next Week is Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week

How can a pet be less adoptable? They’re old; the wrong breed; have special needs; they’re not as pretty; or they’re simply different or the wrong color.

Next week, the good folks at Petfinder are devoting the entire week to celebrate less adoptable pets, to bring attention to these sweet furbabies, and to encourage pet parents to think about adopting a special needs furkid. And to do my part to encourage adoption, I’m going to feature a “special needs” Fluff from Small Paws Rescue–and you will see just how adoptable a “less adoptable pet” can be!

But what if you can’t adopt? You can still help! If you’re a blogger or a tweeter, make a post about adopting. If you’re on Facebook, “like” Petfinder and tell your friends about Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week. You can go to a shelter or animal center and volunteer or donate money or goods. Or give your neighbor a phone call–anything to spread the word!

What will you do to celebrate less adoptable pets?



4-Questions on Hairballs

RomeoTheCat.com and National Hairball Awareness Day

Did you know that today is National Hairball Awareness Day?

Once upon a time, I had a roommate who shared his life with a long-haired cat named Miss Kitty. Miss Kitty didn’t like me. I know this because she told me so in very subtle, cat-like ways. She had a habit of leaving hairballs on my bed. It was not a pretty sight. Even less beautiful was the horrible noise she would make, in the middle of the night, right beside my pillow, as she coughed up one of her famous furballs, just before she would smack me with her paw so that she could laugh at me.

Today, in honor of Miss Kitty, I’m joining Romeo the Cat to celebrate National Hairball Awareness Day.

Rasputin is too cool for hairballs!

Long-haired cats, like Rasputin, can be prime candidates for hairballs.

What are hairballs?

Hairballs are a common problem in cats. Although they rarely cause serious problems, they can cause the cat obvious discomfort. In addition, they cause messes that can be difficult and inconvenient for the cat owner to clean up. While long-haired cats appear to have more problems with hairballs, nearly all breeds of cats (with the exception of Sphinx cats) can develop them.

The act of grooming for cats involves ingesting significant quantities of loose hair. For the most part, this hair moves through the digestive tract and is excreted. Sometimes, however, the ingested hair forms a mass in the stomach too large to continue passage into the intestinal tract, especially in animals with longer hair, and is expelled orally as a hairball. Some cats show signs of distress during the process. Some cats may also vomit for several days prior to a hairball.

Frequent hairballs rarely present true health problems, but may cause major inconveniences to cat owners, and may occasionally be the cause of a cat being relinquished for adoption.

Is there help for cats with hairballs?

The first, and most basic, step to help reduce the risk of hairball formation in cats is frequent brushing. By brushing away loose hair, you can reduce the amount of hair your cat will ingest. Therefore, you also reduce the chance that the hair will gather in the digestive tract.

Some cats groom themselves and their housemates. Therefore, it’s a good idea to brush all the cats in your house. Baths or professional grooming during a change in season help by ridding the cat of the loose hair from normal, seasonal shedding.

Iams Hairball CareWhat about hairball diets?

Nutrition — provided through a specially designed diet — is another way to decrease the likelihood of developing hairballs. Dietary fiber is usually the way special diets accomplish this. Eukanuba Hairball Releif

Most special diets contain one type of fiber to help move bulk through the intestines (nonfermentable). Nonfermentable fiber, such as cellulose, isn’t broken down by the normal bacteria in a cat’s intestines. Instead it passes through the digestive tract, helping other material, such as hair, move along as well. Other special diets contain a combination of nonfermentable fiber and another type of fiber (moderately fermentable). Moderately fermentable fiber, such as beet pulp, helps move bulk and helps provide nourishment to intestinal cells which, in turn, helps maintain intestinal health.

Iams Active Maturity Hairball Care Because of the special fiber content, these diets are most effective if they are fed as the sole diet. Mixing with other foods can dilute the fiber that help reduce the risk of hairball formation.

Likewise, switching between a special diet and another cat food may decrease the benefit.

Iams Indoor Weight & Hairball CareAnother way that nutrition can help reduce the likelihood of hairball formation is by promoting skin and coat health. High-quality diets containing animal-based proteins, such as chicken, and a combination of fats — more specifically, a ratio of certain fat components (5-10 omega-6 fatty acids to 1 omega-3 fatty acid) —have been shown to promote healthy skin and coat. Feeding a diet that provides these ingredients can help keep skin and hair healthy and, therefore, may reduce the risks of excessive shedding, ingestion of hair from grooming, and, consequently, hairball formation.

Hairballs. Not a pretty topic. I’m glad that National Hairball Awareness Day is not an entire week!

And to all my favorite feline friends out there, are you a “Miss Kitty?” Do you leave hairballs where your human friends will find them?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

DISCLAIMER: This is my personal blog, and I am an employee of P&G Pet Care, North America. When I speak of company business (the nutritional benefits of Iams/Eukanuba products, et cetera), I am the voice of my employer. The personal things I post about my life, my dog, or my opinions are my own and do not necessarily represent the corporate position of my employer. Information posted on my blog (or on the Internet for that matter) should NEVER be substituted for the guidance and advice of your veterinarian or your animal behavior professional.

Real Men Neuter Their Best Friend

Today is SPAY DAY! Why should you get your pet spayed or neutered? 

