Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Stamps That Save Animals Lives

Published on May 10, 2010 by   ·   2 Comments Pin It
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Mary Max, the Founder and Executive Director of Kind Green Planet, recently sent out this alert which made us excited to send letters again!

If You Love Pussy, Then You Better Put A Stamp On It.

Back to snail mail people!   The U.S. Postal Service  issues  stamps featuring  ten formerly homeless cats and dogs adopted from animal shelters.  The stamps read, “Animal Rescue: Adopt a Shelter Pet,” and the  goal is to raise  awareness  about the desperate plight of millions of homeless cats and dogs who find themselves  in shelters every year. Tragically,  the majority of these animals are put to death  for no other reason than lacking a home.

AnimalRescue44-Block10

We  tend to think of our country as a cat- and dog-loving nation. And while there are millions of pets who are treated as family members, about five million cats and dogs are  killed at animal shelters each year. In NYC alone, 20,000 shelter  cats and dogs (primarily healthy, friendly animals) are  killed yearly. This is more than 50 animals every day.

However, the good news is that, unlike so many problems in the world today, this one has  an incredibly easy solution:

Don’t Buy!

Breeders and pets stores are the primary reason for the  routine death  described above. Because their concern is profit, every dollar  they receive  is encouragement to keep breeding while animals in shelters are killed. It is  simple mathematics and ethics. If there are not enough homes available for all the cats and dogs who currently exist, then it is not ethical to bring more animals into the world.

Most, if not all, animals at pet stores (lizards, reptiles, birds, cats, rabbits, dogs)  come from horrific breeding facilities. In the case of dogs,  these facilities are termed  “puppy mills.” At these  facilities, the mother dog is imprisoned in a metal crate for her entire life, literally never being allowed to leave it, where she is forced to  breed and nurse over and over again  until her body gives out.  The cage is typically outdoors, with no heat or air-conditioning.  The bottom of her cage is cheap wire to allow for her  and her puppies’ urine and feces to fall, yet makes her paws raw and plagued with sores.  There isn’t any vet care since her life is considered cheap, and if she does gets sick, she will suffer until her illness does not allow her to reproduce or nurse. At this point, she is killed.

Her puppies are usually sold for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars because they have American Kennel Club (AKC) registration papers. The AKC supports puppy mills because they receive money from such breeding facilities for giving them their stamp of approval.  The puppy mills, in turn,  with this AKC stamp of approval sell the puppies for more money to the pet stores.  And the  pet stores, in turn, sell the  puppies for more money because the public mistakenly believes that AKC is a certification of a healthy, well-adjusted, well-treated puppy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Puppy mill puppies are usually very sick (hidden until the buyer brings them home) due to being born to a sickly mother and weaned too soon.

This is what is really behind the “cute” puppies in the window!

So, if you are longing for a cat or dog, please adopt. Visit your local shelter or start on the web by visiting Petfinder.com (for NYC residents, please visit the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals or  Animal Care and Control of New York City). And please note that if you are looking for a specific breed of animal, there are breed rescue groups for almost every breed.

Whether or not you can adopt an animal right now, please buy these “adopt stamps” and find every excuse to start snail-mailing again! It’s the best 44 cents you’ll ever spend!

Bow-wow and meow-meow,

Mary

Angel for animals; Mary Max.

Angel for animals; Mary Max.

