Monthly Archives: July 2013

Happy Tails! – LUCY

My husband and I adopted Lucy from you guys back in January 2013 and we are so happy we did.  Lucy helped us to channel some of our grief from losing our cat to kidney failure earlier in 2012 and she has just been such a blessing for us.  We absolutely love being able to take her to the park and watch her chase (but not fetch…still working on that one) balls and chase after birds, and then come home and cuddle for a while before bed.

I think what you guys are doing is so great and I just figured I would send an update with a couple of pictures so you could see a success story  :).

Thank you for helping to bring her in our lives.


Leave a comment

Filed under Happy Tails

Happy Tails! – CHUCK

Our rescue angel, Chuck (top photo, on the right), has fitted into our family so smoothly.  He loves to lounge around and quite often sleeps in late in bed with our daughter, Lindsay (pictured).  He is learning how to swim in our pool (Lindsay got him a swim vest), and he romps around our yard with his doggy sisters, Stella and Jessi.

We are so happy that we adopted Chuck.  Everyone needs to experience an adoption and K-9 Angel Rescue is the perfect place to go!


Leave a comment

Filed under Happy Tails

Happy Tails! – WINSTON

Winston has been an amazing addition to our family & he loves his two Beagle brothers (our family dogs at my parents).

Winston hangs out in his own little teepee, loves to make new friends out on his walks, and especially loves mashed potatoes (when they fall on the floor) and treats!   He’s been great with us and we love him so much!

Leave a comment

Filed under Happy Tails

Fourteen year old girl beats puppy with shovel, sets on fire

Recent disturbing local news reminded us that animal cruelty is in our own backyard.  Literally. Maria Alarcon-Suarez’s 14-year old daughter beat their black lab puppy, Phoenix, on the head with a shovel, then set him on fire.  While neighbors watched.  Then, Maria Alarcon-Suarez watched as the dog rolled around crying, whimpering and terrified until the fire was out.  But I’m not done.  Maria Alarcon-Suarez then waited a day before seeking medical attention for this dog whose third-degree burn injuries were sustained over 40% of his body.  Once at the vet, Maria Alarcon-Suarez lied, stating the dog was a stray.

1.  You have a daughter who beats a dog on the head.

2.  You have a daughter who sets fire to helpless dog.

3.  You wait a day before taking this sweet, suffering dog to the vet.

4.  You LIE to the vet.

5.  You have serious issues.

For people who know me you know how difficult its been not to swear in this column.  Very.

People, I have news for you:  Jeffrey Dahmer started out torturing animals.  Ted Bundy started out torturing animals.  Charles Manson started out torturing animals.  Maria Alarcon-Suarez has a future serial killer on her hands.  And what was done to her 14-year old inhumane, disgusting excuse for a human-being daughter?  Nothing.  Nothing.

I work with an organization called Chain of Hope.  We see a lot of animal cruelty.  A lot.  And I can tell you we’ve been to this neighborhood and people in ‘this neighborhood’ don’t care about animals, they don’t even care about humans.  Obviously, the neighbors watched while this girl beat and set fire to the ‘family dog.’  Notice I say ‘family dog’ because in these neighborhoods the dogs are kept on chains and rarely given a second thought.  Too bad for Phoenix on this particular day she was given a second thought by a mentally unstable, cruel and malicious 14-year old girl.

I pray every day that God takes away the pain from animals when they’re being tortured.  Yet, having looked into the eyes of hundreds of dogs who have been abused, I know this isn’t the case.  I know they feel every ounce of pain being intentionally inflicted on them.  I know the pain, fear and confusion they feel when looking into the eyes of their ‘owner’ for whom they’d do anything, as they are being beaten.

It sickens me.  I can’t believe in 2011 we allow animal abuse, animal cruelty and animal neglect to take place at the rate and magnitude it does and yet, nothing happens to the awful people to inflict it.

The media has covered this relentlessly which is a sign that animal cruelty is not and will not be tolerated.

Maria Alarcon-Suarez, I hope you take responsibility for having allowed this to happen and not doing anything about it.  I can only imagine what you’ve done to your daughter, or allowed to be done, for her to even consider this horrible act of violence upon an innocent being.

A side note: whenever there is an animal cruelty case in the media, public outcry is amazing: donations to the vet/shelter treating the animal, foster homes, adoption applications, etc.  Please, people, remember that certain vets and shelters always need financial donations as well as supplies and there is always always always a need for foster homes and adoptive families.  The list of animals awaiting homes in Kansas City alone is more than 100,000, please don’t wait until there is a popular news story.  Adopt an animal today.  And if you’re in a financial situation that allows you to, make a donation to a shelter or rescue group.

, Kansas City Animal Advocacy Examiner

Leave a comment

Filed under animal abuse, animal cruelty, education

What should be on the answering machine of every rescue and shelter

Hello: You have reached… (713) 281-0000.

Due to the high volume of calls we have been receiving, please listen closely to the following options and choose the one that best describes you or your situation:

Press 1 if you have a 10-year-old dog and your 15-year-old son has suddenly become allergic and you need to find the dog a new home right away.

