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Thursday, February 4, 2016

To Declaw or Not to Declaw, THAT is the question

I just read a petition to ban cat declawing in the state of Colorado.  This is something that I wholeheartedly agree with.  Well, I agree about 95%.  I don't think that cats should be declawed.  I have 8 cats, they all have their claws.  My furniture is intact (except for my leather dining chairs, but I have learned my lesson and the next set-o-chairs will be of a different material) The following is the description of declawing from the petition and I think it's a great summary:

 Essentially, you are cutting the top knuckle off of your cats paw. People often mistakenly believe that declawing your cat will stop them from scratching, but in reality all you're doing is making it less likely that your cat will use the litter box and more likely to start biting instead of scratching. To remove the claw they amputate with a scalpel or with guillotine clippers, then the wounds are closed with surgical glue, and then the feet are bandaged. There are many drawbacks to declawing your cat as well, such as: pain in the paw, infection, tissue necrosis (tissue death), lameness, and back pain. When you remove your cats claws it changes the way their feet touch the ground, feeling like the equivalent of wearing an uncomfortable set of shoes. So please, let's put a stop to this!


I have witnessed the act of declawing numerous times while working at different vets.  It sucked each and every time.  Two of the practices that I worked for would ONLY do front declaws, not the back (unless the circumstances called for it).  Post op, the cats were always miserable.  They were bandaged to the elbow, they couldn't walk properly, they were in pain, and they just wanted to see their feet.  On occasion we would come into them in a cage splattered with blood because they somehow got their bandages off and flailed around so much that they reopened their wounds.  

There are some instances where it is necessary though, so I don't believe that banning completely is the answer.  If you do that, the cats will have to go to Tijuana with the humans to get cheaper surgeries that they won't do in the states. (Watch the show Botched on E, you will understand what I am talking about)

Here is where I agree that a cat should be declawed:
*  If the owner has or develops an immune deficiency disorder  (HIV/AIDS, lymphodema, cancer, etc) and their life could be threatened by a cat scratch

* If the cat is polydactyl (extra toes).  Not all polydactyl cats have the same amount of toes.  There are some that have TINY toes with a full nail in the middle of 2 other toes and that nail almost always grows into the pad because it has nowhere else to go. I fully support declawing that tiny toenail to prevent it from growing into the pad constantly.  I actually had to do this for one of my rescue cats. 

*The last reason is one that I try to avoid giving advice on, but if an adult cat is HORRIBLE for nail trims.  I mean horrible (scratching, biting, spitting, growling, screaming), then I might recommend a declaw.  Especially if you tried sedating the cat with drugs beforehand and they still don't calm down.  Still on the fence with this one, but there are some cats that just WILL NOT take you restraining them and touching their feet.  Sedatives help, but not always. 

What I always found interesting is that there are many people that don't even know you  CAN clip a cats nails.  They just think they are supposed to be declawed, like they are supposed to be spayed and neutered.  I have asked people who have called to make declaw appointments, "Have you tried to do nail trims and they are just really bad for it?"  Most of the time the response was , "No, I didn't even know that you could do that."  (Baffling to me because WE have fingernails that we cut.... cats have nails too....and dogs...and guinea pigs... etc)

Soft Paws are also another option that just glue on to the nails themselves.  They don't love it, but they acclimate.
http://www.softpaws.com/





Should declawing be banned? Maybe, but there are always exceptions to the rule.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Mystery fan club

Almost every day for the last year we have walked Bailey down a certain street by his house and when we passed by this one house, we heard scrambling dog sounds, and then squeaks.  This sweet brindle dog would see another dog coming down the street and run to get her squeaky toy.  She was prepared at her storm door for when we passed. She would smile and squeak her toy incessantly to try to get Baileys attention.  It was so endearing, however he would just walk away and ignore her completely!  

