Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Love Behind Love on a Leash: Penny Adam Leggo

We often feature profiles of the wonderful, loving, qualified women behind Love on a Leash, putting a face behind the person who is caring for your dog while you are away. This month we feature Penny Adam Leggo, Dog Sitter and Dog Walker Extraordinaire…

Penny has worked closely with animals since 1996, including eight years at the S.P.C.A. Animal Hospital and seven years as a professional dog walker. This has helped Penny fine tune her knowledge of animal behaviors, health, and well being.
Penny has worked extensively throughout the animal world – from specialty pet stores to grooming businesses. These positions have honed her knowledge of pet products, animal nutrition, grooming and care of dogs as well as other pets.

Penny is a certified dog trainer and recently updated her first aid skills to include Levels I and II of Dogsafe Canine First Aid. Penny also went thru training to help further improve her skills and knowledge in dealing with a variety of different situations regarding dog handling and certain behaviors that may require some special work to ensure that owners and their dogs are happy, healthy, well adjusted and well behaved!

Over the years Penny has owned and loved a variety of different pets including dogs and cats plus other small animals. She gets tremendous enjoyment working with dogs. Penny feels these loveable pooches help keep a smile on her face and deliver new challenges each day and that dogs enrich people’s lives so much with their unconditional love.

We have to agree -- there is no substitute for your dog’s love and the amount of love Penny gets from her doggy clients each day along her route shows she is indeed dog’s best friend!

Note: Recently Penny adopted Rupert, a senior Bichon Frise, who had been left in a kill shelter in L.A., and who was in need of a loving and caring home. Having lost her own senior boy, Ziggy, this past winter, we hope that Rupert can help fill the void Ziggy’s passing left in Penny’s heart. And Penny’s heart is indeed very big as she adopted a newborn kitten a few months back, too!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Dogs’ Super Sniffing Ability May Be Powerful Tool Against Cancer

Colonoscopies may become yesterday’s news as new training techniques are helping dogs be ever-more accurate in sniffing out various cancers. Scientists in Japan are hoping that the super sniffing ability that dogs possess will increasingly help them not only determine the presence of cancer in a totally non-invasive way, but what type of cancer a patient may have. Nor is this some futuristic dreaming. It’s already beginning to happen today. From the science-focused Cosmos Magazine:
Japanese scientists have found that dogs can distinguish people with colorectal cancer, reporting that a retriever can scent bowel cancer in breath and stool samples as accurately as hi-tech diagnostic tools.

The findings published in the British Medical Journal support hopes for an ‘electronic nose’ that will one day be able to sniff out the specific chemicals that are produced by cancer cells and circulate in the blood stream before being expelled by the lungs.
The researchers have been relying especially on Marnie, a specially trained black labrador retriever with a lot of talent for the job. Over a period of several months, Marnie was given 74 sniff tests to carry out. The tests were each comprised of stool and breath samples, one of which was cancerous. Every time she correctly identified a cancerous sample, she was rewarded with some time with her tennis ball:
The samples came from 48 people with confirmed bowel cancer at various stages of the disease and 258 volunteers with no bowel cancer or who had had cancer in the past. They complicated the task for the eight-year-old canine detective by adding a few challenges to the samples.

Around half of the non-cancer samples came from people with bowel polyps, which are benign but are also a possible precursor of bowel cancer. Six percent of the breath samples, and 10% of the stool samples, came from people with other gut problems, such as inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers, diverticulitis, and appendicitis.

The retriever performed as well as a colonoscopy, a technique in which a fibre-optic tube with a camera on the end is inserted into the rectum to look for suspect areas of the intestine. It correctly spotted which samples were cancerous and which were not in 33 out of 36 breath tests, equal to 95% accuracy, and in 37 out of 38 stool tests (98% accuracy).
According to Cosmos, for eight-year-old Marnie, cancer sniffing is a second career. She was first trained for water rescue. (Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Upcoming Events: BCSPCA Charity Pub Night

Mark your calendar for the BCSPCA Charity Pub Night, coming up fast on Thursday, June 9th at Ceilis Irish Pub located at 790 Smithe at Granville, Downtown Vancouver.

