The Most Terrifying Day of the Year – Happy 4th of July!

 

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

- Benjamin Franklin

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When I was a kid, my grandma had a dog named Patches.  He was the sweetest beagle ever.  A bit stoic for a beagle, he wasn’t really into playing much, but he was a solid companion.  He was one of those dogs who never did anything wrong – he was trustworthy both in and out of the house.  He never needed a leash, and he didn’t have a fenced-in yard.  Didn’t matter; he never even thought about leaving the yard.

I’ll never forget Fourth of July when I was 11 years old.  Patches would have been roughly 13 at that point.  A senior most definitely, but a healthy, sprightly old man.  Most of my  mom’s side of the family was spending the holiday at my grandma’s house:  at least 18 of my 22 cousins, plus aunts uncles – it was a kid heaven.  At dusk the adults started to light some fireworks.  We had a great time.  We headed home around 10:00.  Traffic was unusually heavy on the street where my grandma lived.  It took us a while to navigate.  When we got home, we found out why.

Patches had been hit and killed by a car.

The dog who had always been so stoic, truly a Pilot of a dog, had been frightened by the fireworks and run into the street.  Nobody had bothered to check to see where he was because the dog had never left his boundary in his entire life!  Not to chase squirrels (he stopped at the perimeter), not when guests came (he met them at the driveway).  Never.  Of course if we had realized he was terrified, we would have taken measures to ensure his comfort and safety.

Sparta and Orion have a fenced-in yard.  They will be spending the 4th in their crate, with soft music playing (I almost always have music on in my house, so this will seem normal, if not a bit louder, to them).  My pets’ safety is all on me.  It’s my job to make sure they are happy and healthy.  Things that may not seem scary to me may be terrifying to them, so even though they’ve never shown any signs of fear in the past from fireworks or thunderstorms, I’m still going to make sure they are contained.  It’s my job as Pilot.

Fourth of July is the busiest day for animal wardens.  Dogs (and cats) become scared and run off.  Some never return.  Take some precautions to avoid tragedy:

  • Exhaust your dog before nightfall.  Exercise creates a natural state that make your dog want to sleep.  Help them to sleep through the scary parts.
  • Secure your dog in their crate.  For added security, a blanket can be placed over the crate (it will insulate some of the noise).  Just make sure that the dog is comfortable, and not overheated if you add a blanket, and always leave a few inches of the crate uncovered for ventilation.
  • Make sure your dog has their tags on, and consider microchipping. It could be their ticket home.
  • If your dog is terrified, Pilot them.  You can’t soothe them.  They are legitimately frightened, and speaking to them in a high, whiney, “soothing” voice is counterproductive.  They need a Pilot, not another source of stress.  Read how to accomplish this here.
  • If your dog needs to eliminate, take them outside on a leash.
  • Ask your vet about medication if your dog has a history of reacting badly.  I’m against casual medication of dogs because they are “too hyper” or “anxious” during normal situations.  Those dogs need Piloting.  This is not a normal situation.  Before I get on an airplane, I have drink.  A strong one (or two).  I’m terrified of heights, and it takes the edge off.  That’s all you’re looking to do:  take the edge off of a truly terrifying and abnormal situation.  Again, consult your vet.  Do not self-medicate.

I do miss Patches, though it’s 25 years later.  He was a good dog.  Perhaps he would have lived only a few more months before succumbing to old age.  Perhaps he would have lived a few more years.  Regardless, his life was cut short due to ignorance.  I now know better.  I will Pilot my dogs through the Fourth of July.

Keep calm and pilot onKerry Stack
Darwin Dogs LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio

Pets Stores – End of an Era

“A dog is not a thing. A thing is replaceable. A dog is not. A thing is disposable. A dog is not. A thing doesn’t have a heart. A dog’s heart is bigger than any “thing” you can ever own.”
― Elizabeth Parker, Paw Prints in the Sand

Puppy being sold at Pick of the Litter in Strongsville.  He looks to have significant hydrocephalus.

Puppy being sold at Pick of the Litter in Strongsville. He looks to have significant hydrocephalus.

Over the years, quite a few of you have been very vocal in supporting ending puppy mills.  Some of you have even joined me in protesting the two puppy mill brokers at Strongsville Mall, Pick of the Litter and Petland.  We’ve even gone before Strongsville City Council with evidence that Pick of the Litter is indeed a puppy mill broker.  (Council essentially said it was up to the state oversight to handle cases of puppy mills and brokers – convenient).

