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Pet Friendly Canada Newsletter - August 2009

PET QUOTES
"One reason the dog has so many friends: He wags his tail instead of his tongue." (Unknown)

"Old dogs, like old shoes, are comfortable. They might be a bit out of shape and a little worn around the edges, but they fit well." (Bonnie Wilcox)

Featured Story: SCOOTER, THE TWO-LEGGED DOG

Source: PawFriendly.com - Pet Stories

Dog with two legs "I wanted to share with you the story of my precious little dog Scooter. He was born with his two front legs missing. One day I received a phone call from my aunt who raises hairless chihuahuas. She informed me that one of her dogs had three pups and that two of them were missing their front legs. After a few hours, one of the pups passed on but the other seemed to be doing okay. She figured no one would want the little guy.

I told her that we would take him. I have a child with special needs and figured it would be good for her to have a "special" dog like her. I took the pup, hoping I could give him a somewhat normal life. We had no idea what was in store for us. We picked Scooter up at around 6 weeks. He was only about 10 ounces and very gray in color and looked terrible. I was determined to work with him and give him as good a quality of life as possible.

At first, Scooter's back legs were in bad shape. They looked and felt like they were dying. I figured we would have to amputate them. I took him to the vet, who said his knees were a '3' on a scale of 1-4. They were very loose and he couldn't even stand on them. I brought him home and we began the hard work. Everything we did with him consisted of making him put pressure on his legs. He began to gain strength and color. He started crawling around on the floor. Then his crawling turned to hopping. Now he hops very quickly and stands on his back legs like the famous dog 'Faith'. We are working with him on walking on his back legs. He is up to about 4-5 steps and hops.

Two-legged dog Scooter is now doing very well. We took him to the vet the other day and she was amazed at his progress. He is up to 2.2 lbs and very active. He chases the cats, and plays with our 90-pound lab. He will hop around the coffee table and attempt to jump up on the couch.

Scooter is a blessing to us. He has come so far and we do not even see him differently anymore. I want to encourage people to take in animals even when they are special needs. Animals are special creatures - they don't realize they are different e ven when we see them that way. They can show you a strength you didn't know existed.

Sometimes people see Scooter and make the remark, 'poor thing'. I correct them quickly and tell them there is nothing poor about him. He is just a normal little happy dog.

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Story sent in by Kim Holt from Texas, USA.

PHOTOS FROM PROUD PET PARENTS


"Token on the ridge above our home near Lundbreck, Alberta, Canada."
- Judith S.

"Here is a picture of Mickey on Canada Day."
- Ruby L. from Edmonton, Alberta

Want to see your pet here? Send us your photos!

TRAINING A DOG TO USE A LITTER BOX

Can dogs really learn to use a litter box? Sure! Dog box training probably isn't something you'd find dog owners regularly talking about, and although it may be unusual, it does have some advantages. Plus dog box training can be done at home, by any patient and positive dog owner.

Likely one of the biggest advantages to litter box training your dog is the added freedom: your dog can go any time he needs to, even when you're not at home. It's convenient for your pup, and gives you more freedom to stay out longer (ever rushed home because you had to let the dog out?). Of course, since using the litter box doesn't come as naturally to a dog as it does to a cat, you will need to be prepared for several weeks of training plus an additional couple of months of monitoring and reinforcement.

It's beyond the scope of this article to advise you on litter box training, but there are a number of good articles & books that can do so. In general, though, here are a few things to think about:

  • Obviously you'll need a litter box. Get a jumbo cat box, or look specifically for one made for dogs. You may need to modify the box to suit your needs. You want high sides (to prevent "streaks" from male dogs lifting the leg), but an open top so that it's easier to clean.

    And yes, large dogs can use boxes too! Try using a large plastic storage bin (modified to give your dog easy access to the inside). Or build your own box if you're a do-it-yourselfer.

  • You'll need some type of filler. Some people use the clumping cat litter, but many dogs are only too fond of "litter box crunchies"! Consider using other materials such as shredded newspaper, or even "puppy training pads". These are scent pads used to encourage dogs to eliminate on them. They're available in many pet supply stores or online.

  • Get a real big scoop for cleaning out the waste. Enough said.

  • For convenience, you may wish to put a heavy-duty garbage can that contains odors. Line it with a tough bag, and whenever you clean out the box you can dump it in the garbage can.

  • Clean, clean, clean. Dogs don't like to use a filthy litter box, so scoop regularly. Once a month or so, give the box a thorough cleaning.

  • Also make sure you have lots of cleaning supplies on hand. Get paper towels, odor and stain removers, bleach, etc. Accidents will happen!

  • Be consistent (and patient!). Dogs learn by being rewarded when they do something right. Reinforce the behavior you want (eliminating in the litter box), and monitor it carefully. If your dog relapses, start the training over again.

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For more articles on dog training tips and dog behavior , visit www.scamperingpaws.com.

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