The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Companion Animals The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Companion Animals
Showing posts with label Companion Animals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Companion Animals. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Does Your Pet Sleep with You? A New Study Suggest it Might Not Be a Bad Idea

Do you ban your dog from the bed in the hopes of getting a better night's sleep?

It may be time to beg your pooch's forgiveness and hope he'll join you at bedtime, after all.

A recent study finds that sleeping with pets actually helps some people sleep better because it gives them a sense of security — and despite what sleep experts have said for years, pets don't really disrupt our sleep.

"I'm not sure that there's a hard and fast rule about pets [in bed]. My community of colleagues do think that it is just always a risk," says Dr. Lois Krahn, a sleep medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine in Arizona, and one of the paper's authors

The study's findings are good news for many. Half of American households own pets and half of those pets sleep either right in the bed with us or somewhere in the bedroom.

To conduct the study, Krahn asked 150 respondents fill out a sleep questionnaire that included questions about their companion animals. It asked for details about the type and number of animals in the home as well as what their sleeping habits were. During a subsequent interview, respondents were asked where the pets slept, how the pets behaved, and whether or not pets affected their own sleep.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Companion Pet Adoption: It's Humane, Ethical and Saves Lives

Whether to adopt or shop for your next pet should be an easy decision. Companion pet adoption is not only far more humane and ethical, it saves lives. dog in emergency shelter

Deciding if you’re ready for a pet, or another one

First and foremost, bringing a pet into your family is a serious decision. You must be willing and able to provide shelter, food, medical care and, above all, love. What you get in return is beyond measure. At minimum, ask yourself these questions:

Who else is part of my household? 

It’s important to consider the presence of children, elderly family members and other pets you may have. You want any new addition to be a harmonious one.

What is my lifestyle? 

Think about your routines and activity level. Are you an active, outdoor type who wants a companion pet to enjoy your athletic pursuits, or are you looking for a buddy to share quiet times at home?  

Do I have time for a pet? 

Consider if your work schedule or other out-of-home activities means your new pet will be alone most of the day. While some pets might be comfortable with a lot of alone time, younger animals who need training, those with separation anxiety, pets with medical needs or animals who are simply not built to be alone most of the day will not be a good fit for you.

Can I afford a pet? 

The costs of food, medical care, supplies and other necessities add up quickly. Average annual pet care costs for dogs for the first year range from $1,300-$1,800, and for cats about $1,000 – in addition to the pet’s adoption fee.

Is my home life stable? 

If you are about to move, switch jobs or have other major changes to your home life or actual residence, it’s probably not the best time to adopt. Companion animals, particularly those who may have had a hard life prior to adoption, need stability, structure and routine in order to feel secure and build their confidence.

Unfortunately not all pets find the lifetime of love and care they deserve. Some end up in animal shelters, animal control facilities or with rescue groups, waiting for their forever families. They may have been surrendered, abandoned, abused or otherwise neglected – and many face the prospect of death or permanent homelessness if not adopted.

In spite of these grim facts, bringing a pet into your home should never be a spontaneous decision or one taken lightly.

Where do shelter animals come from?

Some shelter animals were picked up as strays while others were victims of circumstance. Previous owners may have passed away, fallen ill, moved to a residence that did not allow pets, lost their home, changed jobs, got divorced or simply lost interest in their pet. Whatever the case, many pets are surrendered or abandoned – despite the fact that it is illegal in all 50 states to abandon an animal. shelter cat

These orphaned animals are equally capable of giving and receiving love as any other pet, and every one of them has a story.

Shelters often have brief descriptions about a pet’s history on their websites, while staff and volunteers may be able to add first-hand accounts of how the dog or cat interacts at their facility with both people and other animals. However, there can be gaps in your pet’s life history, and in some cases – such as animals who were abandoned, found as strays or transferred from other shelters where little was known about them – there may be no information about the animal’s prior life. Many shelters and rescues perform basic screening for behavior and temperament so that they can make the best possible matches in spite of having little or no background on the animal, but this is more art than science.

