Category Archives: Pet Buying Choices

Where to Buy a Pet

There are many places to acquire a pet. Shelters, Rescue Groups, Breeders, Pet Stores, (aka puppy mills). Avoid some like the plaque.

Shelters

Once you have decided if you want a purebred or mutt, a local shelter will always have both. Not long ago I saw a Collie, Coon Hound, Cocker Spaniel, Whippet and a few others. Some are no-kill shelters, which are becoming more pronounced in the United States. Other shelters neither have the space nor the funds and after a certain period of time need to put them down. Nominal adoption fees.

No-Kill vs. Kill Shelters

Some people think they are saving a life if they get one from a shelter that might only have a few days to live. On the other hand, people who go to a no-kill shelter and find out some of the pets have been around for 5 years cringe. They think that no animal should have to live life in a cage. The only person who can decide which is the right thing to do is you. Both places will regretfully have many pets to pick from. Nominal adoption fees.

In either situation, remember that these places are staffed with mostly volunteers. Most of you have lived with pets longer than they are old. Many are highly under trained considering the seriousness of the commitment. The last place I went, two men were bragging how they trained the last Rottweiler to attack, …”shame it went through that window man”. Guess what they walked out of the shelter with, you guessed it, another Rottweiler. They also do not have the volunteers or funds to run proper checks and the adoption form you fill out is rather basic. You can tell them anything and you can bet they will not check to verify most of it. Bank on the fact that most shelter people are banking on the fact that you know what you are doing. Make sure you do know what type of pet you want and how it will fit into your lifestyle. The object is to not have to return that little being.

What do you need to ask them since you can bet they will rarely ask you? Strays are problematic since they have an unknown history. Approximately how old are they? Do they get along with other pets? Any idea about children? Fence jumper or not? What personality traits have you, volunteer person, seen.

Impulse Buying

So you are driving past a local shelter and say, hey, let’s just go in and have a look around. Well, for the life of me I cannot imagine anyone wanting to do that unless they are planning on getting a pet. These are horribly depressing places. You see all these little eyes staring at you and you just have to take one home. What are the best suggestions under this situation?

  1. Unless you had pre-planned to adopt a pet that day, you should have never turned into the parking lot
  2. You, single handedly, cannot save them all
  3. Turn off your emotions as best you can
  4. Be objective
  5. Remember, you cannot save them all
  6. If you find a pet you just “have to have”, put a hold on them and GO HOME!
  7. You Cannot Save Them All

Hopefully you have not walked out with a new addition to your family. Spend the rest of the day/evening thinking about what that pet in your home really means to both your family and the pet. If you wake up the next day and still have to have that dog or cat, without saying, but, but, but…, drive back and adopt them.

Now that you have adopted the right pet for the right reasons now what. If you have another pet at home the last thing you do is run home with the new addition. Every week I do the rounds of the shelters, kennel cough is up in the top five most contagious illnesses a dog can get. You cannot imagine the amount of ill animals in shelters. Contact your vet, tell them you are adopting a pet from XYZ and would like to bring it directly from the shelter to them. You do not want to expose your current pets to anything that new animal might have.

Gift Purchase

This happens a great deal that mom and dad decide the little boy or girl should have a dog/kitten to teach them how to be responsible. Then there are presents from spouses or other significant partners. Let us not forget the presents for a parent or grandparent.

You know, almost every store you go into has gift cards you can buy. In Safeway at the checkout there are Nordstrom’s, Barnes and Nobles, MCI, a slew of them. Never, ever have I seen Buy A Puppy/Kitten gift card. I wonder why?

If you want to teach your kids how to be responsible, how about giving them that out dated thing that most people have forgotten about. Chores! If you want to surprise your partner with a dog or cat, maybe find out why you met them and they did not have a pet, yet alone want one now. Before you go out and get your 70 year old parent a 6 month old puppy, maybe asking first would be a grand idea.

What you think is a great company for you or would be great company for someone else might not be in the best interest for the person you are getting one for. Unless you know for certain that person ABC really wants a pet or misses the one they had, please reconsider your “present”. The best idea is make up a little gift certificate of your own. Buy a nice card, put it inside with a bow on it. If they wish to use it, your offer is the purchase of the pet, lunch and a trip to however many shelters they wish to visit.

