The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : September 2011 The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : September 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

Meet Frank and Louie, the Two-Faced Cat

In Worcester, Massachusetts, a cat with two names and two faces was born. Meet Frank and Louie. He has two faces, two mouths, three eyes, and there was lots of doubts about his future.

A Veterinarian looked at the kitten and found it to be perfectly healthy with an excellent chance of survival. The Vet was right.

Twelve years after Marty Stevens rescued him from being put to sleep because of his condition, the exotic blue-eyed rag doll cat is not only thriving but has made it into the 2012 Guinness Book of World Records.

He's the longest surviving member of a group known as Janus cats.

, named for a Roman god with two faces. Janus cats almost never survive, and most have congenital defects, including a cleft palate that makes it difficult for them to nurse and often causes them to slowly starve or get milk in their lungs and die of pneumonia. The condition is the result of a genetic defect that triggers excessive production of a certain kind of protein.

"Every day is kind of a blessing; being 12 and normal life expectancy when they have this condition is one to four days," Stevens said, stroking Frank and Louie's soft fur as he sat on her lap purring. "So, he's ahead of the game; every day I just thank God I still have him."

Frank and Louie's breeder had taken him to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, where Stevens was working at the time, to be euthanized when he was just a day old. Stevens offered to take him home, but experts told her not to get her hopes up.

But Frank and Louie did not suffer from most of the common Janus problems. Stevens used feeding tubes to nourish him for three months, hoping that would also save him from the danger of choking on food going down two mouths.

It turned out she didn't have to worry about him choking, because Frank and Louie used just one of his mouths to eat.

"The condition itself is very rare, and I think that the fact that this cat became an adult, a healthy adult, is remarkable," said Dr. Armelle deLaforcade, an Associate Professor at Cummings and head of the Emergency Services Section.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Labrador Retriever Puppy – Protects Brothers with Diabetes

A recent addition to a household in Hampton, Virginia, is helping to protect Zajdel Kazee, and his 8-year-old brother, Lucas. Both brothers  have Type I Diabetes.

The new addition is Skittles, a Labrador Retriever puppy who comes from Diabetic Alert Dogs by Warren Retrievers. "They do a scent recognition training and choose the dogs that pass the test with flying colors, and those are the dogs that are places as diabetic alert dogs, " explained the boys' mother, Liza Kazee.

Because of the high cost, the family continually raises funds, and Warren Retrievers' Guardian Angel Service Dogs assists it and others in covering the price of the dogs. Price for a dog and the training, which includes in-home visits for several days 3 times a year, is $17,000.

The boys named Skittles after their favorite candy.  If their blood sugar drops, 10 pieces of the sugary treat brings their levels back into the normal range. Skittles already is going to stores and church with the family, sporting his bright orange service dog vest. Eventually, he will go to school with the boys.

"It's every parents decision, but it's about keeping your kid safe. If he can keep my kid from having one seizure, he's done the job, you know, the money was worth it," said Kazee.

"When they check their fingers, we involve him. We make it exciting for him, you know. We call him over: 'Let's check Wyatt. Let's check Lucas,'" described Kazee of some of the training and bonding process. "He sits or jumps on them, and, then, checks while they're doing it, and if it's high or low, we 'treat' him. We give him a treat for doing a good job."

Although glucose monitors are supposed to let you know when the blood sugar is going out of range, Kazee said there often is a delay. In the short time Skittles has been on the job, he has noted problems with the boys' levels as soon as they started leaving the normal 100-150 range. "He'll jump on me, bite me on my ear," offered Zajdel, "but for Lucas, he'll just sit right next to him or try to come to him."

"It's rough, but you can get through it as long as you're confident," Zajdel said of living with Diabetes. In the past 6 years, the Tucker-Capps Elementary School student has had 14 seizures related to his Type I Diabetes.

"He's taken over my pillow, so I end up sleeping at the end of the bed," shared Zajdel, pointing to the only drawback.