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  • You May Not Know It.. But This Is Poisonous To Your DogYou May Not Know It.. But This Is Poisonous To Your DogChocolate Ache: Ainsley Drew shares her dogs terrifying trip down the Hershey highway; [Note: If you’ve stumbled on this page somehow because the Internet led you here in the event of your pet being poisoned, call The National Animal Poison Control Center Hotline at 1-800-548-2423.] I went to Nebraska with Booger in tow. Well, technically in TSA-approved, overpriced bag. But she went with me to Omaha, we were going on an adventure. This wasn’t her first time traveling. She’d been on a semi-successful road trip up the coast of New England. After driving all the way up there, we wound up in a two-hundred year old bed and breakfast in New Hampshire, where she promptly fell off the bed and cut her foot. While she wasn’t phased (or slowed down) in the least by the blood pouring out of her paw, I quickly packed up our stuff and checked out, driving five hours home to New York in the dead of night. In total I drove nearly eleven hours that day. She slept on my lap. In spite of her clumsiness, I learned that the Chihuahua travels well. And her paw was fine. Fortunately she has a super-hot (yet curiously creepy) veterinarian, so visits to his office are less traumatic than they could be. Between my daddy issues and the fact that, on the first day I met him, he killed my previous dog (RIP, Snack) I’m pretty attached to Greenwich Village Animal Hospital and Hot Vet. Our trip to the midwest provided many hurdles we needed to cross as a family. Booger’s first flight. Booger’s first introduction to a cat. Booger’s first ingestion of Acepromezine, aka “puppy Xanax.” The night before we left, I cycled through a whole host of possible calamities in my head. The drug would kill her or make her ill. The cat would shred her eyes out of her sockets, or, worse, they’d attack one another and both get hurt. She would yip and whine on the flight, thereby making me “that” shitty passenger, much like she had on her first train ride to Long Island. (To her defense, the LIRR sucks. A lot.) But everything went fine. The Acepromezine knocked her out like Lindsay Lohan after a few bottles of “kombucha” and while the cat had some initial difficulty emotionally coping with the intrusion on his space, the two of them worked it out so that they could coexist with a fair amount of chasing and a shared bowl of dog food. The cat was really into dog food. Fast-forward to the end of our trip. My flight was at around 7AM, so I went to bed early. At around 2AM I heard Booger making noise, a peculiar little cough that I’d never heard her make. Of course, I was half-asleep when she started the curious chortling, so I chalked it up to her inhaling a ball of cat hair or something equally possible, like that she choked on her own spit or was smoking pot in the kitchen. At 4 I woke up and pieced my woozy self together while the puppy zoomed around like a coke fiend halfway through the last LCD Soundsystem album. I thought, “Wow, my dog sure is intuitive. She can tell we’re leaving and she’s excited to go home.” About an hour and a half later I called for a cab to take me to the airport. While shoving errant stockings and bottles of girlie potions into my bag, I picked up Booger’s blanket in order to get her carrying case ready for the journey home. A chunk of something solid and brown fell onto the carpet. Usually if something brown is found near anything associated with my dog, it is poop, which she loves to produce, eat, play with, and put in places never before touched by excrement, like any clean pair of socks that are on my feet. However, this time the mahogany mass was far too flat to be poop. In fact, it was nearly the shape of a perfect square, like some sort of historic artifact, a paleolithic bathroom tile or the precursor to the modern guitar pick, albeit one lined with teeth-marks. I gingerly held it close to my face and looked at it, noticing that it didn’t have the usual eau de pooh, but instead a not-so-subtle aroma of chili and...chocolate. It was then that I realized what had happened. The cat had knocked down the artisanal chili-laced dark chocolate bar that I’d given my host as a gift. It had been on the counter, sitting there innocently throughout the duration of our trip. Once it fell, Booger had eaten it and gotten high, the effects of which she was obviously still suffering. In the battle of cats vs. dogs, cats were clearly winning. The coughing had likely been because of the ancho chili powder that the bar’s Brooklyn-based manufacturer had blended into the mix in order to charge nearly $7 for it. Why my half-Mexican dog wasn’t able to handle a little heat in her health hazard is beyond me. Perhaps it should have come with a side of arsenic laced guac. Because the bar was small-batch and fancy, there was nothing written on what remained of its wrapper other than Spicy Dark. The puppy had eaten the majority of it. Anybody who has ever had a dog likely knows what I’m about to say, but chocolate is toxic to dogs. I had no idea how much she’d consumed, but basic math, logic, and a quick Internet search revealed that it was a lethal dose. Before I continue with my cautionary tale, let me break it down for you, science-style. Chocolate contains two types of stimulants that are part of the drug class methylxanines: caffeine and theobromine. While caffeine in large quantities is great for an insufferable workday and, in even larger quantities, is lethal to everyone, there’s only a slight amount of it in chocolate. But theobromine, which is a toxic compound, spikes the stuff in a much larger dose. Theobromine can send a dog to the great kennel in the sky if he or she eats merely 100-150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. (For those of you dumb at maths like me, a kilogram = 2.2 pounds and a milligram is 1/1000 of a gram.) As for caffeine, it’s toxic to people at 150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, which is the same ratio that can kill a dog. What makes a puppy’s ingestion of chocolate even worse is that theobromine isn’t metabolized quickly, its half life inside of a dog’s body is 17.5 hours. As I made my way to the cab, I called Hot Vet. It was before office hours, so I got the messaging service which, after hearing my predicament, immediately gave me the number to the ASPCA’s poison control hotline. Once connected, things went from bad to dreadful. Indeed, Booger had eaten enough chocolate to kill her. I mean, the dog is only four pounds, it wouldn’t have taken much. What’s worse? The toxicity increases the darker the chocolate is. It takes 20 ounces of milk chocolate to end the life of a twenty pound dog, but only six ounces of semisweet or two ounces of baker’s chocolate to do the same. The bar of dark chocolate that Booger wolfed down was the human equivalent of a bottle of bleach with a heroin chaser. Unless my pocket-sized pooch had the staying power of Keith Richards, things weren’t looking good. “Is there any way you can cancel your fight and go to an emergency clinic? This is a life-threatening situation,” the woman said. “You shouldn’t fly with her. She’ll likely have a seizure during the flight.” Financially and logistically, this was as reasonable as asking me to build my own plane to fly us home. So the ASPCA, Booger, and myself were forced to implement plan B. Miraculously I was able to find a 24 hour convenience store, where I ran in and purchased hydrogen peroxide and peanut butter. Following the instructions of the woman on the line, I forced two plastic spoonfuls of the chemicals down her throat, followed by a bit of smooth Jif to get the taste out of her mouth. She threw up in a matter of minutes, but I couldn’t tell how much of it was chocolate and how much of it was miscellaneous Chihuahua chow. Standing outside of the airport, on the curb, peering at dog puke under a dim streetlight, I fought back tears. It was freezing outside. The look on Booger’s face was a mix of “what the fuck, you’re harshing my mellow” and “what the hell have you done, this sucks.” She looked like me every morning during my first year of college. As advised by the lady, I administered small amounts of water followed by the puppy Xanax, the same amount as I had given her for the first flight. She said there was a chance that the pill would slow Boogs’ heart rate down and reduce the risk of complications or seizures. My vomit-coated, miserable-eyed dog was doped to the gills. We boarded the plane and I wondered if, when we touched down in New York, I’d be hauling a puppy purse filled with dead weight. The flight was a nightmare. I’ve written extensively about my fear of flying and how I hate it. I assure you, I will not be doing it again. Ever. Call me the Lars von Trier of dog ownership, we’re done with planes. It took two flight attendants and a Christian missionary to intervene and stop me from screaming and crying during the two and a half hours of continuous turbulence. When the wheels hit the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport, Booger was still alive, and I appeared to be closer to respiratory and cardiac failure than she did. By the end of that night, she was right as rain. Granted, I wouldn’t let her out of my sight for an instant. I wrote with her in my lap. I cooked dinner with her under my arm. I took a shower and washed the vomit off of her at the same time. We slept in the same bed. I couldn’t stop looking at her and tearing up. Man’s best-friend, maybe. My best-friend? Definitely. While this story has a happy ending, and Booger will live to enjoy many more fecal feasts and poop-permeated playtimes, it could have ended horribly. So I’m going to provide some advice for dog-owners out there that I would have found useful the other day. (If you’re a cat person, your pussy isn’t immune. Cats have an even lower tolerance for chocolate. But fortunately they don’t usually get into the stuff, as cats can’t taste sweetness. There’s your ace for trivia night.) Remember, I’m not a veterinarian. I’m just a slut with a dog and some stories. But