Dear Dr. Fox: I, too, detest it when I see a person walking their dog, only to drag the poor thing along as it tries to do its business or just sniff at stuff. That's what they do! It's supposed to be their special time. If you're not planning on letting your pet enjoy their walk, take your own quick walk and then give the poor pooches an enjoyable walk later! I agree that the current popularity of creating smaller, "munchkin" breeds is so very detrimental. I say no to docking, ear trimming and nail removal.
Dear Dr. Fox: My 14-year-old toy poodle, Charlie, was diagnosed with Cushing's disease and a gallbladder mucocele (cyst). The doctor prescribed Vetoryl and Denamarin. Within a few months, the poor boy was listless, he resisted holding and petting, and he looked at us with vacant eyes. It was pitiful! My personal physician suggested treating him with hemp oil for canines. We started him on the recommended dosage, and within a week, he was a changed pup.
Dear Dr. Fox: I read the letter in your column from the older couple who wanted to adopt an older dog. There are some local organizations that specialize in adopting out older dogs. For instance, the St. Louis Senior Dog Project is a nonprofit that places older dogs. Your readers could see if there's a local organization in their area, perhaps by Googling "senior dogs for adoption." Senior dogs for seniors is a win-win! The senior dogs get a stable and usually more quiet home, and the senior citizens get companionship.
Dear Readers: I am echoing the awareness postings in the U.K. by various groups such as the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund, hoping to highlight what their consultant veterinarian, Dr. Richard Saunders, sees as a critical health care crisis for pet rabbits. He says the health benefits of good-quality hay are incredible, and that some of the biggest welfare problems for rabbits—from dental and gastrointestinal disease, to obesity and fly strike—are often caused by poor diet.
Dear Dr. Fox: I thought I would respond to the letter from the man who wrote that he and his wife had recently rescued a Chihuahua mix, and were having a difficult time with housebreaking. I agree that the dog should be checked thoroughly by a vet, in case there is a physical reason. I also want to share our story. We "rescued" (purchased) a Boston terrier, Mini Me, who was 13 months old. We knew the breeder and had purchased a puppy from her a few years before. The breeder admitted Mini Me was not housebroken.
Dear Dr. Fox: I read the letter from the woman from Falls Church, Virginia, who is concerned about giving meds to her 9-year-old female cat for travel distress. I wanted to share my personal information with you, as it may help her. Our female indoor cat is 17 1/2 years old and doing very well. Because we're retired, my husband and I have started to travel weekly between our home and a lake cabin two hours away. In the beginning, it was an awful trip whenever we took our cat! She yowled the entire time, and it was distressing for all of us.
Dear Dr. Fox: Six months ago, my family got an 18-month-old Husky rescue. We all think he's the world's best dog: friendly and happy, with a great temperament. He wags his tail, greets and licks everyone (strangers included) that come near him. I'm the grandpa and have my own apartment in the house. Three months ago, he started loudly barking at only me and running away as if I were coming after him with an ax whenever I came near him.
Dear Readers: While we celebrate winter festivities, people in most states hear no crickets or other singing and buzzing insects, so vital for our pollinator-needing crops and for a healthy environment. The winter cold silences them. It is my New Year's wish that people will realize the urgent need to stop the unnatural "silent spring" that follows. It was predicted by the late Rachel Carson, and we are now deeply immersed in it.
Dear Readers: The recent article by R. Scott Nolen in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association concerning the multi-state legislation prohibiting people keeping certain kinds of dogs is a clarion call to end such discriminatory, "breedist" legislation. Many good dogs, and their caregivers and families, have suffered the consequences of this biologically and ethologically absurd legislation.
Dear Dr. Fox: I have had lots of friends whose cats lived to be well into their 20s, but mine all die in their teens. And two of them barely made it that long. For years, I used flea collars on my cats, then graduated to flea meds on the back of their necks. In 1999, my beloved 13-year-old Sureshot began showing symptoms from what turned out to be a tumor in her chest. She died shortly after diagnosis. Three years later, her brother Christopher, a most amazing, soulful, beloved cat, developed a tumor in his jaw.