Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Animal Friends' Home-To-Home adoption program presents: Rocko!





Rocko has been with us since he was an adopted puppy. He's 5 years old, born 4th of July! He is a good, loyal, family dog. We believe he is a plott hound with possibly some lab in him. He loves to run and be on the outskirts of any park. He loves people and exercise. We used to ride bikes with him at our side. We now have a newborn and cannot regretfully give him the attention and exercise he needs. 

Rocko would be great with an outdoorsy family and/or one with lots of land for him to run freely on. He is good with kids after warming up and great with cats--has always lived with one.  Rocko would like to be the only dog in the home, however. Rocko also has Separation Anxiety Disorder. 

We hope we can find him an even better home for his temperament and one where he can get lots of attention!

If you can help Rocko find a home, please contact


Elisa Akpo-Esambe

Keep Your Pets Flea and Tick Free This Season



By the Staff at Petagogy

Hopefully we have seen the last of the Polar Vortex this year, and the temps will start to climb. Despite the brutally cold winter we experienced flea and tick populations are expected to be at least at their normal levels. Although the traditional flea and tick medication is effective, there are many natural alternatives that are less toxic to pets and their families. These alternatives lack the pesticides and chemicals that are in the normally prescribed preventatives.

Simple remedies such as bathing your dog or cat often and giving your pet supplements, including omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and B complex vitamins that boost your pet’s immunity and natural ability to repel insects, can help keep your pet flea and tick free. Another great supplement is natural brewer’s yeast, which, given daily, will help repel all types of bugs. Other dietary additions that will boost the ability of your pet to repel bugs include seaweed, fresh garlic (in small quantities), and organic apple cider vinegar. Further, certain scents and oils repel insects naturally including rosemary, lemon, lavender and peppermint. Before you depend on the chemical treatments for your animals and home this flea and tick season, give natural products and remedies a try.
   
Use a natural dog wash with ingredients and essential oils that repel fleas and ticks.  Cloudstar makes both lavender and mint and rosemary and mint scents. Sentry Natural Defense makes a flea and tick shampoo that kills and repels pests without the use of pesticides.

Both Ark Naturals and Sentry Natural Defense make safe and effective flea and tick sprays for both dogs and cats that contain ingredients like geranium, clove and peppermint oil. These sprays will protect your pets from fleas and ticks if sprayed liberally once a week or whenever your pet will be outside or in wooded areas. Sentry Natural Defense also makes a safe monthly topical application made entirely of natural oils and ingredients that will kill and repel fleas and ticks on contact and is safe to use around children and other pets.

An important part of flea prevention is treating the environment your pet lives in. Only adult fleas live on your pet: eggs, larva and pupa are found in the bedding, flooring, and couches and might be living in your yard. Vacuum your carpets and wash bedding often until you are sure the fleas are gone. Putting pet bedding in a hot dryer for 15 or 20 minutes should kill adults, larvae and eggs. Additionally, Diatomaceous Earth is a natural insecticide, made from fossilized diatoms, that works by “drying out” insects. It can be used in and around the house to kill fleas and their larvae. Although Diatomaceous Earth is safe for mammals, precautions should be taken when using Diatomaceous Earth, so make sure you do your homework before using it. 



To check for fleas, brush through your dog or cat’s hair with a flea comb. Doing this above a white sheet or white paper allows you to see if there are actually fleas. After walks, thoroughly check you pets for ticks. If you find any, use the Tick Key to remove them, which is the easiest and safest way to remove the entire embedded tick.





Petagogy (pronounced pet-uh-go-jee) specializes in premium and natural pet foods, treats and supplies. Petagogy is located at 5880 Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Learn more at www.petagogypgh.com.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Volunteer Therapy Dog Birdie Speaks about Animal Friends' Cancer Caring Center




Hi there! My name is Kaitlin Hilinski.  I am the Therapeutic Services Program Assistant here at Animal Friends.  One of the many programs I manage is our monthly visits with The Cancer Caring Center. Each month (when the weather’s nice!) we welcome families whose lives have been affected by cancer.  Children of all ages are invited to join our Therapets team and an art therapist.  We talk about feelings and share struggles that many of us face when dealing with a family illness or loss.  While we gather for a sad purpose, we often leave feeling refreshed and relaxed, or at the very least that our feelings are valid and shared. 