here’s what the Internet and this experience taught me: A FEW THINGS TO KNOW TO KEEP YOUR DOG FROM DEATH BY CHOCOLATE First of all, let me get this out of the way. There’s no antidote for chocolate poisoning. More bad news? Your dog can show signs of theobromine poisoning or chocolate toxicity anywhere from four to twenty-four hours after eating it. Theobromine stays in a dog’s body for a long, long time, even if your dog is like mine and shits more frequently than Justin Bieber gets Googled. The darker the chocolate, the more concentrated the toxins. If your dog has eaten any chocolate at all, it’s best to call your vet. A 9-pound dog can experience signs of chocolate toxicity after eating as little as one ounce, so call ‘em. Even if you’re drunk after a holiday party and Fido only ate a bite of the Advent calendar. Chances are, you’ve already paid your vet a shitton of money to keep your pup healthy, calling in an emergency should be a no brainer. Which means, I repeat, if your dog ate chocolate, it is an emergency. You probably wouldn’t accept “But it was just a little bit of meth, mom!” from your kid. One Hershey Kiss could kill ‘em. Call your vet. Signs of chocolate toxicity include: Puking Shitting Increased body temperature Increased reflex responses (which was why Booger became like the Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil on fast-forward) Muscle rigidity Panting Increased heart rate Low blood pressure Seizures Other things the ASPCA worker told me to look out for included shaking, which can be caused by low blood sugar, staggering, and drooling. (Drooling more than normal, bulldog owners.) What your vet might have you do is what I did, induce vomiting. There are two ways to do this, though I guess you can say that forcing your dog to watch Kim’s Fairytale Wedding could be a third. More reliably, you can give your a single teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide followed by a bit of peanut butter or syrup of ipecac. These days vets often recommend using syrup of ipecac instead of H2O2 because hydrogen peroxide can cause esophageal ulcers. If your dog is acting like a nutjob, running around spastically, or having seizures after consuming cocoa candy, time is of the fucking essence. Get to the fucking vet, stat. Any vet. Once you’re there, the vet will likely give your dog an IV of fluids and anti-seizure meds. They may also give your pooch something to protect their heart, as supporting cardiovascular function is really important in the event of a canine chocolate crisis. Other possible treatment may include supporting respiration, maintaining a healthy balance of electrolytes, administering charcoal, and monitoring them to make sure fluid isn’t gathering in the gut. The ASPCA has that hotline you can call and get veterinary advice for a nominal fee. (I paid $65 bucks, which was well worth it, as it saved Booger’s life.) You’re paying for volunteers who answer the phone and provide information, even in the earliest hours of the morning, even to a histrionic girl flying home from Nebraska. The National Animal Poison Control Center Hotline: 1-800-548-2423 and now... You May Not Know It.. But This Is Poisonous To Your Dog A List of Possibly Delicious Foods That Your Dog Should NEVER Eat Avocado. Has persin in it, in both the fruit as well as the plant itself. Is toxic. Onions and garlic, even in powdered form. Can cause anemia. Grapes and raisins. Cause kidney failure. (I learned this the hard way.) Milk and dairy products. Can cause the shits, puking, and itchy allergies. Macadamia nuts. These are basically cyanide to dogs. Never, ever, never, not even a little. Gum or candy containing Xylitol. Can cause liver failure and blood sugar issues. Fat. Like meat trimmings. Fucks with the pancreas. Bones. Sharp, can scratch the internal bits of a dog. Dog insides are soft. Bones are not. Persimmons, peaches, plums. The seeds mess with the intestines and peach and plum pits actually have cyanide in them. Fo’ real. William Carlos Williams can have whatever’s in the icebox if you own a dog. Raw eggs. Salmonella, E.coli, enzymes that mess with the absorption of B vitamins. Raw meat, raw fish. Bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Caffeine. Same reason why chocolate is bad. Alcohol. Duh. And giving your dog too much salt ain’t good ‘cause it can lead to sodium ion poisoning, while too much sugar can cause diabetes. Nobody wants their dog to be nicknamed Wilford Brimley. So there you go. Feed your dog dog food. Go to the vet. Keep chocolate far, far, far away from where dogs can reach it or cats can knock it to the floor. And hug your pet. ‘Cause it’s likely that you realize they’re important to you, but often it’s during a life-threatening emergency that you’re forced to recognize just how much. Ainsley Drew  is a native New Yorker and half of the copywriting team known as Ministry of Imagery. She has twice been the guest editor of kottke.org and her work has been featured in the New York Press, Curve magazine, The Rumpus, Perceptions Magazine,  and The Wanderlust Review. She maintains the weekly blog Jerk Ethic and hopes to one day be a notorious literary celebrity with her name in […]
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One good thing about growing up in no-man's-land was that there wasn't a whole lot of traffic on the road. Still, I decided this was not an adequate home for this or any puppy. I scooped her up in my arms and promised her I would find a way to keep her safe. I convened an emergency meeting with my friend and her five year old brother and negotiated the terms of the puppy's adoption. I wrapped her in my scarf and began the quarter mile trek home. During my journey, I rehearsed my best argument for keeping her, pausing only to wonder aloud what her new name would be once she was ours. I walked into the kitchen and put her on the floor. I told my mother we simply had to save her. While my mother's initial response was an unequivocal "No!", before long, she was on her hands and knees, and the puppy was charming her with kisses. I am unaware of the terms of the adult negotiation but the end result was the addition of Lady Gabrielle Nicole, or Nikki, to our clan. Nikki was the first in a long line of rescues for my family and me which included more stray cats than I can count, an abandoned litter of puppies, the schoolroom guinea pig, and even a horse. The last of my rescues to date was Ray, a seven month old pure bred blond Labrador that had been severely neglected. While I initially intended to foster him and look for a forever home, it took all of two minutes for me to become completely attached. And the innate rescuer in me wouldn't have had it any other way. Because of the neglect, including lack of proper nutrition, exercise, and socialization, and possibly some physical abuse as well, it took nearly a year for him to bond with me, but bond he did. I had Ray for thirteen years. We were together through some of the most difficult and horrible, and lovely and exciting times of my life. We lived on both coasts and made the cross country trek twice. He was an irreplaceable constant in my life. He protected me, kept me company, and entertained me endlessly. Ray passed away peacefully on November 6, 2008, just after 7:30 PM. I cradled him in my arms as he took his last breath and I thanked him for every moment I had spent with him, how he enriched my life and those around me. I told him that while technically I had saved him, in the end, he had saved me. To honor Ray, I became a volunteer at Rogers'  Rescues. I was introduced to the organization by Marianne, a board member, volunteer, and foster mom, who understands the sorrow of losing a pet. She suggested I get involved with dogs in need to help ease the pain of my loss.   And how right she was! Rogers' Rescues is a colorful bunch! We are a group of dedicated dog rescue volunteers spread from New Jersey to Southeastern Pennsylvania who commit their free time to helping place homeless dogs into loving adoptive homes. The majority of our foster dogs originally come from shelters in the South that are in desperate need of help due to low rates of spaying and neutering as well as lack of homes for the vast number of dogs in need. {EDITORS NOTE: Most shelters in the South still euthanize dogs in shelters at an alarming rate - most with the archaic "heart stick" or "gas chamber" method.   Before you consider buying a dog, remember that a rescued pup would love you just as much.. and you will actually be saving a life!} Check out this documentary from one of our shelter trips; While we visit the shelters in the South a few times per year, once each month, we set off in two cargo vans filled with empty crates and head to a centrally located meeting spot in Maryland. We greet, walk, and water the dogs and then load them in the vans, stopping along the way to drop them at foster homes, breed-specific rescues, and private adopters. Some dogs travel from West Virginia all the way to Massachusetts in one day as part of a cooperative network of rescues and individual volunteers, organized and monitored by a dedicated and knowledgeable member of Rogers' Rescues. Since 2002, Rogers' has saved more than 1,200 dogs and counting! Check out our happy endings video for 2009; The rewards of being a part of this wonderfully dedicated organization have far surpassed anything I could have imagined. If you are looking for a way to make a difference in a dog's life, meet new and inspiring people, or perhaps heal some pain of your own, I suggest getting involved in rescue. You won't regret it. And the dogs will thank you! For more information on Rogers'   Rescues, please visit our web site, or go to PetfinderTM and search for an organization in your area, or check out GirlieGirlArmy's weekly list of adoptable pets in urgent need of rescue. Kathryn Hostettler is a full time social work graduate student, part time pet nanny, volunteer with Rogers Rescues, and vegan home cook. She won an honorable mention in the November2009 Vegetarian Times for her Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Candied Cranberries recipe. […]