             Video: (Place your mouse on video for start button)


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Do You Have a Hero Pet? – Buddy a German Shepherd Leads Police to Fire in Owner’s Home

Do you have a hero pet? A pet that has saved a life, or has done something to warn you of danger. We would love to hear about him/her.

This story happened in April 2010, You may have heard about Buddy and what he did to save is owner.

Buddy, a German shepherd lives in Caswell Lakes, Alaska, considerably north of Anchorage, with his best friend, a 23-year-old human named Ben Heinrichs, and Ben’s parents. He was the star of a 1-minute video shot on a state trooper’s dashcam, and it’s one of the most amazing things you’ve ever seen!

A heater ignited chemicals, which started the blaze in the family's workshop. Buddy was told to go and get help by his injured owner. In the video, you can see Buddy running to meet the trooper's car then racing through winding back roads to the house. The trooper guided firefighters to the scene. The owner suffered minor burns, but the fire destroyed the workshop.

Alaska State Troopers presented a special award to Buddy. He even got a prize, a silver-plated dog bowl engraved with his exploit…. soon to have a fresh steak in it!

Please take a look at this video of an amazing dog!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pet Friendly Places to Stay - that Welcome Your Pets!

In 2007 we moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Maryland. I checked on the internet and found a motel6 that accepted pets. At the time we had 2 shih-tzu’s Sugar, and Domino.

We had purchased a home and was waiting settlement which was suppose to be within the next week of our arrival. My husband and I, both have family in Maryland, but decided to stay in a pet friendly hotel/motel. We did not want to burden family members with our pets.

As it turned out with settlement problems, we ended up staying at the motel6 longer than we had anticipated. We ended up staying 6 weeks!

I have to admit, it wasn’t that bad. The management was very accommodating. They didn’t charge us for the dogs. They gave us a room on the first floor near the grassy area so our dogs could go to the bathroom…of course, we did the pet parent thing and cleaned up behind them!

There were a lot of animals staying there, including this baby tiger cub. My husband tried to get me to come out and pet it…but I was making sure that it was not going to have shih-tzu for lunch!

When checking for a hotel/motel that is pet friendly, check to make sure that they not only allows pets, but also appreciate them, meaning that they understand the difference between 'pet-tolerant' and 'pet-friendly'. Some hotels simply allow you to bring your pet into the room, while others offer doggie day-care, gourmet dog biscuits with turn-down service and place mats complete with water, food bowls and even offer grooming services.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Do You Believe that Some Dogs Can Detect Certain Cancers?

We all know that there are drug sniffing dogs, and bomb sniffing dogs…but do you believe that there are dogs that can sniff out certain cancers?

The National Geographic News says, that ordinary household dogs with only a few weeks of basic "puppy training" learned to accurately distinguish between breath samples of lung- and breast-cancer patients and thy subjects. Please read their story, Dogs Smell Cancer in Patients' Breath, Study Shows.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says, that some dogs may be able to detect colon cancer.

A recent report in the medical journal Gut suggests that dogs may be able to help doctors detect colon cancer. Researchers in Fukuoka, Japan, found that one Labrador Retriever was able to sniff out the disease with 99 percent specificity, reports

The canine was able to detect the cancer after smelling stool from patients who had been diagnosed with the disease. The animal was able to pick out the cancerous samples, even when placed side-by-side with healthy fecal matter.

"The study represents the first step towards the development of an early detection system using odor materials from patients with colorectal cancer" the researchers wrote in their report.

Though this latest development may be good news for cancer researchers, the scientists warned that it will take time to train dogs to smell out the disease, and that all breeds of canine may not be able to detect the cancer.

According to the news source, dogs have already shown the potential to smell out melanoma as well as ovarian, breast, lung and bladder cancer.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Elephants Shows Smarts at National Zoo – Kandula a Regular Elephant Einstein

Kandula, the youngest pachyderm  at the National Zoo  flashed a moment of insight when he rolled a cube under a tasty branch, stood on the cube and stretched his trunk to grab a treat. He is a regular elephant Einstein.