Be prepared to not know everything about your new pet’s story.

It’s important not to let gaps in a dog’s or cat’s biography deter you from adopting. Pets live in the moment, and going home with you signals a fresh start for a new and happy life. The next chapter of your pet’s life begins with adoption.

Benefits of companion pet adoption

When dogs or cats adopted, they have won the lottery: a good home, a warm bed, toys, food, medical care and love. They return that love unconditionally and without judgment, one of the main reasons people are drawn to companion pets in the first place. 

Companion pet adoption has distinct advantages over other ways of acquiring a pet:
  • Help is available. Shelters have adoption counselors to help you through the adoption process and find the best fit for your family. If your household includes children, other pets or even an elderly family member, prepare for everyone to visit the shelter when you are evaluating specific pets for adoption.
  • What you see is what you get: Adult pets are typically house-trained, know basic manners, may even know tricks, and are often already socialized around people and other pets. Be careful about judging an animal’s temperament too quickly though. A shelter can be a high stress environment, so an initially quiet animal may prove to be more energetic once they are home. Refer to the staff and volunteers who have interacted with the animal for insight.
  • Variety is the spice of life: Animal welfare organizations offer a wide range of pets for adoption. On average 25% of dogs found in shelters are purebreds. You can find mixed breeds we well, and animals of all ages, size, temperament and medical condition.
  • Your pet has received basic health screening. Rescued animals receive basic veterinary care and, in some cases, extraordinary care if they have been sick, injured or abused. In many locales, pets cannot be adopted until they are up-to-date on required vaccinations, and sterilized so as not to contribute to pet overpopulation. While most animals are spayed or neutered before they are adopted, some shelters provide vouchers or other means for new pet parents to fix their pets. Your local animal welfare organization can help you find affordable spay and neuter programs, and may host microchip clinics if you wish to ensure your pet’s safety one step further.
  • You may save money. Pet adoption fees are typically much less expensive than the costs to purchase a dog or cat from a retail store, or acquire one from a breeder. The money you save is that much more to budget for your pet’s needs, such as food, medical care and – hopefully – plenty of treats and toys.
  • You save two lives. The first life you save is that of the pet you adopt, and each adoption creates space in the shelter for another animal to be rescued. In this way, every adoption spares two lives. 
You may think you’re getting all of these benefits when you buy a pet through a retail store, but most of those animals come from puppy mills - mass breeding facilities with notoriously poor conditions for parent animals and their litters. Choosing adoption means less support for these unscrupulous breeders. Some people acquire their pets from legitimate breeders because they are devoted to a particular breed, unaware that many purebreds are available through breed-specific rescues and animal shelters alike.

The pet adoption process

When you are ready to have a pet, or found the dog or cat that’s just right for you, it’s natural to want to take that bundle of joy home immediately. 

While adoption processes vary, they can include adoption applications, reference checks, multiple visits with the animal, a holding period and even home visits. This can make simply buying a pet at the store seem appealing, but shelters have these practices in place for a reason: they want to make sure every dog or cat is going a good, responsible home – and you will want to do everything possible to ensure that you and your pet are a great match.  

If you want to save the life of a pet who truly needs to be saved, she is more than worthy of a little effort. woman hugging dog

Pet adoption fees help shelters and rescues defray the costs of care while the animal was in their custody, including food, shelter and veterinary care, as well as expenses associated with facility operations, such as staff, insurance, rent, utilities and the like. Fees may help cover transport costs for dogs and cats transferred in from other shelters where they faced fewer prospects of adoption.

In most cases, the adoption fee does not cover the full costs to the shelter; the difference is typically made up through donations, grants and other forms of revenue.