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  1. […] ***The GirlieGirl Army*** » Blog Archive » If You Love Pussy, Then You Better Put A Stamp On It. girliegirlarmy.com/blog/20100510/if-you-love-pussy-then-you-better-put-a-stamp-on-it – view page – cached Mary Max, the Founder and Executive Director of Kind Green Planet, recently sent out this alert which made us excited to send letters again! Tweets about this link Topsy.Data.Twitter.User[‘marykaymanfeed’] = {“photo”:”http://a1.twimg.com/profile_images/442646010/Me_normal.jpg”,”url”:”http://twitter.com/marykaymanfeed”,”nick”:”marykaymanfeed”}; marykaymanfeed: “If You Love Pussy, Then You Better Put A Stamp On It.: Mary Max, the Founder and Executive Director of Kind Green … http://bit.ly/9SZ4jr ” 17 minutes ago view tweet retweet Filter tweets […]

  2. Kuwanna says:

    Such an important issue. Pet stores are the last place to go for a pet, and why keep these horrible mills in business? And really, why pay a high price for a sickly pup when you can bring a healthy one home for free or close to it? Awesome blog, oh, and awesome title! :)




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  • You May Not Know It.. But This Is Poisonous To Your DogYou May Not Know It.. But This Is Poisonous To Your DogChocolate Ache: Ainsley Drew shares her dogs terrifying trip down the Hershey highway; [Note: If you’ve stumbled on this page somehow because the Internet led you here in the event of your pet being poisoned, call The National Animal Poison Control Center Hotline at 1-800-548-2423.] I went to Nebraska with Booger in tow. Well, technically in TSA-approved, overpriced bag. But she went with me to Omaha, we were going on an adventure. This wasn’t her first time traveling. She’d been on a semi-successful road trip up the coast of New England. After driving all the way up there, we wound up in a two-hundred year old bed and breakfast in New Hampshire, where she promptly fell off the bed and cut her foot. While she wasn’t phased (or slowed down) in the least by the blood pouring out of her paw, I quickly packed up our stuff and checked out, driving five hours home to New York in the dead of night. In total I drove nearly eleven hours that day. She slept on my lap. In spite of her clumsiness, I learned that the Chihuahua travels well. And her paw was fine. Fortunately she has a super-hot (yet curiously creepy) veterinarian, so visits to his office are less traumatic than they could be. Between my daddy issues and the fact that, on the first day I met him, he killed my previous dog (RIP, Snack) I’m pretty attached to Greenwich Village Animal Hospital and Hot Vet. Our trip to the midwest provided many hurdles we needed to cross as a family. Booger’s first flight. Booger’s first introduction to a cat. Booger’s first ingestion of Acepromezine, aka “puppy Xanax.” The night before we left, I cycled through a whole host of possible calamities in my head. The drug would kill her or make her ill. The cat would shred her eyes out of her sockets, or, worse, they’d attack one another and both get hurt. She would yip and whine on the flight, thereby making me “that” shitty passenger, much like she had on her first train ride to Long Island. (To her defense, the LIRR sucks. A lot.) But everything went fine. The Acepromezine knocked her out like Lindsay Lohan after a few bottles of “kombucha” and while the cat had some initial difficulty emotionally coping with the intrusion on his space, the two of them worked it out so that they could coexist with a fair amount of chasing and a shared bowl of dog food. The cat was really into dog food. Fast-forward to the end of our trip. My flight was at around 7AM, so I went to bed early. At around 2AM I heard Booger making noise, a peculiar little cough that I’d never heard her make. Of course, I was half-asleep when she started the curious chortling, so I chalked it up to her inhaling a ball of cat hair or something equally possible, like that she choked on her own spit or was smoking pot in the kitchen. At 4 I woke up and pieced my woozy self together while the puppy zoomed around like a coke fiend halfway through the last LCD Soundsystem album. I thought, “Wow, my dog sure is intuitive. She can tell we’re leaving and she’s excited to go home.” About an hour and a half later I called for a cab to take me to the airport. While shoving errant stockings and bottles of girlie potions into my bag, I picked up Booger’s blanket in order to get her carrying case ready for the journey home. A chunk of something solid and brown fell onto the carpet. Usually if something brown is found near anything associated with my dog, it is poop, which she loves to produce, eat, play with, and put in places never before touched by excrement, like any clean pair of socks that are on my feet. However, this time the mahogany mass was far too flat to be poop. In fact, it was nearly the shape of a perfect square, like some sort of historic artifact, a paleolithic bathroom tile or the precursor to the modern guitar pick, albeit one lined with teeth-marks. I gingerly held it close to my face and looked at it, noticing that it didn’t have the usual eau de pooh, but instead a not-so-subtle aroma of chili and...chocolate. It was then that I realized what had happened. The cat had knocked down the artisanal chili-laced dark chocolate bar that I’d given my host as a gift. It had been on the counter, sitting there innocently throughout the duration of our trip. Once it fell, Booger had eaten it and gotten high, the effects of which she was obviously still suffering. In the battle of cats vs. dogs, cats were clearly winning. The coughing had likely been because of the ancho chili powder that the bar’s Brooklyn-based manufacturer had blended into the mix in order to charge nearly $7 for it. Why my half-Mexican dog wasn’t able to handle a little heat in her health hazard is beyond me. Perhaps it should have come with a side of arsenic laced guac. Because the bar was small-batch and fancy, there was nothing written on what remained of its wrapper other than Spicy Dark. The puppy had eaten the majority of it. Anybody who has ever had a dog likely knows what I’m about to say, but chocolate is toxic to dogs. I had no idea how much she’d consumed, but basic math, logic, and a quick Internet search revealed that it was a lethal dose. Before I continue with my cautionary tale, let me break it down for you, science-style. Chocolate contains two types of stimulants that are part of the drug class methylxanines: caffeine and theobromine. While caffeine in large quantities is great for an insufferable workday and, in even larger quantities, is lethal to everyone, there’s only a slight amount of it in chocolate. But theobromine, which is a toxic compound, spikes the stuff in a much larger dose. Theobromine can send a dog to the great kennel in the sky if he or she eats merely 100-150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. (For those of you dumb at maths like me, a kilogram = 2.2 pounds and a milligram is 1/1000 of a gram.) As for caffeine, it’s toxic to people at 150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, which is the same ratio that can kill a dog. What makes a puppy’s ingestion of chocolate even worse is that theobromine isn’t metabolized quickly, its half life inside of a dog’s body is 17.5 hours. As I made my way to the cab, I called Hot Vet. It was before office hours, so I got the messaging service which, after hearing my predicament, immediately gave me the number to the ASPCA’s poison control hotline. Once connected, things went from bad to dreadful. Indeed, Booger had eaten enough chocolate to kill her. I mean, the dog is only four pounds, it wouldn’t have taken much. What’s worse? The toxicity increases the darker the chocolate is. It takes 20 ounces of milk chocolate to end the life of a twenty pound dog, but only six ounces of semisweet or two ounces of baker’s chocolate to do the same. The bar of dark chocolate that Booger wolfed down was the human equivalent of a bottle of bleach with a heroin chaser. Unless my pocket-sized pooch had the staying power of Keith Richards, things weren’t looking good. “Is there any way you can cancel your fight and go to an emergency clinic? This is a life-threatening situation,” the woman said. “You shouldn’t fly with her. She’ll likely have a seizure during the flight.” Financially and logistically, this was as reasonable as asking me to build my own plane to fly us home. So the ASPCA, Booger, and myself were forced to implement plan B. Miraculously I was able to find a 24 hour convenience store, where I ran in and purchased hydrogen peroxide and peanut butter. Following the instructions of the woman on the line, I forced two plastic spoonfuls of the chemicals down her throat, followed by a bit of smooth Jif to get the taste out of her mouth. She threw up in a matter of minutes, but I couldn’t tell how much of it was chocolate and how much of it was miscellaneous Chihuahua chow. Standing outside of the airport, on the curb, peering at dog puke under a dim streetlight, I fought back tears. It was freezing outside. The look on Booger’s face was a mix of “what the fuck, you’re harshing my mellow” and “what the hell have you done, this sucks.” She looked like me every morning during my first year of college. As advised by the lady, I administered small amounts of water followed by the puppy Xanax, the same amount as I had given her for the first flight. She said there was a chance that the pill would slow Boogs’ heart rate down and reduce the risk of complications or seizures. My vomit-coated, miserable-eyed dog was doped to the gills. We boarded the plane and I wondered if, when we touched down in New York, I’d be hauling a puppy purse filled with dead weight. The flight was a nightmare. I’ve written extensively about my fear of flying and how I hate it. I assure you, I will not be doing it again. Ever. Call me the Lars von Trier of dog ownership, we’re done with planes. It took two flight attendants and a Christian missionary to intervene and stop me from screaming and crying during the two and a half hours of continuous turbulence. When the wheels hit the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport, Booger was still alive, and I appeared to be closer to respiratory and cardiac failure than she did. By the end of that night, she was right as rain. Granted, I wouldn’t let her out of my sight for an instant. I wrote with her in my lap. I cooked dinner with her under my arm. I took a shower and washed the vomit off of her at the same time. We slept in the same bed. I couldn’t stop looking at her and tearing up. Man’s best-friend, maybe. My best-friend? Definitely. While this story has a happy ending, and Booger will live to enjoy many more fecal feasts and poop-permeated playtimes, it could have ended horribly. So I’m going to provide some advice for dog-owners out there that I would have found useful the other day. (If you’re a cat person, your pussy isn’t immune. Cats have an even lower tolerance for chocolate. But fortunately they don’t usually get into the stuff, as cats can’t taste sweetness. There’s