In shelter situations, try to never think about you first, think about that little creature locked behind those cells. Realize that each one of them had a home for either a short time and in some cases a long time. For whatever reason, they have been ripped out of whatever security and familiarity they have had. Put into a horribly depressing place with other howling animals, everything they ever knew is gone. They are scared, sad, confused and insecure. The last thing anyone of them needs is to go either into the wrong home or be taken back. Again.

Rescue Groups

If you are looking for a purebred, rescue groups are one of my personal favourites. Generally all purebred animals have a rescue group/s. Your local Humane Society has a list as well as any Internet search. These pets range from puppies/kittens to adults and everyone in-between. Nominal adoption fees.

Depending on the person running the particular rescue, it can be very difficult to adopt. If they are like myself, you might as well be adopting human child with the hoops I make people do. Most of these people are truly dedicated to the breed and do not care as much about money as they do finding the perfect home. They usually know the history of the pet but like many places, do not always know the real reason the animal is being returned.

What a good rescue person should ask you. References out the ears and not just your vet. They will usually do a home check to make sure you really do have a fenced yard; that you really live where you say you do and many other things they want to see. There will be a contract to sign stating that if you ever have to give up that pet it must come back to them. If you have never had experience with the breed, they will hopefully try and talk you out of it. Most of these people are very hands on and will do whatever they can to help you. Please do not assume that just because a person does rescue they are a responsible, caring person. Alas, the almighty dollar can come into play just as easily as any other place. There are many people who claim to be “rescue” persons who should not even own a pet.

Breeders

If you are still on the hunt and want a puppy/kitten you can go directly to the breeder. Be cautious however since some breeders can be nothing more than a glorified puppy mill. They will have pet and show animals. Read the contract very carefully. Similar to rescue groups, a good breeder will do the best they can to turn you off to a certain breed if you have never had one. They should also always require that under any situation you might need to give the pet up, they must go back to the breeder.

First ask “how many litters a year do you produce?” If the answer is more than one, walk the other way. Ask if you can spend time with the breed or litter to see how they interact. If both “parents” are on the property, ask to spend time with them. How clean is the place the animals are in? Do they look well cared for, handled a great deal, fresh water and food available? If the breeder cannot be bothered with you and just wants to off-load the animals, walk away. The only situation that you would reconsider is if those animals are not well taken care of. I have walked out with three Afghan puppies at one time because I refused to leave them in the situation they were in. Usually high dollar pets.

Puppy Mills and Pet Stores

Some people think these are great places to get a pet. I am neither a nice person when it comes to these places nor would I agree. I will not even get on my bandwagon about these places. The next time you are in the mall and slide into one of these vile places, or going through the classifieds, think twice.

Please Do Not Buy From These Places


(Note on author: The advantage of opinions is they cannot be wrong and they cannot be right. Consequently all written material is strictly my opinion based on over 30 years working with animals. I do not believe in “experts” for one finds out quickly that there is always someone who is smarter, better educated and a wider life experience. If I was an expert and knew everything I would opt to be dictator of the world, not working with animals. I do not believe in statistics since for every con argument there are equal pro arguments to challenge those statistics. Consequently rarely, if ever do I use them.)

 

 

All information is copyright by Mimi Davis d.b.a. Curbside Clippers. (Copyright 2002. All Rights Reserved) Any use must have prior permission.

 

Puppy or Adult Dog?

This question comes up when either a pet has died or people wish to add another dog to the household. There are some very important things to consider when making that decision.

Puppies: Pros and Cons

Puppy Pro Reasons
The obvious reason people buy puppies is that they are cute! Some people also believe that if they buy a puppy, they bond better, faster or different than with an adult. There is also the thought that you can “turn” them into what you want since you have control over how they are raised from 8-12 weeks.

If you have another dog already in the household, some older dogs will do better with a puppy than an adult. On the other hand, some older dogs think a puppy is a threat to the time they have with the family.

Puppy Con Reasons
Whether it has been one year or 10 years, we all forgot what puppies are really like. Similar to what many of my clients have said about the pain of childbirth. As soon as the baby is born, they forgot about the pain of labour and delivery.

There is house breaking, the ever present destructive phase, with some breeds that lasting 8 months or longer. Then the time it takes to leash train, hopefully go to obedience class and even more hopeful, walks and play time. This of course is all between work, house cleaning, laundry, and errands. Not including if you are married and have kids on two legs that have endless needs of being taken to sports practice, band practice, the doctor, etc.