Press 2 if you are moving today and need to immediately place your 150 pound, 8-year-old dog.

Press 3 if you have three dogs, had a baby and want to get rid of your dogs because you are the only person in the world to have a baby and dogs at the same time.

Press 4 if you just got a brand new puppy and your old dog is having problems adjusting so you want to get rid of the old one right away.

Press 5 if your little puppy has grown up and is no longer small and cute and you want to trade it in for a new model.

Press 6 if you want an unpaid volunteer to come to your home  TODAY and pick up the dog you no longer want.

Press 7 if you have been feeding and caring for a “stray” for the last three years, are moving and suddenly determine it’s not your dog.

Press 8 if your dog is sick and needs a vet but you need the money for your vacation.

Press 9 if you are elderly and want to adopt a cute puppy who is not active and is going to outlive you.

Press 10 if your relative has died and you don’t want to care for their elderly dog because it no longer fits your lifestyle.

Press 11 if your cat is biting and not using the litter box because it is declawed, but you are not willing to accept the responsibility that the cat’s behavior is altered because of your nice furniture.

Press 12 if your two-year old male dog is marking all over your house but you just haven’t gotten around to having him neutered.

Press 13 if you previously had an outdoor only dog and are calling because she is suddenly pregnant.

Press 14 if you are calling at 6 a.m. to make sure you wake me up before I have to go to work so you can drop a dog off on your way to work.

Press 15 to leave us an anonymous garbled message, letting us know you have left a dog in our yard in the middle of January, which is in fact, better than just leaving the dog with no message.

Press 16 if you are going to get angry because we are not going to take your dog that you have had for fifteen years, because it is not our responsibility.

Press 17 if you are going to threaten to take your ten-year old dog to be euthanized because I won’t take it.

Press 18 if you’re going to get angry because the volunteers had the audacity to go on vacation and leave the dogs in care of a trusted
volunteer who is not authorized to take your personal pet.

Press 19 if you want one of our PERFECTLY trained, housebroken, kid and cat friendly purebred dogs that we have an abundance of.

Press 20 if you want us to take your dog that has a slight aggression problem, i.e. has only bitten a few people and killed your neighbor’s cats.

Press 21 if you have already called once and been told we don’t take personal surrenders but thought you would get a different person this time with a different answer.

Press 22 if you want us to use space that would go to a stray to board your personal dog while you are on vacation, free of charge, of course.

Press 23 if it is Christmas Eve or Easter morning and you want me to deliver an eight week old puppy to your house by 6:30 am before your kids wake up.

Press 24 if you have bought your children a duckling, chick or baby bunny for Easter and it is now Christmas and no longer cute.

Press 25 if you want us to take your female dog who has already had ten litters, but we can’t spay her because she is pregnant again and it is against your religion.

Press 26 if you’re lying to make one of our younger volunteers feel bad and take your personal pet off your hands.

Press 27 if you have done “everything” to housebreak your dog and have had no success but you don’t want to crate the dog because it is cruel.

Press 28 if you didn’t listen to the message asking for an evening phone number and you left your work number when all volunteers are also working and you are angry because no one called you back.

Press 29 if you need a puppy immediately and cannot wait because today is your daughter’s birthday and you forgot when she was born.

Press 30 if your dog’s coat doesn’t match your new furniture and you need a different color or breed.

Press 31 if your new love doesn’t like your dog and you are too stupid to get rid of the new friend (who will dump you in the next month anyway) instead of the dog.

Press 32 if you went through all these ‘options’ and didn’t hear enough. This press will connect you to the sounds of tears being shed by one of our volunteers who is holding a discarded old dog while the vet mercifully frees him from the grief of missing his family.

Author Unknown, but much appreciated!

Please remember that if you can not commit to fur-always or at least the next 13-17 years, DON’T BUY A PET!   It is not a shelter’s or rescue’s obligation to take on your commitments.  They do so out of fear that you will kill them if they don’t, and dumping them anywhere, even alone on the side of a road is abuse!

Leave a comment

Filed under adopting, adoption, education

Alfalfa: 3 Reasons to Avoid This Plant Protein in Your Pet’s Food

Alfalfa is an ingredient in many commercially available dog and cat foods, and according to, consumers are beginning to ask whether this forage belongs in their pet’s diet.

Before I discuss the suitability of alfalfa for dogs and cats, let’s take a quick look at the nature of this plant.

Alfalfa 101

Alfalfa, of the species Medicago sativa, is called lucerne in the U.K., Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and other locations around the world.  It’s a perennial flowering plant in the pea family that looks similar to clover and has clusters of small purple flowers.

Alfalfa is native to warm, mild climates and is cultivated as an important forage crop in many countries.  The above ground parts of the plant are cut, dried in a natural gas furnace and pelleted, or alternatively, it can be cut, sun-dried, and baled for feeding at some point in the future.

Alfalfa grows continuously during the summer months and produces from three to five cuttings a year.

Nutritionally speaking, air-dried alfalfa contains between 14 and 22 percent protein, 10 percent ash, less than 5 percent crude fat, and 15 to 30 percent crude fiber.  Most of the fiber is insoluble.  Alfalfa is a source of calcium, potassium and other trace minerals, as well as beta-carotene, vitamin K and various B vitamins.  The plant also contains chlorophyll, and its leaves contain a number of other bioactive compounds including saponins and phytoestrogens.

