Join the Mutt-i-grees®
Movement: Save an Animal’s Life
by Beth Stern
movement can be a change in physical position, a group of people
working together to advance shared ideas, or part of a musical
composition, and now North Shore Animal League America is giving
new meaning to the word by encouraging children and adults to
participate in the Mutt-i-grees Movement.
2009, North Shore Animal League America,
the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption
organization, created the Mutt-i-grees Initiative
to give a voice to the millions of shelter dogs in the United
States. Today, Mutt-i-grees include
all shelter pets-purebreds and mixed-breeds—puppies, kittens,
dogs, and cats. And while their individuality makes each of
these Mutt-i-grees special,
they all share a common need to find permanent loving homes.
estimated 8-10 million animals enter shelters each year and most
are healthy, affectionate and beautiful. Tragically, more than
half of these animals are euthanized, the victims of
an effort to recognize that shelters have many wonderful animals
available for adoption, I
was delighted to participate in the recently launched Mutt-i-grees Movement
Campaign. This included the debut of a Public Service
Announcement, which you can view, download and share at
reaches far and wide. In addition to including adults, it
touches children in over 900 schools in 27 states who are
sharing the joy of shelter animals through the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum-which
was created in partnership with Yale University’s
School of the 21 Century and funded by the Millan Foundation.
Focusing on shelter animals provides a unique context in which
to teach children empathy, social responsibility, and the skills
to effectively communicate and manage emotions. The Mutt-i-greesCurriculum
educates the next generation to be confident, caring and to make
a difference in the lives of people, animals and the
environment. Children across the nation are also participating
in Mutt-i-grees ACTIVities,
which offer physical conditioning through animal-themed
Raising awareness of the Mutt-i-grees Movement
can change the way cat and dog-loving Americans perceive shelter
pets and ultimately save the precious lives of countless
animals. My husband Howard, Bianca (our bulldog) and I welcomed
cats Apple, Walter and Leon Bear into our home from the Animal
League, and we can’t imagine our lives without them.
Adoption is the responsible choice. Visit a shelter, log on towww.AnimalLeague.org,
join the Mutt-i-grees Movement
and we’ll all be one step closer to a no-kill nation.
ABOUT BETH STERN (www.betho.com):
As spokesperson for North Shore Animal League America, Beth
helps to illuminate the organization’s mission and has aided in
finding permanent homes for thousands of dogs, cats, puppies,
and kittens. She regularly assists in the Animal League’s puppy
mill rescues where she lovingly helps with their safe transport,
in addition to advocating for adoption of senior pets and
encouraging people who cannot adopt to foster an animal. Beth
and her husband Howard are the proud pet parents of Bulldog
Bianca and three adopted Animal League cats, Apple, Walter and
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Owners Would Spend Thousands To Save Pets’ Lives
ahead and budgeting for the cost of pet health could help you
feel more prepared when you face a serious health situation with
“Determining how much we are willing or able to spend to sustain
the life of a pet is a decision none of us ever wants to make,
but given the rising cost of pet health care, it’s often an
inevitable one,” said Dr. Jennifer Coates, a Colorado-based
veterinarian and author.
According to a recent survey by The Kroger Co.,
approximately one in 10 dog or cat owners is willing to spend
more than $3,000 on medical procedures if it meant that their
pet could be saved. Meanwhile, a majority of pet owners (61
percent) surveyed said they would be willing to spend between
$100 and $1,000 to save Fluffy or Fido’s life. Another 15
percent are comfortable spending between $1,000 and $3,000 for
lifesaving medical care for their pet.
When asked what they fear most about their pet’s well-being,
about one in four of dog owners said cancer (27 percent),
followed by hip/knee/leg injury (17 percent) and getting hit by
a car (16 percent). The biggest concern for cat owners was
kidney disease (19 percent), cancer (17 percent) and injuries
sustained by fights with other animals (10 percent).
Only a small percentage of the pet owners surveyed said they had
pet insurance--4 percent of dog owners and 2 percent of cat
owners. However, 61 percent of dog owners and 48 percent of cat
owners said they would consider purchasing pet insurance if it
costs under $20 per month.
Interestingly, at least half of pet owners (55 percent with
dogs, 51 percent with cats) would be interested in adding their
pets to their own health insurance plans, if such a thing were
“Veterinary care has become increasingly more sophisticated and
expensive, with some lifesaving treatments running as high as
$5,000 or more,” said Dr. Coates. “Those potential out-of-pocket
costs are what make pet insurance a prudent investment. And from
an emotional standpoint, pet insurance keeps owners from having
to ask that dreaded question, ‘how much can I spend to keep my
More information is available at www.savewithpetinsurance.