You can see more information on the Facebook event page here, but -- in the meantime -- here’s the 4-1-1:
Come join us for live entertainment, drinking, dancing plus fun and games! You'll also have the chance to win great prizes throughout the night and bid on some fabulous silent auction items.

All of this, appies and a drink for just $10!!

To purchase tickets call 604 681 7271 or by e-mail here.

…And don’t forget to tell your friends!
* Door sales will be available *

All proceeds go directly to our charity challenge fundraising on behalf of the BCSPCA. The BCSPCA is a not-for-profit reliant on support from the community. Proceeds from this event will support the BCSPCA’s care and protection of animals.
While we’re on the topic of BCSPCA fundraisers, don’t forget the annual Paws for a Cause. This year’s goal is $1 million! More information here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Recipe Corner: Blueberry Maple Pupsicles

Now that the weather is getting warmer, it’s time to start thinking about cool canine treats. I made these for my dog and she is crazy for them! Maple syrup is associated with all that is Canadian and dogs love the stuff even more than we do. In warmer weather, these frozen treats will help cool your pet down -- plus you can even eat one yourself! They are yummy.

The yogurt adds protein and calcium to help keep bones and teeth healthy and strong, plus probiotics are good for your dog’s tummy and the blueberries are loaded with anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals plus fibre: the maple syrup is just added for taste. Don’t use too much: like all sugars, large doses of syrup are not good for your dog’s teeth, and flavorwise, a little goes a long, long way.

Blueberry Maple Pupsicles

2 cups plain non-fat probiotic yogurt
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or chopped fruit such as peaches or plums
2 tbsp. maple syrup (honey may be substituted if you are out of maple syrup)
Stir together the yogurt, blueberries and syrup and freeze in containers appropriate for your dog’s size. (ie: muffin tins, ice cube trays, mini-muffin tins, etc.) Do not fill all the way to the top as the mixture swells as it freezes.

To release them from the container, dip the bottoms in warm water.

These treats store well frozen in freezer bags.

Monday, May 2, 2011

WHEW!!! DeSkunk your dog…

Spring is hopefully just around the corner and that means there are a number of things we need to be aware of when letting our pets out in the yard, run through the dog park, or head out for a hike.

Aside from parasites -- like ticks, thorns from plants or other hazards -- we need to make sure our dogs and cats are safe from skunks, especially their defensive spray.

Skunk spray can cause irritation to your pet’s face, mouth, and lungs. If your dog is hit in the eyes, he can be blinded for up to two days. The skunk’s defensive spray is not only horrible to smell but also tough to get out of pet fur, clothing or anything it comes into contact with. If you don’t act quickly, the smell can stick around for months to years!

The old tomato juice bath does not work. It can help lessen the smell but it doesn’t break down the chemical compounds of the skunk spray and completely eradicate it. Skunk spray needs to be oxidized. A peroxide mixture is the most effective smell removal agent, as proven on an episode of Mythbusters.

Before you fill up the bathtub and roll up your sleeves, make sure you take a few steps:

1. Put on some old clothes. Skunk spray is actually an oil and is very difficult to remove from clothing. Be prepared to throw away whatever you are wearing.

2. If possible, leave the dog outside to prevent the odor ridden oils from getting into your house till you are ready to bathe him.

3. Pinpoint where the spray hit the dog. Depending on your dog’s hair type, you may be able to trim away or comb out some of the affected hair.

4. You can use paper towels to soak up the oils from the coat before you begin washing. If you use a real towel you will have to toss it as the oils may not come out 100%. Be careful not to spread the oils from one part of the dog to another.

5. Be prepared to give the dog more than one bath because some of the skunk oil may spread no matter how much you try to keep it contained to one area.

The best mixture to use contains the following ingredients:

1 quart hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
2 teaspoons dishwashing soap (liquid)

Baking soda neutralizes the smell, dishwashing liquid breaks up the skunk oil and the hydrogen peroxide bubbles the oils off the hair. The mixture will fizz. Wet your dog and thoroughly massage the solution into the coat. Be sure to keep the mixture out of the dogs eyes, nose and mouth. If it is necessary to apply it to the dogs face, use a washcloth or a sponge and be extremely careful. Never store unused portion, always be sure to discard.

Editor’s Note: The image above is of the “Little Stinker” skunk dog costume from Swankpets. Their whole line is a great deal of fun!