Never before had scientists seen such an “aha!” moment in elephants, even though the animals recognize themselves in mirrors, drop logs on fences to get to food and even dig wells.

“We knew elephants were intelligent,” said Diana Reiss, who studies animal intelligence at Hunter College at the City University of New York. As smart as dolphins and chimpanzees in some regards. Yet all attempts to get elephants to suddenly solve a problem had failed.

Two years ago that changed, reveals an experiment published this month in the Science Journal PLoS One.  One of Reiss’s graduate students, Preston Foerder, gave the zoo’s elephants sticks, which they banged around. But they failed to use the sticks to grab snacks placed outside their bars.

Foerder then had his own revelation. “They’re not inclined to hold something in their trunk to get food,” he said. “It blocks their sense of smell.”

So Foerder hung the bamboo and fruit just out of reach of each elephant, placing a cube or aluminum tub nearby. In the seventh session, Kandula “just suddenly did it,” Foerder said.

The next session, Kandula rolled the cube all over the joint, using it to reach a flower he wanted to sniff and to play with a toy hung from a tree. But his smarts had a limit: He couldn’t figure out how to stack three thick butcher blocks as a stool.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

10 Years Later – Portraits of Some of the Last Surviving Dogs Who Scoured Ground Zero for Survivors

During the chaos of the 9/11 attacks, where almost 3,000 people died nearly 100 loyal search and rescue dogs and their brave owners scoured Ground Zero for survivors.
Now, ten years on, just 12 of these heroic canines survive, and they have been commemorated in a touching series of portraits entitled 'Retrieved'.

The dogs worked tirelessly to search for anyone trapped alive in the rubble, along with countless emergency service workers and members of the public.

Travelling across nine states in the U.S. from Texas to Maryland, Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas, 34, captured the remaining dogs in their twilight years in their homes where they still live with their handlers, a full decade on from 9/11.

Their stories have now been compiled in a book, called Retrieved, which is published on Friday, the tenth anniversary of the attacks. Noted for her touching portraits of animals, especially dogs, Charlotte wanted 'Retrieved' to mark not only the anniversary of the September 2001 attacks, but also as recognition for some of the first responders and their dogs.

'I felt this was a turning point, especially for the dogs, who although are not forgotten, are not as prominent as the human stories involved,' explained Charlotte, who splits her time between New York and Amsterdam. 'They speak to us as a different species and animals are greatly important for our sense of empathy and to put things into perspective.'

Most of the search and rescue dogs are Labradors or Golden Retrievers and Charlotte feels that the title works across many aspects of the story. 'I found the dogs, I retrieved them, they were there to retrieve the victims, it is nicely rounded,' explained Charlotte whose work is being exhibited at the Julie Saul Gallery NYC opening on September 8, in time for the anniversary. After working on a project about police canines and other working dogs, she was inspired to concentrate on the animals that played such a huge part in seeking survivors. Contacting the NYPD, the New York Fire Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Charlotte discovered that out of the nearly 100 dogs among the first responders deployed by FEMA, there were in fact only 15 still alive last year.

'They were there for the first few weeks, they were trained to find people alive, although that is ultimately not what happened,' said Charlotte, who will hold a fundraiser for the First Responder Alliance at Clic Bookstore in New York on September 29.

'I traveled across the United States to meet with the owners and portray the dogs. They are all retired and I spent time with each of their handlers learning about their experiences. 'It was moving talking to Denise Corliss, who is the handler and owner of Bretagne, one of the Golden Retrievers. 'She told me a touching story of one fireman who was there in the rubble, and how taken he was with Bretagne who comforted him as he sat down to catch his breath.