Potential out-of-pocket costs are what make pet insurance a
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Simple Acts Can Save Homeless Pets’ Lives
numbers alone are staggering. Each year in the U.S.,
8 million pets end up in shelters, and of these, only half find
new homes. Approximately 11,000 pets a day, or 4 million each
year, are euthanized, even though most of them are adoptable.
Despite these overwhelming statistics, ending pet homelessness
is an achievable goal and everyone can be part of the solution.
People Saving Pets, a new social movement created by PetSmart
Charities, is dedicated to saving homeless pets and suggests
five simple actions that anyone can take—today—to save lives.
1. Adopt: If you
have the time and resources to care for a pet, choose to adopt
instead of buying your pet from a breeder or pet store. Have
your heart set on a particular breed? Nearly 25 percent of
animals living in shelters are purebreds, and many rescue groups
are dedicated to specific breeds.
2. Spay and Neuter: If
you’re already planning to adopt or currently own a pet, have
your pet spayed/neutered. It’s one of the best ways to reduce
overcrowding in shelters and lower euthanasia rates, yet 35
percent of the cats and dogs living in U.S. households
have not had this simple and safe procedure. Cats and dogs can
be spayed/neutered as early as 8 weeks old, and studies have
shown that the procedure can provide significant health benefits
and reduce behavioral problems.
Furthermore, price doesn’t have to keep you from doing the right
thing for your pet. Certain clinics will provide you with
spay/neuter services at a reduced cost—sometimes even for free.
To find one nearby, check out the People Saving Pets clinic
locator tool at www.peoplesavingpets.org.
3. Volunteer: Can’t
welcome a new pet into your family just yet? Volunteer at your
local shelter! From providing playtime for pets to helping out
at adoption events or becoming a foster pet parent, your time
will make a huge difference in saving pets.
4. Donate: Shelters
rely heavily on donations. A small gift can go a long way. If
you can’t donate money, household items such as cleaning
products, garbage bags and old blankets and towels are also
5. Share: Perhaps
the easiest way to help save homeless pets is to spread the
word. Let your friends, family and co-workers know that you’re
passionate about helping animals and how they can be part of the
solution. Use social media like Facebook and Twitter to share
information and opportunities to help pets with your networks.
you can find tools and resources to help save pets’ lives, such
as an adoptable pet locator and a low-cost spay/neuter clinic
locator, and find opportunities to volunteer and donate to local
animal welfare organizations. You can also join the conversation
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Barking Up The Right Tree
people looking to be their own boss or to start a second career
are exploring franchise ownership. Labeled “free agents” by Fast
Company author Dan Pink and the “creative class” by economist
Richard Florida, this new breed, experts say, is motivated to
use its creative intelligence and do fulfilling work in addition
to achieving its financial goals.
example, consider the $50 billion-plus pet industry. Many with
an entrepreneurial spirit and a savvy business sense are
exploring the pet services market.
franchise offering in-home dog behavioral training, Bark
Busters, is the world’s largest dog training company. Over
500,000 dogs have been trained using its dog-friendly, natural
According to Liam Crowe, CEO of Bark Busters USA, “Dog-loving
entrepreneurs find our positive approach to dog training very
appealing. Our national call center and website receive more
than 10,000 inquiries per month, many from frustrated dog owners
seeking an effective and immediate way to address their dogs’
Now, the same management team is offering another franchise
concept: G’day! Pet Care, a business that provides home care and
pet-sitting service, dog walking, and premium pet food with free
delivery. Both franchises provide specialized training and
ongoing business and marketing support.
“I’ve always loved and owned dogs,” said one franchise owner in Illinois.
“After spending most of my life working in retail, I longed to
work with dogs and to make a difference in the world. With Bark
Busters, I now do what I love, helping others who are frustrated
with their dog’s behavior, and I get great satisfaction from
seeing a happy dog owner who now has a well-behaved dog.”
“Owning my own business is the best decision I’ve ever made,”
said a G’day! Pet Care owner in Colorado.
“I love the flexibility of being my own boss and setting my own
schedule. With the recurring customer base in this business
model, I make a good living and can scale my business to earn
even more. I couldn’t be happier!”
more information, visit www.barkbusters.com orwww.gdaypetcare.com or
call (877) 300-2275.
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The Truth About Cats And Dogs
(NAPSI)—When it comes to dogs and cats, myths abound, but you
can be wise to their ways if you follow a few facts.