Spayed females won’t GO INTO HEAT. This means:

  • No need to deal with pet-sized sanitary napkins or stains on furniture or carpets (gross!).
  • No worries about Fife running away to find her Rover or attracting unknown male suitors to your yard.
  • No more noisy late nights. There are few things more calculated to keep you from getting a good night’s rest than the plaintive meow-yowl of a female cat in heat. The pacing alone totally gets on my nerves. Have you HEARD the noise they make when they actually mate? And they always do it at 3 AM.

Neutered males won’t ROAM FROM HOME. This means:

  • No more one-night stands. Intact males often go looking for one-night stands—they have a strong desire to escape and roam (like the bad boy in a trashy romance novel.) This “pets gone wild” attitude can increase his chances of injury by other animals or cars.
  • It also provides opportunities for him to eat bad garbage or drink contaminated water.
  • And then there’s the time and the legwork you’ll have to invest in creating and distributing “have you seen?” posters when you have to go look for your roaming Romeo. Not to mention the natural stress you’ll feel because he’s lost.

There are HEALTH BENEFITS for spayed females, including:

  • Prevention of uterine and, ovarian cancer and a possible reduction in the risk of breast cancer.
  • Prevention of pyometra, an infection in the uterus common in older, unspayed females.
  • Don’t use the risk of weight gain as a reason NOT to spay or neuter. Pets get fat because we give them too many calories and not enough exercise. There may be a link between hormone changes and weight gain, but we are the gatekeepers on calories and without an over abundance of calories there can be no weight gain.

Neutered males get HEALTH BENEFITS too. They include:

  • Prevention of testicular cancer.
  • Can help prevent development of perianal tumors and some diseases of the prostrate.
  • See bullet point above about weight gain.

Pets can get time off for GOOD BEHAVIOR:

  • Your unfixed male furball will probably become increasingly protective of his territory as he ages. This can include aggression towards other animals–especially other males, and especially when the other male enters your furball’s territorial boundaries. Territorial aggression can cause fights, which can lead to injury and vet bills and possibly a legal summons. Neutered males tend to be less aggressive.
  • That same unfixed male furball likes to mark his territory with pee. Females will also mark turf—especially when they’re in heat. Spaying/neutering reduces hormone levels which can reduce territorial marking.  
  • A “false pregnancy” can cause an unsprayed female to go through behavioral (and physical) changes associated with pregnancy—which can sometimes be very unsettling for the pet’s human.
  • Neutered males tend to be less likely to exert dominance over your friends and family members. So you don’t have to apologize as often for Rex humping your neighbor’s leg.
  • IMPORTANT: Just because you neuter him or spay her doesn’t mean you still don’t have to teach them good manners. Spaying and neutering is not a replacement for training.

It’s a GOOD NEIGHBOR policy:

  • Spaying and neutering reduces number of animals on the streets.
  • Roaming pets can prey on wildlife or other pets, can cause car accidents, and can frighten children (or adults—have you ever come face-to-face with a Great Dane looking to get laid?)
  • Roaming Romeos get into your neighbors’ garbage and use your neighbors’ yards for potties—when you’re not there to pick up after them (as all responsible pet owners do). The noise they make with their late-night one-night stands keeps hard-working folks from getting a good night’s sleep. Invoke the no-roaming clause: roaming behavior can be effectively stopped with neutering.

It can be more COST EFFECTIVE. Spaying and neutering:

  • Costs less than the cost of having a litter.
  • Costs less than vet visit due to pet fighting while roaming.
  • Can help keep municipal animal control costs down due to reduction in orphaned pets.
  • Can’t afford the cost of spay/neuter surgery? Did I mention that today is national Spay Day? Many animal welfare groups have programs providing reduced cost spay/neuter services to celebrate. Check with your local groups to see what’s available to you.

SEX ED? The BIRTH module is on YouTube:

So many people say they want their dog or cat to have a litter so they can show their kids the miracle of life. There are lots of videos on YouTube showing the miracle of pet birth, so there’s no need to breed puppies or kittens to provide this lesson to your kids. And a video is so much less work for you!

Help fight OVERPOPULATION in your own backyard:

  • There are different estimates as to how many pets are euthanized in shelters each year due to lack of homes–the number ranges from 6 to 12 million. That’s 16,438 to 32,877 orphan pet euthanized EACH DAY. Do you want to be part of this terrible statistic? Spay and neuter your pets. Talk to your family, friends and neighbors and help them to understand why this is so important to do.
  • Two really great tools illustrate how an unspayed female pet and her mate can be a population explosion waiting to happen. Check out “Did you know?” (for cats and for dogs) on SpayUSA. Get educated about pet overpopulation!


In my opinion, people have a right to decide whether to spay or neuter their pets. But when you decide not to do it, I firmly believe you also take on the responsibility of not adding to the population of orphaned pets.

And if your four-legged female is pregnant, then as that female’s human partner you are responsible for providing:

  • The best possible nutrition for mom and the babies.
  • The best possible veterinary care for mom and the babies
  • Mom with help and care during all phases of the pregnancy.
  • A consistently clean and warm space for mom and her babies.
  • Proper socialization for the babies according to their needs
  • Homes for the babies with people you are certain will properly care for them and for re-homeing them, if things don’t work out. 

In my opinion, it’s easier and more practical to spay and neuter. 


Spaying and neutering is not just for dogs and cats—rabbit reproduction speeds are no joke! Talk to your veterinarian about spaying and neutering for other pets too.