Published in the Standard Schnauzer Club's Newsletter - May 2010
THESE ARE MY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
IN THE ORDER OF IMPORTANCE TO MY HUMANS
No taking off like a bat out of hell and knocking mom off her feet.
No walking on the dining room table.
No pretending that I’ve swallowed pills, then spitting them out.
No hiding wet bones under the sofa pillows.
No wiping my wet beard on the sofa after drinking.
No lifting my leg on “every single” tree I pass.
No dragging my doggie bed out through the doggie door.
No bringing stunned birds in through the doggie door.
No pulling tissues out of waste baskets.
No sneaking quick drinks from mom’s wine glass.
No refusing to go outside when it’s raining.
No pulling stuffing from my toys.
No excessive barking at the UPS driver.
And most important to me: No more apologizing for being the dog with the human brain and being smarter than most humans I know!
"To tell the truth, I’m perfect as is….forget my New Year’s Resolutions."
Published in the Standard Schnauzer Club's Newsletter - January 2008
"WEARING MY DOGGIE SEAT BELT & HARNESS"
KEEPING YOUR PET SAFE WHILE RIDING IN YOUR VEHICLE
by Mary Ellen Burns
WE LOVE OUR PETS! They're like our children and we do everything we can to keep them healthy, happy, and safe. But too many pet owners overlook the dangers their pets can experience while riding in the family vehicle. We and our human children are protected with the seat belts in our vehicles but very few pet owners provide the same safety for their beloved pets.
1) Your PET could be injured or killed if unrestrained in your car.
A pet sitting in the front seat of a vehicle that is equipped with air bags could be seriously harmed or killed if the air bag inflates in the event of an accident. A pet, large or small, is much safer riding in the back seat.
Although it's safer for the pet to be in the back seat, the pet could be thrown through a window, or into the front seat, if the vehicle stops suddenly or if an accident occurs.
2.) YOU could be harmed, if you are in a rear-end accident, and your pet is flung into the front seat, into your head and neck area. While I could not find any studies on the effect of a 50-pound dog colliding with a human head, due to a rear-end accident – common sense tells us we wouldn’t feel great if our head/neck area suffered a blow from any 50-pound object in the event of an accident.
3) YOU could be ticketed for your ignorance of the law!! There are cities and towns in the United States that have ordinances that specify a pet must be restrained while riding in a moving vehicle. If you are traveling through one of these areas and stopped for a traffic violation, you can be ticketed for not having your pet safely restrained. While the states don't have specific laws to this effect, there are city and town ordinances requiring pets to be restrained in moving vehicles. If you aren't sure if the areas you visit have ordinances to this effect, just know that it is possible or better yet, contact the city/town councils in areas you plan to visit. Better still – restrain your pet in some fashion in the back of your car at all times!
Your pet should be secured with a doggie seat belt or some other type of restraint to keep it from being ejected either into the front seat, or through one of the vehicle's windows in the event of a quick stop or an accident. Not only could this be dangerous or deadly for you dog, but a dog being ejected into the front seat could be the CAUSE of an accident.
Human seat belts are designed for humans, not pets. Doggie seat belts are made specifically to keep your dog in place and safe while the vehicle is moving.
I know what you're going to say, "My dog won't like being restrained, he's used to roaming freely in my car, and besides I've never had a problem like those described above." Or, "My dog likes riding in the front seat, next to me, and I like having him beside me too."
My answer is that it takes only one time, one accident, and you may lose your beloved pet when it could have been prevented. I have a friend who lost her dog when he was ejected through the open window of her car when she had a minor car accident. The dog didn't die when he was ejected through the window, but he did die when he was hit by a passing car. My friend was heartbroken and learned a very sad lesson. I learned from her experience and my dog, Stoney, is always locked into his seat belt, in the back seat, when we travel. He doesn't complain about not being in the front seat with me, he's just glad that he gets to go along. He's so comfortable with his seat belt that when he enters our car, he waits until I hook him up before gets onto the seat. But then, he's a very intelligent dog....as are all Standard Schnauzers.
WHERE TO FIND PET RESTRAINTS:
There are a variety of doggie restraints and seat belts. My dog Stoney wears a regular doggie harness onto which one end of a doggie seat belt clips, then the other end connects into the vehicle's seat belt. There are other varieties...some of which connect onto the head rest on the back of the seat, others clip onto the strap of the vehicle's seat belt, or there are styles that include a dog harness. But, with all styles, a DOG HARNESS IS ESSENTIAL. If the seat belt is connected directly to your dog's collar, he could hang in the event of an accident or a quick stop.