“The problem with myths is that pet owners who act on
misinformation may not best meet the needs of their dog or cat,”
said American Kennel Club® (AKC) Meet the Breeds® Spokesperson
separate fact from fiction, the AKC and The International Cat
Association set the record straight on some of the most
Cats need milk—False. While
cats like the taste, their bodies don’t have much lactase and
milk can give adult cats diarrhea.
Dogs are sick when their noses are warm—False. It’s
an old wives tale that cold, wet noses indicate health. The only
way to tell your dog’s temperature is to take it with a
Cats smell with their mouths—True. Cats
have a small scent gland called the vomeronasal organ on the
roof of their mouth. To get a really good whiff of something,
they’ll open their mouths very wide so the odor hits the gland.
A dog’s wagging tail means he’s happy—False. While
a natural, mid-level wagging tail indicates happiness, most
other wags mean the opposite. A high, stiff wagging tail means
the dog is agitated and ready to protect something and a low,
quick wag means the dog is scared and submissive.
A cat purrs when he’s happy—False. A
cat does purr when content but will also purr when in pain.
It’s true you can learn more about dog and cat myths and
training directly from pet experts at the world’s largest
showcase of dogs and cats, AKC Meet the Breeds. It features
hundreds of breeds in booths decorated to depict each one’s
origin, historical function and attributes as a pet. This
family-friendly event, held in New
November, lets potential pet owners interact with responsible
breeders and play with dogs and cats while learning about pet
ownership and the right pet for their lifestyle.
more information, visit www.MeetTheBreeds.com.
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A Step Ahead Of Veterinary Costs
to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent $12.8 billion
on veterinary care in 2010.
and cat owners spending an average of $578 and $278 respectively on
nonroutine veterinary procedures annually, quality care for both
preventative and unplanned visits is essential.
the most important things pet owners can do is to find a veterinarian
who makes them and their pet feel comfortable, provides the best care
and offers options that make payment easy,” says Judith Gass, veterinary
marketing director for CareCredit, a health care credit card offering
financing options for pet care and every member of the family. “The
right veterinarian can help to solve behavioral problems, vaccinate
against diseases and catch potential problems before they become
you provide the care your pet needs when it’s needed and stay within
your budget? It may be easier than you think with these tips:
tune with your pet’s needs. Sometimes, pets can act moody or do
something that’s out of character. But if you notice prolonged signs of
discontent or strange behavior, call your veterinarian for advice. Your
pet can’t tell you what’s wrong or ask for help. Treating an illness or
condition in the early stage may save money—and most importantly, it may
save your dog’s or cat’s life.
know your veterinarian. During routine visits, take the
opportunity to develop a relationship with your veterinarian. Asking
questions and establishing a rapport can ease the strain if there’s an
emergency or unexpected situation, when anxiety often runs high. Your
pet is a family member, so it’s important that you feel comfortable
enough with your veterinarian to tell him or her about any concerns you
have and to ask for suggestions.
prepared with payment options. Along with recommendations for the
best care, ask your veterinarian to explain the clinic’s payment policy.
Many veterinarians now offer reliable payment options like CareCredit®,
which has been available for nearly 25 years and allows monthly payments
on pet care—everything from routine checkups to emergency care. This
type of flexible financing is a convenient way to spread out payments
with deferred interest or extended payment plan options.
To find out more, you can visit
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Protect Your Pet This Flea And Tick Season
the warm weather comes lazy afternoons in the backyard and long
walks through the park, enjoyed with both family members and
pets. During these family outings, parents take extra
precautions to shield their children from the strong rays of the
sun and irritating insect bites. Pet owners must do the same,
because as the temperatures rise, so does the threat of fleas
and ticks to cats and dogs. A product is now available that
makes protecting the beloved family pet from these harmful
nuisances much more affordable and accessible.
Both ticks and fleas can be found across the United
thrive during the warmer months. So while you and your pet are
enjoying the summer sun and the great outdoors, fleas and ticks
are inhabiting your surroundings and threatening the health of
your pet and the comfort of your home. However, the threat does
not exist solely in nature. Other dogs and cats with fleas can
quickly infect your pet. Fleas can jump up to 200 times their
body length, so it is easy for them to spread when dogs are
socializing in the park or playing together at the beach.
Although they can be as small as a pinhead, fleas and ticks are
capable of causing great pain and suffering to your pet. Ticks
carry illnesses, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted
fever, that can infect pets as well as family members. Tapeworms
can be transmitted by fleas and their bites can cause allergy
dermatitis, the most common allergic skin disease of dogs and
cats. If left untreated, fleas can even cause anemia.