Adult Dogs: Pros and Cons

Adult Pro Reasons
The obvious reason people get adults from rescue groups or shelters is that they are saving a life and giving a wonderful dog another chance. That usually takes a different type of person than the one who walks into that same shelter and picks out a puppy.

I am going to use the word “usual” since it is usually the case. There are however many dogs that are given up for problem behaviour. This is mostly due to the people who had them not willing to take the time when they were puppies to train them properly.

They are usually already housebroken, have usually finished the destructive phase, generally over the hyper phase and adjust very quickly and very well with other family pet members. They have also usually experienced grooming so it is not and Act of God to have it done. Generally they know how to obey commands like sit, stay, come. You do not have to worry about your year old baby yanking on the dogs tail and the dog promptly ripping the kids face off. Most, but not all places know if an adult dog is familiar with children. They tend to be much more obedient and willing to please. They are so grateful to have a home and do not want to go through the trauma of being uprooted, they will over-please

Adult Con Reasons
I cannot think of a con reason for myself. However, going back to the first puppy reason, people think that they might bond differently with an adult than with a puppy. They might have bad habits that could take a bit longer to break. You need to be careful and find out as much as you can about an older dog. Does it get along with other dogs, cats? How is it around kids, men, and women?

Things to Consider

If you have another older dog in the household, note your dog’s behaviour around other dogs. If you are out for a walk, is your dog aggressive towards adults and fine with puppies or vice versa. Better yet, does your dog even care?

Think first about the current dog if you have one in the household. What will make them happiest? Second is to think about what you, the human wants. If you want a puppy and your present dog, if applicable, wants to eat it for a snack that would be a good indication it is not a good match.

  • Do you have friends that come over with a pet?
  • How does your dog react to that visitor?

Reality Training

If you are gone from the house 10-14 hours a day, is a puppy really the best option? They are not that much different than a human baby who needs and demands a great deal of attention. Just as a human child, they only learn right from wrong by what we teach them.

Even if you decide on an adult, they need about a month to adjust. You cannot just toss an older dog into a household and go about your daily routine. You need to spend time with them, give them a feeling of security and learn about the quirks they might have.

In over 30 years working with animals, I have never met one that was not smart. I have also heard every reason known to man and cannot count the times I have been told, “we can’t live with this dog anymore, take it”. If you have a dog that pees all over the house, (eliminating medical issues), jumps up on people, (of which I am guilty of letting mine do), bites, nips, destroys things, runs through the house like a wild animal, hence is always locked outside and never allowed in the house, I never blame the dog.

I will always set blame where it belongs and that is the caretaker of that pet.

If you cannot take the time to train and teach your pet proper family interaction behaviour and give them the attention they deserve and need, simply get a fish.

The most important thing to remember whether you opt for a puppy or an adult, it is a lifetime commitment. They are not pieces of furniture to be thrown out when you get bored, tired of the work required or just no longer convenient to your lifestyle. They are living, breathing, thinking beings that have emotions just as humans do. They deserve to be treated with respect and as you would like to be treated.

I cannot stress the following enough…

Animals are not disposable


(Note on author: The advantage of opinions is they cannot be wrong and they cannot be right. Consequently all written material is strictly my opinion based on over 30 years working with animals. I do not believe in “experts” for one finds out quickly that there is always someone who is smarter, better educated and a wider life experience. If I was an expert and knew everything I would opt to be dictator of the world, not working with animals. I do not believe in statistics since for every con argument there are equal pro arguments to challenge those statistics. Consequently rarely, if ever do I use them.
All information is copyright by Mimi Davis d.b.a. Curbside Clippers. (Copyright 2002. All Rights Reserved) Any use must have prior permission.
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Non-Allergic Dogs

There Is No Such Thing As A NON-Allergic Dog For People!

The DOODLE Fad – aka
Designer Dogs – aka
Over-Priced Mutts

Breeders tried a name in the 1970s, it did not stick, they renamed the Doodle in the 1980s, it did not stick, they renamed it again in the 1990s and it stuck like flies on horse shit and the money grubbers could not be happier.