your ace for trivia night.) Remember, I’m not a veterinarian. I’m just a slut with a dog and some stories. But here’s what the Internet and this experience taught me: A FEW THINGS TO KNOW TO KEEP YOUR DOG FROM DEATH BY CHOCOLATE First of all, let me get this out of the way. There’s no antidote for chocolate poisoning. More bad news? Your dog can show signs of theobromine poisoning or chocolate toxicity anywhere from four to twenty-four hours after eating it. Theobromine stays in a dog’s body for a long, long time, even if your dog is like mine and shits more frequently than Justin Bieber gets Googled. The darker the chocolate, the more concentrated the toxins. If your dog has eaten any chocolate at all, it’s best to call your vet. A 9-pound dog can experience signs of chocolate toxicity after eating as little as one ounce, so call ‘em. Even if you’re drunk after a holiday party and Fido only ate a bite of the Advent calendar. Chances are, you’ve already paid your vet a shitton of money to keep your pup healthy, calling in an emergency should be a no brainer. Which means, I repeat, if your dog ate chocolate, it is an emergency. You probably wouldn’t accept “But it was just a little bit of meth, mom!” from your kid. One Hershey Kiss could kill ‘em. Call your vet. Signs of chocolate toxicity include: Puking Shitting Increased body temperature Increased reflex responses (which was why Booger became like the Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil on fast-forward) Muscle rigidity Panting Increased heart rate Low blood pressure Seizures Other things the ASPCA worker told me to look out for included shaking, which can be caused by low blood sugar, staggering, and drooling. (Drooling more than normal, bulldog owners.) What your vet might have you do is what I did, induce vomiting. There are two ways to do this, though I guess you can say that forcing your dog to watch Kim’s Fairytale Wedding could be a third. More reliably, you can give your a single teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide followed by a bit of peanut butter or syrup of ipecac. These days vets often recommend using syrup of ipecac instead of H2O2 because hydrogen peroxide can cause esophageal ulcers. If your dog is acting like a nutjob, running around spastically, or having seizures after consuming cocoa candy, time is of the fucking essence. Get to the fucking vet, stat. Any vet. Once you’re there, the vet will likely give your dog an IV of fluids and anti-seizure meds. They may also give your pooch something to protect their heart, as supporting cardiovascular function is really important in the event of a canine chocolate crisis. Other possible treatment may include supporting respiration, maintaining a healthy balance of electrolytes, administering charcoal, and monitoring them to make sure fluid isn’t gathering in the gut. The ASPCA has that hotline you can call and get veterinary advice for a nominal fee. (I paid $65 bucks, which was well worth it, as it saved Booger’s life.) You’re paying for volunteers who answer the phone and provide information, even in the earliest hours of the morning, even to a histrionic girl flying home from Nebraska. The National Animal Poison Control Center Hotline: 1-800-548-2423 and now... You May Not Know It.. But This Is Poisonous To Your Dog A List of Possibly Delicious Foods That Your Dog Should NEVER Eat Avocado. Has persin in it, in both the fruit as well as the plant itself. Is toxic. Onions and garlic, even in powdered form. Can cause anemia. Grapes and raisins. Cause kidney failure. (I learned this the hard way.) Milk and dairy products. Can cause the shits, puking, and itchy allergies. Macadamia nuts. These are basically cyanide to dogs. Never, ever, never, not even a little. Gum or candy containing Xylitol. Can cause liver failure and blood sugar issues. Fat. Like meat trimmings. Fucks with the pancreas. Bones. Sharp, can scratch the internal bits of a dog. Dog insides are soft. Bones are not. Persimmons, peaches, plums. The seeds mess with the intestines and peach and plum pits actually have cyanide in them. Fo’ real. William Carlos Williams can have whatever’s in the icebox if you own a dog. Raw eggs. Salmonella, E.coli, enzymes that mess with the absorption of B vitamins. Raw meat, raw fish. Bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Caffeine. Same reason why chocolate is bad. Alcohol. Duh. And giving your dog too much salt ain’t good ‘cause it can lead to sodium ion poisoning, while too much sugar can cause diabetes. Nobody wants their dog to be nicknamed Wilford Brimley. So there you go. Feed your dog dog food. Go to the vet. Keep chocolate far, far, far away from where dogs can reach it or cats can knock it to the floor. And hug your pet. ‘Cause it’s likely that you realize they’re important to you, but often it’s during a life-threatening emergency that you’re forced to recognize just how much. Ainsley Drew  is a native New Yorker and half of the copywriting team known as Ministry of Imagery. She has twice been the guest editor of kottke.org and her work has been featured in the New York Press, Curve magazine, The Rumpus, Perceptions Magazine,  and The Wanderlust Review. She maintains the weekly blog Jerk Ethic and hopes to one day be a notorious literary celebrity with her name in […]
  • Born To RescueBorn To RescueSome folks are born to shop, others are born with a will and desire to fight injustices and protect those without a voice.   Kathryn Hostettler is one of those people.   Check out her inspiring story; I think I was born with an innate desire to protect helpless creatures, evidenced by the menagerie of animals I would bring home over the years. One of my first rescues was in second grade. Some friends down the street got a puppy for Christmas. She was a tiny black poodle and they called her Black Magic. Typically, evil breeders will dock poodle tails but for some reason, hers wasn't. It curled back onto itself like an apostrophe. On a chilly day during winter break, I went down to visit her and much to my horror, she was laying in the middle of the road. The kids brought her outside with them and the warmest place was on the asphalt road that had been soaking up the rays of the afternoon sun. One good thing about growing up in no-man's-land was that there wasn't a whole lot of traffic on the road. Still, I decided this was not an adequate home for this or any puppy. I scooped her up in my arms and promised her I would find a way to keep her safe. I convened an emergency meeting with my friend and her five year old brother and negotiated the terms of the puppy's adoption. I wrapped her in my scarf and began the quarter mile trek home. During my journey, I rehearsed my best argument for keeping her, pausing only to wonder aloud what her new name would be once she was ours. I walked into the kitchen and put her on the floor. I told my mother we simply had to save her. While my mother's initial response was an unequivocal "No!", before long, she was on her hands and knees, and the puppy was charming her with kisses. I am unaware of the terms of the adult negotiation but the end result was the addition of Lady Gabrielle Nicole, or Nikki, to our clan. Nikki was the first in a long line of rescues for my family and me which included more stray cats than I can count, an abandoned litter of puppies, the schoolroom guinea pig, and even a horse. The last of my rescues to date was Ray, a seven month old pure bred blond Labrador that had been severely neglected. While I initially intended to foster him and look for a forever home, it took all of two minutes for me to become completely attached. And the innate rescuer in me wouldn't have had it any other way. Because of the neglect, including lack of proper nutrition, exercise, and socialization, and possibly some physical abuse as well, it took nearly a year for him to bond with me, but bond he did. I had Ray for thirteen years. We were together through some of the most difficult and horrible, and lovely and exciting times of my life. We lived on both coasts and made the cross country trek twice. He was an irreplaceable constant in my life. He protected me, kept me company, and entertained me endlessly. Ray passed away peacefully on November 6, 2008, just after 7:30 PM. I cradled him in my arms as he took his last breath and I thanked him for every moment I had spent with him, how he enriched my life and those around me. I told him that while technically I had saved him, in the end, he had saved me. To honor Ray, I became a volunteer at Rogers'  Rescues. I was introduced to the organization by Marianne, a board member, volunteer, and foster mom, who understands the sorrow of losing a pet. She suggested I get involved with dogs in need to help ease the pain of my loss.   And how right she was! Rogers' Rescues is a colorful bunch! We are a group of dedicated dog rescue volunteers spread from New Jersey to Southeastern Pennsylvania who commit their free time to helping place homeless dogs into loving adoptive homes. The majority of our foster dogs originally come from shelters in the South that are in desperate need of help due to low rates of spaying and neutering as well as lack of homes for the vast number of dogs in need. {EDITORS NOTE: Most shelters in the South still euthanize dogs in shelters at an alarming rate - most with the archaic "heart stick" or "gas chamber" method.   Before you consider buying a dog, remember that a rescued pup would love you just as much.. and you will actually be saving a life!} Check out this documentary from one of our shelter trips; While we visit the shelters in the South a few times per year, once each month, we set off in two cargo vans filled with empty crates and head to a centrally located meeting spot in Maryland. We greet, walk, and water the dogs and then load them in the vans, stopping along the way to drop them at foster homes, breed-specific rescues, and private adopters. Some dogs travel from West Virginia all the way to Massachusetts in one day as part of a cooperative network of rescues and individual volunteers, organized and monitored by a dedicated and knowledgeable member of Rogers' Rescues. Since 2002, Rogers' has saved more than 1,200 dogs and counting! Check out our happy endings video for 2009; The rewards of being a part of this wonderfully dedicated organization have far surpassed anything I could have imagined. If you are looking for a way to make a difference in a dog's life, meet new and inspiring people, or perhaps heal some pain of your own, I suggest getting involved in rescue. You won't regret it. And the dogs will thank you! For more information on Rogers'   Rescues, please visit our web site, or go to PetfinderTM and search for an organization in your area, or check out GirlieGirlArmy's weekly list of adoptable pets in urgent need of rescue. Kathryn Hostettler is a full time social work graduate student, part time pet nanny, volunteer with Rogers Rescues, and vegan home cook. She won an honorable mention in the November2009 Vegetarian Times for her Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Candied Cranberries recipe. […]

