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Oliver and Maggie

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Sean Casey Animal Rescue Adoption Event
Sean Casey Animal Rescue will host an adoption van at Willie's Dawgs from 12-5pm on Sunday, January 24, 2010. Cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies will be available for adoption. Willie's Dawg's is located at 351 5th Ave in Park Slope. For more info, contact Charles Henderson at 718-436-5163, or click here.


The Debarking Debate

The New York Times recently wrote a story on the practice of "debarking" dogs. In case you aren't familiar, "debarking" is when a veterinarian cuts a dog's vocal cords so that they can no longer bark and are instead left with a sad, raspy wheeze. In recent years, many animal rights advocates and veterinarians have banned this practice. But because many dog owners simply don't know how to stop their dogs from barking—or don't even bother trying—the practice continues.

According to the New York Times, "Keeping pets in New York City, of course, has always required delicate negotiations between neighbors and species. The city’s 311 line fielded 6,622 complaints about barking dogs last year, while housing officials banned pit bulls, Rottweilers and other large dogs from public housing projects. Real estate experts say that co-op boards large and small always wrestle with pet policies, many of them tied to barking dogs."

Critics say debarking is an archaic and inhumane practice; proponents say it's often a means of keeping a dog from being euthanized, and the animals rarely seem to notice a difference.

It's easy for me to say that I find this procedure disgusting, but then, I've never been in the position of having a dog who barks excessively. But even then, it would just seem wrong. I don't know. It's not fair to pass judgment, so I'll stay quiet on this one for now. I highly recommend reading the New York Times story, though, and you can find it here.

Where do you guys stand on this issue?


Another Feel-Good Video

Something to watch in between Facebook stalking, staring at your cubicle/office wall, or taking your next trip to the vending machine...


(Thanks, Georgina, for sending this!)


ASPCA Rescues 96 Dogs From MS Puppy Mill

On February 7th, the ASPCA Adoption Center in Manhattan welcomed 34 of the 96 dogs rescued from a Mississippi puppy mill. The animals were small-breed dogs, including Chihuahuas, Yorkies, Dachsunds, Pugs, Corgis, and Shih Tzus. (Other shelters and organizations took in the remaining animals.)

If people want to buy pets from pet stores, they should be well aware that this is the type of place is where their dog is coming from—and that they're supporting commercial breeding operations. If you're interested in one of these animals, many of them will soon be ready for adoption at the ASPCA.

To read more about the dogs, click here.


Pacemakers, Now for Dogs

An article in this week's Business Week discusses how veterinarians are using pacemakers made for humans—for dogs. Despite my misleading headline, the first dog pacemaker surgery took place in 1967, so implanting these devices in dogs isn't exactly new. But it has become a whole lot more common, and hundreds of pets now receive lifesaving pacemakers every year.

According to the story, "The medical devices—about the size of a quarter—are often implanted to speed up a slow heart rate in dogs brought on by disorders such as heart block and sick sinus syndrome that, if left untreated, drastically shortens their lives."

"The procedure is similar to the one done in humans. Under anesthesia, pacemaker wires are threaded through a dog's jugular vein to the correct place in the heart. A small incision, made in the back of the neck, then allows for insertion of the pacemaker under the skin and connection to the wires."

Most pacemaker patients are older dogs (around 6 to 10 years of age), and the surgery isn't exactly cheap: It costs from $3,000 to $4,000.

I'd suggest reading the article if you're interested, because there's a whole lot more information in there.


Looking for Biodegradable Poop Bags?

Let's be honest, there's nothing at all fun about picking up after your dog. First, there's the waiting around while your animal circles 37 time to find just the right patch of pavement or grass. Then, there's the hideous smell. And finally, there's that awkward moment when you have to crouch down and pick it up, while other New Yorkers walk by you, often giggling, heckling, or just looking at you in horror that you'd do something so vile. (Meanwhile, these are the same people who will berate you for not picking up every last bit of it.)

Now that we've clarified that it's a totally unpleasant experience, we have to acknowledge that it's a reality if you're an urban dog owner who can't just let nature take its course in some remote field. But there is a positive here. There's one site where you can get eco-friendly poop bags that are 100 percent biodegradable. It's called (Charming name, right?) They sell a variety of bags as well as dispensers.

Anyway, if you're looking for a place to stock up, check it out. (They even have Bon Ton dispensers and refills at a discount.) There's nothing more mortifying than having to scrape your dog's "business" up off the sidewalk with a stray piece of newspaper all because you don't have a bag with you. I've seen it happen; it's not pretty...or dignified.