'Years later at a Remembrance Ceremony, the same fireman recognised Bretagne and her handler and they had a touching reunion. 'It developed that even though the dogs couldn't find people still alive, they could provide comfort for the brave firemen and rescue workers of the emergency services.' Wishing to tell the other side of heroism from 9/11, each of Charlotte's encounters with dogs such as Gabriel and Orion and Scout stayed with her.

'The dogs are now old and they will soon pass away. Even during the time it has taken since my first work on the 'Retrieved' portraits to now, three of the final 15 have died,' said Charlotte. 'These portraits are about how time passes, and how these dogs and their portraits are offering us a way to deal with the things that happened as well as relying on them for comfort.'

Moxie, aged 13, Winthrop, Massachussetts. Moxie and her handler, Mark Aliberti, arrived at the World Trade Center with MA-TF-1 on the evening of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, and searched the site for eight days.

Tara, 16, from Ipswich, Massachusetts, arrived at the World Trade Center on the night of the 11th. The dog
and her handler Lee Prentiss were there for eight days

Kaiser, 12, pictured at home in Indianapolis, Indiana, was deployed to the World Trade Center on September 11 and searched tirelessly for people in the rubble.

Bretagne, aged 13, from Cypress, Texas. Denise Corliss and Bretagne were at the World Trade Center from September 17th to the 27th. Bretagne takes a break from work at the 9/11 site with his handler Denise

Guinness, 15, from Highland, California, started work at the site with Sheila McKee on the morning of September 13 and was deployed at the site for 11 days.  In the immediate days that followed nearly 100 search and rescue dogs and their owners scoured Ground Zero for survivors.

Merlyn, aged 14, from Otis, Colorado. Merlyn, owned by Ann Wichmann, was deployed with handler Matt Claussen and worked the night shift while Ann and search dog Jenner worked during the day as part of CO-TF-1.

Red, 11, from Annapolis, Maryland, went with Heather Roche to the Pentagon from September 16 until the 27 as part of the Bay Area Recovery Canines.

Abigail, aged 13, of Ojai, California. Abigail and Debra Tosch were deployed together with Duke and Howard Orr, arriving on the evening of September 17 at the World Trade Center and then searching for 10 days.

Scout, aged 14, from McCordsville, Indiania. Together with Blake Wallis, Scout was deployed to the World Trade Center on the afternoon of September 11. Their last shift was on Wednesday the 19th.
Scout and another unknown dog lie among the rubble at Ground Zero, just two of nearly 100 search and rescue animals who helped to search for survivors.

Hoke, aged 13, from Denver, Colorado. Julie Noyes and Hoke were also part of CO-TF-1. With Julie by his side, Hoke was deployed to the World Trade Center on September 24 and searched for five days.

Bailey, aged 14, from Franklin, Tennessee. Bailey and Keith Lindley were deployed to the Pentagon with TN-TF-1. They arrived the morning of the 12th and searched for nine days.

Tuff, aged 12, from Ashland, Missouri. Tuff and Tom Andert arrived in New Jersey with the MO-TF-1 at 11pm on the 11th to start working early the next day the World Trade Center.

Orion, aged 13, from Vacaville, California. Orion and Robert Macaulay were part of the third wave of deployments and worked with the CA-TF-4 at the World Trade Center from September 23 to October 1.

Please look at the videos below:

About Photographer Charlotte Dumas:

Photographer Charlotte Dumas will offer one of each photograph in the Series Retrieved, with all profits benefiting the First Responder Alliance. The series of sixteen images is printed in an edition of seven.

About Retrieved:

Charlotte Dumas has completed a moving series of portraits featuring the fifteen surviving rescue dogs that helped emergency crews search for survivors after the attacks of September 11. Covering over a dozen states, Dumas photographed the retired dogs in their familiar surroundings, to emphasize the similarity to their human veteran counterparts. The portrayed rescuers, who fearlessly joined their human companions into the aftermath of the terrorist attack, embody a decade coming to a close.