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    • Hot Humanitarians and Soft-Hearted Studs Launch Calendar Featuring Rescued PetsHot Humanitarians and Soft-Hearted Studs Launch Calendar Featuring Rescued PetsThe August weather isn't the only thing making folks steamy across the country. RescueMen are the softhearted studs whose stories and photos grace the pages of the 2017 RescueMen USA calendar coming out in September. The third annual charity calendar showcases inspirational men who have all rescued their companion animals, and is intended to promote how extraordinary and loving shelter animals can be, while erasing any stigma surrounding their health or behavior. The RescueMen USA calendar separates itself from similar types of male pin-up calendars by uniquely featuring the true stories of how these real men rescued their best friends (and sometimes vice versa.) What's hotter than a man with a heart of gold? Created by casting director Jen Halpern (President of Pillows for Paws) and actress Felicia Greenfield (President of Grandpa Dave’s Creature Comforts), the RescueMen USA campaign was developed as a way to grow awareness about the Adopt, Don't Shop movement.  This is the kind of pussy-meets-macho we are all about! With a $25 contribution, donors will receive a gift of their own 2017 RescueMen USA calendar. Donations to the RescueMen© Campaign benefit its umbrella organization, Pillows for Paws©, a 501(c)3 non-profit 100% volunteer run group that donates essential material items to shelter cats, dogs and rabbits on a monthly basis to homeless animals at Animal Care Centers of NYC. These items are crucial in improving the emotional well-being of homeless dogs, cats, and bunnies while they wait to go to their forever homes. Buy it […]
    • You May Not Know It.. But This Is Poisonous To Your DogYou May Not Know It.. But This Is Poisonous To Your DogChocolate Ache: Ainsley Drew shares her dogs terrifying trip down the Hershey highway; [Note: If you’ve stumbled on this page somehow because the Internet led you here in the event of your pet being poisoned, call The National Animal Poison Control Center Hotline at 1-800-548-2423.] I went to Nebraska with Booger in tow. Well, technically in TSA-approved, overpriced bag. But she went with me to Omaha, we were going on an adventure. This wasn’t her first time traveling. She’d been on a semi-successful road trip up the coast of New England. After driving all the way up there, we wound up in a two-hundred year old bed and breakfast in New Hampshire, where she promptly fell off the bed and cut her foot. While she wasn’t phased (or slowed down) in the least by the blood pouring out of her paw, I quickly packed up our stuff and checked out, driving five hours home to New York in the dead of night. In total I drove nearly eleven hours that day. She slept on my lap. In spite of her clumsiness, I learned that the Chihuahua travels well. And her paw was fine. Fortunately she has a super-hot (yet curiously creepy) veterinarian, so visits to his office are less traumatic than they could be. Between my daddy issues and the fact that, on the first day I met him, he killed my previous dog (RIP, Snack) I’m pretty attached to Greenwich Village Animal Hospital and Hot Vet. Our trip to the midwest provided many hurdles we needed to cross as a family. Booger’s first flight. Booger’s first introduction to a cat. Booger’s first ingestion of Acepromezine, aka “puppy Xanax.” The night before we left, I cycled through a whole host of possible calamities in my head. The drug would kill her or make her ill. The cat would shred her eyes out of her sockets, or, worse, they’d attack one another and both get hurt. She would yip and whine on the flight, thereby making me “that” shitty passenger, much like she had on her first train ride to Long Island. (To her defense, the LIRR sucks. A lot.) But everything went fine. The Acepromezine knocked her out like Lindsay Lohan after a few bottles of “kombucha” and while the cat had some initial difficulty emotionally coping with the intrusion on his space, the two of them worked it out so that they could coexist with a fair amount of chasing and a shared bowl of dog food. The cat was really into dog food. Fast-forward to the end of our trip. My flight was at around 7AM, so I went to bed early. At around 2AM I heard Booger making noise, a peculiar little cough that I’d never heard her make. Of course, I was half-asleep when she started the curious chortling, so I chalked it up to her inhaling a ball of cat hair or something equally possible, like that she choked on her own spit or was smoking pot in the kitchen. At 4 I woke up and pieced my woozy self together while the puppy zoomed around like a coke fiend halfway through the last LCD Soundsystem album. I thought, “Wow, my dog sure is intuitive. She can tell we’re leaving and she’s excited to go home.” About an hour and a half later I called for a cab to take me to the airport. While shoving errant stockings and bottles of girlie potions into my bag, I picked up Booger’s blanket in order to get her carrying case ready for the journey home. A chunk of something solid and brown fell onto the carpet. Usually if something brown is found near anything associated with my dog, it is poop, which she loves to produce, eat, play with, and put in places never before touched by excrement, like any clean pair of socks that are on my feet. However, this time the mahogany mass was far too flat to be poop. In fact, it was nearly the shape of a perfect square, like some sort of historic artifact, a paleolithic bathroom tile or the precursor to the modern guitar pick, albeit one lined with teeth-marks. I gingerly held it close to my face and looked at it, noticing that it didn’t have the usual eau de pooh, but instead a not-so-subtle aroma of chili and...chocolate. It was then that I realized what had happened. The cat had knocked down the artisanal chili-laced dark chocolate bar that I’d given my host as a gift. It had been on the counter, sitting there innocently throughout the duration of our trip. Once it fell, Booger had eaten it and gotten high, the effects of which she was obviously still suffering. In the battle of cats vs. dogs, cats were clearly winning. The coughing had likely been because of the ancho chili powder that the bar’s Brooklyn-based manufacturer had blended into the mix in order to charge nearly $7 for it. Why my half-Mexican dog wasn’t able to handle a little heat in her health hazard is beyond me. Perhaps it should have come with a side of arsenic laced guac. Because the bar was small-batch and fancy, there was nothing written on what remained of its wrapper other than Spicy Dark. The puppy had eaten the majority of it. Anybody who has ever had a dog likely knows what I’m about to say, but chocolate is toxic to dogs. I had no idea how much she’d consumed, but basic math, logic, and a quick Internet search revealed that it was a lethal dose. Before I continue with my cautionary tale, let me break it down for you, science-style. Chocolate contains two types of stimulants that are part of the drug class methylxanines: caffeine and theobromine. While caffeine in large quantities is great for an insufferable workday and, in even larger quantities, is lethal to everyone, there’s only a slight amount of it in chocolate. But theobromine, which is a toxic compound, spikes the stuff in a much larger dose. Theobromine can send a dog to the great kennel in the sky if he or she eats merely 100-150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. (For those of you dumb at maths like me, a kilogram = 2.2 pounds and a milligram