Pet Seat Belts and Harnesses are available at the following websites:
If you don't shop online, dog seat belts/restraints are also available at PETSMART and PETCO You can phone toll free for a store located near you: PETSMART: 1-888-839-9638 PETCO: 1-877-738-6742
Or you can have a pet supply catalog mailed to you from: OMAHA VACCINE: 1-800-367-4444 FOSTER & SMITH: 1-800-381-7179 J-B PET SUPPLY: 1-800-526-0388
Published in the Standard Schnauzer Club's Newsletter - May 2007
ATTENTION PET OWNERS......A REASON FOR LEASH LAWS
Many pet owners will say, "Don’t worry, my dog is friendly" when you come upon their unleashed dog while walking your dog.
DON'T BELIEVE IT!
This person’s dog might be friendly to its owner and to other humans but that doesn’t mean it will be friendly to your dog. I learned this the hard way two years ago.
I was walking with my "leashed" Standard Schnauzer, Stoney, at a state park when I saw two Black Labsrunning towards us.....loose. The owner and his wife were approximately a city block away and he shouted, "Don’t worry, they’re friendly." Seconds later, one of the Labs viciously attacked my dog. I screamed for the owner to leash his dogs but it took him a while to get to us. In that time, the Lab, weighing approximately 100 lbs., threw Stoney to the ground and was viciously biting him. I tried to pull the Lab away from Stoney but couldn’t. Instead the Lab knocked me to the ground. I continued trying to shield/protect Stoney. At this point the owner reached us and pulled his Lab off of Stoney. Seconds later, the Lab broke loose and attacked Stoney again. The owner pulled his dog back again and finally leashed him.
When the Lab’s owner finally had his dog under control, he helped me up from the ground. I was in shock, both from trying to fight off the Lab and, during the attack, thinking that the Lab would kill Stoney.
The owner apologized for his dog’s behavior saying that he hadn’t had the dog very long but thought it was friendly with other dogs. There were two Black Labs but only one had attacked us. The other Lab did seem like a friendly dog.
Since I’m a dog person and this man and his wife seemed like they were nice people and sorry about what had happened, and I didn’t see any serious damage to Stoney or to myself, I said we were alright and exited the park. I was limping and two fingers on my left hand were bruised and very painful.
When I arrived at the parking lot I saw only my car and the SUV belonging to the Lab owners. At that point in time, another car drove into the parking lot and the driver came over to me and asked if I was alright. This woman is a nurse at a local hospital and she told me that it looked like my fingers might be broken. She advised me to take down the license number of the SUV in case my or Stoney’s injuries were more serious than I thought. She also advised me to go to the hospital for treatment. She then gave me her name and phone number in case I needed a witness as to my condition when I arrived in the parking lot. Then the woman asked me if I thought it would be alright for her to take her walk in the park. I said yes, because both Labs were NOW LEASHED.
While driving out of the state park, I stopped at the Park Guard’s office and related the incident to him. He asked if I wanted to file a charge against the Labs’ owners and I said no, I just wanted a record of the incident in case there were any problems down the road.
I then took my dog to his Veterinarian where he was treated for numerous abrasions to his back and neck. He was given antibiotic shots but no serious damage was found. But I knew that if I wasn’t there to help fight off the Lab, my dog could have been killed. The Lab was very aggressive. My dog only weighs 47 lbs. and was greatly outweighed by the Lab.
I then went to the hospital and learned that two of my fingers were broken....one, my wedding ring finger, was broken in three places and this finger was so swollen that my wedding rings had to be cut off. Also, I had a sprained ankle and many bruises over my body. The hospital took pictures of my injuries.
The next day I phoned the Park Guard at the state park, asking if he would find out the name of the owners of the Labs through the man’s SUV’s license plate. I wanted to phone the owner of the Labs and ask if he would be willing to pay my and Stoney’s "out of pocket" medical costs that were the result of his dog’s attack. Instead the Park Guard phoned the Labs’ owner first, who told the Guard that his dogs were leashed while in the park and that my dog had agitated his dogs, resulting in their breaking loose and "playing roughly" with my dog. He plain and simply LIED. Both of his dogs were running loose.....my dog was leashed and is not the least bit aggressive. The Park Guard said that it was my word against the owners of the Labs and there were two of them. He then dismissed my request to file a complaint against this man.
At this point I was very angry because the Labs’ owners had lied and wouldn’t accept any responsibility for the damage their dog had done to my dog and to me. I was also angry at the Park Guard because I was the injured party and he was siding with the Lab owners’ explanation of what happened.