In 1992 a client called me about a new “breed” they just bought and would I come out to groom the dog. By profession, I am rather familiar with any new breeds that are sanctioned or at least come out and not sanctioned. I knew she bought a mutt so I never bothered to ask what kind. I arrive and she is so proud of her $2,500 Labradoodle and I looked at her and said

“You really spent $2,500 on a mutt!”
“Oh, Mimi, he is hypo-allergenic and the breeder swears my kids and I will have no problem!”
I repeated, “you spent $2,500 on a mutt?”
” Mimi, we have had him for 6 weeks and not one allergy problem.” I said,

  1. He is not old enough to cause any allergy problems yet,
  2. You could have gone to the pound and for $45 bought
    a mutt just like this,
  3. The labra half of your doodle is one of the dogs
    you are allergic to.

Naturally, almost 14 months later I get a call asking if I knew anyone who wanted the dog since the allergies were so bad. Duh!

Most Americans are the most gullible people on the planet. If they see it on TV or a celebrity does it, it must be true. I swear, if some TV show or celebrity carried around a bag of dog poop, wrapped in some famous clothing designer’s name and it had a price tag of $1, 500 most everyone would run out and buy one. This phenomenon, which is unfortunately plaguing most of America is further propagated by insipid reality shows and Entertainment Tonight type mentality. Consequently, it comes as no surprise to PROFESSIONALS in the animal and allergy field that this non-allergic dog bullshit is so prominent. Here is why…

First one must understand the physical mechanics so to speak of dogs and why some people have reactions and others do not. All dogs shed, long hair, short hair, medium hair. All dogs have dander, saliva, urine. All dogs collect on their coat, allergens from your house such as dust, pollen, mold, grass from outside and other allergens from outdoors or indoors.

What most people have a reaction to is a protein found in a dog’s saliva and dander, which is produced by what are called sebaceous glands, which all dogs also have. Many of you have probably seen them on your dog. They are hard like little pimple type spots on dogs, mostly located from the legs up although they can pop up anyplace. Some you can squeeze and all this nasty stuff will ooze out just like you would pop a pimple. They are in the dermis of the skin and open into a hair follicle. Although I groom cats, I am so allergic I have to wear gloves since even if a cat licks me, my lungs will constrict. I carry injections with me on the days I groom cats since if I get bitten or scratched, my lungs will shut down.

Dogs shed their skin just as people do. Most dogs shed skin every three to four days and there are others who shed their skin about every 3 weeks. When you combine the shedding skin along with all the other allergens in your home, certain dogs are going to create a problem no matter what. Those problems will either be excessive, moderate or mild depending on what exactly your tolerance level is. Believe it or not, even barker dogs, the ones that bark to extremes at anything that pass by, can be a problem. AKC removed their list of non-allergic dogs for a reason.

From a noted allergist and this is repeated over and over by not only pet professionals but medical specialists around the globe.

“Nearly all allergies to pets are caused by a glandular protein that the animal secretes onto its skin. As the skin is shed, tiny flakes, known as dander, float around in the air and stick to walls, carpets, furniture and clothing. From there, they can easily make their way into noses, eyes and throats. A person also can have an allergic reaction to the protein in a pet’s saliva or urine. Contrary to widespread belief, a pet’s fur or hair itself is not the cause of the problems. The animal’s hair may get a coating of the protein as well, but it’s the skin flakes, because they are so tiny, that go everywhere and concentrate a hundredfold over what the animal carries.”

These so called Doodles or Designer dogs have been around forever. There is the Schnoodle, Cockapoo, Yorkipoo, Shihpoo and over 40 other kinds of Poo’s and whether you go to your local pound or give a money grubber $1,500 they are ALL MUTTS and your chances of not having an allergy issue is no better. Can you go to your local shelter where you should be getting your dogs from anyway and get a dog that is less likely to cause allergy problems than others? YES! And it will cost you under $100.00 to adopt one, save a life, and not be sucked into the lying crap you are being fed by breeder or media hype.

So what dogs might work better than others? That depends on the type of coat. If you have allergies to dogs the last thing you want is any dog mixed with a Retriever of any kind, Lab or Golden. UNLESS, the retriever part of the mix is the recessive gene. Why, because they are high shedding dogs with a lot of dander already. Dogs that have been known for decades to be better for allergy suffers have been Westie’s, Wheaton’s, Schnauzer’s, Poodle’s, Bichon’s single coated dogs like Kerry Blue’s, or dogs that do not shed like Collie’s but their hair mats like all of the above.