is 1/1000 of a gram.) As for caffeine, it’s toxic to people at 150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, which is the same ratio that can kill a dog. What makes a puppy’s ingestion of chocolate even worse is that theobromine isn’t metabolized quickly, its half life inside of a dog’s body is 17.5 hours. As I made my way to the cab, I called Hot Vet. It was before office hours, so I got the messaging service which, after hearing my predicament, immediately gave me the number to the ASPCA’s poison control hotline. Once connected, things went from bad to dreadful. Indeed, Booger had eaten enough chocolate to kill her. I mean, the dog is only four pounds, it wouldn’t have taken much. What’s worse? The toxicity increases the darker the chocolate is. It takes 20 ounces of milk chocolate to end the life of a twenty pound dog, but only six ounces of semisweet or two ounces of baker’s chocolate to do the same. The bar of dark chocolate that Booger wolfed down was the human equivalent of a bottle of bleach with a heroin chaser. Unless my pocket-sized pooch had the staying power of Keith Richards, things weren’t looking good. “Is there any way you can cancel your fight and go to an emergency clinic? This is a life-threatening situation,” the woman said. “You shouldn’t fly with her. She’ll likely have a seizure during the flight.” Financially and logistically, this was as reasonable as asking me to build my own plane to fly us home. So the ASPCA, Booger, and myself were forced to implement plan B. Miraculously I was able to find a 24 hour convenience store, where I ran in and purchased hydrogen peroxide and peanut butter. Following the instructions of the woman on the line, I forced two plastic spoonfuls of the chemicals down her throat, followed by a bit of smooth Jif to get the taste out of her mouth. She threw up in a matter of minutes, but I couldn’t tell how much of it was chocolate and how much of it was miscellaneous Chihuahua chow. Standing outside of the airport, on the curb, peering at dog puke under a dim streetlight, I fought back tears. It was freezing outside. The look on Booger’s face was a mix of “what the fuck, you’re harshing my mellow” and “what the hell have you done, this sucks.” She looked like me every morning during my first year of college. As advised by the lady, I administered small amounts of water followed by the puppy Xanax, the same amount as I had given her for the first flight. She said there was a chance that the pill would slow Boogs’ heart rate down and reduce the risk of complications or seizures. My vomit-coated, miserable-eyed dog was doped to the gills. We boarded the plane and I wondered if, when we touched down in New York, I’d be hauling a puppy purse filled with dead weight. The flight was a nightmare. I’ve written extensively about my fear of flying and how I hate it. I assure you, I will not be doing it again. Ever. Call me the Lars von Trier of dog ownership, we’re done with planes. It took two flight attendants and a Christian missionary to intervene and stop me from screaming and crying during the two and a half hours of continuous turbulence. When the wheels hit the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport, Booger was still alive, and I appeared to be closer to respiratory and cardiac failure than she did. By the end of that night, she was right as rain. Granted, I wouldn’t let her out of my sight for an instant. I wrote with her in my lap. I cooked dinner with her under my arm. I took a shower and washed the vomit off of her at the same time. We slept in the same bed. I couldn’t stop looking at her and tearing up. Man’s best-friend, maybe. My best-friend? Definitely. While this story has a happy ending, and Booger will live to enjoy many more fecal feasts and poop-permeated playtimes, it could have ended horribly. So I’m going to provide some advice for dog-owners out there that I would have found useful the other day. (If you’re a cat person, your pussy isn’t immune. Cats have an even lower tolerance for chocolate. But fortunately they don’t usually get into the stuff, as cats can’t taste sweetness. There’s your ace for trivia night.) Remember, I’m not a veterinarian. I’m just a slut with a dog and some stories. But here’s what the Internet and this experience taught me: A FEW THINGS TO KNOW TO KEEP YOUR DOG FROM DEATH BY CHOCOLATE First of all, let me get this out of the way. There’s no antidote for chocolate poisoning. More bad news? Your dog can show signs of theobromine poisoning or chocolate toxicity anywhere from four to twenty-four hours after eating it. Theobromine stays in a dog’s body for a long, long time, even if your dog is like mine and shits more frequently than Justin Bieber gets Googled. The darker the chocolate, the more concentrated the toxins. If your dog has eaten any chocolate at all, it’s best to call your vet. A 9-pound dog can experience signs of chocolate toxicity after eating as little as one ounce, so call ‘em. Even if you’re drunk after a holiday party and Fido only ate a bite of the Advent calendar. Chances are, you’ve already paid your vet a shitton of money to keep your pup healthy, calling in an emergency should be a no brainer. Which means, I repeat, if your dog ate chocolate, it is an emergency. You probably wouldn’t accept “But it was just a little bit of meth, mom!” from your kid. One Hershey Kiss could kill ‘em. Call your vet. Signs of chocolate toxicity include: Puking Shitting Increased body temperature Increased reflex responses (which was why Booger became like the Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil on fast-forward) Muscle rigidity Panting Increased heart rate Low blood pressure Seizures Other things the ASPCA worker told me to look out for included shaking, which can be caused by low blood sugar, staggering, and drooling. (Drooling more than normal, bulldog owners.) What your vet might have you do is what I did, induce vomiting. There are two ways to do this, though I guess you can say that forcing your dog to watch Kim’s Fairytale Wedding could be a third. More reliably, you can give your a single teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide followed by a bit of peanut butter or syrup of ipecac. These days vets often recommend using syrup of ipecac instead of H2O2 because hydrogen peroxide can cause esophageal ulcers. If your dog is acting like a nutjob, running around spastically, or having seizures after consuming cocoa candy, time is of the fucking essence. Get to the fucking vet, stat. Any vet. Once you’re there, the vet will likely give your dog an IV of fluids and anti-seizure meds. They may also give your pooch something to protect their heart, as supporting cardiovascular function is really important in the event of a canine chocolate crisis. Other possible treatment may include supporting respiration, maintaining a healthy balance of electrolytes, administering charcoal, and monitoring them to make sure fluid isn’t gathering in the gut. The ASPCA has that hotline you can call and get veterinary advice for a nominal fee. (I paid $65 bucks, which was well worth it, as it saved Booger’s life.) You’re paying for volunteers who answer the phone and provide information, even in the earliest hours of the morning, even to a histrionic girl flying home from Nebraska. The National Animal Poison Control Center Hotline: 1-800-548-2423 and now... You May Not Know It.. But This Is Poisonous To Your Dog A List of Possibly Delicious Foods That Your Dog Should NEVER Eat Avocado. Has persin in it, in both the fruit as well as the plant itself. Is toxic. Onions and garlic, even in powdered form. Can cause