Then I phoned the witness who saw me exit the park into the parking lot to ask if she would give a statement to the Park Guard about my condition when she saw me. She told me that after I’d left the state park and she went into the park for her walk, both Labs were running loose AGAIN and she felt threatened by them.....but they didn’t hurt her, just barked at her.
When I heard this, I was furious! I felt that when the owners of these dogs left their dogs loose again.....even after what the one Lab did to me and my dog, it meant that they were completely irresponsible dog owners. In addition, when the incident had happened, they should have helped me back to my car.....and they hadn’t even offered. I’m a senior citizen and they knew I was very shaken up and they could have seen that I got safely back to my car.....but chose not to.
At this point I phoned a lawyer that specializes in incidents like this and he told me that I had a very good case to sue the owners of the Labs. It took a year but I did win the case.
What surprised me is that my Lawyer told me that even IF the Labs were leashed, and had harmed me and/or my dog, the owners were still responsible because they didn’t have their dogs under control. It didn’t matter that the owners of the Labs claimed that their dogs were leashed....they were still responsible for any damage their dog did.
The point of this article
is that dogs should be leashed, not just because it’s the law in most states, but because if my dog Stoney wasn’t leashed, the Lab could have chased him down and killed him. I was able to help fight off the Lab because my dog was leashed. It doesn’t matter if a dog is friendly or not......having your dog leashed could save its life. As for pet owners who let their dogs run loose, unleashed, they are breaking the law and are responsible for the damage their dogs do.
This incident happened two years ago and although I did win the law suit, I’ll never again feel safe while walking a dog. That was taken away from me. Also, Stoney, who is the sweetest tempered dog I’ve ever had, is wary now when he sees another dog approaching us while we’re walking. We’ve both been permanently damaged....perhaps not physically, but psychologically. Also, I will not walk Stoney without having a tube of pepper spray in my pocket for protection.....just in case.
As for the law suit, I wouldn’t have sued the Labs’ owners because I’m a dog person and I can forgive a dog’s bad behavior, but I can’t forgive people who lie and won’t take responsibility for their actions.
By Mary Ellen Burns
Published in the Standard Schnauzer Club's Newsletter - January 2007
Check Your Vet Out --- Find Out Who You are Dealing With
By Mary Ellen Burns
My eight year old Standard Schnauzer Stoney was born with a very enlarged heart which was discovered when he was still a pup through x-rays taken for another problem. Stoney appears to be perfectly healthy both then and now. But because of Stoney's enlarged heart, our local vet advised an Echo Cardiogram which was done at a clinic that specializes in this procedure. The Echo Cardiogram showed no problem with Stoney's heartbeat. In fact, his heart was working perfectly. The Cardiac Specialist then advised that this procedure be done every other year as a follow-up and a precaution. The two follow-up Echo Cardiograms mirrored the first.
INCIDENT: This past summer Stoney was due for his fourth Echo Cardiogram, but since our local vet had just finished building a new pet hospital and now has equipment for doing Echo Cardiograms, he said he would do this procedure. I agreed since he has been Stoney's vet for the past eight years and I trusted him completely.
I had been in attendance at each of Stoney's earlier Echo Cardiograms and was familiar with the procedure so when my vet said that it was necessary for my dog to be sedated for the Echo, I was somewhat worried. The vet and his attendant were in a hurry and rough with Stoney, so Stoney became agitated and that is why the vet used the sedative. Afterwards my vet said the results showed there was a definite problem with Stoney's heartbeat, a slowness in one side, and that another procedure should be done to confirm the results. An EKG was done a few days later. My vet then said that the EKG confirmed the results of the Echo Cardiogram and that he now wanted to give Stoney an injection of Atropine to speed up his heartbeat. And that after this procedure, Stoney would be put on heart medication.
Meanwhile, I had written to a fellow Standard Schnauzer owner and a member of the SSCA. I related what was happening, along with my worries, and she forwarded my information to another Schnauzer owner who is a "human" Anesthesiologist. This professional said that she was pretty certain that the sedation given to Stoney caused a slow heartbeat to show in Stoney's Echo Cardiogram. I related this to my local vet and he completely dismissed it by saying that the EKG done a few days later didn't require sedation and the EKG definitely confirmed the Echo Cardiogram results.
At this point, I was getting very worried about my vet, who is NOT a Pet Cardiologist, giving Stoney an injection to speed up his heart. So I told my vet that I wanted a second opinion. He said that he did get a second opinion from a pet Cardiac Specialist. He did show me the paperwork, but I felt that since this Specialist was only going by the tests done by MY vet, I wanted another Echo Cardiogram done and another opinion.