Other ways to help shelter pets

Rescuing an animal through adoption is an extremely rewarding experience. Even if you are not ready to adopt, you can still support homeless animals in your community:
  • Encourage friends and family to adopt.
  • Donate food, supplies, or money: Shelters advertise what they need on so-called “wish lists;” some of these are common items you may have at home, such as gently used towels, sheets and blankets. 
  • Volunteer: Contact your local rescue group, shelter or animal control to see what positions they have available, such as dog walking, kennel maintenance, answering the phones or other important tasks. If you have a special skill or talent – such as photography – let them know.
  • Attend local events: Animal welfare groups often host fundraisers, adoption events, and mobile spay/neuter or microchip clinics. Find out how you can support their efforts in the community.
  • Foster a shelter pet. If for any number of reasons you’re unable to adopt a pet, consider temporarily fostering a dog or cat in your home. Cost of care (food, veterinary bills) are covered by the sponsoring shelter or rescue, and you’ll be helping an animal prepare for his future life as an adoptee. You might even consider fostering a pet for a service member during military deployment.
If you have adopted an animal, or in the process of adopting one, please consider purchasing an 'Adopt Don't Shop' t-shirt. 

For more information on the 'Adopt Don't Shop' t- shirt, click here:

Have You Adopted a Pet? Did You Know That You Saved a Life? Get Your 'Adopt Don't Shop' T-Shirt - Show Everyone How Proud You Are: Limited Edition of 150

Next time you are thinking about adding a pet to your family, please adopt – don’t shop! FOLLOW US!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Center for Pet Safety Announces Safety Harness Certification Research (Crash Test Dog Video)

Washington, DC - The Center for Pet Safety, the 501(c)(3) research and consumer advocacy organization dedicated to consumer and companion animal safety, today announced the publication of its landmark certification program.

As the first scientific approach to pet product safety in the U.S. market, the Safety Harness Crash Test Protocol and Rating system provides essential guidelines for pet product manufacturers. The test protocol, which is a result of the 2013 Harness Crashworthiness Study conducted by Center for Pet Safety, outlines a consistent test methodology and evaluation program to ensure pet safety harness restraints offer crash protection.

“The Center for Pet Safety took great care evaluating the data returned from our 2013 study to understand what safety harness products should do to protect life,” said Lindsey Wolko, founder of Center for Pet Safety. Pet product manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that these safety devices protect human life and provide the best chance of survival to the pet in the case of an accident.”

To further elevate the pet product industry’s commitment to safety, the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) will accept pre-orders from test facilities on a limited production run of the version 2.1 CPS Crash Test Dogs.

The CPS Certification program will begin immediately. While the certification is a voluntary program, pet product manufacturers are highly encouraged to participate in order to qualify for a Safety-Certified Seal on their product packaging. Interested manufacturers can contact Info(at)CenterForPetSafety(dot)org or call 800.324.3659.

The test protocol and ratings system may be purchased through the CPS online store:

The protocol and rating system was reviewed by Chris Sherwood of Biocore LLC and Dr. Priya Prasad of Prasad Consulting, LLC.

About the Reviewers:

Chris Sherwood is a former senior research engineer for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). He is currently employed by Biocore, LLC, a biomechanics consulting and research firm. Mr. Sherwood holds a Master’s Degree in Biomechanics and has been actively involved in the research and development of automotive child safety standards.

Dr. Priya Prasad is retired from Ford Motor Company and has a distinguished career leading safety research efforts. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow Member of the Society of Automotive Engineers, and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. Dr. Prasad was the first recipient of the National Award for the Advancement of Motor Vehicle Research and Development, and has also received the NHTSA Excellence in Safety Award.

To learn more about the CPS mission or to make a direct contribution or in-kind donation, visit, contact Info(at)CenterForPetSafety(dot)org or call 800.324.3659.