anemia. Grapes and raisins. Cause kidney failure. (I learned this the hard way.) Milk and dairy products. Can cause the shits, puking, and itchy allergies. Macadamia nuts. These are basically cyanide to dogs. Never, ever, never, not even a little. Gum or candy containing Xylitol. Can cause liver failure and blood sugar issues. Fat. Like meat trimmings. Fucks with the pancreas. Bones. Sharp, can scratch the internal bits of a dog. Dog insides are soft. Bones are not. Persimmons, peaches, plums. The seeds mess with the intestines and peach and plum pits actually have cyanide in them. Fo’ real. William Carlos Williams can have whatever’s in the icebox if you own a dog. Raw eggs. Salmonella, E.coli, enzymes that mess with the absorption of B vitamins. Raw meat, raw fish. Bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Caffeine. Same reason why chocolate is bad. Alcohol. Duh. And giving your dog too much salt ain’t good ‘cause it can lead to sodium ion poisoning, while too much sugar can cause diabetes. Nobody wants their dog to be nicknamed Wilford Brimley. So there you go. Feed your dog dog food. Go to the vet. Keep chocolate far, far, far away from where dogs can reach it or cats can knock it to the floor. And hug your pet. ‘Cause it’s likely that you realize they’re important to you, but often it’s during a life-threatening emergency that you’re forced to recognize just how much. Ainsley Drew  is a native New Yorker and half of the copywriting team known as Ministry of Imagery. She has twice been the guest editor of kottke.org and her work has been featured in the New York Press, Curve magazine, The Rumpus, Perceptions Magazine,  and The Wanderlust Review. She maintains the weekly blog Jerk Ethic and hopes to one day be a notorious literary celebrity with her name in […]
    • Born To RescueBorn To RescueSome folks are born to shop, others are born with a will and desire to fight injustices and protect those without a voice.   Kathryn Hostettler is one of those people.   Check out her inspiring story; I think I was born with an innate desire to protect helpless creatures, evidenced by the menagerie of animals I would bring home over the years. One of my first rescues was in second grade. Some friends down the street got a puppy for Christmas. She was a tiny black poodle and they called her Black Magic. Typically, evil breeders will dock poodle tails but for some reason, hers wasn't. It curled back onto itself like an apostrophe. On a chilly day during winter break, I went down to visit her and much to my horror, she was laying in the middle of the road. The kids brought her outside with them and the warmest place was on the asphalt road that had been soaking up the rays of the afternoon sun. One good thing about growing up in no-man's-land was that there wasn't a whole lot of traffic on the road. Still, I decided this was not an adequate home for this or any puppy. I scooped her up in my arms and promised her I would find a way to keep her safe. I convened an emergency meeting with my friend and her five year old brother and negotiated the terms of the puppy's adoption. I wrapped her in my scarf and began the quarter mile trek home. During my journey, I rehearsed my best argument for keeping her, pausing only to wonder aloud what her new name would be once she was ours. I walked into the kitchen and put her on the floor. I told my mother we simply had to save her. While my mother's initial response was an unequivocal "No!", before long, she was on her hands and knees, and the puppy was charming her with kisses. I am unaware of the terms of the adult negotiation but the end result was the addition of Lady Gabrielle Nicole, or Nikki, to our clan. Nikki was the first in a long line of rescues for my family and me which included more stray cats than I can count, an abandoned litter of puppies, the schoolroom guinea pig, and even a horse. The last of my rescues to date was Ray, a seven month old pure bred blond Labrador that had been severely neglected. While I initially intended to foster him and look for a forever home, it took all of two minutes for me to become completely attached. And the innate rescuer in me wouldn't have had it any other way. Because of the neglect, including lack of proper nutrition, exercise, and socialization, and possibly some physical abuse as well, it took nearly a year for him to bond with me, but bond he did. I had Ray for thirteen years. We were together through some of the most difficult and horrible, and lovely and exciting times of my life. We lived on both coasts and made the cross country trek twice. He was an irreplaceable constant in my life. He protected me, kept me company, and entertained me endlessly. Ray passed away peacefully on November 6, 2008, just after 7:30 PM. I cradled him in my arms as he took his last breath and I thanked him for every moment I had spent with him, how he enriched my life and those around me. I told him that while technically I had saved him, in the end, he had saved me. To honor Ray, I became a volunteer at Rogers'  Rescues. I was introduced to the organization by Marianne, a board member, volunteer, and foster mom, who understands the sorrow of losing a pet. She suggested I get involved with dogs in need to help ease the pain of my loss.   And how right she was! Rogers' Rescues is a colorful bunch! We are a group of dedicated dog rescue volunteers spread from New Jersey to Southeastern Pennsylvania who commit their free time to helping place homeless dogs into loving adoptive homes. The majority of our foster dogs originally come from shelters in the South that are in desperate need of help due to low rates of spaying and neutering as well as lack of homes for the vast number of dogs in need. {EDITORS NOTE: Most shelters in the South still euthanize dogs in shelters at an alarming rate - most with the archaic "heart stick" or "gas chamber" method.   Before you consider buying a dog, remember that a rescued pup would love you just as much.. and you will actually be saving a life!} Check out this documentary from one of our shelter trips; While we visit the shelters in the South a few times per year, once each month, we set off in two cargo vans filled with empty crates and head to a centrally located meeting spot in Maryland. We greet, walk, and water the dogs and then load them in the vans, stopping along the way to drop them at foster homes, breed-specific rescues, and private adopters. Some dogs travel from West Virginia all the way to Massachusetts in one day as part of a cooperative network of rescues and individual volunteers, organized and monitored by a dedicated and knowledgeable member of Rogers' Rescues. Since 2002, Rogers' has saved more than 1,200 dogs and counting! Check out our happy endings video for 2009; The rewards of being a part of this wonderfully dedicated organization have far surpassed anything I could have imagined. If you are looking for a way to make a difference in a dog's life, meet new and inspiring people, or perhaps heal some pain of your own, I suggest getting involved in rescue. You won't regret it. And the dogs will thank you! For more information on Rogers'   Rescues, please visit our web site, or go to PetfinderTM and search for an organization in your area, or check out GirlieGirlArmy's weekly list of adoptable pets in urgent need of rescue. Kathryn Hostettler is a full time social work graduate student, part time pet nanny, volunteer with Rogers Rescues, and vegan home cook. She won an honorable mention in the November2009 Vegetarian Times for her Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Candied Cranberries recipe. […]