This month, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of our regular therapy dogs; Birdie Salvador.  Birdie is an 11 year old Border Collie.  She and her mom Ruth visit nursing homes, elementary schools, and of course, Animal Friends.

Kaitlin: Hi there Birdie, good to see you as always. *editor’s note: there was a pause here for the required petting.  Birdie patiently demands to be petted by almost every human she meets.* Now then, would you please introduce yourself for our readers?

Birdie: Yes, I’m a therapy dog named Birdie and one Saturday a month I volunteer at Animal Friends with the Cancer Caring Center’s free program for children coping with cancer in the family.

K: Perfect! Can you tell us a little bit about how your day at Animal Friends gets started?

B: Sure! I greet the children and their families as they arrive. While the adults speak with the Cancer Caring Center’s therapist, the children and I spend time together.

K: I think I’ve seen you playing games with some of the boys – It’s my understanding that you’ll do tricks for ice cubes?

B: OH man.  You bet I will.  They’re my favorite treat.  Well, besides cherry tomatoes.  My mom says ice is great because it doesn’t have any calories.  I don’t know what a calorie is, but I think it’s fine that they’re not in ice cubes.

K: So what else do you do after you play with the kids for a while?

B: Playtime is followed by lunch prepared by an Animal Friends volunteer. Dessert is usually homemade cookies or brownies. I can’t have most of the people food, but boy does it smell good. Yum!

K: We’ve talked about food a lot here, Birdie.  Let’s discuss the session a little more, huh?

B: Oh, okay. Right, well after lunch I join the families as they meet with the therapist.  I try to help everyone feel comfortable enough to share during the session.  I sit or lie nearby ready if anyone needs a warm and furry friend.

K: That’s really great of you, Birdie.  I know the kids, and their families, really enjoy your company.

B: Well, when we say good-bye I always hope the children will be better able to cope after their Saturday afternoon with the therapist and me.

K: I’m sure they will, Birdie.  There’s nothing like the unconditional love of an animal to help us feel better when we’re sad or scared. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today, and thank you to your mom, Ruth, for translating!

Birdie and Ruth: You’re welcome!

If you’d like more information about The Cancer Caring Center, or their therapy sessions at Animal Friends, please contact Stephanie at 412-622-1212 or 

stephanie@cancercaring.org.  

Our next session is scheduled for April 26th at 1:00pm. Advanced registration is required so we know how much food to make – and ask Birdie, it’s a great lunch!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Animal Friends presents Happy Tails: Layla




Guest Blogger: Patricia A
 

My 11-year-old son, Robert, and I have wanted a dog for years.  I grew up with dogs, but worked such long chaotic hours as a hospital nurse that it didn't seem fair to adopt.  Now that I have a more regular work schedule, I decided it was time to expand our small family to include a canine companion.  



We met with four amazing dogs and spent time with each of them.  It was a tough decision, but Layla, with her sweet demeanor and playful nature, seemed to be the best fit for our family.  Layla is an 8-year-old brindle Boxer.  She is loving and spends quite a bit of time snuggling or lying on our feet.  She loves to explore the neighborhood on our rambling walks and I think she has sniffed everything at least twice! 



She is an older adult dog and that has unique benefits.  Layla is very well-behaved and seems to understand what objects belong to her and which are ours. She came to us knowing some basic commands and we did not have to worry about housebreaking her. Layla still has enough energy for our walks and play sessions, but also requires lots of down time.  Our household is a calm one and she fits right in.  We could not have picked a better furry friend than Layla.  This sweet girl is much loved!