Today we were walking Bailey with another dog and we see him smiling at this pit mix a block away who is smiling back and wagging her tail like crazy.  As we were talking to the owner and he said what street he lived on, I asked if it was this dog that always brought the squeaky toy to the door.  It was!  So funny!  In person and outside they were quite fond of each other ;)  

Who knew that is semi- secret admirer would finally win him over?!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Um, Are You Uber??

 I have to bring this up because tonight was the 5th time that this has happened in the past 2 months.  My husband will drive me to certain animals  when it's really busy, cold, dark, rainy, etc....  

While he is in the car waiting for me, people have come up to his window to ask if he is Uber. Some people just open his car door to get in.  Tonight he was waiting for me at 5th and Spruce and as I was walking back to the car, I see a young girl also walking to his car and she is opening the door to the back seat.  I yelled , "Hey, my husband is in that car waiting for me!"  She was startled and embarrassed and said, "Oh! This isn't Uber??"  I told her that it wasn't.  Then we went to pick up food right after that happened and as my husband is walking back to his car (with ME in it), an Uber driver behind us says, "Hey, are you Kyle?"

This has happened at 2nd and Catherine where an older couple thought that we were Uber and were scared to ask.  At 2nd and Locust someone came up and knocked on his drivers side window startling him as he was checking email.

Here is my issue.  It is so unsafe for this to happen.  Uber cars NEED to have something official that makes them Uber cars that is visible to the passenger.  This girl didn't even ask, she just got in the back seat of my husbands car! What if it was someone that saw this as an opportunity to mess with this girl, or worse??  My suggestion is to have everyone use a car magnet or sticker or something defining the driver as an Uber driver.  You know a cab is a cab.  You don't know who is Uber.  This poor girl would have gotten in the wrong car and been raped and killed.  Worst case scenario obviously, but you see my point.  I don't feel safe using Uber because I have seen 5 different people try to get into my husbands car at various locations.  Does the passenger get a picture of the driver? A copy of the license plate? Does the driver get a picture of the passenger?  Something to identify eachother? Or is every Uber experience like a blind date? Should they be carrying a yellow rose so they can be identified?

Just my opinion...

This was an email that I sent to Uber yesterday because I was angry and scared for these people and their safety!  I also posted it on YELP.  This was the response I got from Uber:

Marvin (Uber)
Jan 28, 08:10
Hi Debbie,
Thanks for reaching out!
Really thankful for the feedback. We are constantly working to improve the Uber experience and your input is crucial to doing so.
We encourage riders to use the name, picture and license plate number provided on in the app to help them identify drivers. Tips like this and others are also available on help.uber.com.
I’ll pass this along to the appropriate team.
Thanks again!
*******************************************************************************************
This was the private message that I received on YELP:
There is a picture of the driver and a license plate number in the app. And you can track the car to you on the map in uber. The people who got into your husband's car are idiots. It's not uber's fault. :)
*******************************************************************************************************************************
I guess the consensus is that people really are idiots.  You are given a license plate and a picture of the driver and instead of checking that they match, you get into some strange mans car???  I am an Uber Virgin because there is just some part of me that doesn't trust it. I DO believe that they should have a sign on their car like a Taxi that distinguishes them from any old car AS WELL as an ID matching the one that the app provides.  Sorry Uber lovers, I still need some convincing.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Holiday Madness!!!

I just look at the last post and it was before Thanksgiving.  This makes sense because from Thanksgiving to New Years I have barely had time to breathe.  I overbooked as per usual and just worked non stop.  I turned down many overnight gigs because I can't handle a nonstop schedule on top of not sleeping in my own bed while spooning my cat.  It's my only real ritual or relaxation.