The bottom line is there is no sure-fire way to know unless you visit dogs of each breed if you are determined to buy a Designer Dog. Greyhounds are known for being a single-coat, very little shedding dog supposed to be great for allergy people. However, many people cannot be around a Greyhound if they have allergies. I have to double up on masks when I groom a Collie, but have no trouble with a Sheltie which most people think as far as coat goes is just a miniature version of a Collie. For the LOVE OF GOD, use common sense and your brain and stop following the herd.


(Note on author: The advantage of opinions is they cannot be wrong and they cannot be right. Consequently all written material is strictly my opinion based on over 30 years working with animals. I do not believe in “experts” for one finds out quickly that there is always someone who is smarter, better educated and a wider life experience. If I was an expert and knew everything I would opt to be dictator of the world, not working with animals. I do not believe in statistics since for every con argument there are equal pro arguments to challenge those statistics. Consequently rarely, if ever do I use them.)
All information is copyright by Mimi Davis d.b.a. Curbside Clippers. (Copyright 2002. All Rights Reserved) Any use must have prior permission.
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Wills and Pets

What Happens To Your Pet If You Die?

Well this is a topic that either people do not want to think about, think will not happen, or never thought about. The reality is dieing before your pet happens more often than not and can be a problem for your pet. Please do not assume that your family will take your pet if you die first. If all my clients, who have willed me their dogs, die before the dogs, I am in serious trouble. I will have to get a kennel.

This past year three of my dog grooming clients have died. They lived alone and made no arrangements for their dogs. It so happened that neighbors knew of Curbside Clippers and called me. I contacted the three different families and only one out of the three wanted the dogs. I ended up placing the other two.

My all time favourite was both people died and the daughter was not a dog person. She left the 9 year old Bichon in the house for four days with a bag of food and a bowl of water. I showed up for the appointment, the neighbor came out and told me the people died and the first words out of my mouth was what about the dog? The daughter decided to go out of town to make some arrangements leaving the dog locked in the house. Naturally, I broke in, took the dog, and left a note. She came back into town, called and said, thanks, you can have him, I don’t really like dogs.

The first dogs I had as an adult, it dawned on me that if I died, there was nobody to take my kids. This did not set well with me so I went to my attorney and had him draw up a special section in my will for the animals. This was over 20 years ago and you an imagine the problem I had getting him to do this. If a family member does not want the pet, or if you do not have someone who does, they go to a shelter. Depending on the medical condition and age they are either adopted hopefully or put down. This is not a good thing for the pet. Currently, pets are legally considered “property”.

Please make sure you have some type of arrangement for your pets. If you have special instructions such as you want your animals not placed but put down, make sure that is very clear. Send a copy of your instructions to your vet so he has them and is aware of what your wishes are.

If you have a friend or family member who wants them, make sure you have all the instructions typed out for them. Habits such as were the animal’s sleeps, type of food, medical history and medical needs, vet’s name and number. If you have more than one pet, take a photo and put the name of the pet on it. Also have a backup plan as you do for your own will. You have an executor and a backup and in this case you need a backup if for some reason your first choice changes their mind or for some reason cannot take the pet/s.

As depressing as it was for me to type out the instructions about my kids, I did it, crying most of the way through it. I gave a copy in an 8 ½ x 11 envelopes to my vet, the attorney and a friend of mine who thankfully was willing to take the task on if I die.


(Note on author: The advantage of opinions is they cannot be wrong and they cannot be right. Consequently all written material is strictly my opinion based on over 30 years working with animals. I do not believe in “experts” for one finds out quickly that there is always someone who is smarter, better educated and a wider life experience. If I was an expert and knew everything I would opt to be dictator of the world, not working with animals. I do not believe in statistics since for every con argument there are equal pro arguments to challenge those statistics. Consequently rarely, if ever do I use them.
All information is copyright by Mimi Davis d.b.a. Curbside Clippers. (Copyright 2002. All Rights Reserved) Any use must have prior permission.
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Make Time for Pets

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Next Time You Don’t Want To Be Bothered
With Your Fur Babies…

I cut the following picture and column out of a paper over 25 years ago. It has stayed on my refrigerator all this time. Although yellowed from age, it remains a reminder that these kids do not ask for anything more than hugs, kisses and attention. Unfortunately, I see exactly what the dog is referring to on a daily basis.

So, the next time your fur babies bug you for a walk or play time after you spent a long hard day at work, think twice before pushing them off.

Will you play with me?

 

From Anonymous

 

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