WHAT I DID ABOUT IT: I asked for Stoney's test results to take along to the Echo Specialist I had used earlier in Stoney's life. At first the local vet would not give me the papers, but I finally did obtain them after a very long session with my vet who insisted that I let him administer the injection of Atropine before I had another Echo Cardiogram done.I refused to let him inject Stoney or have him treat Stoney any further until after the new Echo Cardiogram.
Thank goodness I didn't let him talk me out of the second Echo with the original Echo specialist. I now think the local vet was worried that his incorrect reading of the Echo would be revealed, along with his recommended treatment.
I then took Stoney to the Cardiac Specialist who had done Stoney's first Echo Cardiogram eight years ago, and the test results showed absolutely no slowness in Stoney's heart. In fact, according the Specialist the Echo was almost identical to Stoney's first Echo eight years ago. This specialist said that my vet's Echo Cardiogram was totally off. I felt like a heavy weight was lifted from my heart, but I was also angry since my vet had lied about Stoney needing additional procedures done and heart medication. The Specialist did say that although the Atropine injection wouldn't have killed Stoney, it would have speeded up his heart which wasn't necessary since Stoney's heartbeat is normal. But the injection would have covered up the incorrect Echo done by my vet and allow him to claim that he had "fixed" Stoney's slow heartbeat with the medication. This specialist had also cross-checked his findings on Stoney's heart with Cornell Veterinary School in upstate New York. Cornell confirmed that there was no problem with Stoney's heart.
I related this to my friend, who then suggested that I do a search on Stoney's Vet's history to see if his veterinary license was in good order or if there were complaints against him. I wouldn't have known how to go about this without my friend's help. She emailed me a link to the Pennsylvania Office of Licensing and my state's Prothonotary's Office. I found out that my vet had his license suspended THREE times in the past 20 years. Before I go any further, I must say that this vet is very highly thought of in his profession in this area. He's one of the busiest vets and runs a state-of-the-art Veterinary Medical Center in a very large city. Also, it's unusual for a vet to have even ONE license suspension, let alone THREE. Veterinary licenses aren't suspended unless there are serious founded offenses.
After learning about the THREE suspensions of my vet's license, I then needed to contact a representative in the Prothonotary's Office by phone, to find out what the violations were. I was shocked at what I found out.
THE DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS ARE AS FOLLOWS (synopsis):
Improper declawing of cats. A number of the cats my vet declawed had one or more of their paws amputated because of improper declawing. Records showed that he had declawed hundreds of cats and he always had explanations ready for the cats' owners as to why their cats lost limbs to Gangrene. There was a long investigation into how and why this was happening and this vet lied to the investigating board on three occasions and this was found out.
In the early 1990's my vet's license was suspended for six months and he was fined $2,000 for allowing an unlicensed assistant to operate on patients. Someone had reported him to the licensing bureau and an investigator came into his clinic and walked in on a young man suturing the incision of a dog that had been spayed. In Pennsylvania, no one is allowed to operate or do any kind of suturing to an animal UNLESS they have a veterinary license. To compound his offense, the vet offered a bribe to the State Investigator to "look the other way," and was promptly reported by him.
In 1994 his license was suspended again; this time for two years with a fine of $2,000.00. As a side note: the vet who owns the pet clinic did have another licensed vet on board to take over his practice while his license was suspended all three times.
This time this Vet's offense was for performing procedures/surgery that wasn't necessary. He x-rayed a young dog's injured hind leg and said the leg was broken and needed immediate orthopedic surgery. He then accidentally operated on the wrong leg which resulted in the angry owners taking their dog to another vet who took another set of x-rays that showed that neither leg was or ever had been broken. Instead there was only a slight sprain that would have healed by itself. Thus, this time the vet lost his license for doing unnecessary procedures. This offense would have never been discovered except that he operated on the dog's wrong leg. So imagine how many other unnecessary procedures had been and are being done in his clinic.
HOW TO PREVENT THE SAME THING IN THE FUTURE:
What this vet does from this point forward won't affect Stoney since we now have a new vet, but I feel badly for the pet owners that will be duped in the future. Also consider the unnecessary pain and suffering that affects both the pets and their owners by a vet's incompetance and having unnecessary procedures performed on the pets.
In conclusion, it is necessary that we pet owners check into the history of the vets that we trust our beloved pets to. We should be aware of their past history. And even though your vet may NOT have suspensions against his license, getting a second or even a third opinion shouldn't be relegated to humans only. If you have any questions about a diagnosis by your pet's vet, act on those questions....get a second opinion. .