Christmas through new years was spent juggling my regulars with my vacation clients.  I was averaging 30-40 visits per day for a while.  I didn't plan it that way, but it happened.  I can't say that I would want to do that again anytime soon.  I was almost just on auto pilot by the end.  Feed, water, litter, insulin shot, head scratches, kiss fuzzy head, next kiddo.  I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked with each stop, but everyone was happy and healthy :)

Mmm, Pie and exhaustion

Working out frustrations with scheduling family and work on holidays

Couldn't have done it without his help


I've taken on some new clients (cats and dogs).
I've lost a few cat clients (R.I.P. Monty, Morris Lombard, Bean, Mushka, & Pickles)
I will be making some changes this year, including making more time for myself.  Last year was just work work work.  I stopped going to the gym and doing things for myself because I was just too damn tired! Hopefully I can manage my time better and set limits for myself so that I am not dragging by 6pm. Wish a pushover some luck!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Off Leash and Stubborn

There is a community website that I am a part of in hopes to stay updated on community happenings as well as voice my concerns.  Recently my main concern is people walking their dogs off leash in the city where other dogs are on leash.  The leashed dogs are following the law.  They can also be dog aggressive, scared or anxious if an off leash dog comes up to them (it is a threat), and generally nervous and could bite out of fear.  I have been posting on this community site to try to get people to stop doing this.  Maybe they aren't aware of the law or the ramifications. Maybe they are just selfish and don't care about anyone else around them.  It seems a have a large number of people on my side, but  no one really knows what to do.  This was my most recent post:

Ok, I know I posted this before, and it seemed as though people were getting it for a while (while the post was relevant), but this morning I have learned otherwise. Local dog walker here, just trying to do my job. I was walking a dog that is not fond of other dogs down queen street this morning and within the first block I see a man walking his german shepherd back to his house (261 Queen, yes I will now call you all out) He seemed as though he was going right back in his house so I gave him the benefit of the doubt and waited on the opposite corner. Then I see him picking up stray trash and messing with his trashcans while the dog turns the corner and starts walking down 3rd street! So I yell over , "Excuse me! Is that you dog?" He said it was, and I said, "She is not good with other dogs, could you please get him so that we can cross the street?" And he got a little huffy and said, "Yeah! I was BRINGING him in the house." He called, the dog came, went in the house. Not the biggest deal, but he still wasn't paying attention and his dog was out of his sight completely.
THEN I walk through Mario Lanza park (regular park, not the dog park part) and we get to the end of the path leading to Christian and a guy with a ridgeback (full or mix?) walks in on the opposite side and lets his dog off leash immediately (not IN the dog park) and his dog comes charging at the dog that I have. I'm pulling her aside and yelling, "Whoa! She's NOT good with other dogs!" He runs over and grabs his dog by the collar and goes over to the dog park. I was saying , "Hey, you can't do that! They can't be off leash here." He just seems annoyed and goes, "Yeah.. Ok." and walks away. So I walk over to the dog park itself and call him over. I explain that I am not trying to be bitchy, but it's really not safe to do that. There are a ton of dog aggressive dogs in this neighborhood, just wait till he is in the park." His reply was priceless. "Yeah, I hear this at least once a day. I GUESS I'll have to start leashing him more." HE HEARS THIS AT LEAST ONCE A DAY AND IS STILL DOING IT!!!!!

I walk dogs. It is my business. It is my responsibility to keep my dog clients safe and out of harms way. I am liable. When people like this have no regard for other neighborhood animals, it enrages me. Walk your dogs on a leash. It is a simple concept. It is a law. It is common sense. Don't intentionally create dangerous situations! I am keeping these postings relevant because EVERYONE that is on my side needs to grow a pair and speak up! It is hard to single -handedly lead a revolution.


Today I got a private reply on the site from Bobby, the dog park guy.  Here is his reply to my post:

Debbie, Go figure, I was the gentleman at the dog park at Mario Lanza who was trying everything possible to ignore you when you tried to create a scene. I get that this is your "job" and it's very clear just how passionate you are about this but had I known you would have taken to public cry then I would have treated our encounter differently. I do not get a request once a day to leash my dog, that remark was simply to send you on your way so I can go about enjoying my day and morning walk with my dog. Why is it that all these run-ins you have end in confrontation? Would that by chance have anything to do with you and your unpleasant reactions? Just something to think about before you get as feisty as the dog you're walking next time. I realized mistake and was very apologetic to start and that's the part you omitted from record in your posting. People might be a little more respectful and responsive if you didn't carry such an (as you put it "bitchy") attitude. Understand that other owners work very hard the same way you do to train their dogs to be obedient and that includes practicing off-leash commands. That's all that is, please don't make these owners feel like they are incompetent/irresponsible because of the occasional free running mistakes before taking their environment into account. If you want to make a statement, do it in cordial fashion so that you can receive the same results in return. That's my two cents for whatever you feel it's worth. I won't be reading your reply whether it be private or another ill-informed public comment so don't waste much time in writing it. Take care, Bobby


What a (insert your own expletive here)! I did reply to him (and you know he read it) and this is what it said:
Yeah, I figured that was you. I repeated what YOU told me. Yes I take my business and responsibilities seriously. You are taking your dog to the dog park, yet you let your dog off leash when the actual dog park was still about 50 ft away. And your dog charged at the dog that I had in my hand. You want to wait until something awful happens? Go right ahead. I was trying to be human and call you over to chat behind the fence so you'd know where I was coming from. But you don't care, so that's fine. That was me not being bitchy. That was me trying to talk to your like a person and tell you why I was pissed. I truly hope that you and your dog stay safe. Make good decisions please.
Bottom line is, you are breaking the law. I am not. There is a leash law in this city. You had a confrontation before I even met you regarding the same thing. Common denominator was YOU. Although you want to practice training - it is unsafe and inconsiderate to do it in a setting such as Mario Lanza where there are other dogs and people all over the place. I wasn't trying to "ruin your day" and you did not apologize. You tried to placate me rudely and walked away. I don't want to see your dog attacked by a dog that he startles or hit by a car - just as much as I don't want to see one of my clients attacked. And don't use quotes around "job" . This is my job and my legit business. I have worked in the animal industry since 1996. I know what I am talking about and my concern is for the safety of the dogs. I don't care what you think or what you do with your time. Enjoy the dog park, just wait until you are in the gate to take the leash off. THat's all. Your dog is adorable and I would have said hello to him if I didn't think that the dog that I had would try to bite his face off. It's a small community, just be respectful. Rules apply to everyone - you are not exempt.

Philadelphia Dog Leash Law Section § 10-104 of the Philadelphia Code provides as follows: Animals Running at Large and Vicious Animals (1) No person shall permit any animal other than a sterilized cat to go at large upon any street, public place or private property other than the property of the owner of the animal. All animals, other than sterilized cats, using any street, public place or private property of anyone other than the owner of the animal shall be on a leash not exceeding six (6) feet in length including the handgrip but excluding the collar and accompanied by a person able to fully control the animal at all times.


I have yet to hear a reply, nor do I think I will - however I am livid. What has to happen to make these people see that this is not a good idea? An attack? A hit by car situation? We are in a small community with MANY dogs. There are only so many places to go and ways to avoid those not abiding the law. I try to talk, I try to ask nicely, but people treat me as I am asking them to perform heart surgery on the street. They ignore me, they placate me, they turn and walk away...
So do I have to carry around a copy of the leash law in my pocket and hand it out? I might just do that.
Do I have to talk to every police officer in the neighborhood about why they should enforce this law? I have already started. I need back up - I need actual support, more then anonymous people agreeing with me in a forum. This could turn into a really awful situation where dog fights happen, kids get knocked over, people get bitten.... this needs to stop. Dog parks exist for a reason - please use them.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Look into my....eye....

Picture it.  I was in an apartment feeding cats.  It is very nice building on a very nice block with about 6 units in it.  I bent down for a cat head scratch (her head, not mine) and there is a very sturdy knock at the door - slightly less aggressive than a police officer.  I am confused as I was on the 2nd floor of a locked building.  I opened the door only to find an older gentleman with greasy white hair, greasy leathery skin, 1 good eye and 1 white eye, and he was wearing dirty jeans and a dirty flannel.