About the Center for Pet Safety®:

The Center for Pet Safety (CPS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and advocacy organization dedicated to consumer and companion animal safety. Based in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area, the Center for Pet Safety's mission is to have an enduring, positive impact on the survivability, health, safety, and well-being of companion animals and the consumer through scientific research and product testing. Welcome to the Science of Pet Safety™. For additional information, visit


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Woman Establishes Fund in Dog's Name to Pay for Health Care for Successor Companion Animals at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center

Paulette Carter, on the staff at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center, brought her dog, Lincoln, to work for years to be a companion to the residents of Levindale. Sitting with her at left, Elaine Mintzes, is establishing a fund in his name to pay for health care for successor companion animals at Levindale. (Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun / June 18, 2014)

About 100 people gathered for a ceremony at the Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital in Baltimore last week, but it wasn't to honor a person. Instead, they paid tribute to a dog in a way that will help pets in the future.

The story starts with Elaine Mintzes, a longtime city volunteer and philanthropist who was a patient at Levindale in 2012 after suffering injuries in a fire. She remembers having a dog when she was 7; her parents gave the dog to neighbors because she didn't have the initiative to care for it. That was 81 years ago. Since then, Mintzes had no special affinity for pets, until a white poodle leapt into her room at Levindale and sparked a friendship.

"When he wandered into my room that first day, he wasn't terribly interested in me," she remembers. By contrast, Mintzes found herself drawn to the little dog, named Lincoln.

"I thought he might come back if I got some treats for him," Mintzes says.

Lincoln, it turned out, belonged to Levindale employee Paulette Carter, who took the pooch to work every day for more than 13 years.

Mintzes got some dog treats and gave one to Lincoln the next day.

"After that," she says, "he flew by other rooms and came directly to my room. He ultimately learned where I kept the treats, and then learned to open the closet door and get one for himself if I didn't do it quickly enough."

Mintzes and Lincoln bonded for more than a year. When Mintzes went home to her condo, Carter started taking her dog to visit. Mintzes was so insistent about it that she persuaded three doctors to write letters to the managers of her no-dogs-allowed building so Lincoln could come in.

"Lincoln was more responsible for my recovery than the medications Levindale gave me," Mintzes says. And Carter says Mintzes and Lincoln formed a special bond.

"He used to love seeing her," she remembers. "I used to call her 'grandma,' and I'd ask Lincoln if he wanted to go see Grandma. He'd wag his little tail!"

Helene King, media relations coordinator at Levindale, says Lincoln was part of the center's Eden Alternative program, under which several cats live on the property and employees can bring their pets to work to visit with patients. The resident animals are cared for by staff, and that care — including spaying or neutering and food — is paid for by the center. Until recently, that was a bit of a burden. That is, until Mintzes got wind of the situation.

Lincoln died two years ago after a long volunteer career at Levindale, and Mintzes says he was so instrumental in her recovery that she wanted to ensure other patients had the benefit of pets in the center. To do so, she established the Alvin and Elaine Mintzes Fund for the Care of Levindale Animals, with a personal donation to ensure that future Levindale pets get the care they need and can continue living at and visiting the facility.

"For some reason, Lincoln really touched her heart," King says.

Last week, Mintzes hosted a plaque-hanging ceremony at the facility to formalize her fund; the plaque reads, "In loving honor of Paulette Carter and in dear remembrance of poodle Lincoln Carter."

"It was the sweetest thing," says King. "Mrs. Mintzes catered the event and had cookies that looked like poodles. It was a lovely day."

Mintzes says she hopes others will donate to her fund to ensure pets will continue getting and giving great care at Levindale.

"Lincoln knew every nook and corner of the Levindale campus," says Mintzes. "He could have been a tour guide." She says his visits three or four times a week were what motivated her to keep moving through her recovery.

"I haven't gotten over it," she says of the dog's death in 2013. "I grieved more for him than I did for members of my family. Lincoln gave me unconditional love, and he didn't talk back. He was a perfect gentleman. When he opened his bedroom eyes, I became putty in his paws."

Levindale patients benefit from companionship of dogs and cats.