Prevention Is the Best Medicine
Preventing fleas and ticks is easier and much more cost
effective than treating an existing problem. Dr. Karen Halligan,
veterinarian/shelter director/author, recommends applying a
topical flea and tick treatment as the first line of defense
against these dangerous pests.
pet owners can purchase a topical product at retail outlets
nationwide that provides the same efficacy as leading brands but
at a significantly lower cost. PetArmor™, a new over-the-counter
flea and tick treatment, contains fipronil, the No. 1
vet-recommended active ingredient for combating fleas and ticks.
PetArmor can be found at Walmart and Sam's Club locations across
"During the summer, we protect ourselves and our children with
insect repellents," said Halligan. "It is important for pet
owners to do the same for their cats and dogs. With the
introduction of a generic treatment like PetArmor, keeping pets
healthy year-round has become much more affordable."
addition to applying a topical treatment to your pet every 30
days, Dr. Halligan also recommends additional preventive
measures around the home to control fleas and ticks:
Vacuum on a daily basis to prevent or control a flea
infestation. Pay special attention to carpets, cushioned
furniture, and cracks and crevices in floors and along the
Wash pet and family bedding where pets may lie in hot soapy
water every two to three weeks.
Use a fine-toothed metal flea comb and run it along your pet's
back or underbelly, making sure the comb comes in contact with
To reduce ticks in your yard, keep play areas and playground
equipment away from shrubs and bushes and other greenery.
If you live near a wooded area, place wood chips or gravel
between your lawn and the trees to keep ticks away from
Fleas and ticks can wreak havoc in your home, so it is important
to take steps to treat your dog or cat quickly and effectively.
For more information on protecting your pet, please visit
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For A Fitter Pet: Make Sure Pet Food Contains The Correct
by Johnny Lopez, Ph.D.
more than 40 percent of the U.S. dog
population overweight, many owners are looking for effective
ways to keep their pets fit. Smaller meals and regular exercise
can help, but in many cases the animal may benefit from a food
ingredient that helps to metabolize fat.
Many dog owners have had recent success switching to pet foods
that contain Carniking™, a safe and high-quality form of L-Carnitine.
L-Carnitine is a natural nutrient, formally called Vitamin Bt,
which is essential for energy production and fat metabolism.
role in the body is to transport long—chain fatty acids into the
mitochondria—the “furnaces” of the body’s cells—where they are
broken down and converted into energy. L-Carnitine helps to
supply energy to many organs in the body, such as the heart,
muscles, liver and immune cells. For example, the heart derives
75 percent of its energy from fat metabolism and relies heavily
on L-Carnitine to help supply it. This is why one of the largest
tissue pools of L-Carnitine can be found in the heart.
Like humans, pets are able to naturally produce about one-third
of the L-Carnitine they need and must rely on the foods they eat
to deliver the rest. Foods high in natural L-Carnitine include
pure red meats (i.e., beef and lamb). Ingredients like chicken
and fish are lower, whereas grains and vegetables are
practically devoid of L-Carnitine. Since the foods dogs consume
today are mixtures of many ingredients, even diets that contain
red meat as the first ingredient may not contain optimum L-Carnitine
some cases, humans and pets do not receive enough L-Carnitine
through their normal diet and supplementing L-Carnitine is
recommended. Symptoms of inadequate L-Carnitine in the body
include cardio muscle weakness, excessive muscle deposits of fat
(lipidosis), impaired muscle tone and poor health in general.
Carniking™ is the preferred option to supplement L-Carnitine in
pet foods. Carniking™ is manufactured by Lonza, a Swiss-based
life sciences company. Lonza began investigating Carniking™ in
the late 1980s and it is now used in dry and wet formulas for
all phases and life stages of food for companion animals.
Research suggests Carniking may aid in the following situations:
As part of weight management programs
In conditions of sustained exertion (walking and running)
In diets low in L-Carnitine
As a very good antioxidant
In animals who have cardiac, liver, kidney and bowel disorders
In maintaining alertness and cognitive function.
Lonza’s Carniking™ is proven safe and is of nonanimal origins
and tested free of BSE, dioxin, E. coli and salmonella.
more information, visit www.carniking.com.
Johnny Lopez, Ph.D., received a master’s in animal science and a
doctorate in monogastric nutrition from the University of Missouri.
Previously, he worked as a nutritionist for companies such as
Purina Mills, and ADM Animal Health and Nutrition.
Lonza is a leading supplier to the pharmaceutical, health care
and life sciences industries. It is a global leader in the
production and support of active pharmaceutical ingredients.
For more information, visit www.lonza.com.
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