I realized suddenly that I’ve been going about this wrong:  why would we shut down individual mills, one by one, when we can work towards legislation to stop the sale of dogs and cats altogether.  According to the Humane Society, “300 local governments—cities, towns and counties—of all sizes and demographics across twenty-four states, have enacted such policies at the urging of concerned residents”.  Let’s start our personal crusade with the City of Strongsville.

pick of the litter 1

There are so many pros to this train of thought.

- Without venues to sell their goods (puppy mill brokers like Pick of the Litter and Petland), puppy mill operators will have no incentive to continue breeding;

- The Dept. of Agriculture (under whose jurisdiction places like puppy mills and brokers fall) will no longer have the limp excuse of not acting upon animal rights/abuses cases because of lack of personnel.

- It will break the vicious cycle of unscrupulous breeders and puppy mill operators dumping their “unsaleable merchandise” into local rescues and shelters, taking up space that is desperately needed.

- Owners of pet stores can focus on selling goods and services, and still offer rescue animals for a reasonable adoption fee, rather than strictly the revolving door of profit/supply.

- By decreasing the demand for store-bought puppy mill survivors being sold through brokers, puppy mills become unprofitable, thus destroying those parasites reliant upon puppy mills for their products.

It will be a very long and difficult fight.  I guarantee that people like Tom Collins, who has never had another occupation other than Professional Puppy Mill Broker, will raise holy hell at the thought of losing his pain for profit scheme.  Petland is already very vocal in the states that are looking to pass laws similar to those in California & Maryland, with plenty of lobbying going on behind the scenes.

So what can you do to help?

- Become an amateur journalist.  Begin by stopping by Pick of the Litter on a daily basis and photograph whatever you may find there.  Be polite, be kind, and be decent, but be aware and document.  Send your pics to us kerry.stack@darwindogs.org, where they will be documented for evidence, and publicly posted (anonymously if you wish). We will be setting up an album of offenders on our Darwin Dogs Facebook page as well as on DarwinDogs.org. Use #SickOfTheLitters

- Help start the petition drive.  We will need as many people to obtain signatures for this petition.

- Spread information through our protests.  Stay on the Darwin Dogs Facebook page for info on the next scheduled protests.

- Attend the Strongsville City Council meetings in support of ending pet stores.   Again, check Darwin Dogs Facebook page for council sessions we will be attending. Currently, we will be attending the meeting on July 15 starting at 8:00, Council Chamber, located in the Strongsville Police Station, 18688 Royalton Road

- Contact Strongsville City Council, as well as the Mayor’s office.  Find out why they are allowing pet stores puppy mill brokers in their city:

The City of Strongsville
Attn: City Council
16099 Foltz Parkway
Strongsville, Ohio 44149
440 580 3100
Email(s)
michael.daymut@strongsville.org,ann.roff@strongsville.org,kelly.kosek@strongsville.org,gordon.short@strongsville.org,jim.carbone@strongsville.org,

matt.schonhut@strongsville.org

city@strongsville.org

Contact Southpark Mall, and demand to know why they allow puppy mill brokers and pet stores selling puppy mill dogs to do business within their mall. Let them know publicly, via reviews, that we will not do business at establishments that allow for animal abuse.

Southpark Mall
c/o Starwood Retail Managers
500 SouthPark Center
Strongsville, OH 44136
(440) 238-9199

- Have any legal background?  Contact me directly at kerry.stack@darwindogs.org.  After all, there is so much more to petitions that merely gathering signatures.  We are looking to change city ordinances.  If you can spare one hour or several days, anything will be of assistance.

- Spread awareness.  Most people don’t realize what that puppy store puppy represents, or why the backyard breeders are killing shelter dogs by proxy.  Educate.

We are starting in Strongsville, Ohio, but will be diligent in working in other cities as well.  Let’s finish these parasite puppy mill brokers once and for all.

“But perhaps most important, when you buy a pet-store puppy, you contribute to the demand for puppy-mill-bred puppies, and add to the cycle of misery of mill-owned breeding dogs.”
― Denise Flaim, Rescue Ink: How Ten Guys Saved Countless Dogs and Cats, Twelve Horses, Five Pigs, One Duck,and a Few Turtles

Keep calm and pilot on

Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training/ Animal Rights Activist in Cleveland Ohio