Why I Don’t Recommend Alfalfa in Pet Diets

There are several reasons I don’t recommend feeding alfalfa as a meat replacement protein to dogs or cats, including:

  • While alfalfa is high in protein, proteins derived from plants don’t contain all the amino acids your carnivorous dog or cat requires.  That’s why pets require meat-based nutrition — the protein in animal tissue provides a complete amino acid profile.
  • Like soy, alfalfa contains phytoestrogens, which are plant estrogens that are well-documented endocrine disruptors.
  • Alfalfa contains several saponins, which are glycosides with a foaming characteristic.  Saponins are anti-nutrients, meaning they interfere with absorption of essential nutrients.

The bottom line here is that you can provide your pet with the protein found in alfalfa by offering optimally nutritious, species-appropriate meats rather than plant-based forage more suitable for livestock.

With that said, I do know there are a few excellent quality raw and dehydrated pet diets (as well as many supplements) on the market that contain very small amounts of alfalfa.  These manufacturers are tapping into the whole food nutrients found in this plant, not using it as a protein replacement option.  If you are using alfalfa as a phytonutrient supplement in small quantities, there’s no concern.

So my recommendation, if you’re feeding a very high-quality commercial pet food and your dog or cat is thriving, is to not worry about alfalfa as an ingredient, as long as it’s not in the top half of the ingredient panel.  These companies are not trying to replace meat protein with veggie protein.  If you’d like more information, you might contact the manufacturer and find out how much alfalfa is actually in the food you’re offering your pet, and discuss any concerns you have.

If you’re feeding a lesser quality commercial pet food with alfalfa in the top half of the ingredient panel, my recommendation is to transition your pet to a better quality formula.  Chances are the pet food manufacturer is using alfalfa as a cheap replacement for the meat-based protein your pet needs to be healthy.  As I mentioned earlier, plant protein is an unsuitable primary source of protein for dogs and cats.


Leave a comment

Filed under diet, education, health

Is My Dog Sick?

Identifying the signs of sickness in a dog can be challenging, even for the most vigilant pet owners. Since a sick dog is unable to verbally communicate what hurts, pet owners must pay close attention to identify the signs of illness. Subtle changes in behavior or appetite may be symptomatic of an underlying health problem. While dogs cannot verbally tell us when they are sick, they use physical symptoms and behavior changes to communicate.

Determining when a trip to the doctor is warranted can be challenging. One of the most common symptoms of illness is vomiting or diarrhea. Dogs, however, may vomit on occasion without actually being ill. Eating food too quickly or drinking water too fast can cause vomiting, although the dog will feel much better afterwards. So how can a vigilant pet owner tell when a dog actually needs veterinary care? Profuse vomiting, bloody vomiting, lethargy or anorexia concurrent with vomiting all require immediate medical intervention. Vomiting or diarrhea for more than 24 hours is a sign that a pet needs veterinary care. Vomiting or diarrhea for an extended period may be symptomatic of many things, including pancreatitis, infections, ingestion of foreign material, accidental poisoning, or parasites, all of which require urgent veterinary care.

Dog owners should also be alert for signs of lethargy. If a normally active dog suddenly loses interest in playing fetch or no longer runs across the room, this may be a sign of illness. A long run at the park may cause exhaustion, but if a pet owner cannot identify a specific cause, then contact a veterinarian. Lethargy can be symptomatic of hundreds of disorders, one example is heart disease, which requires veterinary care. Pet owners should also look for a change in exercise tolerance and unexplained weakness. A loss in consciousness, difficulty breathing, bleeding, or seizures always requires immediate emergency care for all animals.

Pet owners should also be on the lookout for the following symptoms: poor appetite, lameness, weakness, frequent urination, excessive scratching or licking, nasal discharge, constipation, an unusual bump, or excessive thirst. If these symptoms occur for more than two days, pet owners should contact their veterinarian.

In general, it is better to be proactive about veterinary care than to wait. In the wild, animals instinctively mask symptoms of illness so they will not appear weak to predators or be shunned by their own kind. Consequently, a dog will instinctively try to hide any health problems. Prompt care thanks to a vigilant pet owner can make a big difference for a dog’s health. If you question whether a visit to the doctor is needed, please call and discuss it with your veterinarian.

American Animal Hospital Association,
“Urinary Tract Infections.” 2013.

Is Your Dog Sick?
If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

•    In distress with Vomiting or diarrhea
•    Swollen abdomen
•    Labored breathing
•    Collapse, loss of consciousness or seizures
•    Bleeding
•    Symptoms of acute pain, such as crying out, whining or whimpering
If your dog exhibits these symptoms for more than 2 days, contact your pet’s doctor
•    Lethargy or general weakness
•    Excessive thirst
•    Frequent or inappropriate urination (e.g., wetting the bed, or accidents in the house)
•     Frequent panting

When in doubt, talk to your veterinarian.

Leave a comment

July 25, 2013 · 11:22 am