He said, "I need to come in and change the air filter!"    I was taken aback because I was not expecting anyone to just show up, let alone to maintenance. I told him that this was not my apartment, I was just cat sitting and that no one told me that this was ok.  He repeated, "I need to change the air filters, it will just be a minute."  And again, told him that I need to talk to my client, I'm not ok with just letting them in.  Then another guy yells from upstairs, "It will just take a minute to change the filters, we will be right down."  I shut the door, call the client, she didn't pick up, and then a minute later they just come in stating that it will take a minute. I kept saying that I understand that, but I don't have the authority to just let people in.  It's not my apartment.  They basically brushed by me with a ladder and changed the filters and walked out.  Got a hold of the client later and luckily she was ok with it (happy that I happen to have been there for this fiasco).  But seriously, any other place that I have been where someone was there to do work and I was unaware of it, they understood why I wouldn't let them in.  These guys couldn't care less.  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dog Park Policy

I felt the need to write this because I spoke to a potential new client today that wanted me to take his dog to the dog park right off the bat.  I told him no and explained why.  I find that I explain this quite often so I just wanted to put it out there in the open so that everyone understands my stance on dog parks and why I have very specific rules for myself and my clients.

I come from a medical background.  I worked in a vet office for 13 years.  I saw the aftermath of "dog park fun".  There were ears ripped off, brutal bite wounds that required drains to be surgically placed, lacerations that needed sutures, damages teeth, nails ripped out of the nail bed, even death from an attack..... you name it, I've seen it.  That is not including the many frantic phone calls that I answered that began with me words,  "My dog just got attacked at the dog park."   I have all of these things that lay dormant in my brain until someone says, "Can you bring my dog to the park so he can run off some of his energy?"

I will always say no.

Here is why:
* Your dog is not my dog.  I will not be liable for something awful happening on my watch when it could have been avoided.  I do not want to rush your dog to the emergency room.  I do not want to have to make that phone call to you, telling you to rush to the ER because we don't know if your dog is going to be ok.   Or that you have a huge vet bill because some other dog attacked your dog.

*  I am not the owner.  I am not the parent.  I am not the alpha.  I am the babysitter buddy that asserts authority when necessary.  That dog will never listen to me like they would listen to their owner. If something happens (another dog fight, thunder, crazy child taunting, crazy dog taunting, loud truck sounds, etc) and I have to get that dog outta there ASAP and I call for him/her to come,  they BETTER listen and come.  I will take a dog to the park if I know that that dog WILL listen to me and come when called.  This does not happen right away. ( Out of all of my clients, there are 2 dogs that I am completely comfortable with at the park.  That is it. )  Once we develop a relationship and the park is close by and the dog and I have mutual trust (and I know that the dog goes with the owner all of the time), then I will consider it.  It is just too risky otherwise.  I have insurance, but i don't want to have to use it.

* My main goal is safety.  When I come to walk your dog, I want that kiddo to stay SAFE!  You are trusting me with your kid, and that kid needs to be on a leash, away from cars, away from aggressive dogs, away from harmful things on the street to eat and walk on (chicken bones, glass, gum, dead rodents, mouse poison)  We jump, we play, we greet other people and dogs if we are all comfortable with it - but in the back of my mind I am assessing every situation.

* I know every dog that I walk like the back of my hand.  They all have their quirks.
Some hate the mailman that's on 8th street
Some hate UPS guys
Some hate Fedex guys
Some hate both
Some hate kids
Some pick up tissues and paper towels
Some try to walk on glass
Some try to get out of their gentle leader or harness a certain way
Some hate other dogs (some small, some big, or just all dogs)
Some hate skateboards or anything on wheels
Some hate homeless people
The list goes on and on - but I know them and treat them as if they were my own dogs.  I care just as much, and that is why I don't want to unnecessarily jeopardize their health and safety in any way if I can avoid it.  I am there for a potty break, some love, some treats, and a safe walk.
I urge you to not be upset that I don't feel comfortable taking your dog to the park, but know that I am making that judgement based on experience and love for the animal.